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Abandoning Nuclear Waste

By Gordon Edwards | Dissident Voice | May 8, 2015

Ontario Power Generation owns 20 nuclear power reactors. Two of them permanently shut down. Six more scheduled to be retired by 2020.

The largest nuclear power station in North America is the Bruce NPP, located close to the shore of Lake Huron. The Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) is sited on land adjacent to the eight operating reactors at Bruce. At WWMF, radioactive reactor wastes of all kinds from all of Ontario’s reactors are stored in surface or near-surface facilities. In recent years, because of the removal of large volumes of materials from inside the cores of these reactors and other materials connected directly to the core reactor vessel, the amounts and levels of radioactivity have gone up dramatically in the nuclear waste inventory at WWMF.

These wastes will remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. No one denies this elementary fact. But corporate bodies can not tolerate the concept of a never-ending liability, one that may require repeated expenditures far into the future, so they want to devise a protocol by which they can abandon these wastes. OPG describes the project as having four phases — construction, emplacement, closure, and abandonment. The object of the exercise is to abandon the waste. That is one of the chief motivations for burying nuclear waste — it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. If and when this dangerous radioactive material escapes from the repository, as has happened at two such deep underground nuclear waste dumps in Germany and one in Carlsbad New Mexico — it will be somebody else’s problem. Not OPG’s. And not CNSC’s. Those bodies will have washed their hands of all responsibility. And if the radioactive material leaks out in the future, people will have no idea what those materials are or how to deal with them, and no resources to do so, because amnesia inevitably follows abandonment.onedaysonallthiswillbeyours

Alternatively, CCNR advocates a policy of Rolling Stewardship, by which the waste will never be abandoned but will be constantly monitored and kept in a retrievable condition indefinitely. We know how to package this waste very well so that it does not contaminate the environment. This information and this responsibility must be passed on to each successive generation with all necessary documentation regarding the dangers involved and the necessity of retrieving and repacking the material before any leakage problems develop. The necessary authority, information, and resources can be ceremonially transmitted to the next generation by means of a formal inauguration ceremony every 20 years or so. With the advance of knowledge and engineering capability, each generation will hopefully be able to do as well or better than the previous generation, until one day there may be a method for genuinely neutralizing these wastes or otherwise rendering them harmless. In the meantime, when the Bruce site closes down, the waste should be removed from the vicinity of the Great Lakes for greater security.

Abandoning the waste, as OPG plans to do in Phase 4 of their proposal, is not a solution to the problem. It is simply a corporate strategy for terminating liability.The waste is dangerous for much more than 100,000 years. The Great Lakes came into existence only 10,000 years ago. The pyramids of Egypt were built about 5000 years ago. OPG brags that it has studied this geological formation for 10 years. Over a period of 60 years, the USA has tried 8 times to locate a safe underground waste repository for its spent nuclear fuel, and it has failed all 8 times.

Why would anyone want to permanently lodge all of Ontario’s nuclear waste (except spent fuel) from all of its nuclear reactors right beside one of the most important reservoirs of fresh water in the world — the Great Lakes? The answer is simply: convenience. That’s where the reactors were built, so that’s where the waste has accumulated. And that’s where waste from other reactor sites has been dumped. There is no other reason for such proximity to the drinking water supply for 40 million people.

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Gordon Edwards, PhD in Mathematics (Queen’s University), co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and has been its president since 1978. He can be reached at: ccnr@web.ca. Visit Gordon’s website.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

In a Cop Culture, the Bill of Rights Doesn’t Amount to Much

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute |May 5, 2015

Police officers are more likely to be struck by lightning than be held financially accountable for their actions.—Law professor Joanna C. Schwartz (paraphrased)

“In a democratic society,” observed Oakland police chief Sean Whent, “people have a say in how they are policed.”

Unfortunately, if you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is never held accountable for violating your rights and his oath of office to serve and protect, never forced to make amends, never told that what he did was wrong, and never made to change his modus operandi, then you don’t live in a constitutional republic.

You live in a police state.

It doesn’t even matter that “crime is at historic lows and most cities are safer than they have been in generations, for residents and officers alike,” as the New York Times reports.

What matters is whether you’re going to make it through a police confrontation alive and with your health and freedoms intact. For a growing number of Americans, those confrontations do not end well.

As David O. Brown, the Dallas chief of police, noted: “Sometimes it seems like our young officers want to get into an athletic event with people they want to arrest. They have a ‘don’t retreat’ mentality. They feel like they’re warriors and they can’t back down when someone is running from them, no matter how minor the underlying crime is.”

Making matters worse, in the cop culture that is America today, the Bill of Rights doesn’t amount to much. Unless, that is, it’s the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), which protects police officers from being subjected to the kinds of debilitating indignities heaped upon the average citizen.

Most Americans, oblivious about their own rights, aren’t even aware that police officers have their own Bill of Rights. Yet at the same time that our own protections against government abuses have been reduced to little more than historic window dressing, 14 states have already adopted LEOBoRs—written by police unions and being considered by many more states and Congress—which provides police officers accused of a crime with special due process rights and privileges not afforded to the average citizen.

In other words, the LEOBoR protects police officers from being treated as we are treated during criminal investigations: questioned unmercifully for hours on end, harassed, harangued, browbeaten, denied food, water and bathroom breaks, subjected to hostile interrogations, and left in the dark about our accusers and any charges and evidence against us.

Not only are officers given a 10-day “cooling-off period during which they cannot be forced to make any statements about the incident, but when they are questioned, it must be “for a reasonable length of time, at a reasonable hour, by only one or two investigators (who must be fellow policemen), and with plenty of breaks for food and water.”

According to investigative journalist Eli Hager, the most common rights afforded police officers accused of wrongdoing are as follows:

  • If a department decides to pursue a complaint against an officer, the department must notify the officer and his union.
  • The officer must be informed of the complainants, and their testimony against him, before he is questioned.
  • During questioning, investigators may not harass, threaten, or promise rewards to the officer, as interrogators not infrequently do to civilian suspects.
  • Bathroom breaks are assured during questioning.
  • In Maryland, the officer may appeal his case to a “hearing board,” whose decision is binding, before a final decision has been made by his superiors about his discipline. The hearing board consists of three of the suspected offender’s fellow officers.
  • In some jurisdictions, the officer may not be disciplined if more than a certain number of days (often 100) have passed since his alleged misconduct, which limits the time for investigation.
  • Even if the officer is suspended, the department must continue to pay salary and benefits, as well as the cost of the officer’s attorney.

It’s a pretty sweet deal if you can get it, I suppose: protection from the courts, immunity from wrongdoing, paid leave while you’re under investigation, and the assurance that you won’t have to spend a dime of your own money in your defense. And yet these LEOBoR epitomize everything that is wrong with America today.

Once in a while, the system appears to work on the side of justice, and police officers engaged in wrongdoing are actually charged for abusing their authority and using excessive force against American citizens.

Yet even in these instances, it’s still the American taxpayer who foots the bill.

For example, Baltimore taxpayers have paid roughly $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits stemming from police abuses, with an additional $5.8 million going towards legal fees. If the six Baltimore police officers charged with the death of Freddie Gray are convicted, you can rest assured it will be the Baltimore taxpayers who feel the pinch.

New York taxpayers have shelled out almost $1,130 per year per police officer (there are 34,500 officers in the NYPD) to address charges of misconduct. That translates to $38 million every year just to clean up after these so-called public servants.

Over a 10-year-period, Oakland, Calif., taxpayers were made to cough up more than $57 million (curiously enough, the same amount as the city’s deficit back in 2011) in order to settle accounts with alleged victims of police abuse.

Chicago taxpayers were asked to pay out nearly $33 million on one day alone to victims of police misconduct, with one person slated to receive $22.5 million, potentially the largest single amount settled on any one victim. The City has paid more than half a billion dollars to victims over the course of a decade. The Chicago City Council actually had to borrow $100 million just to pay off lawsuits arising over police misconduct in 2013. The city’s payout for 2014 was estimated to be in the same ballpark, especially with cases pending such as the one involving the man who was reportedly sodomized by a police officer’s gun in order to force him to “cooperate.”

Over 78% of the funds paid out by Denver taxpayers over the course of a decade arose as a result of alleged abuse or excessive use of force by the Denver police and sheriff departments. Meanwhile, taxpayers in Ferguson, Missouri, are being asked to pay $40 million in compensation—more than the city’s entire budget—for police officers treating them “‘as if they were war combatants,’ using tactics like beating, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and stun grenades, while the plaintiffs were peacefully protesting, sitting in a McDonalds, and in one case walking down the street to visit relatives.”

That’s just a small sampling of the most egregious payouts, but just about every community—large and small—feels the pinch when it comes to compensating victims who have been subjected to deadly or excessive force by police.

The ones who rarely ever feel the pinch are the officers accused or convicted of wrongdoing, “even if they are disciplined or terminated by their department, criminally prosecuted, or even imprisoned.” Indeed, a study published in the NYU Law Review reveals that 99.8% of the monies paid in settlements and judgments in police misconduct cases never come out of the officers’ own pockets, even when state laws require them to be held liable. Moreover, these officers rarely ever have to pay for their own legal defense.

For instance, law professor Joanna C. Schwartz references a case in which three Denver police officers chased and then beat a 16-year-old boy, stomping “on the boy’s back while using a fence for leverage, breaking his ribs and causing him to suffer kidney damage and a lacerated liver.” The cost to Denver taxpayers to settle the lawsuit: $885,000. The amount the officers contributed: 0.

Kathryn Johnston, 92 years old, was shot and killed during a SWAT team raid that went awry. Attempting to cover their backs, the officers falsely claimed Johnston’s home was the site of a cocaine sale and went so far as to plant marijuana in the house to support their claim. The cost to Atlanta taxpayers to settle the lawsuit: $4.9 million. The amount the officers contributed: 0.

Meanwhile, in Albuquerque, a police officer was convicted of raping a woman in his police car, in addition to sexually assaulting four other women and girls, physically abusing two additional women, and kidnapping or falsely imprisoning five men and boys. The cost to the Albuquerque taxpayers to settle the lawsuit: $1,000,000. The amount the officer contributed: 0.

Human Rights Watch notes that taxpayers actually pay three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: “once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police ‘defense’ funds provided by the cities.”

Still, the number of times a police officer is actually held accountable for wrongdoing while on the job is miniscule compared to the number of times cops are allowed to walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

A large part of the problem can be chalked up to influential police unions and laws providing for qualified immunity, not to mention these Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights laws, which allow officers to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing.

Another part of the problem is rampant cronyism among government bureaucrats: those deciding whether a police officer should be immune from having to personally pay for misbehavior on the job all belong to the same system, all with a vested interest in protecting the police and their infamous code of silence: city and county attorneys, police commissioners, city councils and judges.

Most of all, what we’re dealing with is systemic corruption that protects wrongdoing and recasts it in a noble light. However, there is nothing noble about government agents who kick, punch, shoot and kill defenseless individuals. There is nothing just about police officers rendered largely immune from prosecution for wrongdoing. There is nothing democratic about the word of a government agent being given greater weight in court than that of the average citizen. And no good can come about when the average citizen has no real means of defense against a system that is weighted in favor of government bureaucrats.

So if you want a recipe for disaster, this is it: Take police cadets, train them in the ways of war, dress and equip them for battle, teach them to see the people they serve not as human beings but as suspects and enemies, and then indoctrinate them into believing that their main priority is to make it home alive at any cost. While you’re at it, spend more time drilling them on how to use a gun (58 hours) and employ defensive tactics (49 hours) than on how to calm a situation before resorting to force (8 hours).

Then, once they’re hyped up on their own authority and the power of the badge and their gun, throw in a few court rulings suggesting that security takes precedence over individual rights, set it against a backdrop of endless wars and militarized law enforcement, and then add to the mix a populace distracted by entertainment, out of touch with the workings of their government, and more inclined to let a few sorry souls suffer injustice than challenge the status quo or appear unpatriotic.

That’s not to discount the many honorable police officers working thankless jobs across the country in order to serve and protect their fellow citizens, but there can be no denying that, as journalist Michael Daly acknowledges, there is a troublesome “cop culture that tends to dehumanize or at least objectify suspected lawbreakers of whatever race. The instant you are deemed a candidate for arrest, you become not so much a person as a ‘perp.’”

Older cops are equally troubled by this shift in how police are being trained to view Americans—as things, not people. Daly had a veteran police officer join him to review the video footage of 43-year-old Eric Garner crying out and struggling to breathe as cops held him in a chokehold. (In yet another example of how the legal system and the police protect their own, no police officers were charged for Garner’s death.) Daly describes the veteran officer’s reaction to the footage, which as Daly points out, “constitutes a moral indictment not so much of what the police did but of what the police did not do”:

“I don’t see anyone in that video saying, ‘Look, we got to ease up,’” says the veteran officer. “Where’s the human side of you in that you’ve got a guy saying, ‘I can’t breathe?’” The veteran officer goes on, “Somebody needs to say, ‘Stop it!’ That’s what’s missing here was a voice of reason. The only voice we’re hearing is of Eric Garner.” The veteran officer believes Garner might have survived had anybody heeded his pleas. “He could have had a chance,” says the officer, who is black. “But you got to believe he’s a human being first. A human being saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’”

As I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when all is said and done, the various problems we’re facing today—militarized police, police shootings of unarmed people, the electronic concentration camp being erected around us, SWAT team raids, etc.—can be attributed to the fact that our government and its agents have ceased to see us as humans first.

Then again, perhaps we are just as much to blame for this sorry state of affairs. After all, if we want to be treated like human beings—with dignity and worth—then we need to start treating those around us in the same manner. As Martin Luther King Jr. warned in a speech given exactly one year to the day before he was killed: “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Navajo Nation struggles with fallout from uranium mining

RT | May 9, 2015

Waste outside an abandoned uranium mine on the Navajo Nation, Cameron, Arizona (Image from ehp.niehs.nih.gov)

Waste outside an abandoned uranium mine on the Navajo Nation, Cameron, Arizona (Image from ehp.niehs.nih.gov)

As part of a cleanup settlement, the US will pay out more than $13 million to start dealing with hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation territory. Navajo officials tell RT it is just the first step on a long road ahead.

The money will be put into an “environmental response trust” managed by the Navajo Nation with the support of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It will provide us with funding to do a very specific task under the cleanup process that’s authorized by the federal superfund law,” Stephen Etsitty, executive director of the Navajo Nation’s EPA, told RT’s Ben Swann.

The funds will cover evaluations of 16 abandoned mines throughout Navajo lands, chosen from a list of 46 priority sites. There are hundreds of sites that still need to be addressed. By one estimate, there are more than 1,200 abandoned uranium mines within the borders of the Navajo Nation, a 27,000-square-mile territory stretching across Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

The EPA says it has repaired 34 homes, surveyed 521 mines, compiled a list of 46 priority sites for cleanup, and performed stabilization or cleanup work at nine mines so far. The agency has also provided safe drinking water to more than 1,800 families.

A 2014 settlement set aside $985 million from a multi-billion dollar settlement with subsidiaries of Anadarko Petroleum Corp to clean up approximately 50 abandoned Kerr-McGee mining operations in the Navajo Nation.

Federal surveyors found rich uranium deposits on Navajo lands in the 1940s, and the government authorized private contractors to extract the ore for US weapons and energy needs. About 4 million tons of uranium ore were extracted from the area between 1944 and 1986, after which the mining was halted. The federal government, through the Atomic Energy Commission, was the sole purchaser of the ore until 1966.

Navajo miners worked without any kind of protective gear or decontamination protocols for wages sometimes less than $1 an hour. In her 2011 book, Yellow Dirt: A Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed, journalist Judy Pasternak wrote that the miners suffered radiation exposure four times that of the Japanese exposed to nuclear bombs during World War II.

In the 1950s, cancer rates among the Navajos were so low, they were thought naturally immune, wrote environmental journalist Sonia Luokkala. By 2004, cancer had become the leading cause of illness and death among the Navajo.

A 2014 survey by the EPA of about 500 abandoned mines found radiation levels up to 25 times higher than normal. Many of the mines with the highest radiation levels were found within a quarter mile of human habitation.

“Chronic exposure is definitely one thing we want to get a better understanding of,” Etsitty told RT. Many of the Navajo live in the remote areas of the reservation, often close to the abandoned mining pits that have since filled up with water. Humans and animals drink the water from the pits, often not aware of the possible issues with radiation or toxicity.

“We still have not completed meaningful public health studies to begin answering those questions,” Etsitty said. The DOJ settlement should offer a little bit of help in the process, but merely surveying the extent of the contamination and environmental impact will take much more money and time.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli light rail guards assault young Palestinian woman

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Natalie Abed Rabbo
Ma’an – May 9, 2015

JERUSALEM – A young Palestinian woman from occupied East Jerusalem has accused security guards at an Israeli light rail station, along with Israeli police officers, of physically and verbally assaulting her on Thursday.

Natalie Abed Rabbo, 18, told Ma’an that she had bought a light rail ticket and was boarding the tram, when “all of a sudden, a security guard approached me and accused me of boarding the tram without a ticket.”

She said that she showed her ticket to the the guard, but that he ignored it. She added: “I asked him to check the surveillance cameras to make sure that I had bought a ticket, but he refused.”

Abed Rabbo said that she then asked to speak to an officer to submit a complaint, but before she was able to do so, “eight security guards attacked me and pushed me into a corner, grabbing me by the neck.”

She said that a female Israeli police officer tried to take away her handbag, but that she held onto it.

Abed Rabbo said she was able to use her mobile phone to call her family, and that her mother and brother soon arrived on the scene.

However, she said: “Special force officers then arrived and they beat my mother and brother, and they cuffed my hands and my feet.”

The young woman said she was taken to the Russian Compound police station where she said she was again physically assaulted.

The interrogator “accused me of boarding the tram without a ticket, as well as assaulting security officers and police personnel,” she said.

Abbed Rabbo was released several hours later having paid a bail of 3,000 shekels. She said she was also forced to pay a fine of 200 shekels for breaching tram regulations.

On Monday, a Palestinian man was shot in the foot by a security guard at a light rail station near the illegal Israeli French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.

The security guard alleged that Hatem Salah had been attempting to stab passengers, although police later withdrew the allegations after it became clear that Salah had not been in possession of any sharp objects at the time.

Early investigations showed that Salah had been physically assaulted by two Israeli light rail guards on Sunday, the day before he was shot.

The light rail service began operating in 2011 along a 14-kilometer (nine-mile) route which begins at Mount Herzl and passes through West Jerusalem before heading through the Palestinian east of the city and ending at the illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev.

Land belonging to Palestinians in Shuafat was confiscated in 2001 by the Jerusalem Municipality for the construction of the light rail, which will eventually link more illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem upon its expected completion in 2016.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli State threatening immediate demolition of entire Palestinian village

Operation Dove | May 5, 2015

At-Tuwani, Occupied Palestine – The entire Palestinian village of Susya is in danger of demolition and expulsion. By refusing to issue an interim order preventing preemptive demolitions before their case is heard, the Israeli High Court is allowing for the demolition of the entire Palestinian village of Susya and subsequent expulsion of its 340 residents. The refusal of the State to commit to not demolishing before the conclusion of proceedings suggests it has plans to destroy the village in the near future.

On one hand, the High Court of Justice is willing to hear the village’s petition to legitimize its status, but on the other hand, the court allows the village to be destroyed before even deciding on the case.

On May 5 2015, High Court Judge Noam Solberg rejected the request for an interim order by the Palestinian village of Susya, represented by Rabbis for Human Rights, in a petition against the Civil Administration’s decision to reject the master plan prepared by the village and subsequent demolition of the entire village.

The village argued that their plan was rejected for non-professional reasons and that the village should be legalized due to its unique history. The residents sought an interim order to freeze the implementation of the demolitions until the petition is heard, as is standard practice in these sort of cases.It was against this request for an interim order that Justice Solberg, without even conducting a hearing on the request, made the unusual move of granting the state’s request not to freeze the orders. This decision means that the Civil Administration can now destroy Susya at any time. The demolition of the village will lead to hundreds of residents living in the desert with no roof over their heads and may result in their displacement. The state’s refusal to commit to waiting for a conclusion to the court proceedings raises great alarm that it intends to implement the demolition order in the near future; tragically, it seems the villagers are in real danger.

In the petition, Susya’s residents claimed that the army is obliged to legalize their village as it was the one to confiscate their land and their caves in 1986, leaving them without a housing solution and forcing them to move to their adjacent agricultural lands. As evidence to the life in the village prior to the expropriation, various testimonials and photographs of life in caves were presented to the judge. Among other things, there were documented photos of a visit by the US Consulate to the village at the beginning of 1986. The photos and testimony clearly shows that the Palestinian village of Susya is an old village formed prior to the Israeli occupation and the declaration of the area as an archaeological site.

Among the evidence was the opinion of the late governmental legal adviser Plia Albeck (considered to be very pro-settlement and who wrote in her memoirs that she tried to find legal ways to declare Palestinian land as State land), indicating the existence of a Palestinian village in 1982 where today the archaeological site stands.

Despite the evidence presented before him, revealing the many injustices done to the villagers – from the expropriation and dispossession of their lands, to the refusal by the state to recognize the status of the village in its new location – Judge Sohlberg did not agree to hear the case before allowing the demolition of the village and setting the fate of its inhabitants.

Attached to the petition, inter alia, was an expert opinion by Prof. Eyal Benvenisti, a renowned expert in international law, stipulating that the demolition of the village of Susya constitutes a war crime.

This week, a report by radical right-wing NGO “Regavim” (which has close ties to the settlement enterprise) was exposed indicating that in the nearby Jewish settlement, also called Susia, there are 23 illegal homes built on private Palestinian land. We have no indication of any attempt by the state to demolish these illegal structures in the settlement Sussia or in its nearby outposts. We see in this current situation that this Jewish settlement, whose very existence is prohibited by international law, and where some of its homes are sitting on private Palestinian land, is prosperous, while the Palestinian village of Susya, whose inhabitants are on their own private land, is at risk of displacement and loss of their entire village.

Background:

In 1986 the village of Susya was declared an archaeological site, its land expropriated, and its inhabitants, who lived in caves, were deported. While the Palestinians were told that they could not reside in an archeological site, Israeli settlers live in an illegal outpost located inside the archeological site.

After the expulsion, villagers were forced to move to their neighboring agricultural plots. Because there was no willingness to grant a zoning plan, they involuntarily became illegal builders. Dozens of villagers followed procedures in attempts to obtain building permits, but those attempts were rejected. In 2012 the villagers raised funds and submitted a proposed master plan, drawn up by Professor Rassem Khamaiseh, for the Civil Administration for review. The plan would authorize construction in the village according to accepted standards of professional planning.

The plan was rejected in 2013 on very questionable grounds, indicating a double standard in planning, and blatant discrimination against the Palestinian population. For example, it was argued that the number of residents in the village, which is a few hundred people, is not substantial enough to grant it independent planning as its own entity. On the other hand, dozens of unauthorized outposts which are built housing only a handful of residents are approved by the Civil Administration’s planning body. In addition, it was argued that the plan will prevent the population from properly developing and moving out of poverty, and therefore, they should be moved to an adjacent city. It should be noted that the city is, of course, in Area A, and what actually prevents the progress of Susya is the lack of infrastructure which they are prevented from building. Also important to note is that Israelis are permitted to choose their preferred way of life – be it urban or rural, and are not forced by the state into one or the other.

In 2014, Rabbis for Human Rights petitioned the High Court on behalf of the Susya village council and its residents against the decision to reject the village master plan (HCJ 1420/14). As mentioned, on May 5th the court rejected the request for an interim injunction, leaving the whole village vulnerable to imminent demolition.

The big picture:

The danger of demolishing and expropriating the village of Susya reflects the systemic problem of planning for Palestinian villages located in Area C; in these villages, planning is done by military planning committees, without representation of Palestinians, with the intent of preventing residents from building on their own land based on reasonable and professional planning standards. A recent High Court petition, submitted by the village council Dirat, Rabbis for Human Rights, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Society, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and St. Yves – Catholic Human Rights Center, demands planning authority be returned to Palestinian villages for their own communities in order to prevent the tragic demolitions of hundreds of homes every year due to the impossibility of obtaining building permits.

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Shell Shocked’–Gaza Journalist Chronicles 2014 Assault in New Book

 photo shellshocked_zpsvpiytyzp.jpg

Book description:

Operation Protective Edge, launched in early July 2014, was the third major Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip in six years. It was also the most deadly. By the conclusion of hostilities some seven weeks later, 2,200 of Gaza’s population had been killed, and more than 10,000 injured.

In these pages, journalist Mohammed Omer, a resident of Gaza who lived through the terror of those days with his wife and then three-month-old son, provides a first-hand account of life on-the-ground during Israel’s assault. The images he records in this extraordinary chronicle are a literary equivalent of Goya’s “Disasters of War”: children’s corpses stuffed into vegetable refrigerators, pointlessly because the electricity is off; a family rushing out of their home after a phone call from the Israeli military informs them that the building will be obliterated by an F-16 missile in three minutes; donkeys machine-gunned by Israeli soldiers under instructions to shoot anything that moves; graveyards targeted with shells so that mourners can no longer tell where their relatives are buried; fishing boats ablaze in the harbor.

Throughout this carnage, Omer maintains the cool detachment of the professional journalist, determined to create a precise record of what is occurring in front of him. But between his lines the outrage boils, and we are left to wonder how a society such as Israel, widely-praised in the West as democratic and civilized, can visit such monstrosities on a trapped and helpless population.

302 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-939293-92-3 • E-book 978-1-939293-93-0

Available from OR Books

May 9, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment