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In a Preemptive Move, Netanyahu Calls for ‘Sanctions’ against ICC

The Palestine Chronicle | January 21, 2020

Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for imposing sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC), following an earlier announcement by the court that it intends to investigate alleged war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“The US government under President Trump has spoken forcefully against the ICC for this travesty, and I urge all your viewers to do the same, to ask for concrete actions, sanctions, against the international court – its officials, its prosecutors, everyone,” Netanyahu said during an interview with Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Meanwhile, the ICC announced on Tuesday that it will delay its debate on the issue, which is intended to determine “whether it has the jurisdiction to probe alleged Israeli war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem due to a procedural error related to the filing’s page limit,” The Guardian newspaper reported.

Editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud commented that “the high level of the ICC investigations places the legal push against Israel at an entirely new level.”

“This is uncharted territory for Israel, the United States, Palestine, the ICC, and the international community as a whole. There is little doubt that some joint Israeli-American effort is already underway to develop strategies aimed at countering, if not altogether dismissing, the ICC investigation,” Baroud added.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

In the name of ‘Israel’s security’, retreating US gives it billions more in military aid

By Ramzy Baroud | The Palestine Chronicle | January 21, 2020

Billions of US taxpayers’ dollars will continue to be funnelled into Israel in the next fiscal year, and for many years in the foreseeable future. Republican and Democratic Senators have recently ensured just that, passing a Bill aimed at providing Israel with $3.3 billion in aid every year.

The Bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, was passed on 9 January, only one day after Iran struck US positions in Iraq. Enthusiasm to push the Bill forward was meant to be an assurance to Tel Aviv from Washington that the US is committed to Israel’s security and military superiority in the Middle East.

Despite a palpable sense of war fatigue among all Americans, regardless of their political leaning, their country continues to sink deeper into Middle East conflicts simply because it is unable – or perhaps unwilling — to challenge Israel’s benefactors across the US government. “What’s good for Israel is good for America” continues to be the supreme maxim within Washington’s political elites, despite the fact that such irrational thinking has wrought disasters on the Middle East as a whole, and is finally forcing a hasty and humiliating American retreat.

The latest aid package to Israel will officially put into law a “Memorandum of Understanding” that was reached between the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Barack Obama administration in 2016. At the time, Obama had offered Israel the largest military aid package in US history.

Senator Rubio explained the passing of the recent Bill in terms of the “unprecedented threats” that are supposedly faced by Israel. Coons, meanwhile, said that “the events of the past few days [the US-Iran escalation], were a stark reminder of the importance of US assistance to Israel’s security.”

What is particularly odd about Coons’ statement is the fact that it was not Israel, but US positions in Iraq that were struck by Iranian missiles, and that they were fired in response to the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Yet, the American taxpayers’ funding of Israel’s military adventures continues unabated, despite the rapidly changing political reality in the Middle East, and the shifting US role in the region. This confirms further that the blind US support of Israel is not motivated by a centralised, distinctly American, strategy that aims to serve US interests. Instead, the unconditional – and, often, self-defeating — US government funding of the Israeli war machine is linked largely to domestic American politics and, indeed, the unparalleled power wielded by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States.

According to the public policy research institute of the United States Congress, the Congressional Research Centre (CRS), between 1946 and 2019 (including the requested funds for 2020) US aid to Israel has exceeded $142 billion. Most of this immense sum of money — over $101 billion — went directly to the Israeli military budget, while over $34 billion and $7 billion went to Israel in terms of economic aid and missile defence funding respectively.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the US no longer possesses a well-defined and centralised strategy in the Middle East; President Donald Trump changes American priorities from one speech or tweet to the next. However, the one consistent key phrase in whatever political agenda happens to be championed by Washington in the region at any particular time is: “Israel’s security”.

This precarious term seems to be linked to every American action pertaining to the Middle East, as it has for decades under every American administration, without exception. Wars have been launched or funded in the name of Israel’s security; human rights have been violated on a massive scale; the five-decade — and counting — military occupation of Palestine, the protracted siege of the impoverished Gaza Strip and much more, have all been carried out, defended and sustained in the name of Israel’s security.

US aid to Israel — the occupying state — continues, while all American aid to the Palestinians — the people under Israeli occupation — has been cut off, including the $300 million annual donation to the UN Agency responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. The Agency has provided education, healthcare and shelter for millions of refugees since 1949, but is now, bizarrely, seen by both Israel and the US as “an obstacle to peace”.

Inexplicably, Israel receives roughly “one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though (it) comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes,” wrote Professor Stephen Zunes in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

This massive budget includes much more than the $3.3 billion of annual funding, but the other amounts and perks rarely make headlines. Anywhere between $500 million to $800 million is given to Israel every year as part of a missile defence package; an additional $1 billion benefits Israel in the form of tax-deductible donations, while $500 billion is invested in Israeli bonds.

Then there are the loan guarantees, where the US government assumes the responsibility for billions of dollars that Israel can access as a borrower from international creditors. If Israel defaults on its loans, it is the legal responsibility of the US government to offset the interest on the borrowed money.

Since 1982, Israel has been receiving US aid as a lump sum, as opposed to scheduled payments, as happens with other countries. To fulfil its self-imposed obligations to Israel, the US government borrows the money, and is thus left to pay interest on the loans. “Israel even lends some of this money back through US treasury bills and collects the additional interest,” Zunes explained.

US relations with Israel are not governed by the kind of political wisdom that is predicated on mutual benefit. But they are not entirely irrational either, as the American ruling classes have aligned their interests, their perception of the Middle East and their country’s role in that region with that of Israel, thanks to years of media and official indoctrination.

Despite the fact that the US is retreating from the region, lacking strategy and future vision, lawmakers in Washington are congratulating themselves on passing yet another generous aid package to Israel. They feel proud of their great feat because, in their confused thinking, a ‘secured’ Israel is the only guarantor of US dominance in the Middle East. That is a theory that has been proven false, time and time again.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Jews’ Ten Pledges vs Palestinians’ Eleven Red Lines

All five leadership candidates embrace ‘Ten Pledges’ that dictate how they must think, speak and act.

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | January 21, 2020

The UK Labour Party is saying goodbye to Jeremy Corbyn as leader after its disastrous general election performance and has begun choosing someone else.

Wasting no time, the Board of Deputies of British Jews last week published Ten Pledges they wanted Labour leadership hopefuls to sign up to if the Party’s relationship with the Jewish community was to be healed.

The BoD claim anti-Semitism in the party became a matter of great anxiety for the UK’s Jews during Corbyn’s four years in office and it will take at least 10 years to repair the damage. Their president Marie van der Zyl says: “We expect that those seeking to move the party forward will openly and unequivocally endorse these Ten Pledges in full, making it clear that if elected as leader, or deputy leader, they will commit themselves to ensuring the adoption of all these points.

“Tackling antisemitism must be a central priority of Labour’s next leader,” she insists. “We will certainly be holding to account whoever ultimately wins the contest.”

But is there really an anti-Semitism crisis other than the one caused by the Jewish State itself and mischievously drummed up within Labour? As former Israeli Director of Military Intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi wrote: “It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”  It has been suggested before that so-called anti-Semitism is a matter best resolved by the Jewish ‘family’ itself.

Obedience required

The BoD claim that all the leadership contenders – Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry – have signed the Ten Pledges, and three of the five deputy-leader candidates have done so. What are these crisis-busting Ten Pledges they’ve committed the Party to?

(1) Resolve outstanding cases – All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.

  • Absolutely.

(2) Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent – An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.

  • Of course.

(3) Ensure transparency – Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.

  • Except that complainers, including the BoD, have a poor record of keeping even their wildest allegations confidential.

(4) Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders – It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.

  • It is not clear from the evidence that Livingstone or Jackie Walker committed an offence. They were hounded out and not, I think, by any independent arbitrator.

(5) Communicate with resolve – Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.

  • This should apply also to false accusers and to the BoD themselves if failing to condemn the “harmful behaviours” of their brethren in the Israeli regime towards our sisters and brothers in Palestine.

(6) Provide no platform for bigotry –  Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs [local parties] who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.

  • Unacceptable. Many have been suspended for no good reason. And suspension does not mean guilt.

(7) Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification – The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.

  • How many times must you be told that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a minefield? Top legal opinion (for example Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson QC) warn that it is “most unsatisfactory”, has no legal force, and using it to punish could be unlawful. Furthermore it cuts across the right of free expression enshrined in UK domestic law and underpinned by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. This applies not only to information or ideas that are regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”. Labour Party members should know all this. The prohibitive IHRA definition is not something a sane organisation would incorporate into its Code of Conduct.

(8) Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community – The Jewish Labour Movement should be reengaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.

  • The BoD and JLM would do better teaching anti-racism to the Israeli regime and its supporters. Besides, MPs and councillors don’t ‘belong’ to the Labour Party or any other party; they belong to the public who elected them as their representative. No outside body should expect to influence their freedom of thought, expression or action (see the Seven Principles of Public Life).

(9) Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups – Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.

  • Labour should engage with the Jewish community though any representative organisation or individual it pleases.

(10) Show leadership and take responsibility – The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.

  • There’s no agreement that anything approaching a crisis exists within the Party.

Leadership front-runner Starmer is a former human rights lawyer and ought to know better. Long-Bailey is another lawyer who should hang her head in shame. Thornberry is a former barrister specialising in human rights law – words fail.  Jess Phillips, a member of Labour Friends of Israel, wrote Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S., described as “the little book we all need to help us call time on the seemingly unstoppable tide of bullshit in our lives”. The irony of it seems lost on her. Lisa Nandy is a puzzle as she’s chair of Labour Friends of Palestine.

If this bunch won’t robustly uphold freedom of expression guaranteed by law and international convention what have they let their hapless party in for? Those standing for deputy-leader also have little excuse. Angela Rayner was shadow education secretary, Ian Murray read Social Policy and Law, and Rosena Allin-Khan is a Muslim and former humanitarian aid doctor. They obediently signed the Ten Pledges. Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon declined.

When, a year ago, the French Republic presented its Human Rights Award to B’Tselem (the Israeli human rights group) its Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, thanking the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, said of Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians: “The occupation…. is organized, prolonged state violence which brings about dispossession, killings, and oppression. All branches of the state are part of it: ministers and judges, officers and planners, parliamentarians and bureaucrats.”

On another occasion B’Tselem said: “If the international community does not come to its senses and force Israel to abide by the rules that are binding to every state in the world, it will pull the rug out from under the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WWII era.”

When a respected Israeli organisation speaks truth in such stark terms it cannot be ignored.  And recent UN reports confirm that the Israelis abuse and torture child prisoners. So why would anyone – especially those competing to be Labour Party leader and one day prime minister – agree to dance to the tune of those who pimp and lobby on Israel’s behalf?

