Thursday, 3 November 2011

Medical professionals in Israel fail to report signs of torture to protect perpetrators

Medical professionals in Israel are being accused of failing to document and report injuries caused by the ill-treatment and torture of detainees by security personnel in violation of their ethical code.

A report by two Israeli human rights organisations, the Public Committee Against Torture (PCAT) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), claims that medical staff are also failing to report suspicion of torture and ill-treatment, returning detainees to their interrogators and passing medical information to interrogators.

The report, Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim, to be published later this month, is based on 100 cases of Palestinian detainees brought to PCAT since 2007. It says: "This report reveals significant evidence arousing the suspicion that many doctors ignore the complaints of their patients; that they allow Israeli Security Agency interrogators to use torture; approve the use of forbidden interrogation methods and the ill-treatment of helpless detainees; and conceal information, thereby allowing total immunity for the torturers." more

Farmer and member of Hamas military wing killed in clashes on northern border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces killed two people in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, after clashes broke out between forces and unknown gunmen near the border with Israel, medics and witnesses said.

Earlier, Israeli artillery fired on fighters near Beit Hanoun after gunfire from militants towards the northern border, witnesses told Ma'an. Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip and were joined by the Israeli air force, they said.

Medical officials in the Gaza Strip said Muhammad Abu Halmiya, 22, and Nasser al-Layyan, 23, were killed by an Israeli helicopter after the clashes broke out.

Al-Layyan is a member of the Al-Qassam Brigades, a representative from the Hamas armed wing told Ma'an. A Ma'an reporter said Abu Halmiya is a farmer. more

Palestinian BDS national cttee to participate in South Africa tribunal on apartheid in Israel

BDS National Committee to participate in South Africa session of Russell Tribunal on Palestine – Cape Town, 5-7 November 2011

Live webcast begins 8am local time Saturday 5 November:

Representatives of the Palestinian BDS National Committtee (BNC), the broad Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, will participate in the Third International Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in South Africa next month. Rafeef Ziadah, Jamal Juma’ and Ingrid Jaradat will appear as expert witnesses testifying about Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a public awareness tribunal set up by international civil society to investigate violations of international law perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

The upcoming session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will investigate the question: “Are Israel’s practices against the Palestinian People in breach of the prohibition on Apartheid under International Law?”

Jamal Juma’, coordinator of BNC member organisation Stop the Wall, will discuss measures designed to segregate Palestinians.

“Whereas international institutions and governments fail to take action in support of justice and equality for the Palestinian people, the Russell Tribunal will raise awareness about the urgency of holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law,” said Juma’.

“This tribunal will serve as an effective tool with which to educate a wider public about the nature of Israel’s system of oppression of Palestinians and will help to mobilise support for popular resistance and the BDS movement,” he added.

Rafeef Ziadah, representing the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), the largest Palestinian trade union coalition and a member organisation of the BNC, will give evidence on the exploitation of Palestinian labour.

Ingrid Jaradat will discuss Palestinian identity and Palestinians as a distinct racial group for the purposes of the definition of apartheid.

Others due to attend include Stéphane Hessel, Alice Walker and Ronald Kasrils, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. more

The Palestinian BDS National committee (BNC)

Israeli navy prepares for illegal boarding of Tahrir and MV Saoirse in international waters

(pic: David Poort)

Israel has announced that its navy will attempt to stop two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists bound for the Gaza Strip, in the latest attempt by activists to break the four-year Israeli blockade against the territory.

The Israeli military spokesman's office said the country's navy was "prepared to contact" the vessels and had "completed the necessary preparations in order to prevent them from reaching the Gaza Strip".

The Canadian boat Tahrir and the Irish boat MV Saoirse left the port of Fethiye in southwest Turkey on Wednesday after Turkish authorities gave them permission to sail to the Greek island of Rhodes.
Click for map of ships and passenger details

Al Jazeera's Casey Kauffman, on board one of the ships, said that in total it would be a 50-hour journey, and they were currently one-fifth of the way there.

"Everyone on the boat wants to get to Gaza," he said, adding that while the activists are prepared for the possibility of an Israeli interception, the initiative will not be wasted.

"It will still bring attention to the situation in Gaza, and the blockade of the Gaza Strip."

Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military official, would not say how the boats might be stopped, saying only "we will have to assess and see if we are facing violent passengers."

Describing their journey as a "provocation", she said Israel would offer to unload any aid supplies on board and deliver them to Gaza.

Sailing under the flag of the Comoros Islands, the Tahrir is carrying six activists, a captain and five journalists.

The Saoirse - sailing under the US flag - has 12 Irish nationals on board, none of whom are journalists. more