Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘israel

Israel’s (24-7) War on Palestine Rights Movement Advances Anti-boycott Legislation, Torpedoes Events

By Alison Weir. July 14, 2017

An Israeli newspaper reports that a special office in Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs is advancing anti-boycott, pro-Israel legislation around the world.

Israel’s Ynet News reports: “The State of Israel is waging one of its most important and difficult battles: The war on delegitimization and on the boycott movement.”

The Ministry has mapped 150 entities and has implemented what it calls a “combat doctrine” against them.

According to Ynet, the ministry has created a $70 million unit that works “24-7” to monitor and counter activism in support of Palestinian rights.

The unit, named “The Battle,” has worked to advance legislation, torpedo events, block bank accounts, thwart funding, and organize counter protests. It has also placed agents in Israeli embassies around the world.

The Ministry’s Director-General Sima Vaknin-Gil says that in order to win, Israel must “must use tricks and craftiness.”

According to Ynet, the office monitors “all protests, conferences, publications calling for an anti-Israel boycott and international bodies’ boycott initiatives. It then transfers the information to the relevant people to provide a proper response to these activities, whether through a counter-protest or through moves to thwart the initiative behind the scenes.”

Israel’s justice department has agreed to exclude the unit from Israel’s Freedom of Information Law.

Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information, states:

“Since the ministry began leading the war on the boycott movement, boycott organizations have been under constant pressure.

“Legislation is being advanced in Israel and in the world, the organizations are under financial pressure which includes closing bank accounts and thwarting donations, and the hypocrisy of bodies disguised as ‘human rights organizations’ is being exposed.

My policy of moving from the defense to the offense has proved itself, but there’s a lot more to be done.”

Numerous anti-boycott, pro-Israel bills are making their way through U.S. governmental bodies.

The U.S. Congress passed anti-boycott legislation in 2015, at least 22 state legislatures throughout the country have enacted anti-boycott bills, and anti-boycott legislation in other states is in process.

In addition, legislation calling criticism of Israel “anti-Semitic” is being advanced at both the federal and state levels, and similar regulations are being adopted on college campuses. Related laws and resolutions are also being promoted internationally.

Israel’s 24-7 ‘War’ on Palestine Rights Movement Advances Anti-boycott Legislation, Torpedoes Events

The 29th floor of Tel Aviv’s Champion Tower is the nerve center of a 24-7 ‘war’ against Palestinian rights supporters around the world. Israeli agents working behind the scenes advance legislation, torpedo events, organize counter-protests, close bank accounts.

The Director says: ‘In order to win we must use tricks and craftiness.’


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

Israeli efforts to influence events in the U.S. are not new. In 1994 a former Mossad agent described on C-Span how the Mossad used pro-Israel organizations to plant claims that individuals critical of Israel are “antisemitic.”

In 1963 Senator William Fulbright discovered that Israel had given more than $5 million ($40 million in today’s dollars ) to organizations and individuals in the U.S. to influence public opinion in favor of Israel.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

It’s a privilege to report through Mondoweiss’: risks of working as a foreign-based journalist in Palestine

FeaturesIsrael/Palestine Israel Fear The Truth: We Report It

Foreign journalists and reporters who have an Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) card have to comply with Israeli government gag orders, and have to submit their work for review and/or censorship before publishing

Tova Perlmutter on July 1, 2017

MEET “ALAA,” A JOURNALIST who has covered events in Israel/Palestine for Mondoweiss.

Alaa is of Palestinian descent, but she is an American citizen and, as she puts it, doesn’t “look Arab.”

This gives her a particular perspective on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian journalists. Alaa agreed to answer my questions about her experiences reporting in Israel/Palestine but requested that we not use her real name. This could put me in a very difficult situation as far as visas go.

I am here precariously, and anyone working in the country answering questions along these lines risks being kicked out for good.

One entire side of my family lives in the West Bank so risking my access to the country by using my real name with this interview is more than I am willing to do.

While other stories in our series “They Fear The Truth: We Report It” have described direct violence against journalists, Alaa provided more information about Israel’s efforts to control reporting using legal requirements, surveillance, censorship and restricted access.

Every example of clampdown on journalists is further evidence that the work Mondoweiss presents daily, from hundreds of brave reporters and photographers, makes a real difference. As a reader-supported nonprofit, we are able to pay Alaa and other dedicated, talented reporters only because of contributions from people like you.