Who will punish the false accusers?

The BoD nevertheless make some valid points. The Labour Party takes a ridiculously long time to deal with allegations of anti-Semitism, many of which are false or vexatious and could be dismissed in five minutes. Let me tell you about two Scottish Labour politicians wrongly accused of anti-Semitic remarks and suspended. Let’s call them ‘A’ and ‘B’. Both are regional councillors.

Constituency party officials declared ‘A’ guilty immediately and issued a press statement to that effect without waiting for him to be heard, hugely prejudicing any investigation. This stupidity was compounded by his Council leader publicly calling on him to resign as a councillor and saying his thinking belonged to the Dark Ages: “To smear an entire community both past and present, to say he has lost ‘all empathy’ for them is utterly deplorable,” he was quoted in the press.

What was ‘A’s crime? He had tweeted: “For almost all my adult life I have had the utmost respect and empathy for the Jewish community and their historic suffering. No longer, due to what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to my party and the long suffering people of Britain…” Was nobody in the local party aware that the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies were then leading an obnoxious campaign to discredit Labour and Jeremy Corbyn?

‘B’, a respected lady councillor, was accused of anti-Semitism by a former Labour MP who was already on record as wanting to impose limits on freedom of expression. A Tory MP immediately put the boot in, telling the media it was clear to the vast majority of people that ‘B’ was no longer fit to hold office and suspension didn’t go far enough.

And what was ‘B’s crime? She had voiced suspicion on social media that Israeli spies might be plotting to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader after three Jewish newspapers ganged up to publish a joint front page warning that a Corbyn-led government would pose an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country”.

She added that if it was a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government (which pledged to recognise Palestinian statehood) it amounted to an unwarranted interference in our democracy. For good measure she said Israel was a racist State and, since the Palestinians are also Semites, an anti-Semitic one.

‘B’ was eventually interviewed by party investigators. They surely knew that in January 2017 a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, had plotted with stooges among British MPs and other activists to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan. And that Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s former chief spokesman and mastermind behind Israel’s propaganda programme of disinformation, had recently arrived in London as the new ambassador.

Masot was almost certainly a Mossad tool. His hostile scheming was revealed not by Britain’s own security services and media, as one would have hoped, but by an Al Jazeera undercover team. Our Government dismissed the matter saying: “The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.” But at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting Israel insider Miko Peled warned that “they are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn…. the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument….”

Given such a blatant attempt by an Israeli asset to undermine British democracy, with Regev in the background and (quite probably) Mossad pulling the strings, ‘B’s suspicions were reasonable enough and she had a right to voice them.

As for Israel being a racist State, its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and other brutal policies over 70 years make it obvious. And the discriminatory Nation State laws recently adopted by Israel put the question beyond doubt. Her point about anti-Semitism was also well made. DNA research (see for example the Johns Hopkins University study published by Oxford University Press) shows that while very few Jews are Semitic most indigenous Arabs in the Holy Land, especially Palestinians, are Semites. The term ‘anti-Semitism’, long used to describe hatred of Jews, is a misnomer that hides an inconvenient truth.

And it couldn’t have been difficult to establish that the opportunistic Tory MP calling her unfit to hold office was the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, which is funded, supported and administered by The Board of Deputies. The case against ‘B’ should have been dropped instantly and action taken against the troublemakers.  Instead, weeks later, ‘B’ was posting on her Facebook page that she was still suspended: “I can’t make any decisions about my personal, political, or professional future whilst this hangs over me. I am constantly tired and anxious, and feel I am making mistakes. I have lost paid work because of what has happened.”

Her suspension was finally lifted but she was “advised” not to post about it or she’d risk losing professional work on which her livelihood depended. That’s how nasty the Labour Party disciplinary machine is. Surely, if the Party lifts a suspension it should issue a public statement saying so.  Must the wrongly accused, after being needlessly humiliated, be left to pick up the pieces and struggle to re-establish their good name? In total ‘B’ had to wait 16 weeks under sentence. And all because of a trumped-up allegation that ought to have been immediately squashed.

As for ‘A’, he stopped answering emails and there has been nothing in the press. Was his suspension lifted? Was he similarly threatened if he said anything? I simply don’t know although I phoned and wrote to the Leader and the General Secretary for an explanation. The latter eventually replied that “the Labour Party cannot, and does not, share personal details about individual party members” and placing a member in administrative suspension “allows a process of investigation to be carried out whilst protecting the reputation of the Labour Party”. Bollox. How did the media get news of these suspensions in the first place? And never mind the damage done to the cowardly Party, what about the reputations of the two councillors and their months of anguish while working for their constituents? I wasn’t asking for case details. All I wanted was the answer to three simple questions:

# Had the suspensions been lifted?
# If so, had the Party issued a public statement to that effect?
# And had the false accusers been disciplined?

Silence… spineless, don’t-give-a-damn silence.

Are these two cases typical of the so-called anti-Semitism crisis? I have no way of knowing. But they show how the Party is run by enough crackpots on the inside without inviting impertinent interference from the outside.

Jews’ Ten Pledges vs Palestinians’ Eleven Red Lines

Anyone signing up to the BoD’s Ten Pledges should consider at the same time subscribing to the ‘Eleven Red Lines’ of anti-Palestinianism. Examples in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

(1) Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

(2) Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

(3) Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

(4) Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

(5) Denial that Palestinians have lived for hundreds of years in land now occupied by Israelis and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

(6) Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.

(7) Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

(8) Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

(9) Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

(10) Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

(11) Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

This working definition of anti-Palestinian racism, described as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”, holds up a mirror to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and was drafted by Jewish Voice For Labour, one of those fringe representative organisations the BoD insist Labour mustn’t engage with.

So here’s a simple test for the BoD: if they demand the Labour Party signs up to their Ten Pledges will they themselves embrace the Eleven Red Lines on anti-Palestinianism?

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel participation in Expo 2020 Dubai amounts to normalization: Hamas

Press TV – January 20, 2020

Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas has censured Israel’s presence in the Expo 2020, which is to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates’ city of Dubai, as a form of normalization between the Persian Gulf state and the Tel Aviv regime.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, in a written statement released on Monday, slammed attempts by a number of Arab countries, particularly Persian Gulf littoral states, to bring out in the open their clandestine relations with the Israeli regime, calling on them to put an end to such efforts.

“Such a behavior encourages the Occupation to increase the level of its crimes against Palestinian people, and to step up its violations against the sanctities of our nation,” the statement added.

“The Zionist regime must remain the principal enemy of the [Palestinian] nation. The campaign against the regime and its policies, which aim to dent all opportunities for the nation’s awakening and development, must continue,” Qassem pointed out.

Israeli authorities are hoping to reach out to Arab peoples through participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

“To us, the added value is in the Arab and Muslim visitor,” Elazar Cohen, the Israeli foreign ministry’s point man for the expo, which is organized by the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), said on December 15 last year.

An auditorium below the pavilion will offer visitors an interactive multimedia experience, the ministry’s director general Yuval Rotem told AFP at the time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the Israeli expo pavilion as part of “the continued progress of normalization with the Arab states,” alleging that building relations with Arab countries will push the Palestinians toward a ‘peace deal’ with the Israeli regime.

Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on November 6 that the UAE is expected to allow tourists holding Israeli passports to take part in the expo.

“Israeli and the UAE’s authorities have been in talks for a while in order to allow those with Israeli passports to attend the expo in Dubai,” an unnamed source within the expo’s management team told the daily at the time, adding, “These talks are happening because both sides want to see the expo turn into the biggest exhibition in the world.”

Another source said the event in Dubai could be a great pilot run during which Israeli tourists would be allowed into the country, and it can be a signal that the UAE “might leave its doors open to Israeli tourists permanently.”

Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz, told a ministerial meeting in Jerusalem al-Quds on August 6 last year that he was working toward “transparent normalization and signed agreements” with a number of Arab Persian Gulf littoral states.

Arab countries — except for Jordan and Egypt — have no formal relations with the Israeli regime.

Israel’s trade with Persian Gulf states is estimated to stand at about $1 billion annually, according to a study published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in August 2018.

Jamal al-Suwaidi, founder of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, told the British newspaper The Guardian in an interview in March that the Palestinian issue is no longer at the top of the agenda among the Arab Persian Gulf states.

“The Palestinian cause is no longer at the forefront of Arabs’ interests, as it used to be for long decades,” he said. “It has sharply lost priority in light of the challenges, threats and problems that face countries of the region.”

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Severe torture in Israeli prisons targets Palestinian steadfastness: Walid Hanatsheh, Samer Arbeed, Mays Abu Ghosh and more

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | January 19, 2020

In the last months of 2019 and early 2020, a growing number of cases of severe physical torture against Palestinian detainees carried out by Israeli Shin Bet interrogators have been documented. While torture and abuse of various kinds have been a mainstay of the Israeli interrogation process, after a 1999 Israeli Supreme Court ruling and amid widespread international attention, torture under interrogation for some years focused on physical and psychological techniques that were less likely to leave physical scars. However, these tactics, including sleep deprivation, extreme heat and cold, solitary confinement and the use of prolonged shackling in painful positions, are often effective in extracting coerced confessions.

Torture: A mainstay of Israeli apartheid and colonialism

Indeed, many of the same techniques were documented as being used by U.S. interrogators holding detainees in Guantanamo, and U.S. and Israeli security agencies have shared information about interrogation and torture techniques. It must be noted that the Israeli Supreme Court never criminalized torture; it continually allowed “exceptions” through the designation of a detainee as a “ticking time bomb.” In practice, Palestinian victims of torture have repeatedly pursued legal accountability for the crimes committed against them, only to find that the Israeli Supreme Court considered their torture to be a permitted form of “extreme interrogation,” justified for the “security of the state” of occupation, colonialism, apartheid and racism.

Torture is unquestionably illegal under international law. The UN Convention Against Torture defines torture as any practice intentionally inflicting severe physical or mental pain on a victim in order to obtain information or a confession, or in order to punish the victim for their conduct or suspected conduct. Torture is also prohibited under the laws of war and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The torture of Samer Arbeed

The case of Samer Arbeed helped to highlight the escalating return of severe physical torture as an official policy of the Israeli Shin Bet. Only days after his arrest, Arbeed was taken to Hadassah hospital unconscious with eleven broken ribs, lung injuries and kidney failure. While in the hospital, an Israeli guard released tear gas into his room, after which Arbeed developed pneumonia. Despite the clear evidence of severe torture and the medical records of his abuse, the Israeli Supreme Court denied Arbeed access to his lawyer for an extended period, while the Palestinian lawyers in the case were repeatedly subjected to gag orders.

Samer Arbeed is not alone. While Israeli Shin Bet spokespeople were smearing Palestinian prisoners in media attacks, these same prisoners have been subjected to severe physical and psychological torture under interrogation. In a December press conference, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association highlighted some of the torture techniques used by Israeli interrogators, including harsh beatings, stress positions like the “frog” or “banana,” sleep deprivation and ongoing threats against family members.

Palestinian lawyers highlight torture and abuse

As Addameer noted, “On 10 September 2019, a gag order was issued on a number of cases under interrogation at al-Mascobiyya interrogation center. Hence, preventing the public, including Addameer the legal representative, from publishing any information regarding these cases. The gag order was issued based on a request from the Israeli intelligence agency and Israeli police and was renewed multiple times. Despite the gag order, Israeli media outlets and the Israeli intelligence agency published information to the public about some of those cases. This inconsistent enforcement of the gag order, where the Israeli sources exercised the freedom to publish, can only be understood as a means to influence public opinion. Most importantly, the issuance of this gag order is an attempt to hide crimes committed against the detainees and prevent the public and the legal representatives from exposing the details of the crimes of torture and ill-treatment that were committed against the detainees in question throughout the past months.”

Walid Hanatsheh: Torture under interrogation

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

On 17 January 2020, photos of Walid Hanatsheh, one of the Palestinians detained, were released to the media, with his body showing clear signs of torture under interrogation. Bayan Hanatsheh, Walid’s wife, said in an interview published at Hadf News that the family obtained photos that displayed the bruises on his hands, neck, feet and throughout his body. She noted that he was brought to the military court in a wheelchair after his interrogation and that Walid said in court that he was unable to walk due to severe torture. His lawyer from Addameer demanded that the judge reveal the circumstances in which Hanatsheh was interrogated.

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

“After the occupation court lifted the ban on our attendance at the trial, we entered the courtroom for two minutes and saw a man who seemed old and we did not recognize him at first, but he called me by my name,” Bayan said. “I was horrified to see him, his eyes were watering, his beard was patchy and plucked…his only concern was to reassure us because he had been forbidden to communicate with us throughout his interrogation.”

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

Bayan also noted that their daughter, Mays, 21, was detained by Israeli occupation forces for three days as a means of extracting a coerced confession from her husband. They told him that his daughter was imprisoned and under threat and also showed him a live feed of Israeli occupation forces storming their family home in Ramallah and taking measurements for its demolition.

Walid Hanatsheh with his daughter Mays, before his arrest

In Hanatsheh’s case, he was interrogated continuously for 23 hours at a time, with the replacement of interrogators approximately every eight hours. He was shackled in various stress positions and beaten while held there until he fell to the ground. Individual hairs were plucked from his beard and he was hit in the face by multiple interrogators, his lawyers said.

Walid Hanatsheh in his office, before his arrest

“Earth-shattering” crimes demand action

Sahar Francis, the executive director of Addameer, noted of the photos in Hanatsheh’s case that “These pictures are important in proving and documenting torture. Unfortunately, we do not succeed in receiving photos for all of the cases. In other cases, we have medical reports without pictures but a description of the prisoner’s situation, as in the case of Samer Arbeed.”

Former prisoner and long-term hunger striker Khader Adnan spoke out in response to the photos, calling them “earth-shattering.” He urged immediate Palestinian national attention to respond to the escalating crimes of torture, likening the experience of Palestinian prisoners to the infamous images of Abu Ghraib prison under U.S. occupation in Iraq.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement in response to the repeated cases of severe torture, noting that “The Front has experienced and confronted the policy of torture for over 50 years and developed a revolutionary school that graduated generations of revolutionaries, who carried and still carry forward the banner in the dungeons and interrogation cells, who cannot be shaken by crimes or policies of torture.

The Front emphasized that the international community and concerned institutions have neglected the crimes taking place in the dungeons of the prisons of the Zionist occupier against the prisoners, indicating once again the complicity of imperialism in these crimes.”

The exposure of the use of torture is not limited to Hanatsheh and Arbeed; severe physical torture was also reportedly used in the cases of Qassam Barghouthi and Karmel Barghouthi, whose mother Widad was also detained as a method of pressure on her sons, and in the cases of Yazan Maghamis and Nizam Mohammed.

Palestinian youth activists face torture

Several other prisoners also experienced extensive physical torture, including beatings and the use of stress positions, including Palestinian youth activist and new graduate Mays Abu Ghosh, whose parents spoke about seeing her after the effects of her torture and interrogation. Rather than being brought for a family visit, Abu Ghosh’s parents were actually brought in a further attempt to extract a false, coerced confession from her.

Palestinian youth activist Tareq Matar has been repeatedly jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention; after his most recent arrest and interrogation in November 2019, Matar is now being brought into court in a wheelchair, despite his previous status of physical health and athleticism after being beaten in stress positions under interrogation.

Jamil Darawi, 37, previously spent 14 years in Israeli prison. He was once again detained in November 2019 when Israeli soldiers stormed their family home near Bethlehem, breaking down the door and confining his wife, Rawan, to a room with their three daughters. Like his fellow Palestinian prisoners, Darawi was severely beaten and tortured under interrogation. Rawan said that when she saw him in court, she thought that he was not present until he called out to her: “I am here, Rawan, I am Jamil!” His jaw had been broken after an Israeli interrogator punched him and stamped on his face after he fell to the ground. He was returned to interrogation after being given painkillers and his face was still disfigured when he was finally brought before the military courts.

Demanding justice

Addameer has announced its intention to raise these cases before international bodies to call for justice for Palestinian torture victims and accountability for the Israeli state, the perpetrator of these crimes. In Gaza, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for a protest on Monday outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office to demand international action on institutionalized Israeli torture.

The systematic use of torture in Israeli interrogation not only intends to extract false and coerced confessions from Palestinians under interrogation; it also aims to undermine and prevent their steadfastness, the unwillingness to confess. Palestinian sumoud (steadfastness) under interrogation and the refusal to provide information has been the subject of numerous studies and tributes. The book, “Philosophy of Confrontation Behind Bars,” detailed how prisoners strengthen themselves in order to resist all forms of torture. During over 70 years of Israeli occupation, over 70 Palestinian prisoners have been killed under torture.

In recent decades, however, a vast majority of Palestinian prisoners’ cases have involved plea bargains; Israeli occupation forces will drag out military court sessions, interrogations and denied family visits in order to extract some form of limited confession for a plea agreement. Prisoners who refuse to provide the demanded confession are often transferred to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial that is indefinitely renewable. Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed under administrative detention.

Attacks on Palestinian prisoners tied to attacks on global movement

The so-called “Erdan Commission,” named for Israeli Minister of Public Security (over the Israel Prison Service) Gilad Erdan – who also serves as the Minister of Strategic Affairs, responsible for attacking Palestine solidarity and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns around the world – has announced an effort to roll back the gains won by Palestinian prisoners through years of struggle. Thus, women prisoners are denied access to a library or to goods for embroidery and crafts; child prisoners are transferred without their representatives; access to food and water is being cut; conditions of living are barely tolerable.

The reassertion of overt reliance on severe physical torture comes hand in hand with this overall policy of outright Israeli war against Palestinian prisoners. It also comes hand in hand with the escalating attacks internationally against Palestinian human rights organizations and global campaigners for Palestinian rights, smeared by Erdan’s ministry with allegations based on tortured, coerced confessions or direct Israeli military propaganda.

Erdan has attempted to get Palestinian human rights organizations that focus on Palestinian prisoners defunded. His ministry has also attempted – and failed – to have Samidoun activists and Palestinian leftists like Khaled Barakat blocked from speaking in the European Parliament about Israeli repression.

Need for action

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network recognizes the urgent need to build the strongest possible front to confront Israeli torture internationally through popular struggle, including escalating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. We must not allow the Israeli occupation to isolate Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement or through our silence. Torture has been part and parcel of the Israeli colonial weapons of control for over 70 years, and the impunity of the Israeli state – backed up by U.S., European, Canadian and other imperialist powers’ support – may not be allowed to continue. We urge all to take action. 

If you or your organization would like to join the growing campaign against torture, please contact us at samidoun@samidoun.net.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Canada citizens fighting for Israel given warm reception by embassy

MEMO | January 17, 2020

The Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a party yesterday for its citizens serving in the Israeli army.

It was organised by Ambassador Deborah Lyons, who told The Jerusalem Post that she wanted to show the appreciation and care felt by the embassy for the “lone soldiers” who left their homes to serve in the Israeli army.

“Lone soldiers” are Jewish citizens of a foreign country serving in the Israeli army. As many as 6,000 such soldiers with dual citizenship are said to be in the programme.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin calls them “true Zionists,” while Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog has described them as “a true example of what Zionism is all about.”

Lyons told the Post that she had been wanting to hold a reception for Canadians serving in the Israeli army “for a very long time.” Three years in fact, since she was posted in Tel Aviv.

“Canadian lone soldiers are a particularly special group. I know some of the parents of these kids and I wanted to reach out and let them know that their Canadian family of the embassy is here if they want to talk hockey and a home cooked meal,” she said.

Canada’s Defence Attaché Col. Rick Thompson told the Post “the ambassador thought it would be a nice gesture to reach out to Canadian lone soldiers and make some social connections and talk hockey … If you get homesick, we embassy staff are connected to the wider Canadian community.”

There is a high risk of depression amongst “lone soldiers.” Young Diaspora Jews, according to a report in Haaretz, account for only 2 per cent of soldiers serving in the Israeli army, but in the past year the suicide rate among them has been disproportionately high.

Their recruitment has also been a cause of controversy. An Al Jazeera report found that radical organisations in Europe were recruiting western citizens to serve in the Israeli army where many of these foreign fighters took part in the 2014 Gaza war.

In the UK there have been calls for British citizens who volunteer for the Israeli army to be prosecuted like others who fight for foreign forces.

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Dutch government criticises pro-Israel lobby group NGO Monitor’s ‘half-facts and insinuations’

MEMO | January 17, 2020

The Dutch government has criticised the conduct of pro-Israel advocacy group NGO Monitor, singling out the unreliability of their accusations against human rights defenders.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok stated that the Netherlands is “concerned about the shrinking civil space in Israel”, and “therefore consistently brings this matter up in conversations with Israeli authorities”.

In recent years, Israeli politicians have pursued legislation that targets, as well as publicly incited against, organisations focusing on Israel’s military occupation and the violation of Palestinian rights.

The Israeli government’s attacks on human rights defenders are aided by organisations such as NGO Monitor, which in particular lobby European authorities to cease funding such human rights groups.

The Dutch minister added that “the government is familiar with the accusations by NGO Monitor against a broad group of Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations, as well as with criticism of the conduct of NGO Monitor itself”, citing a September 2018 report by the Policy Working Group.

“This research shows that many of NGO Monitor’s accusations are based on selective citations, half-facts and insinuations, but not necessarily on hard evidence”, Minister Blok added.

“These accusations have contributed to a climate in which human rights organisations have come under increasing pressure”.

In response to a separate question, the Dutch foreign minister noted that, “to the best of the government’s knowledge, NGO Monitor… focuses exclusively on organisations and donors who are critical of Israeli policy in the territories occupied by Israel”.

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 2 Comments

Israel announces 7 nature reserves in West Bank and expansion of 12 others

MEMO | January 16, 2020

The Israeli defence minister, Naftali Bennett, on Wednesday approved the creation of seven nature reserves and the expansion of 12 others in Area C of the occupied West Bank, a statement confirmed.

In his statement, Bennett ordered the Israeli Civil Administration – the Israeli governing body that operates in the West Bank – to start preparing for the opening of the reserves.

The Times of Israel disclosed that this is the first time that such a step has been taken by the Israeli government, since the Oslo Peace Accords were reached in the 1990s.

“Today, we provide a big boost for the land of Israel and continue to develop the Jewish communities in Area C, with actions, not with words,” Bennett announced in his statement.

“The Judea and Samaria [West Bank] area has nature sites with amazing views. We will expand the existing ones and also open new ones,” he added.

“I invite all the citizens of Israel to tour and walk the land, to come to Judea and Samaria, sight-see, discover and continue the Zionist enterprise,” Bennett continued.

Bennett identified the seven new locations in his statement as: Soreq Cave, Al-Shomoo’a Cave, Wadi Al-Muqallek, Wadi Malha, Bitronot, Wadi Al-Far’a and the north of Jordan Valley.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

UK’s Lord Polak says new Tory government is opportunity for pro-Israel lobbyists

Stuart Polak, Baron Polak CBE is a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords [Youtube]

Stuart Polak, Baron Polak CBE is a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords [Youtube]
MEMO | January 15, 2020

A veteran pro-Israel lobbyist in Westminster believes the recently-elected Conservative government represents an important opportunity to advance Israel’s interests amongst British decision-makers.

Lord Polak, a Tory peer, and president of Conservative Friends of Israel, was speaking to right-wing news outlet JNS days after a speech in the House of Lords in which he attacked the so-called “singling out” of Israel in international forums such as the United Nations.

“I have no problem with legitimate criticism where it is due, but this obsession with Israel needs to be addressed. This singling out of the Jewish state is wrong, unjustified and plays a role in the rise and rise of anti-Semitism,” Polak told the chamber on 7 January.

In his speech, Polak echoed a familiar complaint of the Israeli government, namely the payments made by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to prisoners in Israeli jails and to the families of those killed by occupation forces – what the Tory peer described as “salaries to killers and murderers”.

“We must find a method by which aid payments serve the recipients who need our support in Palestinian society, and at the same time, serve the interests of the British taxpayer,” he added.

In his subsequent interview with JNS, Polak claimed that the substantial Conservative majority in Parliament means that now is the time to raise the issues they want and “set an agenda”.

“My speech was signal that this is a priority for the pro-Israel community,” he told the news site.

During the speech, Polak also praised the government’s proposed legislation attacking the right to boycott companies complicit in Israeli human rights abuses.

“The promise by the government to legislate against BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] was a first and shows where the new government is at in relation to these sorts of issues,” he told JNS.

January 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel to build more detention facilities for Palestinians

Palestine Information Center – January 14, 2020

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – The Israeli occupation government has approved a plan to build more detention facilities to accommodate thousands of new Palestinian prisoners.

According to Israel’s Channel 7, four prisons will be built to accommodate about 4,000 Palestinians as part of a long-term plan to be finished in 2040.

The project will also include other detention centers, police stations and courts.

The Israeli prison service has 30 prisons and detention centers, the Channel said.

There are about 5,700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 47 women and girls, 250 children, six lawmakers, 500 administrative detainees and 700 patients.

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank

A concrete marker placed by Israeli forces demarcating the beginning of the military zone near Tubas in the Jordan Valley, northern West Bank [DCIP/Cody O'Rourke]

A concrete marker placed by Israeli forces demarcating the beginning of the military zone near Tubas in the Jordan Valley, northern West Bank [DCIP/Cody O’Rourke]
By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | January 13, 2020

A seemingly ordinary news story, published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, on January 7, shed light on a long-forgotten, yet crucial, subject: Israel’s so-called “firing zones” in the West Bank.

“Israel has impounded the only vehicle available to a medical team that provides assistance to 1,500 Palestinians living inside an Israeli military firing zone in the West Bank,” according to Haaretz.

The Palestinian community that was denied its only access to medical services is Masafer Yatta, a tiny Palestinian village located in the South Hebron hills.

Masafer Yatta, which exists in complete and utter isolation from the rest of the occupied West Bank, is located in ‘Area C’, which constitutes the larger territorial chunk, about 60%, of the West Bank. This means that the village, along with many Palestinian towns, villages and small, isolated communities, is under total Israeli military control.

Do not let the confusing logic of the Oslo Accords fool you; all Palestinians, in all parts of the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the besieged Gaza Strip, are under Israeli military control as well.

Unfortunately for Masafer Yatta, and those living in ‘Area C’, however, the degree of control is so suffocating that every aspect of Palestinian life – freedom of movement, education, access to clean water, and so on – is controlled by a complex system of Israeli military ordinances that have no regard whatsoever for the well-being of the beleaguered communities.

It is no surprise, then, that Masafer Yatta’s only vehicle, a desperate attempt at fashioning a mobile clinic, was confiscated in the past as well, and was only retrieved after the impoverished residents were forced to pay a fine to Israeli soldiers.

There is no military logic in the world that could rationally justify the barring of medical access to an isolated community, especially when an Occupying Power like Israel is legally obligated under the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure medical access to civilians living in an Occupied Territory.

It is only natural that Masafer Yatta, like all Palestinians in ‘Area C’ and the larger West Bank, feel neglected – and outright betrayed – by the international community as well as their own quisling leadership.

But there is more that makes Masafer Yatta even more unique, qualifying it for the unfortunate designation of being a Bantustan within a Bantustan, as it subsists in a far more complex system of control, compared to the one imposed on black South Africa during the Apartheid regime era.

Soon after Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, it devised a long-term stratagem aimed at the permanent control of the newly occupied territories. While it designated some areas for the future relocation of its own citizens – who now make up the extremist illegal Jewish settler population in the West Bank – it also set aside large swathes of the Occupied Territories as security and buffer zones.

What is far less known is that, throughout the 1970s, the Israeli military declared roughly 18% of the West Bank as “firing zones”.

These “firing zones” were supposedly meant as training grounds for the Israeli occupation army soldiers – although Palestinians trapped in these regions often report that little or no military training takes place within “firing zones”.

According to the Office for the UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Palestine, there are around 5,000 Palestinians, divided among 38 communities that still live, under most dire circumstances, within the so-called “firing zones”.

The 1967 occupation led to a massive wave of ethnic cleansing that saw the forced removal of approximately 300,000 Palestinians from the newly-conquered territory. Many of the vulnerable communities that were ethnically cleansed included Palestinian Bedouins, who continue to pay the price for Israel’s colonial designs in the Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills and other parts of occupied Palestine.

This vulnerability is compounded by the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) acts with little regards to Palestinians living in ‘Area C’, who are left to withstand and resist Israeli pressures alone, often resorting to Israel’s own unfair judicial system, to win back some of their basic rights.

The Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 between the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government, divided the West Bank into three regions: ‘Area A’, theoretically under autonomous Palestinian control and consisting of 17.7% of the overall size of the West Bank; ‘Area B’, 21%, and under shared Israeli-PA control and ‘Area C’, the remainder of the West Bank, and under total Israeli control.

This arrangement was meant to be temporary, set to conclude in 1999 once the “final status negotiations” were concluded and a comprehensive peace accord was signed. Instead, it became the status quo ante.

As unfortunate as the Palestinians living in ‘Area C’ are, those living in the “firing zone” within ‘Area C’ are enduring the most hardship. According to the United Nations, their hardship includes “the confiscation of property, settler violence, harassment by soldiers, access and movement restrictions and/or water scarcity.”

Expectedly, many illegal Jewish settlements sprang up in these “firing zones” over the years, a clear indication that these areas have no military purpose whatsoever, but were meant to provide an Israeli legal justification to confiscate nearly a fifth of the West Bank for future colonial expansion.

Throughout the years, Israel ethnically cleansed all remaining Palestinians in these “firing zones”, leaving behind merely 5,000, who are likely to suffer the same fate should the Israeli occupation continue on the same violent trajectory.

OPINION: The easing of Gaza fishing restrictions meets Israel’s security needs, not fishermen’s interests

This makes the story of Masafer Yatta a microcosm of the tragic and larger story of all Palestinians. It is also a reflection of the sinister nature of Israeli colonialism and military occupation, where occupied Palestinians lose their land, their water, their freedom of movement and eventually, even the most basic medical care.

These harsh “conditions contribute to a coercive environment that creates pressure on Palestinian communities to leave these areas,” according to the United Nations. In other words, ethnic cleansing, which has been Israel’s strategic goal all along.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel confiscates sole medical vehicle serving 1,500 Palestinians

MEMO | January 8, 2020

Israeli occupation forces have confiscated the only vehicle available to a medical team serving the needs of some 1,500 Palestinians in an isolated region of the southern West Bank, reported Haaretz.

According to the paper, this is the second time that the vehicle – which serves the residents of Masafer Yatta in the south Hebron hills – has been seized within a year, “cutting off healthcare to an isolated and impoverished population” living inside an Israeli military firing zone.

The medical team make weekly visits to the area’s Palestinian communities, which lie roughly one hour’s drive on dirt roads from the nearest town of Yatta. The jeep in question “is the only vehicle available for providing medical services to these communities”.

Last Thursday, Haaretz reported, Israeli occupation forces intercepted the medical team at Khirbet Al-Majaz, claiming that they were not allowed there “without prior coordination”. The patrol then impounded the jeep and held the medics for half an hour.

In February 2019 the vehicle was confiscated “under similar circumstances”, stated the paper, and only returned six months later after the medical team paid a 3,000 shekel ($865) fine. On that occasion, the team were unable to provide medical care for the entire six months.

The Israeli military commented that “the vehicle was impounded by supervisors at the Civil Administration since it was traveling in a fire zone, a forbidden area for vehicles by law”.

The Israeli military’s “Firing zone 918” was established in the 1980s, and the army has repeatedly sought to remove Palestinians from the area.

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments