Posts Tagged ‘West Bank’

Israel: amnesty antijüdisch?

Donnerstag, November 1st, 2012

“Israeli authorities must release Palestinian prisoner of conscience in West Bank

1 November 2012

Nariman Tamimi, Bassem's wife said that "the police were brutal" during his arrest

Nariman Tamimi, Bassem’s wife said that “the police were brutal” during his arrest

© Private

The Israeli military authorities must end their campaign of harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention against a Palestinian activist in the occupied West Bank, Amnesty International said.

Bassem Tamimi, who has been detained since his arrest at non-violent protest against the encroachment of Israeli settlers onto Palestinian land last week, faces a further prison sentence after appearing before the Ofer Military Court on Wednesday.

“Once again, Bassem Tamimi is being held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly. We believe he is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

Tamimi was arrested on 24 October following a non-violent demonstration in a supermarket in Sha’ar Benjamin settlement north of Ramallah. More than 100 protesters had gathered to call for an end to the occupation and a boycott of all Israeli products.

He faces charges of assaulting a police officer, participation in an unlicensed demonstration, and activity against the public order.

If convicted of either of the latter two “offences”, he will also have to serve one or more suspended sentences from a previous trial: two months for participation in an unlicensed demonstration, and 17 months for “activity against the public order”.

After viewing footage of the protest, the military judge ruled that he should be released to house arrest for the duration of legal proceedings. The military prosecution is appealing this decision, and he remains at Ofer prison.

Tamimi was previously sentenced in May 2012 to 13 months in prison for his role in organizing regular non-violent protests against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. At the time, Amnesty International considered him to be a prisoner of conscience, and called for his immediate and unconditional release. 
The establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank violates international humanitarian law.

Violent arrest

According to eyewitness and media reports, as the protesters left the supermarket on 24 October they were beaten by Israeli police and security forces who also fired stun grenades.

Bassem’s wife Nariman Tamimi attended the protest and told Amnesty International: “The police were brutal during the arrest. They threw Bassem on the ground and pressed him down while putting the cuffs on his hands. Anyone who tried to approach them was beaten up. The police seemed scared and nervous. They wanted to make arrests fast.”

Despite the police use of unnecessary and excessive force, the military prosecution has charged Bassem Tamimi with assault, based on the testimony of one police officer who alleges that the activist hit him on the hand.

Amnesty International spoke to witnesses and reviewed numerous videos from the protest, and found no evidence that he or the other protesters used violence. Tamimi is committed to non-violent resistance and has a long record of peaceful protest. Another Palestinian protester, now released on bail, faces similar charges.

Tamimi managed to contact his wife after his arrest.

“He still had his phone with him, he told me that he was in a cell somewhere, and he said that he felt like there was something broken in chest, he said ‘I cannot move or breathe and I am very tired’. Then they took the phone away so we could not talk more,” she told Amnesty International.

Encroachment of settlers

Bassem Tamimi is from the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, 21km northwest of Ramallah.

In July 2008 Israeli settlers from nearby Halamish began to use the Qaws spring, which is on al-Nabi Saleh land and used to irrigate crops there and in the nearby village of Deir Nitham. In February 2009 settlers began to build structures on the spring site.

The Palestinians complained that settlers were building on private Palestinian land, and that the work damaged other property including trees. Israeli police routinely close Palestinian complaints against settlers due to “lack of evidence”.

Israel’s Civil Administration, the military body which controls most of the West Bank, prohibits Palestinians from visiting the Qaws spring site in groups and on Fridays, while settlers are allowed unfettered access.

Ongoing demonstrations

Weekly demonstrations began on 9 December 2009. Every Friday residents of al-Nabi Saleh and solidarity activists gather around noon in the village centre and march peacefully towards the spring. They have been met repeatedly with unnecessary and excessive force by the Israeli army including the use of stun grenades, pepper spray, batons and guns.
Demonstrations are dispersed as soon as they begin and are usually not allowed to reach the spring. The Israeli army raids the village regularly, usually during the night, and conducts house searches and arrests, including the arrest of children under the age of 15.

Israeli military laws in place in the West Bank impose sweeping and arbitrary restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, requiring people to obtain advance permission from the Israeli military for any proposed gathering of 10 or more persons “for a political purpose of for a matter that could be interpreted as political”.

Nariman Tamimi told Amnesty International that in al-Nabi Saleh and all areas where there is popular resistance, police use extreme violence, noting that “there is nothing [to the protests] except that you chant and express your opinion.”

As one of the organizers of the al-Nabi Salneh protests and a coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Bassem Tamimi and his family have been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army.

Since the demonstrations began, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times. His wife has been arrested twice and two of his children have been injured – Wa’ed was in hospital for five days after he was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet and Mohammed was injured by a tear-gas canister that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder.

Bassem Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he has only once been convicted by a military court – on charges that Amnesty International believes were unfounded.”


(Quelle: amnesty international.)

Israel / Palästina: Gleiches Recht für alle?

Dienstag, Juli 3rd, 2012

“Visualizing Occupation: Distribution of Water

Israel controls the access to water from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Its disproportionate allocation of water, the settlements’ takeover of natural springs, and the prohibition against maintaining and constructing water cisterns in the West Bank without Israeli permits make water a sparse commodity for Palestinians. This illustration is the sixth in a series of infographics on Palestinian civilian life under occupation.




B’Tselem: The Shared Water Sources and the Control Over Them
Amnesty International: Troubled Waters: Palestinians Denies Fair Access to Water United Nations OCHA: The Humanitarian Impact of the Takeover of Palestinian Water Springs by Israeli Settlers

Michal Vexler is a designer and an activist. This work – a part of a series of infographics regarding the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population – is presented here with her permission.

Previous posts in this series:
Visualizing Occupation: Who profits, and who pays?
Visualizing Occupation: Freedom of movement
Visualizing Occupation: Palestinian Prisoners’ Day – the numbers
Visualizing Occupation: Ethnic cleansing
Visualizing Occupation: The right (or privilege) to protest?



Israel / Palästina: Schade, dass Beton nicht brennt

Montag, Juli 2nd, 2012

A Decade of Separation

By Mina Remy
July 2nd, 2012

The Separation Wall is now 10 years old. The Israeli government has not reversed course despite protests, a UN General Assembly resolution (ES-10/13), an International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion, and almost unanimous international condemnation.

The Israeli government began constructing the Wall—a system of electric fences, concrete walls and ditches—across the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2002 at the height of the second Intifada. Though  many in the international community, including the UN General Assembly and then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, readily acknowledged Israel could build a wall as a security measure, all voiced strong opposition to the proposed path of the wall. Instead of the proposed (and since then actual) incursion deep into the West Bank (incorporating settlement outposts while isolating Palestinian communities), the UN urged the Israeli government to build the Separation Wall either within its own territory or along the internationally recognized “Green Line” (the de facto border between Israel and Palestine since the 1949 Armistice). The UN’s reasoning was that such construction would minimize the social and economic impact of the Wall on Palestinian communities – hard to imagine how since Palestinians in the occupied territories had been economically integrated into Israel since the occupation began in 1967.

Also, the international community was [rightly] concerned that as planned the Wall would create “facts on the ground” that would undermine the eventual creation of an independent, viable, contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Today in 2012, the combination of the Wall, the numerous settlements (which in some cases are really large towns), and the Israeli-controlled Area C (at 60%, the majority of the West Bank including the vital Jordan Valley) the notion of an independent Palestinian state is just that – notional, as in unreal. What is on the ground are dozens of little Bantustans (including Gaza, the largest of them) à la Apartheid South Africa.
Concerned with Israel’s flagrant disregard of ES-10/13, which called for an  immediate end to the Wall’s construction, the UN General Assembly requested an advisory opinion on the ‘Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’ from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On July 9, 2004, the ICJ issued its landmark advisory opinion, concluding that the construction of the wall was contrary to international law, violated Palestinian rights to self-determination and “that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.” The ICJ further ordered the Wall’s immediate demolition and compensation to Palestinian communities for destruction caused by the Wall’s construction through their communities. Even the Israeli Supreme Court intervened in 2004, 2005, and 2007 ordering changes to the Wall’s path where it found a proposed  route’s detrimental impact on the economic and social lives of Palestinian communities far outweighed the government’s security interest. 
While in Palestine, I observed the meandering path of the Wall as it snaked across a vibrant landscape—complete in some places, and with only a skeletal metal structure in others. As a first-time visitor to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the Wall felt oppressive and looked dreadfully out of place in the Holy Land. There’s nothing holy about this Wall. It’s currently 90 percent complete and is twice the length of the internationally recognized Green Line at 422.53 miles long with 85 percent of the Wall falling within Palestinian territory. As a result, 8.5 percent of Palestinian land, mostly agricultural land, is now on the Israeli side of the Wall in the so called seam zone—an area between the Green Line and the Separation Wall. For all practical purposes, this land is inaccessible to Palestinian farmers. For one, they need permits to cross the Wall, and secondly entry and exit points through the Wall are few and far in between. What was a five minute walk from home can now be a two-to-three hour journey or more and not on foot!

Effects of the Wall on Palestinian Communities
For Palestinian communities encircled within the Separation Wall – which is practically the entire West Bank – life is severely circumscribed. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) regulates entry and exit into their communities through gates that are only open a couple times a day for less than 30 minutes, if at all. All visitors, including emergency personnel, require entry permits. Because these communities rarely have health services, schools, and first responders within the community, restricted access to these basic resources affect their ability to access health care (including in emergencies), to educate their children and to put out fires. And since the Wall’s path consumes farmland, affected communities are becoming more dependent on food aid from humanitarian agencies as food insecurity increases.
The Wall is breeding discontent and poverty in affected communities. The Palestinians I spoke with in places like Tulkarm, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem reported traveling a minimum of 30 minutes to get to places that were once five minutes away before the Wall. They spoke of diminished access to water and their farms. They spoke of not being able to sell to neighboring communities with whom they had traded for centuries. They spoke of children not being able to get to school. And they spoke of the Wall’s negative impact on household income. The injustice of the Wall’s destructive path through agricultural land, the way it separates communities, or completely isolates Palestinian communities by imprisoning them within unnatural concrete slabs are a few ways in which it violates Palestinian rights to self-determination and human rights.  It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which one increases one’s security by unilaterally constructing a wall through a neighbor’s house. Your neighbor would not stand for it—no one would, including Palestinians who demonstrate against the Wall on a weekly basis.
The Wall was purportedly constructed to protect Israelis, including nearly 500,000 settlers living across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But since Israelis can move freely across many areas of the West Bank, these settlers enter adjacent Palestinian towns and villages where they have uprooted olive trees, set Palestinian farms and mosques on fire, and destroyed wells. Palestinians across the West Bank are living extremely difficult lives in the shadow of the Wall.
Who Benefits from the Separation Wall?
Israel is the primary beneficiary of the Wall because of land and freshwater resources acquired by the Wall’s construction. And that is really what the Wall is about – permanently incorporating the settlements (that extend deep into the West Bank as far as the Jordanian border), the Jordan valley (the West Bank’s bread basket), and the major sources of water (such as the Mountain Aquifer) into Israel.
However, there are also corporations profiting from the misery of Palestinian farmers and communities. One such corporation is Elbit Systems, Ltd., an Israeli defense contractor instrumental in the Wall’s construction that provides drones and surveillance equipment utilized in monitoring Palestinians along the Wall. Its products help the IDF control Palestinians’ freedom of movement along with access to their farms and wells. Elbit’s shameless profiteering from the occupation  is one reason Grassroots International launched a campaign calling for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) to divest from all Elbit investment holdings. The Elbit campaign calls on TIAA-CREF to do the right thing by living up to its motto of “Financial Services for the Greater Good.” 
The 3.7 million non-profit and public sector employees who hold TIAA-CREF accounts are unwittingly funding house demolitions, displaced communities, land and water grabs, food insecurity and widespread human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories through their TIAA-CREF investments. These are all acts that are decidedly not in the public interest and do not advance a just society nor a just, peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On the 8th anniversary of  the ICJ’s advisory opinion striking down construction of the Wall as an illegal, unilateral act contrary to international law, Grassroots International is renewing its call to TIAA-CREF’s 3.7 million account holders—join us in demanding an end to TIAA-CREF’s continued investment in Elbit. 
At this year’s shareholder meeting, tell TIAA-CREF that they cannot promote the greater good by funding the destruction of communities and livelihoods throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.  Sign our petition today.
Photo by: Anne Paq/

Caption: A caterpillar bulldozer works on a new section of the Separation Wall in Shu’fat refugee camp near the new military terminal located at the entrance of the camp, East Jerusalem, December 27, 2011. The Wall and the new military terminal will separate more than 20,000 Palestinian Jerusalem residents from East Jerusalem directly affecting their access to their schools, workplace and other facilities and institutions


(Quelle: Grassroot International.)

Palästina / Israel: Alltag

Mittwoch, November 23rd, 2011

“That soldier is me

By Aya Kaniuk

ImageIt had been some years before I met him. F. and three other youngsters like him, 16.5-19 years-old at the time, sitting at the foot of the wall that was being constructed just then, and thinking about how they’d topple the Israeli regime.
They were all born in Qalandiya refugee camp.
One idea was to throw grenades at the checkpoint. But they didn’t know how to make grenades. The second idea was to prepare lots of Molotov cocktails and hurl them with a slingshot instead of stones. But then R. said that the fire would go out immediately and it wasn’t worth it. Another idea was to place explosives inside tires and then roll them at the soldiers going off on their usual hunting sprees around the camp. But they didn’t know how to prepare explosives either, nor was there anyone who could teach them.
Finally they decided to blast the Apartheid wall. They concluded that in the near future they should learn how to prepare some serious explosives. After they’ll learn how, they’d prepare a large quantity, and place the first ‘installment’ right where they were sitting. They marked the spot with some large stones which they dragged over there together.
And after placing the explosives, they told each other, the wall would blow up, and that’s how everyone would know that Palestinians don’t remain silent.

And after discussing their far-reaching plans they went home. And actually forgot about it all. Because they didn’t really know what to do or how. And they were young and happy in spite of it all.

Two months later soldiers came in the night and picked up F., who was
17.5 years-old at the time.

I was asleep, he told me, and then heard this loud boom because they broke down the door. And I was terribly scared. There were yells for everyone go get into one room. M. and R. had not been born yet. I was barefoot, he went on. We were all barefoot. Only Mom wore slippers. There were ten soldiers, I think. One of them spoke Arabic but was no Arab. And then he yelled for us to bring him all our IDs. And only Mom and Dad and I had IDs. E. didn’t have one although he had already turned 16, the rest were little. Dad handed him the IDs.
Then they called out my name, F. And Mom yelled “No!” and ran and hung on to the soldier. My dad chased and held her and said to the soldier, “Don’t kill her!” because just half-a-year earlier Umm Bilal jumped at the soldier who took her son and the soldier gave her a blow and she had a stroke and died.
And the soldier laughed. I remember him laughing because they had black paint on their faces so when he laughed his teeth were so white.

F. was tried for attempting to blow up Qalandiya Checkpoint. And was sentenced to three years in Damoun Prison. The rest of the boys got similar sentences.
It was difficult but not terrible, he said when I asked him. It’s only hard in the interrogations, he added. They beat you up and harass you, and so… But in prison it wasn’t so bad. The food isn’t that good. And not enough. And I had no money for the canteen. And I learned Hebrew, and English too. Because the older guys there gave us lessons.
But the most difficult thing was not seeing his family, he said. His mother received a visitor’s permit twice in that whole period of time, and his father didn’t get one at all, nor his brother E. Only his two little sisters H. and S. who came every few months.

A year before he was scheduled for release, his father was diagnosed with lung cancer. And F. became restless and quarreled all the time. At first he was placed in isolation for two weeks and even there he would pace and yell all the time, so he was brought in for a talk with the Shabak captain who would come to the jail. He’s called Captain Aiman but that’s not his name, F. said. Nor is he Arab.
The captain told him he could get out even the next day and be with his dad, because he’s a good guy who got in trouble and the captain knows it. F. said nothing and waited because he already knew there are no free handouts there, so he was given a cigarette and took it, and coffee, and then the captain said: There’s a lot of trouble at the checkpoint, not good kids like yourselves who only got in trouble. I only need someone to tell me who sends them. They’re poor kids, believe me, they come to me and say they don’t want to be like that. They’re only told to go to the checkpoint and throw stones.
And I told him I don’t care about all of that, and I’ll stay in jail, I don’t want this, and I don’t need anything, and I’m not a ‘jasus” (spy, collaborator).
And then he said, but you’re sitting here because of a jasus.
And I said, yes, and you want me to end up like that jasus will end up after people find out who it was?
And he said, that jasus is your brother.
And I got up and tried to hit him and the two guys who were in that room with him grabbed me and beat me up until I passed out.

And I remembered how his little brother went to the checkpoint and said, I came to kill a Jew, and I understood it all.
That he had tried to come away clean. It was his way of expressing regret for what he’d done. For what he’d been pushed to do. And because of that he wanted no help in court. No relief. And he kept saying he wants to end up in jail “to be with my brother and kill whoever got him in prison”.

And F. says that afterwards he was in a bad way. He kept quiet a lot. And was sad. And when he went home he wasn’t glad. And then one day he suddenly realized that he had to forgive him, forgive his brother. And he did. And got up. And looked for work and began to help at home and planned to go study medicine in Russia because at that time they were still giving Palestinians scholarships, and we also met a little later.

On that day there was a demonstration at Qalandiya. I think it had some theme. It was lately. A Nakbah Day demonstration or right after Mahmoud Abbas declared a state, or the Day of Rage, anyway not too long ago. But it happens so often there. And they’re not really demonstrations in the usual sense.. On one side stand the Occupation soldiers with their helmets and guns and cocky callousness and love of war. On the other side they are faced with children and boys and stones from Qalandiya refugee camp and nameless anger and radiant youth.
And so soldiers shoot and children and boys from the camp throw stones. For years now. And if for some reason the boys stop throwing stones, the soldier shoot to arouse them. And they do. And the soldiers shoot some more. Aiming directly. Close range. Because they may and can. And with the years this is how they have been killed, one by one – 14-year old Omar Matar, 12.5 year-old Ahmad Abu Latifa, the brothers Samer and Yassar Kusba… and all the others. Because this is Occupation.

And then I saw two little brothers of his. M. and A. And A., who is a really tiny child stood with a stone he could hardly grip in his little hands. And I was a bit worried because they were really small and it is so dangerous, but I kept still, for what could I say to them. And isn’t it their right to resist evil in their own way, and this is their toddlers’ way.

But there was one really difficult moment in which a much older man than the boys came out of his house, one of the houses along the alley above the main road heading out from the checkpoint towards Ramallah. He began walking towards the main road, slowly, his back to the soldiers standing in a row with their guns pointed, right next to the home of Fatma and Sami Asad. I was saying to myself that the soldiers must be looking with their binoculars and seeing him coming out of that house, that he doesn’t belong to the group demonstrating, that he is not in this even for them, who see any resistance to the Occupation as a crime, and that he’s not young – when the bullet hit his back. And like in the movies, his body shook a bit, he kept walking another step or two, rocking, his eyes sinking into themselves, his legs toppling like cards, and he collapsed and fell. Red crescent medics ran to him and picked him up. The siren of the ambulance speeding towards Ramallah blasted the sky for a moment.
And I have no idea what happened to him.

I phoned F. because even if his little brothers have a right to take out their just anger at uninhibited Occupation soldiers, still it was so dangerous that I couldn’t help it. He said he was coming and actually did right away, several moments later.
And the soldier were sniping mercilessly, at everyone. And he found them, his brothers, and said to them, come on boys, and they smiled at their big, strong and successful brother. And they immediately left the demonstration and joined him. All four of us got away from the teargas and the gunfire, and walked up the hill towards the road to Ramallah until we were real far from it all, and sat down on a low wall by the roadside.

And first I spoke. About those soldiers. About their being like cattle. To go and do whatever they’re told and shelter behind big empty words like “defense” and “sacrifice” and “duty”, when all that motivates them is a lust for togetherness, and firing guns no matter at whom, and because that’s what is the accepted norm and socially lucrative, nothing else.
That they don’t see humans. Only faceless symbols. And that I wish they’d all go to prison, I told F. Every single one of them. And I spoke of their mothers who collaborate. That it is a cliché of love, not love itself – to stand by as their son goes to the army. And not only going off to hurt another people just because it is ‘other’, but to risk his own self.
And after speaking constantly for a while, we fell silent. And while we were silent he sent one of the kids to get us something to drink and falafel. And then he said to me:

Aya, just so you know, those Israeli soldiers whom you badmouth so much, they are me.
That soldier is me, too. And I raised my face in wonder.
When I threw stones at soldiers, wasn’t I like that? Battle-happy, no matter what for? Out for the action, because it was the popular thing to do, and the norm, and what everyone did?

But those soldiers hold guns. They maintain the checkpoint that prevents your family from having a life. Over land that was taken by force from your relatives. And they represent and enforce a policy of theft and transfer, and state terrorism. They are not everyman. They do not represent justice.

It’s all true, you’re right, he said after some thought. It’s true, they’re unjust, I am more in the right. Because I’m acting in self-defense, and they’re on the offense. But still I think that when I was throwing stones at soldiers, I threw because that was what we all did then, and it was fun and risky.
And I think that this soldier too does what he’s doing especially when it’s what everyone does, and because it’s fun and risky. And he would have done good things too and opposed the bad things, if that was what everyone around him would have done.
It’s only by chance that he was sent out to serve the Occupation.

Okay, I say, but still it’s not the same thing, fighting your assailant and fighting someone you assault. You don’t really think it’s the same thing, soldiers and non-soldiers?

And he said, sure there’s a difference. Like I said, it’s different as far as what is right is concerned. There’s the occupier and the occupied. They’re not right, and we are. That’s obvious. It’s not a war of equals. These are people who came to us, we didn’t come to them. From the beginning they’re telling us, not here, this is not yours, and they kill and chase and shoot and take our lives and our health and our work and land and justice. And we have a right to resist this, and it’s our right.
And gunfire and throwing stones are not the same thing, either.

But the human being, he’s little. This one’s little and so is that one. Only in a history test they say Wehrmacht serving the Nazis is bad, and the attack of the Allies on Dresden is good. This soldier is good and that one, bad. This one serves justice and that one serves
injustice. But if I look at it from the human being’s point of view, I think that this is the soldier serving the norms of his time, and that one is the soldier serving the norms of his time.

But, F., I insisted, perhaps the motivation to be a soldier serving the State is similar under all regimes, and it’s not because the regime is this kind and not another that the youngster is attracted to the battlefield, and would be attracted to any battle at all, even for a less wrongful ideology. But when you were throwing stones it wasn’t the same thing. It’s not army. It’s spontaneous resistance to those who stamp their boots into your life, not so?

And F. said, I’m not sure you’re right, Aya. I thought about this a lot in jail, too. And I tell you this. It’s not easy to tell you but I say this from my heart. Would I not have gone out to throw stones if we were less right and they were less criminal? I’m not so sure… I don’t know… This is stupid, and that is stupid. This one’s small, and that’s one too. It’s the same thing. It’s similar. From the human point of view, as the little person, not the State, it’s the same. It’s similar. Very similar.

In the background we kept hearing gunfire and ambulances, and the teargas, although distant, reached us and once in a while we had to stop talking and wait until our lungs and throats cleared. And I was looking at F. and thinking how mature and amazing he is. And how he speak to me in Hebrew and in English and uses my languages with this fluency he’d achieved in his three years in jail, and I still can’t speak enough Arabic to converse with him, and thought this is terrible, really terrible, although that’s really another matter.

And I’ll tell you another thing, F. stepped into my thoughts. That soldier doesn’t even hate the guy whose blood he’ll be shedding. That’s how you say it, no? Shedding blood. Beautiful words. He kills because his buddies do it and he can. Because it’s allowed, it’s legal. And it’s considered doing good. And everyone does it. And everyone’s happy. And happy with him. But that’s not because he hates. He doesn’t kill out of hatred. Perhaps after he kills, he hates. But he doesn’t kill out of hatred. He kills because he likes to kill, and he likes to be with his buddies.

But the child throwing stones doesn’t throw them at just anyone, I insisted. Not at me. Only at the soldier. At the settlers. At whoever came along and took his life. And the soldier shoots people who have done nothing to him. Only because they’re Palestinians. And that’s racism.

And he said, that’s true, a little racism, but only a little. I agree with you that there really is more racism in your society than in ours. But still most of what those soldier do to us is not because of racism I think but more because of their buddies. The fun. What they learn in school. Because it’s considered really worthwhile. And gives one respect.

And I said, but F., would you throw stones at anyone or just at soldiers?

He chuckled and said, did you notice how you contain me, how you understand and justify me? And what about them, the Israeli soldiers? You don’t understand them. Why do you understand me, no matter what, and not them?
It’s like you’re taking a side, but the opposite one. Because you’re saying any Palestinian is right, and any Israeli is guilty. That’s racism too, a bit, isn’t it?

And I thought how he, from this place of his, could look and contain all that breadth, the breadth that I don’t possess, and see the humanity that is in every person, whoever that person may be, whatever that person might do. But then again I thought this is his privilege, to contain whoever harasses him and attacks him and robs him, I don’t have that privilege. I who do not belong to the victimized people at this point in history.
For me only judgment remains. And so I do. In every cell of my body. Judging those young Occupation soldiers with all their ringing meanness and their callousness and their mothers who do not prostrate themselves on the road to keep them from going, and the teachers who nurture in them the will to carry out this injustice and this malignant normality with which normal people do what everyone does because that is what everyone does no matter what.

And I said, that’s right. I have a side. But it’s not the way you explain my side. I mean, my side does not come from belonging anywhere. And it’s true that my side is not axiomatically and automatically, the Jewish Israeli people, really not. But nor is it the Palestinian people just because it is Palestinian. It’s not about nation or race or gender or ethnic belonging. It’s about who’s the victim.
At this point in history you are the victim.
Palestinians, at this point in history they are the victim. Not the Jewish Israeli people.
So that’s my side. The victim’s side.

He thought about it for a moment, and then smiled and said, so I’m glad it’s like this, and affectionately touched the head of one of his little brothers. We ate and drank in silence for another while and from afar, the clouds of teargas and the bullets which both of us forgot about, and about the potential casualties and the loss all dripped into everything like drops of sadness.

Translated by Tal Haran.


(Quelle: mahsanmilim.)

Israel: Noch Fragen?

Donnerstag, September 29th, 2011

Pchr ltd

“Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (22 – 28 Sep. 2011)


Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)


· A Palestinian civilian was killed and another 7 ones, including a child, were wounded by IOF in Qasra village, southeast of Nablus.


· IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.


· OF continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

    - 18 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, and a French human rights defender were wounded.


· IOF conducted 36 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

    - IOF arrested 4 Palestinians, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.


· Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.


· IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

    - IOF approved the construction of 1,100 housing units in “Gilo” settlement, south of occupied Jerusalem.

    - IOF confiscated 148 dunums[1] of land in Battir village, west of Bethlehem.

    - Israeli settlers burnt 590 trees.

    - Israeli settlers placed racist banners against Palestinians on the main roads in the West Bank.



Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (22 – 28 September 2011):



During the reporting period, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 25 others, including 7 children, and a French human rights defender in the West Bank.

On 23 September 2011, IOF killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded another 7 ones, including a child, when they moved into Qasra village, southeast of Nablus, to provide protection to a group of Israeli settlers who raided Palestinian lands in the village

During the reporting period, IOF used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to Israeli settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall in the West Bank. As a result, 18 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, and a French human rights defender were wounded and dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders suffered from tear gas inhalation.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip. No fishermen were hurt, but Israeli naval troops confiscated and damaged some fishing nets.



During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 4 Palestinian civilians, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council who was arrested by an undercover unit from the yard of the ICRC office in Jerusalem.


Restrictions on Movement:

Israel had continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.


The full report is available online at:–28-sep-2011&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183


[1] One dunum is equal to 1,000 square meters.”


(Quelle: PCHR.)

Palästina: Wissen, ja – und weiter?

Donnerstag, September 29th, 2011

“The West Bank is Burning

In the Shadow of the Wall


Today’s wall is longer, higher and it does not stop terrorist activities inside the West Bank. Houses are demolished, land is destroyed and people are dying.

It is night. He is dark and it is dark. The fear comes out of his eyes. He is being chased by dogs and behind the dogs are some jeeps and the men are shouting to the dog drivers to accelerate, it is going too slowly.

Yes, that is how I remember the beginning of the movie, the movie I actually did not want to see, and that I still wish I had not seen. The movie ”Mississippi Burning” remained within me and hit me in a way that I would have preferred to avoid.

It is the movie I once again began to think about when I read about one of the many terrorist attacks.

It was Sabbath, an ordinary Saturday in October 2008. A young man is out tending his animals. An ordinary event in Palestine. This was done during the time the village was occupied by the Romans and it is done today when the village is occupied by Israel. To get some peace of mind, I went down to Via Dolorosa to look at the old photographs that the Swedish photographer took in the late 1800s.

On Via Dolorosa there is a photographic studio, a shop that sells these old unique photographs. I compared the pictures with my own. The same rolling countryside, the same calm. The sheep are slowly grazing on the hillsides and in their vicinity is the shepherd. He has always been there. Close, protective and watchful.

And then I see within myself the next picture. The one that has not yet been published. The one that probably never will be published. It will never hang in the studio on Via Dolorosa since the picture was never taken. But the film ”Mississippi Burning” gives me lots of pictures. One just has to use ”copy”. A young man dies when a granade explodes. The sheep scatter and the shepherd is gone. The evening falls in the village. In the afternoon, a mother had prepared food to break the fast. Soon the family will gather for prayer and celebration. But a young man will be missing, a young man who has exploded.

What has happened? How did the granade end up there? How did a young unprotected man get a hold of this deadly weapon? Who talks about it, who follows up on it and who is silent.

It is not long before I read about the next event. I sit at my computer and constantly I hear beeps. I press ”enter” and see event after event. Reports from BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Svenska Dagbladet, Haaretz, B’Tselem… Everyone knows everything. I knew it before but it is perhaps only now that I really understand that everyone actually knows everything. Anyone who wants to know only needs to go online. This means that the government of South Africa knows everything, the State Department knows everything and the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs knows everything.

That time it was farm land burning. Farmers had once again just like previous years tried to grow wheat and barley. Around the village they had tried to cultivate the land that they owned, the land to which they were entitled. This had been done in the 1900s, in the 1800s, in the 1700s and even when the Romans went around rattling their weapons.

When I some time ago visited a place near the village I was struck by the fact that one basically used the same agricultural practices as in the Roman times.

Although slightly better tools, but still very simple and ancient techniques. I remember asking why, if there were no better technology available, I was told that they could not afford it, that the land and the tools would probably be destroyed or burned.

And that is precisely what I read about thanks to the Internet. I could no longer disregard it. I could have decided not to go and see the movie long time ago. When it comes to Internet and media it is not as easy. No one with knowledge about the Middle East and with an interest in diplomacy, international affairs, and above all human rights can stand on the side as an onlooker.

Together with the Foreign Minister and all other diplomats I read that attacks by terrorists over the past eight years have become increasingly common, and that during the Arabic spring has became more violent. People who tried to protect their assets have been killed and the land and houses destroyed.

Imagine, all this knowledge. Knowledge that is only a click away.

And just think, think about all this silence while the West Bank is burning.

Mats Svensson, a former Swedish diplomat working on the staff of SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is presently following the ongoing occupation of Palestine. He can be reached at”


(Quelle: Counterpunch.)