Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Six Palestinian children sentenced to imprisonment for terms of 5 to 12 years


QALQILYA, (PIC)-- Israeli court issued harsh verdicts against six Palestinian children from the town of Azzun east of Qalqilya in the West Bank, in addition to heavy fines against each of them.

Hassan Shebeita, the responsible for the Israeli attacks file in Azzun, told Quds press that Salem military court west of Jenin issued recently a harsh actual sentence between 5 and 12 years against six Palestinian children aged between fourteen and sixteen, and imposed heavy fines on each one of them. The six boys had been arrested in April of last year where their trial was postponed several times since then, he said.

The Palestinian official added that the court has sentenced Khaled Abu Haniya to twelve years, Othman Omran to nine years, and Muhanna Meshaal to eight years. The court also issued five-year sentence against Saji Imran, Mohammed Abu Haniyeh, and Saad Abu Haniyeh. more

Rabbi who called for slaughter of a million Palestinians is to supervise Israel’s ‘Red Cross’

By Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada
A notoriously racist rabbi who once called on Israel to slaughter a million Palestinian civilians has been appointed to head a supervisory committee for Magen David Adom (MDA) – Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Haaretz reported that under pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups MDA decided to set up a rabbinical committee to dictate religious guidelines – including gender relations – for volunteers in the rescue service.

The committee is headed by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safad, whose salary is paid by the Israeli government. Eliyahu has a long, well-documented history of extreme racism and has called for violence against Palestinians.

Since 2006, Magen David Adom – whose name means Red Star of David – has been a full member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and is Israel’s internationally recognized agency for disaster management, ambulance service and blood banks.

The organization also raises tax-exempt donations in the United States through the American Friends of Magen David Adom.

‘Kill a million’

In 2007, Eliyahu advocated mass slaughter of Palestinians in order to deter rocket fire from Gaza, while defending a ruling by his late father that Israel was permitted to indiscriminately kill civilians. “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” Shmuel Eliyahu advised, adding, “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.” more

Jordan Valley: Palestinian family’s water confiscated, internationals arrested

By Rosa Andersson and Amina Simonsson (International Solidarity Movement)

The Jordan valley is a fertile are ideal for agricultural production. When Israel took control of the West Bank, it immediately took hold of water resources and began to target Palestinian communities and empty them from the Jordan Valley. The villages left are isolated from each other not only by distance but by Israeli checkpoints, closed military zones, and other restrictions on movement. The Israeli military performs military training in proximity to many communities, putting them at constant risk.

The illegal occupation of water resources has made water access an urgent problem. The United Nations declares water a basic human right. The World Health Organization has declared that each individual need access to 100 litres of water per day, but Palestinians use on average between 50 to 70 litres per day. Many Palestinians in the Jordan Valley however, receive as little as 10-20 litres per day. This is a figure lower than both the recommended daily intake and the absolute minimum daily consumption required to avoid ‘mass health epidemics.’ Families in the Jordan Valley are forced to buy water at incredibly inflated prices. Some households spend 40-50% of their income to buy water from Israeli companies.

“When we came to the Bedouin camp, children were crying and there were a lot of soldiers trying to drag them away from the tractor that they tried to block. There were no men, only women and children, and around 60 soldiers and policemen. The Bedouin men were scared to show any resistance because of the risk of administrative detention,” says Rosa Andersson, one of the women who was later arrested. more

Eyewitness: Attacked off the coast of Gaza by the Israeli navy


“Stand at the front of the boat…we are going to take you.”

This is it. It’s not enough to break my camera and drown me in salty, chemical water; now they have to arrest me too.

Two weeks ago, I set sail on a human rights observation boat with a crewmate, journalist and a captain. I’ve done this tens of times before. I film, photograph and jot down attacks that the Israeli navy carries out on Palestinian fishermen. In the past it was easier for the fishermen to fish if they stayed within the three nautical miles that Israel restricts them to. They were originally guaranteed 20nm under the Oslo accords. It’s sardine season, but the sardines are six miles out, beyond the reach of the blockaded fishermen.

Back in the calmer days I would sometimes go for a swim out at sea- one time I was chased by a large fish, another I had to do an embarrassing emergency pee at sea. And I often throw up. Basically, it is highly glamorous work.

But fishermen are increasingly being attacked- even while fishing in the three-mile limit. In April alone, 12 fishermen were arrested at sea. They are forced to jump into the water to swim to their own abduction.

That morning, we were around 300m closer to shore than the 3-mile marker that the Israeli navy positioned at sea. Without warning, a navy warship steamed towards us in an enormous cloud of smoke. I saw a huge stream of water shooting out of the side and, in one move, shoved my camera into a plastic bag and into the boat’s ‘camera hiding place’.

The Israeli gunboat was on our line, as if it were about to Titanic our asses. And our tiny boat’s engine choked along as fast as possible. Before I knew it, I was also choking on seawater sprayed directly into my nostrils and throat. The water was icy but it burned my nose. After the attack, I smelled like chemicals and have a cough that still lingers today.

I kept spitting out water, barely able so see and I pushed the captain of our boat to go faster.

“Wagifoo” the leading Israeli naval officer shouted (“stop,” in Arabic)

We had done nothing wrong. Of course we were not stopping. Even if we had done wrong, we received no instructions, warning or indication that we would be attacked.

We told the boat to leave us- that we weren’t a threat, that we were within their three mile limit and on our way home anyway. They didn’t give a floating poo. They told us to shut up, while firing high-power water cannons in our faces.

So we tried to go back to Gaza. We turned against the wind so the water wouldn’t reach us but the navy kept cutting us off. We were left with only one route back to Gaza’s shore. They still managed to water cannon us another four times. They alternated between filling our faces with water to aiming their water cannon at our camera hiding place.

The boat started filling with water, getting heavier and slower. I was soon knee deep. Our on-board radio was not working- possibly because of all the water but I miraculously managed to send a few text messages to some friends as I took the full blow of the water cannon in the back. I couldn’t see my phone’s screen. I really felt like I was fighting for my survival. I was going to be pirated away to some cell and nobody would realize for hours.

The water was pouring down my face, I could feel every single drop coordinating to engulf my whole body. On the plus side, my shoes needed a good wash, so thanks for that. If you were the water cannon operator, please get in touch so I know where to send the fruit basket.

After around 15 minutes of this high-sea chase, our engine died.

This is it. I’m going to told to jump into the water, handcuffed and blindfolded as they try to arrest me. No engine; no getaway.

The Israeli warboat spokesperson said something in Hebrew-Arabic.

“Do you speak English?” I responded

“Shut up!” He responded, again in Arabic. more

Abbas urges visiting Russian leader Putin to pressure Israel to stop building settlements


Today, 26th June. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Bethlehem today for a historical visit to the Palestinian territories.

A Russian broadcast has reported that the President of the Palestinian Authority Abbas said in an interview that Netanyahu hasn't responded to the pre-conditions to resume negotiations, and that Israeli settlements are on the top of the list of such pre-conditions.

President Abbas told Russian news agency Interfax that the freezing of the political situation is due to Israeli settlement activities that Netanyahu has refused to cease. He also said that Netanyahu is considering Putin's invitation to meet Abbas for "public relations" but this has been totally refused by the Palestinian leadership.

Abbas has once again called for the freeze of settlements if Israel is serious about the peace process.

President Abbas welcomed Putin, who arrived in Bethlehem at 10 am this morning. The two Presidents will sign bilateral agreements between the two countries. Putin will also participate in the opening ceremony of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture. more

Six political prisoners in Palestinian Authority jails now in hunger strike


RAMALLAH, (PIC) -- Two political prisoners joined the open hunger strike launched by the political detainees bringing the number of hunger strikers in PA jails to six detainees held in the preventive security and the general intelligence detention centers of Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Prisoner Islam Aruri launched his hunger strike on Friday in the preventive security prison in Ramallah demanding his release, stated sources close to his family noting that he has been detained since 7 October 2010 on political charges and sentenced to three years.

Another political prisoner from Al-Khalil city, "Abu Anas Markhiyah" who has been held in the general intelligence prisons in Ramallah since 19 December 2011, affirmed joining the empty stomachs battle since last Friday. more