Adam Hudson, Al Akhbar 8/30/2014
The United States and Israel have "shared values" but not when it comes to upholding democracy and the rule of law. Their shared values are perpetual war, torture, indefinite detention, and military courts. Guantanamo is a perfect example of this. Both states have been in a state of perpetual war for quite some time with Israel against the Palestinians since its founding in 1948 while the U.S. can trace back its war to its founding in 1776 and the colonization of Native American lands. Today's global war on terror is the latest chapter in that saga. Under perpetual war, the United States and Israel can justify a litany of draconian policies, such as indefinite detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing.
International human rights law prohibits torture and detention without charge or trial. The UN Convention Against Torture strictly forbids torture, even in "exceptional circumstances" like "a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency." Meanwhile, article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention." The rights to a fair trial, due process, and to be free from torture and inhumane treatment are basic human rights that governments are obliged to uphold. Yet, both the United States and Israel practice indefinite detention – also known as "administrative detention" in Israel – and torture.
Administrative detention and torture in Israel
Israel has detained thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories without charge or trial over the years "for periods ranging from several months to several years," according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. B'Tselem figures also report that, "At the end of May 2014, 196 Palestinian administrative detainees were held in facilities run by the Israel Prison Service (IPS)." Israel recently locked up over 250 Palestinians in administrative detention as part of its operation to find the three missing but killed Israeli settlers, putting the current population at around 450. more.. e-mail 'Open Bethlehem' film documents fight against wall, settlements
Sarah Irving, Electronic Intifada 8/30/2014
The trailer has been released for Open Bethlehem, a new film by Palestinian documentary-maker Leila Sansour which calls for an international response to the plight of her hometown.
Sansour, the daughter of one of the founders of Bethlehem University, left the city in her teens, finding it too “small and provincial” for her youthful dreams.
But when she returned in 2004, she found the city already threatened by the Israeli separation wall, and was quickly embroiled in a campaign to bring together people from around the world – from the Christian churches who focus on Bethlehem every Christmas to Palestine solidarity groups – to resist the encroachment of the wall and an iron ring of Israeli settlements.
The Open Bethlehem campaign has called for European Union sanctions on Israel and has commissioned polls in the USA and Britain which demonstrate widespread public ignorance about the situation in Palestine.Director in discussion with Melvyn Bragg
The increasing impact of the wall on Bethlehem has been felt especially in the surrounding villages, such as al-Walaja, some of which have lost a large proportion of their agricultural land. Bethlehem’s neighboring town of Beit Jala has also seen homes and even part of the historic Salesian religious community there cut off by the wall.
After seven years of filming and campaigning, the Open Bethlehem feature length movie is now being launched. A high-profile preview screening at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 24 September will feature Sansour in a question and answer session with Melvyn Bragg, one of Britain’s best-known art and culture commentators and a major TV personality. more.. e-mail A look at the tactics of the Palestinian Resistance after two intifadas and three wars
Orouba Othman, Al Akhbar 8/30/2014
With the decline of armed struggle under the PLO and the Left, the Palestinian Resistance, in the early 1980s, was able to start a new phase that moved on from small closed groups to become an institutionalized phenomenon following to some extent a model that combined guerrilla warfare and the official structure of regular armies. This phenomenon was the result of operational diversity whose progression thereafter can be tracked and measured.
Gaza – From the first moment after the end of the second Gaza war in 2012 (Operation Pillar of Cloud), the Palestinian Resistance factions focused militarily on the qualitative and quantitative aspects. This was coupled with steps to fortify and shore up the home front.
In critical stages, a kind of parity with Israel emerged at the intelligence level, reducing the Resistance’s losses markedly. On Friday, for example, al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, declared that 120 of its fighters had been killed throughout 50 days of fighting, including many who had died with their families in their homes when they were bombarded, that is, while not on duty.
Even at the level of psychological warfare, where success depends on applying a number of modern military techniques, al-Quds Brigades, in 2012, was able to send SMS messages to the mobile phones of 5,000 Israeli soldiers and officers in the Hebrew language. This set a new precedent for the Palestinian Resistance.
Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas) pursued the same path in this war, but focused on advertising its rocket capacity by openly calling on the Occupation to activate its Iron Dome system at full capacity. In one instance, al-Qassam specified 9 pm as the time it would launch 10 rockets, and despite Israeli air cover, the Iron Dome system could not intercept all of the rockets, bearing in mind that al-Qassam also asked the media to cover the event. more.. e-mail See for yourself: Aerial and panoramic views show devastation in Gaza
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada 8/30/2014
The video above, published by the Gaza-based video production company MediaTown, shows an aerial view of the devastated Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.
On 20 July, the area was subjected to indiscriminate artillery bombardment by Israel that was so intense that it shocked even US military officers.
A total of 2,168 people were killed, 521 of them children, during Israel’s 51-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip that ended in a ceasefire agreement on 26 August.
Such images help us to understand the reality behind the shocking statistics about the physical destruction: 108,000 people have had their homes destroyed or severely damaged and will need permanent rehousing, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).
As the ceasefire allows for more in-depth assessments “it is clear that the scale of damage is unprecedented, with approximately 13 percent of the housing stock affected,” UN OCHA says. “Five percent of the housing stock is uninhabitable – an estimated 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged.”
This on top of a shortage of 71,000 housing units before the Israeli attack.
Since there is no functioning airport in Gaza and Israel controls the skies, many people have wondered how the aerial video was taken.
Another video published by MediaTown in March shows the company’s crew demonstrating their use of a quadcopter remote control aircraft similar to this one to make a video. more.. e-mail
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