USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Archive for December, 2006

BBC: More Palestinians killed in 2006 than 2005

Posted by uscsjp on December 30, 2006

Palestinian militant killed by Israeli forces in wheeled into hospital in the West Bank

About half of those killed by Israeli forces were not involved in hostilities

Israeli security forces killed 660 Palestinians in 2006 – three times more than in 2005, according to an Israeli human rights group. B’Tselem, which monitors human rights in the occupied territories, said the figure included 141 children.

At least 322 had taken no part in hostile acts, the group said.

In the same period, the number of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis has fallen – 23 Israelis were killed in 2006 compared with 50 last year.

The Israeli military renewed ground operations in the Gaza Strip after militants captured an Israeli soldier in a border raid in June.

Since June, Israeli troops have killed about 405 Palestinians in Gaza, including 88 children. More than half of the casualties were civilians, B’Tselem said.

As of November, 9,075 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails. This number included 345 minors, it said.

Of these, 738 (22 minors) were being detained without trial and without knowing the charges against them, the group said.

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BBC: Israel approves new West Bank settlement

Posted by uscsjp on December 30, 2006

map

Israel has approved the construction of a new settlement in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials have said. The defence ministry said 30 houses would be built in the settlement for families moved from the Gaza Strip.

It marks the first time since 1992 that Israel has approved a new settlement, rather than expanding existing ones, an Israeli settlement watchdog said.

Settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law, although Israel rejects this.

Palestinian condemnation

The construction of the Maskiot settlement in the West Bank’s northern Jordan Valley will begin within weeks, Israeli officials said.

It will house families who were moved from the Gaza Strip when Israeli troops and settlers left in 2005, they said.

Israel’s Peace Now group – whose members monitor Israeli settlements in the West Bank – said it would be the first such settlement since 1992.

The Israeli decision was denounced by Palestinian officials, who said it violated the US-backed “road map” peace plan for the region.

“We condemn this act and this decision especially as it comes after the Israeli side committed itself to stop all unilateral actions,” Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told AFP news agency.

Under the road map, Israel committed to freezing all settlement expansion in the occupied territories, while the Palestinians pledged to crack down on militants.

There are approximately 450,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

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EI’s Ali Abunimah on Jimmy Carter’s book

Posted by uscsjp on December 27, 2006

President Carter has done what few American politicians have dared to do: speak frankly about the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has done this nation, and the cause of peace, an enormous service by focusing attention on what he calls “the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine’s citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank.”

The 39th president of the United States, the most successful Arab-Israeli peace negotiator to date, has braved a storm of criticism, including the insinuation from the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League that his arguments are anti-Semitic.

Mr. Carter has tried to mollify critics by suggesting that his is not a commentary on Israeli policy inside Israel’s own borders, as compared with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — territories Israel occupied in 1967. He told NPR, “I know that Israel is a wonderful democracy with equal treatment of all citizens whether Arab or Jew. And so I very carefully avoided talking about anything inside Israel.”

Given the pressure he has faced, it may be understandable that Mr. Carter says this, but he is wrong. In addition to nearly four million Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the occupied territories, another one million live inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. These Palestinians are descendants of those who were not forced out or did not flee when Israel was created in 1948.

They have nominal Israeli citizenship, and unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa, they do vote for the country’s parliament. Yet this is where any sense of equality ends. In Israel’s history, no Arab-led party has ever been asked to join a coalition government. And, among scores of Jewish ministers, there has only ever been one Arab minister, of junior rank.

Discrimination against non-Jewish citizens both informal and legalized is systematic. Non-Jewish children attend separate schools and live in areas that receive a fraction of the funding of their Jewish counterparts. The results can be seen in the much poorer educational attainment, economic, health and life outcomes of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Much of the land of the country, controlled by the quasi-governmental Jewish National Fund, cannot be leased or sold to non-Jews. This is similar in effect to the restrictive covenants that in many U.S. cities once kept nonwhites out of certain neighborhoods.

A 2003 law stipulates that an Israeli citizen may bring a non-citizen spouse to live in Israel from anywhere in the world, excluding a Palestinian from the occupied territories. A civil rights leader in Israel likened it to the American anti-miscegenation measures from the 1950s, when mixed race couples had to leave the state of Virginia to marry legally.

For Palestinians, the most blatant form of discrimination is Israel’s “Law of Return,” that allows a Jewish person from any country to settle in Israel. Meanwhile, family members of Palestinian citizens of Israel, living in exile, sometimes in refugee camps just a few miles outside Israel’s borders, are not permitted to set foot in the country.

The rise of Avigdor Lieberman, the new deputy prime minister, who openly advocates stripping Palestinians in Israel of citizenship and transferring them outside the state, reflects increasingly extremist politics. In response to growing discrimination, leaders of Palestinians inside Israel recently issued a report, “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel.” It calls for Israel to become a state where all citizens and communities have equal rights, regardless of religion. Many Israeli commentators reacted angrily, calling the initiative an attempt to dismantle Israel as a “Jewish state.” However, even if Mr. Carter’s recommendations are implemented, and Israel withdraws from the territories occupied in 1967, the struggle over the legitimacy of a state that privileges one ethno- religious group at the expense of another will not disappear.

As other divided societies, like South Africa, Northern Ireland and indeed our own are painfully learning, only equal rights and esteem for all the people, in the diversity of their identities, can bring lasting peace. This is an even harder discussion than the one President Carter has courageously launched, but ultimately it is one we must confront if peace is to come to Israel-Palestine.

Ali Abunimah is the author of “One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse” (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

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BBC: Israel to resume strikes

Posted by uscsjp on December 27, 2006

Wounded Israeli boy in Sderot

The decision came after a rocket attack injured two Israeli boys

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered a resumption of military strikes against Palestinian militants firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. Mr Olmert said troops had been instructed to “take pinpoint action against rocket-launching squads” after two Israeli boys were hurt in a strike.

But he said Israel would continue to maintain the month-long ceasefire that halted fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-led Palestinian government, also said the truce remained intact.

“We believe this agreement is still alive and both sides should respect it,” Ghazi Hamad said.

Rocket attacks

The international community has urged Mr Olmert to keep the ceasefire alive, but he has come under growing domestic pressure to respond to the rocket attacks, which have been increasing.

The Israeli military said seven rockets in all were fired on Tuesday, one of which seriously injured two teenage boys in Sderot.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said it carried out the attack in retaliation for recent Israeli military raids in the West Bank.

The 26 November truce was called to halt five months of violence that began after militants killed two Israeli soldiers and captured another in an attack on an army post.

Since then, more than 60 rockets have been fired into Israel, the Israeli military says. Israel has killed more than a dozen Palestinians, mainly gunmen in the West Bank.

Israel would “work with the Palestinian Authority so that immediate steps are taken to halt the Qassam (rocket) firings”, Mr Olmert said in a statement after a meeting with security chiefs.

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Trailer for Dylan Bergeson’s Documentary: “This Body is a Prison”

Posted by uscsjp on December 21, 2006

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7329325116833465463&hl=en

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BBC: Outrage over killing of Gaza boys

Posted by uscsjp on December 13, 2006

Palestinian security officers inspect the car hit in the attack

The car was reportedly hit by more than 70 bullets

The killing of three sons of a top intelligence officer in Gaza has caused widespread outrage among Palestinians. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the attack by gunmen in Gaza City was “an ugly and inhuman crime”.

“Words stop at the extent of this crime,” said the children’s father, Baha Balusheh, who is linked to Mr Abbas’s Fatah party.

The gunmen fired dozens of bullets at the car in which the children, aged six to 10, were travelling to school.

An adult was also killed in the attack which took place in a street crowded with children.

I am a father who has lost his children… This crime is a part of the terrorism which continues on Palestinian streets

Baha Balousheh

So far, no-one has admitted carrying out the drive-by shooting.

The motive also remains unclear but Mr Balousheh’s position means he would have made many enemies, the BBC’s Alan Johnston in Gaza says.

Mr Balousheh led a crackdown on the now-ruling Hamas movement 10 years ago.

“I am a father who has lost his children… This crime is a part of the terrorism which continues on Palestinian streets,” said Mr Balousheh who was not travelling in the car at the time.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned the killings as an “awful, ugly crime against innocent children”.

The attack comes amid growing tension between the rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah.

It is bound to inflame the situation, the BBC’s Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says.

The clear danger is that political differences will lead to an escalation of tit-for-tat violence, he says.

On Sunday, gunmen shot at Interior Minister Saeed Seyam’s convoy in Gaza. Mr Seyam, who is a senior Hamas leader, was unharmed in that incident.

Pandemonium

The attack happened as children were arriving at nine schools which line Palestine Street in Gaza City’s central Rimal district.

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The gunmen fired more than 70 bullets at the vehicle in which Mr Balousheh’s children were travelling. At least two other children were hurt.

Inside the vehicle with its blacked out passenger windows, the seats and a school bag were covered in blood.

There was pandemonium as hundreds of people ran for cover from the gunfire, with many young children being separated from parents and siblings.

Fadwa Nabulsi, 12, said she was outside a school with her nine-year-old brother, Wael, when the shooting started.

“We saw fire coming from one car. We started screaming and children started running. I was crying, and I lost Wael for about half an hour,” she told Associated Press news agency.

A funeral procession for the children was held at midday, with thousands of people marching through the streets, including hundreds of pro-Fatah security officers, many of whom fired into the air.

Political stand-off

Mr Balousheh is considered a leading enemy of Hamas. He was the main interrogator of Hamas members during the 1990s crackdown on the Islamist movement. (continued)

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Picture Balata: A photography workshop

Posted by uscsjp on December 6, 2006

full link: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6067.shtml

Workshop participants, clockwise from top left: Ala’, Hadil, Do’a, Safaa, Tahreer, Sabreen, Taha, Fadi, and Mohamed

Outside the West Bank City of Nablus lies the Balata Refugee Camp. Home to almost 25,000 residents living on less than one square kilometer, Balata is the most densely populated refugee camp within the West Bank. In recent years Balata has seen hundreds of deaths and arrests, dozens of home demolitions and the camp is subject to near nightly invasions by the Israeli army. It is here that the Picture Balata workshop was started to teach youth from the camp about photography.

Picture Balata puts the camera into the hands of the children born and raised inside the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. Participants ranging from ages 11 to 18 photograph their situation as they live it in Balata Refugee Camp.

Workshop Participants

Ala’, Age 14

I know about the lives of children outside from television mostly. I
know that they have rights that we don’t have. They have better lives.
While we play football or hide and go seek in the streets the Army
will come into the camp… I hope my photos can teach people outside
something about our situation.

Do’a, Age 11

I am not a terrorist I am a Palestinian. People think that we are
doing bad things to the Israelis, but it is the opposite. They are
controlling our lives, not the other way around. It’s important for
people outside Palestine to know about our situation here. They must
know about the lives of the children.

(continued . . .)

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