Saturday, 13 June 2009

a delegacao israelita sobre a palestina em Jakarta

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Israeli Delegation in Jakarta on Palestine

The delegation included Amira Hass of Ha'aretz.

Terry Lacey – Jakarta

Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel but a delegation of six Israelis just visited the country including Latif Dori, a leading figure in the leftist Mapam Party and Amira Hass, a journalist from the daily newspaper Ha'aretz.

Latif Dori of the Israeli Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue lamented in Jakarta the intransigent resistance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to UN requests to accept Palestinian statehood and freeze the construction of settlements on Palestinian territory. (Jakarta Post 09.06.09).

“The problem is not the Americans, nor the Palestinians, nor the world, but the right wing in Israel”, he said.

The United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Palestinians met in Jakarta from June 8 to June 10.

The UN issued a statement that the meetings were to support “Israeli-Palestinian peace and for the achieving of a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict”.

Hidayat Nurwahid, Chairman of the Peoples Consultative Assembly, and a leader of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the leading Indonesian Islamic party, said “I think America now wants a fair solution”.

Daniel Seidemann, a pro-peace Israeli lawyer told The Jakarta Post (10.06.09) “We have a great opportunity and a great danger”… “…for the first time in eight years we are seeing the emergence of a political platform necessary to solve the conflict”.

But the danger is that should the world fail to put an end to this conflict soon, then as he put it, "we may lose the only chance of achieving lasting peace". In other words the twin state solution may fall.

This week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is holding the Sixth Fatah Congress in Amman, Jordan to try and modernize Fatah. But Fatah rules the West Bank through a Western-backed non-elected government. His own presidential election mandate has also run out.

Fatah is divided between its previously exiled old-style establishment and younger internal leaders who want a bigger voice, reform, and an end to cronyism and corruption.

Hamas won a democratic election in January 2006 in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Political Islam inspired Hamas, but it also won secular and nationalist votes against corruption and for reform.

For US president Bush and the Peace Quartet (the US, the EU, Russia and the UN) refused to accept this result, boycotted Hamas and supported the blockade of the Gaza Strip. This delegitimized the elected Hamas government, followed by a Palestinian civil war and the Israeli war in Gaza.

The entire diplomatic and administrative structure of the PLO now lacks a credible electoral base and legitimacy, and Palestinians are divided between the Western-backed Palestinian Presidency and Fatah ruling the West Bank, and controlling embassies, via an appointed government, while Hamas rules Gaza, where it still has an election mandate.

The Peace Quartet led by Bush moved from negotiation to boycott, coercion and blockade because it took upon itself the right to decide that Fatah and the “moderates” were right, although not elected, while Hamas and the “terrorists” were wrong, although they were elected.

The West says Hamas must renounce violence, recognize the right of Israel to exist and recognize prior agreements. But the West were wrong to try to force Hamas to change these political positions by designating its party and civil government as terrorist, and this may have widened the Israeli Gaza war against "terrorist" targets to include civilian infrastructure.

As Latif Dori and Daniel Seidemann said in Jakarta this week, it was Benjamin Netanyahu who reneged on prior agreements and dismantled Oslo One.

Moreover Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman were recently elected by Israelis opposed to early or comprehensive and final peace talks, the same position as that taken by Hamas on the Palestinian side in January 2006.

So we need a fresh start from the US and the West. Stop taking sides in the Palestinian power struggle. And stop trying to impose solutions on Palestinians or Israelis. Instead conciliate, facilitate, negotiate - but don’t aggravate the problems!

- Terry Lacey is a development economist who writes from Jakarta on modernization in the Muslim world, investment and trade relations with the EU and Islamic banking. He contributed this article to

Netanyahu commeca a suar

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Netanyahu Beginning to Sweat

Netanyahu wants Obama to think that Israel will end up in a civil war if he stands firm.

By Neve Gordon

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning to sweat.

Notwithstanding the agreement between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu on issues such as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the insistence that the Palestinians renounce violence, there are currently points of serious contention between the two leaders. These include Obama’s position that the two-state solution is the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his demand that Israel stop building settlements and his intimation that all the settlements are illegal. Other points of strife include Obama’s call for regional nuclear non-proliferation (which, in effect, assumes that Israel’s nuclear capacity will be part of the negotiations with Iran), his recognition of the plight of Palestinians, including the refugees, and his claim that Hamas is a legitimate rather than a terrorist organization.

So far Obama’s challenges to Israel have been theoretical, and the only substantive demand that Washington has made involves the 100 or so Jewish outposts in the West Bank. Reiterating President Bush’s directive, Obama recently asked Netanyahu to begin dismantling the outposts.

Legally the outposts are just like the 121 settlements (namely, they are all illegal), only the outposts were built following the 1993 Oslo accords, and, as opposed to the settlements, which are now home to close to half a million Jews or about 7 percent of Israel’s citizenry, almost all the outposts are extremely sparsely populated with less than a dozen people in each one.

Netanyahu did not refuse, but instead of carrying out the job, he decided to put on a show.

Last week, the government sent troops to dismantle two outposts. The television networks were invited to cover the event, and that evening viewers watched how a group of settlers struggled against the most powerful military in the Middle East. Within hours of the news broadcasts, the settlers had already rebuilt the outposts, and thus today we are, once again, back to square one.

The perceptive viewer understands that the government and the settlers are staging the events, using the media to broadcast them to the world. The images of lawless fundamentalists fighting the military convey a clear message to the audience at home: if Netanyahu dares to dismantle the outposts, the settlers will not only topple his government, but there will be blood. More specifically, the not-so-latent inference is that if Netanyahu goes ahead with Washington’s directive, he will be responsible for a civil war.

While all of the major news networks provided a similar narrative, Channel Two, the most popular news provider, dedicated 14 minutes of prime time to the issue. In the segment, a reporter is shown interviewing a Jewish settler named Araleh from Karnei Shomron in the West Bank about the dismantlement of Jewish outposts. The two men are standing on a mountain ridge overlooking Palestinian fields that had been set on fire. The settler asserts that, “This is the price tag… People need to know that if they dismantle anything in Judea and Samaria, there is a price.” He then looks at the horizon and asks, “Do you see all these mountains?” and immediately responds, “they are all ours.” When the reporter inquires what the settlers will do if a nearby outpost is dismantled, Araleh exclaims that they (the government) will not destroy it, and then adds “they might destroy a little shack in the outpost to send pictures to the nigger in the United States.”

The crux of the matter is that this pathetic racist settler is right: the images of troops dismantling a few outposts and the forceful resistance are all part of a well choreographed spectacle that is being produced specifically for Washington. Otherwise why remove only two outposts at a time instead of forty at once and getting the job done? And why invite the networks to cover the events and not to dismantle the outposts by surprise in the early morning hours when the settlers are not ready?

The answer is straightforward: Netanyahu wants Obama to think that Israel will end up in a civil war if the White House stands firm.

The question now is whether Obama will back off or whether he will he have the courage to make Netanyahu dismantle both the outposts and the settlements. If Obama hesitates Israel will become a full blown Apartheid regime, while if he remains bold he will probably be remembered as the President who helped save Israel from itself. To do so he will have to make Netanyahu sweat much more.

- Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University and is the author of Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press, 2008). He contributed this article to Visit:

aldeias processam empresas canadianas sobre a ocupação


Village sues Canada companies cashing in on occupation
Deborah Guterman, The Electronic Intifada, 11 June 2009

The Israeli-built wall running through the village of Bilin. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)
The small Palestinian village of Bilin will face-off this month against two Canadian corporations accused of aiding and abetting the colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Bilin has charged Green Park International and Green Mount International with illegally constructing residential buildings and other settlement infrastructure on village territory, and marketing such structures to the civilian population of the State of Israel. The condominiums in question are located in a settlement neighborhood known as Matityahu East.

Still in its preliminary phase, the lawsuit sheds light on the shady pairing of corporate interest with Israeli expansionist ambition. Representing the village of Bilin, the Bilin Village Council headed by Ahmed Issa Abdallah Yassin seeks to hold the companies accountable for violations of international law.

The lawsuit, filed by Canadian attorney Mark Arnold in 2008, accuses Israel of "severing" village land from Palestinian control, and transferring territorial control to Israeli planning councils. The rights to develop the territory were then sold to the Green Park companies.

Arnold is optimistic. "Certainly the Canadian law and the Quebec law appears to be on the side of Bilin, and against the side of the defendants," he said.

The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits an occupying power from relocating part of its civilian population to the territory it has occupied. A violation of this principle is deemed a crime of war under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Insofar as Green Park International and Green Mount International constructed the buildings meant to house Israelis within the occupied West Bank, the corporations are considered complicit in the commission of this war crime.

According to Emily Schaeffer, an Israeli attorney representing the Village of Bilin, both the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute have been incorporated into Canadian federal law under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute.

"The Canadian statute specifically makes aiding and abetting a country in committing those crimes a crime," she said. "This is the essential article that ties the [actions of] corporations to government responsibilities."

A court of last resort

The Bilin case is one of a growing number of civil and criminal motions filed abroad that attempt to hold Israel and its corporate agents responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

However, according to Schaeffer, this increased tendency reveals the failure of the Israeli court system to protect Palestinian rights.

"The truth is that Israel is not willing to implement all of international humanitarian law and the laws on occupation on the occupied [Palestinian] territories," she said. "We've made some headway, we haven't gone far enough, and that's why we're in Canada."

The question of the legality of the settlements has been brought to the Israeli high court on multiple occasions. However, the courts have repeatedly refused to rule on this issue. Instead, the courts deem this concern political in nature and thus outside the jurisdiction of the justice system.

Green Park International and Green Mount International have motioned to dismiss the suit. They claim that Canada is not the appropriate forum in which to try the case. Instead, the defendants contend that the suit should be heard in Israel as it is the country where the activity in question has taken place.

"Our opponents want us to go to Israel," said Arnold. "We say -- and the Israeli courts have said -- that issues of this type are not justiciable [in Israel]. In other words, no justice can be given by the Israeli courts on these types of issues. The Israeli courts see them as being politically-based as opposed to legal issues."

The Canadian scene

In the run-up to the preliminary hearings, Mohammed Khatib of the Bilin Popular Committee Against the Wall, and Schaeffer will tour 11 Canadian cities. The speaking tour is part of a civil society campaign to mobilize support for the embattled village. A spokesperson for the Coalition for the Bilin Tour, who wishes to remain anonymous, emphasized the need to hold corporations accountable for affronts to human rights.

"As members of the community, it is our duty to curb the power of large multinational corporations. We need to tell them, 'There are limits to your quest to seek profits,'" she said in French.

Schaeffer highlighted the importance for concerned individuals to show solidarity with Bilin.

Speaking of the highly controversial nature of the lawsuit in question, she said, "The judge in this case needs to feel that it's okay to rule in favor of the village -- that there's not going to be a major backlash. And that judge also needs to feel supported in making a decision that might very well influence Canadian foreign policy with Israel.

"I think the role of civil society is to say, we're with you on this, we want this to happen."

Bilin is seeking a permanent injunction against the Canadian corporations. In addition, if successful, the Green Park companies will be ordered to destroy the buildings they have already constructed and pay two million dollars each in punitive damages to the village.

However, it is doubtful that such orders will ever be implemented by Israeli authorities. In order for the ruling to be enforced, the defendants will have to petition the Israeli high court to accept the Canadian decision.

Bilin is located four kilometers east of the green line (the 1949 armistice line that marks the boundary between Israel and the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967) and is adjacent to Modiin Illit, a large settlement bloc that sits on territory confiscated from Bilin and the neighboring Palestinian villages of Nilin, Kharbata, Deir Qadis and Saffa. Since 2005, the residents of this agricultural community have been leading a nonviolent struggle against the construction of Israel's wall in the West Bank on village land.

Ostensibly built to protect the existing residents of the settlement bloc, the route of the wall was drawn to incorporate the future construction of Matityahu East located just east of Modiin Illit. The wall appropriates an additional 450 acres, which accounts for 60 percent of Bilin's land.

In 2007, the Israeli high court deemed the route of the wall in Bilin illegal, and ordered the Israeli military to move it closer to the edge of the settlement boundary.

To date, the military has yet to implement the high court's decision.

Deborah Guterman is a member of Young Jews for Social Justice, a collective of Montreal Jews who take action on racism, injustice in the Middle East and inequality in their communities.

parlamentarios palestinianos em Israel: "resistir politicamente"


Palestinian in Israeli parliament: "We resist politically"
Stu Harrison, The Electronic Intifada, 11 June 2009

"We don't live in the territories, we cannot throw stones and we cannot participate in the legitimate resistance against occupation," Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) told Green Left Weekly.

"We participate in the struggle so our own position as citizens. Our unique role is a political resistance and not, for example, an armed resistance."

Zoabi is the first Palestinian woman to be elected to the Knesset, representing a so-called Israeli-Arab party. Israeli-Arab is a term used in Israel to describe the Palestinians that remained after the ethnic cleansing that accompanied Israel's founding.

Zoabi is one of three sitting members from the National Democratic Assembly (BALAD).

She has been speaking in Australia to mark the 61st anniversary of al Nakba -- the Palestinian catastrophe caused by the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the founding of Israel in 1948.

BALAD is a nationalist party for Palestinians who still live within Israel. It advocates the reform of Israel away from being a state based on Jewish supremacy, in which the non-Jewish population are second-class citizens, into a democratic state for all.

BALAD's Chairman Azmi Beshara is currently in exile after being accused of collaborating with Hizballah during Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon. It is one of three main Palestinian parties in Israel, the other two being the left-wing Hadash and the Islamist-influenced United Arab List (Ra'am).

Zoabi lives in Nazareth and previously worked as a journalist. She founded the I'LAM Media Centre for Arab Palestinians, an organization aimed at combating Israeli media bias.

Zoabi was elected in February, just after Israel's December-January assault on Gaza ended. It was a chance she nearly didn't receive, after the Israeli far-right sought to ban "Israeli-Arab" parties from running in the elections.

This position was backed by the Central Electoral Committee in a 27-3 vote. This ruling was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

Despite this, Zoabi remains positive about the contribution the Palestinian community inside Israel, numbering at 1.2 million, can make to the wider struggle for Palestinian freedom.

She said: "By raising and preserving our national identity, we are contributing to the Palestinian struggle. If the Palestinian refugees struggle for their rights, they are on the side of all Palestinians and when we also struggle for our rights and stand up for our people, this assists the struggle."

"We participated in demonstrations during the war on Gaza. About 200,000 Palestinians out of 1.2 million marched -- one sixth of the Palestinian population. It means that in every house in Palestine there was one person who demonstrated.

"Not standing still as citizens inside Israel is our contribution to the Palestinian struggle in the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

Around the world, calls for boycotts against Israel have grown and have been supported by the Palestinian parties in Israel.

However, the situation is different for Palestinians inside Israel, Zoabi said. "If, as citizens, we boycott the parliament, this would mean that we also boycott the struggle because when we entered the Knesset we do not enter to promote relations with Israel, but instead to struggle against Israel."

While Zoabi said for those outside Israel to promote relations with the Jewish state works against the struggle, "by boycotting Israel I am boycotting a whole area of struggle for my rights."

Zoabi's election also coincided with a general move to the right in Israeli politics. Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu became Prime Minister with the support of the racist far-right Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party of Avigdor Lieberman.

Zoabi believes that this has been caused by a combination of weaknesses in the three traditional support groups for Palestine within Israel: the Palestinian community and parties, the Israeli left Zionist (supporters of Israel as Jewish state) "peace camp" and the broader anti-Zionist forces.

The left-Zionist party Meretz, traditionally seen as part of the "peace camp," supported the war on Gaza. The result was it dropped from holding five seats to three.

Zoabi said the current state of the Palestinian resistance also fed into the right-wing sentiment in Israel.

"When you face a weakened Arab leadership and a disempowered Palestinian Authority or Palestinian negotiator, you would say, why do I need peace? Before [the 1993 Oslo peace accords, then Israeli PM Yitzhak] Rabin had reached a conviction that they need peace because occupation was costly. You need peace when war or occupation is costly."

The affect of the weakening of Palestinian resistance has been profound.

Zoabi said: "The rate of hostility has increased a lot. Seventy-five percent of Jewish people do not want to live in a society with Arabs."

"On the question of apartheid, most towns are mixed, with both Arabs and Jews. Most of the Jewish population and the authorities in towns like Jaffa and Haifa, are trying their best to transfer Palestinians out so they can become purely Jewish towns."

"They prevent the Palestinians from renovating their homes and they are trying to push them into giving up their homes so they will leave. Arabs are being attacked a lot more in the streets and in their market shops, comparing the last year to previous years."

