Saturday, 16 August 2014

How Israel uses Caterpillar machinery to carry out extrajudicial executions


On Monday 11 August, the Israeli army used a militarized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in an attempt to arrest 24-year-old Zakaria al-Aqra at his home in the village of Qabalan near Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

The Times of Israel reported that Israeli forces carried out the so-called “pressure cooker” procedure in an attempt to force al-Aqra to come outside. Soldiers fired on the walls of his house and used the Caterpillar to damage the building. Al-Aqra was killed, six relatives were wounded and parts of his house were destroyed during the eight-hour assault.

A new report by Who Profits Research Center documents Israel’s use of heavy construction machinery in home demolitions as well as the construction of settlements, the West Bank wall, checkpoints, roadblocks and for crowd control.

Most of the construction machinery which is sold in Israel is manufactured in Europe (Volvo and JCB), the United States (Caterpillar), Japan (Hitachi), South Korea (Hyundai) and Turkey (Hidromek). Israeli representatives distribute the equipment and sell some of the imported machinery to the Israeli army and government authorities. more

Palestine supporters block Israeli ship from docking on California coast


The Israeli cargo ship ‘Zim’ was set to dock in the Oakland port, on Saturday morning. But activists have claimed credit for an announced delay in the ship’s docking, and are planning to stop the ship wherever it tries to dock.

The U.S. activists are following the lead of trade unionists in South Africa, who successfully blocked Israeli ships from docking on several occasions, to protest Israeli aggression against Palestinians and call for a just and lasting peace.

Activists in Oakland, California are gathering Saturday to carry out direct action to stop the ship from being able to dock at the port. And, activists in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC are also planning to blockade scheduled stops in those ports.

The actions could potentially cost Israeli exporters millions of dollars, if their goods are unable to reach their ports of destination. The exact products on board the Zim are unknown, but they are likely to include Sodastream, a do-it-yourself soda-making device that is manufactured in an Israeli settlement on illegally-seized Palestinian land, Ahava dead sea salts, which are seized from Palestinian land in violation of the Dead Sea Agreement, and Osem brand food products, some of which are manufactured and packaged in Israeli settlements on illegally-seized Palestinian land, in the West Bank.

In their organizing materials, protesters say, “Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods.” more

Gaza running on 6 hours of electricity per day


Most of Gaza is currently operating on six hours of electricity per day, the Strip's power authority said in a statement Saturday.

The Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority will be able to continue supplying Gaza with that amount of power each day for another two months, "unless the company is targeted by Israeli attacks again," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Authority will begin working on a new power line running from an Israeli power company to the northern Gaza Strip to provide 35 additional megawatts of electricity.

The statement said that priority for electricity will always be given to hospitals, civil institutions, and sewage treatment plants in order to provide essential services to Gaza residents.

Gaza's sole power plant came under Israeli shelling on July 29, and as a result of stopped functioning. The damage will take up to a year to fix, the Authority has said. more

The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza–and the costs to Israel’s standing


From Mondoweiss - The statistics coming out of Gaza as Israel’s most recent bombardment of that hapless territory gradually winds down are on the scale of a natural disaster, but they capture the nature of a catastrophe methodically inflicted by one people on another.

In a month of indiscriminate bombardment, Israel has killed or injured almost twelve thousand people, including thousands of children. It has severely damaged or destroyed the homes of some 17,000 families (over 100,000 people). It has terrorized half a million people into flight from one corner of the tiny coastal enclave in which they are trapped to another, leaving them in urgent need of food assistance merely to survive. Schools, clinics, refugee shelters, hospitals, ambulances, a university campus and Gaza’s only power plant have all come under Israeli fire, sometimes repeatedly. UN schools designed to accommodate 500 people as emergency shelters have been packed with up to 3,000. The social infrastructure—already strained to its limits by years of siege—is close to breakdown. Hospitals have run low on urgent supplies including water and fuel for emergency generators. Morgues were filled; the broken bodies of Palestinian children ended up in ice-cream counters that—in a just world—would be those same children’s sources of delight.

Of the fatalities whose identity and status have been verified so far, 86 percent are civilians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Of those tabulated in its most recent update, 226 are members of armed groups; 459 are children.

Despite the sheer scale of the catastrophe it has inflicted on Gaza, Israel failed to attain a single one of its ever-shifting array of declared objectives (which ranged, according to Israel’s whims, from stopping rocket fire to completely demilitarizing the Gaza Strip).

It is—as usual—a matter of elementary simplicity to dispense with those declared objectives and the mendacious protestations and justifications Israel has fabricated around them. Gaza is not a sovereign state firing rockets across an international frontier: it is an occupied territory held under tight Israeli control. Sealed off by land, sea and air, even its population registry remains in Israeli hands. Internationally recognized as the occupying power in Gaza, Israel is legally accountable for the welfare of the population whose very capacity for life it has been obsessively reducing to ruins. And in any case the sequence of events leading to this bombardment was triggered not by rockets from Gaza but by the recent Israeli crackdown in the West Bank, which culminated in the burning alive of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish fanatics—and, beyond that, five decades of grueling military occupation.

Israel’s repeated claim that it targets only rocket launchers or tunnels is belied by the scale and nature of the weapons it unloaded on Gaza. Its 2000-pound aerial bombs take down entire buildings along with everyone in them (almost a thousand buildings have been severely damaged or destroyed in such air strikes). Its 155mm howitzer shells have a margin of error of 300 yards and a lethal radius of up to 150 yards from the point of impact. Each of the 120mm flechette shells its tank crews fire burst into a 100 by 300 yard shower of 5,000 metal darts carefully designed to shred human flesh. more

Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce as European boycotts surge


Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of cancelations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

SuperValu, the biggest food distributor in Ireland, told the Irish media last week that it has withdrawn Israeli products from its shops.

And Israeli media reports suggest that other major European retailers have taken similar decisions without announcing them publicly.

Israeli fruit and vegetable exporters have faced cancelations from Scandinavia, the UK, France, Belgium and Ireland.

Retailers have become fearful of the rapidly growing consumer boycott of Israeli goods, according to an 11 August article in Hebrew business website The Marker.

A spokesperson for EDOM, a major Israeli fruit grower and exporter that has extensive operations in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, told The Marker:
Importers from Europe are telling us that they can’t sell Israeli produce … One European buyer has told me that he had been blocked in several chains in Denmark and Sweden, and then in Belgium. Last weekend, he told me that mangoes which had been packaged in the Netherlands, as always, and shipped to Ireland, were returned, claiming that Israeli produce would not be accepted … I’ve heard of major exporters from whom chains in southern France are no longer buying. There is no official boycott, but everyone is afraid of selling Israeli fruits. We can only hope that things do not get worse.
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Israel releases 3 Gazans captured during ground assault


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Friday night released three Palestinian men captured by Israeli forces during the ground invasion of Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said.

The release of the three comes amid Palestinian concern and Israeli silence over the fate of at least 250 individuals Palestinian groups allege were captured by Israeli forces during the assault.

Director of statistics at the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs Abd al-Nasser Farawana named the three released men as Ahmad Muhammad Hmeidan Abu Lihya from Khan Younis, Abd al-Qadir Freih Salim Shalouf from Rafah, and Nafith Hussein Muhammad Shalouf, also from Rafah.

Two of the men appear in a list of 26 people given by Israeli authorities to the Palestinian prisoner ministry last week that they said were the names of those detained during the fighting. more

Israeli forces shoot 2 Palestinians inside Silwad home


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers on Friday shot and injured two young Palestinian men inside their home in the village of Silwad east of Ramallah.

Locals told Ma'an that one of the two was struck several times in the foot, while the other was hit by shrapnel from the gunshots.

The victims were identified only as members of the al-Nahl family, whose house was stormed by Israeli soldiers during the course of a military raid on the village. more