Two Palestinian children were shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank this past week as a United Nations human rights investigator called on Israel to investigate its excessive use of force against Palestinians. Continue reading
Whatever else the Palestinian intifada may be accomplishing, it does seem to be driving average Israelis into a frenzy, apparently even triggering hallucinations in their heads in some cases. In the above video we see a young Palestinian woman being held to the ground while a mob debates whether or not to kill her. “Why are you playing around? They are coming to murder our children!” one of them screams at one point–while at another the young girl is kicked in the head. The incident apparently took place on October 12. Today it was reported that the young woman did not have a knife after all. The whole thing was for nothing. This of course comes just a day after Israeli forces shot to death an unarmed Eritrean man in the mistaken belief that he was a Palestinian. Continue reading
Rand Paul addresses the funding of ISIS while Authentic Enlightenment’s Chris Perkins asks him about the funding of Israel. Shortly after Rand’s speech, Chris meets him and tries to get him to answer another question. Watch to see and hear the results!
Six mass graves features the remains of dozens of Palestinians killed during the Israeli-Arab war of 1948, when the Jewish state was founded have been uncovered in the Jaffa district of Tel Aviv.
An official at the Muslim cemetery there told AFP that the grisly find happened on Wednesday when ground subsided as builders carried out renovation work.
In 1948 Jaffa was a Palestinian town but there was an exodus of most of its Arab population when it fell to the fledgling Israeli army and right-wing Jewish militias.
Researcher and historian Mahmoud Obeid, a Jaffa resident, told As-Safri newspaper: ‘We discovered six mass graves, two of which we dug up. Our estimate is that they contain around 200 bodies, with an unknown additional number in the other graves.
‘The remains belong to people of different ages, including women, children and the elderly, some of which bear signs of violence.’
A local fisherman Atar Zeinab, 80, said that as a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948 he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa.
They were then brought for a quick burial in the cemetery, the area’s main graveyard.
‘I carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months,’ he told AFP. ‘We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn’t know who they were.’
He said that the danger of being hit by flying bullets or grenade fragments was such that bodies were dumped one on top of the other in existing family crypts in the cemetery, contrary to Muslim custom.
‘We carried them early in the morning or in the night. We put women, children and men in the same place… nobody prayed for these people.
In 1950 Jaffa was incorporated into Tel Aviv, and was renamed Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It now a mixed Arab and Jewish population.
Around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the Israeli-Arab war of 1948.
The Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation passed a draft law yesterday regulating Bedouin settlement in the Negev known as the “Prawer Plan”, which will allow the seizure of approximately 700,000 dunams of the Negev and the destruction of 40 unrecognized villages. The government will present the draft law to the Knesset for approval over three readings before it becomes law.
Hundreds of “1948 Palestinians”, most of whom are Negev Bedouins, protested in front of the office of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in objection to the “Prawer Plan”. The protestors held signs saying “Work towards stopping the Prawer Project” in Arabic, Hebrew, and English and chanted “Listen Prawer… the land of the Negev will not surrender to you.” The protest was in response to the Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation’s discussion held yesterday on the Prawer Plan and its plans to regulate the settlement of Negev Bedouins.
The Israeli government ratified a “plan for the regulation of Bedouin settlements in the Negev” during its earlier sessions. This decision was based on reports prepared by the Goldberg Committee and the Prawer report to relocate the Bedouins in the Negev, the Israeli government has allocated a budget for this process.
Atiya al-Aassam, head of the Regional Committee for unrecognised villages in the Negev, said in a speech before the protestors, “We want to tell Prawer, Tzipi Livni (Minister of Justice) and all decision-makers that we have endured 65 years of water scarcity and all forms of torture, and we will continue to endure and will not give up one inch of our land.” He stressed that “the Prawer Plan being passed as law aims to expel us from our land, displace about 90,000 citizens, seize 700,000 dunams of land to establish settlements on, eliminate 40 villages and concentrate the Bedouins in cities amounting to only 100,000 dunams.”
He then spoke in Hebrew and said, “I urge the Ministers not to pass their discriminatory law; do not drive us to violence.” About 200,000 Bedouins live in Israel, with over half in the Negev desert, but they do not benefit from any of the municipality’s services such as water and electricity because the Israeli authorities do not recognise them.
(mondoweiss.net) Israel’s deportation policy entered a new phase on Monday when Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro, co-founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), arrived at Ben Gurion airport and discovered an entry ban on Shapiro, despite inquires made in advance by a lawyer for the couple. Arraf and Shapiro, now expecting their first child, are perhaps the most recognizable pair in the Palestine solidarity movement, and architects for building an international activist presence on the ground since the beginning of the second Intifada.
At the airport on Monday afternoon Israeli authorities informed Shapiro that in 2009, unknown to him, the Israeli Ministry of Interior issued a 10-year entry ban for him. Initially the border police “weren’t making much sense,” Arraf told Mondoweiss, but then Shapiro was taken to jail where he remained for two days until he and Arraf were briefly reunited at a court hearing Tuesday.
After Shapiro’s Monday arrest, Arraf sent a letter to friends and supporters on her husband’s arrest:
Adam and I are expecting our first child, a boy in about 5 weeks. As joyful as this blessing is, we’ve had / we have to make some difficult decisions (besides what to name our son that is!) I am an Israeli citizen (in addition to a US citizen). This fact has made it possible for me to continue accessing my homeland all these years in spite of some attempts by Israel to kick me out. Israel did however deport Adam in 2002 because of our human rights work and banned him from re-entering the country (including the occupied Palestinian territory) since, which is why we’ve had to spend so much of our married life apart. In order for us to ensure that in the future, if Israel remains the racist, apartheid state that it is, it won’t deny our son the right to visit his homeland and all his family in Palestine, we’ve had to think about getting Israeli citizenship for our son. However, because I’m Palestinian, and not a Jewish citizen of Israel, our child will not have the automatic right to visit the country or to claim citizenship. The only way for me to pass down my citizenship to our son is to have him in Israel.
Arraf explained that in Tuesday’s court hearing the state claimed that Shapiro was presented “a document all in Hebrew” that stipulated a 10-year entry ban when he was detained by Israeli authorities in 2009 and “they said that Adam refused to sign.” But Arraf says Shapiro was never given such a document, “this is the first time he’s been told he has a 10-year ban.” Yet at the trial, Arraf says the state’s attorney produced a copy of the letter, “it’s the state’s word against Adam’s.”
“When the judge ruled, it was basically a technical ruling,” explained Arraf. He “wouldn’t listen to evidence on the ban itself, whether it is legal,” and Arraf summarizes it was clear “they did not want Adam to enter the country.”
Arraf is Palestinian with U.S. and Israeli citizenship, and Shapiro is a U.S. citizen—facts that dictate the couple’s ability to live together, travel together, and now will impose a separation during the birth of their first child after 11 years of marriage. Because of Arraf’s Palestinian national identity, she traveled to Israel late in her pregnancy so she could give birth to her son in country, ensuring she could bequeath her Israeli citizenship. Although it is technically possible for Arraf to transfer citizenship abroad, for Palestinians it is an arduous task. By contrast, children of Israeli-Jews born outside of the country can be issued Israeli identification numbers, even in instances where the child is not registered by the parents. This past year an American activist born to an Israeli father toldMondoweiss that despite never applying for citizenship, the Israeli Ministry of Interior told her she was already registered in the system. They said it was illegal for her to enter on a U.S. passport as the state already considered her an Israeli citizen.
Last month a lawyer for Arraf and Shapiro twice inquired with the Israeli government on Shapiro’s ability to enter Israel. Both times Arraf said Shapiro “was never given any written notice that he has a 10-year ban.” In addition, in 2008 Arraf wrote a letter to the Ministry of Interior to inquire into Shapiro’s travel status. At the airport on Monday, border officials produced a copy of the letter and told Arraf that she should have waited for a response before entering. “Well it’s been five years, you want us to wait longer for a response?” said Arraf.
Arraf and Shapiro’s current predicament dates back to 2002 when Shapiro was working in the West Bank as a human rights activist. After an arrest that led to deportation Shapiro discovered he was persona non grata, when attempting to re-enter through an Israeli controlled border. Over the next ten years he tried to enter the country three times. The pair was advised that Shapiro had been issued one of the notoriously vague 10-year entry bans, typically given to activists without notice, or formal explanation. Indeed Shapiro was never officially told he had a 10-year ban, but it was a logical deduction.
Later in 2009 while aboard the flotilla to breach the Israeli sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, Shapiro was taken into Israel by Israeli forces against his will and was again deported. According to Arraf, at the time the judge in that case acknowledged that Shapiro did not intend to enter Israel and was taken into the country while under custody of Israeli authorities. Now the state is alleging a new entry ban was issued at that time.
Because Arraf and Shapiro have been in communication with Israeli officials about their travel plans, Shapiro’s secret 10-year entry ban is especially alarming. The couple seems to have taken every measure to ensure Shapiro could be present for the birth of their son. But with Shapiro’s looming deportation anticipated to take place this evening, their case demonstrates that Israel not only issues entry bans, but also conceals them until the time of arrival.
“A couple of years ago,” said Arraf, “a lawyer once told me that [the 10-year entry ban] is not in any official Israeli law.” Yet, the threat of a 10-year ban is considered a final banishment doled out to the most high profile activists. It is viewed as a punitive measure for internationals who are known supporters of Palestinian rights, a fact that is underscored by the fact that only Palestine solidarity activists have received it.
Because of an Israeli policy that allows for anyone who is a perceived “security threat,” to be denied entry on spot, Arraf was aware her husband could face complications upon arrival. It is not uncommon for activists working in the West Bank to be deported from Israel, even without ever exiting the airport. This policy was employed en masse in 2012 and in 2011 when dozens of internationals were denied entry when traveling for a “fly-in,” a protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
“I’m usually very optimistic” said Arraf in regards to Shapiro’s ability to be present for the birth of their son. But with “all of his human rights work and his activism the state doesn’t like him.”
Arraf has a reputation for hopefulness and resilience, and it is not surprising that despite this situation she is still committed to working for the rights of Palestinians. I interviewed her after she was arrested on the 2010 flotilla, and Arraf told me that the Israeli police beat her until she was concussed, ultimately dumping her from their car. She regained consciousness while medics put her on a stretcher after seemingly being left for dead in the middle of the desert. Arraf was then taken to a hospital. After treatment she left on her own and walked until she found a phone to call her family. She didn’t know where she was, or how much time had passed.
But a few days later Arraf was back on the ground, demonstrating and fighting for her cause. Now, just as in 2010, she moves forward even though her husband’s case will likely become a benchmark for secret travel bans.
“We continue our work on the larger picture,” wrote Arraf in her latest update to friends. “If our situation can be used to help shed more light on the racism and inhumanity rampant here (as well as Israel’s contempt for human rights defenders), with the goal of changing the system someday for the future of all the children of this region, that would be one of the best things that we could hope for.”
(RT) Israel has boycotted the UN human rights forum over fears of scrutiny of its treatment of residents of the occupied territories. Israel is now the first state in history to win a deferment of the periodical review of its human rights record.
Tel Aviv has refused to send a delegation on Tuesday to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review procedure where UN member states have their human rights record evaluated every four years.
Israel’s cooperation with the council stopped last March after the UN set up a committee to inspect the effects of the Israeli settlements on Palestinians.
Israel which earlier accused the United Nations of anti-Israel bias reiterated its stance, recalling that the council has passed more resolutions against Israel than all other countries combined.
“After a series of votes and statements and incidents we have decided to suspend our working relations with that body,” Yigal Palmor, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, told the Financial Times. “I can confirm that there is no change in that policy.”
“There have been more resolutions condemning Israel than the rest of the world put together,” an Israeli government official said on Tuesday. “It’s not a fair game – it’s not even a game.”
Following the Israeli decision, the council has decided to postpone its review until no later than November.
The Council president has also called on the body to adopt a draft response to an unprecedented move by Israel.
Egypt’s representative meanwhile has warned that a “soft” approach would create a dangerous precedent and leave“a wide-open door for more cases of non-cooperation,” the AFP quoted.
Activist groups lash out against Israel’s disregard for international law.
“By not participating in its own review, Israel is setting a dangerous precedent,” Eilis Ni Chaithnia, an advocacy officer with al-Haq, a human rights organisation based in Ramallah has told the FT. “This is the first time any country has made a determined effort not to attend.”
Others thought that the council’s decision to delay gives Tel Aviv the opportunity to make amends. Eight Israeli human rights organizations issued a statement saying, “Israel now has a golden opportunity to reverse its decision not to participate,” adding “it is legitimate for Israel to express criticism of the work of the Council and its recommendations, but Israel should do so through engagement with the Universal Periodic Review, as it has done in previous sessions,”JTA quotes.
The investigation into Israel’s Human Rights record began in 2007, but last year the UN started to pay particular attention to Israel’s activities in the West Bank.
The probe at the time prompted an angry response from the country’s leader.
“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Senior Israeli officials announced last month that Israel does not intend to cancel plans to accelerate settlement construction.
Netanyahu himself said in an interview with Israeli Channel 2 last month that the disputed area “is not occupied territory” and that he “does not care” what the UN thinks about it.
Around 500,000 Israelis and 2.4 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, areas that, along with Gaza, the Palestinians want for a future state.
