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Aftermath of the Flotilla attack in Ramallah

October 29, 2011

Massacre on the Gaza Flotilla:

Things have been crazy here the past couple of days. My boss and some co-workers were up all night Sunday to Monday morning in constant contact with the flotilla. They talked to them the last time like an hour before they were attacked….so they have been pretty emotional about everything.

We still cant get any information about who was killed, injured etc…because the Israelis have taken them all either to the hospital or to the prison. I can’t even imagine whats happening to those on board who were Arab Israeli/Palestinian. They’re probably getting the worst of it in the jails. hmmm…

Tensions were pretty high around here yesterday. My roommate told me what happened first thing in the morning and the news just kept getting worse throughout the day, although Im sure we don’t even know the half of what really happened thanks to the Israeli orchestrated media blackout.

It was really on the point of exploding here when the news came out that Skeikh Salah (an important sheikh from Israel) was shot in the head with live ammunition. Those were the first reports…and if he is really dead there’s gonna be BIG problems here–maybe even intifada size problems. But late yesterday Jerusalem Post reported that he wasn’t even injured…so Im not sure what’s going on but I know enough not to trust Israeli army spokespeople. Ha.

I couldnt believe it when the Army statement was that the peace activists attacked the soldiers first, and with AXES of all things. Ive heard that excuse before in many cases where Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians (usually teens) in cold blood. Thats their knee-jerk reaction “He attacked the soldiers with an axe!” Like everybody around here just carries axes around with them! Ridiculous, I had to laugh when I heard that was their excuse for killing up to 20 peace activists.

Media Blackout:

Anyways…so we are waiting patiently for the eye witnesses to be released so they can tell their side of the story. But Im sure Israel will keep pumping the mass media with their lies and fake videos (how could unarmed peace activists attack Israeli special forces???) showing the activists overpowering the Israeli commandos…bullshit. And when Israel finally does release the activists and the true death toll (and which nationalities were killed/injured) the world will have lost interest in this story Im sure.

Its depressing.

American Activist Shot in the Face with Teargas Canister at Demonstration:

 We had one pretty pathetic demonstration in Ramallah about the attack…by the end we attracted a good number of people–but it definitely didnt help to have the PA driving around threateningly with their police vans for arresting protestors and the Palestinian swat forces behind them. Hmm…

Then, Qalandia Refugee Camp, as usual, made the real protest. The kids from the camp came out and started throwing stones at Qalandia checkpoint. Press and international activists showed up throughout the afternoon. That’s when the American girl was shot in the face with a teargas canister. They took her to an Israeli hospital and she lost one of her eyes. But she will live, so that is good.

And what did the US say about any of this?? “This is a tragic loss of life”. They didnt even bother to condemn it–which doesnt mean much of course, but at least its something. Ughh….

Any Punishment for Israel?

The only hope is that the UN might get something passed (not likely with the US veto….) orrr that Turkey is pissed off enough to get NATO involved on the basis that Israel attacked a ship flying Turkish flags in international waters. “An attack on one member state is an attack on all member states”.  Somehow I dont have any hope that Israel will face any real punishment from this massacre–they have gotten away with MUCH worse.

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The “ULTIMATE Mission” Tour of Israel:

September 18, 2010

Convincing the World One Tourist at a Time that Israel is the ULTIMATE Victim

After the destruction and violence of the Second Intifada (caused by Israel’s constant provocation of the Palestinian people—culminating in Ariel Sharon’s illegal entrance into one of Islam’s most holy sites, the Al-Aqsa Mosque), the Lebanon War, and the most recent massacre—Operation Cast Lead—in the blockaded Gaza Strip, Israel’s tourism industry has faced many obstacles in attracting new tourists to the country.

In order to combat this trend, Israel has moved from organizing normal trips such as “Birthright”—where young Jewish people from other countries are taken on a free, 10-day trip of Israel to more ‘exciting’ and ‘extreme’ tours such as the “ULTIMATE Counter-Terrorism Mission”.

The ULTIMATE Counter-Terrorism tour was a week-long tour where the participants traveled around the country learning about Israel’s ‘struggle’ with counter-terrorism.  This tour was aimed at US policy makers, security officials, and lawyers.

Basically, instead of fighting the fact that tourists avoid the country because of the ‘terrorist threat’, Israel now uses it to attract a new, more extreme kind of tourist.

This effort has culminated with a new tour called “The ULTIMATE Mission to Israel.”  This tour will begin on June 8, 2009 and last for one week.  The point of these new tours is to sell the Israeli model for counterterrorism—and is a sick effort to glorify the killing of Palestinians, and the ongoing occupation, in the name of ‘pre-emptive self-defense’.

The tour is organized by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli Law Center dedicated to suing terrorists, terrorist organizations, and countries that support terrorism against Israel.  If Israel thinks it’s their right to sue terrorists, wouldn’t it be logical that the thousands of innocent Palestinian people who have been killed, injured, and had their lives ruined by Israel’s counter-terrorism policies should be allowed the same right?  Of course not—this is Israel, and there can only be one victim here.

The ULTIMATE Mission is described as a tour where you will experience a “military, humanitarian, historical, judicial, religious, and political reality check.”

In other words, over a week period, the organizers will try to convince the tourists that Israel’s policies, such as collective punishment, “targeted killings” (assassinations), apartheid wall, and more, are reasonable.  In the advertisement of the mission, it says that tourists will experience a “humanitarian reality check”, which sounds like they will try to convince the tourists that humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Palestinians are unfounded because they are ‘all terrorists.’

Racist?  Yes.  Glorifying the death and suffering of the Palestinians?  Yes.  Sick?  Yes.

While on the ULTIMATE mission, tourists will experience:

-A “real-life” briefing by officers in the IDF intelligence and operations branches

-Inside tour of the IAF unit who carries out targeted killings

-Live exhibition of penetration raids to “Arab” territory

-Observe a trial of Hamas terrorists in an IDF military court

-First hand tours of Lebanese front-line military positions and the Gaza border checkpoints

-Inside tour of the controversial “security fence” (the separation wall) and secret intelligence bases

-Meeting Israel’s Arab agents who infiltrate the terrorist groups and provide real time intelligence

-Briefing by Israel’s war heroes who saved the country

In other words, participants on the ULTIMATE mission will be able to see how the IAF kills ‘those Palestinian terrorists’, go on a raid into the West Bank and terrorize any Palestinians they come across—and maybe if they’re lucky they will get to see a real, live beating or arrest—which are arbitrarily carried out in the West Bank every day and night.

They will also see ‘one of those Hamas terrorists’ found guilty of some horrific offense in Israel’s “justice” system, meet Arab collaborators and informants, and basically become convinced that Palestinians are the terrorists and Israel is the victim.

They will be persuaded that although Israel has one of the most advanced militaries and intelligence organizations in the world and is backed by the richest and most powerful country in the world, it is actually threatened by Palestinians armed with stones, molotovs, and the extremely inaccurate qassam rockets.

Throughout the ULTIMATE mission where the participants get to see ‘terrorists’ being found guilty, beaten, arrested, and killed—they will also be staying in 5-star hotels, traveling in luxury buses, and eating in the “finest restaurants” along the way.  Getting excited yet?

More highlights of the tour include:

-Meeting with a former IDF chief of staff who will talk about the “strategic and tactical analysis of the threat to Israel from the Palestinians and Middle Eastern States”

—to convince the tourists of Israel’s right to pre-emptive self-defense so that they can return home and convince their friends, family, and hopefully governments to support Israel’s racist policies disguised as self-defense.

-Visiting the “Arab town”, Qalqilia

–to explain to the tourists why it is ‘necessary’ for this peaceful village to be completely surrounded by the separation wall, leaving only one entrance for the residents to enter and exit at the arbitrary will of the alternately bored and aggressive 18-year old soldiers guarding the checkpoint at the entrance.

-Meet bereaved parents of Israeli soldiers who died in the Lebanon War

–an experience that has to be organized in Israel, whereas if you walk down the street anywhere in the West Bank or Gaza Strip and talk to the first person you meet, you can find the same stories, and perhaps worse.  However, participants will not meet these people, reinforcing their perception of asymmetric Israeli suffering.

-Visit Sderot, one of the Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip and learn about the ‘qassam threat’ from Hamas

–Tourists will most likely visit the “living museum” Israel has set up there in which interested tourists can see the buildings that have been hit by qassams and see children who are hired to cry and act terrified there.

After this experience tourists will be convinced that Israel’s policies of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests and beatings, raids in Palestinian territory, extra-judiciary assassinations, checkpoints, and the separation wall are all necessary anti-terrorism policies—which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The ULTIMATE mission ends with coffee and cake at a 5-star hotel in Jerusalem.

Some testimonials of people who have gone on these missions before said that they returned home with “such a high” and told how they were able to “stare down Hezbollah terrorists across the Lebanese border”.

At the end of the trip most became convinced that Israel’s absurdly violent and unjust policies towards the Palestinians were well-founded and their “support for Israel and its people is more committed than ever.”  Israel is seen as the victim, and anything they do to the Palestinians—no matter how violent, inhumane, and illegal—are all acceptable in the name of self-defense.

 

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Boy Begs Soldiers Not To Take His Dad

August 3, 2010
Palestine Monitor
TV cameras have captured the terrible moment of a five-year-old Palestinian boy seeing his father arrested by Israeli soldiers, nearby Hebron.

In the video, the kid, Khaled Jabari, wails in torment and confusion as Israeli Army drag away his father, Fadel, for stealing water.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/vi…

Walking barefoot, the youngster becomes hysterical as he pleads with the troops not to take his father away. One of the soldiers picks up the lad and removes him from the scene before Fadel is driven away in a four-wheel-drive.

Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, commented the video, circulated yesterday on SKY TV and Al Jazeera, saying that “Palestinian children grow up under the Israeli occupation, surrounded by the Apartheid Wall, by oppression and destruction. Israel repudiates children’s rights and welfare and treats them like adults, clearly violating UN Declaration of Child’s Rights”.

After watching the footage, Hashem Abu Maria, of the Defence For Children International charity, said it was obvious the child thought his father would never return.

He said he was contacting child support agencies in the field to offer him psychological help to cope with the trauma.”This child does not comprehend the concept of arrest – he does not know what it means, like the policeman or soldier understands it,” he added. “I think that the child thinks that his father is leaving and not coming back – that he has lost him.”

Israeli forces raided the town of Bakka after accusing Palestinian farmers of stealing water from the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba. They pulled out irrigation pipes supplying vines and vegetable fields before arresting several villagers, including the boy’s father. Angry Palestinian residents say they have documents to prove they are registered with the Palestinian Water Authority, and are paying for the water they use.

They say it is the second time in a month police have removed their irrigation pipes. “This land is the source of our income, and it is the cause of our struggle with the occupation since day one of the occupation,” said Khaled’s grandfather Badran Jaber. “We live from it, we have no other job opportunity in light of unemployment reaching over 40% in the occupied territories.”

The child’s grandmother, Im Ghassan, added: “What right do they have to do this? Where can we go? This is our land, our home and nation, this is ours. We live here, we were born here, and we want to die here. Let them do what they want, we cannot do any more.”

Source: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1502

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Children of Palestinian Prisoners

July 27, 2010

Almost 9,000 Palestinians are being held in prisons inside Israel, in violation of international humanitarian law.

In hundreds of cases, Israel forbids adult relatives to visit, so it is left to children under 16 to maintain the family contact.

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Suheir Hammad: Gaza

July 26, 2010
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16-Year Old Arrested, Fined After Being Shot By Settler

July 10, 2010

16-year old Ibrahim Al-Biss with his younger sister Yara

On June 3, an Israeli settler shot Ibrahim Al-Biss and his friend Moataz outside Al-Aroub camp. Three weeks later and only one week after the 16-year-old left the hospital, Israeli police detained the boy at Kiryat Arabat. After his father paid 1500 shekels to release him, the police served Ibrahim with a military court order. Written and photographed by Kara Newhouse.

“I still don’t believe it’s real,” Ibrahim said of the arrest. In the hospital after being shot he had told me that he felt the violent experience was just a dream.

On June 6, after encouragement from Israeli police, Ibrahim’s father, Muhammad Al-Biss, filed a complaint about his son’s shooting. Israeli law requires the police to investigate the incident. The family claim without police advice they would have dropped the matter, but they followed it to their cost.

On June 21, Israeli police called Ibrahim and Muhammad into Gush Etzion station regarding the complaint Muhammad filed against the settler. When the father and son arrived, the Israeli authorities there sent them to Kiryat Araba, where police handcuffed Ibrahim and held him from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on charges of throwing stones at settlers on Highway 60.

Ibrahim’s father remained with him the entire time. He said that the police told him the settler admitted to shooting the boys without provocation, but that someone from the camp had made the accusation of stone-throwing. Muhammad surmised that police obtained the testimony through intimidation or else made it up entirely. Ibrahim had affirmed before his arrest that he had not thrown stones at the settler’s vehicle. According to a representative of the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, the charges of stone throwing do not legally justify a self-defence argument for a settler’s shooting of the boys, however, a full investigation by Israeli police is unlikely.

Ibrahim suffered one bullet wound in the settler attack and underwent surgery on three internal organs. Now in his family home, his convalescence confines him to a couch except for when using the bathroom. At the police station, he was deprived of food, water and education. Muhammad insisted to the police that Ibrahim’s injury should have prohibited them from legally holding his son. A military doctor inspected the boy’s wound and confirmed that Ibrahim should be arrested in a hospital or have a full-time doctor with him. Instead, the police told his father to pay 1500 shekels in bail. When he did, they gave him a military court order telling Ibrahim to appear in trial on October 12.

The representative from B’Tselem said that even though Israeli military law allows for children above 16 to be tried in adult courts, Ibrahim is likely to have a juvenile trial. She reported that in 99% cases of stone throwing, the defendant takes a plea bargain and serves between three and five months in jail. Ibrahim’s family has not hired a lawyer for the case.

Mahmoud Jabari contributed to this report.

http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1475

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Israel Investigating Dancing Soldiers in Hebron….

July 6, 2010

Soldiers performing a choreographed dance in Hebron instead of making sure the crazy Israeli settlers there dont do anything too stupid. Still, its pretty hilarious….

For the full story: http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=297127

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