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, September 30, 2010

Israeli journalist speaks out about Israel's occupation, attacks on Palestinians

Hamilton Spectator - One day during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s incursion into Gaza in late December 2008 and early 2009, two Israeli dogs strayed into the line of fire and were killed.

The deaths of those dogs, according to Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, was a media sensation in Israel.

“The dogs got frontpage coverage,” Levy recalled in a speech Sept. 22 in Toronto, a stop in a week-long, seven-city Canadian speaking tour arranged by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

“Their owners were interviewed and said wonderful things about them. Their names were were provided. Virtually all Israel’s newspapers carried stories about those dogs.”

The same day the dogs were killed so were an unspecified number of Palestinians — “tens or more,” according to Levy.

“Their deaths were on pages 16 or 17 of most papers. No names were provided.” more

Dubai police chief blames Israeli spy agency for death threats

Ynet - The police chief of Dubai has told a newspaper he received death threats from Israeli spy agency Mossad, after leading an investigation that fingered Mossad for killing a Hamas leader in the Gulf Arab emirate. more

Report: Four illegal Israeli settlements to be built in West Bank

Ma'an - The infrastructure for four illegal outposts is being constructed around the West Bank city of Hebron, a settlement affairs expert said Thursday.

... Combined, the settlements would constitute a third of the city of Hebron, which is already surrounded by illegal settlements, [the expert] said. more

Sources: Israeli forces capture judge in Palestinian Territories

Ma'an - Israeli forces detained a magistrates' court judge in Hebron overnight on Wednesday, security sources said. Sources said forces ransacked Jamal Abdul Majeed Shadeed's home before taking him to an unknown destination. more

Locals: Soldiers enter West Bank village

Ma'an - Two Israeli military jeeps entered Iraq Burin village in the northern West Bank on Thursday morning, locals reported.

... Residents said forces had not entered the village since 20 March, when soldiers fatally shot two local teenagers. more

Israeli army fires at farmers, homes in Gaza

IMEMC - Palestinian farmers stated Thursday evening that Israeli soldiers stationed near the border in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, fired rounds of live ammunition at them, their lands and homes. No injuries were reported.

Border areas in the Gaza Strip witness frequent attacks by the Israeli army. Over the past two days, the army bulldozed farmlands and expanded some military posts in the area. more

Israel detains 12 Palestinians near Al Aqsa Mosque

IMEMC - Israeli policemen detained on Thursday 12 Palestinians near the Al Aqsa Mosque and took them to unknown destinations. more

Israeli settlers said to attack Palestinian boy

Ma'an - A group of at least four young men from the Kiryat Arba settlement attacked a young boy east of Hebron on Wednesday night. Ma'an

Israeli extremists call for destruction of Palestinian mosque

IMEMC - Israeli extremist settlers called, on Thursday, for the demolition of a mosque in the West Bank village of Burin, near Nablus. more

Jerusalem residents: Israeli army used expired tear gas to suppress demonstrations

IMEMC - In a journalist conference held in Silwan tent on Wednesday, medics and lawyers reveled that Israeli army uses expired tear gas and sound bombs to suppress the demonstrations which happened in Jerusalem last week.

... "... Doctors said that the content of these bombs oxidized and causes bad effects on human beings and environment more than the original effect.” more

Unexploded ordance left by Israeli army wounds another Palestinian

IMEMC - Medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian man was wounded by unexploded ordnance, apparently dropped by the Israeli army during the war on Gaza last year.

... This incident is just the latest in a number of explosions of unexploded ordnance left by the Israeli army in Gaza. Recently, two Palestinian workers were wounded in two separate incidents in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Although millions of dollars were promised by various countries to help rebuild the Gaza Strip and clean up leftover explosives, the Israeli siege on Gaza has prevented the aid money from being distributed, and much of Gaza remains in the same condition as it was after the destructive Israeli invasion 18 months ago. more

Nobel Peace Laureate still in Israeli detention

IMEMC - Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire, is still imprisoned by Israel and awaiting deportation from the country. more

Israeli settler allegedly wounds Palestinian in hit and run

Ma’an - A Nablus father was reported injured Thursday after a settler allegedly ran him over and fled the scene.

Mahmud Muhammad Al-Hajj Jum’a, 32, said he was standing near the main road east of Qalqiliya waiting near the area's Israeli District Coordination Office for a taxi to take him home to Nablus when an Israeli-plated car careened toward him and struck his legs and hips. more

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scores of Israelis enter Al-Aqsa Mosque

Ma'an - Scores of Israeli settlers entered and toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday. more

UN Human Rights Council: Israel violated international law in attack on Gaza aid ship

IMEMC - The United National Human Rights Council endorsed on Wednesday the conclusions of the report that was released earlier this month stating that Israel violated the international law when its army attacked the Mavi Marmara solidarity ship heading to Gaza; nine activists were killed and several others were wounded.

... The Panel said in its decision that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that this crisis also existed on the day the attack took place [and] “for this reason alone the blockade is unlawful and cannot be sustained in law.” It also stated that the Israeli army used “unnecessary and incredible violence” against the activists. more

Palestinian Authority decries 'racist incitement' by Israeli parliament member

Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday slammed Israel's leadership for failing to distance itself from increasing episodes of racial incitement in the Netanyahu government.

PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib termed an Israeli parliament member's statements, which the official said called for killing hundreds of Palestinians, "pure racist incitement that goes uncared for by the Israeli government. more

Israelis invade Palestinian towns, detain five

Ma'an Israeli forces detained five Palestinians across the southern West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday morning, taking them to an unknown location. Ma'an's correspondent said Israeli troops invaded the Ar-Ramadin village in the district.... more

Israeli tanks shell Gaza

Ma'an - Israeli artillery shelling was reported overnight Tuesday in two Gaza districts near the border area, medics told Ma'an. more

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Israel gets boost in U.S. military aid - $2.75 million direct aid, $1.5 Billion to Israeli weapons companies

UPI -- The United States has agreed to help Israel develop a new defense system known as David's Sling to protect the Jewish state against large-scale missile attack.

Few details of the arrangement have been disclosed, although the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, said it emphasized "the continued commitment of the United States to the defense of Israel."

Over the last decade, the Pentagon has provided large amounts of funding for the high-altitude Arrow anti-ballistic missile system and the recently deployed Iron Dome system designed to shoot down short-range rockets used by Hezbollah and Hamas...

Israel releases Palestinian child after six days in prison

Ma’an - Israel releases child charged with stone throwing

An Israeli military court Tuesday released a 13-year-old child following six days of detention on charges of stone throwing, fining the boy 2,000 shekels ($545). more

Activists: Israeli military beat passengers on Jewish aid boat

IMEMC - Israeli Passengers From The Jewish Boat to Gaza Claim Military Statement Was False

Despite claims by the Israeli Military that the the boarding of the Jewish Boat to Gaza, the Irene, was conducted in a non-violent manner and was without incident, those onboard the ship have come out disputing the honesty of these reports, following the release of the Israeli citizens participating in the event.

... Former Israeli Air Force officer and pilot, and co-founder of Combatants For Peace, Yonatan Shapira, has stated that the passengers showed no violence towards the soldiers boarding the Irene yet were met, in turn, with violence. Shapira claims that the passengers were beaten and that he was attacked with a taser gun, a statement that was supported by Israel’s Channel 10 reporter, Eli Usharov; one of two journalists on the journey. more

Nobel Peace laureate cannot enter Israel

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire was denied entry to Israel on Tuesday morning and detained at the country's Ben Gurion International Airport.

