Issue No: 19
11th June, 2012
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19
Palestinian Weekly Report is a periodical insight into the latest developments of the Palestinian Issue. Itâ€™s issued by The Palestinian Cultural Organization Malaysia and it focuses on the most important news and analysis about the happenings of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation in the Holy Lands of Palestine. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect PCOM's editorial policy.
Contents Article of the week The 1967-war revisited ................................................................................................ ................................ ....................................................... 3
News Tour Israel to build more West Bank homes ................................................................ ............................................................. 10 Netanyahu vows to reinforce settlements in "the fatherland" ........................................................ ................................ 11 Israeli court orders the he demolition of 29 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem ...................................... ................................ 12 Israel approved more than 4,300 new illegal settlement units last month ..................................... ................................ 12 Barak criticized for not understanding the conflict with the Palestinians........................................ ................................ 13 AFEH: IOA launches unprecedented digging under the Aqsa ........................................................... ................................ 13 Jailed Palestinians to stage hunger strike ................................................................ ......................................................... 14 Prisoners threaten new hunger strike if poor conditions persist ..................................................... ................................ 15 Amnesty demands that Israel puts administrative detainees on trial or releases them.................. 16 Human rights groups call for immediate transfer of hunger strikers to civilian hospitals ............... 16 Secret contacts between the PA and Israel ................................................................ ...................................................... 18 Hamas condemns Molho and Erakat's meeting ................................................................ ............................................... 18 Attoun: public freedom is what WB needs ................................................................ ....................................................... 19 Political detention in the West Bank doesn't help reconciliation reconcilia ................................ ..................................................... 20
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19
Article of the week
The 1967-war revisited By Khalid Amayreh
When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, I was ten years old. Then, I didn't fully grasp what was happening to us. Arab radio stations transmitting from Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad had been galvanizing us into believing that Israel's days were numbered and that Arab nationalism, which nearly replaced Islam as our de facto religion, would soon tear up the Zionist entity into smithereens. We virtually worshipped Gamal Abdul Nasser, the legendary Egyptian president, who became a God-like figure. It was far more abominable to curse the ultimate leader of Arab nationalism, than to curse the Almighty. So you can imagine the gigantic shock and disappointment we suffered when all of our dreams were crushed, when all these charismatic leaders proved to be little men who excelled in rhetoric but failed utterly in the confrontation with Israel. Four years before I was born, a great calamity had befallen my family. The Israeli army murdered three of my four paternal uncles, Hussein (28), Mahmoud (25), and Yousuf (23). The three, all simple and impoverished shepherds, were grazing their flock of sheep and goats near the village of Al-Burj along the so-called armistice line, 27 kilometres southwest of the West Bank town of Hebron. Together with my three uncles, a number of
other relatives, including a woman, were also shot dead. In fact, the Israelis not only nearly wiped out my entire family, but also seized our herd, upon which our total livelihood depended to a large extent. This calamity condemned us to a life of misery and abject poverty for many years to come. The Red Cross and the Red Crescent didnâ€™t run active services in our region at that time, so we were left to endure our fate alone. I remember my late father telling me that the Jordanian government gave us two goats free of charge, as compensation for the tragedy. My family viewed this as a kind of insult added to injury. Thus, my family had to live in a cave for 22 years. The misery, the suffering, the poverty and the harshness of daily living were conspicuous aspects of our life. Interestingly, to this day, the Israeli government has neither apologized for the crime, nor compensated us for our stolen property. Imagine how vociferously Jews would fulminate if they were in my shoes. None the less, these selfworshiping Zionists still have the Chutzpah to accuse their victims of being "anti-Semites." I donâ€™t know when these Jews will say mea culpa to their Palestinian and other victims. Perhaps when kosher pigs fly!!
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19 Well, I do realize that it is too premature, probably naïve, to even evoke such a question. After all, Israel is still murdering Palestinian children nearly on a daily basis. Of course, our tragedy didn’t stop at losing three men and few other relatives killed and hundreds of sheep stolen by the Israeli government. Much more had been seized from us six years earlier, in 1948, including our farming land in al-Za’ak, in what is now Israel. We were not even allowed to retrieve our belongings, such as bed coverings, household utensils and probably some money that had been left prior to the expulsion at the hands of armed Jewish gangs. Anybody who might have tried would have been shot on the spot. I know some people who had ventured to reach their former homes just across the border, only to be shot dead after having dug their graves. The take-no-prisoners policy was consistent with the Israeli strategy of ‘cleansing the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants’ who constituted the vast majority of the population. To further effect this criminal policy, the various Israeli gangs, which came later to form the so-called Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), committed numerous wanton massacres against the Palestinians. Some of the most infamous massacres include Deir Yassin, Dawaymeh, Tantura, Lud and Qastal, but there were many others. The atrocities, carried out wilfully, knowingly and deliberately by the Jewish leadership, were aimed at terrorizing the Palestinians into leaving. The message was as clear as it was gruesome. “If you want to stay alive, you’ve got to leave.” Israeli propaganda would tell the world later that the ‘Arab refugees’ left their homes willingly and were not forced into leaving by the Jews. Well, this is nothing short of fornication with truth, which reflects the brutal ugliness of the Zionist mentality. Interestingly, the Zionists continue to shamelessly generate such big lies to deceive and mislead world public opinion. I strongly believe that Zionist Jews are God’s lying people, in addition to being the Nazis of our time. They lie as often as they breathe; they murder women, children and innocent men, and then concoct lies to justify or extenuate the horror of their crimes. Some Zionists
would want us to believe that Jews don't do any wrong. Even evil acts of murder, including mass murder, are kosher since non-Jews are not bona-fide human beings. Unfortunately, this diabolically racist view is not held merely by a small unrepresentative minority; it rather represents the norm than the exception, especially among Orthodox Jews, such as the national religious sector and the Haredeem. Some influential Jewish sects, such as Chabad, are even more nefarious in their perceptions of non-Jews than the Nazi perceptions of Jews. Luckily, some Zionists have begun of late to recognize the ignominy of their actions, but without feeling shameful or remorseful about it in any genuine manner, or indeed, without giving the slightest indication that they would be willing to reverse or undo, as much as possible, the historical injustices they meted out to the Palestinian people. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo BenAmi wrote in a book published in 2006 that, “The reality on the ground was that of an Arab community in a state of terror, facing a ruthless Israeli army whose path to victory was paved not only by its exploits against the regular Arab armies, but also by the intimidation and at times atrocities and massacres it perpetrated against the civilian Arab community. A panic-stricken Arab community was uprooted under the impact of massacres that would be carved into the Arab’s monument of grief and hatred.”1 Jordanian era Under the Jordanian rule, the most important concern for the Jordanian authorities was loyalty to the King and his family. The King was nearly ‘God on earth’ and the entire country, including the media, the security forces and the people rotated around his figure. Hence, the claim often made that Jordan was a king with a country, rather than a country with a king, had a substantial degree of veracity. Connections to the King and his Mukhabarat (or intelligence apparatus) and immediate coterie would automatically put one in a preferential position. Shouting “Ya'ish Jalalat al Malik” (Long Live The King), would give one an automatic certificate of good conduct. No wonder, it was a despotic regime based on
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19 sycophancy, cronyism.
The Jordanian regime never really made genuine efforts to push back recurrent Israeli incursions, forays and raids on Palestinian population centres in the West Bank, let alone liberate occupied Palestine. Indeed, the Commander-in-Chief of the Jordanian army in the late 1940s, when Israel was created, and up until March 1, 1956, was a British officer by the name of John Baggot Glubb who came to be known among Palestinians and East Jordanian Bedouins as Glubb Pasha, an honorary title. So, who in his right mind would have expected a British officer to fight the Jews on behalf of the Arabs? As far as Palestinians were concerned, the most immediate priority for the Jordanian regime was to make sure that they and other Jordanians didn’t pose a threat to the survival, security and stability of the Hashemite monarchy. A Palestinian would get a sixmonth prison term if a bullet cartridge were found in his possession. And as the Israelis would do later, the Jordanians enlisted the ‘Makhatir’ (clan notables) to inform on every gesture of opposition to or dissatisfaction with the Hashemite rule within their respective clans and areas. This in turn created a kind of police-state atmosphere all over the country. Those free-minded Palestinians who insisted on voicing their conscience were persecuted and dumped into the notorious El-Jafr prison in eastern Jordan where they were often tortured savagely, even to death. I know of a person from my town (Dura) who was tortured to death for his affiliation with the Communist Party.
were affiliated with or instigated by the Ba’ath party and the Communists who openly called for overthrowing the monarchy. As a counterbalance to the leftists, who were quite active especially in the West Bank, King Hussein allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to operate relatively freely. So it was a kind of divide-and-rule policy. The leftists would accuse the Brotherhood of being British agents and the Brotherhood would retort by accentuating the atheism of the Communists and Ba’athists. Hussein’s relations with the Brotherhood remained relatively stable until the final years of his life when he introduced the one-man-one-vote law, aimed primarily at reducing to the minimum the number of parliament seats the well-organized Islamists could win. Notwithstanding, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Islamic Action Front, remains Jordan’s largest opposition party, despite government harassment and persecution. The Muslim Brothers were not British agents or agents of any power. They wanted to create an Islamic state in accordance with the Sharia, or Islamic Law. In other words, their strategy and goals were diametrically incompatible with those of the Communists and the Ba’athists. Hence, the mutual sullen hostility. However, to be honest, the Jordanian regime, especially with regard to how the state treated its citizens, was not as bad as other Arab regimes, e. g., Syria , Iraq and Egypt. In nonpolitical and non-security matters, the rule of law was generally observed and applied. In general, an individual’s dignity was upheld as long as he or she didn’t criticize the regime or undermine the ‘security of the kingdom.’
Torture is still practiced in Jordan with the knowledge, blessing and encouragement of the United States and Britain . Some of the socalled ‘terror suspects’ held by the CIA were secretly flown to Jordan in order to be ‘softened up’ by Jordanian interrogators.
More to the point, King Hussein was truly an astute leader. Far from behaving with vindictiveness and vengefulness toward his political opponents, even those who sought to assassinate him and overthrow his regime, The King nearly always pardoned them, showing magnanimity and gallantry unmatched in modern Arab history.
In the mid1950s, the Jordanian security forces on several occasions shot and killed demonstrators who were protesting the proWestern policies of the government and the regime’s failure and inability to stop recurrent Israeli attacks. Some of these demonstrators
Despite its authoritarianism and despotism, the Jordanian regime never persecuted us in any way even remotely comparable to what the Nazi-like Israelis have been doing to us since 1967. The Jordanians never demolished our homes or bulldozed our farms or arrested our
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19 people for years without charge or trial as Israel has been doing to us. Yes, ‘wrongdoers’ were arrested and tried and often tortured, but their families wouldn’t be detained, their homes wouldn’t be bulldozed and their farms, orchards and olive groves wouldn’t be decimated as the Israelis routinely do. Jordan actually granted us full citizenship until the late King Hussein severed legal and administrative ties with the West Bank in 1988.
King Hussein did make a lot of contacts with Israel even before 1967. For example, on September 24, 1963 the director-general of the Israeli prime minister’s office, Yaacov Herzog, met the King in the London clinic of the King’s Jewish physician, Dr. Emmanuel Herbert.
An outstanding exception occurred in 1970, during the so-called Black September events, when the Jordanian army battled with PLO guerrillas who The King claimed were planning to take over Jordan and end the monarchy. Some atrocities were committed during these confrontations and many people, Palestinians and Jordanians, were killed. Nonetheless, the ‘September events’ should be considered as a kind of anomaly in The King’s relations with the Palestinians.
It is also believed that Hussein had lots of contacts with the Israeli state through the alumni offices of Boston University.
In general, one can safely contend that there is no comparison between the Nazi-like Israeli occupation rule and the Jordanian era. The Jordanians were not really occupiers, they never behaved as occupiers. In many ways, The King was our king and the Kingdom was our kingdom. Yes, the regime was authoritarian and generally repressive, but, in all honesty, it cannot be compared to the Israelis whose barbarianism and savagery transcend reality. Nonetheless, Jordan was (and still is) a weak kingdom, economically, politically and especially militarily. The Israeli army routinely carried out cross-border forays into the West Bank prior to 1967, murdering innocent Palestinian villagers, and the Jordanian army was generally too weak and two unequipped to repulse the Israeli incursions. King Hussein must have calculated that maintaining a peaceable or even friendly modus vivendi with Israel was the best insurance policy for retaining his kingdom and the rule of his Hashemite dynasty. I think he was wrong in thinking this way. His nonhostility towards Israel didn’t prevent the Jewish state from pursuing its aggressive policies, which culminated in the occupation of the West Bank in 1967.
Another meeting took place in Paris in 1965 and Israel was represented by Golda Meir, who was accompanied by Herzog.
The Occupation As mentioned above, even before 1967, the Israeli army had been carrying out routine incursions into the West Bank, destroying poor people’s homes and killing innocent civilians, very much like what Israel has been doing in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Lebanon. I still vividly remember how the Israeli army, including tanks and warplanes, attacked the small nearby town of Sammou ’, 25 kilometres south-west of Dura, in November 1966, destroying the town, virtually completely, and killing many civilians. You see the condescending Zionist mentality. They are never interested in genuine peace and coexistence with the peoples of the Middle East, but are only intent on subjugating and tormenting people with brute force. This was as much the case 45 or even 60 years ago as it obviously is now. In the final analysis, a country that builds hundreds of colonies and transfers hundreds of thousands of its citizens to live on land that belongs to another people obviously doesn't have genuine peace at the top of its national agenda. On the 9th of June, 1967, we were told to raise the white flag when the Israeli army surrounded our small village, Khorsa, 15 kilometres south-west of Hebron. We were told we would be shot and killed if we didn't raise the white flag aloft. The Jordanian soldiers left in disgrace and headed eastward, a few donned traditional women’s clothing in order to disguise themselves, while King Hussein urged us via Amman Radio to fight the Israelis “with our fingernails, with our teeth.” Well, how could we possibly fend off
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Issue No: 19 the mighty Israeli army with our teeth and fingernails? Frankly, the Arab armies didn’t really put up any real fight against the Israelis. These armies reflected the utter political, moral and ideological decadence and bankruptcy of most contemporary Arab regimes. Indeed, maintaining the regime’s survival was the most paramount priority and strategy for the ruling elites and juntas of that time. Fighting Israel was not a real priority for these Arab regimes, despite all the rhetoric and pretension. Interestingly, this state of affairs remains unchanged even today, 40 years after the greatest Arab defeat in modern times. For many years, Israel and its allies claimed that it was Israel that was attacked by the Arabs in 1967 and that all that Israel did was fight back for its very survival, which was at stake. This is, of course, a big lie, as Israeli leaders themselves came to admit many years later. The former Israeli President Ezer Weizmann (who was also a former commander of the Israeli air force) admitted in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 1972 that “there was no threat of destruction…but that the attack on Egypt, Jordan and Syria was nevertheless justified so that Israel could exist according to the scale, spirit and quality she now embodies.” Similarly, the former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, a notorious hawk, was quoted in Noam Chomsky’s book ‘The Fateful Triangle’ as saying that “in 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army’s concentrations in the Sinai desert didn’t prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” Yitzhak Rabin, another former Israeli Premier, had this to say about the so-called Egyptian threat to Israel. “I don’t think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai wouldn’t have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”
This is not to say though that the Arabs, particularly the Egyptian and Syrian regimes didn’t indulge in a lot of sabre rattling, threatening to destroy Israel. However, the Israeli leadership of that time and the Johnson Administration, as well as the British and Soviet (Russian) intelligence knew quite well that Nasser was only indulging in bellicose rhetoric and nothing more than that. But, Israel, nevertheless, decided to attack with the central purpose being territorial expansion. Needless to say, territorial expansion had always been a central goal of the Israeli strategy. For example, Chomsky quoted the first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as saying the following: “The acceptance of partition (by Israel) doesn’t commit us to renounce Trans-Jordan; one doesn’t demand from anybody to give up his vision. We shall accept a state in the boundaries fixed today. But the boundaries of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them.” Gigantic defeat The historical defeat of the Arab armies in 1967 (historical because Israel occupied the rest of Palestine, including al-Masjidul Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest places) didn’t necessarily reflect any inherent Arab inferiority vis-à-vis Israel; it rather reflected the bankruptcy of the regimes and also west's embrace of Zionism. In 1973, during the October or Ramadan war, the Egyptian and Syrian armies could have scored a decisive victory over Israel had it not been for the massive intervention of Israel’s guardian-ally, the United States . It is likely that the Arab armies could, under favourable circumstances, defeat the Israeli army. At the beginning of the Occupation in 1967, the Israelis launched what one may call a PR campaign, employing Arabic-speaking Jewish immigrants from the Arab world and Druze officers. Some naïve people in our community, who had been disenchanted with the heavy-
Issue No: 19 handedness of the Jordanian regime, prematurely started making positive remarks about the new occupiers. Such people would speak auspiciously and optimistically about the fledgling Israeli era. They would make casual remarks like this: “Oh, they are better than the Jordanians, they are civilized and educated!” and “the Jews are educated people, they treat people with dignity and respect” and “under Israel’s rule, everybody is equal.” These people simply didn’t know what they were talking about. But such feelings, which were not widespread among the people, didn’t last long, as the occupation army began revealing its ugly face by adopting stringent measures against us. Well, occupation and decency seemed then, as they do now, an eternal oxymoron. There is no such a thing as a civilized or enlightened or benevolent occupation. A foreign occupation is an act of rape, it is by nature a criminal and evil act, otherwise it would be something else. Actually, the Israeli occupation is probably the worst occupation ever in the history of mankind, not only for its brutality, but for its durability as well. Indeed, I would argue that, in many aspects, the Israeli occupation is probably worse than the Nazi occupation of Europe. The Nazis wanted to conquer, pacify and stabilize rather than ethnically cleanse and uproot nonGerman Europeans as Israel has been doing to the Palestinians. Soon enough, the Israelis began confiscating the land and building settlements, employing all kinds of dirty and deceitful tactics, including bribery, shadowy deals, deception, tricks, falsification of land documents and outright coercion. They also resorted to the harsh policy of collective punishment such as demolishing homes as a reprisal for guerrilla attacks or membership in the PLO, especially the Fatah organization, founded and headed by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In our Palestinian culture, if you want to express extreme ill- will towards somebody, you say “Yikhrib Beitak” – may your home be destroyed. The Israelis sought to take full advantage of this weak spot in our social psychology. Thus, they demolished thousands upon thousands of
11th June, 2012 houses. The demolitions, a clear-cut war crime under international law, have never ceased. Today, they do it mostly by bulldozers and by pinpoint bombing from the air. I don’t know for sure the number of Palestinian homes Israel has destroyed since 1967. However, I can safely claim that they exceed 30,000. In fact, the wanton demolitions of Palestinian homes and villages started immediately after the war. Indeed, immediately after hostilities were over, the Israeli army utterly destroyed more than 170 homes in the Maghariba and alSharaf neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the al-Aqsa Mosque. In the third and fourth weeks of 1967, Israeli army bulldozers wiped out the Palestinian villages of Beit Nuba, `Imwas (Emmaus), and Yalu, all on the orders of Yitzhak Rabin. Approximately twelve thousand people were driven away from their homes, many of them trucked to the River Jordan, others were sent wandering in the desert without food or water. Eventually, the Israeli government, thanks to a generous gift of Canadian tax-payers’ money, built an infamy on the ruins of ‘Imwas. They called it Canada Park. This is Canada, which claims to be a guardian of human rights and the rule of international law!!! Actually, Israel continues to behave in such a manner. The Jewish state is unearthing and destroying the ancient Muslim cemetery in West Jerusalem, the Mamanullah (or Mamillah) graveyard, in order to build the ‘Museum of Tolerance’ there!! Yes, Canada Park and Museum of Tolerance!! You see the depravity and brutal ugliness of these criminals? On July 26, 2007, European rabbis held a protest and prayer vigil in Brussels over a 600year-old cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania that they said was being used for construction. (See “Rabbis protest construction of Jewish cemetery”. Of course it is wrong to desecrate cemeteries, Jewish or non-Jewish. However, it is a sign of ultimate hypocrisy and moral duplicity to unearth and smash the bones of dead Muslims in Jerusalem in order to build a Museum of Tolerance on the site of the former Muslim graveyard while Jewish leaders would rave and rant and protest when a Jewish
Issue No: 19 cemetery in Eastern Europe or elsewhere is desecrated by authorities there. Home demolitions would leave deep psychological scars in people’s memories. Children would return from school only to see their homes being destroyed by bulldozers driven by soldiers wearing helmets with the Star of David engraved on them. That Star of David symbolized hate and evil and cruelty. Even today, I couldn't imagine a more hateful and evil symbol. It is very much comparable to the way Holocaust survivors view the Nazi Swastika. Phobias, deep stress, neurosis and depression are among the disorders children of demolished homes would suffer as posttraumatic effects. I personally witnessed numerous demolitions when I was eleven years old. The demolition, or blowing-up operation, would begin with declaring the village where the doomed house was located a closed military zone. The declaration would be made via loudspeakers fixed on the military jeeps' hoods. In the process, all males between the ages of 13 and 70 would be ordered to gather at the playground of the local school, where they were forced to stand with their heads bowed down. Very often, the soldiers would shoot over the heads of people with the purpose of terrorizing them. And anybody daring to raise his head would be kicked in the back by heavily armed soldiers. Civility and simple human decency were always absent, as is the case in these days, and there was no al-Jazeera or CNN to report on Israel’s shameful acts, so the Zio-Nazis always felt at liberty doing to us as they saw fit. Then, the commanding officer in charge of the operation would give the doomed family ten minutes to salvage whatever meagre possessions they could. (These days they demolish our homes immediately without giving a grace period to get our belongings out). The scene of young children comforting younger children is devastating. The distraught housewives would struggle to get their utensils and whatever mattresses and foodstuff out, lest they be crushed and irretrievable. A small child would rush to get his favourite toy or an enlarged picture of his late grandfather, before
11th June, 2012 it was too late. Then the commanding officer would give the go-ahead signal and the house would become rubble in a few seconds. Afterwards, the Red Cross would bring a tent, as a temporary shelter for the victims, otherwise the tormented family would simply make an enclosure and sleep under the trees, or, if the weather was cold, find a cave to live in until a permanent solution could be found. These were indelible images of misery I won’t ever forget, an ugly testimony to Israel's Nazilike savagery. Jeff Halper, founder and head of the nongovernmental Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICHAD), an anthropologist and scholar of the occupation, observed that the Zionist and Israeli leaders going back 80 years have all conveyed what he calls “the Message to the Palestinians.” The Message, Halper says, is “Submit, only when you abandon your dreams for an independent state of your own, and accept that Palestine has become the Land of Israel, will we relent.” The implication and deeper meaning of the message is very clear. It is that “you (Palestinians) do not belong here. We uprooted you from your homes in 1948 and now we will uproot you from all of the Land of Israel.” Halper reminds us that Zionism has been from the very inception a “process of displacement” and house demolitions have been “at the centre of the Israeli struggle against the Palestinians” since 1948. Halper elucidates the policy of house demolitions. In 1948, he says, Israel systematically razed 418 Palestinian villages inside Israel, fully 85% of the villages existing before 1948. And since the occupation began in 1967, Israel has demolished 30,000 Palestinian homes. More homes, he adds, are being demolished in the path of Israel’s Separation Wall. And contrary to Israeli propaganda that Arab houses are destroyed for security reasons, Halper points out that the 95% of these demolished homes have nothing whatever to do with fighting terrorism, but are designed specifically to displace non-Jews to ensure the advance of Zionism.
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19
Israel to build more West Bank homes
07/06/2012 Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has approved construction of hundreds more settler homes on Palestinian land, even after the Israeli parliament rejected a bill to retroactively legalise some existing homes. The new homes will include 300 to be built in the Beit El settlement and 550 others that Construction Minister Ariel Attias said on Thursday will be built elsewhere in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu had called for members of the Knesset to reject a bill, voted down on Wednesday by 69 votes to 22, that would have legalised the Ulpana outpost, built on the outskirts of Beit El near the city of Ramallah. He argued that legalising the 30 apartments, which now are to be demolished by July 1, could have prompted an international backlash against the settler movement. But he said later that he would not allow people to â€œuse the legal system to harm the settlement movement," and announced plans to add homes to Beit El. "Beit El will be expanded. The 30 families will remain in Beit El, and 300 new families will join them," Netanyahu said in remarks broadcast on public radio.
Israel differentiates between "legal" settlements and "illegal" outposts, but the international community views all settlements on occupied territory as a violation of international law. Netanyahuâ€™s announcement was condemned by a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who said the decision to Beit El would hinder peace efforts. "We strongly condemn Netanyahu's announcement of the settlement decision on Palestinian land, which is an obstacle to efforts to push the peace process forward," said Nabil Abu Rudeina, the spokesman. US condemnation The US State Department said that continued Israeli settlement activity "undermines peace efforts and contradicts Israeli commitments and obligations"! "You know, our position on settlements remains unchanged. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," said spokesman Mark Toner. Wednesdayâ€™s bill in the Knesset was an attempt by settlers and their supporters in parliament to circumvent a supreme court ruling ordering the removal of five buildings from a settlement outpost known as the Ulpana neighbourhood by July 1. The bill sought to offer compensation to Palestinians whose private land had been taken over by settlers rather than returning their land, if they had not lodged a legal demand to evacuate the land within four years of the settlement. Hossam Zomlot of the Commission for International Affairs of the Fatah movement described Netanyahu's objection to the bill as a "cheap attempt" to deceive the international community "and appear as the man who is confronting settlements".
Issue No: 19 "But the effect is that he is engaged in actually strengthening the settlement movement," he told Al Jazeera. "He would like to create confusion among the Israeli public and the international community between what he calls illegal outposts and legal settlements. There's nothing as such. Every single stone that was built after 1967 is illegal." Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down three years ago, and
11th June, 2012 the Palestinians refuse to restart negotiations until Israel freezes settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim both areas, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, for a future state. Netanyahu says talks should resume without any preconditions and has refused calls for a full settlement freeze. /Aljazeera
Netanyahu vows to reinforce settlements in "the fatherland" In a statement issued by his office commenting on the Knesset decision, Netanyahu said, "The West Bank is the land of our ancestors, and in this place our identity was crystallised, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and I say that anywhere in the world." He called the West Bank "the fatherland" and stressed that his decision to transfer some settlement units built on private land north of Bethlehem is something that his government is not happy with. The residents of these units will be moved to the settlement of Bethel along with 300 new settler families.
08/07/2012 Israel's Prime Minister has vowed to continue the construction of Jewish settlements in all occupied Palestinian territory. Benjamin Netanyahu was responding to the angry reactions of settlers and far-right parties at the Knesset's refusal to ratify a law that would have legitimised the construction of settlements on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu also announced his decision to set up a ministerial committee to deal with settlement affairs "to ensure the implementation of Israeli policy regarding the reinforcement and strengthening of the settlements". The Knesset rejected the "settlement bill", under which Jewish settlers are allowed to build on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. Sixty-nine members voted against the bill, with 22 supporting it. All Israeli settlements are regarded as illegal under international law. /MEMO
Issue No: 19
11th June, 2012
Israeli court orders the demolition of 29 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
06/06/2012 An Israeli court has issued a ruling which allows the municipal authorities in Occupied Jerusalem to destroy 29 Palestinian homes in the Silwan district of al-Bustan, south of the Aqsa Mosque. The demolition order includes the residence of the head of the Committee for the Defence of Silwan, Fakhri Abu-Thiab. Mr Thiab clarified that the court had given the Municipality the green light to go ahead with
the demolition of the 29 homes after rejecting an intervention by the Jerusalemite residents demanding a postponement. He clarified that after exhausting all avenues of defence available to them, a number of residents had received official demolition orders from the court which indicated that the demolition would be implemented imminently. He also stressed that across its institutions, the Israeli occupation invented various 'legal' strategies to implement its schemes to Judaise the alBustan district. The head of the Committee for the Defence of the Silwan stated that his home was among those threatened with demolition, and spoke of "the fear and anxiety of the unknown fate that awaits these families whose homes are to be demolished." He added, "I enter rooms of the house and I know that it may be the last time that I enter my home and have dinner in it." /MEMO
Israel approved more than 4,300 new illegal settlement units last month "A people under occupation" also gives details of Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and their property, which are ongoing. It says that the occupation army and illegal Jewish settlers uprooted 1,024 olive trees; demolished 37 houses and buildings belonging to Palestinians; and arrested 240 citizens during the month.
04/06/2012 The monthly report issued by the PLO's Department of International Relations has revealed that Israel approved the construction of more than 4,300 new illegal settlement units in May.
The DoIR told Quds Press that Israel has renewed or imposed administrative detention on more than 40 prisoners, including five detained MPs. A further 25 prisoners who were freed under the prisoner exchange deal eight months ago have been rearrested. "This," claimed the Department, "is another violation of the agreement brokered by the Egyptians last year." /MEMO
Issue No: 19
11th June, 2012
Barak criticized for not understanding the conflict with the Palestinians University. "The one who thinks that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started and ended with the 1967 borders does not understand it," he said, "since he does not know why the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, refused ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's suggestion about borders in Annapolis."
08/06/2012 Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, has criticised the country's Deputy Prime Minister for "not understanding the conflict with the Palestinians". Ehud Barak, who is also Israel's Minister of Defence, suggested last week that Israel could withdraw unilaterally from the occupied West Bank in the middle of the current "political deadlock". Likud MK Ya'alon made his comment during a discussion organised by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv
Ya'alon pointed out that, "Remarks about unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank create deep holes in the 'Iron Wall', and the one who aims to attract Abbas to the negotiating table is not allowed to utter such things." "Iron Wall" is a reference to the theory propounded by Zionist thinker Ze'ev Jabotinsky in 1923. "Zionist colonisation [of Palestine] must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population - behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach." /MEMO
AFEH: IOA launches unprecedented digging under the Aqsa The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) has warned that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) was launching the biggest excavations ever in the vicinity of the holy Aqsa mosque. It said in a statement on Sunday that the campaign, described by Hebrew media as the biggest in 150 years, coincided with an unprecedented attempt to forge history and invent the presence of a Jewish city underneath and in the vicinity of the holy site.
AFEH, also quoting Hebrew media, said that the diggings had greatly escalated in the past ten years.
Issue No: 19 The foundation said that the three-pronged diggings included first a network of tunnels underneath the Aqsa and in its vicinity, the second aimed at creating a vacuum to simulate presence of a historical Jewish city in an area adjacent to the Aqsa, and the third targeted
11th June, 2012 destroying Arab and Islamic relics and culture in the area. AFEH called for an Islamic, Arab, and Palestinian strategy to confront and foil such practices and serious violations against Jerusalem and the Aqsa mosque. /PIC
Jailed Palestinians to stage hunger strike
09/06/2012 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have said they will declare a one-day hunger strike next week in solidarity with three other striking detainees. Monday's strike has been called on behalf of Mahmoud Sarsak, Akram Rikhawi and Samer Al Bark. The longest on hunger strike is 25-year-old Palestinian national footballer Sarsak - who has refused food for 82 days, followed by Rikhawi at 58 days and Al Bark at 19 days.
Anat Litvin, from Physicians for Human Rights Israel, said Sarsak and Rikhawi are in "very severe" condition. Israel's prison service says they are receiving proper care. The upcoming hunger strike follows the mass strike of more than 2,000 prisoners which ended on May 14. The strike was ended when Israel signed an agreement which pledged to â€œfacilitateâ€? the detaineesâ€™ demands. The demands included ending the policies of detention without charge or trial, and solitary confinement. Despite this agreement, Sarsak has been held without charge or trial since he came to the West Bank from Gaza Strip to join the Palestinian national football team in 2009. Rikhawi says Israel violated its pledge to release him when it extended his detention on May 21. According to the Maan News Agency, based in Bethlehem, West Bank prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi is still being held in solitary confinement despite the agreement stipulating Israel would end that policy. Amnesty International says that Israel has renewed at least 30 administrative detention orders and has issued at least three new ones since the deal was signed. /Aljazeera
Issue No: 19
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Prisoners threaten new hunger strike if poor conditions persist According to the Minister, more than 1,000 prisoners are suffering from various diseases, including 18 who have chronic and malignant conditions. This is due, he said, to the situation in Israeli prisons, the poor food and the lack of specialised medical treatment. Doctors, he alleged, face difficulties when they try to enter Israeli prisons with the necessary equipment and medicines to treat their patients.
04/06/2012 The Minister of Prisoners' Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, Issa Qaraqe, has revealed that the Palestinian prisoners still in Israeli prisons are threatening a new hunger strike if the situation inside the jails continues, with ongoing administrative detention, frequent raids and intrusive inspections, and other violations of prisoners' rights. "The conditions inside the detention centres are tough," said Qaraqe in a press statement, "not least because the prison authorities have not fulfilled their agreement which led to the end of the previous hunger strike." Administrative detention, he pointed out, has been used against even more prisoners and certain privileges have been denied to the exhunger strikers, such as use of prison canteens. Medical negligence also remains a problem, he added, especially in Ramla Prison "which might as well be called Ramla Tomb".
"The Ministry, in cooperation with other relevant authorities which deal with prisoners' affairs, is launching a local and international campaign for the release of all prisoners who are ill," said Qaraqe. He also mentioned that international footballer Mahmoud Sarsak has entered the 80th day of his hunger strike and his health is now in a very serious state; he is subject to frequent blackouts. Qaraqe confirmed that the Palestinian international, who was arrested in 2009, has rejected an Israeli offer to deport him to Norway; he is insisting on being released in Gaza, where he was born and where he has lived all of his life. The Minister also drew attention to prisoner Akram Al-Richawi, who has been on strike for more than 54 days, despite suffering from several illnesses, in protest against the refusal of the Israelis to commute his sentence on compassionate grounds due to his ill health. /MEMO
Issue No: 19
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Amnesty demands that Israel puts administrative detainees on trial or releases them In a report released today (6th June), Amnesty emphasises "the importance of Israel not using administrative detention as a means of suppressing legitimate, non-violent activities". It also alleges that "administrative detainees are subjected to torture and other practices during interrogation".
Amnesty International has demanded that the Israeli authorities release the Palestinians held under administrative detention or grant them swift and fair trials.
Furthermore, Amnesty describes the treatment meted out to administrative detainees as "cruel and degrading", saying that such treatment is used by Israel as a punitive measure against detainees participating in hunger strikes and other forms of protest inside Israeli prisons. /MEMO
Human rights groups call for immediate transfer of hunger strikers to civilian hospitals Today (Wednesday, 6 June), Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi were visited by PHRIsrael's independent doctor for the first time since they launched their hunger strikes.
07/06/2012 As organisations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations (PCHRO) and Physicians for Human RightsIsrael (PHR-Israel) are gravely concerned for the lives of three Palestinian prisoners who remain on hunger strike in Israeli prison.
Mahmoud Sarsak is currently on his 80th day of hunger strike, resulting in an imminent threat to his life. Despite the urgency of his condition, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has denied Mahmoud access to independent doctors from PHR-Israel until today. The IPS also refuses to transfer him to a civilian hospital for proper treatment. Following today's visit, the PHR-Israel doctor reported that Mahmoud has experienced extreme loss of muscle tissue and drastic weight loss. He has lost 33 per cent of his body weight, from an original weight of 76 kilos down to his present weight of 51 kilos. He also suffers from frequent incidents of fainting and loss of consciousness, in addition to lapses in memory. The doctor further reported that Mahmoud is in danger of pulse disruptions (arrhythmias) that are endangering his life. Mahmoud, 25 years old and a member of the Palestinian national football team, has been
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19 detained for nearly three years under Israel's "Unlawful Combatants Law", which allows for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to be detained for an unlimited amount of time without charge or trial. Those detained under the Statute have little or no legal protection, even less than those detained under administrative detention orders in the West Bank.
A third Palestinian prisoner also remains on hunger strike. Samer Al-Barq, 38 years old, has been held in administrative detention, without charge or trial, since 11 July 2010. He is currently held in Ramleh prison medical centre. Samer participated in the Palestinian prisoners' mass hunger strike from 17 April until 14 May. He re-launched his hunger strike on 21 May in protest against the renewal of his administrative detention order in spite of an understanding in the agreement that ended the mass hunger strike, which implied that current administrative detainees would not have their orders renewed.
Also of utmost concern is the condition of Akram Rikhawi, currently on his 56th day of hunger strike. PHR-Israel has made numerous requests to gain access to Akram but all have been denied until today. Following today's visit, the PHR-Israel doctor reported that Akram also already suffers from extreme loss of muscle tissue and drastic weight loss. His weight has decreased from 68 kilos to 50 kilos, which is a total loss of 26.5 per cent. The PHR-Israel doctor determined that a combination of inflammation of prior chronic illnesses and the complications of hunger strike render hospitalisation necessary immediately.
While administrative detention is allowed under international humanitarian law, it must be used only under exceptional circumstances as it infringes upon basic human rights, including the right to a fair trial. Indeed, the denial of a fair trial constitutes a "grave breach" of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the most serious forms of war crimes. This form of arbitrary arrest also contravenes Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, the European Parliament called on Israel in a September 2008 resolution to "guarantee that minimum standards on detention be respected, to bring to trial all detainees, [and] to put an end to the use of 'administrative detention orders'." The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated several times that prolonged administrative detention is likely to result in the exposure of detainees to "torture, ill-treatment and other violations of human rights".
Akram has been held in the Ramleh prison medical centre since his arrest in 2004, as he suffers from many different chronic conditions, including diabetes and asthma. He began his hunger strike on 12 April in protest against his request for early release not being granted despite his medical condition. Yesterday, 5 June, his appeal for an early release on medical grounds was rejected. The IPS doctors' threats to force-feed and forcetreat him, in addition to their determination not to recommend his medical condition as worthy of earlier release from prison, has led Akram to regard them with deep distrust. Thus, he often refuses to receive treatment for his chronic illnesses, or the complications they generate. PHR-Israel's independent doctor recommended strongly that both Mahmoud and Akram be transferred immediately to a hospital, as they are at immediate risk of death. These recommendations were given directly to the IPS doctor present with him during the visit. It should be emphasised that contrary to medical ethics and professional standards, the IPS refused the request of the independent doctor to go over the full medical files of both Mahmoud and Akram. He stated that according to the limited information accessible to him, the medical follow-up they have been receiving is insufficient both in frequency and scope.
Given the critical health condition of the hunger strikers and the fact that Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi face imminent death, the PCHRO and PHR-Israel: •
Demand that all hunger strikers in advanced stages are moved immediately to civilian hospitals where they can receive the standard of care necessary; Call for immediate intervention for the IPS to provide all hunger strikers with unrestricted access to independent doctors; Demand that all hunger strikers are allowed family visits; Urge the Member States of the United Nations to put pressure on Israel urgently to end its policy of arbitrary detention and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of
11th June, 2012
Issue No: 19
prisoners adopted in 1955, which set out what is generally accepted as being decent principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners; Call on the European Parliament to activate the parliamentary fact-finding mission that includes members of its Subcommittee on Human Rights to investigate the conditions of detention of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons;
Emphasise that the parliamentary fact-finding mission must include an investigation into Israel's illegal practice of administrative detention and the use of the "Unlawful Combatant Law"; Urge Members of the European Parliament to bring the case of all three hunger strikers to the attention of relevant Israeli authorities without delay.
Secret contacts between the PA and Israel Minister Netanyahu's special envoy Isaac Molho and senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. The newspaper reported that "the talks cannot yet be considered peace negotiations," but they deal with everyday issues and problems which must be resolved between both sides at the highest levels.
10/06/2012 Haaretz newspaper revealed, on Sunday, that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities restarted to talk since two months ago through Prime
The Hebrew newspaper also reported that the lawyer Molho had held a meeting with Erekat one month ago in which they dealt with the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike, the PA request to transfer military equipment from Jordan to the security services in the West Bank. /PIC
Hamas condemns Molho and Erakat's meeting
The Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas" condemned the continuous secret meetings and negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman, said, during an exclusive interview with PIC on Sunday, commenting on the Haaretz's report about the Palestinian and Israeli authorities' meetings that the PA is still betting on the peace illusion and it is still negotiating with the Zionist occupation. He added that these facts demonstrated that all the PA conditions for the resumption of what it called negotiation with the Israeli side is an
Issue No: 19 attempt to cover up the continuing farce of negotiations. Haaretz has stated on Sunday that "a line of quiet communication between PA and Israeli authorities was established since two months". Haaretz newspaper revealed that the communication line has been re-established by Prime Minister Netanyahu's special envoy Isaac Molho and senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. The Hebrew newspaper reported that the lawyer Molho had held two meetings with
11th June, 2012 Erekat during the last month in which they discussed the approval on the PA request to transfer military equipment from Jordan to the security services in the West Bank. It is noted that the PA has continuously stressed that it refuses any political meeting with the Israeli occupation until the halt of settlement building, the release of the Palestinian old prisoners, and the recognition of the UN resolutions as a reference for the negotiations. /PIC
Attoun: public freedom is what WB needs needs from the national reconciliation is achieving public freedoms through releasing the political detainees and halting the summonses and putting an end to the prohibition of political, union, and association activities by the PA security agencies.
10/06/2012 The Palestinian Legislative Councilâ€™s deputy for the city of Jerusalem, Ahmed Attoun, called for releasing public freedoms for all the citizens in West Bank, saying that this is what the West Bank needs from national reconciliation. During an exclusive interview with the PIC, Attoun added that what the West Bank really
Attoun stressed that "the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas certainly includes a call to convene the Legislative Council after the formation of the new government headed by Mahmoud Abbas," stressing that "the legislature would not be a stumbling block for the application of all the reconciliation's terms." Attoun, who was exiled from Jerusalem in June 2010, said that he cannot imagine himself living outside Jerusalem for long, adding that he is sure of returning to his hometown despite the occupation. /PIC
Issue No: 19
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Political detention in the West Bank doesn't help reconciliation Prison; his health is deteriorating after nine days of refusing food. Barhoum condemned the continued political arrests of Hamas members in the West Bank. "After the Cairo agreement, there is no justification for holding political prisoners in the West Bank," he said. "We demand their immediate release and an end to political detention." The official spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Fawzi Barhoum, has said that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is responsible for the lives of political prisoners in its prisons. He has pointed out that the continued detention of political prisoners by Ramallah "doesn't help national reconciliation". One of the leaders of the Hamas military wing, Abdullah Al-Aker, is on hunger strike in the PA's Aljaneed
He denounced Al-Aker's abduction and the Palestinian Authority's turning of a blind eye to his open hunger strike in spite of all agreements and calls for his release. The Hamas spokesman called on the sponsors of reconciliation and the public freedoms' committee to intervene immediately to bring about an end to all political detention, which, he added, "is the biggest obstacle to national unity". /PIC