Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

PCHR condemns Israel over Hebron killing [Israeli forces demolish house with man inside]

On Monday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man, Ali Isma'el Ali Swaiti, 45, in Beit Awwa in the West Bank district of Hebron, after demolishing a house while he was inside. Israeli forces claim that Ali Swaiti had been wanted for several years.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights disagreed. PCHR "condemns this crime – which constitutes an extrajudicial execution – and calls upon the international community to work towards bringing to trial those Israeli politicians and commanders suspected of committing war crime," the group said in a statement on Wednesday, rejecting the army's pretext that the man's death came amid an arrest raid.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and eyewitness testimony, Israeli forces entered Beit Awwa in the far south of Hebron at approximately 3am on Monday, supported by military armored vehicles, a bulldozer, and a Caterpillar digging vehicle. Israeli forces surrounded the house in which Ali Swaiti was located, using stun grenades.

The home belongs to Mahmoud Abdul Aziz Swaiti and is located in Khellet Al-Foulah, in the north of the town. During the operation, Israeli soldiers broke into numerous other houses in the area and turned them into observation points and firing posts.

After some minutes, Israeli forces evacuated at gunpoint the family living in the targeted one-storey house as well as a family living in another two-storey house, which belongs to the family of Ahmed Abdul Aziz Swaiti. The two families were detained outdoors for some time before they were taken to an adjacent house belonging to Abdul Jalil Swaiti. They were detained there with other families, all of whom were interrogated regarding the whereabouts of the targeted person.

At approximately 5:40, an Israeli bulldozer began to destroy the fences surrounding the targeted house. It progressed toward the house and started to demolish it, but it retreated as it was fired at from inside. Israeli forces stationed in the neighboring houses opened fire at the house for 15 minutes from all sides before an explosion took place inside. Residents of the area reported that the explosion resulted from the shelling of the house.

At approximately 6:00, the Caterpillar vehicle began to drive into and destroy the fences of the targeted house. After that, a digging vehicle continued demolishing the house, and then retreated to allow the renewed advance of the bulldozer and the search for the body of Swaiti.

At approximately 7:00, the bulldozer lifted the body of Swaiti out of the rubble and dropped it onto a road close to the demolished house before moving it another 10 meters away. At approximately 7:30, an Israeli soldier fired at least two shots at the body of Swaiti from a distance of three meters. At approximately 8:00, Israeli forces left the homes in which they had taken position.

In the meantime, Palestinian civilians had left their homes and many of them hurried toward the area of the attack. They carried Swaiti's body to take it indoors. However, some people clashed with Israeli forces as they withdrew. Israeli forces fired at those people using rubber-coated bullets, wounding five Palestinians including a boy and a young woman.

Israel urged to let Gazans study in West Bank

Ten Israel Prize laureates and more than 50 academics and intellectuals wrote to the Israeli defense minister on Wednesday asking him to cancel the sweeping ban imposed since 2000 on Palestinian students from Gaza studying in the West Bank.

Among the signatories are 2010 Israel Prize winners Prof. Avishai Margalit and Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny, past winners David Tartakover and Yehuda Jad Ne'eman, and Israeli intellectuals Joshua Sobol and Nir Baram.

"A sweeping ban on the passage of any resident of Gaza wishing to study in the West Bank is a disproportional ban that must be canceled," they wrote in a letter circulated by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group. "Instead of the ban, we ask that the young people be allowed to attend their places of study subject to individual security checks of their applications...."

....Since 2000, Israel has imposed a sweeping ban on Palestinians from the Gaza Strip wishing to attend Palestinian universities in the West Bank. Despite an Israeli High Court ruling in 2007 that determined that students from Gaza wishing to study in the West Bank should be allowed to do so "in cases that would have positive human consequences," from evidence collected by Gisha, Israel has not let a single student from Gaza pass through Israel in order to reach his or her studies in the West Bank since the ruling.

In the late 1990s, about 1,000 students from Gaza studied in the West Bank, many in critical disciplines that were not available in the Gaza Strip such as occupational therapy, dentistry, physical therapy, and others....

The sweeping ban on the passage of students from Gaza to the West Bank is only one part of an overall Israeli policy whose purpose is to separate the two parts of Palestinian territory. A new order recently went into effect, which threatens every Palestinian in the West Bank whose registered address is in Gaza with removal to the Strip even if they have lived in the West Bank for years or even all their lives.

For many years, and even prior to the issuing of the order, Israel has been implementing this removal policy. For example, in October 2009, Berlanty Azzam, a 22-year-old student who had been in the West Bank since 2005 and was only two months from completing her BA in Business Administration from Bethlehem University, was removed to Gaza. Meanwhile, since 2000, Israel, which controls the Palestinian population registry, has refused to allow changes of address from Gaza to the West Bank.  Full story

$50-$60 Billion Laundered from US nonprofits into illegal West Bank colonies creates threat of terrorism backlash

IRMEP - Grant Smith


The following document case file reveals the failure of US law enforcement agencies to act on credible, specific public and private allegations that up to $60 billion has been laundered from the United States into illegal colonization of the West Bank. The US national security interest in averting another 9/11style attack motivated by this type of ongoing illegal activity continues to be high.  

The Jewish Agency was identified in the 1960's as a source of $35 million illegally laundered into the United States for stealth grassroots action, PR and lobbying.  

In 2005 the Jewish Agency was again identified at the center of an international money laundering ring building settlements that are illegal, according to Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson.  Jewish Agency laundering was shut down during Senate and DOJ investigations during the 1960s.  The Jewish Agency - American Section itself was shuttered after the DOJ forced it to register its covenant agreement revealing it as an agent of the Israeli government in 1969.  

But since the flow of funds has now reversed, the US Department of Justice and Treasury Department would have to either confront individual persons and entities channeling funds toward illegal ends, or their financial consolidation points.  This would occur only if both agencies have escaped regulatory capture and are free to actively pursue the enforcement of US law...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eye-witnesses to Fatal Shooting of Protester in Gaza Available For Interviews

Adie Mormech (Britian) 00972 (0)597717696
Eva Bartlett (Canada) 00972 (0)598710648
Rada Daniell (Britain) 00972(0)597844043
Bianca Zammit (Malta- wounded in previous demonstration, not an eyewitness) 00972(0)597589688

Nahal Oz, Gaza, Occupied Palestian Territories, 28th April 2010 6PM – Ahmad Sliman Salem Dib, 19, died of blood loss at 4:30 pm today, following emergency surgery. Dib was shot during a non-violent demonstration near Nahal Oz crossing, Gaza.

British ISM activist and eyewitness Adie Mormech stated: “We were standing next to the gathering of young men behind a large rock most of whom were chanting and waving flags, about 50 metres from the border fence. Although some of the men were throwing stones from the ground, we didn't see any reach the fence let alone go over it. Suddenly to our left, in front of the rock where 10 people had gathered about 30 metres from the fence, there was a single shot without any warning, and a young man was carried away. I could see the bullet had blown apart a large section of the top his leg, with a large amount of blood. He was carried about 100m with blood pouring down his leg before a waiting ambulance drove him away.”

According to Eva Bartlett, Canadian ISM activist and eye witness: "Israel's policy of using live ammunition for crowd dispersal is part of it's complete disregard for the lives of a million and a half Palestinians living in brutal conditions under the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza. International observers play a critical role in documenting and potentially deterring Israel's violence, but are denied access to Gaza."

British ISM activist Rada Daniell added that "The popular resistance demonstrations will continue up and down the border until Palestinians have access to their most arable farmland, which is effectively annexed by the Israeli imposed 300m buffer zone on the Gazan side, and until the siege is lifted from the Gaza Strip. Bianca, a Maltese international activist who was shot at noon on Saturday in the leg, will rejoin the other internationals regularly attending and reporting on the local initiatives against the buffer zone."

Ahmed Dib was fatally injured at the demonstration, with more than 200 participants, which marched towards the Israeli imposed buffer zone near Nahal Oz crossing with Israel east of Gaza City. Dib was urgently transferred by an ambulance to Shifaa Hospital in the Gaza City, bleeding heavily. The injury proved fatal because the bullet severed the femoral artery, shattered the femur bone, and damaged the surrounding muscle and other tissues.

Regular popular demonstrations are being are held in protest of the arbitrary decision by Israel to instate a 300 metre buffer zone as no-go area for Palestinians where "shoot to kill" policy is implemented. People have been shot regularly as far as 2 kilometres away from the border. Popular Campaign for the Security in the Buffer Zone is an umbrella organization that includes organizations representing farmers and Gaza residents living near the border.

Gaza protester injured by Israeli fire dies in hospital

Demonstrators carry the wounded man away from the protest site to a waiting  ambulance on 28 April 2010. [MaanImages/Hatem Omar]
Ma'an – A 21-year-old man protesting Israel's no-go zone in Gaza was killed on Wednesday, after Israeli forces opened fire on the march and hit the young man in the leg. Medics said he died in hospital.

The man, identified by activists as Ahmad Salem Deeb, was the fourth to be injured in three days as protests against the enforcement of the no-go zone continue.

Reports from members of the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza said Deeb was shot 30 meters away from the Gaza-Israel border. A statement from the activist group said protesters were waving flags and chanting slogans demanding the cessation of Israeli control over the no-go area when shots were fired.

The young man had joined in a protest that left from the Ash-Shuja'iyya neighborhood east of Gaza City, and marched toward the border area. Areas of the no-go zone were expanded from 150-meters to 300 meters in some places, and are regularly patrolled by Israeli forces, who term the area a "combat zone," citing "terrorist activity" in the area.

Muawiya Hassanein, chief of emergency and ambulance services in Gaza, the unidentified young man sustained moderate injuries, and was transferred to the Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for treatment. Hours later the official said Deeb had succumbed to his wounds and died.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the man's death was under investigation, but confirmed that forces fired shots when a group approached the border area.

The official said a violent and illegal riot preceded the fire, and that participants threw rocks at the Nahal Oz crossing and set small fires nearby. Forces fired warning shots to distance them from the fence, she said.

The military considers the area a combat zone, the spokeswoman added.

In the following video, filmed by Muhammad Sabah, B’Tselem’s Gaza field researched, a group of Palestinians and internationals is seen walking from the Ash-Shaj'iya neighborhood, east of Gaza City, toward the Israeli border fence. The youths reach a distance of a few dozen meters from the border, facing an Israeli military post. A soldier is seen near the post, observing events. None of the protesters are armed.

According to B’Tselem, the video shows a group of youths, some of them throwing stones at the military post. There is a sound of one shot. The injured youth is seen evacuated to receive medical treatment. He died later of his wounds. A previous shot, which was fired approximately 10 minutes earlier, was not captured on tape. The video was edited for length, B’Tselem noted.

Eating up 20% of Gaza's arable lands, farmers and civilians have demanded access to the area, which lies insude the 1967 boundaries, and from which Israel said it unilaterally withdrew in 2005.

Palestine People's Party politburo member Walid Al-Awad told Ma'an that hundreds of residents participated along side the victim, and marched toward the buffer zone waving Palestinian flags.

On Monday, a woman from Malta and three Gaza residents were wounded, one seriously, when Israeli forces fired on a protest near Khan Younis.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dura mayor: 30 detained in civilian home

The home of a Hebron-area civilian was declared a closed military zone by Israeli forces early Tuesday morning, local officials reported.

The building, home to 20, located in the city of Dura, southwest of Hebron belongs to Raed Ash-Shahatit, city mayor Mustapha Ar-Rujoub told Ma'an.

Ar-Rajoub said all 20 residents, including women and children, were in the home, and said an additional ten men had been arrested and brought into the building in the dawn hours.

The additional detainees, Ar-Rajoub said, were taken as they approached or walked near the building. "The whole area has been hijacked by the troops," the mayor said, noting the area was often a target for Israeli forces.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was looking into the report.

Israel’s big and small apartheids - Jonathan Cook

...text of a talk delivered to the fifth Bil'in international conference for Palestinian popular resistance, held in the West Bank village of Bil'in on April 21:

Israel’s apologists are very exercised about the idea that Israel has been singled out for special scrutiny and criticism. I wish to argue, however, that in most discussions of Israel it actually gets off extremely lightly: that many features of the Israeli polity would be considered exceptional or extraordinary in any other democratic state.

That is not surprising because, as I will argue, Israel is neither a liberal democracy nor even a “Jewish and democratic state”, as its supporters claim. It is an apartheid state, not only in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, but also inside Israel proper. Today, in the occupied territories, the apartheid nature of Israeli rule is irrefutable -- if little mentioned by Western politicians or the media. But inside Israel itself, it is largely veiled and hidden. My purpose today is to try to remove the veil a little.

I say “a little”, because I would need far more than the time allotted to me to do justice to this topic. There are, for example, some 30 laws that explicitly discriminate between Jews and non-Jews -- another way of referring to the fifth of the Israeli population who are Palestinian and supposedly enjoy full citizenship. There are also many other Israeli laws and administrative practices that lead to an outcome of ethnic-based segregation even if they do not make such discrimination explicit.

So instead of trying to rush through all these aspects of Israeli apartheid, let me concentrate instead on a few revealing features, issues I have reported on recently.

First, let us examine the nature of Israeli citizenship.

A few weeks ago I met Uzi Ornan, an 86-year-old professor from the Technion University in Haifa, who has one of the few ID cards in Israel stating a nationality of “Hebrew”. For most other Israelis, their cards and personal records state their nationality as “Jewish” or “Arab”. For immigrants whose Jewishness is accepted by the state but questioned by the rabbinical authorities, some 130 other classifications of nationality have been approved, mostly relating to a person’s religion or country of origin. The only nationality you will not find on the list is “Israeli”. That is precisely why Prof Ornan and two dozen others are fighting through the courts: they want to be registered as “Israelis”. It is a hugely important fight -- and for that reason alone they are certain to lose. Why?

Far more is at stake than an ethnic or national label. Israel excludes a nationality of “Israeli” to ensure that, in fulfilment of its self-definition as a “Jewish state”, it is able to assign superior rights of citizenship to the collective “nation” of Jews around the globe than to the body of actual citizens in its territory, which includes many Palestinians. In practice it does this by creating two main classes of citizenship: a Jewish citizenship for “Jewish nationals” and an Arab citizenship for “Arab nationals”. Both nationalities were effectively invented by Israel and have no meaning outside Israel.

This differentiation in citizenship is recognised in Israeli law: the Law of Return, for Jews, makes immigration all but automatic for any Jew around the world who wishes it; and the Citizenship Law, for non-Jews, determines on any entirely separate basis the rights of the country’s Palestinian minority to citizenship. Even more importantly, the latter law abolishes the rights of the Palestinian citizens’ relatives, who were expelled by force in 1948, to return to their homes and land. There are, in other words, two legal systems of citizenship in Israel, differentiating between the rights of citizens based on whether they are Jews or Palestinians.

That, in itself, meets the definition of apartheid, as set out by the United Nations in 1973: “Any legislative measures or other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups.” The clause includes the following rights: “the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

Such separation of citizenship is absolutely essential to the maintenance of Israel as a Jewish state. Were all citizens to be defined uniformly as Israelis, were there to be only one law regarding citizenship, then very dramatic consequences would follow. The most significant would be that the Law of Return would either cease to apply to Jews or apply equally to Palestinian citizens, allowing them to bring their exiled relatives to Israel – the much-feared Right of Return. In either a longer or shorter period, Israel’s Jewish majority would be eroded and Israel would become a binational state, probably with a Palestinian majority.

There would be many other predictable consequences of equal citizenship. Would the Jewish settlers, for example, be able to maintain their privileged status in the West Bank if Palestinians in Jenin or Hebron had relatives inside Israel with the same rights as Jews? Would the Israeli army continue to be able to function as an occupation army in a properly democratic state? And would the courts in a state of equal citizens be able to continue turning a blind eye to the brutalities of the occupation? In all these cases, it seems extremely unlikely that the status quo could be maintained.

In other words, the whole edifice of Israel’s apartheid rule inside Israel supports and upholds its apartheid rule in the occupied territories. They stand or fall together.

Next, let us look at the matter of land control.

Last month I met an exceptional Israeli Jewish couple, the Zakais. They are exceptional chiefly because they have developed a deep friendship with a Palestinian couple inside Israel. Although I have reported on Israel and Palestine for many years, I cannot recall ever before meeting an Israeli Jew who had a Palestinian friend in quite the way the Zakais do.

True, there are many Israeli Jews who claim an “Arab” or “Palestinian” friend in the sense that they joke with the guy whose hummus shop they frequent or who fixes their car. There are also Israeli Jews -- and they are an extremely important group -- who stand with Palestinians in political battles such as those here in Bilin or in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. At these places, Israelis and Palestinians have, against the odds, managed to forge genuine friendships that are vital if Israel’s apartheid rule is to be defeated.

But the Zakais’ relationship with their Bedouin friends, the Tarabins, is not that kind of friendship. It is not based on, or shaped by, a political struggle, one that is itself framed by Israel’s occupation; it is not a self-conscious friendship; and it has no larger goal than the relationship itself. It is a friendship -- or at least it appeared that way to me -- of genuine equals. A friendship of complete intimacy. When I visited the Zakais, I realised what an incredibly unusual sight that is in Israel.

The reason for the very separate cultural and emotional worlds of Jewish and Palestinian citizens in Israel is not difficult to fathom: they live in entirely separate physical worlds. They live apart in segregated communities, separated not through choice but by legally enforceable rules and procedures. Even in the so-called handful of mixed cities, Jews and Palestinians usually live apart, in distinct and clearly defined neighbourhoods. And so it was not entirely surprising that the very issue that brought me to the Zakais was the question of whether a Palestinian citizen is entitled to live in a Jewish community.

The Zakais want to rent to their friends, the Tarabins, their home in the agricultural village of Nevatim in the Negev -- currently an exclusively Jewish community. The Tarabins face a serious housing problem in their own neighbouring Bedouin community. But what the Zakais have discovered is that there are overwhelming social and legal obstacles to Palestinians moving out the ghettoes in which they are supposed to live. Not only is Nevatim’s elected leadership deeply opposed to the Bedouin family entering their community, but so also are the Israeli courts.

Nevatim is not exceptional. There are more than 700 similar rural communities -- mostly kibbutzim and moshavim -- that bar non-Jews from living there. They control most of the inhabitable territory of Israel, land that once belonged to Palestinians: either refugees from the 1948 war; or Palestinian citizens who have had their lands confiscated under special laws.

Today, after these confiscations, at least 93 per cent of Israel is nationalised -- that is, it is held in trust not for Israel’s citizens but for world Jewry. (Here, once again, we should note one of those important consequences of the differentiated citizenship we have just considered.)

Access to most of this nationalised land is controlled by vetting committees, overseen by quasi-governmental but entirely unaccountable Zionist organisations like the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund. Their role is to ensure that such communities remain off-limits to Palestinian citizens, precisely as the Zakais and Tarabins have discovered in the case of Nevatim. The officials there have insisted that the Palestinian family has no right even to rent, let alone buy, property in a “Jewish community”. That position has been effectively upheld by Israel’s highest court, which has agreed that the family must submit to a vetting committee whose very purpose is to exclude them.

Again, the 1973 UN Convention on the “crime of apartheid” is instructive: it includes measures “designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups … [and] the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof.”

If Jewish and Palestinian citizens have been kept apart so effectively -- and a separate education system and severe limits on interconfessional marriage reinforce this emotional and physical segregation -- how did the Zakais and Tarabins become such close friends?

Their case is an interesting example of serendipity, as I discovered when I met them. Weisman Zakai is the child of Iraqi Jewish parents who immigrated to the Jewish state in its early years. When he and Ahmed Tarabin met as boys in the 1960s, hanging out in the markets of the poor neighbouring city of Beersheva, far from the centre of the country, they found that what they had in common trumped the formal divisions that were supposed to keep them apart and fearful. Both speak fluent Arabic, both were raised in an Arab culture, both are excluded from Jewish Ashkenazi society, and both share a passion for cars.

In their case, Israel’s apartheid system failed in its job of keeping them physically and emotionally apart. It failed to make them afraid of, and hostile to, each other. But as the Zakais have learnt to their cost, in refusing to live according to the rules of Israel’s apartheid system, the system has rejected them. The Zakais are denied the chance to rent to their friends, and now live as pariahs in the community of Nevatim.

Finally, let us consider the concept of “security” inside Israel.

As I have said, the apartheid nature of relations between Jewish and Palestinian citizens is veiled in the legal, social and political spheres. It does not mirror the “petty apartheid” that was a feature of the South African brand: the separate toilets, park benches and buses. But in one instance it is explicit in this petty way -- and this is when Jews and Palestinians enter and leave the country through the border crossings and through Ben Gurion international airport. Here the façade is removed and the different status of citizenship enjoyed by Jews and Palestinians is fully on show.

That lesson was learnt by two middle-aged Palestinian brothers I interviewed this month. Residents of a village near Nazareth, they had been life-long supporters of the Labor party and proudly showed me a fading picture of them hosting a lunch for Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s. But at our meeting they were angry and bitter, vowing they would never vote for a Zionist party again.

Their rude awakening had come three years ago when they travelled to the US on a business trip with a group of Jewish insurance agents. On the flight back, they arrived at New York’s JFK airport to see their Jewish colleagues pass through El Al’s security checks in minutes. They, meanwhile, spent two hours being interrogated and having their bags minutely inspected.

When they were finally let through, they were assigned a female guard whose job was to keep them under constant surveillance -- in front of hundreds of fellow passengers -- till they boarded the plane. When one brother went to the bathroom without first seeking permission, the guard berated him in public and her boss threatened to prevent him from boarding the plane unless he apologised. This month the court finally awarded the brothers $8,000 compensation for what it called their “abusive and unnecessary” treatment.

Two things about this case should be noted. The first is that the El Al security team admitted in court that neither brother was deemed a security risk of any sort. The only grounds for the special treatment they received was their national and ethnic belonging. It was transparently a case of racal profiling.

The second thing to note is that their experience is nothing out of the ordinary for Palestinian citizens travelling to and from Israel. Similar, and far worse, incidents occur every day during such security procedures. What was exceptional in this case was that the brothers pursued a time-consuming and costly legal action against El Al.

They did so, I suspect, because they felt so badly betrayed. They had made the mistake of believing the hasbara (propaganda) from Israeli politicians of all stripes who declare that Palestinian citizens can enjoy equal status with Jewish citizens if they are loyal to the state. They assumed that by being Zionists they could become first-class citizens. In accepting this conclusion, they had misunderstood the apartheid reality inherent in a Jewish state.

The most educated, respectable and wealthy Palestinian citizen will always fare worse at the airport security check than the most disreputable Jewish citizen, or the one who espouses extremist opinions or even the Jewish citizen with a criminal record.

Israel’s apartheid system is there to maintain Jewish privilege in a Jewish state. And at the point where that privilege is felt most viscerally by ordinary Jews to be vulnerable, in the life and death experience of flying thousands of feet above the ground, Palestinian citizens must be shown their status as outsider, as the enemy, whoever they are and whatever they have, or have not, done.

Apartheid rule, as I have argued, applies to Palestinians in both Israel and the occupied territories. But is not apartheid in the territories much worse than it is inside Israel? Should we not concern ourselves more with the big apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza than this weaker apartheid? Such an argument demonstrates a dangerous misconception about the indivisible nature of Israel’s apartheid towards Palestinians and about its goals.

Certainly, it is true that apartheid in the territories is much more aggressive than it is inside Israel. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the apartheid under occupation is much less closely supervised by the Israeli civilian courts than it is in Israel. You can, to put it bluntly, get away with much more here. The second, and more significant, reason, however, is that the Israeli system of apartheid in the occupied territories is forced to be more aggressive and cruel -- and that is because the battle is not yet won here. The fight of the occupying power to steal your resources -- your land, water and labour -- is in progress but the outcome is still to be decided. Israel is facing the considerable pressures of time and a fading international legitimacy as it works to take your possessions from you. Every day you resist makes that task a little harder.

In Israel, by contrast, apartheid rule is entrenched -- it achieved its victory decades ago. Palestinian citizens have third or fourth class citizenship; they have had almost all of their land taken from them; they are allowed to live only in their ghettoes; their education system is controlled by the security services; they can work in few jobs other than those Jews do not want; they have the vote but cannot participate in government or effect any political change; and so on.

Doubtless, a related fate is envisioned for you too. The veiled apartheid facing Palestinians inside Israel is the blueprint for a veiled -- and more legitimate -- kind of apartheid being planned for Palestinians in the occupied territories, at least those who are allowed to remain in their Bantustans. And for this very reason, exposing and defeating the apartheid inside Israel is vital to the success of resisting the apartheid that has taken root here.

That is why we must fight Israeli apartheid wherever it is found -- in Jaffa or Jerusalem, in Nazareth or Nablus, in Beersheva or Bilin. It is the only struggle that can bring justice to the Palestinians.

Fatah leader says prevented from leaving West Bank

Israeli authorities reportedly banned member of Fatah's central committee Tawfiq At-Tirawi from traveling Monday morning through the King Hussein border crossing between northern Israel and Jordan.

At-Tirawi told Ma'an that he was not allowed to travel as a VIP nor with locals by bus.

After calling the head of civil affairs at the borders, Hussein Ash-Sheikh, At-Tirawi said he was informed that Israel had placed him under investigation. "It seems Israel wants to ban us from speaking too," he added......

At-Tirawi explained that other Palestinian figures were also barred from traveling, but insisted that "this procedure won't stop us from resistance; rather, it will increase our resilience." Full story

Children stand trial for stone throwing

Kawazba brothers [MaanImages]
Ma’an – Fourteen and 15-year-old brothers stood trial at Ofer's military court on Monday, facing charges of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank.

The boys, Nadim and Jihad Basim Kawazba from Bethlehem's Al-Minya neighborhood, were recommended for sentences of three and four months detention but the judge's decision was delayed when lawyers Eyhab Al-Ghaleith and Iyad Misk requested that the hearing be postponed until Thursday.

Both boys were also set to be fined 2,500 shekels (670 US dollars) each, but a final decision on the fine will wait for the reconvening, lawyers said.

The boys' father, Basim Kawazba, said he was prohibited from visiting his sons in the courtroom, saying they looked scared .

Basim explained that on Thursday, 50 Israeli soldiers surrounded his home at 3am, entered the building and ransacked it.

"The soldiers blindfolded the boys and handcuffed them. When I insisted on escorting them, they blindfolded and handcuffed me and took me with them. After I was 3 kilometers away from home, the soldiers released me and took my sons to the Etzion detention center south of Bethlehem," Basim described.  Full story

Stop-work orders delivered to Yatta-area village

Bedouin farmers in the south Hebron hills were served what they said were demolition orders for their tents and animal stables on 13 April, during a raid on the northern part of the partially-settled nomadic village.

The village, known as Khirbet Al-Butum in the Yatta-area in the southern tip of the West Bank, is home to several hundred farmers and herders living in tents.

The area was visited by soldiers and officials from Israel's Civil Administration last week, who walked through the area taking pictures, and telling residents that their homes and animal shelters were slated for demolition, Yousif An-Najjar, a resident of the area said.

He noted that a demolition orders was also issued for the area's sole power generator.......

An-Najjar said that the week before the orders were handed out, a group of settlers were escorted into the area by armed guards. He said they took photos of the area and, when asked by residents what they were doing in the area, said they were documenting new construction in the village.

Stop-work orders are known locally as demolition orders, as residents are given a short period of time - often days - to compile court documents and hire a lawyer to plead their case in court. The documents, delivered in Hebrew most of the time, give vague details over potential court proceedings, which are often beyond the means of those affected.   Full story

Hundreds Of New Settler Homes In Jerusalem

The Islamic Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites announced on Monday Israel’s intentions to build 321 new settler homes in East Jerusalem.

The new homes which will include a religious school that will be constructed in the Palestinian neighborhood of Shikh Jarah outside the wall of the Old City...

The Islamic Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites says the new settlement will be funded by the American Jewish millionaire Irving Moskowitz.

Situation remains tense in Jerusalem. Over the weekend settlers marched through Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. 30 Palestinians were injured when they tried to stop the settlers. Soldiers used tear gas and rubber coated bullets against the Palestinians.  Full story

Settlers - Outpost To Be Authorized As A New Settlement Near Bethlehem

In 2001 the outpost of Derech Ha'avot was established on lands owned by Palestinian villagers from Al Khadir, near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. On September 28, 2008 the Israeli group Peace Now appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice together with the Palestinian owners of the lands, demanding the enforcement of the law and the evacuation of the "Derech Ha'avot" outpost.

Har Homa – an Israeli settlement near Bethlehem – photo by ARIJ
Har Homa – an Israeli settlement near Bethlehem – photo by ARIJ
As part of these hearings over this petition the State of Israel on Sunday sent an update to the High Court of Justice, confirming that the Illegal outpost of "Derech Ha'avot" near Bethlehem would be authorized, as follows:

"It was decided to launch a survey process to determine whether the lands of "Derech Ha'avot" are State Lands ... If the process should reveal that the buildings - all or part of them - are on State Land, then their authorization will be considered. Buildings that will be found built on Private Lands - their demolition orders will be executed, according to the priorities". The Israeli State announced.

Derech Ha'avot currently house 180 settlers and considered to be illegal by the Israeli state. According to Peace Now research data, the Derech Ha'avot outpost was established after March 2001 and therefore, it is in the list of outposts that the Israeli government is obliged to evacuate according to the U.S Roadmap peace plan.

The Israeli government has been using an Ottoman Law in the West Bank which allowed the Sultan (now the State) to declare lands as public property (State Land), in cases where lands were not cultivated for several years.

In the case of "Derech Ha'avot", the settlers based their claim on the argument that some parts of the parcels on which the outpost was built on were not fully cultivated, and therefore are "State Land".

Even if it is "State Land", the settlers still need to get an official allocation of the lands from the state, such an allocation was never given. However, in Sunday's declaration the government promises to "consider" retroactively authorizing the construction, which should include the allocation of those lands to the settlers.

There are half a million Israeli settlers living in West Bank settlements including those in Jerusalem. According to international law all those settlements are illegal.

Israeli Troops Detain Five Civilians During Dawn Invasions In The West Bank

 Five Palestinian civilians were detained by Israeli soldiers on Monday at dawn and Sunday night during military invasions targeting West Bank communities.

Local sources reported invasions at villages located southern West Bank as well as northern West Bank...  Full story

Hamas: “Assassination Of Sweity Outcome Of Collaboration Between P.A Forces And Israel”

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesperson of Hamas, said that the assassination is a serious crime that comes part of the efforts to eliminate the resistance, especially the Al Qassam Brigades in the West Bank.

Abu Zuhri added that Sweity was repeatedly arrested, and wanted, by the security forces of Mahmoud Abbas, the same way he was wanted and targeted by the Israeli occupation.

He stated that “such crimes will not succeed in eliminating the resistance”, and added that the fighters will continue their path of resistance...  Full story

Qassam Fighter Killed In Clashes Near Hebron

Palestinian medical sources report on Monday morning a fighter of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, was killed during clashes with Israeli soldiers who surrounded a home in Beit Awwa town, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.
Israeli troops surrounding Ali Al Sweity on Monday – Photo by 
Najeh Al Hashlamon
Israeli troops surrounding Ali Al Sweity on Monday – Photo by Najeh Al Hashlamon
The fighter was identified as Ali Al Sweity, 40. He topped Israel’s wanted list for eight years. The Al Qassam Brigades confirmed the fighter was killed and vowed retaliation.

Local sources reported that Sweity was at the home of his relative Mahmoud Sweity who is currently imprisoned by Israel.

The sources added that at least 70 military vehicles and a bulldozer invaded the town and surrounded the home of Sweity demanding everybody to surrender. The army then opened fire at the home forcing everybody out.

Ali did not leave the home and exchanged fire with the soldiers for more than four hours before the army detonated the home and crushed Al Sweity to death.

The soldiers refused to allow the residents to remove the body from under the rubble for more than one hour; later on, troop pulled the body with ropes and handed it to the residents.

The army sealed all of the entrances of the town and prevented medics and journalists from entering the area. Soldiers them demolished several parts of the home rendering it unsafe to live it.

Following the attack and the killing of Al Sweity dozens of youths clashed with the invading forces. Six Palestinians were wounded, one of them was shot in the head, and five soldiers were slightly injured.

Later on, the residents carried the body of Al Sweity and marched in the streets of the town and in Doura nearby city. Al Sweity was buried at the local graveyard in Beit Awwa...

The Israeli Radio reported that the army “scored a big achievement in assassinating Al Sweity” who was labeled as “dangerous” and as a central figure of the Al Qassam Brigades. Full story

Israel Kidnaps Lawyer Representing Jordanian Detainees

Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Sunday Shereen Al Esawy, a lawyer representing Jordanian Detainees imprisoned in Israel. Al Esawy was kidnapped at a roadblock, near Jabal Al Mokabbir, in East Jerusalem.
Jordanian Detainees in Israeli Prisons -
Jordanian Detainees in Israeli Prisons -

The National Committee for Jordanian Prisoners and Missing Prisoners, stated that Shereen was moved to the Al Maskobiyya interrogation center, and added that the army also broke into her home and confiscated her laptop.

The Committee slammed the arrest and demanded international human rights groups to intervene and oblige Israel to release her as she is only performing her duty as a lawyer.

Several weeks ago, Israel barred Al Esawy from visiting the detainees she represents.

Al Esawy was also prevented, several months ago, from entering Jordan for a conference about the detainees.

The conference was held in Amman after Jordanian detainees in Israeli prisons held a hunger strike, but the Jordanian Authorities prevented her from crossing into the country.

The committee states on its website that there are currently 27 Jordanian detainees, including one woman, imprisoned by Israel.

The woman, Ahlam Tamimi, was sentenced to 16 consecutive lifer-terms. Also detainee Abdullah Barghouthi was sentenced to 67 consecutive life-terms. The rest of the detainees were sentenced to different periods (between one year and several life-terms), the committee said.

As for missing Jordanians, the number is estimated by 25, most of them were members of the Jordanian armed forces who went missing during the 1967 war.  Full story

Darfur aid dollars funding West Bank settlements

Online Journal - Thomas C. Mountain
Mar 19, 2010
ASMARA, Eritrea -- Persons working with aid organizations assisting the victims of the Darfur conflict have passed on the news that they have confirmed through their contacts in the so called "Save Darfur Coalition" that millions of dollars raised to help the Darfur refugees have ended up in Israeli bank accounts. These accounts help fund programs that include illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

These sources inside the pro-Israel organizations that control the "Save Darfur Coalition" estimate that over $100 million was raised for Darfur, though the exact amount may never be known due to the murky nature of the financial statements these organizations submit. What is known is that over half the money raised for Darfur was consumed by "operational expenses" for these organizations, meaning bloated salaries, expense accounts and the multimillion dollar publicity campaign that helped generate the donations. Only about 10 percent of the donations received ever made it to the Darfur refugees, with several million ending up in Israeli bank accounts.

The Darfur funds were diverted to Israel by either co-mingling the funds with those used to support the Israeli projects or through a more complex system of grants to other "aid" or "relief" organizations that allowed the eventual destination of the funds to be almost impossible to trace.

For some time now, aid workers in Darfur have been quietly pressuring the Save Darfur Coalition to turn over more of the tens of millions of dollars they have been collecting on the behalf of the Sudanese people in Darfur. People working inside the organizations that make up the coalition became upset when they discovered that aid raised on behalf of Darfur was being diverted to Israel and began supplying information to the aid workers on the ground in Darfur. Some of these aid workers finally broke their silence on the matter and passed on to us what they had confirmed from these Save Darfur insiders.

As previously reported, the so-called "Darfur Genocide" was a myth, or more accurately, a fraud, perpetuated by the Western media and governments along with the pro-Israel "human rights" NGOs to raise over a $100 million. UN and international aid workers involved in the Darfur relief effort are quietly proud of the fact that Darfur refugees are the beneficiaries of one of, if not the largest, best run relief works in history. These aid workers also acknowledge the fact that the Sudanese government played a critical role in support of the relief effort, which could not have succeeded without such support. It doesn't add up that, on one hand, the Sudanese government was committing genocide against the people of Darfur while at the same time playing a critical role in operating the largest best run relief works in history in support of the Darfur people.

As previously reported, a Western funded genocide is being committed in the Ethiopian Ogaden by the Ethiopian government, but no genocide has ever been committed in Darfur. The whole "Darfur Genocide" campaign is nothing more than a smokescreen to vilify the Sudanese government in an attempt to promote Western military intervention in oil and mineral rich Sudan, Africa's largest and potentially wealthiest country, as well as to help divert attention from the real, Western-funded genocide being carried out in the Ogaden by the Western cop on the beat in East Africa, Ethiopia.

The brazenness and breadth of this propaganda campaign has even surprised experienced observers of the long, dirty history of aid diversion in the Horn of Africa. Western governments, the UN, the Western media, even Hollywood became part of the act with story lines "exposing" the Darfur "genocide" appearing in dramas such as Boston Legal amongst others.

Bernie Maddoff went to prison for his fraud, but it is highly unlikely that an investigation will be launched into the "Darfur Genocide" scam. And only an investigation by the US Justice Department has the power to search, seize and subpoena that will be required to expose this whole criminal fraud.

So next time you hear about a campaign to "save" Africans be suspicious and remember just how big a lie was told about Darfur and how your hard earned money ended up somewhere you least expected, helping building Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Full story

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anti-Wall Protest Expands: Palestinians Blocked Israeli Bulldozers [Injured demonstrator denied medical access]

Press Release - Popular Struggle Coordination committee

Some 200 demonstrators managed to halt the construction of the Wall in the village of alWalaja for almost three hours this morning. Two protesters – a Palestinian and an Israeli – were arrested. The Israeli dislocated his shoulder during the violent arrest, but is denied access to medical treatment at the police station.

More than 200 protesters – Palestinians, Israelis and international activists – managed to block bulldozers constructing Israel's Wall from uprooting an olive grove for over three hours this morning in the West Bank village of alWalaja, south of Jerusalem. Construction of the Wall on alWalaja's lands resumed last Thursday. Once completed, if completed it will surround alWalja from all sides – effectively is isolating the village from the rest of the world.

After roughly three hours, Military and Border Police forces managed to repel the demonstrators, arresting two – a Palestinian and an Israeli. During the violent arrest, Israeli protester Kobi Snitz's shoulder was dislocated by the Border Police officers. He is currently held at the Moria police station in Jerusalem, where he is denied access to medical treatment. Three others, an AP photographer and two demonstrators, were injured and evacuated to a hospital. 

Al-Walaja is an agrarian village of about 2,000 people, located south of Jerusalem and West of Bethlehem. Following the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and the redrawing of the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, roughly half the village was annexed by Israel and included in the Jerusalem municipal area. The village's residents, however did not receive Israeli residency or citizenship, and are considered illegal in their own homes. 

Once completed, the path of the Wall is designed to encircle the village's built-up area entirely, separating the residents from both Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and almost all their lands - roughly [1,500 acres]. Previously, Israeli authorities have already confiscated approximately half of the village's lands for the building of the Har Gilo and Gilo settlements, and closed off areas to the south and west of it. The town's inhabitants have also experienced the cutting down of fruit orchards and house demolition due to the absence of building permits in Area C.

According to a military confiscation order handed to the villagers, the path of the Wall will stretch over 4890 meters between Beit Jala and alWallaja, affecting 35 families, whose homes may be slated for demolition.

Beit Jala is a predominantly Christian town located 10 km south of Jerusalem, on the western side of the Hebron road, opposite Bethlehem. Once completed, the Wall will Isolate [about 800 acres] of the town's lands, including almost [750 acres]  of olive groves and the only recreational forest in the area, the Cremisan monastery and the Cremisan Cellars winery.

Israeli demonstrator badly injured in Bil’in demonstration [broken skull]

Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee

Emad Rezqa after being shot with aluminum tear gas canister

An Israeli protester suffered a broken skull after soldiers shot him directly with a tear gas projectile that hit his forehead. Five demonstrators were arrested. Another protester was hit in the head with a tear gas projectile in Nabi Saleh.

Emad Rezqa was hit in the forehead by an aluminum tear gas projectile shot directly at him by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-Wall demonstration in Bil’in earlier today. He suffered a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage. Rezqa is currently hospitalized at the Hadassa Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem.

The demonstration Rezqa was injured in concluded the three-day International Bil’in Conference on Popular Struggle, and was attended by hundreds of people. Five demonstrators were arrested during the protest.

The march, which commenced at the village’s mosque after the midday prayer, was attacked with tear gas some 30 seconds after reaching the gate in the Wall, despite the fact that it was entirely peaceful. The gas forced most of the participants to retreat back towards the village, but a smaller group managed to stay by the gate, chanting and shouting slogans.

A few minutes after, a group of soldiers began firing a second round of tear gas projectiles, this time directly at the demonstrators from a distance of about 30 meters. Rezqa was hit and quickly evacuated to the Ramallah hospital with blood gushing from his forehead. He was transferred to the Hadassa Ein Karem hospital after being x-rayed and diagnosed as suffering a broken skull.

Following Rezqa’s injury, soldiers invaded Bil’in through the gate in the Wall and arrested four protesters who were staging a sit-in some hundred meters away from the Wall, as well as a journalist who was next to them.

Another demonstrator was similarly injured today during a demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh. The protester was hit in the head with a tear gas projectile shot directly at him after the Army invaded the village even before the demonstration began.... Full story

Addameer Submits Arbitrary Detention Complaint to UN [about youth imprisoned by Israel]

[Ramallah, 25 April 2010] On 25 April 2010, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association submitted a complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Moatasem Muzher, 16, who is currently held under Israeli administrative detention at Ofer Prison. The complaint seeks intervention by the UN body in Moatasem’s case on the grounds that his administrative detention constitutes arbitrary detention in violation of international law.

Moatasem was arrested at 3 a.m. on 20 March 2010 when Israeli soldiers broke down the front door and stormed his family’s home in Qalandiya Refugee Camp. He was accused during interrogation of involvement in the early stages of planning of an unnamed activity. However, he has never been charged with any offense, and no evidence supporting this allegation has been disclosed to Moatasem or his lawyer.

On 27 March 2010, Moatasem was levied with an administrative detention order for six months, later shortened to three months by military court judge Tzvi Hiilbron at the judicial review for the order on 15 April 2010. His detention order is set to expire on 26 June 2010.

Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret information 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 month 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. Addameer

Access Denied - Amira Hass [history of Israeli actions severing Gaza]

Ha'aretz - Amira Hass 
Defining a Palestinian with a Gaza Strip address as a punishable infiltrator if he is found in the West Bank - as implied by a military order that has now gone into effect - is one more link in a chain of steps that Israel has taken, whose cumulative effect is to sever the Strip from Palestinian society as a whole.

Space limitations prevent listing more than a sampling of these measures here. But even looking at them in abridged form can serve as a reminder that one needs to analyze every regulation of the military occupation in the context of its predecessors and their implementation on the ground...

The Israel Defense Forces permits Palestinians to move throughout the country (Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank), by means of a "general exit permit." The hope in Israel is that economic integration will cause national aspirations to be forgotten. But the unintended result is freedom of movement for all Palestinians. For the first time since 1948, the Palestinians throughout Israel and the territories experience themselves as one people living within the same borders, under the same regime. Family ties, work ties, friendships and school ties - all are forged and renewed on both sides of the Green Line.

The general rule: The right of all Palestinians to freedom of movement is respected, aside from certain categories determined by the Israeli authorities.


The first intifada: A magnetic card, valid for one year, is introduced in the Gaza Strip for those who have security clearance to enter Israel. In the absence of checkpoints, it is relatively easy to get around this restriction.


January 15, on the eve of the Gulf War: The general exit permit from the West Bank and Gaza Strip is cancelled. From now on individual permits are required.

Gazan students who are enrolled in studies in the West Bank do not receive permits to enter Israel, and cannot attend school. "Split" families (between the West Bank and Gaza) see each other less and less often, in the absence of permits.

The police conduct daily searches for Palestinian laborers in Israeli cities, and check whether they have valid permits for being in Israel (as the Worker's Hotline organization discovers, people are frequently considered permit violators even if they are caught in a movie theater or a cafeteria, instead of at the workplace listed on the permit. Hundreds are arrested and fined, although generally the policy is easy to circumvent. Also, the policy is not enforced in East Jerusalem, and people are convinced that there is no need for a permit to stay in their religious, cultural, and economic capital.

Peace talks are launched at the Madrid Conference.


March. A "general closure" is imposed on the territories (existing permits are revoked), after which the ban on leaving without individual permits is applied more stringently in East Jerusalem (which is why to this day West Bankers erroneously say that the actual closure policy began in March 1993).

September. The Declaration of Principles between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel stipulates that both sides recognize Gaza and the West Bank as a single territorial unit.

There is intensive construction at the northern exit of the Gaza Strip, which is transformed into a checkpoint that vets thousands of people a day. It is operated by the Civil Administration and the IDF. Other crossings in the Gaza Strip are shut down.

The closure becomes a permanent reality that exists to the present. The number of travel permits Israel grants changes occasionally, but the principle remains the same: Freedom of mobility is denied to all Palestinians, except for those who fall into in a number of categories that Israel determines (laborers, businessmen, patients, collaborators, Palestinian Authority officials, etc.)


May. Civil powers in Gaza are transferred from Israel to the Palestinians. A partial solution to the problem of exit permits is found: Gazans depart through the Rafah crossing, travel from there to Jordan, and enter the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge. This solution is used mainly by students and people with families in the West Bank.


October. The Interim Agreement (civil powers also transferred in the West Bank ). Clause 28 of the agreement stipulates that the Palestinians have the authority to change an address on the identity card, but the change must be reported to the Civil Administration.


Contrary to what is stated in the Oslo Accords, Israeli officers from the Civil Administration inform Palestinians that a change of address from Gaza to the West Bank requires Israeli authorization. Authorization is granted only to some of those who apply for a change of address, based on unknown criteria.


Gazans are barred from going abroad via the Allenby Bridge or from using it to enter the West Bank, without individual permits from Israel.


October. A "safe passage" between Gaza and the West Bank is introduced along one southern route.


End of September. The second intifada breaks out.

The safe passage is closed.

Israel bars Gazan students from attending school in the West Bank (the ban becomes clear retroactively, several years later).

Israel puts a freeze on change of addresses from Gaza to the West Bank.


Entry into the Gaza Strip of anyone who is not Gazan is reduced to a minimum (mainly in cases of deaths of first-degree relatives).


For the first time, the authorities declare Gazans in the West Bank to be illegal residents. Many are deported to Gaza having been incidentally discovered during IDF raids or when crossing checkpoints.


November. Army forces raid an apartment in Bir Zeit, near Ramallah, arrest and deport to Gaza four engineering students.


The "disengagement." Gaza Strip crossings are declared "international" crossings.


Departure from Gaza is permitted only in extreme humanitarian cases (and to those with connections in the PA).

For the first time since 1967, Israel institutes a permit giving permission to stay in the West Bank intended for Gazans in the West Bank (along the lines of the residence permit required of those who are in Israel). Many applications for the permit are declined. Thousands of Palestinians without permits are scared to go through internal West Bank checkpoints, lest they be caught and deported. They live like prisoners in their towns of residence.


March. The state declares that Palestinians from Gaza are not entitled to live in the West Bank. This is done by means of a new regulation that comes to light through Hamoked petitions to the High Court of Justice. The state is willing to process applications to reside in the West Bank only for the following groups: chronically ill patients who can only be treated in the West Bank; minors under 16 with only one parent who lives in the West Bank, and who do not have a relative to look after them in the Gaza Strip; people over 65 who require nursing care and do not have a caregiver available in the Strip. All others - those who are healthy, not orphans, not solitary old people in need of nursing care - do not have the right to live in the West Bank.


April. A military order goes into effect that defines anyone staying in the West Bank without a permit as an infiltrator and a punishable offender.

A spa for Samaria - Gideon Levy

Ha'aretz - Gideon Levy
...... the battle for this spring has thrust another Palestinian village into what has become known as the "white intifada." For the past four months, the residents of the village of Nabi Saleh, accompanied by left-wing activists from Israel and abroad, have staged demonstrations over the spring, which settlers have appropriated for themselves. One more piece of stolen private land - this time for a spa in Halamish, once known as Neve Tzuf, a settlement in Samaria.

The Israel Defense Forces, of course, didn't waste any time in declaring the spring a closed military zone on Fridays. Signs put up by the Civil Administration's staff officer for archaeology now prohibit entry into what has been designated an "antiquities site." On one sign, someone scrawled: "No Arabs allowed," and also, "The Lord is the king." Dozens of Stars of David have been plastered on the white agricultural building in the Palestinians' fields at the foot of the spring - the settlers' handiwork.

...... The spring lies in the heart of private land belonging to the inhabitants of the adjacent village, Nabi Saleh.

.........To date, 70 villagers have been wounded, 15 of them moderately or seriously; 18 young people, some of them minors, are being held in detention. At one recent demonstration, a 13-year-old boy, Ihab Barghouti, was seriously wounded when a rubber bullet was fired at his head from close range...   Full story

Who will protect Palestinians from growing settler extremism?

Ha'aretz - Lisa Goldman
......destruction of Palestinian property and acts of violence against Palestinian civilians occur frequently, often several times per week. Over the past few months, they have become more frequent and more violent. Many of these incidents are known as "price tag" operations, whereby settlers destroy Palestinian property as a response to the IDF's having dismantled an illegal outpost. The settlers, say West Bank field workers for various NGOs, are becoming bolder.
The more egregious acts of settler violence are reported in the Israeli media, although rarely with prominence, but most incidents fail to attract the attention of the major news outlets at all - because they occur so frequently that they have become unremarkable, because most Israelis are numb to these stories, and because Palestinians are increasingly reluctant to file a police complaint. Why bother to enlist the help of the police when, as Yesh Din has documented, more than 90 percent of legal cases involving settler violence end with their being closed due to "lack of evidence"?  Full story

Ron Paul Warns Congress on Iran: A Vote For Sanctions is a Vote For War

Ethiopian Review
Statement of Congressman Ron Paul, United States House of Representatives
Statement on Motion to Instruct Conferees on HR 2194, Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, April 22, 2010 

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this motion to instruct House conferees on HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, and I rise in strong opposition again to the underlying bill and to its Senate version as well. I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. Listening to the debate on the Floor on this motion and the underlying bill it feels as if we are back in 2002 all over again: the same falsehoods and distortions used to push the United States into a disastrous and unnecessary one trillion dollar war on Iraq are being trotted out again to lead us to what will likely be an even more disastrous and costly war on Iran. The parallels are astonishing.

We hear war advocates today on the Floor scare-mongering about reports that in one year Iran will have missiles that can hit the United States. Where have we heard this bombast before? Anyone remember the claims that Iraqi drones were going to fly over the United States and attack us? These “drones” ended up being pure propaganda – the UN chief weapons inspector concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had ever developed unpiloted drones for use on enemy targets. Of course by then the propagandists had gotten their war so the truth did not matter much.

We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s oft-repeated quip about Iraq: that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud.

We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests.

Let us remember a few important things. Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has never been found in violation of that treaty. Iran is not capable of enriching uranium to the necessary level to manufacture nuclear weapons. According to the entire US Intelligence Community, Iran is not currently working on a nuclear weapons program. These are facts, and to point them out does not make one a supporter or fan of the Iranian regime. Those pushing war on Iran will ignore or distort these facts to serve their agenda, though, so it is important and necessary to point them out.

Some of my well-intentioned colleagues may be tempted to vote for sanctions on Iran because they view this as a way to avoid war on Iran. I will ask them whether the sanctions on Iraq satisfied those pushing for war at that time. Or whether the application of ever-stronger sanctions in fact helped war advocates make their case for war on Iraq: as each round of new sanctions failed to “work” – to change the regime – war became the only remaining regime-change option.

This legislation, whether the House or Senate version, will lead us to war on Iran. The sanctions in this bill, and the blockade of Iran necessary to fully enforce them, are in themselves acts of war according to international law. A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran. I urge my colleagues in the strongest terms to turn back from this unnecessary and counterproductive march to war.

Related posts:
  1. Will Isolationist Sanctions on Iran Lead to War? Iran Sanctions are Precursor to War by Ron Paul...
  2. Ron Paul: Sanctions on Iran are an Act of War Venue: Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing Date: 10/28/2009 Ron Paul:...
  3. Ron Paul: No Sanctions on Iran! Statement of Congressman Ron Paul United States House of Representatives...

Israel Lobby and War on Iran

Stephen Sniegoski
In his Foreign Policy blog, Stephen Walt, co-author of “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” is trying to determine why US leaders are planning to impose more sanctions on Iran or adopt even more drastic military measures.

Walt observes that Iran does not threaten the US in any real way and leaves the question unanswered. Of course, Walt could find the reason if he looked at the title of his co-authored book...

Everyone familiar with American politics knows the immense power of the Israel lobby, but they also know it is not safe to discuss its power publicly. In a review of Walt’s faux predicament, Justin Raimondo points out:

This lobby unites the broadest coalition in American politics, ranging from the left wing of the Democratic party all the way to the furthest reaches of the ultra-right, not to mention including the bipartisan political establishment in Washington.”

......While neocons stood out in the push for war with Iraq, the full Israel lobby and Israel itself, though supportive of that war, stayed mostly in the background. The role of Israel is far more overt in regard to Iran. “Here,” Raimondo writes, “the power of the Israel lobby is rearing up to its full height, with Israeli government officials openly calling on the nations of the world – i.e. the United States – to commit acts of war against Iran: impose sanctions, set up a blockade, and effect ‘regime change’ by whatever means. And Israel’s amen corner in the US is echoing this call, with the drumbeat for war getting louder by the month.”

Raimondo holds that the force preventing an attack on Iran is the American people. “Our leaders,” he writes, “are afraid of the public reaction if it should ever come to war, and so the President and his administration are caught in a vise, pressed by fear of the Lobby on one side, and fear of their own people on the other.” I must admit that I have less faith in the wisdom of the American people than Raimondo and fear that the administration, if it truly wanted war, could come up with an incident to generate the necessary public support.

What then prevents Obama from going to war? First, I think it is apparent that Obama would not attack Iran if it were not for outside pressure, but he is a rather weak reed to oppose the Israel lobby. Without substantial support, Obama, like almost all politicians, would cave in to the demands of the powerful Israel lobby.

The traditional foreign policy establishment, however, opposes such a war because it would be harmful to the American national interest, especially because it could lead to a cut-off of Middle Eastern oil that would send the industrial world into an economic tailspin. It is this thinking that prevails among the unelected individuals in the national security/foreign policy sectors of the federal government. I might add, however, that few members of the traditional foreign policy establishment dare to mention that the Israel lobby is pushing the country to war. These people have important positions and thus have much to lose (and probably a few skeletons in their closets), and don’t believe that they are sufficiently powerful to withstand a smear attack by the Israel lobby and its minions in Congress and the media.

(The Israel lobby’s hounding of former ambassador Chas Freeman when he was nominated chairman of the National Intelligence Council in 2009 is an example of the difficulties of one who openly opposed the Israel lobby.)

Obama must realize, however, that opposing the Israel lobby on an issue it deems vital could spell political death for any politician. This could certainly be the case for Obama in his current politically precarious position. Not only could the Democrats suffer extensive losses in the 2010 congressional elections, but Obama could be defeated in 2012 by the appropriate Republican opponent. General David Petraeus, for example, who is very much in the neocon camp, but not branded as a right-winger, would especially be difficult for a weakened Obama to defeat.

On the other hand, as Raimondo writes, war might serve “the interests of a politically beleaguered, increasingly unpopular President or party to divert public attention away from domestic problems by launching a campaign of fear.” War especially would be seen as a viable option if Obama’s popularity were to fall to such a low level that only something drastic could save him; wars certainly unite a country, a least for a short period, behind the leader.

So while war with Iran is not a certainty, neither is it unlikely. As Ron Paul points out, the Iran sanctions legislation now in Congress would be major step toward war.  Full story

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Soldiers Attack Nonviolent Protest In Hebron, Kidnap Four

Israeli soldiers used excessive force against a nonviolent protest in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped Four residents. The protest was organized against the ongoing closure of the Al Shuhada Street in Hebron.
Approximately 100 protestors, including a number of Israeli and international peace activists, gathered near illegal settlement outposts installed by Jewish settlers....

The protestors chanted for freedom, and demanded Israel to reopen the road so that the residents can move freely. They also demanded the evacuation of Jewish settlements and illegal outposts....

Daily Situation Report: April 21, 2010

Israeli actions in West Bank & Gaza (Palestinian Occupied Territories)
  • Physical Assaults — 4 Incl. a mentally challenged child beaten 
  • Attacks – 7 Incl. 3 in raids and 2 by navy boats 
  • Raids – 38 Incl. 7 in Ramallah and 9 in Jenin 
  • Air Patrols – 2 Incl. troops dispatched by a helicopter 
  • Deportation — 1 A prisoner from Tulkarem to Gaza Strip 
  • Arrests (per person) — 22 Incl. 7 children and 2 security officers 
  • Detentions — 10 At checkpoints and in residential areas 
  • Land Levelling  — 1 Agricultural land in Khan Yunis 
  • Wall Construction — 22 Incl. Jer., Raml’h., Salfit, & Qalqiliya
  • Land Confiscation — 1, 13 square metres in the Hebron old city 
  • Curfew  1 — 1 Over a quarter in Tuqu’, Bethlehem 
  • Closure of Checkpoints — 10 Incl. 2 checkpoints closed temporarily 
  • Flying Checkpoints — 21 Incl. 5 in Qalqiliya and 6 in Hebron 
  • Closure (per District) — 7 Incl. 4 areas in the city of Hebron 
  • Closure of Main Roads — 40 Incl. 4 in Bethlehem and 14 in Hebron 
  • Closure of Crossing Points —  4 crossing points partially open 
  • Settler Violence — 4 Incl. wastewater discharged on land 
Palestinian actions
  • Demonstration — 1, In solidarity with prisoners, Bethlehem  Full report

Protester critically injured by live Israeli fire at Gaza rally

Medics treat Maltese peace activist Bianca Zimmit, wounded in the leg during an anti-occupation demonstration near the Gaza-Israel border on 24 April 2010.  [MaanImages/Wissam Nassar] 
Six people were injured, one seriously, by live fire from Israeli forces as Gaza residents and international solidarity activists gathered in the central Strip on Saturday to protest the enforcement of the no go zone.

Eyewitnesses confirmed early security source reports, saying first three, then six were injured, one seriously as protesters marched with Palestinian flags towards the buffer zone area enforced by Israel around the Gaza border.

"The non-violent rally approached the border area to protest the creation of a buffer zone along the borders between Israel and the Gaza Strip," rally coordinator Mahmoud Az-Ziq said.

Coordinator of medical services in the Gaza Strip Adham Abu Silmiyya said three of the six injured were evacuated to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza, with one man in serious condition.

Coordinator of Beit Hanoun popular committee Saber Az-Za'aneen identified the injured foreign activist as 28-year-old Bianca Zimmit from Malta. He said she was hit by live fire in the foot, and confirmed that she was one of the three evacuated to hospital.

A statement from the International Solidarity Movement said Zimmit was shot while filming the demonstration, at a distance of approximately 80-100 meters.

The statement identified the other two hospitalized victims as Nidal Al Naji, 18, who the group said was shot in the right thigh, and Hind Al-Akra, 22, who was shot in the stomach and has undergone emergency surgery.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed shots were fired in the area, but said they were "warning shots meant to drive away" the group of protesters. He noted they were "very close" the the border fence, and area he described as a "combat zone."

The no-go area means 20 percent of the arable lands in Gaza are inaccessible to local farmers, who are fired on by Israeli forces patrolling the area if they approach the buffer.

The zone extends 150-300 meters into the Strip from the Green Line, or the 1967 border, from which Israel claimed to have pulled out in 2005.

The military spokesman said troops could "not allow anyone to be present" in the no-go zone, because it was an area "used by terrorists," and cited several cases of Palestinian militant groups planting explosive devices in the zone.

Militant groups say attacks on Israeli patrols in Gaza are defensive, and an effort to protect what by law is sovereign Palestinian territory, but in reality is under Israeli military occupation. 

Watching the invasion unfold [Eva Barlett video of Israeli forces razing Gaza farmland]

Eva Bartlett

It was an early morning, farmers relieved to have harvested the 6 dunam [~1.5 acre] field of lentils planted 5 months ago in Al Faraheen borderlands.  The village, east of Khan Younis, includes land cut off to farmers by the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone”.  That technically 300 metre no-go zone stretching south to north along Gaza’s border with Israel actually extends far beyond the few hundred metres, up to 2 km in some areas where Palestinian civilians have been shot, injured or killed, by Israeli soldiers while on their land.

Abu Qater Tabbash has [25 acres] of land he can no longer access, he says, because it lies in the buffer zone. The land he worked today, along with 5 women from his family, is rented land.  Their crop will not pay off, but it will provide lentils for the family and hay for their animals.

“I knew they were going to do something today,” says Jaber Abu Rjila.  “I saw the bulldozers line up at the border yesterday and knew today there’d be a party,” making light of his dangerous reality.

But when the bulldozers and tanks begin to thunder in through the Israeli-controlled gate nearest Rjila’s land, he, Leila and a few neighbours are the only ones who stay.

“All of Faraheen will be in Khan Younis after a while,” says Jaber, referring to the proximity of the town and the fact that Israeli invasions have repeatedly harassed the citizens of his town, destroyed their houses, shot up their walls and terrified their children.

One of Rjila’s young daughters has never gotten over the experience of being in a house surrounded by and being shot at by Israeli tanks and soldiers as military bulldozers destroyed their land.  The girl, just 7 or 8 years old, is slight and shows signs of malnourishment, despite her parents best efforts and the comparative health of her siblings.

“She was traumatized,’ Leila says, explaining that of her siblings, the girl was the most terrified during the 2008 Israeli invasion, which including shelling and gunfire on her home.

The tanks enter the gate some 500 metres from the house we are at and seem to be bee-lining for the Rjila home. When they are roughly 100 metres away, we leave our vantage point, not wanting to bring further wrath on the home by the provocation of documenting Israel’s invasion.

Continuing to film from a different spot still near the home and the convoy of tanks, we hear  their rumble as they tear up the earth.

Full report and video