However, Zoabi said such attitudes are nothing new. "We have a special case of racism in Israel. You can't find this kind of racism in any other country in the world, where the state usually defines itself neutrally."

"This is not the case in Israel. We don't struggle simply against discriminating policies or attitudes. We are against the very definition of the state and this is what differentiates our struggle."

In fighting back, Zoabi believes Palestinian parties in Israel play an important part in bringing Palestinian people together and helping people rediscover their national character.

Zoabi said: "Over the last 60 years through continuous policies, Israel has tried to create an 'Arab-Israeli.' But it is their own creation.

"This is a person who has no roots, no belonging, no nationality, no culture, who owes their existence to Israel."

Zoabi said that in the part, Palestinians inside Israel have been used as a bridge for negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

But she believes that this is a role that can no longer be maintained: "We are part of the Palestinian people and our role in the struggle is to make sure the Palestinian people, our people, have our rights as occupiers, as citizens of Israel and as refugees."

"We have these three groups of Palestinians, each of them have their special historical rights and all three combined represent the whole of the Palestinian people."

Stu Harrison is a writer on Palestinian affairs for Australia's Green Left Weekly, where this article was originally published. This article is republished with permission.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Algumas gotas de agua sujas para beber


Some unclean drops to drink
Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 12 June 2009

FAQUA, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Faqua village has found itself unfortunately named. Faqua in Arabic means spring water bubbles; the village was named after the abundant natural underground springs that were once found all around it.

Today the people are on their own, the water springs have been taken over by Israel.

Faqua's problems started in 1948 with the establishment of Israel, when 24,000 of Faqua's 36,000 dunams of land (a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters) and most of the underground springs were appropriated by the new Jewish state.

After the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993, the establishment of the joint Israeli-Palestinian Water Committee still left the Palestinians short of the necessary amount of water, according to a World Bank report published in April.

The West Bank is divided into Areas A, under full Palestinian control, Areas B, under joint Israeli-Palestinian control, and Areas C under full Israeli control. Faqua falls under Area C.

Palestinians living in Areas C have a notoriously hard time getting the necessary Israeli permits to either dig new wells or get connected to the Israeli company Mekorot's water network.

"We have been waiting for a permit from the Israelis to install a water network since 2000," Dr. Amer Abu Farha, head of the village council told IPS. "But they refuse to give us one. We are also not allowed to dig deep wells or repair current wells. The Israeli settlements are allowed to dig wells far deeper than us, and to repair their other wells."

Faqua's village council believes the Israelis have a deliberate policy to drive inhabitants out of the ten water-starved villages in the area due to their strategic significance.

Faqua, in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, sits atop a hill with panoramic views of the Jordan Valley. The village, about an hour's drive north of Ramallah, is situated close to both the Syrian and Lebanese borders.

The village of about 5,000 residents is blighted by a security barrier set up by Israel that separates it from Maale Gilboa, a religious kibbutz that is home to 400 Israeli settlers.

The village is not connected to any piped supply. Instead Faqua has to rely on exorbitantly expensive water brought in by tankers. This water still does not meet the village's needs.

Half of the village's working age people are unemployed. Hundreds lost their jobs in Israel following the building of the barrier that separates the village from settlers' land. Now they cannot get entrance permits to Israel.

Livestock has been reduced from 7,000 heads to 2,000 due to Israel's expropriation of village land for the building of the barrier, and due to water shortage.

"We have a lot of health problems related to poor quality water which we have no choice but to drink," says Farha.

"We are uncertain about the water quality and where it comes from. A lot of children are suffering from diarrhea and other diseases related to fecal bacteria such as e-coli," Farha told IPS.

While villagers struggle with insufficient quantities of dirty water to drink, Maale Gilboa just 500 meters from Faqua's perimeter is connected to Mekerot's water network.

Sprinklers can be seen working hours daily, watering the lush agricultural plantations and gardens in the settlement.

According to a World Bank report released in April, Israel gets four times more water per capita than the Palestinians, who have access to only a fifth of the West Bank's underground mountain aquifer.

"Unequal division of the resources, as well as constraints on information regarding the area's water supply, have impeded the Palestinians' ability to develop water sources," the World Bank report says.

"This has led to an emergency situation with grave ramifications for the economy, the society and the ecology of the PA [Palestinian Authority areas, in the West Bank]. Water-related humanitarian crises are frequent in parts of the West Bank and Gaza."

The Palestinian water network is in a state of serious disrepair.

Fadel Kawash, head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), says less than 1.8 million of the 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank are connected to a water network.

"Some 227,000 Palestinians currently have no access to piped water, while another 190,000 receive inadequate amounts due to faulty networks and water rationing," Ka'wash told IPS.

Getting Israeli permits to carry out repairs is time-consuming and a bureaucratic nightmare, and apparently a catch-22 situation.

"We were told by the Israelis that they would give us more water but that we needed to repair our network system first," said Dr. Ihab Barghouti from the project management unit of the PWA.

"It's a vicious cycle. They refuse to supply more water until the infrastructure is upgraded, but refuse to issue the necessary permits for the upgrading to take place," Barghouti told IPS.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says the average per capita consumption for household and urban use in the Palestinian communities is about 60 liters a day, while consumption in Israel is 280 liters a day.

Farha says his villagers get per capita about 30 liters a day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of 100 liters a day.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has declared a state of emergency in the ten villages. The Near East Council of Churches has stepped in meanwhile to provide urgent relief.

"We assessed the needs of those most urgently affected. The criteria were households with at least five dependents, an unemployed or under-employed head of household, and no source of water," said Ramzi Zananiri, executive director of The Near East Council of Churches Committee for Refugee Works.

"We have built 42 water cisterns in seven of the 10 villages listed as critical. The cisterns catch winter rainfall and can support a family for four months during the dry summers," Zananiri told IPS.

"We are currently supporting 45 families, or about 3,000 people. We hope to install more cisterns in the remaining three villages shortly."

All rights reserved, IPS -- Inter Press Service (2009).

ameaça de segurança": tentar visitar a família em Ramallah


"Security threat": An attempt to visit family in Ramallah
Asa Winstanley writing from the United Kingdom, Live from Palestine, 12 June 2009

Taking the first bus of the day, my wife and I arrived on the Israeli side of the King Hussein bridge crossing into the West Bank from Jordan. We explained that we were heading to Ramallah to visit my wife's mother and brothers for three weeks. We performed the exact same procedure last year without incident. However, this year I was told to wait.

My wife is a Palestinian from Ramallah, where we met a few years ago. We got married there, and her closest family still live in Ramallah. We have moved to live and work in London, but try to return once a year. As Israel still controls all the border crossings into the West Bank, a trip intended as a May holiday to visit family quickly ran afoul of the continuing occupation.

Four hours after my passport was taken away, I had heard absolutely nothing. I started to make a fuss and was told that my passport was "with security." Several hours later, I was taken in to a back room and questioned by a burly "security" agent. He asked several questions about the purpose of my trip while typing into a computer.

He wanted to know if I belong to any "groups that help the Palestinians," and asked if, since I am a journalist I was going to work during this visit. I replied that, although I had worked with the Palestine Times in the past, this trip I was just to visit family. It tells you a lot about the nature of the Israeli occupation that they try to make it seem that "helping the Palestinians" is some sort of crime.

After the questions were finished, he told me to wait in the next room "for five minutes." Two hours later I was still waiting.

By now we were the last remaining people in the terminal. I was finally approached by a police woman with my passport. After waiting a total of nine hours since the morning, I was told to come back the next day. Apparently I would not be allowed in without signing some sort of document, but the people from the Ministry of the Interior were not available, so I would have to come back when they were. After being assured by the policewoman that I would "definitely" be allowed in the next day, I returned to Amman at my own expense, while my wife went on to Ramallah.

I returned in the morning to find out that even though the policewoman was not there her colleague was familiar with my case. Eventually, I was called into an office marked "Ministry of the Interior" and presented with a one-page document to sign. Written in Hebrew, with English translation underneath each paragraph it had three clauses:

1. My visit was to be "within Israel only" and I was not allowed to enter "the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority without advance authorization from the Territory Actions Coordinator."

2. If I was to enter "any area under the control of the Palestinian Authority" I could be deported and issued with a ban from "Israel ... of up to 10 years."

3. My visit to "Israel" was only allowed for two days, and if I wished to apply for an extension on this, I would have to deposit 20,000 shekels (about $5,000), returnable on exit.

After waiting for two days just for this, I was extremely angry. I kept asking them why they couldn't have just told me just told me all this the previous day; they gave no answer of substance.

I asked, "who is the Territory Actions Coordinator?"

Reply: "That's us."

"Can I have permission to see my family in Ramallah?"


"Why not?"

"Security reasons."

"Which are what?"

"We can't tell you that."

And that was basically that. I stayed in Jerusalem catching up with some friends for two days before heading back. I had no real problems on the way out. I then reunited with my wife and her mother and brothers in Amman, Jordan where we spent a couple of weeks on holiday.

So basically the "State of Israel" considers a skinny Welsh guy from London a security threat, simply because he wants to visit his family in Ramallah? I would like to flatter myself that I worry the occupation authorities, but no: this is simply how they treat everyone visiting Palestine.

Examples abound, and are documented by the Right to Enter campaign. Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir was denied entry when traveling from Jordan to attend the premiere of her acclaimed film Salt of this Sea in Ramallah. The film was an official selection at the 2008 Cannes Film festival and stars acclaimed Palestinian-American poet and actress Suheir Hammad. The reason they gave for denying Jacir entry to her homeland was simply: "You spend too much time here."

As poorly as we were treated by the Israelis, I saw or met many Palestinians over the two days I spent at the border crossing who were treated much worse. Their number one target for abuse was Palestinians of the Diaspora: either Palestinians born overseas on their way to visit, or Palestinians who now have a different passport through marriage. There was one Palestinian-Australian woman who had come thousands of miles, presumably to visit family, yet the Israelis sent her back. I will never forget the tears in her eyes as they sent her back to Jordan; neither will I forget her defiance as she refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing her weep openly.

I talked with a Palestinian woman on her way back to Jerusalem. "I wish they would just give me an answer one way or another," I said. "At least then I could get this waiting over with."

"For me it's not an option," she replied. "I have to go back for work."

The way they treated her was disgusting. It was not enough for them to keep her waiting for hours without information: when she dared to politely ask what was happening with her passport the reply was screamed, "Go and sit down!" This is standard behavior.

If my wife had been from Gaza things would be even worse for us. At least my mother-in-law can come to Amman where we can reunite. For someone from the Gaza Strip to visit Egypt, even for emergency medical treatment, is next to impossible (and here we must lay blame at the door of the Western-backed Egyptian dictatorship, as well as the Israelis).

On the second day, I also saw the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen pass through the terminal. He was not detained for more than 15 minutes, at most. But then, he has power and influence. I wish they would have detained him: I'm sure he would have done a story about it, and of course that is precisely why he wasn't.

The Israelis want to do everything in their power to pressure the Palestinians into leaving. At the moment, they cannot get away with a repeat performance of the mass ethnic cleansing of 1948 -- that might prove politically problematic. So instead they "encourage" indirect, slow, removal of the Palestinian population -- "transfer" in the longstanding Zionist jargon. Such treatment at borders, making travel difficult or impossible, is another aspect of this policy.

If you doubt any of this, consider this simple fact: they would not have given me these problems if I was married to a Jew and was going to visit her family in Tel Aviv. Similar policies in South Africa were called "apartheid" and the whole world boycotted and isolated the apartheid regime until, because of the struggle of the African National Congress, supported by the international solidarity campaign, the state was cornered into accepting democracy.

Yet, the world lets Israel get away with seemingly everything. Israel killed more than 1,400 Palestinians in the latest round of massacres that its army initiated in Gaza in December-January. But the European Union is still moving to upgrade trade relations with Israel. The US under President Barack Obama is still intending to bankroll Israeli apartheid to the tune of some $3 billion in military aid this year alone. It's time to wake up and respond to the call of Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel.

Of course I want to go back to Palestine, and going on what the Ministry of the Interior officials said, the door is not totally shut for me. I may still have legal avenues to explore. On the 61st anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, when half the population of Palestine was ethnically cleansed from their homeland by Zionist militias -- it's important to remember that, relatively speaking, I and my family are among the lucky ones.

Asa Winstanley is a freelance journalist and sub-editor who has lived in and reported from occupied Ramallah, working for the Palestine Times and the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center.

Gaza: dois anos de encerramento em números


Two Years of Gaza Closure by the Numbers
June 2007- June 2009 à Crossings Closed; Supplies Restricted
Þ Percentage of goods permitted to enter Gaza, relative to demand: 25% (approximately 2,500 truckloads/month instead of 10,400/month prior to June 2007).
Þ Supplies of industrial diesel permitted to enter Gaza, relative to need: 63% (2.2 million liters/week rather than the 3.5 million liters/week needed to generate electricity).
Þ Average length of power outages in Gaza: five hours per day.
Þ Current number of people without access to running water in Gaza: 28,000.
Compare and Contrast:
Þ Number of food items Israel's Cabinet Resolution promised to permit to enter Gaza: Unlimited.
Þ Number of food items actually permitted into Gaza: 18.
Þ Amount of money pledged for reconstruction aid at the March 2009 Donors Conference: $4.5 billion.
Þ Quantity of building materials permitted to enter Gaza: Zero.
Þ Unemployment rate in Gaza in 2007, the year the closure was imposed: 30%.
Þ Unemployment ratein Gaza in 2008: 40%.
No development, no prosperity, only "minimum humanitarian" items allowed.
Þ The Israeli military permits margarine in individual packets to enter Gaza, but margarine in buckets is banned, because it could be used for industry (i.e. by factories producing food and providing jobs).
Þ The Israeli government clarified that its March 22, 2009 Cabinet decision authorizing the "unrestricted" supply of food into Gaza "has been given a restrictive interpretation" and that the government "did not intend to remove the restrictions, which were imposed in the past, on the entrance of food and supplies into Gaza". Translation: Food supply continues to be restricted.
Þ Among the food items banned from entering Gaza: Halva, tea, juice powder.
Þ Among the nonfood items banned from entering Gaza: soccer balls (footballs), guitars, paper, ink.
People trapped:
Þ Number of days Rafah Crossing has been open for regular traffic: Zero.
Þ Number of people unable to travel through Rafah each month: 39,000.
Þ Criteria for passage through Erez Crossing: exceptional humanitarian cases.

tortura e tratamento das crianças palestinianas

fonte:Defence for Children International

[RAMALLAH, 11 June 2009] – Today, DCI-Palestine is releasing a report which documents the widespread ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children at the hands of the Israeli army and police force – Palestinian Child Prisoners: The systematic and institutionalised ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities.

The release of the report comes just days after an article was published in The Independent newspaper reporting the testimonies of two Israeli soldiers which detail the deliberate abuse of Palestinian children. One soldier is reported as saying that in an incident that occurred in a Palestinian village in March, he saw a lot of soldiers ‘just knee (Palestinians) because it's boring, because you stand there for 10 hours, you’re not doing anything, so they beat people up.

The report published today contains the testimonies of 33 children, one as young as 10 years old, who bear witness to the abuse they received at the hands of soldiers from the moment of arrest through to an often violent interrogation.

Most of these children were arrested from villages near the Wall and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. There is evidence that many children are painfully shackled for hours on end, kicked, beaten and threatened, some with death, until they provide confessions, some written in Hebrew, a language they do not speak or understand.

A soldier [...] pointed his rifle at me. The rifle barrel was a few centimetres away from my face. I was so terrified that I started to shiver. He made fun of me and said: ‘shivering? Tell me where the pistol is before I shoot you.'

(Ezzat, 10 years old)

Disturbingly, the report finds that these illegally obtained confessions are routinely used as evidence in the military courts to convict around 700 Palestinian children every year. And the most common charge against these children is for throwing stones. Once sentenced, the children who gave these testimonies were mostly imprisoned inside Israel in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention where they receive few family visits, and little or no education.

The report concludes that this widespread and systematic abuse is occurring within a general culture of impunity where in 600 complaints made against Israeli Security Agency interrogators for alleged ill-treatment and torture, not a single criminal investigation was ever conducted.

The report also contains recent recommendations made by the UN Committee Against Torture which expressed ‘deep concern’ at reports of the abuse of Palestinian children when it reviewed Israel’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture in May 2009.

The report is now available on-line in PDF format: Palestinian Child Prisoners: The systematic and institutionalised ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities.

See video

Hard copies can be obtained by contacting DCI-Palestine at

Thursday, 11 June 2009

os hospitais de Gaza tem falta de cirurgioes e material


Gaza's hospitals short of surgeons and supplies
Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 11 June 2009

Dr. Nasser Tatter in his office at Gaza's Shifa hospital. (Eva Bartlett)
One of the most densely populated places on earth only has two cardiac surgeons to serve its entire population. According to Dr. Nasser Tatter, head of Shifa hospital's cardiology unit, that only explains part of the medical crisis that exists in the Gaza Strip today.

"We are in bad need for cardiac surgeons," said Dr. Tatter, further explaining that one of the two surgeons is ill and unable to perform surgeries. The second, Tatter added, isn't able to work independently, rendering Gaza devoid of specialists able to perform open heart surgery.

Dr. Tatter estimates that there are roughly 400 patients in Gaza in need of such surgery. Some, he said, have died from their heart maladies. "Many have tried to leave, to go outside for surgery," Tatter said. "But they were denied exit by the Israeli and Egyptian authorities."

Israel's sanctions and siege regime imposed on Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian citizens has been in place since March 2006, shortly after Hamas was democratically elected in internationally monitored elections. It was further tightened in June 2007, when Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip in factional fighting with the rival Fatah political party.

The years of closed borders has severely crippled Gaza's health sector, denying patients vital medicines, replacement parts for hospital equipment, access to outside medical care, and preventing the entrance of outside expertise. Moreover, Gaza's civilian infrastructure was devastated during Israel's three week assault on Gaza (December 2008-January 2009), making the treatment of patients within the tiny coastal territory near impossible.

After listing the urgently needed equipment and medical supplies Dr. Tatter explains that "We have enough for maybe five operations." He adds that in the past it took a month to get even basic supplies and solutions.

However, in spite of the difficult circumstances, what is really lacking are the actual cardiac surgeons necessary for heart procedures. "We have the hospital and the equipment need for the procedures. We do have a shortage of some instruments and solutions used in the surgery but we could do a small number of operations today if we had the doctors."

"We would like to send doctors outside for specialist training, but because of the closed borders it's impossible," says Dr. Tatter. The problem, he says, is that it is not easy to simply train others. "It requires specialists to do the training."

Roughly 10 years ago, surgeons were coming to Gaza from different countries, staying on to provide training and/or operations. Today, the Israeli siege, supported by Egypt has made it near impossible for visiting doctors to enter Gaza, no matter how badly they are needed.

From 4 May to 22 May, a group of visiting medical specialists attempted to enter Gaza via the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing. Three medical professionals, two from London's Hammersmith Hospital, waited nearly one month for permission to enter Gaza, to establish a cardiac surgery unit at Shifa Hospital and to provide some of the vitally-needed training to doctors and medical students.

Omar Mangoush, a cardiac surgeon at Hammersmith, Christopher Burns-Cox, a retired consultant physician, and Kirsty Wong, a nurse at Hammersmith Hospital were the latest team to head to Gaza via Palestine International Medical Aid (PIMA), a UK-based charity which has successfully sent two medical delegations to Gaza already this year.

On 19 May, after two weeks of being denied entry by Egyptian authorities, the Hammersmith team, joined by six other doctors and nurses, began a hunger strike to protest the banning of medical expertise from Gaza. Even when Code Pink and Hope convoys were granted entry, Egyptians controlling Rafah refused to allow the Hammersmith team into Gaza.

Christopher Burns-Cox, who has previously visited Gaza five times in order to provide medical training, reported that he'd planned to both consult with medical students at Gaza's al-Azhar University and with patients at the Strip's al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital.

He added that his colleague, Dr. Mangoush, was "keen to restart what is life-saving and not necessarily very expensive surgery." However, since both of his colleagues were using their leave time to travel to Gaza and due to the wait at Rafah crossing, it is unlikely that either will be able to return any time soon. Although not accompanying the Hammersmith team, Dr. Sonia Robbins, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon from the UK, also found herself locked out of Gaza, although she is a regular visiting doctor in Gaza.

Just a few days after the PIMA trio left, the siege claimed Gaza's 337th victim, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Muhammad Rami Ibrahim Nofal, a one-year-old infant from Khan Younis, died on 25 May precisely because of the inability to operate on his heart.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel's ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel's recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

a jurisdicao universal uma vez mais sob ameaca


Universal jurisdiction once again under threat
Sharon Weill and Valentina Azarov, The Electronic Intifada, 10 June 2009

Pressure is being exerted on the Spanish government to amend its legislation regarding universal jurisdiction.

Currently, the fate of one of the only remaining venues that offers a redress mechanism for Palestinians is at stake. It is one that can bring accountability of Israeli officials and decision-makers who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The amendment of universal jurisdiction laws, often incommensurably restricting access to these mechanisms, is at variance with the effect of certain crimes on humanity as a whole, on which the notion of universal jurisdiction is premised. The pressure exerted on the Spanish government to amend its law is an example of the regrettable phenomenon of the weakening of international law at the price of the individual.

On 22 July 2002, around midnight, an Israeli Air Force plane dropped a one-ton bomb on Gaza City's al-Daraj neighborhood, one of the most densely-populated residential areas in the world. The military objective of this operation was to target and kill Hamas' former military leader in the Gaza Strip, Salah Shehadeh, who at that time was in his house with his family. As a result of the operation, Shehadeh and 14 civilians were killed, most of them children and infants, and 150 persons were injured, about half of them severely. Houses in the vicinity were either destroyed or damaged. Seven members of the Matar family, whose neighboring house was totally destroyed, were among the casualties.

More than six years later, in Madrid, just a few days after Israel's most recent invasion of Gaza ended, Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles decided to open a criminal investigation on the basis of universal jurisdiction against seven Israeli political and military officials who were alleged to have committed a war crime -- and possibly a crime against humanity -- in the course of that operation. The officials included Dan Halutz, then Commander of the Israeli Air Forces; Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, then Israeli Defense Minister; Moshe Yaalon, then Israeli army Chief of Staff; Doron Almog, then Southern Commander of the Israeli army; Giora Eiland, then Head of the Israeli National Security Council; Michael Herzog, then Military Secretary to the Israeli Defense Ministry; and Abraham Dichter, then Director of the General Security Services.

Although the allegations in the action referred only to war crimes, the court stated that the facts could amount to more serious crimes than what was initially claimed -- namely, crimes against humanity. This preliminary legal assessment motivated the legal team to work toward basing a new charge. The lawyers announced that they would redouble their efforts to demonstrate that the al-Daraj bombing was part of a policy of "widespread and systematic" attacks directed against a civilian population, fitting the definition of a crime against humanity.

As the request for Israel to provide information on the existence of any judicial proceedings concerning the military operation was not answered and the state expressed its unwillingness to cooperate with the legal team, the Spanish court thereby ruled that the investigation be conducted by the Spanish jurisdiction. On the same day the decision concerning the commencement of the investigation was rendered, Israeli officials sent a 400-page document to the Spanish legal team, stating that the facts of the complaint regarding the operation were subject to proceedings in Israel, and therefore the Spanish court should have declined to exercise jurisdiction.

The proceedings in Israel

The army's internal investigation found that the collateral damage was caused because of an intelligence failure, and therefore was not anticipated by military decision-makers. Yesh Gvul, an Israeli pacifist movement, asked the military advocate general, and later the state advocate general, to open a criminal investigation against those who planned and executed the operation. After their request was denied by the prosecution authorities, Yesh Gvul and five other well-known Israeli actors filed a petition to the Israeli high court in September 2003. The high court finally held a hearing in the Shehadeh case nearly four years later on 17 June 2007.

The court was due to examine whether the bombing of the Shehadeh house from the air could constitute a war crime, which therefore required a criminal investigation to be opened. However, the high court did not make a decision and instead shifted the responsibility by recommending that an "objective and independent body" examine the incident.

On 23 January 2008, an "objective and independent" commission of inquiry into the killing of Salah Shehadeh was appointed by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It was composed of three members, two of then former Israeli generals and a former official from the General Security Services. The structure, nature and mandate of this commission were to be entirely determined by the state -- the very body whose actions were to be investigated. Moreover, it was mandated to function as a military inquiry, while the procedure, testimonies and even the final report were to remain confidential and thereby inadmissible before a court of law. The commission could only provide non-binding recommendations directly to the military. As of today, the commission has yet to complete its mandate.

Back to Spain

On 2 April 2009, following the delivery of the document by Israel to the Spanish court, the Spanish public prosecutor submitted a request for the court to decline competence over the case, since parallel proceedings were taking place in Israel.

Despite the political inconvenience in upholding its previous stand, on 4 May 2009, the court forcefully rejected the prosecutor's request to decline competence. The court found that the procedure, and decisions made by the Israeli military advocate attorney general, the high court and the Committee of Inquiry, did not satisfy the constitutional right to effective protection by an independent and impartial court. It upheld that the decisions of the prosecution authorities, which endorsed an internal military probe, could not be perceived as independent and impartial, nor could the commission of inquiry that was appointed by the prime minister and functioned under the discretion of the executive branch. The Spanish court equally noted that an overarching deficiency of Israel's decisions was that none of them provided a detailed legal assessment of the facts. This ruling was immediately appealed, and the case is still pending.

The Israeli media portrayed the Spanish procedure as a "cynical attempt by the Palestinian plaintiffs to exploit the Spanish judicial system in order to advance a political agenda against Israel;" an issue, as the press appreciated, that should have been resolved through diplomatic channels. The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 4 May 2009: "I intend to appeal to the Spanish foreign minister, the Spanish minister of defense and, if need be, the Spanish prime minister, who is a colleague of mine, in the Socialist International, to override the decision."

Spain and universal jurisdiction

Spain is one of the most important contributing actors to the securing of accountability of international crimes, principally due to its state-of-the-art universal jurisdiction legislation. The Spanish judiciary was the one that initiated the procedure against Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator, in 1998, and it is currently investigating dozens of other cases. One of the specific features of the procedure in Spain is that the victims themselves can initiate the investigation, and directly submit their complaint to the court, thus avoiding political obstacles that usually exist if it is the national prosecutor or the police who determine what cases are to be investigated. Further, Spanish law does not require the presence of the foreign suspects for the commencement of the judicial investigation. However, trials in the absence of the accused are prohibited in Spain.

Following political pressure from the governments of Israel, China (regarding an ongoing investigation accusing its former foreign minister of committing genocide in Tibet) and the US (for two cases against US officials alleging torture), on 19 May 2009 the Spanish parliament passed a resolution backing a proposed amendment to the Spanish universal jurisdiction legislation. The amendment limits the legislation's exercise to cases with a Spanish victim, or some other connection such as when the suspect is present on Spanish soil. It is not clear if the proposed amendments would apply to ongoing cases once in force. It is hoped that if the law is modified, victims can still initiate judicial investigations.

In 2003, Belgium faced a similar situation. It was bullied into changing its law and procedure, following Israeli and US pressure concerning the complaints brought against then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In response, Washington threatened to move NATO headquarters from Brussels. In contrast, when a judicial arrest warrant was issued against Israeli Major General Doron Almog in 2005, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared his intention to modify the United Kingdom's laws on universal jurisdiction. Four years later, no such amendment has even been proposed to the UK Parliament.

Amendments to universal jurisdiction laws, as well as the actual initiation of investigations by the state prosecutors, have historically been markedly affected by public opinion and action. Pressure of such kind stands to be the most effective means of ensuring that justice is achieved for the victims, and the law is upheld against those who have violated it. This is particularly important when international war crimes and crimes against humanity are at issue. Governments and the international community should be mindful of this reality, in which the law is politicized in order to be evaded, and act upon it (a sample letter to government officials and contact information is provided by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights). We must, in any way possible, ensure that all necessary measures are taken to guarantee respect of the most fundamental pillars of international law.

Sharon Weill is a PhD candidate in International Humanitarian Law (IHL), University of Geneva, and lecturer in IHL. Valentina Azarov is a Legal Researcher with HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the individual and author with the International Law Observer.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Amarrado, vendado e espancado pelas tropas israelitas

fonte:The Independent

Bound, blindfolded and beaten – by Israeli troops

Children among Palestinian detainees abused during West Bank operation, according to soldiers' confessions

By Ben Lynfield in Hares, West Bank

Two Israeli officers have testified that troops in the West Bank beat, bound and blindfolded Palestinian civilians as young as 14. The damaging disclosures by two sergeants of the Kfir Brigade include descriptions of abuses they say they witnessed during a search-and-detain operation involving hundreds of troops in Hares village on 26 March. The testimonies have been seen by The Independent and are expected to add fuel to the controversy over recent remarks by Colonel Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, in which he said violence against detained Palestinians was justified in order to accomplish missions.

Both the soldiers, from the Harub battalion, highlighted the tight tying of the plastic hand restraints placed on detainees. "There are people who think you need to tighten the restraints all the way, until no drop of blood will pass from here to there," one soldier said. "It doesn't take much time until the hands turn blue. There were a lot of people that you know weren't feeling anything."

He said about 150 Palestinians, some as young as 14, were bound, blindfolded and detained at the village school during the operation, which lasted from 3am to 3pm. He was told it was aimed at preventing village youths throwing stones against nearby settler roads. It was clear many of the people detained had done nothing wrong, but they were held to gather intelligence, he said.

The worst beatings were in the bathrooms, he said. "The soldiers who took [detainees] to the toilet just exploded [over] them with beatings; cursed them with no reason. When they took one Arab to the toilet so that he could urinate, one of them gave him a slap that brought him to the ground. He had been handcuffed from behind with a nylon restraint and blindfolded. He wasn't insolent, he didn't do anything to get on anyone's nerves ... [it was] just because he's an Arab. He was something like 15 years old." The soldier said he saw a lot of soldiers "just knee [Palestinians] because it's boring, because you stand there 10 hours, you're not doing anything, so they beat people up."

A second soldier described a "fanatical atmosphere" during the search operations. "We would go into a house and turn the whole thing upside down," he recalled, but no weapons were found. "They confiscated kitchen knives."

The first soldier said involvement was widespread."There were a lot of reservists that participated, and they totally had a celebration on the Palestinians: curses, humiliation, pulling hair and ears, kicks, slaps. These things were the norm." He said the incidents in the toilet were the "extreme" and added that the beatings did not draw blood. They were "dry beatings, but it's still a beating".

The second soldier said some troops stole from houses they searched, even though the people were so poor it was hard for them to find anything to take.

Last month, Colonel Virob testified in a military court that hitting detained Palestinians could be justified. "Standing them against walls, pushing them, a blow that doesn't cause injury. Certainly, these are things that are commonly used in an attempt to accomplish the mission," he said. Despite a reprimand of Colonel Virob by the head of central command, General Shamni, and a disavowal by army chief of staff Lt General Gabi Ashkenazi, the remarks are seen by Breaking the Silence, an organisation that collects testimonies of soldiers, as proof that the alleged abuses in Hares cannot be dismissed as an isolated occurrence or low-level improvisations.

In Hares, Ihab Shamlawi, a university student, recalled watching as a high school pupil asked soldiers permission to go to the bathroom. "They put him on the floor, they kicked his legs and beat him," he said. Ten or 15 other soldiers were watching, Mr Shamlawi recalled. "They all laughed," he said.

The army spokesman's office yesterday said an investigation had been opened and added that, following Colonel Virob's previous remarks, General Shamni had distributed pamphlets to troops underscoring that "when someone is detained, stopped or held ... Israel Defence Force soldiers ... are absolutely and clearly forbidden to use any force or violence against them".

Israel demolira 25 lojas árabes em Um Fahem


Israel to demolish 25 Arab stores in Um Al Fahem

The so-called Israeli Regional Committee for Construction and Planning in Haifa, issued orders for the evacuation and demolishing 25 Arab stores in the Market area, near the main road of Wadi Ara, in Um Al Fahim Arab town.

Image by Arabs48
Image by Arabs48

Um Al Fahim Mayor, Sheikh Khalid Hamdan, held an urgent meeting with the owners of the stores in question and informed them that the municipality stands with them since their stores were officially licensed by the municipality, and were approved by the Local Committee for Development and Construction.

The market area Israel is trying to demolish extends on dozens of dunams, and is considered the heart of Um Al Fahim’s economy.

The Israeli orders also include imposing fines on the owners of the stores; the fines in some cases are as high as 27000 NIS.

A store owner stated that he had to pay 27000 NIS in 2002 as a fine, and in 2006 he had to pay 22000 NIS.

He added that the situation cannot be tolerated anymore as the Israeli authorities are demolishing Arab markets and industrial zones instead of developing them.

