Saturday, 17 October 2020

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

By Ken Leslie for the Saker Blog

The Poglavnik of the East[1]

“I know no way of judging the future but the past.”

Patrick Henry, 1765

“This time, it’s different”

Any gambler bleeding thousands of dollars at a table in Las Vegas

These days we all seem preoccupied with daily events which are taking a turn for the worse. No, not everything is “bad” but only those who are sound asleep do not hear the cold winds of war rattling the windows. My previous essay “Two clicks to midnight” has caused quite a stir with over 20000 views and hundreds of comments. I put it to you that this is not the result of my brilliant writing and analytical skills (I mean this) but the ability to express something that many people keep hidden inside—questions about the true nature of the system in which we live, their inchoate fears and half-buried memories. I believe in the cathartic power of the truth (the way I see it) and it appears that so do many others. This in itself is encouraging because it means that under layers of lies, anxieties, complexes and dogmas, there lies a good human heart capable of love and redemption. Given the current state of the world, this is the only way I know of fighting for a more hopeful tomorrow—warts and all.

Our gracious host has achieved fame (he might disagree!) through a knowledgeable and timely analysis of the Western military-political nexus that is using all its power to destroy Russia and China. His prescient and nuanced assessments of the situation in the “East” have made many of us loyal visitors and contributors to this blog. Now, I can’t hope to offer anything like the military analysis a la Saker of Andrey Martyanov. And that is just as well because they are doing an excellent job. What I can do well is to observe certain historical patterns and try to interpret them in the modern setting. As knowers say, history does not repeat itself but it rhymes. It is these “rhymes” or similarities between historical events that tell us all we need to know about the limited cognitive grasp of the human beings as well as partial predictability of human behaviour. Of course, the complexity of the systems in question precludes any confident claims but nevertheless—past is all we have and we’d better learn how to use its lessons pronto.

Of course, there is danger of overestimating the importance of past events but it is equally dangerous to ignore them. In applied probability, these two types of bias are called “Hot Hand” and “Gambler’s fallacy” and they hamper any analysis of complex events. Yet, as noted by Patrick Henry above, all we have is the past and we’d better study it carefully—if judiciously.[2] And then, there are the emotions—yearning for justice in the face of a blatant injustice and anger at the abandon with which criminal elites hiding behind the holiest of principles have destroyed innocent human lives. After decades if not centuries of demonisation of Russia in all its forms, the time has come to fight back—to turn the light of history on its enemies. As some of you might have noticed, I have focussed almost exclusively on Roman Catholicism at the risk of alienating some readers. This does not mean that evil is the exclusive province of the Vatican but that a large proportion of recent historical tragedies are closely linked with if not caused by it. Given the nature of these tragedies, I intend to explore the nefarious role of this “Official” Christianity in some detail.

In the infernal Encyclopaedia of human beastliness that is kept bound and chained to the gates of Hell there are few events as heart breaking and anger provoking as the War in Vietnam, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in modern history. “Conflict” is not the right term here. Rather, the Wars in Vietnam which started in 1945 and ended in 1975 represent an archetype of naked criminal aggression and genocide waged by all weapons in the arsenal of the Western “democracy” against an old and proud people which only wanted to see the backs of foreign invaders. 19th Century was very unkind to the peoples of East Asia in that it brought with it an unstoppable surge of Western imperialism greedy for raw materials and cheap labour. The British, the Dutch and finally the French swooped on the rich rubber and timber-growing fields of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam respectively, crushing any resistance with the aid of modern weapons and advanced political warfare techniques. Although each of these examples deserves in-depth treatment, I wish to devote and dedicate this essay to Vietnam, whose suffering brings tears to any feeling person’s eyes even today 45 years after colonel Ted Serong clambered up the rickety ladder on the roof of the Saigon embassy leaving the long-suffering country in utter ignominy. If you are wondering who this is, you’ll need to wait for part II.

You may ask—why now? There are several reasons. First, historical amnesia is very dangerous and as stated by President Putin, deliberate attempts by those who fought on the side of evil to embellish their role and soothe their ravaged consciences can only bring us closer to another global tragedy. Change is inevitable and needed but not at the expense of the rehabilitation of the worst human instincts and thirst for iniquity. Second, even in the bloody milieu of European colonial conquest, Vietnam stands out as a symbol of martyrdom—in the Christian sense, despite or because most crimes against the Vietnamese people were committed in the name of a Church which calls itself the only true Christian faith. Third, obsessed by Eurocentrism, we tend to forget that lives and struggles of other peoples are equally as important. Finally, the topic I shall focus on is highly relevant in the modern era of limited and “targeted” military and paramilitary operations underpinned by a vast human and electronic intelligence apparatus and the largest military in the world. There are a lot of parallels between what happened in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1973 and more recent US-sponsored or executed crimes in different parts of the world.

Although I’d love to expound, this is not the place to retell the story of the tragedy of Vietnam which began with a mid-19th Century scouting expedition by several French Jesuits on behalf of French capital. Their demise at the hands of Vietnamese patriots served as a pretext for what Wikipedia describes as follows: “Vietnam’s sovereignty was gradually eroded by France, which was aided by the Spanish and large Catholic militias in a series of military conquests between 1859 and 1885.”[3] Although the Vietnamese fought bravely against the legions of newly-converted “rice Christians”, they could not withstand the onslaught of one of the premiere imperial powers of the day.[4] After a couple of decades of resolute resistance, the kingdom of Vietnam became another French colony to be exploited and visited by adventurers.

In their obsession with the hard-nosed “it’s all about the money” agenda, many seem to ignore the fact that the conquest of a people requires the destruction and erasure of their spiritual and cultural identity. While money is of paramount importance, it is useless if the people resisting are aware of their history and culture. This allows them to draw from deep wells of history and replenish their strength. Very often, they come out victorious in the end. The strategists of the global spiritual conquest in the Vatican have been well aware of the power of religion as a weapon to be wielded against indigenous cultures. The psychology of religious conversion is a fascinating psychological topic which deserves a separate article. Once a person converts (for personal gain or under duress), he or she becomes isolated from or ostracised by their family and wider community. Exposed to the opprobrium and shame, the new convert turns to his new family—priests and laymen who are masters at leveraging the sense of guilt and anger. This is combined with the “carrot”—the convert is told that they are special because they belong to the “true” faith. They are initiated within the new ingroup and are soon ready to turn their anger against their former friends and kin.[5]

In Vietnam, this spiritual war (which for me is the most pernicious and least explored form of aggression) resulted in the formation of a class of Vietnamese Catholic converts who struggled to reconcile their origins with a foreign religion and culture to which they were now irrevocably bound. These people became members of a nascent Vietnamese middle class whose ambition to better themselves involved supporting the French occupation and generally renouncing their Buddhist heritage. They often received a French education and tried to emulate French culture and mores. The ones who excelled were employed as low-level bureaucrats or officers. This soon brought them into conflict with those Vietnamese who saw French presence and religious encroachment for what it really was—a brazen attempt to behead the Vietnamese civilisation (which owes a lot to China) and replace it with a docile population of useful “supplétifs”, that is, deracinated aboriginals who are given just enough incentives to keep them in check. The hatred of their community would do the rest.

The ignominious defeat of the French state in 1940 was momentous for France’s colonies which soon had to decide between Petain’s Vichy and De Gaulle’s Cross of Lorraine. That same year, the seemingly unstoppable Japanese Imperial Army occupied the French Indo-China and hammered out a pragmatic agreement with the Vichy colonial government which allowed the latter to continue governing the colony with the Japanese taking on a largely overseeing role. Needless to say, the fruits of the colonial plunder started travelling due East resulting in deadly famines and the birth of a movement of Vietnamese patriots who were guided by (but never subservient to) the precepts of Marxism-Leninism.[6] This cell of exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to the struggle for freedom having spent (cumulatively) over 300 years in French prisons were led by the most exceptional of their number—one Nguyễn Sinh Cung better known as Ho Chi Minh. A tireless revolutionary, socialist, humanist and fighter against oppression, Ho had led an incredible life of adventure, adversity and reincarnation. After being largely side-lined for most of his political life, Ho grabbed the moment in 1944, when he and his comrades organised and led the indigenous guerrilla resistance to Japanese occupation. The name of the movement for the liberation of Vietnam became world-famous as the Viet Minh.

Following the war, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam in August 1945. He was keen to enlist the help of the United States whose anticolonialism under Roosevelt offered hope to many liberation movements. However, with the death of FDR, the US foreign policy doctrine experienced a U turn. Instead of continuing their assistance to Ho provided by the OSS in the fight against the Japanese, the newly-hatched American Empire decided to defend the colonial status quo on the pretext of fighting communism. Although exhausted and shamed by its wartime record, France reneged on any promises made by the pre-war Blum government and decided to restore its colonial empire in the hope that the false grandeur of pith helmets and white dress shoes would constitute a sufficient recompense for being a willing partner of Hitler’s own empire just a year earlier (resistance excepted).

To cut a long story short, after eight years of bloody struggle, the Vietminh succeeded in liberating their country following a brilliant victory at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. This gave rise to an international conference at which the USSR and China convinced Ho to agree to a temporary partition and a unification following a “free and fair” election in 1956. There was some anger at the time at the role Ho’s two mentors played but their reticence was understandable given the current political and economic situation as well as the hawkishness of the US foreign policy apparatus. Nevertheless, this was the crucial point in the evolution of Vietnamese Golgotha because the names of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap became household names overnight—the great heroes of the liberation struggle—so much so that even the Americans knew that were an election to take place, the Viet Minh would take the vast majority of votes. This was absolutely unacceptable to warmongering criminals the Dulles brothers and their minions. A free Vietnam friendly to China and the USSR was a nightmare which called for a nightmarish solution. The first task for the dark cabal was to find somebody who could rival Ho as a figure of national prominence and significance. This was impossible in principle because most prominent Vietnamese politicians (including the emperor Bao Dai) were in France’s employ and the people of Vietnam at that point would rather eat raw nettles than countenance another French puppet ruling over them. However, everything was not lost.

In one of many Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States, an austere, celibate Vietnamese man, short in stature but full of noblesse oblige was waiting to be interviewed by one of the leading RC politicians of the era, Senator Michael Mansfield. Diem had left Vietnam in 1950 ostensibly to take part in a Vatican celebration but in reality, to lobby for the RC takeover of Vietnam under his family. Diem’s reputation as a nationalist who equally opposed the French and the Vietminh was played up for the media.[7] What was kept in the background was that Diem was a scion of the most powerful RC family in Vietnam as well as the fact that he had collaborated with the Japanese during the war. One of his brothers, Bishop Ngô Đình Thục was one of the most senior RC clerics in Vietnam and the co-ordinator of the takeover of this largely Buddhist country. Having been vetted by “Hitler’s Pope” Pius XII, Diem immediately acquired access to various offices discretely tucked away inside the massive brownstone buildings of Georgetown in which the fate of Vietnam was being decided at that very moment.[8] Having received the necessary instructions from his Padron in Rome, the ultra-powerful Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman put into motion a process that would result in one of the greatest instances of unprovoked carnage in history.

Diem’s religious zealotry and hatred of Buddhism made him an immediate hit with the Roman Catholic elites in the USA who yearned to redeem the catastrophic “loss of China” to the Communists. Immediately, a “Vietnamese Lobby” was formed consisting of some of the most prominent and influential Roman Catholic personalities on the US scene including Cardinal Spellman, Joseph and John Kennedy, judge William O. Douglass, senator Mike Mansfield and many others. Needless to say, Diem was favoured by the Dulles brothers who would play a crucial role in the formation of his semi-secret system of oppression. Under their tutelage and boosted by American money, the hitherto unknown Catholic zealot would turn Vietnam into a bulwark of anti-Communism modelled on fascist Catholic satrapies such as Spain, Croatia and Slovakia. It did not matter that Diem was almost completely unknown to the people or that up to 90% of Vietnamese population was Buddhist. These inconvenient facts would be overcome by enthusiastic CIA engineers of chaos whose task was to ensure Diem’s rule at all costs.

What happened after this is generally well known. With the help of the CIA man Edward Lansdale, Diem crushed his opponents and became president of Vietnam after a 98.2% victory in a sham election. Soon after, he instituted a reign of terror primarily targeted against Buddhists, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects as well as members of the Viet Minh who had remained in South Vietnam after the partition. On the instigation of his American bosses, he reneged on the promise of reunification and in order to strengthen his shaky hold on power organised a massive transfer of Roman Catholics from North to South Vietnam. Despite the North’s leniency towards their religion, many fell for the expensive and effective propaganda campaign funded by various US Catholic Charities and the CIA. “Virgin has gone to the South” was a potent call for hundreds of thousands of Catholic believers to leave their ancestral homes and start afresh in the newly born Civitas Dei.[9]

This unprecedented demographic shift had a twofold effect: it strengthened Diem’s popular base with Northern Catholics being vastly over-represented in his oppressive apparatus including military, intelligence, police as well as countless Catholic militias strewn around South Vietnam (e.g. Father Nguyen Lạc Hoa’s “Sea Swallows).[10] On the other hand, the population movement increased the political homogeneity of the North making its preparations for a war of liberation easier. Here is a quote from a research essay by Peter Hansen: “Jean Lacouture, for example, suggested that Ngô Đinh Diệm deliberately created a “ring of steel” by strategically placing settlements of loyalist Bắc Di Cư around Sài Gòn to protect himself both from communists and from potential enemies within the RVN: ‘As a result, surrounded by fortifications turning them into strategic hamlets, some villages filled with refugees formed a sort of a belt surrounding Saigon; it was as though the beleaguered [Ngô Đinh Diệm] regime wanted to fortify its capital with an iron guard composed of those people most hostile to communism and most violently attached to militant Catholicism.’”[11]

By 1955 everything was in place. The influx of American military and academic advisers, law-enforcement officials and economic experts gave Diem an ostensibly modern system of state repression together with his own FBI, special units, a plethora of secret services and even his own political party (Can Lao, a child of his brother Nhu’s political ambitions) which underpinned the regime’s security through the infiltration by its members into all important institutions. Diem’s secret police was headed by Dr Tran Kim Tuyen, a Catholic who excelled at cruelty and pro-regime zeal. The signal was given for an all-out campaign of anti-Buddhist and anti-left terror. Tens of thousands of innocent Buddhists were imprisoned in animal-like cages or killed by Diem’s assassination squads (akin to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen).

Like in Croatia, whole villages converted to Catholicism in order to avoid imprisonment, torture and death.[12] Hundreds of thousands were relocated into American-funded Potemkin villages called Agrovilles which were supposed to disrupt the traditional patterns of village life deemed unfriendly to the ways of the Catholic puppet Poglavnik. The terror reached its peak in 1958 and 1959. Hitherto dormant on the orders of the Hanoi government, the surviving remnants of the Vietminh started to organise and offer minimal resistance to the crazed crusader. The signal from the North to transition to armed struggle was issued with great reluctance—only after the vast majority of old and experienced cadres was eliminated by Diem’s death squads and there was a serious risk of a rebellion against the Socialist Lao Dong party by the disgruntled activists in the south.

Despite his best (worst) efforts, Diem could never overcome the ultimate barrier which separated him from the people of Vietnam—his religion. He always viewed his role as that of a Roman Catholic autocrat who holds the power of life and death over his flock. Like most religious transplants, he did not appreciate the deep animistic, Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist roots of the ancient Vietnamese civilisation. He did try to emulate these superficially for the sake of appearance but ultimately failed. He even emulated Pavelic and his successors by trying to create a congregation of “loyal” Buddhists who would support his anti-Buddhist crusade.[13] Nevertheless, for a short time, Diem was lionised by his masters in Washington as… oh, think of something… George Washington of Asia who stood alone in his deadly struggle against “Communist oppression”!. The honeymoon might have lasted longer but for the rapaciousness and zealotry of Diem, his family and his regime enforcers. The rumours of the nation-wide killing spree which had resulted in a large number of dead, imprisoned, dislocated and dispossessed non-Catholics started to reach the pricked ears of the Western media. No amount of slick propaganda could hide the horrors of Diem’s torture chambers and death squads (shades of Papa Doc Duvalier and his Ton Ton Macoutes). Not only did Diem antagonise the absolute majority of Vietnamese people including many hitherto loyal Catholics, but his masters in Washington were starting to get alarmed—similar to the German and Italian unease with the genocidal rage of Pavelic’s Ustashe whose cruelty threatened to upset Hitler’s European apple cart.

John F. Kennedy who had by then replaced an aging Eisenhower was faced with a serious problem. As a loyal Roman Catholic and a protégé of Cardinal Spellman, he was a passionate supporter of Diem and his Independent Croatia on the Mekong. As a young senator, Kennedy owed the support of his (mainly Irish Catholic) Boston constituents who were clamouring for a war against the USSR to his rabidly anti-Soviet and anti-communist pronouncements. Once he reached the top spot, he had to face some hard truths: First, Roman Catholics were still a minority in the USA and he had to moderate his inclinations and instincts in order to appeal to the majority. Second, the instability of South Vietnam caused by Diem’s persecution of the Buddhists (large-scale resistance started only in 1961) was threatening America’s wider interests in South-East Asia. Until the very last moment, he procrastinated. Removing Diem would not only end Spellman’s dream of a Catholic Vietnam but Kennedy would have to betray all that he held dear.

To assuage his guilt, he decided to revamp the war strategy in order to bolster Diem’s regime. First, he ordered a large increase in the number of “military advisers” who by now were taking an active part in the fighting. Second, following the doctrine outlined by General Maxwell Taylor, Kennedy placed the accent on the role of the special forces—specially trained paramilitary units used for targeted attacks, sabotage, training various collaborationist forces and assassination. The so-called Green Berets have their origins in the darkest days of the Cold War when the 10th Special Forces Group was placed in Germany in order to create an elite stay-behind army. The Lodge-Philbin act ensured that large numbers of East European Catholics, many of them with strong Nazi inclinations, received the green headgear and later proved their “mettle” in Vietnam.[14]

Kennedy’s efforts proved in vain. The elan and fighting spirit of the Viet Minh (now called Viet Cong by its enemies) could not be matched even by the heavily armed and US-assisted South Vietnamese ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam). Helicopters and fighter-bombers flown by American officers and large-calibre artillery were largely helpless against a lithe and mobile guerrilla force motivated by patriotism and belief in a better future. The most egregious example of the impotence of Diem’s military and their US advisers was the battle of Ap Bac which took place in early 1963 and was described in great detail by Neil Sheehan in his famous book.[15] The defeat of Diem’s army and the US strategy reverberated far and wide. But this was only a side issue. By the spring of 1963, the Buddhists of Vietnam had had enough. Having failed to stop Diem’s terror through protest and civil disobedience, they resorted to the ultimate weapon of non-violent religions—public suicide.

A number of monks and nuns burned to death in city centres in full view of foreign news cameramen. Diem’s obduracy and unwillingness to heed the protest convinced many in the United States that Diem was beyond salvation (pun not intended) and that America’s interest would be better served by somebody else. The two quarrelling factions bickered for months until the newly-appointed ambassador to Saigon, Henry Cabot Lodge (a protestant and a political rival of the Kennedys) started organising a coup. Diem and his brother Nhu were aware of America’s deadly grudge and tried at the last minute to start negotiations with the North Vietnamese government. But time had run out. The ever-loyal Kennedy had to accept his advisers’ recommendation and OK the removal of the would-be Catholic emperor of the East. This was executed by a junta of non-Catholic generals with a little help from an experienced CIA agent of French extraction, Lucien Conein.

Diem was overthrown soon and after an adventurous escape attempt ruthlessly killed, together with his brother while on his way to surrendering to the new government. When he heard the news, Kennedy was genuinely distraught and bereaved. Clearly, his emotions had nothing to do with the fight against communism in which Diem had been failing terribly, and everything to do with the fact that he himself was responsible for the murder of the last openly Catholic leader in Asia. Only three weeks later, he, the first Catholic leader of America would meet the same fate.

The early hope that a less repressive regime in Saigon would motivate the people to turn against the Viet Cong proved empty. Disaster after disaster followed with the guerrillas strengthened by infiltrators from the North Vietnam destroying large ARVN units without suffering major losses. Indeed, the Buddhists were not as good as Diem at killing “commies” and after a couple of years of chaos, the chastened and worried US empire decided to up the ante. The new strategy was two pronged. On the one hand, the old Catholic hands had to be quietly reactivated in order to form a “patriotic” core within the government and the army and second, the fighting would have to be done by the Americans.

By 1964, the stage was set for a drawn-out and bloody denouement of Vietnam’s struggle for freedom and independence. In its attempt to crush the Vietnamese resistance, the Americans employed every weapon and killing technique known to (in)humanity. Having laid out the broad historical context, in part II of this essay I shall analyse the strategy behind and impact of one of the most horrifying weapons wielded in an already horrific war—the Phoenix Programme.

  1. “Poglavnik” was the official title (meaning the Head or Leader) of Ante Pavelic, the leader of one of the bloodiest regimes in modern history—The Independent State of Croatia. 
  2. Another analogy is the distinction between a person suffering from delusions seeing connections and references everywhere (which does not necessarily mean they don’t exist) and another person with amnesia who is incapable of learning from past experiences. 
  3. This is not quite correct. The Jesuit infiltration into Vietnam began much earlier. The fact that these early “explorers” happened to be Portuguese is relevant for what is to follow. Numerous Catholic militias existed well into the 1960s and were an inextricable part of the French and American war efforts. They are also mentioned in Grahame Green’s “The Quiet American”. 
  4. There are close parallels between the Vietnamese struggle and the Chinese Boxer rebellion which was also triggered by the excesses of the (mainly RC) missionaries. 
  5. Please remember this bit because it is directly related to the topic of the essay. Also, what I describe here has been the modus operandi not only of the right wing of the Roman Catholicism but also many militant schools of Sunni Islam. 
  6. An excellent analysis of Vietnamese communism can be found in Gabriel Kolko’s “Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience”. 
  7. That this was total nonsense became clear when Diem started to arrest, kill and torture anyone who had fought against the French. 
  8. This refers to the book by John Cornwell: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. 
  9. The personal accounts by Catholic refugees largely fail to mention Lansdale (who might have been inflating his own role) and ascribe the decision to move to the local clergy—disciplined soldiers of the Vatican. 
  10. JFK was particularly impressed by Father Hoa and his fiery anticommunism. 
  11. Hansen, P. (2009). Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pps. 173–211. 
  12. Exactly the same thing happened in the Independent State of Croatia. 
  13. From “Vietnam: Why did We Go?” by Avro Manhattan: “Before engaging upon a thorough persecution against the Buddhists, President Diem attempted to form a body of Buddhists who would support his policies of coordination and integration.” 
  14. See William Simpson’s “Blowback” for a detailed account of this infamous episode. 
  15. The book “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam” is an excellent if sanitised source of facts on the American strategy in Vietnam. One just needs to fill in the gaps with executions, secret torture chambers and other CIA special desserts. 

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 Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (08– 14 October 2020)

 Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (08– 14 October 2020)

08– 14 October 2020

  • 18 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, wounded in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank;
  • 10 wounded in IOF incursion into Am’ari camp; 2 wounded near the annexation wall in Jenin; 4 in Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqilya; and 2 others in Rafat village in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • 4 shootings reported at agricultural lands and 5 others at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip;
  • In 127 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 106 civilians arrested, including 12 children and 2 women;
  • 3 agricultural vehicles and a truck confiscated; a demolition notice served to a house; and lands seized in the West Bank;
  • Israeli settlers attack Palestinians’ houses in Nablus and cut 360 trees in Salfit and Bethlehem;
  • IOF established 62 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 6 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints.

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multilayered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians. This week, IOF attacks rendered 18 Palestinian civilians wounded in excessive use of force, including 2 children, in the West Bank. Settler-attacks and confiscation of Palestinians’ properties continued, under the pretext of working without permits.

To date, Maher al-Akhras‘, 50-year-old administrative detainee, hunger strike enters its 81st consecutive day, in protest of his arrest with no charge or trial under administrative detention despite the deterioration of his health condition. Al-Akhras went into a hunger strike from the first day of his detention on 27 July 2020. 

This week, PCHR documented 220 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. It should be noted that the limitations due to the corona virus pandemic, has limited PCHR’s fieldworkers mobility and ability to conduct field documentation; therefore, the information contained in this report are only part of the continued IOF violations.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity: 18 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank; 10 were wounded in IOF incursion into Am’ari camp; 2 wounded near the annexation wall in Jenin; 4 wounded in IOF suppression of a peaceful protest in Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqilya; and 2 others in Rafat village in occupied East Jerusalem. Also, sporadic shooting incidents were reported during IOF incursions into the West Bank. Furthermore, passengers escaped after their car sustained live bullets fired by IOF while passing through a military checkpoint in Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, 4 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands and 5 others at fishing boats eastern and western Gaza Strip.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 127 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 106 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 children and 2 women.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 7 violations, including:

  • Jericho: an agricultural tractor and a water tank confiscated;
  • Tubas: a bulldozer confiscated;
  • Bethlehem: a demolition notice distributed to a house; lands in ‘Arab al-Ta’amrah village seized after amending their boundaries; and cease-construction notices distributed to 4 agricultural rooms;
  • Ramallah: a semi-trailer truck confiscated;
  • Salfit: a bulldozer confiscated.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers documented 4 attacks: throwing stones 2 times at Palestinians’ houses in Burin village in Nablus; stealing olive crop and breaking the twigs of 60 olive trees in Salfit; and cutting 300 olive trees in Bethlehem.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

  • Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
  • At approximately 05:40 on Thursday, 08 October 2020, IOF stationed at Mafi Dutan temporary military checkpoint, southwest of Jenin, opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle belonging to Alaa’ Jamal Mahmoud Atatera (40). Alaa’s brother, Baha’ (36) was driving and heading to their work in Baqa al-Sharqiya, southwest of Jenin, along with Alaa’, and their brothers Mohammed (24), Ameen (38), their nephew and Alaa’s son in law, Waleed Jamal Abd Rabbo (20), all from Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin except Waleed, from Qusin, west of Nablus. As a result, the vehicle was shot with 5 live bullets that penetrated the car’s back. Alaa’ al-Atatera said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli soldiers opened fire at them after passing 10 meters away from the checkpoint and without any justification.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF stationed along the border fence with Israel, west of al-Shawka village in eastern Rafah, near Sofa military site, opened fire at agricultural lands, and no injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 23:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off  al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, and in al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles, opened heavy fire at them and fired a number of flare bombs in the sky,causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 08:25 on Friday, 09 October 2020, IOF stationed in the annexation wall near al-Jalama village, northeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank, opened a barrage of sound bombs and tear gas canisters at a number of Palestinians while passing through a hole in the annexation wall to work inside Israel. As a result, a 44-year-old civilian from the abovementioned village sustained shrapnel wounds in his hand, and he was taken to Dr. Suliman Governmental Hospital in Jenin for treatment.
  • At approximately 21:10, IOF stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands east of Khuza’a, and no injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, the residents of Beit Dajn village, northeast of Nablus, along with the representatives of the National Action Factions in Nablus organized a peaceful protest, which started from Beit Dajn village towards lands threatened to be confiscated on the eastern side of the village, where a caravan was placed by settlers two days ago. The protestors raised the Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against IOF, settlers, annexation and the Deal of the Century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of the Israeli soldiers are waiting for them. IOF suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF stationed at the northern entrance established on Kafr Qaddum village lands, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian civilians. IOF chased the young men gathered in the area, and clashes erupted between them. During which, IOF fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, two civilians were shot in their waist and back and two others in their lower limbs.
  • At approximately 00:00 on Saturday, 10 October 2020, IOF moved into Issawiya village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF established checkpoints at the entrances of the village, stopped and searched the Palestinian vehicles and checked their ID cards before allowing them to pass through the checkpoint. A group of young men gathered at the entrance to Obaid neighborhood, and threw stones and cocktail Molotov at the Israeli soldiers, who indiscriminately responded with rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters. The clashes continued for 2 hours. As a result, dozens of Palestinian civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation. In addition, Hisham Mohammed al-Bashiti (19) and Malek Jawdat Abu Sneina (23) were arrested.
  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, and in al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened fire at them until approximately 09:50, causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF suppressed a festival for Fatah Movement, where hundreds of Rafat village residents participated. IOF fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at the participants, claiming that they threw stones at them. As a result, 2 civilians were shot and injured with rubber bullets and 13 others, , including children and elderlies, suffocated due to teargas inhalation. The wounded civilians were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive treatment. Saad al-Yaqin, leader in Fatah Movement, said that IOF suppressed the festival that organized by Fatah Movement in Rafat village in solidarity with the prisoners in the Israeli prisons, and to condemn the normalization between some Arab countries and Israel. He added that, IOF fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters at more than 2 thousand civilians who responded with throwing stones. The clashes continued for an hour, where the Israeli soldiers used the rubber bullets and live bullets.
  • At approximately 22:00, Israeli infantry units moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the city. A group of young men gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who indiscriminately responded with sound bombs and teargas canisters. As a result, dozens of Palestinian civilians suffered teargas inhalation, no arrests or incursions were reported.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Sunday, 11 October 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, and in al-Waha, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles, opened fire at them and fired a number of flare bombs in the sky, causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF infantry unit moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, southeast of Ramallah. They surrounded Ayman Ahmed Abu Arab’s (48) house to arrest him, but he was not in the house. IOF topped some houses’ roofs. Few minutes later, several military vehicles moved into the camp. Meanwhile, a group of young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, who responded with live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters. The clashes continued for 3 hours. As a result, 10 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were shot with live bullets; one of them was shot with 3 lives bullets in his abdomen while the rest were shot in their lower limbs.  All of them were taken to Palestine Medical Complex, where their injures were described between moderate and minor. Also, dozens of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. Before the withdrawal, IOF arrested Ayman’s brothers, Mohammed (40), Rajab (38) and his wife, Sana’ (43), in an attempt to force Ayman to surrender himself.
  • At approximately 19:50 on Monday, 12 October 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip and in al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased and shoot at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, firing a number of flare bombs in the sky, causing fear and panic among the fishermen forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 00:11 on Tuesday, 13 October 2020, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They were deployed between civilians’ houses and established checkpoints at the village’s entrances and closed the village. IOF searched the vehicles and ID cards of Palestinians before allowing them to leave. Meanwhile, a group of young men gathered at the entrance of Obaid village, north of the village, and threw stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli soldiers and their vehicles. As a result, a military SUV set ablaze. After that,  a large Israeli  force moved into the neighborhood, fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at the Palestinian civilians. The clashes continued until the down hours. As a result, dozens of civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation, and 7 civilians were arrested including 3 children. The arrestees are: Mohammed Ramzi Muhaisen (16), Mahmoud Shadi Naser (15), Obey Mahmoud Dirbas (16), Naseem Amjad Muhaisen (21), Mohammed Younis Abu Sayma (21), Saleh Bader Abu Asab (19), and Abdulfattah Younis Abu Sayma (19).
  • At approximately 08:20 on Wednesday, 14 October 2020, IOF stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at agricultural lands east of Khuza’a, and al-Fukhari villages, and no injuries were reported.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF stationed at the annexation wall in the northern side of al-Jalama village, northeast of Jenin, fired a sound bomb at 27-year-old Palestinian civilian while passing through a hole in the annexation wall to work inside Israel. As a result, he sustained shrapnel wounds in his legs, and he was taken to Dr. Suliman Governmental Hospital in Jenin for treatment.
  • At approximately 16:55, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip, and in al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and sporadically opened fire around them, causing fear and panic among the Palestinian fishermen forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 18:00, Israeli infantry units stormed al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron and stationed near the UNRWA distribution center. A group of young men gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who chased the stone-throwers and responded with sound bombs and teargas canisters. As a result, dozens of Palestinian civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation, and no arrests or incursions were reported.

I. Arrests and Incursions

Thursday, 08 October 2020:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Issawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Ali Mohammed Obaid’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Tabaqa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Ayman Mousa Abu Atwan’s (55) house, detained all the family in one room and threatened them to storm their house again if they do not surrender their son, Ghadanfar (24) to the Intelligence Services’ investigation centers in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem. No arrests were reported.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Yatta village, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Husam Tayseer Rab’i’s (39) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into al-Towr neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians: Khalil Kamal Abu al-Hawa (18), Mohammed Adel Abu al-Hawa (19), Dawoud Mousa Abu al-Hawa (22), and Mostafa Mohammed Abu Risha (19).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Kafr Qalil village, southeast of Nablus. Thy raided and searched Odwan Waleed Amer’s (25) house and arrested him. It should be noted that Amer is an employee in the national security.
  • At approximately 04:25, IOF moved into Qalqiliya. They raided and searched Saleh Fayez Nazzal’s (36) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF arrested Khalil al-Tarhouni (35) and Arafat Najeeb (33), and took them to al-Qishla investigation center. Both are guards at al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. After several hours, IOF released them on bail of 500 NIS, claiming that al-Tarhouni was not wearing his mask; and Najeeb assaulted one of the Israeli soldiers.
  • IOF carried out (12) incursions in Deir Nizam, northwest of Ramallah; al-Jalama, north of Jenin; Tamoun, southeast of Tubas; Ourif, Sebastiya, and Beit Dajn villages in Nablus governorate; Kafl Hares, north of Salfit; Qalqiliya, Bani Na’im, al-Hadab, Beit Omra, and al-Sura villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 09 October 2020:

  •  At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Zabuba village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Osama Hisham Husain Atatera (20).
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Yatta village, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Rasmi Shafiq al-Qaisiya’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the camp. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians including 2 children. The arrestees were identified as Ahmed Naser al-Badawi (17), Mahmoud Yousif Madi (17), Hamza Amjad al-Titi (18), and Ibrahim Yousif Jawabera (18).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Anata village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mahmoud Allan Hamdan’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Kafr Ni’ma village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Odai Mohammed Ataya (18), and Yaza Riyad Ishtaya (20), taking them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched Abdullah Khaled al-Silwadi’s (32) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:40, IOF moved into al-Masaken al-Sha’bia neighborhood, northeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Abdullah Abdulrahman Fawzi Bushkar’s (16) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:40, IOF moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians identified as Mohammed Abdullah Staiti (20), Mohammed Ramzi Howail (19), and Mohammed Monther Ja’aisa (20).
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into Hizma village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mostafa Mohammed al-Khateeb’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:30, IOF who were patrolling in Sahl al-Boqi’a village, east of Tubas, arrested ‘Ahed Abdul Hakim Daraghma (20), and Mo’tasem Ahmed Daraghma (18), both are from the abovementioned village. IOF took them to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at the Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested Mohammed Mershed Rajoub (52), from Jericho, while passing through the checkpoint heading to Hebron. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (11) incursions in al-Jalama, northeast of Jenin; Fsayil, northeast of Jericho; Qariut, Sebastya, Beit Dajn, and Burin villages in Nablus governorate; al-Ouja, northwest of Jericho; Dura and Beit al-Rush, in Hebron governorate; Far’oun and Kafr al-Lobad villages, north of Tulkarm. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Dura city, southwest of Hebron, and stationed in several neighborhoods. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Amjad Mousa al-Namoura (28), Ra’fat Taleb Abu Seba’ (27), Ghadanfar Ayman Abu ‘Atwan (23), and Mohammed Murshed al-Rojob (29).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Beit Ula village, west of Hebron, and stationed in the village’s western area. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Hani Ahmed Mohammed Saraheen (33), Mahmoud Ahmed Mohammed Saraheen (38), Ahmed ‘Adel Ahmed Saraheen (29), and Husain ‘Adel Ahmed Saraheen (34).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, and stationed near UNRWA schools. They raided and searched two houses, from which they arrested Mohammed Fawzi Hamed al-Wawi (19) and Seraj Ishaq Abu Hashash (21).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Hebron’s southern area, where they raided and searched 2 houses and arrested Ya’qoub Hamdi Abu Hadeed (30) and Bassam Hamed Zaghir (23).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Thawri neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Salah al-Deen Jamal Abu ‘Asab’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 09:30, IOF moved into Khelet Nejarah area in Deir Istiya village, north of Salfit, and arrested ‘Amer ‘Abed al-Hameed Abu Hajlah (54) while harvesting olive trees, under the pretext of working near “Yakir” settlement. IOF also detained a number of international solidarity activists, who were accompanying him while harvesting the olives.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed at Qalandia military checkpoint arrested Laith Saleem al-Shalabi (19) while passing the checkpoint and took him to an unknown destination.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched ‘Emad Jum’a al-Selwadi’s (15) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF stationed at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya, arrested Kamal Fawzi al-Habash (40), from Qalqilya, taking him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 17:00, Israeli police arrested Sufian al-Rajbi after severely beating him while he was near al-Ghawanma Gate, one of al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates, in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF moved into Rafat, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Fadi ‘Ali Abu Hassan’s (14) house and arrested him.   

IOF carried out (5) incursions in Nablus city, al-Dahiyia neighborhood and Iraq Burin village in Nablus; and as-Samu and Dura in Hebron .No arrests were reported.

Monday, 12 October 2020

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Shu’fat refugee camp, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohanad al-Bahri’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Malek ‘Ayish Abu Mariyia’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Idhna village, west of Hebron. They raided and searched Omar Salimiyia’s (44) house and arrested his wife Suhair Ahmed al-Batran (37), taking her to an unknown destination. It should be noted that al-Batran was shot on 30 October 2019 by IOF near al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City. IOF claimed that she attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. At that time, al-Batran was taken to an Israeli hospital and released few months later.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Hizma village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to a former prisoner Mohammed Fawzi al-Khatib (25) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Tur village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Khalil ‘Atiyia Abu al-Hawa’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Tell village, southwest of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Osaid Omar ‘Asidah (27), taking him to an unknown destination.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Hebron and stationed on al-Salam Street. They raided and searched Saber Bassam al-Najjar’s (35) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Qaryut village, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Qased ‘Abed al-Naser Nouri Mousa (20), taking him to an unknown destination.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Thabet Hussain Ba’jawi (18).
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into Qusra village, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched houses and arrested Burhan Nash’at Fawzi Hasan (37).
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF moved into Kafr Qaddum village,north of Qalqilya. They raided and searched Mohammed Raied Barham’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli intelligence officers arrested Mo’tasem Mousa Hijazi (14), from Bethlehem, after summonsing him via a phone call for investigation in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF stationed at a Jabi’ military checkpoint, north of occupied East Jerusalem, arrested Fawzi (45) and Bashar (40) Nash’at Fawzi Hasan, from Qusra village, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. It should be noted that Fawzi and Bashar were arrested few hours after arresting their brother Burhan from his house.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into Bab al-Majles area in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Hisham al-Bashiti’s house and arrested him along with his sons Hatem (17) and ‘Abed al-Rahman (16), taking them to a detention center in the city. It should be noted that al-Bashiti’s son Hisham (19) was arrested on last Saturday during clashes erupted in Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF moved into al-‘Abasiyia neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to a former prisoner Moayad Ahmed Abu Mayalah (20) and handed him a summons to refer to ‘Oz Police Station in Jabel Mukaber village, southeast of the city.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Dura city, Yatta City, Beit ‘Amra and Deir Sammit villages in Hebron.No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Beit Awwa village, southwest of Dura city, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched Mahmoud Yaser Mahmoud Masalmah’s (30) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Ezion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Halhul village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched 5 houses, from which they arrested Thaier Jamal Modiyia (30), Yehia Sadeq Jahsh (29), Mohammed Mahmoud Se’dah (28), Mohammed Helmi ‘Aqel (19), and Mohammed Saqer l-Baou (28).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Jalazone refugee camp, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses, from which they arrested Mohammed Moneer Mohammed Nakhla (21) and Dawoud Rafeeq Mohammed ‘Issa (23).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Qaddura refugee camp, adjacent to Ramallah, in the center of the West Bank. They raided and searched Mohammed al-Salhi’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya. They raided and searched Mohammed Salah Yousef Ishtawi’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Marah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Khalil Mohammed al-Sheikh’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:45, IOF moved into Beit Liqya village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched Anas Saber Jameel Mafarja’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Qalqilya. They raided and searched Ahmed Jawad Abu Hamed’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into al-Mashrou’ area in Al-Eizariya village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed ‘Edwan’s (22) house and arrested him. 
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF backed by military vehicles moved 100 meters to the east of Khuzaʽa village in Khan Yunis. They leveled and combed lands amidst sporadic shooting before they redeployed along the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 00:00, IOF summoned Mohammed ‘Ali Mutair (26), from Qalandia camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, via a phone call, ordering him to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service at Qalandia checkpoint next day morning. It should be noted that Mutair is a former prisoner.
  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli police arrested Ahmed Khaled ‘Atiyia (16) while present in al-Aqsa Mosque yards in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and took him to a detention center in the city.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into Bab Hata area, one of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City neighborhoods. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Sufian Omar al-‘Ajouni (22) and Mohammed Khaled Sharifa (21) and arrested them.  
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Tulkarm city, Tulkarm camp, Qalqilya and Jit village; and Sa’ir village and Fawwar refugee camp. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Showika suburb, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched Mohammed Moneer ‘Abed al-Qader ‘I’mar’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Nur Shams camp, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched Mohammed Marwan Shehab’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Kafr Malik village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Mohammed Baheej Farhan Hamayil (20) and ‘Ahed Eyad Ghanayim (20).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Qaddura refugee camp, adjacent to Ramallah. They raided and searched ‘Issa ‘Abido al-Tamimi’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Al-Tur village, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Yousef Khaled Abu al-Hawa’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mohammed Iyyas Shaheen’s (18) house and arrested him.  
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched houses and arrested ‘Ali Bassam ‘Atallah Hashasheen (21).
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Majd Nayif Mostafa’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:00, Israeli police arrested Husam Seder (33), an employee of the reconstruction department in the Islamic Endowments Department (Awqaf), while working in al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and took him to a detention center in the city.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF stationed at the northeastern of Beit Dajan village. Northeast of Nablis, arrested 2 civilians, who approached a caravan placed by an Israeli settler and removed later by IOF. The arrestees were identified as Hazem Majed Hanini (43) and Burhan Naseem Isma’il (27).
  • IOF carried out (6) incursions in Aqabat_Jaber  refugee camp, in Jericho, Silwad  village, Ni’lin village, Al-Bireh  city in Ramallah; and Anin and Arranah  villages in Jenin. No arrests were reported.

II. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 08 October 2020, IOF confiscated an agricultural tractor and a water tank with capacity of 4 cups in Jiftlik village, north of Jericho, under the pretext of being in Area (C). The tractor is owned by Ayed Issa Mohammed Darghis, from Jiftlik village.
  • At approximately 14:30 on Thursday, IOF moved into Ein al-Beida village in Jordan’s northern valleys, southeast of Tubas, north of the West Bank. They confiscated a tractor used for leveling an agricultural road in the abovementioned village in favor of Dar Al Binaa Contracting Company in Asira ash-Shamaliya village, north of Nablus, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C). The tractor is owned by Wahib Mahmoud Ahmed Azzam, from Fandaqumiya village, south of Jenin.
  • On Friday, 09 October 2020, Israeli authorities notified Sameeh Ahmed Salah to demolish his house in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Hasan Breijieh, Head of the Bethlehem office of Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission, said that Israeli authorities notified Sameeh Ahmed Salah to demolish his 80-sqaure-meter house located in Kherbet ‘Alia area, south of al-Khader village, within 96 hours, under the pretext of non-licensing. Breijieh pointed out that the house is sheltering 6 persons, clarifying that the house was demolished 3 times; the last of which was on 18 June 2020, as the house was comprised of 2 rooms and a kitchen and roofed with tin plates. Breijieh added that Kherbet ‘Alia and Um Rokba areas, adjacent to “Efrat” settlement, are exposed to a settlement attack that includes the demolition of a number of houses, and notifying others of demolition and stopping construction, aiming at emptying them of their residents and seizing them to expand the settlement.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 11 October 2020, IOF moved into Bab al-Zawiya area at the entrance to Shuqba village, west of Ramallah in the center of the West Bank. IOF headed towards a semi-trailer truck that was emptying its contents of scraps gathered from a land owned by Rateb Nasser Qadeh. IOF confiscated the tractor owned by Qadeh who works in scrap metal trade under the pretext of illegal construction in Area (C).
  • On the same day, Israeli authorities announced the amendment of the boundaries of lands in Arab al-Ta’amrah village, east of Bethlehem, aiming at seizing these lands in favor of expanding “Tekoa” settlement. Hasan Breijieh, Head of the Bethlehem office of Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission, said that Upon the Israeli authorities’ decision, dozens of dunums will be seized in favor of expanding the boundaries of the aforementioned settlement. Breijieh pointed out that the Israeli authorities gave the landowners 45 days to challenge.
  • At approximately 10:30 on Tuesday, 13 October 2020, IOF confiscated a bulldozer belonging to al-Zawiya Municipality, west of Salfit, and detained its driver ‘Emad Hamed Mawqadi, who was levelling a dirt road to facilitate citizens’ access to their lands in order to harvest the olive trees. He was released around 23:30.
  • On the same day, Israeli authorities notified to stop construction works in several agricultural rooms in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Ahmed Salah, the coordinator of the Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission in al-Khader village, said that Israeli Civil Administration officers notified to  stop construction works in agricultural rooms (40 s.q) in Daher al-Riyah area. These rooms belong to Rezeq Shehada Salah, Mohammed Shehada Salah, Ma’mon Nasri Salah, and Salah Shehada Salah.

Israeli Settlers’ Attacks

  • At approximately 18:30 on Friday, 09 October 2020, Israeli settlers, from ” Har Brakha” settlement, southeast of Nablus, attacked the eastern area of Burin village, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. The settlers threw stones at Palestinian houses. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered and confront them with stones. After that, IOF intervened to protect the settlers, fired tear gas canisters at the Palestinians and chased them. IOF arrested Montaser Khader al-Najjar (28), taking him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 19:30 on Saturday, 10 September 2020, Israeli settlers, from “Har Brakha” settlement, southeast of Nablus, attacked the eastern area of Burin village, southeast of Nablus, north of the West Bank. The settlers threw stones at Palestinian houses with stones. As a result, the windows of a house owned by Ibrahim Adel were broken. Israeli settlers fled from the area towards the abovementioned settlement.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 12 October 2020, Israeli settlers, from “Etz Ephraim” settlement, which is established on Mas-ha village lands, west of Salfit, stole the crop of six olive trees and broke the twigs of 60 others in an area of 120 dunums in War’et al-Humus area, which is located behind the annexation wall. These dunums belong to ‘Abed al-Razeq Ibrahim ‘Amer. It should be noted that ‘Amer is banned from entering his land except through coordination with the Israeli occupation.
  • On Wednesday, 14 October 2020, Israeli settlers cut hundreds of perennial olive trees in Jab’a village, west of Bethlehem. Head of the Village Council, Diab Masha’lah, said that dozens of Israeli settlers, from “Beit Ayin” settlement, which is established on Jab’a village lands, cut with saws about 300 olive trees belonging to Khaled Naji Masha’lah.

V. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

West Bank:

In addition to permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individual’s movement between villages and cities and deny civilians’ access to their work. IOF established (62) temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested (6) of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individual’s movement at military permanent checkpoints

Jerusalem:

Bethlehem:

  •  On Thursday 08 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, the northern entrance to Tuqu village, in Aqabat Hasnah area, leading to villages west of Bethlehem.
  • On Friday, 09 September 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, the northern entrance to Tuqu village, Aqabat Hasnah area, leading to villages west of Bethlehem, and near al-Nashash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Saturday, 10 October 2020, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, the western entrance to Tuqu village, the entrance to Marah Rabah village, and near the intersection of al-Nashash area, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Sunday, 11 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village; at the entrance to Marah Rabah village; and at the entrance to al-Nashnash area, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Monday, 12 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village; at the entrance to al-Nashnash area; and near ‘Aqabet Hussain area.
  • On Tuesday, 13 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the western entrance to Tuqu village and at the entrance to al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem.

Ramallah:

  • On Sunday 11 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Atara village, northwest of Ramallah.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 08 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Halhoul, the entrance to Idnah village, and the entrance to Karma village.
  • 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar and Surif villages and al-Fawar refugee camp.
  • On Saturday, 10 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Halhul, at the western entrance to Hebron and at the northern entrance to Yatta.
  • On Sunday, 11 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Ash-Shuyukh and Beit Kahil villages, and on Farsh al-Hawa road.
  • On Monday, 12 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Khasa, Beit Awwa and Idhna villages.
  • On Tuesday, 13 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Beit ‘Amra village and on Khelet al-Maya road.
  • At approximately 11:00, Israeli authorities closed with a metal detector gate the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. As a result, civilians had to walk through a bumpy road to reach their houses.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 08 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus.

Salfit:

  • On Saturday, 10 October 2020, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Haris village; at the northern entrance to Deir_Istiya village; and at the southern entrance to Kifl_Haris village, northof Salfit.
  • On Sunday, 11 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at  entrance to Kafr ad-Dik village, and at the southern entrance to Kifl_Haris village, north of  Salfit.
  • On Monday, 12 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit. 

Qalqilya:

  • 5 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqilya, the entrance to Kafr Laqif village, the entrance to Jinsafut village, the entrance to Hableh village, and the road linking between Jayyous and Azzun villages, east of Qalqilya.
  • On Sunday, 11 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Azzun villages, east of Qalqilya.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 08 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Friday, 08 October 2020, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Jericho, and the entrance to Jiftlik village, north of Jericho.
  • On Sunday, 11 October 2020, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.

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!

Friday, 16 October 2020

AIPAC and U.S. elections

 Source

By Richard Anderson Falk

AIPAC is a strong lobbying group that is perceived by the political parties to exert great influence on large Jewish donors and Jewish voters generally. The leadership of both parties competes for AIPAC approval, although as an organization it refrains from political endorsements at national levels. It does have a record of opposing Congressional candidates deemed critical of Israel, making inflammatory accusations that candidates critical of Israel are by that fact alone anti-Semitic. Such a campaign has been launched with at least implicit AIPAC support to defeat the candidacy of Ilhan Omer who is running for reelection in urban Minneapolis.

Part of the effectiveness of AIPAC is due to money and tight organizational discipline, and part of its influence is due to the absence of countervailing Jewish organizations that speak for liberal Zionism and progressive Jews. J-Street has attempted to provide a voice for liberal Zionism in Washington, and has limited success at legislative levels, but not in relation to party platforms or the selection of national candidates. Jewish Voice for Peace is an admirably balanced NGO, but its influence is mainly felt in civil society, where it has created growing support for a just outcome of this struggle that has gone on for a century, which includes supported the realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination whether in the form of a viable separate sovereign state or a single state whose foundational principle is ethnic equality.

Throughout its existence, AIPAC has been and remains subservient to the priorities of the Israeli leadership and consistently supportive of maximal Zionist goals, and hence an adherent of antagonistic attitudes on international law, the UN, and international morality. In my judgment, AIPAC has harmed the role of the U.S. in West Asia and at the UN by pushing American foreign policy in belligerent and regime-changing directions, focusing on heightening the confrontation with Iran, and secondarily, with Turkey, which has intensified regional tensions and dangers of war. The recent sanctions debate in the UN Security Council manifested both U.S. belligerence and its defiance of the views of even its normally close European allies.

Richard Anderson Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”.

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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!

الأسير الأخرس: شكراً للبنان وسورية وروسيا وأحرار العالم لن أنكسر ولن أخضع ولن أسمح للعدو بكسر إرادة شعبي

تحدّث لـ “البناء” في اليوم الـ80 لإضرابه عن الطعام

صابرين دياب – البناء – فلسطين المحتلة

الأسير ماهر الأخرس في يومه الـ80 للإضراب عن الطعام، إنه “يريد الحياة ولا يريد الموت إنما الحياة بحرية وكرامة”. وقد أجرت “البناء” لقاءً مقتضباً معه، حيث كانت لافتة معنوياته والمشرّفة جداً، وقد توجهنا له بالتهنئة على تلك المعنويات والتي ننتظر منها أن ترفع معنويات الضعفاء في الخارج لأنّه هو القوي.

وتوجّه الأخرس برسالته للبنانيين قائلاً: “أنا أحيّي الشعب اللبناني وقيادته الحكيمة، أحيّي أهل جنوب لبنان الذين ذاقوا الأمرّين على يد العدو نفسه الذي نمرّ على يديه الآن، أحيّي كلّ أحرار لبنان الذين رفضوا أن يعيشوا تحت ذلّ هذا الاحتلال، وأحيّي كلّ أحرار العالم، وأحيّي كلّ حرّ في العالم رفض الذلّ والإهانة والاستكبار…”

وتابع الأسير أبو إسلام بالقول: “أحيّي كلّ من تضامَن معي لأنّ قضيتي تمثل كلّ شعبي”، مؤكداً عزمه ورفضه الانكسار والخضوع لإرادة العدو بالقول: “لن يكسروني وهم يحاولون كسري لكسر إرادة شعبي وأنا أدافع عن نفسي ولا أريد الحرية لنفسي”.

وأكد الأسير الأخرس رغبته في الحياة الكريمة الخالية من الذلّ والهوان، قائلاً: “والله أني أحب الحياة ولا أحب الموت لكن إنْ فرضوا عليّ الموت فهو أفضل لي من أن أعيش ذليلاً تحت بساطهم كما يُقال”.

كما توجه الأسير بكلمة للشعب السوري والقيادة الوطنية السورية وللجيش السوري قائلاً: “أشكر سورية على موقفها المشرّف لسنوات طويلة أمام المؤامرة التي مرّت عليها ممن يسّمونهم المجموعات الإسلامية والإسلام بريء منها. وأحيّي سورية وجيشها الوطني الذي قاتل هؤلاء المجرمين التكفيريين وأعوانهم الذين يدعمونهم من الخارج والدول الكبيرة”.

وتابع: “إن شاء الله تنتصر سورية عليهم وتتطهّر أرضها منهم وأن يكون الشعب السوري والحكومة السورية والجيش السوري داعماً لقضيتنا دائماً كما كان وشكراً لهم شكراً لهم على كلّ مواقفهم المشرّفة”.

كما تطرّق الأخرس لروسيا وشعبها وشكرهم لأنهم تدخلوا في قضيته قائلاً: “أشكر روسيا وشعبها والرئيس بوتين العظيم على وقفتهم معي لأني لم أجد حتى الفلسطينيين الذين يسمّون أنفسهم وزراء لم يفعلوا حتى كلمة بينما ننشكر روسيا وسفيرها الذي تدخل في قضيتي ولا يزال يتدخل وشكراً لهم كثيراً”.


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!