Hezbollah Won’t Tolerate Israeli Aggression

Global Research, September 04, 2019

Make no mistake. Israel is run by anti-democratic hardliners. Nuclear armed and dangerous, along with maintaining stockpiles of chemical, biological, and other banned terror weapons, Israel is a Middle East menace.

It’s second only to the regional threat posed by the US presence — the real axis of evil, along with their NATO and despotic Arab state allies.

Hezbollah is part of Lebanon’s government. In May 2018 general elections, its candidates and allies won a 67-seat majority of parliament’s 128 seats – equally divided between Muslims and Christians.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called parliamentary results a “political and moral victory” for the resistance — giving the group and its allies power to veto legislation they consider unacceptable.

Under Lebanon’s confessional system, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the parliament speaker a Shia Muslim.

Hezbollah is falsely designated a terrorist organization by the State Department, at the behest of Israel.

It’s nothing of the sort, maintaining a military wing for self-defense alone — in a part of the world boiling from US/NATO/Israeli aggression.

In a Monday televised address, Nasrallah warned Israel of a strong response if it attacks Lebanese territory aggressively, saying:

If the IDF “attack(s), then all your borders and forces will be at risk.”

Hezbollah is much stronger than during 2006 Israeli aggression on Lebanon, embarrassing IDF ground forces at the time.

Its thousands of missiles and rockets can strike targets anywhere in Israel if the IDF attacks its positions or strikes other Lebanese targets.

In response to Israel’s preemptive attack on Lebanese soil in late August, Nasrallah announced the “start of a new phase, Hezbollah “no longer” observing red lines.

He vowed strong retaliation “deep inside” Israel if further IDF aggression occurs, adding:

“(T)here is a new battlefield which is targeting Israeli drones in Lebanon’s skies” — referring to the incursion and crash of two IDF UAVs near Beirut in late August.

Israeli warplanes repeatedly and aggressively attack Syrian targets from Lebanese airspace.

“We have a higher level of deterrence now, and we have changed the rules of engagement,” Nasrallah stressed, adding:

“…Israeli aggression is over…(W)e will no longer tolerate Israeli violation of Lebanon airspace.” He vowed to retaliate against unlawful IDF incursions.

“The Lebanese have the right to defend themselves, and we will defend. There is now a new operational space, and it is Lebanon’s skies. When it comes to dealing with the UAVs, it will happen. I won’t specify when and how, but it will come,” Nasrallah stressed.

With full support and encouragement from both right wings of the US war party, Israel operates with impunity.

The world community never held it accountable for its high crimes against defenseless Palestinians and regional states, nor its repeated breaches of Security Council resolutions and other international laws.

Is another Israeli war on Lebanon coming? On September 17, Israeli Knesset elections will be held.

If Netanyahu’s Likud party and hard right allies fail to gain a coalition majority, maybe things will cool down for a while.

If he’s reelected prime minister again, anything ahead is possible.

At the same time, he faces bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges, an October 2 and 3 pre-indictment hearing scheduled.

The jury is out on whether he’ll be held accountable for the above offenses.

No Israeli politician (or high-ranking IDF official) was ever held accountable for high crimes against Palestinians, supporting terrorism, or terror-bombing other countries – far more serious crimes than civil wrongdoing.

A Final Comment

DEBKAfile (DF) is connected to Israeli military intelligence. On Monday, it published a propaganda report, falsely claiming Iran and Hezbollah “plot(ed) (an) anti-Israel drive at (a) secret Beirut summit” in August.

DF admitted having no knowledge of what may have been discussed by Iranian and Hezbollah officials, if a Beirut summit actually occurred last month.

DF falsely claimed their officials discussed “a counsel of war to set out a joint program of operations against US and Israeli Middle East targets in the coming weeks.”

The Islamic Republic and Hezbollah never preemptively attacked another country — what the US, NATO, and Israel do repeatedly.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Palestinian Lives Don’t Matter

by Stephen Lendman

Along with the US presence, Israel is the Middle East capital for targeted assassinations, cold-blooded murders, as well a other horrendous human and civil rights violations against an entire population.

Palestinian lives don’t matter, countless numbers murdered and otherwise abused by Israeli forces, accountability never forthcoming. The world community largely turns a blind eye to high crimes too egregious to ignore.

On Monday, 16-year-old Palestinian Osama Hajahjeh was arrested, handcuffed and blindfolded by Israeli forces despite threatening no one.

Shot in one leg, then the other, he fell to the ground and was shot again. A bullet to his groin at point-blank range ruptured an artery, causing heavy bleeding.

Soldiers prevented other Palestinians from providing help. An IDF statement lied, claiming he was involved in “massive stone throwing.” A bystander threatening no one, days before his incident, he was hospitalized.

Let out of school early to attend a funeral, Israeli soldiers lethally shot him. Preventing other Palestinians from reaching him, they let him suffer unattended on the ground, a common IDF practice permitted by ruling apartheid regimes throughout Jewish state history.

B’Tselem denounced what happened, saying “this is an example of Israel’s reckless use of lethal fire, and the fact that the human lives of Palestinians count very little in the eyes of the army.”

Separately, B’Tselem reported on four similar incidents. On March 12, 23-year-old Muhammad Shahin was lethally shot by IDF soldiers despite posing no threat.

He was peacefully watching soldiers clash with Palestinian stone-throwers, live fire taking his life.

