Tag Archives | Palestine

New Probe Exposes Horrific Child Abuse by Israeli Forces

Israeli border police arresting Ahmad Abu Sbitan, 11, in front of his school in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Majd Gaith/HRW)

Israeli border police arresting Ahmad Abu Sbitan, 11, in front of his school in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Majd Gaith/HRW)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here

Israeli forces are choking, beating, and abusing Palestinian children as young as 11, arresting and coercing them into confessions without granting them access to lawyers or even informing their parents of their whereabouts, a new investigation from Human Rights Watch reveals.

The findings are contained in a report—Israel: Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children—based on interviews with six children between the ages of 11 and 15, and corroborated by witness testimony and video evidence. All of the children were accused of throwing rocks between March and December 2014—a common charge that can lead to decades in prison.

“Israel has been on notice for years that its security forces are abusing Palestinian children’s rights in occupied territory, but the problems continue,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for HRW.

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Wrongfully Treating Academic Debate as Anti-Semitism

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Saree Makdisi writes at the Los Angeles Times:

The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular.

A coordinated set of petitions, including a letter signed by 57 rabbis, asks UC administrators to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as a means to “accurately identify” and “publicly condemn” it in campus debate, protest and discussion. That problematic definition conflates principled criticism of Israeli policies with genuine anti-Semitism; if the university accedes to this demand, such criticism — and academic freedom — could be suppressed by administrative fiat.

The State Department definition explicitly draws on a formulation provisionally adopted by a European Union body but long since discarded. It stretches the concept of anti-Semitism to include “demonizing” Israel, comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and “denying Israel the right to exist.”

Such emotionally charged language attempts to preempt criticism of Israeli policies.

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Obama Says Palestinians Deserve ‘An Independent, Sovereign State’

Jurvetson - Happy Obama (by).jpg

Photo: Steve Jurvetson (CC)


In his first interview with an Arabic-language newspaper, US President Barack Obama tells Asharq Al-Awsat that the Palestinians deserve “an independent, sovereign state,” which should stoke things up nicely ahead of a key summit with Gulf leaders:

Q: There was much appreciation for your initial efforts to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and have a two-state solution. And yet those efforts have been met by obstruction from various sides. Have you given up on reaching the two-state solution before the end of your presidency, and if not, how can you change the dynamic?

Obama: I will never give up on the hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the United States will never stop working to realize that goal. As I said when I visited Ramallah two years ago, Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities that come with it; they deserve to live in an independent, sovereign state, where they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.

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On Eve of Election, Netanyahu Promises No Palestinian State If Re-Elected

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

On the eve of national elections in Israel, politically-embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that if he and his Likud Party were returned to power for another term he would make sure that an independent Palestinian state would not come into being.

The comments come as a reversal of official Israeli government policy which, like the U.S. government, states that a two-state solution is the preferred outcome for the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

As the New York Times reports:

Mr. Netanyahu made the assertion on the eve of an election in which he is trailing in the polls. He has been campaigning aggressively, appealing to conservatives for support.

“I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands, is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel,” he said in a video interview published on the NRG website.

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What Would Happen if the Int’l Criminal Court Indicted Israel’s Netanyahu?

Benjamin_Netanyahu_2012

Juan Cole writes at Informed Comment:

If the International Criminal Court takes up Israeli government actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, it could well find specific officials guilty of breaches of the Rome Statute of 2002. Article 7 forbids “Crimes against Humanity,” which are systematically repeated war crimes. Among these offenses is murder, forcible deportation or transfer of members of a group, torture, persecution of Palestinians (an “identifiable group”) and “the crime of Apartheid.”

The Israeli government murdered Palestinian political leaders (not just guerrillas) and have routinely illegally expelled Palestinians from the West Bank or from parts of the West Bank illegally incorporated into Israel. They deploy torture against imprisoned Palestinians. Their policies on the West Bank, of building squatter settlements on Palestinian land from which Palestinians are excluded, is only one example of Apartheid policies. Getting a conviction on Article VII should be child’s play for the prosecutor.

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In Gaza, Palestinians Turn Destruction into Artistic Protest

Painting by Palestinian artist Tayseer Barakat.

Painting by Palestinian artist Tayseer Barakat.

Mariam Elba writes at Waging Nonviolence:

As the Israeli war against Gaza unfolded last summer, I wrote about a particular artist who has turned pictures of Israeli bombs falling on Gaza into graphic art of people mourning the destruction below them. Now the destruction caused by the bombs is itself being turned into art. Well-known Palestinian artist Raed Issa has been displaying his damaged paintings that were buried in the remains of his home in front of the rubble of his house. He is part of a group of artists called Eltiqa in Gaza that supports artists in producing art that responds to the realities of daily life in the occupied territory.

In addition, groups of young people are practicing difficult parkour moves among the rubble that remains from last summer. While the artistic exercise routine known as parkour is not new in Palestine, what these youth are doing by practicing it among the rubble of destroyed homes and schools is showing not only incredible resilience, but also constructing a narrative of resistance and endurance.

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Chomsky: The Crass and Brutal Approach Used to Keep Gaza Mired in Misery

By Andrew Rusk via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Andrew Rusk via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

via AlterNet:

On Aug. 26, Israel and the Palestinian Authority both accepted a cease-fire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind.

The agreement calls for an end to military action by Israel and Hamas as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

This is, however, just the most recent of a series of cease-fire agreements reached after each of Israel’s periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza.

Since November 2005 the terms of these agreements have remained essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it – as Israel has conceded – until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality.

These escalations are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance.

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The War on ISIS: Views From Syrian Activists and Intellectuals

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

Conspicuously absent from the debate about ISIS and U.S. intervention—both in the mainstream and in the leftosphere—are Syrian voices. ISIS and U.S. officialdom occupy center stage, leaving the perspectives of Syrian civil society activists and writers out of the equation. While hardly surprising, this omission is troubling.

In an attempt to remedy this imbalance, I asked several Syrians—longtime activists and intellectuals from a range of backgrounds, including Kurdish, Palestinian, and Assyrian Christian—what they think about the ISIS crisis and Western intervention. Here are their responses.

Three Monsters

I am ambivalent about a Western attack against ISIS.

On the one hand, I would like to see this thuggish gang wiped from the face of the earth.

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