Saturday, April 30, 2011
“The Jewish law is clear,” Eliyahu said at a conference organized by the rightist religious movement Komemiyut. “In Safed the halakhic ruling worked, people don’t sell land or rent or sell apartments to non-Jews.”
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz also attended the conference, and awarded Eliyahu a citation for “his devotion to the Jewish nature of the Land of Israel.”
Eliyahu was one of 18 rabbis who signed a petition in October, urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews. The petition was seen as being directed against Arab students enrolled in Safed’s college.
This week protesters welcomed the National Unity deal signed by Palestinian factions in Cairo on Wednesday.
In Bil’in, 8 year old boy was injured many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation during the weekly protests there.
Like every Friday for the past six years international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the wall to protest. Upon arriving at the gate of the wall, troops stationed there fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters, leading to their injuries.
Mohamed Burnat, 8, was hit with a tear gas bomb in his back as soldiers attacked protesters.
In al-Nabi Salleh, 13 year old child and a young man were injured, three Israeli supporters arrested when troops attacked the weekly protest against the wall and settlements.
Israel’s High Court dismisses petition filed on behalf of over 1,000 victims of operation Cast Lead in Gaza
The petition was filed on 21 December 2010, by PCHR in relation to more than 1,000 victims of Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip (Operation ‘Cast Lead’), in order to challenge the 2-year statute of limitations imposed on filing tort (compensation) cases. The petition requested that the High Court of Justice order the State Attorney to refrain from raising a claim under the statute of limitations in future civil suits brought before Israeli courts. According to PCHR, the right of access to the courts demands that the statute of limitations on bringing such civil cases begin to accrue only once Israel’s illegal closure of the Gaza Strip has ceased.
PCHR have consistently argued that the statute of limitations, imposed monetary barriers, and the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, combine to fundamentally deny victims’ legitimate right to an effective judicial remedy. In effect, they contribute to the establishment of an ‘accountability free-zone’ in the Gaza Strip, wherein Israeli forces are free to violate international law without consequence. At issue in this petition is the fundamental – and universally recognized – right to compensation in the event of a violation of international law.
Latest commentaries and analyses: questions about unity deal, Helen Thomas, Jews in the Palestinian movement, Seattle billboards
Helen Thomas and the Political Cleansing of America – James Abourezk
The Role of Jews in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement
Questions about “Hamas-Fatah reconciliation” – Ali Abunima
Israel lobby strikes again as Seattle billboards are canceled?
and more updated through the day...
Friday, April 29, 2011
In Bil'in, in the central West Bank, 10-year-old Mohammed Iyad Burnat was injured when a tear-gas canister hit his leg. In 2009, a protester was killed at a weekly anti-wall protest in the village when Israeli forces fired a high-velocity tear-gas canister into his chest.
Dozens of Palestinians, international activists and Israelis raised Palestinian flags and marched to the separation barrier, which annexes 60 percent of the village's land to build Jewish-only settlements.
Israeli forces fired tear gas, chemical water, sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
According to “Your Jewish News”, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. House Affairs Chairwoman, issued a statement denouncing the unity deal, and stating that under existing U.S. laws, the P.A. cannot receive funds from the U.S.
Ros-Lehtinen further stated that Abbas’s reach to Hamas, and his efforts for reconciliation “with a group considered by the U.S.. as a terrorist organization, will oblige Washington to end its aid”.
Eyewitnesses reported that several farmers, including an 84-year-old woman, were injured.
Some of the wounded were identified as Hilwa Abdul-Halim Mansour, 84, Abdul-Karim Ahmad Mansour, 62, and Fayza Khader Mansour, 44.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Residents said six bulldozers, a tank, and a personnel carrier entered the coastal enclave, and appeared to carry out a sweep of the area near the border, unilaterally declaring 'no go zone.' Read more
Farmers were having breakfast at 10.30 a.m. near a spring of water, according to witnesses, when the group of settlers hurled stones toward them and warned the farmers to leave the place.
The settlers were about 10 in number, they said.
Local official Nathmi Salman said the attack was one of a number of incidents in recent months. Read more
The bulk of international efforts go to humanitarian assistance, the development agency official said, urging the community to "go beyond" emergency support.
Palestinians are "highly educated, and can help themselves," he told Ma'an.
At the same time, the policies of Israel in Gaza "deny [Palestinian] rights to development," Garumann said, noting "you can't develop an economy in this context." Read more
Monday, April 25, 2011
The flood is the second in as many years, coming almost a year to the day after a 2010 flood from the Kfar Etzion settlement.
Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Awad Abu Sway said a pipe running north of the town near Wad Shakhat was opened, covering more than 10 dunums of privately-owned vineyards with waste.
Resident Mohammad Ali Al Qameery said that his car was parked in front of his home when it was attacked by the settlers.
Al Qameery added that the settlers also hurled stones at him as he tried to stop them.
The settlers also attacked several areas in Hebron, especially Sheikh Al Arroub area, and the Al Arroub Refugee Camp.
The Palestine News and Info Agency, WAFA, reported that the settlers attacked the Palestinian children with batons and used pepper spray against them, especially by spraying them in their eyes and on their faces.
At-Talahma told Ma'an that he believed the dogs were released in order to attack him, as he worked in the area adjacent to a wall separating the city's settler population from Palestinians in the Ar-Ramadeen area.
Medics said the man was treated for dog bites on his limbs and body.
At-Talahma said that following the attack, Israeli forces refused to give him first aid. He was evacuated to hospital by Palestinian Red Crescent medics.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Dozens of armed Israeli settlers sneak into West Bank site, 4 injured and 1 shot dead in clash with Palestinian police
Settler sources named the man killed in the incident as Jerusalem resident Ben-Yosef Livnat, a 24-year-old father of four who is the nephew of hawkish culture minister Limor Livnat, and was born in the Nablus-area settlement Elon Moreh.
The shooting took place when dozens of armed ultra-Orthodox settlers entered the Joseph’s Tomb site without an Israeli military escort.