On March 20, Ahmad Manasrah, aged-22, was lethally shot by IDF soldiers while helping a family whose car was stuck near a checkpoint because of a mechanical issue. B’Tselem described the incident as follows:

The car in question belonged to the Ghayadah family. ‘Alaa Ghayadah got out of his car to check on the problem. Nearby soldiers shot him in the abdomen.

His wife Maysaa cried for help. “A passing car stopped and its passengers came to her aid…Ahmad Manasrah…tried to help her start the car, but the soldiers at the tower shot him as well, killing him. The military” lied about what happened, unjustifiably justifying cold-blooded murder.

On March 27, clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and a-Duheisheh refugee camp residents. Sajed Muzhar, a 17-year-old volunteer paramedic, rushed to help a wounded Palestinian, attired in a clearly visible medical crew vest.

“He was shot in the abdomen by a member of the security forces and taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds,” B’Tselem explained.

On April 2, Israeli forces stormed East Jerusalem’s Kafr ‘Aqab neighborhood, live fire used against stone-throwers contesting their belligerent presence.

Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan, aged-24, fled the area in the opposite direction. Video footage taken by a local Palestinian resident showed him being lethally shot in the back by soldiers. He threatened no one.

Commenting on the above incidents, B’Tselem stressed how little Palestinian lives, rights and welfare matter to Israel, stressing:

“None of the victims posed a threat to the lives of security personnel. Not one of these incidents should have ended in death.”

“(T)hese are not aberrations, or ‘bad apples.’ These are incidents that occur as part of the routine actions of soldiers and police officers, pursuant to Israel’s dangerous, lethal open-fire policy” – using live ammunition against nonthreatening, unarmed Palestinians.

Whenever Israeli authorities initiate an investigation into what happened during incidents like the above ones, whitewash happens virtually every time.

Palestinians get blamed for high crimes committed against them. It doesn’t surprise. Israel operates like other despotic states. 

Whenever Israeli authorities initiate an investigation into what happened during incidents like the above ones, whitewash happens virtually every time.

Palestinians get blamed for high crimes committed against them. It doesn’t surprise. Israel operates like other despotic states. 

When it comes to Palestinian rights, state terror is official regime policy. So is impunity for cold-blooded killers.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

Norman Finkelstein: Israel is An Apartheid State, Netanyahu is an Obnoxious, Racist, Jewish Supremacist

Norman Finkelstein Interview, March 20, 2019.
Transcript:
Jimmy Dore: Hi everybody! Welcome to the Jimmy Dore Show.
We have a special guest today. Norman Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist, Professor and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and received his PhD in Political Science from Princeton University.

Welcome, Norman Finkelstein. Thanks for being our guest.

Norman Finkelstein: Thank you for having me.

Jimmy Dore: You know, you’re an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I just wanted to… You know, most people don’t really know the cause of the conflict, they just know that there is a conflict and that the United States is friendly to Israel because they’re a democracy and they’re the only democracy in the Middle East, as people like to say.

So how would you explain this conflict to people who don’t really know much about it, which is most of the people in the United States, and they certainly don’t know much about it if they watch the TV news. So I don’t think your average person knows anything really about it. So how do you inform people about that conflict, well, how it started and what it’s about?

Norman Finkelstein: I think the most effective way to inform people is by way of analogy. Effectively, what happened to the Palestinian people over the past century is pretty close to what happened to the Native American population in the United States. If you take for example the fate of the Cherokee Indians, who originally resided in the Eastern coast of the United States, and they were gradually pushed, pushed, pushed, until they were ended up in Arkansas. And then they were pushed into a portion of Arkansas, which then, once all White settlers crowded in that portion, became Oklahoma. And so the Cherokee were effectively the victims of a policy of expulsion, “transfer” as you want to call it in the Israeli vernacular. And basically there are obviously differences, and one doesn’t want to pretend as if there are no differences, but to look at the big picture, the big picture I would say, it is not fundamentally different than what happened to the Native population in the US.

Jimmy Dore: Wow! I’ve never heard it described that way before. And you know, ironically, you know, most Americans aren’t too aware of how horrible that’s a chapter in our history either. So the United States gives aid and billions of dollars in funding to Israel every year, and people say that Israel is running an Apartheid State, and that Gaza is an open-air prison. Now are those two things true, and how could that be? How could that be if we’re supporting them?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, I think both are true. Israel both benefits from two facts. Number one: they benefit in the fact that there’s a convergence of interests between US ruling elites and Israel on many basic occasions. So for example, right now, there’s a convergence of interests between the US and Israel in strengthening Saudi Arabia, strengthening the Gulf and trying to contain Iran. That’s a fundamental convergence of interests, and that in part, probably in the most significant part, it explains US support for Israel.

But there is also another factor, and one shouldn’t pretend as if that other factor doesn’t exist, which is to say there’s a very powerful Israel lobby operating in the United States, not unlike the Gun lobby, the Cuba lobby, etc. The Israel lobby is another lobby, very effective, probably one of the most, if not the most effective lobbies operating in Washington. And its core component is a very powerful, articulate and organized American Jewish community, though even there you have to enter qualifications because among younger Jews, there’s certainly a diminishing of support for Israel. But the big picture is, both because of a convergence of interests and because of a powerful, articulate, organized, strategically placed lobby, a lobby that has a lot of influence in the media, a lot of influence in publishing, a lot of influence in journals of opinion, a lot of influence on Hollywood, that lobby has been a major factor in determining aspects of US policy towards Israel.

