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Israeli Attorney General Refuses to Prosecute Jilani’s Police Killers

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | June 30, 2012

Yesterday, Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced his refusal to prosecute Border Police officers Maxim Vinogradov and Khir Al-Din Shadi, who executed East Jerusalem Palestinian Ziad Jilani in 2010, after a minor traffic accident on the city’s crowded streets.  A lower court had earlier found insufficient evidence to prosecute Jilani.  His widow, Moira, appealed to the Attorney General and his response today further confirms the impunity of Israeli security forces when it comes to the murder of Palestinian civilians.

ziad jilani's family
Ziad Jilani’s surviving family: justice perverted and denied

Jilani was the father of three young daughters (see accompanying picture).  He’d met and married Moira, a woman from Texas, and was making a life for himself in Palestine.  One Friday afternoon after prayers, he was making his way home to take his family for an evening out, when he accidentally side-swiped a police vehicle.  Thinking they might be under a terror attack, officers pursued Jilani, wounded him and, when he was immobile on the ground, fired shots into his brain at point-blank range.

Reading what the attorney general has to say about all this is instructive.  One point that stands out is that despite a graphic description in the brief of the execution, the document talks of Jilani’s “death” rather than “murder.”  They don’t even use the term “killing.”

The memorandum says there is insufficient evidence to bring the accused to justice.  The officers took action in pursuing Jilani because they saw their comrades injured and believed they had witnessed a hit and run accident, though the actual injuries of the policemen were minor.  Therefore in the initial part of this action the policemen acted according to their training and initially opening fire on Jilani followed proper procedure.

Do you know many other jurisdictions where policemen are allowed to open fire on a hit and run driver?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  Pursuit, sure.  But immediately opening fire?  Never.

The State Prosecutor, Hila Gorani argues in her brief, that it could not prosecute Vinogradov because it could not be certain that he had sufficient intent to commit murder, since it could not with certainty determine his frame of mind when he fired the kill shots into Jilani.  He could not determine whether he fired in the heat of the moment, amidst panic and fear the “deceased” would further endanger him.  All of this must also be seen in the context of what the accused thought was a hit and run accident.

The brief says that the case against Vinogradov isn’t being closed because he’s found to have acted according to law.  But because there is insufficient evidence to determine a criminal act.  In other words, we’re not saying our boy Vinogradov was a Boy Scout.  But a murderer?  No way.  Or at least we can’t (or don’t want to) prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

In an act of counting how many dead Palestinians can dance on the head of a pin, Gorani somehow finds it probative to refute eyewitness testimony that Jilani was murdered by shots fired mere centimeters from his head.  Instead, she counters that the pathologist hired by the murdered man’s family found he died from shots fired from “over a meter [three feet] away.”  Big fucking deal.  That’s all I can say and all this deserves.

Another element of the policemen’s argument that makes no sense is that they argue that they believed Jilani, who lightly injured them in the course of the accident, was a terrorist.  They continued to believe this after they shot and wounded him from a distance of about 10 feet, even though he was no longer in his van and they could see he was unarmed.  They somehow believed when they shot him, that even though he was no longer capable of harming anyone, he was on his way to commit some unforeseen act of terror or that he might fire on them.  They feared, if you believe this sack of lies, that he constituted a danger to others.  This from a bunch who, in firing at Jilani, actually injured a bystander.

The policemen testified (only in their second interrogation, during the first they didn’t even mention this… hmmm) that after being wounded, Jilani “moved his hand” which they viewed as “suspicious.”  Who knows, they surmised, maybe he had a knife, gun or explosive device.  They derive this intelligence from a man who was wounded and lying immobile (except for that fluttering hand) on his stomach on the ground.  They continued to believe it when they shot him twice in the head from a distance of a few inches.  A terrorist?  Really?

All of this constitutes an Israeli version of Stand Your Ground.  Under this doctrine any police officer may kill anyone he believes (or claims he believes) is about to commit an act of terror.  The threshold is quite low.  You don’t have to do anything any normal person would find suspicious.  You merely have to lose control of your van and sidesweep a police car and leave the scene of the crime.  That’s enough to seal your death warrant in the Only Democracy in the Middle East.  Let’s call this Driving While Palestinian.  In the U.S. Driving While Black will land you in jail, perhaps.  In Israel it will land you in the morgue.

The State prosecutor further supports her decision not to prosecute based on the supporting testimony of “numerous” police officers (no mention of the contradicting testimony of Palestinian eyewitnesses since they don’t amount to shit), who of course may be presumed always to tell the truth without favor.

Apparently, Weinstein also wasn’t sufficiently troubled by the fact that during the first interrogation, the commanding officer claimed he fired the kill shots and in the second, only after the family performed an autopsy which could determine with specificity who murdered him, did Vinogradov confess that he was the killer.

Nor did Vinogradov’s homicidal comments posted to his Facebook account shortly before the murder, in which he said the equivalent of, “Gonna go out and kill me some Ay-rabs,” rise to a sufficient level of concern that justified prosecution.  Though of course the statements weren’t very nice.

Gorani attempts to argue that Jilani was murdered because he drove erratically.  To support this, she even notes that the authorities performed tests of his vehicle and found it to be in good working order.  Doing so, presumably would argue that Jilani’s mental state and indecipherable motives were the cause of his own execution.

The prosecutor concedes that there is sufficient grounds for disbelieving the testimony of the policemen that they fired the kill shots because they still felt Jilani might be a danger to them.  But not enough to justify prosecuting them on criminal charges.  Our boys may be liars, she appears to be saying, but we can’t (or don’t want to) prove it.

In rejecting the appeal of Jilani’s family, the State feared it couldn’t prove guilt.  But is that any surprise in a legal system gamed against Palestinian victims?  Is it a valid argument for a prosecutor in a country that disregards the rule of law regularly to say he can’t prosecute because his legal system would never find any policeman who murdered a Palestinian guilty?  That’s essentially the argument here.

But you can be assured, Gorani tells us, that she didn’t arrive at this decision easily or cavalierly, but only after heavy consideration of the evidence.  We looked at all the evidence, as did the police investigation and the State attorney’s investigation, she says.  So you can rest assured that all that investigating covered all of our asses and arrived at the only and proper conclusion.  The premise here seems to be that if you have a case in which an Israeli security officer behaves badly the more investigations you have the better.  Not that the investigations will arrive at the truth or justice.  They can and should all arrive at the same conclusion: permitting and justifying impunity.  But merely having such a process, as kangaroo-like as it may be, serves a useful purpose that will presumably anesthetize the victims and indemnify the perpetrators.  The underlying message is that the fix is in, but we’ll do our best to prove otherwise.

That “proper conclusion” I mentioned above is that while our boys didn’t behave terribly well, they did their job as best they could and a poor Palestinian suffered as a result.  But in the greater scheme of things it’s far more important that we protect the boys who protect us, than that we protect the lives of innocent Palestinians.  That’s the shameful sentiment in a nutshell.  Impunity reigns triumphant.  And the rule of law is prostituted.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Egyptian President to expose FBI in 1993 WTC bombing?

m911t | June 30, 2012

Egypt’s new President Mohammed Morsi doesn’t believe the official story of 9/11.

And he apparently also doubts the official story of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

According to ABC News, President Morsi recently said:

“I see banners for Omar Abdel Rahman’s family, and for prisoners arrested according to martial rulings and detainees from the beginning of the revolution…It is my duty to make every effort, and I will beginning tomorrow, to secure their release, among them Omar Abdel Rahman.”

Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called “blind Sheikh,” was the patsy-in-chief set up to take the blame for the mobbed-up New York FBI office’s bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. (The FBI also orchestrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, according to convicted bomber Terry Nichols.)

Even the New York Times, which led the cover-up of both World Trade Center bombings, cited tapes proving that FBI informant Emad Salem, who created and led the 1993 bombing plot, repeatedly discussed with his FBI handlers the fact that the FBI was responsible for the bombing: 

“Do you deny,” Mr. Salem says he told the other agent, “your supervisor is the main reason of bombing the World Trade Center?” Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev did not deny it.  – NY Times

Many if not all of the Muslims who were falsely convicted of the FBI’s act of terrorism were obviously innocent. Would Mohammed Salameh really have tried to get his $400 deposit back on the van used in the bombing if he had known about the plot? “Mohammed A. Salameh had returned three times to a Ryder Truck Rental dealer in Jersey City requesting a refund of the $400 cash deposit he had placed on a yellow Ford Econoline van.” – Who Bombed the U.S. World Trade Center? — 1993  Growing Evidence Points to Role of FBI Operative  By Ralph Schoenman  (published in Prevailing Winds Magazine, Number 3, 1993)

Lynn Stewart, the lawyer for the innocent Muslims framed for the FBI’s act of terrorism, was herself convicted on trumped-up charges in retaliation for her efforts to expose the FBI’s terrorism and frame-up of her clients.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Aqaba: Family of 12 receives home demolition order

28 June 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

On Sunday, June 24 in Aqaba, Muhammed and Nassa Al-Jabba received a demolition order by Israeli authorities demanding that they evacuate the premises of their home within the next 3 days. The Al-Jabba family have not evacuated the home as it is the sole residence for their family of 10 children. The Israeli military may arrive at any time to demolish the building in the Area C (Israeli civil and security control) village.

Upon arriving in the village of Aqaba, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers spoke with the mayor, Haj Sami, an older man left wheelchair bound after suffering 3 gunshots from Israeli soldiers while working on his farm in 1971. He was only 16 years old at the time and fortunate to survive.

Haj Sami introduced ISM volunteers to Nassa Al-Jabbar, the mother of 10 who has been faced with a demolition order, giving her only 3 days to abandon the premises before the Israeli army is able to arrive with bulldozers and raze her home.

Nassa and her husband Muhammed have spent 10 years building their home. When asked why it took them so long, Nassa replied that because a permit to build on their own land is impossible to attain from Israel, the house was built in 7 different stages in order to avoid the soldiers attention.

Nassa says that if Israeli forces demolish her home, she, her husband, and her 10 young sons and daughters will have no other place to go. They do not have the funds to build another home.

Muhammed states that regardless of the outcome, he will not leave his home. If demolished, their house will join the over 24,000 Palestinian homes that have been demolished since 1967.

Nassa and Muhammed’s home is not the only building that faces demolition. Four other shelters and a concrete factory have received orders as well.

The village of Aqaba has suffered extensively from the Israeli occupation. Of a population of 1000, 700 residents are internal refugees. The villagers live in constant threat of home demolition.

On September 15, 2011, two animal shelters and a home were demolished. There was no advance warning, not even a demolition order. The roads that provide easy access into the village were also destroyed by Israeli forces. On a weekly basis, Israeli forces hold military training near the village, subjecting Aqaba to the sound of gun shots. On Tuesday morning however, the Israeli military began also training with tanks. The explosions are resulting in stress and trauma for the villagers.

If allowed to happen, Nassa and Muhammed’s home will join the list of thousands of demolitions inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli military occupation.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Memo to J14 Movement: Social Justice Demands Ending Occupation

By Patrick O. Strickland | Palestine Chronicle | June 29, 2012

Jerusalem  – The organizers of Israel’s J14 movement demand social justice. Outraged by the increasing concentration of wealth and the soaring cost of living, many Israelis have stood up and called for cheaper housing, food, education, and taxes, among other things.

Last summer, eight consecutive weeks of social justice demonstrations brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis into the streets of every major city. Demonstrators occupied city centers across the country, and tent cities popped up in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko, Eilat, and elsewhere.

In what turned out to be the climax of the movement, nearly half a million people marched through Tel Aviv. “The people demand social justice,” announced Daphne Leef, the woman who triggered the movement last year by setting up a tent on Tel Aviv’s chic Rothschild Boulevard after being evicted from her apartment.

The J14 movement has drawn a diverse crowd most demographics of the political and social spectrum. Its leaders insist that their cries for social justice are on behalf of everyone—Arabs as well as Jews, in other words. Their demands, they say, are social and not political, and their methods are strictly peaceful.

Yet the state has responded to this year’s protests with police violence. Last week, Daphne Leef was aggressively arrested by police officers after trying to pitch a tent in downtown Tel Aviv again. She and 11 other activists, observers say, were dragged on the concrete and thrown around before being stuffed into police cars and hauled off.

Last Saturday, thousands of J14 protesters marched through Tel Aviv and blocked off the Ayalon, a major freeway that connects the city to every highway in the country. Police were quickly deployed and broke up the demonstration by force.

However, many 1948 Palestinians—those who have Israeli citizenship—feel excluded by the limited scope of the J14 movement.

“Arab conditions are not the same here. Due to class differences, our problems are much different than the Jewish population,” Abu Toameh, a communist student activist, told me.

“We have trouble expanding our villages or buying commercial land. The price of apartments in Tel Aviv, which has an extremely low Arab population, doesn’t address our immediate concerns.”

Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino issued orders to police intelligence to carefully document the “involvement of the Arab community in the protests.”

Unable to appeal to a significant percentage of Palestinians inside Israel, it goes without saying that they have failed to garner the sympathy of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Two weeks ago, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) issued demolition orders to Susiya, a small West Bank village in the South Hebron Hills. Over 50 buildings, the IDF said, were illegally erected without permits.

The buildings, in fact, are tents hastily constructed with cinderblocks and rain tarps. They will be destroyed—displacing some 300 villagers, 120 of which are children—in order to make space for the expansion of the neighboring Jewish settlement.

The police violence in Tel Aviv pales in comparison to the IDF’s response to a demonstration in Susiya last week.

“Once the march started, the soldiers began to shoot tear gas and noisy bombs. We were peaceful, but they blocked the road and threatened to spray us with high-pressure water hoses and began to spray more tear gas,” said Roberto, an Italian activist who went to Susiya to show solidarity.

As government-sanctioned settlements continue to expand throughout the West Bank, it’s hard to imagine that the thousands of Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories feel much solidarity with protesters who demand cheaper housing in the middle class neighborhoods of Tel Aviv.

Under the constant threat of the Israeli Air Force’s bombs, how does it look to the youth of Gaza to see images of Israeli liberals banging on drums in city squares and demanding cheaper cottage cheese?

The J14 movement has a chance to assume revolutionary dimensions. The concept of social justice, however, is hollow unless activists are willing to link their struggle to that of Palestinians against the occupation. If they fail to do so, social justice will remain a broad concept without a meaningful realization.

While their intentions are good, J14 must widen the scope of its demands. Otherwise, achievements will be limited and unimpressive. The much greater injustices cannot be ignored: the violent reality of the 45-year occupation of the West Bank and the daily bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

~

Patrick O. Strickland is a freelance writer living and traveling on both sides of the Green Line in Israel and the Palestinian territories. He is a weekly Israel-Palestine correspondent for Bikya Masr and writes regular dispatches on his blog, http://www.patrickostrickland.com. He is a graduate student of Middle Eastern Studies.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Occupation Forces arrest 50 citizens, block travel of 450 others at Karame crossing

Palestine Information Center – 30/06/2012

RAMALLAH — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) arrested 50 Palestinians and blocked the travel of 450 others at the Karame crossing between occupied West Bank and Jordan since the start of 2012.

The Palestinian prisoner’s committee said in a statement on Friday that most of those arrested in the first half of this year were young men or university students.

It noted that students and sick and elderly people were among the 450 citizens banned from travel.

The committee charged that the measure ran contrary to laws and norms, noting, meanwhile, that those allowed to travel are almost always delayed for no justified reason while some of them are questioned by the IOA intelligence.

The committee asked world organizations and human rights groups to intervene and put an end to such practices that violate the freedom of movement.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Occupation Forces Release Kidnapped Lebanese Shepherd after Contacts by UNIFIL

Al-Manar | June 30, 2012

Lebanese Intelligence apparatus received the shepherd Youssef Mohammad Zahra from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) forces Saturday after being abducted by the Zionist army a day before.

Zahra was abducted Friday by the Zionist occupation army near the Southern area of Shebaa Farms, while he was grazing his flock in the Shahel region, state-run National News Agency reported.

The farmer was ambushed by Zionist troops who crossed 20 meters into the Lebanese territory, in a clear violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Zahra was blindfolded and abducted into the occupied territories of Palestine.

The Lebanese army sent a complaint to the leadership of the UNIFIL in Naqoura, considering the accident as “a violation of the border” and demanding the immediate release of the abducted shepherd.

UNIFIL opened an investigation Friday, holding contacts with the Zionist army to release the kidnapped citizen.

Tenenti said the Zionist army confirmed the abduction, adding that efforts are being exerted to release Zahra as soon as possible.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Mansour condemned the abduction of Zahra, “pointing out that “the international community must force Israel to stop its recurrent and persistent violations against Lebanon.”

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment