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Articles Archives - August 2010
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Thursday, August 5, 2010
Abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli jails
Ma’an News Agency 8/5/2010
      Testimonials and events documented by human rights organizations show the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons to be regular and widespread.
     Physical abuse, sexual abuse, torture, threats and intimidation as well as the denial of basic basic human rights, such as access to education are the most common forms of abuse, documents show.
     In 2009, a report from the UK-based children’s rights group Defence for Children International found, there were 305 Palestinian children being held in Israeli jails. The US-based NGO Save the Children further estimates, that over 6,700 children were arrested between October 2000 and April 2009. Both organizations confirm Israel routinely prosecutes Palestinian children as young as 12, describing the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children as "widespread, systematic and institutionalised."
     Forms of abuse
     In 2009, DCI collected 100 sworn affidavits from Palestinian children and teenagers who said they were abused in Israeli military and police custody. Almost 70 percent complained of being beaten, four percent reported being sexually assaulted, and 12 percent said they were threatened with sexual assault.
     According to the report, most of the incidents occurred during interrogation and were used against detainees to force a confession. -- See also: Video: Israel faces child-abuse claims
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Israel says ancient Muslim gravestones ’built illegally’
Soraya Bauwens-Nuseibeh, Ma’an News Agency 8/6/2010
      JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality said Thursday that tombstones razed by authorities a day earlier in a 12th-century Muslim cemetery were "built illegally with the aim to take over the plot."
     At least 15 tombstones and structures were torn apart Wednesday in the Mamilla (Ma’man Allah) cemetery, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said. The latest demolitions follow the disinterment of over 1,500 graves in 2009 to make way for a controversial Museum of Tolerance. The foundation quickly denounced the move, describing it as a "heinous crime."
     Mandated with renovating burial grounds, the foundation said its crew led by Fawaz Hassan and Mustafa Abu Zuhra tried to block the bulldozers with their bodies but were removed by police. Israeli authorities razed the tombstones in the northeastern part of the cemetery, despite the crew’s objection, and left an hour after.
     A spokesman for Israel’s national police did not return multiple calls seeking comment, but the Jerusalem municipality said in a statement that it had "located illegal activity at the site," filed a complaint with police, and "turned to the Israel Land Administration, who owns the land, to restore [it] to its prior condition. The ILA cleared the vacant tombstones, which were built illegally with the aim to take over the plot."
     Dating back 1,000 years, the Mamilla cemetery was an active burial ground until 1948, when West Jerusalem became part of the newly declared State of Israel. According to Muslim tradition, it is the burial site of the Prophet Mohammad’s companions, Salah Ad-Din’s warriors, Sufi saints, as well as judges, scholars, and Palestinian dignitaries.
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Israeli Sephardim claim religious, political racism
Palestine Note 7/28/2010
      Washington – The 30% minority Sephardic population of Modi’in Illit, an Israeli settlement town in the West Bank, have accused the settlement’s political and religious leadership of blatant racism, giving favor instead to Ashkenazim, Ynet News reported Wednesday.
     "We feel degraded and outcast,” said one Sephardi girl. The largest obstacle to the minority Jewish community has come from Ashkenazi-dominated religious schools that deny or delay admission for Sephardic students, residents say.
     "I already gave up on getting my daughter into a seminary here," said one Sephardic father. "She underwent an intense investigation of her knowledge and her way of life, while her Ashkenazi friend was only asked who her relatives are and that was it."
     While the town is comprised of nearly a third Sephardic Jews, only five seminaries for Sephardim exist, yet there are some 30 seminaries dominated by Ashkenazi rabbis. Sephardi residents also complain that the Ashkenazi schools are all better funded, while the Sephardi religious students study in trailers, waiting for permanent buildings for more than 10 years now.
     Sephardic Jews trace their heritage back to the Iberian Peninsula, while Ashkenazim descend from central Europe. The term Mizrahi refers to Jews who trace their roots to the MENA region and the Caucasus; they have also accused Ashkenazi Jews of repeated discrimination against them.
     Worried Sephardi residents of Modi’in Illit have appealed to Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush, but they have received no assistance, they say. -- See also: YNet: Discrimination claimed in Modiin Illit haredi schools
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"Gaza is a man-made crisis"
Electronic Intifada: 5 Aug 2010 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - The quality of life, the economy and food security for Palestinians living in Gaza have been severely impaired by Israel's strict four-year blockade, according to the UN. Israel says its closure regime is designed to protect Israeli citizens from attacks by militants in Gaza.more

Israel destroys Bedouin village, again
Electronic Intifada: 5 Aug 2010 - Bulldozers returned to the village of al-Araqib in the northern Negev on Wednesday, 4 August, and demolished approximately ten new structures residents and supporters had built a week after Israeli forces completely destroyed the village on 27 July.more

Book review: Palestine brought to life in "Behind the Wall"
Electronic Intifada: 5 Aug 2010 - Photographer Rich Wiles' Behind the Wall: Life, Love, and Struggle in Palestine is a story about the lives of people the author has encountered over the course of the last seven years living in Palestine. Marcy Newman reviews for The Electronic Intifada.more

International solidarity under attack
Electronic Intifada: 5 Aug 2010 - From small beginnings and with few resources, the international movement in solidarity with the Palestinians has grown into a force that Israel perceives as a major threat. The assault on the Gaza aid flotilla was a lethal escalation in what has become an increasingly bitter campaign against that movement. Mike Marqusee comments.more

Could Tourism Save The Jordan Valley?
Palestine Monitor: 5 Aug 2010 - Without major re-development work, the Jordan Valley will face “a catastrophe within the next decade”, according to economic expert Saeb Bamya of the AIX group. With 30% unemployment, just 4% of land cultivated, and settlements and military training zones absorbing more of the area, local Palestinians face an uncertain future. Radical solutions are needed. The Dead Sea AIX, an Israeli/Palestinian think tank have focussed on promoting tourism as a tool of re-development. The unique religious and ecological significance of the Jordan Valley, combined with marquee destinations like Jericho and the Dead Sea, have enormous appeal to a wide range of tourists. These are already used in cross-border tours between Jordan and Israel, which could be expanded to take in the West Bank. “Mutual interest is the key, ” says Bamya, “ co-operation can reflect the interests of all parties”. “We look at tourism as a substitute for agriculture” , says Nader...more

Smoke on a Bridge: Lebanon Awaits a Verdict
Palestine Chronicle: 5 Aug 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud – Beirut, Lebanon Jamal is a Lebanese driver in his late 50’s. He appeared unshaven and terribly exhausted as he drove his old passenger van from the airport in Beirut to the Bekaa Valley. Although it was not a particularly arduous trip, it was made more grueling by the way Jamal drove, negotiating the elevation, the hectic traffic and the many army vehicles speeding by. In Lebanon, a sense of urgency always seems to prevail, even when there are no urgent matters to tend to. Jamal’s driving style has probably changed little through the successive Israeli wars and bombardments of Lebanon in past years (the last being the 2006 war, which destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and killed hundreds of civilians). Although no bombs were falling now, Jamal could feel something in the air. “They are cooking something big,” he said, “but what it is, no...more

Nuclear-Free Mideast
Palestine Chronicle: 5 Aug 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C. Americans of all walks of life have lately been mesmerized by the drama launched by WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy group, which published on its website a major portion of 92,000 classified and embarrassing U.S. documents said to be in its possession, on the Afghan war, now in its ninth year, the longest American military intervention. The documents claimed that Pakistan, or actually its spy agency known as Inter-Services Intelligence, had been arming, training and funding the Taliban for years. Whatever these revelations would precipitate remains to be seen. But it is interesting to note that the focus of the American (and international) attention dwarfs another “amazing” but little noticed revelation last May when the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) partially declassified another secret document held behind closed doors for 32 years “in spite of the best efforts of researchers to dislodge it.” Notwithstanding the...more

A Country in Fragments: The Subjective Atlas of Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 5 Aug 2010 - 'We have on this earth what makes life worth living: April's hesitation, the aroma of bread at dawn, a woman's Point of view about men, the works of Aeschylus, the Beginning of love, grass on a stone, mothers living on a Flute's sigh and the invaders’ fear of memories.' -- On This Earth, Mahmoud Darwish By Roger Sheety A light yet enlightening book on a heavy subject, The Subjective Atlas of Palestine is a beautiful, award-winning art book edited by Dutch designer Annelys de Vet and features both individual and collaborative contributions from over thirty different Palestinian artists, photographers and writers who were asked to “map their country as they see it.” If there is just one theme running through its compact 160 pages it would be the search for normalcy and unity under brutal and endless Israeli occupation, ethnic cleansing and land theft. “There is a lot of melancholy...more

Why the United States Will Not Strike Iran Now
Palestine Chronicle: 5 Aug 2010 - By Ali Younes The reasons that there will be no US war or military strike against Iran, in the near future, and under the current political environment, are that the US military command, under the guidance of its political leadership, is implementing a strategy of “deterrence” to prevent Iran from continuing its nuclear program. This strategy is based on the latest US military concept of “Joint Operations” which was released on 15 January 2009. The key question here, moreover, is what will be the purpose of a military strike against Iran? Will it end the Iranian nuclear program forever, or delay it by few years then eventually and perhaps go for regime change similar to the Iraqi scenario. Such options will not bring about, if not impossible, the desired change the US and Israel wants in Iran. The only option remains is “convincing” the Iranian leadership that its nuclear program...more

Lebanese Army Thwarts Israeli Landscaping Effort
Palestine Chronicle: 5 Aug 2010 - By Belen Fernandez In the latest Israeli inversion of cause and effect relationships, the clash near the Lebanese border village of Adaisseh yesterday between Israeli and Lebanese soldiers—which resulted in the deaths of one of the former nationality and three of the latter—was characterized by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as a “planned provocation”, by Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz as a “planned terror attack”, and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as something for which the Lebanese government was “directly responsible”. It is not clear how anyone in Lebanon is responsible for the Israeli decision to have its army uproot a tree lying outside the confines of Israel’s border fence in order to obtain a more unobstructed view of the area, especially given Israeli possession of numerous unmanned aerial vehicles for which single trees do not constitute an obstacle. According to the Israeli Haaretz website, the tree uprooting was categorized...more

Articles Archives - August 2010

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