Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Israel’s State Terrorism


At last week's demonstration in an area the Israeli Army has designated a no-man's land (i.e. free fire zone) 3 demonstrators were shot with live ammunition. All 3 were hospitalised and at least one is in a serious condition.

This is the answer to those who call for 'peace talks' and 'negotiations' with the Israeli state. Only the fools and knaves of the Palestinian Authority seriously believe that negotiations and talks can lead anywhere other than more confiscations.

When the Zionists speak of terror, for some reason they refuse to include their own actions. Everything they do is for 'security' - the same excuse as the Nazis used.

The Israeli army defend their use of live ammunition because Palestinian youth throw stones at them. Live bullets against stones. They say their lives are in danger. Strange this. On April 21st settlers at Yizhar threw stones at the Israeli army. The army didn't respond with live ammunition
and even denied settler claims that they had done so.

There is no recorded instance of the Israeli army opening fire on Israeli settlers who stone either the Israeli army (rarely) or Palestinians (often).


This is itself shows the racist nature of Israeli Army operations in the West Bank. Likewise Ultra-Orthodox demonstrators in Jerusalem have thrown stones at the Police. Again there is no recorded instance of them opening fire. Why? Because as the rabbis will confirm


Jewish Blood is More Valuable than Palestinian blood in the eyes of the Israeli state

Two Palestinians and an International activist shot with live ammunition at a non-violent demonstration against the Buffer Zone in Gaza.

El Maghazi, Deir Al Balah, Gaza, Occupied Palestinian Territories, 24th April 2010, 12PM - At a peaceful nonviolent demonstration against the forceful cessation of farming within what Israel defines as a "buffer zone," which was attended by 150 people, two Palestinians demonstrators and one International activist were shot. Israeli soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators from the border fence. Nidal Al Naji (18) was shot in the right thigh. Hind Al Akra (22) was shot in the stomach and is undergoing emergency surgery. Bianca Zimmit (28) from Malta was filming the demonstration when she was shot in her left thigh. The wounded are currently being treated in Al Aqsa Hospital.

Shortly after 11 a.m., women and men, including 6 ISM activists, marched from Al Maghazi towards the Israeli fence closing off the Gaza strip. After being met with live ammunition upon cresting a ridge, some demonstrators continued walking forward. This group included six women, two ISM activists and 20 men. The 20 male demonstrators reached the border fence. Zimmit was shot while filming the demonstration between the ridge and the fence, at a distance of roughly 80-100 meters. Hind Al Akra, also standing between the ridge and the fence, was shot in the stomach, and Niadal al Naji was shot in the leg near the fence. Demonstrators carried the wounded back across rough terrain to taxis for transport to Al-Aqsa Hospital.

The demonstrations are held in protest against the arbitrary decision by Israel to instate a 300 metre buffer zone as no-go area for Palestinians where "shoot to kill" policy is implemented. People have been shot regularly as far as 2 kilometres away from the border. Popular Campaign for the Security in the Buffer Zone, an umbrella organization that includes organizations representing farmers and Gaza residents living near the border, and also a number of political parties are present at many of these demonstrations.

Those venturing to the border regions to gather rubble and steel do so as a result of the siege on Gaza which, along with Israel’s 23 day winter war on Gaza, has decimated Gaza’s economy, including 95 percent of Gaza’s factories and businesses, according to the United Nations. Additionally, these recycled construction materials are vital in Gaza where the Israeli-led siege bans all but under 40 items from entering.

The siege prevents vitally needed construction materials from entering Gaza, where over 6,400 houses were destroyed or severely damaged in the Israeli war on Gaza, and nearly 53,000 sustained lesser damages. Hospitals and medical centres, schools, kindergartens and mosques are among the other buildings destroyed and damaged during the Israeli war on Gaza. International Solidarity Movement Ryan Olander - Media Office
0548-838-369

ISM volunteer shot, hospitalized; ISM co-founder arrested
Posted on: March 20, 2010 | ShareThis
19 March 2010

UPDATE: Huwaida Arraf released on 20 March after being illegally under arrest for 31 hours. Eight of these hours were spent standing in the cold in the illegal Halamish settlement. During this time she witnessed the border police by whom she was detained abuse the two Palestinian men who were also illegally arrested, Omar, 23, and Amjad, 22. She was treated with vulgar verbal abuse. After refusing to stare at wall, the police became particular violent. They picked her up by her handcuffed arms and threw onto the pavement. She was brought to Ramle Prison and released without seeing a judge.

Friday’s demonstration in An Nabi Saleh saw an increase in violence and collective punishment from the Israeli military, as twenty-five demonstrators were injured, windows of cars and homes were intentionally shattered, and three were arrested. ISM volunteer Ellen Stark was shot at point blank range (4 meters) with a rubber bullet as she stood with medics, Popular Committee members and other internationals. ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf was arrested while negotiating with the IOF to allow Ellen through the military line to get to the hospital. According to Ellen, “we were standing on Palestinian land, in support of the village who’s land has been confiscated but we weren’t even demonstrating yet. We were standing with medics who were also shot with tear gas.”

Ellen’s had to undergo surgery to remove the bullet, which was lodged between her ulna and radius of her right arm. Her wrist is broken as a result of the bullet impact. As of 12:00 pm Saturday, Palestine time, Huwaida has yet to be located in the Israeli prison system.
Over an hour before the demonstration began, soldiers took position on a hilltop near the house of an An Nabi Saleh Popular Committee member signaling to activists that the peaceful march would likely be cut short yet again by soldiers using crowd dispersal tactics such as tear gas and sound grenades. The demonstration was able to take it’s usual course, as IOF soldiers blocked the path of the activists, and began to surround them from multiple sides. Only ten minutes into the demonstration, the army began firing tear gas and rubber bullets at a small group of international, Israeli, and Palestinian activists only four meters away, injuring International Solidarity Movement volunteer, Ellen Stark. Omar Saleh Tamimi, Amjad Abed Alkhafeez Tamimi and International Solidarity Movement co-founder Huwaida Arraf were arrested as they asked Israeli military personnel to stop firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at Stark as she was helped to safety.

Israeli forces then entered the center of the village where they continued firing tear gas, sound grenades, and rubber bullets for several hours. Over twenty five were injured, including an 84-year old woman who suffered from tear gas inhalation after tear gas canisters were fired into her house, and three others who were shot with rubber bullets, including an Israeli activist; four remain hospitalized.

Later in the demonstration, soldiers began shooting rubber bullets through the windows of residents’ houses, shops, and cars, shattering their homes and livelihoods, as they used collective punishment to attempt to suppress these weekly demonstrations.

These incidents comes as the Israeli government intensifies repression of the unarmed, popular resistance to the occupation of the West Bank, illegal land confiscation by settlements such as Halamish, and construction of the illegal apartheid wall. Two weeks ago in An Nabi Saleh, 14-year-old Ehab Fadel Beir Ghouthi’s skull was fractured as a rubber bullet shot by the Israeli military, leaving him in a coma for several days. He remains in a hospital in Ramallah where he is recovering; his condition is stable and improving.

Today and every Friday since January, around 100 un-armed demonstrators leave the village center in an attempt to reach a spring which boarders land confiscated by Jewish settlers. The District Coordination Office has confirmed the spring is on Palestinian land but nearly a kilometer before reaching the spring, the demonstration is routinely met with dozens of soldiers armed with M16 assault rifles, tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades.

The Halamish Settlement has confiscated nearly half of An Nabi Saleh’s orchard and farmland since it was founded in 1977. According to village residents the settlement confiscates more land each year without consent or compensation of the landowners.
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/03/11832


Bi’ilin – Israel Shoots More Peaceful Demonstrators

What if Bil'in held a demo and the army didn't show up?

By Emily Schaeffer

Some of us have become so used to West Bank demonstrations meaning major Israeli army presence, and, typically, the use of weapons, that we have forgotten what demonstrations in a democracy look like. We've forgotten that a protest against oppressive working conditions in downtown New York City, or against oppressive abortion policies in Fredericton, Canada, or against wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in cities including London, Sydney, Paris, San Francisco and Toronto - means police presence only when the protests become so large that they overcrowd public spaces and need direction, when they damage city property, or (get this) when the protesters themselves might be at risk from onlookers with opposing views.

And so we attend demonstration after demonstration - from Bil'in to Al-Ma'asara to Hebron to Nabi Salah, and more — and we are enraged time and time again by the unjustified, disproportionate, immoral response of the army and border police.

But we hardly ever ask ourselves: why are they even here?

What would happen if the army didn't show up one Friday in Bil'in, for instance? If the army hadn't shown up on Friday, April 23, at the 5th Annual Conference Demonstration, then Eymad Rezqa (also spelled Imad Rizka, dedicated Palestinian-Israeli activist) would not have been shot in the head with a tear gas canister and rushed to surgery; 2 Italian demonstrators, one Israeli activist, 2 Bil'in residents, a Palestinian woman from Bethlehem and a Palestinian journalist would not have been lightly injured by direct shots or shrapnel of tear gas and shock grenade canisters, and as it is rumored from a new type of weapon; 3 Israelis, one Mexican citizen, and one Palestinian would not have been arrested and detained for nearly 12 hours, released on the condition that they post bail and stay out of Bil'in and Ni'lin for 15 days; hundreds would not have suffered from the horrible feeling of tear gas inhalation (which studies show may damage reproductive organs, among other risks); and several pre-teens and teens might not have risked being caught by army cameras today only to be arrested out of their beds tomorrow and called in for interrogation for stone-throwing, likely to be given months of jail time for an offense that in most countries would bring a fine or perhaps a few weeks' community service.

The army has repeatedly claimed that their use of dispersal tactics (that have proven lethal) against the demonstrators is based on 3 main factors:

1) the demonstrations in and of themselves are illegal, as according to Israeli military orders a gathering of more than 10 people with a political or ideological purpose is an illegal assembly (and as of the latest military order it is illegal for Israelis to be within 200 meters of the wall);

2) they are responding to the dangerous stone-throwing by demonstrators, and in fact several soldiers and border police have been injured by these stones; and,

3) they are protecting the wall.

So technically when 10 Palestinians sit in a courtyard and discuss over tea the fact that they couldn't access their fields yesterday they are committing an illegal act and should be tear gassed and/or arrested. Why does this sound logical to any thinking person? But let's bring it to the more common example — the demonstration. Popular protest exists all over the world. Occupation is a scenario that logically leads to protest, and in fact under international law it is fully justified. Now Israel can compare itself to plenty of brutal occupations and dictatorships and perhaps still come out on top; but that's not what Israel proclaims itself to be. Rather, Israel claims to be a democracy with the most moral army and occupation in the world. Under that paradigm, how can we reconcile the suppression of popular protest? Moreover, how can we justify it for 43 years and counting?

As for stone-throwing, we can all have mixed feelings about it, and for some it is the one contradiction to our repeated claims of a nonviolent movement. Still, if the army weren't there, what reason would there be to throw stones? And if stones were thrown — because sometimes kids, everywhere in the world, pick up stones and throw them — who would they harm?

Now we come to the wall. Protecting state property — or military property. The army claims to the New York Times that if it didn't show up, the fence/wall would be destroyed.

Rioters hurl rocks, Molotov cocktails and burning tires at defense forces and the security fence,' the military said in a statement when asked why it had taken to arresting village leaders in the middle of the night. 'Since the beginning of 2008, about 170 members of the defense forces have been injured in these villages,' it added, including three soldiers who were so badly hurt they could no longer serve in the army. It also said that at Bilin itself, some $60,000 worth of damage had been done to the barrier in the past year and a half.”

Let's put aside the fact that in Bil'in this wall is not only illegal under international law (because it illegally annexes occupied territory and what is more, for illegal settlements), but it is also illegal according to the High Court's September 2007 ruling. Regardless, what the army is saying is that Palestinian lives (and those of their Israeli and international supporters) are worth risking in order to protect a set of metal objects (illegally placed there).

Now, one can imagine that the police would break up a group of people vandalizing or otherwise damaging a city hall, a museum building, a set of train tracks, or even private property in most democratic nations. But would they fire high velocity tear gas canisters directly at those people? Would they shoot rubber bullets? Live ammunition? Is this a proportionate - and dare I say - moral response?

Abdullah Abu Rahma answered the Israeli Army in that same New York Times article.

They want to destroy our movement because it is nonviolent,” he said. He added that some villagers might have tried, out of frustration, to cut through the fence since the court had ordered it moved and nothing had happened. But that is not the essence of the popular movement that he has helped lead.

'We need our land,' he told his visitors. 'It is how we make our living. Our message to the world is that this wall is destroying our lives, and the occupation wants to kill our struggle.”

And now I will ask a different question. What would the demonstrators do if the army didn't show up? One can imagine that at least the first few times the demonstration would have as much vigor and passion as any other day. Flags would be waved, chants chanted, brilliant and creative references would be made, and the media would capture them. But would demonstrators feel that their audience was missing? Would the media continue to show up week after week for a bloodless story in a culture of media sensationalism? Would the same frustration behind the stone-throwing be channeled somewhere we could support less?

Luma, Abdullah Abu Rahma's daughter, distributes posters in solidarity with father in jail for participation in Bil'in's non-violent movement.

Or would the demonstrations grow in numbers? Would their messages and tactics become more creative and attention-drawing? Would leaders currently jailed for organizing nonviolent resistance be free to start and expand new political and social movements? Would villages no longer terrorized by night arrest raids have the freedom to focus on their daily lives and on resisting the rest of the oppressive occupation policies? Is this perhaps the real reason why the army shows up?

There are those who come to demonstrations once or twice and conclude that both sides need each other in order to feel at the end of the day that power and persistence were demonstrated. But I dare say that the nonviolent resistance does not need the army; rather, the army needs to violently respond to the nonviolent resistance in order to attempt to contain it, in order to report back home (a few dozen km away) and to the world that Palestinians must be violently reproached, in order to experiment with new weapons for the world's weapons industry, and in order to use enough weapons to maintain the same budget demands from Israel and its foreign aid suppliers year after year.

The good news is that the Palestinian nonviolent resistance apparently cannot be contained, even in the face of such extreme violence. But it is taking its toll. And I only hope that we can all shake out of what has become a normal scenario for us, and re-sensitize ourselves to this completely abnormal, illogical and unjustified military response to popular protest, in order to bring this reality to Israelis and to the world.

Two Palestinians and an International activist shot with live ammunition at a non-violent demonstration against the Buffer Zone in Gaza.

El Maghazi, Deir Al Balah, Gaza, Occupied Palestinian Territories, 24th April 2010, 12PM -

At a peaceful nonviolent demonstration against the forceful cessation of farming within what Israel defines as a "buffer zone," which was attended by 150 people, two Palestinians demonstrators and one International activist were shot. Israeli soldiers opened fire on the
demonstrators from the border fence. Nidal Al Naji (18) was shot in the right thigh. Hind Al Akra (22) was shot in the stomach and is undergoing emergency surgery. Bianca Zimmit (28) from Malta was filming the demonstration when she was shot in her left thigh. The wounded are currently being treated in Al Aqsa Hospital.

Shortly after 11 a.m., women and men, including 6 ISM activists, marched from Al Maghazi towards the Israeli fence closing off the Gaza strip. After being met with live ammunition upon cresting a ridge, some demonstrators continued walking forward. This group included six women, two ISM activists and 20 men. The 20 male demonstrators reached the border fence. Zimmit was shot while filming the demonstration between the ridge and the fence, at a
distance of roughly 80-100 meters. Hind Al Akra, also standing between the ridge and the fence, was shot in the stomach, and Niadal al Naji was shot in the leg near the fence. Demonstrators carried the wounded back across rough terrain to taxis for transport to Al-Aqsa Hospital.

*For Further Information, Please Contact in Al Aqsa hospital:
Bianca Zimmit 0597589688
Rada 0597-844-043*
*Adie 0597-717-696*

The demonstrations are held in protest against the arbitrary decision by Israel to instate a 300 metre buffer zone as no-go area for Palestinians where "shoot to kill" policy is implemented. People have been shot regularly as far as 2 kilometres away from the border. Popular Campaign for the Security in the Buffer Zone, an umbrella organization that includes organizations representing farmers and Gaza residents living near the border, and also a number of political parties are present at many of these demonstrations.

Those venturing to the border regions to gather rubble and steel do so as a result of the siege on Gaza which, along with Israel’s 23 day winter war on Gaza, has decimated Gaza’s economy, including 95 percent of Gaza’s factories and businesses, according to the United Nations. Additionally, these recycled construction materials are vital in Gaza where the Israeli-led
siege bans all but under 40 items from entering.

The siege prevents vitally needed construction materials from entering Gaza, where over 6,400 houses were destroyed or severely damaged in the Israeli war on Gaza, and nearly 53,000 sustained lesser damages. Hospitals and medical centres, schools, kindergartens and mosques are among the other buildings destroyed and damaged during the Israeli war on Gaza.

International Solidarity Movement
Ryan - Media Office
0548-838-369
###

Things are really getting out of hand in the occupied territories and our reports may have to become more frequent to keep up with the rapidly evolving situation. We must write to let you know what is going on and ask you to take urgent actions on all fronts (media, politicians, on the ground etc). On the last day of the conference in Bil'in, the Israeli army was particularly violent against the demonstrators injuring Palestinians and Internationals. The most critical injury was to Imad Rizka, a Palestinian from Jaffa inside the Green line (see including picture of Imad).

Video just loaded that covers places I was at in the past couple of days including inspiring acts of popular resistance from Bilin to Beit Jala to Al-Walaja. In Al-Walaja, we took over the mountain and the Shabab blocked the new road that soldiesr had opened to get equipment that uproots the olive trees in the villager's land.
Watch here

And here is the ISM story on what happened in Beit Jala

Bilin-inspired Gaza protests against the "buffer zone" that now eats 20% of Gaza and is a no-man's land according to the Israeli occupation authorities.

Video: Young Palestinian women do investigative journalism. Here they accompany the body of Raed Abu Hamad who was murdered while in Israeli custody


(while there you can explore other documentaries done by these aspiring and great journalists)

Stand-up for human rights:

Protest AIPAC (Apartheid Israel Pirates Against Coexistance) in Portland, Oregon this Sunday


Hard talk: Zionists occupiers. Heed my call!! by Nahida

BNC calls on Trade Unions and others to urgently intervene with their governments to stop Israel from joining the OECD. On May 2010, OECD is going to decide the accession of Israel into the organization. For Israel, membership in the OECD would mean a victory of legitimacy, that the violations of international law are rewarded and all the member countries of OECD will be accomplices of the illegal Israeli occupation, since according to the European law, European countries are forbidden to recognize the Israeli occupation to the Palestinian territories. Yet by granting Israel membership in the OECD, they will be doing exactly that.

Israel has refused to comply with the OECD demand to provide statistical data which applies only to the internationally-recognized parts of Israel , excluding the illegal settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). OECD members will knowingly accept Israel to the organization based on deceptive statistics provided by the latter, statistics which conceal the occupation while simultaneously treating it as a permanent fact. It only takes one OECD country to oppose the integration of Israel into the organization in order to block the process. Please, send a letter of protest to the delegation of OECD of your country, demanding to vote NO to Israel 's inclusion in economic organization. It only takes you a few minutes to act on this. In the links you can find the list of OECD member-states and their email addresses (write to them):

A Duty to Protest

Ha’aretz Editorial, 22 February 2010

Some 1,000 people took part in last Friday's demonstration against the separation fence in the village of Bil'in west of Ramallah, marking the fifth anniversary of weekly protests at the site.

Just as on previous Fridays, the police tried to prevent demonstrators from reaching Bil'in, either by detaining them on their way out of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem - a practice that is nothing less than scandalous - or by following them along the route, and then trying to block them from entering the village.

The conduct of the police has been deplorable, as has the recent spate of arrests by the army in Bil'in, during which many of the leaders of the popular committee behind the protests have been detained. Some of them are still in prison - and they don't belong there.

The protest in Bil'in, and in neighboring Na'alin, is an example of civic, usually nonviolent activity undertaken by Palestinians, Israelis and internationals alike, who are protesting a barrier that has severed villagers from most of their lands. Some of the lands have even been expropriated for the use of a nearby settlement.

Bil'in has become a symbol of a civic struggle devoid of terrorism. Such persistent, ongoing protest action is remarkable. It has even prompted the Supreme Court to rule that the route of the fence should be moved, and that some 170 acres of land be returned to the villagers. Astonishingly, this ruling has yet to be implemented by the state, which is thus displaying brazen contempt of court.

The fact that there are still civilians prepared to invest time and energy in nonviolent protest and popular action carried out by two peoples should be lauded, not suppressed.

Actually, last Friday's rally was relatively peaceful: The presence of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and numerous journalists made the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police behave less violently than usual.

Only when the protesters began causing damage to the barrier itself did the security forces react, but even then they used riot-control measures rather than firearms. This is how it ought to be, every Friday.

The protests in Bil'in are legitimate. They must be allowed. Protesters must be permitted unobstructed access to the site, and so should security forces, as long as they act with restraint. Shooting at demonstrators - as has happened in Bil'in all too often - is an act perpetrated by only the most nefarious regimes.

Protesting in Bil'in is not just a right. It is a duty.

No comments: