Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Gaza Nakba casualties: 143 civilians wounded including 47 children, and one child killed

From the Palestinian Center for Human Rights:

IOF Use Excessive Force against Demonstrations Commemorating the Palestinian Nakba; 143 Civilians Wounded, Including 47 Children, 5 Women and 3 Journalists, and a 1 Child Killed in Gaza. more

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (05– 11 May 2011) is here.

Army using attack dogs to hunt down Palestinian labourers trying to find work in Israel

RAMADIN, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Palestinians desperate for work in Israel will go to extremes to sneak past the West Bank barrier, but now they face a new hurdle -- army attack dogs sent to sniff them out.

Workers say the use of dogs to hunt down anyone trying to enter Israel illegally is a new phenomenon which has only been occurring for about two months.

But it is a development which has quickly spread fear and anger among the worker population living in the south Hebron Hills, one of the poorest areas in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem is sceptical about the army's claim that the dogs are targeting militants bent on infiltrating the Jewish state, citing three cases in which dogs were set on unarmed Palestinians trying to cross into Israel to find casual work. more

Prisoners at Ashkelon start hunger strike to honour Nakba Day dead and fight punitive regime

Palestinian prisoners were on hunger strike at Nafha prison two weeks ago, protesting inhumane treatment. Action has now spread to Ashkelon prison.

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian ministry of prisoners' affairs in Gaza said that the Palestinian prisoners decided to go on hunger strike on Tuesday in honor of the martyrs who were killed by Israeli troops on the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe).

The Israeli occupation forces killed and wounded on Sunday dozens of Palestinian and Arab protestors in peaceful marches held to commemorate the anniversary inside their national territorial border areas in Syria and Lebanon as well as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Spokesman for the ministry Riyadh Al-Ashqar stated that the Israeli administration of Ashkelon jail took further punitive measures against the Palestinian prisoners because of their declared intention to participate along with three other prisons in open and gradual hunger strike

Ashqar added that the prisoners intend to continue their hunger strike until the prison administrations stop their violations against them and meet their just demands. more

Israel's isolation deepens as relations with Turkey worsen further with flotilla 2 to sail next month

The Turkish government today reminded its citizens of the dangers of taking part in flotilla 2 but made it clear it has no intention of trying to stop them, or protect them. The pro Israel Jerusalem Post described Turkey's attitude towards the upcoming aid mission as a "permissive stance".

Turkey is not withdrawing, as reported in some quarters, from the UN panel due to make a final decision on the report of the UN Human Rights Council into the massacre on the Mavi Marmara aid ship. But it has warned that it's "reaction would not be positive" if the panel bends to US wishes to neuter the report's findings.

Despite a crisis in relations between the two countries, the Turkish military still has relatively strong ties with the Israeli military, but even these are thought to be threatened. Turkey warned Israel in April not to "make the same mistake" in reference to the attack on the last flotilla.

From AFP
Bilateral relations remain stuck in crisis after several fence-mending meetings between the one-time allies over the past year failed to yield results, a Turkish diplomat told AFP.

The two countries, he said, "have failed to reach an agreement" also on reconciliation proposals by a UN commission investigating the deadly Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ferry last year.

Moreover, tensions could shoot up again as a new aid flotilla is getting ready to depart for Gaza in June in another attempt to break the blockade...

...Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday denied reports that Ankara was considering withdrawing from the panel, but signalled discontent with the body's apparent efforts to find a mid-way between Turkey and Israel.

"I have told UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that this is not a commission to reconcile Turkey and Israel but to do justice... We do not need a mediator," Anatolia news agency quoted Davutoglu as saying.

He warned that Turkey's "reaction will not be positive" if the commission's findings contradict an earlier report by the UN Human Rights Council, which severely criticised the Jewish state.

"If they (Israel) desire our friendship, the criteria are obvious," Davutoglu said, referring to Turkish demands for an apology and compensation. more

Israeli warship withdrew from aid ship confrontation after Egyptian navy appeared

More on what happened aboard MV Finch (Spirit of Rachel Corrie). Initially it was reported by Global Research that the Egyptians cooperated with the Israelis but it turns out their role was far more supportive of the aid activists. When the Israeli navy became aware of the presence of the Egyptians - and that the vessel they were threatening to board was in Egyptian waters - they had second thoughts about persisting with their piracy.
The following exchange took place between the Israeli navy and the ship as reported by the Free Malaysia Today journalist on board the Spirit of Rachel Corrie:

"Israeli army: This is a warning shot. Turn around.

Captain Jalil Mansor: We are unarmed civilians on a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

Israeli army: This is a closed military zone. It’s a violation. Turn around.

Mansor: We will continue (the mission).

The Israelis then headed to the back of the aid vessel and released a second warning shot into the air.

Graham: This is a violation (of international law). We are on a peaceful mission and unarmed.

Israeli army: Turn around. We will fire again.

Graham: You are firing towards unarmed civilians.

Israeli army: We didn’t fire towards unarmed civilians.

Graham: Looks like firing towards us.

Israeli army: We didn’t fire towards you. That is only a warning shot.

Following that conversation, the Israeli army fired two more shots and threatened: “Next time, we will land on your ship.”

Then the Egyptian navy was heard telling the Israelis on the radio: “Stop firing. They are in Egyptian waters.”

Upon realising the presence of Egyptian naval forces, the Israelis departed." (Free Malaysia Today, http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/05/16/israel-fires-warning-shots-at-msian-ship/ May 16, 2011)

The Egyptian navy guard was initially unaware of what was occurring. The Israeli navy contacted the Egyptian navy and initially got no response.

Our earlier report (filed at 12.30am) following communication with the ship shortly after midnight (March 16) pointed to cooperation between the Israeli navy and their Egyptian counterparts. While there was cooperation, the Egyptians played a supportive role, which served to appease the Israeli attacks. They also ensured the escorting of the Spirit of Rachel Corrie into Egyptian territorial waters.

According to the Malaysian national news agency Bernama, the ships passengers and cargo are awaiting permission to cross by land into Gaza.

Video: Israeli soldier's testament on using Palestinians as human shields

Palestinians risk their lives when they are forced to perform the 'neighbor procedure' and are often afterwards seen as collaborators.

More testimonies will be made available from Monday 23 May 2011 - Breaking the Silence is an organisation of IDF veteran combatants that aims to raise awareness of human rights abuses.

Palestinians and supporters in Lebanon bury dead and prepare for massive rally Thursday

From Ahram Online
Thousands of bereaved Palestinians in camps in south Lebanon on Monday laid to rest victims of a cross-border Israeli shooting, as shops and schools in the camps closed for a day of mourning.

In the Al-Bass refugee camp, thousands of people gathered for the burial of 17-year-old Mohammed Salem, one of 10 protesters shot dead by Israeli troops on Sunday at the Lebanese border.

More than 100 others were wounded when the crowd of thousands of refugees came under fire from Israeli troops near the Lebanese border town of Maroun al-Ras during a rally to mark the 1948 "nakba," Arabic for catastrophe...

... Ali Barakeh, the Lebanon representative of Islamist group Hamas, said Lebanon's Palestinians were readying for a massive rally on Thursday outside of the UN offices in Beirut.

"This is a massacre inside Lebanese territory," Barakeh, who was present at the Sunday rally, told AFP. "The only arms at the Lebanese side of the border were rocks.

"We place the blame for what happened on Sunday squarely on the shoulders of the enemy (Israel)."

The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah meanwhile lauded the "courage" of protesters who faced Israeli gunfire and reiterated his warning of Israel's fate.

"We must bow before the courage, the bravery, of those who protested yesterday at Lebanon and Syria's borders with occupied Palestine, who faced the tyranny of the enemy with bare chests and their heads held high," Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement released by his Shiite group Monday. more

Masked settlers rampage through Tuba village on Hebron Hills destroying property

(pic: Blood from sheep killed by Israeli settlers in Al-Tuba Sunday night - credit: Christian Peacemaker Teams CPT photo)

From the International Middle East Media Center
Israeli settlers invaded the village of Tuba in the South Hebron Hills late Sunday night, 15 May. They damaged property and killed and stole livestock belonging to the Ali Awad family. Palestinians of Tuba reported that they counted seven masked settlers, who entered and left the village on foot, and saw two cars at the outskirts of Tuba, near the chicken barns of Ma'on settlement.

The rampaging settlers stole seven sheep, killed two, and injured others, including one which lost an eye. In addition, the settlers upended three water tanks, which held a total of 4.5 cubic meters of water. They destroyed fences, punctured a storage tent and three large sacks of yogurt, damaged a goat pen and destroyed the ventilation pipe of an outhouse. They also set loose a donkey, which later returned.
More pics at Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Video: the casual violence of Israeli forces towards Palestinians inside its borders

Thanks to Mondoweiss

This incident occurred inside Israel near the site of two ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages, Kafr Bir'im and Iqrith. The Palestinian Israeli protestors originally made plans to meet up with Palestinian refugees coming from Maroun al Ras, Lebanon. After being prevented from traveling to that meeting place they took their protest to Kafr Bir'im and Iqrith.

These are Israeli police and unarmed Israeli protestors. more

Israel displaces 333 including 149 children so far this year through demolitions

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes has displaced 149 children in the West Bank so far this year, figures from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees show.

Between January and April, Israel destroyed at least 193 Palestinian structures, including 78 residential units, forcibly displacing 333 Palestinians, UNRWA said. more

Israel's 'dual use' rule means easing of siege still blocks essential reconstruction, says EU

From People's Daily
by Fares Akram

The easing of Israel's restrictions on the Gaza Strip has not allowed mass reconstruction or significant projects to be carried out, a senior European Union official said Monday.

The EU "faces difficulties in implementing humanitarian projects that are already agreed," said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response. These programs include the building of schools, houses and infrastructure upgrading.

In June 2010, Israel relaxed Gaza blockade that had been in place since the Islamic Hamas movement took over the coastal enclave by force in June 2007. Hamas hasn't recognized the Jewish state, but Israel eased the closure to calm down international criticism of its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, during which nine pro-Palestinian Turks were killed.

The easing allowed more access to consumer goods for people in Gaza, but kept items of dual-use withheld. "We can't easily bring all the goods that are necessary for our humanitarian programs ... this also means that the economy is very restricted," Georgieva said. more

The Kerem Shalom crossing in the south was briefly opened yesterday (16 May).