Israel issues denials, smears investigations of its crimes

6 Mar

Palestinians carry an injured protester during the Great March of Return on 2 February 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

By Professor Kamel Hawwash, Middle East Monitor, 6 March 2019

From Qana to Gaza, Israel issues denials and smears investigations of its crimes

I wrote recently about an EU report on the growth of illegal Israeli settlements and argued that the EU was diligent in documenting Israel’s-breaches of international law but that it has singularly failed to bring it to account, even when it has demolished EU-funded projects.

A more recent report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) investigated the actions of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at the nominal border with Gaza since 30 March last year, which marked the beginning of the Great March of Return protests. For almost 50 weeks, Israeli snipers have gunned down, with deliberate, chilling precision, Palestinian men, women and children.

The “Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – A/HRC/40/74” acknowledges that the peaceful protests “were civilian in nature, with clearly stated political aims.” The protesters asked to be allowed to return to the homes from which they have been expelled from 1948 onwards, and for a lifting of the siege on Gaza. Instead of meeting their peaceful and legitimate demands from the outset, Israel has killed over 200 Palestinians, including journalists and medics, and maimed dozens of young men, who now have to face life as amputees, rather than sportsmen.

Dozens of young men now face life as amputees, rather than sportsmen.

The irony here is that Israel complained about Malaysia’s decision to ban the Israeli Paralympics team from competing in the country, while the IDF was making its own sickening contribution to future Palestinian Paralympics teams.

The UNHRC’s report makes for gruesome reading. Israeli soldiers are accused of “intentionally firing on civilians, who were neither directly participating in hostilities, nor posing an imminent threat.” The report warns that, “These serious human rights and humanitarian law violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

Israel’s reaction was predictable and follows a long line of denial and smearing of any report which accuses it of wrongdoing. According to a Foreign Ministry spokesman, “This report was born in sin, in a politically biased, one-sided resolution that determined the outcome before the investigation even started.” He went on to lay the blame on Hamas: “[Hamas] has declared war on Israel and calls to kill Jews. Hamas is orchestrating the attacks and using civilians in Gaza as human weapons to assault Israel and Israeli civilians. Hamas exploits the civilians in Gaza as human shields for terrorists.” As usual when such allegations are made, no evidence is produced to back them up, nor is the legitimate right to resist military occupation ever mentioned.

The spokesman went on to smear the UNHRC and the report’s three authors: “The HRC becomes an accomplice of a terrorist organisation, supporting Hamas’s aggression against Israel and the oppression of the people of Gaza.” The three individuals, he alleged, lack any understanding in security matters, without a relevant professional background.

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UN investigators accuse Israeli of possible war crimes

5 Mar

Middle East Eye, video report published 1 March 2019

“Israeli security forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.” United Nations investigators have said that Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border “may constitute war crimes.”

Remapping of Palestine: Why Israel’s erasure of Palestinian culture will not succeed

4 Mar

By Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Monitor, 2 March 2019

“Everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by Israeli occupation,” said Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna, on 29 January  during a meeting with a delegation from the medical aid organisation Doctors without Borders.

“The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalising our Arabic and Palestinian existence,” the archbishop added.

Hanna, who has been at the forefront of the Palestinian Muslim and Christian struggle against Israel’s Judaisation schemes, is, of course, correct in his assertion that Jerusalem is targeted. But the truth is that there is a systematic campaign to strip not just the holy city of its Palestinian character, but also the whole of Palestine.

A few days after the Palestinian Christian leader made his comments, Israeli authorities carried out excavations in the historic Al-Bahr Mosque in the city of Tiberias, on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. In its place, Israel aims to establish a museum, a practice it has used many times in the past in order to erase historic symbols of Palestinian existence.

Israel’s disregard for the historical rights of Palestinians is deeply rooted in Zionist ideology. Indeed, from the very start, Zionist ideologues promoted the idea that Palestine was a place bereft of culture or heritage – an arid desert, waiting for Zionist pioneers to make it “bloom”.

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Auckland protest rally on Saturday

28 Feb

THIS MUST STOP!

New Zealand needs to make a strong stand against the barbaric violence of Israel’s massacres of unarmed civilian Palestinians, who have been gathering in huge numbers each week near Israel’s illegal border fences in Gaza since 30 March last year to demand the universal right of return and to end Israel’s illegal blockade and military attacks.

To date over 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers, and about 26,000 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.

ISRAEL MUST END THEIR COLONIAL OCCUPATION, THEIR ILLEGAL BLOCKADE OF GAZA AND

STOP KILLING PALESTINIANS.

The Palestine Solidarity Network invites supporters to join the monthly rally for Free Palestine on this Saturday 2 March from 2pm at Aotea Square, Auckland CBD

Workers suffocate as Israeli forces fire tear-gas at checkpoint

27 Feb

Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem, 26 February 2019

Dozens of Palestinian workers suffered tear-gas suffocation while at Checkpoint 300, north of the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, as Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters at hundreds of workers waiting at the checkpoint on Tuesday morning.

Palestinian security sources said that Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters towards workers after protesting Israeli soldiers’ ill-treatment of them.

Israeli forces then sealed off the checkpoint, denying workers access to their workplaces inside Israel.

Under Israel’s permit regime, Palestinian residents of the West Bank are not allowed to access occupied East Jerusalem or Israel without an Israeli-issued permit, and many risk being shot and injured while trying to cross into Israel to work.

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Violated education: a year of ongoing violations

26 Feb

VIDEO by Gvc Italia published 22 February, 2019. Violated Education: a year of ongoing violations in the West Bank in 2018.

Gvc is an Italian-based secular and independent non-governmental organization that since 1971 has been developing cooperation and development education projects in over 20 countries around the world.

 

Israel cuts water pipes servicing 1000 Palestinians

26 Feb

Video by btselem: Civil Administration cuts and confiscates water pipe servicing 12 communities at Masafer Yatta. On Wednesday, 13 February 2019, at around 8:30 A.M., Civil Administration personnel came with a military-jeep and Border Police escort to a site near the village of a-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The forces, which also had two crane trucks and a digger, unearthed a five kilometer stretch of pipe which was laid about two months ago to supply water to twelve communities in the area with a total population of more than 1,000. The residents previously relied on water supplied by tankers. The Israeli forces cut the pipe and confiscated it.

By Amira Hass, Haaretz, 23 February 2019

Analysis: For six months, these Palestinian villages had running water. Israel put a stop to it.

For six months, Palestinian villagers living on West Bank land that Israel deems a closed firing range saw their dream of running water come true. Then the Civil Administration put an end to it

The dream that came true, in the form of a two-inch water line, was too good to be true. For about six months, 12 Palestinian West Bank villages in the South Hebron Hills enjoyed clean running water. That was until February 13, when staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by soldiers and Border Police and a couple of bulldozers, arrived.

The troops dug up the pipes, cut and sawed them apart and watched the jets of water that spurted out. About 350 cubic meters of water were wasted. Of a 20 kilometer long (12 mile) network, the Civil Administration confiscated remnants and sections of a total of about 6 kilometers of piping. They loaded them on four garbage trucks emblazoned with the name of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on them.

Community leaders Nidal Younes (right) and Mohammed al-Raba’i with what remains of the water pipes. [Eliyahu Hershkovitz]

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Child victims of Zionist population control

25 Feb

By Leslie Bravery, Opinion: The Daily Blog, 25 February, 2019

In 2018, Israeli forces killed 56 Palestinian children (more than one a week) mostly by gunfire but also with missiles launched by tanks and drones. Israel’s military Occupation of the West Bank and obsession with population control has an especially severe impact on Palestinian children. They can never feel safe, not even at night in their homes.

A former Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, told the world: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” Golda Meir’s twisted excuse for Zionist war crimes speaks volumes – as does the photo [see above] of four, heavily armed and protected Israeli soldiers, terrorising a defenceless young Palestinian boy in the Occupied West Bank. The soldiers’ fearlessness in seizing the boy is reinforced by their ability to outnumber him; all four can be seen manhandling him. The Israeli Army is aided in its provision of more than ample manpower through the generosity of US taxpayers. In 2016, the US Government guaranteed US$68 billion in economic and military aid to Israel over a ten-year period.

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Palestinian teen killed by Israeli army gunfire

25 Feb

Yusuf Said Hussein al-Dayeh, 15, succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the chest by Israeli forces. (Photo: via Twitter)

Palestine Chronicle, 24 February, 2019

For the 48th week in a row, Palestinians on Friday converged along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in ongoing rallies against Israel’s occupation and the 12-year siege of the Gaza Strip.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, a Palestinian teen was killed Friday — and 41 other people were injured — by Israeli troops deployed near the buffer zone.

The ministry said in a statement: “Yusuf Said Hussein al-Dayeh, 15, succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the chest by Israeli troops.”

Since the demonstrations began in March of last year, more than 250 Palestinians — including a number of women and children — have been killed by Israeli army gunfire.

Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven from in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media. Slightly abridged.)

Facebook gives nod to secret pro-Israel campaign

22 Feb

Facebook gives nod of approval to secretive and deceptive pages set up by a lobby group that collaborates with the Israeli government.[Stephen Lam, Reuters]

By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 21 February 2019

Facebook has banned several pages belonging to such viral media outlets as In the Now because they are affiliates of the Russian-funded network RT – even though these media outlets violated none of the social network’s rules.

Yet The Electronic Intifada can exclusively reveal that Facebook has given a nod of approval to a network of secretive and deceptive pages set up by The Israel Project, a lobby group that collaborates with the Israeli government and with Israel’s military establishment to influence public opinion against Palestinians.

Last week, Facebook took down several pages run by Maffick Media. This came after CNN ran a report that the majority stakeholder of the company “is Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT, which is funded by the Russian government.”

Often featuring reporter Rania Khalek, one of those outlets, In The Now, creates viral videos on current affairs, including this recent one debunking US claims used to justify the Trump administration’s regime change effort in Venezuela:

Khalek is a former editor and writer for The Electronic Intifada.

VIDEO: By The Electronic Intifada, Published 13 Sept, 2018. This video has been uploaded for public interest news reporting purposes. It is associated with this news article published by The Electronic Intifada:

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Daily life in Palestine’s other open-air prison

22 Feb

Palestinians walk next to the Israeli wall in Bethlehem city [Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills/Al Jazeera]

By Jalal Abukhater, Opinion AlJazeera, 14 February 2019

Palestine’s other open-air prison

Here is what a West Bank Palestinian resident has to go through every time s/he tries to get out of home.

Under a debilitating siege for more than a decade, Gaza has been rightfully declared the biggest open-air prison in the world. But there is another, similar, prison in Palestine that is less obvious because it suffers from a different kind of siege, undeclared and indirect: the West Bank. Every Palestinian who resides there and holds official Palestinian identification papers is a prisoner in their own home.

Freedom of movement is non-existent for the vast majority of the population because of a myriad of Israeli policies aimed at restricting it to the bare minimum. The situation is certainly shocking yet seems to be largely ignored by the world, especially by our Israeli neighbours.

Movement and life in the West Bank are governed by the whims of the Israeli security apparatus, which has set up hundreds of checkpoints, gates, artificial barriers, forbidden and segregated roads and of course, the 700km separation wall, as the Israelis call it, or apartheid wall, as we call it.

So what is it like for a Palestinian who tries to go anywhere in the West Bank?

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The last eyewitnesses: a new film on the Nakba

21 Feb

By Stephen Shenfield, Mondoweiss, 20 February 2019

Today marks the release of a new film on the Nakba, entitled “1948: Creation & Catastrophe.”

Stephen Shenfield interviews co-directors and executive producers professor Ahlam Muhtaseb, head of the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at California State University at San Bernardino, and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Andy Trimlett.

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Why Anti-Zionism is not the same as Anti-Semitism

20 Feb

VIDEO: By Middle East Eye, published 14 February 2019

Activist and academic Dr Sai Englert explains why Anti-Zionism is entirely different from Anti-Semitism, and how conflating them is a ‘deeply problematic approach.’

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Israel evicts Palestinian family from home: Video

19 Feb

VIDEO REPORT by TRT World, 19 February 2019

“They took my home, my memories. The Israeli settler is inside my home while I’m thrown out.” The Israeli police have forcibly evicted a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem, where their family has been living for three generations. See Electronic Intifada‘s report and video below:

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John Legend speaks up for Palestinian Human Rights

18 Feb

American singer John Legend speaks up for Human Rights of Palestinians (VIDEO: Middle East Eye, 18 February 2019)

American award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, John Legend, recently spoke out about standing up for human rights for Palestinians while on the “Real Time With Bill Maher” show.

Legend appeared, on Saturday, on the “Real Time With Bill Maher” show on HBO with American comedian and political commentator Bill Maher, where he discussed the #MeTooMovement, anti-Semitic comments made by Ilham Omar, and the current situation in Venezuela.

Legend said, “As progressives, we should also speak up for human rights for Palestinians, and for too long, I think, it has been out of balance for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians.”

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“We are anti-Zionist Jews, we are not anti-semitic”

15 Feb

This video posted on Youtube by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on 27 January 2019 shows Netanyahu’s “warm welcome” for NZ Defence Minister Ron Marks. The NZ delegation included National MP and Associate Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tim Macindoe,

By: Fred Albert and Marilyn Garson, NZ Herald opinion piece, 13 February 2019

We are anti-Zionist Jews, we are not anti-semitic

When [NZ] Defence Minister Ron Mark met Israel’s Prime Minister on January 27, [See video above. Ed] Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as asking New Zealand to change its definition of anti-semitism so that it includes political opposition to Zionism.

Netanyahu’s office website reports that he told Mark, “The main attack against the Jewish people today is the attacks against the Jewish state and the attempt to delegitimise the very right of the Jewish people for a state of their own. This is called anti-Zionism, and we ask not only all our friends, but all decent countries everywhere to include [in] the definition of anti semitism, anti-Zionism as well. And so I’ve just made that request from you as well.”

We write as two committed Jews, members of a synagogue, engaging in regular prayer and daily study. We believe in the enduring, prophetic school of Jewish thought. As per our understanding of our religion, law and justice, we are not Zionists.

For that, Netanyahu would like you to call us anti-semites – pathological Jew-haters. He would deny us the right to challenge Israel’s actions, as we challenge the actions of any state (including our own). If New Zealand forecloses on political debate in this way, it will forfeit its potential role in seeking justice for Israel-Palestine.

We are not unusual in our beliefs. Zionism has always been disputed by Jews on a range of religious grounds. Some of our greatest modern thinkers objected to the methods and choices of Jewish nationalism, including Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber. They urged different arrangements of space and power.

Debate is especially strident within the Jewish community now, as growing numbers of humanist, mostly young, Jews stand up to protest Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

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Two Palestinians suffocate to death in Egypt border tunnel

12 Feb

A Palestinian man moves a goat through a smuggling tunnel from Egypt to Gaza under the border at Rafah. [Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP]

AlJazeera, 12 February 2019

Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson said Egypt pumped toxic gas into border tunnel, suffocating two men.

Two Palestinians were killed overnight in a tunnel between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Hamas-run interior ministry said Monday.

According to spokesman Iyad al-Bozum, one of the casualties was a Hamas police officer and the other a civilian.

Bozum said 39-year-old major Abdelhamid al-Akar and Sabhy Abu Qarushayn, 28, “suffocated due to the inhalation of toxic gases”.

Witnesses said Egypt pumped gas into the tunnel.

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Watch: ‘GAZA – a look into the eyes of barbarism’

11 Feb

WATCH THE AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY: “Gaza : a look into the eyes of barbarism”

Gaza” which was directed by Julio Pérez del Campo and produced by Carles Bover Martínez, is a moving documentary which depicts the reality and horror of life as endured by the people in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza. “Gaza” recently won the prestigious 2019 Goya Award for ‘best short documentary.’

The film takes viewers on a journey through Gaza’s streets, introduces them to its people under occupation, Israel’s military assaults and harsh 12 year siege and blockade.

In his acceptance speech, del Campo dedicated the win to “all the people who have kept alive the struggle of the Palestinian people. For those who are among us and those who are not.”

“I believe that many things can be done from the world of culture, but the first is not to legitimise countries that systematically violate human rights.””Long live the struggle of the Palestinian people,” he added. For a video report featuring de Campo’s acceptance speech see our earlier post: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/gaza-documentary-wins-33rd-spain-goya-award/

Since receiving the award, screening of the film has experienced censorship in Spain – see this RT report:

‘Gaza’ documentary filmmakers face censorship.

RT, 8 February 2019.

Two Palestinian teenagers killed during Gaza protest

11 Feb

VIDEO REPORT: Middle East Eye, Published 11 February, 2019

“He could’ve become a doctor or an engineer. He could’ve grown up to be a professional football player.”

Two Palestinian teenagers, including a 14-year-old, were killed, and at least 17 others wounded by Israeli live fire during the 46th week of protests near Gaza’s border with Israel on Friday.

Nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed and 6,000 wounded by Israeli live ammunition since the weekly ‘Great March for the Return’ protests began on 30 March last year.

Second Palestinian prisoner dies in Israel jail in 3 days

11 Feb

PCHR photo: Israeli prison forces raid Ofer prison and wound 100 Palestinian detainees, 21 January 2019

Middle East Monitor, 10 February 2019

The Israeli prison authorities yesterday announced the death of 36-year-old Palestinian prisoner Yasser Hamid Ishtea (pictured below), making him the second Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli jail in the past three days.

According to Israel’s Channel 7, Ishtea, who was serving a life sentence, was found dead in “ambiguous” circumstances inside his cell in Eshel Prison, just outside Be’er Sheba in the south of the country.

The Israeli prison authorities have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

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