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Is there Hope of Justice for a Palestinian family in Israel’s Courts?

International Solidarity Movement | March 9, 2013

Ziad Jilani’s widow and daughters seek Justice for his killing by Israeli Border Policeman Maxim Vinogradov, for the third time. This Wednesday (13 March) Moira Jilani and her three daughters will come face to face with their husband and father’s killer.

ziadetunedesesfilles“I am dreading facing them for my daughters,” Says Moira, “I think I could face them myself but I’m afraid that when I see the pain in my daughters eyes it will kill me.” Her husband, Ziad Jilani was killed three years ago by Maxim Vinogradov, an Israeli border patrolman who put his rifle to Jilani’s head and pulled the trigger three consecutive times.

Now, for the third time, the family is appealing to Israeli authorities to press charges against Ziad’s killer. On the 16th of January 2011 the case was closed by police internal investigations (Machash) for the first time, for “lack of evidence”.

In the following month, on the 15th of February 2011, the family submitted an appeal to then Israel Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz. Despite a confession by Vinogradov that he had shot Ziad at zero range when he was lying on the ground because of the initial gunshot wound, an autopsy report pointing to a close range shooting, dozens of eyewitnesses who were also injured that day as a result of the incident, and very clear changes in Vinogradov’s testimonies before and after the autopsy, Mazuz did not see fit to change Machash’s decision to close the case.

With the help of the al-Mazaan Center for Human Rights, on January 4th 2012, the family submitted a second appeal. This time, to the Israeli Supreme Court, through the al-Mazaan Center for Human Rights, demanding that the new state prosecutor, Yehuda Weinstein, bring criminal charges against Ziad’s murderers.

“After Weinstein [Israel’s current Attorney General] had all the evidence we had hope that he would press charges against the killers,” Moira recalls, “but after he decided not to do so for the third time, it is hard to have hope that the court will do justice.”

According to Yesh Din in 2012 the MPCID received 240 complaints and various reports of suspected crimes allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Out of these registered complaints, only 103- not even half- have yielded investigations. Not one single indictment has been served to date.

The organization commented on the findings:

“The numerous defects in MPCID investigations of offenses against Palestinians, and in the Military Advocate General Corps’ supervision of the investigations, result in the closure of the vast majority of the files and a minimal number of indictments being served. This creates a feeling of lawlessness on the ground, which may be a central contributing factor in the rise in the number of killings over recent weeks.”

Moira describes this sense of lawlessness, “I still have hope, but its hard when we see everything that’s happening around us,” she says, “my husband’s case is one of what seems to be a systematic sweeping under the rug of violent incidences of Israeli soldiers against the Palestinian population under their authority.

We are not just going to court for Ziad Jilani. We are going to court for all the Palestinians killed before Ziad and those that will be killed thereafter.”

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel cabinet moves to accredit university on illegal settlement

Al Akhbar – September 9, 2012

Israel’s government Sunday approved plans to upgrade a college on an illegal Jewish settlement to a full-fledged university, in a symbolic move which still requires a ruling by the High Court and the attorney general.

In July, the “Council for Higher Education in Judaea and Samaria,” a group close to illegal Jewish settlers, recommended that the Ariel University Centre receive the upgraded status, which would make it the first university in the occupied West Bank.

International law defines all Israeli settlement on Palestinian land occupied in Israel’s 1967 war with the Arab world, to be illegal.This includes the still occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank stifle the movement of Palestinians and encroach greatly on Palestinian property and resources. There are currently 350,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, with the government continuing to build thousands of houses, defying calls to stop by the UN.

The number of settlers grew by 15,000 in the last year, according to Israel’s population registry.

Increasingly, companies and labor unions around Europe have divested from companies operating in the occupied West Bank to protest the Jewish state’s forays into the area.

Last month, South Africa re-labeled Israeli products made in the West Bank as coming from ‘occupied Palestinian territories’, a move that triggered a diplomatic row between the two states.

But Israel’s Council for Higher Education, which regulates the seven universities in the Jewish state, opposed the move, branding it political and filed a petition against it to the High Court of Justice.

On Sunday, the cabinet voted on a resolution declaring the move to be of “national importance,” while ordering that all measures be taken “to approve the decision of the Council for Higher Education in Judaea and Samaria, subject to the attorney general’s stance.”

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has yet to present his opinion to the move.

“It is important to have another university in Israel, it is important to have a university in Ariel,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the vote.

“I like breaking monopolies and cartels in every field,” he said, noting that there has not been a new university in Israel in 40 years, while the population has nearly tripled.

“Ariel is an inseparable part of Israel, and will stay an inseparable part of it in any future arrangement, like the other settlement blocs,” he said of the settlement which lies deep in the northern West Bank.

Set up in 1982 as an annex to Bar Ilan University, Ariel has 12,000 students in four faculties — medicine, engineering, natural sciences and social sciences — and also has architecture and telecommunications facilities.

Full recognition as a university entitles the Ariel facility to significant additional funding and the ability to grant advanced degrees.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

September 9, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel cabinet moves to accredit university on illegal settlement

Al-Aqsa to be Converted into a Park by Israelis

Ma’an – 31/07/2012
Bulldozers carry out work on a pathway next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem (MaanImages/Magnus Johansson, File)

JERUSALEM – The deputy leader of the Islamic movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal al-Khateib, said Tuesday that the Israeli municipal council of Jerusalem planned to transform the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound into public parks and gardens, to make them accessible for the Jews to visit at any time.

Speaking to reporters, Al-Khateib said that the process of ‘Judaising’ Jerusalem had been accelerated since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. “The occupation is working to efface the Palestinian features in the holy city through unprecedented procedures they carried out this month,” he added.

“For the first time, the occupation has allowed settlers and extremists to access Al-Aqsa compound during Ramadan paying no attention to the feelings of the Muslim worshipers there,” he said. “Meanwhile, the municipality which represents the occupation approved a decision to consider the yards in Al-Aqsa compound public parks which anybody can access.”

In mid-July Palestinian officials denounced Yehuda Weinstein, the Israeli attorney general, after he claimed that the Al-Aqsa area was part of Israel and referred to the mosque’s courtyards as public space.

Weinstein was quoted on Israeli news sites as saying the area was under Israeli jurisdiction for matters such as planning and building, and said the courtyard was for public use.

In his remarks Tuesday, Al-Khateib said soldiers detained the imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday while he was praying. “Israeli troops stormed the mosque and prevented worshipers from completing their prayer,” he said.

On Thursday a mosque guard told Ma’an that 20 rightists entered the grounds of the holy site.

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment