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Don't Say We Didn't Know 238

 In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled - while ignoring the advisory ruling of theInternational Court of Justice in The Hague - that the path of the separation fence, on the land of the Palestinian village Bil'in, was disproportionate, and had to be moved westward.  Only in February 2010 did the IDF start construction according to the new route, and now a wall has been built instead of a fence.  Previously, some 2,300 dunums (dunum = 1000 sq.m) were on the other side of the fence, now, about 1,500 will be on the other side of the Wall.

Due to the popular struggle of Bil'in’s residents against the fence and robbery of their land, the IDF has been invading the village during the evening and night. Sometimes they come to arrest someone, sometimes just to spread fear. During some invasions stun and teargas grenades are thrown, and rubber bullets shot, and these cause nightmares to the children of Bil'in.  Last week seven such invasions occurred.

 

Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו 238

 ב-2007 פסק בג"צ – תוך התעלמות מחוות הדעת המייעצת של בית הדין בהאג – כי תוואי הגדר על אדמות בילעין אינו מידתי, וכי יש להעבירו מערבה. רק בפברואר 2010 החל צה"ל לבנות לפי התוואי החדש, אלא שעכשיו בונים חומה במקום גדר. אם קודם היו כ-2300 דונם מאדמות בילעין מעבר לגדר, עכשיו יהיו כ-1500 דונם מעבר לחומה.

   על רקע המאבק העממי של תושבי בילעין נגד הגדר וגזל אדמותיהם, נוהג צה"ל לפלוש לכפר בשעות הערב והלילה. לפעמים באים לעצור מישהו, ולפעמים באים להטיל מורא. בחלק מהפלישות זורקים רימוני הלם ורימוני גז, ויורים כדורי גומי, תוך גרימת סיוטי לילה לילדי בילעין. רק בשבוע האחרון היו שבע פלישות כאלה.

 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

Unrecognized Palestinians: Illegally Demolishing Their Homes and Villages

 Unrecognized Palestinians: Illegally Demolishing Their Homes and Villages - by Stephen Lendman

 

In October, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, together with nine other human rights organizations, addressed a position paper on "The unconstitutionality of the state's policy of demolishing Arab Bedouin unrecognized villages in the Negev" to three Israeli officials:

 

-- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

 

-- Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, and

 

-- Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman.

 

Citing the illegality of home demolitions, in this case of Arab Israeli citizens, they urged halting them immediately and finding a durable solution for unrecognized village residents. In Salim Abu- Medeghem v. The Israel Land Administration (April 14, 2007), Israel's High Court proposed replacing demolitions with solutions based on dialogue, Justice Arbel ruling:

 

"....the difficult reality the Bedouin population faces in the State of Israel requires a systemic, complete and comprehensive solution, and the sooner the better...The time has come to formulate and implement a truly comprehensive solution to this problem."

 

An earlier article addressed this issue, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2007/09/unrecognized-palestinians_12.html

 

It explained that Israeli Arabs live mainly in all-Arab towns and villages in three heartlands - the Galilee in the north; what's called the "Little Triangle" in the center along the Israeli side of the Green Line; and the Negev in the south.

 

Up to 150,000 Bedouin Arabs, Israeli citizens, live in so-called "unrecognized villages," mainly in the Galilee and Negev. They're unrecognized because their residents are considered internal refugees, forced from their homes during Israel's War of Independence and prevented from returning. Thereafter, they've been relentlessly mistreated, including by repressive zoning restrictions, prohibiting construction, agriculture, and other legal rights.

 

They're also been denied essential services, including water, electricity, roads, transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal and more because under Israel's Planning and Construction Law they're illegal. More recently, stepped up efforts to demolish their homes and villages are dispossessing them, making way for Jewish development, much like what's ongoing throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 

Adalah and the other human rights organizations want it stopped. Negev Bedouins number around 80,000. After earlier concentrating them in the desert's eastern portion, a policy of reducing their living space began in the 1990s. Today, Israel wants to remove as many as possible, disregarding their basic rights.

 

Since 1948, Israeli master plans completely ignored the unrecognized villages, denying their residents rights afforded Jews. The ongoing injustice continues relentlessly, today pursuing a policy of destroying entire villages, forcible displacements then following.

 

Examples include Al-Araqib. On July 27, 2010, at 4:30AM, the whole village was razed, its 45 homes demolished, illegal force used against men, women and children. Without warning, police stormed the village, wearing face masks and no IDs. Income Tax Authority representatives came with them, lawlessly seizing assets, purportedly to cover unverified debts.

 

The episode was appalling, leaving residents traumatized, their homes razed in front of their eyes, their possessions seized, and no alternative housing provided. After rebuilding four times, authorities again destroyed them.

 

Umm al-Hieran - Atir is home to about 1,100 Bedouins, evacuation and expulsion orders pending against them on grounds of trespassing. As a result, many village homes got demolition orders. Residents have lived there since 1956 after members of the Abu al-Qi'an tribe were expelled from Wadi Zuballa (today part of the Kibbutz Shoval). However, according to various master plans, part of their village is earmarked for a Jewish town to be called Hiran.

 

Al-Sura is another example, situated on Al-Nasasra tribe land, predating Israel's creation. All village houses got demolition orders, their land to be stolen for industrial development excluding them.

 

In August 2010, demolitions occurred in Jarabe, Abda, Abu al-Sulab, Al-Shihabi (Abu Tulul) and Baqurnub. There and in other villages, the practice has been longstanding. However, 2010 saw a dramatic rise, by early October destroying over 200 homes, properties and other possessions confiscated. Moreover, hundreds of olive trees were uprooted and agricultural crops destroyed.

 

More information can be found at the Negev Coexistence Forum's web site, accessed through the following link:

 

http://www.dukium.org/index.php?newlang=english

 

Israel's Lawless Disregard for Its Arab Minority

 

Home demolitions violate their legal rights to dignity, housing, health and life, mistreatment Israel Jews don't face. Loss of their homes also violates a Supreme Court ruling that the right to housing is part of their minimal subsistence. It's therefore part of their legal right to dignity.

 

In Preminger v. Mor (1997), Justice Strasberg-Cohen held that:

 

"human dignity is a fundamental constitutional value in our society. No one would dispute that it is necessary to safeguard a person's dignity even if he has failed or fallen into debt, and that he should not be left without a roof over his head."

 

In Ajouri v. Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank (2002), the Court held that "A person's home is not only a roof over his head, but also a means for the physical and social location of the person, of his private life and social relations."

 

Moreover, since Bedouin life is especially harsh, authorities have an added responsibility to ensure shelter. In Commitment to Peace and Social Justice NGO v. The Minister of Finance (2005), the Court ruled that dignity included the right to minimal living conditions to ensure protection for human life. As such, the state is duty bound to care for those with meager means. Retired Chief Justice Barak ruled:

 

"The basic laws protect the right to dignity, including the aspect of material subsistence required for the exercise of (this right). From this viewpoint, (that entails) the right to conduct his normal life as a human being without his distress defeating him and bringing him to a state of intolerable impoverishment."

 

International laws also affirm these rights, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. ICESCR's Article 11 defines elements to adequate housing to include:

 

-- affordability, so that obtaining it doesn't jeopardize other essential needs;

 

-- a prohibition against discriminatory laws;

 

-- the right to privacy;

 

-- protection from arbitrary eviction;

 

-- accessibility to infrastructure and services, including health, education, and employment;

 

-- the right to choose residency locations; and

 

-- to live in culturally adaptable housing.

 

Other international laws specify rights for women and children, and for authorities to assure them. Evicting Bedouin Arabs and demolishing the homes and villages, based on their nationality and religion, clearly violates their rights under Israeli and international law. Worse still, it's being done solely for Jewish development, showing contempt for Arab citizens, violating basic human rights and freedoms.

 

Jewish Hiran will replace Umm al-Hieran. Al-Araqib will be demolished for Givot Barr. In addition, individual Jewish settlements are being approved, some in violation of planning policy. For example, in July 2010, a Negev Development Authority Law amendment passed, recognizing Negev Jewish settlers, master plans for them to follow. As a result, Bedouin rights will be trashed, fundamental laws violated, even though as Dr. Sandy Kedar explains:

 

Negev Bedouins are a recognized indigenous minority, their historical existence and presence predating Israel's existence. Their land and property rights are indisputable. Israel's Basic Law affirms them, requiring authorities to protect them as well as other basic rights.

 

Israel's Or Commission, established in October 2000, recommended that Bedouin villages be recognized and developed, saying:

 

"The land conflict has existed since the first days of the state....The Arab public strongly supports and identifies with the Bedouin's stance." Though Israeli citizens, their "villages are not recognized (and) have not been provided with infrastructure and services....The vast majority of residents of the unrecognized villages were required to move to a number of central towns that were planned for them....Several public associations have formed to" protect them." They deserve equitable conflict resolution.

 

In 2007, Israel's Housing and Construction minister appointed the Goldberg Committee to resolve this issue. On November 11, 2008, the Committee recommended that all Negev Bedouin villages be recognized. In addition, Bedouin citizens should be granted land ownership rights.

 

On January 18, 2009, authorities then approved Decision No. 4411, deciding that it "regards the outline proposed by the committee as a basis for resolving the settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev." Then, in June 2010, the "Investigator's Recommendations Regarding the Objections to District Master Plan 23-1404 - A Partial District Master Plan for the Beersheva Metropolitan Area" was published. It also recommended recognition.

 

In July 2010, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) issued its "Concluding Observations" on Israel's third periodic report, expressing concern about home demolitions and forced evictions. HRC called on Israel to respect Bedouin rights to their land and agricultural livelihoods on it.

 

The UN CERD Committee, responsible for monitoring the state's implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination expressed concern in June 2007 over Israeli violations, saying Bedouin village and land rights must be recognized.

 

In 2005, the UN CEDAW Committee, responsible for monitoring states' implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women expressed outrage over how Bedouin women were being treated.

 

In 2002, the UN CAT Committee, responsible for monitoring the state's implementation of the International Convention Against Torture (CAT), determined that Israel's home demolition and displacement policy constituted, in some cases, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, violating the statute.

 

Adalah attorney Sawsan Zaher asked the above addressed officials to halt their aggressive policies, replacing them with constructive dialogue for acceptable solutions. International and Israeli law demand it. As in the past on all Jewish/Muslim issues, they were unresponsive. As a result, Israeli lawlessness continues relentlessly, the rule of law a non-starter, Bedouin Arab citizens victimized like other Israeli Arabs and Occupied Palestinians, justice for them still denied.

 

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/.actions against Israeli citizens

Ethnically Cleansing East Jerusalem

 Ethnically Cleansing East Jerusalem - by Stephen Lendman

 

Jerusalem is the epicenter of a decades long struggle. For Jews, it's politically important as their capital, a national and religious center, as well as symbolic of Judaism's revival and prominence. For Christians, it's where Jesus lived and died, and for Muslims, it's their third holiest site (the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque) after Mecca's Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.

 

In June 1967, Israel occupied the city. On July 30, 1980, the Knesset introduced the Jerusalem Law, officially annexing it as Israel's unified capital. However, on March 1, 1980, UN Security Council Resolution 465 declared that:

 

"all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant (Fourth Geneva) violation....and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

 

On July 4, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICC) ruled that "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development (and) have been established in breach of international law."

 

However, nothing thereafter changed. Settlements expanded exponentially, including on stolen East Jerusalem land. Israel plans to Judaize it by replacing Arabs with Jews, law or no law, because unenforced ones are meaningless.

 

On November 7, Haaretz writer Nir Hasson headlined, "Full Haaretz expose/How the state helped right-wing groups settle East Jerusalem," saying:

 

Israel "used a controversial law to transfer East Jerusalem assets to the rightist organizations Elad and Ateret Cohanim without a tender, and at very low prices."

 

To date, Elad settled 500 Jews in 15 Silwan sites. Ateret Cohanim brought 60 Jewish families and hundreds of yeshiva students to the Old City's Muslim Quarter, an area they're determined to control.

 

In support, Israel transferred hundreds of assets to them, as well as millions of shekels for security, including surveillance cameras and fences that separate settlers from Palestinians. Authorities also licensed Elad to manage the historic City of David tourist site.

 

In 1992, the Knesset passed a law requiring all state agencies to hold public tenders on which any citizen may bid, with certain defined exemptions, including expanding agricultural areas and promoting tourism. However, Elad and Ateret Cohahim were "exempted from tender" for all 11 assets they got, authorities abusing the 1950 Absentee Property Law to do it.

 

It pertains to persons "who, at any time during the period between (November 29, 1947) and (May 19, 1948) ceased to exist," and no longer owned Israeli property legally. However, at least for some of the 11 seized assets, owners live in the West Bank, "which is not under the jurisdiction of Israeli law."

 

Attorney Shlomo Lecker, involved in one of the cases, said: "These are not people who moved to an enemy country. Instead, these are cases in which we've decided to annex property without annexing the people who left it. Thus, two attorneys general recommended that this law not be applied to East Jerusalem."

 

Haaretz's full expose can be accessed through the following link:

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/full-haaretz-expose-how-the-state-helped-right-wing-groups-settle-east-jerusalem-1.323312?localLinksEnabled=false&utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=a19fb514b1-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email

 

Ethnically Cleaning Silwan

 

Silwan is an Arab village adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City, extending along the Kidron Valley alongside the eastern slopes of Jabal al-Mukaber, another Arab community. Home to about 45,000 people, it's one of 28 Palestinian villages incorporated into East Jerusalem.  For years, settler encroachment fueled controversy and conflict. So does the area's historical importance, archeology used for displacement to legitimize Jewish claims. 

 

Excavations have already claimed large tracts of Silwan land. The militant right-wing settler group Elad, funded largely by US donors, controls them. Its web site tells its own version of history. It also conducts tours to convince visitors of its Jewish origin.

 

For their part, Palestinians are contesting, explaining their important history. Different versions fuel conflict, Haaretz writers Nir Hasson and Jonathan Lis, on October 12 headlining, "Life in Silwan: Unbearable for Jews and Palestinians alike," saying:

 

"The pattern of Jewish settlement (there) is unlike anywhere else, with some 70 Jewish families (around 500 people) in 15 locations, islands among tens of thousands of Palestinians. The resulting friction requires the presence of dozens of security guards and surveillance cameras."

 

Palestinians complain about their presence and heavy-handed police tactics. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel said settlers carry weapons, Jewish/Arab relations thus tense over shootings, deaths and arrests. Moreover, Palestinian homes are being demolished for planned parks, open spaces, restaurants, boutique hotels, and Jewish-only housing.

 

Al-Bustan is a Silwan neighborhood, across from the Jerusalem's Old City. Home to about 1,500 residents, they're threatened with displacement, the Municipality of Jerusalem claiming no permits were issued to build in areas designated for open space and a archeological park.

 

On February 22, 2009, they were ordered out in 72 hours to make way for expanding Israel's City of David archeological site, a Jewish heritage project involving removing Palestinians whose history goes back centuries. Residents contested their right to stay, the Al Bustan Popular Committee (BPC) working with lawyers in Israeli courts. Nonetheless, demolition orders are issued and in other city neighborhoods, part of Israel's systematic Judaization process.

 

In October, police posted notices on five Al-Bustan homes, calling them illegal and subject to demolition. In addition, BPC's leader, Fakhri Abu Diab, said "a large force of Israeli border guards ransacked the area, using homes as vantage points to fire tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and rubber bullets in all directions" after protests broke out.

 

Many Silwan homes have been demolished, many more threatened. Moreover, residents are regularly attacked, prompting protests and clashes. B'Tselem explained that East Jerusalem Palestinians face discriminatory housing and construction policies, forcing them to build without permits (on their own land), thereby subjecting them to demolitions. Protests, violence and arrests follow, children affected like adults.

 

On October 25, Palestine Monitor writer Charlotte Silver headlined, "Children The New Target In Silwan Ethnic Cleansing Campaign," saying:

 

Daily, "Jerusalem police and security forces have filled the streets of Silwan....patrolling (them) on foot and in cars. This past week alone," 23 residents were arrested, including at least six children, aged eight to 12. The charges are always the same - stone throwing, whether or not true. Yet they're arrested, detained, beaten, terrorized and tortured like adults. In some cases, serious injuries result, requiring hospitalization.

 

Defence for Children International/Palestine (DCI) Section Report

 

In October, DCI issued a Detention Bulletin headlined, "Mass arrests in Silwan, East Jerusalem," saying:

 

Information on the arrest of 17 Silwan children was collected, "although lawyers and fieldworkers for DCI-Palestine estimate that the overall number of children arrested....in October is considerably higher."

 

In recent weeks, confrontations between Palestinians and settlers, their private security guards, and police escalated. Further tensions erupted over plans to displace Al-Bustan residents for a recreation park. Children are always affected. Hundreds are arrested annually, some as young as or younger than 12. Nearly always it's for stone throwing, yet they're detained in violation of Fourth Geneva's Article 76, requiring minors be given special treatment, besides other provisions to safeguard protected persons.

 

In October, 256 children were arrested, aged 12 - 15. Prosecutions and detentions usually follow. Bara' R., aged 13, is typical. On October 13, he was arrested in Silwan for throwing stones.

 

"At around 5:00PM, (he) was standing in front of his sister's house with some friends when they were attacked by 10 men in plain clothes, who were apparently Israeli security forces. (He) then reports being dragged into a nearby mosque by the men. (They) started firing weapons and tear gas at people outside the mosque. Baha's hand were tied behind his back and his shirt was pulled up over his eyes to prevent him from seeing."

 

"A short time later, (he) was put in an Israeli military vehicle and kicked and slapped." He was then transferred to Al Mascobiyya interrogation center in Jerusalem for questioning. Baha confessed "because I was so terrified because they beat me when they arrested me and because I was alone in the interrogation room."

 

He was luckier than others. At 11:00PM, he was released and fined 5,000 shekels, about $1,400, a huge sum for poor Palestinians, perhaps too much to pay, meaning their property or possessions may be taken instead.

 

DCI/Palestine covered several other arrests. In all cases, children were accused of stone throwing. Their hands were painfully shackled behind their backs. They were dragged, beaten, forced to confess and sign documents in Hebrew, denied food, water and toilet privileges for long periods, and overall terrorized during interrogations. Some were fined and released, others detained.

 

On October 15, police and Silwan residents clashed. About 15 Palestinians were injured, including one child. Most were struck by rubber-coated bullets, able to cause injuries and at times kill.

 

"According to local sources, the confrontations took place after Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at worshippers" during prayer time. Residents threw rocks in response. "In a related incident, Israeli border police officers physically assaulted and injured a man at a flying checkpoint erected at one of Silwan's entrances." He was taking his son to the hospital, suffering from pepper gas inhalation. 

 

On October 23, DCI/Palestine sent a 14 page report to the EU Subcommittee on Human Rights on how Palestinian children are treated in detention. It highlighted "the continued use of ill-treatment and torture during the arrest and interrogation" process.

 

Other information included:

 

-- international law violations; 

 

-- evidence that over 42% of children are held with adults;

 

-- over half receive inadequate food, water and shelter;

 

-- most are denied family visits during the first three months of detention;

 

-- telephone privileges are prohibited; and

 

-- most are subjected to torture and other forms of abuse.

 

A Final Comment

 

Israel's long range Jerusalem plan is total Judaization, making the city its exclusive capital, denying the Palestinians rightful claim to its eastern portion for its own. As a result, ethnic cleansing systematically continues, villages like Silwan targeted by home demolitions, dispossessions, and assaults against residents defending their land and property.

 

In some ways they do it creatively. In 2008 for example, when 88 houses were ordered demolished for a City of David archeological park, residents erected a large tent for prayer, meetings, children's activities, and community events. In October, Jimmy Carter met with village leaders in it. Last year, the Wadi Hilwah Information Center was established to counter settler propaganda with its own historical narrative.

 

Determined, sustained, organized resistance is the best antidote to repression and injustice, what Palestinians have heroically done for decades, including the men, women, and children of Silwan. 

 

In her August 18, 2010 Palestine Monitor article, Elena Hogan's title described it metaphorically headlining, "When David Becomes Goliath." In fact, long struggles at times end that way. Why not in Silwan, in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, occupation-free self-determination an achievable goal.

 

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/.Judaizing East Jerusalem

Stonewalling Goldstone

 Stonewalling Goldstone - by Stephen Lendman

 

On September 15, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council's (HRC) Goldstone Commission issued its findings on Cast Lead, Israel's war of aggression against Gaza, inflicting enormous loss of life, thousands of injuries, massive human suffering, and vast destruction, despite no provocation or threat to Israeli security.

 

The Commission concluded that "there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."

 

Notably the Commission said:

 

"While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right of self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole." Defensive rocket attacks in response to repeated Israeli provocations were, in fact, a pretext for naked aggression.

 

On September 27, 2009, Haaretz writer Nathan Guttman headlined, "Israel, US working to limit damage of Goldstone report," saying:

 

"Because of joint efforts, it's all but certain the report will not reach any binding international forums." With US help, Israel was obstructionist all along, refusing to cooperate in the investigation, including by preventing Goldstone from entering Israel. Its "drive to counter the report began moments" after its release, blasting it as biased and pressing Washington to block Security Council action.

 

The last refuge of an exposed scoundrel is lying, an Israeli speciality. In this case. Jonathan Peled, spokesman of Israel's Washington Embassy, said report conclusions carry a hidden danger for "every country fighting terror. We need to make sure this report does not endanger the US and other countries." 

 

More as well from Israel's Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, denouncing Goldstone (a distinguished Jewish jurist) as anti-Semitic, despite his longtime support of Israel. He also serves on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's board of governors.

 

The US State Department also responded, spokesman Ian Kelly citing "overly sweeping conclusions of fact and law with respect to Israel," while failing to challenge its findings.

 

Shortly before the HRC voted to endorse Goldstone's report, the PA bowed to US and Israeli pressure to defer voting until March 2010. At the time, calls for Abbas' resignation were heard, to no avail. 

 

Netanyahu said referring the report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) would stop the peace process, another willful deception. Moreover, Washington told Jewish leaders that America would use its Security Council veto to block the report's "difficulties," assuring absolution for Israel's war crimes like previous ones for decades.

 

On October 19, 2009, the 47-member HRC approved a resolution endorsing Israeli war crimes charges, voting 25 in favor, six against, 11 abstentions, and five no-shows. Predictably, no votes were cast by America, four EU member states (Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary and Slovakia), and Ukraine. Heavy Washington pressure got support from countries dependent on US political, economic or military aid to buy Israel as much cover as possible.

 

Accountability Again Obstructed

 

On September 21, 2010 in Geneva, an HRC statement said:

 

"It was clear to the Committee that the IDF had not distinguished between civilians and civilian objects and military targets. Both the loss of life and the damage to property were disproportionate to the harm suffered by Israel or any threatened harm. Israel's actions could not be justified as self-defense....The IDF was responsible for the crime of killing, wounding and terrorizing civilians (as well as) wonton(ly) destr(oying) property and that such destruction could not be justified on grounds of military necessity."

 

The HRC called IDF crimes so grave, "it was compelled to consider whether (genocide) had been committed." Its conclusion was that Israel "committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly genocide in the course of Operation Cast Lead."

 

On September 29, 2010, in spite of overwhelming, incontrovertible evidence, Mahmoud Abbas again bowed to US/Israeli pressure, instructing his permanent Geneva Human Rights Council envoy, Ibrahim Khraishi, to request more time for further investigations. As a result, a passed resolution got six more months, the strategy being delay, obstruct, and keep the report buried in Geneva, out of sight and mind.

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) denounced Khraishi, saying he's:

 

"holding justice hostage to politics, and extending de facto impunity to the Israeli military and political leadership." By getting the HRC to agree to more delay, he sent "a dangerous message" that what happened in Gaza....is acceptable. With such impunity, there is no guarantee for Palestinians that these crimes will not be repeated."

 

In fact, they're assured by granting blanket immunity for daily crimes of war and against humanity throughout Palestine. With no accountability, they've continued unchecked.

 

A previous article explained the PA recommendation for whitewash, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/palestinian-authority-recommends.html

 

It asked who do they serve anyway, absolving crimes against Palestinian civilians, causing massive human suffering and vast destruction, leveling wide areas of Gaza unrelated to military necessity.

 

Mahmoud Abbas capitulated, betraying his people again. It's the same role he's played at least since Oslo when as chief Palestinian negotiator he agreed to surrender Palestinian land, their legitimate rights, and end opposition resistance. Then as president, became a coup d'etat leader, collaborating for aid and special favors.

 

His earlier betrayal got PA economy minister, Bassem Khoury, to resign in protest. PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, Hatem Abdel-Qader, also left, saying his government failed to resist home demolitions, explaining:

 

"I prefer not to be part of such a government and continue enjoying personal and financial gains, and quit instead." 

 

Moreover, 16 human rights organizations condemned the PA's latest action, a joint statement demanding accountability after decades of impunity, one passage saying:

 

"The belief that accountability and the rule of law can be brushed aside in the pursuit of peace is misguided. (Sustainable) peace can only be built on human rights, on justice, and the rule of law....As human rights organizations, we strongly condemn the Palestinian leadership's decision to defer the proposal of the international community. Such pressure is in conflict with States international obligations, and is an insult to the Palestinian people."

 

Signatories included the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Physicians for Human Rights/Israel, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Addamer, Defense for Children International/Palestine Section, Adalah, Al Haq, Arab Association for Human Rights, among others.

 

A Final Comment

 

Goldstone's report isn't dead, but it's on life support. Nonetheless, HRC's Committee of Experts remains active, headed by John Dugard, former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine. However, whether or not it will matter is worrisome, given forces for delay, obstruct and whitewash in control. Wresting it from them may prove insurmountable, but serious efforts must be made to try. Otherwise, predictable consequences will follow, assuring violence, unaccountability and injustice.

 

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/.trying to suppress the findings

The Last Remaining Rivet

   When I was a student at the University of Connecticut (here in America) I became the target of group harassment.  The harassment was based on racial profiling because of my race, and my participation in an act of student protest from 1990.  The harassment at UConn (the University of Connecticut) happened between 2003 and 2006 while I was matriculated as a student in landscape architecture.  As in many cases of harassment, no matter what the reason, most of the people participating were ignorant as to all the facts of why it was being done, and some just were enthusiastic about participating in the behavior itself.



 

settlers are building a new colony in the Valley

Israeli settlers are currently building a new colony in the Northern Jordan Valley, in Al Maleh, village closed to Al Farsiya that was destroyed twice last July, and surrounded by five colonies.

Last night settlers coming from Maskyyot colony started to build a fence on Ein El Hilwe land, where Palestinian bedouin communities have lived for more than 90 years.

For pictures and more info:

http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org

 

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו 237

 מזה שנים נוהגים מתנחלים מחוות מעון, שבדרום הר חברון, לתקוף ילדי בית ספר יסודי, מכפרי המערות הפלסטינים טובה ומרר אל-עביד, כאשר אלה חולפים ליד המאחז, בדרכם לבית ספרם ובחזרה.

בעקבות התקיפות החלו פעילי זכויות אדם בינלאומיים ללוות את הילדים בדרכם. בספטמבר 2004 פצעו המתנחלים קשה את אחד המלווים. פרצה סערה ציבורית, ובעקבותיה הוחלט שצה"ל ילווה את הילדים כדי למנוע את התקיפות. אך לפעמים החיילים אינם מגיעים למשימתם, ואז הולכים הילדים בדרך ארוכה יותר ורחוקה מהמאחז, ואז שוב תוקפים אותם  המתנחלים. כך קרה פעמיים בימים 24-25.10.2010                                                   

   המעניין בכל הפרשה: במקום לשלוח את צה"ל למשימה, אפשר היה לדווח למשטרת ש"י (משטרת שומרון-יהודה) על התקיפות. אני בטוח שאילו  שוטרי ש"י היו מיודעים על כך, היו עוצרים את התוקפים ומביאים אותם למשפט...   

 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

Don't Say We Didn't Know 237

For years now settlers from the Maon Farm outpost in the South Hebron Hills region have attacked elementary school children from the Palestinian cave villages Tuba and Mughar el-'Abid, as they walk past the outpost, on their way to school and back.

 Following these attacks international  human rights activists started accompanying the children.  In September 2004, the settlers severely wounded one of the activists.  A public outcry followed, and it was decided the IDF would accompany the children, to prevent the attacks.  However, sometimes the Army does not arrive for duty, and the children are forced to go via a longer route that goes farther from the outpost.  Even then the settlers attack them.  This is what happened on 24th and 25th October, 2010.

 What would have been interesting in the whole story:  instead of sending soldiers, why didn’t the Judea and Samaria police report on the attacks?  I'm sure that had they been aware of them, they would have arrested the attackers and brought them to trial...

 

 Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees

 Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees - by Stephen Lendman

 

An October B'Tselem/HaMoked, Center of the Defence of the Individual report, titled "Kept in the Dark: Treatment of Palestinian Detainees in the Petach-Tikva Interrogation Facility of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet)" is discussed below. Though, in some respects, treatment over the years has changed, it remains harsh, abusive, and in violation of international law, prohibiting all forms of torture and mistreatment at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions. 

 

The report is based on testimonies from 121 Palestinian detainees during Q 1 and Q 4, 2009. Clear patterns of mistreatment were revealed - torture and abuse by any standard, what Israel practices as official policy.

 

An earlier article explained it in detail, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/08/torture-as-official-israeli-policy.html

 

Though denied, torture is official Israeli policy. The Jewish state and America are the only modern countries sanctioning it. Another link below explains more:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/07/torture-as-official-us-policy.html

 

Both countries, in fact, have laws prohibiting it, America under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause alone that automatically makes all international laws and ratified treaties the Supreme Law of the Land. In addition, War Crimes Act provisions make Geneva and Common Article 3 breaches illegal, including torture, abuse, and humiliating or degrading treatment. 

 

Moreover, US Code, Chapter 113C:Torture states:

 

"Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life."

 

Israeli law also prohibits it under Section 277 of its Penal Law, stating:

 

"A public servant who does one of the following is liable to imprisonment for three years: (1) uses or directs the use of force or violence against a person for the purpose of extorting from him or from anyone in whom he is interested a confession of an offense or information relating to an offense; (2) threatens any person, or directs any person to be threatened, with injury to his person or property or to the person or property of anyone in whom he is interested for the purpose of extorting from him a confession of an offense or any information relating to an offense."

 

Israel is also a signatory to international laws banning torture in all forms, including the 1984 UN Convention against Torture. Yet throughout its history, Israel's military and security forces have willfully, systematically and illegally practiced torture against Palestinian detainees. 

 

In three 1996 cases, Israel's High Court legitimized use of violent shaking, hooding, playing deafeningly loud music, sleep deprivations, and lengthy detainments to continue these abuses. A 1999 ruling addressed so-called "ticking bomb" cases, approving physical force and other abuses, short of breaking a detainee's spirit. Moreover, by allowing loopholes, torture's current legal basis was established in Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. the Government of Israel et al (the HCJ Torture Petition).

 

Israel has no formal constitution. Yet its 1992 "Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom" authorized the Knesset to overturn laws contrary to the right to dignity, life, freedom, privacy, and property, as well as to leave and enter the country. The law states:

 

"There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person. All persons are entitled to protection" of these rights, and "There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise."

 

Another Basic Law deals with "The Right to Life and Limb in Israeli Law." It implies that life is sacred, stating:

 

"Israeli law has abolished the death penalty for murder (and corporal punishment)." The 1998 "Good Samaritan Law" requires assistance be given in situations "of immediate and severe danger to another." 

 

Overall, Israeli law affirms "Fundamental human rights founded upon recognition of the value of the human being, the sanctity of human life, and the principle that all persons are free." Israeli Basic Law exists "to protect human (life), dignity and (assure that) All government authorities are bound to respect (these) rights under this Basic Law."

 

One proviso, however, is disturbing. Israel is a Jewish state so all rights, benefits, privileges and protections apply only to Jews. Others are unwelcome, unwanted, unequal, and unprotected under Israeli law, even its own non-Jewish citizens. Moreover, despite binding international law, torture, abuse, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment aren't unambiguously designated crimes under Israeli law, even though the 1977 Penal Law prohibits their use.

 

In addition, as Law Professor Marjorie Cohn explained in her May 6, 2008 article titled, "Under US Law Torture is Always Illegal:"

 

Torture, genocide, slavery, and wars of aggression have a common thread. "They are all jus cogens....Latin for 'higher law' or 'compelling law.' This means that no country can ever pass a law that allows" these practices. "There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a jus cogens prohibition."

 

No matter, America and Israel commit torture and other illegal practices freely and repeatedly, so far with impunity.

 

Testimony Evidence in B'Tselem/HaMoked Report

 

Testimonies showed arrests were made at homes in the middle of the night. In nearly one-third of cases, detainees were beaten or otherwise abused en route to interrogations. They were taken in military vehicles, forced to crouch or lie on the floor uncomfortably, not sit on a bench seat. They couldn't bring any items with them, articles on their possession seized. 

 

At Petach-Tikva, they were held in interrogation rooms or tiny cells. Thin mattresses in them took up nearly all available floor space. Ceilings were so low they could be touched. Most cells are windowless, making night and day indistinguishable. Ventilation at all times was artificial, 26% of detainees saying available air was either too cold or hot to increase discomfort. Artificial light stayed on round the clock. It caused sore eyes, impaired vision, and disrupted sleep. 

 

Cell walls were grey, very rough and bumpy, making them uncomfortable or impossible to lean against. Over three-fourths of detainees were kept in isolation, without contact with other inmates even for a portion of their internment.

 

Sanitation and hygienic conditions were appalling, including squat toilets that reeked, filthy mattresses and blankets, and no materials to clean cells. In addition, many detainees got no change of clothing for extended periods, for some, during their entire stay. Moreover, 27% were denied showers, many saying they developed skin rashes as a result.

 

Interrogations were brutal. In special rooms, detainees were bound to fixed-to-the-floor chairs. Nearly all their movement was prevented. At times, they were kept in this position for lengthy periods, given only short food and toilet breaks. For some, they were held under these conditions during no interrogations with no one present. 

 

Thirteen detainees reported sleep deprivation, lasting over 24 hours. For some, it lasted days with only short sleep breaks. Overall conditions restricted sleep, even when it wasn't prevented or interrupted. Abuses reported included:

 

-- 36% said interrogators cursed and verbally abused them; 

 

-- 56% were threatened, including by violence; 

 

-- 10% were threatened with "military interrogations," meaning ones entailing violence; 

 

-- 11% said interrogators detained family members to apply pressure; in one case, a 63 year old widow was brought to Petach-Tikva so incarcerated relatives could see her in detention; and

 

-- 42% of detainees were held a week or longer after interrogations ended, some for a month or longer under the above described conditions.

 

Shin Bet treatment includes measures to cause suffering and break detainees' will, including by inducing shock and anxiety. Detached from normal life, they're subjected to extreme sensory stimuli, restricted movement, and human contact stimulation. These are then enhanced by sleep deprivation, too little and poor quality food, exposure to temperature extremes, and severe pain through forced positions, at times while shackled.

 

CIA manuals from the 1960s and 1980s were used as guides, the same ones adopted by Latin American dictatorships. Techniques in them inflicted severe pain and induced mental regression, practices designed to make detainees putty in interrogator hands.

 

Shin Bet interrogators are notorious for committing abuses. Since 2001 alone, the Ministry of Justice received 645 complaints. Yet criminal investigations followed none of them. During arrest and transfer to them, soldiers also commit violence despite Israeli law prohibiting it.

 

B'Tselem/HaMoked described practices "constitute cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and in some cases constitute torture. All are prohibited, absolutely and without exception." Yet they persist with impunity. Shin Bet interrogators use cruel and abusive measures, "in clear breach" of international law and "the ordinary rules....governing (Israeli) police interrogations...."

 

Authorities justify them as a way to prevent terrorism. It doesn't wash, nor is it likely true, even in so-called "ticking bomb" cases, a vague term with no legal validity. In addition, detainee mistreatment continues long after interrogations end. Imprisonment in Israel guarantees it, nearly always involving torture.

 

It persists because Palestinians are dehumanized, treated like a lower form of life. Moreover, claiming a "ticking bomb dilemma" is a red herring, yet it dominates public debate much like Islamophobia in America, equating Muslims with terrorists. In both countries, the rule of law is a non-starter, the rule of anything goes  replaced it, a notion, of course, with no legal validity.

 

A Final Comment

 

On October 29, the Jerusalem Post headlined, "Report: Foreign Ministry prevents Geneva Convention meeting," saying:

 

Israel's Foreign Ministry "succeeded in preventing a meeting of states which have signed the Geneva Convention, which could have resulted in a public statement that Israel has violated the charter during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip during 2009, Army Radio report(ed) Friday."

 

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also blocked the establishment of a Cast Lead victims' compensation fund. Once again, Israel got off the hook even for its most egregious Palestinian war crimes since 1948. Despite clear evidence from the Goldstone and numerous other reports, the international community shielded Israel, granting it immunity and license to keep slaughtering, torturing, and otherwise abusing defenseless Palestinians and others in the region. When it comes to Israel and America, the rule of law no longer applies, a sad testimony to reality.

 

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/.detainees are tortured and abused

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