Friday, 22 June 2018

israel’s “making the deserts bloom” myth

A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he planted an olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in the Jordan valley where Palestinian sources said that Israel has closed land for the army to use for the military training. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he planted an olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Dozens of Palestinians protested in the Jordan valley where Palestinian sources said that Israel has closed land for the army to use for the military training. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas) Click to enlarge
It has often been said that Israel, since its establishment in 1948, has presided over the “miracle” of making the country’s “desert bloom.” That heavily promoted narrative — which asserts that the Palestinians have long lacked the capacity, knowledge or desire to properly develop agriculture in the region — has often been used as a legitimizing factor in Israel’s establishment. As former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres once said, “The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlement; and Israel’s [cultivated] land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness.”
Were it not for Israel, the desert would have remained unproductive and fallow – or so the story goes.
There is, however, another side to this story, one that shows that the “blooming desert” of Israel is a convenient disguise for the degradation and destruction of Palestine’s natural resources, a means of obfuscating the worst of occupation by wrapping it in the cloak of Zionist mythology. While a central theme of Zionist mythology has long been the need for the Jewish Diaspora community to re-establish itself by returning to agricultural labor, the truth of Israel’s agricultural “success” involves the unsustainable use of occupied resources and the deliberate destruction of the land and water still used by Palestinians today.

Erasing a rich history

Though the official narrative of the state of Israel claims that it has turned the land it occupies from an empty desert into a lush, agricultural wonder, the actual fate of the land following Israel’s establishment in 1948 tells a very different story. Indeed, prior to 1948, the historical record demonstrates that Palestinian farms were very productive and that both Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers were successful farmers. For example, a UN report on agriculture in Palestine between 1945 and 1946 recorded that Palestinian-grown crops accounted for nearly 80 percent of Palestine’s total agricultural yield that season, with Palestinian farms producing over 244,000 tons of vegetables, 73,000 tons of fruit, 78,000 tons of olives, and 5 million liters of wine.
Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from a communal well. Click to enlarge
Villagers of Sidna Ali drawing water from a communal well. Click to enlarge
Two years later, when the majority of Palestinians were forced from their land during the “Nakba” that founded the state of Israel, the farms and orchards that had previously been tended by Palestinians were left abandoned, as their owners fled under the threat of death at the hands of Zionist militias.
As Israeli historian and journalist Meron Benvenisti detailed in his book Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948:
By April 1948 Jewish farmers had already begun harvesting the crops that had ripened in the abandoned fields and picking the citrus fruit in Arab groves. […] by mid-1949 two-thirds of all land sown with grain in Israel was abandoned Arab land.”
Thus, it was land theft that was largely responsible for Israel’s initial agricultural production, not the labor or agricultural expertise of Zionist settlers.
In addition, the claim that Israel turned an undeveloped desert into an agricultural wonder seems to be – in part – projection on the part of the Israeli state. Indeed, as Benvenisti noted, following the removal of Palestinians, the vast majority of centuries-old fruit orchards that had long been maintained by the native inhabitants of the land were untended, neglected and, in some cases, bulldozed to make room for ever-expanding settlements.
According to Benvenisti’s research, that neglect led to a situation in which “entire tracts of productive citrus trees, especially in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area, were earmarked for the construction of housing developments,” as was the case for Palestine olive groves and pomegranate orchards that the land’s new occupants considered “an annoyance.” Part of the reason for the destruction of the land was that it would weaken Palestinian claims to return to the land, as keeping agricultural infrastructure intact “might have made possible the absorption of the returning refugees.”
Current Israeli government policy, particularly its support for the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, is the continuation of this effort to erase Palestine’s history by targeting its agricultural heritage as well as its natural wonders. Indeed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted back in 2011 that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s steady push for Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory had been coupled with “his insistence on seeing nature and landscape as no more than an obstacle to the realization of his settlement vision.”

Covering a crime with water-sucking pines

Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree during a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the president's residence in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan, Pool) Click to enlarge
Israeli President Shimon Peres, right, and French President Francois Hollande, plant a Cedar tree during a welcome ceremony for Hollande at the president’s residence in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Abir Sultan, Pool) Click to enlarge
Another project central to the “desert bloom” mythology is Israel’s “afforestation” of the desert, which has helped “turn the desert green” through the planting of non-native pine trees. These forests, largely planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), have been touted as a “miracle.” Yet, the pine stands, much like Israel’s treatment of Palestine’s agricultural legacy, have been motivated by a need to cover up the events that led to the creation of the Israeli state.
Indeed, more than two-thirds of all JNF forests and sites lie on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages demolished during and after the founding of Israel, and the group’s continuing afforestation efforts are aimed at acquiring land in the occupied West Bank to prevent “trespassing” and “conceal” Palestinian villages in order to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees.
Moreover, the effort to maintain a forest of non-native trees – regardless of whether its chief aim is to cover up the true history of Palestine or “green” a desert — has come at a great cost to the natural environment. As journalist Max Blumenthal has noted:
Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem simply do not survive, and require frequent replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.”
They also become fodder for forest fires that have caused major damage and mass evacuations throughout Israel over the years.
Another ecological consequence of JNF forests is their likely effect on Israel’s horrendous drought, considered to be the worst the region has faced in over 900 years. As studies have shown in other countries where non-native pine plantations have been introduced in vast numbers, pines consume a significant amount of water – leading to droughts and even the disappearance of entire rivers – as well as fundamentally alter and degrade the soil. While these forests have been presented as an ecological miracle, they are instead destroying the environment and degrading the land’s resources, suggesting that the main driver behind the long-standing project is aimed at covering up the ruins of Palestine.

Continuing the attack on Palestinian agriculture

A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
A Palestinian elderly woman collects olives from broken olive tree branches in the village of Qusra, northern West Bank, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Palestinian farmers say Jewish settlers from the nearby settlement of Eli cut more than 70 olive trees overnight. Olives are the backbone of Palestinian agriculture. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh) Click to enlarge
Today, the stark difference in agricultural development in the land tended by Israelis and Palestinians derives from policies that often receive little coverage in the media and are largely absent from the “desert bloom” narrative. Indeed, much of the coverage the issue has received paints Palestinian agricultural successes as either the work of foreigners offering aid or resulting from the “theft” of Israeli-settlement agricultural infrastructure.
Such reports fail to acknowledge the realities of the issue, such as the illegal blockade of Gaza that has crippled its economy and agricultural sector, as well as Israel’s destruction of agricultural infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank. Gazan agricultural infrastructure was ravaged by Israel in times of war and, in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers regularly demolish rain cisterns, pipelines and irrigation systems installed by Palestinians, citing as a reason that such structures lacked the “proper authorization” from Israel. Farmers themselves, mainly in Gaza, are often targeted directly by Israeli soldiers if they come too close to the border fence.
The Israeli government has also targeted Palestinian agriculture through chemical warfare. The use of white phosphorus as a weapon against Gaza, for example, has had major consequences for the area’s farmers. In addition to the chemical weapon’soften deadly effects on the human body, it has destructive effects on the environment and plants, as its incendiary nature often leads to the spontaneous ignition and burning of trees, forests and farmland. It also lingers in the environment for several years.
Beyond the use of chemical weapons, Israel has also directly targeted Gazan farmland with herbicide. In 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted to using herbicides and germination inhibitors to kill off vegetation along the Palestinian side of the border, damaging over 420 acres of land. A year later, tactic was repeated, this time destroying around 400 acres of farmland. The IDF has stated that it sprays the chemicals over the vaguely defined “no-go zone” it has established along the border “in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations.” However, the area accounts for a third of Gaza’s arable land and 17 percent of the entire territory.
Furthermore, the herbicides, like white phosphorus, have consequences for the environment long after they are sprayed. As Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture told Al Jazeera in 2016:
Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population.”
The targeting of Palestinian agriculture in the present and its treatment by the Israeli and American press suggest another and nefarious way in which Israel’s “desert bloom” mythology has manifested. In order for Israel’s agricultural “superiority” to remain unchallenged, Palestinian agriculture must also be suppressed. Were Palestinian agriculture able to develop unimpeded and flourish, it would call into question the idea that the land was barren before the Zionists, threatening the latter’s legitimacy.

The cover-story for all conquerors and colonizers

The myth of Israel “making the desert bloom” has its basis in neo-colonial narratives that have long been used in other settler states such as Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia. In the cases of the latter countries, the native inhabitants and their culture have also inaccurately been depicted as “primitive” and incompetent, a narrative that suggests that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. Such narratives cast the settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.
AMERICAN PROGRESS EAST GOING WEST USA 1872 BY JOHN GAST LARGE PRINT REPRO
American Progress East Going West USA 1872 by John Gast
Zionist mythology reinforces similar themes. For example, as in the United States, Native Americans were considered as uncivilized and wild as the natural environment, Zionist mythology reinforces the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert similarly represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development.
Another historical analogue is the 19th-century concept of “manifest destiny” — the idea that the expansion of the United States had been preordained by God himself, which led the U.S. to break many of its numerous treaties with indigenous tribes and even go to war with Mexico in order to acquire the land it coveted. The Israeli government similarly sees its expansion and control of all of Palestine as a matter of fulfilling prophecy and “redeeming” the Holy Land. This effort of redemption continues to feed Israel’s expansion. As Netanyahu has said, Israel is “obligated to develop all parts of the country – the Galilee and the Negev [the West Bank].”

Living the myth and the lie

Yet, no matter how much evidence exists to the contrary, Israel will never tell the real story behind the “miracle” of making “the desert bloom.” It will never tell the real story precisely because it can’t – to do so would mean demolishing the neo-colonial narrative at the center of the settler state, a narrative that is the pillar of its legitimacy.
Indeed, if Israel has not actually improved the land by making “the desert bloom” but instead degraded the land, the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself becomes questionable, as it suggests that its native inhabitants – the Palestinians – were better caretakers of the land than the current occupiers. For this reason, Israel must continue to propagate the myth regardless of the facts, and continue to deny Palestine’s rich cultural history and agricultural legacy.
With Israel now facing the consequences of its mistreatment of the land and its resources, the historical revisionism once used to sell the disparity between Israeli and Palestinian agricultural prowess has become ineffective. For that reason, Israel must now use other tactics — chemical warfare through toxic agrochemicals, the physical destruction of Palestinian agricultural infrastructure, and illegal blockades – in order to keep the artificial narrative alive, creating the illusion of primitivism and scarcity where none exists.
Top Photo | A Palestinian farmer looks at Israeli army soldiers after he was arrested for planting olive trees near the West Bank town of Tubas in the Jordan valley, during a protest against the closure of land to Palestinians by the army and Jewish settlers, April 8, 2014. Mohammed Ballas | AP
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Why We Should Be Alarmed That israeli Forces and US Police Are Training Together

by Domenica Ghanem

Razan al-Najjar is the latest victim in Israel’s onslaught of Palestinians to go viral. The 21-year-old nurse was shot dead by a sniper. Her only weapon? A wad of medical gauze. She’d been treating protesters who’ve been rallying for their right to return to homes they were expelled from as refugees.
Unfortunately, the death of another unarmed civilian is hardly even news to Palestinians.
May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in symbolic support of recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, was also the bloodiest day in this recent wave of demonstrations. In just one day, at least 50 Palestinians were killed and 2,400 more injured by the Israeli military. (Other counts put those figures even higher.)
This isn’t an anomaly. In this latest wave of demonstrations, Israeli forces have killed dozens of unarmed protesters and wounded thousands more. And they’re not apologizing.
The violence has additionally troubling implications for the United States – and not just for its foreign policy, but at home. That’s because U.S. police forces actually train extensively with the Israeli military. In fact, hundreds of federal, state, local, and even some campus law enforcement departments across the country have trained in some capacity with the Israeli forces now gunning down Palestinian protesters in droves.
Some notable ones include the Chicago police, responsible for shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The Baltimore police too, who were responsible for killing 25-year-old Freddie Gray. And the St. Louis department, which was deployed in Ferguson when protests erupted after police killed 18-year-old Michael Brown – prompting Palestinians halfway across the world to begin tweeting advice for minimizing injuries when police deploy tear gas.
U.S. police departments are sent to Israel, or sometimes Israeli forces come to the United States, under the pretense of counter-terrorism training.
Apparently that training includes learning the benefits of “skunk water” – a liquid developed by Israel that’s used to break up anti-occupation protests like the ones occurring right now. After protests in Ferguson, the St. Louis department started stockpiling the stuff.
And that now infamous NYPD Muslim surveillance program? The NYPD Intelligence Division Chief responsible for that one got the idea from a similar program used to spy on Palestinians.
It begs the question of whom the U.S. police consider terrorists.
The former head of Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) Avi Dichter – who has advocated dropping heavy bombs on civilian-occupied Gaza apartment buildings – believes there’s “an intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” He calls these threats “crimiterrorists.”
But this isn’t a one-sided transfer of tactics. Dichter likes to think of the war on terror and the war on drugs in the same category. And when Israeli forces visit the United States, they also receive training from our police forces on the drug war tactics that have targeted Black and brown communities.
And just as well-documented as the U.S. police killings of Black Americans are the Israeli military killings, torture and surveillance of Palestinian adults and children.
Take 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi. He was shot during a protest and had to have part of his skull removed. He was then taken by Israeli forces in the middle of the night, and beaten into confessing that they didn’t shoot him in the face, despite medical records and eyewitness accounts proving otherwise.
Of course, this story has an ending that Black Americans can also relate to – those in uniform will rarely be held accountable by the government.
While these connections may be new to some, the activists fighting both against the occupation of Palestine and for Black lives are not strangers to how their struggles are linked.
In 2015, Black and Palestinian artists and activists released a video and statement of Black-Palestinian solidarity in the face of state-sanctioned violence. And the Movement for Black Lives platform includes demands for the U.S. to divest from the occupation of Palestine.
The movement is taking root in many cities. In Atlanta, the group #ATLisReady released a list of demands following the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile – the first calling for the termination of the Atlanta Police Department’s involvement in Israeli training programs. And Jewish Voices for Peace launched “Deadly Exchange,” a campaign to end the sharing of the worst practices of policing.
And now, these movements are starting to notch some victories. Durham, North Carolina recently became the first city to ban trainings of U.S. police by the Israeli military.
The success of Durham’s training ban, spearheaded by Demilitarize from Durham2Palestine, is even more extraordinary when you consider the efforts of both the powerful pro-Israel and police lobbies to crack down on Black and Palestinian-led activist organizations.
While the joint forces of the Israeli military and the U.S. police are a terrifying and oftentimes deadly affront, a joint Black and Palestinian force for good is emerging as quite powerful itself. And as the death toll rises here and in Gaza, it’s needed now more than ever.
Domenica Ghanem is the media manager at the Institute for Policy Studies. This article was jointly produced by Foreign Policy In Focus and In These Times. Reprinted with permission from Foreign Policy In Focus.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Seems some Jews actually believe they are superior & “chosen people”. Superior in what, deceit, lies, greed?



Israeli MP invokes the supremacy of ‘Jewish race’ in bizarre pro-Netanyahu tirade

Israeli MP invokes the supremacy of ‘Jewish race’ in bizarre pro-Netanyahu tirade

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against Palestinians (07 – 12 June 2018)

IMEMC News
 
Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the week of 07 – 12 June, 2018.
Israeli forces continued to use force against Palestinian peaceful protestors. Four Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed within hours of one another, in the Gaza Strip. 287 Palestinian civilians, including 43 children, 9 women, 3 journalists, and 4 paramedics, were wounded.
Shooting:

Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against Palestinian civilians, who participated in peaceful demonstrations organized within the activities of the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed for the 11th week in a row peaceful demonstrations along the eastern and northern Gaza Strip border area. During the reporting period, in the Gaza Strip on Friday, the Israeli forces killed 4 civilians, including a child, and wounded 287 Palestinian civilians, including 43 children, 9 women, 3 journalists, and 4 paramedics; 8 of the wounded are in serious condition.  In the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded an Israeli human rights defender and 9 Palestinian civilians, including a child; one of those wounded sustained serious wounds.

In the Gaza Strip, on Friday, 08 June 2018, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians identified as:
  1. Haitham Mohammed Khalil al-Jamal (15) from Rafah was hit with a bullet to the abdomen when he was in eastern Rafah.
  2. Ziyad Jadallah ‘Abdel Qader al-Brim (28) from Bani Suhaila in Khan Younis was wounded at approximately 17:30 with a bullet to the abdomen in eastern Khuza’ah and succumbed to his wounds around half an hour later from his arrival at Naser Hospital;
  3. Yousif Salim Khalil al-Fasih (29) from Gaza City was wounded with a bullet to the pelvis in eastern Shija’iyah neighborhood; and
  4. ‘Emad Nabil ‘Ali Abu Darabi (20) from Beit Lahia was hit with a bullet to the head in eastern Jabalia.
Investigations and observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers during this week emphasize the following:

  • The demonstrations were entirely peaceful and witnessed significant participation of women, elderlies, and children. Moreover, the fieldworkers did not witness any armed manifestations.

  • On Friday dawn, 08 June 2018, Israeli warplanes fired fire bombs at the Return Camp in eastern Rafah, causing fire in a number of tents and the tires collected by the protesters supposed to be burnt in the afternoon.

  • Dozens of Israeli Forces’ snipers continued to position on the hills, behind the sand barriers and in military jeeps along the border fence in front of the peaceful demonstrations in the eastern Gaza Strip.

  • Tear gas canisters were intensively and unprecedentedly fired from the drones and by the Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence or in the military sites. The tear gas has spared none.
  • Ambulances, medical staff, and field medical points were deliberately and directly targeted and prevented from approaching those wounded in addition to causing injuries among them though the ambulances are 300 meters away from the border fence.

  • Journalists were directly targeted, causing injuries among them.

  • The Israeli fire deliberately targeted the upper part of the body as dozens sustained wounds to the head and chest and many are in critical condition; thus, the number of deaths is likely to increase.
Israeli Settlement Activities and Settlers’ Attacks against the Palestinian Civivlians and their Property:

On 07 June 2018, the Israeli forces closed a road used by Palestinian farmers in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, to reach their lands.  Closure of the road which leads to thousands of dunums of agricultural lands would prevent farmers from doing their agricultural works, including plowing, planting and transferring products for marketing.

On 10 June 2018, Israeli forces established metal detectors at the entrance to the lands of “Thaghret Hammad” area belonging to Ghuneim Family in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem.  Representative of Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission in Bethlehem, Hasan Breijiyah, said that the Israeli forces installed 10 containers to store goods in lands belonging to Dabash Family in the same area.  Moreover, the Israeli forces affixed a notice to stop construction works in an under-construction house belonging to Majdi Marzouq ‘Issa that is almost ready for occupation and an agricultural land in al-Balou’a area in the abovementioned village under the pretext of non-licensing.

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property, on 11 June 2018, a group of Israeli settlers from “Yitzhar“ settlement, established in the eastern side of Burin village, south of Nablus, and under the Israeli forces’ protection attacked houses of civilians in the southern side of the village.
Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

Continuing the demonstrations in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, Palestinian civilians organized protests against the decision throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They further organized peaceful demonstrations where ten thousands of civilians participated, for the eleventh Friday in a row, in commemoration of the 42nd Anniversary of the Land Day in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrations were called as “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.” The demonstrations were as follows during the reporting period:

Gaza Strip:

  • At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 08 June 2018, hundreds of Palestinian protestors swarmed to the Return encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return; 300 meters away from the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah. At the end of the prayer, the number of participants increased reaching to thousands in buses, cars and motorcycles and on foot. A number of them approached the border fence, flew kites and set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. The clashes continued until approximately 18:30. As a result, Haitham Mohammed Khalil al-Jamal (15) was killed after being hit with a live bullet to the abdomen. Haitham underwent a surgery at Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis, but doctors failed to rescue him. Moreover, 30 protestors, including a child, were wounded. Twenty of them were hit with live bullets and its shrapnel and 10 others were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Doctors classified the injuries of 2 civilians as serious.

  • At approximately 13:00 on the same Friday, thousands of civilians swarmed into the demonstration encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return, east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaytoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza Strip to participate in the eleventh consecutive Friday known as “Millions March to Jerusalem”. The activity included raising flags, chanting national slogans, setting fire to tires and flying kites. Though the demonstrations were fully peaceful, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel deliberately and randomly fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, Yusuf Salim Khalil al-Fasih (29) from al-Shati’a refugee camp was killed after being hit with a live bullet to the pelvis and transferred to al-Shifa Hospital. After hours of attempting to rescue his life, doctors announced Yusuf’s death. Moreover, 30 civilians, including 3 children, were wounded. Twenty three of them were hit with live bullets and 7 others were hit with tear gas canisters throughout their bodies.

  • Around the same time, thousands of civilians swarmed into the demonstration encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return, east of Abu Safiyah Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. The protestors raised the Palestinian flags, chanted national slogans and set fire to tiers. Hundreds of them approached the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence. The soldiers deliberately and randomly fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. The clashes continued until approximately19:30. As a result, Emad Nabil ‘Ali Abu Darabeh (20) from Beit Lahia was killed after being hit with a live bullet to the head. Moreover, 96 civilians, including 25 children, 3 women, a journalist and 2 paramedics, were wounded. The wounded journalist was identified as Mohammed Abdul Razeq Abdullah al-Baba (49) from Jabalia was hit with a live bullet to the right leg, causing a fracture to the bones. The 2 paramedics were identified as:
  1. Rami Khamis Mousa al-Haj ‘Ali (35) ,an ambulance officer from Jabalia working at the PRCS, was hit with a live bullet to the right arm, causing a fracture to the arm; and
  2. Khalid Abdul Fattah Rashid al-Yazji (24), a paramedic from Beit Hanoun volunteering for the Volunteer Nurse Team, was hit with a tear gas canister to the left hand.
The wounded civilians were transferred via ambulances belonging to  PRCS, Medical Services, Union of Health Work Committees and the Ministry of Health to the Indonesian and al-‘Awda Hospitals. Doctors classified the injuries of 3 civilians as serious while the other injuries between minor and moderate.

  • At approximately 13:30, thousands of civilians swarmed to the Return encampment, east of Khuza’ah, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. The participants whose number reached thousands of men, elderlies, women and children, gathered in the five demonstration areas. They were inside and outside the encampment yards, raising flags, and chanting slogans and national songs in addition to flying kites, while hundreds of them, including children and women, approached the border fence, set fire to tires and attempted to throw stones at the Israeli forces. Moreover, the protestors removed the barbed-wire fence established by the Israeli forces inside the Palestinian territories around 30-50 meters away from the main border fence. Israeli forces stationed behind hills and sand barriers and in military vehicles and its surroundings along the border fence sporadically opened fire at the protestors and fired dozens of tear gas canisters at them and at the camp yard. According to observations by PCHR’s fieldworker, an Israeli tank stationed behind sand barriers adjacent to the protestors and a drone fired tear gas canisters at the protestors and the peaceful gathering. The shooting continued until approximately 19:30 on the same day. As a result, Ziyad Jadallah Abdul Qader al-Barim (28) from Bani Suheila, east of Khan Younis was killed after being hit with a live bullet to the abdomen at approximately 17:30 during his presence within the protestors’ gathering 100-150 meters away from the border fence. Doctors announced the death of Ziyad after half an hour of his arrival at Nasser Hospital.

Moreover, 110 civilians, including 12 children, 6 women, 2 journalists and 2 paramedics, were wounded; one of them was a female paramedic who was hit with a live bullet to the hand. Seventeen of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 93 were hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded civilians were taken to the field hospitals and to Nasser, Gaza European, Algerian Hospitals and al-Amal Hospital belonging to PRCS. Doctors classified the injuries of 2 civilians as serious as one of them was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the head, causing fracture to the jaw and the other was hit with a live bullet to the head. Both wounded civilians were admitted to the ICU at Nasser and Gaza European hospital. The Israeli forces also targeted an ambulance belonging to PRCS with a tear gas canister that hit the windshield while it was in the south of Jaker Street around 300 meters away from the border fence.

  • At approximately 14:30, thousands of protestors swarmed to the encampments established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return, 350 meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. A number of young men approached the border fence, set fire to tires and three stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at them. The clashes continued until the evening hours of the same day. As a result, 12 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded. Twenty of them were hit with live bullets and one civilian was hit with a tear gas canister to the left eye. The wounded were transferred via PRCS ambulances to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Doctors classified the injury of a civilian as serious and he was then referred to Eye Specialty Hospital in Gaza City, while they classified the other injuries between minor and moderate.

West Bank:

  • At approximately 13:30 following Friday prayer on 08 June 2018, a group of Palestinian civilians moved from Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, to the eastern entrance to the village, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of the entrance to “Kedumim” settlement established on the village lands. The protestors chanted national slogans demanding end of occupation, condemning the U.S President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and condemning the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinian protestors along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The soldiers fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a 35-year-old Israeli activist who was not identified was hit with a rubber bullet to the back.
Restrictions on the NGOs’ Activities:
  • At approximately 19:15 on Saturday, 09 June 2018, the Israeli forces raided Jerusalem Hotel on Nablus Street in the center of occupied Eat Jerusalem, and banned an Iftar “the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast” held for journalists upon an invitation by the Chamber of Commerce in the City. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli Intelligence officers and Special Forces raided in the afternoon the hotel and surrounded it, banning anyone from entering and taking those inside out.  The Israeli forces then hanged a decision preventing holding the Iftar by the Chamber of Commerce.  Moreover, Israeli police officers arrested Lawyer Kamal ‘Abeidat, Head of the Chamber of Commerce, and Ra’ed Sa’adah, Jerusalem Hotel Manager, and took them to an interrogation center.  The ban came after the Israeli Interior Security Minister “Gelad Ardan” signed a decision to ban the Iftar.  Ardan’s office said that “the event was supposed to be a Ramadan Iftar meal, but it aimed at briefing the activities of the East Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, which is an institution belonging to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem and has been closed by the Israeli government in the recent years due to the nature of its activity.
Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property


Israeli Forces’ Attacks:

  • On Thursday morning, 07 June 2018, the Israeli forces accompanied with the military vehicles leveled and closed an agricultural road used by the Palestinian farmers in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, to reach their agricultural lands. Ahmed Salah, an activist in Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission in the village, said that the Israeli vehicles closed the road leading to the thousands of dunums of agricultural lands known as “Shoshahlah; al-Sowanah; al-Hadaf; ‘Ein Qesis; and Thaher al-Zayah.”  He added that the road was closed with rocks and berms to prevent farmers from reaching their lands even when using pack animals.  Closing the road will not make farmers be able to do their agricultural works, including plowing, planting and transferring products for marketing.  It should be mentioned that this is not the first time the Israeli forces close an agricultural road but it is part of a systematic policy to target farmers and harass them in order to leave and neglect their lands and then to confiscate the lands in favor of the settlement outposts deployed in those areas.

  • On Sunday morning, 10 June 2018, Israeli forces established metal detectors at the entrance to the lands of “Thaghret Hammad” area in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. Representative of Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission in Bethlehem, Hasan Breijiyah, said that the Israeli forces established on the same day morning metal detectors at the entrance to lands of “Thaghret Hammad” area belonging to Ghuneim Family in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem.  He added that this measure means that farmers will be denied access to their lands, which will be later confiscated for settlement purposes. He also said that the Israeli forces installed 10 containers to store goods in lands belonging to Dabash Family, noting that the lands of Thaghret Hammad area have been lately exposed to a fierce campaign by the Israeli forces by closing roads and leveling lands.

  • On Monday morning, 11 June 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with Civil Administration officers from the Construction and Organization Department moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. The Israeli forces affixed a notice to stop construction works in an under-construction house belonging to Majdi Marzouq ‘Issa that is almost ready for occupation.  Ahmed Salah, an activist in Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, said that the Israeli forces affixed another stop-work notice to an agricultural facility in al-Balou’a area in the village under the pretext of non-licensing.  It should be noted that the Israeli authorities continue its policy of issuing military orders aiming at demolishing Palestinian houses in areas classified “C” in an attempt to drive the indigenous inhabitants out of their houses, seize control of them and force Palestinians to leave.

Israeli settlers’ attacks

  • At approximately 21:15 on Monday, 11 June 2018, a group of Israeli settlers from “Yitzhar“ settlement, established in the eastern side of Burin village, south of Nablus, and under the Israeli forces’ protection attacked houses of civilians in the southern side of the village. A number of the village residents upon calls via the mosques’ speakers gathered to confront the settlers and soldiers and protect their houses from the attacks.  When the residents arrived at the area, the Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets at them.  As a result, 2 civilians were wounded; one was superficially wounded with a bullet under the right ear and was taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus; and the other was wounded with a rubber bullet to the abdomen and taken to Ben Sina Helath center in nearby Howarah village for treatment.


Recommendations to the International Community

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.
  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The World Must Work to Peacefully De-nuclearise the “israeli” Regime

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | June 14, 2018
Now that the DPRK, a former signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which later withdrew has agreed to a full de-nuclearisation process, it is time to focus on other nations that possess nuclear weapons that have yet to sign the NPT.
Of all the world’s nuclear powers only “Israel”, India and Pakistan have refused to sign the NPT and of these three only “Israel” refuses to officially declare its nuclear capability even though unofficially, officials of the Tel Aviv regime have boasted of their illegal nuclear arsenal. While India and Pakistan only became nuclear capable in the late 1990s, Tel Aviv’s first successful nuclear tests came in the early 1960s and were privately a bone of contention between US President John F. Kennedy and the Tel Aviv regime. Even more worryingly, Tel Aviv maintains a plan to launch a large scale nuclear war on its neighbours and the wider region should it fear that it is on the verge of losing a traditional conflict. The award winning journalist Seymour Hersh first revealed the existence of the Samson Option – a classified “Israeli” military doctrine advocating for the use of nuclear weapons on a wide scale should the regime feel sufficiently threatened. As the regime recently stated that it feels threatened by the kites and balloons being flown by Palestinains to attempt and disrupt airstrikes on Gaza, it is clear that Tel Aviv has a very low threshold for what it considers “threatening”. Against this background, the existence of the Samson Option should be incredibly worrying to the so-called international community.
Not only has “Israel” had its illegal stockpile of nuclear weapons for longer than India or Pakistan, but “Israel” has been at war with and has occupied more countries over the last 50 years than either south Asian nuclear power. Since its inception, the Tel Aviv regime has been at war with Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. It has occupied Palestine since 1947 and part of Syria since 1967.
The regime also occupied part of Egypt between 1967 and 1982. 1982 was also when “Israel’s” full scale occupation of southern Lebanon began while hostile regime forces only vacated in 2006, subsequent to a  partial withdrawal in the year 2000. The regime had also occupied parts of Lebanon as early as 1978 while in 1981 the “Israeli” air force launched an illegal aerial assault on Iraq. While continually occupying Syria, recent years have seen ever more unprovoked “Israel” bombardments of south-western Syria which have increased in terms of their frequency and intensity in recent months.
While India and Pakistan have had a hostile relationship ever since both nations became independent of UK imperial rule, they have nevertheless engaged in fewer conflicts than those inaugurated by “Israel” and this fact in and of itself is quite remarkable. Furthermore, in spite of an alliance dating back many decades, “Israel” has also engaged in hostilities with the United States.
In 1967, the American Naval Ship USS Liberty came under a sustained attack from the “Israeli” air-force and torpedo boats without any warning or justification. In spite of Liberty’s commanders sending communications informing “Israel” that they were an “allied” US ship, the attack persisted for hours. Archival material has revealed that some of the pilots were aware that the ship was American, but that they were ordered by their superiors to keep attacking. Ultimately, 34 Americans died in the attack while 171 were severely wounded. The incident was systematically hushed up by the US government and media. Many researchers suspect that “Israel” had attempted to stage a false flag incident that would later be blamed on Egypt, in order to coerce the US into attacking Egypt and its Soviet ally. Because “Israel” was not able to kill all the men on board, the plan failed as the survivors knew full well that it was “Israel” and not Egypt nor any other Soviet ally that had attacked their ship.
While the ultimately non-lethal incident of the American Navy ship USS Pueblo being captured by the DPRK in 1968 received a great deal of attention in the US media, the USS Liberty incident from the prior year was quickly hushed up. Later, many scholars and journalists accused then US President Lyndon B. Johnson of covering up “Israel’s” wanton aggression upon a US flagged ship.
With Donald Trump publicly declaring that the DPRK no longer poses a threat to the United States, it remains clear that the undeniably aggressive “Israeli” should be the next nation to de-nuclearise for the benefit of wider global peace. While nuclear weapons in south Asia are indeed a worrying prospect, no regime has been so wantonly aggressive, so frequently in violation of UN resolutions and so threatening to all of its neighbours than the “Israeli” regime has been since its dubious inception.
With the DPRK out of the equation, it now remains a matter of focusing on countries which continue to stockpile nuclear weapons without signing the NPT. Of all such nations, “Israel” is by far the most dangerous and should be the next to be pressured by the wider world to give up its nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, the close and frequently sycophantic US relationship with Tel Aviv means that this might not happen until it is too late. Such a worrying prospect ought to galvanise a wider support throughout the world for such a peaceful de-nuclearisation process to begin at once.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!