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Annexing the Aquifers: Israel and the Water Crisis in Occupied Palestine

By Fareed Taamallah | Palestine Chronicle | May 28, 2020

Last week, the Palestinian Water Authority blasted Israel for significantly reducing the amount of water allotted to the West Bank. “We are facing this crisis as we enter the summer season, a time of the year when people are usually in need of more, not less water,” PWA leader Mazen Ghneim was quoted as saying.

In my neighborhood in Ramallah, every year during the summer months, we hardly have water in the pipes. Water runs only one day a week. So, all the households must follow the water distribution schedule to plan their house activities such as doing the laundry and house cleaning. Some Palestinian communities in the West Bank are linked to “joint” water networks that serve illegal Israeli settlers. During the dry summer months, water valves leading to the adjacent Palestinian communities are routinely shut off by Israeli authorities, so that the settlers do not suffer water shortages.

The water shortage in the Palestinian territories is not a nature-related water crisis, but rather a result of the Israeli occupation which exploits over 85% of the water resources.

Facts and Figures

Israel controls the main three trans-boundaries aquifers in the occupied Palestinian territories. The first and the biggest one is the West Bank (mountains) aquifer which is fed by rainfall and generates 679 mcm of water per year. The second is the Jordan river which provides Israel with an estimated 450 mcm per year. Palestinians are denied access and supply of its water. The third is the coastal aquifer which generates 450 mcm of water for Israel and 55 mcm for Gaza.

Palestine has a good precipitation rate. Ramallah, for instance, has an annual rainfall average of 615 millimeters which is almost as much as London at 620 mm.

According to the Palestinian water authority report of 2012, around 784 mcm of rainfall is estimated to have recharged the groundwater systems in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, Palestinians are allocated only 375 mcm of that groundwater, while Israel consumes 2,346 mcm annually.

The Oslo Agreement

The water problem started from the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestine but was exacerbated with the Oslo II interim agreement between the PLO and the Israeli government in 1995. The Oslo Agreement stipulated “the equitable utilization of joint water resources for implementation in and beyond the interim period.” But in reality, this has never happened.

The agreement which was supposed to be an interim period of five years bounded the development of Palestinian water resources and was framed on the assumption that Palestinian water needs were 70–80 mcm per year and that the interim water development must be managed through a Palestinian-Israeli mechanism. The topics of ‘common interest’ (water being one) would be further delineated under the permanent status negotiations.

The failure to reach a permanent agreement has meant the inequitable distribution of the West Bank groundwater resources with 15% allocated to the Palestinians and 85% to Israel.

As indicated in the Oslo Agreement, a Joint Water Committee (JWC) was established to oversee all water and wastewater related projects in the West Bank. JWC is made up of an equal number of representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, respectively, and decisions are made by consensus. This gave Israel a veto power over all Palestinian water resource projects and blocked any request by the Palestinians to drill a new well. Wells built or rehabilitated without Israeli-issued permits are systematically destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces.

Water Apartheid

While the Palestinian communities are facing drought and water shortages, the Israeli settlements – located in the same geographical area – are enjoying an abundance of water supplies, allowing settlers to fill their swimming pools and irrigate their gardens and fields. The lack of access to adequate quantities of water necessary for livestock herding and food production leaves Bedouins, livestock owners and farmers particularly vulnerable.

Israeli agricultural settlements in the West Bank, particularly those in the Jordan Valley, enjoy up to 6 times the amount of water of the nearby Palestinian communities. In the Palestinian town of Tubas, the consumption rate is 30 liters per person per day. However, residents of the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Beda’ot, consume around 401 liters per day, according to B’Tselem.

While the Palestinian population has doubled, water availability has decreased. According to the World Bank report of 2018 “With the West Bank and Gaza population of approximately 4.8 million growing at an average annual rate of 2.8 percent, the domestic supply gap is projected to be about 152 and 135 million cubic meters respectively”.

Israeli hydro-hegemony has left Palestinians with a deficit water budget. They have been forced to purchase from Israel around a quarter of domestic water supplies to make up for this deficit.

According to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, the daily per capita water consumption rate is around 88 liters. By comparison, the daily per capita water consumption in Israel is 257 liters. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 100 liters of water per capita per day as a minimum. Palestinian consumption is less than the minimum.

In the Gaza Strip, the water situation is even worse. The severe lack of water caused by the Israeli brutal blockade since 2007, has led to a heavy reliance on the underlying portion of the Coastal aquifer as Gaza’s only water supply.

The 2 million inhabitants extracted about 180 mcm in 2017, but this quantity is obtained via unsafe pumping that jeopardizes the sustainability of the source, while the total recharge is only one-third of extraction. The direct consequences of over pumping are seawater intrusion and uplift of the deep brine water; as a result, 97% of the water is undrinkable and does not match WHO quality standards of accepted guidelines for potable water resources.

Annexation Plan

Israel is controlling the two main Palestinian water resources in the West Bank (the Jordan River basin in the east and the western mountain aquifer) which supply Israel with about 900 million cubic meters of water annually.

Through the annexation of the West Bank areas expected this summer, Israel aims to keep the West Bank aquifers behind the new Israeli borders by retaining control of the settlement blocks adjacent to the basins, in particular, the Jordan Valley and the Salfit area where my hometown of Qira is located.

That annexation will perpetuate the high Israeli water-consumption levels while denying basic Palestinian needs and force Palestinians to depend on Israel for water, thus preserving the status quo of a dramatic unjust division of water resources, dimming any hope for a viable Palestinian state and peace in the region.

– Fareed Taamallah is a Palestinian journalist, a farmer, and a political activist based in Ramallah.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 5 Comments

Race war or bust? MSM smothers racial unity over police killing of Minneapolis man by reminding blacks & whites to hate each other

By Helen Buyniski | RT | May 27, 2020

The brutal police murder of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis united all races and political stripes in shocked outrage. So why is MSM invoking every racially-divisive incident they can to set society at each other’s throats?

Liberals and conservatives alike were horrified on Monday by a widely-circulated Facebook video showing a white police officer choking an unarmed, handcuffed black man to death by kneeling on his neck for upwards of seven minutes, ignoring his increasingly feeble cries for help until he went limp. Regardless of their race, viewers demanded the officer – Minneapolis Police Department’s Derek Chauvin – be charged with murder and cheered at the news he and three colleagues present during the Memorial Day incident had been suspended from the force.

Given the country’s oft-lamented polarization, it’s rare to see such broad agreement on something as controversial as a police killing. But the sight of George Floyd struggling to wheeze out “I can’t breathe” while Chauvin mocked the anguished cries of onlookers convinced many to put aside their ideological feuds and get outraged. Seeing the life slowly choked out of the 46-year-old for nothing more than allegedly “resisting arrest” over supposedly forging a check at a supermarket was beyond the pale.

Mainstream media’s narrative managers were determined to shatter that unity, however.

Thousands of protesters marched on Minneapolis’ third police precinct headquarters on Tuesday, carrying banners demanding justice for Floyd and his family. While a small group broke windows and sprayed graffiti en route, the riot-gear-clad cops met the entire racially-heterogeneous group as if it were an invading army, hurling stun grenades and firing rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd. At least one woman was shot in the head.

Journalists and politicians on social media reacted to this appalling show of excessive force not by unilaterally condemning police violence – that would risk cementing the dreaded “unity” – but by contrasting the crackdown with last month’s docile police response to a “Liberate Minnesota” protest against the state’s Covid-19 lockdown. Hundreds of mostly-white protesters, many strapped with guns, had surrounded the Governor’s Residence of Democrat Tim Walz, demanding an end to the pandemic-inspired stay-at-home order.

The anti-lockdown protesters were largely left alone by the cops, liberals complained, implying police refusal to meet the flag-waving “extremists” with a hail of rubber (or real!) bullets was due to racism rather than the firepower the anti-lockdown protesters were packing.

That the divisive narrative was fundamentally flawed – the Minneapolis crowd protesting Floyd’s murder was as white as it was black – didn’t matter. Nor was it deemed necessary to point out that the unarmed Minneapolis protesters were not a threat to the riot-gear-clad cops, who’d have had to be suicidal to fire rubber bullets into a crowd of AR-15-packing wannabe-militiamen the previous month. It was too late – the spell of unity had been broken, and the conversation had degenerated into bickering over the morality of property damage and whether molotov cocktails were justified in the face of murder.

American police’s legendary itchy trigger fingers may seem incompatible with the American people’s love of firearms. However, the cops’ choice of prey is instructive: police-involved shootings are much more common in cities with strict gun-control laws: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. The majority of US police departments – including members of the Minneapolis force – train in Israel, learning to shoot first and ask questions later while testing out their new skills on real live occupied Palestinians. This training follows them home, where too often poor black populations become the favored target. But the core psychology is that of a bully, unwilling to pick on someone their own size, armed with their own weapons.

The MSM narrative-managers poured it on thick in their effort to muddy the waters, dragging in months’ worth of racial controversies. Anything was fair game, as long as it could be used to guide conservatives and liberals, blacks and whites back to their proper positions at each other’s throats.

From the “Central Park Karen” who called the cops on a black man for asking her to put her dog on a leash, to Ahmaud Arbery, the young black man shot by a father-and-son team while jogging in Georgia, supposedly because they suspected him of a burglary, nothing was too off-topic.

The last thing the media establishment needs is for Americans to realize their country doesn’t have a race problem, so much as a class problem – and the media is on one side of the divide, encouraging those on the other side to fight among themselves for its amusement.

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , | 13 Comments

Salam Taha: 82 days of interrogation in the al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

The following article, by Palestinian writer Hind Shraydeh, was originally published in Arabic at Hadf News :

Salam and Rubou’

The different meanings of “Peace”

To some who hold power and authority, “peace” is linked with settlement and accommodation, with privileges they aspire to obtain in exchange for crumbs of the historic Palestine. Salam, on the other hand, whose name in Arabic means “peace,” exemplifies another meaning for the term.

Salam Taha was born in the village of Deir Abu Misha’al, situated northwest of Ramallah city. He adores the sea, although he was deprived of enjoying it due to the occupation. Salam usually escapes from the noise of the city to Khirbet Al-Rachniyeh east of the village, to relish the green views of his secret place, gazing towards the occupied Palestinian coast, confronting his feelings with absolute silence, and spending time in spacious verdant fields.

“He is the most shy among us but the bravest too,” says his friend at university.

Arrested while caring for his child

Israeli military soldiers raided Salam’s house after exploding its door to make their entry. They attacked Salam, forcing against the wall and cowardly hitting his body with their rifles.

It was four o’clock in the morning, when Salam was awake caring for his one-month baby, Cana’an. He never knew it is going to be his last turn in the ongoing rotation with his wife, Rubou’  or that he would be unable to look after his child for quite a long time.

Salam was tied to the kitchen chair, while military soldiers ransacked his place, turning it upside down. They were looking for his older mobile phone, which was directly in front of them the entire time, but they claimed not to notice it while acting in such a vicious manner.

Salam remained placid, as if he was unbothered, and mocked the soldiers’ actions, an attitude that angered the chief officer, who tried to provoke Salam by cursing his wife Rubou’ and directing profane insults at her while she prepared some milk for her child to calm his continuous crying during the assault. He stared at the chief officer with a shaming look, as if asking, “Is this the way you are raised to respect mothers?!”

He hummed a melody, with unidentifiable lyrics, repeating the only recognized words of it, which were “you may.”

After the extensive vandalism inside the house, the Israeli soldiers handcuffed Salam’s hands and grabbed him tightly from the shoulders. Rubou’ quickly knelt down on the ground, trying to put her husband’s shoes on with all care and diligence.

Salam saluted her, saying, “It will not take so long… I will come back soon.”

“This is how my husband was abducted on a Friday at dawn, 30 August 2018, only two days before his master’s degree studies commenced, as he was registered in the International Studies Program at Birzeit University,” Rubou’ says.

Salam with baby Cana’an

Earning his undergraduate degree with several interruptions

Over 80 students at Birzeit University are currently imprisoned in Israeli prisons. 20 of them are held under administrative detention, without any charges or trial. Their detentions are based on the “predictions” of the area commander of the Israeli military occupation, that these students might pose a “security threat to the state of Israel.” The rest of the students face indictments in military court, mostly revolving around involvement in student activities inside the university.

Salam earned his BA degree in political science with a minor in public administration. His undergraduate studies were frequently interrupted by arrests, which extended the normal duration required to finish his studies,” Rubou’ stated.

There are students whose first university degree take them double the time they actually need to complete all their university requirements, in addition to courses related to their specialty. Students fail to join their classes, due to their repeated detentions, and yet try hard to resume their studies again at an older age with younger cohorts and sometimes different generations than the ones that launched their academic journey with them.

Last week, three more student leaders were abducted by Israeli soldiers, just days before the end of the semester: Izz Shabaneh from the village of Sinjil, Mehdi Karajeh from the village of Saffa, and Basil Barghouthi from the village of Beit Rima.

Salam’s secret weapon

The Sunday after the invasion, Rubou’ knew that her husband is being held at Al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem, where Salam remained for 46 days of harsh interrogation, during which he was banned from seeing his lawyer. Salam visited Jerusalem not as a tourist visiting the Dome of the Rock or the Holy Sepulcher, but rather stuck in an underground dungeon with numerous torture methods that are hatefully designed in order to drain the prisoner’s will. Fluorescent lights were switched on 24/7, causing him a severe headache and irritating his eyes, coupled with echoes of endless screaming and low temperatures directed on his body by an air-conditioner were only some of the examples of the constant pressure and inhuman treatment.

After three months of detention, Rubou’ decided to take the risk in order to cheer her husband up and transfer to him good feelings to help him stay strong and carry on with a brave heart. She decided to provide her husband with a secret weapon while attending his court session.

How is that possible if even a tissue is not allowed to pass through the punitive inspections and searches?! She took extra care of her outfit, wore her favorite jacket, closed its buttons, and luckily succeeded to pass through the first inspection, the second one through an automatic inspection machine, and the last personal one, that looks like two harassing hands passing an electronic stick over your body. After she waited outside in the cold for hours, the security guard notified Rubou’ that it was time for Salam’s trial. She walked into the court room with her surprise and unbuttoned her jacket, where Salam was able to see his son Cana’an’s smiling face printed on Robou’s T-shirt. For two minutes long, the security guards were frozen in place. They did not know how to deter such a secret weapon!

Rubou’ laughed while recalling the incident, saying: “I felt that we had won a victory … the guards were frozen and did not know what to do! They think they can abolish the longing in our hearts, but we proved them wrong. This was my way of resistance and standing by Salam’s side.”

82 days of harsh investigation in the Al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

Salam did not sleep for so long, he was immensely pale, and bleeding from his wrists due to the tight shackles around them. The prison administration employed a number of interrogators who created stories and fake scenarios about our family to weaken Salam. Some of their fabrications were about me, his wife, and our son Cana’an, found dead in a car accident, others were about bringing me for interrogation in a room adjacent to Salam’s cell”, Rubou said, recalling what Salam told her in one of her visits.

Rubou’ with Cana’an

Many deceptions and malicious tricks were practiced by the Israeli intelligence agency, known as the Shabak, in order to put pressure on Salam, with one sole aim: Extracting confessions from him in order to celebrate their delusional victory and prove their domination over Palestinians.

“Before his recent arrest, Salam underwent a colonoscopy, as he suffers from colon problems, stomach pains and hemorrhoids that caused him bleeding during the interrogation. The lawyer submitted Salam’s medical papers explaining his condition, but the fascist regime did not care about his medication, and refused to let him go to the bathroom frequently,” Rubou’ says.

The Israeli occupation deliberately mistreats prisoners, providing them with poor and inadequate health care in an attempt to exhaust the captives. As punishment for Salam’s steadfastness, the illegitimate military court sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

Just two weeks before the end of his sentence, when Rubou’ was wondering about the color of the dress that she planned wear to welcome her partner home, and the unique outfit she is preparing for her son Cana’an to wear, only two weeks before Salam’s sentence ended, the Israeli military forces sent him to the slaughterhouse of Al-Moskobiyeh once again. Salam underwent thirty-six days of cruel interrogation with an agitated and hysterical frequency, during which he was once again prevented from meeting with his lawyer.

Eighty-two days is the cumulative time of interrogation Salam has gone through, while the “civilized” world and the luckier youths of the colonial project live in isolation from the tragedies of the occupation, perhaps by playing soccer or baseball and setting some exciting plans for their travels to the Maldives. Eighty-two days of interrogation, and yet the occupation steals years from Palestinian youth: Their future, their families and their children.

Meanwhile, international human rights organizations act like Pontius Pilate, when he washed his hands of guilt for the blood of Christ. Such organizations’ roles are to adopt “codes of conduct,” or issue informative brochures, or to express their “mild” concerns about a rough death that happened in a sacred spot in the far reaches of the earth, called Palestine.

Salam is still detained without trial in the Eshel desert prison, after he was arbitrarily transferred in mid-March from Ofer prison overnight as a punitive measure, as a result of which he had to sleep a full night in the “Ramla crossing-point”, a place where prisoners are gathered before they are distributed to other prisons. This happened at a time when the occupation claimed to be cautious and to stop unnecessary movement between prisons, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“You may build a huge wall around me, and another wall around you, the enemy of the sun … Still I will not compromise” lyrics of an Arabic song

Eshel Prison differs in its structure from other prisons; it is more isolated and brutal. The square yard, known as the fora, in which the prisoners spend their outdoor time is covered, so that they do not see the sky at all, nor the sun’s light. It is not available all day, but only for specific hours, and it is also far from the prisoners’ rooms. When released prisoners describe this prison, some say: “The bathroom in Eshel does not accommodate a chubby person, and the showers are narrow. All can be coped with except the climate of the desert, the high humidity and temperature in the morning and extreme cold at night”.

Salam spends most of his time reading and trying to maintain a healthy pattern by playing sports. He keeps humming his favorite song, as he walks in the fora: “You may steal the last inch of my land… You may feed the years of my youth to the prison … You may put down the flame I keep rising… You may prevent me from kissing my mother …You may defeat the dreams I have for tomorrow. You may deprive my children of wearing their Eid holiday outfits… You may build a wall and yet another taller one… In that act you assure to the world that you are the enemy of the sun. Still I will not compromise. Until the last pulse in my veins, I will continue fighting,” an Arabic song by Lebanese singer Julia Butros,

Fatherhood on hold

“It is not easy to raise a child on your own, while the pictures of the baby’s father are hung on the wall”, Rubou’ said. “Cana’an will turn two years old in July, while he does not know his father. I finally obtained a permit to visit Salam after being banned for almost a year. The long-anticipated permit allowed me to visit my husband three times only before the spread of COVID-19, after which visits were suspended.”

“We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die”

“To see my husband in front of me through an insulated partition and isolating glass without being able to touch his hand, and to speak to him through telephones which the jailers control, is not easy at all. This increases the pain in my heart,” Rubou’ says. “Salam and I experienced a beautiful love story at university, which was completed in our marriage, and Cana’an is the fruit of our love.”

“With all the suffering that I live alone with Cana’an, and all the decisions I have to make, serving as mother and father at the same time, I return to remember what we insisted on highlighting in our wedding card. ‘We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die.’ This is our conviction, and this is our belief in which we live every day, and we will raise our children to follow it as well,” Rubou’ concluded.

Salam and Rubou’s wedding card

Hind Shraydeh is a Palestinian writer and human rights advocate. She is also the wife of Palestinian prisoner Ubai Aboudi, the Executive Director of the Bisan Center. We encourage you to join the 1 June Day of Action for Ubai Aboudi and to sign the Scientists for Palestine petition supporting him.

Translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Why does Israel celebrate its terrorists: Ben Uliel and the murder of the Dawabsheh Family

Israeli media and Zionist apologists everywhere are busy whitewashing Israel’s globally-tattered image using the rare indictment of an Israeli terrorist, Amiram Ben Uliel, who was recently convicted for murdering the Palestinian Dawabsheh family, including an 18-month-old toddler in the town of Duma, south of Nablus.

The conviction of Ben Uliel by an Israeli three-judge court on May 18, is expectedly celebrated by some as proof that the Israeli judicial system is fair and transparent, and that Israel does not need to be investigated by outside parties.

The timing of the Israeli court’s decision to convict Ben Uliel of three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder was particularly important, as it followed a decision by the the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to move forward with its investigation of war crimes committed in Occupied Palestine.

Considering how Israel’s extremists, especially those living illegally in the Occupied West Bank, are governed through a separate, and far more lenient system than the military regime that governs Palestinians, the seemingly-clear indictment of the Israeli terrorist deserves further scrutiny.

Israel’s apologists were quick to celebrate the verdict by the court, to the extent that Israel’s own internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, known for its notorious torture methods of Palestinian prisoners, described the decision as “an important milestone in the battle against Jewish terror”.

Others labored to separate Ben Uliel’s grizzly attack from the rest of Israeli society, implying that the man was a lone wolf and not the direct outcome of Israel’s unhinged racism and violent discourse directed at innocent Palestinians.

Despite the clear indictment of Ben Uliel, the Israeli court was keen on accentuating the point that the Israeli terrorist acted alone and that he was not a member of a terrorist organization. Based on that logic, the court argued that the judges “could not rule out that the attack was motivated by a desire for revenge or racism without Ben-Uliel actually being a member of an organized group.”

Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish settler, is lead by police for his sentencing hearing over the 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents [AVSHALOM SASSONI/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish settler, at his sentencing hearing over the 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler, Ali Saeed Dawabsheh and his parents [AVSHALOM SASSONI/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

The verdict was a best case scenario for Israel’s image under the circumstances, as it deliberately absolved the massive terrorist network that spawned the likes of Ben Uliel and the Israeli army that protects those very extremists on a daily basis, while whitewashing Israel’s deservedly bad reputation as a violent society with an unjust judicial system.

But Ben Uliel is, by no measure, a lone wolf.

When the Israeli terrorist, along with other masked assailants, broke into the house of Sa’ad and Reham Dawabsheh at 4 am on July 31, 2015, he was clearly on a mission to elevate his name within the ardently racist, extremist society which has made the murder and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians a sort of a divine mission.

Ben Uliel achieved his objectives completely. Not only did he kill Sa’ad and Reham, but their 18-month-old son, Ali, as well. The only surviving member of the family was 4-year-old Ahmed, who was severely burnt.

The murder of the Palestinian family, little Ali in particular, quickly became the source of joy and celebration among Jewish extremists. In December 2015, six months after the murder of the Dawabsheh family, a 25-second video clip that went viral on social media showed a crowd of Israelis celebrating the death of Ali.

The video showed a “room of jumping, dancing men wearing white skullcaps, many with the long sidelocks of Orthodox Jews. Some of them are brandishing guns and knives,” The New York Times reported.

“Two (of the celebrating Israelis) appear to be stabbing pieces of paper they hold in their hands, which the television station identified as pictures of an 18-month-old child, Ali Dawabsheh.”

Despite Israeli police claims that they were ‘investigating’ the hate fest, there is little evidence to suggest that anyone was held accountable for the unmitigated celebration of violence against an innocent family and a toddler. In fact, Israeli State prosecutors later claimed that they had lost the original video of the dancing extremists.

The celebration of Israeli terrorism carried on unabated for years, to the extent that on June 19, 2018, Israeli extremists chanted openly, taunting Ali’s grandfather as he was leaving an Israeli court, with such obscene slogans, as “Where is Ali? Ali’s dead,” “Ali’s on the grill”.

The heinous murder of Ali and his family, and the subsequent trial were added to an array of other events that starkly challenged Israel’s carefully concocted image of being a liberal democracy.

On March 24, 2016, Elor Azaria killed a Palestinian man, Fattah al-Sharif, in cold blood. Al-Sharif was left bleeding on the ground while unconscious after, per Israeli army claim, trying to stab an Israeli soldier.

Azaria received a light sentence of eighteen months, soon to be freed in a massive celebration, like a conquering hero. Israel’s top government officials, including Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, supported the cold-blooded murderer throughout the trial. It will not come as a complete surprise if Azaria claims a top position in the Israeli government at some point in the future.

The celebration of murderers and terrorists like Ben Uliel and Azaria, is not a new phenomenon in Israeli society. Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli terrorist who killed scores of Palestinian worshippers while kneeling for prayer at Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron) in 1994, is now perceived as a modern martyr, a saint of biblical proportions.

In such cases, when the nature of the crime is so overwhelmingly violent, the extent of which forces itself on global news media, Israel is left with only one option – to use the indictment of ‘Jewish terrorism’ as an opportunity to reinvent itself, its ‘democratic’ system, its ‘transparent’ judicial proceedings, and so on. Meanwhile, Israeli media and its affiliates worldwide labor to describe the collective ‘shock’ and ‘outrage’ felt by ‘law-abiding’, ‘peace-loving’ Israelis.

The murder of the Dawabsheh family, although one of numerous acts of violence perpetrated by Jewish extremists and the Israeli military against innocent Palestinians, is the perfect case in point.

Indeed, a quick look at the numbers and reports produced by the United Nations indicates that the Jewish settlers’ murder of the Palestinian family was not the exception but the norm.

In a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in June 2018, UN investigators spoke of an exponential rise of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians.

“Between January and April 2018, OCHA documented 84 incidents attributed to Israeli settlers resulting in Palestinian casualties (27 incidents) or in damage to Palestinian property (57 incidents),” the report read. That trend continued, at times markedly increasing, with very little accountability.

The Israeli rights group, Yesh Din, has been following up on the small percentage of settler violence cases that were opened by the Israeli military and police. The group concluded that, “of 185 investigations opened between 2014 and 2017 that reached a final stage, only 21, or 11.4%, led to the prosecution of offenders, while the other 164 files were closed without indictment.”

The reason for this is simple: the hundreds of thousands of Jewish extremists who have been transferred to permanently settle in the occupied territories, an act that starkly violates international law, do not operate outside the colonial paradigm designed by the Israeli government. In some way, they too, are ‘soldiers’, not only because they are armed and coordinate their movement with the Israeli army, but because their ever-expanding settlements lie at the heart of the Israeli occupation and its continued project of ethnic cleansing.

Therefore, Jewish settler violence, like that committed by Ben Uliel, should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society as a whole. It follows that settler violence can only end with the end of the military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, and with the demise of the racist Zionist ideology that spews hatred, embraces racism and rationalizes murder.

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 4 Comments

May 14 marks 2nd anniversary of Israel’s massacre of 60 unarmed civilians

By Robert Inlakesh | Press TV | May 14, 2020

Contrary to the claims of the Israeli regime, Israel’s “independence day” has little do with independence and little to do with a simple sense of “national pride”. Instead, what Israel’s independence day truly signifies, is a day of whitewashing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and now added to that list is the whitewashing of the massacre of civilians in Gaza perpetrated on that very same date.

On May 14, 2018, Israeli occupation forces stationed on the perimeter of the illegally besieged Gaza Strip massacred at least 61 unarmed Palestinian civilians, also injuring thousands. Not a single Israeli was killed on this day, with only one soldier reportedly enduring a minor scratch.

Nevertheless the mainstream Western press reported the event as “hostile border clashes” and attempted to whitewash the massacre which was later condemned by the UNHRC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch as well as Doctors Without Borders and many other leading NGO’s and international representative bodies.

The shameful lack of truthful reporting on the massacre, led to further massacres of smaller volume as Israeli snipers continued to engage, largely peaceful, demonstrators with lethal force from across a field of barbed wire and electrified fences. The protests against Israel originally started on March 30, 2018, and saw the murder of 330+ unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the injury of at least 40,000. On the Israeli side, not a single death and not a single serious injury, in fact not even an injury worth the Israeli media reporting upon.

The reason why this massacre of civilians, committed two years to-date in Gaza, is so significant is because the narrative Israel uses to justify its 2018 massacre can be paralleled perfectly with the narrative that Israel uses to justify the celebration of its so-called independence.

Between 1947-1949 Zionist militias, namely the Irgun, Haganah and Stern Gang, violated the UN partition plan set out to create a Jewish state inside of 55% of historic Palestine, despite the fact that Jewish settlers were only 33% of the population at the time. This violation of the UN partition plan parameters that the Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion had in public agreed to entailed the annexation of roughly 78% of historic Palestine as well as the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 native Palestinians from their lands.

This ethnic cleansing is remembered on May 15 as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, just one day after Israel’s celebration of its original sin. Like with the 2018 Gaza massacre, the Western mainstream press, government officials and Israel itself claim that Israel was the victim in 1948. This of course is not the line of the entire international community, several UN resolutions, accounts of Palestinians who suffered, Israeli documents pointing to the truth of what went on and essentially every serious scholar and human rights organization.

Despite the truth being well documented, black and white and extremely easy to digest, the mainstream Western press continues to lie to its viewerships. The BBC will not cover the Palestinian Nakba, nor the 2018 massacre they shamefully attempted to lie about and cover up for Israel.

So now it is on the rest of the world to urge people to look at what Israel is doing on the ground right now, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just visited Israel in order to discuss the annexation of even more Palestinian land, and surely in the process of this land grab, the inevitable massacre of even more Palestinian civilians.

It is time we call out our media in Western countries for the racist filth that it generates surrounding the issue of Palestine-Israel, and hold the BBC to account for its blatant double-standards and constant sourcing of Israeli institutions rather than independent human rights groups, the UN and other authoritative bodies when it comes to its facts on the ground.

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO, and various other outlets. He specializes in analysis of the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinians and the ‘Security’ Narrative

By Marion Kawas | Canadian Dimension | May 4, 2020

May 2020 will focus attention on the many dangers and challenges facing the future of Palestine.

First, Nakba72 will commemorate the continuing dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic is showing the fragility of the living conditions and the lack of security for Palestinians, especially those in Gaza and in refugee camps. And third, the Israeli government is preparing to officially legitimize its de facto annexation of large swaths of the occupied West Bank.

Yet, the dominant narrative in most Western countries regarding any right of Palestinians to live in security is fundamentally flawed, and contains many layers of pro-Israel protectionism, so much so that it is difficult for many people to appreciate the threat Palestinians live under on a daily basis.

Put simply, this narrative upholds as sacrosanct that Israel always has a right to security, to defend itself, and to decide when, where and how its ‘security’ is threatened. This principle is so ingrained and so fundamental to statements and reporting on the region that pro-Palestinian advocates are often forced into the position of having to prove their ‘non-violent’ credentials before being taken seriously.

In Canada, the stated and official foreign policy on “key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (as described on the Global Affairs Canada website) even begins with this principle, entitled “Support for Israel and its Security”. This lead point “recognizes Israel’s right to assure its own security, as witnessed by our support during the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah and our ongoing support for Israel’s fight against terror.” In contrast, the second principle is entitled only “Support for the Palestinians”, and mostly consists of the standard lip service paid to the non-existent and debunked two-state solution.

Not only is the Canadian government highlighting that, above all else, Israel’s “right to security” is inviolable, it justifies Israel’s actions to “assure” that right. The brief mention of Palestinian security that Canada officially embraces is limited to financial support for the Palestinian Authority to monitor and control their own population. To break down the diplomatic doublespeak, that means assisting Palestinian security inasmuch as it helps to guarantee Israeli security. This is why every time the Palestinian Authority announces it is (once again) breaking off bilateral relations with Israel, security coordination is never impacted.

Is there any circumstance in which a Palestinian facing the Israeli military or an Israeli settler or any other branch of the Israeli government would be entitled to the right of self-defence? This is not just a rhetorical question. Similar to the experiences of black people in the United States during the Jim Crow era, this double standard is the backbone of the oppressive system Palestinians are forced to endure.

Canadian politicians are quick to reinforce this hypocrisy. Recent history gives us multiple examples. In December 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated:

We will continue to stand strongly against the singling out of Israel at the UN. Canada remains a steadfast supporter of Israel and Canada will always defend Israel’s right to live in security.

And back in May 2018, when Trudeau was finally obliged after the shooting of Palestinian-Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani to offer a more nuanced view on Israel’s killing spree on the Gaza border, he still refused to call out Israel by name and even referenced “incitement” on the part of the Palestinians. Then, just a few days later, he opposed an official United Nations investigation into the killings.

Earlier this year, the Trudeau government sent a letter to the International Criminal Court, arguing against its jurisdiction to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. Former Canadian justice minister, Irwin Cotler, also weighed in and filed an official legal brief to the ICC in support of Israel. This is the same Irwin Cotler who the Jerusalem Post described as “one of the staunchest defenders that Israel has around the world”, and a figure who Trudeau insists on quoting during his defamatory attacks against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

What is the message here? State violence is condoned but not popular resistance; Palestinians have no rights to self-defence unless bequeathed by the colonialist forces; and Israel’s security is privileged above all other considerations.

Sadly, these attitudes are so prevalent that they have also filtered down to civil society in the West, even amongst large sections of pro-Palestinian supporters.

The elevation of non-violence as the only tactic beneficial to the Palestinian struggle has taken hold in much of the support movement, and it is of course an easier ‘sell’ that other forms of resistance. In fact, many supporters in Western countries will adamantly argue, and genuinely believe, that non-violent struggle is the best mechanism by which Palestinians can achieve their rights. Before we evaluate the accuracy of that position, let us clearly state that only the Palestinian people themselves can decide the course of their struggle and which tactics fit best at which point in time. That is because the lived experience of Palestinians must determine their priorities, not a viewpoint expressed from a position of privilege and naivete.

Non-violent tactics are of course part of a broader program of struggle and may indeed be the preferred strategy in certain situations. But recognizing that fact does not indicate a rejection of armed resistance against military targets. The right to resist foreign military occupation with armed struggle is recognized internationally and even honoured in many circumstances.

Many liberation movements were deemed “terrorist” by various oppressors and imperialist forces, from South Africa to Algeria. Parallels are often drawn between the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the Palestinian experience, both in the context of how apartheid rule operates institutionally and also how it demonizes resistance. The African National Congress (ANC) was labelled as a terrorist organization by both the United States and the United Kingdom. Today, many Western countries including Canada now attach that label to Palestinian resistance groups. Canadians would be better served by following the example of Sweden’s aid to the ANC during the darkest hours of its struggle against apartheid, support that reportedly helped to save lives and hastened the demise of a racist and vile system.

Palestinians have been highly effective in their use of civil disobedience campaigns, from the general strike of 1936, the Beit Sahour tax strike during the First Intifada to the more recent Great Return March. But most Palestinians will tell you that had it not been for the armed struggle of certain decades, the whole Palestinian tragedy would be nothing more than a footnote in today’s history books. The first generation of Palestinians after 1948 spent many years appealing unsuccessfully to the United Nations and various world governments before successive generations took up arms to show that they were not going to be erased from history, similar to what had happened to so many other colonized peoples.

Palestinians have long understood that no matter what type of struggle they are engaged in, the reaction from the Israeli military is always the same–killing, maiming and destruction. The Israeli government continues to respond with excessive force to all forms of Palestinian protest, because the only thing that will satisfy their objectives is for Palestinians to abandon any hope of national independence and full rights. This is something that will never happen.

Marion Kawas is a long-time pro-Palestinian activist and writer, and a member of Canada Palestine Association.

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel freezes Palestinian Authority tax revenue again

MEMO | April 27, 2020

A court in Jerusalem decided on Sunday to freeze NIS450m ($128m) of Palestinian Authority tax revenue collected by Israeli customs, Quds Press has reported. The decision followed a lawsuit submitted by dozens of Israelis whose relatives were killed in resistance action against the military occupation during the Second Intifada.

The Israel Law Centre — Shurat HaDin — filed the complaints for the plaintiffs and asked the court to freeze NIS7.1bn ($2.16bn) of taxes collected on behalf of the PA by the Israeli customs authorities. The court decided to freeze NIS450m as a first stage, noting that the total sum could reach more than NIS2bn.

PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh described this as “theft and piracy”. In February last year, the Israeli government enforced a 2018 law calling such a revenue freeze, claiming that this money was paid as stipends to the families of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and those who had been killed by the occupation.

Shurat HaDin alleges that it is “at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide” and is “dedicated to protecting the State of Israel.” In November 2017, it was revealed that it had “admitted to being a front for Mossad, Israel’s deadly spy agency.”

April 27, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Two Palestinians wounded in violent Israeli raid on Kafr Qaddum, Settlers pitch tent in Bethlehem

Palestine Information Center – April 26, 2020

WEST BANK – Two Palestinian young men were badly injured during violent clashes on Saturday with the Israeli occupation forces in Kafr Qaddum town, east of Qalqilya.

Local activist Murad Shetaiwi said that a large number of Israeli troops stormed the town from different sides and embarked on intensively firing live and rubber bullets at local youths.

Shetaiwi added that two young men suffered rubber bullet injuries, one in his neck and the other in his face.

He also said that soldiers deliberately fired live ammunition at water tanks on rooftops of some houses, causing damage to them.

Every week, Palestinians and foreign activists stage a weekly march in the town of Kafr Qaddum to protest Israel’s closure of the village’s main street and settlement activities.

The Israeli occupation army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

In a separate incident, a horde of extremist Jewish settlers on the same day deployed a tent on Palestinian land in al-Khinzeer area in Jab’a village, south of Bethlehem.

Recently, Jewish settlers living in illegal West Bank settlements escalated their violations in different areas of Bethlehem, where they set up a prefabricated house in the Palestinian area of Khilat al-Nahla and planted saplings on plots of land in the south of the city as part of their attempts to seize more lands.

April 26, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

World Vision Gaza Director Detained in Israel is in Serious Health Condition Due to Torture

Palestine Chronicle | April 11, 2020

Palestinian humanitarian worker Mohammad al-Halabi, who worked with the American World Vision organization, is in serious health condition due to torture by his Israeli interrogators, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission.

Al-Halabi, 42, from Jabalya refugee camp, was in charge of the Gaza Strip office of World Vision and is now suffering from serious headaches. After losing hearing, he may also lose sight in his eyes due to the torture he underwent after his arrest in Israel.

On June 15, 2016, Al-Halabi was arrested by Israeli occupation forces at the Beit Hanoun (Eretz) Crossing which separates besieged Gaza from Israel, in a joint operation carried out by the Shin Bet security service, the Israeli army and Israeli police.

Since then, he appeared in Israeli courts 135 times in what the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs refers to as “one of the longest trials in the history of the Palestinian captive movement”.

“Now, Mohammed has been transferred, once again, this time to Rimon Prison, where he is being held under extremely harsh conditions, still experiencing all sorts of torture and degradation,” wrote his father, Khalil, in a recent article.

“Israel has no evidence to indict my son. Thus, it resorts to physically and psychologically tormenting him to get exactly what it wants to hear,” Khalil added.

“By charging Mohammed, the Israeli government intends to indict all international charities so that they suffocate Gaza and its heroic people entirely.”

April 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Turkish forces, allied militants cut off drinking water to Syria’s Hasakah, environs

Press TV – March 29, 2020

Turkish forces and allied Takfiri militants have once again cut off drinking water supply to people in Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakah and surrounding areas, only a few days after the Damascus government complained to the United Nations and the Security Council over the issue.

Director General of Hasakah Water Company, Mahmoud al-Ukla, told Syria’s official news agency SANA in a statement on Sunday that the Turkish troops and their allies stopped the pumping of water from the Allouk water station at 10 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) last night, and have refused to reverse their decision.

He emphasized that the measure has deprived up to a million people in the Hasakah region of the essential resource.

Ukla then described the cut in water supply to the Hasakah region as a blatant violation of human rights, an appalling crime against the population of Hasakah, and an act in a way that increases the sufferings of the locals.

Allouk water station is located near the border town of Ra’s al-Ayn, which the Turkish troops and their allied militants seized in October 2019 during the so-called Peace Spring Operation.

“Turkish occupation forces and affiliated terrorists cut off drinking water from Allouk water station and feeding wells deliberately and systematically, depriving more than 600,000 Syrian citizens, mostly women and children, from drinking water,” the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in identical letters sent to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the rotating President of the UN Security Council Zhang Jun on Thursday.

The Syrian ministry noted that the Turkish forces shelled the water station during their cross-border military operation last October, putting it out of service.

Syrian officials, accordingly, briefed the UN Security Council on February 27, informing the international body of a water outage in Hasakah.

“But unfortunately the Security Council, its General Secretariat or relevant international organizations failed to condemn the Turkish forces’ bombing of such a critical civilian facility and their use of water as a weapon against civilians,” the letters pointed out.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry finally called on the Security Council to condemn the crimes being perpetrated by Turkish soldiers, and obligate Ankara to stop its violation of the international law and humanitarian principles, besides its support for terrorist groups wreaking havoc inside Syria.

Turkey has beefed up its military presence in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, the last militant bastion in a nine-year foreign-backed war, where several anti-Damascus terrorist outfits receive Turkey’s support in their persisting militancy against the Syrian government.

Last week, a United Nations official said interruption to the key water station in Syria’s northeast puts thousands of lives at risk as efforts ramp up to stop the outbreak of the novel coronavirus there.

UNICEF Representative in Syria Fran Equiza said the interruption “during the current efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease puts children and families at unacceptable risk.”

He underlined that the station is the main source of water for around 460,000 people in Hasakah city, the town of Tal Tamer as well as al-Hol and Areesha camps.

The Syrian government has applied a series of measures, as cases of COVID-19 infection have been found in the war-ravaged Arab country.

The measures include suspending schools, universities, as well as some ministries and closing marketplaces and restaurants.

The government also stopped public transportations nationwide.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Israel settlers attack Palestinian farmers in Jordan Valley

MEMO | March 16, 2020

While Palestinians are busy fighting the outbreak of the coronavirus, Israeli occupation settlers have increased their attacks in the occupied Jordan Valley, Al Mugtama Magazine reported yesterday.

The armed settlers carried out a wide-scale campaign of attacks on the Palestinian herders and farmers. They stole scores of animals and damaged wide swathes of farmlands.

“The situation in the Jordan Valley is very difficult,” Mahmoud Bsharat, who has received an expropriation order for his farm, told the magazine.

He said that the “gangs of settlers” cut trees and steal cattle, as well as opening fire at the Palestinian shepherds. They also steal tractors from Palestinian farmers and damage their farms.

Activist Aref Daraghmeh told the magazine that Jewish settlers carried out 45 attacks over the past few days in the Jordan Valley, noting that they stole farming equipment in addition to damaging farms and homes.

He also said that the occupation imposed high fines on Palestinians and has been carrying out military drills that damage their crops.

This, Daraghmeh explained, was part of the settlers’ efforts to force Palestinians out of the area in preparation for its annexation by Israel.

The Palestinian Authority warned that Israel may use the state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 to carry out its “colonial” plans in the occupied West Bank based on what was announced in the US ‘deal of the century’.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 8 Comments

Investigation finds Israel soldiers shot at Palestinians simply making a U-turn

Israeli soldiers fire at Palestinians [Ahmad Talat/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli soldiers fire at Palestinians [Ahmad Talat/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | March 13, 2020

An investigation by Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that Israeli soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle whose driver was simply making a U-turn, in what military officials described at the time as an attempted ‘car-ramming’ attack.

According to the paper, on 20 February, the Israeli army spokesperson reported that soldiers had shot at a Palestinian vehicle that accelerated toward them in Beitin village, “in what media reports described as a suspected car ramming attack”.

In fact, after obtaining two videos and interviewing the survivors and witnesses, Haaretz reported that Israeli occupation forces opened fire “as the driver was making a U-turn and hit a rock, and that the soldiers faced no life-threatening situation”.

On the night in question, four Palestinian teenagers from nearby Deir Dibwan were driving toward Beitin at 8.30pm, when “they saw a military jeep coming down the road in the opposite lane”.

Panicking “because the driver had no license, they did a U-turn to head back to Deir Dibwan but struck a rock on the side of the road”, Haaretz described. The Israeli soldiers then got out of the jeep, shooting into the air and then at the car.

One of the passengers, Mohammed Sarameh, was seriously injured and is awaiting further surgery. According to the paper, “his medical file says one bullet had struck him in the back and another hit his left thigh”, and that “he cannot move his limbs and has sustained many injuries in his abdomen”.

Haaretz noted that none of the youths in the car were “suspected of any attacks or attempted attacks” by Israeli authorities.

Moreover, “a look at the car shows that signs of bullet entries appear only on the back of the vehicle. If the soldiers shot while the car was careening toward them then such signs should have appeared on the front or sides of the vehicle.”

The army has also “changed its version of events about the incident,” Haaretz added. For this latest article, the Israeli military spokesperson merely acknowledged that “troops saw a car accelerating toward them and thought it was an attempted car ramming therefore they shot at the vehicle”.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments