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Israeli sniper shoots Palestinian cameraman at Ofer protest

Ma’an – 06/04/2014

BETHLEHEM – Video emerged on Sunday of the moment an Israeli sniper shot a Palestinian cameraman in the stomach while he was covering a protest at Ofer prison on Friday.

Israeli security forces shot and injured Mohammed Basman Yasin, a volunteer cameraman for the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, while he was filming a protest in the West Bank city of Beitunia, according to Israeli website +972.

The video, which could not be independently verified, appears to show Palestinian protesters sitting on the road when Israel forces arrive and begin firing tear gas canisters at them.

At times, protesters are seen throwing rocks at Israeli forces, although in other scenes activists can be seen walking towards an ambulance when Israeli forces open fire without warning in their direction.

At 5:30, meanwhile, two activists can be seen throwing rocks at the heavily-armed Israeli soldiers, when the video cuts to a scene showing Yasin, who is at the back of a large crowd watching the scene, being shot in the stomach.

Israeli forces caused severe damage to his internal organs, and according to B’tselem, doctors have said they may be forced to remove his liver and kidneys.

Yasin is currently hospitalized in Ramallah.

The clashes took place near the Israeli Ofer prison, located in the occupied West Bank, in protest against the Israeli government’s refusal to release a fourth group of veteran Palestinian prisoners it had previously agreed to release as part of ongoing US-sponsored negotiations with the PLO.

13 were reported injured during the clashes, including seven with live bullets.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an that Israeli forces fired at “rioters” who threw rocks and burning tires at security forces, “lightly injuring” five.

April 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Activists and journalists injured in prisoner release protest outside Ofer prison

International Solidarity Movement | April 4, 2014

Ramallah, Occupied Palestine – This afternoon approximately 500 Palestinian, international and Israeli demonstrators gathered close to Ofer Prison in Ramallah to protest against the refusal of the Israeli state to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners. As part of the current round of talks between Fatah (the Palestinian government of the West Bank) and the Israeli government, a series of prisoner releases was promised by the state of Israel, and the fourth was due to be carried out by the end of March, the Israeli government has now refused to honor the final release.

The demonstration began at approximately 12pm, the protests’ aim was to march towards Ofer prison itself, but due to the large number of Israeli forces present, this was not possible. The demonstrators also twice attempted a prayer at the start of the protest, but were unable to due to the high level of aggression from Israeli forces.

rsz_dsc01379-2-400x357As the demonstration was beginning a 53-year-old Palestinian was shot at several times through the window of his car as he was driving away from Israeli forces. One of these rubber-coated steel bullets struck him in the head. The rubber-coated steel bullet broke several bones around his eye, a piece of the bullet was unable to be immediately removed and so he required surgery.

The level of violence escalated from this point as Palestinian youth threw stones at the Israeli military, while they (the military) fired hundreds of tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition, injuring many demonstrators. At several points during the demonstration, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters directly at protesters, both highly dangerous and in contravention to Israeli military procedure, which is shooting them up into an arch to lower the impacted velocity.

A full list of all those injured is currently not available, however at least 10 people were transferred by ambulance to a local hospital in Ramallah to seek medical treatment for their injuries and Red Crescent medics at the demonstration treated many others for varying wounds.

Below is a list of specific injuries that were confirmed both at the demonstration and from ISM activists at the local Ramallah hospital:

  • A 21-year-old Palestinian activist was injured after being shot from extremely close range with a sponge-tipped projectile in the back.
  • Two ISM activists were also both shot from extremely close range with sponge-tipped projectiles in their backs.
  • A 20-year-old Palestinian was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the head.
  • A 48-year-old Palestinian journalist was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the left shoulder.
  • A Palestinian activist was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the foot.
  • A 20-year-old Palestinian was shot with two .22 live ammunition bullets in his foot and in his knee.
  • A 30-year-old Palestinian was shot with .22 live ammunition in his right hand.
  • Another Palestinian was shot with .22 live ammunition in his left foot; the bullet was unable to be removed.
  • 36-years-old Palestinian was shot with two .22 live ammunition bullets, both in his left foot.
  • A 31-year-old Palestinian was shot in the left leg with .22 live ammunition.
  • A 36-year-old Palestinian was shot with .22 live ammunition in the left foot.
  • Mohammed Yasin, a photojournalist from Bi’lin who was wearing a press vest, was shot in his face with a rubber-coated steel bullet and also shot in his stomach with a .22 live ammunition bullet. He remains in hospital in serious condition, as the bullet may have destroyed parts of his liver.

An ISMer who was present at Ofer had this to say: “The Israeli forces present were really violent today. It was impossible to count the amount of tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition fired; it felt constant for several hours. It became clear many times during the protest that the soldiers were specifically aiming at people, they weren’t trying to ‘end’ the demo, they just wanted to injure as many people as possible. I just don’t understand how people can defend the Israeli state and its military when they use this much violence against unarmed protesters.”

Photo by ISM

April 4, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Samer Issawi sentenced to 8 months in prison

Ma’an – 21/02/2013

203770_345x230BETHLEHEM – An Israeli court on Thursday sentenced hunger-striker Samer Issawi to eight months in prison, but he has yet to face a military committee which could imprison him for 20 years.

Issawi has been on hunger strike for 204 days.

The magistrates court in Jerusalem sentenced Issawi for leaving Jerusalem, in violation of the terms of his amnesty granted in an Oct. 2011 prisoner exchange deal.

The sentence includes time served since Issawi’s re-arrest in July 2012, and will conclude on March 6, but Issawi also faces a possible sentence under an Israeli military order which allows a special military committee to cancel prisoners’ amnesty.

The committee could use secret evidence to sentence Issawi to serve 20 years, the remainder of his previous sentence.

Issawi was freed in an Oct. 2011 prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel has subsequently re-arrested at least 14 prisoners since the deal.

Ahead of Thursday’s verdict, Israeli forces clashed with hundreds of Palestinians protesting near Ramallah on Thursday in solidarity with long-term hunger strikers like Issawi.

A Ma’an reporter said 29 protesters were injured by rubber-coated bullets and dozens more suffered tear gas inhalation.

Prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe and Fatah central committee member Mahmoud al-Aloul joined the rally, near Israel’s Ofer prison in the central West Bank.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers used “riot dispersal means” against Palestinians who hurled rocks at forces.

Protests have been held across the West Bank and in Gaza in support of Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 204 days, and Tareq Qaadan and Jaafar Azzidine who have refused food for 86 days.

Also Thursday, the Ahmed Abu Rish Brigades on Thursday threatened to fire rockets at Israel if any jailed hunger striker is harmed.

“We will continue to work with rockets and we will not stand by idly. Military operations will be implemented to achieve the rights of prisoners and to free them,” brigades member Abu Ali al-Qawkabi said in a statement.

Al-Qawkabi called on Palestinian leaders in Ramallah to reject any negotiations with Israel and urged the Gaza government to refuse a truce until the detainees’ demands are met.

Islamic Jihad meanwhile has said a truce with Israel could unravel if any hunger striker dies.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority called on the international community to step up efforts to protect and release prisoner like Issawi in Israeli detention facilities.

The cabinet also called on the World Health Organization to move forward on plans made last year to form a fact-finding committee to investigate the conditions in Israeli jails, specifically negligence.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment