The Bahraini Revolution in the Words of its Elite

By Zeinab Daher

With every anniversary of an uprising against oppression, a person recalls a glimpse of hope that the winds of change are blowing again.

Bahrain, the country of Shia-majority ruled by Sunni-minority, was a platform for peaceful popular demands back on February 14 of 2011. Today, there is nothing more honest than the words of those who lived the revolution, its early days, and the impressions they made as such time has passed over the first day since its birth.

In an exclusive interview with al-Ahed News, Sheikh Abo Yasser Abdullah al-Saleh, Deputy Chief of Bahrain’s Islamic Work Association (Amal), listed the many achievements of the revolution atop of which is the clear popular alignment against the oppressive and dictatorial authorities that is a major achievement in Bahrain.

 

“The opposition in Bahrain is deep-rooted, it is nothing new, but the current impression is that the opposition is something new.”

In the 1980s, before and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, demanding to topple the Al Khalifah regime was a fantasy. Now, however, there is a sort of popular agreement that this family should be changed because it doesn’t deserve to rule the Bahraini people, and that the Bahraini people deserve more just government, that is finer, more aware of the demands of peoples and more independent, afar from any foreign and western alliances.

Additionally, in Bahrain, there became a clear orientation and understanding by all parties that it is necessary to establish a just democracy through inclusive elections that get rid of all kinds of tyranny and appropriation as well as ties to the foreign colonialism practiced by Al Khalifah.

The revolution was able over 8 years to draw attention that there is a major determination by the Bahraini people to reach their rightful and legitimate demands and that it is never possible to play the minds of people and deceive them just like what happened during the 1990s uprising.

“There is total agreement that this authority in untrustworthy and can’t be dealt with by any means, even if it still controls the country.”

Another achievement is uniting the local lines and tending to a true change which wasn’t clear in the past era. This revolution has serious tendency to change the country’s status and make a true shift that suits the Bahraini people.

The Al Khalifah authority treat the opposition as if it is a zero. It is oppressive and try to kill any activism before it is born.

“The glow of revolution didn’t change.”

It is true that the protests in which the majority of people used to participate are not happening now. The figures and major symbols who used to participate in the protests are not there, but the movement itself didn’t stop, even if the momentum has decreased. There are still protests and demands in some places. There are also detentions, since the beginning of the revolutions, detentions didn’t stop. If the authority claims that it has got rid of the revolution, then why it is still carrying out the non-stopping arbitrary detention campaigns.

There are some 930 people, including clerics, symbols, academics, youth and citizens, whose citizenships have been revoked. More than 7824 people are detained by the authority, and the number is still climbing. We sacrificed more than 200 martyrs, scores of victims and thousands of displaced people. But the Al Khalifah authority couldn’t, through all this, to prove that it has got rid of the February 14 revolution. The revolution is being renewed in different ways and remains with the same slogans and demands.

The most important among all is that the Bahraini people didn’t retreat any of its legitimate demands. And the latest statement made by His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim was a clear evidence that this people didn’t and will not compromise.

Why remaining peaceful?

The Bahraini people is not a violent one. The people of Bahrain are known for love, peace, mercy, generosity, containing others and coexisting with them.

The rightful demands the Bahraini people are asking for are not new for any people, they are rather part of their basic due rights whether by understanding or another mean. When the Al Khalifah denies the people their rights, it must expect that the people won’t remain silent. And now, they insist to fulfill their demands.

For our people, we would like to stress that the international situation in this particular anniversary is on our side and it is not on Al Khalifah’s and Al Saud’s. They were previously more arrogant and stronger, but the situation in the entire region now carries the promises of a near victory, by God’s willing. It carries the promises of a change in the regional map. The Bahraini people tolerated over many years, but the less has remained. The Al Khalifah authorities are in a bad situation while the morale, practices and rights of our people are way stronger than ever before. The legendary endurance presented by the Bahraini people over the past years is able to drive them towards fulfilling their demands. It is matter of a little patience and we will reach our goals.

We are demanding democracy and inclusive elections in which the source of authority and sovereignty should be the Bahraini people. We only need to be a free people in an independent state.

Normalization

Normalization is nothing new. It has existed since before, at least all Gulf states, most Arab and Muslim countries related to the west, whether the US or the UK, have sorts of ties with the “Israeli” entity. However, ties today became public. What has been under cover, became today public.

Exchanged visits weren’t born recently, they are since the 1950s but they were low. The King Saud’s condition for the UK was that ties with the Zionists should be secret. Today, however, the Zionists set their condition that any price should be paid in exchange of public relations. This is the reason why we notice today public relations whether with the Al Saud or the Al Khalifah governments or others. Zionists now insist on publicized ties, this is why we are witnessing them on the surface.

In the past, the colonial scheme tried to indirectly run its issues in the region. But now, it is being faced by the peoples of the region, which are looking for their interests and trying to build their future the way they want. This is why the government now cannot fulfill the task and this explains with the Americans and the British are coming to the region repeatedly, weighing more and intervening much than before in the country’s internal affairs which is exposing those governments’ betrayal.

To Al Khalifah, the Bahraini people would never accept dealing with Zionists and would never be part of any alliance against its Arab and Muslim state. You can do whatever you want because the decision is in your hands, but the Bahraini people will breach any agreement that would be made with the Zionist entity.

For his part, Bahraini Journalist Hussein Youssef recalled some painful and emotional spots from the time of the revolution’s first days:

Among the most significant of the scenes of the February 14 revolution I recall is the youths’ advance as they were topless against the Bahraini army’s tanks that were supposed to protect the protesters and civilians, however, they were directed towards them and killed martyr Abdul Rida Bou Hmayyed. This scene would never be erased from the Bahrainis’ memory.

Another scene that I could never forget over seven years of the revolution is that of revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassim and the Imam Hussein-inspired speech delivered by Sayyed Maji al-Mashaal.

In between the two scenes, there is the very important event when Sheikh Ali Salman addressed the Bahraini people as the ‘Peninsula Shield forces’ entered the country. He referred to their behavior as defeatist and called the Bahraini people for sticking to peaceful activism until achieving its fair demands.

“Regarding the presence of the Bahraini issue in media, the activism is actually peaceful, political and rightful. There is no direct presence on which media can feed as it wants.”

However, there are other media outlets that are trying to turn a blind eye to the reality of the Bahraini people for certain political goals and reasons. They want to blind what is happening in Bahrain, and most of them are pushed by Saudi and American motives. This is something constant for us. An evidence is that many political and rights events, major protests, political speeches and stances issued by the Bahraini opposition are blinded by such paid outlets.

I don’t believe the regime has succeeded in silencing the opposition. Now, everybody confesses that there is a political crisis in Bahrain. The important evidence on this is that the leader of the opposition His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman is in prison and sentenced to life. This firstly means that the political crisis in Bahrain will remain as long as such symbols and figures, atop of them is Sheikh Ali Salman, stay in jail. Hence, the opposition movement is non-stopping in different forms and during different circumstances. It is sometimes in Australia, another time in Bahrain… the movement is represented by the rights and political conferences held by the opposition at home and abroad. In conclusion, even if the regime had security-wise tightened the grip on the opposition movement, this doesn’t mean that it will be able to cancel the presence of the opposition and the popular demands.

There are huge numbers over the 8 years of revolution. There has been more than 40.000 protests, in addition to more than 5000 prisoners in Bahraini jails. This number makes Bahrain the most crowded country with political prisoners in the Arab world as per comparison to its population. There are also violations against journalists. Over 8 years of revolution, there is more than 25 years of imprisonment sentences against activists and journalists and even politicians who expressed their opinions. The law is very ‘flexible’ since whoever express their opinion via Twitter are subject to ‘anti-terror’ crimes for opposing the authority.

The international community raises the slogans of human rights in the area of political abuse and not in the place where people do believe in it… the international community is disabled in front of the Saudi-American decision; hence, the political cover baking the Bahraini regime is due to weighing political interests and Gulf oil heavier than human rights and the people’s rights to self-determination.

“All what happened over the previous period (8 years) is a motive for Bahrain to continue.”

The words of Sheikh Ali Salman and Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassem say there is no way for retreat, and it is necessary to continue with strength and determination to fulfill this people’s demand for reform.

“I do believe that what is waiting the Bahraini people is way better than what the authorities are practicing.”

There is no room for political settlement and fulfilling the national demands without democracy and respecting citizenship in Bahrain, he concluded.

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RT Documentary on Ahed Tamimi

Posted on 

The above documentary is very much worth watching. Uploaded on March 9 and entitled “The Slap Heard Around the World: The People of Israel vs. Ahed Tamimi,” the video focuses not only on the Tamimi family and Ahed’s case in the Israeli military court system, but also the hysteria that has erupted in Israeli society over the whole affair. It includes interviews with members of the Tamimi family as well as Israeli journalist Gideon Levy.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to find out what, if anything, occurred in the Ofer military court on Sunday, March 11, the day Ahed’s trial was supposed to open. For some reason the Israeli media, at least the outlets that publish in English, have largely gone mum on the case. About the only reference I could find was a Haaretz piece published a bit earlier today and which, though vague on details, seems to suggest that the trial has been postponed once again so that the court may consider an appeal of its decision to close proceedings to the public.

Ahed’s pre-trial hearings were open to the public, but on February 13 a ruling was issued saying the trial would be held behind closed doors. Then on February 26, Israeli soldiers carried out another raid in Nabi Saleh, arresting Mohammed Tamimi, Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin, the boy who was shot in the head by a rubber-coated bullet. One day after that arrest an Israeli official went public with a claim that Mohammed had “admitted” under interrogation that the head injury had been from a bike accident. The bogus claim is covered in the video above.

The latest charade the Israelis seem to be playing is that it is not the prosecution that objects to having the trial opened to the public, but that this decision was made by the court alone and with Ahed’s best interest at heart.

“We left the request to open the hearings to the judgment of the court of first instance, and we will leave that request to the discretion of this honorable court,” says Maj. Gilad Peretz, the military prosecutor quoted in the Haaretz story.

In other words, Peretz purports to be neutral on the question of a trial behind closed doors, but with an air of touching concern for the girl’s welfare believes that keeping the proceedings closed would be “to Tamimi’s advantage.”

The appeal, filed by defense attorney Gabby Lasky, calls for the trial to be opened to the public, and while the court did not issue a ruling in a hearing held on Monday, it is “expected to do so shortly,” the report states.

It’s interesting that the Israeli media, aside from the Haaretz article (which is very brief) have gone so quiet on the story–in stark contrast to the kind of reporting we were seeing back in January, February and the latter part of December, when stories were coming out virtually every day. Apparently “out of sight out of mind” is the operative theory now.

Meanwhile, Ahed and her mother, Nariman, remain locked up in an Israeli prison.

Below is a commentary written by Jonathan Cook and published a bit over a week ago by Mondoweiss.

***

Israeli Army’s Lies Can No Longer Salvage Its Image

By Jonathan Cook

It is has been a very bad week for those claiming Israel has the most moral army in the world. Here’s a small sample of abuses of Palestinians in recent days in which the Israeli army was caught lying.

A child horrifically injured by soldiers was arrested and terrified into signing a false confession that he was hurt in a bicycle accident. A man who, it was claimed, had died of tear-gas inhalation was actually shot at point-blank range, then savagely beaten by a mob of soldiers and left to die. And soldiers threw a tear gas canister at a Palestinian couple, baby in arms, as they fled for safety during a military invasion of their village.

In the early 2000s, at the dawn of the social media revolution, Israelis used to dismiss filmed evidence of brutality by their soldiers as fakery. It was what they called “Pallywood” – a conflation of Palestinian and Hollywood.

In truth, however, it was the Israeli military, not the Palestinians, that needed to manufacture a more convenient version of reality.

Last week, it emerged, Israeli officials had conceded to a military court that the army had beaten and locked up a group of Palestinian reporters as part of an explicit policy of stopping journalists from covering abuses by its soldiers.

Israel’s deceptions have a long history. Back in the 1970s, a young Juliano Meir-Khamis, later to become one of Israel’s most celebrated actors, was assigned the job of carrying a weapons bag on operations in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. When Palestinian women or children were killed, he placed a weapon next to the body.

In one incident, when soldiers playing around with a shoulder-launcher fired a missile at a donkey, and the 12-year-old girl riding it, Meir-Khamis was ordered to put explosives on their remains.

Continued here

 

ملفّ لا يحتمل اللفلفة… مطلوب أجوبة

ملفّ لا يحتمل اللفلفة… مطلوب أجوبة

Image result for ‫زياد عيتاني المحكمة الجنائية الدولية‬‎

مارس 5, 2018

ناصر قنديل

العناوين التي تثيرها قضية زياد عيتاني تتخطاه كشخص وتتخطّى براءته أو إدانته ولا يحلها الكلام الهادئ الذي يريد سحبها من التداول بالإيحاء أنّ كلّ شيء تحت السيطرة ويسير وفقاً للأصول، فليست قضيتنا إنْ جرى تحويل ملف القضية من جهاز إلى جهاز بقرار وزاري أو بقرار قضائي.

زياد عيتاني يعترف بالعمالة والتخطيط لإغتيال نهاد المشنوق في لبنان

قضيتنا أنّ أمامنا عملياً روايتين لا يمكن الجمع بينهما رواية صدرت عن وزير الداخلية، تقول ببراءة عيتاني وباتهام مَن حقق معه ووجّه له الاتهام بالخلفيات الحاقدة والطائفية، وما أعقب كلام الوزير من مصادر أمنية منسوبة لشعبة المعلومات، اتهام للرئيس السابق لفرع مكافحة جرائم المعلوماتية بفبركة التهمة استناداً لخبرة قراصنة، ولأهداف شخصية بعضها ملتبس وبعضها وصفه الوزير بالحقد والطائفية. وفي المقابل أمامنا رواية وردت في بيان رسمي لجهاز أمن الدولة، تتمسّك بالاتهام وتسنده لاعترافات عيتاني الموثقة والمسجلة والواردة دون ضغوط، وبحضور مفوض الحكومة لدى المحكمة العسكرية. وأمام هاتين الروايتين لا ننحاز لإحداهما، وما يعنينا أبعد مما ينتج في القضية نفسها. فالقضية تطال أموراً أشدّ خطورة لا تحتمل اللفلفة وعلى الدولة كدولة بمؤسساتها أن تجيب المواطنين عن الأسئلة التي تطرحها.

السؤال الأول، إذا تبنينا رواية وزير الداخلية والتي تبدو مسنودة بتحقيقات شعبة المعلومات. فهذا يعني أمرين، الأول أنّ اتهامات خطيرة يمكن أن تُسند لمواطنين لبنانيين بغير وجه حق، باعتراف مرجعيات مسؤولة في الدولة، خصوصاً أنها ليست المرة الأولى التي يسقط فيها ضحايا لفبركة الاتهامات. فهل صار الوقت مناسباً لنقول إنّ كلّ الاتهامات التي تلقفها نصف اللبنانيين وصُفّق لها بحماسة في قضية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري كانت فبركات وأفلاماً هوليودية؟ فهل سيطال ضحايا هذه الفبركات اعتذار وتوضيحات تشبه الحملة التي قادها الوزير في قضية عيتاني، وما لم يحدث ذلك، يصير واجباً تصديق ما ورد في بيان أمن الدولة من تلميح للاعتبارات الانتخابية؟ فهل هناك «مواطن بسمن ومواطن بزيت» عند وزير الداخلية، وكلاهما ضحية فبركة جهاز أمني بتوجيه اتهامات تعادل التحريض على القتل، ولهم عائلات وأبناء أسيء لهم وسمعة جرى النيل منها وكرامة تمّ انتهاكها، وفي ظروف أشدّ قسوة، من تلك التي لحقت بعيتاني، الذي يستحق الإنصاف من مظلوميته إذا كانت براءته حقيقية، وإذا كانت مفاعيل عائلته الانتخابية تقف عند حدود الاحتفال ببراءته، هل يذكر الوزير يوم خرج الرئيس فؤاد السنيورة محتفلاً في مؤتمر صحافي، بحضور رئيس لجنة التحقيق الدولية ديتيليف ميليس يعلن توجيه الاتهام باغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، ولاحقاً تبيّن أنّ الأسماء المعلنة، ضحايا تلفيق وفبركة وشهود زور؟

Image result for ‫الضباط الأربعة‬‎

الأمر الثاني أنّ الاتهام يستند لما عرف بداتا الاتصالات، ولا زالت وزارة الداخلية وشعبة المعلومات تصرّ على الحصول عليها بصفتها صمام أمان البلد والمستند الذي لا ترقى إليه شبهة في بناء اتهاماتها وملاحقتها للمشتبه بهم، لتطلّ علينا مصادر شعبة المعلومات في قضية عيتاني، وخلفها البراءة التي طلب الوزير من اللبنانيين الاعتذار من عيتاني على أساسها، وتقول إنّ الداتا مفبركة، وإنّ ضابطاً محترفاً بمعونة قرصان يملك القدرة على تركيب ملف متكامل لا يرقى إليه الشك بالفبركة، وأمام اللبنانيين قضية مفتوحة اسمها اتهام المحكمة الدولية لمجموعة لبنانيين ينتمون لحزب الله في قضية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري والمستند الوحيد لاتهامهم هو داتا مشابهة وضعتها شعبة المعلومات بتصرف هيئات التحقيق الدولية، ونال ضباطها تنويهاً على إنجازاتهم في هذا المجال، لا زلنا نذكر الشروح التي أطلّ بها علينا بعضهم عن الدائرة الصفراء والدائرة الرمادية والدائرة الحمراء، ليقولوا لنا إنّ هذه وقائع لا يمكن فبركتها ولا التدخل فيها ولا لأيّ قرصان تصنيعها، فبربكم أيّ الروايتين نصدّق؟

المسألة ببساطة هذه المرة أنّ الضابط المتهم بالفبركة محسوب على الخط السياسي ذاته الذي يحتاج براءة عيتاني انتخابياً، والفبركة تهمة وجهت لهذا الضابط الذي شغل مسؤوليات هامة في فروع الأمن، ووفقاً لرواية أمن الدولة إذا صدّقناها، البراءة مفتعلة ومفبركة، لاعتبارات انتخابية قال جهاز أمن الدولة إنها تخدم «إسرائيل» فقط. وإن صدقنا فهذا يعني تكراراً لحكاية مشابهة قبل سنوات، عنوانها شادي مولوي الذي قامت الدنيا ولم تقعد يوم تمّ توقيفه من قبل الأمن العام اللبناني، وبدأ معها الحديث الطائفي والمذهبي المقيت، وخرج رئيس الحكومة وفي ظروف انتخابية مشابهة يومها يحتفل بإخلاء سبيله، وبعد سنوات قليلة تبيّن أنّ مولوي مسؤول تنظيم داعش علناً في لبنان، فأخبرونا بمن نثق ومن نصدق، وأيّ الروايتين نعتمد، لكن تيقنوا، أنّ اتّباع أيّ من الروايتين له تبعات، واحدة تبدأ ببراءة عيتاني وردّ الاعتبار له وملاحقة المفبركين، لكنها تنتهي بسحب اتهامات المحكمة الدولية والاعتذار من ضحايا الفبركة وشهود الزور وفتح التحقيق لملاحقة كلّ مَنْ تورّط في لعبة الاتهام الملفق، والثانية تبدأ بوقف التلاعب بتحقيق أمن الدولة وردّ الاعتبار له وللضابط المتّهم بالفبركة وملاحقة مَن أراد إلصاق هذه التهمة به، وتنتهي باستقالة وزير حاول التلاعب بملف خطير لحسابات انتخابية، فاعتمدوا رواية واحدة واتبعوها حتى نهاية موجباتها، عليكم إن طلبتم احترام اللبنانيين لكم أن تختاروا.

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Gilad Atzmon is listed amongst “100 Peace & Justice Leaders and Models”

January 31, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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GA: I am honoured  to find my name  listed amongst this international list of incredible peace loving people.  

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/01/in-pursuit-of-peace-and-justice-100-peace-justice-leaders-and-models/

In Pursuit Of Peace And Justice: 100 Peace & Justice Leaders And Models

BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 29 Jan 2018

Anthony J. Marsella and Kathleen Malley-Morrison – TRANSCEND Media Service

Introduction

26 Jan 2018 – The annual memorial holiday on January 15, 2018, celebrating Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s enduring contributions to peace and justice, has passed.

The events of the day linger in our minds, eternally grateful for Reverend King’s efforts to free people and nations from the brutal oppressions imposed by governments, nations, societies, organizations, and individuals, who willfully continue to support and sustain the evils of racism, prejudice, violence, and war.

Reverend King’s commitment to freedom from oppression and abuse compel us to continue his efforts far beyond the words, songs, and promises of his day.

To this end, we, (i.e., Kathy Malley-Morrison & Anthony J. Marsella), the authors of this article, have chosen to demonstrate our responsibilities to continuing the work of Reverend King, by identifying 100 living peace and social justice leaders and models.

The number is arbitrary for there are tens of thousands more who deserve citation. Many are not listed, but will be listed in future efforts. Do not be dismayed! Patience! We believed it essential to create a dynamic list of living peace and justice activists and advocates to encourage peace and justice work.

The individuals included on our list are from all genders, ages, roles.  They are from many nations, ethnocultural groups, and “races.”  We sense a rising tide of commitment to peace and justice, and an intolerance of the corruption, cronyism, and asymmetric power sustaining current abuses.

We consider our efforts a beginning, and we will continue to publish new lists. This is because the struggle for peace and justice is endless, and each day new people are rising to the call.

This is as it should be, and must be, until such time the forces of oppression yield to the forces of good; evil will continue, but human virtue, endowed in conscience will triumph! While the work of many included will be recognized, some of those listed may not be apparent. We have attached website information after each name to offer insight into their efforts.

Before sharing our list, however, we wish to include two charts offering graphic displays of essential material for understanding and appreciating living leaders.

CHART 1: PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PEACE AND JUSTICE LEADERS AND MODELS

personal-characteristics-leaders-1-marsella-chart-1.png

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Originally published in CounterPunch Magazine December 25, 2017

In the Occupied Territory, Two Kinds of Justice

Many take their liberty for granted even as they have endless time to rail on and on about how “they” are coming for us. Be it the “coup”, apparently now underway, or the spread of domestic McCarthyism that seeks to cower us into silence, or the baffling, sudden, corrupt reach of the Department of Justice, for most white men here we enjoy a privilege that says not us. Typically, it works.

A world away, liberty is less a race-based edge than it is the benefits you gain by the day of the week you celebrate your faith. For those who get directions from god on Saturdays, there appear to be no limits to the dispensation to which you are entitled; be it the execution of an unconscious prisoner, the mass arrest of a family with the temerity to fight for their land or a Prime Minister protected by legislative fiat empowered well beyond the reach of mere mortal law.

Israel has long preached justice and equality to the world. How often have we heard its mantra about democratic ideals and traditions as so much a unique historical tenet of its travel… a journey for the chosen that get to choose who the beneficiaries are… and are not.

For those of us in the US, either schooled in the classic process of the law or victimized by its aim, we’ve grown spoiled by its safeguards even though they remain but abstract and elusive for those many in the prisoner dock of  “wrong” color, with but coins in their pocket or militant politics in their gait.

Yet, despite the betrayal of equal hope for all, the march from investigation to arrest to trial and result knows no formal de jure distinction along the way. Of course, one would be so much a fool to argue that justice is blind, or little more than a commodity for purchase, or the skill of one’s advocate, or the luck of one’s judicial draw. Yet these damning imperfections leave hope along the way that justice may, on occasion, just slip and fall into ones lap despite a long and tarred drop.

That is not the case in Israel. Israel has two systems of justice… one for Jews and the other for Palestinians be they Muslim, Christian or atheist. Nowhere is that more apparent or destructive than it is in the Occupied Territory.

The Detention of Children

Several days ago, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested, by heavily armed Israeli soldiers, during a violent pre-dawn raid on her home. It followed a video, since gone viral, of her slapping a soldier on the face and arm and pushing another soldier, standing nearby, who she was ushering away from the family home… this, after her 14-year-old cousin, Mohammed,  had been shot by an Israeli rubber coated bullet that entered through his mouth and lodged in his brain.

For Ahed, it was not the first time that her challenge to the occupation received international attention and acclaim.  As an 11 year old, she was video recorded confronting soldiers with clenched fist. She did not back down.  At 13, she helped to wrestle her 11 year old brother, his arm in a cast, from the clutches of an Israeli soldier who was physically assaulting him during a standoff near her family home. For that, she was the recipient of the Handala Courage award in Turkey.

Not long after Ahed’s current arrest, Nariman Tamimi was seized when she went to the local police station to check on her daughter. After attending his daughter’s initial military court appearance, Bassem Tamimi, a prominent land defender and non-violent organizer in the village of Nabi Saleh, was also taken into custody. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces. In 2012, he was termed a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International during one of his several detentions in an Israeli prison.

Later that night, soldiers seized a family cousin, Nour Tamimi, a 21 year old journalism student, from her own family home.

Mother, father, daughter, and cousin arrested after another cousin shot… all within a matter of a few days.  Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to the Occupation.

Liberty means more than the freedom to walk in and out of your home with the approval of those who occupy the streets that lead to it. 

Though the arrest of Ahed has captured the attention of many, it is as much the force of her charisma as it is the call of justice that has produced it. Since 2000, over 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military system devoid of any meaningful protection for the most vulnerable and traumatized among those that have known nothing but the bark of occupation their entire lives.  It is a military justice process notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The majority of these children have been seized in middle of the night raids by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. By now, military kidnappings have become so much the expected norm that Palestinian teens sleep with their clothes on to maintain their modesty when the doors to their bedroom are kicked in with the shouts of “get up get up” by heavily armed soldiers.

Dragged out the door to the screams of their powerless parents, for most, it will be the last they will hear from them without the watch and eavesdrop of prison guards for the many months of detention to follow.

Several hours after their arrest, children arrive at an interrogation and detention center alone, tired, and frightened.

All Interrogations, by their very nature, are inherently coercive no matter the age or experience of its target.  None are more so than for an often bruised and scared child forced to go through the process without the benefit of counsel or the presence of parents who are never permitted to participate.

Israeli law provides that all military interrogations must be undertaken in a prisoner’s native language and that any statement made by them must be reduced to writing in that language. Despite this prohibition, detainees are typically coerced into signing statements, through verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence, that are written by police in Hebrew… which most cannot understand. These statements usually provide the main evidence against these children in Israeli military courts.

By virtue of the military court process, as of the end of this past summer there were 331 Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 2 administrative detainees.

The Military Court Process

The military courts, themselves, are held inside military bases and closed to the public… and usually family members of the accused.  Within these courts, military orders supersede clear Israeli and international law.  The court proceedings reduce the prospect of any justice to little more than a military dress parade where soldiers exhibit their uniform without any independence or skill attached to it whatsoever.

In military courts, all parties to the proceeding… the judge, prosecutor and translators… are members of the Israeli armed forces. The judges are military officers with minimal judicial training and, by-in- large, served as military prosecutors before assuming the bench

The prosecutors are Israeli soldiers appointed to the position by the Area Commander.  Some of them are not yet certified as attorneys under the Israeli Bar Association.

Under the rules of occupation, all defendants in military courts are Palestinian… with the jurisdiction of the Israeli military court never extended to some eight hundred thousand Jewish settlers living in the West Bank.  They are accorded the full benefit and safeguard of Israeli civil law.

Under Israeli military orders, a Palestinian can be held without charge, for the purpose of interrogation, for a total period of 90 days during which he or she is denied the benefit of counsel. These detention periods can be extended without limit and require but an ex parte request of military prosecutors.  By comparison, an Israeli citizen accused of a security offense, within the Occupied Territory, can be held without indictment within the civil process for a period of 64 days during which time counsel is available at all times.

Though Palestinian detainees are entitled to trials in military proceedings which must be completed within eighteen months, if the trials have not concluded within that time frame, a judge from the Military Court of Appeals can extend the detention of a Palestinian by multiple six-month increments… indefinitely. It is this process which has left thousands of Palestinian political detainees imprisoned for years on end without the benefit of counsel, formal charges, or trial. The comparable time limit for detainees before Israeli civilian courts is nine months.

While criminal liability begins at age 12 for Palestinians and Israelis alike, under the military system Palestinians can be tried as adults at age 16. For Israelis, the age of majority for trial as an adult in a civilian court is 18.  This two year difference, without physical distinction of consequence, can mean the difference of many years in sentence should a conviction ensue.  In some cases, it can literally mean a variance between a few years in prison versus decades upon conviction.

For those Palestinian detainees who have been accorded a military trial in the Occupied Territory, the conviction rate is but a bit short of 100%. All military trials are undertaken by a judge and not a jury.

Although the United Nations has repeatedly held that the military justice system in the Occupied Territory violates international law, it has done nothing to ensure equal protection to hundreds of thousands denied justice by virtue of being Palestinian and nothing else.

Detention as a Political Weapon

For fifty years, the justice system in the Occupied Territory has been the exclusive domain of the Israeli army… completely removed from any oversight by civilian laws, courts, and safeguards. It’s been estimated that, during this time, several hundred thousand Palestinians have been sentenced for a wide range of “security violations” as defined by arbitrary military fiat on a case by case basis. It has been reported that 20% of the Palestinian population have been swept up and detained by the military during this time.

While Israel has tried to portray its exercise of judicial authority in the Occupied Territory as one largely concerned with traditional criminal offenses or serious acts of “violence”, in point of fact, most of those seized have been detained for little more than non-violent political activity.

Designated as “Hostile Terrorist Activity,” these offenses often target speech, association, cultural expression, “unauthorized” assembly and movement, non-violent protest, and political activity carried out by elected representatives of local Palestinian government entities.

Others have been detained for “incitement” or membership in “illegal associations” as determined by the local Israeli military commander… or for “leaving the area without permission.”

Journalists have been arrested because of their critical coverage of the military at demonstrations or for reporting about the occupation in general. One was arrested for making a Facebook comment on another arrested Palestinian’s mugshot: “your smile will end the occupation.”

Troops have raided and shut down several broadcast outlets for six months on the grounds of incitement including the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station and eight local outlets operated by PalMedia, Ram Sat and Trans Media.

Documentation of almost two dozen Palestinians, in the West Bank, detained by the Israeli military for nothing more than Facebook posts or exchanges is claimed by 7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement. Additionally, Israel’s security system handed over a list of 400 other Palestinians, having posted to Facebook, to the security of the Palestinian Authority, who arrested them.

Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been arrested and detained for carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem which the military deemed as “illegal work” with the Palestinian Authority.

Although International law prohibits interference with the free exercise of one’s political opinions, the Israeli military has sought to suppress the Palestinian political process, as a whole, for decades. Palestinian political leaders and activists are routinely arrested and detained.

In July of 2014, a high of 38 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained for political activity. As of November 2017, the current number is 11 members.    Others have been prevented from travelling outside the Occupied Territories.  A number of Legislative Council members had their residencies in Jerusalem revoked and were forcibly deported to other parts of the Occupied West Bank.

70 lawmakers from the Palestinian Legislative Council have been arrested since 2002 for political activity and little else, including a number that have been detained on multiple occasions.

Among the current members of the PLC in Israeli detention is 55-year-old Khalida Jarrar, a female legislator and senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Head of the Prisoners’ Commission of the PLC and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights Group, Jarrar, who was last released from Israeli detention a year ago, was accused of “promoting terror activities”.

For seventy years, Israel has held itself out as a nation under siege.  It has used this talisman to evade and avoid the clear mandate of international law. Nowhere is that more readily apparent and painful than in the Occupied Territory which, with the passage of time, has become illegally annexed and policed by military force of law.

Jails do not break the back of resistance. They firm it with the price expected for the cost of freedom. In Palestine, it is a price willingly embraced by both the young and those who have aged with the slam of the prison gate.

Perhaps one day, Israel will awaken to the truth that the siege it fights is the very one it promotes. Until then, neither the military nor its sham courts will quell the taste of freedom or the natural beckon for it.

Seattle Protestor Says ‘We Need to Start Killing People’

Posted on February 3, 2017

Warning: the language is graphic. The protest reportedly took place in Seattle. The woman with the bullhorn engages in a five-minute tirade against white people, an outburst that includes the words, “We need to start killing people.” She also says, “The White House must die.”

It is unclear whether the woman is officially connected with Black Lives Matter, but if you watch the video  closely you will see that she is wearing a t-shirt that reads “Black Lives Matter” on the back. She also, during her speech, identifies herself as a pre-school teacher.

A Fox News report on the protest can be found here. Unfortunately, however, the article does not identify the woman by name.

Below is an edited version of the video without all the annoying screen pop-ups, and which also includes subtitles. Basically it just gives a clearer picture. I put up a post yesterday discussing the “mass insanity” currently sweeping America. This woman would seem to be another prime example. (H/T Jill rowan)

Appeal Aimed at Fordham University: ‘Don’t Ban Students for Justice in Palestine!’

 

Posted on January 31, 2017

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[ Ed. note – Imagine a student organization at a major American university–(where such lofty ideals as academic freedom and free speech presumably are held dear)–being banned before it even gets organized or holds its first meeting.

Well, that’s what happened at Fordham University with the local Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

The school’s dean of students, Keith Eldredge, vetoed a measure approved by the University Student Government association which would have recognized the SJP group. Eldredge announced his decision in a December 22 email sent out to the young student activists who had applied for permission to form the organization on campus.

“After consultation with numerous faculty, staff and students and my own deliberation, I have decided to deny the request to form a club known as Students for Justice in Palestine at Fordham University,” he wrote. “While students are encouraged to promote diverse political points of view, and we encourage conversation and debate on all topics, I cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country, when these goals clearly conflict with and run contrary to the mission and values of the University.”

So in other words opposing an apartheid state and calling for an end to a decades-long occupation runs against the “mission and values” of Fordham University? What’s disgusting about this is that Fordham is, at least nominally, a Christian university that was founded by the Catholic diocese of New York. So is Eldredge trying to imply that SJP’s support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement somehow violates the teachings of Jesus?

“There is perhaps no more complex topic than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it is a topic that often leads to polarization rather than dialogue,” Eldredge goes on.

So Jesus–a man who called the Pharisees hypocrites, turned over the tables of the money changers, and accused the Jewish scribes of turning his Father’s house into a den of robbers–was somehow timidly averse to being polarizing when a clear need presented itself?

“The purpose of the organization [SJP] as stated in the proposed club constitution points toward that polarization,” the dean continues. “Specifically, the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel presents a barrier to open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding.”

Thank you, Dean Eldredge, and I’m sure the Zionist settlers in the West Bank are also aware of the dire need for “open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding”

Maybe the occupation of Palestine is a “complex topic” to the deans at Fordham University, but of course for most of the rest of us, it’s really not that hard to figure out.

The current president of Fordham is the Rev. Joseph M. McShane. If you follow one of the links below you will find a letter addressed to McShane written by Palestine Legal, whose mission is to protect “the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian freedom.” Quite a big job obviously and probably about to become even more challenging.

Also below you will find an appeal addressed to Fordham University by the Friends of Sabeel North America. I must say I admire their diplomacy. It’s probably more than I could have mustered. FOSNA, by the way, is a Christian ecumenical group affiliated with Sabeel, an international peace movement launched by Palestinian Christians. ]


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After subjecting Palestinian student activists to an extensive and abnormally elongated vetting process that lasted over a year, Fordham University in New York City has banned its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights stated that the ban “blatantly violates [the University’s] promise to guarantee freedom of inquiry on campus,” calling on Fordham’s administration to “immediately permit and facilitate the formation of SJP.”

On Monday, FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata sent an open letter to Fordham’s administration urging them to reinstate the chapter.

Help us tell Fordham University that as people of conscience, now more than ever, we have a responsibility to take action and support Palestine solidarity efforts.

Please call, write, or e-mail:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
president@fordham.edu

Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
eldredge@fordham.edu

Office of the President, Fordham University
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Help us ensure that Fordham University gives students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel the opportunity to do so as part of their educational experience.

Support our work by donating

Letter in support of Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine:

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
Office of the President, Fordham University
president@fordham.edu
eldredge@fordham.edu
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Dear President Rev. McShane and Dean Eldredge,

Friends of Sabeel North America is a Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. As executive director, I write to express deep concern that Fordham University has decided to prohibit students from organizing a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on your campus.

You may have seen this week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination. This statement provides an urgent plea for the people of the world (and Catholics in particular) to pray and act for justice in the Holy Land:

Fifty years of occupation demands action.

For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation, violating the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. This is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed.  Our Coordination has called for justice and peace every year since 1998, yet the suffering continues. So this call must get louder. As Bishops we implore Christians in our home countries to recognise our own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity.

(See the signatories and full text)

We implore you to encourage your students to become active for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel by allowing the SJP chapter to form. As you know, throughout history students have been at the forefront of debating and organizing for justice causes (women’s rights; abolition of slavery; equality in racial, ethnic, and economic matters; opposition to war and to the apartheid regime in South Africa).

The First Amendment protects free speech as a hallmark of our democracy. Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Please give to the students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel this fundamental opportunity as part of their educational experience at Fordham University.

Friends of Sabeel North America has worked closely with SJP groups across the country. We find they are composed of bright, compassionate, highly conscientious students. SJP chapters are usually comprised of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular students. They represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

Please allow your Fordham students the freedom all Americans hold dear. Encourage rather than prohibit their work for justice in Palestine and Israel as the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination have urged.

With warm regards,

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director

Friends of Sabeel North America


Fordham University’s Ban on Palestinian Rights Group Sets Dangerous Precedent

By Joe Catron | January 26, 2017

Mint Press News

NEW YORK — Nearly a hundred students and community members rallied on Fordham University’s Manhattan campus before marching to nearby Columbus Circle on Monday.

The protest marked the latest chapter in an ongoing effort by students at the Jesuit institution to found a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on their campus.

SJP organizations, which take their name from a still-existing student group founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993, already exist on over a hundred campuses in the United States, as well as several overseas.

A national organization using the same name organizes annual conferences attended by many of these loose affiliates, but maintains no formal relationship with them.

On Nov. 19, 2015, four students at Fordham applied with the university’s administration to register an SJP club at the school’s Lincoln Center campus.

By all accounts, they did not expect the grueling ordeal that lay before them.

Their plans finally ground to a halt on Dec. 22, 2016, when Keith Eldredge, dean of students at the Lincoln Center campus, informed several SJP activists in an email that he had overruled a vote by the school’s United Student Government to recognize the group a month earlier and denied it registration as a student organization.

“According to sources within student government, he has never even reviewed a club for veto, let alone actually vetoed one, in his entire ten years here at Fordham,” Sapphira Lurie, a senior and lead campus organizer for Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine, told MintPress News. “This is a clear example of the Palestine exception to free speech.”

“The Palestine exception,” a term popularized by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a 2015 report of that name, refers to barriers to free speech and organizing faced by Palestinian and solidarity activists in the US.

In a Jan. 17 statement on Fordham’s ban of SJP, Palestine Legal, a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance and representation to Palestine activists, said it had responded to more than 600 attempts to repress their activities nationally since the start of 2014.

Of these, it said, “the vast majority” targeted students and faculty.

On campus, these efforts often include obstacles to student organizing, like challenges to event funding and space registration, or the unwarranted suspension of recognized groups, as well as the intimidation, and occasional termination, of faculty.

But Fordham’s preemptive ban of a student organization sets a dangerous new precedent, one students and other local activists are determined to fight.

“As far as we’re aware, this is the first time a college has summarily banned a group supporting Palestinian rights before students even held their first meeting,” Radhika Sainath, a Palestine Legal staff attorney and cooperating counsel at the CCR, told MintPress News.

‘Fordham breached its express promise’

Palestine Legal’s statement summarized a letter, sent by it and the CCR to Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., Fordham’s president, on the same day.

When they filed their application, the letter said, “[T]he students expected Fordham would approve their group within a few weeks so that they could start their educational programming.”

[[[ Read Palestine Legal’s letter to Fordham’s president Rev. Joseph M. McShane. ]]]

Instead, they faced months of stonewalling, punctuated by meetings at which administrators asked if they would consider a different name, expressed concern at their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and use of the word “apartheid,” and inquired about their willingness to work with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, and Seeds for Peace.

The administrators also inquired whether an anti-BDS resolution passed by the New York City Council or an executive order and blacklist opposing the movement issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all last year, should preclude SJP’s recognition by the university.

As the USG decision on Nov. 17 neared, one administrator, Dorothy Wenzel of the university’s office of student leadership, who had previously admitted to polling Jewish faculty on whether SJP should be allowed to register at Fordham, instructed a USG officer to notify the school’s Jewish Student Organization of the pending vote.

Continued here

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