Now on the second point, I don’t really think it’s any longer controversial whether or not Israel is an Apartheid state. I don’t say this as a polemicist, I’m trying to be objective and dispassionate about the situation. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, now, you could say there are roughly about 12 or 13 million people, roughly. Now that includes the West Bank, it includes East Jerusalem, it includes Gaza. And Israel has controlled the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, it’s controlled it now for more than a half-century. And the Israeli government has made clear it has no intention whatsoever of returning to the borders from the June 1967 war, that is pre-controlling West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. So we can’t any longer talk about an occupation, we have to be talking about an annexation. The territories have been de facto annexed. After a half-century, that seems to me to be the reasonable conclusion, there has been a de facto annexation.

So of all that population that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, roughly, roughly speaking, about half has either second-class status or overwhelmingly no rights whatsoever within the State: no voting rights, and then from there down they don’t even have rights to property, property can be confiscated overnight and at whim, with the support of the  [Israeli] Courts. So it seems to me, again trying to be rational, trying to be objective and trying to be dispassionate, there’s no other term to describe a situation in which close to half the population, close to half the population either has second-class rights (that would be within Israel proper), or no rights whatsoever (which would be the West Bank and Gaza). That’s an Apartheid situation.

But again that shouldn’t shock us. You have to remember, I don’t know how old you are, but I have a vivid recollection during the last days of the [South African] Apartheid, Ronald Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, as did Margaret Thatcher. They were calling till the very end, you’re recalling, Nelson Mandela and the ANC, the African National Congress, a terrorist organization. So if our government was until the very end, the end of Apartheid, if our government was supporting South Africa, because it’s sort of a bastion of Western-called, you know, Western civilization, whatever you want to call it, in Africa, so for the same reason, they support Israel in the Middle East.

Jimmy Dore: So you think it’s without… Because I you know you say it’s without question that Israel is an Apartheid State, which I agree with. But there are people who question it, people very loudly push back against that and they quote the numbers of Palestinians… Well they say there’s an Arab political party, that’s the third largest party in Israel, and all day they quote numbers of Palestinians who are allowed to vote… What do you say to those arguments?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, first of all, I’m glad you asked the questions, because there’s no effective, no more effective way to have a discussion. And if someone of us has to play the devil’s advocate, in this case it should be you.

First of all, I tried to be clear, I said there’s a gradation of rights in the case of Israel. The Palestinians have second-class rights. Israel has now officially declared that it declared Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people. So I for example am Jewish, and if the United States were declared the Nation-State of the Christian people, I would certainly experience that declaration, especially once it becomes enacted in laws, I would certainly experience that as me being a second-class citizen, that is to say I don’t belong here. It’s the State of the Christian people, it’s not my State.

But having said that, let’s keep in mind that it’s not only one component of the Palestinian population that’s under Israeli control or has been effectively annexed by Israel. The West Bank, people in the West Bank, they don’t vote in Israeli elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Knesset. The people in Gaza, they don’t vote in Israeli  elections, they’re not represented in the Israeli Parliament, the Israeli Knesset. So far, the vast, the vast preponderance of Palestinians currently annexed to the Israeli State, they have no rights whatsoever.

Jimmy Dore: Okay, alright.

Norman Finkelstein: The only way you can get around that is by saying that well, there’s a peace process. But the Israeli government has already made clear, you’d have to be blinder than King Lear not to see that the Israeli government has said we’re not returning to the old Wars [pre-67 borders]. Once you’ve made that Statement, it’s a Declaration of annexation, and if it’s annexation, then you have to accept that when deciding whether or not Israel is an Apartheid State. It can’t be limited to Israel and its pre-67 border: it’s the whole area, including the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, including Gaza.

Jimmy Dore: You know, I’ve heard people say that the majority of the Jewish people don’t support the policy of the Israeli government when it comes to Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank. How could that be? And can you speak about the Likud party, which is like the extremist party, a right-wing party in Israel: what would you say is the percentage of support they actually have in the population inside of Israel and out?

Norman Finkelstein: Well, we should be clear that number one, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, he’s been the head of State now for about a decade, and he’s gone through many elections. And even though he’s surrounded by what scandal after another, none of these scandals have actually made a big dent in his popularity. And the reason for that, I think, is pretty straightforward, it’s pretty uncontroversial at any rate in my opinion. That is to say Benjamin Netanyahu is an obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist. And on all of those descriptives: obnoxious, racist, Jewish supremacist, he’s wholly representative of the Israeli population. And the reason they keep reelecting him despite the scandals, which are always said to be imminently going to bring him down, despite the scandals that never bring him down, it’s because when they look at Benjamin Netanyahu, most of the Israeli population, they see themselves. And they vote for him because in his mental outlook, I wouldn’t really call it values because I don’t think people like Mr. Netanyahu have any values per se, but in terms of mental outlook, contempt for Arabs, contempt for Muslims… Actually, with all due respect to you, Mr. Dore, and to all your listeners, unless they’re Jewish, he has contempt for all of you. These are Jewish supremacists.

But he also happens to be in a separate category a racist, and now even though I don’t like to use the terminology, because it’s too simple and too sloganeering, it happens to be, I think, in these particular circumstances, it’s illuminating. Why do Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump get along so well? Why is Mr. Netanyahu Mr. Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the world? Well, the answer is simple: they both like walls. Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans, Mr. Netanyahu wants to build a wall to keep out Arabs.

They both hate Black people. Mr. Netanyahu, when President Obama, the Head of State in the United States, Mr. Netanyahu, he didn’t see it at all amiss, he didn’t see it at all awry for him to come barging in the United States, barging into the Capitol building and instructing, telling Obama what American policy should be towards Iran. I dare say, and of course you’re free to contradict me, it’s inconceivable, it’s inconceivable, had there been a White Head of State, had it been George Bush or even a Jimmy Carter, had it been even a Jimmy Carter, Mr. Netanyahu would not have dared carry on the way he did with Obama. He’s a racist.

And just like Mr. Trump the racist loathes Muslims, so Mr. Netanyahu loathes Black people, which is why he made it a part of his policy to expel the Arab migrants [from Erythrea, Soudan…], about 30,000, who were fleeing a war situation, fleeing very serious, life challenging situations, and came as refugees to Israel. And he ruled it because you have to remember, Mr. Netanyahu he grew up, a large part of his life was spent in the United States. His father was a professor at Cornell University, and they hated Black people, the Schwartzs, the Schwartzs as it’s called, the Black people, they loathe them. And so now, for Mr. Netanyahu to have to face the prospect that the Schwartzs are invading Israel [is unbearable], so they have to go.

And so it’s that same mindset. It’s not values, it’s a mindset. You can choose what descriptive you want for that mindset: some people would say it’s a Nazi mindset, some people would say it’s a fascist mindset, some people would call it a right-wing racist White supremacist mindset, whatever you want to call it. And they have it, and that’s these ruling people.

It’s a sorry thing to have to say, but I’m not one of those people who in the name of political correctness recoil at generalizations. If you could say most White people in the American South, in the pre-Civil Rights era, if you could say most of them were mean, White racist supremacists, very few people would take issue with that quote-unquote “generalization”. But the moment you use exactly those same terms to describe Israel or Israelis, it suddenly becomes politically incorrect. I disagree. If you want to understand the Israeli mentality, these are the Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims, it’s very easy for an American to understand: just look at Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern States in the pre-Civil Rights era. That’s the mentality. That’s the Israeli mentality. And Mr. Netanyahu, in his mindset, he’s not very much different from a George Wallace or a Lester Maddox, with those who remember that era.

Jimmy Dore: So let me ask you: the Jewish people or the people of Israel, do they not see the tremendous irony that’s actually being played out right now, that the Israeli State was invented as a safe haven for the Jewish people because they’ve been persecuted, and now they turn around, and for the last couple of decades they’ve been doing the exact same thing or a very horrible thing, not the exact same thing, but a very similar thing to the Palestinian people, you know, making them be second-class citizens, stripping them of rights, controlling their movements in and out of wherever they go, and also having economic blockades and medical blockades… And you know, like we’ve said, it’s an open-air prison. Do they really miss the irony of that? Do they not see that?

Norman Finkelstein: Yes, I do think they don’t see it. I do think they miss the irony. First of all, remember that a large portion of Europeans who came to the United States, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, they were fleeing religious persecution. And then they proceeded to inflict a really quite grotesque crimes on the indigenous population when they came here. The fact of the matter is just as the European settlers, White settlers who came here, the Euro-Americans, they couldn’t conceive the domestic population, the indigenous population, they couldn’t conceive them as being human beings of the same order as themselves. They were savages. And in the same way, the Israeli people can’t conceive Arabs or Muslims as being on the same moral order as themselves. They’re terrorists or they’re savages. So I think it’s correct to say that they don’t see anything awry in the way they’re carrying on.

In fact, if you read most of the testimonies of Israelis on the situation there, most Israelis haven’t the slightest of interest in what goes on in the West Bank and Gaza. They live very good lives, they have a very high standard of living, they travel a lot, but for them, the West Bank and Gaza are far-off distant, almost exotic places for Israelis. I know that might come as a surprise, but remember, for example, when I was growing up living in New York City, it’s a compact city as I suppose you know, 99% of White New Yorkers talked about Harlem, were terrified of Harlem, but had never stepped foot in Harlem. They had never seen it, let alone physically placed themselves there. And there was a funny thing back then, when Europeans came over, visitors, you know, young people, you’d ask them where do you live, and they would all say “Harlem, of course”, [Laughter], yeah, because Harlem was exciting, you know, it was clubs, it was jazz… But for White New Yorkers, Harlem was some sight of terror. “Harlem?! You live in Harlem?! Oh my God!”

And I remember when I first went over to the Occupied Territories in 1988, I lived with some families in the West Bank, and when I told Israelis “You know, I went to the West Bank”, they’d say “You went to the West Bank?!” I mean their eyes buldged.  It’s a foreign place to them.

Jimmy Dore: That’s a fascinating… I mean it’s amazing these analogies you’re making, they’re very helpful actually.

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Palestinians behind «Israeli» Bars

Designed By Abeer Mrad

In the Occupied Palestinian territories, the “Israeli” entity has built 22 prisons in which it unjustly detains approximately 7000 Palestinians among those are men, women and children of all walks of life.

Palestinians behind «Israeli» Bars

 

 

عمر أبو ليلى

مارس 21, 2019

ناصر قنديل

في درسه الأول كيف تقاوم الانقسام والتفتيت… من سلفيت

وفي درسه الثاني كيف تجمع الدنيا والدين… على حد سكين

وفي درسه الثالث كشف الحساب… في الردّ على الإرهاب

وفي درسه الرابع جثمان الشهيد… أجمل هديّة للأم في العيد

أتمّ عمر أبي ليلى دروسه ومضى فتمتم صلاته في أذن المحتلّ

وغرس سكينه بين الضلعَيْن وتوازن الأرض يختلّ

وانتزع السلاح… والجنود يهرولون بين صراخ وصياح

ويطلق مسدّداً إلى اليسار والإصابة قاتلة

… وإلى اليمين سيارة حاخامهم ماثلة

فيسدّد مجدّدا

يسدّد على الرأس محدّدا

فيصيب وبيده المقود… والبندقية… في شغاف القلب محميّة

حتى يصل إلى العليّة

أتمّ عمر أبو ليلى المهمة

والحكام العرب من قمّة إلى قمّة

يتثاءبون ويتساءلون ويتجشّأون

… وبعضهم يشحذَ سمّه

أتمّ عمر أبو ليلى كل البنود

وأوفى كلّ العهود

وبات عليه الآن الصعود

فهذا الأسفل لا يناسب بقاء الكبار

هذا الأسفل يليق بالسافلين الصغار

يتساءلون عن القوانين الاستراتيجية وعن الحروب الذكيّة

وبومضة من نصل سكين يحسم عمر القضية

أمه غدير تصفه بالقدير… وحلمه أن يصير يوماً مدير

وها هو يُدير العالم على رأس إصبعه الصغير

يأتي بومبيو ويصرّح نتنياهو والكل يسأل عن الإرهابي الخطير

والفاعل… هو إبن غدير القدير الذي صار اليوم المدير

لقد فاجأتهم يا عمر… كما فاجأتنا… قالت غدير

لقد صفعتهم بدمك على عيونهم… فأعميتها

وعلى عيوننا فأبكيتَها

يا عمر

لقد بهرتهم بنورك شمساً لا تقاوَم نارُها

وعرّيت ذلنا تحت ضوء نورك يا قمر

… قالت غدير

في عيدها أجمل الهدايا أنت يا عمر

فالأم لا تحلم بأكثر من أن تحضن في عيدها القمر

وقد صرتَ قمر القدس والخليل والجليل وليمون يافا وحيفا وياسمين الشام

صرتَ وردة الأحلام

قمراً يضيء ليل بيت لحم عشيّة الميلاد

وصرتَ أيقونة الأطفال بتسعة عشر قمراً نثرتها من بيروت إلى بغداد

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“Endless Trip to Hell”: “Israel” Jails Hundreds of Palestinian Boys a Year. Here are Some Testimonies

By Staff, Haaretz

They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year “Israel” arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13.

It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of “Israeli” soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way.

Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.

The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom “Israel” arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in “Israeli” custody. For example, in the town of Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested.

At any given moment, there are about 270 Palestinian teens in “Israeli” prisons. The most widespread reason for their arrest – throwing stones – does not tell the full story. Conversations with many of the youths, as well as with lawyers and human rights activists, including those from the B’Tselem human-rights organization, reveal a certain pattern, even as they leave many questions open: For example, why does the occupation require that arrests be violent and why is it necessary to threaten young people.

In 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, assailed “the ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system, [which] appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” A report a year earlier from British legal experts concluded that the conditions the Palestinian children are subjected to amount to torture, and just five months ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deplored “Israel’s” policy of arresting underage children, declaring, “An end must be put to all forms of physical or psychological abuse of children during arrest, transit and waiting periods, and during interrogations.”

About half of the arrests of Palestinian adolescents are made in their homes. According to the testimonies, “Israeli” soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and whisk him away (very few girls are detained), leaving the family with a document stating where he’s being taken and on what charge. The printed document is in Arabic and Hebrew, but the commander of the force typically fills out the details in Hebrew only, then hands it to parents who may not be able to read it and don’t know why their son was taken.

About 40 percent of the minors are detained in the public sphere – usually in the area of incidents involving throwing stones at soldiers. That was the case with Adham Ahsoun, from Azzun. At the time, he was 15 and on his way home from a local grocery store. Not far away, a group of children had started throwing stones at soldiers, before running off. Ahsoun, who didn’t flee, was detained and taken to a military vehicle; once inside, he was hit by a soldier. A few children who saw what happened ran to his house to tell his mother. Grabbing her son’s birth certificate, she rushed to the entrance to the town to prove to the soldiers that he was only a child. But it was too late; the vehicle had already departed, headed to an army base nearby, where he would wait to be interrogated.

In many cases the children’s hands are handcuffed from behind. An “Israeli” soldier from the Nahal infantry brigade admits that his unit arrested a boy “of about 11,” but the handcuffs were too big to bind his small hands.

The next stage is the journey: The youths are taken to an “Israeli” army base or a police station in a nearby settlement, their eyes covered with flannelette. “When your eyes are covered, your imagination takes you to the most frightening places,” says a lawyer who represents young Palestinians. Many of those arrested don’t understand Hebrew, so that once pushed into the army vehicle they are completely cut off from what’s going on around them.

In most cases, the handcuffed, blindfolded youth will be moved from place to place before actually being interrogated. Sometimes he’s left outside, in the open, for a time. In addition to the discomfort and the bewilderment, the frequent moving around presents another problem: In the meantime many acts of violence, in which “Israeli” soldiers beat the detainees, take place and go undocumented.

Once at the army base or police station, the minor is placed, still handcuffed and blindfolded, on a chair or on the floor for a few hours, generally without being given anything to eat. It is the “endless trip to hell”.
Young Palestinian detainees under guard. Soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and leave the family with a document stating where he’s being taken.

The nightmare can be of differing duration, the former detainees relate. Three to eight hours after the arrest, by which time the youth is tired and hungry – and sometimes in pain after being hit, frightened by threats and not even knowing why he’s there – he’s taken in for interrogation. This may be the first time the blindfold is removed and his hands freed. The process usually starts with a general question, such as, “Why do you throw stones at soldiers?” The rest is more intense – a barrage of questions and threats, aimed at getting the teen to sign a confession. In some cases, he’s promised that if he signs he’ll be given something to eat.

According to the testimonies, the interrogators’ threats are directed squarely at the boy [“You’ll spend your whole life in jail”], or at his family [“I’ll bring your mother here and kill her before your eyes”), or at the family’s livelihood [“If you don’t confess, we’ll take away your father’s permit to work– because of you, he’ll be out of work and the whole family will go hungry”].

Whether the young detainee has signed a confession or not, the next stop is prison. Either Megiddo, in Lower Galilee, or Ofer. Khaled Mahmoud Selvi was 15 when he was brought to prison in October 2017 and was told to disrobe for a body search [as in 55 percent of the cases]. For 10 minutes he was made to stand naked, along with another boy, and in winter.

The months in detention, waiting for trial, and later, if they are sentenced, are spent in the youth wing of the facilities for security prisoners. The children don’t speak with their families for months and are allowed one visit a month, through glass.

Far fewer Palestinian girls are arrested than boys. But there is no facility especially for them, so they are held in the Sharon prison for women, together with the adults.

The courtroom is usually the place where parents have their first sight of their child, sometimes several weeks after the arrest. Tears are the most common reaction to the sight of the young detainee, who will be wearing a prison uniform and handcuffs, and with a cloud of uncertainty hovering over everything. “Israel” Prisons Service guards don’t allow the parents to approach the youth, and direct them to sit on the visitors’ bench.

At a recent remand hearing for several detainees, one boy didn’t stop smiling at the sight of his mother, while another lowered his eyes, perhaps to conceal tears. Another detainee whispered to his grandmother, who had come to visit him, “Don’t worry, tell everyone I’m fine.” The next boy remained silent and watched as his mother mouthed to him, “Omari, I love you.”

While the children and their family try to exchange a few words and looks, the proceedings move along. As though in a parallel universe.

The vast majority of trials for juveniles ends in a plea bargain – safka in Arabic, a word Palestinian children know well. Even if there is no hard evidence to implicate the boy in stone-throwing, a plea is often the preferred option. If the detainee doesn’t agree to it, the trial could last a long time and he will be held in custody until the proceedings end.

According to data of collected by the British-Palestinian NGO, 97 percent of the youths arrested by the “Israeli” army live in relatively small locales that are no more than two kilometers away from a settlement.

In the case of reported stone-throwing incidents, he says, the commander’s assumption is that the Palestinians involved are young, between the ages of 12 and 30, and that they come from the nearest village. Often the officer will turn to the resident collaborator in the village, who provides him with the names of a few boys.

“I was arrested when I was 14, all the boys in the family were arrested that night. A year later, I was arrested again, with my cousin. They said I burned tires. It happened when I was sleeping. My mother woke me up. I thought it was time for school, but when I opened my eyes I saw soldiers above me. They told me to get dressed, handcuffed me and took me outside. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and it was cold that night. My mother begged them to let me put on a jacket, but they didn’t agree. Finally, she threw the jacket on me, but they didn’t let me put my arms in the sleeves.

“They took me to the Karmei Tzur settlement with my eyes covered, and I had the feeling that they were just driving in circles. When I walked, there was a pit in the road and they pushed me into it, and I fell. From there they took me to Etzion [police station]. There they put me in a room, and soldiers kept coming in all the time and kicking me. Someone passed by and said that if I didn’t confess, they would leave me in jail for the rest of my life.

“At 7 A.M., they told me the interrogation was starting. I asked to go to the toilet before. My eyes were covered and a soldier put a chair in front of me. I tripped. The interrogation went on for an hour. They told me that they saw me burning tires and that it interfered with air traffic. I told them it wasn’t me. I didn’t see a lawyer until the afternoon, and he asked the soldiers to bring us food. It was the first time I had eaten since being arrested the night before.

“At 7 P.M., I was sent to Ofer Prison, and I remained there for six months. In that period, I was in court more than 10 times. And there was also another interrogation, because a friend of mine was told while being questioned that if he didn’t confess and inform on me, they would bring his mother and shoot her before his eyes. So he confessed and informed. I’m not angry at him. It was his first arrest, he was scared.”

Khaled’s story is told by his father, Murad Shatawi: “On the night he was arrested, a phone call from my nephew woke me up. He said the house was surrounded by soldiers. I got up and got dressed, because I expected them to arrest me, on account of the nonviolent demonstrations I organize on Fridays. I never imagined they’d take Khaled. They asked me for the names of my sons. I told them Mumen and Khaled. When I said Khaled, they said, ‘Yes, him. We’re here to take him.’ I was in shock, so many soldiers showed up to arrest a boy of 13.

“They handcuffed and blindfolded him and led him east on foot, toward the settlement of Kedumim, all the while cursing and hitting him a little. I saw it all from the window. They gave me a document showing that it was a legal arrest and I could come to the police station. When I got there, I saw him through a small hole in the door. He was handcuffed and blindfolded.

“He stayed like that from the moment they arrested him until 3 P.M. the next day. That’s a picture that doesn’t leave me; I don’t know how I’ll go on living with that picture in my head. He was accused of throwing stones, but after four days they released him, because he didn’t confess and there was no other evidence against him. During the trial, when the judge wanted to speak to Khaled, he had to lean forward in order to see him, because Khaled was so small.

“What was it like to see him like that? I am the father. That says it all. He hasn’t talked about it since getting out, three months ago. That’s a problem. I’m now organizing a ‘psychology day’ in the village, to help all the children here who have been arrested. Out of 4,500 people in the village, 11 children under the age of 18 have been arrested; five were under the age of 15.”

Omar looks small for his age. He’s shy and quiet, and it’s hard to talk to him about the arrest, so members of his family recount the events in his place.

Omar’s mother: “It happened at 10 A.M. on Friday, when there is no school. Omar was playing in the area in front of the house, he threw pebbles at birds that were chirping in the tree. The soldiers, who were in the watchtower across the way here, picked up on what he was doing and ran toward him. He ran, but they caught him and knocked him down. He started to cry, and he wet his pants. They kicked him a few times.

“His grandmother, who lives here below, immediately went out and tried to take him from the soldiers, which caused a struggle and shouts. In the end, they left him alone and he went home and changed into dry pants. A quarter of an hour later, the soldiers came back, this time with their commander, who said he had to arrest the boy for throwing stones. When the other children in the family saw the soldiers in the house, they also wet their pants.”

Omar’s father takes up the story: “I told the commander that he was under 12 and that I had to accompany him, so I rode with him in the jeep to the Karmei Tzur settlement. There the soldiers told him not to throw stones anymore, and that if he saw other children doing it, he should tell them. From there they took him the offices of the Palestinian Authority in Hebron. The whole story took about 12 hours. They gave him a few bananas to eat during those hours. Now, whenever the children see a military jeep or soldiers, they go inside. They’ve stopped playing outside since then. Before the incident, soldiers used to come here to play soccer with the children. Now they’ve stopped coming, too.”

“It was around 2 P.M. I had a fever that day, so Dad sent me to my cousin next door, because that’s almost the only place in the village with a heating unit. Suddenly soldiers showed up. They saw me watching them from the window, so they fired shots at the door of the building, knocked it down and started to come upstairs. I got scared, so I ran from the second floor to the third, but they stopped me on the way and took me outside. The soldiers wouldn’t let me take my coat, even though it was cold and I was sick. They took me on foot to Kedumim, handcuffed and blindfolded. They sat me on a chair. I heard doors and windows being slammed hard, I think they were trying to scare me.

“After a while, they took me from Kedumim to Ariel, and I was there for five-six hours. They accused me of throwing stones a few days earlier with my friend. I told them I hadn’t thrown any stones. In the evening they moved me to the Hawara detention building; one of the soldiers told me I would never leave there. In the morning I was moved to Megiddo Prison. They didn’t have prisoners’ uniforms in my size, so they gave me clothes of Palestinian children who had been there before and left them for the next in line. I was the youngest person in the prison.

“I had three court hearings, and after 12 days, at the last hearing, they told me that it was enough, that my father would pay a fine of [$525] and I was getting a three-year suspended sentence. The judge asked me what I intended to do after getting out, I told him I would go back to school and I wouldn’t go up to the third floor again. Since my arrest, my younger brother, who’s 7, has been afraid to sleep in the kids’ room and goes to sleep with our parents.”

“On my 15th birthday, I went to the store in the village center to buy a few things. Around 7:30 in the evening, soldiers entered the village and children started to throw stones at them. On the way home with my bag, they caught me. They took me to the entrance of the village and put me in a jeep. One of the soldiers started to hit me. Then they put plastic handcuffs on me and covered my eyes and took me like that to the military base in Karnei Shomron. I was there for about an hour. I couldn’t see a thing, but I had the feeling that a dog was sniffing me. I was afraid. From there they took me to another military base and left me there for the night. They didn’t give me anything to eat or drink.

“In the morning, they moved me to the interrogation facility in Ariel. The interrogator told me that the soldiers caught me throwing stones. I told him that I hadn’t thrown stones that I was on my way home from the store. So he called the soldiers into the interrogation room. They said, ‘He’s lying, we saw him, he was throwing stones.’ I told him that I really hadn’t thrown stones, but he threatened to arrest my mother and father. I panicked. I asked him, ‘What do you want from me?’ He said he wanted me to sign that I threw stones at soldiers, so I signed. The whole time I didn’t see or talk to a lawyer.

“My plea bargain was that I would confess and get a five-month jail sentence. Afterward, they gave me one-third off for good behavior. I got out after three months and a fine of 2,000 shekels. In jail I tried to catch up with the material I missed in school. The teachers told me they would only take into account the grades of the second semester, so it wouldn’t hurt my chances of being accepted for engineering studies in university.”

“At 3 A.M., I heard knocking on the door. Dad came into the room and said there were soldiers in the living room and wanted us to show ID cards. The commanding officer told my father that they were taking me to Etzion for questioning. Outside, they handcuffed and blindfolded me and put me in a military vehicle. We went to my cousin’s house; they also arrested him. From there we went to Karmei Tzur and waited, handcuffed and blindfolded, until the morning.

“In the morning, they only took my cousin for interrogation, not me. After his interrogation, they took us to Ofer Prison. After a day there, they took us back to Etzion and said they were going to interrogate me. Before the interrogation, they took me into a room, where there was a soldier who slapped me. After he hit me in one room, he took me to the interrogation room. The interrogator said I was responsible for burning tires, and because of that the grove near the house caught fire. I said it wasn’t me, and I signed a document that the interrogator gave me. The document was also printed in Arabic, but the interrogator filled it out in Hebrew. I was taken back to Ofer Prison.

“I had seven hearings in court, because at the first hearing I said I hadn’t intended to confess, I just didn’t understand what I signed and it wasn’t true. So they sent me back for another interrogation. Again I didn’t confess. Then they sent me to interrogation another time and again I didn’t confess. That’s what it was like in three interrogations. In the end, my lawyer did a deal with the prosecutor that if I confessed in court – which I did – and my family would pay 4,000 shekels, they would release me.

“I’m a good student, I like soccer, both playing and watching it. Since the arrest I hardly wander around outside.”

“Around 2 A.M. someone knocked on the door. I woke up and saw a lot of soldiers in the house. They said we should all sit in the living room sofa and not move. The commander called Uday, my big brother, told him to get dressed and informed him that he was under arrest. It was the third time they arrested him. My father was also once under arrest. Suddenly they told me to put my shoes on too and go with them.

“They took us out of the house and tied our hands and covered our eyes. We went like that on foot to the base in Karmei Tzur. There they sat me on the floor with hands tied and eyes covered for around three hours. At about 5 A.M., they moved us to Etzion. On the way there in the jeep they hit us, they slapped me. In Etzion, I was sent to be checked by a doctor. He asked if I had been beaten and I said yes. He didn’t do anything, only checked my blood pressure and said I could stand up to an interrogation.

“My interrogation started at 8 A.M… They asked me to tell them which children throw stones. I said I didn’t know, so the interrogator gave me a slap. The interrogation went on for four hours. Afterward, they put me into a dark room for 10 minutes and then took me back to the interrogation room, but now they only fingerprinted me and put me into a detention cell for an hour. After an hour, Uday and I were moved to Ofer Prison. I didn’t sign a confession, neither about myself nor about others.

“I got out after nine days, because I wasn’t guilty of anything. My parents had to pay 1,000 shekels for bail. My little brother, who is 10, has been really afraid ever since. Whenever someone knocks at the door, he wets his pants.”

Dozens wounded in clashes with israeli (apartheid state) soldiers in West Bank, Gaza

Dozens Wounded in Clashes With Israeli Soldiers in West Bank, Gaza

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli troops during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Feb. 1, 2019. Clashes broke out on Friday afternoon between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli army forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, wounding dozens of people, medics and eyewitnesses said. (Xinhua/Stringer)

GAZA/RAMALLAH, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — Clashes broke out on Friday afternoon between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli army forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, wounding dozens of people, medics and eyewitnesses said.

In eastern Gaza Strip, close to the border with Israel, at least 25 Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers stationed on the borderline area, according to Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Health Ministry in Gaza.

Thousands of protesters gathered Friday afternoon in eastern Gaza Strip joining the 45th weekly anti-Israel rallies and protests, known as the “Great March of Return” to break the Israeli blockade.

The protesters waved Palestinian flags, chanted anti-Israel slogans, burned tires, cut the barbed wire of the border’s fence, and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, according to eyewitnesses.

They said that the soldiers fired dozens of tear gas canisters and live ammunition at the demonstrators to keep them away from the fence of the border, and dozens suffered suffocation after inhaling the tear gas.

The rallies organizers Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, who also joined the rallies in eastern Gaza, insisted that their marches and protests will go on until achieving the goals of ending the Israeli blockade that had been imposed on the Gaza Strip for 12 years.

Essam Daalis, a senior Hamas leader, told reporters that “the shortest way for (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu to end tension in the Gaza Strip is to immediately end the siege and ease the hard living situation in the Gaza Strip.”

Gaza Health Ministry officials said earlier that since March 30, when the marches started, the Israeli army had shot and killed more than 250 demonstrators and wounded around 25,000 others, most of them shot by live gunshots.

Meanwhile, a senior Egyptian security intelligence delegation and the United Nations special envoy Nickolay Mladenov are holding talks with Hamas leaders in Gaza.

They discussed earlier Friday with Islamic Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on the reinforcement of a calm understanding reached with Israel in November, according to Haniyeh.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the West Bank said Friday that at least 15 Palestinian demonstrators were shot and wounded during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in the village of Lemghayer near Ramallah.

Local media reports in the West Bank said that Israeli forces stormed the village and clashed with dozens of residents in the afternoon, adding that Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and opened fire at the demonstrators who threw stones at the soldiers

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