USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for July, 2010

Negev Demolitions and Hamas Recruitment

Posted by uscsjp on July 29, 2010

First, the latest from Democracy Now!:

“Israel Refuses to Pay Medical Bills for Emily Henochowicz

The Israeli government is refusing to pay the medical bills of Emily Henochowicz, the American student who lost her eye in May after being shot in the face by an Israeli tear gas canister. The twenty-one-year-old student was shot while taking part in a protest in the West Bank against Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. Her medical treatment in Israel cost $3,700. But Israel has refused to pay, claiming that she was not intentionally shot. In a statement issued Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Ministry said Henochowicz, who also holds Israeli citizenship, endangered herself by participating in the demonstration.

Israel Demolishes Bedouin Village in Negev Desert

In other news from Israel, around 300 Bedouin Palestinians living in Israel’s Negev Desert have become homeless after police demolished their entire village. 1,500 Israeli police arrived at the village of al-Araqib. Within hours, the entire village of forty to forty-five homes was completely razed. The village head, Sheikh Siyah al-Turi, said, ‘They destroyed our homes. They uprooted our trees. They took our generators, our cars and our tractors. There is nothing left. It’s as though we were never here.’ Israel defended the demolitions, saying the homes were built illegally.

Peace Activist Art Gish, 70, Dies

And the longtime peace activist Art Gish has died at the age of seventy after a tractor accident on his farm in Ohio. He had been a longtime member of the Christian Peacemaker Team and made yearly visits to Hebron in the occupied West Bank to monitor settler violence and Israeli home demolitions. I interviewed Art Gish, along with his wife Peggy, last year.

Art Gish: ‘Christian Peacemaker Teams came out of the peace churches, the Quakers, the Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren, out of the idea that if we’re really serious about peace, we ought to be willing to take the same risks as soldiers take and go into a nonviolent—into violent situations and be a nonviolent presence there. What if people who want peace made the same kind of commitment that soldiers make?’

Amy Goodman: ‘What do you mean?’

Art Gish: ‘That we go there, and we take risks, and we stand in the middle, and we work for peace in there.’

–Democracy Now, 29 July, 2010

Apparently in Israel Razing a Village Does Not Constitute Violence:

Hamas leader says group considering Gaza draft

By IBRAHIM BARZAK (AP) – 2 days ago

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The top security official in Hamas-ruled Gaza said Tuesday he is considering setting up a bigger military force, first with volunteers and eventually with conscripts as well.

Such a step could further tighten Hamas’ control of Gaza and deepen the rift with the group’s Western-backed rivals in the West Bank. Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007, wresting control from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Currently, Hamas has a paid security force of about 18,000.

Interior Minister Fathi Hamad raised the idea of a broad-based force during the inauguration Tuesday of a new police building. He said his ministry is ‘open to the idea of voluntary recruitment and then going to conscription.’ He gave no details.

Hamad’s spokesman, Ehab Ghussein, said the ministry is currently looking only at voluntary recruitment, not at a possible draft, and that the final decision would be up to the Hamas government. ‘We deny that the Interior Ministry will impose a draft’ on the residents of Gaza, Ghussein said in a statement.

A security official in Gaza said conscription would be too expensive because of the large number of potential recruits. More than half of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are under age 18.

However, joining the security services for a limited period, with minimal pay and on a voluntary basis could benefit some of Gaza’s young men, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters.

About one-third of the labor force is unemployed. Such a system would also give Hamas direct access to a wider segment of the population.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli authorities demolished a Bedouin village in the southern Negev desert. The village was built on land residents identify as their property but which Israel’s government says is owned by the state. Of the some 160,000 Bedouin Arabs living in Israel’s south, about half live in such unrecognized villages, usually in hastily erected metal shacks and tents.

Yeela Raanan, an activist with an organization working for the Bedouin villagers, said more than 1,000 police arrived at dawn with bulldozers and knocked down the 35 homes that had made up the village of al-Arakib. While demolitions are common, she said there had not been one of similar scale in several years.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the demolitions were carried out after a court process lasting over a decade. There was no violence and no one was hurt, he said.

But Izzat Rashaq, a Damascus-based leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas, urged Israeli Arabs to carry out a ‘mass uprising’ to confront the Israeli plans that ‘aim at destroying Palestinian villages in the Negev.’

Associated Press Writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Matti Friedman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.”

Associated Press, 27 July, 2010


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“Palestinian Guilty of Rape after Consensual Sex with Israeli Jew”

Posted by uscsjp on July 21, 2010

From Democracy Now!

“The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports a Palestinian man has been convicted of rape after having consensual sex with an Israeli woman who had believed him to be a fellow Jew.
Sabbar Kashur was sentenced to eighteen months in prison after the court ruled that he was guilty of rape by deception because he had posed as a Jewish bachelor. When the woman later found out he was Palestinian, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault, alleging that she would not have consented if she had not believed he was Jewish…”

–Democracy Now!, 21 July, 2010

See also the Following Coverage from Ha’aretz

“Jurists say Arab’s rape conviction sets dangerous precedent

Sabbar Kashur, 30, had consensual sex with a woman after he posed as a Jewish bachelor interested in a long-term relationship.

By Tomer Zarchin

Lawyers for the Arab man convicted of rape by deception and sentenced to 18 months in prison, say they are considering an appeal to the High Court of Justice.

Sabbar Kashur, 30, had consensual sex with a woman after he posed as a Jewish bachelor interested in a long-term relationship.

When the woman found Kashur was not a Jew but an Arab, she filed a police complaint that led to charges of rape and indecent assault.

‘If she hadn’t thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated,’ Judge Zvi Segal wrote in his verdict. Segal said the court had to protect the public from sophisticated criminals who could mislead innocent victims.

Kashur, married and the father of two small children, has been under house arrest for almost two years since the incident occured…”

–Ha’aretz, 21 July, 2010

Also, from The Guardian

“…Gideon Levy, a liberal Israeli commentator, was quoted as saying: ‘I would like to raise only one question with the judge. What if this guy had been a Jew who pretended to be a Muslim and had sex with a Muslim woman?

Would he have been convicted of rape? The answer is: of course not.’

Arabs constitute about 20% of Israel’s population, but relationships between Jews and Arabs are rare. There are few mixed neighbourhoods or towns, and Arabs suffer routine discrimination.

Israeli MPs are considering a law requiring prospective Israeli citizens to declare loyalty to Israel as a ‘Jewish, democratic state’. Many Arabs would balk at swearing allegiance to a state which they see as explicitly excluding or marginalising them.

Dan Meridor, a deputy prime minister in Binyamin Netanyahu’s government, is opposed to the proposal. ‘Why does every bill need the word “Jewish” in it – to show the Arab citizens that it doesn’t belong to them? Then we’re all shocked when they radicalise their stance.

‘The majority doesn’t need to remind the minority that it is in fact a minority all the time,’ he added…”

–The Guardian, 21 July, 2010

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Netanyahu’s Embarassing Tape

Posted by uscsjp on July 20, 2010

From Democracy Now!:
“Netanyahu in 2001: US “Won’t Get in the Way” of Israeli Expansionism

A newly revealed tape shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once openly discussed his intent to attack the Palestinian government, undermine the Oslo peace accords, and manipulate the United States to ensure its approval. The 2001 recording shows Netanyahu meeting with Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu was then out of government after serving his first stint in office. Apparently unaware he was being recorded, Netanyahu talks openly of a ‘broad attack’ on the Palestinian government, saying, ‘The main thing, first of all, is to hit them. Not just one blow, but blows that are so painful that the price will be too heavy to be borne.’ Netanyahu also outlines how he would undermine the 1993 Oslo accords, he said, which established the basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, by declaring any West Bank land that Israel wants to retain as ‘military’ and ‘security zones.’ Addressing potential US opposition to Israeli expansionism, Netanyahu says, ‘I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in the way.'”

–Democracy Now!, 19 July, 2010

And from CounterPunch:

Netanyahu: I Deceived the US to Destroy Oslo Accords


“There is one video Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, must be praying never gets posted on YouTube with English subtitles. To date, the 10-minute segment has been broadcast only in Hebrew on Israel’s Channel 10.

Its contents, however, threaten to gravely embarrass not only  Netanyahu but also the US administration of Barack Obama…”

–CounterPunch, 19 July, 2010

And in other news, See the Electronic Intifada:

Fadlallah and the Western media’s dangerous complicity
Matthew Cassel, The Electronic Intifada, 14 July 2010

“There is a lot to say about Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the Lebanese Shia Muslim cleric who passed away on 4 July 2010 at the age of 75. Unfortunately, much of what there is to say is being left unsaid for more of the same sensationalist reporting on this region and its people.

Fadlallah was a progressive Shia cleric, known for his defense of armed resistance and women’s rights. He was outspoken against Israel’s 22 year occupation of south Lebanon and cheered attacks against it. In 1985 the CIA is thought to have been behind a massive car bomb that attempted to take his life — it missed the Ayatollah killing 80 other Lebanese civilians and injured hundreds more. However, his support for resistance didn’t end with the Israeli invaders; Ayatollah Fadlallah also said that women have the right to use violence to resist domestic abuse…”

–The Electronic Intifada, 14 July, 2010

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Israel: Flotilla Attack Justified

Posted by uscsjp on July 13, 2010

Israeli Military Probe Says Attack on Gaza Flotilla Was Justified

“An Israeli military probe into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla has justified the killings of eight Turks and one American citizen on board. The men were killed when Israeli commandos opened fire after raiding the Mavi Marmara in international waters. No Israeli officers were singled out in the report for disciplinary action even though video has emerged that shows Israeli commandos executing a passenger aboard the boat. Retired Israeli Army General Giora Eiland authored the report.

Giora Eiland: ‘In this inquiry we found that there were some professional mistakes regarding both the intelligence and the decision-making process in some of the operational mistakes. But also we did find some…very positive findings and one of them that should be emphasized is the very professional and courageous way that the Israeli commando behaved on this ship because they found themselves in a real, immediate danger to their lives.’

IHH, the Turkish group which organized the flotilla, criticized the report’s conclusions, particularly the claim that the Israeli army was justified in using live ammunition.

Arab-Israeli Faces Five Months in Jail For Sailing on Gaza Flotilla

An Israeli court has sentenced Sheikh Raed Salah to five months in prison for being aboard the Gaza aid flotilla. Salah is an influential leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel…”

–13 July, 2010

California dockworkers reject meeting with Israeli consul

“Two weeks after the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in the San Francisco Bay Area joined with activists at the Port of Oakland to block the unloading of an Israeli Zim Lines cargo ship, the union reaffirmed its support of Palestinian rights despite pressure from the Israeli consulate and the Zionist-Israeli organization Stand With Us.

On 6 July, a group representing the Israeli consulate and Stand With Us attempted to pressure the ILWU Local 10 into withdrawing its protest of Israel’s 31 May attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and its condemnation of the Gaza siege and wall in the West Bank. The groups had asked to address the ILWU Local 10’s Executive Board at their regular meeting.

However, the local union members were not easily persuaded, and denied permission for the Israeli delegation to attend their meeting, according to a press release issued by Labor for Palestine (US)..”

–Report, The Electronic Intifada, 9 July 2010

Also from The Electronic Intifada

Boycott, divestment and sanctions in Australia, five years on

The deceptive rhetoric of “Invest for Peace”

Finally, an Interesting Old CounterPunch Piece in Light of the Recent Flotilla Attack

Rockets, Napalm, Torpedoes & Lies

Israel’s Attack on the Liberty, Revisited

“In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel’s attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship.

Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel.

A few hours later more planes came. These were Israeli Mirage III fighters, armed with rockets and machine guns. As off-duty officers sunbathed on the deck, the fighters opened fire on the defenseless ship with rockets and machine guns.

A few minutes later a second wave of planes streaked overhead, French-built Mystere jets, which not only pelted the ship with gunfire but also with napalm bomblets, coating the deck with the flaming jelly. By now, the Liberty was on fire and dozens were wounded and killed, excluding several of the ship’s top officers…”

–Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch, 24 October, 2003

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