Palestinian

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The Western media continues to portray Palestinians as bomb-carrying militants, and yet this is the essence of Palestinian resistance – marches and hunger-strikes. Certainly Israel’s so-called ‘security fence’ functions to keep the protesters out of sight of the Israeli public.

Father Dave

source: rt.com…

3,000 Palestinian prisoners go on hunger strike to aid Prisoners Day protest

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners have declared a hunger strike to support Prisoners Day, an annual event dedicated to 4,713 prisoners being held in Israeli jails. Fierce rallies demanding their release have reportedly been met with tear gas.

Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza attended marches and rallies on Wednesday, urging the international community to intervene and for pressure to be put on Israel in order to release some of the Palestinian prisoners.

Nearly 600 relatives of prisoners gathered for a sit-in in the rain at Arafat Square in central Ramallah after which some of them marched towards the nearby military prison at Ofer.

As activists reached the Ofer prison perimeter they tore down 50 meters of the prison fence, mounting a Palestinian flag on prison grounds.

After around four minutes of being at the fence, Israeli soldiers showed up. They fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs at the protesters,” al-Akhbar newspaper quoted spokesman of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Abdallah Abu Rahmeh as saying.

It is necessary to pressure Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers,” he added.

In Gaza, hundreds of people marched from central Gaza City to the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, AFP reported.

Another rally was being held in the northern city of Nablus.

Events to mark Prisoners Day began on Tuesday in Gaza City where youngsters released thousands of balloons into the air, each bearing the name of a prisoner.

Primarily Palestinian activists are calling for the release of those on the hunger strike that has been lasting for more than 250 days. Already dubbed one of the longest strikes in history, it stirred mass outrage and weeks of street protests.

The fates of at least five of the prisoners, including Samer Issawi, are now central to the protesters.

Samer Issawi, a 32-year-old from an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, is said to be in a critical condition with his low heart rate meaning he could die at any time.

As Israel seeks to end the Palestinian prisoner’s hunger strike, Issawi was offered to stop his fast in exchange for commuting his decades-long sentence to one year behind bars, Reuters reported Wednesday citing a Palestinian official.

We don’t want to see this man commit suicide,” an Israeli official was quoted as saying. “There are elements on the Palestinian side who are eager to exploit a tragedy.

Earlier an Israeli official said they were ready to deport Palestinian Essawi to an EU or UN country, but allege the prisoner has refused.

Issawi was initially convicted of opening fire on an Israeli bus in 2002. He was released in 2011 along with over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier held hostage by the Hamas Islamist group in Gaza.

But last July, he got re-arrested for what Israel called a violation of the terms of his release by crossing from his native East Jerusalem to the West Bank. Now he might face his original term behind bars and stay in jail until 2029. The prisoner has been struggling to regain his freedom by July this year.

Palestinian officials have called on Israel to send Issawi to Ramallah to receive a year of medical treatment after which Israel would allow him to return to neighboring Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem rejected the offer.

Rights group B’Tselem puts the number of Palestinians held by Israel at 4, 713 with most of them Palestinian men from the West Bank and Gaza convicted of participating in terror attacks. According to the group, 169 of them are held under administrative detention, without formally being charged.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society says more than 215 children and 14 women are in jail.

 

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We can only hope that the fact that this boy is an American citizen might help draw international attention to the flagrant human rights violations committed on a daily basis by the IDF.

It is tragic that the rest of the world only wakes up when it’s ‘one of their own’ that is being persecuted, but that’s the way it is. Rachel Corrie is an obvious case in point. She’s not the only brave, young woman to give her life for the cause of peace in Israel/Palestine but she may be the only young, blond American to have done so. As such her death has been the cause of a far greater outcry against the injustices of the Israeli occupation than any number of similar Palestinian deaths.

I’m guessing that the Israeli forces had no idea that this boy was a U.S. citizen when they arrested him. What surprises me though is that he wasn’t given preferential treatment once this was discovered! The authorities must have known he was an American by the time they extended his period of detention. Is this a deliberate ‘up yours’ from the Israeli courts to the United States? If so, it’s unlikely to be well received on American soil.

Father Dave

Mohammed Khalek (Image via Defense of Children International - Palestine)

Mohammed Khalek (Image via Defense of Children International – Palestine)

source: www.policymic.com…

Israeli Troops Arrest 14-Year-Old U.S. Citizen Without Warrant, Beat Him, Deny Lawyer

On Friday, Israeli soldiers arrested a 14 year-old Palestinian American from his home in the West Bank during an overnight raid. Israeli soldiers arrested the minor, who has been identified as Mohammed K., due to his alleged involvement in throwing stones at passing Israeli vehicles on a nearby highway. According to his father, Abdelwahab Khalek, Israeli soldiers broke into his house during the night, blindfolded Mohammed, tied his hands and roughened him up as he was escorted into a vehicle that drove him to a nearby police station where he was interrogated. The Israeli soldiers did not allow Abdelwahab Khalek to accompany his son to the police station or meet him while he was being interrogated.

Randa Wahbe, advocacy officer at Addameer (Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association) stated that “Mohammad was arrested without a warrant, denied access to an attorney, and interrogated without the presence of a parent.” He added, “There is also evidence that he was mistreated during his arrest and transfer. It is difficult to find a right that was not violated.” This week an Israeli court allowed an extension to Mohammed’s detention and interrogation period.

The main reason why the story has been deemed newsworthy by the mainstream media is because Mohammed is a U.S. citizen. Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCI (Defense for Children International)-Palestine said that “this case is exceptional only because the child happens to also have U.S. citizenship.” Night-time raids and subsequent arrests of children in the West Bank is a customary and almost daily activity for the Israeli soldiers.

According to the DCI-Palestine, 6,700 Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli forces between 2000 and 2009. In 2009 the total number of children held in detention was 423. By 2010 this number had dropped to 280.

Other than the large number of children held, the UN, various humanitarian groups, and numerous NGOs have expressed a great deal of concern regarding the way in which these arrests are made and the way the detainees are handled. According to a UNICEF report released this year, arrests are almost always made during the night, between midnight and 5 a.m. Children are blindfolded, their hands are tied with plastic ties and they are subjected to verbal and physical abuse in front of their families while being transported to a detention facility and while being interrogated. UNICEF argues that this treatment is inconsistent with Israel’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has demanded that Israel soldiers make arrests only during daylight hours, take greater care during strip searches and allow detainees access to their parents, a lawyer, medical care, proper food, and sanitary necessities.

On the other hand, stone-throwing incidents by Israeli settlers on Palestinian civilians in the West Bank are seldom reported and almost always go unpunished. In an incident in March, several Palestinian buses carrying fifth and sixth grade girls back from a field trip was attacked by Israeli settlers, severely injuring an 11-year old girl in the process. According to Yesh Din, an organization that closely monitors Israeli acts of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, of the 688 complaints filed by Palestinians against Israeli acts of violence between 2005 and 2011, only 9% resulted in an indictment.

While the Israeli forces continue to operate at will with vehement disregard to international humanitarian laws and regulations, attempts by the UN and numerous humanitarian groups have proved useless in curtailing these violations. UN resolutions and continuous demands by the international community with regard to curbing Israeli injustice in the West Bank not only with regard to the treatment of Palestinian children, but also the demolition of Palestinian buildings and the illegal Israeli-sponsored settlements, have resulted in absolutely no alterations in behavior on Israel’s part and virtually no repercussions for the Israeli state or the government.

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Did anyone really expect Kerry to achieve anything (apart from Kerry himself perhaps)?

The ‘peace process’ has been accurately caricatured as two persons negotiating over how to divide up a pizza while one party is eating the pizza. The recent demand from the Palestinian side – that before negotiations can be restarted Israel outlines their vision for a two-state solution – is entirely reasonable. In the terms of the pizza analogy, they haven’t even demanded that the other party stop eating but only that they outline their plan to stop eating!

Israel refuses to offer any outline of their own vision for a future Palestinian state, and this is obviously because they don’t have one! Kerry plays along with the Israeli charade and expects the Palestinians to come on board by offering them a few economic incentives. How insulting!

It seems that Kerry has adopted the Zionist mindset wherein Arabs are not seen as being fully human. Kerry throws a few crumbs and expects the Palestinians to scamper up and sit obediently at his feet. No. America has done its dash as a potential broker for peace between Israel and Palestine. 

Father Dave

John Kerry

John Kerry

source: www.globalpost.com…

Kerry fails to secure Palestinian talks in Israel, Israeli official says

US Secretary of State John Kerry promised “constructive talks” between Israel and Palestine, but both sides say that’s not happening anytime soon.

Just a few days ago, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a promising trip to Israel to rekindle Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

By Tuesday, Kerry was already announcing he had held “very constructive talks” with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, hopefully to pave the way one day for the two sides to talk directly with each other.

“Each of them made very serious and well-considered, constructive suggestions with respect to what the road forward might look like,” Kerry told reporters on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, his attempt at peace talks appears to have floundered so far. A senior Israeli official told the country’s media they weren’t budging.

“There will be no response to any demand where the purpose [of the demand] is to supply appease [sic.] the Palestinians and make them come to the table,” an unnamed Israeli senior official told Ynet.

“Ministers are unanimous over the decision of not giving in to any pre-condition. They present conditions in order to make the process of renewing direct talks difficult. There will be no gestures, especially not land withdrawals,” the anonymous source added.

The reports came hours after Palestinians said they would only negotiate peace in exchange for “a clear formula” concerning borders and the release of detainees in Israeli jails, the Times of Israel reported.

Ha’aretz’s diplomacy correspondent pointedly writes: “A senior Israeli official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject, expressed considerable skepticism regarding Kerry’s steps, and made cynical, slightly scornful comments regarding his attitude. ‘Kerry believes that he can bring about the solution, the treaty and the salvation,’ he said. ‘He thinks that the conflict is primarily over territory … and that is wrong.'”

The bad news came as President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, Philip Gordon, is reportedly carrying out an intense series of under-the-radar meetings with high-level Israeli government officials. And it’s 10 days before a planned visit to the country by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

GlobalPost’s senior correspondent in Israel, Noga Tarnopolsky, says some skepticism is not surprising.

“There does seem to be fear in Jerusalem that Kerry somehow ‘misunderstands’ the principles at stake, and is trying to push a territorial and security-based solution,” she said.

Washington’s top diplomat is seen as seeking pragmatic steps forward “without taking into account issues important to the Israeli government that are much harder to quantify,” she said, “such as the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish homeland and the abandonment of the Palestinian demand for their refugees’ right of return.”

However, that’s not so clear cut, she explained.

Just this week Tsippi Livni, the justice minister who’s in charge of negotiations on the Israeli side, said recognition of Israel as a Jewish homeland is not a necessary precondition for negotiations.

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Samer Issawi (born December 16, 1979) is a Palestinian member of the group Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
On 15 April 2002, Samer was captured by the Israeli army in Ramallah during the invasion of multiple West Bank cities, dubbed by Israel “Operation Defensive Shield”. Samer was sentenced to 26 years in prison after being convicted of charges of possessing of weapons and forming military groups in Jerusalem.

Nearly 10 years later, in October 2011, Samer was released along with 1027 Palestinian prisoners as a result of an Egypt-brokered deal between Hamas and the Israeli government for the return of Gilad Shalit. However, on 7 July 2012, he was re-arrested near for violating the terms of his release. He was convicted of an 8 months sentence, which includes a possible reinstatement of his original 26 year sentence.

Issawi has been on a hunger strike since August 1, 2012

Samer Issawi

Samer Issawi

source: hyas.ps/en/index.php/en/k2-category/palestinian-affairs/item/148-hunger-speech-by-samer-issawi…

Hunger Speech by Samer Issawi

Israelis:

I am Samer Issawi on hunger strike for eight consecutive months, laying in one of your hospitals called Kaplan. On my body is a medical devise connected to a surveillance room operating 24 hours a day. My heartbeats are slow and quiet and may stop at any minute, and everybody, doctors, officials and intelligence officers are waiting for my setback and my loss of life.

I chose to write to you: intellectuals, writers, lawyers and journalists, associations, and civil society activists. I invite you to visit me, to see a skeleton tied to his hospital bed, and around him three exhausted jailers. Sometimes they have their appetizing food and drinks around me.

The jailers watch my suffering, my loss of weight and my gradual melting. They often look at their watches, asking themselves in surprise: how does this damaged body have an excess of time to live after its time?

Israelis:

I’m looking for an intellectual who is through    shadowboxing, or talking to his face in mirrors. I want him to stare into my face and observe my coma, to wipe the gunpowder off his pen, and from his mind the sound of bullets, he will then see my features carved deep in his eyes, I’ll see him and he’ll sees me, I’ll see him nervous about the questions of the future, and he’ll see me, a ghost that stays with him and doesn’t leave.

You may receive instructions to write a romantic story about me, and you could do that easily after removing my humanity from me, you will watch a creature with nothing but a ribcage, breathing and choking with hunger, loosing consciousness once in a while.

And, after your cold silence, Mine will be a literary or media story that you add to your curricula, and when your students grow up they will believe that the Palestinian dies of hunger in front of Gilad’s Israeli sword, and you would then rejoice in this funerary ritual and in your cultural and moral superiority.

Israelis:

I am Samer Issawi the young “Arboush” man according to your military terms, the Jerusalemite, whom you arrested without charge, except for leaving Jerusalem to the suburbs of Jerusalem. I, whom will be tried twice for a charge without charge, because it is the military that rules in your country, and the intelligence apparatus that decides, and all other components of Israeli society ever have to do is sit in a trench and hide in the fort that keeps what is called a purity of identity – to avoid the explosion of my suspicious bones.

I have not heard one of you interfere to stop the loud wail of death, it’s as if everyone of you has turned into gravediggers, and everyone wears his military suit: the judge, the writer, the intellectual, the journalist, the merchant, the academic, and the poet. And I cannot believe that a whole society was turned into guards over my death and my life, or guardians over settlers who chase after my dreams and my trees.

Israelis:

I will die satisfied and having satisfied. I do not accept to be deported out of my homeland. I do not accept your courts and your arbitrary rule. If you had Passed over in Easter to my country and destroyed it in the name of a God of an ancient time, you will not Passover to my elegant soul which has declared disobedience. It has healed and flew and celebrated all the time that you lack. Maybe then you will understand that awareness of freedom is stronger than awareness of death.

Do not listen to those generals and those dusty myths, for the defeated will not remain defeated, and the victor will not remain a victor. History isn’t only measured by battles, massacres and prisons, but by peace with the Other and the self.

Israelis:

Listen to my voice, the voice of our time and yours! Liberate yourselves of the excess of greedy power! Do not remain prisoners of military camps and the iron doors that have shut your minds! I am not waiting for a jailer to release me, I’m waiting for you to be released from my memory.

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Is this Mahmoud Abbas’ attempt to rescue his credibility after years of submissive acquiescence to his Israeli and US overlords?  However we understand it, Abbas’ demand – the the Israeli Prime Minister provide an outline of his vision for a two-state solution – was entirely reasonable, and Netanyahu’s refusal to comply exposed his government’s peace talk as entirely disingenuous.

Father Dave

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

source: en.trend.az/regions/met/palestine/2136463.html…

Palestinian president slams Israel for not presenting negotiations’ vision

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday slammed Israel for refusing to present its vision regarding the borders of the future Palestinian state.

Abbas made his protest during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, a source told Xinhua.

“This doesn’t help prepare for new peace negotiations between the two sides,” Abbas said, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “seems to be blocking the peace process and destroying the two-state solution through settlements.”

Abbas stressed that the negotiations should resume.

The source said Kerry’s efforts faced the first obstacle when Netanyahu refused to show his government vision for the process of the talks and halt settlement constructions in East Jerusalem.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian official said the Palestinian leadership halted plans to join any UN organization to give time for Kerry’s mission.

“Kerry asked for two months appointed time to move forward the peace process before we go to the UN organizations, and we have agreed on this,” said Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Al- Maliki.

“If Kerry fails in this, we will not abide by our commitments and will start moving toward the international organizations and specialized agencies” for membership and to sign international treaties, Al-Maliki told Voice of Palestine radio.