Gaza’s only power station forced to shut down over fuel shortageMarch 15, 2014
Gaza is bracing for a “humanitarian crisis” after its only power station was shut down due to a lack of fuel from Israel. The Israeli government closed the Kerem Shalom crossing this week, effectively severing the fuel supply to Gaza.
In the wake of a number of rocket attacks on Israeli territory on Wednesday, the Israeli government closed all borders with Gaza and suspended the delivery of all commercial goods to the region. As a consequence of the sanctions, Gaza’s only power station ran out of fuel Saturday. 
"The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by (Israel’s) closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement to AFP.
The Gaza power plant provides about a third of Gaza’s electricity needs, while the rest of the territory’s energy is provided by Egypt and Israel.
Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the lack of fuel would lead to electricity being cut off 16 hours a day in Gaza.
"Gaza is bracing for a humanitarian catastrophe if the crossing remains closed," said Khalil, who has urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to open up the Kerem Shalon border crossing.
This is not the first instance when Gaza’s power plant was forced to shut down. A couple of months ago the plant had to be turned off after Egypt blocked a number of smuggling tunnels on its border with Gaza which were used to bring in fuel.
Israel eventually allowed the entry of 450,000 liters of fuel, paid for by the Qatari government, so that the Palestinians could restart their power plant.
Source
The US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki statement on Wednesday’s rocket attacks into Israel, completely ignoring the 29 aerial strikes into Gaza: 

"It is reprehensible that dozens of rockets have been fired today alone. There is no justification for such attacks. We call for these terrorist attacks to cease immediately. Israel, like any nation, has a right to defend itself."

Gaza’s only power station forced to shut down over fuel shortage
March 15, 2014

Gaza is bracing for a “humanitarian crisis” after its only power station was shut down due to a lack of fuel from Israel. The Israeli government closed the Kerem Shalom crossing this week, effectively severing the fuel supply to Gaza.

In the wake of a number of rocket attacks on Israeli territory on Wednesday, the Israeli government closed all borders with Gaza and suspended the delivery of all commercial goods to the region. As a consequence of the sanctions, Gaza’s only power station ran out of fuel Saturday. 

"The plant has completely ceased to function due to a lack of fuel caused by (Israel’s) closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing," said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement to AFP.

The Gaza power plant provides about a third of Gaza’s electricity needs, while the rest of the territory’s energy is provided by Egypt and Israel.

Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the lack of fuel would lead to electricity being cut off 16 hours a day in Gaza.

"Gaza is bracing for a humanitarian catastrophe if the crossing remains closed," said Khalil, who has urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to open up the Kerem Shalon border crossing.

This is not the first instance when Gaza’s power plant was forced to shut down. A couple of months ago the plant had to be turned off after Egypt blocked a number of smuggling tunnels on its border with Gaza which were used to bring in fuel.

Israel eventually allowed the entry of 450,000 liters of fuel, paid for by the Qatari government, so that the Palestinians could restart their power plant.

Source

The US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki statement on Wednesday’s rocket attacks into Israel, completely ignoring the 29 aerial strikes into Gaza: 

"It is reprehensible that dozens of rockets have been fired today alone. There is no justification for such attacks. We call for these terrorist attacks to cease immediately. Israel, like any nation, has a right to defend itself."

Young Iranians combat Netanyahu with ‘jeans protest’
October 6, 2013

One of the crowning glories of Benjamin Netanyahu’s “media blitz” last week, following his speech at the United Nations General Assembly was an interview with the BBC’s Persian service. In an attempt to characterize the interview as historic, the prime minister’s bureau pointed out that this was the first time Netanyahu had given an interview to a Persian-speaking media outlet, addressing the Iranian people directly.

The prime minister’s bureau marketed the interview aggressively. In addition to text messaging journalists direct quotes from the interview and sending out detailed press releases, Netanyahu’s spokespeople circulated video clips from the interview to the Israeli television channels, posted parts of the interview on YouTube, tweeted on it and shared it on Facebook.

To be honest, I was surprised by this initiative. Netanyahu has been giving fiery speeches about the Iranian nuclear threat for 18 years and only now has he found it appropriate to address the Iranian people or try to speak to Iran over the ayatollahs’ heads. But it’s better late than never.

The interview with Netanyahu wasn’t really in Persian. Most of it was simultaneously translated in subtitles. In fact, Netanyahu said about two words in the Iranian’s language: “harf-e pootch,” which can loosely be translated as “nonsense,” and “Sadeh-lowh” - “sucker.”

According to one of the announcements made by the prime minister’s bureau, some 12 million Iranians watch BBC Persian every week. Netanyahu’s words were received loud and clear on the other end, although instead of eliciting positive reactions they spurred antagonism and fury, especially among Iran’s liberal youth who voted for Iranian President Hassan Rohani en masse in the last election.

The young Iranians were not angry over Netanyahu’s strange choice of Persian expressions, rather a single, ridiculous sentence that he uttered in English: “If the people of Iran were free they could wear jeans and listen to Western music.”

Over the past 24 hours, dozens of young Iranians responded to Netanyahu with a “jeans protest” - tweeting pictures of themselves in jeans. Some of them mocked Israel’s intelligence agencies, saying they were so busy with the surveillance of the Iranian nuclear program that they neglected to update Netanyahu on fashion trends in Tehran.

“2day I’m wearing jeans, I can send my photo 4 Netanyahu if his spies in Iran didn’t see people who wear jeans and listen to Western songs by their Iphone!” Sadegh Ghorbani, a young journalist from Tehran, posted on Twitter.

Mohamad Nezamabadi, a student at Tehran University, was even more cynical. “Not only we wear jeans, but also listen to the foreign language musics! I bet he thinks that we ride horses instead of cars!” he tweeted.

It is not clear who advises Netanyahu on Iran’s internal politics, the attitudes of its young or the daily life in Tehran or Isfahan. 

In conclusion, if Netanyahu is interested in contemporary fashion in Teheran, he can enter an album titled “Tehran Street Style" on the image-sharing website Imgur. 

Source

Professor & physicist Stephen Hawking has joined the academic boycott of Israel “based upon his knowledge of Palestine & on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.”
In another stride forward in the campaign for boycott, divestment & sanctions against Israel, Hawking pulled out of a conference hosted by President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. 
"The situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue," Hawking said after Israel’s three-week attack on Gaza in 2009.

Professor & physicist Stephen Hawking has joined the academic boycott of Israel “based upon his knowledge of Palestine & on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.”

In another stride forward in the campaign for boycott, divestment & sanctions against Israel, Hawking pulled out of a conference hosted by President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. 

"The situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue," Hawking said after Israel’s three-week attack on Gaza in 2009.

Nathan Blanc: Israeli teenager & conscientious objector
April 7, 2013

Nathan Blanc is an Israeli conscientious objector. He’s getting ready to serve his 8th stint in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli military. He believes in democracy. From the video:

The main reason for my refusal is the feeling our country is going towards a non democratic condition of civil inequality between us and the Palestinians. There are two people in the same land but only the Israelis can vote in the elections.

Blanc has internalized one state/ two peoples.

Israel is refusing to offer him civil service as an alternative to military service and he doesn’t want to get a mental health deferment; “I’m not going to put on an act,” he toldHaaretz last January. He thinks the army is trying to “wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists.”

That was after two months in prison, now he’s been in for over 100 days. Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian, Israel set to jail teenage conscientious objector for eighth time:

It is a routine Nathan Blanc knows well. At 9am on Tuesday morning, the 19-year-old will report, as instructed in his draft papers, to a military base near Tel Aviv. There he will state his objection to serving in the Israeli army. Following his refusal to enlist, Blanc expects to be arrested and sentenced to between 10 and 20 days in jail. He will then be taken to Military Prison Number 6 to serve his time. And then, following his release, the cycle will begin over again.

The reason why Blanc knows what to expect is that this will be the eighth time the teenage conscientious objector has been jailed in the past 19 weeks. Since the date of his original call-up for military service, Blanc has spent more than 100 days in prison; on one occasion, he was released on a Tuesday and re-imprisoned two days later on a Thursday.

Blanc began to consider the possibility of refusing the draft several years ago. “It was a very hard decision, it took me a long time to get to it,” he says.

The turning point was Operation Cast Lead, the war in Gaza that began at the end of 2008 and ended three weeks later with a Palestinian death toll of around 1,400. In a statement issued when he was first imprisoned, Blanc said: “The wave of aggressive militarism that swept the country then, the expressions of mutual hatred, and the vacuous talk about stamping out terror and creating a deterrent effect were the primary trigger for my refusal.”

The government, he said, was “not interested in finding a solution to the existing situation, but rather in preserving it … We will talk of deterrence, we will kill some terrorist, we will lose some civilians on both sides, and we will prepare the ground for a new generation full of hatred on both sides … We, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game.”

In an interview with the Guardian, he says: “The war going on in this country for more than 60 years could have ended a long time ago. But both sides are giving into extremists and fundamentalists. The occupation was supposed to be temporary, but now no one speaks of it ending.”

The Israeli state, he adds, keeps people “under our control” without democratic rights. Palestinians are subject to “collective punishment” for the actions of a few.

Will our msm write about this? Probably not. Here is a facebook page with updates about Blanc, including video messages for him from other Israeli Refusniks.

War Resistors International:

Repeated imprisonment is a violation of international legal standards. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Opinion 24/2003 on Israel came to the conclusion that the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel is arbitrary, and therefore it constitutes a violation of 14 par 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Israel is a signatory.

Natan Blanc refuses to enlist in the Israeli Army based on beliefs and conscience. He claims his human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR.

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Death in custody prompts complaints about Israeli negligence and questions about Palestinian leadership.
April 6, 2013

With three prison guards on his bedside, 64-year-old Maysara Abu Hamdeya died of cancer shackled to an Israeli hospital bed on Tuesday.

Abu Hamdeya’s health started to deteriorate in August last year, his lawyer, Rami al-Alami, said. He was suffering severe throat ache, accompanied by swelling in lymphatic and salivary glands.

“He went to the prison clinic and was given antibiotic medications without any tests,” Alami wrote in an affidavit upon visiting Abu Hamdeya on 12 March. One of five Palestinians to die in or shortly after being released from Israeli jails this year, Abu Hamdeya’s death revived fears for the lives of sick Palestinian prisoners and anger over a perceived Israeli policy of medical negligence.

After months of pushing with the prison clinic, Abu Hamdeya got an approval from the Israeli authorities to go to the hospital in October 2012, but the visit was delayed several times.

When he made it to Soroka hospital in December 2012, he was told that he was brought due to eye problems. Abu Hamdeya returned to prison without performing needed tests. Tests were only performed on January 10; by then Abu Hamdeya’s health had deteriorated further. He was suffering acute pain in his neck and all his body.

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According to an official Israeli statement, Abu Hamdeya was diagnosed with cancer in February. On March 12, Abu Hamdeya told his lawyer that he was not given any treatment. “He has only been given painkillers,” the affidavit says.

The Israeli autopsy of Abu Hamdeya confirmed that he died of cancer. In a statement, the Israeli health ministry said they found a malignant tumour in the throat, which spread to his chest, lungs, liver, spine and some of his ribs. Nevertheless, Palestinians performed a re-autopsy. More tests were needed to prove that the cancer had spread to Abu Hamdeya’s organs years - and not months ago, the Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs said.

One of 25 diagnosed with cancer, Abu Hamdeya was among hundreds of sick prisoners, including 48 in Ramleh prison hospital. Their families and many Palestinians say Israel is killing them slowly through negligence.

It’s Israel’s fault, Abu Hamdeya’s son Hamza said. “The logical thing to do is to blame Israel,” he said.

However, Hamza said his family also has some complaints about the Palestinian government for not following up on his father’s case. “Where have they been all that time? Why didn’t they ask about Maysara?” he said. Hamza said his father was a general in the Palestinian Preventive Security force, so Palestinian officials had an extra duty to ask about him.

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Abu Hamdeya was imprisoned several times, first in 1969. He was exiled to Jordan in 1978 and returned to the Palestinian Territories in 1998. Since his last sentence in 2002, Abu Hamdeya was almost always banned from receiving family visits. Each of his four children barely saw him during the past 11 years.

With his illness and death in prison, Abu Hamdeya has become a symbol of the Palestinians’ suffering in Israeli jails. But his case is not merely something to sympathise with, his eldest son Tareq warned.

In the street, Abu Hamdeya’s death ignited anger in various places across the West Bank. A general strike halted life in the streets of East Jerusalem, Nablus and Hebron on Wednesday. The usual group of committed Palestinians took to the streets to demonstrate against Abu Hamdeya’s death in Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarem and Ramallah.

Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in clashes north of Tulkarem, both by live fire. After their funeral there were reports of Palestinian security units trying to stop protesters from reaching tension points.

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Abu Hamdeya’s funeral on Thursday was followed by the funerals of the other Palestinians killed in Tulkarem.

On the way to Hebron, masked Palestinians were asking store keepers in Bethlehem to shut down for mourning. A similar scene took place a day earlier in Ramallah.

In Gaza, Hamas declared Abu Hamdeya one of its martyrs. In a statement, the group said he was a top commander of its West Bank military wing.

But those who knew Abu Hamdeya said he was “old-school” Palestinian - for resistance and Palestine. At the end of the day, he was not wrapped in a yellow or a green flag: it was the black, white, red and green Palestinian flag that accompanied him to the grave.

Source

Daphni Leef, the 28-year-old Tel Aviv woman of the social-justice-focused tent protests of the summer of 2011, could be Tel Aviv’s next mayor
March 27, 2013

“I can’t lie, I am thinking about this seriously. I still haven’t decided whether to run or not,” Leef wrote, in a post on her Facebook page on Monday.

Her statement came the day after unknown persons created a Facebook event called “E is for elections – the official campaign launch for Daphni Leef for mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.”

The event page, which appeared to speak in her name, said that this Saturday at 8 p.m., there would be a launch party at the place where it all began: Habimah Square on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard.

However, Leef said on Monday that “the event pages that were opened in my name have created a buzz that has reached me from every direction and have made this option a real one.”

She then issued a Passover greeting, saying, “I hope that after the holidays, we will go back to struggling for a more just society – one free of arrogance or the enslavement of anyone. Okay, that’s totally optimistic. But its okay to dream, even preferred. Giant hug.”

By Tuesday night, 287 people had RSVP-ed for the event, out of almost 7,000 invitees.

If she does decide to run in the October 22 elections, she will face incumbent Ron Huldai, who has served as mayor for the past 15 years.

Other candidates could include Hadash MK Dov Henin, who ran in the 2008 elections against Huldai on the City for All ticket, placing second with some 38 percent of the vote. If he were to run, Henin would likely attract much of the same crowd that would potentially vote for Leef, as would the Meretz party list, for which MK Nitzan Horowitz has been mentioned as a potential candidate.

In the summer of 2011, Leef became one of the most famous people in the country after she started a Facebook page calling on Israelis to join her in pitching a tent on Rothschild Boulevard to protest high rent prices. The protest began slowly on July 14, but by the end of the weekend, it had become a media phenomenon – and Leef became the face of a movement that saw some of the biggest demonstrations in the country’s history.

While other protest leaders like Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli decided to run in the last national elections – and won seats in the Knesset with the Labor Party – Leef turned down numerous offers to join party lists, and has largely remained distant from the public eye.

Source

Excerpts from Indignez-vous!By Stéphane Hessel (October 20, 1917 - February 26, 2013)
I wish for you all, each of you, to have your own motive for indignation. It is precious. When something outrages you as I was outraged by Nazism, then people become militant, strong, and engaged. They join this current of history, and the great current of history must continue thanks to each individual.
Today, my main indignation concerns Palestine, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank of Jordan. This conflict is outrageous. It is absolutely essential to read the report by Richard Goldstone, of September 2009, on Gaza, in which this South African, Jewish judge, who claims even to be a Zionist, accuses the Israeli army of having committed “acts comparable to war crimes and perhaps, in certain circumstances, crimes against humanity” during its “Operation Cast Lead,” which lasted three weeks.I went back to Gaza in 2009 myself, when I was able to enter with my wife thanks to our diplomatic passports, to study first-hand what this report said. People who accompanied us were not authorized to enter the Gaza Strip. There and in the West Bank of Jordan. We also visited the Palestinian refugee camps set up from 1948 by the United Nations agency UNRWA, where more than three million Palestinians expelled off their lands by Israel wait even yet for a more and more problematical return.As for Gaza, it is a roofless prison for one and a half million Palestinians. A prison where people get organized just to survive. Despite material destruction such as that of the Red Crescent hospital by Operation Cast Lead, it is the behavior of the Gazans, their patriotism, their love of the sea and beaches, their constant preoccupation for the welfare of their children, who are innumerable and cheerful, that haunt our memory. We were impressed by how ingeniously they face up to all the scarcities that are imposed on them. We saw them making bricks, for lack of cement, to rebuild the thousands of houses destroyed by tanks. 
They confirmed to us that there had been 1400 deaths — including women, children, and oldsters in the Palestinian camp — during this Operation Cast Lead led by the Israeli army, compared to only 50 injured men on the Israeli side. I share conclusions of the South African judge. That Jews can, themselves, perpetrate war crimes is unbearable. Alas, history does not give enough examples of people who draw lessons from their own history.
To you who will create the twenty-first century, we say, from the bottom of our hearts,TO CREATE IS TO RESIST.TO RESIST IS TO CREATE.
Full translation
Robert & I had the pleasure of listening to Hessel speak at the Russel Tribunal on Palestine in New York City in September. Hessel was a steadfast, dedicated resistance leader, radical author, survivor of Buchenwald & one of the drafters of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
RIP

Excerpts from Indignez-vous!
By Stéphane Hessel (October 20, 1917 - February 26, 2013)

I wish for you all, each of you, to have your own motive for indignation. It is precious. When something outrages you as I was outraged by Nazism, then people become militant, strong, and engaged. They join this current of history, and the great current of history must continue thanks to each individual.

Today, my main indignation concerns Palestine, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank of Jordan. This conflict is outrageous. It is absolutely essential to read the report by Richard Goldstone, of September 2009, on Gaza, in which this South African, Jewish judge, who claims even to be a Zionist, accuses the Israeli army of having committed “acts comparable to war crimes and perhaps, in certain circumstances, crimes against humanity” during its “Operation Cast Lead,” which lasted three weeks.

I went back to Gaza in 2009 myself, when I was able to enter with my wife thanks to our diplomatic passports, to study first-hand what this report said. People who accompanied us were not authorized to enter the Gaza Strip. There and in the West Bank of Jordan. We also visited the Palestinian refugee camps set up from 1948 by the United Nations agency UNRWA, where more than three million Palestinians expelled off their lands by Israel wait even yet for a more and more problematical return.

As for Gaza, it is a roofless prison for one and a half million Palestinians. A prison where people get organized just to survive. Despite material destruction such as that of the Red Crescent hospital by Operation Cast Lead, it is the behavior of the Gazans, their patriotism, their love of the sea and beaches, their constant preoccupation for the welfare of their children, who are innumerable and cheerful, that haunt our memory. We were impressed by how ingeniously they face up to all the scarcities that are imposed on them. We saw them making bricks, for lack of cement, to rebuild the thousands of houses destroyed by tanks.

They confirmed to us that there had been 1400 deaths — including women, children, and oldsters in the Palestinian camp — during this Operation Cast Lead led by the Israeli army, compared to only 50 injured men on the Israeli side. I share conclusions of the South African judge. That Jews can, themselves, perpetrate war crimes is unbearable. Alas, history does not give enough examples of people who draw lessons from their own history.

To you who will create the twenty-first century, we say, from the bottom of our hearts,
TO CREATE IS TO RESIST.
TO RESIST IS TO CREATE.

Full translation

Robert & I had the pleasure of listening to Hessel speak at the Russel Tribunal on Palestine in New York City in September. Hessel was a steadfast, dedicated resistance leader, radical author, survivor of Buchenwald & one of the drafters of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

RIP

Israel ‘demands Palestinian leaders quell unrest’ following the series of human rights violations that have led to another tipping point in the struggle to end Israel’s racist apartheid system
February 24, 2013

Israel has sent an “unequivocal demand” to the Palestinian Authority to reduce tensions after thousands of detainees staged hunger strikes in Israeli prisons and violent protests erupted in the West Bank following the death of an inmate.

"Israel has conveyed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) an unequivocal demand to calm the territory," Reuters cites the Israeli government as saying.

The official added the message was delivered to the PA by one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top aides.

Netanyahu also put forward an apparent incentive to the PA by promising to go ahead with the transfer of some $100 million in tax revenues which Israel collects on Palestine’s behalf, but had been withholding.

"In order that the non-payment of taxes that Israel collects for the Palestinians should not serve as an excuse for the Palestinian Authority not to calm the territory, Netanyahu instructed the money for January to be transferred," a government statement read.

A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was not forthcoming on how the PA would react to the demand, though he blamed Israel for the recent surge in violence.

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were placed on high alert in the West Bank and east Jerusalem following clashes, which erupted after Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old Palestinian inmate, reportedly died of a cardiac arrest on Saturday in Megiddo prison.

Israel’s internal intelligence service, Shin Bet, said Jaradat had been arrested on Monday for his involvement in a stone-throwing incident last November in which one IDF soldier was injured.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) holds Israeli officials responsible for Jaradat’s death.

"This is not an isolated case. This is the case of the rights of all the prisoners - rights that are being violated by the occupation. This requires quick action to open Israeli prisons to the world,"said PA Minister for Prison Affairs Issa Qaraqaa.

"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," Qaraqaa continued.

Following the autopsy of Jaradat in Israel on Sunday, Saber Aloul, chief pathologist of the Palestinian Authority who was present at the procedure, said marks on Jaradat’s body showed he had been tortured during his interrogation, Haaretz reports. Aloul further said there were no signs of heart failure.

Israel’s Health Ministry said it was not yet possible to determine the cause of death, and no signs of injury were discovered with the the exception of those received during the admission of CPR and scuff marks.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron and nearby villages on Sunday.

Some 200 Palestinians hurled stones and set tires ablaze in central Hebron, as IDF troops responded with rubber bullets.

Sources in Ramallah also said the 15-year-old son of a Palestinian security services chief was wounded by IDF gunfire in a protest near the Beitounia Crossing, Haaretz reports. Another 20-year-old protester was also wounded by live fire, the sources say.

More than 4,500 prisoners also held a one-day fast on Sunday to protest Jaradat’s death.

Four other Palestinian prisoners are in the midst of a hunger strike which has already inspired a wave of violent protests in the West Bank over the past week.

Palestinian leaders have warned that the death of any of the four hunger strikers could spark a wave of unrest which might be beyond their power to control.

Source

Thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails are staging a one-day hunger strike to protest the death of a fellow inmate
February 24, 2013

"About 3,000 prisoners announced that they would refuse meals," Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman, told the AFP news agency on Sunday.

Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two, from the village of Sair near Hebron in the southern West Bank, died on Saturday in an Israeli jail from what prison authorities said appeared to have been cardiac arrest.

Palestinian officials and the detainee’s family alleged that Jaradat was mistreated by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence service, saying he was healthy at the time of his arrest last week.

An autopsy on Jaradat’s body was due to take place at Israel’s national forensic institute on Sunday and Issa Qaraqaa, the Palestinian minister in charge of prisoner affairs, said a Palestinian doctor and Jaradat family members would be present.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston, reporting from outside Ofer military prison, near Ramallah, said there were about 800 to 900 Palestinian prisoners there taking part in the hunger strike over Jaradat’s death.

Johnston said there was a “heavy Israeli police presence” outside the prison.

In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinians from Hamas, which governs the territory, Islamic Jihad and other factions, also gathered to protest against Jaradat’s death.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Fawzi Barhoum, an Hamas spokesperson, said: This is a crime against our prisoners committed by the Israeli government.

"There must be a third Intifada [uprising] and a revolution … to pressure Israel to protect our prisoners."

Jaradat’s death could exacerbate tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories which have been rocked in past weeks by protests of solidarity with four other prisoners detained by Israel who are on hunger strike.

'Unequivocal demand'

Protests in solidarity with Samer Issawi, one of the four hunger strikers who has refused food since August to protest against his detention, were also held on Sunday. 

Issawi’s family recently told Al Jazeera he would be close to death if he continues his action.

Protesters in Issawi’s village and in different parts of Hebron city hurled stones at Israeli security forces who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, witnesses said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s envoy has made “an unequivocal demand” to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to quell the wave of protests in the West Bank, a government statement.

Sunday’s statement added that Netanyahu had also ordered the transfer of January arrears of tax revenues that Israel collects on the behalf of the Palestinians but has been withholding.

Israel holds more than 4,600 Palestinians in jail on charges that range from stone-throwing to deadly attacks on Israeli targets. Of the detainees, 159 are being held without charge or trial. 

Source

‘West pitting Syrian rebels against Hezbollah’
February 23, 2013

RT: You have recently been to Syria - with the West pushing for democratic change there, do you think the Syrians will actually get that after the violence they’ve endured for so long?

Danny Makki: I think there is much consensus among the Syrian people and in Syria that there has to be democratic change but there is a very big difference between democratic change from the grassroots level and what is being supported and funded by Western countries in Syria now. What we see now is terrorism. And people have to differentiate between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. I don’t think this is pathway to democracy, I think in fact this is a  pathway to a failed state.

RT: The Free Syrian Army has apparently set an ultimatum for Hezbollah, threatening to shell its positions in Lebanon. Lebanon is itself divided over the civil war in neighboring Syria, what could the consequences be if large-scale violence spills over there?

DM: With the Syrian crisis there is a danger of it spilling across borders to Iraq, or Lebanon, or even Turkey. The biggest problem in Lebanon is that some of the Western countries are really trying to pit one of the Islamist movements against each other – the Sunni FSA against the Shia Hezbollah. It’s essentially a policy of divide and conquer, which is being instigated media-wise by the West, create divisions and fractures within Arab Syrian and Lebanese societies. And this is the issue they are working today.

By pitting the FSA Hezbollah they are create more division and tension between Syria and Lebanon. And we’ve seen with recent conflict in Tripoli in northern Lebanon that the Syrian crisis is not necessarily in Syria. Syria is the linchpin of the region and there is great tension both in Syria and Lebanon. And there is great fear and anxiety that the struggle in Syria could spill into Lebanon. Lebanon had its own civil war which was very bloody and killed hundreds of thousands. So Lebanon is very scared at the moment of the Syria crisis turning into a Lebanese crisis.

RT:  On Monday, Syria said it is prepared to talk to the armed opposition groups, which it has long-dismissed as terrorists – is it a positive change on the way?

DM: In any state terrorism inside the country is a red line that cannot be crossed. We cannot accept terrorism in any country in the world – whether in Syria, America or Britain, or Russia. However there has to be a level of negotiations and dialogue internally speaking to at least have a ceasefire.

There has to be a level of openness between the Syrian government and between rebel forces maybe to instigate exchanges of prisoners, ceasefires in certain areas, to let humanitarian aid reach areas which are under rebel control. These all are issues that have to be negotiated for. And it shows that the Syrian government is not taking the path of an in-transition government. They truly do want to see diplomacy and dialogue to solve this and the fact that they are willing to negotiate with theses armed groups signifies a change of policy in terms of [that] they comprehend there can be no military solution and that any solution which comes within the Syrian crisis at this current moment in time has to be a political solution to stop the suffering of the people and to find a real exit and negotiated settlement to his ongoing crisis.

Source

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The People’s Record Daily News Update
Here’s a collection of news stories for February 9, 2013 that you may not otherwise have a chance to see/learn about.

Residents of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh say more than 100 people have demonstrated to call for the release of people detained without charge.

Dozens of security vehicles blocked the intersections of two streets Saturday where the demonstrations were taking place. North of Riyadh in the city of Buraydah, around 30 people — mostly women related to the prisoners — held a similar rally.

In past years, a small number of Saudis have demonstrated in Riyadh to demand the release of thousands of people detained without charge or trial on suspicion of involvement in militant activity. Some have been held for up to 15 years.

Turkish officers are resigning en masse to avoid arrest and sentencing for conspiracy against the government. The cabinet of PM Erdogan is winning the decade-long battle with the country’s once almighty generals.

Mass detentions of both serving and retired officers have been taking place in Turkey over the last decade. The country’s media is closely following a number of trials against top brass accused of plotting against the ruling government. Over at least the past half a century, the Turkish armed forces have been notorious for regular interference in domestic politics, organizing several coups to displace governments and generally having great influence on the political landscape.

In late January 2013 the exodus of Turkish officers from the army was given a new push. Turkey’s number-two naval commander Admiral Nusret Guner resigned, allegedly over the detention of hundreds of his colleagues. His premature voluntary retirement sparked yet another wave of resignations.

In the United States, a Los Angeles police officer who is under investigation for threatening women with jail time if they refused to have sex with him is now being sued by a man he and another officer beat nearly to death after trying to extort money from him last May.

Mulligan “suffered a broken shoulder blade and facial fractures requiring several surgeries at the hands of police officers after they stopped him in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood and forced him to check into a local motel and stay there against his will,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

In Russia, a Moscow district court ordered Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent opposition leader, to be placed under house arrest on Saturday, in one of the most aggressive legal measures to date against a leader of the anti-Kremlin protests that began more than a year ago.

Mr. Udaltsov, the leader of the radical socialist Left Front movement, faces a charge of conspiracy to incite mass disorder, under a statute that can bring a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. According to Saturday’s ruling, he may not leave his house, use the Internet, receive letters or communicate with anyone outside his family and legal team until April 6, the current date for the end of the investigation of his case.

The ruling seemed to signal a new stage in the government’s effort to bring criminal cases against well-known critics of President Vladimir V. Putin.

In Palestine and the occupied territories, Israel’s army forced Palestinian activists to evacuate a West Bank encampment they had set up in protest against illegal Israeli settlement construction and declared the site a “closed military zone”.

Soldiers on Saturday destroyed tents that were being erected in two different areas near the southern West Bank town of Yatta and forced activists to leave, the Palestinian witness said.

At the first site no arrests were made, but soldiers used a cannon that shoots what is commonly referred to as “skunk” water because of its foul smell to disperse activists.

Six people were arrested at the second site, including two photographers.

WARNING: CISPA IS BACK!!!

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection act (CISPA) will be reintroduced before the US House next week following a spate of cyber espionage and hacking attacks. Civil liberties advocates have criticized the bill for violating privacy laws.

The House Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) will attempt to breathe new life into CISPA on Wednesday.

The bill will be identical to the version of CISPA that passed the House last spring, but was defeated on the Senate floor in August mainly because the upper house was hammering out its own cyber security bill.

Palestinian activists have set up another protest camp in the West Bank to demonstrate against what they say is an Israeli land grab.January 18, 2013 
They say they set up a mosque and several tents Friday in the village of Beit Iksa near Jerusalem.
The move comes a week after Palestinian activists set up a similar camp in a strategic West Bank corridor known as E-1 where Israel said it would build a large settlement. The activists were evacuated a day later.
In a statement, activists said they were securing land from Israel.
The Israeli military said soldiers were monitoring the area to prevent disturbances.
The Palestinian activists seem to be adopting a tactic used by Israeli settlers, who establish communities hoping the territory will remain theirs once structures are built.
Source

Palestinian activists have set up another protest camp in the West Bank to demonstrate against what they say is an Israeli land grab.
January 18, 2013 

They say they set up a mosque and several tents Friday in the village of Beit Iksa near Jerusalem.

The move comes a week after Palestinian activists set up a similar camp in a strategic West Bank corridor known as E-1 where Israel said it would build a large settlement. The activists were evacuated a day later.

In a statement, activists said they were securing land from Israel.

The Israeli military said soldiers were monitoring the area to prevent disturbances.

The Palestinian activists seem to be adopting a tactic used by Israeli settlers, who establish communities hoping the territory will remain theirs once structures are built.

Source

The Pentagon has approved a deal to supply 6,900 precision bomb kits to replenish Israel’s weapons stockpiles, diminished by the recent war against Hamas in Gaza. The contract is valued at $647 million.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the Pentagon said in a statement. 

The Pentagon has approved a deal to supply 6,900 precision bomb kits to replenish Israel’s weapons stockpiles, diminished by the recent war against Hamas in Gaza. The contract is valued at $647 million.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the Pentagon said in a statement. 

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the First Intifada on Dec. 8, 1987

Twenty-five years ago this weekend, a large-scale popular uprising by Palestinians began against Israel’s then 20-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Sparked by an incident in which four Palestinians were hit and killed by an Israeli driving in Gaza on December 8, 1987, Palestinian frustration at living under repressive Israeli military rule and Israel’s growing colonial settlement enterprise erupted, grabbing international headlines and drawing attention to the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. On this 25th anniversary, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet on the First Intifada.

  • During the First Intifada, Palestinians employ tactics such as unarmed demonstrations, including rock throwing against soldiers, commercial strikes, a refusal to pay taxes to Israeli authorities, and other acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance. They arecoordinated largelyby grassroots ad hoc committees of Palestinians in the occupied territories rather than the PLO leadership abroad.
  • In response, Israeli soldiers use brutal force to repress the mostly unarmed popular rebellion. Then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin implements the infamous “broken bones” policy,ordering security forcestobreak the limbs[WARNING: Graphic video] of rock-throwing Palestinians and other demonstrators.
  • More than 1000 Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces during the First Intifada, including 237 children under the age of 17. Many tens of thousands more are injured.
  • According to an estimate by the Swedish branch of Save the Children, as many as 29,900 childrenrequire medical treatment for injuries caused by beatings from Israeli soldiers during the first two years of the Intifada alone. Nearly a third of them are aged ten or under. Save the Children also estimates that between 6500-8500 Palestinian minors are wounded by Israeli gunfire in the first two years of the Intifada.
  • In 2000 itis revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, systematically tortures Palestinians using methods that go beyond what is allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure,” Israel’s official euphemism for torture. These methods include violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat and cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians die and hundreds of others are maimed as a result.
  • Approximately 120,000 Palestinians are imprisoned by Israel during the First Intifada.
  • In 1987, Hamas is founded in Gaza, formed from the Palestinian branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. During the 1980s, Israeli authorities encourage and tacitly support the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, viewing them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the PLO, part of a strategy of divide and conquer.
  • In 1992, in the face of protests from the international community, including the UN Security Council throughResolution 799, Israel deports more than 400 suspected members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to southern Lebanon, including one of the founders of Hamas, Mahmoud Zahar, and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ top leader in Gaza today. Refused entry by the Lebanese government, which doesn’t want to confer legitimacy on Israel’s illegal deportation of Palestinians, the exiles spend a harsh winter outside in a no-man’s land limbo. Manyobserversconsider this a turning point for Hamas, whose members are given assistance to survive by the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah. In addition to basic sustenance, Hezbollah gives the Palestinians advice and military training honed during a decade of struggle against Israel’s occupation of Lebanon that began following the bloody Israeli invasion of 1982. Hamas subsequently begins to use suicide bombers against Israeli targets, a tactic that was a signature of Hezbollah’s resistance to Israel’s occupation. Under pressure from the US, Israel agrees to let the exiled Palestinians return to the occupied territories in 1993.
  • The First Intifada gradually tapers off in the face of brutal Israeli repression and political co-optation by the PLO, ending by 1993.

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