Nine children aged 13-17 were kidnapped this afternoon (Monday 10 October) from Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem by masked Israeli soldiers.
On Wednesday October 5th three 14-year-olds, Mustafa Bdair, Mo'taz Barak'ah and Omar Radi were seized from their homes at 4am by Israeli soldiers. They were released on Sunday evening. The three are members of Lajee Dance group from in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem (twinned with Glasgow). Some of us hosted the young Palestinians during their most recent UK tour in July. They are our friends.
Over 300 Palestinian children remain in Israeli prisons. Israel prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children. Three out of four children experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military court system.
Attacks on the Lajee Centre have escalated since the UK-wide support given to the Palestinian dancers; Celtic Fans raised over £170,000 divided between Medical Aid for Palestine and the Lajee Centre in Aida Camp. (Bethlehem is offically twinned with Glasgow.)
Email your MP quickly here:
Night raids by Israeli soldiers fit into a pattern of reprisals that occupation forces often implement following international gestures of solidarity with the Centre. While arming the Israeli Army, the US, UK and EU governments officially consider the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to be illegal.
On Setember 19th, Israeli soldiers attacked the Lajee Centre with teargas and rubber bullets while the children were inside. The following night, the soldiers, who use the inhabitants of the camp for training purposes, opened the gate of the center, threw teargas grenades inside and quickly closed the gate, trapping the children inside, forcing them to inhale toxic teargas.
Israel prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic guarantees of fair trial. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children. Three out of four children experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation. No Israeli child comes into contact with the racist sytem of the military courts.
If you live in the UK, please write to your elected MP as a matter of urgency to get them to ask the Israeli Embassy where these children are and to demand their immediate and unconditional return to their families.
It’s hard to endure arrests and torture when you feel you have been forgotten by the whole world, and our governments rub salt in Palestine's open wounds.
But, even a chink of light into the darkness can give hope.
Email your MP quickly here: http://coordin8.org.uk/app/index.php/mps/find_mp/lajee3
The Israel Army arrests – kidnaps – many thousands of Palestinians, men women and children, for a variety of reasons. Generally, they aim to break the Palestinian will to resist their dispossession; sometimes those held are used as bargaining chips in negotiations; sometimes because an individual has filmed or reported some Israeli brutality, e.g. the execution of a helpless Palestinian, the shooting of a blindfolded captive. The occupation regime's "justice system" threatens anyone who throws one stone at an Israeli tank or soldier with 20 years in prison.
News of support from around the world can change everything, even the balance of power in a dungeon, when the jailers and jailed hear of international solidarity with the violated. We know this from the experience of the liberation struggle in South Africa. When nelson Mandela met with Dunn's 1984 strikers in Dublin in 1990, he said that the stand taken by the twelve workers helped him to keep going during his time in prison.
Please ask your MP to add their name to the outcry over the night raids, arrests, and frequent torture of our friends in Aida Refugee Camp in occupied Bethlehem, Palestine.
Email your MP to demand from the Israeli Embassy
Email your MP quickly here: http://coordin8.org.uk/app/index.php/mps/find_mp/lajee3
Recommended: a memoir of occupation and resistance in Aida Camp: Rich Wiles’ Behind the Wall
Study: At least 78% of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians ends up in Israeli coffers
Shir Hever, an Israeli economist who has spent years piecing together the murky economics of the occupation, recently published a report that makes shocking reading. Like others, he believes international aid has allowed Israel to avoid footing the bill for its decades-old occuption. But he goes further. His astonishing conclusion...is that at least 78 per cent of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians ends up in Israel’s coffers.
The sums involved are huge. The Palestinians under occupation are among the most aid-dependent in the world, receiving more than $2bn from the international community a year. According to Hever, donors could be directly subsidising up to a third of the occupation’s costs.
Other forms of Israeli profiteering have been identified in previous studies. In 2013 the World Bank very conservatively estimated that the Palestinians lose at least $3.4bn a year in resources plundered by Israel.
Further, Israel’s refusal to make peace with the Palestinians, and as a consequence the rest of the region, is used to justify Washington’s annual $3bn in military aid.
Israel also uses the occupied territories as laboratories for testing weapons and surveillance systems on Palestinians – and then exports its expertise. Israel’s military and cyber industries are hugely profitable, generating many billions of dollars of income each year...
So how is Israel creaming off so much?
The problem, says Hever, is Israel’s self-imposed role as mediator. To reach the Palestinians, donors have no choice but to go through Israel. This provides ripe opportunities for what he terms “aid subversion” and “aid diversion”.
The first results from the Palestinians being a captive market. They have access to few goods and services that are not Israeli.
In 2011, Economist Shir Hever spoke across the UK in an SPSC-sponsored UK speaking tour on the Political Economy of the Occupation. He he spoke on the Political Economy of the Occupation.
Shir also took part in an SPSC residential discussion weekend at New Lanark on Re-thinking Palestine Solidarity - Moving forward during the Arab Revolutions.
Recent killings of an Israeli family in the settlement of Itamar have led to the kind of outrage rarely generated by the killings of Palestinians. Some years ago, in 2003, after a visit to the nearby Palestinian village of Yanoun, I found out about the fanatical, genocidal settlers who live in the illegal settlement of Itamar. From their own website.
This is the article:
The village of Yanoun: a microcosm of the destructiveness of Zionism (2003)
See also Settler harassment and land theft continues in Yanoun (2009)
"It is in the settlements of Mitzpe Shalem and Kalia that Ahava mines and manufactures cosmetics from mud extracted from the occupied Dead Sea area. The company's annual revenue is $142 million, and 40 per cent of its products are sold worldwide, including in Australia, Britain and the United States. "Israel's practices in the occupied Dead Sea area represent blatant violations of its legal obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, since they favour Israeli economic interests while denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination," Al-Haq says.
Sydney Morning Herald
4th September 2012
A report by the human rights group Al-Haq has found Israel is "openly in violation of its obligations as an occupying power" by granting financial benefits to settlements whose residents own 44.5 per cent of Ahava's shares and by licensing Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories.
"[Israel] is encouraging and facilitating the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources and actively assisting their pillaging by private actors and … they can be considered as primary perpetrators of the war crime of pillage," the report says...
"Vast portions of land have been declared closed military zones and closed off to the Palestinian population, yet Israeli settlements … have been established" on the land, the report says. It is in the settlements of Mitzpe Shalem and Kalia that Ahava mines and manufactures cosmetics from mud extracted from the occupied Dead Sea area. The company's annual revenue is $142 million, and 40 per cent of its products are sold worldwide, including in Australia, Britain and the United States. "Israel's practices in the occupied Dead Sea area represent blatant violations of its legal obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, since they favour Israeli economic interests while denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination," Al-Haq says.
The European Union is also criticised for allowing Ahava to take part in EU-funded projects and giving it financial help.
In response to questions about the report, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor referred to a letter sent by Ahava's president and chief executive, Yaakov Ellis, to cosmetics retailers in 2010.
"The mud and minerals used in Ahava's cosmetic products are not excavated in an occupied area. The minerals are mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea, which is undisputed internationally," Mr Palmor quoted the letter as saying.
Pending a permanent status agreement, Israel has "subsoil jurisdiction" in Area C until agreed otherwise and therefore would be entitled to license a company to excavate mud in that area if it chose to do so, "which it actually does not, according to the statement by the Ahava president", Mr Palmor said.
The general director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, said it was Israel's responsibility to comply with its obligations as an occupying power. "Israel is pillaging the Palestinians' natural resources. We are not just talking about the Dead Sea but throughout the Jordan Valley as well," he said.
Ahava in Israel did not respond to requests for comment. The director of Ahava Australia, Matoyla Kollaras, denied Palestinian resources were being exploited. "The Dead Sea belongs to everybody, so does the mud,'' she said. ''We're not exploiting anything"...
Full report in the Sydney Morning Herald 4 September 2012
Glasgow University law professor Adam Tomkins plans joint work with Israeli 'judicial designer, enabler and backer of regime of human rights abuses
Edinburgh 7th February 2010
Barak...justified shooting at civilian populations; legalized land confiscations, home demolitions and other forms of collective punishment; approved administrative detentions (imprisonment without trial), the Apartheid wall...and torture...his last verdict [justified] the policy of extrajudicial executions ( a.k.a. "targeted killings").
A legal academic at Glasgow University is working to align his institution with Israel's grave human rights abuses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Notoriously, Israel operates two legal systems in the occupied West Bank - one for Jews and another for Palestinians. In this legal system Tomkins so admires, the age of legal responsibility for Palestinian children, for example, is lower than that for Jewish children.
According to the Jewish Chronicle of Feb 04, 2011:
"A leading British law professor has been awarded a prestigious scholarship by the British Friends of the Hebrew University (BFHU) for work promoting understanding between Israel and the UK. Glasgow University professor Adam Tomkins is this year's recipient of the Hailsham Scholarship, which has been awarded since 1987 to honour the contribution of influential legal academics.
Last year he was a visiting professor at the Jerusalem university, where he ran a course on national security. He will return to Israel next May to take part in a workshop with Aharon Barak, the former president of Israel's Supreme Court. Professor Tomkins said the prize would facilitate the next stage of what he hoped would be "a lifelong series of collaborations with colleagues at the Hebrew University". He added: "If, as a result, links between Glasgow Law School and legal scholars in Israel are strengthened, this will be an added bonus."
According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Gvul,
"Barak has succeeded in creating around him a "human-rights man" aura even outside Israel. This is a huge propaganda feat, almost unparalleled in human history – considering that Barak is, to a large extent, the judicial designer, enabler and backer of the regime of human-rights abuses in the Occupied Territories...
"Barak was the "judicial commander in chief", who legitimized almost all the injustices of the occupation. He has led Israel's judicial system into the role of indentured servant to the security forces – the IDF, the Shin Bet (domestic secret service), the Mossad and the settlers. He justified shooting at civilian populations; legalized land confiscations, home demolitions and other forms of collective punishment; approved administrative detentions (imprisonment without trial), the Apartheid wall, the distortions of the Occupation's military tribunals - and torture (yes, in spite of the 1999 verdict that ostensibly forbade torture, he actually left the door wide open to continue them under a "necessity" clause, and indeed they have continued in full force). The Grand Finale was his last verdict, in which he has imprinted yet another rubber stamp, this time on the policy of extrajudicial executions ( a.k.a. 'targeted killings')."
Will Glasgow University students and faculty allow this sinister plan to succeed? Or will they manage to prevent Tomkins' project to harness their Law School in the effort to legitmise Israel's crimes.
Edinburgh, 7 Feb 2010
The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.