Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The Pacification Industry

Apartheid Wall Contractor to Provide Security at African Cup

By JIMMY JOHNSON | CounterPunch | June 7, 2011

Yehud, Israel-based Magal Security Systems on 31 May was awarded a contract to provide security for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) football championships. The $35.5 million contract covers a surveillance system developed for and deployed at several Israeli West Bank settlements and is just the latest military and security contract for Israeli firms in the President Teodoro Obiang’s Equatorial Guinean dictatorship. The contract also marks another example of the integration of Israel’s “Pacification Industry” – the export of the tools and techniques of Palestinian dispossession – with the securitization of international ‘mega-events’ such as the World Cup and Olympics.

Magal is contracted to provide its Fortis surveillance system to the stadiums and team housing for the 2012 AFCON continental football championship in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. According to WhoProfits.org , the same Fortis system is deployed in the illegal West Bank settlements of: Ariel, Alfei Menashe, Karnei Shomron, Shilo, Giva Binyamin, Tzofim, Shaked and Givat Ze’ev. Further, “the company won 80% of the bids published by the Israeli Ministry of Defense for the installation of intrusion detection systems” along the wall of separation built throughout the West Bank. Magal also “supplied the perimeter intrusion detection system for fences around the Gaza Strip.”

Magal is the second Israeli firm this year to get a contract with the Obiang regime in Equatorial Guinea after Israel Shipyards’ $100 million contract for Saar-4 naval corvettes. Israel has developed a close military relationship with Obiang over the past decade despite over thirty years of his rule having some of the world’s worst human rights and corruption records. Transparency International routinely ranks Obiang’s government as one of the world’s ten most corrupt, and the United Nations working group on mercenaries, Amnesty International, and others have documented crackdowns on press freedom, arbitrary detentions, unfair trials, extrajudicial executions, forced evictions, systemic torture and more. None of this has stopped Israel – nor France, Russia, USA and Ukraine – from supplying Obiang’s military and security forces with arms and surveillance equipment. Israeli arms firms such as Aeronautics Defense Systems and Israel Military Industries have won contracts for tens of millions of dollars, often brokered through Yardena Ovadia, an Israeli businesswoman who is also Equatorial Guinea’s honorary consul to Israel.

International ‘mega-events’ have long histories of unjust practices. Over 9,000 homeless persons, primarily ethnic minorities, were arrested during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. 720,000 residents were evicted from their homes in Seoul to make way for the 1988 Olympics. Over 1.25 million people were displaced due to urban redevelopment for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hundreds of Roma were displaced in Athens prior to the 2004 Olympics. More recently many thousands were evicted in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and elsewhere prior to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Since February of this year demolitions have begun in Rio de Janeiro favelas in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics (though most displacement in Rio will likely be through skyrocketing housing costs during the mega-event real estate bubble). Barring political changes, this trend of evictions and mega-events will continue in Equatorial Guinea. The Obiang regime has evicted many hundreds of families in recent years, especially in the port city of Bata, without providing compensation or alternative housing.

Stifling or hiding resistance to these mass displacements is only one aspect of the securitization of mega-events. The memories of the 1972 Munich Games and the 1996 bombing in Atlanta are combined with the US-led “War on Terror” to reinforce the idea that extensive security preparations are necessary for a ‘successful’ event. Israel’s decades of experience in combating Palestinian resistance – armed and unarmed – to dispossession have made it the ‘go-to’ destination for the expertise seen as necessary. Ben Gurion University professor Neve Gordon calls Israel the world’s “homeland security capital.”

In addition to Magal, many other Israeli firms have been involved in securing mega-events. Israeli drones were deployed at the 1996 G7 conference in Paris, 2006 G8 summit in Moscow, 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and have been procured by the Rio de Janeiro Federal Police to surveil the favelas and secure preparations for the World Cup and Olympic Games. Private security firm International Security and Defense Systems won security contracts for the 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Beijing Olympics. Controp won surveillance contracts for the 2004 Athens Olympics and Israeli National and Border Police helped to train Athens and Beijing police in “counter-terror” and crowd control prior to their Olympic spectacles. The list goes on and on.

In November 2010 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Brazil’s Chief of Security in the Defense Ministry Amir Kain signed a security cooperation agreement. The Israeli daily Ma’ariv noted the agreement was signed “mainly in order to secure the 2014 Football World Cup that will be held there, as well as the 2016 Olympics.” Like Magal, the main Israeli arms and security contractors in Brazil – Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems – have expertise based in the occupation, in pacifying Palestinian resistance.

In the case the Beijing Olympics there was a spate of protests by Tibetans, Tibet- solidarity activists, religious Christians, and most prominently, by those displaced for the Games. Evictions – and protests against evictions – have already begun in Brazil where the security infrastructure is being progressively more integrated with that of Israel and Obiang’s regime was notorious for forced displacement even prior to preparations for the 2012 AFCON. The crowd control training done for Athens and Beijing was based on Israeli experience suppressing Palestinian demonstrations. The surveillance systems to be deployed in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are those that guard land confiscated from Palestinians to build Israeli settlements and the Apartheid Wall. Brazil and Equatorial Guinea are not just importing security training and technology, they are importing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and dispossession of the Palestinian people. These products of Israel’s Pacification Industry are becoming an inseparable part of mega-events, including AFCON. No matter who wins on the pitch, it is clear that the losers will be Palestinians and the displaced and evicted in Equatorial Guinea and Brazil.

~

Jimmy Johnson is the founder of Neged Neshek – a project documenting the Israeli arms industry – and is former International Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He lives in Detroit, Michigan and can be reached at jimmy@negedneshek.org

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on The Pacification Industry

Former professors refute Israel’s indictment of kidnapped Gaza engineer

By Maureen  Clare Murphy – 06/06/2011

Former professors of Dirar Abu Sisi, the engineer from Gaza who went missing during a train trip in Ukraine last February, refute allegations in Israel’s indictment that the man was taught weapons systems at university. The indictment also claims that one of Abu Sisi’s professors studied at a military engineering school in east Ukraine, though no such school exists, the Associated Press has found.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported today:

Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, vanished from a train in Ukraine in February and resurfaced days later in an Israeli prison. Abu Sisi, who claims innocence, is to stand trial in coming weeks on hundreds of counts of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Konstantin Petrovich Vlasov told The Associated Press that Abu Sisi was his doctoral student in civilian electricity systems at the Kharkiv National Academy of Municipal Services in the mid-1990s, but denies he was taught about weapons.

The indictment against him says Konstantin Petrovich, Abu Sisi’s professor at a civilian institute, also taught at an academy for military engineering in the eastern city of Kharkiv, although no such school exists.

The Israeli document claims the professor is an expert in Soviet-made Scud missile control systems. It alleges that Konstantin Petrovich arranged for Abu Sisi to attend classes at the military academy, where he gained knowledge that enabled him to modernize missiles launched by Palestinian militants into Israel.

Israel would not immediately comment on the incongruities concerning the professor’s name or the purported military academy.

Regarding Israel’s motivations for abducting Abu Sisi in Ukraine, The Electronic Intifada reported in March:

A few days after his disappearance, Abu Sisi’s wife, Veronika, a Ukrainian national, accused the Israeli spy agency Mossad of kidnapping him to extract information that could be used to disable Gaza’s power station in a future confrontation with the enclave’s Hamas rulers.

Israel bombed the plant during its three-week military assault, Operation Cast Lead, in winter 2008, causing blackouts across much of Gaza. Israel also targeted the power station in June 2006, cutting power to 700,000 Palestinians in Gaza for several months while it was fixed at a cost of more than $5 million.

Abu Sisi’s family suggested another reason why Israeli might consider him a high-value target. They say he had recently developed a method to reduce the plant’s dependency on high-grade diesel fuel, the flow of which Israel controls into Gaza.