Several store owners were previously forced to pay high fines, and the Israeli authorities already demolished two stores and a fuel station in the same

um palestiniano condenado a demolir sua própria casa em Jerusalem Oriental

fonte:Maan News

Palestinian ordered to demolish own house in Old Jerusalem

Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities ordered a Palestinian to demolish his own home in the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Muhammad Ghosheh said police and a demolition crew from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem arrived at his house in the morning, threatening him with a 100,000 Israeli shekel (25,125 US dollar) fine if he did not destroy the house.

Hundreds of Palestinian-owned structures in occupied East Jerusalem are threatened with demolition on the grounds that they are built without Israeli-issued construction permits, which are routinely denied to Palestinian residents.

The Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Hatem Abdul Qader, arrived at the scene in the Khan Az-Zeit market and denounced the demolition as a crime committed in defiance of US and international pressure.

Abdul Qader was briefly from entering the house prevented by Israeli police, but was ultimately allowed in before the demolition was carried out.

He also asserted that the building will be rebuilt, and noted that the “occupation municipality” recently began to reject all Palestinian applications for building permits in the Old City while granting permits to Israeli settlers to build on property they have taken over.

O discurso de Obama: o tom e da Música

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Obama's Speech: The Tone and the Music

Israelis must decide: to follow the right-wing government or to join Obama's march..

By Uri Avnery – Israel

One man spoke to the world, and the world listened. He walked onto the stage in Cairo, alone, without hosts and without aides, and delivered a sermon to an audience of billions. Egyptians and Americans, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites, Copts and Maronites – and they all listened attentively.

He unfolded before them the map of a new world, a different world, whose values and laws he spelled out in simple and clear language - a mixture of idealism and practical politics, vision and pragmatism.

Barack Hussein Obama – as he took pains to call himself – is the most powerful man on earth. Every word he utters is a political fact.

“A historic speech,” pronounced commentators in a hundred languages. I prefer another adjective: The speech was right.

Every word was in its place, every sentence precise, every tone in harmony. The masterpiece of a man bringing a new message to the world.

From the very first word, every listener in the hall and in the world felt the honesty of the man, that his heart and his tongue were in harmony, that this is not a politician of the old familiar sort – hypocritical, sanctimonious, calculating. His body language was speaking, and so were his facial expressions

That’s why the speech was so important. The new moral integrity and the sense of honesty increased the impact of the revolutionary content.

And a revolutionary speech it certainly was.

In 55 minutes, it not only wiped away the eight years of George W. Bush, but also much of the preceding decades, from World War II on.

The American ship has turned – not with the sluggishness everyone would have expected, but with the agility of a speedboat.

That is much more than a political change. It touches the roots of the American national consciousness. The President spoke to hundreds of million US citizens no less than to a billion Muslims.

The American culture is based on the myth of the Wild West, with its Good Guys and Bad Guys, violent justice, dueling under the midday sun. Since the American nation is composed of immigrants from all over the world, its unity seems to require a threatening, world-encompassing evil enemy, like the Nazis and the Japs, or the Commies. After the collapse of the Soviet empire, this role was taken over by Islam.

Cruel, fanatical, bloodthirsty Islam; Islam as the religion of murder and destruction; an Islam lusting for the blood of women and children. This enemy captured the imagination of the masses and supplied material for television and cinema. It provided lecture topics for learned professors and fresh inspiration for popular writers. The White House was occupied by a moron who declared a world-wide “War on Terrorism”.

When Obama is now uprooting this myth, he is revolutionizing American culture. He wipes away the picture of one enemy, without painting another in its place. He preaches against the violent, adversary attitude itself, and starts to work to replace it with a culture of partnership between nations, civilizations and religions.

I see Obama as the first great messenger of the 21st century. He is the son of a new era, where the economy is global and the whole of humanity faces the danger to the very existence of life on the planet Earth. An era where the Internet connects a boy in New Zealand with a girl in Namibia in real time, where a disease in a small Mexican village spreads all over the globe within days.

This world needs a world law, a world order, a world democracy. That’s why this speech really was historic: Obama outlined the basic contours of a world constitution.

While Obama proclaims the 21st century, the government of Israel is returning to the 19th.

That was the century when a narrow, egocentric, aggressive nationalism took root in many countries. A century that sanctified the belligerent nation which oppresses minorities and subdues neighbors. The century that gave birth to modern anti-Semitism and to its response – modern Zionism.

Obama’s vision is not anti-national. He spoke with pride about the American nation. But his nationalism is of another sort: an inclusive, multi-cultural and non-sexist nationalism, which includes all the citizens of a country and respects other nations.

This is the nationalism of the 21st century, which is inexorably striving towards supranational, regional and world-wide structures.

Compared to this, how miserable is the mental world of the Israeli Right! How miserable is the violent, fanatical-religious world of the settlers, the chauvinist ghetto of Netanyahu, Lieberman and Barak, the racist-fascist closed-in world of their Kahanist allies!

One has to understand this moral and spiritual dimension of Obama’s speech before considering its political implications. Not only in the political sphere are Obama and Netanyahu on a collision course. The underlying collision is between two mental worlds which are as distinct from each other as the sun and the moon.

In Obama’s mental world, there is no place for the Israeli Right or its equivalents elsewhere. Not for their terminology, not for their “values”, and still less for their actions.

In the political sphere, too, a huge gap has opened up between the governments of Israel and the USA.

During the last few years, successive Israeli governments have ridden the wave of Islamophobia that has spread throughout the West. The Islamic world was considered the deadly enemy, America was galloping grimly towards the Clash of Civilizations, every Muslim was a potential terrorist.

Israel’s right-wing leaders could rejoice. After all, the Palestinians are Arabs, the Arabs are Muslims, the Muslims are Terrorists – so that Israel was assured a central place in the war of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness.

That was a Garden of Eden for racist demagogues. Avigdor Lieberman could advocate the expulsion of the Arabs from Israel, Ellie Yishai could enact laws for the revocation of the citizenship of non-Jews. Obscure Members of the Knesset could grab headlines with bills that might have been conceived in Nuremberg.

This Garden of Eden is no more. Whether the implications will become clear quickly or slowly - the direction is obvious. If we continue on our path, we will become a leper colony.

The tone makes the music – and this applies also to the President’s words on Israel and Palestine. He spoke at length about the Holocaust – honest and courageous words, full of empathy and compassion, which were received by the Egyptians in silence but with respect. He stressed Israel’s right to exist. And without pausing, he spoke about the suffering of the Palestinian refugees, the intolerable situation of the Palestinians in Gaza, Palestinian aspirations for a state of their own.

He spoke respectfully about Hamas. Not anymore as a “terrorist organization”, but as a part of the Palestinian people. He demanded that they recognize Israel and stop violence, but also hinted that he would welcome a Palestinian unity government.

The political message was clear and unequivocal: the Two-State Solution will be put into practice. He himself will see to that. Settlement activity must cease. Unlike his predecessors, he did not stop at speaking about “Palestinians”, but uttered the decisive word: “Palestine” – the name of a state and a territory.

And no less important: the Iran war has been struck from the agenda. The dialogue with Tehran, as a part of the new world, is not limited in time. As from now, no one can even dream about an American OK for an Israeli attack.

How did official Israel respond? The first reaction was denial. “An unimportant speech”. “There was nothing new”. The establishment commentators picked out a few pro-Israeli sentences from the text and ignored all the others. And after all, “these are just words. So he talked. Nothing will come out of it.”

That is nonsense. The words of the President of the United States are more than just words. They are political facts. They change the perceptions of hundreds of millions. The Muslim public listened. The American public listened. It may take some time for the message to sink in. But after this speech, the pro-Israel lobby will never be the same as it was before. The era of “foile shtik” (Yiddish for sneaky tricks) is over. The sly dishonesty of a Shimon Peres, the guileful deceits of an Ehud Olmert, the

Conferencia com Illan Pappe no aniversario da Nakba (6 Junho de 2008)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Obama, o Intelectual; A America por Deus abencoada

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Obama the Intellectual; God Blessed America

President Obama is now marching America towards humanism.

By Gilad Atzmon – Denver, Colorado

I am very lucky to be in America this week, to watch a place being transformed, to smell the refreshing scent of restored liberty, to glance at the euphoric rise of hope. When I visited America two years ago it was a different place. There was fear in the air, the country was terrorized by its own lethal retribution. The gigantic American flags that were waving from every corner had a rather threatening impact on me. And now somehow, seeing exactly the same flags evokes sympathy and trust in me.

Three days ago, at 5 am, still in my London home, while waiting for the airport cab service, I caught Justin Webb’s BBC interview with President Obama. I will be honest and say, as much as I wanted to love Obama like the rest of humanity, I was very suspicious of the man. I remembered him rushing to appease AIPAC within minutes after he secured his Democratic Party nomination. We all knew about his first appointee Emmanuel Rahm, we obviously learned quickly who Rahm was and what he was affiliated with.

And yet, at 5 am, waiting for the driver to knock on my front door, I was blown away by President Obama. I wasn’t prepared for it and I simply couldn’t believe my ears. When asked about Iran’s nuclear project, this is was what President Obama had to say, “What I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations. On the other hand, the international community has a very real interest in preventing nuclear arms in the region.”

This didn’t leave much room for interpretation, Obama simply said ‘YES to nuclear energy, No to nuclear bomb.’ I, on my part, actually believe that an Iranian nuclear bomb is the necessary way forwards. It will deter and restrain the Israeli leadership that had been proving time after time that Israel is merciless and murderous beyond comparison. However, approving Iran’s legitimate right for nuclear energy was indeed the right move. It left the BBC interviewer in a state of confusion, he was probably as surprised as I was, he wasn’t sure whether Obama really meant what he said. He repeatedly challenged the President asking whether Iran could have the “right to reprocess energy?” Once again President Obama didn’t leave any room for doubt. “We need,” he said, “to reinvigorate a much broader agenda for nuclear nonproliferation - including the United States and Russia drawing down our stockpiles in very significant ways, to the extent that Iran feels that they are treated differently than anybody else. That makes them embattled.” Obama’s message was lucid and transparent. It was also an ethical and universal one. We are about to restore the belief in humanity and brotherhood. President Obama was there to remind us that the United State of America was founded upon the ideal that all are created equal. And this obviously applies to Iranians and Muslims (not just Jews and Christian Zionists).

Watching a world leader talking sense, thinking ethically and expressing himself eloquently is indeed a rare, refreshing event these days. After years of repulsive world hegemony invaded by Zionised Neocon war mongering a la Bush and Blair. After years of Western leaders dancing to Israeli cacophony composed and orchestrated by different types of repulsive Wolfowitzes, listening to Obama’s extended humanist cadenza was indeed music to my ears.

With Obama’s shift in my mind, I was looking forward to my trip to America. In spite of the credit crunch inflicted on America by the enemy within, there is a scent of cheerfulness in the air. As much as Bush and Blair failed to liberate the Iraqi people, the Americans have managed after all, to liberate themselves. They left the keys to the White House in the possession of a man, who at least verbally, is inspired by humanism and tolerance. They have elected an inspiring man of incredible intellectual esteem.

I am now in America for a week. I am meeting hundreds of Palestinians and solidarity activists. I can definitely detect a level of genuine optimism, something I couldn’t even remotely feel two years ago. America is expressing some real fatigue of its Ziocon invaders. Not only have the Ziocons failed to achieve anything. It made Americans accomplices in a colossal crime, the Iraqi Holocaust that until now has cost more than 1,300,000 civilian lives. It bought America some fierce enemies all over the world and if this is not enough, the financial meltdown is there to make sure that each American will pay in the coming decades a heavy personal price for both Wolfowitz’s wars and Greenspan’s speculative capitalistic financial models.

Being a lucky sod, I was here in America yesterday when President Obama delivered his landmark Cairo speech to the Muslim world. It is rather obvious that Obama and his team were doing their homework. It seems as if they manage to grasp what Islam stands for and what Jihad means in particular. Obama’s speech is immaculately structured to address the Islamic meaning of Jihad. By doing so, Obama assures America’s enemies that respect for Islam, to Allah and Muslims is indeed restored.

Unlike his shameless predecessor, who for some reason was sure that Islam and Fascism were one word, Obama and his team realise that Islam is actually all about Salam i.e., peace. ‘Armed jihad is temporary in that it ends when the enemy ceases its aggression.’ Obama grasped also that Korea tells its followers to ‘move quickly to establish peace once the enemy seeks peace.’ Obama comprehended that America had been defeated in Iraq. He realises that in Islam, ‘showing compassion to the enemy that has been defeated or in seeking peace is considered superior to achieving victory.’

Bearing it all in mind, Obama was ready for his Cairo platform. Launching his speech greeting the Islamic world with assalaamu alaykum he prepared the ground for an outstanding speech. “I am here to talk to you face to face. It is peace I am searching.” Unlike the previous Zionised puppet, the current American president understands the notion of mutuality and respect.

“You and us,” he told his billion and a half Muslim listeners, “share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

This is very interesting indeed, considering the fact that these are the exact qualities that the previous administration was lacking. Instead of justice and progress it was reactionary bigotry. Instead of tolerance and dignity it was overwhelmingly supremacist, chauvinist and Ziocentric.

Obama is brave enough to admit that in spite of 9/11 being an ‘enormous trauma’, “it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course.” Besides the fact that Obama confesses here that mistakes had been made, he also hints that actually the Bush administration and its Ziocon ideologists were in essentially Non American by nature for failing to understand the Americans ‘Ideals’. For many years we speak about the elementary de-Zionification of Israel. Surprisingly enough, the de-Zionification of America seems to be more likely.

It is clear that Obama is not yet ready to depart from his dedicated fundraisers. He still seems to be committed to the Zionist phantasmic narrative. In spite of the fact that Obama did not use the word ‘terror’ even once in his speech, he still seems to be committed to the Israeli cause and the ‘Israeli right to exist’ at the expense of others. “America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.” Actually, I myself believe that it can be easily denied. In fact there is no rational reason for the Palestinians to be penalised for crimes committed against Jews by Europeans.

However, as much as Obama seems to succumb to the Zionist narrative, he doesn’t stop himself from the necessary equation between the Jewish Holocaust and the ongoing Palestinian holocaust that is committed by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people.

“Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust”, says the president, but he then continues, “on the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”

I think that this doesn’t leave a room for a doubt. President Obama seems to realise what is going on. He knows about the humiliation, he knows about the starvation, he knows about Israelis using WMDs against civilian population. He for the first time promises one billion and a half Muslims around the world that America will not turn its backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

Whether Obama keeps his promise time will tell, however, the fact that he allows himself to juxtapose the Holocaust and Gaza proves that he is a million years ahead of most Palestinian solidarity campaigners who are reluctant to engage in this necessary equation just to avoid offending one Jew or another.

I may allow myself to advise the President that he is slightly misinformed in regards to Palestinians and their rights and aspirations. On top of ‘aspiration for dignity’, ‘opportunity’ and ‘a state of their own’, the Palestinians also have another fundamental legitimate right in their disposal, it is the right to return to their homes, villages, towns, lands, field and orchards. In short we call it ‘the right of return’.

Every Palestinian refugee holds such a legitimate right within his disposal. Not a single Palestinian leader will ever give this right away, and if this is not enough, not a single world leader has the authority to dismiss such a right. The right of return is a right that belongs exclusively to the very owner of the land, the Palestinian people themselves. It is not a political matter for anyone to give away this right collectively in the name of very many Palestinians. As one extremely clever Palestinian refugee pointed to me last night in Houston: “my land near Safad”, so he said, “is my land, and no one can negotiate its fate on my behalf. Neither a Palestinian leader nor any other world leader.” I admit, as simple as it is, I have never thought about it before. The right of return is not a political matter or subject for negotiation. Thus, it won’t be resolved politically. It is an elementary fundamental right that will be fulfilled, as long as it takes.

As much as I am inspired with Obama the intellectual, I do also realise that putting his ideology into practice may take some time. Obama should prove us that he knows how to translate his beautiful words into action. It is rather clear that Obama is reluctant to put real pressure on the Jewish state. If it were down to me, I would give the Israelis a 24-hour ultimatum to lift the closure on Gaza. Would they fail to provide, I would call home my ambassador in Tel Aviv, I would immediately stop any form of financial and military aid to Israel, I would freeze Israeli assets for being a terrorist state, I would also start a rapid deportation of Israelis from America. But as it seems, at least momentarily, I am not Obama, I am just a non-elected monarch of the Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble. President Obama, on the other hand, is the elected president of the American people, he may know what he is doing.

The president has still long way to go. And yet, President Obama has made a major step in the last few days. He is now marching America towards humanism. He reclaims the American ideology of liberty. I salute the man, I salute the great intellect, I salute the humanist. Gladly I am to admit that God blessed America. But someone better take very good care of the safety of its president. He has some fierce and relentless enemies out there. And as we know, they do not stop in red!

- Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer. He contributed this article to

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