Monday, 31 January 2011

Irish parliamentarians, writers and activists gear up for Free Gaza Movement flotilla

From the Irish Times
CELEBRATED IRISH travel writer Dervla Murphy is to join Irish activists taking part in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla due to sail at the end of March.

Ms Murphy (78) will sail on a 25-passenger boat recently acquired by Irish activists planning to participate in the multinational flotilla, which is expected to begin its voyage on March 30th.

Several Irish politicians including Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews and his party colleague Senator Mark Daly, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh and People Before Profit councillor Richard Boyd Barrett have also pledged their participation.

Ms Murphy contacted Dr Fintan Lane of the Free Gaza Movement and the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign last week. “I asked if there was room on the boat because I would very much like to go,” she told The Irish Times . “I feel so strongly about the whole situation in Gaza, and I think the flotilla is a good way of drawing international attention to what is going on there. more

Turkish film about avenging Mari Marmara massacre smashes box office records

(Reuters) - A new Turkish film in which an action-man hero avenges the death of Turkish activists in Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship is likely to put new strain on already tense relations between Turkey and Israel.

"Valley of the Wolves: Palestine", one of the most expensive Turkish films ever made, has drawn accusations at home of excessive violence and abroad of anti-Israeli propaganda, but it attracted big audiences at its opening this weekend.

In the film Polat Alemdar, a secret agent more akin to Rambo than James Bond, emerges from a series of bloody clashes to track down and kill the Israeli commander who ordered the storming of an aid ship heading for Gaza. more

Valley of the Wolves: Palestine (Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin) is now showing at Cineworld - Wood Green

Noel Park Road, Wood Green Shopping City, London, N22 6LU - 0871 200 2000

Amnesty condemns Israel inquiry into Mavi Marmara massacre as whitewash

Palestine, (Pal Telegraph) - Amnesty International has condemned the findings of an Israeli inquiry into last year’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla as a “whitewash” which failed to account for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals.

In a report published on 23 January, the Turkel Commission concluded that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) acted lawfully when they captured the Mavi Mamara on 31 May 2010, killing nine activists on board, and intercepted five other ships. Despite being nearly 300 pages long, the report crucially fails to explain how the activists died and what conclusions the Commission reached regarding the IDF’s specific actions in each case.

The Commission’s failure to account for the deaths reinforces the view that the Israeli authorities are unwilling or incapable of delivering accountability for abuses of international law committed by Israeli forces. It also highlights the need for follow-up to ensure that the sharply contrasting conclusions of the International Fact-Finding Mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, which were issued on 22 September 2010, but not even mentioned by the Commission, are addressed and that the rights of victims to an effective remedy are upheld. more

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Palestinian Authority colluded with US to block Goldstone war crimes report

We knew this already but it is still shocking just how weak and supine the Palestinian leadership has become. Hopefully events in Tunisia, and most importantly in Egypt, will give them some backbone, unlikey though. Time for them to move out of the way. Certainly need to get rid of this collaborator Abbas.
Palestinian Authority leaders co-operated with US officials in a bid to postpone the reference of the Goldstone report into war crimes in Gaza to the UN security council, leaked papers reveal. The PA, who have denied they made the decision under US pressure, later reversed their decision.

The postponement of the report into Israel's 2008 assault on Gaza triggered heavy criticism of the PA leadership, at one time threatening Abbas's position. But at a meeting on 21 October 2009, three weeks after the Goldstone scandal erupted, US national security adviser Jim Jones told the Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat: "Thank you for what you did a couple of weeks ago [on Goldstone]; it was very courageous".


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Official: Palestinian Authority collaborates with Israel to kill resistance fighters

The Palestine Papers reveal in yet more detail the extent of the co-operation between the PA and the Israeli oppressors. They had a meeting to collaborate on how to kill Palestinian resistance fighter Hassan al-Madhoun. Four months after the meeting he was killed in a targeted Israeli air strike. Presumably the PA provided the targeting information. No wonder the Palestinan Authority is hitting down Al Jazeera on the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has shown operational willingness to co-operate with Israel to kill its own people, The Palestine Papers indicate.

Among the documents are notes, handwritten in Arabic, revealing an exchange in 2005 between the PA and Israel on a plan to kill a Palestinian fighter named Hassan al-Madhoun, who lived in the Gaza strip. more

British intelligence attempted to thwart democratic will of Palestinians by hitting Hamas

The British state just can't resist its imperial impulses, this time offering up plans for destroying Hamas. It's just as well that the British intelligence community is one of the dumbest and most incompetent in the world, as shown recently in Afghanistan where they are still struggling to work out who is and isn't a member of the Taliban. Hamas lives on.
British intelligence helped draw up a secret plan for a wide-ranging crackdown on the Islamist movement Hamas which became a security blueprint for the Palestinian Authority, leaked documents reveal. The plan asked for the internment of leaders and activists, the closure of radio stations and the replacement of imams in mosques.

The disclosure of the British plan, drawn up by the intelligence service in conjunction with Whitehall officials in 2004, and passed by a Jerusalem-based MI6 officer to the senior PA security official at the time, Jibril Rajoub, is contained in the cache of confidential documents obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared with the Guardian. The documents also highlight the intimate level of military and security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli forces. more

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

IDF soldiers detail war crimes as Israel set out to 'cleanse' Gaza during 2008 war

The more the Israeli government lies, the more the truth will out. Interviews with the minority of truly moral soldiers in the IDF are starting to speak out openly about the war crimes committed by their comrades and how those crimes were directed from the top and were not the work of rogue elements. The IDF set out to 'cleanse' whole areas of Gaza with wanton and indiscriminate fire.
... in startling interviews with Israeli filmmaker Nurit Kedar, former soldiers have for the first time allowed themselves to be named while blaming their commanders for encouraging a "disproportionate" response to Hamas's rockets. They said their commanders used to "psych up" soldiers before an operation so they were ready to shoot indiscriminately.

One soldier says he was told to shell every house in a neighbourhood. Richard Goldstone's report for the UN alleged that war crimes had been committed by both sides, but highlighted the moral and legal severity of the Israel's attacks...

...Ohad, a 24-year-old tank commander, remembers being told the night before the operation that the entry into Gaza was to be "disproportionate". Once into Gaza, he said his orders were unambiguous: "The order was very clear that if a car came within 200 metres of me I could simply shoot at it. Shoot a shell at it."

He added: "We needed to cleanse the neighbourhoods, the buildings, the area. It sounds really terrible to say 'cleanse', but those were the orders....I don't want to make a mistake with the words."

Shay, a 30-year-old who was in the Elite Combat Unit, says he was disgusted by the behaviour of some conscripts in the Israeli army. He described taking over from the them the house of a wealthy Palestinian family. Conscripts, he said, had already defecated all over the bathroom. Family photos had been scrawled over. Graffiti on the walls read: "Long live Israel." more

Palestinian leaders offer to sign away right of return of millions of refugees

It just gets worse and worse. Now it has been revealed that Palestinian negotiators were willing to sign away the rights of millions of Palestinians to return to their homeland. They offered to allow only 1,000 Palestinians a year to return for a maximum of 10 years! How much does the US and Israel pay these 'leaders' for their treachery?
Palestinian negotiators privately agreed that only 10, 000 refugees and their families, out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million, could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement, leaked confidential documents reveal. PLO leaders also accepted Israel's demand to define itself as an explicitly Jewish state, in sharp contrast to their public position. more

Monday, 24 January 2011

Bankrupt Palestinian leadership wanted to give even more of Palestine to Israel

Much of this was known or suspected but the extent of the collaboration with Israel and the US will hopefully help to engender the revolutionary overthrow of this corrupt and bankrupt leadership. Tunisian people power needs to come to Palestine.
The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel's annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US has been obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian. The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process, which is now regarded as all but dead.

The documents – many of which will be published by the Guardian over the coming days – also reveal:

• The scale of confidential concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, including on the highly sensitive issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

• How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state.

• The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority.

• The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

• How Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders were privately tipped off about Israel's 2008-9 war in Gaza.

As well as the annexation of all East Jerusalem settlements except Har Homa, the Palestine papers show PLO leaders privately suggested swapping part of the flashpoint East Jerusalem Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah for land elsewhere.