In January Hamas officials announced that the station’s turbines had been modified to work on regular diesel, which is cheaper and can be smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt.

The Israeli media, on the other hand, have speculated that Abu Sisi must be a senior Hamas activist to have secured an important post at the plant. The family have denied the claim, saying he was not involved in any political faction and was appointed because of his skills as an engineer.

One of his Israeli lawyers, Smadar Ben Nathan, who met him for the first time at the court hearing on Sunday to lift the gag order, said she believed Israel had carried out the operation based on false information.

The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari interviewed Abu Sisi’s family in Gaza, meeting his children. Suzan Abu Sisi, the sister of Dirar, told The Electronic Intifada:

“I hold the Ukrainian authorities, topped by the president of Ukraine, responsible for the kidnapping of my brother by Israeli intelligence agents,” Suzan said. “How could such a kidnapping take place in a sovereign country?”

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

Healing the Trees in At Tuwani

By Carol Tyx – CPT – June 7, 2011

We start slowly, our delegation members, several men, a handful of women, a sprinkling of children. As we walk out of the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani the procession grows, women cutting across fields, children scrambling down hillsides. Some of the boys carry hoes; the women swing buckets; a young child waves a Palestinian flag. We are on our way to a small olive orchard in the valley to take part in a healing ritual, but the conversation, in Arabic, sounds chatty, neighbors exchanging the tidbits that make up daily life. A few of the children try to bring us into the loop with their schoolroom English; we try a few Arabic phrases. Broken branches are cleared and soil is re-cultivated and watered.

When we reach the orchard, we pause. I know in my head that Israeli settlers who live across the valley from At-Tuwani sometimes sneak down at night and chop down the villagers’ olive trees. But seeing the wounded trees myself cuts more deeply. The breaks are jagged, branches twisting off the trunk, the silver-green leaves curling in the dust. Ten trees have been hacked off, an attempt to chop down Palestinian life in the South Hebron Hills.

The settlements in the West Bank, built on Palestinian land, are largely populated by Israelis who believe all of this land should be part of Israel. They are squatters, protected by the Israeli military. We witness this as we approach the orchard; two, then three, then four military jeeps appear; soldiers carrying automatic weapons hop out. One person on the CPT team on alert for potential violence, positions himself between the villagers and the soldiers; a youthful Palestinian shoots video, part of a recent campaign to document the occupation.

We work together to stack the severed limbs. With the hoes, people etch trenches around the wounded stumps. A woman opens a nearby cistern and pulls up a bucket of water. The water flows into the trenches, nourishing the trees. Even though it will be at least five years before the trees can bear fruit again, I feel the healing beginning, in the trees and in the villagers. I am honored to be walking with this community on a hot May morning, a community with deep roots in this land, roots that sustain them in the daily struggle to maintain their homes and livelihoods.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Healing the Trees in At Tuwani

Lebanese President: Israel committing genocide

Persia Herald Tribune | 07 June 2011

Lebanon has denounced as genocide Israel’s murder of over 20 people who were holding a protest march to mark the anniversary of Tel Aviv’s occupation of Arab lands.

On Monday, the office of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman issued a statement condemning “the genocide conducted by the Israel occupation forces in the Golan (Heights) that led to the killing of 23 unarmed martyrs,” Xinhua reported.

The fatalities, which included a woman and a child, occurred on Sunday when Israeli forces opened fire on protesters inside Syria as they were approaching the Syrian highlands.

The demonstrators were marching on the anniversary of the June 5, 1967 Naksa Day or Day of the Setback, when Tel Aviv occupied Syria’s Golan Heights region as well as the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The Israeli aggression also wounded 350 people.

Sleiman’s office also asserted that Israeli aggression will never coerce the Palestinian people and Arab states to stop calling for the observation of the full rights of the Palestinians, including the right to return to territories in their homeland that were occupied during the Six-Day War of 1967.

2008 estimates put the number of Palestinian refugees at over 4.6 million.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Lebanese President: Israel committing genocide

Israeli occupation forces arrest 72-year-old Hamas MP & lecturer

Palestine Information Center – 07/06/2011

NABLUS — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided the home of an elderly Hamas MP in the eastern suburb of Nablus city and detained him after blasting their way into his home.

The daughter of MP Ahmed Al-Haj, 72, told the PIC reporter, that the soldiers broke their apartment’s door in a pre dawn raid on Tuesday after encircling the building and took away her father.

She held the IOF responsible for the life of her father, who was previously held by the Israeli occupation authority on ten past occasions the latest in 2008 when he was held in administrative custody, without charge, for 15 months.

The occupation troops also arrested Hamas leader and university lecturer Dr. Mustafa Al-Shinar from his home west of Nablus city at the same time.

Shinar was frequently arrested by the IOF and was released from administrative detention in late 2009.

He wrote on his facebook page last night that reconciliation would not progress as long as political arrests continued in the West Bank. Shinar was kidnapped three times by the PA security, which negatively affected his health condition. He underwent cardiac catheterization.

In the same context, the website of Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot said that IOF soldiers rounded up 13 Palestinians in the West Bank on Tuesday.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israeli occupation forces arrest 72-year-old Hamas MP & lecturer

Jewish Settlers Torch Mosque Near Ramallah

By David Steele & Saed Bannoura | IMEMC News | June 07, 2011

Photo Credit – Ma’an Images

Local residents of Al Mughayyir village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, reported Tuesday at dawn that fundamentalist settlers set the local mosque ablaze, and wrote racist graffiti on it walls, the Palestine Today reported.

Witnesses stated that the Israeli settlers set fire to the mosque at approximately 3 A.M. on Wednesday, before daubing the remains with racist slogans.

The attack on the al-Mughayyir village’s mosque has drawn condemnation from a wide variety of groups in Palestinian civil society. This is the third mosque that has been torched in as many years.

The arson attack is thought to be a ‘price-tag’ attack, carried out by nearby settlers in response to the demolition of ‘Alei Ayin’ illegal outpost by Israeli police recently. One piece of graffiti explicitly stated ‘price tag’ followed by ‘Alei Ayin’ in Hebrew.

The settlers are believed to have come from the Adi Gilad illegal settlement built on private Palestinian lands only three kilometres away from the mosque.

Resident Jihad Al Na’san told France Press that the residents went to the mosque to perform dawn prayers to find it burning down while the flames were streaming out of its windows.

Al Na’san added that the settlers dumped tires in the mosque and torched them, and that the Israeli army and the police arrived at the scene later on as the area is under Israeli military and security control.

Al Na’san further stated that the residents found racist graffiti written in Hebrew stating “We will raze this village” among other racist slurs against the Arabs and the Palestinians.

Mahmoud al-Habbash, the Minister of Religious Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, stated that the arson “indicates the magnitude of the aggression settlers unleash on holy places”. Rebuilding of the mosque is expected to begin immediately.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, visited the site of the destroyed mosque and said that, “[T]he attack on this mosque is part of a systematic policy aiming to flame the conflict and show disrespect to the religious and human values of others.”

The National Christian Coalition in the Holy Land has also strongly condemned the arson attack. Its president, Dimitri Diliani blamed the ongoing occupation and lack of law enforcement against settlers, noting, “[O]ccupation commits limitless crimes using different means including extremist settlers who are protected by Israeli forces. They do not show any respect to morals, religions, or laws when it comes to attacks against the Palestinian people.”

A month ago, the settlers torched a mosque near the northern West Bank city of Ramallah.

Last year, a group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers broke into a mosque in Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem, and set it ablaze. Settlers also torched the main mosque of the al-Lubban al-Sharqiyya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

In 2009, settlers torched a mosque in Yasuf Palestinian village, near the central West Bank city of Salfit.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment