USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

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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