Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Loss Of Liberty Redux (15 min.)

alternate (same video with credits) mp3

I tried to do it justice, by not adding anything, or cutting out too much. God bless.

Originally 52 minutes

iOF killed 7407 Palestinians,
including 1859 children since September 2000

NABLUS, (PIC)-- The United Nations Commission on Human Rights describes the right to life as the "ultimate human right," and it is in turn considered the most important and basic human right. In spite of that, the Zionist occupation forces persist in violating the Palestinian civilians' right to life through the use of fatal and excessive force and killing in all forms in clear contravention of the provisions of Article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

The Zionist occupation is one of the entities the legislations of which do not include death penalty, but it depends, while violating the right to life, on a set of provisions and instructions to fire at Palestinian civilians. This essentially contravenes international standards that allow the use of proportional force according to necessity. These standards govern the degree of force allowed to arrest "suspected" people or people who act contrary to law and public order (according to the Zionist point of view).

Moreover, the Zionist entity breaches the methods of firing at Palestinian civilians which are included in the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, article III of which provides that "The use of firearms is considered an extreme measure. In general, firearms should not be used except when a suspected offender offers armed resistance or otherwise jeopardizes the lives of others and less extreme measures are not sufficient to restrain or apprehend the suspected offender."

According to statistics available to the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights, it is clear that the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada on September 28, 2000 until the end of September 2010 is about 7407 martyrs, including 1859 children under the age of 18, while the number of women martyrs is (476).

The foundation said that the number of martyrs in 2008 and 2009 amounted to about 2112 including 548 children and 159 women. The last war waged against Gaza by the Zionist occupation resulted in a very high number of martyrs where more than 1460 citizens, including 437 children and 116 women were killed.

Zionist policy of assassinations and extrajudicial executions
The same foundation indicated that Amnesty International defines extrajudicial executions as: "An extrajudicial execution is an unlawful and deliberate killing carried out by order of a government or with its acquiescence. Extrajudicial killings are killings which can reasonably be assumed to be the result of a policy at any level of government to eliminate specific individuals as an alternative to arresting them and bringing them to justice. These killings take place outside any judicial framework."

Since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada, the Zionist entity started using all old methods that have been used previously in suppression of the Palestinian uprisings, adding new tools and instruments that are only used to face armies. Thus, the Zionist entity returned to the policy of extrajudicial killings and political assassinations of Palestinians that the Zionist entity claimed are behind operations against the occupation without providing evidence of conviction and without arresting them. The occupation forces were able to arrest and bring to trial those people.

The Zionist occupation is the only entity in the world which legitimizes extrajudicial executions. It also did not hesitate to announce this policy in the international community. The Zionist Supreme Court of Justice, the highest judicial body in the entity, has rejected a petition submitted by Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and LAW, a Palestinian group on (07/08/2003) on the issuance of a precautionary injunction to prevent the Zionist army from continuing with assassinations against Palestinian leaders and activists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Position of international law towards extrajudicial executions
As all international and local conventions, treaties and laws endorsed the illegitimacy of extrajudicial executions, article III of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War states:

"The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture."

United Nations Principles on the Effective Prevention of Extra-legal Executions under any circumstances in time of war also prohibit extra-legal executions according to the first principle which states: "Governments shall prohibit by law all extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions and shall ensure that any such executions are recognized as offences under their criminal laws, and are punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account the seriousness of such offences. Exceptional circumstances including internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked as a justification of such executions."

As the report of February 2001 by Amnesty International, entitled: "Israel and the Occupied Territories: State assassinations and other unlawful killings", stated: "An extrajudicial execution is an unlawful and deliberate killing carried out by order of a government or with its acquiescence. Extrajudicial killings are killings which can reasonably be assumed to be the result of a policy at any level of government to eliminate specific individuals as an alternative to arresting them and bringing them to justice. These killings take place outside any judicial framework."

The total number of martyrs assassinated by the Zionist forces since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada until 28 September 2010 is (1269) martyrs of Palestinian cadres and leaders.

Gaza war .. Wholesale killings
The last war against the Gaza Strip in late 2009 formed a grave turning point in terms of violations committed by Zionists against the Palestinian citizens. The Gaza Strip has been bombarded heavily and continuously over (22) days during which combat aircrafts were used. As pointed out by some Israeli military sources, more than one-third of the Israeli Air Force, large columns of tanks, personnel carriers and warships were used.

Dozens of witness statements that described the killings and executions carried out before their eyes by the occupation soldiers without any excuse or justification were recorded during this war. More than 1460 civilians including 437 children and 116 women were killed. Moreover, tens of thousands of citizens were wounded.

Many of human rights institutions recorded many cases of using citizens as human shields by the Zionist army, not to mention the holocaust experienced by whole families due to the Zionist bombing of crowded neighborhoods full of civilians. The same human rights institutions underlined the use of many internationally banned weapons such as white phosphorus bombs and others by the Zionist forces.

During this war as well, thousands of houses, schools, universities, government centers, security headquarters, houses of worship and the headquarters of the United Nations were destroyed. In addition, The Zionist forces targeted the infrastructure of networks of roads, electricity, water, telephone lines, electricity stations and sewage stations which resulted in contamination of drinking water.

During the Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip, 115 elderly, 5 journalists, 12 paramedics, 11 members of civil defense corps, 9 members of the military medical services staff (3 of whom are doctors, 2 nurses) and 230 Palestinian policemen were martyred.

The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights views with concern the Zionist continuing and escalating violations against the Palestinian citizens without deterring or holding the Zionist entity accountable for exercising the worst methods of direct killings against unarmed Palestinian people. All that is clearly evident from the foregoing figures and through the last war against the Gaza Strip.

The foundation demanded all international parties and human rights organizations to exert pressure on the occupation for the enforcement of international law on the protection of civilians in time of war, protecting and ensuring safety for them and put an end to occupation.

  Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hungry in Gaza, More and More


GAZA CITY, Sep 29, 2010 (IPS) -

"Sometimes, for a day or two we don't even have bread, nor flour to make bread.

There's a store nearby that, when we are truly desperate, lets us take a bag of bread or something simple, on credit. I owe them a lot of money for the food I've brought from them, but I still can't pay them."

Umm Khamis Khattab, 52, lives in a single, bare-bones room in central Gaza's Bureij refugee camp. Khamis, her disabled son, 30, is married but has no source of income.

"Our situation is very bad. We used to receive financial support because my son is disabled. Now, we get nothing. After my husband died five years ago, his family tried to help us, for a short while. But they can't take care of themselves, let alone us," says the widow. "So we get by on hand-outs from neighbours now and then."

Umm Khamis tries to generate an income selling eggs from the handful of chickens she tends. "We are three people living off 20 shekels (roughly five dollars) per week from the eggs."

The World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) define food insecurity as people not having "adequate physical, social or economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs."

Palestinians vulnerable to food insecurity are further defined as "households with both income and consumption below 5.6 dollars per adult equivalent per day." Actual food insecure households are defined as having "an income and consumption below 4.7 dollars per adult equivalent per day."

In the Gaza Strip, where unemployment levels soar up to 65 percent, and more than 80 percent people are food aid dependent, the average income per day per person is just two dollars. According to the WFP and FAO, the food insecure in Gaza are an alarming 61 percent, with another 16 percent vulnerable to food insecurity.

"I'd be happy just selling things on the street if it brought five shekels per day," says Abu Suleiman, 51, father of four. He, his wife and their young children live in Sheik Radwan, north of Gaza City, in a windowless, concrete block room, the kind that is ordinarily used as a space for small shops.

"We all sleep together in this room, which is our kitchen and bathroom as well," he says.

The building owner uses the room next door for his sheep and chickens. "The stench is incredible, we can't escape it. And I worry about my children's health, but there's nowhere better we can go."

Abu Suleiman works making tea and coffee and cleaning the office of a media group in Gaza. "I work from 7am to 4:30pm and earn just 350 shekels per month," he says. "The rent for our room is 150 shekels per month, so that leaves just 200 shekels to get by on." He says he walks the hour both ways to work in order to avoid taxi fares.

"But 200 shekels isn't enough for five people and a baby. If I even thought about buying meat, the money would be gone quickly. So we buy cheaper food: rice, lentils, pasta. Never meat."

With food prices highly inflated under the siege Israel has imposed on Gaza since shortly after Hamas's election in 2006, few families can afford meats, fish, or fresh produce. The 2008-2009 Israeli war on Gaza further destroyed meat and poultry production besides devastating the agricultural sector.

Ten percent of poultry and 17 percent of cattle and ruminants were killed. Eighteen percent of Gaza's productive agricultural lands were destroyed, along with another 17 percent of greenhouse-grown vegetables, says the United Nations (UN).

The combination of this agricultural destruction and the mortal Israeli imposition of a no-go zone on Gaza's border lands, encompassing roughly one-third of Gaza's arable land means that as of June 2009, 46 percent of agricultural land in Gaza was either inaccessible or out of production, impacting on the availability of fresh and nutritious produce in the Strip and affecting over 60,000 people earning a living from agriculture alone.

At the same time, fishers are no longer able to breach more than miles, most usually staying within less than a mile of Gaza's shores. While the Oslo accords granted Gazan fishermen the right to fish 20 nautical miles off Gaza 's coast, Israel has incrementally and violently reduced the fishing limits.

The FAO reports a decline in total fishing catch by 47 percent between 2008 and 2009, with fishers subject to daily shooting from Israeli gunboats in Gazan water.

"Every day in Gaza, more and more people become hungry, more new people come for help," says Dr. Al-Wahaidi, Director of Health for Ard al-Insan, Gaza's prime centre for the hungry and malnourished. "And there's no difference between city dwellers and camp residents, except that maybe camp families have more of a social network to rely on, and country residents have more possibilities for growing produce for themselves."

According to Amani Jouda, Nutrition Officer for the World Health Orgnanisation (WHO) in Gaza, 74 percent of children aged 9-12 months are anaemic, up from 65 percent in 2009, as are another 32 percent of children aged 7-15 years, and 45 percent of pregnant women in their first months of pregnancy.

The UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force cites the importance of local agriculture and livestock in reducing hunger.

Ard al-Insan's Dr. Al-Wahaidi sees it clearly. "The main reason for hunger in Gaza is Israeli politics on the people Gaza. Gaza is different than other places. When we have a disaster, we cannot leave our small piece of land to find work or safety elsewhere. We are trapped inside." (END)

  Monday, September 27, 2010

No Closure without Addressing the Nakba

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan

Facts that cannot be denied regarding the Palestinian-Israeli issue: the conflict did not start in 1967; Arab Palestinians constituted seventy-five percent of the total population and owned around 94.2 % of the land in Palestine by the end of the Mandate in 1948; and majority of the Palestinians today are refugees scattered throughout the world.

Israel insists that nothing that occurred prior to 1967 will ever be negotiable, and the present negotiations view the conflict as having started in 1967. The Israelis must be held accountable, legally, financially and morally for the crimes they committed against the Palestinians in 1947-48. There cannot be a closure to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without addressing the crimes perpetrated by the Israelis, the massacres, the ethnic cleansing and the confiscating of the Palestinians’ lands and properties.

The vision of a purely Jewish state was at the heart of Zionism since the nineteenth century. The labor movement, the “socialist wing within the Zionist movement” sought to make Palestine exclusively Jewish rather than a socialist state. Under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, Israel instituted and implemented the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians from their ancestral homeland, and the big powers collaborated to make the cleansing irreversible even with the passage of the General Assembly Resolution 194 that gives the Palestinian refugees the right of return to their home and live at peace with their neighbors.

When the UN stepped in to deal with the Palestinian refugees issue in 1949, Israel’s Western supporters in refused to involve the existing “International Refugee Organization” (IRO) that had been assisting Second World War European refugees, including Jews, to be repatriated as the first option to which refugees were entitled. Under pressure from the US, the UN created the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), an organization that deals exclusively with the Palestinian refugees.

According to the historian Ilan Pappe, Israel and the Zionist Jewish organizations in the US and Europe were behind the decision to keep IRO out of the picture. Unlike the IRO, the UNRWA had no power to recommend the return of the Palestinians to their country. Its only function was to provide permanent camps, schools, medical services, employment and subsidies to the Palestinian refugees. The creation of UNRWA by the Zionist movement supporters was an insidious scheme to make the cleansing of the Palestinians permanent and nullify the General Assembly Resolution 194.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been calling on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” which rules out repatriation for Palestinian refugees and disenfranchises the Arabs in Israel.

The German Jews were compensated for the Nazi crimes against them in Europe and the refugees were given the option to resettle anywhere in Germany. When Israel implemented its 2005 disengagement plan in Gaza and the West Bank, the 8000 settlers in Gaza and the 660 in the four small outposts in the West Bank are referred to by Israel’s right-wing supporters as “ethnically cleansed population” in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. They were paid money and given the option to settle in other stolen West Bank lands.

Israel must be held accountable for the Nakba massacres, and the victims of the ethnic cleansing must have the option to return to their towns and receive monetary finance to rebuild their homes and businesses. Treaties that created the International Criminal Court designate ethnic cleansing as a crime against humanity subject to adjudication under international law. Former Yugoslavia officials, the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing, were prosecuted by a special International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine that has been rooted in the memory and conscience of every Palestinian is a crime against humanity and should be at the top of any negotiating agenda. The perpetrators of the Palestinians cleansing are not obscure individuals. They were the “revered heroes of the War of Independence” and some of Israel’s future prime ministers. They include the indisputable leaders of the Zionist movement, the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, the commanders of the Haganah militia and the Palmach Special Forces, and leaders of the Irgun Leumi and Sterm terrorist gangs, Moshe Shertock, Yigael Yadin, Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon, Yitzhak Sadeh, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin and Yossef Weitz.

Based on documented evidence, Ilan Pappe concluded that “Ben-Gurion masterminded the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.” When Ben-Gurion was in control over the security and defense of the Jewish community in Palestine, he wrote to his son that the only course of action open to Zionism was “the Arabs have to go”, and that the Zionists needed an opportune moment for making it happen such as a war. Ben-Gurion told the Executive of the Jewish Agency in 1947 that the Palestinians inside the Jewish state could become a fifth column, and therefore, “they can either be mass arrested or expelled; it is better to expel them.” Yossef Weitz, the director of the Land Department in the Jewish National Fund (JNF) wrote in his diary in 1940, “It is our right to transfer the Arabs, and the Arabs should go!”

The Haganah, the Palmach, Irgun and Stern systematically bombarded Palestinian communities, transferred their populations by buses and trucks, demolished the houses and committed unspoken atrocities in the process. Menachem Begin led the Irgun terrorist organization which carried out many massacres including Deir Yasin massacre in 1948. Early in 1948, the villagers of Deir Yasin had reached a non-aggression pact with the Haganah, but despite the agreement, armed members of Irgun, Stern and Haganah organizations surrounded the village, gathered its inhabitants in one place, raped women and killed everyone in cold blood including children.

After the establishment of Israel, the cleansed Palestinian villages were flattened and the Knesset passed the “Law for Absentee Property” which designated the JNF agency as the owner of the land on behalf of the Jewish people. The JNF is responsible for safeguarding the land “Jewishness” by prohibiting any sale or lease of the land to non-Jews, meaning the Palestinians. Yossef Weitz wrote that he had “remained unmoved by the sight of tractors destroying whole [Palestinian] villages.” New Jewish settlements with new names were built, the land has been cultivated by the settlers and some land was available for forestation. Another law, the “Law of Agriculture Settlement” was passed in 1967 to make sure no Palestinian can have access to the land for agriculture or construction; it prohibited even the sub-letting of the JNF land to non-Jews. Israel never allowed the 1.5 million so called “Arab-Israelis” to build even one new town or village while the Jewish communities whose natural growth is lower have been allowed to build hundreds of settlements on confiscated Palestinian lands.

Current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman even wants to rid Israel of the Palestinians, who had not been cleansed in 1947-48 through their steadfastness, by transferring them to the projected Palestinian state.

Palestinian leaders must confront the Israelis by demanding that Israel should own up to the crimes committed against the Palestinians in 1947-48. They should demand accountability and justice, and the victims of cleansing must be treated no less than the victims of the Holocaust.

Palestinian armed struggle that began in the 1950s was started by the victims of the 1947-48 ethnic cleansing; the Palestinians of Gaza refugee camps initiated the First and Second Intifadas; and the number of refugees from Gaza and the West Bank interned in Israel prisons is twice those of the non-refugees Palestinian population. Most Palestinian refugees whose lives have been shattered when Israel was created cling to the notion of one day returning to their homes. They will not sit silent if they are asked to forego their rights and accept a return only to a future Palestinian state. If the pleas for justice for the victims of the ethnic cleansing are ignored, the signatures of the so called “Palestinian leaders” on any peace agreement will do little to end the century old conflict.

- Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. His latest book, Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on He contributed this article to

The Truth Will Set U.S. Free: Breaking israel’s Stranglehold over American Foreign Policy

By Maidhc Ó Cathail,


September 27th, 2010

If Israel’s stranglehold over U.S. foreign policy is to be broken, Americans will need to be informed about the harm that Washington’s unconditional support for the Jewish state is doing to American interests, say leading analysts of U.S.-Israeli relations.

According to John J. Mearsheimer, co-author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, “The only plausible way to weaken the lobby’s influence on U.S. foreign policy is for prominent policymakers and opinion-makers to speak openly about the damage the special relationship is doing to the American national interest.”

“Plenty of people in the United States, especially inside the Beltway, know that Israel is an albatross around America’s neck,” says Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. “But they are afraid to stand up and say that for fear that the lobby will attack them and damage their careers.”

“Hopefully, some of them will develop a backbone,” he adds.

Philip Giraldi, executive director of the Council for the National Interest, believes that Tel Aviv’s stranglehold over Washington can be broken “only by directly challenging the power of the Israel lobby and the false narrative about how it is of value to the United States.”

Giraldi, a contributing editor to The American Conservative, says that “it must be done from the bottom up as Israel cannot be challenged in the mainstream media, Congress, and in the White House.”

“The American people must learn that Israel is and always has been a strategic liability that has done immense damage to the United States and its worldwide interests,” concludes the former CIA officer.

If there is to be an end to Israel’s decades-long “sway over Congress and intimidating presidents,” says Jeffrey Blankfort, a prominent Jewish American critic of Israel and its American lobby, “it will require appeals and actions beginning on a local level that inform the American people not so much about what Israel has done to the Palestinians but what its unregistered agents in the U.S., euphemistically described as ‘lobbyists,’ have done to destroy what little is left of American democracy and the attendant costs in flesh and blood, as well as its tax dollars.”

A long-time pro-Palestinian activist noted for his trenchant critique of Noam Chomsky, Blankfort attributes the failure of such efforts to get off the ground to “the continued unwillingness of the leading figures of the Palestinian solidarity movement in the U.S. to acknowledge the invidious power of the Zionist Lobby,” who, following Chomsky’s anti-imperialist analysis, prefer to “place the primary responsibility for Israel’s crimes and U.S. Middle East policies at Washington’s doorstep.”

“So the first steps,” Blankfort suggests, “may be to publicly challenge these figures while at the same time moving past them and addressing the American people directly.”

No American President will ever have enough latitude to resolve the conflict in Palestine “unless and until enough Americans are informed enough to make their democracy work,” according to Alan Hart, former Middle East Chief Correspondent for Britain’s Independent Television News.

“In other words,” explains Hart, who was also a BBC Panorama presenter specializing in the Middle East, “if President Obama or any of his successors is ever going to be free to confront and defeat the Zionist lobby’s stooges in Congress and the mainstream media, there has got to be created a constituency of understanding about why it is not in America’s own best interests to go on supporting Zionism’s monster child right or wrong.”

The essence of the problem, Hart argues in the three-volume American edition of his book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, is that “Americans have been conditioned, brainwashed, to believe a version of history, Zionism’s version, which is a pack of propaganda lies.”

Jeff Gates, former counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, believes that “transparency, accountability and better design” are required to break Israel’s hold on American foreign policy.

“At present, the American public is ignorant of Israel’s all-pervasive influence. Its control includes the media-enabled deployment of fixed intelligence to induce this nation to war for Greater Israel,” says Gates, author of Guilt By Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War.

“We will know that accountability is underway when we see federal grand juries convened to consider charges against Israel’s agents, assets and sayanim (volunteers). When a jury brings in the first verdict for treason, Americans will know that the rule of law is being restored. We will know that a solution is within sight when the many appendages of its lobby are required to register as foreign agents.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a freelance writer. His work has been published by Al Jazeera Magazine,, Dissident Voice, Khaleej Times, Palestine Chronicle and many other publications. Read other articles by Maidhc.

  Friday, September 24, 2010

Lady Liberty, by Yahya Naqvi

click ^ download

On the shore of the gates by her lonesome
Cloaked in imagery of everything wholesome
Made for God-fearing, freedom loving men
Why does she stand with copper rusted tears then?

She came as a bride for the just and wise
But all of her suitors have one by one died
If not killed, they were placed behind bars
Not known and ignored in the history of ours

They took care of the island on which she now stands
They were massacred by greedy and gun holding hands
They fished on the river, which she overlooks
They were drowned by history's biggest lying crooks

Often, you can catch her praying for them at dawn
The natives before her that have long been gone

On the shore of the gates by her lonesome
Cloaked in imagery of everything wholesome
Made for God-fearing, freedom loving men
Why does she stand with copper rusted tears then?

She came as a bride for the just and wise
But all of her suitors have one by one died
If not killed, they were placed behind bars
Not known and ignored in the history of ours

They came on ships, tied in chains, full of tears
They were sold to the rich, for gains, for many years
Severely whipped, engulfed in pain, full of fear
Their rights stripped, they picked grains, and owners cheered

They marched in the 60s to the capitol hand in hand
Walking together, focused, woman, child and man
Demanding their liberties and rights to expand
Turning an old dream into a reality grand

The righteous amongst them were shot in the chest
Dr. King, Malcolm, now Luqman
Because their vision was hard to digest

Often, you will catch her glancing at the waves
Thinking of the ones who came here as slaves

On the shore of the gates by her lonesome
Cloaked in imagery of everything wholesome
Made for God-fearing, freedom loving men
Why does she stand with copper rusted tears then?

She came as a bride for the just and wise
But all of her suitors have one by one died
If not killed, they were placed behind bars
Not known and ignored in the history of ours

In retrospect, she feels the good men passed away
But, I have traveled afar and arrived at last today
I come with promises and foresight for the future
To protect her from the selfish men that abuse her

I'll be like Frederick Douglas, and Crazy Horse
I'll take away the shame and all the remorse
The plans of the corrupt shall soon begin to foil
No more will we sell our souls for barrels of oil

No more will the world unfairly depend on the dollar
All her ghetto children won't have to work with blue collars
Humanity is a concept that all will understand
As the rightful owners return to their occupied land

We will light her famed torch to guide the old and youth
We will defend the weak and helpless like Sojourner Truth

I know she is unhappy, very bitter, and blue
So Lady Liberty, all the wrongs you witnessed I have come to undo.

lsrael-Lebanon 3rd war is ahead

Israel-Lebanon 3rd war is  ahead thumbnail

A pro-Israeli think tank has declared in a report that a third war between Israel and Lebanon could spell doom for the loser.

“The new war will likely be wider in geographic scope and more destructive,” said the report released this week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

The author, Jeffrey White, a veteran intelligence and defense analyst, wrote that a new war between Israel and Lebanon will be potentially marked by “high-intensity operations from the beginning,” Lebanon’s The Daily Star reported on Wednesday.

“And for the losing side, the consequences may well be fateful,” he added.

In the report, White claimed that Israel would emerge victorious if it invested in securing the necessary resources, reported Ali Rizk, Press TV’s correspondent in Beirut, on Tuesday.

Israel waged wars against the country in 2000 and 2006 but was heavily defeated by the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, and was forced to withdraw on both occasions.

About 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, died in the second round of its offensives.

Hezbollah has pledged to retaliate, should Tel Aviv renew the attacks.

The resistance movement has publicly announced that it has the capability to hit targets deep into Israel and to strike Israeli Navy vessels even before they reach the Lebanese waters, Rizk added.

Speaking to our correspondent, Timur Goskel, former advisor to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which is mandated to patrol the southern Lebanon, questioned White’s claims in the WINEP report.

“He doesn’t know the other side of the story. He doesn’t know what is happening here or what is Hezbollah doing or what is Hezbollah capable of. …he is guessing from newspapers and whatever and Hezbollah is not the organization you can read about in newspapers accurately. They don’t talk too much,” Goskel added.


Fidel Castro firmly backs Israel's right to exist

Wed Sep 22, 6:54 pm ET
NEW YORK (AFP) – Fidel Castro, the longtime president and leftist icon who stepped aside during a health crisis but still leads the Cuban Communist Party, has told a reporter that Israel definitely has the right to exist.

"Yes it does, without a doubt," Castro, 84, told visiting US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine, according to a new article published Wednesday.

In the same interview Castro criticized Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and said in an interview Tehran should acknowledge Israel's fears for its own survival.

Asked if Cuba was ready to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, Fidel Castro said that those things took time, the report added.
The former Cuban president who handed over power to his brother Raul in 2006 said Iran should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism.

"This went on for maybe two thousand years," Castro was quoted as saying. "I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything."

"In my judgment here's what happened to them: Reverse selection. What's reverse selection? Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation."

"The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust," he said.



  Thursday, September 23, 2010

NYC iniquity -- Aafia Siddiqui 86'd by Judge & Jury

September 23, 2010 Justice for Aafia Coalition

Today, as most of us are aware, Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to
86 years in prison, having already spent seven and a half years detained and abused in US custody. We have all felt a surge of emotions – we united in our outrage and anger, both shocked and appalled, heartbroken and overwhelmed with tears.

At a recent event for Aafia Siddiqui, Adnan Rashid said that we do not need to cry for Aafia, meaning that Allah had honoured her and raised her rank through the tests she had endured. I silently concurred, ‘Yes - but we should be weeping over own ourselves’. We should be crying over whether we have an excuse before Allah, whether we have done anything or whether the little we've done has been sufficient.

Let us start to change that today.

1. The most modest estimates for an appeal in the US courts are $100,000, although Aafia’s defence could potentially run into the millions. Help us to reach our target of $200,000 by donating.

2. Official sources have claimed that the US will act on the Pakistani Interior Minister’s request to return Aafia to Pakistan but only after her sentencing. Keep up the pressure by writing to US Attorney General Eric Holder to express your outrage at the sentence and request Aafia's immediate repatriation to Pakistan.

Write to the Pakistani government - whilst we thank them for finally requesting her repatriation last weekend, it was effectively too little too late. They must demand the transfer of Aafia Siddiqui as a matter of urgency, to go some way to restore the considerable damage to their reputation and to quell the anger of the nation.

Some points to make:

· Aafia Siddiqui can be deported to Pakistan under the UN Convention for Exchange/Repatriation of Prisoners on Humanitarian Grounds.

· Reportedly, there are over 90 precedents in the legal history of the US where cases against such individuals were dropped on humanitarian or political grounds under the UN Convention.

· The case has become a matter of public concern in Pakistan and her repatriation to Pakistan would create goodwill for the US and restore Pakistan’s reputation at a time of immense anger and disappointment.

· Her two children have been separated from their mother for almost eight years. They are living in a constant state of uncertainty, which is having a significant impact on their health. As a result of today’s sentence they will effectively have no relationship with their mother and will never see her again, if they do not act

· The aging mother of Dr Aafia is suffering from depression and ill health

For addresses of who to contact and for previous sample letters click here

3. If you have not written words of support to Aafia's family before today, now is the time to do it. Email your messages to

4. If you would like to help us to raise awareness then email with the quantity of literature required, your name and full address.

5. Download this petition sheet and print it - fill it with signatures from amongst your friends, family, work colleagues, fellow students, at your mosque or faith group, Amnesty or STW group, at your circles and events you attend.

6. Help us to help Aafia by volunteering with JFAC today.

7. Write to Aafia to remind her that on this black day she is not forgotten. AAFIA SIDDIQUI # 90279-054, MDC BROOKLYN, METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER, P.O. BOX 329002, BROOKLYN, NY 11232

8. Do not forget Aafia in your supplications.

by Stephen Lendman

On September 23 in federal court, US District Court Judge Richard Berman sentenced political prisoner Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison. Outrage most accurately expresses this gross miscarriage of justice, compounding what she's already endured following her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture, prosecution, and conviction on bogus charges.

Earlier articles explained her case in detail, accessed through the following links:

In modern times, she's one of American depravity's most aggrieved victims, now given a virtual life sentence for a crime she didn't and couldn't have committed, explained in the above articles.

In recent months, she's been in New York's Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in maximum security solitary confinement, during her trial, conviction and September 23 sentencing. Importantly, her life was effectively destroyed by years of horrific tortures, repeated rapings, and other abuses in Bagram Prison at America's Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Addressing the court, said said "I'm not paranoid. I'm not mentally ill. I don't agree with" anyone saying so, though it's hard imagining why not after years of horrific brutalization. A Pakistani/American scientist, years of torture and abuse destroyed her persona, yet somehow she survived and endured more stress from prosecution, a travesty of a trial, conviction and sentencing.

Reporting on the court's decision, the BBC repeated government lies, including her possessing bomb making instructions to blow up New York landmarks - "evidence that she was a potentially dangerous terrorist." Yet her indictment was on totally different charges - preposterous ones accusing her of the following:

In the presence of two FBI agents, two Army interpreters, and three US Army officers, this frail 110 pound woman allegedly assaulted three of them, seized one of their rifles, opened fire at close range, hit no one, yet she alone was severely wounded.

At trial, no credible evidence was presented. The charges were concocted and bogus. None accused her of plotting to blow up New York or any other landmarks or facilities.

Yet proceedings were carefully orchestrated. Witnesses were enlisted, pressured, coerced, and/or bribed to cooperate. Jurors were then intimidated to convict, her attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp, saying their verdict was "based on fear, not fact." No evidence was presented except claims government prosecutors invented to convict.

The International Tribune also highlighted today's proceedings, headlining "Dr. Aafia sentenced to 86 years imprisonment," saying:

It was on seven counts "for allegedly firing at US troops in Afghanistan." After the announcement, protests erupted across Pakistan. In Karachi, civil society and political party workers rallied "in front of the Karachi Press Club....ask(ing) the federal government" to intervene on her behalf.

Jamaat-e-Islami, PASBAN, Defense of Human Rights, and other civil society members marched toward the US Embassy, expressing outrage and demanding she be released "as a goodwill gesture."

"Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister Ms. Sharmila Farooqui asked the United States to release (her) on humanitarian (grounds) as a goodwill gesture to Pakistan....Now is the time for the US to show goodness and pardon a Pakistani woman who is innocent."

Farooqui said Aafia was wrongly abducted, then handed over to US authorities. She's "an innocent woman," outrageously treated, convicted and sentenced.

Explaining further she said:

"In Islam and Pakistan, handing over a woman to foreign countries is a sin, but it is a pity that an innocent woman was mercilessly given in(to the) hands of the (previous) US" government.

She also urged international human rights organizations to actively pursue her release.

A Final Comment

At issue is 9/11 truth, the subsequent bogus "war on terror" based on a lie, America's war on Islam that followed against Iraq, Afghanistan, and Muslim Americans, victimized for political advantage. Aafia is perhaps its most aggrieved living victim, her persona destroyed and life ended by a virtual life sentence unless clemency or world pressure saves her.

Her case should incite everyone's moral outrage. It also reveals America's true face, its rogue agenda, targeting Muslims for their faith and ethnicity, making us all equally vulnerable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

police release the jewish settler who shot a Palestinian in Silwan; let Him bleed to death

NAZARETH, (PIC)-- A Jewish settler was released on bail Wednesday after killing a Palestinian man in the Silwan district of Jerusalem, as tensions rise in Jerusalem in wake of the shooting.

The settler fired several shots at Samer Sarhan, 32, and other youths for allegedly throwing stones at him. Sarhan died after he bled for two hours and police stopped an ambulance from saving him. Others were wounded in the shooting.

Violent clashes re-erupted Wednesday between outraged Palestinian youths and armed settlers in several neighborhoods of the Silwan district in wake of Sarhan’s killing.

Local residents said Palestinian youths hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at settlement outposts in Silwan.

A large force of Israeli occupation police arrived at the scene and closed off a number of entrances to the district and fired tear gas at rioters. An Israeli settler was stabbed in the clashes.

Israeli radio reported that three Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli soldiers and four at a Jewish institution on the Zaytoun mountain. No injuries or damages were reported.

Meanwhile in Gaza, the Islamic Jihad movement said that recent developments in Jerusalem are compelling evidence that the current peace talks between the PA and Israel provide a “conducive climate” for Israeli plans to crack down on the Palestinians.

The group said in a statement Wednesday that settler attacks have shown a marked increase after the resumption of direct negotiations between the two sides, in light of security coordination between the PA security militias and Israel.

For his part, Palestinian MP Dr. Ahmed Abu Halabiya said that Abbas remaining in negotiations in light of the vicious attacks against the people of Jerusalem is clear evidence that the PA has been conspiring with Israel.

“What’s happening in Jerusalem is part of an Israeli plan aimed at judaizing the city and its districts and establishing the alleged ‘City of David.’” Abu Halabiya said in a statement on Wednesday.

Palestinian religious affairs minister Dr. Abu Sha’ar denounced Arab and international silence against Israel’s practices against Palestinians in Jerusalem, at the same time calling on religious leaders to mobilize a public uprising in protest of Israel’s “arrogance”.

In a statement he gave Wednesday, Abu Sha’ar pointed the finger at Israel, Israeli settlers, and extremist Jewish groups for the killing of a Jerusalem man whose life was taken in the blink of an eye for defending a national Islamic cause in face of judaization.

  Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Complaint lodged in case of 16-year-old girl used as a human shield

Defence for Children International – September 22, 2010

Ramallah – On Monday, 20 September 2010, DCI-Palestine and Adalah lodged a complaint with the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG) arising out of the use by Israeli soldiers of a child as a human shield.

DCI-Palestine and Adalah have received credible evidence that at 3:30am, on 18 February 2010, a 16-year-old girl (D.A.) was used as a human shield by units of the Israeli army whilst conducting operations in the old city of Nablus, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

It is alleged that in the early hours of 18 February, Israeli soldiers broke down the door to the family home and stormed the house. According to sworn affidavits collected by DCI-Palestine the soldiers came to arrest the girl’s older brother, M.A. (17) and accused him of possessing a weapon. The soldiers beat M.A. and their younger brother, K.A., who is 15. Meanwhile, the girl was ordered to fetch her brother’s I.D. card and was followed by two soldiers into the bedroom. When D.A. entered her brother’s bedroom one of the soldier’s pointed his weapon at her and told her to stand in the corner. ‘I was shivering in fear,’ recalls D.A. ‘I gave the I.D. to one of the soldiers and one of them ordered me to sit on the bed. They pointed their weapons at me and one of them sat beside me. Some of them were taking pictures of the house with a digital camera.’ The soldier sitting next to D.A. on the bed then stood up and ordered her to lift the mattress to see what was underneath. ‘You lift the mattress and we step away,’ said one of the soldiers. ‘I did so while I was quivering because I was very scared. They moved three metres back towards the door while aiming their weapons at me.’ D.A. was crying and shivering the whole time but was not strong enough to lift the mattress. Eventually the soldiers ordered her to leave it and ordered her to search the closets and other items in the room whilst pointing their weapons at her. After the search was over the soldiers took D.A.’s brother away.

The practice of using human shields involves forcing civilians to directly assist in military operations or using them to shield an area or troops from attack. Both of these circumstances expose civilians to physical, and sometimes, mortal danger. Civilians are usually threatened and/or physically coerced into performing these tasks, most of the time at gunpoint. The practice is illegal under both international and Israeli domestic law.

Since April 2004, DCI-Palestine has documented 15 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli army. Fourteen of the 15 cases, occurred after the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled the practice to be illegal in October 2005, suggesting that the army is not effectively implementing the Court’s decision.

# Name Date of incident Age at incident Nature of incident
1 M.B. 15 Apr 04 13 Tied to the bonnet of a military jeep for four hours during clashes.

October 2005
Israeli High Court rules that the use of civilians as human shields is illegal
2 A.E. 26 Feb 07 15 Forced at gunpoint to walk in front of soldiers during clashes.
3 J.D. 28 Feb 07 11 Forced at gunpoint to walk in front of soldiers and enter an abandoned house in search of combatants.
4 I.M. 11 Apr 07 14 Forced to sit for 15 minutes on the bonnet of a jeep during clashes.
5 O.G. 11 Apr 07 15 Forced to sit for 10 minutes on the bonnet of a jeep during clashes.
6 R.N. 11 Jul 07 14 Wounded whilst being forced to evacuate a house.
7 A.S. 04 Jan 09 14 Detained for 10 days and forced to search houses during war in Gaza.
8 A.A. 05 Jan 09 15 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
9 A.A. 05 Jan 09 16 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
10 N.A. 05 Jan 09 17 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
11 K.A. 05 Jan 09 15 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
12 H.A. 05 Jan 09 12 Detained close to military operations for four days during war in Gaza.
13 Majed R. 15 Jan 09 9 Forced at gunpoint to search bags thought to contain explosives during war in Gaza.
14 D.A. 18 Feb 10 16 Forced at gunpoint to search for a weapon.
15 S.A. 16 Apr 10 14 Forced at gunpoint to walk in front of soldiers during clashes.

DCI-Palestine and Adalah reiterate that full and impartial investigations meeting international standards must be carried out in all cases involving the use of children as human shields, and that the Israeli army must be given adequate training and supervision to ensure compliance with the 2005 ruling of the Israeli High Court of Justice.

Related information:

• 11 March 2010 – Ha’aretz Newspaper – Two IDF soldiers charged with using 9-year-old ‘human shield’ in Gaza war

BDS: Boycotting Apartheid

free mp3

In July, in Rachel Corrie’s hometown of Olympia, Washington state, the popular Food Co-op announced that no Israeli products would be sold at its two grocery stores.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a principal endorser of this new Israel Divestment Campaign, issued a statement endorsing the boycott. “The Olympia Food Co-op has joined a growing worldwide movement on the part of citizens and the private sector to support by non-violent tangible acts the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination.”

In a surprise move in August, Harvard University divested itself of all its Israel investments, almost $40m worth of shares, including Pharmaceutical Industries, NICE Systems, Check Point Software Technologies, Cellcom Israel and Partner Communications. Initially, Harvard gave no explanation for its actions to the SEC. John Longbrake, spokesman for Harvard, maintained that Harvard has not divested from Israel, that these changes were routine and did not represent a change in policy. But was Harvard, in fact, caving under BDS calls and trying to do so as quietly as possible to avoid a Zionist backlash? In the past, Harvard has divested from companies for purely political reasons, but they did so publicly. For instance, five years ago, Harvard divested from PetroChina in order to protest China’s actions in Sudan.

In Vancouver, Canada, port truck traffic slowed to a crawl in late August as a group of about 50 protesters approached drivers with leaflets asking them to observe the world boycott campaign against Israel, and in particular to refuse to unload the Israeli container ship Zim Djibouti, one of the largest in the world, that had landed in Vancouver harbour. “This action was part of the growing international campaign to pressure Israel to comply with international law and stop killing innocent civilians,” said Gordon Murray, spokesperson for the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Coalition (BIAC). “Workers in South Africa, Scandinavia, the United States, Turkey and India have already responded to the Palestinian call for action,” said BIAC spokesman Mike Krebs. “The international solidarity movement has decided that the best way to change Israel’s behaviour is to take actions against Israeli companies and institutions in order to put pressure on the government there.”

In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor earlier this year, Jonathan Ben Artzi, a PhD candidate at Brown University and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nephew, made clear his belief that equality and social justice will prevail in Israel when the government and people of the United States adopt a no-tolerance stance toward Israel’s abuse of Palestinians. Ben Artzi, whose family has lived in the region for nine generations, and who’s seen a lifetime of Israel’s abuse of Palestinians, declared: “Sometimes it takes a good friend to tell you when enough is enough. As they did with South Africa two decades ago, concerned citizens across the US can make a difference by encouraging Washington to get the message to Israel that this cannot continue.” His reference to South Africa was to the protests, boycotts and divestment actions in the US between 1984 and 1989, which ultimately forced the white minority South African government to relinquish control over its oppressed Black majority. Ben Artzi served 18 months in prison for refusing his mandatory service in Israel’s military.

The California Israel Divestment Campaign launched a campaign on 8 September for a California ballot initiative in November requiring public employee and teacher pension funds to divest from business activities in Israel. Said local campaign organiser Sherna Gluck, a member of the Public Employee Retirement System: “Our public retirement systems have more than $1.5 billion invested in at least eight companies that provide war materials and services used in violation of internationally recognised human rights, including support for the illegal Israeli settlements and the Separation Wall.” Archbishop Tutu told the Californians: “We defeated apartheid nonviolently because the international community agreed to support the disinvestment in apartheid campaign. A similar campaign can help to bring peace in the Middle East and do so nonviolently.” This is the just the first divestment launch in California. Similar launches in other California cities are soon to come. With this divestment campaign, Californians are poised to spark a state-by-state divestiture movement to parallel the anti-Apartheid campaign that helped defeat the oppressive rule in South Africa.

The Dutch government too has set an important precedent for European and, indeed, world governments. It dropped a bomb this week when the Foreign Ministry cancelled a tour of mayors from Israel planned for October. The forum is funded by the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish-American charity, and the participant list included representatives from West bank settlements Efrat and Kiryat Arba in “Judea” and “Samaria”. The Israeli Foreign Ministry harrumphed: “This is undoubtedly useless and harmless politics, and we hope that this is not the final word on the topic.”

Well, I hope it is. The Netherlands has become notorious for the Islamophobia whipped up by Dutch politician and filmmaker, Geert Wilders, who proudly says “I hate Islam,” calls the Quran a “fascist book” and the Prophet Mohamed “the devil”. He argues that Muslim immigration is a “Trojan Horse”. His words are being echoed by Israeli politician, Aryeh Eldad, who condemned the boycott move: “The Dutch surrender to the Arabs reflects their surrender to the Muslim minority.” This principled move by the Dutch, clearly an attempt to fight the negative image of the Netherlands, will give pause for thought to all governments. Israel Local Council Chairman Shlomo Buchbut rightly concludes: “The decision by the Netherlands puts the [Israeli-Arab] conflict before anything else.”

Eric Walberg is a journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. Read other articles by Eric, or visit Eric's website.

Iran terror attack kills 12, injures 70

Twelve people have been killed and 70 injured in a terrorist attack in northwestern Iranian city of Mahabad in West Azarbaijan Province.

"Women and children are the most who were killed and wounded in the attack," Governor General of West Azarbaijan Vahid Jalalzadeh told IRNA on Wednesday.

According to Jalalzadeh, the attack took place in Mahabad city as people were watching a military parade.

The parade was held by the Iranian Armed Forces on the anniversary of the Sacred Defense Week, commemorating the 1980-1988 war imposed by Iraq on Iran. In the parade, Iran's most advanced military power and abilities were showcased.

"Anti-Revolution agents have always carried out such brutal acts to take revenge on the people of Mahabad who are always in the scene," he added.

Meanwhile, managing director of West Azarbaijan governor general's office Ali Nikbakht told IRNA that 11 people, including 10 women and one child, were killed and 50 others wounded in Mahabad bomb attack.

He added that investigations are underway to identify and arrest perpetrators.

No group or person has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.


israel Turns it's Guns On Internationals

September 22nd, 2010

With every day that passes Israel further establishes itself as one of the world's leading violators of human rights. To its British and American allies this may be seen as a gross overstatement; after all there are plenty of despotic, third world countries that arguably have worse human rights records. The question is - how many of them model themselves as democratic, advanced, first world, nuclear allies?

The cold, hard facts of Israel's ever worsening track record are well documented by human rights organisations and the UN, and they speak for themselves.


Palestinian lives seem to be accorded little, if any, value by the Israeli authorities. Countless human rights reports and investigations have verified the fact that Palestinian children are arrested and abused in Israeli jails; frail and elderly Palestinian men and women are beaten without cause; Palestinian mothers are attacked on the streets; Palestinian men are tortured and executed, family homes are demolished; illegal sieges are imposed as a result of which Palestinian children have died due to restricted access to lifesaving medical treatment and so on... and nothing is done to stop it.

The international community has a moral and legal obligation to intervene, yet we have failed to do so.

This sad state of affairs has been going on for decades now and is only getting worse. However, it is not only Palestinian lives that are being targeted. Anyone who demonstrates any inclination towards supporting the Palestinian people by standing up for human rights is, by mere association, also being targeted. Thus, international solidarity and humanitarian activists working in the occupied territories have become "legitimate" targets of Israeli hostility and violence, regardless of where in the world they come from.


The Palestinian territories attracts large numbers of solidarity activists, due to the nature of the suffering the Palestinians are undergoing and the strong feeling of injustice this has generated amongst millions at the grass roots level globally.

Thus, there are a lot of potential targets for nervy, jumpy or seasoned Occupation force soldiers.

Rachel Corrie (2003)

The most well known death is probably twenty three year old American peace activist Rachel Corrie. Having taken a year off from college, Rachel travelled to Gaza in 2003 where she was working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which is a Palestinian-led organisation "committed to resisting the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles."

She was protesting against the forcible and illegal demolition of a local Palestinian doctor's family home and stood in the way to block the path of the American made Caterpillar bulldozer. Rachel was wearing a bright fluorescent jacket and had a loud speaker in her hands which she was using to shout out to the bulldozer driver to stop.

Instead of stopping, the Israeli soldier ran her over before reversing back over her fallen, crushed body. Rachel's parents have made it very clear that the Israeli investigation into her death was a complete whitewash and they are still fighting for someone to be held accountable for their daughter's murder.

Tom Hurndall (2004)

Twenty one year old British photography and journalism student Tom Hurndall was killed in 2004. Tom was also an ISM volunteer in Gaza, who was bravely and desperately trying to carry Palestinian children to safety after Israeli troops opened fire. He was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.

After a two hour delay in getting him to hospital, Tom went into a coma from which he never woke up. Nine months later, he died. Although the sniper, Taysir Hayb (a Bedouin Arab in the Israeli army) was prosecuted, there was no accountability for the upper echelons of the Israeli hierarchy who had apparently allowed a shoot to kill policy of civilians to exist. Tom's father made the comment that "we're concerned that there is a policy... amongst the Israeli soldiers and army, that they feel able to shoot civilians really without any accountability whatsoever." In July 2010, news emerged that Hayb was to be released from prison 2 years early, and would be free by August 2010.

Tom's journals were released by his family after his death, and he had written: "I want to be proud of myself. I want more. I want to look up to myself and when I die, I want to smile because of the things I have done, not cry for the things I haven't done."

Tristan Anderson (2009)

Of those who survived Israeli attacks, many were left permanently disfigured or injured. California born Tristan Anderson was shot in the head by Israeli forces in 2009 with a tear gas canister and sustained permanent brain injury.

Emily Henochowicz (2010)

In one shocking case last month, twenty one year old American student, Emily Henochowicz, had her eye removed after she was shot in the face by an Israeli soldier as she protested against the flotilla attack.

The Freedom Flotilla Massacre (2010)

On May 31st 2010, the world watched in utter disbelief as live video transmissions showed the Mavi Marmara, the main passenger boat in the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, being attacked by Israeli forces. According to reports, 4 Israeli warships, 3 helicopters, 2 submarines and 30 zodiac boats surrounded the flotilla in the early hours of the morning.
With the use of such large numbers of army personnel and equipment, there could be little doubt that there would be fatalities.

Nine international humanitarian workers were killed as a result of Israel's illegal attack on the ship. Of the nine killed, collectively they all suffered 31 gunshot wounds.

Farrakhan DoganVahri YildizCengiz Okez
Cengiz SunqurNecdet YidirimCetin Topkoogelo
Kovdit KililarAli Heyder BengiIbrahim Bilgen

The Nine Victims from the Flotilla

  • Vahri Yildiz, aged 43. He was a fireman and married with four children. He was shot five times.
  • Farrakhan Dogan, aged 19. Farrakhan held dual Turkish-US citizenship. He was a student who wanted to become a doctor. He was shot five times at close range, in the right side of his nose, in the back of the head, in the back and twice in the left leg.
  • Cengiz Okez, aged 41. He was a father of three. Cengiz was shot four times, in the back of the head, the right side of his face, his back, and in his left leg.
  • Cengiz Sunqur, aged 47. He was married with seven children. He was shot in the neck.
  • Necdet Yidirim, aged 32. He was married with a three year old daughter. He was shot in the right shoulder and the back.
  • Cetin Topkoogelo, aged 54. He was married and his wife was on board the MV Marmara with him. He was shot three times, once in the back of his head, once in his hip and once in his belly.
  • Kovdit Kililar, aged 38. He was married with two chidren. He was shot by a single bullet between the eyes when we tried to take photographs of the Israeli attack.
  • Ali Heyder Bengi, aged 29. He was married with 4 children. Ali was shot six times.
  • Ibrahim Bilgen, aged 61. Ibrahim was a distinguished Turkish politician and was married with six children. He was shot four times, in the right temple, in the right side of his chest, in the back and once in the hip.

While Israel continues to try to excuse itself for these deaths, and refuses to apologise to Turkey or pay compensation to the families of those killed, we see a recurring pattern of behaviour.

Israel's Impunity

Israel is showing the world that it is above the law. Israel refuses to be challenged for anything it does, on pain of death. Israel considers itself to be beyond impunity and experience has taught it that it can attack, maim, kill, imprison and torture civilians and it will not be held to account.

Israel's impunity is the collective fault of the nations of the world who have allowed this state of affairs to prevail and who are now allowing it to happen yet again. Had any other country in the world dared to attack a boat with British and American civilians on board in this way, we would probably be at war with them right now.

Israel Turns its Guns on Internationals


It is not just humanitarians and peace activists that are under attack. Even those who try to objectively report the facts on the ground become targets themselves. Journalists, for instance, have often found themselves at the end of Israeli guns. There appears to be a deliberate and systematic targeting of media personnel who are reporting on aspects of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. During the Second Intifada, Reporters Without Borders stated that approximately 40 journalists had been shot by Israeli forces using live or rubber bullets.

In some cases, despite being clearly identifiable as press, wearing flak jackets with the word PRESS emblazoned across their chests and even being in the process of live reporting, journalists have been attacked. Israeli soldiers have opened fire on journalists and targeted them with tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, live ammunition and a host of other weaponry.

In March 2010 alone, a minimum of eight journalists were shot by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Organisations such as Reporters Without Borders have called for an end of this type of Israeli criminality and disregard for international norms and standards of behaviour.

In a report published on 1st April 2010, Reporters without borders released a statement in which they said that their organisation "deplores the frequency of press freedom violations by the Israel Defence Forces, which routinely fire on Palestinian journalists."

"The incidents continue with complete impunity." Reporters Without Borders further said, "The IDF soldiers involved are rarely punished and, less still, disowned by the superiors, who endorse the use of violence against media personnel. It is time this stopped."

Journalists and cameramen have also reported being accosted, threatened, beaten, strip-searched, detained at checkpoints and arrested.

James Miller (2003)

Those killed include British cameraman and award winning producer and director James Miller, who was shot in the neck and killed while filming a documentary in Rafah. James was with a colleague waving a white flag when he was targeted. Only one shot was fired by Israeli soldier Captain Hib al-Heib, and it hit James in the neck. The documentary he was working on was about Palestinian children.

The Israeli investigation into the shooting absolved the soldier of responsibility, as expected.

Raffaele Ciriello (2003)

Italian journalist Raffaele Ciriello, a freelance photojournalist working for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, was shot in the chest six times by an Israeli tank-mounted machine gun in Ramallah.

Raffaele was a veteran journalist and had covered stories in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Following his death, the International Press Institute said the shooting seemed to be "part of a concerted strategy by the Israeli army to control reports on the recent surge in armed hostilities in the region."

For both of these journalists, and many more besides, Israeli ‘investigations' have usually cleared the soldiers of any responsibility, by whitewashing their crime. This impunity will only continue if the international community allows it to.

Source: Aqsa News

  Tuesday, September 21, 2010

160 killed in Gaza tunnels: Rights groups

Human rights groups say 160 Palestinians have died digging cross-border tunnels between the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Falling standards of living and unprecedented levels of unemployment together with unrelenting poverty have led many young Gazans to risk their lives in tunnels to make a living.

Some of the victims were killed during Israeli bombardments of the tunnels, while others died after inhaling poisonous fumes released inside the tunnels by Egyptian security authorities. Collapse of the tunnels accounts for the remaining mortalities.

"The siege must be lifted immediately," Samir Zaqqout from the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights told a Press TV correspondent on Monday.

"It is a war crime by all definitions and it systematically violates international humanitarian laws," he went on to say.

In June 2007, Egypt and Israel tightened the already existing blockade of the Gaza Strip, allowing only very limited humanitarian aid into the impoverished coastal sliver.

"The siege is still continuing and it is driving so many people, who would normally not do a job that is getting attacked regularly by both planes from Israel and gassing through from Egypt," said Adie Mormech from the International Solidarity Movement.

Referring to the motivation of the victims, Mormech said those working in the tunnels were mostly teenagers and young adults, trying to save up to pay for their education.

After Israel's takeover of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters on May 31 and the deaths of nine civilians on the aid convoy, Tel Aviv eased the land blockade of Gaza, allowing in more consumer goods.

The naval siege of the enclave, however, remains in place, exports are banned and imports of raw and construction materials are restricted.

"We feel very sorry for the deaths of more than 160 people in the tunnels, but they served the issue of the Palestinians," said Amjad al-Shawwa of the Palestinian NGO Network.

"The main solution for Gaza's problems is to end the siege totally, meaning to open all the crossings for goods and people, and this is not just a need but the right of the Palestinians," he urged.


Experts: Gaza suffering a sharp food shortage

GAZA, (PIC)-- Nutritional and agricultural experts say the Gaza Strip suffers from a food shortage and high unemployment rate, calling for action to revitalize the local market by encouraging domestic agriculture and rural development.

Head of the Dutch mission to the Gaza Strip Jack Twiss said Monday during a workshop staged by the Society for Development and Agricultural Relief in Gaza that many Palestinian farmers have suffered heavy losses that have affected the Gaza Strip’s rural regions, which are the key bastions of its economy.

Twiss said his mission will cooperate with rural organizations in Gaza to kick off two projects designed to improve export crops in the Strip and replenish markets. 45 per cent of the project’s total cost will be to cultivate 300 dunums of flowers for 50 farmers, 350 dunums of strawberries for 80 farmers, and 52 dunums of vegetables for 25 farmers.

Farmers are expected to produce in the final stages of the projects 30 million flowers and 700 tons of fruits and vegetables.

Gaza’s agricultural relief committee director Yousef Shaath said the projects will focus on restoring damaged land, expanding irrigation systems, and establishing home gardens and agricultural paths in those areas.

Shaath said the projects are aimed at providing work for unemployed Gazans and restoring land damaged during repeated digging operations in eastern and northern Gaza Strip by the invading Israeli soldiers.

demons continue onslaught against Al-Naqab homes

NEGEV, (PIC)-- Israeli bulldozers backed by police and special forces stormed Tuesday morning two south Negev towns unrecognized by the Israeli government, razing two houses.

Police surrounded and destroyed a home owned by the Arbidi family claiming that it was built without a permit, eyewitnesses said.

Police removed members of the household by force to allow bulldozers to take down their houses before their eyes, witnesses added.

The witnesses went on to say that police arrested a man in wake of his opposition to the demolitions. After destroying the house, the forces left 14 children without shelter at the scene.

The bulldozers also destroyed a house belonging to a 70-year-old woman of the Abu Hadawiya family. The demolition process took time against the 150 sq. meters brick and concrete house in light of heavy security.

In a separate incident, the Israeli Jerusalem municipality issued an order to demolish the home of Palestinian man Ismael Ali Salah in the Beit Safafa neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem.

The 70-sq. meter house was home to 20 people including a 100-year-old man and 92-year-old woman. The family was forced to live in the house, which was previously used to feed poultry and hold livestock, after one of their houses was seized in June by Israeli extremist groups.

Clashes erupted between the Salah family and extremists backed by electric company workers who showed up to extend a new power line to the confiscated home. One Israeli settler was injured during the confrontation.

Local sources said Israeli police later arrested Bakr Ismael Salah and Mahmoud Ali Ibrahim of Jerusalem on charges of assaulting the Israeli settler.

Meanwhile, violent clashes broke out in the vicinity of the south Nablus village of Burin on Tuesday between locals and dozens of Israelis from the Bracha settlement, who headed out with their women and children to steal olives during their season in the village, which is nearby the settlement.

The settlers set out early morning to harvest and steal the olives, when property owners confronted them in defense of their livelihood, eyewitnesses reported.

Israeli settlers assaulted a Jazeera reporter with a stone to the face amid the confrontation.

An Israeli military force stepped in to defend the settlers who then returned to Bracha settlement.