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Israel's Exclusion and Restriction of Goods to Gaza

 Israel's Exclusion and Restriction of Goods to Gaza - by Stephen Lendman

 

After Hamas was overwhelmingly elected in January 2006, Israel, Washington and the West ended all outside aid, imposed an economic embargo and sanctions, and politically isolated the new government.

 

Stepped up repression followed, including regular IDF incursions, bombings, killings, targeted assassinations, arrests, property destruction, and Israeli-instigated internal conflict that left Fatah usurping authority in the West Bank, leaving Gaza alone under Hamas.

 

In June 2007, conditions worsened after Israel imposed its siege, medieval-like, according to some, for its harshness. Now, nearing its third anniversary, it's still in place, slowly suffocating and strangling 1.5 million people, trapped by closed borders, regular incursions and attacks, and shortages of everything needed to function and survive. A humanitarian crisis resulted and continues. The West and most regional states are culpable, complicit or indifferent to a real time catastrophe.

 

Israel's Policy of Exclusion and Restrictions

 

The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (www.gisha.org) is a 2005-founded Israeli NGO, "whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents" - rights international and Israeli law guarantee. Yet under 43 years of military occupation, Palestinian rights have been systematically compromised, abused, and violated, worst of all in Gaza under siege.

 

In January 2010, Gisha examined the situation in a report titled, "Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and Obfuscation," saying that:

 

"Beginning in September 2007, Israel openly stated that it would restrict the movement of goods into and out of Gaza (not for security), but (to) apply 'pressure' or 'sanctions' on the Hamas regime."

 

Earlier, claimed security concerns were cited - from open borders and goods through them, including "dual use" ones with military potential. Hereafter, a limited "humanitarian minimum" would be permitted excluding everything deemed not "essential for the survival of the civilian population."

 

What followed were exclusions halting exports, normal economic activity, production, agriculture, and availability of commonplace items like shoes, paper, school supplies, and tea called "luxuries." Gisha called it "economic warfare (and) collective punishment designed to weaken the (Gazan) economy as part of its warfare against the Hamas regime."

 

Because of Western complicity and regional  indifference, Israel maintains tight control, squeezing the life out of Gaza, using Hamas as pretext, a government it doesn't control like Fatah under Abbas.

 

In a December 2008 paper titled, "Gaza Closure Defined: Collective Punishment," Gisha was blunt in calling Israel's action:

 

"Not a siege, not a blockade, not economic sanctions (but an imposed) closure for purposes of collective punishment (illegally in place to harm) the civilian population and civilian institutions by blocking the passage of goods necessary for health, well-being, and economic life." It's solely a political act for political gain, unrelated to security or military necessity.

 

Linking it to Hamas' use of rockets, its right to self defense under international law, is bogus on its face. Claiming foods, medicines, fuel for electricity and other essential to life goods relate to security is outlandish and illegal under international law.

 

A Gisha May 6 news release said that:

 

"After 12 months of unsuccessful (Freedom of Information Act) attempts (to) obtain (Israeli) documentation about (its) policy concerning the entry of food and other goods into (Gaza), and after claiming for many months that no such documents exist, Israel has finally admitted that it does indeed possess the information (including) a list of goods whose admission into (Gaza) is permitted." More on this below.

 

In 2009, one of several Haaretz reports alleged arbitrariness and corruption in Israel's Gaza policy as well as vagueness about what constitutes "humanitarian," let alone the low quantities let in that fall far below minimally sustainable levels for 1.5 million people. As a result, other humanitarian aid efforts and Gaza's tunnel economy supplement to compensate, but never enough to relieve dire conditions that worsen, not improve.

 

Gisha's Obtained Israeli Documents

 

They list policies that include:

 

(1) "The procedure for admitting goods into the Gaza Strip," that regulates how requests for goods transfers are processed and updates allowed products.

 

(2) "The procedure for monitoring and assessing supply in the Gaza Strip," that regulates the monitoring of the supply of goods permitted, ostensibly to prevent shortages.

 

(3) "A list of humanitarian products approved for admission into the Gaza Strip."

 

(4) A document called "Food Needs in Gaza - Red Lines," that reportedly establishes minimal nutritional requirements for subsistence, or as Ehud Olmert advisor Dov Weisglass said in early 2006:

 

"The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." In other words, make them suffer enough to reject Hamas or force its officials to accede to Israeli demands and function like Fatah as Tel Aviv's enforcer - and if fail at both, slowly suffocate and strangle the entire population.

 

The "Red Lines" document reportedly establishes minimal nutritional requirements at below subsistence levels. Unreleased to the public, it's believed to contain detailed tables of the number of grams and calories of each permitted food item by age and gender. Israel refused to release it, saying the Freedom of Information Act doesn't require it because it's a "draft document" that doesn't serve as basis for policy. Gisha countered by saying:

 

"This argument does not provide an answer to the question of how Israel manages to 'provide effective warning of expected shortages' of goods in Gaza while continuing to insist that there is no working document that defines (their) minimum required quantities. It is not clear why Israel....chooses to invest so many resources in the attempt to conceal information....How is the disclosure that Israel forbids the entry of sage and ginger, yet allows in cinnamon, related to security needs?"

 

Israel balks at releasing anything for reasons of national security and its foreign relations (its image), with no further explanation, except that the information in this case was so "confidential" that only a court in closed session should hear it, excluding Gisha attorneys.

 

Yet what logic excludes cans containing food, but allows Israeli produced tomato paste? Or why large tubs of margarine are embargoed but not individual sticks. Below is a list of allowed and banned items, subject to arbitrary changes and permissible quantities.

 

Wheat, animal feed, flour, cooking oil, cooking fat, sugar, salt, pasta, dates, garlic, chickpeas, rice, beans, lentils, kidney beans, margarine, some dairy products, powdered milk, frozen meat and fish, frozen vegetables, animal medicines, gas for medical use, empty bags for flour, certain medicines and medical equipment, diapers, toilet paper, detergent, washing liquid, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cleaning products for tiles and glass, toilet cleaner, yeast, fertilized and unfertilized eggs, some fruit, semolina, polyethylene for greenhouses, some agricultural materials, tea, instant and regular coffee, canned tuna, salami, canned meat, bath and washing-up sponges, cloths to mop floors, baby wipes, some canned goods other than fruit, dried herb mix, black pepper, chicken stock powder, blankets, olives, matches, candles, sticks for brooms, rubbish bins, mops, hand cleansing gel, aniseed, cinnamon, camomile, water dispensers, potatoes, mineral water, tahini, combs, hair brushes, shoes, wood for doorposts and window frames, small amounts of aluminum, and some kitchenware.

 

Prohibited items include common ones like sage, cardamon, jam, vinegar, chocolate, fruit preserves and dried fruit, seeds and nuts, biscuits and sweets, fresh meat, fabric for clothing, fishing rods, musical instruments, writing implements, notebooks, newspapers, toys, razors, heaters, horses, donkeys, goats, cattle, and chicks.

 

Any and as many of the above items can be changed arbitrarily by military order without further explanation - Israel's customary practice to harass, abuse and cause harm enough for Amnesty International (AI) to title its one year after Operation Cast Lead report, "Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, and no more excuses," concluding with a "call to action" for Quartet members, the EU, Russia, UN and US, to end the blockade by all available means under international law to assure that Palestinian rights are restored, enforced, and assured. 

 

Nothing has been done so far, AI calling it "a sign of the wider failure to hold all parties to account for (ongoing) violations of international law." In January 2009, former Ireland President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson said:

 

"Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I'm not exaggerating....It's almost unbelievable that the world doesn't care while this is happening." Its silence makes it complicit.

 

In June 2009, Jews for Justice for Palestinians accused Israel of "deliberating keep(ing) Gaza on the edge of starvation," based on a Yotam Feldman-Uri Blau Haaretz investigatory report explaining that Israel's policy isn't fixed, but continually subject to change at the whim of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the (Occupied) Territories (COGAT).

 

For example, after excluding them, carrots and pumpkins were allowed in. Yet items like cherries, kiwi, green almonds and pomegranates are prohibited and halvah most often. At the time, no official approved or banned items lists were available, COGAT officials saying only that "Any goods that we allow in, or prohibit - you'll know about....by phone. That's the way we work."

 

A former COGAT senior officer said:

 

"If you go back two years (ago when the blockade began), you see that it was utter foolishness. There was a vague, unclear policy, influenced by the interests of certain groups, by this or that lobby, without any policy that derived from the needs of the population....What happened was that Israeli interest took precedence over the needs of the populace."

 

They, in turn, use their tunnel economy to compensate for shortfalls, but it's never enough to meet needs. Since the blockade's imposition, the Karni terminal has been closed. Earlier, over 600 trucks crossed daily. Now Kerem Shalom crossing handles most goods by conveyor belt for wheat, seeds and animal feed.

 

Nissim Jan, a former Shin Bet agent, profits most as "head of the crossings department." He built a small empire profiteering from the siege that includes a logistical and shipping services company, as well as real estate deals. He's also erecting a building in the Barnea area of Ashkelon, apparently partnering with Didi Yamin, the contractor. In addition, he's closely connected to Nasser Saraj, in charge of Israel - Gaza crossings.

 

According to one Israeli:

 

"The services Jan supplies on both sides of the crossing have made him one of the most significant figures at Kerem Shalom."

 

He says that "Nothing that happens at the crossings escapes my notice."

 

Defense Ministry sources told Haaretz that they've been checking complaints about his activities, including charging a fee for every truck entering Gaza. Jan denies it, yet he profits both ways by charging Palestinians for services rendered. He was fined for one incident involving about 100 tons of cooking gas, reported at the time to be stolen. He claimed he paid the fine to say "Leave me alone."

 

His operation clarifies an added reason for maintaining the siege - the fact that Israeli businessmen profiteer from the misery of 1.5 million people, and do it on both sides of the border.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



part of Israel's slow motion genocide

אל תגידו לא ידענו 212

   תושבי הכפר אל-פרסיה הפלסטינים, שבבקעת הירדן, סובלים מנחת זרועם של הצבא ומתנחלים.

   בבעלותם מעיין הנמצא כשלושה ק"מ מכפרם. לפני שנתיים חתך המנהל האזרחי את הצינורות המובילים מים מן המעין אל הכפר, בטענה שהמעיין הוא שמורת טבע. באין ברירה החלו להשקות את גידוליהם החקלאיים במים מליחים מוואדי אל-מלח, הנמצא 100 מטר מכפרם. לפני חודש צה"ל חתך את צינורות המים והחרים ארבע משאבות.

  מתנחלים מן ההתנחלות רותם השתלטו על כ-1000 ד' מאדמותיהם של תושבי אל-פרסיה ונטעו בהם זיתים. המתנחלים משקים אותם במים שנגזלים מן הכפר הפלסטיני ברדלה...

 

Protest against the outrageous war expenditure

 



 

In the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, humanity is not even close to peace, since dozens of wars are taking place across the planet, and arms sales worldwide increased by 21% over the last five years.

 

The Hate You Hired

Once post 9/11 hysteria in the U.S. subsided Americans began to reflect on what happened that day and since.  Our collective sense of national pride was renewed helping to make us stronger.  We realized how precious our freedoms and liberties were.  We became more vigilant over anything that threatened our way of life and culture.  In the face of tragedy we pulled together.





 

Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Activists

 Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Activists - by Stephen Lendman

 

Ameer Makhoul is an Israeli citizen, human rights activist, and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah NGO, engaged in "strengthen(ing) and empower(ing) the Palestinian people within the Green Line (1.5 million Israeli citizens by) promoting the development of Palestinian civil society and advocating for political change, economic and social development."

 

He's also chair of the Public Committee for the Defence of Political Freedom within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel.

 

On May 10, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury, Amos Harel and Asshel Pfeffer headlined, "Two Israeli Arabs arrested on suspicion of spying, contact with Hezbollah," saying:

 

"Reports of the arrests circulated widely on unofficial websites and blogs, but government censors had banned the Israeli press from reporting them until the gag order was lifted late Sunday night," May 9.

 

Makhoul's brother, Assam, a former Hadash MK, "said the family had no details of the investigation but they suspected authorities had singled out the activist because of his campaigns against the government's 'racist and discriminatory policies' against Israeli Arabs."

 

He's well known as a regular participant in conferences on the topic and for actively criticizing government policies.

 

Hussein Abu Hasin, a lawyer familiar with these type cases, told Haaretz that Israeli espionage charges are so vague and wide-ranging that incidental Internet chats or phone conversations with anyone about anything might be used as a pretext to prosecute for communicating with someone in an "enemy state." Hasin called these laws "draconian," and in the case of Makhoul: 

 

"sparked outrage among Arab organizations and rights groups, who claim that (he and other activists are) disappeared from their homes in the middle of the night. (The) courts (are also) at the beck and call of security services, who often bar suspects from visits with lawyers or from obtaining legal counsel."

 

Earlier on April 24, Israeli security forces arrested Balad party's Omar Saeed while attempting to enter Jordan, at first initiating a gag order to prevent reporting it, the same procedure used against Makhoul. After its lifting, reports were that both men are accused of spying and having contact with foreign Hezbollah agents - one of many bogus charges Israel uses to justify arrests, including against human and political rights activists it wants to silence, what all rogue states do to suppress dissent.

 

On May 10, a mass Haifa rally, sponsored by Balad and Hadash, was held to protest against "an excalating campaign to crack down on Israel's Palestinian citizens," unreported by New York Times writer Ethan Bronner who merely headlined, "Israel: 2 Israeli Arab Activists Arrested" in an article totaling eight lines naming the men, the charge, initial gag order, and that lawyers "for the men said that Israeli espionage laws were overly broad..."

 

There was no context, no detail, no explanation of the men's human rights activism, or the real reason for their arrests. America's other major media reported nothing.

 

On May 6, at 3:10 AM, around 20 Israeli police and security forces arrested Makhoul at his Haifa apartment, ransacked the premises, confiscated his computers, cell phones, various documents and maps, including his daughter's research project. At the same time, his Haifa office was raided and possessions there seized. A Shin Bet warrant said only that "secret information" justified it for "security reasons," the usual Israeli pretext when they use any at all.

 

On May 12, Amnesty International (AI) responded saying:

 

"Israel must stop harassment of human rights defender" in calling on its authorities to release Makhoul who's been held in detention, denied access to a lawyer, and charged with having "contact with a foreign agent."

 

AI's Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa Programme, Philip Luther, called Makhoul:

 

"a key human rights defender, well-known for his civil society activism on behalf of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. His arrest and continued detention smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work. If this is the case, we would regard him as a prisoner of conscience, (and) call for his immediate and unconditional release."

 

He added that:

 

"In the unlikely event that there are genuine grounds to prosecute Ameer Makhoul, he should be charged with recognizable criminal offences and brought promptly to trial in full conformity with international fair trial standards."

 

After arrest, Makhoul was taken to Petah Tikva interrogation center where a same day hearing authorized a six day detention. It was extended until May 17, and may be indefinitely if authorities wish, by renewals of maximum six month periods on the pretext that prosecutors need time to prepare charges, go to trial, or simply hold detainees administratively.

 

Secret Shin Bet evidence is commonly used, undisclosed to lawyers, in violation of international law that prohibits doing it arbitrarily, holding detainees for extended periods, or substituting repression for customary criminal proceedings with all evidence disclosed so counsel can prepare a proper defense.

 

Israel, however, uses criminal and administrative detentions abusively, in violation of international law standards to institutionalize injustice against targeted victims - in this case, two distinguished human rights activists, perhaps to be imprisoned and silenced.

 

On April 21, Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, prohibited Makhoul from traveling, saying his leaving the country "poses a serious threat to the security of the state." The next day, he learned of the order en route to Jordan for scheduled meetings with other activists.

 

In January 2009, Israel's Central Election Committee (CEC) prohibited two of three Arab Knesset parties - United Arab List Ta'al and Balad (Saeed's party) - from participating in the February elections, bogusly claiming they don't recognize the Jewish state and call for armed uprisings against it. Israel's High Court of Justice (HCJ) subsequently overturned it.

 

Under a newly proposed Knesset bill, however, any organization may be outlawed "if there a reasonable basis to conclude that the organization is providing information to foreign bodies or is involved in lawsuits abroad against senior officials in the government of Israel and/or officers in the Israeli army regarding war crimes."

 

Other human rights activists and Arab Knesset members are also at risk. Mohammad Barakeh and Said Naffaa had their parliamentary immunity stripped, and face criminal prosecutions.

 

According to the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the "charge of meeting a foreign agent (is vague and broad enough to criminalize) almost any Arab who establishes legitimate relations with political and social activists in the Arab world." Or perhaps anyone anywhere.

 

Targeting Political Activists

 

At any time, Israel holds from 7,000 - 12,000 prisoners, mostly for political, not criminal reasons, and in detention they're treated harshly. They're violently arrested, beaten on the way to detention, interrogated up to six months for as long as 18 hours or longer a day, during which time, torture, abuse, and other degrading treatment is commonplace.

 

Afterwards, they're either held administratively or charged with one or more bogus offenses, then (unless lawyers arrange plea bargains) tried in military, not civil, courts where international and Israeli laws don't apply. Justice, of course, is impossible. As a result, long sentences are often imposed against designated "state enemies" - activists or ordinary people asserting their right to be free.

 

For months, Israeli security forces, politicians, and extremist groups have been targeting human rights groups and activists for supporting the Goldstone Commission report, the damning account of Israel's crimes of war and against humanity during the Gaza war. 

 

Unlike similar accounts, this one touched a nerve, resonating globally enough to shake Israel's security apparatus and leave top government and military officials vulnerable (if they travel) to prosecutions anywhere under Universal Jurisdiction (UJ) authority. The response - vilify Judge Richard Goldstone and silence internal voices of dissent, the last refuge of scoundrels caught red-handed.

 

"Free Ameer Makhoul & Omar Saeed"

 

Support for and current information about them can be found at: http://freeameermakhoul.blogspot.com/. The site headlines, "Israel's repression of its Palestinian citizens unites us in struggle," and has statements following their arrests condemning them, and demanding their immediate release.

 

On May 12, an Adalah press release headlined, "Court Rejected Appeal against Prohibition on Meeting with Lawyers for Ameer Makhoul and Extended the Detention of Makhoul and Dr. Omar Saeed," explaining that:

 

The Petah Tikvah Magistrate Court held close door hearings to extend the two men's detentions - for Saeed, another eight days (through May 17) and for Makhoul 12 days (until May 18). 

 

Since Saeed's prohibition on meeting with counsel was lifted, he was represented. However, Makhoul is held incommunicado, prohibited from attending, denied legal help so far, and (like Saeed), faces the prospect of criminal prosecution, orchestrated to convict him.

 

In a May 10 press release, Adalah said that:

 

"Dr. Saeed emphasized that he stated during all of his investigation that he has never been recruited to or worked for any organization, defined as a terrorist organization by the State of Israel, and he has never had any contact with such organization. Both (Makhoul and Saeed) are represented by the defense team of Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, and Adalah Attorneys Orna Kohn and Hassan Jabareen."

 

The press release explained that Israeli security forces want to "criminalize the public, political, and social activity of Arab citizens," persecuting them in violation of internationally recognized legal standards.

 

The arrests come at a time of heightened racism against  other Arab citizens. As a result, Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, working on behalf of political persecution victims, are being targeted for their work.

 

In His Own Words

 

On May 6, Ameer Makhoul's Electronic Intifada article headlined "Israel's repression of its Palestinian citizens unites us in struggle," saying:

 

In April, when trying to travel abroad, "Israeli border police prevented me from leaving my country," prohibiting him for two months, subject to renewal. He called it "part of an increased campaign to intimidate and to spread fear among Palestinian civil society. The repression is meant to divide us, but it has had the opposite effect. We Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and the diaspora are only more determined and united to claim our rights and to build a nation where we can live in freedom and have equal rights."

 

"Since 1948, Israel imposed a policy of control under the guise of security. (However, in) 2007, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin introduced a new policy targeting the whole Palestinian community as a security risk to thwart democratic efforts," including their vision of one "state for all its citizens."

 

Since then, "Repression has increased dramatically....(Israel) applies a multi-track approach....repress(ing) and persecut(ing) Palestinians while they prohibit foreign solidarity activists, organizations and journalists from visiting the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip." Settler violence and propaganda intensify the effort, while civil society protests are repressed.

 

"The attacks that are meant to divide us have had the complete opposite effect. Injustice unites us; we are all together in this struggle," with growing people of conscience numbers globally.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



Silencing dissent

לאן נעלם הערבי?

 

Military Invades Bil’in Looking for Recently Released Palestinian Activist

once again the israeli army invades the village of bil'in.

Military Invades Bil’in Looking for Recently Released Palestinian Activist

once again the israeli army invades the village of bil'in.

הטלוויזיה החברתית בסולידריות עם הפגנת הבדואים בתל-אביב

השתתפות בהפגנה

Ezra Nawi To Be Jailed For Non-violent Resistance to the Occupation

On Sunday 23rd May 2010 Ta’ayush activist Ezra Nawi will be jailed for a month in consequence of his protest against demolitions in the Palestinian village of Um al-Chir. As openly stated by his judge, the sentence is meant to deter him and others from such actions of protest. On the same day, their will be a protest meant to support Ezra and show commitment to continue the protest against the occupation and the oppression of Palestinians. This protest will be organized by Ta’ayush and be held in Jerusalem.

Israeli Hypocrisy: Talking Peace While Preparing for War and Institutionalizing Dire Conditions in Gaza

 Israeli Hypocrisy: Talking Peace While Preparing for War and Institutionalizing Dire Conditions in Gaza - by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 8, Haaretz Service and Reuters headlined, "PLO executive committee approves new peace talks with Israel," saying:

 

"The Palestinian Authority on Saturday got the green light to restart peace talks with Israel after the PLO's executive voted to approve indirect negotiations," excluding Hamas - the legitimate government after Palestinians overwhelmingly elected them in January 2006. Instead, coup d'etat leader (whose presidential term expired in January 2009) Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will participate, PLO spokesperson Yasser Abed Rabbo saying that "negotiations will take one form: shuttling between President Abu Mazen (Abbas) and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu." Talks have now begun.

 

Obama's Middle East special envoy, former Senator and Walt Disney chairman, George Mitchell will do the honors, trying to force Palestinian negotiators to accede  to Israeli demands and declare success, until inevitable new violence forces a restart of the whole process at some future time. The charade continues.

 

Recurrent negotiations have gone on for decades, always with the same result. Rita Mae Brown (in her book "Sudden Death"), and some say Albert Einstein, called it insanity, or the practice of "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." In this case, results are what Israel predetermines, Palestinians having no say whatever about a process designed to fail. 

 

For a detailed analysis, see this writer's article titled, "Peace Process Hypocrisy: Stillborn from Inception."

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/03/peace-process-hypocrisy-stillborn-from.html.

 

Justifiably, Hamas objected to being left out, calling the proximity talks "absurd" because they'll "give the Israeli occupation an umbrella to commit more crimes against the Palestinians. Hamas calls on the PLO to stop selling illusions to the Palestinian people and announce the failure of their gambling on absurd talks."

 

On May 7, the Chinese Xinuah news agency said that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also rejected talks as "ill and absurd, whether direct or indirect," given numerous earlier failures, or as honest peace brokers explain: besides excluding its legitimate government, how can Palestinians negotiate in good faith without a willing partner. 

 

They've never had one in Israel, nor do they this time. As a result, expect another round of peace process hypocrisy, producing rhetoric but nothing else, or what this writer earlier called the tragedy and travesty at Annapolis, the last bogus November 2007 effort.

 

Negotiations are one-sided. Israel makes demands and offers nothing. Abbas has been co-opted to go along, so failure is again assured. Yet President Shimon Peres claims Israel is "committed to peace" and a sovereign Palestinian state, a cantonized one encroached on for as much West Bank land as Israel wishes and all East Jerusalem, an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council, as much a rightful Palestinian capital as for Israel. 

 

A topic not to be discussed, nor the right of return, a legitimate state, the preferable one-state solution, and the end to 43 years of oppressive military occupation. Not important enough to be on the agenda nor the legitimate rights and concerns of a sovereign people, set up again to be betrayed.

 

With new peace talks underway, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that from April 29 - May 5:

 

-- Israeli security forces continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property in the West Bank and Gaza;

 

-- seven Palestinian civilians, including two children and a journalist, were shot and wounded;

 

-- nonviolent West Bank protesters were assaulted;

 

-- the IDF fired at Palestinian farmers in Gaza border areas;

 

-- their forces conducted 23 incursions in West Bank communities and one in Gaza;

 

-- in the West Bank, they arrested 40 civilians, including eight children, three journalists, and two human rights workers;

 

-- Gaza remains under siege while West Bank free expression and movements are restricted;

 

-- home and other Palestinian demolitions continue;

 

-- Separation Wall construction continues a process of separation, isolation, and annexation of 12% of Palestinian West Bank land;

 

-- East Jerusalem ethnic cleansing continues;

 

-- West Bank and Gazan agricultural lands are being  destroyed; 

 

-- regular settler attacks on Palestinians occur; and

 

-- settlement expansion goes on unabated.

 

In this environment, peace talks have resumed, but there's more. On May 7, Jerusalem Post writer Caroline Glick headlined, "Column One: Time to plan for war," saying that Obama's "repeated abdication of responsibility (for) preventing nuclear non-proliferation leaves it on Israel's shoulders" to prepare for the: 

 

"coming war (in which) Israel will have only one goal: to destroy or seriously damage Iran's nuclear installations. Every resource turned against Iran's proxies must be aimed at facilitating that goal. That is, the only thing Israel should seek to accomplish in contending with Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas is to prevent them from diverting Israeli's resources away from attacking Iran's nuclear installations."

 

It gets worse, advocating a "preemptive strike against Hizbullah's missiles and missile launchers, Syria's missiles, artillery and launchers, and Hamas's missiles and launchers....These are dangerous times. Iran, which seeks to position itself as a regional superpower, has been emboldened by the Obama administration's abdication of US global leadership. Only Israel can prevent Iran from endangering the world. But time is of the essence."

 

Glick advocates all-out war at a time Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria pose no threat. Only Israel and America's presence do, a topic unaddressed in her article nor are new proposed peace talks.

 

However, her column serves a purpose. Besides highlighting Israel's belligerency, she acknowledges its "undeclared nuclear arsenal (that) only threatens those who would attack the Jewish state with the intention of annihilating it." She assumes because Israel never used it, or failed to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as Iran did, that it "has the right to develop a nuclear program," weapons, of course, because  Dimona doesn't generate electricity.

 

Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is hard line on Iran, demanding unspecified action if it won't abandon its nuclear ambitions, besides:

 

-- once wanting all Israeli Arabs and Arab Knesset members who met with Hezbollah and/or Hamas executed;

 

-- favoring Israeli Arab loyalty to a Jewish state as a condition for citizenship or face expulsion otherwise;

 

-- assassinating "militant" Palestinian leaders, ones committed to equality and freedom; 

 

-- abandoning the peace process and earlier agreements like Camp David and Oslo; and

 

-- on his first day as foreign minister said "those who want peace should prepare for war."

 

Suffering Palestinians in crisis aren't his concern, nor Gaza's siege, its electricity crisis, and its humanitarian impact, the topic addressed below.

 

Under Siege, Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis - One of Many Problems is its Deteriorating Electricity Supply

 

Under nearly three years of siege, inadequate power supply persists, now less than earlier since January 2010 as the "UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory" reported.

 

On May 7, it explained that:

 

"Since January 2010, there has been a serious deterioration in the supply of electricity in the Gaza Strip. (It's because) Gaza's sole power plant, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP), is able to produce only half the electricity that it did (earlier), due to a lack of funds (for required) industrial fuel," after the European Commission's subsidy ended despite the great need.

 

Worse still, Israel limits amounts of all goods and services entering Gaza, including essential to life foods, medicines, and fuel.

 

Pre-2010, most parts of Gaza got from 8 - 12 hours of electricity most days. Now it's 6 - 8, so more than ever, "all aspects of daily life (are impeded), including household chores, health services, education, and water and sanitation services." 

 

The situation is chronic, serious, and deteriorating, dating from June 2006 when Israel bombed and destroyed six GPP transformers. Five months later, production resumed at a 65 MW capacity compared to 140 MW or more previously.

 

Under siege since June 2007, the ability to get spare parts, needed equipment and fuel was greatly impeded, the result being inadequate electricity for 1.5 million people, including for essential facilities like hospitals.

 

Currently, GPP operates one turbine producing about 30 MW of electricity, half its 2009 amount and less one-fourth prior to June 2006. Gazans lucky enough to have them use generators, but if operated improperly they can be dangerous, causing fires, explosions, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Inadequate electricity also hampers hospitals that also use back-up generators. However, they can't run non-stop. Doing so causes damage, and spare parts are hard to get. As a result, elective surgeries are postponed or not done, deferring to critical ones or emergencies.

 

Water and sanitation facilities are also impacted. For example, Gaza City's sewage treatment plant requires 14 days of uninterrupted power to properly complete the treatment cycle. Without it, 60 - 80 million liters of raw or partially treated sewage is discharged into the Mediterranean Sea daily.

 

Pumping water also requires electricity, but because pumps can't operate continuously, households especially can't get enough (at most from 5 - 7 hours a day), raising hygiene and health concerns.

 

Education is affected by darkened classrooms, inadequate refrigeration to store food for schools with canteens, dirty rest rooms, the inability to run equipment like computers, and other impediments. Agriculture as well for irrigation, fodder production, adequate lighting for hens to lay eggs, and various other functions.

 

Gaza needs from 240 - 280 MW of electricity daily. About 42% is bought from Israel, around 7% from Egypt, and the rest depends on GPP that can only supply 13% of the Strip's needs, far short of enough. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company then apportions output through scheduled service outages in some areas to feed others. The situation in untenable and deteriorating, short of committed outside help. Israel and Washington have impeded it or cut it off entirely to make all of Gaza scream - a slow-motion genocide agenda affecting 1.5 million people.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



Israel always chooses violence over peace

اللجان الشعبية بلعين ضد ملاحقة

اللجان الشعبية في فلسطين تستنكر  ملاحقة المخابرات الاسرائيلية للناشط اياد

Bil'in Popular Committee Decrees Persecution

The popular committees in Palestine decry the unjust persecution of leaders
of the popular resistance in Palestine. In particular, we strongly condemn
the Israeli Shin Bet for denying Mr. Iyad Burnat to leave Palestine. Eyad
is the head of the local Popular Committee to Resist the Settlements and
Apartheid Wall in Bilin. He was invited fora speaking tour in Italy and
Switzerland on the topic Palestinian nonviolent resistance. His hosts
including the mayer of Geneva (Remy Pigany ) and organizers of the Peace
march in Italy were dismayed when informed that the Israeli authorities
refused to let Mr. Burnat cross the bridge to Jordan on 1 May 2010.

אל תגידו לא ידענו 211

 

 המדינה פועלת בשתי דרכים כנגד אזרחיה הבדואים: הורסת בתים ומשמידה יבולים, וקובעת עובדות בשטח.

עצומת תמיכה בעובדות ניקיון באוני' בן-גוריון

מזה עשרים שנים מועסקות מעל מאתיים עובדות  ניקיון בשתי חברות קבלניות באוניברסיטת בן-גוריון. בעבר הועסקו העובדות על ידי האוניברסיטה באופן ישיר. מאז המעבר להעסקה באמצעות קבלנים סובלות העובדות מזילות במעמדן, מפגיעה בתחושות השייכות  וההכרה שלהן, מהפרת  זכויות העבודה שלהן, מביטחון תעסוקתי רעוע ומתנאי ניצול מחפירים - הן מבחינה חוקית והן מבחינה אנושית.

אנו החתומים מטה, מרצים. סטודנטים ועובדים באוניברסיטת בן גוריון בנגב, תושבי הנגב ואזרחי מדינת ישראל הנושאים באחריות חברתית קוראים בזאת להפסקת ההעסקה הקבלנית של עובדות הניקיון באוניברסיטה ומעבר לצורת העסקה ישירה המכבדת את העובדות ואת מוסד האוניברסיטה כאחד.

עוד מעצר שהשב"כ והעיתונות מסתירים מהציבור

הסופר והפעיל החברתי אמיר מח'ול, מנכ"ל איתיג'אה (ארגון הגג של העמותות הערביות בישראל) נעצר אתמול לפנות בוקר בפשיטה על ביתו בחיפה. המחשבים שלו, של רעייתו ושל בנותיו הקטינות הוחרמו. גם על משרדי איתיג'אה נערכה פשיטה וכל מחשבי הארגון הוחרמו.

NGOs Call for Ittijah General Director Ameer Makhoul's Release

Ittijah General Director Ameer Makhoul Arrested by Israeli Authorities

הולי ביץ' – מצילים את חוף פלמחים

הגענו לשלב קריטי במאבק להצלת חוף פלמחים.

פעולה אחת ביום

מתחילים מחר - יום חמישי


להסבר על הפעולה הראשונה

 

Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

 Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons - by Stephen Lendman

 

Established in 1998, the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BRC) "defend(s) and promote(s) the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs (to) advance (their) collective rights." In January 2010, BRC published a report titled, "Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, 2008 - 2009."

 

Its web site explains the problem:

 

-- Palestinian refugees and IDPs are "the largest and longest-standing case of forced displacement in the world today;"

 

-- in 2007, of a global 9.8 million Palestinians, about seven million are refugees and another 450,000 internally displaced;

 

-- they include 1948 Nakba victims, more from the 1967 Six Day War, new ones from continuous dispossessions for settlement expansions, and land seizures inside Israel;

 

-- many thousands were displaced from the Jordan Valley, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and within Israel to cleanse Arab neighborhoods for Jewish only development;

 

-- Palestinians in host countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Syria are also vulnerable to displacement; further, the 2003 Iraq war forced 34,000 Palestinian refugees to leave the country; and

 

-- over six decades after their 1948 displacement, Palestinian refugees and IDPs are still denied solutions and reparations for their rights under international law and UN resolutions.

 

Relevant International Law

 

Article 13 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

 

"(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

 

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

 

Article 11 of UN Resolution 194 (1948) states:

 

"....refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for the loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made by the Governments or authorities responsible."

 

The 1951 Refugee Convention defines who is a refugee, their status, rights, and legal obligations of states. Assistance is to include asylum, food, shelter, health, education, human rights, travel documents, and durable solutions, including repatriation, resettlement, and integration. The 1967 Protocol removed geographical and temporal restrictions.

 

After the 1948 Nakba, refugees were to get special aid, protection, and reparations, initially from the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP), UN Relief and Works Agency in the Near East (UNWRA), and later the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

UNCCP ceased operating in the mid-1950s. UNWRA was to provide temporary, emergency help for 1948, 1967, and subsequent Palestinians displaced. Overall they've done little for those in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, or the Territories (OPT) under military occupation.

 

Security Council Resolution 237 (1967) called on Israel to ensure the rights, safety and welfare of inhabitants of areas affected by the Six Day War, and to help those who fled return.

 

UN Resolution 3236 (1974) affirmed the right of return as an "inalienable right."

 

Despite established laws, no international agency is mandated to aid and protect displaced Palestinians in Israel, and in the OPT, only limited aid is provided. In addition, UN agencies and world nations, in deference to Israel, have avoided durable solutions, including their obligation to enforce the right of return. As a result, displaced Palestinians have been denied effective remedies and reparations, and continue to be among the world's most neglected, persecuted people.

 

Israel's Proposed Nakba Law

 

Haaretz once called Israel's ultranationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, "unrestrained and irresponsible" with good reason. On May 15, 2009, his party, the far right Yisrael Beitenu, proposed banning Nakba commemorations, then introduced legislation to do it, calling for jail terms of up to three years for violators.

 

Party spokesman, Tal Nahum, said "The draft law is intended to strengthen unity in the state of Israel and to ban marking (the day after) Independence Day (May 15) as a day of mourning." Representatives of Israel's 20% Arab population accused Lieberman of racism.

 

In December, a softened bill was introduced, and on March 16 it passed its first reading with a majority of 15 to eight. If it passes second and third readings, it will deny financing to municipalities that support the Nakba, including allowing commemorative mourning days. 

 

The revised proposal omits imprisonment, not its repressive racism by denying Israeli Arabs their free expression right to commemorate their most defining historic event. A Haaretz editorial scorned the legislation, saying:

 

"The Knesset should be ashamed of passing the law at first reading. The Kadima and Labor factions should be denounced for not opposing it. But it's not too late to block the harmful law in (subsequent) readings, before it stains Israel's body of law."

 

The Badil Research Center (BRC) refers to the:

 

"ongoing Nakba....caused by Israel's system of institutionalized racial discrimination which is composed of laws, policies and practices that have resulted in second-class citizen status of Palestinians, more land confiscation, discriminatory development planning, segregation of Palestinian communities, home demolitions and forced evictions, in order to ensure Jewish privilege and domination."

 

In its current form, the proposed Nakba bill prohibits government-supported organizations from financing activities that commemorate the event, and will deduct up to ten times the amount spent from group budgets. The bill requires Israeli Arabs to renounce their history and heritage, identify with Zionist values, accept their dispossession and second class status, and face the possibility that a proposed amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law for Jews may one day apply to them; namely a loyalty oath stating:

 

"I pledge to be loyal to the State of Israel as a Jewish... Zionist and democratic state, to its symbols and values, and serve the State, as required, be it by military service, or alternative service."

 

Last June, the Knesset rejected a Lieberman-proposed anti-Arab loyalty oath measure, requiring Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others to pledge loyalty to the Jewish state. 

 

However, last November, the Mitzpeh Aviv community, under the jurisdiction of the Galilee Misgav Regional Council, passed an amendment to its bylaws, stipulating that land allocation be conditional on residents' placing the "highest priorities (on) Zionist values and the values of the state as a Jewish and democratic state."

 

Earlier, Manof and Yuvalim (also under Misfav Regional Council jurisdiction) passed similar measures. Other communities may follow, then the Knesset for more than housing. 

 

As Israel gets more hardline, it's more likely that extremist laws like these will pass, marginalizing non-Jews, threatening their security, and decreasing chances for Palestinian refugees ever to return home as international law allows.

 

It's a short leap from current racist laws to repressive ones like Nazi Germany's Gleichschaltung (standardization under which total societal control was imposed) and the 1935 Nuremberg Laws that:

 

-- protected "German Blood and German Honour";

 

-- prevented marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Aryans;

 

-- declared persons with any Jewish blood no longer citizens and denied all rights;

 

-- banned Jews from holding professional jobs to exclude them from education, politics and industry;

 

-- segregated Jews from Aryans;

 

-- punished them financially, effectively bankrupting Jewish enterprises;

 

-- prohibited Aryan doctors from treating them;

 

-- prevented Jews from becoming doctors;

 

-- excluded Jewish children from state-run schools; and 

 

-- effectively denied Jews all rights afforded solely to Aryans - a prelude to Nazi genocide, what Palestinians have incrementally endured for decades by racist laws, persecution, dispossession, exclusion, isolation, mass imprisonment, torture, targeted assassinations, violence, wartime slaughter - most recently, Operation Cast Lead.

 

Decades of Forced Displacement

 

Besides the internally displaced, Palestinians have lived in forced exile for decades throughout the world, the majority within 100 kilometers of their original home. Those in camps comprise about 21% of the total. Hundreds of thousands of others are in 17 unofficial camps in the OPT, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. About 79% live outside UNRWA's 58 camps, including many in West Bank villages and cities, about 100 localities in all comprising over half the population.

 

Operation Cast Lead internally displaced around 80 - 90,000 people, while forced displacements on both sides of the Green Line continue, for many resulting in multiple uprootings over the years, and, of course, no permanent home because new ones can happen any time for any reason. 

 

Communities most vulnerable lie in the path of the Separation Wall (affecting around half a million Palestinians in 92 communities), as well as Bedouin Arabs in the Negev, residents of the Jordan Valley, East Jerusalem, Hebron, the Galilee, Southern Gaza, the Gaza buffer zone (extending from 500 meters to a kilometer or more within the Strip's border), and Israeli Arab communities in major cities being forced out to make way for Jews.

 

Under international law, world nations are obligated to stop this, but instead are silent in support of Israel, affording Palestinians no advocate on their behalf.

 

Durable solutions require repatriation (based on the well-established right of return) for refugees seeking it, but haven't up to now gotten. The key principle is "voluntariness" for well-informed refugees and IDPs. Solutions also include housing, property restitution, and compensation for damages and losses. Currently, however, no international agency handles this problem equitably, so it festers unresolved.

 

Internally displaced Israeli Arabs also aren't helped. In the OPT, the ICRC has aided IDPs while UNRWA has provided emergency help, but no durable solutions, for displaced refugees. Since 2008, OCHA's Displacement Working Group (DWG) provided international protection for Palestinian IDPs, with little in the way of tangible results to show, especially to prevent new forced displacements as well as medium and long-term protection and durable solutions.

 

As a result, living conditions in 2008 and 2009 declined, especially in Gaza because of war and the ongoing siege, inflicting severe collective punishment on 1.5 million people at the mercy of a ruthless occupier denying them enough essential to life supplies.

 

Political power-brokering, issues, events, and special interests guide international efforts, not people needs ignored. Without help, Palestinian refugees and IDPs do what they can, and used the 2008 60th Nakba anniversary to commemorate their condition worldwide  in Europe, North America, Australia, and the region.

 

Arab Israelis are also more vocal, demanding political and legal reforms, including democratization and recognition of Israel's Nakba responsibility. Israel reacts negatively with measures like those explained above. 

 

But counter efforts have gained traction, including for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (the Global BDS movement) and initiatives like the Goldstone Commission and Russell Tribunal on Palestine revealing systematic Israeli crimes, and calling on world nations to fulfill their international law obligations by holding Israel accountable.

 

College campuses are also responding, including in America. On December 14, 2009, Harvard Crimson writer Abdelnasser Rashid wrote:

 

Evidence shows "Israel deliberately targeted civilians during (Operation Cast Lead), deliberately targeting educational institutions, destroying or damaging at least 280 schools and kindergartens (besides killing) over 1,400 Palestinians," mostly civilians.

 

On "November 23, Harvard extended an invitation to Michael B. Oren - the Israeli ambassador to the United States - to speak at the Kennedy School. Fittingly, he was rejected by students who attended the event. Oren is a former officer and paratrooper who (was) an Israeli army spokesperson during the unwarranted and illegal attacks on Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2009. (Students) took a clear stance against impunity for war crimes." He was pilloried for the actions during a Q & A session. 

 

They "showed (their) unwilling(ness) to stay silent when an (Israeli) spin doctor tries to rewrite recent history" to absolve his country of systematic war crimes. If the university won't do it, they will and did. Moreover,  "welcoming those whose actions deny students in Palestine their academic freedom....inevitably trivializes their struggle for human rights and collective freedom."

 

Growing efforts like these tell oppressor and victims that impunity won't ultimately prevail. What can't go on forever won't when enough determined people say no more.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.Israel violates laws it's sworn to uphold

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سبت 5 June 2010
جمعة 4 June 2010
 

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