Mondoweiss: What challenges have you faced as a foreign-based reporter in entering or residing in the Palestinian territories?

Alaa: Israel’s approval of visas for those working in the West Bank is complicated and inconsistent. Every time I leave the country I fear that I will not be allowed back in, even if I have a visa that has a long expiry date. Once I flew in with nine months left on my work visa, and at the airport my work visa was canceled and I was given a three-month tourist visa. Other times the work visa has been honored. I never know if my visa will be revoked, making me scared to leave the country. I am also held for hours and questioned every time I enter or leave.

Mondoweiss: Can you describe legal controls the government exerts on your reporting once you’re in Israel/Palestine? An Israeli soldier restrains a journalist during a demonstration demanding free movement of journalists and Palestinians at the Qalandia checkpoint July 17, 2013.

Alaa: Israel requires journalists to register and obtain a Government Press Office (GPO) card. I have not been able to obtain a GPO card, so I am unable to report within Israel. This limits my work, of course, since so many stories have elements on both sides of the Green Line.

On the other hand, journalists who have a GPO card have to comply with Israeli government gag orders, and sometimes they have to submit their work for review and/or censorship before publishing. That’s written explicitly in the GPO requirements, and is true even if you report for the New York Times or other mainstream outlets.

Mondoweiss: So the lack of a GPO prevents you from reporting within Israel. Do you have greater journalistic freedom when you’re in the West Bank?

Alaa: Officially, a GPO card is not required in the West Bank. Many times, though, while covering stories in the West Bank, I’ve been denied access or detained by Israeli soldiers demanding I show a GPO card. In one case when I pointed out the law doesn’t require a press card in the West Bank, the soldier holding me said this was a closed military zone and so it was now required.

I asked when it had been declared a closed military zone and he said he had declared it himself right now as he was speaking to me. He then threatened to check all the other journalists’ credentials and make anyone without a GPO card leave. I knew the others did not have GPO cards—most were Palestinian citizens and at much greater risk than I. So I kept silent, and he released me on condition that I leave the area.

Not only was I prevented from covering the news, but everyone present saw that an ordinary soldier took upon himself the authority of “declaring a closed zone”—and was ready to impose collective punishment to quash any challenge. Talk about a chilling effect on the press!

This kind of incident leads to effective self-censorship. Even if you are working in the West Bank, Israel still has to approve your visa, so journalists are careful not to write something—for publication or even on social media—that could get them kicked out of the country and/or banned for five or ten years. We censor ourselves even in phone conversations.

The paranoia is palpable because of Israel’s reputation as an all-knowing, all-seeing, security power. (Just paranoia: Israel doesn’t know much, and fakes knowing by harassment tactics)

Mondoweiss: What other experiences have you had where Israel’s forces prevented you from practicing your profession as journalist? Israeli soldiers close a barrier blocking the road at the West Bank Al-Fawwar refugee camp, July 3, 2016.

Alaa: Israel often closes down villages, and journalists are not allowed to go through these blockades. On occasion, my driver and translator have sneaked me in illegally. As Palestinian citizens, they are taking a much greater risk than I am. I respect immensely their choice as it reflects their dedication to the journalistic mission of informing the world. Once when I was leaving a closed village, the way we had sneaked in was blocked. After a while we realized the only way out was a dirt path guarded by Israeli military.

We stopped the car a couple hundred meters away as the soldiers yelled. They pointed their guns at the car and gestured for us to retreat. I slowly got out of the car, with my hands in the air. I stood there, screaming “American” and “English” at the top of my lungs. Finally, the soldiers called me over. I pretended I didn’t know I was not allowed in the village. Eventually, they let us go.

Mondoweiss: Have you ever been frightened while doing your job by elements of Israeli society other than the government?

Alaa: Once I was interviewing a Palestinian with my translator in Hebron when a settler walked up with a large dog and an M16 slung on his shoulder. He asked what we were doing, and I said we were about to leave. I could see the person I was interviewing was scared. Settlers are not often held accountable when they commit violence.

The settler walked on to speak to the soldiers up the street at the checkpoint where we needed to exit. Once he had left, the three of us headed to the checkpoint. The soldiers detained my translator and me, took our I.D.s and questioned us for a while.

When they let us go, one of the soldiers yelled obscenities at the Hebron resident we had been interviewing. Another time, I was reporting a story about foreign workers in northern Israel. The conditions were absolutely horrible, the workers lived like animals. During the interview, one of the Israeli farm owners came driving by, and we all ran and hid.

Partly, we were frightened that this private citizen—like so many in Israel—might be carrying a machine gun, and might use it. Mostly, though, we were concerned with getting the workers in trouble with their employer. As it turned out, the owner drove away without seeing us. This is just another example, though, of how the typical concerns of an investigative journalist are magnified by the pervasive violence of Israeli society.

It is hard to focus on your reporting when you know the limits of the rule of law when it comes to violence against Palestinians and others considered “less than.”

Mondoweiss: How does your identity as a Palestinian affect your life and work?

Alaa: I have a sort of in-between status. On the one hand, I actually am Palestinian and my name, history and family connections can make me vulnerable. On the other hand, my appearance gives me free passage in many cases—I’m what you might call “white-looking” and when my name isn’t checked I definitely don’t get hassled as much as people who can’t pass as non-Palestinian.

One time I stumbled into an anti-Arab protest in Jerusalem. People were screaming death to Arabs, waving Israeli flags, and holding racist signs. It was bizarre and yes, a bit scary. I pass for non-Arab, but I knew that if for some reason I was identified as an Arab, things could go bad quickly. So that’s a pretty ordinary example of how my identity can put me at risk even when I’m not covering the conflict.

On a more mundane level—but one that affects me every day—I am subject to the same material restrictions as other Palestinians living in the West Bank. For example, we do not have access to cellphone data. This means I can only access the internet through wifi, and that definitely limits my ability to report in a timely manner.

Mondoweiss: Thanks so much for sharing these glimpses of your world. Are there other aspects of your work as a journalist in the West Bank that you would like Mondoweiss readers to understand?

Alaa: I think that when you’re far from Israel/Palestine it can be easy to forget how far the invasion and destruction of basic, fundamental rights has gone. Even while experiencing these constraints on freedom of the press ourselves, those of us here on the ground start to accept as obvious and mundane the challenges we have to face.

It often feels like little things, normal and everyday. But it’s not, and we can’t let ourselves take these restrictions for granted. I am grateful every day that Mondoweiss continues to spread the news about human rights violations in Israel/Palestine.

For me, it’s a privilege to report through Mondoweiss, where I know that thoughtful people see the information I work hard to obtain for them. I would just like to close by asking readers to continue supporting the essential outlet that Mondoweiss provides for accurate news coverage from territories where the authorities are working very hard to prevent accurate information from getting out.

The name you chose for the current campaign rings very true to me. They fear the truth–we report it. I urge those who value the truth to contribute so we can keep defying censorship and awakening the world to injustice.

Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike in Israel After 40 Days

 

Israel DIME Weapon effect on Gaza-Article and Gallery

JANUARY 18, 2009

What’s DIME ?!

Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) : is an illegal weapon that had been tested in Iraq (Fallujah ) USA , and used in 1996 by Israel , then 2008-2009 again by Israel on Gaza .

Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) : It produces lower pressure but increased impulse in the near field.

Upon detonation of the explosive, the casing disintegrates into extremely small particles, as opposed to the shrapnel which results from the fragmentation of a metal shell casing. (They are irradiated too with “low nuclear” by-products)

Those shrapnel enter the body , which is very lethal at close range ( 4 meters or 13 feet ).

Survivors close to the lethal zone may have their limbs amputated (as the micro shrapnel can slice through soft tissue and bone).

One more Israeli ( IsraHelli Surprise ) :

It’s Carcinogenic , cause the effect of heavy metal tungsten , along with depleted uranium , as USA used before in IRAQ and Afghanistan .

DIME wounds are considered to be untreatable because the metal is delivered in the form of a fine powder which is can’t be removed by surgery .

Is it Legal ?

DIME , is illegal but that’s didn’t hold USA from using it in Iraq and Afghanistan , along with IsraHell ( Israel ) ,  2006 , 2008-2009 .

Question: Since when IsraHell ( Israel ) and USA pay an attention to UN and Legality of their ways ?!

Why Israel is using it over civilians  at Gaza ?

IsraHell is using those kind of weapons not for the first time , they have a long log from using such Illegal weapons on Palestinians , without fear of consequences .

The right answer would be a Genocide , for the Palestinians at Gaza .
If IsraHell ( Israel ) is using those type of illegal weapons to test it , thats immoral .

If Israhell (Israel ) is trying to terrorize Gaza civilians , thats would be the prove anyone can ask for about How IsraHell ( israel ) is terrorist .

If IsraHell ( israel ) is using those type of illegal weapons to cancerize Gaza people , that`s even unethical an immoral .

and , if IsraHell ( israel ) attended to Genocide the Palestinians at Gaza , ( as we all believe now ) , that would be inhuman .

Therefor , we can’t say was what IsraHell hidden goal of using those kind of weapon , so lets by what IsraHell ( israel ) did in Gaza

IsraHell ( israel ) is Inhuman , a Racismic nation , immoral and unethical . and thats how we see it . and thats what gave it ( IsraHell ) the right to do so , that its Illegal country built on blood and dead bodied .

Gaza: Israel under fire for alleged white phosphorus use

Israel uses experimental genotoxic weapon (DIME) against civilians in Gaza

Italian TV Exposes Experimental IDF Use of U.S. Weapon Which Severs and Burns Limbs Below Genitals

La paix au Proche-Orient en sept échecs

La conférence de Paris pour la paix dimanche va réunir de nombreux pays. Un effort de plus dans la longue liste des initiatives pour tenter de régler le conflit israélo-palestinien

La conférence de paix sur le conflit israélo-palestinien prévue dimanche à Paris se déroule à cinq jours de la prise de pouvoirs par Donald Trump à la présidence des États-Unis.

La question reste entière sur ses intentions pour tenter de résoudre le conflit. Elle s’ajoute à une série d’initiatives internationales depuis les accords d’Oslo en 1993 pour tenter de régler ce conflit, vieux de plus de soixante ans. Qui n’est toujours pas réglé.

François Hollande lui-même se dit “lucide” sur l’importance de cette conférence

1. Les accords d’Oslo, les premiers d’une longue série

Le 13 septembre 1993, après six mois de négociations secrètes à Oslo, Israël et l’ Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP) se reconnaissent mutuellement et signent à Washington en présence du président Bill Clinton une “Déclaration de principes” sur une autonomie palestinienne transitoire de cinq ans. (Israel didn’t recognize the right of return of Palestinians to their homeland, according to UN resolution 198)

Cette autonomie débute le 4 mai 1994 avec un accord au Caire prévoyant qu’Israël évacue 70% de la bande de Gaza et Jéricho (Cisjordanie).

En juillet, le chef de l’OLP Yasser Arafat retourne dans les territoires palestiniens, après 27 ans d’exil.

Il y établit l’Autorité palestinienne.

Le 28 septembre 1995, un nouvel accord intérimaire (Oslo II) est signé à Washington sur l’extension de l’autonomie en Cisjordanie, portant sur des retraits israéliens.

Mais le 4 novembre, le Premier ministre israélien Yitzhak Rabin est assassiné par un extrémiste juif opposé au processus de paix.

2. Les accords de Wye Plantation

Le 23 octobre 1998, Yasser Arafat et le Premier ministre israélien de droite Benjamin Netanyahu, opposé aux accord d’Oslo, signent à Wye Plantation aux États-Unis un accord intérimaire sur les modalités d’un retrait israélien de 13% de la Cisjordanie.

Les Palestiniens doivent annuler leur charte qui appelle à la destruction d’Israël. Mais l’État hébreu le gèle deux mois plus tard après un retrait de 2%. Bill Clinton a tout fait pour cette signature.

3. Sommet de Camp David : le plan Clinton

Du 11 au 25 juillet 2000, au sommet de Camp David (États-Unis), les deux camps achoppent sur le problème de Jérusalem et des réfugiés de 1948

En décembre 2000, Clinton prône la création d’un État palestinien sur la totalité de la bande de Gaza et 95% de la Cisjordanie. En échange, les Palestiniens doivent renoncer au “droit au retour” des réfugiés Palestinians en Israël.

4. Initiative Saoudienne

Le 28 mars 2002, un sommet arabe à Beyrouth (Liban) adopte un plan saoudien préconisant un retrait israélien de tous les territoires occupés depuis 1967, dont le plateau du Golan, en échange d’une normalisation entre pays arabes et Israël.

Mais le Premier ministre Ariel Sharon lance une grande offensive en Cisjordanie, après des attentats suicide palestiniens.