The United Nations regards all Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Tel Aviv last attended the human rights review in 2008. Israel is not a member of the Council, which is comprised of 47 UN member states.
Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.
(Wired.com) Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.
That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.
In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.
“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”
(imemc.org) Last Sunday, and following the end of a normal school day in Jerusalem, a number of Arab Palestinian schoolchildren from Jerusalem (around age 12) boarded an Israeli bus while heading home; a number of adult Israeli extremists started insulting the children, and one of them spit a gum he was chewing on a child’s face.
Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported that after the Palestinian children boarded the bus, two settlers “noticed” that the children were speaking in Arabic, and started cursing at them, insulting them and one of the settlers even spit a gum, he was chewing, in the face of one of the children.
The Arab children study at a Jerusalem school attended by both Arab and Jewish students.
After the two settlers left the bus, a settler woman started harassing the children, cursing at them and uttered a number of racist statements against the Arabs and Palestinians.
The settler woman did not only use words to show her racist nature against the Palestinians, but even physically attacked one of the children by grabbing her hair and pulling it.
The bus driver then stopped his bus, and demanded the settler woman to leave, and when she refused he called the police who detained her.
Haaretz said that “Ayyoub”, the father of the child, said that his daughter goes to school through Jewish neighborhoods every single school day, and that she is repeatedly subject to verbal insults, but this time extremists decided to move to physical assault.
Palestinian sources said that the outpost’s inhabitants sat on the ground as an act of passive resistance when the forces arrived at Bab al-Shams.
Security forces evacuate E1 outpost
Some 150 Palestinians evicted from Bab al-Shams outpost in area E1, without violent resistance, injuries. At least two Palestinians arrested, including Mustafa Barghouti
The Palestinians were placed on buses and taken to the Qalandiya checkpoint. Palestinian National Initiative director Mustafa Barghouti was arrested during the eviction as well as at least one other person, according to the Palestinians.
One tent was torched by the outpost’s inhabitants who had complained that officers attacked Arab and Palestinian journalists.
Palestinian sources said that the outpost’s inhabitants sat on the ground as an act of passive resistance when the forces arrived at Bab al-Shams.
Forces evict Palestinians (Photo: Reuters)
There were no indications of violent resistance and no injuries were reported during the incident.
“Thousands of Israeli officers surrounded the tents and arrested the inhabitants one by one,” Barghouti told the French news agency. However, police stressed that the Palestinians were “escorted out of the area” and were not arrested for violating the closed military zone order.
The IDF spokesman ordered officers to prevent journalists from entering the outpost as per the cabinet’s orders. However, Arab and Palestinian journalists were allowed to get close to the outpost prior to the eviction.
Palestinian cleared from outpost (Photo: Reuters)
Forces after the eviction (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
“An urgent evacuation is required due to a pressing security need,” the State said in a petition filed with the High Court of Justice late on Saturday.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said in the document that the State has issued orders to define the outpost as a closed military zone and to remove squatters from its land.
Weinstein argued that the encampment was set up in order to provoke riots “of national and international consequence,” citing up-to-date intelligence information.
According to the petition, most of the tents have been pitched on the State’s lands, and allowing the protesters to stay where they are will create friction with settlers and could trigger widespread unrest.
The State “indents to act urgently to fulfill the right to evacuate everyone from the area,” Weinstein wrote. The State will then examine whether the law requires the tents to remain or be removed.
Bab al-Shams on Saturday night (Photo: AFP)
The document was filed in response to a temporary injunction issued by the High Court in order to bar the State from removing the protesters from the outpost as long as there isn’t an emergency warranting an evacuation. In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the routes leading up to the outpost to be closed to traffic, rendering the area a closed military zone.
A group of 200 Palestinians, backed by foreign activists, created the encampment, whose name means “Gate of the Sun,” near Ma’aleh Adumim on Friday, setting into motion a series of legal exchanges between the Palestinians’ representatives and the State.
The outpost (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
On Saturday, the government ordered the leaders of Bab al-Shams to immediately vacate the premises.
The outpost’s leaders then petitioned the High Court to block the warrant, claiming that the encampment was set up on their own private land and it is part of the village of At-Tur, where they reside. The tents, they claimed, where meant to act as a tourist center spotlighting Bedouin heritage. The decision to evict them went against zoning laws because it did not give them a chance to voice their arguments, they said.
The leaders said that if Israeli security forces were to make them leave, they would do so with only passive resistance.
Mahmoud Zawara, of the Popular Palestinian Committees, told Ynet that the 30-tent outpost was set up as part of the “Palestinian struggle” against Israel’s planned construction in the area.
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