Israeli Minister threatens assassinations…

23 Apr

Israeli Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz. (Photo: via Twitter)

The Palestine Chronicle, 21 April 2018

Israeli Minister of Transport, Road Safety and Intelligence Yisrael Katz warned of resuming targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders from the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

On Twitter, he wrote:

“Hamas must know that any attack on IDF commanders at the border to Gaza will immediately lead to a renewal of targeted killings of the Hamas leadership.”

This happened only a few hours before the killing of Fadi Albatsh, 35, in Malaysia.[See report below. Ed]

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

…a few hours later:

Fadi al-Batash is depicted in a poster on a home in the northern Gaza strip. Photo: mohammed salem/Reuters

By Rory Jones, Abu Bakr Bashir and Yantoultra Ngui, Wall Street Journal, 22 April 2018

Hamas Blames Israel for Alleged Assassination of One of Its Members

Researcher’s death followed threat by Israel of potentially carrying out targeted killings

Militant and political group Hamas on Saturday blamed Israel for the alleged assassination of one of its members in Malaysia on his way to a mosque for prayers.

Hamas said 35-year-old Fadi al-Batsh was killed at dawn in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Hamas officials didn’t disclose Mr. al-Batsh’s role in the Islamist movement or how he was assassinated but said he was a researcher in “the field of energy.”

The killing came a day after Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz warned the Gaza Strip rulers that Israel would mount targeted killings should the group threaten Israeli commanders.

Continue reading

Israeli General: snipers ordered to shoot children

23 Apr

Israeli Brigadier-General (Reserve) Zvika Fogel (Wikipedia)

By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 22 April 2018

Snipers ordered to shoot children, Israeli general confirms

In a radio interview, Brigadier-General (Reserve) Zvika Fogel describes how a sniper identifies the “small body” of a child and is given authorization to shoot.

Fogel’s statements could be used as evidence of intent if Israeli leaders are ever tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.

On Friday, an Israeli sniper shot dead 14-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ayyoub (pictured).

The boy, shot in the head east of Jabaliya, was the fourth child among the more than 30 Palestinians killed during the Great March of Return rallies that began in Gaza on 30 March.

More than 1,600 other Palestinians have been shot with live ammunition that has caused what doctors are calling “horrific injuries” likely to leave many of them with permanent disabilities.

As eyewitnesses and video confirmed, the child Muhammad Ayyoub posed no conceivable danger to heavily armed Israeli occupation forces stationed dozens of meters away behind fences and earthen fortifications on the other side of the Gaza boundary when he was killed.

Even the usually timid United Nations peace process envoy Nickolay Mladenov publicly declared that the slaying was “outrageous.”

Targeting children

On Saturday, Brigadier-General Fogel was interviewed by Ron Nesiel on the Israeli public radio network Kan.

Fogel is the former chief of staff of the Israeli army’s “southern command,” which includes the occupied Gaza Strip.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, drew attention to the interview in a tweet.

A recording of the interview is online (it begins at 6:52). The interview was translated for The Electronic Intifada by Dena Shunra and a full transcript follows this article.

The host Ron Nesiel asks Fogel if the Israeli army should “rethink its use of snipers,” and suggests that someone giving orders “lowered the bar for using live fire.”

Fogel adamantly defends the policy, stating: “At the tactical level, any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation.”

He adds: “If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …”

“Then his punishment is death?” Nesiel interjects.

“His punishment is death,” the general responds. “As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs.”

Fogel then describes the careful process by which targets – including children – are identified and shot:

“I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder, it goes even higher.”

For “it goes even higher,” Fogel uses a Hebrew idiom also meaning “it costs even more.”

In this chilling statement, in which a general talks about snipers targeting the “small body of a child,” Fogel makes crystal clear that this policy is premeditated and deliberate.

While presenting unarmed Palestinian children as dangerous terrorists worthy of death, Fogel describes the snipers killing them in cold blood as the innocent, vulnerable parties who deserve protection.

“We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up,” he says.

Lethal policy

Fogel’s statements are no aberration but represent Israeli policy.

“Israeli officials made it clear that the open-fire regulations would permit lethal fire at anyone attempting to damage the fence, and even at any person coming within 300 meters of it,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem stated in a recent analysis of Israel’s illegal targeting of unarmed civilians who pose no threat.

“Nevertheless, all state and military officials have steadfastly refused to cancel the unlawful orders and continue to issue – and justify – them,” B’Tselem added.

Continue reading

NEW ZEALANDERS SAY: ‘THIS MUST STOP!’

20 Apr

For the fourth week in a row, Aucklanders will rally again tomorrow in solidarity with the on-going Palestinian ‘Right to Return March’ campaign and to demand an end to Israel’s continuing massacres of unarmed Palestinian protesters near the heavily fortified Gaza border.

These Auckland protests will continue each Saturday at 2pm at Aotea Square (or outside the nearby Town Hall if raining heavily) until Israeli forces cease attacking the civilian mass protests in Gaza. To date 34 unarmed Palestinians have been killed, and over 4000 wounded, at the huge weekly gatherings near the Gaza border fences – mainly by Israeli military snipers (see photo above) and tear gas attacks. No Israelis have been harmed. [Photo: Middle East Observer]

Injured Palestinian Child Arrives in Ramallah, But It Was Too Late Palestine Chronicle, 19 April, 2018

Abdulrahman Nofal, 12, (above) was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper at the Gaza border last Friday, reportedly with a prohibited expanding bullet or ‘Dumdum’. (Photo: via Twitter)

In the beginning, Israeli occupation authorities refused to give the boy permission to get medical treatment abroad, in order for his leg to be saved.

The military’s authorization to leave Gaza for medical treatment was only released on Wednesday, and the child was moved to Ramallah (hospital), where he arrived in the evening, along with his grandmother.

Unfortunately, the surgeons were forced to make the difficult decision to amputate Abdulrahman’s leg, in order to save his life.

Former Norwegian fishing trawler to lead Gaza flotilla

18 Apr

Former arctic fishing trawler, renamed the Al Awda, is being refitted in Norway in preparation for the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla to break Israel’s illegal 10-year blockade of Gaza.

Kia Ora Gaza will facilitate the participation of a prominent New Zealand human rights advocate on the four-boat flotilla – destination: the Port of Gaza. ETA: July 2018

Freedom Flotilla Coalition announcement, 12 April 2018

The Ship to Gaza Norway campaign is delighted to announce that we are refitting a Norwegian fishing boat, which will sail for the Freedom Flotilla coalition in the 2018 mission, Right to a Just Future For Palestine.

Work is currently underway in western Norway to refurbish the 19 metre wooden boat which until six years ago was used in Arctic fisheries. She will be named Al Awda (‘The Return’) to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba or Catastrophe, as Palestinians refer to the ethnic cleansing by Israel that drove many of them from their homes in 1948. Together with three vessels from the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign and international participant from the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, Al Awda will set sail to challenge the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza.

“This is a very sea worthy former Norwegian fishing boat, built in 1963 for work under tough conditions.We have done a lot of work on it already including the building of new cabins and beds for paricipants and crew” commented professor Gerd von der Lippe from the Ship to Gaza Steering Committee. “We look forward to visiting about a dozen European ports between here and the Mediterranean, before heading towards Gaza in July. But to reach that goal we are counting on the support of people of conscience and grassroots organizations in Norway and around the world.”

Together we can help end the blockade!

sgf.freedom.flotilla.org

Palestinian Information Centre report, 14 April 2018:

The Freedom Flotilla coalition has announced the preparation for a new campaign to break the siege on Gaza. The campaign will be launched from northern Europe in mid-May under the slogan “for a just future for Palestinians”.

One of the vessels that will sail for the Freedom Flotilla was named al-Awda (Return) to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba and support the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

Zaher Birawi, a founding member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, said that this year’s campaign to break the siege will have special significance because it will be launched in conjunction with the peak of the Great March of Return in Gaza which demands the return of all Palestinian refugees to their lands from which they were expelled in 1948.

Birawi added that the ships will visit some European ports in addition to one Arab port, where solidarity events in support of the Palestinian people will be organized, before heading to Gaza.

He pointed out that the relatively small ships will be carrying dozens of public figures and international peace activists from over 20 countries, and are expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip in July.

palinfo.com

A packed fundraising concert in Auckland last night kicked off our Appeal with a generous $900.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT NZ PARTICIPATION IN THIS IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL MISSION:

Make a direct payment to our bank account: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, 03-0211-0447718-000, Westpac Bank, Onehunga branch. Afterwards, email office@kiaoragaza.net with your deposit details so we can send you an e-receipt.

OR: Write a cheque for ‘Kia Ora Gaza’ and post to: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, P.O. Box 86022, Mangere East, Auckland 2158

 

You’re invited to a special concert for Gaza

16 Apr

Acclaimed concert pianist, Angel Joseph-Gordon, will present at a special fund-raising concert for Kia Ora Gaza at 7:30pm on Tuesday 17 April at the Auckland Irish Club centre, Rocky Nook Ave, Fowlds Park, Morningside.

Angel will also perform a fund-raiser for Auckland Women’s Refuge 7:30pm on Monday 16 April. Entry to both concerts is $10.
Kia Ora Gaza has launched a public appeal to support New Zealand/Aotearoa participation in the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla to challenge Israel’s illegal 10-year blockade of Gaza.
Our Appeal Target is $40,000, which includes our nominee’s airfares, accommodation and our share in the purchase and upgrade of the flotilla boats.
Link to the FaceBook events page: https://www.facebook.com/events/168284673984393/?active_tab=about

Auckland’s weekly solidarity rallies for Gaza

16 Apr

A spirited rally in torrential rain at the Auckland Town Hall this weekend in solidarity with the Palestinian ‘Right to Return March’ (pictured) demanded an end to Israel’s continuing massacres of unarmed Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border. These protests will continue each Saturday at 2pm at Aotea Square (or outside the nearby Town Hall if raining heavily) until Israeli forces cease attacking the protests in Gaza. [Photo: Kia Ora Gaza]

The Death of Journalism in Gaza

13 Apr

By Don Carson, Wellington Palestine, 11 April 2018

[This article has been re-posted on the Palestine Chronicle website. Ed]

The Death of Journalism in Gaza

The US government and media endlessly claim Israel has a right to defend itself and how retaliation by Israel – it is always called retaliation –  is always justified.

When Israel attacks Gaza the Palestinians are denied the same right of defence.  It is partly because states always demand a monopoly on the use of violence, and since Palestinians have no state the idea goes that they are not allowed to defend themselves from an attack by a state.

The other reason is more obvious.  In Western eyes the Israelis are the good guys and the Palestinians are the enemy.  It is as simple as that.

An even deeper double standard has been revealed in the Israeli sniper assassination of the Palestinian journalist Yassir Murtaja on the Gaza side of the Gaza/Israel border.

He was wearing the universal identification of journalists in war zones.  Even the Israelis don’t deny that.

The Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Liberman said Murtaja was flying a drone over IDF forces, and by doing so was posing a threat.

Liberman told Israel Radio “all the demonstrators near the security fence in the Gaza Strip receive salaries from Hamas. Those who are trying to breach the border are members of the Hamas’ military wing.”

Liberman said of the journalist that “there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip [border area]. There are no protesters there. Whoever flies a drone over IDF forces – we will not take a chance. We warned everyone in advance. We issued warnings in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Whoever endangers his life does so knowingly.”

So, it seems, the Israelis don’t have the capacity to shoot down a drone that they believe is threatening them.  It’s much better to shoot dead the journalist who they claim was controlling the drone, though this is a now common way of getting news footage.

More importantly, the Israelis overfly Gaza with drones and military aircraft all of the time. And they use them to kill the Palestinians below. If the Palestinians in Gaza react to this death from the sky then it’s termed terrorist violence against Israel.

As for the warnings to stay away from the border issued by Israel.  Imagine if the Palestinians in Gaza warned the Israelis to stay away from their side of the border, how the Israelis would react.

The political context here is that the Palestinian population of Gaza is 1.9 million.  Of these 1.3 million are refugees from what is now Israel.  Under international law they are allowed to go home.  Israel won’t negotiate that right.  Israel would prefer to keep the Gaza population under a siege and blockade that has now gone on for more than a decade.

So, imagine how Palestinian refugees feel looking over the so-called border into a country called Israel, and into Israeli towns where the majority of the inhabitants were not even born in Israel, but assert they have a right to live in Israel and that the Palestinians who were born there do not.

No wonder the Israelis are keen to deal with journalists like Yassir Murtaja, who might point out that basic fact.

By Don Carson, a member of Wellington Palestine and a communications specialist with experience as a radio and television journalist.

Wellington Palestine is a Wellington based, non-profit community group working to promote justice, peace and freedom for the Palestinian people. We organise meetings, rallies and cultural events, and work in partnership with the New Zealand Palestinian Solidarity Network and other pro-Palestinian organisations.

You can support our work by making a donation, participating in our events and liking our Facebook page. If you want to get more involved use our contact page to get in touch.

All forms of racism and discrimination are the antithesis of justice, peace and freedom. Wellington Palestine events and social media will not tolerate any act or discourse which adopts or promotes, among others: racism, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, xenophobia, or homophobia.

Website: https://wellingtonpalestine.nz/

The Great Return March 2018: Video reports

13 Apr

VIDEO: The Great Return March, by We Are Not Numbers

A group of our writers send a message to the world from the Great Return March in Gaza. Special thanks to Yousef Basam, Anas Mohammed Jnena, Ali Abraham, Rana Shubair, Rozan Farra, Orjwan Sh, Fadi O. Al-Naji and Zahra A. Shaikhah.

VIDEO: from If Americans Knew

VIDEO: Drone footage captures ‘Great March of Return’ protests at Israel-Gaza border. RT 6 April 2018

Gaza: to break the siege and return

13 Apr

Palestinians protest peacefully at the Gaza border. Israeli snipers on the other side. (Photo: Mohammed Asad, MEMO)

By Dr. Khaled Odetallah, The Palestine Chronicle, 12 April 2018

Throughout history, Gaza has played a prominent role in resisting the Zionist Enterprise in Palestine, our homeland. Its resistance has accomplished multiple historic milestones, creating distinctive shifts in the forms of resistance. In the 1950s, the organized commando operations first emerged from Gaza, over a decade before the actual dating of ‘At-talqa al-Oula’ (the First Bullet) in 1965.

Gaza resisted its enemy fiercely and effectively which ultimately resulted in “breaking down the essence of the Zionist Enterprise,” i.e. settlement expansion. For the first time since the colonization of our land, the Occupation was forced to unilaterally withdraw. Gaza’s resistance has fought through a series of vicious wars, which are considered the greatest and most violent military confrontations the Palestinian people have ever witnessed.

Gaza has achieved great things although it has been under a suffocating ‘Palestinian,’ Zionist and Arab siege. This siege turned the lives of the Palestinians into a living hell – at a time when Gaza fell victim to the regional and international interests in its torn-apart lands.

As part of this great legacy of struggle against occupation, the ‘Brave Gazan Personality’ bloomed into existence. Such a personality was a mixture of national adherence and creative resistance. Therefore, now, the Gazans have participated in the Great Return March, which took place on the commemoration of Land Day on March 30; and during which 16 Palestinians were martyred, and hundreds were injured. This March was to propose a political suggestion that aligns with the popular uprisings that have been continuously occurring for almost 5 years. Its purpose was to bring together the struggle to break the siege and redirecting the Palestinian struggle towards its ultimate destination: liberty and return.

Continue reading

Auckland protest this Saturday 2pm Aotea Square

12 Apr

THIS MUST STOP!

New Zealanders need to make a stand against the barbaric violence of Israel’s massacres of unarmed civilian Palestinians, who have been gathering in huge numbers near Israel’s illegal border fences in Gaza to demand the universal right of return.

To date about 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers, and many thousands injured – some in critical condition in Gaza’s severely overstretched hospitals.

Demand our government condemns Israel’s massacres and closes down their embassy in Wellington. Support the Palestinian ‘March of Return’.

Bring your family & friends to the Palestine Solidarity Network rally for Free Palestine

this Saturday 14 April from 2pm at the Aotea Square, Queen St.

 

Israel massacres unarmed protesters – the world shrugs

12 Apr

VIDEO: TheRealNews interview with US/Palestinian author Ali Abunimah, 10 April 2018

Israel Massacres Unarmed Gaza Protesters Again as International Community Shrugs

The Israeli military massacred unarmed Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border for the second week in a row, and journalist Ali Abunimah says Israel has been granted “total impunity” on the global stage.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of the award-winning online publication The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. His latest book is titled The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Based in Chicago, he has written hundreds of articles on the question of Palestine in major publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and for Al Jazeera. Kia Ora Gaza and NZ Palestine Solidarity Network co-hosted a NZ speaking tour with Ali Abunimah in 2016.

A transcript of the Real News interview follows below.

Continue reading

Why Israel feels threatened by popular resistance in Palestine

12 Apr

A Gaza medic carries a wounded teenager to safety near the Gaza border. (Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun, ActiveStills.org)

By Ramzy Baroud, The Palestine Chronicle, 11 April, 2018

Why did Israel kill many unarmed Gaza protesters and wound over 2,000 on Friday, March 30 and on the following days, when they clearly posed no threat to Israeli soldiers?

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, many of them snipers, were deployed to the deadly buffer zone that the Israeli army has created between besieged Gaza and Israel, as tens of thousands of Palestinian families held mass rallies at the border.

“Yesterday we saw 30,000 people,” tweeted the Israeli army on March 31. “We arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”

The tweet, which was captured by the Israeli rights group, B’Tselem, was soon deleted. The Israeli army must have realized that killing children and bragging about it on social media is too cruel, even for them.

Palestinian popular mobilization deeply concerns Israel, partly because it is a PR nightmare. By killing and wounding this number of Palestinians, Israel had hoped that the masses would retreat, the protests would subside and, eventually, end. This was not the case, of course.

But there is more to Israeli fear. The power of the Palestinian people, when united beyond factional allegiances, is immense. It disrupts Israel’s political and military tactics entirely, and places Tel Aviv wholly on the defensive.

Israel killed those Palestinians precisely to avoid this nightmarish scenario. Since the cold-blooded murder of innocent people did not go unnoticed, it is important that we dig deeper into the social and political context that led tens of thousands of Palestinians to camp and rally at the border.

Continue reading

Where does New Zealand stand on Israeli massacres?

10 Apr

THIS MUST STOP!

Press release: Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa/New Zealand, 10 April 2018

The Great March of Return – GAZA

For a second week, thousands of Palestinians have protested along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, as part of the Great March of Return movement.

In response Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians including sixteen-year-old Husain Madi and photo-journalist Yaser Murtaja, and more than 2,500 have been injured across the occupied Palestinian territory.

“Where is condemnation of Israeli actions resulting in this appalling human toll by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters?” asks Billy Hania of the Palestine Solidarity Network (PSN).
The ongoing “Great March of Return” began to affirm the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes and to protest the appalling conditions that they are forced to live in.

Despite the fact that the protestors were unarmed, Israeli forces deliberately targeted Palestinians with sniper fire, live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and used drones for the first time in history to fire tear gas indiscriminately into the crowds.

The PSN spokesperson Hania says “we strongly condemn Israel’s deliberate and violent attacks against unarmed Palestinian protestors, and support the PLO’s call for an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate Israel’s murder of Palestinian demonstrators and its continued unlawful violations of international law and international humanitarian law”.

Part of the PSN Auckland rally last weekend supporting the Palestinian March of Return. The rally vowed to return to Aotea Square 2pm every Saturday until the Israeli massacres stop.

Continue reading

Special fundraising concert for Kia Ora Gaza appeal

10 Apr

Acclaimed concert pianist, Angel Joseph-Gordon, will present at a special fund-raising concert for Kia Ora Gaza at 7:30pm on Tuesday 17 April at the Auckland Irish Club centre, Rocky Nook Ave, Fowlds Park, Morningside.

Angel will also perform a fund-raiser for Auckland Women’s Refuge 7:30pm on Monday 16 April. Entry to both concerts is $10.
Kia Ora Gaza has launched a public appeal to support New Zealand/Aotearoa participation in the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla to challenge Israel’s illegal 10-year blockade of Gaza.
Our Appeal Target is $40,000, which includes our nominee’s airfares, accommodation and our share in the purchase and upgrade of the flotilla boats.
Link to the FaceBook events page: https://www.facebook.com/events/168284673984393/?active_tab=about

 

Jeremy Corbyn condemns ‘silence’ over Israel’s killings

8 Apr

The body of Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, who was shot and killed on Friday, is carried through Gaza City [Reuters]

By Rob Merrick, Deputy Political Editor, The Independent (UK), 7 April 2018

Jeremy Corbyn condemns Western ‘silence’ over Israel’s killing of at least 27 Palestinians on the Gaza border

Jeremy Corbyn has condemned Israel’s killing of at least 27 Palestinians on the Gaza border as an “outrage” and attacked Western “silence” about the deaths

In a message read out at a demonstration outside Downing Street, the Labour leader demanded that Theresa May support the United Nation’s call for an independent international inquiry.

Britain should also consider stopping the sale of arms to Israel that “could be used in violation of international law”, he said.

Mr Corbyn spoke out after at least nine more Palestinians were killed, and hundreds more injured, by Israeli gunfire, some reportedly shot in the head or upper body.

The latest deaths came a week after 18 Palestinians lost their lives when Israeli soldiers opened fire at similar demonstrations in support of a “right to return” to land lost to Israel in 1948.

Continue reading

Calling on world conscience

8 Apr

Palestinians take part in a tent city protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, east of Jabaliya, northern Gaza, on 30 March. Mahmoud Ajour APA images

By Hamza Abu Eltarabesh The Electronic Intifada 7 April 2018

Much has already been written and said about the bloody events of the first Great March of Return protest on 30 March.

Some of it will be forgotten in the bloodshed of the second march, on 6 April, which predictably saw Israel respond in the same brutal manner to popular unarmed demonstrations that it simply won’t countenance.

Indeed, the date of the first protest coincided with the commemoration of Land Day, when Palestinians protesting land confiscation inside Israel in 1976 were also subjected to lethal crowd control tactics and six unarmed demonstrators were shot and killed.

On 30 March 2018 the result was even more bloody. Fourteen protesters died on the day, and others succumbed to their injuries over the following week, bringing the total fatalities to 17.

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of any credible threat to Israeli soldiers, operating under a shoot-to-kill policy, posed by demonstrators.

After nine were killed during protests on 6 April, including a journalist, and another protester was shot dead earlier in the week, the total number Great March of Return fatalities has reached 27. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been injured – more than half of them by live fire – since the launch of the protests.

The Great March of Return demonstrations – which are set to run until 15 May, when Palestinians commemorate the anniversary of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine – have been called to restate demands for the right of return of refugees.

The right of return is an issue that, if it is broached at all, only receives the most cursory of attention from non-Palestinians and in the foreign and Israeli media and then only to be brushed aside.

And yet, it is an issue that lies at the very heart of the Palestine question.

Part of yesterday’s Auckland protest yesterday against Israel’s massacres of Palestinians in Gaza. [Chris McBride]

Continue reading

Murder in cold blood: Not only protesters but also journalists

8 Apr

Statement from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza, 7 April 2018

Not Only Against Demonstrators but also Journalists: Israeli forces Practice Murder in Cold Blood

On Saturday, 7 April 2018, Israeli forces killed photojournalist Yasser Murtaja [pictured above]. Murtaja succumbed to wounds he sustained after being hit with a live bullet that was shot by an Israeli sniper to the abdomen. Since the beginning of the incidents, 9 journalists sustained live bullets wounds.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) stresses that targeting journalists is a crime under the international law and the international humanitarian law. PCHR emphasizes that  the Israeli forces practice the policy of silencing the press according to PCHR’s follow-up for decades. PCHR also condemns targeting journalists and peaceful demonstrators and confirms its persistent efforts to prosecute  Israeli murders and war criminals.

According to PCHR’s investigations, despite apparently wearing “a Blue Helmet and Vest clearly Marked Press”, at approximately 13:45 on Friday afternoon, journalist Yasser Murtaja was wounded after being hit with a live bullet to the abdomen causing a rupture to the main artery of the Intestines while he was recording the events, 150-200 meters into the northeast of the demonstration yard in Khuza’ah, east of Khan Yunis. Murtaja was transferred via an ambulance to Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. Doctors found out that Murtaja suffers from a sever bleeding in the abdomen in addition to a rupture in an artery. He underwent a surgery and received medical treatment until his death was announced at approximately 01:20 on Saturday dawn, 07 April 2018.

PCHR documented the injury of 9 journalists since the beginning  of the “Great March of Return demonstration” on 30 March 2018 as follows:

  • Ahmed Abdul Nasser Abdul Rahman Qafah (22),a photographer at New Scene Art Production Company from Deir al-Balah, was hit with a live bullet wound to the right foot, east of Khuza’ah on 30 March 2018.
  • Ahmed Salem Shehadah Barbakh (Mo’amer) (23), freelance photographer at an international agency, was hit with a live bullet to the pelvis, east of Khuza’ah village, on 30 March 2018, despite apparently wearing “a Blue Helmet and Vest clearly Marked Press”.
  • Mahmoud ‘Adnan Mdoukh, a journalist at Media Town Company, was hit with a live bullet that penetrated the leg, east of Gaza City, on 30 March 2018.
  • ‘Ali Yusuf Hamoudah al-‘Adawi (22), a photographer at Turkish Ikhlas News Agency, was hit with a live bullet to the knee, east of al-Buraij.
  • Wesam ‘Atef Salah Mousa (33), a photographer at the website of Forsan Al Eradah Radio Station, was hit with a live bullet to the feet, east of al-Buraij refugee camp, on 31 March 2018.
  • ‘Ala’a Abdul Fattah al-Namlah (35) was hit with a live bullet to the lower limbs, east of Rafah, on 06 April 2018.
  • Khalil Ibrahim Abu ‘Athrah, a photographer at al-Aqsa TV Channel from Rafah, was hit with a live bullet to the leg, east of Rafah, on 06 April 2018.
  • Ibrahim ‘Emad Mohammed a-Za’anoun (21) was hit with a live bullet to the left hand, east of Jabalia, on 06 April 2018.
  • Mahmoud Murtaja, a journalist at Palestine Press News Agency, was hit with a live bullet to the back, east of Gaza City, on 31 March.

Targeting journalists, despite all the distinctive signs that emphasize the nature of their work and even the Israeli forces’ intentionally targeting the demonstrators in the upper side of their bodies undoubtedly confirms that the Israeli soldiers had orders or at least permits to cause  casualties inflicted and deter journalists from covering these crimes as well.

PCHR emphasizes that the rules of the international human rights law should be followed with peaceful assemblies on the Gaza Strip borders. Therefore, PCHR  stresses that Israel should be obliged to the international standards relevant to the use of force and firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

Rules of firearm use stipulate that soldiers should not use live bullets unless their life is under imminent threat and the shooting must be gradual and proportionate with the threat. First, the soldiers shall give a warning and not in any case use live bullets, except as a last option to defend themselves or in cases of non imminent danger aiming at hindering the attacker’s movement and not killing him.

According to PCHR’s follow-up and several international reports,  the facts on the grounds confirms that no threat was posed to the soldiers’ lives as they were standing hundreds of meters away from the demonstrators and separated by three security fences and fortifications with a huge sand barrier and personal shields. This confirms the absence of any possibility of a real threat to the soldier’s lives.

According to following up the targeting cases and injuries, one can confirm that the Israeli soldiers targeted the demonstrators with the aim of killing them. This can be clarified from the places of injuries; many of which were in the head and the upper parts of their bodies.

PCHR condemns in the strongest terms the targeting of peaceful demonstrators and journalists by the Israeli forces, who deliberately caused casualties inflicted. The number of casualties inflicted amounted to 25 killed persons, including  3 children,  and 1876 wounded persons, including 299 children and 57 women, within 8 days. Most of the wounded  persons were hit with live bullets.

PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate action to stop the Israeli authorities’ crimes against the Palestinian people.

PCHR stresses the central role played by the European Union (EU)  in promoting the protection of human rights in the Middle East. Thus, PCHR calls upon the EU to activate the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement in order to ensure Israel’s respect for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt).

PCHR affirms that the providing of any military or political support by any international party in the meantime constitutes participation in the crime committed against Palestinian civilians.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: http://pchrgaza.org

Real News video report on Israel’s border massacre

6 Apr

TheRealNews2 April 2018

Israel Massacres Unarmed Gaza Protesters, Shooting 773 with Live Ammunition

The Israeli military brutally crushed a protest on the Gaza border led by tens of thousands of Palestinians, killing 15 and injuring 1,400. Journalist Max Blumenthal speaks of Israel’s suffocating blockade of the strip and the biased media reporting on the “Great Return March.”

[NOTE: The NZ Palestine Solidarity Network, Global Peace & Justice Auckland & Kia Ora Gaza have called for a rally of support for the Great Return March and protest Israel’s massacres: 2pm on Saturday 7 April at the Aotea Square, Queen St, Auckland CBD.]

Amira Hass: In Gaza, Israel surpasses its usual evil

5 Apr

Palestinians react from tear gas, fired by Israeli troops, east of Gaza City, 1 April, 2018 [Mohammed Salem/ Reuters]

By Amira Hass, Opinion, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper), 3 April 2018

Israelis have become inured to historical associations; it’s no wonder they can justify lethal fire against unarmed demonstrators

In the Gaza Strip, Israel shows itself at its worst. This statement in no way detracts from the evil, both deliberate and incidental, that characterizes its policy toward other Palestinians — in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Nor does it lessen the horrors of its revenge attacks (aka reprisal operations) in the West Bank before 1967 or its assaults on civilians in Lebanon.

Nevertheless, in Gaza, Israel surpasses its usual evil. There in particular it causes soldiers, commanders, bureaucrats and civilians to demonstrate behaviours and character traits that in any other context would be considered sadistic and criminal or, at best, inappropriate to a civilized society.

Continue reading

The failures of Western reporting in Gaza

5 Apr

Palestinians set up tents in preparation for mass demonstrations along the Gaza strip border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City, on March 27. [AP File photo]

By Vijay Prashad, Daily Hampshire Gazette, & Common Dreams, 3 April 2018

If a Palestinian is killed by an Israeli soldier, the most appropriate thing to do is to call it a “clash.”

If you are a Western journalist and you have to report from Gaza, the best thing to do is to treat the Palestinians as a threat.

Their bodies are weapons, their existence is dangerous. If a Palestinian is killed by an Israeli soldier, the most appropriate thing to do is to call it a “clash.” Clashes take place when two armed forces confront each other.

Unarmed Palestinians are armed by the fact of their existence. If Israeli soldiers shoot to death 15 unarmed Palestinians, then the best way to tell that story is to say that “deadly clashes” took place in Gaza (“Deadly clashes in Gaza mark start of Palestinian campaign,” March 31).

If you are a Western journalist and you have to report from Gaza, don’t talk to any Palestinian officials. Talk only to the Israeli military and to the Israeli government. When the Israeli military says that the Palestinians began the “clash” with rocks and “burning tires,” repeat that as the origin for the Israeli use of tear gas and live fire.

Don’t bother to report what you have seen with your own eyes, or to watch videos on YouTube shot from both sides of the perimeter fence. No need to see that video of unarmed men kneeling down to prayer and then Israeli snipers picking them off one by one. Better to be a stenographer for the Israeli army than to be a journalist of the facts.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: