Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Israel plans to build walls around Palestinian towns

MEMO | December 18, 2015

015 - CopyMedia reports in Israel have reported that the army is planning to build walls around Palestinians towns and villages on the pretext that it will stop stones being thrown at illegal Jewish settlers.

“The army will build 9 metre high walls in the areas of Beit Ummar, Al-Arroub, Gush Etzion, and the areas surrounding Highway 60, south of the West Bank,” claimed Channel 2 TV.

In response, Mustafa Barghouti, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Anadolu, “The Israeli army’s decision to build walls around important and vital areas in the southern part of the West Bank aims to control large Palestinian areas for settlers. It also aims to isolate the areas from each other in order to prevent any chance to establish a Palestinian state.”

Such walls, added Barghouti, are in addition to the 676 military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank as part of the Israeli plan to divide the territory and control all of its vital areas.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cover not their blood

yousef_2-300x300

Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, 1995-2011
Yesh Din | November 24, 2013

Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, aged 16, was shot and killed on January 28th, 2011, probably by a settler. The prosecution took 14 months to appoint an attorney to the case, and eventually closed it due to lack of evidence.

Many of the posts in this blog deal with the incompetence of Israeli police investigations, and it’s possible that the death of Yusuf Fahri Mussa Ahleil, a 16-year old boy from Beit ‘Ummar, will be added to this list; but for the time being, it is a story of criminal negligence on behalf of the prosecution.

On January 28th, 2011, something happened in the village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron region. The testimonies describe an assault by Israeli civilians from two different directions simultaneously. Both incidents involved shooting; the second one ended in death. Witnesses describe a large group of Israeli civilians raiding the village, among whom three fired at the Palestinians using weapons, likely M-16 assault rifles. According to one of the witnesses, the Israelis were conducting some sort of ceremony, blew a shofar, and then opened fire. The witnesses agree that no military troops were present and that they arrived only after the shooting.

When it was all over, Yusuf Ahleil, who was on his way to help his father with his work in the field, lay dead on the ground. The testimony of the father, Fahri, is worth quoting: “I work in agriculture, and that is my main profession. During their vacations the children help me. Before I went to work [on the morning of the incident] I asked my son Yusuf to come with me to work later during the day. At some point I heard the sound of gunshots; I did not know what it was about and kept on working. And then, I don’t remember the time, some people from the village came with a vehicle and asked to take me home. I did not understand why – I refused but they insisted, took me with them and brought me back home. When we arrived, I saw that most of the village was gathered next to my house. I asked what happened? I was told, your son was shot. I said, how can that be? We agreed that he should join me at work. This is how I learned that my son, while on his way to work with me, had been wounded by the settlers.” Yusuf was shot in the head, and died.

The family filed a complaint with the police that same day. From that point onwards, our monitoring tells the story. On February 16th, 2011, the police informed us that the case was under investigation. On March 14th, 2011, it told us it received testimonies and photographs, and asked that we provide any further information we may come across. On May 2nd, 2011, the police informed us that the case had been transferred to the Jerusalem District Prosecution Office.

On June 5th, 2011, we called the Jerusalem District Attorney Office to ask which prosecuting attorney is handling the case. None had yet been appointed. We asked the same office again on August 24th, 2011, i.e. almost seven months after the incident, but the prosecution did not consider the violent death – this fact is not disputed – of a 16-year old boy as something requiring the immediate attention of an attorney. We repeated our query in September 25th, 2011. We might as well be speaking to the walls.

October 24th came and went, and the death of Yusuf still did not hinder the sleep of the prosecutors. We had reached December 15th, 2011, and the boy who had dropped dead from a bullet in his head still failed to arouse the interest of the prosecutors. On January 15th, 2012, almost a year since he had been killed, Yusuf’s prosecution file was still gathering dust. We kept on pestering, and on March 20th, 2012 – that is almost 14 months since the killing – we were informed that on this happy day a prosecutor had been assigned to the case. A week later, we tried to verify with her what steps she she had taken with the case so far. We were not dignified with an answer.

We repeated the question, to no avail, two months later. We are stubborn people, studied in the ways of banging our heads against the system’s wall, so we asked once again on July 30th, 2012 whether the prosecutors made any decision – four months since a prosecutor had been assigned to the case, and more than 18 months since the killing itself, but who’s counting. We did not receive a response.

On January 3rd, 2013, nearly two years after the killing and nine months after a prosecutor was assigned to the case, she still had no answer for us. Six months breezed by, and on August 4th, 2013, the prosecutor informed us that on July 30th, 2013, she had made the decision to close the case. The police had identified four suspects; the prosecutor closed the case against three of them for lack of evidence and against the fourth, for lack of criminal culpability.

That was the beginning of August. Since then we’ve been trying to get a hold of the investigative file so we can appeal the decision to close it. Until recently, the prosecution had failed in the rather simple job of providing us with it. There were contradictory claims as to what happened to it. The prosecution said it was sent back to the Hebron Police, which in turn said they never got it back. We are happy to report, however, that recently the file was found, photocopied, and will be reviewed by us soon.

Let’s conduct a mental experiment. Let’s say the victim is still 16 years old, still residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but is not burdened with a foreign, Palestinian, name like Yussuf Alhleil; let’s say his name is something familiar, say Yossi Hebroni. Our hypothetical Yossi Hebroni was shot near a Palestinian village. Can anyone imagine that the prosecution would amble slowly to the case after 14 months? Or that it would need 16 more months to make up its mind?

The prosecution is entrusted, since Israel controls the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with protecting its residents from violence. When they are the victims of theft, it ought to bring the thief to justice. When they are killed, its duty is to bring justice for the dead.

The case of Yusuf Fahri Mussa Alhleil shows us how seriously the prosecution takes this duty. It removes another thin layer of the already crumbling patina of the claim that there is something you may refer to with a straight face as “rule of law” in the West Bank. Where the rule of law is absent, what we see is the law of nature, where the strong rule over the weak. The point of our social contract with the government is to overcome nature’s law, under which, to quote Hobbes, life is “nasty, brutish and short.” In the most gentle words possible, in Yusuf’s case – and, unfortunately, in far too many others – the prosecution has betrayed the social contract.

The result that there is the father who waits in vain for his son to return to him in the field, and killers who know that nothing will happen to them if they kill once more.

November 25, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli soldiers violently attack and arrest peaceful protesters in Beit Ummar

International Solidarity Movement | August 17, 2013

Beit Ummar, Occupied Palestine – Yesterday, the 16th August, four people were violently arrested at a peaceful demonstration taking place near the village of Al-Masara, on the outskirts of Hebron(Al Khalil). Around sixty demonstrators calling for the dismantlement of illegal Israeli settlements upon Palestinian land were attacked and the protest was disbanded by Israeli soldiers within minutes.

At around 11.30am the procession began, with many people waving flags and calling chants for freedom. An Israeli military vehicle drove by, immediately turned around and blocked the road. Within two minutes two more military jeeps and one police car had joined the blockade. Heavily armed soldiers stormed the procession, splitting the group into two and beating protesters to the ground. The soldiers pushed protesters back and formed a wall of plastic shields. Four men including two Palestinian and two international protesters were arrested.

One of the arrested men, Abed, was holding a camera and documenting the demonstration when he was violently grabbed and pushed by an Israel soldier. Abed shouted at the soldier to let go of his arm and tried to pull away from the soldiers grasp. The soldier responded by strangling and arresting him. Another protester, Muad Al-lahham, was arrested while calmly waving a Palestinian flag.

Local Palestinians are incensed by the continuous settlement expansion and subsequent annexation of their land that deliberately prevents farmers from harvesting their crops. This disabling act of aggression has led to local Palestinian families being financially crippled. As an act of resistance, the local people regularly hold peaceful demonstrations that are consistently met with force from the Israeli occupation. These acts, usually held on Friday – Juma’a – often use symbolism to convey their message. Two weeks ago the locals erected a tent on occupied Palestinian land, as a mark of resistance to the Israeli settlements.

Palestinians here are used to being arrested at their demonstrations. Yesterday, Mahmoud from Al-Masara had his permit taken from him, which is indicative of imminent arrest. For Mahmoud, this is routine and he calmly smoked a cigarette while soldiers decided his fate. Mahmoud was allowed to maintain his freedom, but he never knows when an arrest may come. Asked why he continues to protest he said: “Our goal is to live in peace and to have our freedom like anybody else in the world. Israelis have occupied Palestine, but they can never occupy our minds.”

The majority of protesters came from the villages of Beit Ummar and Al-Masara, which are both affected by Highway 60, built by Israeli authorities. The highway cuts through the villages, dividing people from their farm lands. As well as this, the inhabitants of the Israeli settlement of Kami Tzur that is close to the villages use intimidation and force in attempt to prevent the farmers harvesting their crops. The force used by the Israeli army at yesterday’s protest demonstrates the intolerance toward peaceful protesters who make a stand against this injustice.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A life of uncertainty under occupation

image7-400x299

Nasri Sabarna
International Solidarity Movement | May 13, 2013

Beit Ummar, Occupied Palestine – At 3am on 13th May, Nasri Sabarna of Beit Ummar woke up to the sound of Israeli soldiers kicking down his front door. The sound of them shooting tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs at people passing his house on their way to the Mosque for morning prayer also woke up his 3 year old granddaughter, whose crying in turn woke up the rest of the Sabarna household.

The 6 jeeps full of soldiers had come to arrest his 21 year old son Achmed – for the fifth time. Achmed is a 21 year old student who has yet to be charged with any crime. As Achmed was not home at the time the soldiers invaded his home, the whole family were ordered to go to the police station in the illegal settlement of Gush Etzyon the following morning at 9am. It was here that Achmed was taken into interrogation. Despite not being guilty of committing any crime, his father does not expect to see him anytime soon. Achmed has already been forced to miss two years of university because of similar incidents, which have cost his family a lot of money – Achmed was arrested for the first time when he was 13 years old.

His father, Nasri is no stranger to the Israeli culture of injustice practiced against Palestinians. At the age of 13, he himself was arrested by Israeli soldiers without charge and imprisoned for 10 months. His whole life has been shaped by the occupation around him. He remembers seeing Israeli bulldozers demolish three historic homes in his village of Beit Ummar at the age of 10 – such events inspired him to become politically active. In 1978 he established the first student council in Palestine, going on later to become mayor of his home village of Beit Ummar. In Israel’s bid to crush any Palestinian political organisation, Nasri was imprisoned for 6 years between 1988 and 1994 for the sole reason of being a member of the political party Fatah.

Nasri’s main concern now is the effect that Israel’s systematic use of administrative detention, harrassment and abuse will have on the younger generations of Palestinians born under occupation. When he was mayor, 40 soldiers broke into his house and destroyed most of their belongings. They wore balaclavas as they did so and terrified his youngest son Abdullah.

Over the following weeks Abdullah’s teachers told his father that his mood had changed, he had become aggressive, argumentative and unusually violent. Nasri sought the help of psychologists from Medicenes Sans Frontiers who worked with Abdullah regularly. He told the psychologists of times where soldiers had lined him and his classmates up when walking home from school and made them jump over their guns before beating them.

The psychological treatment helped Abdullah, who is now ten, to deal with such issues and his behaviour is now back to normal. But Nasri worries for those hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are not so lucky to receive treatment. A combination of abuse and detentions coupled with the daily destruction of homes, land, resources and opportunities for young people in the West Bank diminishes any hope they may have for the future and ultimately leads them to seek out revenge through violence.

Nasri emphasised that this is not a struggle between religions, nor are different religious groups inherently incapable of coexisting in harmony. Colonialism and Zionism are the driving forces behind the brutality of the occupation and only granting Palestinians their freedom can bring around real peace. To summarise, Nasri said “No nation can just get rid of another nation.”

May 13, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on A life of uncertainty under occupation

Israeli interrogators sexually harass Palestinian children in detention

Palestine Information Center – 08/07/2012

RAMALLAH — A number of Palestinian children who were detained in different circumstances have reported their exposure to abuse and maltreatment by Israeli soldiers and interrogators.

In some cases, the interrogators sexually harassed the children and on other occasions they threatened to rape them if they did not cooperate or make certain confessions, according to the children’s testimonies.

Palestinian statistics documented the detention of more than 9,000 children during the past ten years, mostly from occupied Jerusalem and West Bank villages such as Bil’in, Ma’sarah, Kafr Qaddum, Nabi Saleh and Beit Ummar.

A child named Mohamed said an Israeli interrogator threatened to sexually harm him if he refused to confess to throwing stones at soldiers and settlers.

Samer, another child, was given the choice of working as an informer or else he would be tortured, raped and jailed on a charge of throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli patrol in Azzun village near Qalqiliya city.

For his part, director of the Al-Haq organization for human rights Shawan Jabbarin said the Israeli interrogators offer to get rid of the sexual and psychological pressure inflicted on the detained Palestinian children if they will work for them.

Jabbarin noted that Israel violates all limitations for the detention of minors under age 18 as stipulated by the fourth Geneva convention.

He stressed the need for the presence of a lawyer or one of the parents during the interrogation of children to prevent violations against them and to protect their rights.

The activist appealed to the UN and human rights organizations to intervene and oblige Israel to respect international law on the rights of children and release them all from its jails.

July 8, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Jewish settlers attack Palestinian farmer and his children

Palestine Information Center – 31/03/2012

AL-KHALIL — Jewish settlers attacked a 67-year-old Palestinian farmer while tending to his field along with his family in Beit Ummar, to the north of Al-Khalil, on Saturday morning.

Mohammed Awad, the coordinator of the popular committee in Beit Ummar, told Quds Press that Mohammed Salibi, 67, was tending to his farm along with his sons and daughters when suddenly dozens of masked settlers from the nearby settlement of Beit Ayin ran toward them while throwing rocks.

He said that he rushed to protect his children, who were panicked, and took them away to their home leaving his tractor behind.

Salibi said that the savage attack progressed under the very eyes of the Israeli occupation soldiers (IOF), who maintain constant presence in the area and occupy high watchtowers that enable them watch whatever is going on nearby but did not move to protect him or his family.

Elsewhere in Al-Khalil, IOF soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian shepherd near Susiya settlement while watching for his sheep that were grazing nearby.

Ratib Al-Jibour, the coordinator of the popular committee in Yatta town, said that an IOF unit kidnapped Hammad Nawaja, 33, after claiming that he tried to cut the barbed wire near the settlement.

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Eight children from Beit Ummar facing suspension from their village of residence

International Solidarity Movement, West Bank | March 26, 2012

Eight children between the ages of 14 to 17 years old were arrested in Beit Ummar during night raids from 6th to 11th of March conducted by the Israeli occupation forces following a nonviolent solidarity demonstration for the hungerstriker Khader Adnan on the 21st of February.

On Tuesday 20th of March the youth went to court at the Israeli military court at Ofer and faced a sentence of being banned from Beit Ummar, where they live with their families, for a period of 6 months. The youth are being accused of throwing stones at Israeli military installations. The detainees are Ayesh Khalid Sabri Awad (17 years), Basil Khalid Hassan Abu Hashim (15 years), Zain Hisham Khalil Abu Maria (15 years) Sami Amer Ahmed Abo Joudeh (16 years), Emad Mohammed Saed Solaiby (16 years), Mohab Jawdat Adi (14 years), Bilal Mahmud Awad Ayyad (16 years), and Ahmed Ali Mahmoud Solaiby (16 years).

The announcement of the sentence aroused opposition on the part of family members of the accused, leading to removal of the family members from the court and adjournment until the 25th of March. Issa Solaiby, father of Ahmed, says his son was also beaten by 4 soldiers in the court.

Hisham Abu Maria, father of Zain, claims that the children are being pressured to agree to false accusations. He said, “They made him (Zain) say he threw rocks at the soldiers even though there were no soldiers” present at the time noted in the charges.

The village of Beit ummar has around 17,000 inhabitants and is surrounded by illegal, Zionist settlements. According to Issa Solaiby a member of the local Popular Committee, Beit Ummar used to consist of 33,000 dunams of land. The building of the separation wall by Israel and a road that is closed off to Palestinians took 13,000 dunams of the village land.

Since then an additional 3,000 dunams have been stolen by settlers living in illegal Israeli settlements. The inhabitants of Beit Ummar suffer from violence from the settlers living in the surrounding settlements. Issa Solaiby also complains that the settlers prevent the farmers from access to their own land and destroy olive trees and grape vines.

In March the settlers living in the illegal Beit Ain settlement destroyed 14 olive trees, 21 grape vine plants, and 2 citrus trees from the village in an act of incitement.

According to Issa the settlers also enter the village with soldiers and guns to make the villagers aware of their aggressive presence. One year ago 17-year-old Yousef Ikhlayl was shot and killed by Israeli settlers as he was farming with his father. His killers remain unpunished.

Many of the villagers have been arrested and gone to jail. Imprisonment is a problem especially with young people. According to Muhannad Abu Awwad 10,000 villagers have gone to jail and at present 30 inhabitants, most of them under 16, are serving time in Israeli occupation prisoners.

Muhannad himself went to jail for two years from the age 21 until 23 and is now studying law.

March 26, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Settlers Install New Outpost Near Hebron

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | February 03, 2012

A group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers installed a new illegal settlement outpost, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, on Friday while another group of armed settlers invaded areas in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron.

Rateb Jabbour, coordinator of the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, reported that approximately 250 settlers, accompanied by Israeli Border Police officers, invaded that Al-Carmel village, and installed six new caravans in Um Ash-Shuqhan area, near the Maoun illegal outpost that was installed on privately-owned Palestinian lands.

In related news, Yousef Abu Maria, media spokesperson of the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, stated that approximately 150 settlers attacked Palestinian farmlands in Za’ta area, east of Beit Ummar, and blocked the Jerusalem-Hebron road in front of Palestinian traffic.

According to Abdul-Hadi Hantash, a Palestinian expert on Maps and Settlements, that recent escalation is part of a larger plan that aims at installing more outposts, and expanding existing ones, by stealing more Palestinian lands.

Hantash added that settlers are stealing Palestinian lands in Um Ash-Shuqhan area, and installing new outposts, so that they can create a geographical contiguity by linking the new outposts with the settlements of Ma’oun, Karmiel, Havat Yair, Avigayil, and Susyia. All are illegal outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian lands.

The official further stated that Israel is implementing an agenda that aims at isolating the Palestinians in Hebron by the illegal Annexation Wall and the chain of settlements and outposts built on the hills of the Hebron district.

“Israel wants to force the Palestinians out of their homes and lands, wants them to leave”, Hantash added, “But the residents are determined to remain steadfast in their homes, lands”.

February 3, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Comments Off on Settlers Install New Outpost Near Hebron