israeli forces kidnap 64 Palestinians in 2 days

Source

Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 64 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem and West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. On Wednesday night, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 23 Palestinian civilians from their homes, while a 13-year-old school girl was shot and moderately wounded in her leg. Yesterday night, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 41 Palestinian civilians and shot wounded two others.

The Palestinians Prisoner Committee (PPC) said that the number of the Palestinians kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces included 21 minors -one of them is 11 years old. Spokespersons of the Israeli occupation forces confirmed the large number of kidnappings, but did not verify the number given by the Palestinian sources. However, it could be larger because the Palestinian sources depend on family reports. It is worth noting that this massive kidnapping campaign came ahead of a season of Jewish holidays during which the Israeli occupation imposes strict security measures on Palestinians restricts their movement. It also closes all border crossings and bans all kinds of travel and goods passage.

Palestine news

Thanks to israel, Jerusalem is a “City of fear”

City of fear

Israeli border police push Palestinian men as they try to cross through the Qalandiya checkpoint, between the cities of Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on 11 July.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

 

A few days ago, I was driving through Qalandiya checkpoint for the first time since I came back to Jerusalem.

My dad, sitting next to me, had to yell “stop here!” at me as I was queuing behind a car at the checkpoint.

“You’re too close,” he said, “stop and wait for them to call you, otherwise they’ll shoot you and not even care.”

When I left here to begin my life as a university student four years ago, and despite my sense of general optimism, I never really believed that I would come back to a better and more hopeful Jerusalem.

Over the four years, I would come back during the summer and end up leaving again with a strong belief that things would only be worse the next time I’d be home.

Here I am now, four summers later, having earned my degree, and I believe Jerusalem is worse than it has ever been for its non-Jewish inhabitants, the Palestinians.

Despite this depressing assessment, I have been looking forward to come back to Jerusalem as it is not only the city that I grew up in, but it is the place where I want to embark on the journey of being a young adult.

Fear everywhere

Two years ago, I wrote about the pervasive fear we Jerusalemites feel in our own city.

Today, sadly, this fear is even more intense and tangible. It is not just fanatics or nationalist mobs that worry me, it is every armed Israeli – citizen, police and military – who could end my or anyone else’s life in a second for no reason and without anyone batting an eye.

Since last summer, the ugliness of life in Jerusalem has come to show.

Hundreds of Palestinians of all ages have been harassed, brutalized, arrested, shot or killed.

This is in a city where Israel’s slow, steady but systematic discrimination is forcing Palestinian children out of schools and Palestinian families out of their homes.

In April, Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, a 23-year-old mother of two small children, reportedly five months pregnant, and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim Salih Hassan Taha, were gunned down by Israeli personnel at the same Qalandiya checkpoint, in the occupied West Bank, north of Jerusalem.

Israel claimed the pair were killed during an attempted knife attack on soldiers, but eyewitnesses described an execution of two people who didn’t understand commands being shouted at them in Hebrew and presented no threat to anyone.

The private firm contracted by the Israelis to man the checkpoint carried out an “internal investigation” and absolved itself of any wrongdoing.

The siblings were among more than 220 Palestinians, as well as more than 30 Israelis and two Americans, who have died since a new phase of violence began last October.

And according to Israel’s B’Tselem human rights group, Maram and Ismail were among dozens of Palestinians killed when they posed no threat in slayings “tantamount to executions.”

Driving while Palestinian

On the day I drove through Qalandiya, I recall my dad reminding me repeatedly how I should be extra careful how I am perceived by Israelis while on the road as anything they deem suspicious could have fatal consequences.

It has become standard in recent months for Israelis to judge any driving irregularities or accidents to be deliberate vehicular attacks, prompting Israelis to attack the driver and ask questions later.

Last month, an Israeli driver plowed his car into a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing two people, before a mob pulled him from the car and beat him believing him to be a Palestinian attacker.

But the man had suffered a heart attack. He died, though it was unclear whether it was due to the beating or the heart attack.

Sometimes just driving around puts your life at risk. On Wednesday, three young men in al-Ram came under a hail of bullets from Israeli forces raiding the village north of Jerusalem. One, Anwar al-Salaymeh, 22, was killed. Another was critically injured and the third detained.

An Israeli spokesperson told the Ma’an News Agency that the soldiers “saw a speeding vehicle heading towards them” and opened fire.

An autopsy was ordered for al-Salaymeh, after it was discovered that he was shot in the back three times, challenging the Israeli narrative.

And during Ramadan, 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran was killed when Israeli soldiers fired on the car he and friends were riding in on their way home from a late-night pool party. In that case, Israel admitted the car was “mistakenly hit.”

Merely walking around in Jerusalem’s Old City for the first time this summer was an uneasy experience.

Anything deemed provocative by the pervasive Israeli police could have costly consequences. It is an environment of fear designed to make us Jerusalemites feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in our own city.

First resort

The killing of Fadi Alloun last October, and other instances of Israeli police shooting Palestinians as mobs cheered them on, are memories we cannot shake and reminders of the precarious nature of our continued existence in this place.

Newly revealed documents show that Israeli police have been authorized to use lethal force as a first resort against any Palestinian seen to throw stones or firecrackers.

For years, Israel claimed that lethal force was only a last resort – even though in practice Israeli forces killed frequently, without provocation and with total impunity.

But you would never see similar measures taken against Jewish stone throwers or attackers who harass Palestinians regularly across the West Bank. Instead, the attackers habitually enjoy army protection.

Every few days I wake up to news of Palestinians being shot for acting “suspiciously” or allegedly possessing a knife. In all these cases, Israel is judge, jury and, often, executioner, with no credible justice system in place to independently investigate such claims or killings.

I still remember a few years back when a man in front of me at Qalandiya checkpoint was kicked by soldiers, humiliated and reduced to tears as he was denied passage through the checkpoint.

He had been carrying a bag full of cooking equipment and chefs knives and he had multiple papers showing he was part of a culinary school in Jerusalem.

Today, a person in a similar situation would have been killed and no one would question it as the mere possession of a knife has become enough of an excuse legitimizing the summary execution of Palestinians.

Still standing

An internal police report exposed by the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz this week, revealed, to no surprise of any Jerusalemite, that Israeli Border Police in Jerusalem “deliberately provoke Palestinians” in order to get a violent response.

One such manufactured provocation in Issawiyeh, in January, led to a confrontation in which Israeli forces shot 12-year-old Ahmad Abu Hummus in the head, causing severe brain damage.

Social media is never lacking in daily videos documenting the regular harassment, searches and humiliation of Palestinian youths in Jerusalem that lead to similar violence.

It is weird living in Jerusalem right now, especially knowing that this situation only strengthens my determination to stay here, live here and fight for this city.

I know too that if I wanted to write about all the forms of abuse against Palestinians in Jerusalem, I would be writing endlessly for days.

It is a situation where the power and might of the whole Israeli state is determined to alienate Palestinian Jerusalemites. However, this cruelty and injustice only breeds further resistance and defiance.

They may deem our lives worthless, our dignity of no value, our existence an inconvenience, but I believe Jerusalem continues to stand tall and defy the oppression no matter how dark the times have become.

The USA has aided israel in denying human rights to Palestinians for decades

The U.S. has aided Israel in denying human rights to Palestinians for decades

By Robert Fantina | Mint Press | April 26, 2016

The establishment of the state of Israel is known throughout Palestine as the Nakba, or “Catastrophe.” As the British Mandate of Palestine ended throughout 1947 and 1948, at least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homeland, and another 100,000 or more were massacred.

Although the United States wasn’t an active party to the circumstances that led to the Nakba, the country’s long history with Israel has only been supportive of that nation’s barbarity — and that support has grown exponentially over the years.

In the U.S., the press framed Palestinian resistance as opposition to the Jewish state rather than an assertion of their own human rights. Scholar Michael A. Dohse wrote in “American Periodicals and the Palestine Triangle, April, 1936 to February, 1947”:

“Despite the fact that there was considerable evidence of the extreme nationalistic drive behind the Zionist movement, which was its motivating force, American journals gave a good press to the Zionists’ alleged goal of building a democratic commonwealth in Palestine. How this would be possible when the Arabs constituted two-thirds of the population and were opposed to Zionism, did not seem to be a relevant question to many of the magazines.”

This, of course, was in complete contravention of U.S. doctrine, even as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and “[t]hat to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The consent of the governed — in this case, the Palestinians — was not to be considered.

Pre-WWII, pre-state of Israel

Months before the Balfour Declaration was made in November of 1917, declaring British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson commented on the absolute need for self-determination. On May 27, 1916, he said: “Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.”

Mr. Wilson continued his lofty rhetoric, telling Congress on Feb. 11, 1918: “National aspirations must be respected; peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” Further, in the same speech on German-Austrian “peace utterances,” he declared: “Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”

These and subsequent speeches by Mr. Wilson were troubling to his secretary of state, Robert Lansing. In his private journals, according to Frank Edward Manuel in his book “The Realities of American Palestine Relations,” Lansing wrote that such concepts were “‘… loaded with dynamite, might breed disorder, discontent and rebellion’. His neat, logical mind saw it leading the president into strange contradictions: ‘Will not the Mohammedans of Syria and Palestine and possibly of Morocco and Tripoli rely on it? How can it be harmonized with Zionism, to which the President is practically committed?’”

If the Palestinians ever relied on U.S. rhetoric to assist them in achieving the basic human rights that all people are entitled to, they were certainly to be disappointed.

Truman, Eisenhower

Following World War II, the world was anxious to make some kind of reparation to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, passed on Nov. 29, 1947, effectively partitioned Palestine into two states.

It is difficult to properly quantify the degree of injustice that this entailed. “Although Jews owned only about seven percent of the land in Palestine and constituted about 33 percent of the population, Israel was established on 78 percent of Palestine,” according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes, with no voice in the decision that evicted them, no reparation for the loss of their homes and lands, and nowhere to go but refugee camps.

By this time, Harry S. Truman was president, and he offered full consent for this plan for reasons that will be familiar to readers today: He was subjected to intense lobbying by the Zionist lobby. He also felt that by supporting the establishment of Israel, he would be in a better position to be elected to a full term as president, having ascended to that office upon the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Lobbying and political considerations then, as now, trump human rights every time.

Mr. Truman was elected president in his own right in 1948, and was succeeded four years later by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who named John Foster Dulles as his secretary of state.

Mr. Dulles was familiar with the Palestine-Israel situation, and his sympathies clearly rested with Israel. In 1944, he played an active role in seeing that the platform of the Republican Party included support for a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine, and also that the platform called for the protection of Jewish political rights. Years later, he exerted a strong influence on the president under whom he served, setting the tone for the Eisenhower administration’s attitude toward Israel and Palestine.

Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter

Things appeared to take a turn with the administration of John F. Kennedy, who showed support for the right of return for refugees, as described in Paragraph 11 of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 of Dec. 11, 1948. That resolution affirms that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Government or authorities responsible.”

Israel, under David Ben-Gurion, used what has become a tried and true method to oppose this measure: The state’s founder and first prime minister called it a threat to Israel’s national security.

Ultimately, Resolution 194 passed, but has yet to have any effect.

Despite his apparent support for Palestinian refugees, Mr. Kennedy was the first president to elevate the U.S.-Israel relationship from that of simply two allies to a more enhanced bond. Speaking to the Zionist Organization of America three months before his election, he said, “Friendship for Israel is not a partisan matter, it is a national commitment.”

Following Mr. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, he was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson, who did not share his predecessor’s interest in resolving the refugee problem. The Democratic Party Platform of 1964, the year Mr. Johnson was elected president, included a provision to “encourage the resettlement of Arab refugees in lands where there is room and opportunity.” All talk of the right of return ceased.

The Johnson administration ended in January of 1968, when former Vice President Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president. Nixon had less obligation to Israel, having earned only about 15 percent of the Jewish vote. In his memoirs, he commented on Israeli arrogance after the Six-Day War of 1967, describing “an attitude of total intransigence on negotiating any peace agreement that would involve the return of any of the territories they had occupied.”

Unfortunately for Palestine, however, Mr. Nixon’s closest advisor was Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security advisor and, later, his secretary of state. Mr. Kissinger’s parents had fled Nazi Germany shortly before the start of the Holocaust, and he had visited Israel multiple times but had never set foot in an Arab country. With Mr. Nixon’s preoccupation with what he considered the “Communist threat,” Mr. Kissinger was perfectly content with the Israel-Palestine status quo. “Rather than make any effort toward the Arab states, much less the Palestinians, Kissinger felt the United States should let them stew until they came begging to Washington,” according to “U.S. Policy on Palestine from Wilson to Clinton,” edited by Michael W. Suleiman. With this attitude, nothing was done to further the cause of justice under this president’s terms in office.

When Mr. Nixon resigned in a fog of controversy and scandal, his vice president, Gerald Ford, became president. He served as a caretaker president until the next election, when he was defeated by Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.

Although Mr. Carter has recently become a strong supporter of Palestinian rights, this was not the case during his single term as president. He presided over the Camp David Accords, a two-track agreement that was supposed to bring peace to the Middle East. The first of the two dealt with Palestine, and nothing in it was ever achieved. The second led to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Reagan, Bush

After one term, Mr. Carter was defeated by former actor and California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Like Mr. Nixon before him, Mr. Reagan saw Communist threats everywhere. Fearing a Soviet stronghold on the Middle East, he determined that strengthening ties with Israel would be an excellent deterrent. In 1982, he declared that the U.S. would not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, nor would it “support annexation or permanent control by Israel.”

Following First Intifada in 1987, Mr. Reagan sent his secretary of state, George Shultz, to solve the problem. Mr. Shultz proposed a three-pronged strategy: convening an international conference; a six-month negotiation period that would bring about an interim phase for Palestinian self-determination for the West Bank and Gaza Strip; talks between Israel and Palestine to start in December 1988 to achieve the final resolution of the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir immediately rejected this plan, claiming that it did nothing to forward the cause of peace. In response, the U.S. issued a new memorandum, emphasizing economic and security agreements with Israel and accelerating the delivery of 75 F-16 fighter jets. This was to encourage Israel to accept the peace plan proposals. Yet Israel did not yield. As Suleiman’s work noted: “Instead, as an Israeli journalist commented, the message received was: ‘One may say no to America and still get a bonus.’”

When Mr. Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, succeeded him for one term, the bonus to Israel continued unabated. Yet this was still not enough for Israel. Writing in The New York Times in 1991, Thomas Friedman commented on the state of relations between the U.S. and Israel during the Bush administration: “Although the Bush Administration’s whole approach to peacemaking is almost entirely based on terms dictated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the Israelis nevertheless see the Bush Administration as hostile.”

Clinton, another Bush, Obama

Following one term, Mr. Bush was succeeded by Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who surrounded himself with Zionists, including CIA Director James Woolsey and Pentagon Chief Les Aspin.

In March of 1993, following clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in both Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territories, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin closed the borders between Israel and Palestine. This had a drastic detrimental effect on the lives and basic subsistence for at least tens of thousands of Palestinians. The Clinton administration chose to look the other way as Israel perpetrated this unspeakable act of collective punishment.

The administration of George W. Bush differed little in its treatment of matters related to Israel and Palestine from those who came before it. When Hamas was elected to govern the Gaza Strip in 2006, Mr. Bush ordered a near-total ban on aid to Palestine. Noam Chomsky commented on this situation:

“You are not allowed to vote the wrong way in a free election. That’s our concept of democracy. Democracy is fine as long as you do what we say, but not if you vote for someone we don’t like.”

Coming into office chanting the appealing mantra of “Change we can believe in,” current President Barack Obama proved to be another in a long line of disappointments. Like his predecessors, he’s vetoed any resolutions presented at the U.N. Security Council that were critical of Israel. Incredibly, after one such veto, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice made this statement:

”We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace.”

Meanwhile, military aid to Israel from the U.S. continued unabated. This aid has reached nearly $4 billion annually under the Obama administration, and is likely to get another boost before Mr. Obama leaves office.

This is not unusual. According to conservative estimates, the U.S. has given Israel a staggering $138 billion in military and other aid since 1949. In 2007, President George W. Bush signed the first 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, granting billions to Israel every year. Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu are currently negotiating the new deal, which the prime minister hopes will guarantee even more to the apartheid regime.

Change that can’t come soon enough

Even if it didn’t come with Mr. Obama, change does seem to be on the horizon. With the explosive growth of social media, the general public no longer relies solely on the corporate-owned media for information. The horrors that Israel inflicts daily on the Palestinians are becoming more common knowledge. This includes the periodic bombing of the Gaza Strip, a total blockade that prevents basic supplies from being imported, and the checkpoint stops and verbal and physical harassment that Palestinians are subjected to on a daily basis in the West Bank.

It’s even entered the current U.S. presidential election. Sen. Bernie Sanders, seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, skipped the annual American Israel Political Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, convention in March. Additionally, he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t always right and that Israel uses disproportionate force against the Palestinians, and Mr. Sanders recognized that Palestinians have rights. Like skipping the AIPAC conference, these statements are all in violation of some unspoken U.S. code of conduct for politicians.

Yet the ugly history of the U.S., in its unspeakably unjust dealings with Palestine, created a stain that generations will be unable to cleanse. Total disdain for the human rights of an entire nation, and the complicity in the violation of international law and in the war crimes of Israel, are not easy to expunge. Mr. Sanders’ words and actions are only the manifestation of a larger change occurring in U.S. attitudes toward Israel and Palestine. Once that change is sufficiently great to impact the U.S. power brokers, real change will occur. For Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid, it cannot come soon enough.

Palestinians and moderate jews march together against the occupation

Israelis, Palestinians march together against the occupation

The new monthly march is held along a major settler highway, ensuring that Israeli settlers see Jews and Palestinians working together to nonviolently end the occupation

Hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli activists marched from the Palestinian village of Hussan to the main settler checkpoint in the southern West Bank Friday afternoon, protesting against Israel’s settlements and demanding an end to the 47-year military occupation.

The protest, which took place in an area of the West Bank under full Israeli control and where settlements are situated directly adjacent to Palestinian villages, was accompanied by Israeli army and Border Police forces the whole way. The march followed the southern West Bank’s main north-south highway, which meant it was in plain view of both Israeli settler and Palestinian traffic.

At the start of the demonstration, Israeli police arrested one of the Palestinian organizers, a member of Combatants for Peace, for reasons that were not apparent.

Israeli police arrest a Palestinian organizer of the protest, a member of Combatants for Peace, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police arrest a Palestinian organizer of the protest, a member of Combatants for Peace, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The 200-plus marchers, among them members of Knesset from the Joint List Dov Khenin and Abdullah Abu Ma’aruf, as well as Meretz secretary general Mossi Raz, held signs demanding an end to the occupation, and promoting peace and dialogue. Some of the signs declared that peace is not just a dream, and, “it won’t end until we talk.”

Some of the activists also carried signs in solidarity with a left-wing Israeli activist who was arrested last week as a result of a right-wing hidden-camera ‘sting operation.’ A court gag order forbids the publication of the man’s name.

Jewish Israelis and Palestinians march along the major Hebron-Jerusalem highway in the southern West Bank demanding an end to the occupation, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Jewish Israelis and Palestinians march along the major Hebron-Jerusalem highway in the southern West Bank demanding an end to the occupation, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Activists hold mock sections of the Separation Wall during a protest against the occupation on the West Bank’s main Jerusalem-Hebron highway in full view of Israeli settlers, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Activists hold mock sections of the Separation Wall during a protest against the occupation on the West Bank’s main Jerusalem-Hebron highway in full view of Israeli settlers, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli settlers are not used to seeing Jews and Palestinians demonstrating together in what is normally an Israeli-army dominated space. That the protest took place in plain view of passersby, mostly setters, was intended to challenge their absolute control over the area.

No small number of Israeli passersby reacted angrily, cursing and even physically threatening the demonstrators.

Israeli settlers react to the anti-occupation protest along a major West Bank thoroughfare, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli settlers react to the anti-occupation protest along a major West Bank thoroughfare, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“This occupation is an ongoing injustice for both nations,” MK Abdullah Abu Ma’aruf (Hadash) said. “This protest demonstrates that there is another way, a path of peace and hope and not despair. You can’t find another occupation like this in the 21st century. We need to end the occupation and create a Palestinian state along ’67 borders — two states for two peoples.”

Combatants for Peace co-director Sulaiman Khatib called on both Palestinian and Israeli activists to join the monthly protests marching on the “Tunnels Checkpoint” near the Bethlehem-area town of Beit Jala.

“We all know that there is no military solution,” Khatib said. “We need a third way, which is not just Israel and not just Palestine — a path of dialogue and joint nonviolent struggle.”

Jewish Israelis and Palestinians march along the major Hebron-Jerusalem highway in the southern West Bank demanding an end to the occupation, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Jewish Israelis and Palestinians march along the major Hebron-Jerusalem highway in the southern West Bank demanding an end to the occupation, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Yigal Elhanan, whose sister Smadar was murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, said at the protest: “We in the Bereaved Families Forum don’t want more families to lose their loved ones. Let’s stop this before that happens.”

israel delays ambulance causing death of 4 month old baby

Palestinian infant dies at Israeli checkpoint

A baby girl from the village of Sinjil, between Ramallah and Nablus in the occupied West Bank, died in the early hours of the morning on Thursday, 8 January. Nadeen Nasháat Jamal Asfour, who was only 4 months and 17 days old, passed away after the ambulance she was travelling in was delayed at an Israeli checkpoint between Beitin and Al-Bireh, just outside of Ramallah. An ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent responded to an emergency call in Sinjil after the child began to experience difficulty breathing after her mother had breastfed her that night.

Mohanad Darabee, a medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent who was at the scene, told the Palestine Monitor that the child was already in a perilous state when the ambulance collected her and her father to bring them to the hospital in Ramallah. In order to give the girl the best chance of survival, they left at maximum speed along the fastest route to the Ramallah Hospital. However, when they reached the Israeli DCO checkpoint, the medics saw that it was unmanned and that the gate had been chained shut, leaving no way through for vehicles. The ambulance crew immediately called another Red Crescent ambulance to come from Ramallah and meet them at the checkpoint, but at this point, baby Nadeen was fighting for her life. The ambulance from Ramallah eventually transferred the girl to Ramallah Hospital, but she was already dead by the time they arrived at the Emergency Response unit.

The extremely difficult weather conditions last week no doubt played a part in this tragic death, but the incident illustrates the difficulties Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have in accessing emergency medical care. Despite the best efforts of the local Red Crescent team, they were unable to transfer the baby girl to the hospital in time to receive lifesaving treatment due to the arbitrary nature of the Israeli checkpoint system in the West Bank.

This system gravely curtails the right of Palestinians to freedom of movement, as provided for under article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. International Humanitarian Law also provides that an occupying power must do its utmost to ensure the wellbeing of the local inhabitants and not disrupt their normal lives. Further, medical teams and sick or injured people must be guaranteed safe passage under international law, even in times of war. Sadly for this young child and her family, this episode was just another example of the daily violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied West Bank.


The locked gate. Photo by Mohanad Darabee.

Testimony from an Israeli army Staff Sergeant on how Palestinians are being used as slave labour

For more testimonies from Israeli military see “Breaking the Silence” on  http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/

A checkpoint for Israel’s bank account

testimony catalog number: 101792
rank: Staff Sergeant
unit: Nahal Brigade
area: Jericho and the Jordan valley
period: 2006

We had a very tough time with this, morally speaking. This whole checkpoint was about Palestinians coming to work for Israelis in the Jordan Valley. It’s just loaded with Israeli exploitation of Palestinians. Loaded.

How do you see this at the checkpoint?
There’s the date harvest, the Palestinians are paid something like 50 shekels. ($12.73) or (£8.16)

Do you see this at the checkpoint?
Of course. I know how much they’re paid. They come every day at four in the morning or five o’clock, and go back at seven in the evening, exhausted. You see a guy exhausted from having worked hard all day, physically, and they receive 50 shekels a day. Great, I mean for date picking that’s what they get. That’s what the workers get. Now, I see this. Not only do they get 50 shekels for a day’s work, but on top of that I stand on them, they have to wait at my checkpoint and undergo that humiliating procedure of inspection. I mean, this whole checkpoint is in fact an economic checkpoint. You feel you’re on checkpoint duty not for the sake of Israeli security but for Israel’s bank account.

How is that related to the checkpoint?
Who goes through that checkpoint? Only Palestinians working in the Jordan Valley. They have nothing to look for there, just their livelihood. Nothing else. I mean, because of this livelihood there are families in between the areas, but originally the people from Akraba and the hill villages have nothing to look for in the Jordan Valley. These are two separate populations. Nowadays it’s already very connected, because when you work somewhere you get connected, and families come into being and stuff. But I am standing at that checkpoint so that Palestinians without work permits will not come through.

Why should I mind their not having work permits?
Officially, from a security point of view, because they were not cleared.

But what does that mean, not cleared? Do you know what prevents a person from getting a work permit?
Listen carefully: if a relative of the fourth degree, meaning your uncle’s grandfather, had once thrown a stone back in 1948, I’m not kidding you now, then you don’t get a work permit.

How do you know that?
I know that because we once asked a GSS agent about the criteria. We were told there is a very clear definition. If any family relation – fourth degree down – has ever been charged with an act of violence against Israel, no work permit will be issued. That’s one of the criteria. Now show me a person, I mean what’s the percentage of the population? Nothing. We’re at war with them for over fifty years now, clearly someone somewhere back on the family tree had thrown something sometime, you see? Now everything’s documented. So you get a 16-year old boy, all smiles, and the grandfather of the father of his brother is the guy who threw a Molotov cocktail in 1962. Now why would this guy bypass the checkpoint – to go on a terrorist attack? No. To get a day’s work done. So I’m his checkpoint for economic interests. Cool. Great. It’s shit. Beyond capitalism, socialism, never mind. Why do I as a soldier have to watch out for the bank accounts of the Jordan Valley settlers? No reason in the world. That’s corrupting occupation at its worst. Pure economic interests.  

Why US and Israel wants to ban this video…

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

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