5. Feuille de route

Le 30 avril 2003, le Quartette sur le Proche-Orient (États-Unis, Russie, Union européenne, ONU) présente une “feuille de route” qui prévoit un État palestinien d’ici 2005 en échange de la fin des violences de l’Intifada et un gel de la colonisation juive.

Le 4 juin, à Aqaba (Jordanie), Israël et l’Autorité palestinienne s’engagent à l’appliquer devant le président américain George W. Bush.

6. Processus d’Annapolis

En novembre 2007, près de Washington, Israël et l’Autorité palestinienne, qui ne contrôle plus que la Cisjordanie après avoir été chassée de Gaza par le Hamas, tentent de parvenir à un accord d’ici fin 2008. Mais les négociations sont plombées par la poursuite de la colonisation juive, et l’Autorité palestinienne se retire des négociations avec l’offensive israélienne sur Gaza fin 2008.

7. John Kerry impuissant

Le 29 juillet 2013, le secrétaire d’État américain John Kerry annonce la reprise pour neuf mois des négociations directes interrompues depuis trois ans.

Mais Israël les suspend à une semaine du terme après une annonce de réconciliation Fatah-Hamas. Le processus de paix est depuis au point mort.

L’incertitude Trump

Que va faire Donald Trump après sa prise de fonctions à la Maison-Blanche?

C’est toute la question, après avoir opéré de nombreux revirements au cours de sa vie. Il était habitué aux blagues antisémites et avait peu de considérations pour les Juifs.

Puis sa fille Ivanka, qui s’est convertie au judaïsme pour épouser Jared Kushner, l’a convaincu.

Kushner a également fait une grande partie du travail. Et aujourd’hui, Donald Trump s’offusque de la résolution de l’ONU condamnant la colonisation israélienne :

“Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à laisser Israël subir un tel mépris et manque de respect. Les États-Unis ont été leur grand ami mais…ce n’est plus le cas. L’horrible accord avec l’Iran a été le début de la fin et maintenant il y a ça (l’ONU) ! Israël doit rester fort, le 20 janvier arrive vite.”

Trump a nommé son beau-fils de 36 ans, Jared Kushner, au poste de premier-plan de conseiller du Président. Trump envisagerait de lui confier le dossier du Moyen-Orient. Il espère que Kushner l’aidera à être celui qui fera la paix entre Israël et les Palestiniens.

En attendant, Trump maintient sa volonté de déménager l’ambassade américaine en Israël de Tel-Aviv à Jérusalem.

Selon la direction palestinienne, ce déménagement signifierait la fin d’une solution à deux États.

Israeli Gov’t Approves Plan To Punish People Who Disagree With Them

I Can See Palestine posted this Dec. 16, 2013:

The Israeli government has just passed a new law designed to punish people who disagree with them, a law which the attorney general and legal experts in the country say is both unconstitutional and a dangerous infringement on democratic freedom of expression within Israel.

The newly approved bill would impose a harsh new “tax” on any non-governmental organization whose managers expresses an opinion that conflicts with the currents policies of the Israeli government.

If even one manager of an NGO expresses support for the boycott of Israel, or for divestment and sanctions, or the trial of Israeli soldiers in international military courts for war crimes, or opposes Israel’s status as a “Jewish state,” any donation made to that NGO by a “foreign entity” would be taxed at a rate of 45%.

The approved version changed two clauses in the original proposal:

That a leftist nonprofit would be penalized even if only one member of its board violated one of the clauses for which sanctions are imposed, and that sanctions would be imposed on organizations working against “the Jewish-democratic identity of the state.” The latter clause would have included negating, even implicitly, Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, or calling for the separation of religion and state.

In an unusual move, it was agreed that the bill would be debated again by the ministerial panel after it passes its preliminary reading in the Knesset.

Under the revised bill, certain nonprofits that receive donations from a foreign entity would be required to pay a 45 percent tax on the contributions.

The law would apply to groups that work for or call on others to boycott Israel, stop investing in Israel, or impose sanctions on the state or its citizens. It would also apply to groups calling to prosecute IDF soldiers for war crimes, subsequently exposing such alleged acts, or calling to investigate them.

This means that the Israeli government has just passed a law declaring that they will effectively seize almost half of all funds donated to NGOs in Israel if their leaders do not toe the appropriate party line.