Most controversially, they also proposed a joint committee to take over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City... more

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

IDF artillery kills one Palestinian and leaves several wounded

IDF tanks invaded Gaza yesterday and as a result one Palestinian has been killed and several injured.
Gaza, (Pal Telegraph) -One Palestinian was killed and two were injured yesterday as Israeli artilleries shelled Abu Safia hill in the east of Jabalya, northern Gaza strip.

Witnesses told SAFA News Agency that occupation forces stationed at the eastern border of Jabalya and started firing several artillery shells, leaving two citizens injured.

Adham Abu Silmya, Medical Emergency Unit spokesman,said that one Palestinian was killed named Amjad El-Zaanin,17, and two others were injured in Israeli bombing at Abu Safia hill eastern north Gaza strip. more

Livni abandons trip to South Africa - fears arrest for war crimes

Another war criminal rightly worried about travelling outside Israel.
Israel’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni has cancelled her trip to South Africa following protests from local pro-Palestinian groups.

She was invited by the Jewish Board of Deputies to give a series of talks in Cape Town and Johannesburg later this week. more

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Israel uproots Bedouin communities in drive to undermine their way of life

Report from the Alternative Information Center on the ongoing destruction of Bedouin communities in the Negev. The latest village to be destroyed is El Araqib - for the ninth time. There have also been battles in Jordan between the Bedouin and the state.
This is ninth time in the past six months that the Jewish National Fund and the Israeli military have destroyed the village, and it will certainly not be the last. Israel has for decades been attempting to “urbanize” the Bedouin, taking them from their land, with a final plan of Judaizing their indigenous area.

More than 150,000 Bedouin, the indigenous inhabitants of the Negev region, live in informal shanty towns, or "unrecognized villages," in the south of Israel. They account for around 12% of the Palestinian population of the country, and yet discriminatory land and planning policies have made it virtually impossible for Bedouin to build legally where they live.[i]

The unrecognized villages do not appear on Israeli maps, there are no road signs to mark them, and their locations do not appear on the Israeli ID cards the residents carry. Residents do not have state education or health services and because the government does not recognize the villages, they are off the water and electricity grids as well.

What’s more, Israel implements forced evictions, home demolitions, and other actions to prevent the nomadic, indigenous people from continuing their historical way of life.

The Israel Land Authority and particularly the Jewish National Fund are at the heart of the demolitions. The ILA is the branch of the Israel government responsible for managing the 93% of the land in Israel which the country considers public domain, though much of the land is actually unrecognized Arab villages and land. more

Tanks and bulldozer enter northern Gaza to destroy more Palestinian property

Israeli tanks push 400 metres into Gaza. No casualties reported. They were accompanied by a bulldozer, presumably to destroy more of the limited farm land available to Palestinians.
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Seven Israeli tanks entered the northern part of the Gaza Strip, near the town of Beit Hanun, on Tuesday, witnesses and members of the Hamas-run security forces said.

The tanks, which entered around 400 metres (yards) into the Palestinian territory, were accompanied by a bulldozer, but it was unclear whether a demolition was planned. more

Press TV reports that three teenagers were injured near Khan Younisby one of Israel's leftover munitions from the last war.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Rocket hits Israel despite Hamas negotiated truce as IDF killings continue

Hamas's attempt to rein in rocket fire into Israel doesn't seem to have been very successful as a rocket struck the Negev desert this morning. If Israel keeps killing Palestinians it's going to be hard to stop retaliation. Maan agency reports a Gazan man shot on the border this morning. No news on his condititon as yet
A rocket fired by militants in Gaza landed in southern Israel early on Monday, in the first incidence of firing since armed Palestinian groups there agreed to observe a truce last week.

The projectile, a home-built Qassam rocket, caused no injuries or damage when it landed in the Shaar HaNegev regional council which flanks Gaza's northeastern border.

Last Wednesday, Gaza's main militant factions agreed to observe a period of calm after weeks of increased rocketfire and rising tensions along the border which prompted a warning from Arab leaders that they were risking a major new Israeli invasion. more

Friday, 14 January 2011

Movement against the Arab dictatorships spreads to Jordan

pic from Ammon News

Movement has now spread to Jordan. This is starting to look very interesting. Israel and the US will be sweating.
Thousands of Jordanians have taken to the streets of the capital Amman and other cities to protest against rising commodity prices, unemployment and poverty.

The protesters are calling on the government headed by Samir Rifai, the prime minister, to step down.

Demonstrators, including trade unionists and leftist party members, carried national flags and chanted anti-government slogans in downtown Amman.

They called Rifai a "coward" and demanded his resignation.

"Jordan is not only for the rich. Bread is a red line. Beware of our starvation and fury," read one of the banners carried after mid-day prayers, amid a heavy police presence, according to the AFP news agency.

"Down with Rifai's government. Unify yourselves because the government wants to eat your flesh. Raise fuel prices to fill your pocket with millions," the protesters chanted as they marched in Amman.

Similar demonstrations took place in the cities of Maan, Karak, Slat and Irbid, as well as other parts of the country.

Friday's protests came amid similar protests in Algeria and Tunisia. more

Tunisia and Algeria shows way to destroy Arab dictatorships and liberate Palestine

Victory to the Tunisian revolution. The more despots that are overthrown the better for the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Looking good in Algeria as well. Let's hope the movement spreads to Egypt too.
Uprisings are shaking the authoritarian regimes of Tunisia and Algeria in North Africa.

Protests have raged for more than three weeks in Tunisia.

High youth unemployment, poverty and a rising cost of living—combined with the obscene wealth of the elite and corruption—has led to fury.

President Ben Ali has lost much of his credibility—protesters have burnt the offices of the ruling party.

His government’s response has been vicious. more

Also, see Lina Ben Mhenni's blog.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

163 charities blacklisted by Israel because 'contaminated by terror'

Israel doesn't like charities. UK-based charity Interpal is one of the targets. Must give them some more money.
The Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority has located 163 organizations contaminated with funds related to terrorism over the past three years, and issued specific orders prohibiting receiving money from them, Defense Ministry data shows. more

Islamic Jihad member killed in more Israeli air strikes on Gaza - revenge is promised

NYTimes reports more airstrikes on Gaza - Israel killed a member of Islamic Jihad.
A Palestinian militant from the group Islamic Jihad was killed in Gaza on Tuesday in an Israeli airstrike, according to the Israeli military and the group. The military said in a statement that the target of the strike, Muhammad Najar, 23, was “involved in planning a massive terror attack in the heart of Israel,” and that the pinpoint killing had disrupted those plans. Islamic Jihad threatened to avenge the Israeli attack.

Monday, 10 January 2011

More Israeli airstrikes as Hamas calls meeting of all armed factions

Israel launched yet more airstrikes on Gaza at the weekend. According to the Guardian a meeting of all the armed resistance factions was held over the weekend. Hamas is apparently trying to reign in the rocketeers from other organisations. Perhaps they were suggesting there are better times and ways to fight given that the al-Qassam Brigades now hav Kornet anti-tank weaponry that can penetrate IDF armour.
It was reported over the weekend that Hamas has held talks with other militant factions in Gaza to urge them to stop firing rockets into Israel.

Hamas official Ayman Taha was quoted as saying: "We began contacts with factions over the situation in the field. Hamas seeks to control the situation on the ground and urge factions to recommit to the national agreement." more

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Historic hotel demolished by Israeli occupiers in East Jerusalem

The settlement boom continues in East Jersusalem. Israel today demolished an historic hotel to make way for a another illegal settlement, separating two Arab neighbourhoods. A new hotel will be built on the site with American money. Now there's a surprise.
Bulldozers have demolished a hotel in disputed east Jerusalem to make way for a new Israeli settlement, the latest in a wave of new buildings globally seen as an obstacle to the now stalled peace process.

The Shepherd Hotel was razed by three Israeli bulldozers, early on Sunday, as part of a plan to build a new settlement of 20 units in the heart of the occupied city.

The hotel is located on the demarcation line between two Arab neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi al-Joz. The site will not only divide the two neighbourhoods but it will also change the aspects of Jerusalem.

According to official documents, the hotel was owned by al-Quds Mufti, Haj Amin al-Hussaini, who was deported by the British rule in 1937. He later died in Lebanon in 1974.

The Israeli government has granted permission to begin work on the settlement, despite Washington's opposition to it.

The Shepherd Hotel project is funded by Irving Moskowitz, a Jewish-American millionaire and a longtime patron of Jewish settlers. more

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Huge funeral for elderly Palestinan man murdered in his bed by IDF

There was a huge funeral yesterday for Omar Salim Al-Qawasmi, murdered in his bed by the IDF's so called soldiers. According to Hamas, Fatah militias prevented many present from holding Hamas flags. More importantly the Palestinian Authority is culpable because they have been cooperating with Israeli intelligence in targeting Hamas members on the West Bank. Al-Qawasmi was not a member of Hamas but the Israelis thought he was.
At least 4,000 gathered Friday afternoon to attend the funeral of Omar Salim Al-Qawasmi, 66, executed by Israeli forces early that morning, in what military officials later admitted was a case of mistaken identity. more

Chile becomes latest Latin American country to recognise Palestinian statehood

Latin America is leading the way on the world stage when it comes to recognition of Palestinian statehood, and it has the Israeli state very worried. Chile is the latest country in the region to recognise Palestine as a state. Interestingly, unlike their neighbours who recognise a state within 1967 boundaries, the Chilean declaration says nothing of borders. Israel was of course built right on top of Palestine. Altogether there are now six South American countries that recognise Palestine, Chile being the first from a non-left government. As Israel's crimes mount on an almost daily basis, expect the number of countries following the Latin American example to multiply.
After a day conflicting reports, Chile became the sixth Latin American country to recognize Palestinian statehood on Friday night saying it acknowledged a "free, independent and sovereign state, coexisting in peace with the State of Israel." more

Friday, 7 January 2011

Israeli soldier killed and four wounded by Palestinian resistance fighters

pic: Palestinian Information Center

Palestinian resistance fighters have succeeded in killing one Israeli soldier and injuring several others. Maybe now they'll think twice before their next incursion. No casualties reported on the Palestinian side.
GAZA, (PIC)-- Palestinian resistance fighters on Friday evening opened fire at a group of IOF soldiers near the colony of Nirim to the east of the Maghazi refugee camp wounding five soldiers, two of them seriously.

PIC correspondent said that a heavy exchange of fire was heard to the east of the Maghazi refugee camp which was followed extensive presence of airplanes which strafed residential areas and agricultural fields in the area.

The correspondent also said that the sound of explosions were heard in the area believed to be the result of firing mortar bombs towards Israeli occupation military posts.

Israeli radio said a group of soldiers came under fire from light guns and mortars at the Kisufim area on the borders with the Gaza Strip when the group arrived in the area after discovering a group of fighters trying to plant explosives.

The radio added that the soldiers responded to the source of fire and that it was not known if any of the fighters was wounded. The wounded soldiers were taken to Soroka hospital in Beir Al-Sabe’.

It was announced later that one of the soldiers died.

Hebron man executed in his bed as Egypt warns Israel against new Gaza war

pic: Maan Images

Israel has launched yet more air strikes on Gaza, in addition to executing a man in his bed and arresting Hamas leaders in Hebron. This week the IDF has rounded-up 28 people on the West Bank. The IDF claims to have struck a 'terror base' and tunnels. No casualties reported as yet. Meanwhile, Egypt has warned Israel against launching a new war against the people of Gaza.
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- During an arrest raid in Hebron which appeared to target six Hamas men released from PA custody the day before, Israeli forces shot and killed a 66-year-old man in his bed, in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity.

Arrested in Hebron overnight were Wael Al-Bitar, Majdi E’beid, Ahmad E’wewy, Muhand Neirukh, Wisam Al-Qawasmi and Mohammad Suqieyah, all released from PA custody the day before, following intense lobby efforts from the detainees, who had been on hunger strike for weeks.

The execution came during the arrest of Wael Al-Bitar, who was released to his home in Hebron, one floor under Omer Salim Al-Qawasmi, the elderly victim. The two lived in the Ash- Sheikh neighborhood of Hebron. more

Thursday, 6 January 2011

US companies complain of huge bribes they have to pay to get products into Gaza

Corrupt Israeli officials demand massive bribes before allowing Coca-Cola and other US companies to send goods into Gaza - usually at 75 times the normal price of importing goods.
The cable, released in June 2006, explains that "shipments of American goods, amounting to nearly USD 1.9 million dollars, have been waiting three to four months to cross into Gaza. US distributors assert they are being asked to pay 'special fees' which amount to as much as 75 times the standard processing fee." more

Wikileaks cables: it's official - Israel deliberately keeps Gaza on 'brink of collapse'

Israel made it clear to the US, if it wasn't already, that they deliberately keep Gaza's economy "on the brink of collapse", according to US cables released by WikiLeaks and published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
The document says Israeli officials repeatedly confirmed the embargo's goal was to keep Gaza's economy functioning "at its lowest possible level without getting a humanitarian crisis."

The newly released cable was published by Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.

The document was dated November 3, 2008, just weeks before Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip to stop Hamas militants from firing rockets on Israeli towns.
See Voice of America report here.

Afenposten has stopped its English-language but for Norwegian speaker the article is here.

Israel moves to outlaw pro-Palestinian human rights and peace groups

Israel's parliament is creating a committee of inquiry into Israeli human rights group that have had the audacity to speak out, and act, against injustice. Gideon Levy writing in Haaretz has written an article attacking the 'democrats' for attempting to outlaw all such groups. There isn't much of an Israeli left, but what there is deserves our support. The Israeli right is on the march and there is no sign that they will be stopped. The next time someone tells you Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East point them to the Knesset's McCarthyite committee.
It's high time a legal ban on the Israeli left be instituted. Why do we continue beating around the bush? Why do we need such a taxing, exhaustive legislative process in enacting law after law? What's the use of all these various proposals and amendments? In lieu of all the aforementioned, let's just do one very simple thing: declare the left an illegal entity in the State of Israel. From then on, whoever thinks left, acts left, demonstrates left or tolerates left will belong in jail...

...The Knesset has resolved to create a parliamentary committee of inquiry to look into the activities of left-wing groups "and their contribution to the delegitimization campaign against Israel." Such a panel would make even Senator Joseph McCarthy blush. more

IDF killers test 'non-lethal' weapons on Palestinian civilians

The killing of Jawaher Abu Rahma by the IDF has seen the Israeli propaganda machine go into overdrive with a vile campaign of lies and disinformation. You can get a flavour of the nonsense here. They claim she had a pre-existing medical condition and so her death was nothing to do with their chemical weapons. Jawaher's brother was killed by Israel at one of the regular weekly non-violent demonstrations at Bil'in. Corporate Watch has a good article on the companies that are supplying the IDF with their 'non-lethal' armoury. The IDF is using Gaza as a testing ground.
“The Israeli government and its army have been, for years now, using the West Bank and Gaza as their testing ground. The Palestinians are their guinea pigs. The Israeli army uses tear gas that would probably be banned in any other country in the world. They shoot tear gas, directly at protesters; once again, an illegal act. But a very rewarding one: Israel’s security industry is booming. It’s never been this good. Countries all over the world are buying Israel’s expertise in security, crowd control and weaponry every day. Israeli soldiers are training other countries commandos all over the planet.” [9]

Bil'in, and villages across Palestine, have become a testing ground for the Israeli security industry, and for international companies looking for an arena to try out their wares. While unmanned bulldozers, aircraft and boats patrol and bombard the besieged Gaza Strip and the latest in CCTV, fingerprint and body scan equipment proliferate at the hundreds of Israeli checkpoints across the West Bank, Bil'in and other villages engaged in the popular struggle are subjected to countless experiments in so-called 'non lethal' or 'less lethal' weapons technology. more

IDF kills two Palestinians on Gaza border, attacks fishing boats

Two Palestinians were killed by the IDF on Wednesday, Palestinian medics have confirmed. The Israelis claim they were trying to cross the border into Israel. Palestinian fighters have fired mortar rounds into Israel in response. On Tuesday Israel launched air strikes on Gaza alongside a brief incursion.

Israel also appears to be stepping up its war against the fishermen of Gaza, shelling their boats and detaining a number. Israel, which recently discovered a large gas field in disputed Mediterranean waters, is determined to grab all the natural resources for itself, including the gas reserves in Gaza's territorial waters.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Israel dropped 3,000 tons of bombs on Gaza

More details have emerged about Israel's bombardment of Gazan population during Operation Cast Lead. According to the Gaza police force the IDF dropped 3,000 tons of bombs on Gaza, much of it illegal weaponry with the use of white phosphorus shells being the most widely documented to date.
Tahseen Saad, head of the police force's explosives engineering unit, indicated that a lot of the weapons used were illegal under international law.

