Aletho News


Armed settler threatens farmers

Ma’an – 19/08/2010

NABLUS — An armed settler accompanied by settlement security guards prevented Palestinian farmers and peace activists from irrigating their land near Nablus on Thursday morning, witnesses said.

A resident of the illegal Itamar settlement, carrying a rifle and traveling in an armored vehicle with guards, approached farmers en route to water their recently planted olive trees. Witnesses said the settler threatened to shoot the farmers, from Awarta village, if they did not leave the area.

Israeli forces arrived and reiterated the settler’s orders, giving the farmers five minutes to evacuate the area, locals added.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said an armed security guard working at Itamar noticed a group of around 30 gathered near the settlement and notified the Israeli army, before approaching the group himself. Soldiers arrived and inspected the group’s documents, and permitted some farmers to work their land, she added. The spokeswoman was not aware of the presence of an armed settler.

Awarta Hassan Awad, head of Awarta village council, said that villagers will continue to work on their land every Thursday to protest the expansion of illegal settlements on their land.

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on Armed settler threatens farmers

Dark days in Al Buwayra: a week of settler attacks

August 19, 2010 | International Solidarity Movement

Al Buwayra is a small village located on the outskirts of Hebron, with about 560 inhabitants. Most people are farmers, growing grapes and vegetables to support themselves. The situation in the village is critical, and villagers are repeatedly being attacked by settlers from the illegal Kyriat Arba and Harzina settlements which surround the village as well as several illegal outposts.

The road into the village is blocked by a gate and an earth mound set up by the Israeli army, forcing the villagers to either climb or drive a long way in order to reach their homes. Since the Israeli army began demolishing two of the five illegal outposts around Buwayra, settlers have carried out several attacks both on the villagers, their farmland and their animals. Daily life is a struggle with good reason to be constantly afraid. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), in close cooperation with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), has been going to Buwayra almost every day over the last 3 weeks, when the army removed the first illegal outpost and the settlers started to attack the Palestinians in response.

Thursday 5 August

Death threats towards two internationals, attack on Susan Sultan.

Early Thursday morning, around 6.30, soldiers from the Israeli army came to remove an illegal outpost near a settlement. ISM and CPT sent people there straight away to make sure the soldiers and settlers didn’t harass Palestinians. The settlers were really angry and the villagers feared that the settlers would retaliate against the Palestinians. The settlers set fire to a small piece of Palestinian farmland but luckily the Palestinians themselves were able to put out the fire. There were internationals present almost the whole day. Two internationals, one from Denmark and the other from England, received two death threats from settlers because of their presence in the area. The outpost was removed and the soldiers tried to block the way to the outpost but after the soldiers left the settlers started clearing the road and rebuilding the outpost.

Friday 6 August

Two internationals attacked. Three Palestinians arrested at night, while trying to defend a family from settler attack.

ISM sent two people to replace the people from CPT that had spent the night in Al Buwayra. The situation up until 12.00 was quiet

At 12.00 the two internationals were sitting in the shade under a tree when three masked soldiers appeared out of nowhere and attacked. They carried wooden and metal clubs. The internationals were severely beaten. After the attack, which lasted only 2 minutes, the settlers ran towards the outpost. Family members from the Sultani house helped the internationals to stop the bleeding and protected them from further attacks. They were taken to Al Khalil hospital and one needed surgery on a broken nose and is still recovering from his injuries.

That night 100 settlers threw stones at the Sultans house because the Sultans helped the two internationals that had been attacked. When soldiers arrive most of the settlers leave the crime scene but one settler stays back to tell the soldiers that it’s the Palestinians that have been attacking the settlers and not the other way around. Three Palestinians were arrested at night while they were trying to defend and protect the Sultan house from the settler attack. It is known that two of them have been released.

Saturday 7 August

Closed Military Zone. Settlers set fire to grape vines.

Early on Saturday morning six people from ISM went to Al Buwayra. At first things seemed calm but after a while, when sitting close to the outpost, activists were approached by soldiers who said the area was a closed military zone and that the internationals had to leave. They moved a little away.

At night the settlers set fire to a field of Palestinian grapevines and a fire truck was called. However, the Palestinians ended up putting out the fire themselves.

Sunday 8 August

In the morning internationals tried to go into Al Buwayra but were refused access by the soldiers saying once again that the village was a closed military zone and that the internationals could not go and visit families and take pictures of the damage caused by the settler attacks.

Later three internationals, one from CPT and two from ISM, go by car and enter the village. The border police spotted the internationals quickly but after a talk with the commander the internationals and the Palestinian driving the car were allowed to go and visit one family for half an hour. The family spoke about what it is like to live in constant danger and fear of the settlers. From the family house settlers could be seen walking in the hills close to the outpost.

Monday 9 August

On Monday internationals made it in to Al Buwayra. By taking the back way the internationals avoided being seen by the border police and were able to go and speak to different families. The internationals saw settlers walking around the outpost but overall things seemed to be calm. But the villagers live in constant fear. They have trouble sleeping because they never know when to expect a settler attack. They are really worried about the future and when things are quiet for a few days they know that this is only a brief respite before a new settler attack.

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Dark days in Al Buwayra: a week of settler attacks

India employing Israeli oppression tactics in Kashmir

Jimmy Johnson, The Electronic Intifada, 19 August 2010

The 2010 summer in the disputed area of Jammu and Kashmir, administered by India, has been marked by popular protests by Kashmiris and crackdowns by India’s military. The stream of violence has left more than fifty dead, mostly young protestors. The situation in Kashmir has some parallels with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, even borrowing the term intifada to describe the uprising. But the connection is more than analogy — Israel’s pacification efforts against Palestinians have proven valuable for the Indian police, army and intelligence services in their campaigns to pacify Jammu and Kashmir with numerous Indian military and security imports from Israel leading the way.

India and Israel had a limited relationship prior to 1992. India, as a prominent member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), had helped to form the NAM political positions on Palestine as part of the “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, racism, including Zionism and all forms of expansionism, foreign occupation and domination and hegemony” (1979, Havana Declaration). Beyond its anti-colonial and Third World solidarity politics, India also had realpolitik reasons for keeping a distance from Israel. The nation had a developing economy with a huge need for petroleum resources, of which it had no domestic source. Good relations with the Arab League and the Soviet Union helped to secure access to resources necessary for India to become the regional and global economic power it aspires to be.

With the beginning of the Oslo negotiations process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the mid-1990s and the end of the Cold War, India was free to pursue relations with Israel from a NAM standpoint. An end to the Israeli occupation was assumed a formality under Oslo by most international observers, especially early on — and had, by that time, gained the economic strength to pursue a policy taking it, as described in a US Army War College (USAWC) analysis, “from a position of nonalignment and noncommitment to having specific strategic interests taking it on a path of ‘poly-alignment.'” The report states that India has been in a “scramble to establish ‘strategic relationships’ with most of the major powers and many of the middle powers,” including Israel.

Israel rendered limited military assistance to India in its 1962 war with China and the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. It was not until after the Oslo process began though, that the limited military contacts developed into a fuller strategic relationship. According to The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, in 1994 “India requested equipment to guard the de facto Indo-Pakistan Kashmiri border. New Delhi was interested in Israeli fences, which use electronic sensors to track human movements” (Thomas Withington, “Israel and India partner up,” January/February 2001, pp.18-19). The remaining years of the decade were peppered with arms sales from Jerusalem to New Delhi, most notably unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and electronic warfare systems.

