February 2013

February 27, 2013

EDITOR: Thieves in the night…

Under the cover of (media) darkness, Israel has expelled over 1000 migrants to Sudan, sending many of them to their deaths. Well, they are not Jewish, after all, so that’s OK. That is how the racist state treats human right of non-Jews. Of course, they could not possibly do this openly, as it is illegal under international law.

UN demands Israeli explanation over secret deportation of Sudanese migrants: Haaretz

Israeli human rights activists and politicians blast deportation as immoral and in violation basic obligations under international law; no response has yet been received from Netanyahu or Interior Minister Yishai.

By  | Feb.27, 2013 | 12:01 PM |  15

Sudanese migrants protesting last year against Israel’s plan to repatriate them.

Sudanese migrants protesting last year against Israel’s plan to repatriate them. Photo by Daniel Bar-On

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has demanded Israel to provide an explanation for the secret deportation of more than 1,000 Sudanesemigrants via a third country.

A Haaretz story on the practice on Tuesday drew an outcry among human rights activists and politicians, with Labor leader Shelly Yacimovichdescribing the deportations as “immoral” and MK Dov Khenin of Hadash calling for them to be halted immediately.

Khenin also asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to investigate who ordered the repatriation in the first place.

Sudan defines Israel as an enemy country and has warned that it will punish any of its citizens who set foot here. Consequently, human rights groups said, the deportation constitutes a violation of Israel’s most basic obligations under international law.

“The ease with which the State of Israel is willing to force people to return to a place where their lives are in danger, even if this danger arises only because they were in Israel, is worrying, and shows that we have become a society that sanctifies Jewish demography and gives it priority over humanistic Jewish values,” said Reut Michaeli, executive director of the Hotline for Migrant Workers.

While the state claims that all those deported left voluntarily, aid groups say the deportees were coerced by the threat that if they didn’t go, they could be jailed for years under a recent amendment to the Infiltration Law.

Sudanese migrants “who hear from government representatives that the law enables them to be held in prison forever without trial, and without their being able to apply for refugee status, despair,” said Michaeli. “They are even willing to endanger their lives to gain a slim chance at freedom.”

Shahar Shoham, who heads the migrants department of Physicians for Human Rights, agreed that the deportees could not really be said to have acted out of their own free will.

“At our open clinic, we treat many who report daily anxiety, fear of walking down the street and suicidal thoughts,” she said. “Is this free choice? And more than that, is this the treatment and protection we as a state give to victims of torture, human trafficking and persecution?”

Israel attempted to protect the deportees by deporting them via a third country to conceal the fact that they came from Israel, but the deportation took place without the knowledge or supervision of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“In deporting [people] to Sudan, Israel has crossed a red line and is not only violating its most basic obligation under international law, but demonstrating cruelty, hardheartedness and indifference to the fate of human beings,” Assaf, the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, said in a statement.

Haaretz, which first broke the story, has repeatedly tried to obtain a response from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, but his office again refused to comment Tuesday. As of press time, no response had been received from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On assailed Weinstein. “The attorney general is responsible for the fact that Israel’s government is acting contrary to the rule of law,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Yacimovich said Israel should be helping asylum seekers, not sending them back. “The Jewish nation is well-versed in persecution and pogroms, so we have a special obligation to extend aid to refugees from genocide,” she said.

Israel secretly repatriated 1,000 to Sudan, without informing UN: Haaretz

Though Israel claims the people’s return was voluntary, this claim was rejected by UNHCR, which says there is no ‘free will from inside a prison.’

By  | Feb.26, 2013 | 4:31 AM |  42

Migrants detained on the Israeli-Egyptian border.

Migrants detained on the Israeli-Egyptian border. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

Tomer Appelbaum

Tel Aviv residents demonstrating in support of the migrant community. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

Reuters

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.Photo by Reuters

Israel has “voluntarily” returned at least 1,000 people to Sudan, an enemy country that has vowed to punish any of its citizens who ever set foot in Israel. The repatriation was done secretly, via a third country, over the last few months, without the knowledge of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Haaretz knows the name of the third country, but is withholding it to avoid harming those who returned via this route.

Though Israel claims the people’s return was voluntary, this claim was rejected by UNHCR, which says there is no “free will from inside a prison.”

Under a recent amendment to Israel’s infiltration law, asylum seekers can be jailed for years without trial. Testimony from within prisons indicates that detainees were also denied access to UNHCR, in violation of the UN convention on the status of refugees, which Israel has signed.

All the Sudanese who left “voluntarily” already had Sudanese passports: Since their presence here was being kept secret, Israel couldn’t coordinate their departure with Sudan. An official source said Israel paid for their plane tickets.

In the past, the state has said in court that Israel doesn’t deport Sudanese nationals, because “Sudan and Israel are enemy states, such that a Sudanese national who has set foot in Israel can’t return to his country for fear of his life, or so he claims.” This is in contrast to residents of South Sudan, with which Israel does have relations, and to which it began repatriating people after the country gained its independence from Sudan in 2011.

Aside from the fact that Israel and Sudan are enemies, Sudanese law explicitly forbids its citizens to enter Israel. Its passports even state that they are valid for entry to every country except Israel.

Senior Sudanese officials have also made public threats against Sudanese nationals who fled to Israel. In July 2007, for instance, Sudan’s interior minister said that any Sudanese living in Israel would be punished. Shortly afterward, Sudan’s refugee commissioner accused Sudanese refugees in Israel of carrying out a “Zionist agenda” against Sudan, and urged the Egyptian authorities to punish Sudanese who try to enter Israel via Egypt.

In September 2007, Sudan’s foreign minister said that for a Sudanese to reside in Israel was a criminal offense.

The UN’s stance on the issue is also clear. Michael Bavli, UNHCR’s representative in Israel, warned the Population, Immigration and Border Authority that “deporting Sudanese to Sudan would be the gravest violation possible of the convention that Israel has signed – a crime never before committed.”

The UN refugee convention explicitly states that even someone who wasn’t a refugee when he first left his country can become one thereafter, if subsequent events – in this case, entering an enemy country – make it impossible for him to return to his country without risking his life.

Such people, known as “refugees sur place,” enjoy all the same protections under the convention as people who originally fled their country due to a “well-founded fear of persecution.”

This interpretation has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court. “All governmental powers – including the power to deport under the Entry into Israel Law – must be exercised on the basis of recognition ‘of the value of the human being, and the sanctity of his life and his freedom,'” wrote former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak in one verdict, quoting the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom. “This is the great principle of non-refoulement, under which a person cannot be deported to a place where his life or liberty would be in danger. This principle is enshrined in Article 33 of the refugee convention. It is part of the domestic legislation of many countries … This is a general principle that isn’t limited solely to ‘refugees.’ It applies in Israel to every governmental authority that deals with deporting someone from Israel.”

Harel Locker, director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, has also said previously that Sudanese nationals can’t be deported back to Sudan, though they could be deported to another country “that agreed to absorb them” and would “guarantee their safety.”

Aside from the fact that Sudan and Israel are enemy states, many of the Sudanese in Israel come from the province of Darfur, where they were victims of ethnic persecution and genocide by the regime. Due to these crimes, the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant on charges of genocide against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials.

Others come from other areas of Sudan, such as the Nuba Mountains or other parts of Kordofan, that have been subjected to brutal attack by the Sudanese government – including aerial bombing, the destruction of entire villages and mass arrests of hundreds of thousands of people – in an effort to suppress what the government terms rebellions. Still others fled Sudan due to religious or ethnic persecution.

The Population, Immigration and Border Authority (part of the Interior Ministry ) responded that “the government’s policy of not deporting north Sudanese has not changed.”

The Foreign Ministry said: “Since overall responsibility for this issue rests with the Population Authority, we are barred from commenting independently on this issue and refer you to the responsible party – that is, the Population Authority.”

The Justice Ministry declined to comment.

EDITOR: The apartheid pogroms go on, now in Jerusalem

A groups of Jewish youngsters has attacked and beat up an elderly Arab woman in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Kiryat Moshe, in broad daylight and in view of hundreds of people, including the security officers of the train service, who stood besides and smiled, doing nothing to stop the violence or arrest the perpetrators. This is the Jewish democracy at work. Unfortunately, I have this report only in Hebrew, as Maariv does not translate the news, and Haaretz found it acceptable not to translate or report in English.

תקרית אלימה בירושלים: צעירות יהודיות הכו ערבייה בתחנת רכבת:Haaretz

האישה עמדה בתחנה בשכונת קריית משה בבירה, כשלפתע החלו מספר צעירות שעברו במקום להכות אותה נמרצות ואף הסירו ממנה את כיסוי הראש. עדת ראייה סיפרה ל-nrg: “הצעירים היו שתויים והקב”ט צפה בתקרית בחיוך ולא התערב”

יוסי אלי | 26/2/2013 14:57הוסף תגובההדפס כתבהכתוב לעורךשלח לחברShare on facebookShare on twitter

תקיפות הערבים בבירה נמשכות: לטענת עוברי אורח, קבוצת נשים יהודיות תקפה אתמול (ב’) אישה ערבייה שעמדה בתחנת הרכבת הקלה בקריית משה בירושלים. לדברי העדים, האישה ניסתה להתנגד, אולם הצעירות תקפו אותה שוב ושוב ואף הצליחו להוריד ממנה את כיסוי הראש. בעקבות הפרסום ב-nrg מעריב, המשטרה פתחה בחקירת המקרה.

האישה נהדפת אל הקיר. היום

האישה נהדפת אל הקיר. היום צילום: דורית יורדן דותן

המקרה התרחש כאמור אתמול בסביבות השעה שלוש אחר הצהריים, כאשר לדברי עדת ראייה, צעירה דתייה שחלפה בתחנת הרכבת הקלה נתנה לפתע אגרוף לאישה שהמתינה במקום. לטענת העדה, חברותיה של היהודיה מיד חשו לעזרתה והחלו להכות אותה נמרצות ואף הדפו אותה לעבר קיר התחנה.

עדת ראייה שחלפה במקום ואף צילמה את הנעשה סיפרה ל-nrg מעריב: “היו שם בערך 100 חרדים ובחורי ישיבה שיצאו מהרכבת הקלה וראו אישה ערבייה עם גבר מבוגר, התפתח שם ויכוח וצעקות, ואני לא יודעת מה היה תוכן הדברים כולם התנפלו עליה”.

לדברי עדת הראייה,  פעילת השלום דורית יורדן דותן, קצין הביטחון של עיריית ירושלים,  שעובד בתוואי הרכבת הקלה, צפה באירוע ונראה מחייך. “זה היה פשוט נורא”, תיארה.

מעיריית ירושלים נמסר בתגובה כי “המקרה המדובר לא התרחש בתוך הרכבת אלא ברחוב. מאבטח של  הרכבת הקלה ששהה בסמוך דיווח מיידית על האירוע, שהסתיים תוך שניות ספורות”. עוד הוסיפו בעירייה כי “יש לפנות למשטרה בנושא”.

דותן סיפרה עוד כי כאשר הגיעה הרכבת לתחנה והחלה לנסוע, חבורת הצעירים עזבו את המקום. “האישה הערבייה הייתה נרגשת מאוד”, ציינה. “הצעירים שתו הרבה יין בגלל פורים והצעקות נשמעו לכל עבר. האישה ניסתה להלחם בהם אך הם צעקו עליה שלא תעז לגעת ביהודים והמשיכו להכותה”.

עדת הראייה הוסיפה כי להוציא אדם מבוגר שהיה יחד עם האישה שהותקפה וניסה לעזור לה, תושבים רבים עמדו מנגד ולא חשו לעזרת המותקפת. “האדם שהיה איתה עמד חסר אונים ולא ידע כיצד להפסיק את התקיפה”, ציינה והוסיפה כי “בכל אותה העת, עמד וחייך איש הביטחון במקום ואפילו לא ניסה להפריד”.

בעקבות הפרסום ב-nrg מעריב אמר ח”כ עיסאוי פריג’ (מרצ): “אם נכון הדבר, ואנו עדים למתקפה גזענית נוספת כנגד אזרחית ערבייה, כל אזרח במדינת ישראל, יהודי או ערבי, צריך לפחד. למה הופכת מדינת ישראל? אישה מותקפת לאור יום ואיש לא מתערב ולא בא לעזרתה?”.

פריג’ הוסיף: “מקוממת במיוחד היא מדיניות השתיקה שמובילים ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ושר החינוך גדעון סער, שלא יוצאים בצורה ברורה כנגד תופעות מחרידות כאלה. שתיקה כמוה כמתן הרשאה ורוח גבית לנגע האלימות והגזענות שמתפשט בחברה הישראלית”.

גם ח”כ אחמד טיבי (רע”ם תע”ל) הגיב לפרסום הפרשה. לדבריו, “ריבוי תקיפות ערבים על רקע לאומי לאחרונה הוא סימפטום של חברה געזנית ובלתי סובלנית. לא מדובר בשתיינים אלא בחוליגנים גזעניים שהשטרה חייבת לעצור ולהעמיד לדין” . לטענתו, התנהגות קצין הבטחון היא חלק מהבעיה ולכן הוא חייב להיחקר.

צילום: דורית יורדן דותן

”זה היה פשוט נורא” צילום: דורית יורדן דותן
צילום: דורית יורדן דותן

האישה לא הצליחה להתנגד” צילום: דורית יורדן דותן
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February 24, 2013

EDITOR: So what is new?

Only a month ago, immediately after the election in Israel, the pundits in Tel Aviv were hailing the result as a ‘victory for the left’… Netanyahu’s failure to raise even the number of MKs he had in the last Knesset was seen as a defeat of the right. To some, Lapid rise, so reminiscent of the similar rise of his late father’s party three decades ago, was sign of the new liberal sun shining over the Middle East.

There are no such voices now, of course. The new Lapid-Bennet pact is clearly the sign of the end of all liberal and left wing hopes for a peaceful solution in Palestine. Netanyahu did not win the votes, but he won the election nonetheless. His coalition, now taking shape, will guarantee the continuation of the occupation, and the continued oppression of Palestinians. Israel has spoken, and its confused, half-hearted and cloudy message is clear only on one point: no peace, no resolution, no justice, no rights for Palestinians. The occupation must go on. This disastrous result will bedevil the region for many years.

Palestinian chutzpah: Haaretz

Now you demonstrate? After all, we’ve already told you we no longer care what happens to you.

By  | Feb.24, 2013 | 4:39 AM
Gideon Levy

My Palestinian brothers (for your information, everyone’s a “brother” around here these days ), aren’t you ashamed? How dare you protest and throw stones? How dare you disturb the peace; build “illegal” outposts on your own private land; go on hunger strikes; demonstrate solidarity with prisoners; protest the closing of Shuhada Street in Hebron and the rearrest of freed prisoners; sneak into Israel to find work; oppose the eviction of people from their homes; protest that you are not allowed to reach your farmlands; protest against the fence that was built in your area; threaten a third intifada? Are you out of your minds? Where do you get such chutzpah?

Now you demonstrate? After all, we’ve already told you we no longer care what happens to you. Right and left, they all told you loud and clear. Even that warrior for social justice, MK Shelly Yacimovich, told you that Israelis don’t care about you, and you just don’t understand. Can’t you see that we’re busy? We have momentous questions before us – sharing the military burden; the number of ministers; Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s pistachio ice cream; Yesh Atid MK Ruth Calderon’s inaugural Knesset speech; and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s alleged love life.

So who can think about you? Israel is trying to put together a coalition. It is still not clear whether the eternal alliance between Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi’s Naftali Bennett will last, and you dare to bother us with your foolishness? Lapid doesn’t want the “Hanin Zuabis”; Bennett doesn’t want “Abu”; and you just don’t get it. You don’t see they are so worried about the people of Israel that they have no time for you, so how dare you remind them of your existence.

Occupation-shmoccupation; human and civil rights; expulsion and stealing; self-determination; two states for two peoples; the separation fence; 5,000 prisoners – you buzz around like bothersome mosquitoes. Leave us alone, you’re boring us.

How much longer are you going to keep bothering us with your little problems? How much longer are you going to keep bothering the world? Can’t you see that U.S. President Barack Obama is coming on another emotional-blackmail visit, to prostrate himself on the graves of Yitzhak Rabin and Theodor Herzl and at Yad Vashem, so why should you bother him, either? Sit tight, my brothers: in Syria, things are worse.

Sit tight: the occupation is only 46 years old. Be happy with what you have. You’re in good hands – the hands of the only democracy in the Middle East. Don’t bother it and don’t stop it from continuing to flourish. Its old politics didn’t take an interest in you and its new politics – even less. Just ask the harbingers of the new politics, Lapid and Bennett, over whom Israel is so enthusiastic right now. Neither of them probably ever met a (living ) Palestinian in their life, nor do they want to. You’ll miss Netanyahu yet, you’ll miss Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, from the old guard. They at least talked to you. So be happy with what you have.

Think ahead. It won’t be that long before you are the majority here. And even before that, the world will not stand for you to live without rights. Guilt feelings over the Holocaust will subside. The Jewish lobby – yes, it’s Jewish – might lose some of its strength. And besides, natural justice is with you, history is on your side.

Rotten tyrannies like the Israeli occupation have never lasted forever. So sit tight, my brothers, and wait for the future. If it doesn’t happen in your lifetime, perhaps it will in your grandchildren’s. True, you have suffered enough, but a human being is like a tree in a field; when you get whipped, bend your head submissively. After all, you have tried everything: negotiations and terror; recognition and compromise; the first intifada; the second intifada.

Nothing much came out of it all. The settlers have tripled, the Knesset is full of their representatives, and Israel has completely stopped dealing with you. True, if you sit tight you will be forgotten; if you protest, they will say you are terrorists. But the most important thing is: not now. Not when Israel is busy, not when Israel has had it with you, with your wailing, your sobbing and your demands.

It’s hard to be a Palestinian but, remember, it’s even harder to be a Jew. A Jew, after all, is always the victim; the only victim around.

Palestinians clash with Israel Police at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Haaretz

Following the conclusion of Friday morning prayers, Palestinian worshipers begin hurling stones at police; dozens of Palestinians wounded in heavy clashes with Israeli forces throughout the West Bank.

By  and  | Feb.22, 2013 | 6:12 PM |  58

Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in West Bank - AP - Feb. 22, 2013

A masked Palestinian throws back a gas canister during a protest to support Palestinian prisoners, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. Photo by AP

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded across the West Bank and Jerusalem on Friday, Palestinian sources reported, as a result of clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.

In Jerusalem, Palestinian protesters hurled stones at Israel Police forces following the conclusion of Friday prayers. In a rare move, Israeli police entered the Temple Mount and used stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Dozens were reportedly wounded after inhaling tear gas.

According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, the confrontations began at the conclusion of Friday prayers as many demonstrators marched toward roadblocks the West Bank. IDF soldiers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets toward Palestinian protesters, who threw rocks at the soldiers.

In the area around Ramallah, hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the IDF roadblock next to Ofer Prison to rally in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. At least 12 people were reportedly wounded by rubber bullets or due to tear gas inhalation during clashes with IDF forces.

Heavy clashes also reached the area of Hebron, where Palestinian demonstrators demanded the re-opening of Hebron’s Shuhada Street to Palestinian residents, who cannot use the street, and also showed their support for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

As the protesters approached Shuhada Street, IDF soldiers fired tear gas at them. One of the demonstrators said that the procession had been a quiet one and that the demonstrators had no intention of confronting IDF troops. However, the Palestinian witness stated, as the procession neared Shuhada Street they were met with what was described as a very violent response from IDF soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades at them and used other crowd dispersal methods. Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa al-Barghouti was wounded along with dozens of others as a result of the tear gas. Clashes also broke out in the area of Tul Karm, Nablus, Jenin and at several Palestinian villages located near the separation barrier.

