Monday, 23 September 2013

Israeli colonel sues UK National Health Service and union for “indirect discrimination”

It’s the latest high profile “lawfare” attack against the boycott of Israel to be fought in British courts.

An Israeli army negotiator last week went to Central London County Court seeking tens of thousands of pounds in damages from the National Health Service and from Unison, the public sector union.

Lawyers acting for Lt. Colonel (res.) Moty Cristal sought at the pre-trial hearing to persuade the judge that he was the victim of “indirect discrimination.” Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust had canceled a workshop he had been due to speak at in April last year.

Unison and the trust say the event was really cancelled because Cristal was once an official for the Israeli government. Unison has fairly strong policies in favour of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and union members had threatened to boycott the session.

A Jewish News report quoted Unison’s lawyer saying that if Cristal was allowed to sue on this basis, the case would become “completely different and much wider.”

“No one thinks it will be an edifying experience to argue about Palestine, boycotting policies and the like. We say this a huge issue which is unsuitable to be debated in the courts … the court should be wary of releasing this tiger as an afterthought,” said Christopher Jeans QC.

Cristal is seeking damages totalling £26,500 and an apology. more

Gaza mortar shell hits Israel, says army

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired a mortar shell that hit southern Israel on Sunday night but caused no casualties or damage, the army said.

“A mortar shell fired from Gaza exploded in an open area near the southern part of the Strip,” a military spokeswoman told AFP, noting there were no casualties or damage.

On Wednesday a projectile fired from the Palestinian enclave hit southern Israel, also causing no injuries or damage, in the first attack from the Hamas-controlled territory since August 18.

Israel holds Islamist rulers Hamas, as the de facto authority in Gaza, responsible for all rocket fire, regardless of which group launches an attack. more

Israel allows settlers to takeover Hebron house following resistance killing of soldiers

The killing of two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank last weekend has prompted an angry backlash in Israel and led the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to announce he will allow Jewish settlers to enter a disputed house in the tinderbox Palestinian city of Hebron.

The latest violence, which follows the killing of four Palestinians in recent weeks during Israeli raids, further raised Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a time when the two sides are in the early stages of recently resumed peace negotiations.

On Saturday, the body of an Israeli soldier who had been lured to the West Bank by a Palestinian was found in a well after he had been reported missing by his family. An army statement said that the soldier, Sergeant Tomer Hazan, had worked with the Palestinian in a restaurant in the coastal city of Bat Yam, and had travelled with him by taxi to an Israeli town near the Palestinian's home village.

The Palestinian, identified as Nidal Amar, then persuaded Hazan to accompany him to his village, Beit Amin, and later killed him with the aim of exchanging his body for the release of Amar's brother, jailed since 2003 for carrying out attacks on Israelis, the army said. Arrested at his home, Amar led investigators to Hazan's body, concealed in a well north of the village of Siniria.

Israeli soldiers are regularly warned to be on alert for possible abduction attempts, which Palestinian militants have warned they could carry out to secure the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier seized and held for five years by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was released two years ago for more than 1,000 prisoners.

Amar was married to an Israeli Arab who lives in the town of Jaljulya, near the border with the West Bank. She told Israel's Channel Two broadcaster that she hoped he would "get what he deserves" and that she was ashamed of his act. Amar's father also denounced the killing.

In Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb, angry protesters demonstrated outside the restaurant where the killer and his victim worked, lighting memorial candles and holding up a sign saying: "Bibi is good for terrorists," referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. The owner of the restaurant was criticised for employing Amar, who the authorities said had worked in Israel without a permit.

On Sunday, another Israeli soldier was killed in Hebron when shots were fired at troops securing the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a hotly contested shrine where both Jews and Muslims pray in strict separation. The shooting followed unrest throughout the city, where there is an increased presence of soldiers and Israeli visitors over the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. more

Two armed groups claim joint responsibility for killing of second Israeli soldier

Two Palestinian armed resistance groups issued a joint statement claiming responsibility for killing an Israeli soldier in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The two groups, the Al-Aqsa Brigades - Special Units, and The Ahrar Al-Jaleel Brigades (Freemen of the Galilee Brigades), distributed their statement through social media websites.

They said that their fighters managed shoot and kill an Israeli soldier, using a sniper rifle, killing him instantly as he stood along with other soldiers near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

It is worth mentioning that the Al-Aqsa Brigades, once an armed wing of the Fateh movement of president Mahmoud Abbas, was dismantled by the Palestinian Authority, and some of its members became Palestinian security officers.

The soldier was initially seriously injured when he was shot in the neck by a Palestinian sharpshooter, close to the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron. He died of his wounds shortly afterwards. more

Settlers uproot Palestinian orchard near Nablus

[Monday morning September 23, 2013] a group of armed extremist Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian orchard, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and uprooted its trees. “Death To Arabs” Graffiti found near Tel Aviv.

Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of Israeli Settlements File at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, stated that the settlers illegally occupied the land before uprooting it.

He added that dozens of settlers arrived into the area, located near the Awarta-Aqraba road, close to the Itamar illegal settlement, and carried out their attack while Israeli soldiers, who arrived at the site, did not attempt to stop them.

The attack came a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, decided to boost settlement activities in the occupied territories, and to allow the settlers into a Palestinian home in Hebron. more