Maguire, an Irish peace activist and a co-founder of the Nobel Women's Initiative, was traveling to Israel and the West Bank with a delegation to learn about the efforts of Jewish and Arab women working for peace and co-existence. more

Israel detains 24 Palestinians in East Jerusalem

Israeli police detained 24 Palestinians from an East Jerusalem neighborhood on Tuesday, an official said. more

Palestinian infant injured in Israeli raid

An infant was hospitalized Monday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli police during a raid near Hebron, activists said. more

Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian worker

A Palestinian worker collecting stone aggregates near Gaza's northern border was injured Tuesday when Israeli forces stationed near the Erez crossing opened fire. more

Israel hijacks Jewish aid boat to Gaza

The Irene, known as the Jewish Boat to Gaza, has been intercepted by the Israeli navy, on Tuesday, and is currently in transit to the Israeli port city of Ashdod. more

Settlers prepare to evict Palestinians from East Jerusalem

A Sunday court ruling has opened the door for further evictions of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, settlers told the Israeli press Monday. more

Israeli air strike kills three Palestinians

Israel's air force bombed the Gaza Strip late Monday, killing three Palestinians, onlookers said. more

Settlers add to illegal outpost

Settlers in Hebron laid the foundations for a new kindergarten at the illegal Abraham Afino outpost on Monday, witnesses said. more

Monday, September 27, 2010

Report: Settlements continued during 'freeze'

IMEMC - Settlement Activities Did Not Stop During Settlement Freeze, Research Center Says 

The Land and Research Center reported that Israel was ongoing with its settlement activities during the so-called temporary settlement freeze that officially expired by midnight Sunday. more

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Israeli soldiers attack nonviolent protest

IMEMC - At Least Four, Including Internationals, Wounded In Hebron

Israeli soldiers attacked on Saturday a nonviolent protest in Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and wounded at least four persons, including two international peace activists. more

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Palestinian Human Rights Center condemns Israeli assassination of activist, calls for international help

PCHR - On Friday dawn, 17 September 2010, the Israeli Occupation forces (IOF) committed a new extrajudicial execution crime in Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. This crime claimed the life of Eyad Asa'ad Ahmed Abu Shilabaya, 38, an activist of Hamas movement.

The Israeli military spokesman claimed that soldiers opened fire at Abu Shilabaya as they realized that he "was posing a threat to their lives." He stated that Abu Shilabaya who is "wanted" continued to walk towards the soldiers while putting his hands behind his back although the soldiers asked him to stop. According to the military spokesman's claims, the soldiers were afraid and opened fire accordingly.

After checking the body of Abu Shilabaya, it was found out that he did not have any weapons. Investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) revealed that the crime was committed in a bedroom with a single door. Blood was just in front of the bed, only approximately one meter far from the door. Such findings refute the Israeli military spokesman's claims.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and statements given by eyewitness, at approximately 02:00 on Friday, 17 September 2010, backed by approximately 25 military vehicles, IOF moved into Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. Many Israeli soldiers surrounded a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Asa'ad Ahmed Abu Shilabaya, 40, and then blew up the entrance of the house. They raided the house while the residents were sleeping. When Mohammed Abu Shilabaya got up, one of the soldiers questioned him about his relatives who live in Nour Shams refugee camp. The soldiers then ordered him to lead them to his uncle's house. On their way, they asked him about the house of his brother Eyad. He pointed to Eyad's house and the soldiers walked towards the house. The soldiers noticed that the house is composed of two floors, so they asked Mohammed where Eyad was living and asked him to describe the internal structure of the house. Mohammed then saw them brining a device and installing it near the door. They then connected it to the lock. They ordered him to turn his face to the opposite wall. He heard an explosion and he heard the soldiers mounting the stairs of his brother's house. He heard Eyad crying: "Who … Who is there?" He then heard three bullets being fired. Approximately five minutes later, the soldiers took Mohammed inside Eyad's house and forced him to stay in a corner in a salon in the western part of the house, less than five meters far from his brother's bedroom. They asked him to turn his face to the wall. Shortly later, Mohammed called his brother loudly as he was anxious about him. One of the soldiers put his hand on Mohammed's mouth to silence him. Mohammed remained in the salon for approximately 20 minutes, while the soldiers where in his brother's room. Mohammed could hear the soldiers going down the stairs. One of them asked him not to move until they order him to do. He then heard the neighbors talking. He asked them about the soldiers and they told him that they had left. Mohammed walked towards his brother's bedroom to know what happened. Some of the neighbors followed him. In the bedroom, he saw blood on the ground, on the bed and on the wall. He also saw three used bullets. His brother was not there and no body knew where he was.

Later, it was found out that IOF transferred Eyad's body to the Israeli Military Liaison Office, west of Tulkarm. At approximately 06:00 on Friday, they delivered the body to an ambulance of Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The body was then taken to Dr. Thabet Thabet Public Hospital in Tulkarm. Medical sources at the Hospital reported that Eyad was hit by three bullets; one in the neck and two ones in the chest.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation for this crime and expresses grave concern and:
  1. Asserts this crime is part of a series of continuous crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) with total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.
  2. Reiterates condemnation for extra-judicial executions committed by IOF against Palestinian activists, and believes that they serve to increase tension in the region and threaten the lives of Palestinian civilians.
  3. Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to fulfill their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention.  Such breaches constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I). 

Israeli police shot to death bound 22-year-old

IMEMC - The Documentation and Research Unit at the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) reported Saturday that the Palestinian resident from Jerusalem who was shot by an Israeli soldiers in Tel Aviv on September 14 was bound before he was killed.

The center said that Hazim Adel Abu Al Dab’at, 22, from Al Thoury neighborhood in East Jerusalem was shot to death after being forced to the ground while cuffed.

The report contradicts the statement of the Israeli police in which the policemen claimed that they stopped a group of young Palestinians from Jerusalem, and that while a policeman was cleaning his gun a bullet was accidentally fired hitting Abu Al Dab’at in the chest causing instant death.

But the JCSER reported that according to testimonies collected from his family and friends, Abu Al Dab’at was on a trip with his friends and that they were stopped by the police near Tel Aviv.

His friends said that one of the policemen examined the papers of the car that belongs to the father of Amjad Shahin, one of the friends of Al Dab’at; a policeman then started insulting Abu Al Dab’at and his fiends an issue that pushed them to argue with him.

The policeman then cuffed Abu Al Dab’at, forced him to the ground, face down, and shot him; his fiends testified.

Following the shooting Abu Al Dab’at to death, the police asked the family to head to Abu Kabeer forensic center. After receiving the body, the family saw concussions and bruises and his head and face.

Help asked for Palestinian high school student tortured and ill-treated over the course of 40 days

Addameer - Seventeen year-old Ahmed Isleem, a Palestinian high school student from Azzoun village in Qalqilya, was kept by the Israeli authorities in Jalameh interrogation center for close to forty consecutive days during which he was
  • beaten on his entire body, including his head; 
  • intimidated and subjected to verbal abuse; 
  • threatened with rape and killing; 
  • deprived from sleep through physically and mentally exhausting interrogation sessions reaching at times 12 hours; 
  • and exposed to collaborators’ violence. 
The Israeli interrogators accused Ahmed and two of his friends of firing at Israeli settlers on two different occasions. Despite the torture and ill-treatment, for twenty days Ahmed consistently denied all accusations against him and maintained his version of events: he and his friends were hunting for small spotted birds with a gun made of pipes that they collected in their hometown of Azzoun.

The Israeli interrogation police, however, consistently refused to take into consideration the boy’s account. On the twentieth day following Ahmed’s arrest, the interrogators tied Ahmed to a mattress with both his legs and arms chained to his cell’s wall. He was held in this position for nine consecutive days. On the ninth day of the stress position, Ahmed eventually signed a statement in which he confessed to the accusations.

However, in an affidavit given to Addameer attorney Samer Sam’an, Ahmed insists that he only confessed because the pain was unbearable. He still denies the charges against him. At no point during his interrogation was Ahmed accompanied by his parents or his legal counsel.

Ahmed was in his final grade in high school and was studying for the Tawjihi, or final matriculation exam, prior to his arrest. Ahmed is currently being tried on charges of firing a weapon.

Arrest and Interrogation

At 12:30 a.m. on 23 April 2010, the Israeli military raided Azzoun village near Qalqilya, where they conducted a number of unlawful home searches and eventually entered into Ahmed Isleem’s family home. The soldiers did not present a search or an arrest warrant. Instead, they ordered Ahmed to “shut up” when he tried to challenge their authority. The entire family was forced into one room while the soldiers proceeded to carry out a thorough search, allegedly for a weapon, destroying the family’s property, including a television set, and items of religious and political value. They ordered Ahmed to get dressed, and then shackled and blindfolded him and threw him into a military jeep and drove off. In the jeep, the soldiers slapped Ahmed, hit him in the head and continuously humiliated the boy by ordering him to sit up and down, without any reason or justification.

The military jeep eventually arrived at the police station sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. The soldiers ordered Ahmed, still blindfolded and cuffed with his hands behind his back, to sit on the cold ground. He was kept in this position until 12:00 p.m. when the soldiers finally took him to see a doctor for a basic medical examination before transferring him to Huwwara Detention Center, near the West Bank city of Nablus. In an affidavit given to Addameer attorneys on 17 June 2010, Ahmed reports: “We arrived at about 1:00 p.m. Once there, they [the soldiers] forced me to stand in the street near the gate for four hours in the sun. Whenever I tried to sit on the ground, one of them would stop me with force. More than once I asked for water, but they refused

Ahmed was then transferred once again, this time to Jalameh detention and interrogation center. In Jalameh, Ahmed was held in cell # 34 which he describes as windowless, measuring only 1.5 by 2 square meters and containing nothing but a mattress and a Turkish toilet

The first interrogation session began at 8:00 p.m. that same evening and lasted close to nine consecutive hours, ending at 5:00 a.m. the next morning. During this entire time Ahmed’s hands were shackled to the chair while his legs were tied together. Ahmed reports that he was questioned by at least five interrogators on rotating shifts who asked him general questions as opposed to questions related to specific events. They also continuously pressured him to confess.

Ahmed was given only four hours of rest until he was brought before the interrogators for a second time, at 9:00 a.m. on 24 April. The second interrogation session lasted a total of six hours. When Ahmed continued to deny the interrogators allegations, questions were followed by threats. Ahmed reports that at one point the Israeli Security Agency Area Officer, Captain Shukri, who was present during Ahmed’s arrest, also joined the interrogation and threatened the boy with physical torture, rape and even killing. “This Captain Shukri told me to confess before he breaks me like he broke our house. He also said that he would practice indecent acts with me, that he will “f*** me in the ass”, and that he will kill me even if it takes him until the last day of his life to do so

Shackling during continuous day and nighttime interrogation sessions

The third interrogation session lasted a total of twelve consecutive hours, from 4:00 p.m. on 24 April until 4:00 a.m. on 25 April. At that point, the interrogation police seemed to have abandoned their tactics of intimidation and threats, and instead had adopted a strategy of physical and mental exhaustion by depriving Ahmed of sleep, making him sit in the interrogation room in the same position for several hours at a time with his hands tied behind his back, and asking only general questions about his willingness to confess. In a report published in 2009, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) argued that “security detainees” in Israel are systematically shackled for “invalid and irrelevant reasons, which include causing pain and suffering, punishment, intimidation, and illegally eliciting information and confessions”.

Ahmed was given eight hours of rest and the marathon started once again. The fourth interrogation session lasted six hours, from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on 25 April 2010, and was followed by yet another session starting at 6:30 p.m. that same evening and ending at 5:00 a.m. on 26 April. When Ahmed, who was neither accompanied by a parent or by his attorney, attempted to question the legality of exhausting night time interrogation sessions, “he [the interrogator] laughed and said that he gets paid 1234.30 NIS per hour, so he is actually benefiting from the situation


On the fifth day, the interrogation police questioned Ahmed again for about 13 consecutive hours and informed him that he was being charged with firing a weapon. The interrogators also informed Ahmed that they were in possession of satellite photos of the event and that they had arrested Ahmed’s friends Sabra Isleem and Ahmed Abu Haniyeh, who they claimed had apparently confessed to firing at Israeli settlers. When Ahmed continued to deny the allegations, one of the interrogators, a very tall man with brown hair, as described by the boy, lost his temper after about ten hours of interrogation and began insulting and directing threats at Ahmed. He then started punching Ahmed in the face and hitting him on the head, including the use of, “three or four times”, a “thick iron sheet”. Ahmed recalls, “He [the interrogator] said that he was crazy, and he started throwing blows at my face and my head. He held a kind of thick iron sheet and he hit me it with three or four times on my head from behind. I felt dizzy and saw stars above me. My vision became blurry, but I did not lose consciousness. Around 5a.m., they took me back to the cell

Once in the cell, Ahmad realized that his head was bleeding following the injury that he sustained at the hands of the interrogator. In an affidavit given to Addameer attorneys, Ahmed reports that he subsequently fainted. He also reports having fainted more than once that day, but does not recall having received any medical treatment. Instead, he was continuously taken back to the interrogators’ room for more questioning.

After an entire week, throughout which Ahmed continued to deny the allegations despite torture and ill-treatment, the interrogators started questioning him every two days, at times during the afternoon, but occasionally also during the night.

Ahmed was kept in isolation for twenty days after which he was transferred to a different cell holding seven other detainees that he suspects were Israeli collaborators. Torture and ill-treatment in such cells is widespread and known to occur in some sections of Israeli prisons and detention centers, where detainees are often beaten, punched, threatened and exposed to psychological pressure if they refuse to talk to other prisoners who are detained in the same cells and who are typically collaborating with Israeli military authorities. Indeed, immediately after Ahmed’s transfer, the other detainees started questioning the boy about the kind of military activities he might have committed. When Ahmed answered that he was not guilty of anything and that he was just hunting for birds, all seven detainees attacked him. They reportedly took a towel and wrapped it around the boy’s neck. When an Israeli guard intervened, the other detainees claimed that Ahmed wanted to strangle himself. According to Ahmed’s account, the guard saw everything that happened, but instead of helping him when he complained, he answered, “No harm. Good, good. This is what we want, suggesting that the attack was coordinated by the interrogators and detention center authorities. Immediately after, the guard took Ahmed, exhausted and petrified, to Israeli police officers who had prepared a statement in Hebrew and asked the boy to sign it, which he did.

Torture continued for 9 days after the forced confession. After Ahmed signed the statement, he was taken to section #3 and placed in a cell big enough only to fit a mattress. The guards then chained both his legs and arms to metal bars, located on each wall. Ahmed recalls, “To these bars they chained me with metal chains, each hand to opposite direction and each leg to opposite direction. Ahmed reports that he was left in such position all night. The following day, the stress position continued in a bigger cell, which only accentuated the pain as Ahmed’s arms were chained slightly higher than previously, forcing him to exercise his muscle strength whenever he tried to relieve himself from the position. His blood circulation would also get cut off whenever he relaxed his muscles. Ahmed reports that interrogators repeatedly came to his cell and beat him on his stomach and hands. The pain was only interrupted during short meal breaks, one bathroom break every morning, and short 15-30 minute interrogation sessions where the interrogators kept insisting that the only way the torture would end is if Ahmed confessed to shooting at settlers. Ahmed remembers the entire experience as a period of disorientation, anxiety and vulnerability. He reports that he constantly screamed during the nine days asking guards to unchain him due to the unbearable pain. Whenever he would scream a lot, the guards would open the cell door and use a spray which would make him loose consciousness. Ahmed reports that he lost all sense of time perception during that time, and relied completely only on the information given to him by the guards and interrogators.

On the ninth day of the stress position, Ahmed eventually signed a second confession in which he stated, as instructed by the interrogation police officers, that he and his friends Sabra and Ahmed fired at Israeli settlers on two occasions; the first time from a distance of 10 meters and the second time from a distance of 50 meters. Ahmed still denies all charges against him and insists that he agreed to sign the confession only to end the pain: “After the ninth day of being shackled to the bed, I told the interrogator that I was ready to sign any confession he wanted just to end this horrible suffering


Addameer condemns Ahmed’s torture and ill-treatment at the hands of Israeli authorities as a violation of absolute prohibitions against these measures in international law, violations that are made all the more heinous due to Ahmed’s young age. The treatment of Ahmed by the Israeli interrogators, including the beating, threats, the use of solitary confinement over the course of 40 days and the use of a stress position for nine consecutive days, falls within the definition of torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as defined in the UN Convention Against Torture, to which Israel is a State Party.

Moreover, Addameer remains very concerned about the legitimacy of Ahmed’s ongoing trial before the Israeli military courts, including the use of the forced confession as primary evidence by the prosecution. It remains clear that these courts operate in blatant disregard for fundamental international fair trial standards and lack any sort of meaningful protection for child detainees. Since 1967, the Israeli military court system in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has operated with frightening impunity, rarely if ever, upholding fair trial standards. Addameer therefore calls for the charges against Ahmed to immediately be dropped, and for those responsible for his torture and ill-treatment to be investigated and prosecuted.

On 25 August 2010, Addameer filed a complaint to the Israeli Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General calling for a thorough and impartial criminal investigation into the conduct of the interrogators who tortured and abused Ahmed Isleem. At the same time, Addameer contends that it is very unlikely that such an investigation will be initiated without the needed political and diplomatic pressure given that the Israeli authorities have consistently failed to investigate and indict its soldiers and Israeli Security Agency officers involved in criminal offenses against Palestinian civilians in the OPT.

Criminal investigation of members of the security forces who commit offenses against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank, ranging from manslaughter to abuse to looting, is under the responsibility of the Military Advocate General (MAG), the Military Police Criminal Investigation Department (MPCID) and the Department for the Investigation of Police Officers in the Ministry of Justice These law enforcement agencies have been under severe criticism for their investigation of suspects and prosecution of members of the security forces accused of committing such offenses. According to Yesh Din, during the years of the second intifada, 90 percent of MPCID investigations ended with the files being closed without indictments being filed. Addameer therefore urges foreign government officials, including members of foreign representative offices to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and foreign Consulates in East Jerusalem, as well as the Office of EU Representative in Israel and the OPT, human rights organizations and United Nations bodies to:
  • Raise Ahmed Isleem’s case with the Israeli authorities;
  • Demand that the Military Police Criminal Investigation Department conducts an impartial and independent investigation into the soldiers actions;
  • Raise Ahmed Isleem’s case to the attention of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as per some human rights monitoring guidelines, including the EU Guidelines on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  • Attend Ahmed Isleem’s court hearings at the Israeli Military Court.
In addition, Addameer also urges solidarity groups and human rights organizations to:
  • Send Ahmed letters of support to his postal address in prison;
  • Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Ahmed be released immediately, that the charges against him be dropped and that an independent and impartial investigation of the soldiers who subjected Ahmed to torture and ill-treatment be conducted; or,
  • Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Ahmed and to call for an independent and impartial investigation of the events surrounding his arrest be immediately conducted.
For more information about Addameer’s work to stop the torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, please visit our website, or contact us directly:
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / 297 0136
Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0447

Friday, September 17, 2010

Margaret Atwood: Even Israelis should be able to realize that they are responsible if Palestinian children in Area C are malnourished and worse.

Ha'aretz -  ..... What about the Palestinian children of Area C? (Area C, for those witless innocents who have never heard of it, is not that part of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian Authority, nor is it Gaza, for which Israel now claims no administrative responsibility other than blockading it. Instead it is that part of Palestine entirely occupied and controlled by Israel since 1967. ) According to a 2009 report by Save The Children U.K. called "Life on the Edge," the rate of malnutrition of the children in Area C is higher even than that in Gaza, and many kids are not only developmentally stunted, but are dying from related illnesses. 

Is Israel responsible for this situation? Yes, because it alone controls the Area C Palestinian population's access to food and its ability to earn a viable living. Is there a "Yes But" that could possibly justify the conditions being imposed on these children? Unless the report is lying, I can't think of one. Even the most wild-eyed extremist can hardly claim that children under the age of seven are terrorists. 

There's a traditional china-shop sign: If you break it, you own it. Israel owns this problem, and Israel should fix it. Or does it really want an international campaign in which every doughnut shop in North America features a collection box, a sad-eyed child holding a dead sibling, and a stack of outrage-generating leaflets? Write your congressman: Tie aid to Israel to action on Area C child malnutrition and deaths? Give at church, save an Area C baby? Or how about: On the Day of Atonement, when considering wrongs to other human beings for which you bear some responsibility, start with the children of Area C?

As the peace talks begin again, some Israeli help on behalf of the children of Area C would be a signal that those talks are real, and not just another "Yes But" game. Full story

Israel assassinates Hamas leader, shoots him 3 times in neck and chest, 4th assassination in 9 months

Ma'an -- Israeli forces entered the home of a Hamas leader in Tulkarem on Friday morning and shot him three times in the neck and chest before withdrawing, family members said.

Medics at the Thabit Thabit Hospital in Tulkarem confirmed that 38-year-old Iyad As’ad Shelbaya, a known Hamas leader, was dead, killed by three bullets to the neck and chest.

Shelbaya lived in the Nur Shams refugee camp east of Tulkarem. Security sources said he was assassinated during a raid on his home at 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning.

Officials said several armored vehicles entered the area to carry out the assassination. Palestinian forces were said to have coordinated with the Israeli military in getting Shelbaya's body from his home to the hospital.

Accounts from family members say Shelbaya's brother Mohammed was abducted by soldiers earlier in the morning, and forced to show officers the way to Iyad's home.

Once at the home, witnesses said soldiers placed explosives at the main door, destroying the entry way and entering the home.

Several soldiers were then described entering the home, at which point three gunshots were heard. Medics confirmed three shots killed the man, one in the neck and two in the chest.

Shelbaya's body was then removed from the home.

Mohammed told Ma'an that he heard his brother Iyad calling from his bedroom when the soldiers entered the home, asking “Who is it? Who is it? Who is it?”

"He asked the question three times, and that was followed by three bullets. He was alone sleeping in the house, his wife was visiting family in Jenin," he said.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the death, but gave a different version of events.

"During an arrest raid in the Palestinian village of Nur Shams, one suspect began running for the force," the spokesman said. "He did not comply with soldiers who requested that he halt."

The spokesman said that soldiers "felt threatened" by the behavior of the man, and "fired on the suspect."

Dozens detained overnight

During the raid on the camp, nine other Hamas affiliates were detained from their homes.

Security sources identified those detained as: Mohmmad Abu Al-Kheir, Kamal Masharqah, Tayseer Jaber, Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Ghoul, Ashraf Fouda, Nedal Abu Helal, Nedal Abu Tharefah, Mohammad Abu Deiyah and Ahmad A’sa’s.

Fourth assassination in nine months

On 26 December 2009, Israeli forces entered the city of Nablus, proceeded toward the homes of Raed Sakarji, 38, Anan Subih, 33, and Ghassan Abu Sharkh, 40, in two cases entered the homes and shot the men, and in a third, executed Abu Sharkh in front of his home.

A statement from the Israeli military said soldiers "entered Nablus in an attempt to locate and arrest the men suspected of involvement in the murder of Meir Avshalom Hai this past Thursday." The statement said the deaths were provoked by the suspects.

Testimony from witnesses, and blood evidence in hallways and bedrooms, showed the men were shot in their homes.

"We were sleeping in our bedroom, not bigger than six square meters, when Israeli soldiers began yelling 'get out, get out.' I thought I was dreaming. When I heard the Israeli soldiers and their police dogs outside the room, that was when I realized it was real," Tahani, the wife of Raed Sarakji told Ma'an at the time.

Tahani said her husband told soldiers he would get out of the house, so they started shooting through the door and the windows. “He fell between my hands bleeding. I started crying 'they killed him, they killed him.' Then soldiers broke the door and got in. He was already dead, but they continued to riddle his body with bullets to make sure he was killed."

A similar account was given by the cousin of Ghassan Abu Sharkh, "Everything happened very quickly… when we opened the door and saw the soldiers, two masked collaborators pointed to my brother Ghassan who was walking down the stairs. Before I knew it he was being shot. I couldn’t really make sense of what was going on at all. Then an Israeli officer asked me whether the dead man was Ghassan, and I said yes. 'Good, then ask everybody to leave the house,' the officer said."

"I was standing close to Ghassan when they killed him. They could have detained him very easily. He passed to join my brother Nayif who was killed by Israeli forces a few years ago [2004]."

The third account was given by Farid Subih, 45, whose younger brother, Anan Subih, 33 was killed.

"At 3 a.m., dozens of Israeli troops surrounded our four-storey building. They blew open the the main gate then started shooting randomly and throwing grenades in all directions. Anan was inside, and he asked everybody to leave the building to avoid being hurt.”

He continued, "We headed to the nearby house of the Al-'Amoudi family. Then soldiers entered the house with police dogs, and they started throwing more grenades, and a fire erupted in the warehouse full of plastic chairs and sponge material.

"My brother was not armed, but we could see soldiers continue to ransack the house. For three hours, we didn’t know what was going on. After the soldiers left, we found Anan dead … bullets tore all his body and bones."

According to the Israeli military, "When he was killed, Annan Tzubach [Subih] was armed with a handgun and hiding two M16 assault rifles, an additional handgun, and ammunition." The same statement, however, said that "During an attempt to arrest him tonight [Saturday], Annan was killed after an exchange of fire with the IDF while he was found in a hiding place along with weapons and ammunition."

Amnesty International: Justice for victims of Gaza conflict hangs in balance

Amnesty - 15 September 2010

One year to the day afteraUnited Nations fact-finding mission concluded that both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, possible crimes against humanity and other grave violations of international law during the 2008-09 conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, Amnesty International condemned the continuing absence of accountability and warned that the victims’ hopes for justice now hang in the balance.

During its current session, which started on Monday, the UN Human Rights Council is due to consider the report of a Committee of Experts it appointed in March 2010 to examine what steps the Israeli and Palestinian sides have taken to investigate the crimes allegedly committed by their forces, and the extent and effectiveness of these investigations.

Amnesty International believes that the Council must also consider whether the time has now come to seek an international justice solution especially if, as seems inevitable according to Amnesty International’s own assessment of the investigations, the Committee of Experts reports that neither of the two sides has conducted adequate investigations or taken steps to ensure justice and accountability for crimes their forces committed.

The report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, recommended that the government of Israel and the relevant authorities in the Gaza Strip should be allowed six months to conduct good-faith investigations. In response, the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly called on both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to carry out investigations which are independent, credible and meet international standards.

On the basis of the information currently available to it, Amnesty International’s assessment is that both the Israeli authorities and the Hamas de facto administration have failed to fulfil their obligation to carry out such investigations and to demonstrate a commitment to prosecuting perpetrators of crimes under international law. If this is confirmed by the Committee of Experts, the Human Rights Council must conclude that the two authorities have missed their opportunity to ensure accountability for the victims of the conflict through domestic means and support international justice solutions, including the potential involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Although neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC, on 22 January 2009, the Palestinian Minister of Justice on behalf of the Palestinian National Authority submitted a declaration to the ICC accepting its jurisdiction over crimes “committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.” The declaration would potentially cover all crimes documented in the Fact-Finding Mission report.

A number of leading international law experts have expressed the view that, although the status of Palestine as a state is disputed, the Palestinian Authority is entitled to make such a declaration.

If the Committee of Experts’ report confirms that the local authorities are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute the crimes genuinely, the Prosecutor of the ICC should seek an official judicial determination on whether the ICC has jurisdiction. If it does, the Prosecutor should request the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize an investigation without delay. If the Pre-Trial Chamber determines that the ICC Prosecutor is unable to act on the Palestinian Authority’s declaration, the UN Security Council has the ability to refer the situation to the ICC Prosecutor.

Furthermore, irrespective of the findings of the Committee of Experts and the status of the ICC’s investigation, Amnesty International notes that under international law all states can exercise universal jurisdiction over crimes under international law committed during the conflict. Consequently, individuals against whom there is evidence of involvement in committing war crimes or other serious violations of international law should be arrested and tried if they enter states exercising universal jurisdiction.

Between 27 December 2008 and the 18 January 2009, around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the 22-day conflict; three of the Israelis and hundreds of the Palestinian fatalities were civilians.

Issued on 15 September 2009, the report of the Fact-Finding Mission, which was led by the distinguished South African jurist Judge Richard Goldstone, documented a series of grave violations by Israeli forces that included attacks on UN facilities, civilian property and infrastructure, and medical facilities and personnel, as well as incidents in which large numbers of civilians were killed and injured as a result of reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians. It also said that the firing of indiscriminate rockets from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups constituted a war crime.

Resolution 13/9, adopted by the Human Rights Council on 25 March 2010, requested that the UN Secretary-General present a comprehensive report to the Council at its 15thsession (13 September to 1 October 2010) on the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission by all concerned parties. In August 2010 the Secretary-General requested that the High Commissioner for Human Rights transmit the documents received concerning domestic investigations from the Israeli and Palestinian UN missions to the Council’s Committee of Experts. The Secretary-General’s Second follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict did not include material from the Hamas de facto administration, nor did it provide a substantive assessment on the adequacy of the Israeli and Palestinian investigations.

UN agencies: Israel denies Palestinian children an education, 40,000 children turned away from classrooms, 10,000 attend schools in tents and, tin shacks

Ma'an -- The new school year saw 40,000 children turned away from classrooms in Gaza and more than 10,000 children in the West Bank return to school in tents, caravans and tin shacks, UN agencies say.

UNRWA, the UN body set up to assist Palestinian refugees, said Wednesday that it has been unable to build new schools in Gaza since 2007 due to Israel’s siege. The "almost absolute ban on the import of construction materials has left students with lots of pens and notebooks but without classrooms," an UNRWA statement said.

Turning away students is only one consequence of the classroom shortage, the agency says, adding that students already learn in two shifts with up to 50 students in each class, while oversized metal containers are used as classrooms.

Israel announced that it would ease its four-year siege of the coastal enclave in June after Israeli forces killed nine passengers on a ship bringing supplies to the Strip, sparking international outcry. However, UNRWA says Israel has not yet approved any construction materials needed for UNRWA schools and has only agreed to "negotiate" coordinating materials for eight of the 100 schools needed.

"All of the temporary measures and substitutes have already been exhausted," UNRWA’s Gaza director John Ging said, explaining that realizing the right to education for Gazan children relied on the continued construction of schools.

Many of Gaza's schools were damaged by Israel's December 2008 assault on the Strip, and 82 percent of this damage has still not been repaired, UNICEF and UNRWA reported.

No repairs for West Bank schools

UNICEF said that in the West Bank, Israel's restrictive permit regime in Area C meant that over 10,000 children began their school year in tents, caravans, or tin shacks.

Area C encompasses 60 percent of the West Bank under zoning regulations established in the Oslo Accords. It is under full Israeli civil and military control, and the UN has said it is "nearly impossible" for Palestinians to obtain permits from Israel to maintain, repair or build in Area C.

At least one-third of the schools in Area C have "totally inadequate" sanitary facilities, lack water and fall "far short" of basic safety and hygiene standards, UNICEF reported.

Further, UNICEF warned that constant harassment by settlers and Israeli soldiers, as well as forced displacements and home demolition, caused children psychological distress.

Israel closes off West Bank, again

Ma'an -- Israel's military announced a total closure of the West Bank [Palestinian Territory] starting before midnight Thursday to midnight Sunday for the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday.

"Security crossings into Israel will be temporarily closed," a statement from the military said, "in accordance with security assessments adopted by the defense establishment."

The streets of Jerusalem are expected to be closed as of sunset Friday, as religious Jews observe Shabbat for the Day of Atonement.

Non-religious Jews and non-Jewish residents of the city are prohibited from driving on most city streets.

West Bank residents in need of medical attention will be permitted passage, the statement said, while "the passage of humanitarian aid as well as doctors, medical personnel, NGO members, attorneys, and additional professionals will be coordinated by the Civil Administration."

A spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories office said tourists and those holding international passports would be unaffected by the crossings closure, but he advised foreign nationals with vehicles, that the Jerusalem roads would be closed for the holiday.

Passage for journalists with Israeli Government Press Office certification can pass in and out of the area, but they are "encouraged to coordinate their passage in advance with the IDF," the statement said.

Israeli Court Says Criminal Probe Into Fatal Shooting Of Two 19-year-old Palestinian Farmers “Unnecessary”

IMEMC - The Israeli High Court Of Justice had decided that a petition demanding a full investigation into the fatal shooting of two Palestinians in Awarta village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, is “unnecessary” as the Israeli army had already ordered an investigation.

Last month, representing the families of the victims, Israeli attorney, Michael Sfrad, of the Israeli Human Rights group Yesh Din filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice and demanded the court to open a criminal investigation into the shooting.

On Wednesday, the state told the High Court that Chief Military Prosecutor, Avihai Mandelblit had already ordered a military investigation that would start by the beginning of October.

The two farmers were identified as Mohammad Faisal Qawariq, 19, and Salah Mohammad Kamel Qawariq, 19.

The deadly shooting of the two Palestinians took place this past March when Israeli soldiers stopped two farmers who were walking near Itamar settlement.

The army claimed that soldiers asked the two farmers to present their identity cards but they said that they were not carrying them; the two farmers said they were on their way to their farmlands.

The soldiers claimed that the two farmers acted in a suspicious way and that they and that their responses were not clear.

The commander of the unit said that he shot the two to death when one of them attempted to attack one of the soldiers with a pitchfork.

The commander was removed from his position and, reportedly, will not be allowed to serve as a military commander in the future.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, stated that the incident could have had a different outcome, and that the deadly results could have be avoided.

Local farmers reported that the soldiers separated the two farmers from each other, and forced them on the ground without cuffing them.

The farmers added that the two were not carrying anything when they were forced to sit on the ground, and that they were both shot while sitting and not while standing, an issue that negates the army claims that the two attempted to attack the soldiers.

Britain's biggest Trade Union reaffirm calls for Israel boycott

IMEMC - Britain’s trade union federation voted on Tuesday to continue its boycott of Israeli goods and services from West Bank settlements.
The 142nd Trades Union Congress is taking place from September 3th - 16th in Manchester (Photo TUC website)

The TUC said in its council report that the union has worked with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in UK and produced material calling for boycott of Israeli settlements good. One postcard is called, “Ban settlement goods” in which they target members of Parliament, and another “Would you buy stolen goods?” leaflet aimed at consumers.

The TUC appealed all major UK supermarkets not to stock settlement goods, a call that apparently was met positively by the supermarkets.

“Encouragingly, due to campaigning pressure, all major supermarkets now claim to be applying the DEFRA guidance, with all but two of them also claiming they no longer stock any produce from the illegal settlements,” the report read.

The TUC also condemned the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla on May 31, calling for a “full, open and independent investigation and for the blockade of Gaza to be immediately lifted.”

Israeli forces shell Gaza, fire at protesters, invade Gaza City, bulldoze farmlands

IMEMC - Palestinian medical sources reported that five Palestinians were wounded on Tuesday evening, two seriously, after the Israeli army fired artillery shells into an area near Gaza city.

Two of the wounded Palestinians are in a serious condition; the Israeli army claimed that Palestinian fighters fired an anti-tank rocket at soldiers operating near the border fence causing no injuries.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that soldiers opened fire at the fighters wounding at least one of them.

Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg held the Hamas movement responsible for the escalation and added that “Hamas controls Gaza and is responsible for anything that takes place there”.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian protestors near the Erez terminal, north of Gaza; no injuries were reported.

The attack only comes three days after the army killed three Palestinian shepherds in northern Gaza.

In related news, a number of military vehicles invaded Juhr Ed Deek area in Gaza city and bulldozed farmlands.

The army also fired artillery shells at a trash-yard in Al Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza city; damage was reported, no injuries.

Hamas: Israeli attacks attempt to destroy Palestinian cause; on Saturday Israeli forces killed 91-year-old shepherd

Ma'an -- Hamas said Thursday that Israeli rhetoric which uses the launching of projectiles from Gaza to "justify targeting civilians" is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian cause.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that strikes on Gaza affirmed the credibility of Hamas' stance that Palestinians would pay heavily for negotiations, which he said were a cover for Israeli violations.

"The occupation wants to keep public opinion busy with blood and body parts while it Judaizes Jerusalem and builds settlements in the West Bank," Barhoum said, adding that the attacks were launched simultaneously with direct peace talks.

Israel launched two airstrikes on Gaza within 24 hours on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, killing one and injuring two others. The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to projectiles fired from the Strip.

On Saturday, Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian shepherds on their land in Gaza, one of whom was 91 years old. Initial military reports said the men were terrorists, however, a later statement said they were non-combatants.

Fundamentalist Jews Tear Quran Copies, Step On Them In Jerusalem

IMEMC - A group of fundamentalist Jews tore copies of the Muslim holy Quran in Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem, and deliberately stepped on them.

The Maan News Agency reported that resident Mohammad Monir, a Bethlehem University student from Wadi Al Joz in Jerusalem found pages of the Quran in Jaffa street, and saw dozens of fundamentalists stepping on them.

“At first I thought they are ordinary papers, but when I looked closely I found out that they are actually pages of the Quran”, Monir said, “I then started collecting them
especially since the people were stepping on them”.

He added that as he was collecting the pages from the street a number of fundamentalist started insulting him and one settler kicked him”.

Tunnel that Israel bombed, killing one, was used for bringing sugar

Ma'an -- Egyptian authorities said officers seized three smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border on Thursday morning, in addition to several tons of sugar prepared for transport into the coastal enclave.

One of the three tunnels, Egyptian sources added, was bombed a day earlier by the Israeli airforce. The tunnel opened in Egypt's As-Sarsourya area in Rafah.

On Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes hit two tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip. A statement from the Israeli military said the strike targeted a tunnel on the Philadelphi corridor on the Egypt-Gaza border, and added that it was a "Hamas operated tunnel ... used to smuggle terrorists into the Gaza Strip so that they could execute attacks against Israeli civilians."

[International humanitarian aid agencies such as the Red Cross have issued numerous statements about the crisis in Gaze due to the Israeli siege.]

Two other tunnels were seized by Egyptian officials, sources said, both located in the Salah Ad-Din area. No goods or smugglers were found during the raids, police noted.

A report from Egyptian security said that so far, 550 smuggling tunnels had been shut down, noting that 15 of them had been dug for the transport of cars into Gaza.

On Thursday, Israeli officials informed Palestinian crossing liaison officers that an earlier decision to allow cars to enter the Gaza Strip had been reversed.

Israeli forces kill 23-year-old, wound two others in bombing of Gaza

IMEMC - The Israeli Air Force fired a number of missiles at the “Tunnels Area” in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, killing one resident and wounding two others.
Palestinian medical sources in Gaza reported that the slain resident was identified as Wajdi Jihad Al Qadi, 23, and added that his body was severely mutilated.

The sources stated that two other Palestinians were wounded and were moved to Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital in Rafah.

Furthermore, Palestinian security sources in Gaza reported that Egyptian security personnel along the border with Rafah, and Palestinian residents living near the border in Rafah have left their posts and homes after receiving info that the Israeli army intends to bombard tunnels in the area.

The sources added that the Egyptian Security Forces also demanded Palestinian National Security personnel to leave their posts.

Israel claims that Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired shells the contained phosphor; the shells were allegedly fired at areas in the Eshkol Regional Council in the Western Negev.

The Hamas movement denied the Israeli claim and said that it comes to “justify a new Israeli offensive on Gaza”.

Hamas spokesperson in Gaza, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, stated that the Israeli claims are meant to incite the International Community against, Gaza and to justify Israel’s use of phosphorous shells during its three-week war on the coastal region that started in late December 2008.

Abu Zuhri said that “while the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas started direct talks with the occupation, Israel is seeking a new aggression on the Gaza Strip”.

He added that the Palestinians will remain steadfast and will retaliate against any Israeli aggressions, he also held the International Community responsible for any upcoming Israeli aggression.

According to documentation by the Palestinian Center For Human Rights in Gaza, 1,419 Palestinian were killed during the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip. This number includes 1,167 non-combatants (82.2%) and 252 resistance activists (17.8%). The non-combatants include civilians and civil police officers who were not involved in hostilities.

The PCHR report indicated that 918 civilians were killed (64.7% of the total number of victims). The civilian victims include 318 children (22.4 % of the total number of victims and 34.7% of the number of civilian victims) and 111 women (7.8% of the total number of victims and 12.1% of the number of civilian victims).

It added that 429 women and children were killed (30.2% of the total number of victims and 46.7% of the total number of civilian victims).

At least 5300 Palestinians were wounded during the war; 1,600 of them were children (30%) and 830 women (15.6%).

According to PCHR’s data, 318 children aged under 18 were killed; 22.4% of the total number of all victims and 34.6% of the total number of civilian victims. This figure includes 215 boys (67.6%) and 103 girls (32.4%). Additionally, 1,600 children were wounded, constituting 30% of the total number of the wounded.

“Children were killed in different contexts, often while inside homes or while playing outside. In some instances they were targeted directly, in others they were killed when the Israeli Army bombarded mosques, public facilities or residential complexes, or extra-judicially-executed Palestinian activists”, the PCHR reported.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Israel trying Palestinian Nonviolence leader: pushing for two-year prison term

Ma'an -- The sentencing phase in the trial of Abdallah Abu Rahme, the coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, began Wednesday at Israel's Ofer Military Court.

Abu Rahme was convicted of organizing illegal marches and of incitement in August, but he was cleared on initial charges of stone-throwing and "arms-possession," apparently collecting used tear-gas canisters and displaying them.

The prosecution demanded Abu Rahme be sent to prison for a period exceeding two years, saying that as an organizer, a harsh sentence is required to serve as a deterrence for himself and to others, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reported.

Another argument made by the prosecution in their demand of a harsh sentence were the repercussions and expenses caused to the army by the demonstrations against the barrier which cuts half of Bil'in from its farmland.

Wednesday's hearing, which lasted over three hours, saw a courtroom packed with diplomats, representatives of international and Israeli human rights organizations, as well as friends and family members, the committee said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says "the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahma is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non violent manner."

Rights groups say the conviction followed a show trial and was based on allegations that did not specify any particular incidents of wrongdoing and on statements by children who retracted them in court, alleging they were coerced, and who did not understand Hebrew, the language in which Israeli military interrogators prepared the statements they signed.

"Israel's conviction of Abu Rahme for protesting the unlawful confiscation of his village's land is the unjust result of an unfair trial," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Israeli authorities are effectively banning peaceful expression of political speech by convicting supporters of nonviolent resistance."

Israeli authorities describe the weekly protests as anything but peaceful, usually characterizing them as violent and illegal riots during which demonstrators throw rocks at Israeli forces stationed near the barrier.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Israeli officials strip-search at gunpoint Palestinian-British female political artist at Ben Gurion Airport

IMEMC - On Saturday September 4th British-born Palestinian Political Hip Hop artist, Shadia Mansour, was held at gunpoint by airport security and intelligence officers.

Ms. Mansour was told to return to her luggage after a usual baggage xray and multiple searches, when eight agents ran towards her, weapons drawn and pointed, they aggressively kicked away her bags and surrounded her.

The eight agents had their guns pointed at Ms. Mansour while having her stand in the same position for one hour in suspicion of a bomb being planted in her microphone which they had in their possession for ten minutes already.

Ms. Mansour assured the agents the microphone was used for recording music and was then asked by an officer to sing her lyrics to him, they screamed at her and asked "who she worked for, who bought the microphone, what does she sing about" and as the agents and officers shouted over one another she was also told, "we have found something planted in the microphone" all this transpiring while airport goers observed the entire ordeal.

Although standard for Palestinians to be strip searched upon departure of Israel, Ms Mansour was made to lay down on her back as female agents pushed aggressively into her joints and neck. Once the female agents finished searching her the microphone was returned and Ms. Mansour was directed to her flight en route to London as though nothing had happened.

"For a few minutes I really thought they were going to take my life, the way they handled the situation literally made me feel like I was an attempted suicide bomber that had just been captured or something". Ms. Mansour commented on the incident. No legal action has yet been taken.

Related stories:

Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches

An If Americans Knew Investigation: Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Borders & Airports – Strip-Searching Children

Democracy Now: Please tell your audience about Israeli strip searches... 

Nabi Saleh Village Holds Protest Against The Wall

IMEMC - Dozens of residents and international peace activists held their weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and settlements in Nabi Saleh village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The protesters marched marking the Fitir Muslim feast while insisting that the real feast is liberation and independence.

They marched towards one of the entrances of the village that was sealed off by the Israeli since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in late September 2000, and also marched towards a military tower installed at the entrance of the village.

The protesters chanted against the occupation, the Wall, settlements and military roadblocks that hinder the freedom of movement of the residents.

The Popular Resistance Committee in the village issued a statement saluting the Palestinian detainees and their families, and the families of residents who were killed by the Israeli army and settlers.

The Committee called on all factions to unite and end all sorts of internal conflicts and divisions in order to stand united in supporting the popular resistance against the occupation, the Wall and settlements in occupied Palestine. 

Dozens Wounded As Israeli Army Attacked Nonviolent Protest In Bil’in

IMEMC - Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday afternoon the weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall in Bil’in village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah inflicting dozens of injuries.

The protest was held by dozens of residents, Israeli and international peace activists; they chanted slogans against the Wall, settlements, ongoing arrests of Palestinians and the constant attacks against the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and their homes.

The protestors also demanded the release of all political detainees especially the detained local activists of nonviolent resistance against settlements and the Annexation Wall. They also demanded lifting the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza.

As the protestors marched towards the gate of the Annexation Wall, Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets, concussion grenades and gas bombs; one resident identified as Mohammad Ahmad Hamad, 19, was hit by a gas bomb in his back and dozens were treated by field medics after inhaling gas fired by the army.

Meanwhile, the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in welcomed a report by Human Rights Watch in which it condemned Israel for arresting and prosecuting Abdullah Abu Rahma, a leading figure in nonviolent resistance against the Wall and settlements.

Human Rights Watch dubbed the prosecution of Abu Rahma as illegal and added that Israel is preventing the Palestinians from practicing their right to express their opinion and hold nonviolent protests.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

VIDEO – BBC Bias: The Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Anthony Lawson

Human Rights Watch: Israel convicts activist after unfair trial - 'Israel banning peaceful expression of political speech'

HRW - Leader of Protests on Unlawful Land Confiscation Faces 20 Years in Jail 

An Israeli military court's conviction of Abdullah Abu Rahme, an advocate of nonviolent protests against Israel's de facto confiscation of land from the West Bank village of Bil'in, raises grave due process concerns, Human Rights Watch said Sept 8th. On August 24, 2010, Abu Rahme, who has been detained for more than eight months, was convicted on charges of organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations and inciting protestors to damage the separation barrier, throw stones at Israeli soldiers, and participate in violent protests.

The convictions were based on allegations that did not specify any particular incidents of wrongdoing and on statements by children who retracted them in court, alleging they were coerced, and who did not understand Hebrew, the language in which Israeli military interrogators prepared the statements they signed. Abu Rahme, a 39-year-old schoolteacher, helped organize protests against the route of the Israeli separation barrier that has cut off Bil'in villagers' access to more than 50 percent of their agricultural lands, on which an Israeli settlement is being built. He remains in custody pending sentencing, and could face 20 years in prison.

"Israel's conviction of Abu Rahme for protesting the unlawful confiscation of his village's land is the unjust result of an unfair trial," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Israeli authorities are effectively banning peaceful expression of political speech by convicting supporters of nonviolent resistance."

Human Rights Watch reported in March that Israel has detained dozens of Palestinians who advocate nonviolent protests against the separation barrier and charged them based on questionable evidence, including allegedly coerced confessions from minors.

Israeli soldiers arrested Abu Rahme on December 10 at 2 a.m., when seven military jeeps surrounded his home in Ramallah, where he had resided for two years. An Israeli military court indicted Abu Rahme on December 21 on charges of incitement, stone throwing, and illegal possession of weapons. The arms possession charge was based on an art exhibit, in the shape of a peace sign, that Abu Rahme constructed out of used M16 bullet cartridges and tear gas canisters that the Israeli army had used to quell protests in Bil'in. Abu Rahme was ultimately acquitted of this charge. On January 18, military prosecutors added the charge of organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations to the indictment. Because Abu Rahme's interrogation had already ended, he was never questioned about this charge.

Demonstrations against the separation barrier often turn violent, with Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Violence at demonstrations may result in the arrest of those who participate in or incite violence, but it does not justify the arrest of activists who have simply called for or supported peaceful protests against the wall, Human Rights Watch said. Under international law, authorities can prosecute organizers of demonstrations or other assemblies only if evidence exists that the organizers of the assembly are themselves directly responsible for violence or incitement to violence. The authorities have a duty to ensure the protection of the right to assembly even if a demonstration leads to violence by others.

The indictment states that from August 2005 to June 2009, Abu Rahme was a member of a popular committee that, on Fridays, led villagers from Bil'in "in mass marches meant to disturb order" by attempting to damage the separation barrier and by "instructing" youth from the village to "throw stones at the [Israeli] security forces."

"The defendant also prepared bottles and balloons filled with chicken feces, which the protestors then threw at the security forces," the indictment stated.

Abu Rahme's conviction on both the incitement and the organizing and participating in illegal demonstration charges raises serious due process concerns.

Abu Rahme was convicted of offenses that the prosecution alleged he committed at various, unspecified times over the course of four years ­- from 2005 to 2009 ­­­­- rather than on any particular dates, which made it impossible for the defendant to provide an adequate defense for his actions. The prosecution failed to specify when supposed offenses took place and what the form the offenses took, and the interrogators did not ask specific questions regarding the defendant's role in the alleged incitement and organization of protests. The verdict acknowledged that "the witnesses' interrogations should have been more comprehensive and exhaustive and should have gone to more details regarding the offenses."

The only evidence that Abu Rahme incited others to throw stones was a statement by one 16-year-old child to this effect, and by another 16-year-old that Abu Rahme prepared balloons filled with chicken feces for protestors to throw at soldiers. Both youths later retracted their statements, saying that they were threatened and beaten by their interrogators. The interrogators denied threatening and abusing them in detention, and the court accepted the interrogators' account rather than the boys'. However, the state did not contest that the interrogations of both youths occurred in highly threatening circumstances. They were interrogated the morning after being arrested by the Israeli military during raids on their homes, between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., and having been accused of throwing stones.

The state did not contest that the children's parents or guardians were not present during their interrogations, in violation of an Israeli court ruling on the issue. The boys were denied access to lawyers until after their interrogations. Neither youth could read Hebrew, the language in which the statements they signed were written. The interrogating officers admitted that they had received no training in questioning minors, that the minors did not read Hebrew, and that they had neglected to ask the witnesses many relevant and specific questions concerning the charges brought against the defendant.

One other child witness whose statements the court also admitted as evidence claimed only that Abu Rahme was a member of the Bil'in popular committee and that he participated in the protests.

All the child witnesses claimed to have been abused during interrogation. H. Y., 16, claimed in court that the soldiers who arrested him beat him and that from the time he was arrested until the next day when his interrogation began, he was left handcuffed and blindfolded on the ground, without food. The children stated in court that their signed statements incriminating Abu Rahme were prepared by their interrogators in Hebrew, a language they could not read. A.B., a fourth witness who was not a minor, testified that he signed his "confession" after his interrogator threatened to beat him and to put him in solitary confinement. K.H., 16, said he signed his confession after the interrogating officer yelled at him, threatened to hurt his parents, and hit him.

The military court declared the children to be "hostile witnesses" for contradicting the statements they had signed during their investigation, and accepted their statements as evidence. The verdict states that there was no need to take into account the alleged "circumstances of the arrest," because the youths did not mention those circumstances in the trial or during their interrogation, and did not complain that their judgment had been "impeded." The verdict further argued that the children's testimony during the trial was not credible, noting that two of them "smiled" during the trial and that three had lied and given "dishonest testimonies." For example, one witness stated there was no "popular committee" in Bil'in, but later said the "committee members" were angry at him for throwing stones. By contrast, the verdict found that the witnesses' statements to the police had an "inner logic," without acknowledging that these statements were prepared by an Israeli security official in a language the witnesses could not read, and that they signed these statements in a coercive atmosphere after having been arrested in the middle of the night and interrogated in violation of Israeli law.

The court chose to disregard statements by character witnesses indicating that Abu Rahme has long been committed to nonviolent protest. Dov Khenin, a member of the Israeli parliament, and Dr. Gershon Baskin, founder and director of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information, testified on the defendant's behalf as character witnesses. An Israeli protester, Jonathan Pollack, acknowledged Palestinian youths often have thrown stones but told Human Rights Watch that he had attended "dozens" of protests with Abu Rahme and had never seen him incite others to violence.

On December 10, 2008, one year before Abu Rahme's arrest, he received the Carl Von Ossietzky Medal for Outstanding Service in the Realization of Basic Human Rights, awarded by the International League for Human Rights in Berlin. European Union (EU) High Representative Catherine Ashton said in August 2010 that the EU considered Abu Rahme to be "a Human Rights Defender committed to nonviolent protest."

Abu Rahme was convicted of incitement to throw stones and of organizing illegal protests, based on article 7(a) of Israeli military order 101 of 1967, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and prohibits "attempting, whether verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area [of the West Bank] in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order." Abu Rahme was also convicted of organizing and participating in illegal protests under the same military order (articles 1, 3, and 10), which requires obtaining a permit for any gathering of 10 people or more listening to a speech "that can be interpreted as political," or for any 10 people or more walking together for a purpose "that can be viewed as political." Persons who call for or "support" such gatherings are subject to the same penalties. The civil law applied within Israel, by contrast, requires a permit only for "political" gatherings of more than 50 people.

Another Bil'in resident, Adeeb Abu Rahme, was the first person to be charged by Israeli military prosecutors with organizing illegal demonstrations and with incitement since the first Palestinian intifada, which ended in 1993, according to Abdullah Abu Rahme's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, and to the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, of which Abdullah Abu Rahme is a leader. The same charges have been used against four members of Bil'in's popular committee, including Abdullah and Adeeb Abu Rahme, and these represent the first such charges in close to 20 years. Abdullah Abu Rahme's conviction and the subsequent use of these offenses to charge other protestors raise concerns that Israeli authorities are applying the law selectively to stifle non-violent protest leaders.

Sentencing is scheduled for next month, after which Abu Rahme will appeal the conviction.


Israel's separation barrier - in some places a fence, in others an eight-meter-high concrete wall with guard towers - was ostensibly built to protect against suicide bombers. However, unlike a similar barrier between Israel and Gaza, it does not follow the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank. Instead, 85 percent of the barrier's route lies inside the West Bank, separating Palestinian residents from their lands, restricting their movement, and in some places effectively confiscating occupied territory, all unlawful under international humanitarian law.

In Bil'in, the wall cuts villagers off from 50 percent of their land, putting the land on the "Israeli" side. The Israeli settlement of Mattityahu East is being built on the land to which the village no longer has access. In September 2007, after years of protests organized by Bil'in's Popular Committee, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the separation barrier in Bil'in must be rerouted to allow Bil'in villagers access to more of their land; the military only recently began survey work preliminary to rerouting the barrier.

The International Court of Justice ruled in a 2004 advisory opinion that the wall's route was illegal because its construction inside the West Bank was not justified by security concerns and contributed to violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law applicable to occupied territory by impeding Palestinians' freedom of movement, destroying property, and contributing to unlawful Israeli settlement practices. Israel's High Court of Justice has ruled that the wall must be rerouted in several places, including near Bil'in, because the harm caused to Palestinians was disproportionate, although the rulings would allow the barrier to remain inside the West Bank in these and other areas.

In contrast to its treatment of those protesting the route of the wall and other unlawful Israeli practices in the Occupied Territories with overwhelmingly peaceful means, in January 2010 the Israeli Knesset approved a wholesale amnesty to protesters involved in violent protests in connection with the 2005 evacuation of Jewish settlements from Gaza.

In 2005, Abu Rahme's brother, Rateb Abu Rahme, was shot in his foot and arrested for assaulting a border policeman and stone-throwing. During the trial, the court ruled, based on filmed evidence, that the border policeman had given false testimony. The Police Officers Investigations Unit then indicted the soldier, who confessed that he had fabricated the event; the border policeman was released after the conclusion of the investigation and transferred to a different unit within the Israel Defense Forces. Rateb Abu Rahme was acquitted.

Earlier this year, a military court decided not to investigate the death of a relative of Abdullah Abu Rahme, Bassem Abu Rahme, who was killed by a tear-gas canister during a Bil'in protest on April 17, 2009. In July 2010 the Military Advocate General agreed to investigate the event after the Abu Rahme family's lawyer threatened to petition the High Court of Justice and after receiving the findings of forensic experts, indicating that the canisters were fired directly at the protester in violation of the open-fire regulations.