Thursday, 30 October 2014

Torture in Israeli prisons: 200 methods used against Palestinian prisoners


Hundreds of torture methods used against Palestinian prisoners during interrogations conducted in Israeli prisoners have been observed by human rights organisations and prisoners' rights associations.

A report by the United Nations lists around 200 methods of torture. The Israeli rights group B'Tselem listed around 105 torture methods. Regardless of the number, all these reports indicate a grave level of violations perpetrated against Palestinians following their arrest.

Fouad Khuffash, director of the Ahrar Centre for Prisoners' Studies and Human Rights, suggests that torture can be divided into two categories; physical and psychological. Some believe that psychological torture is less harmful than physical torture, but the mental scars left by both can leave prisoners traumatised long after their release.

Khuffash adds: "Torture in Israeli prisons is systematic and starts from the moment a prisoner is arrested, not from the moment they begin interrogation. This is a premeditated and staged scenario that changes according to the case of the detainee and the nature of their file. Investigators alternate and play various roles assigned in advance to each investigator."

Fahd Abu Al-Hajj, director of the Abu Jihad Centre for Prisoner Affairs at the University of Jerusalem, noted that there are 73 methods of interrogation considered to be the "most popular" in Israeli jails. These methods demonstrate the barbarism of the occupation and its lack of respect for basic standards of human rights, he stated. more

Abbas: Closure of Aqsa 'declaration of war'


Israel's closure of the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to all visitors following the shooting of a Jewish hardliner is tantamount to a "declaration of war," President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.

"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.

"We hold the Israeli government responsible for this dangerous escalation in Jerusalem that has reached its peak through the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque this morning," he added.

Abu Rdeina added, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, that Abbas confirmed that “Jerusalem and its holy Muslim and Christian places are a red line and we won’t accept any harm to them.”

Abu Rdeina said that Israel’s decision to seal Al-Aqsa mosque for the first time “was a brazen challenge and dangerous behavior, and will lead to more tension and instability and create very dangerous atmosphere.”

The state of Palestine, he added, will carry out all the procedures needed to call Israel to account and stop these ongoing attacks.

Abbas’ spokesman urged the international community to “take action immediately in order to stop this aggression because with such attacks and dangerous escalation “Israel is declaring war against the Palestinian people and their holy places and against both the Arab and Islamic nations.” more

Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in Jerusalem shooting


Undercover Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem early Thursday suspected of shooting a prominent Israeli extremist hours earlier.

Special forces raided the al-Thuri neighborhood near Silwan at 2:30 a.m. and began searching rooftops before shooting dead Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, 32, after exchanging fire.

Witnesses said that Hijazi was shot and unable to move or fire back, at which point Israeli forces broke into his home and went to the rooftop.

The special units then threw a water tank on him as he bled to death.

Chairman of a local sports club, Hani Gheith, told Ma'an that Israeli forces only broke into Hijazi's house after they were sure he was critically wounded.

Dozens of locals tried to access the home after the shootout to take Hijazi to hospital but Israeli forces fired at them, injuring 15.

Four were taken to hospital for treatment. more

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Army demolishes homes and structures near Hebron, several residents hurt


Dozens of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by a number of military bulldozers, invaded on Wednesday morning the Khashm ad-Daraj and Um al-Kheir villages, east of Yatta town south of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and demolished several structures. The soldiers also assaulted a pregnant woman, causing internal bleeding.

Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements Rateb Jabour told the Palestine News Network that a large military force invaded Khashm ad-Daraj village, and demolished a cave, an external toilet, sheds and barns, and homes belonging to three residents identified as Mustafa Salem at-Tanbi, Ahmad Awwad at-Tanbi, and Eid at-Tanbi.

Soldiers also invaded Um al-Kheir village, east of Yatta, and demolished a clay oven used by the residents, and violently assaulted several Palestinians causing cuts and bruises.

Some of the wounded have been identified as Mo’tasem, Mousa, Tareq, Yasser, Amna, Maleeha and Suleiman al-Hathalin.

Jabour said the soldiers also attacked a pregnant woman, causing her internal bleeding before she was rushed to a local hospital.

The soldiers said settlers of the nearby illegal Karmiel settlement are “annoyed” by the wood smoke of the oven, adding that this is the third time the soldiers demolish the clay oven this week alone. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian on beach in northern Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man on the beach in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, medical sources said.

Gaza's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that a 27-year-old man was seriously injured after being shot in the thigh in Beit Lahiya.

The man, identified only by his initials "S.Gh." was taken to Kamal Udwan hospital.

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the incident, saying that two Palestinians had "approached the security fence" in the northern Gaza Strip.

He said Israeli forces called on them to leave, but when they "failed to comply," soldiers fired warning shots in the air, then at "their lower extremities, identifying a hit."

The Aug. 26 ceasefire agreed upon by Gaza militants and Israeli forces stipulated an end to hostilities, with Israel pledging to ease its crippling siege on the Strip and expand tight fishing regulations.

The sides also agreed to hold further indirect meetings in Egypt to iron out further details of the truce. The meetings were postponed to November in the wake of a deadly attack on security forces in Egypt. more

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Rain floods exacerbate life for embattled Gaza residents


Moataz Sukkar no longer runs to his home's balcony in the Gaza Strip to welcome the year's first autumn rain.

The Palestinian young man had to carry out an urgent chore after rainwater spread through the floor of his house: fix the fragile spread of nylon sheets and cloth rags he had installed to cover the roof after it was blown off by Israeli warplanes during the latter's recently-ended devastating offensive on the coastal enclave.

"This is exactly what we have feared; that the rain season will begin before the reconstruction process [for the strip] does," Sukkar, 23, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday. "This morning the rain ruined our only option for covering up the roof."

In Gaza City's eastern Shujaya district, which had been heavily targeted by Israeli bombardments, Mohamed al-Moghni screams at his children to stay away from the streets surrounding their partially-destroyed home after they were flooded with rainwater.

"We were flooded with rain inside our damaged house because I haven't been able to repair it," he said as he attempted to get rid of the water inside his house using a number of buckets.

Already underdeveloped as a result of a years-long Israeli siege as well as two past wars in the recent past, the Gaza Strip's infrastructure was substantially damaged during Israel's latest offensive, which spanned 51 days of deadly bombardments between July and August.

Much of the embattled territory's sewage system and road networks, as well as water wells, have been destroyed during the bombings, leaving large pools of rainwater mixed with sewage all over Gaza as wet weather threatens to exacerbate the strip's post-war affliction.

Over 2,160 Palestinians were killed and over 11,000 injured during Israel's latest offensive, in addition to an estimated $5 billion in economic losses, according to the Palestinian government.

"Unfortunately, the rain in the Gaza Strip now brings more pain," said Marwa Hassanein, 54. more

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison


From Mondoweiss - It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting.

According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials.

We have been here before. Twelve years ago, Israeli bulldozers rolled into Jenin camp in the West Bank in the midst of the second intifada. Israel had just lost its largest number of soldiers in a single battle as the army struggled through a warren of narrow alleys. In scenes that shocked the world, Israel turned hundreds of homes to rubble.

With residents living in tents, Israel insisted on the terms of Jenin camp’s rehabilitation. The alleys that assisted the Palestinian resistance in its ambushes had to go. In their place, streets were built wide enough for Israeli tanks to patrol.

In short, both the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and their right in international law to resist their oppressor were sacrificed to satisfy Israel’s desire to make the enforcement of its occupation more efficient. more

Egypt to create buffer zone along Gaza border


CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities are set to create a buffer zone along the shared border with Gaza following an attack that killed 30 soldiers on Saturday.

Egyptian military sources told Ma'an that all houses and farmland 500 meters deep along the 13-kilometer (eight-mile) border will be evacuated, with the exception of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.

A 20-meter wide and deep channel will also be constructed along the Gaza border, the sources added.

The decision was taken by the Egyptian Defense Council and all work will likely be completed by the end of 2014.

Following a survey with residents along the border, house owners will receive compensation in return for leaving their homes, with some 200 families having already accepted the financial package to leave.

Around 680 more families live along the border. more

Jordan requests UN meeting over Israeli settlements


Jordan requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss Israeli plans to build more illegal Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, diplomats said.

The request followed a letter from Palestinian representative to the United Nations Riyadh Mansour calling for a urgent meeting to "address this crisis situation in occupied East Jerusalem."

Jordan, a Security Council member, put forward the request late Monday and was awaiting a response from Argentina, which chairs the 15-member council, on setting a date.

Diplomats told AFP the meeting was unlikely to be held on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Israel pledged to build more than 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem on Monday, angering Palestinians who warned it could trigger an "explosion" of violence.

In his letter, the Palestinian representative called on the council to demand that Israel rescind its plan immediately and "commit to the path of peace that it has clearly and recklessly abandoned." more

Monday, 27 October 2014

Remains of Palestinian man found under rubble in Gaza


Search crews in Gaza on Monday found the remains of a Palestinian who was killed during the recent Israeli assault on the Strip, a Ma'an reporter said.

The body of Zuhdi Abd al-Hamid Abu al-Rus, 22, was found under the rubble of a destroyed mosque in al-Nuserat.

Israeli forces targeted the mosque on Aug. 9.

The Israeli offensive on Gaza lasted five weeks, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, and left over 100,000 homeless. more

Unilateral Israeli action will lead to 'explosion' as 1,000 more settler homes announced


Palestinian officials strongly condemned Israel on Monday after it announced plans for 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem.

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Fatah, warned of violent consequences likely to follow the latest settlement plans.

"Such unilateral acts will lead to an explosion," he told a gathering of foreign journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"If he wants to keep pushing us all into a vicious circle of bloodshed and killing he must draw the right conclusion from what happened in Gaza," Rajoub added.

Senior PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said the decision "amounts to evidence of an intent to further commit crimes defined by and punishable under international law."

"The announcement by Israel's housing minister, Uri Ariel, who is already a settler, of his intent to occupy a seized Palestinian home in Silwan is just another shocking reminder of Israel's accelerating efforts to forcibly displace Palestinians from Jerusalem and turn the Holy City of three faiths into an exclusive Jewish city." more

Interior ministry rejects attempts to blame Gaza for Sinai attacks


Gaza's Interior Ministry in Gaza issued a statement, on Saturday, which refuted all accusations that Gaza is behind the recent attacks on Sinai, by affirming that the southern border with Egypt is under tight supervision and strict security measures.

Al Ray reports that spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Iyad al-Buzom, confirmed that the Egypt's national security is a top priority for Palestinians, stating: “We will not allow the security of our borders to be harmed.”

He said that the Gaza Strip had nothing to do with events currently unfolding in Egypt, and that the underground tunnels which lie on the border had already become something of the past.

Mr. Al-Buzom called on Egypt to exclude the Strip from any post-attack measures which might worsen the suffering of its population, amidst the all-out blockade initiated by Israel and backed by Egypt since 2007.

The Ministry described Friday's attack against the Egyptian troops as a "despicable crime", offering condolences to the Egyptian people and their government.

Israeli media made clear, according to Al Ray, that the new measures will ban Palestinian workers from Israeli public buses, though the army sees no potential security danger to be noted.more

Video: London activists occupy Airbus to protest Israel weapons deals


More than twenty activists occupied the London offices of Airbus on Friday to protest the aerospace company’s military cooperation with Israel.

“Staff were unable to arrive for work and senior executives agreed to meet the campaigners in a bid to end the occupation of the second floor office on the Strand,” says a statement from London Palestine Action. “The occupation lasted more than an hour, whilst others distributed leaflets and spoke to the public outside the offices.”

The video shows activists inside Airbus’ offices and at a certain point police are called.

Activists occupy the London offices of aircraft and weapons manufacturer Airbus. (Coralie Datta) “Airbus writes on its website that ‘contributing to the wellbeing of the communities in which it works is an ethical imperative,’ but there is nothing ethical about profiting from Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people,” London Palestine Action states.

“Airbus has close ties with Israel Aerospace Industries, which is an Israeli state-owned company that is a key supplier of drones to the Israeli military. Drones were widely used in attacks on civilians during the recent Israeli attack on Gaza in which more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed,” the statement adds.

Airbus and Israel Aerospace Industries are currently working together to build a drone based on the Heron model extensively used in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

Among the companies’ other collaborations, London Palestine Action notes, are an “early warning system” for warplanes and a “semi-robotic pilot controlled vehicle” called Taxibot. more

Thousands attend funeral of slain US-Palestinian teen


Thousands of Palestinian mourners in Silwad near Ramallah on Sunday attended the funeral procession of a 14-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was shot dead by Israeli forces on Friday.

All shops in the the town were closed in honor of the victim, Orwa Abd al-Hadi Hammad.

The funeral had been delayed until Sunday as locals awaited the arrival of Orwa's father from the US and his mother from Jordan.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said at the time of the killing that soldiers fired at a "Palestinian adult" who was preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail at forces in the area.

Witnesses said Hammad was hit by an Israeli sniper from close range, insisting the soldier shot to kill.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US "expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a US citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces."

Calling for "a speedy and transparent investigation," Psaki said officials from the US consulate in Jerusalem were in touch with the family of the slain youth. more