Monday, 30 July 2012

Caterpillar machinery once again involved in Israeli occupation activity

Who Profits?, a project of the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace, found photo’s of the A1 high-speed train project that will connect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on the Israel Railways’ Facebook page. The photo’s - published on 4 June 2012 - document the use of Caterpillar equipment in the construction of tunnel 3A which lies within the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel’s A1 high-speed train crosses the Green Line - the 1949 Armistice Line (also known as the “1967 line” or “Green Line”) that is internationally recognized as the boundary between Israel and the occupied West Bank. When completed, the A1 high-speed train will exclusively serve Israeli commuters between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Who Profits published a report on the A1 fast train in October 2010.

Israel builds railway tunnel 3A on occupied land

The railway will run for six kilometers on occupied Palestinian land, violating international law in several ways. For example, Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids Israel as occupying power from destroying Palestinian property. The construction of the A1 railway also constitutes a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the West Bank contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3. Israel’s entire settlement enterprise in the West Bank has been declared illegal and illegitimate countless times by governments all over the world and by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice although no action has ever been taken to enforce those decisions.

Supply convoy for Jordan’s military field hospital in the Gaza Strip enters through Beit Hanoun

GAZA (Petra) - A supply convoy for Jordan’s military field hospital in the Gaza Strip, dubbed "Gaza 19", arrived in the coastal enclave on Monday through the Beit Hanoun border crossing.

"Gaza 19" hospital director Mohammad Al Itna said the ten-truck convoy was laden with medical equipment and other supplies.

Also today Jordan’s military field hospital Gaza 20 began arriving at the coastal enclave.

Since its deployment in Gaza in January 2009, upon directives of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the hospital provided treatment to more than 863,000 Palestinians in Gaza. more

CIA considers Israel the largest counterintelligence threat in the Middle East

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. He sent word to his superiors about the break-in.

The incident, described by three former senior U.S. intelligence officials, might have been dismissed as just another cloak-and-dagger incident in the world of international espionage, except that the same thing had happened to the previous station chief in Israel.

It was a not-so-subtle reminder that, even in a country friendly to the United States, the CIA was itself being watched.

In a separate episode, according to another two former U.S. officials, a CIA officer in Israel came home to find the food in the refrigerator had been rearranged. In all the cases, the U.S. government believes Israel's security services were responsible.

Such meddling underscores what is widely known but rarely discussed outside intelligence circles: Despite inarguable ties between the U.S. and its closest ally in the Middle East and despite statements from U.S. politicians trumpeting the friendship, U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat.

In addition to what the former U.S. officials described as intrusions in homes in the past decade, Israel has been implicated in U.S. criminal espionage cases and disciplinary proceedings against CIA officers and blamed in the presumed death of an important spy in Syria for the CIA during the administration of President George W. Bush.

The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency's Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials. more

Romney causes outrage with racist comments inferring Israeli superiority to Palestinians

(Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters)

Israel's economic success compared to its Palestinian neighbours was due in part to "the hand of providence", Mitt Romney told a $25,000-a-head fundraising event in Jerusalem on Monday.

"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things," the presumptive Republican candidate told his audience. He cited a climate of innovation, the Jewish history of thriving in adversity and the "hand of providence"....

...Romney drew a comparison between Israel's economic success and the Palestinians'. "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," he said.

In fact, according to the World Bank, Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500.

Romney did not visit the West Bank during his brief visit, although he met the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned Romney's comments. "What is this man doing here? Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. Isn't this racism? Israelis and Palestinians have a conflict, but they are people, they are equal, it is not a better culture or advanced culture.

"It's Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that's why Palestinians cannot realise their potential," he said. more

Gaza families visit relatives in Israeli jails

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A group of Gaza families left the the coastal enclave early on Monday to visit relatives in Israeli jails, a prisoners group said.

Around 30 people left Gaza to see imprisoned relatives in Israel in the third visit of its kind since 2007, Gaza-based prisoners group Waed said.

"Israeli authorities do not allow young children to visit their relatives in Israel’s custody," director of Waed, Sabir Abu Karsh, said. The pretext given by Israel is that these visits are experimental, he added.

Ayman Shihabi, the public information officer of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told Ma'an that the ICRC would continue to coordinate with all parties to make sure the visit is successful. more

Palestinian killed, two injured, by army fire in Jerusalem

Palestinian medical sources in Jerusalem reported that one Palestinian was killed on Monday at dawn, and two others were wounded, when Israeli soldiers, stationed at a roadblock east of occupied East Jerusalem, opened fire at their car under the pretext that they did not heed to soldiers ordering them to stop.

The sources said that that Akram Badee’, from Beitello village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, was moved by the army to the Hadassah Israeli hospital in Jerusalem, but died of his wounds later on; he was hit by a live round in his head.

The two wounded residents were moved by Red Crescent medics to a local hospital in Ramallah.

One Israeli soldier was not reportedly mildly wounded, likely by friendly fire, as the driver, nor that passengers, were armed. more