The Palestinian officers told the group that they were not allowed in the area and said that in response settlers pulled out their own guns and pointed them toward the officers. Israel's military confirmed no coordination attempts had been made.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Gazans become fighters in a battle imposed upon them; they are soldiers who do not want to be soldiers
They were told the Israeli heavily armed soldiers did not check or did not want to check whether their neighbor, Abu Salma, was taking his little teething baby to his grandmother’s for some herbal medicine she prepared. He did not have a watch to check the time. The Israeli soldiers did. It was five minutes past seven. Or so they claimed. They just shot at him— or rather shot him. His little daughter, Salma, cried herself to sleep in a narrow alley trodden by nothing save rodents and stray animals, and Israeli patrol jeeps. Abu Salma bled. And bled. Even the shrieking voice of his daughter could not move his lifeless body.
Mohammed went deaf.
Forty something years later, Mohammed’s youngest son, Bilal, fell headless in a narrow alley by a stray (?) Israeli missile. It was only recently when Bilal knew how his dad became deaf. He never asked. He took it for granted that his father was born thus. It was when Bilal told his mother why he was hesitant about the idea of getting married. He feared deafness might be in the genes. However, his mother, Salma, confronted him with the truth. “Does my father know?” asked Bilal after a while. “No!” Bilal, who saw how much his dad suffered because of his deafness, swore to take revenge: to make those heartless killers pay.
Bilal’s dad is now too weak to be told he lost his dearest son. But at least 20 of Bilal’s relatives and friends swore to make those heartless murderers pay.
Palestinians do not need to be taught incitement of hatred. The occupation is their teacher. They know no matter how long you plan your future, or how much you save, or how hard you work to stay safe, death will eventually get at you.
Yesterday morning a friend and I happened to meet up with Yusuf and his kindergarten teacher as she took him home after class. They unsuccessfully tried to get through two gates before going through the ladder lady’s house.
Think of any five-year-old boy you know. Think of all you wish for him. Then watch this video and wish it for Yusuf too.
Daily Life in Hebron
"CPTHebron on Apr 21, 2011
Yusuf tried to walk home from school on the first day of Passover (4/20/2011) when Israeli military presence in Hebron was heightened. The checkpoints he usually passes through were closed, so he tried a few alternate routes before making him home. Watch this video to see a glimpse of daily life for school kids in Hebron, West Bank.
Palestinian sources said that the police manning a barricade prevented the young men from proceeding to the holy site while allowing dozens of foreign tourists to cross in the company of Israeli tourist guides, which led to clashes.
Palestinian officials & Israeli peace groups protest Israeli 'ad' of Subaru running over Palestinian teens
Ghassan al-Khatib, chief of the PNA media bureau told Xinhua that the PNA complained to the branch of Subaru in Israel for publishing the commercial photo, which mocks the accident of Israeli settler running over stone-throwing children in east Jerusalem seven months ago.
The designer of the advertisement wrote in Hebrew "We'll see who can stand against you." The driver of the car that hit the two Palestinian teens is David Birri, the director general of the settlements association (El'ad).
"Publishing the picture and the commercial is immoral act, which is condemned and denounced. It is a complete disregard of the life of the Palestinians," said al-Khatib, adding that "it encourages more violence against the Palestinians, including running over Palestinian children."
The PNA had strongly condemned the commercial and had addressed a letter to Subaru branch in Israel, calling on the company to stop publishing this immoral commercial, but the company denied that it is responsible for the commercial and condemned it, al- Khatib said.
Israeli Radio on Thursday quoted a spokesman of Subaru cars company in Israel as saying that the company "has no relation to the commercial or publishing it, and the company had protested against those who are causing harms to the good reputation of the company."
On Easter, Palestinian Christians and Muslims from the West Bank are still forbidden from entering Jerusalem
Ma'an, Josh Ruebner – Israel may be forgiven for failing to realize the current fiscal woes of the United States. After all, US military aid to Israel not only sailed unscathed through last week's passage of the 2011 budget, but reached the record level of $3 billion.
The United States additionally provided Israel $415 million for procurement, research and development of joint US-Israeli missile defense projects, including $205 million to fund Israel's newly-deployed Iron Dome system.
Israeli troops attack 4 separate anti-Wall protests, injure 16 civilians and abduct 4, storm village
In Bil’in, 15 protesters were injured when troops attacked the weekly march. This week’s protest in Bil’in ended a three day conference on nonviolent resistance in Palestine. The Conference began on Wednesday in Bil'in, and attracted hundreds of supporters from around the world, including Italian parliamentarian Luisa Morgantini and the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by the Israeli military in 2003.
Local sources reported that soldiers were stationed on all entrances of the village, including minor and dirt roads completely isolating the village from its surrounding areas.
American taxpayers give Israel over $8 million per day. Congress has just voted to give it an addition $205 million.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Also this week, Israeli forces raided houses belonging to activists in the peaceful resistance against settlements and ill-treated their families. In Gaza, Israeli forces bombarded a training site of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, and a nearby school and two homes were damaged.
Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers and fishermen in the northern Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.
The Central Court in Jerusalem ordered the release of Shereen Al Esaawi, along with her brothers, Midhat and Rafat, after the prosecution failed to prove its claims.
A month ago, the prosecution demanded additional nine-month imprisonment, but the court decided that the reluctance and endless delays shown by the prosecution in filing charges obliged it to look into their release.
The plans calls for constructing 800 new units for Jewish settlers; its main aim is creating a geographic link between the new settlement and Jerusalem so that the government can claim it as part of Jerusalem, and not as a settlement.
The Housing Ministry said that the budget was prepared for the new constructions, and that all plans are ready to go.
The plan is connected to Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and his office, while Israeli Housing Minister, Ariel Atias, promised to grant the green light for the project.
Israeli sources reported that the government of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is avoiding any official declaration of new settlement projects in order to avoid international pressure.
Although the government is not announcing new plans, planning and financing of potential construction projects are ongoing in order to ensure fast implementation once the green light is granted.
Atias in one of many Israeli ministers and legislators who carry fundamentalist views that call for removing the Palestinians from the country in order to ensure a Jewish majority.
In its Thursday press release, the foundation stated that the occupation is penetrating areas beneath the mosque and its surroundings through excavations that have been escalated over the last few months.
Israeli military bulldozers raze factories, bulldoze farmland in Gaza, fire indiscriminately at residential areas
After bulldozing the Palestinian factories, the army continued to bulldoze and uproot agricultural lands, and also destroyed electricity transformer stations.
Local sources reported that the soldiers also opened fire indiscriminately at nearby residential areas; damage was reported, no injuries.
The Al Mintar Crossing was closed by an Israeli army order issued a few months ago, and the only trade crossing that remained open, partially in many cases, is the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing.
On its own, the Karem Shalom Crossing is not adequate enough to allow the passage of all supplies and materials urgently needed in the coastal region.
Also on Thursday, soldiers opened fire at Palestinian farmers in northern Gaza and wounded one farmer.
The 45-year-old farmer suffered moderate wounds in his abdomen, and was moved to a local hospital for treatment. The farmer was working in his land, north of Beit Lahia.
Pipes will also fail to mention the nine Turkish activists murdered aboard the Mavi Marmara ship on its way to break the siege on Gaza in May 2010, and the nine activists abroad Irene (the Jewish Boat to Gaza) who were intercepted, kidnapped and humiliated by Israeli troops before being deported outside the country in September 2010....
Maan, Ramzy Baroud: "Staying human: A heroic legacy"
Palestinian medics said three factory workers sustained multiple injuries in Ash-Shuja'iyeh and were transferred to the Ash-Shifa Hospital.
An Israeli military spokesman said no tanks had opened fire in the area on Friday.
On Thursday, the Israeli army entered Gaza and demolished several buildings near the northern Karni crossing. The military said the buildings were used by "terrorist organizations," but Palestinians said they were warehouses holding goods which had entered through the crossing.
Witnesses said the buildings contained assorted equipment, children's diapers, scrap metal and cleaning detergent. The goods were damaged during the destruction of the warehouses.
During a meeting in Cairo, Baha Ad-Dusuqi, head of Palestinian affairs in the Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, informed Gaza government spokesman Taher An-Nunu that new measures would be in place at the terminal soon.
Israeli forces shoot farmer in northern Gaza, Oxfam reports that Israel has closed off 30% of agricultural land, majority of animal production area
The 45-year-old man was shot in his stomach in the Abu Safieyah area of Beit Lahiya and transferred to the Kamal Adwan Hospital, medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said.
Abu Salmiya added that Israeli soldiers open fire on residents of Beit Lahiya almost daily.
Israel unilaterally imposes a no-go zone along the border inside the Gaza Strip, and soldiers frequently shoot at Palestinians inside the area.
In Oxfam's latest report, the international organization said "In practice, Israel restricts access to agricultural land up to 1,000-1,500 metres from the fence, which accounts for more than 30% of Gaza's agricultural land and a significant number of water wells. Most of the Gaza Strip's animal production is also concentrated in this area."
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Hastings College of Law caves to ADL, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Community Relations Council, UCSC lecturer Rossman-Benjamin pressure
The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council are probably crowing over their successful effort to get UC Hastings Law school to distance itself from a March 24 conference devoted to the legal rights of Palestinians called “Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?” (Read an excellent piece on the events by Lisa Hajjar over at Jadaliyya.)
But the truth is that their efforts to stop–in the name of Jews– a conference promoting legal and human rights for an oppressed people is a profound embarrassment to any of us who consider ourselves part of any Jewish community.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in an email to supporters, JCRC head Doug Kahn called the conference, which featured an impressive range of human rights lawyers and professors from leading law schools, “anti-Israel”. (The conference was organized by the brilliant and highly regarded legal scholar George Bisharat whose primary crime seems to be that he is Palestinian.) Kahn said the JCRC and the ADL, plus the American Jewish Committee met privately with UC Hasting leaders days before the Hastings’ Board of Directors decided at a closed-door, emergency meeting to “take all steps necessary to remove the UC Hastings name and brand” from the conference. This included canceling a planned welcoming talk by dean and chancellor Frank Wu.
But the pressure didn’t just come from these groups.
The immoral wealthy have a new and tasteless toy: ancient olive trees adorning the gardens of their villas.
According to an investigative report by journalist Maya Zinshtein published in the Haaretz Hebrew edition on Monday, for around a decade now, illegal trade in ancient olive trees - including uprooting, stealing and smuggling them from the West Bank into Israel - has been flourishing.
It is a market worth millions of shekels a year, in which a single tree can command tens of thousands of shekels. The Haaretz report uncovered suspicions of criminal activities in this regard, along with an ugly greediness for pet trees that has nothing to do with the love of the land and its arboreal species.
Olive trees, one of the most beautiful and symbolic hallmarks of the land of Israel, have also become a status symbol for the upper thousandth percentile of the population. As a result, they are being uprooted from their natural surroundings, where they should have remained planted forever, ruining the landscape on both sides of the Green Line.
It is illegal to uproot and transport ancient trees without authorization. Many trees have been stolen from their owners in the territories, and in other cases, heavy pressure is brought to bear on Palestinian farmers to sell their trees, taking advantage of their powerlessness and making huge profits at their expense.
The government department in charge of enforcing the law pertaining to flora and fauna is partially paralyzed; a senior member of its staff owns a nursery, has a criminal record, and is suspected of taking bribes and of illegal trade in trees.
The state comptroller intends to soon publish a report on this department. But beyond the criminal nature of this commerce, the environmental and public aspects of this scandal cannot be ignored.
Uprooting ancient olive trees, which have been planted for centuries in public areas and have been an inseparable part of the scenery of the Galilee and the West Bank, and moving them to the private gardens of wealthy homeowners, rides roughshod over the landscape and heritage of this country.
Uprooting trees that farmers have tended for centuries and moving them to homes whose owners have no relationship to the land or to agriculture, is infuriating and improper. It is incumbent on the Agriculture Ministry and the Civil Administration to take immediate action to stop the theft of trees and the destruction of the landscape.
[Ancient Palestinian olive trees have also been stolen by the Israeli government and planted in public parks.]
Rabbis from all four streams of Judaism sign letter telling Congress not to cut $8 million per day to Israel
The letter, signed by rabbinic representatives of all four streams of Judaism, originally was supposed to be sent to lawmakers on April 15, during the congressional budget debate.
The letter reads, "As Rabbis in the American Jewish community, we write today to express our unified support for the State of Israel and to underscore the vital importance of U.S. foreign aid to Israel. It is essential that foreign aid to Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, continue as part of a strong far-reaching foreign aid package that allows nations to address poverty, global warming, democracy building, human rights and disease prevention."
In an open letter to their rabbinic colleagues, Reconstructionist Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Brian Walt, former executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, said they disagreed with the letter, objecting to a passage that reads, "As Jews we are committed to the vision of the Prophets and Jewish sages who considered the pursuit of peace a religious obligation. Foreign Aid to Israel is an essential way that we can fulfill our obligation to 'seek peace and pursue it' (Psalms 34:15)."
The unconditional aid, the two rabbis wrote in a letter widely disseminated on websites, pays to enable Israel to continue what they called its "occupation of Palestinian lands" and to terrorize Palestinians.
The U.S. House of Representatives on April 15 passed a budget bill confirming $3 billion in foreign aid, much of it military aid, in addition to $205 million for funding the Iron Dome short-range anti-missile system.
Dylan, whose lyrics have been soaked in biblical and religious imagery for decades, is coming here in June for the first time since 1993 as part of his “Never-Ending Tour,” which has taken him recently to China, Taiwan and Vietnam. That has brought criticism from groups such as Human Rights Watch, who say that Dylan should be ashamed of himself for allowing his set lists to be pre-approved. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd threw a fit over his shows in China.
Hundreds of activists and dozens of diplomats congregate at Bil'in Conference on Palestinian popular resistance
The 6th International Bil’in Conference on Popular Resistance opened today in a festive opening session participated by Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, the recently released protest organizer, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Abbas Zackie of behalf of the PLO, and former Vice President of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini.
During the opening session, Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad called on the international community to promote Palestinian self determination, saying that “The international community must be committed to promoting a Palestinian state withing the 1967 borders and supporting the planned deceleration of independence coming September”. He also called on the international community to protect and safeguard the Palestinian nonviolent resistance and specifically referred to the recent arrests of Bassem and Naji Tamimi of the Nabi Saleh popular committee.
More than 20 diplomats from around the world attended the opening, including Christian Berger, representative of the European commission and the Consul Generals of Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Poland and Austria. The US, France, Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland have also sent lower level diplomatic representation.
To the south lies Fasayil, which is classified as Area B under the misleadingly named Oslo Peace Accords. Because of the status afforded to it by the 1994 treaty, villagers are entitled to build schools and houses, as well as run water and electricity to their homes. Life is by no means perfect, and the Palestinians who live there are still deeply affected by Israel’s occupation. Yet, being in Area B does afford them a limited right to education and healthcare.
Just under five kilometres to the north is the village of Fasayil al-Fauqa, classified as Area C under Oslo. In 2008, after a project by Jordan Valley Solidarity to build a school, Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair negotiated a special status for Palestinians living there. All solid structures built since the signing of the 1994 Oslo agreement were allowed to stand, despite being ‘illegal’ under Israel’s punishing military law. Yet Fasayil al-Fauqa is still Area C, and these small gains can be cruelly taken away at any time the occupation decides.
Nestled between the two, Fasayal Al Wusta is home to a small community of Bedouin, many of whom travelled to the area from Bethlehem during the late 1980s and 90s following harassment by the army. Fasayal Al Wusta lies in Area C, and its inhabitants are thus denied the basic necessities afforded to their neighbours in Area B. This includes water, and electricity from the power lines that criss cross above their homes to Area B and the surrounding agricultural colonies (settlements) of Tomer and El’Fasail.
Palestinian leader Ashrawi: "What we need from the Quartet is for it to uphold international law", Netanyahy proposal "manipulation"
“The Quartet has released no statement recognizing a Palestinian state. What we need from the Quartet is for it to uphold international law, and for its individual members to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, within the framework of the United Nations. The Palestinian leadership has been up front regarding its intention to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September.”
Residents said that a group of settlers from settler organizations Moskovich and Chibi Ali went around the neighborhood and gave ten families eviction orders, claiming their homes belong to settlers.
Residents added that the settlers stormed one of the homes slated for eviction; they managed to take photos before the owners were able to get them out.
House owners slated for eviction met with Palestinian officials and NGO representatives in an attempt to hire lawyers and go to the Israeli courts to stop the eviction.
The result of lobbification can be seen in the stilted and fawning behavior of the lobbified political brain. Politicians with lobbified brains become the obedient instruments of the lobbies which have captured their political souls. Below are a few examples of the results of lobbification.
The majority of the politicians who sit on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee are victims of lobbification. Among the major lobbies that have, over the decades, carried out this corrupting process are the Zionist organizations in their various Jewish and Christian manifestations.
In their present state, the lobbified minds of these committee members, so influential in the foreign policy formulation process of our country, are utterly incapable of questioning, much less defying, the hypnotic power of either American Zionists or the Israelis.
“People feel that they are under siege,” Qaraeen, a 25-year-old resident of Silwan in East Jerusalem, told The Electronic Intifada. “I cannot do anything to risk the possibility of not coming back [to Jerusalem].”
A field researcher with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s (ACRI) “Human Rights in East Jerusalem” project, Qaraeen submitted a petition with ACRI and Hamoked - the Center for the Defence of the Individual, to the Israeli high court on Thursday 7 April.
The petition demands that the current practice of revoking residency rights be changed to protect the rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
“We should be treated as the indigenous people of the place. We are not guests. We are from here and we should be able to leave [the city] and come back if we choose,” Qaraeen said.
More specifically, Hamoked wrote in a 7 April press release that the petition is asking “the court to determine that with respect to East Jerusalem residents, for whom this piece of earth is home, permanent residency visas cannot expire, even following extended periods of living abroad or the acquisition of status in another country” (“HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel lodge a petition”).
Since Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, later annexing the territory, it is estimated that more than 14,000 identification cards have been revoked from Palestinian Jerusalemites, who have thereby lost their residency rights and the ability to live in the city.
Israel is appropriating and misrepresenting ancient Christian & Muslim sites, Israeli archeologists are complicit in colonial agenda
Last spring, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Bilal Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb outside Bethlehem to be “Israeli national heritage sites.” As The Electronic Intifada has reported since, the State of Israel seems to have two approaches to Palestine’s ancient sites. If, like the sites Netanyahu claimed or the remains at Sebastia, they fit into Israeli narratives about the Jewish history of the region, they are appropriated, renovated and incorporated into “archaeological parks.”
If, like excavated finds and important buildings in Gaza, they highlight ancient Philistine or more recent Islamic periods of history, they can be bombed along with Gaza’s residents, or simply allowed to decay as vital conservation chemicals are excluded by the blockade. As an American-accented tour guide, overheard in Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif in October 2010, put it: “Having worked on two or three archaeological digs here [in Jerusalem], I can tell you that if anything is between 200 and 500 years old, it just gets tossed. It’s nothing.”
It’s against this setting that in October 2010, while researching a guidebook to Palestine, I found myself increasingly confused about a number of historical sites scattered around the occupied West Bank. None of them had the religious and historical importance of the Ibrahimi Mosque or Rachel’s Tomb, but they had their own place in Palestinian history and architecture. They were places mentioned in Palestinian tourism publications such as the locally-published Alternative Tourism Group travel guide Palestine and The Palestinians, the official Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism website, Jericho Municipality’s tourist listings or the “Places to Visit” section of the PA’s diplomatic mission to Japan website. This implied that they were recognized by Palestinian sources as being part of the country’s heritage.
But the information about them was hazy, as if their existence was being acknowledged but at the same time they weren’t being incorporated into the itineraries of the growing Palestinian cultural tourism industry. Palestinian tour organizers I spoke to dismissed my inquiries, saying only that “I’ve never been there” or “we don’t take groups there.” There was, I soon found, a very good reason for this.
Palestinian villagers in Yatta fear Israel is about to demolish their homes, Israel has doubled demolitions
The residents of Um Zeitouna, southeast of Yatta, received orders from Israel's Civil Administration in early April warning that their homes were to be demolished, citing a lack of permit.
A dozen tents and animal shelters were listed as illegal by the orders. The majority of buildings set for demolition belong to the families of Mahmoud Abu Taha, Muhammad Abu Taha and Ibrahim Al-Da’ajneh, the residents said.
The demolitions come as UN officials warned of a doubling of home and building demolitions carried out by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2011.
"I am not saying this is classic ethnic cleansing, but the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned this discrimination and make no mistake, it is discrimination against one ethnic group," UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness commented following the release of the demolition figures.
The laureates plan to sign the petition, also inked by several dozen other Israeli artists and intellectuals, on Thursday, in a symbolic ceremony in front of the building where the state of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948.
Among the petition's prominent signatories are Menachem Yaari, the former president of Israel Academy of Sciences, Shulamit Aloni, the founder of the leftist Meretz party and Danny Karavan, a painter and sculptor.
All three are winners of the Israel Prize, which is considered the Jewish state's highest honor and is awarded each year in several fields, including for contribution to the nation.
The petition comes as Palestinian officials say they are increasingly determined to seek United Nations recognition for a state within the borders that existed before the start of the 1967 Six Day War, to include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
"We are here to welcome the expected announcement of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, according to the borders of our Independence, fixed during the 1949 armistice," the petition reads.
The armistice marked the end of the first Israeli-Arab war, which resulted in the birth of the Israeli state on borders that did not change until the Six Day War.
The petition warns ending Israeli occupation is the only way to fulfill the terms of the UN partition resolution, which passed a year before Israel declared independence and called for the creation of a democratic Jewish nation and a democratic Arab nation.
"The complete end of the occupation is an essential condition of the liberation of the two peoples," the petition reads.
In addition, a third suspect was arrested by the Hamas security forces. The two suspects who were killed were identified as Abdul-Rahman Al-Breizat and Bilal Al-Umari, and the suspect who was arrested was identified as Mahmoud Muhammad Nimir Salfiti.
According to a statement by the Hamas Interior Ministry, three security officers were also injured during the standoff, when one of the suspects threw a grenade at the other suspects. The statement said, “The operation ended with Al-Birizit throwing an explosive device at his comrades ... and then firing on himself. Three security forces were injured, two of them moderately”.
The organizers said that the convoy is meant to “give the children of Gaza life and hope”.
The groups stated that “after the successful trips of Miles of Smiles 1 and 2, and despite the suffering, obstacles and oppression practiced by Israel, the participants of the third convoy are ready and are happy, once again, to put smiles on the faces of the children of Gaza”.
The convoy is sponsored by the Lebanese Prime Minister, Salim Al-Hoss, who also heads the International Campaign to end the Siege on Gaza, Partners for Peace and Development for Palestinians in Europe, and in cooperation with several human rights groups, including the UNRWA and the Red Crescent along with several other humanitarian groups, and individuals.
The online foreign affairs magazine cited exclusive WikiLeaks cables detailing moves by the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to prevent a more thorough UN investigation of alleged abuses during the conflict.
Dozens of armed settlers of the nearby Bracha illegal settlement, attacked several homes in the village and fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition.
The settlers also tried to break into the house of resident Boursly Eid in an attempt to place a huge sign on his rooftop.
Ghassan Douglas, in charge of settlements file in the northern part of the West Bank, said that the settler shot resident Eid twice in his arm and once in his waist.
The wounded resident was moved to the Rafidia governmental hospital in Nablus suffering mild-to-moderate wounds.
Earlier this month, settlers violently attacked and struck a 47-year-old man, east of Nablus city, causing fractures in his legs and arms.
The resident, Imad Salahat, from Tallouza village, was visiting one of his relatives when he was attacked by fundamentalist settlers. He was moved to Rafidia hospital for treatment.
The settlers also broke water pipes and placed rubble on a water spring that belongs to the residents of Madama village, south of Nablus.
UN official calls for protecting Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, especially women & children
Maxwell Gaylard stated that Palestinian detainees, especially detained women and children, need urgent protection.
Gaylard stated Monday that International Law and human rights principles must be applied regardless of the reasons behind their detention.
He also stated that preventing the families of the detainees from visiting them contradicts the international law, adding that isolating the detainees from their families breaks up family ties.
Gaylard said that there are 200 children below the age of 18, and 37 who women still imprisoned by Israel. He stated that all detained minors must be granted special protection.
The homes in question are located near settler-only roads leading to illegal Israeli settlements.
Israeli army kidnaps six Palestinians, orders 10-day closure for Muslims and Christians during Jewish holiday
The six Palestinians were detained after the army broke into their homes in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sheikh Salah was taken prisoner at the Allenby Bridge while heading back home to Um Al Fahim Arab town following pilgrimage in Mecca.
The Police claimed that sheikh Salah obstructed the work of a security officer at the bridge.
The Islamic Movement slammed the arrest and stated that the police initially arrested Sheikh Salah, his wife, Dr. Suleiman Ighbariyya of the Isra’ Relief and Development Association, his wife, in addition to Jamal Rashid head, of the Al Aqsa Foundation and his wife. They were all released later on except for Sheikh Salah.
The movement said that Sheikh Salah and his wife were badly treated and were subject to illegal search.
It added that the security personnel at the terminal tried to strip-search the wife of Sheikh Salah, an issue that pushed him to object and to demand the army to show some respect by treat her in a humanitarian way.
"Freedom should be a value that every human being believes in and prays for, and not only a nice holiday name. Palestinians will continue to pave their way for freedom, which we hope it will become closer in September this year," a spokesman for the Palestinian Government Media Center said in a statement.
During the Passover holiday, Jews commemorate the exodus from Egypt, when the Jewish people are said by the Hebrew Scriptures to have been freed from slavery.
Israel's Ministry of Defense issued the orders to put the West Bank under lockdown for 10 days less than 12 hours in advance of the closure, prompting the PA to stress that "while Israelis celebrate their holidays, Palestinian Christians face restrictions on their freedom of movement and right to worship."
Resident Samir Burnat, 35, was shot in his shoulder and foot by rounds of the “Tutu” ammunition that was outlawed by the Israeli court in 2001, but which the army nevertheless continues to use.
Burnat was moved to a Ramallah Hospital for treatment, the Friends of Freedom and Justice in Bil’in reported.
Residents Basil Mansour, 24, Mohammad Burnat, 22, were injured by cartridge fragments of the illegal rounds, and Fadi Al Khatib, 15, was wounded in the hand. Dozens more residents suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The protest was organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in and a popular campaign for the release of imprisoned political leader, Marwan Barghouthi, and all Palestinians detained by Israel.
Many residents also came from nearby villages to participate in the weekly protest in addition to Abbas Zaki, member of Fateh’s Central Committee, Fadwa Barghouthi, member of Fateh’s Revolutionary Council, Ziad Abu Ein, undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees.
The protesters carried pictures of detained leader Marwan Barghouthi, and pictures of the Italian peace and solidarity activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, who was kidnapped and murdered by mercenaries in Gaza. They also carried banners calling for an end to internal divisions and an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
In the sermon delivered at Yeshurun Synagogue in Jerusalem on Saturday, Metzger told said there was a feeling that many American Jews that had supported Obama in the last election were disappointed in him, in no small part because of Obama's indifference to Pollard.
A civilian employee for the United States Navy, Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 on charges of spying for Israel. He is incarcerated at a federal jail in North Carolina. [Pollard did more damage to US than any other spy.]
Hundreds of Palestinian have died inside Israeli prisons and now an Israeli television channel has aired shocking footage of Israel's so-called Control and Restraint unit, or Masada, attacking Palestinian prisoners.
Activists have demanded people in charge of the operation, carried out in 2007, be charged and the family of one of the victims told Al Jazeera that they would consider suing Masada.
Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from Seida in the occupied West Bank.
Vittorio Arrigoni, the murdered human rights activist, was involved in setting up this project and therefore a commemoration will be held at the end of the press conference. As Vik was involved in choosing the name of the boat and expressed his desire for it not to be named after an individual, the boat will be going by the name Oliva, which he supported, but the mission will carry on in his spirit.
The launch of Oliva, an 8-meter long white motor boat, will inaugurate the Civil Peace Services mission in Palestinian waters. Since Operation Cast Lead, access to fishing grounds has been unilaterally restricted by Israel to 3 nautical miles. This dramatic reduction of the 20-mile limit which was agreed upon in the Oslo Accords has resulted in the overexploitation of fishing grounds in which stocks are close to exhaustion. Fishermen are threatened by gunfire, confiscation of their boats and fishing tools and arrest by the Israeli Navy which regularly launches attacks and incursions in Palestinian waters.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, nearly 90% of Gaza's 4000 fishermen are now considered either poor (with a monthly income of between 100 and 190 US dollars) or very poor (earning less than 100 dollars a month), up from 50% in 2008.
Some Itamar settlers espouse extremist views; father says daughter and grandchildren "received the privilege of being sacrifical lambs"
In an interview reported by Israel National News, the father of the family killed in Itamar, Rabbi Yehuda Ben Yishai, said that his daughter and her family "received the privilege of being the sacrificial lambs and to sanctify the name of heaven." Yishai called for a greater strengthening of "Jewish identity and pride."
The New York Jewish Week reports that some Itamar residents have been calling for the expulsion of all Palestinians from the West Bank, quoting David Schneerson, who lives next to the house of the murdered family:
"As long as there is one Arab here, it’s not enough... Kahane is the closest to correct in all of the politics in areas,” he said, referring to Rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated the transfer of West Bank Palestinians. “No one wants Arabs here in the state.”Jewish Week reports that Schneerson, 30, is a Chabad Lubavitch emissary and says that Israeli military officers told David Schneerson that the murderer cased his home.
According to the report, "Schneerson believes that a picture of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, saved the lives of his family and five children." The story quotes Schneerson: “Our door was open. We are sure that he saw the rebbe and fled.”
The Rebbe, as Rabbi Schneerson is known, is highly revered by thousands of followers in Israel and the U.S.; some believed him to be the messiah.
Schneerson taught an extreme form of Jewish supremacism, stating that Jews constitute a separate, superior species, writing that "the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world...A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity" and that "The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews."
Schneerson was recently honored by a proclamation by President Obama, following a tradition begun by Congress in 1978.
Many in the village refuse to believe the investigation conclusions including the village council chief Kais Awad. "I have major doubts over the Israeli findings and demand an international inquiry. They're children, it isn't possible that they committed this awful act," he said.
Awad stressed that he condemned the murders but claimed that the two suspects confessed to the murders under duress. Read more
In a briefing document obtained by AFP, the agency said the men had confessed to the murder of five members of the Fogel family, from the northern West Bank settlement of Itamar. The document said the two had staged a reconstruction of the slaying.
Israel's daily newspaper Haaretz named the two as students Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad 18, noting they were unrelated to each other, but were both members of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The Israeli military confirmed the arrests, with Colonel Nimrod Aloni, commander of the Shomron Brigade in the northern area of the occupied West Bank telling a briefing: "We can say that the murderers are in our hands."
The Shin Bet and Israeli military said the two suspects are from the West Bank village of Awarta, the Palestinian village closest to the Itamar settlement, and the central focus of the investigation into the murders.
Investigation procedures sparked concern in the international and human rights communities, with several military curfews imposed on the village, mass sweeps of residents, home-to-home searches and forcible detentions of elderly women and children.
Village leaders called the tactics "collective punishment," and called for international observers to come to the area and ensure no further rights abuses. Rights groups noted that none of the residents detained, questioned and compelled to give fingerprints and DNA samples were given access to a lawyer, some - reports said - were held for days and weeks without charge, and accusations were made that some of the detainees had been badly beaten in Israeli custody.
The murders, which saw three children and their parents brutally stabbed in their beds, and survived by three children, sent Israeli police on high alert and sparked revenge attacks by West Bank settlers.
Dozens of acts of settler harassment, violence and vandalism were reported in the wake of the murders, which were condemned by the Palestinian leadership, and went unclaimed by any Palestinian faction. [In the weeks prior to the murder four teens from the area had been killed by Israelis.]
[This is in addition to the $3 billion Israel receives from the US in 2011.]
Barak said the decision is a "significant reinforcement of Israel's defense capabilities against missiles."
The U.S. Congress also voted to continue aiding Israel to fund defense projects such as Arrow 2, Arrow 3, and Magic Wand. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the budget on Friday evening.
Obama honors Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who proclaimed Jews a separate species superior to all others
"On Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., we celebrate the example set by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who dedicated his life to improving education and fostering goodwill for all people," Obama said in a statement Thursday proclaiming April 15 as the 33rd commemoration of the event instituted by Schneerson in 1978. "His legacy continues to inspire individuals to carry forward his effort to build a brighter future. Each year, Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., reminds us of our obligation to create opportunities for a better tomorrow -- life lessons we pass on to all our children."
Schneerson was an early advocate of a Department of Education separate from the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Beginning in 1978 Congress has authorized and requested the President to proclaim an "education day" honoring Schneerson and the international Lubavitch movement.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library, in 1994 "a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Charles Schumer, John Lewis, Newt Gingrich, and Jerry Lewis to bestow on the Rebbe the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed both Houses by unanimous consent, honoring the Rebbe for his 'outstanding and lasting contributions toward improvements in world education, morality, and acts of charity'."
Schneerson, who died in 1994, taught that Jews were a completely different, superior species than non-Jews and has numerous followers in Israel and the U.S. Among his teachings (as quoted in Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, by Israel Shahak & Norton Mezvinsky, Pluto Press):
"a non-Jewish soul comes from the three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness."
"The body of a Jewish embryo is on a higher level than is the body of a non-Jew."The illegal settlement of Itamar, where five members of a family were brutally murdered last month, hosts Chabad Lubavitch emissaries in the house next door.
"the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews."
"The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews."
"the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world...A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity."
Saturday, April 16, 2011
It is such a pleasure for me to join you at this first U.S.-Islamic World Forum held in America. His Highness the Amir and the people of Qatar have generously hosted the Forum for years. . . . I was honored to be a guest in Doha last year. And now I am delighted to welcome you to Washington. I want to thank Martin Indyk, Ken Pollack and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution for keeping this event going and growing.Indyk and Pollack have helped to shape US foreign policy in the Middle East for decades. They are currently housed at the Saban Center, thanks to the generosity of Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media-mogul and one of the biggest contributors to the campaigns of pro-Israel politicians in the U.S.
Saban has been described by a New York Times reporter as a “tireless cheerleader for Israel.” He has also founded various centers and institutions to produce policy research favorable to Israel. In 2002 he pledged $13 million to found the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, which is now directed by Indyk, who had earlier founded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an AIPAC spinoff. Read more
Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted on Thursday, 14 April, in Central Gaza. Members of a notoriously fanatical group posted a video online saying they would kill him unless the Gaza government released detained Salafists from prison.
Within a few hours of the warning, Arrigoni's body was found in an empty house.
Arrigoni's death has infuriated Palestinians everywhere. Ismael Haniya, the elected Prime Minister of Hamas called Arrigoni's murder a "nefarious crime that goes against our religion, norms and traditions." A spokesman for the Gaza government described the perpetrators as "thugs and murderers of the lowest kind."
Mu'taz Al-Muhtaseb was beaten by soldiers and arrested, locals told Ma'an.
They added that Israeli forces came to the area after settlers from the illegal outpost Beit Hadasa attacked Mu'taz's home.
An Israeli army spokesman confirmed that soldiers arrested a Palestinian but said that the army was unaware of any beating or unusual incidents since his arrest.
He also told Ma'an that the incident came after several Israeli civilians hurled rocks at a Palestinian house. "When an IDF force arrived at the scene, they dispersed," the official said.
Prata on Saturday told Italian news sources that “I want to see Gaza that my son loved and sacrificed for, I want to meet the good people living there that my son Vik always talked about”. She added that Vittorio work will go on though his friends.
Vittorio’s mother added that her son received death threats from a right wing American group [called StoptheISM, reportedly created by pro-Israel fanatic Lee Kaplan] on their website two years ago because of his photos published online and the pro Palestinian tattoo he has on his shoulder.
"I was set to go to the Friday sermon [at the mosque] and it was about 12:15pm, when my daughter Nidal was talking to me about the final touches for her wedding party. By then, electricity was cut off and my wife Najah and my daughters Nidal, Neda and Fida, all moved to rest a bit on these chairs," Qdeih explained, standing near a crater left by the fatal missile strike next to his modest, rural home in al-Faraheen, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
The bereaved father added "After we talked, I took my son to the Friday sermon at a nearby mosque. While in the middle of the road, we heard a large explosion but we went on walking, for I didn't expect it was my home. As we arrived at the mosque, someone told me that my house was struck by a missile. Then I rushed back along with my son to the house."
As the two arrived, Ibrahim's 43-year-old brother, Fathi, along with Ibrahim's neighbor, Mansi, were trying to aid Ibrahim's wounded daughters, Neda and Fida. Najah and Nidal did not survive the strike. Neda is currently in critical condition and is being treated at al-Nasser hospital, while Fida's injuries are moderate.
Local sources said the shelling targeted two military bases of Hamas' armed wing the Al-Qassam Brigades in Ash-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, and the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, also in the north.
Witnesses said several houses near the military bases sustained damages and locals said they feared further attacks as warplanes and drones continued to hover over the besieged coastal enclave.
Goldstone report: Statement issued by members of UN mission on Gaza war
In recent days some articles and comments appearing in the press with respect to the report of the United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009 have misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimise the findings of this report and to cast doubts on its credibility.
The mission that comprised four members, including Justice Richard Goldstone as its chair, came to an end when it presented its report to the UN human rights council in September 2009. The report of the mission is now an official UN document and all actions taken pursuant to its findings and recommendations fall solely within the purview of the United Nations general assembly which, along with the human rights council, reviewed and endorsed it at the end of 2009.
Aspersions cast on the findings of the report, nevertheless, cannot be left unchallenged.
Members of the mission, signatories to this statement, find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission's report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate.
We concur in our view that there is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report as nothing of substance has appeared that would in any way change the context, findings or conclusions of that report with respect to any of the parties to the Gaza conflict. Indeed, there is no UN procedure or precedent to that effect.
The report of the fact-finding mission contains the conclusions made after diligent, independent and objective consideration of the information related to the events within our mandate, and careful assessment of its reliability and credibility. We firmly stand by these conclusions.
Also, it is the prerogative of the UN to take cognisance of any evidence subsequently gathered under domestic procedures that it finds credible and in accordance with international standards. Over 18 months after publication of the report, however, we are very far from reaching that point.
The mandate of the mission did not require it to conduct a judicial or even a quasi-judicial investigation. The mission and the report are part of a truth-seeking process that could lead to effective judicial processes. Like all reports of similar missions of the UN, it provided the basis for parties to conduct investigations for gathering of evidence, as required by international law, and, if so warranted, prosecution of individuals who ordered, planned or carried out international crimes.
In the case of the Gaza conflict, we believe that both parties held responsible in this respect, have yet to establish a convincing basis for any claims that contradict the findings of the mission's report.
The report recommended that proper investigations and judicial processes should ideally be carried out first of all at the domestic level, with monitoring by the UN. If these proved inadequate, it laid down a roadmap for the continuation of such processes at the international level. In line with these recommendations, the UN human rights council appointed a committee of independent experts to monitor the independence, effectiveness and genuineness of any domestic proceedings carried out to investigate crimes and violations of international law pointed out in the mission's report.
Many of those calling for the nullification of our report imply that the final report by the follow-up committee's two members, Judge Mary McGowan Davis and Judge Lennart Aspergren, presented to the human rights council in March 2011, somehow contradicts the fact-finding mission's report or invalidates it.
In the light of the observations of this committee such claims are completely misplaced, and a clear distortion of their findings. The committee's report states that, according to available information, Israel has conducted some 400 command investigations into allegations by the fact-finding mission and other organisations. Command investigations are operational, not legal, inquiries and are conducted by personnel from the same command structure as those under investigation.
The interior ministry "managed to arrest two suspects" in the murder on Friday of pro-Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, in addition to two other suspects previously taken into custody, a statement said.
"The security forces continue to hunt other members of the group responsible for the murder," said the statement.
The suspects arrested were being questioned about Arrigoni's murder, it added, without revealing their names or when they were arrested.
Hamas had said Friday two suspected kidnappers were arrested and security officials were looking for accomplices.
The Italian activist was found hanged in a house north of Gaza City, the ruling Hamas government said on Friday, blaming a radical Islamist group for his murder.
"The government media office denounces the criminal kidnapping and murder of an Italian solidarity activist... who was found by security hanging in an abandoned house in northern Gaza," Hamas said on Friday.
Hamas government spokesman Ihab Al-Ghoussein branded the murder a "heinous crime which has nothing to do with our values, our religion, our customs and traditions."
Al Jazeera, Nicole Johnston – There is a packet of pipe tobacco sitting in my Gaza City apartment.
It's Victor's. He left it behind the last time I saw him, about one month ago.
Anyone who knew Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni knew that he was usually puffing away on a pipe. Like a wise sea captain.
I had hoped to give his tobacco back to him this weekend, to catch up before he left Gaza and returned to Italy.
He was heading home to see his father, who has been very ill. Also to have a break from Gaza and return refreshed on a new flotilla aiming to set sail to Gaza at the end of May and break the siege.
I last heard from him on Wednesday. It was a short text message asking me if I'd just heard the loud booms. These were sonic booms from low flying Israeli war planes. No, I replied, I hadn't.
The following day he was kidnapped and shortly afterwards killed. Members of a Salafi group say they are responsible.
I first met Vik on a story inside Gaza's buffer zone. A team from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was accompanying a farmer and a dozen Palestinian women onto their land while they harvested their crop.
This area has been declared a no-go area by Israel. Inside the buffer zone Israeli soldiers shoot and sometimes kill Palestinians. ISM hopes the international presence will deter the Israelis.
It didn't seem much of a deterrent when we were there. Even with a film crew present Israeli troops fired shots. We crouched down low into the wheat.
Around 300 people participated in the weekly demonstration against the Wall in the village of Bilin today. This week’s march was dedicated to the memory of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, and protested his murder in Gaza City last night. As the peaceful procession approached the gate in the Wall, soldiers immediately began shooting tear gas projectiles at the protesters.
While most protesters were forced to retreat due to the gas, smaller groups of protesters remained in the area of the Wall, where clashes ensued. At some point, Samir Bournat, a 35 year-old resident of the village and regular demonstrator, noted that a sniper was aiming his rifle at a group of protesters standing near the iron gate in the Wall. He approached in order to warn them, and was shot by the sniper twice. One bullet hit his right shoulder, while a second bullet penetrated his left foot.
A Red Crescent ambulance which rushed to the sport to evacuate Burnat was also attacked with tear-gas projectiles shot directly at him by the soldiers. Burnat was eventually taken to the hospital in Ramallah, where an x-ray was taken and proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he was indeed hit by 0.22″ caliber live bullets.
A short while after Burnat’s injury, a few Border Police officers crossed the Wall in the direction of the village and proceeded to clash with the youth using tear-gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Moreover, one of the soldiers, even threw rocks at protesters.
Following a number of deaths and subsequent ballistic tests held at the Adam military shooting range in 2001, the Judge Advocate General ordered the classification of 0.22″ bullet changed from “less-lethal” to “live ammunition”, forbidden for use as crowd control means. Despite the classification change, the Israeli Army resumed using these bullets against demonstrators, causing at least two deaths – 14 year-old Az ad-Din al-Jamal from Hebron on February 13th, 2009, and Aqel Srour from Ni’ilin on June 5th, 2009.
Two other protesters who were lightly injured were treated by a medical team on the ground and did not require being evacuated to the hospital.