"The so-called 'Palestinian autonomous areas' are bantustans...restricted entities within the power of the Israeli apartheid system."
   Nelson Mandela
Events: July 14: VTJP Meeting
Perpetual war, indefinite detention, and torture: The U.S. and Israel’s shared values
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.
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'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.
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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.
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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.
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Tens of thousands remain homeless in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 1 Sep 2014 - Almost 2,300 housing units were completely destroyed by Israel.
Palestinians are sentenced to sadness
Electronic Intifada: 31 Aug 2014 - A family reunion without joy, and the loss of my childhood friend in Gaza.
Salaita firing shows where Zionism meets neoliberalism at US universities
Electronic Intifada: 2 Sep 2014 - University boss Phyllis Wise sits on the board of Nike, a firm that does business with West Bank settlement firms
Haj Sami Sadeq and the struggle for Al Aqaba
Palestine Monitor: 28 Jan 2013 -   Al Aqaba is a small Palestinian village located in the northern Jordan Valley, home to around 300 residents. Since 1999 Haj Sami Sadeq has been the mayor of this town, facing a constant struggle...
Nearly ten years after store closures, old city of Hebron still suffering
Palestine Monitor: 28 Jan 2013 -   This report is the second in a new Palestine Monitor series on life in the Old City of Hebron (known in Arabic as Khalil). The Palestine Monitor will publish one report a week on...
What the Palestinians ‘Need to Understand’
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Sep 2014 - By Jeremy Salt Zeev Sternhell is an Israeli academic who describes himself as a ‘super Zionist’ but still argues strongly for a two-state settlement with the Palestinians. In a recent interview with Gidi Weitz of Ha’aretz he argued that if one state ever arose between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river, ‘there will either be a devastating civil war or an apartheid state. In both cases the Zionist state as I understand it and want it will not exist. There will be something else here. My only consolation is that I will not be around to see it.’ Born in Poland in 1935, Sternhell came to Israel in 1951 as a boy of 16. He fought in the Golani Brigade during Israel’s attack on Egypt in 1956 and served as a reserve officer in three other wars, 1967, 1973 and Israel’s onslaught on Lebanon in 2006. In 2008 he won...
Who Won the War on Gaza?
Palestine Chronicle: 30 Aug 2014 - By Samah Sabawi The Palestinian people, who have shown incredible patience, steadfastness and sacrifice in the pursuit of their freedom, won the war on Gaza Robust and complex discussions are being centred on one simple question: who can claim victory in the war on Gaza? The terms of the ceasefire reveal that neither Hamas nor Israel got what they wanted. So how much was lost and how much was gained and who – if anyone – has emerged a winner? Hamas was able to establish deterrence, displaying an incredible level of resilience and strength, even when equipped with primitive weapons. It was able to force Israel to agree to ease the siege by allowing for the easier flow of goods, humanitarian aid and reconstruction equipment, narrowing its security buffer zone to allow Palestinians more access to their farmland, and extending the fishing limit off Gaza’s coast to 9.6 km. Egypt...
Palestinian Message to Israel: Deal with Us Justly. Or Disappear
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Aug 2014 - By Jeff Halper Until Operation Protective Edge, most of the “messaging” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, certainly that which broke through the mainstream media, came from the Israeli side. Since Zionism’s official beginnings in Palestine some 110 years ago, the Jewish community, whether the pre-state Yishuv or constituted as the state of Israel, never took the Palestinians seriously. They were dark-skinned “natives” wrapped sinisterly in kafiyas, fedayeen or terrorists without names, history or humanity, an existential threat subsumed under the rubric “Arabs.” In 1967, when Israel finally came face to face with an organized, visible, politically aware Palestinian society, the idea of talking to them did not even occur to Israel’s leaders. They preferred to take what land and resources they wanted from the West Bank and “return” its Palestinian population to Jordan. (No one until this day in Israel has the faintest idea what to do with Gaza, except isolate...
Gaza’s Pyrrhic Victory is a Lesson for the Occupier
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Aug 2014 - By Tariq Shadid Among Palestinians, many consider the recent cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians to be a victory for the resistance. For those looking on from the outside, this response may be quite puzzling. How can a people claim victory when 2145 of their citizens have lost their lives under Israeli shelling and bombing, the vast majority of them civilians, and a staggering 578 among them children? Is this idea of ‘victory’ merely Hamas capitalizing on a cease-fire that suits it quite well, in order to increase its popularity? Is it the irrational response of a people traumatized by years of siege, and some of the most intense bombing of civilian areas history has ever seen, to an end to 50 days of hell on earth? Or is there more to it? To begin with, we must understand that the mood of today cannot be judged by the past...
Gaza Victory Moves Palestine Closer to Overcome Apartheid Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Aug 2014 - By Iqbal Jassat Finally what appears to be a long term truce agreed upon between Israel and Palestine’s resistance movements, Gaza is able to celebrate victoriously. The Netanyahu regime will claim that Hamas has been defeated and dismiss scenes of jubilation throughout the Gaza Strip as a bizarre display. In fact in the hours following the announcement of a ceasefire, Israeli spokespersons seem to have disappeared from the screens of international TV broadcasters. And when Mark Regev finally made an appearance, he was uncharacteristically subdued though still insisting that Israel had won. But did they really win? There can only be one yardstick by which to measure Israel’s claim of victory: the goals it set for justifying relentless savagery. These were to stop Hamas’ capacity to launch rockets; destroy Hamas’ tunnel networks; destroy all of its rocket arsenal; liquidate Hamas’ leadership; cause population of Gaza to rebel against Hamas; sabotage...
Flying Out of Our Cages
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Aug 2014 - By Samah Jabr “I used to fly, but you broke my wings and locked me back in my cage.” This was the reproach of a patient who had just recovered from a manic episode during which he had jumped from the top of the 13-foot-high Israeli separation wall and broken both legs. His mania had been a temporary release from the social inhibitions, economic frustrations and political obstructions symbolized by the wall itself. The pills I had given him ended his colorful euphoric experience and thrust him back into a gloomy reality. No wonder he was dissatisfied with my interventions! In a two-week period in May, seven murders were committed in Palestine. The victims were women, children and a mentally retarded youth. In my capacity as a psychiatrist, I have interviewed some of the accused perpetrators. To my surprise, they do not resemble the antisocial psychopaths who typically commit such ugly...

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