USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for November, 2006

Record numbers of Palestinian children killed and injured in 2006

Posted by uscsjp on November 11, 2006

UN: IDF killed 116 children in 2006


UNICEF says 17 children killed in Gaza, and 2 in West Bank so far in November, 40 killed in July

Associated Press Published: 11.10.06, 16:43

“Nineteen Palestinian children have been killed in the past 10 days, making November already the second deadliest month of the year for young people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNICEF said Friday.

The UN children’s Fund said 17 have been killed in Gaza and two in the West Bank so far in November. Only July – when 40 children were killed – was worse, the agency said.

“What children and adolescents have endured the past few days will likely have a long-lasting impact,” UNICEF spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said in Geneva. “They have seen family members killed and their communities destroyed. They have been confined to their homes, in many cases without access to food, water or electricity.”

Israeli artillery shells ripped through a residential neighborhood Wednesday in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, killing at least 18 people , including eight children.

Bociurkiw estimated that more than 300 children have been injured this month by Israeli attacks. For the year, he said 116 Palestinian children have been killed, compared with only 52 last year.

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Noam Chomsky on Iran, Lebanon, and Latin America

Posted by uscsjp on November 6, 2006

Solution in Sight:

The urgency of halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and moving toward their elimination, could hardly be greater. Failure to do so is almost certain to lead to grim consequences, even the end of biology’s only experiment with higher intelligence. As threatening as the crisis is, the means exist to defuse it. A near-meltdown seems to be imminent over Iran and its nuclear programmes.

Before 1979, when the Shah was in power, Washington strongly supported these programmes. Today the standard claim is that Iran has no need for nuclear power, and therefore must be pursuing a secret weapons programme. “For a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources,” Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post last year.

Thirty years ago, however, when Kissinger was secretary of state for President Gerald Ford, he held that “introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran’s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals”. Last year Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post asked Kissinger about his reversal of opinion. Kissinger responded with his usual engaging frankness: “They were an allied country.”

On the US-Israeli Invasion of Lebanon:

Though there are many interacting factors, the immediate issue that lies behind the latest US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon remains, I believe, what it was in the four preceding invasions: the Israel-Palestine conflict. In the most important case, the devastating US-backed 1982 Israeli invasion was openly described in Israel as a war for the West Bank, undertaken to put an end to annoying PLO calls for a diplomatic settlement (with the secondary goal of imposing a client regime in Lebanon). There are numerous other illustrations. Despite the many differences in circumstances, the July 2006 invasion falls generally into the same pattern.

Among mainstream American critics of Bush administration policies, the favored version is that “We had always approached [conflict between Israel and its neighbors] in a balanced way, assuming that we could be the catalyst for an agreement,” but Bush II regrettably abandoned that neutral stance, causing great problems for the United States (Middle East specialist and former diplomat Edward Walker, a leading moderate). The actual record is quite different: For over 30 years, Washington has unilaterally barred a peaceful political settlement, with only slight and brief deviations.

Latin America Declares Independence:

Five centuries after the European conquests, Latin America is reasserting its independence.

In the southern cone especially, from Venezuela to Argentina, the region is rising to overthrow the legacy of external domination of the past centuries and the cruel and destructive social forms that they have helped to establish.

The mechanisms of imperial control – violence and economic warfare, hardly a distant memory in Latin America – are losing their effectiveness, a sign of the shift toward independence. Washington is now compelled to tolerate governments that in the past would have drawn intervention or reprisal.

Throughout the region a vibrant array of popular movements provide the basis for a meaningful democracy. The indigenous populations, as if in a rediscovery of their pre-Columbian legacy, are much more active and influential, particularly in Bolivia and Ecuador.

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Ha’aretz: 27 Palestinians, including 11 civilians, killed during weekend by IDF

Posted by uscsjp on November 6, 2006

A 12-year-old girl was killed Saturday evening by Israel Defense Forces sniper fire in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, bringing to 27 the Palestinian death toll in Gaza since the start of the weekend.

The IDF said that Isra Nasser, who died of head wounds, had been shot by a sniper targeting an armed militant, and expressed regret at the killing. At least 11 of the dead were civilians, and include two members of rescue crews.

IDF troops have been in Beit Hanun since Wednesday morning, in an operation aimed at halting Qassam rocket attacks on southern Israel. Nevertheless, Palestinian militants have continued to fire the homemade rockets, and seven hit the western Negev on Saturday evening. No injuries were reported, although a building in one of the local kibbutzim was lightly damaged…

Witnesses reported on Saturday morning that large military bulldozers began demolishing homes near a mosque that was the scene of a standoff on Friday. Witnesses said residents of the homes received no warning ahead of time and were seen running for safety…

By mid-morning Saturday, the army announced over loudspeakers that women were permitted to leave their homes for two hours to stock up on supplies. However, few shops were open, said resident Samia Adwan, 35, a secretary in the Palestinian Authority and a distant relative of the Hamas minister…

Iyad Nasser, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said he reached Beit Hanun on Friday evening to deliver supplies to the local hospital. “People stood at the doors [to their homes] and shouted they need water and food,” he said.

On Saturday morning, aid groups were permitted to deliver supplies to Beit Hanun, he said.

A senior Israeli military official confirmed that the Beit Hanun sweep was different from previous Israeli incursions into Gaza, which resumed after Shalit’s kidnapping by Hamas militants. In the past, he said, troops would largely stay on the outskirts of populated areas instead of operating house-to-house as in Beit Hanun.

The Palestinians appealed for international intervention to pressure Israel to halt the campaign…

Two killed in West Bank

In the West Bank, Palestinians said an elderly woman was killed during an IDF arrest raid in the town of Bethlehem on Friday morning. A Border Police officer was also wounded.

The woman, 65, was caught in a crossfire between militants holed up in a house and IDF soldiers surrounding the building, Palestinian witnesses said. Two other residents were wounded, they said.

The IDF said forces were operating in Bethlehem, but provided no other details.

Also Friday, IDF troops shot dead a Fatah militant in the West Bank who was apparently planning to detonate a car bomb.

Troops opened fire on two Palestinian men pulling barbed wire into a car at the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, killing one and wounding the other. The car was later found filled with tens of kilograms of explosives.

Israel arrested Palestinian Minister Abdel Rahman Zaidan, a Hamas official, at his home in the West Bank town of Ramallah before dawn Friday, Israel Radio quoted Israeli and Palestinian sources as saying. According to the report, Zaidan, the minister of housing and public works, is the tenth Palestinian minister to be arrested since Shalit was abducted. (full story)

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Citizens for Fair Legislation: US arming Fatah militias to overthrow democratically elected Hamas government

Posted by uscsjp on November 6, 2006

*The Israeli daily, Haaretz is reporting that the Bush administration has been arming and training Fatah militias under the control of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to prepare them for a civil war in the Palestinian territories against the democratically elected government.  Please take a moment to write to your representatives and demand that this country stop undermining efforts towards democracy in the Middle East.  Tell your representatives that in light of the horrific violence in Iraq that you are outraged that the U.S. would attempt to bring civil war to the Palestinian territories.

*Also, remind your representatives that the draconian measures that they are taking against the Palestinian government is only serving to punish the Palestinian people for doing precisely what the U.S. demanded of them, holding free elections under occupation.   The United Nations has issued reports stating that the Palestinian territories are in as dire of a situation as sub-Saharan Africa, withholding aid to the Palestinians in order to punish them for not voting for Fatah officials is immoral and a slap in the face to all people who stand for democracy.  Tell your representatives that you are outraged that the U.S. is playing politics with one of the poorest groups of people in the world. (continued… follow this link to send a message to Congress)

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Update on the Gaza crisis from physician Mona El-Farra

Posted by uscsjp on November 4, 2006

(Visit Mona El-Farra’s blog here.)

Wednesday, 1 November, 1.30 am

Khalil Hamad died waiting for a permit to go to the hospital!

Israeli occupying forces launched a massive attack against northern Gaza, focused on Beit Hanoun village. At the start of this assault, the village was placed under strict siege. Nobody was allowed in or out of Beit Hanoun.

At Al-Awda hospital, where 45 injured were admitted for treatment, and three dead bodies received, I was told by our emergency room staff that one of these dead could have been saved easily.

While bleeding and suffering from multiple injuries, Mr. Khalil Hamad had to wait for special arrangements and an army permit to transfer him via the Red Cross from outside the village to the nearest hospital (Al-Awda), five minutes away from the scene. Mr. Hamad bled to death before he arrived at our hospital.

A few minutes means a lot in the ER room in such cases, not to mention that he was left to die on purpose.

Speaking of war crimes and Geneva conventions, human rights violations etc. etc., this frank violation of human rights is the normal attitude and practice of the Israeli army in Palestine.

Thursday, 2 November

The ambulances were not allowed to enter the village, but they managed to evacuate a few casualities on the outskirts while working under heavy fire. Some cases arrived at the hospital where they were operated upon; others were referred to the Central Gaza Ashifa Hospital.

I was told by the surgeons that the injuries were all serious — to the neck, abdomen, head, and lower extremities — and were caused by large-sized bullets.

Friday, 3 November, 10 am

The 14 beds in ER were not sufficient to receive the injured. A protest ensued by the village women determined to break the siege and free their men who were confined by the army inside one of the village mosques. The women demonstrated and managed to give free passage to the men inside the mosque. At least 15 injured women were received in the Al-Awda Hospital, but two were shot dead by the Israeli army.

This morning I visited some of the women inside the hospital. They were still in a state of shock, and deserve love, respect and quality medical care.

This is the Palestinian woman. She has always been an active part of resisting the occupation, and will continue to pay the price of striving towards freedom.

Death toll stands at 25 with 115 Injured — many of them women and children under 16.

The operation is continuing and may extend to different areas. The streets of Gaza are full of demonstrators.

Mona Elfarra, MECA Director of Gaza Projects, is a doctor, mother and activist working at Al Awda Hospital in Gaza City. She is a member of the Union of Health Work Committees and a membeer of the board of directors of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip. She will continue future updates on her blog, http://fromgaza.blogspot.com/

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Ramzy Baroud: Palestine as a foil for people’s unconnected dreams

Posted by uscsjp on November 4, 2006

Thousands of people recently marched in London to commemorate Quds Day, an annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people that emanated from Tehran some 26 years ago.

I neither wish to contend nor corroborate the sincerity of the call, made by Ayatollah Khomeini, in a time when the Palestinian people endure, unaided, the unbearable brunt of the Israeli occupation, international isolation and its subsequent economic boycott, and the burden of their leaderships’ own folly, that of factionalism and lack of political coherence.

However, the scene in London was too surreal, and brought into question the usefulness of such displays of solidarity with the Palestinians. As Hezbollah and Iranian flags and banners wavered in the cold London breeze, and posters of Iranian leaders sprung everywhere, I failed to spot one Palestinian flag, one positive message, one helpful chant. It was only when the black clad Neturei Karta rabbis made their entrance that the Palestinian flag was introduced into the march…

As for Palestine the reality — the suffering, the loss, the hopelessness and hurt, the refugee camps, the checkpoints, the expanding settlements, the encroaching Israeli wall, the ruined lives, the packed prisons, the anger and prevailing sense of betrayal, the desperation and human bombs, the shattered economy, the bulldozed orchards, the more than 50 years-long fear of the future — it seems to be the least relevant point.

Symbolic Palestine — Palestine the dream — has for long hijacked Palestine the reality. Thus when Palestine is discussed, examined and scrutinized, the frame of reference is hardly the one invoked when any other similar conflict is discussed. Its resolution is rarely seen pertinent to international law or human rights edicts and is barely understood — as it should be — in terms of power and strategy. Rather it’s a subject of flared imaginations, religious fantasy and fictitious constructs.

One cannot and must not undermine the efforts of the inspiring activists whose awareness of the Palestinian reality on the ground is unmatched and whose sincere efforts to achieve peace with justice in Palestine translate to more than a few heart-rending words and phrases, but steady action and unequaled readiness to labor and even sacrifice for their beliefs.

However, it’s this wrestle between the real as opposed to figurative and abstract awareness that shall define the course of action that is likely to follow.

If Palestine continues to be understood — or misunderstood — outside its proper frame as a national struggle for rights within the appropriately corresponding international context, then little can be expected from any attempts to remedy its ailments.

It is time to distance Palestine from further interpretations and understand it as it is. Otherwise, Palestine, its people and conflict shall be confined to the ever-augmented edifices of rhetoric with no connection to the real aspirations of a real people with real demands, awaiting justice and a moment of peace. (full story)

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