In his statement, Saad clarified that the occupation forces used different types of bombs with the most significant ones weighing between 150 – 500 Kg. He also pointed out that the most controversial weapons used included white phosphorous bombs which are illegal to use in populated areas.

Saad explained that Israel used an assortment of missiles, such as anti-tank guided missiles, against civilians and their vehicles.

He said that the Israeli army used bombs that dispersed red smoke made up of explosives and tungsten. When the bomb is dropped it sprayed a liquid which creates fog and in less than a second it disappears and the bomb explodes. more

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Palestinian prisoners denied lawyers and kept in conditions not fit for humans

GAZA, (PIC)-- Haaretz newspaper published a confidential report prepared by the Israeli association of jurists revealing the tragic and inhumane incarceration conditions which the Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in solitary cells are living in.

The report pointed out that hundreds of Palestinian detainees were locked up over the past years in solitary confinement and most of them were leaders of prisoners.

The Israeli activists who made the report worked as official inspectors sent by the association of jurists to visit Israeli prisons and meet with Palestinian detainees.

According to the report the isolation cells in all Israeli prisons, especially in Ayalon and Shikma jails, are like the cells of dungeons, small, infested with insects, smelly, cold, without windows and totally unsuitable for humans.

The report pointed out that the isolation of detainees from other prisoners in solitary for a long period of time has psychological effects on them and many develop mental problems inside these cells.

In another incident, the same newspaper said that about 90 percent of Palestinian prisoners interrogated by the Shin Bet security apparatus are prevented from consulting with an attorney, according to a report published by the public committee against torture in Israel and the Palestinian prisoners' society.

The Shin Bet refused in the past to provide data on the numbers of prisoners who are prevented from meeting with a lawyer, but Haaretz quoted the Shin Bet as saying that it has legal clearance to keep certain detainees from lawyers.

According to this report, during prolonged periods when prisoners are kept from meeting with lawyers, the Shin Bet utilizes interrogation methods that run contrary to international law, Israeli laws and Israeli commitments to avoid such methods.

Among these interrogation methods are tying prisoners for a long time to a chair with their hands behind the back, sleep deprivation, threats usually of harming family members, humiliation and being kept for long periods in unsanitary cells.

The report said that the numbers of those whose right to an attorney was blocked between 2000 and 2007 ranged between 8, 379 to 10, 773 detainees.

Thanks to the Palestine Information Center. The website came under cyber attack from Israel and has only recently come back up.

Asia 1 aid convoy reaches Gaza, left India in November

Indian convoy arrived in Gaza yesterday, although reports indicate that Iranian citizens were barred from crossing into Gaza from Egypt. Of the 160 human rights activists involved only 105 were allowed into Gaza. The main bulk of the mission's cargo is arriving by sea and docked in Egypt on Sunday. The Jerusalem Post reports Israeli security sources claiming Iran smuggled 1,000 mortar shells into Gaza, among other munitions. All humanitarian and military aid is of course gratefully received by the besieged Gazans.
A convoy carrying humanitarian aid from India has reached the Gaza Strip with 1,000 tons of food and medical supplies.

The convoy left India in November and traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. The aid shipment was then delivered by sea to Egypt, before reaching Gaza late Sunday.

The aid mission involved more than 100 human rights activists. more

Israel briefly invades southern Gaza, rocket fired in retaliation as West ignores Bil'in killing

Jawaher Abu Rahma Funeral on Saturday – Photo By Hamdi Abu Rahma

Business as usual in Palestine for the Israelis. The IDF invaded near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip, destroying agriculture land and firing indiscriminately as they went. In response a rocket was fired into Israel today. No casualties have been reported on either side.

Meanwhile at Bil'in on the West Bank the weekly peaceful demonstrations against Israel's Apartheid Wall and settlements saw a woman villager killed last week after being gassed by 'crowd control soldiers'. A further six people were injured.
Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 34-year-old woman from Bil’in, died this morning in a Ramallah hospital as result of poisoning caused by tear gas inhalation. Jawaher fainted after inhaling a large quantity of gas during the weekly protest against the Wall in Bil’in and was rushed immediately to Ramallah for treatment, where she remained until passing away this morning. more