In the last few days, tension in the West Bank has escalated. Hundreds of Palestinians have participated in a slew of protests, demonstrating in support of hunger-striking Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons.

Hundreds of young Palestinians from Beitunia demonstrated Thursday in support of hunger-striking prisoners. The youths clashed with Israel Defense Forces soldiers that arrived on the scene with heavy reinforcements, ready to contain the protests.

During the morning protests, Palestinian youths began hurling stones at soldiers and Israeli Border Police officers. Three journalists were lightly wounded by the stones, including Channel 1 correspondent Yoram Cohen, a reporter and a photographer from Channel 10. Palestinian officials reported that 20 people were injured by rubber bullets.

On Thursday, the leader of the northern wing of The Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheik Ra’ad Salah, announced that he has also begun a hunger strike, in solidarity with the prisoners. Two days ago, a tent was erected in Nazareth’s Maayan square in support of the prisoners. There, activists distribute information about the prisoners, and released prisoners are available to talk.

On Saturday, a demonstration is scheduled to be held in the city’s main street in support of the prisoners, while other protests are expected to continue throughout the West Bank.

EDITOR: The pogroms continue

As the notion of anti-Arab pogrom is becoming normalised in Israel – a toxic import from the settlements – the latest brutal attack happens in Jaffa, very near the place I grew up in. It matters not to racists that these are actually citizens of Israel – they are not fooled by silly democracy – and such attacks are spreading to other parts of the country. These attacks bear all the signs of the typical anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in Eastern Europe during the early 20th century. The perpetrators are never caught or brought to justice, surprisingly.

Jewish youths attack Arab man in Tel Aviv: Haaretz

40-year-old Jaffa resident was beaten with glass bottles early Sunday morning; victim’s wife says attacking youths claimed ‘Arabs are taking over the country.’

By  and Yaniv Kubovich | Feb.24, 2013 | 7:45 PM |  1

Hassan Ausruf

Hassan Ausruf in Tel-Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center Photo by Daniel Bar-On

A 40-year-old Jaffa resident was attacked early Sunday morning in Tel Aviv by Jewish youths and sustained serious wounds to his head. The attack, which occurred on Herbert Samuel Street around 4:00 A.M. after the victim, Hassan Ausruf, 40, had gone out to work. Ausruf operates a street-cleaning vehicle for contractor cleaning company. When Ausruf stopped his vehicle to fill its water tank, a group of youths assaulted him.

Ausruf’s wife, Nariman, told Haaretz that a group of about 15 people started to bully and attack Hassan without provocation. “He asked them why they were attacking him and they told him with utmost chutzpah ‘because you’re Arab,'” Nariman told Haaretz. “They attacked him with whatever they could get their hands on, bottles and shards of glass and they inflicted serious wounds to his head and in one of his eyes.” She added, “At some point he managed to escape with his entire face covered in blood and reached a friend where he collapsed.”

A Magen David Adom ambulance took Ausruf to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon where he was treated for deep cuts to his face and fractures to his skull and the region surround one of his eyes. “There’s no doubt that he was saved by a miracle,” said Nariman. “We have lived in this city for decades and we have never encountered this kind of violence and racism. They simply beat him because he is Arab and told him that Arabs were trying to take over the country.”

Tel Aviv Police have opened an investigation into the incident. Police stated that the group that attacked Ausruf was dark-skinned and it is believed that they were a group of Ethiopian-Israelis that left a Purim party. Police also stated that no suspects were arrested at the time of this report.

EDITOR: No torture in Israel, ever…

In the only Jewish democracy in the Middle East, prisoners die all the time, just like Prisoner X, who has managed to commit suicide in the most watched cell in the known universe… Now, a Palestinian prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, has died of torture, it seems… but of course, this cannot happen in Israel, where no one is being tortured, so he just died in order to annoy the Israelis, of course.

Palestinians say autopsy shows detainee died from torture: Haaretz

PA chief pathologist, present at Arafat Jaradat’s autopsy, says body of the prisoner, who died on Saturday, has signs of torture; medical examination lists no cause of death; Israeli officials: No signs of torture.

By , and DPA | Feb.24, 2013 | 10:11 PM

Palestinian women take part in a protest against the death of a Palestinian detainee in Israeli jail

Palestinian women take part in a protest against the death of a Palestinian detainee in an Israeli jail, in Gaza City, Feb. 24, 2013. Photo by Reuters

The Palestinian prisoner who died in Megiddo Prison on Saturday did not expire from a heart attack, as Israeli officials previously claimed, but from torture, says a Palestinian doctor who was present for the autopsy performed by an Israeli doctor Sunday.

Saber Aloul, chief pathologist of the Palestinian Authority, who attended the autopsy in Israel, said marks on Arafat Jaradat’s body showed he had been tortured during his interrogation.

The autopsy, performed at the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, listed no
cause of death.

The Shin Bet security service denied Aloul was tortured. A Health Ministry spokesperson said no exterior signs of injuries were discovered during the medical examination, apart from resuscitation bruises and a small abrasion on the right side of Jaradat’s chest.

The examination was conducted by the institute’s chief pathologist, Yehuda Hiss, in the presence of Aloul and the head of the Health Ministry’s medical administration, Prof. Arnon Afek.

Prior to the autopsy, Israeli officials had said Jaradat likely died of cardiac arrest, while Palestinians believed he died as a result of torture.

No sign of heart failure was found during the examination, nor was any other sign of illness, according to Aloul and Israeli officials.

Pathologists are now awaiting the results of microscopic and toxicology tests, which might take days or even weeks to receive.

Jaradat’s death sparked clashes throughout the West Bank Sunday and Palestinians called for an international investigation of Israel’s treatment of detained Palestinians.

In all, Israel holds close to 4,600 Palestinians on a range of charges, from throwing stones at Israelis to involvement in deadly shooting and bombing attacks. Of the detainees, 159 are being held without charges or trial in administrative detention.

According to the Shin Bet, Jaradat was arrested last Monday, after residents of his village said he was involved in a rock-throwing attack that injured an Israeli. Jaradat admitted to the charge, as well as to another West Bank rock-throwing incident last year, the Shin Bet said.

The Shin Bet said that during interrogation he was examined several times by a doctor who detected no health problems. On Saturday, he was in his cell and
felt unwell after lunch, the security service said in a statement. “Rescue services and a doctor were alerted and treated him. They didn’t succeed in saving his life,” the statement said.

A Shin Bet spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with protocol, said Jaradat was not beaten during his interrogation, nor was he subjected to any treatment that could have affected his health. Jaradat was not on a hunger strike, said Sivan Weizman of the Israel Prison Service. Prior to the autopsy, Weizman said Jaradat had died of an apparent heart attack.

Jaradat’s attorney, Kamil Sabbagh, said his client told an Israeli military judge during a hearing on Thursday that he was being forced to sit for long periods during interrogation. He also complained of back pain and seemed terrified to return to the Shin Bet lockup, but did not have any apparent signs of physical abuse, Sabbagh said.

After the court hearing, the judge ordered Jaradat to be examined by a prison doctor.

Jaradat, a father of a 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, worked as a gas station attendant. His wife, Dalal, is pregnant, relatives said. Issa Karake, a Palestinian official who handles prisoner issues, said he holds Israel responsible for Jaradat’s death, alleging ill-treatment and medical negligence. Karake called for an independent international investigation of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees.

The human rights group B’Tselem also demanded an investigation, including how Jaradat was questioned.

The agency routinely holds detainees in isolation for extended periods during interrogation, keeping them in cells that are lit around the clock and denying them access to lawyers, said Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for the group.

She said that physical mistreatment of detainees had dropped sharply in recent years, but has not disappeared, according to affidavits by released prisoners. She also said detainees have filed some 700 complaints about mistreatment by Shin Bet agents during the past decade, but that none has led to a criminal investigation.

Prisoner was tortured before dying in Israeli jail, says Palestinian Authority: Guardian

Death of 30-year-old man sparks violent clashes in Hebron that leave three Palestinians and one Israeli soldier injured

 in Hebron

west bank fighting

Palestinian students take cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during clashes in the village of Saair following the death of a Palestinian prisoner held in Israel. Photograph: Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian prisoner whose death in Israeli custody fanned violent clashes across the West Bank over the weekend was tortured before he died, the Palestinian Authority has said.

The results of an autopsy conducted in Tel Aviv were revealed at a press conference in Ramallah on Sunday evening after a day of angry protests across West Bank and Gaza in which dozens were injured.

The findings contradict claims by the Israeli prison service that Arafat Jaradat died on Saturday from a cardiac arrest. A Palestinian doctor’s investigations found that while Jaradat’s arteries were clear, his bruised and bloody body suggested he had been beaten in the days before his death.

The 30-year-old, a petrol station worker and father of two, was arrested on 18 February in relation to a stone-throwing incident in November during which an Israeli was slightly injured.

Aside from an old back injury inflicted by a teargas canister, his relatives insist he was healthy when he was arrested.

Just a few days later, he died in Megiddo prison..

Kameel Sabbagh, a lawyer who attended Jaradat’s last hearing on Thursday, has claimed that he had advised the Israeli Judge that his client had been tortured and should be examined by the prison doctor. According to Sabbagh, this did not happen.

“He had serious pains in his back and other parts of his body because he was being beaten up and hanged for many long hours while he was being investigated,” Sabbagh told Ma’an news agency. Sabbagh’s notes from the court hearing describe his client as “extremely afraid” of returning to his cell.

A rumour that he had been beaten to death during an interrogation spread quickly through Hebron on Sunday where hundreds of protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers for the second day running in the streets kilometres from Jaradat’s home.

“When the soldiers came to arrest him last week, they told him say goodbye to your wife and your babies, you won’t be seeing them again,” said Mohamed Hashlamon, 58, as he watched masked Palestinian youths hurl concrete blocks from the roof above his home in downtown Hebron to arm themselves with the rubble.

A phalanx of Israeli soldiers lining the border between the Israeli and Palestinian quarters answered rocks with rubber bullets and tear gas. Three Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were injured in the clashes.

“People here are angry. They will fight until night fall and they will protest again from 10am tomorrow just as they did yesterday,” Hashlamon said. Jaradat’s body was taken for an autopsy in Tel Aviv on Saturday and will be returned to his pregnant wife for burial in their village of Saeer after midday prayers on Monday.

His death has inflamed already heightened tensions across the occupied Palestinian territory. On Friday, hundreds clashed with Israeli soldiers in a continuation of months-long demonstrations supporting four hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners held without charge in Israeli jails. On Saturday, nine Palestinians were injured, one critically, when settlers used live rounds of fire in clashes near Nablus.

The Hebrew-language media have noted with alarm that the Palestinian Authority is doing little to dissuade protests but is lending its voice to the popular outrage. Issa Qaraqea, the PA’s minister for prisoners’ affairs, expressed his suspicion of foul play in Jaradat’s death.

“Our information was that Jaradat was being interrogated and then he died. Therefore we call for an international investigation into his death that may have resulted from torture,” he told Reuters.

As night fell on Sunday, the West Bank showed no sign of calming. In Beitunia, near Ramallah, two teenagers were reportedly hit with live rounds fired by Israeli soldiers. One, the 15 year-old son of the Palestinian secret services chief, was undergoing surgery having been shot in the stomach.

“Statements from the international community calling upon Israel to ‘respect Palestinian prisoner rights’ are insufficient when Israel can arrest, incarcerate and even kill Palestinians without … consequences for its appalling actions,” a statement from the Palestinian leadership read. “Without justice, there will be no peace.”

EDITOR: While Israel is playing coalition forming, Palestinians are moving towards a general action against the occupation

The PA government has done all it can to assuage Israeli interests and to scotch Palestinian anger and frustration, but it seems they were not that successful. After months of hunger strike but growing numbers of Palestinian political prisoners, the population in the West Bank is rising again against the brutalities of the occupation. If Israel counts on the PA to do its dirty work, maybe it is a miscalculation? They may not be able to deliver the goods this time round.

The Israeli-Palestinian talks that never took place begin on the street: Haaretz

As support for Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners grows throughout the Arab world, releasing them is a small price to pay to deflect increasing pressure from Israel.

By  | Feb.24, 2013 | 12:38 PM |  3

Palestinian women take part in a protest against the death of a Palestinian detainee in Israeli jail

Palestinian women take part in a protest against the death of a Palestinian detainee in an Israeli jail, in Gaza City, Feb. 24, 2013. Photo by Reuters

AFP and Haaretz

Clashes in the West Bank, Feb. 2013.Photo by AFP and Haaretz

The death of Arafat Jaradat in the Megiddo Prison, together with the 216-day-long hunger strike of Samer el-Issawi and the hunger strike of three other prisoners, the demonstrations commemorating the anniversary of the massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein in Hebron in 1994, the clashes in the village of Kosra in the Nablus district – all these are supposedly “local incidents” that can be easily defeated by a few smoke grenades, rubber bullets and arrests.

Nobody describes them as an intifada yet, and with good reason. The term “intifada” is reserved for an all-out war, a series of terror attacks, call-ups of the reserves and flooding the ground with troops. These things have not happened yet in the West Bank.

The Fatah leadership, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), has announced that they will not allow the outbreak of a new intifada. Certainly they will not allow it on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Israel. Nor will they allow it when Abbas’s representatives, Saeb Erekat and Muhammad Shtaya, are holding talks about the scheduling of the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. But all it takes is the death of one of the prisoners on a hunger strike or several youths being killed by IDF gunfire to make the Palestinian Authority lose its restraining power, which is not all that much in any case.

Quite a few groups are operating in the West Bank, including Abbas’s critics and rivals within Fatah, who believe that he is not strong enough to cause a change in Israel’s policy. Some of them are demanding that the Palestinian Authority be dismantled and Israel “handed back the keys.” Others fear that Abbas’s political moves against Hamas could shut Fatah out of the positions that control wealth and power. Setting the ground ablaze could serve those groups, locking Abbas into a belligerent stance he never intended to take.

This is not Abbas’s dilemma only. For now, the demonstrations and clashes have attained one important goal: the affair of the prisoners has led to demonstrations of support and statements of solidarity in Beirut, Egypt and Jordan, and “serious concern” by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. They have also been discussed in Washington by the Palestinian emissaries, and the Arab League intends to transfer the matter to the Security Council.

But all this international activity will not impress the activists on the ground, or the prisoners, as long as Israel gives nothing in exchange or makes no compromises. As usual, the question is whether Israel will succeed in taking an important measure before things go out of control, or wait for more pressure from the ground and from the international community. On several occasions in the past, Israel realized that there was no sense in dealing stubbornly with a hunger strike, which not only won support but also put it under international pressure that it didn’t need. The case of Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad operative whom Israel released from prison where he had been under administrative detention after a 67-day hunger strike, is just one example.

Even if the price of dealing quickly and rapidly with the jailed hunger strikers involves making concessions, it is still much lower than an escalation that could cause hunger strikes to spread to all the prisons and nourish clashes in the city streets. In a situation where there is still no government in Israel that can make decisions on the peace process, start talks with the Palestinian Authority and offer a practical peace arrangement, the least Israel can do is calm inflamed areas. The most sensitive among them is the matter of the hunger-striking prisoners.

 

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February 17, 2013

EDITOR: The New Israel – just like the old Israel, but worse

In the bad old days, people used to disappear in Israel without trace, taken into the kind custody of the ‘security services’ and not be heard of again for years. Israel used to kidnap people in Jordan, Lebanon, and anywhere in Palestine, and hide them away without trial. Today this is not called kidnapping. Oh no! It is called rendering, and it is just fine.

So Israel ‘renders’ one of its own agents, an oddball Australian Jew of the Indiana Jones variety, who apparently took part in the killing of a Hamas official in the Gulf few years ago, and has somehow displeased the powers that be, in what way we know not – and disappears him into the Ayalon prison, in an isolated wing, some three years ago, without name or personal details. Some time later he is found dead, and a secret hearing about his death takes two years, and finds that he supposedly committed suicide. His body is delivered to his family in Australia, and he is buried in great secrecy, as the family is offered a King’s ransom to keep mum.

It is a Jewish democracy, after all.

Netanyahu on Prisoner X affair: Let Israel’s security forces do their work: Haaretz

In prime minister’s first comment on the death of alleged Mossad agent Ben Zygier, Netanyahu says Israel protects the rights of the interrogated as well as freedom of expression, but adds, ‘We are not like other states.’

By  | Feb.17, 2013 | 11:54 AM

Benjamin Netanyahu and  Yochanan Locker -  Olivier Fitoussi - 23.9.2012

Benjamin Netanyahu and Military Secretary [Maj. Gen.] Yochanan Locker in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, September 23, 2012. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

Ben Zygier’s passport.

Ben Zygier’s passport. It’s very hard to find someone who will admit on the record to having being asked to “lend” his or her passport to the Mossad.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday commented for the first time on the Prisoner X affair, after several days of silence by the Israeli government.

“At the opening of the meeting I would like to say that I trust completely the security forces of the State of Israel. They work with endless dedication to ensure that we can live in this land. I also have absolute trust in the legal authorities in the State of Israel.”

“Israel’s security and intelligence forces act under the full supervision of the legal authorities, which are completely independent. In providing for security and enforcing the law, freedom of expression is also protected. But primarily – we are not like the other states.”

“We are an exemplary democratic state and we protect the rights of the interrogated and individual rights no less than any other country. But we are also more threatened and more challenged, and thus we must preserve the proper activities of our security services. Therefore I ask of everyone: Let the security forces continue to work undisturbed, so that we can continue to live in security and tranquility in the State of Israel.”

Australia to conduct its own probe into Prisoner X affair: Haaretz

Australian foreign minister requests that Israel pass over all information surrounding the 2010 imprisonment and death of Australian national and alleged Mossad agent Ben Zygier.

By  | Feb.17, 2013 | 10:00 AM |  2

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr Photo by Reuters

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has requested that Israel hand over all information at its disposal in the Prisoner X affair, involving the imprisonment and death of Australian national Ben Zygier in Ayalon Prison in 2010.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney on Sunday, Carr asked the government of Israel for information to assist the foreign ministry’s launch of an independent investigation into Zygier’s death and the circumstances of the affair.

“We have asked the Israeli government for a contribution to that report. We want to give them an opportunity to submit to us an explanation of how this tragic death came about,” he said.

Carr also said that he is interested in conducting a comprehensive investigation to assess whether the consular team in Australia’s foreign ministry in Tel Aviv acted sufficiently to examine Zygier’s condition and see whether there were any failures in conduct.

“I need to know what the contact was between Australian agencies and those of Israel, and I need to see what the Israelis want to tell Australia,” he said. “The key is to get all the information.”

At the same time, Carr’s predecessor Kevin Rudd, who was foreign minister at the time of Zygier’s imprisonment and death in 2010, said it was important to investigate what happened and react decisively, as it did following the debacle in which the Mossad used Australian passorts in the Mabhouh assassinationoperation. At the time, the Mossad representative stationed in Canberra was kicked out following an investigation by Australian security forces.

According to Australian media, immediately following Zygier’s arrest in February 2010, the Shin Bet informed its Australian counterpart, the ASIO, regarding details of the investigation. ASIO representatives in Australia’s embassy in Tel Aviv passed the details to the ambassador and a handful of other senior officials in the embassy.

Later this week, the State Prosecutor is expected to publish the results of the probe into Zygier’s death. The circumstances of Zygier’s death were under investigation for about two years in a judicial procedure behind closed doors before Judge Daphna Blatman Kedrai of the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court.

At the conclusion of the procedure about two months ago, Blatman Kedrai determined that Zygier had committed suicide and instructed the prosecution to examine whether there had been neglect in the guarding of the prisoner that justified filing an indictment.

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