The strategic military relationship picked up even more steam in the new millennium and annual arms sales average in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The shift of Israel being a major defense supplier to a strategic partner was formalized in a September 2003 state visit by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to India where the Hindu nationalist government then in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party led by then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, hosted the Israeli delegation and coauthored the Delhi Statement on Friendship and Cooperation between India and Israel. The statement’s longest segment is on terrorism. It declares that “Israel and India are partners in the battle against this scourge” and that “there cannot be any compromise in the war against terrorism.” The relationship has expanded drastically since 2000 with, in some recent years, Israel even supplanting Russia as India’s largest arms supplier. Surface-to-air missile systems, naval craft, advanced radar systems and other remote sensing technologies, artillery systems and numerous joint production initiatives ranging from munitions to avionics systems have all further boosted the relationship.

But as the Kashmiri uprising enters its third decade, the most telling part of the relationship is the export of Israeli pacification efforts against Palestinians to India, and their use in Jammu and Kashmir (and elsewhere as India faces multiple popular revolts). Israel has trained thousands of Indian military personnel in counterinsurgency since 2003. According to a 2003 JINSA analysis, “Presumably to equip these soldiers, India recently concluded a $30 million agreement with Israel Military Industries (IMI) for 3,400 Tavor assault rifles, 200 Galil sniper rifles, as well as night vision and laser range finding and targeting equipment.”

In 2004, the Israeli intelligence agencies Mossad and General Security Services (Shin Bet) arrived in India “to conduct the first field security surveillance course for Indian Army Intelligence Corps sleuths.” The Globes article on the topic cites an Indian source stating “The course has been designed to look at methods of intelligence gathering in insurgency affected areas, in keeping with the challenges that Israel has faced.” The further acquisition of UAVs, their joint production and the acquisition of other surveillance systems, notably 2010 agreements for both spy satellites and satellite communications systems, have all helped to further India’s pacification campaigns in Jammu and Kashmir. A notable example of how deeply embedded in India the Israeli counterinsurgency and homeland security industries are is the May 2010 agreement whereby Ra’anana-based Nice Systems will provide security systems and a command and control center for India’s parliament. Parliament security head Sandeep Salunke noted the context for the $5 million contract being “In light of the recent increase in global terrorism” (Nice Systems press release, 25 May 2010).

India’s political trend towards poly-alignment whereby it can have both strategic energy agreements with Iran and strategic defense agreements with Israel is part of a broader strategy the USAWC report noted by which “India will fiercely protect its own internal and bilateral issues from becoming part of the international dialog (Kashmir being the most obvious example).” This hostility towards international engagement with its occupation is not the only resemblance to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Both were born out the the end of the British colonialism, both are seen as front lines of the “War on Terror,” both the Kashmiri and Palestinian armed groups are erroneously seen as illegitimate in their own right, being mere tools of a foreign aggressor (Pakistan for Kashmir and Iran or Syria for Palestine), both have widespread abuses of human rights, and the Israeli public’s general apathy about or hostility towards Palestinian self-determination is surpassed by the domestic discussion in India, where Kashmiri self-determination isn’t even an issue, though pacifying Kashmir and securing the border with Pakistan is.

The analogy between the two conflicts can only be taken so far, but the direct connection by which Israel’s pacification industry exports tools of control developed for use against the Palestinians (and Lebanese) to be deployed against Kashmiris (as well as against the Naxalites and others in India) shows a deep linkage between the two conflicts and how one feeds the other. So long as Israel seeks to maintain control over Palestine it will continue to develop pacification tools, and so long as India continues its campaigns in Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmiris can expect to taste the fruits of Palestinian pacification.

Jimmy Johnson is a Detroit-based mechanic and an organizer with the Palestine Cultural Office in Dearborn. He can be reached at johnson [dot] jimmy [at] gmail [dot] com.

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

American Professor Charges Israel with Genocide — Publisher Censors Title!

By Kevin Barrett | August 18, 2010

William A. Cook, professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California, has charged the state of Israel with genocide — but his publisher won’t let him use the G word in the title of his new book!

Discussing the brand-new The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction on the Kevin Barrett show yesterday, Dr. Cook said that the publishers, Palgrave-McMillan, told him: “‘We can’t use the original title As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine.'” Dr. Cook added that the book’s contents, which provide ample proof that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, were not censored.

I asked Dr. Cook: “There does seem to be a taboo against calling what is being done to the Palestinians genocide. And yet, according to the internationally-accepted definition of genocide… as I recall, there is a strong argument that it does fit what’s happening in Palestine.”

Dr Cook responded:

“The book deals with that point quite extensively in at least three different places (including my article). The Christisons‘ article deals with it as well. In the article that I wrote, ‘The Rape of Palestine’… I refer to the 1944 genocide term, which was a neologism created by Raphael Lemkin in The Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn summarized Lemkin’s meaning. And let me read that paragraph because I think it’s essential to grasp the fulness of the intent the UN grappled with and passed in its accepted definition of genocide.

Under Lemkin’s definition genocide was ‘the coordinated and planned annihilation of a national, religious, or racial group by a variety of actions aimed at undermining the foundations essential to the survival of the group as a group.’ That’s group, it is not state. Lemkin conceived of genocide as ‘a composite of different acts of persecution or destruction.’ That’s a quote. His definition included ‘attacks on political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of the group.’

Even non-lethal acts that undermined the liberty, dignity, and personal security of members of the group constituted genocide, if they contributed to weakening the viability of the group. Under Lemkin’s definition, acts of ethnocide, a term coined by the French after the war to cover the destruction of a culture without the killing of its bearers, also qualified as genocide.

You take that composite understanding, and everything looking back from today — the siege on Gaza, going back to the various intentional destructions and massacres in Janin or Rafa, Ramallah, you realize that what’s taking place, including the building of the wall, which makes the independent economic condition of the Palestinian people impossible — that is genocide.”

Listen to my interview with Dr. William Cook.

The quoted segment begins about 14:40.

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Disney tells Muslim woman to work out back where she won’t be seen

By Josh Cain |  OC Weekly | August 18 2010

As we reported earlier, a Muslim woman who works as a hostess in the Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort was not allowed to come to work today because she was wearing her hijab, a traditional Islamic headscarf.

This was the fourth time that the woman, 26-year-old Anaheim resident Imane Boudlal, attempted to work in the headscarf. Each time, she’s been told to remove the scarf or leave.

This time, however, she showed up with some back up.

Boudlal as she attempted to go to work for the fourth time.

Boudlal was accompanied by representatives of Unite Here Local 11, a union representing hotel workers involved in a contract dispute with Disney, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the rights group whose state office is in Anaheim.

She and her support team insisted that Disney did not allow her to work because of discriminatory policies against Muslims.

However, theme park officials insisted in a press release that Disney offered Boudlal “reasonable accommodations” on her request to wear the headscarf.

Boudlal said those accommodations would have forced her to work in the back of the hotel, where she wouldn’t be seen, rather than greeting guests in her job as a hostess.

“Why should I have to hide?” Boudlal asked at a press conference conveniently Unite Here and CAIR organized at the intersection of Disney Way and the driveway leading to the Grand Californian.

“I’m not here to scare anyone,” she continued. She explained that she had requested that she be allowed to wear the headscarf in a written letter to her Disney employers. When she didn’t hear back for two months, she went to work anyway in early August.

Boudlal said when she went to work wearing the hijab, her manager told her early that day she could wear the headscarf, but she was later escorted from the hotel by security.

She said she understood that the headscarf didn’t comply with the “Disney look,” but she felt she was being discriminated against because other workers were allowed to wear symbols of Christian faith, tattoos and other symbols that didn’t comply with the rules.

Basically, things don’t look very good for Disney from a public relations standpoint. It doesn’t help that Boudlal’s supporters, Unite Here, have made it known they don’t like the way Goofy and Co. do business.

Neither does CAIR, apparently. Ameena Qazi, deputy executive director and staff attorney for the group, seemed downright hostile to Disney when she stood up to speak at the press conference.

“Disney is positioning itself as a company that discriminates,” Qazi said. “I suggest [Disney] take a ride on ‘It’s A Small World,’ a ride that celebrates diversity.”

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | 5 Comments