Freedom of expression in Israel is only for people who express the appropriate opinions, because… the safety and operational ability of the Israeli military depends on suppressing political dissent.

The bill was pushed by Jewish Home, which insists that it will protect Israeli soldiers from “immoral legal claims,” and insisted that not cracking down on the NGOs harms the military’s “operational ability.”

The Israeli attorney general has said the bill infringes on a number of the constitutional rights enshrined into Israel’s Basic Laws, such as freedom of expression and freedom of association.

AG Yehuda Weinstein says that the “tax hike” on NGOs is really a de facto fine designed to cut donations to the non-profits in question in ways which would harm freedom of expression in Israel.

“Limiting donations and harming non-profit organizations’ free speech, and in general harming human rights is something done by a group of countries that it is doubtful that Israel wants to join,” said Weinstein. He added that even if the purpose of the bill was proper, which he said he doubted, it exceeded any sense of proportion because of the serious ramifications it was likely to cause.

The issue of proportionality is important because under Israeli law the state may undertake an act that harms a right in one of Israel’s Basic Laws if it is consistent with the values of the State of Israel, intended for a proper purpose and the harm done is proportionate.

This issue of “proportionality” in keeping the values of the State of Israel is incredibly important because one of the State’s most fundamental tenets is its Jewish identity.

If the state feels there is anything which “threatens” that identity, such as calls for the separation of church and state or marriages between members of different faiths, then it may make whatever laws necessary to stop the practice, regardless of how it violates the democratic and human rights which Israel claims to uphold.

Former Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak had this to say about the Israeli government’s violation of constitutional rights in relation to marriage equality in his forthcoming book “Human Dignity: The Constitutional Right and its Derivatives”:

“Anyone who is unable to marry according to religious law, and anyone who does not want to marry according to religious law for their own reasons, cannot marry in Israel.

Civil marriage is not recognized in Israel. This state of affairs violates the constitutional right to marry…The present law does not only violate the constitutional derived right to marriage, but it also often violates the derived right to freedom of conscience and freedom from religion.

A law that prevents two members of the same gender from entering a relationship of couplehood is a violation of the human dignity of each partner.”

These people who are refused the right to marry include the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who have entered the country under the Law of Return, but who are not considered Jewish by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. This religious body is notorious for its attempts to be the sole arbiter of “who is a Jew,” not only in Israel but in the diaspora as well.

Then, of course, there is the gross violation of both the Basic Laws and international law with the practice of administrative detention, where individuals from asylum seekers to Palestinian residents (including children) are held without trial for extended periods of time.

Administrative Detention

The Israeli Supreme Court recently overturned a law which allowed the detainment of asylum seekers for up to three years without trial on the basis that it was “unconstitutional,” as it violated a basic law enshrining human dignity and freedom.

“In the opinion of all nine justices on the panel, the period of three years’ detention as stated in the law is unconstitutional,” judge Edna Arbel wrote.

Despite the unconstitutionality of their actions, the Israeli government seems to prefer to legislate first, then force people to go through the court system to change unconstitutional laws. This process is lengthy, expensive in time and money, and allows the Israeli government to continue violating human rights while the cases drag on.

Monetary punishment of people that disagree with the government is yet another mark against the government of Israel.

Are the Palestinian Territories Occupied?

IMEU published in July 13, 2012

June 5, 2012, marked the 45th anniversary of the start of the 1967 War, when Israel launched a surprise preemptive attack against Egypt and began its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Syrian Golan Heights.

Since that time, Israel has ruled over millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories by military decree, granting them no political rights while relentlessly colonizing their land.

Forty-five years on, Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise become more entrenched by the day, leading many observers to conclude that the creation of a sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel (i.e. the two-state solution) is no longer possible.

The following fact sheet provides an overview of 45 years of Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise.

INDEX

SETTLEMENTS and their purposes

(Click here for 2012 UN map showing land allocated to settlements in the West Bank)
(Click here for Peace Now’s interactive “Facts on the Ground” settlement map)

Almost immediately after the 1967 War ended, Israel began to colonize the occupied territories in violation of international law, with Jewish-only “settlements.”

The settlement enterprise was established with the purpose of creating irreversible “facts on the ground,” thereby solidifying Israeli control over the occupied territories and ensuring that under any future diplomatic agreement Israel would retain possession of vast and strategically important tracts of Palestinian territory.

The settlement enterprise was also intended to ensure that a genuinely sovereign Palestinian state would never emerge in the occupied territories.

In the words of Henry Siegman, Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1994 and former Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations:

‘A vivid recollection from the time I headed the American Jewish Congress is a helicopter trip over the West Bank on which I was taken by Ariel Sharon [the former Israeli prime minister and defense minister and godfather of Israel’s settlement enterprise].

With large, worn maps in hand, he pointed out to me strategic locations of present and future settlements on east-west and north-south axes that, Sharon assured me, would rule out a future Palestinian state.’

In 2011, respected Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem noted: “The extreme change that Israel has made in the map of the West Bank prevents any real possibility to establish an independent, viable Palestinian state in the framework of exercising the right to self-determination.”

FACTS & FIGURES

‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.

Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’

  • As of 2012, there are more than 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Of those, upwards of 300,000 live in the expanded boundaries of East Jerusalem. In addition, approximately 20,000 settlers live in settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
  • As of 2012 there were some 130 official settlements and more than 110 “outposts” (nascent settlements built without official government approval) in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  • According to Human Rights Watch: “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits… While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp – not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes.”
  • From 1993 to 2000, as Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiated what came to be known as the Oslo Accords, the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), nearly doubled, from 110,900 to 190,206 according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Accurate figures for settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, which are mostly built and expanded before 1993, are harder to find, but as of 2000 the number of settlers in East Jerusalem stands at more than 167,000 according to B’Tselem.
  • Settlements and related infrastructure (including Israeli-only roads, army bases, the separation wall, closed military zones, and checkpoints) cover approximately 42% of the West Bank.
  • In a 2012 report entitled “Torpedoing The Two State Solution,” Peace Now, the leading experts on Israel’s settlement enterprise, documented a 20% rise in construction starts in the West Bank in 2011 over the previous year.
  • Israel withdrew its soldiers and 8000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, however Gaza remains under Israeli occupation according to international law as Israel continues to control all entry in and out of the territory, as well as its coastline and airspace.
  • In 2004, Dov Weisglass, a top advisor to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said that the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza (the “disengagement” plan) was intended to “freeze” the peace process, by alleviating international pressure on Israel to take further action, stating,

LEGAL STATUS

  • The pre-amble of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed shortly after the 1967 War, in November 1967, stresses “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” The text of Resolution 242, which is the cornerstone of the two-state solution and international efforts to make peace in the region for more than two decades, calls for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
  • Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
  • The Hague Convention also forbids occupying powers from making permanent changes in the occupied territory unless it is a military necessity.
  • In its 2004 advisory opinion that deemed the wall that Israel is building in the West Bank illegal, all 15 judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also found Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, to be in contravention of international law.
  • Successive Israeli governments have argued that settlement building does not violate international law, however a formerly classified document dated September 1967 shows that the legal counsel to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron, advised the government of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Disregarding the opinion, in September 1967, Eshkol’s Labor government authorized the establishment of the first civilian settlement, Kfar Etzion, on the outskirts of Hebron in the West Bank.
  • International human rights organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have all condemned Israel’s settlement enterprise as illegal.
  • Numerous United Nations resolutions have also affirmed that Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land in the occupied territories is a violation of international law.
  • In 1979, the Security Council passed Resolution 446, which states: “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

US POLICY ON SETTLEMENTS

  • The official policy of the United States, in line with the rest of the international community, has always been that Israeli settlements are illegal.
  • In 1979, the State Department issued a legal opinion declaring that settlements were “inconsistent with international law.”  However, presidents from both parties have chosen to look the other way more often than not rather than confront Israel over the issue.
  • One notable exception occurred in 1991, when President George H. W. Bush threatened to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees after Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir refused to halt settlement construction to facilitate the start of peace talks with the Palestinians. Under pressure from Congress, Bush relented and approved the guarantees on condition that only “natural growth” would be allowed, a loophole quickly exploited by the Israelis who soon began building at a faster rate than ever.
  • 2003’s Roadmap for Peace called for a freeze on all settlement construction, including so-called “natural growth” and the removal of all settler outposts.
  • Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama began to urge Israel to stop all settlement construction as part of an effort to revive peace talks. After strenuously resisting, in November 2009 Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month partial construction “moratorium.” However, it contained so many loopholes and exceptions (it didn’t cover public infrastructure, construction that had already been approved, or settlements in occupied East Jerusalem) as to render it meaningless. When the 10 months were over, settlement construction resumed as before and a year later, in September 2011, Peace Now reported that in the intervening 12 months settlement growth doubled, more than making up for the partial slowdown.
  • In November 2010, the Obama administration attempted to lure Israel into agreeing to a three-month partial construction freeze by offering a package of incentives including 20 F-35 fighter jets worth $3 billion, a promise that the US would continue vetoing any UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, and a promise not ask for another freeze after the three months expired. Despite the enormous size of the offer, Netanyahu turned it down.
  • In February 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements as illegal, despite the fact that the resolution reflected official American policy as it has stood for the past four decades.

SETTLER VIOLENCE –

(Click here for UN map “Settler Violence Incidents in 2011”)

  • Many settlements like Yitzhar, Kiryat Arba, and Itamar, are home to heavily armed religious extremists who frequently attack Palestinians and their property, including physical assaults and murder, graffiti and arson attacks against mosques, and the destruction of olive trees and other crops.
  • In March 2012, the Guardian newspaper reported that senior European Union officials had drafted a confidential report concluding that Jewish settlers are engaged in a systematic and growing campaign of violence against Palestinians and that “settler violence enjoys the tacit support of the state of Israel.”
  • Under Israel’s occupation regime, Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are subject to the civilian laws of Israel, with the attendant legal rights and protections, while Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law, and are granted virtually no legal rights or protections.
  • According to a 2012 report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    • The weekly average of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by 32% in 2011 compared to 2010, and by over 144% compared to 2009.
    • In 2011, three Palestinians were killed and 183 injured by Israeli settlers. In addition, one Palestinian was killed, and 125 others injured, by Israeli soldiers during clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.
    • In 2011, approximately 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees, primarily olive trees, were damaged or destroyed by Israeli settlers, significantly undermining the livelihoods of hundreds of families.
    • In 2011, 139 Palestinians were displaced due to settler attacks.
    • Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.
    • There are 80 communities with a combined population of nearly 250,000 Palestinians vulnerable to settler violence, including 76,000 who are at high-risk.
  • The most notorious instance of settler violence was carried out by an Israeli-American settler, Brooklyn-born Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians as they prayed in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994. More than 100 others were wounded in the attack. In the unrest that followed, another 25 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers. Just over a month after the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, Hamas launched its first suicide bombing against Israeli civilians.
  • In May 2012, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israeli army was examining 15 complaints about Israeli soldiers who allegedly stood by and did nothing as Palestinians were beaten or attacked by settlers. Also in May 2012, a settler was filmed shooting a Palestinian near Nablus while Israeli soldiers stood idly by.
  • The aforementioned Haaretz article noted: “From the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000 through December 2011, [Israeli human rights organization] B’Tselem filed 57 complaints regarding IDF soldiers who allegedly did not prevent violence against Palestinians or their property. [Israeli authorities] told B’Tselem that investigations have been opened so far into only four of those cases, two of which were closed with no action against the soldiers.”
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”

– ‘PRICE TAG’ ATTACKS –

  • In recent years, settlers have begun so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government actions that displease them, such as the dismantling of settlement outposts.
  • The price tag campaign has included a string of more than a dozen arson attacks against, and desecrations of, West Bank mosques. In two cases, mosques inside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders were also torched.

EAST JERUSALEM 

(Click here for 2010 map of settlements in East Jerusalem)
(Click here for interactive “Jerusalem and its Environs” map)

– LEGAL STATUS –

  • Following the 1967 War, Israel unilaterally expanded East Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and formally annexed it. Neither move has been recognized by the international community, including the United States.
  • Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem has been repeatedly rejected by the international community through a series of UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 252267471476 and 478. Resolution 252 (1968) states that the Security Council “[c]onsiders that all…actions taken by Israel…which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”
  • Although Israel has attempted to make a distinction between them, according to international law, there is no legal difference between East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories. As such, Israel has no internationally recognized legal claim to any part of East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites.
  • Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court has begun recognizing as legitimate legal claims from Jews to properties in East Jerusalem that were allegedly owned by Jews prior to Israel’s creation in 1948. As a result, at least three Palestinian families and one shop owner have been evicted in recent months to make way for Jewish settlers who claimed ownership of the land pre-1948. At the same time, the Supreme Court refuses to recognize legal claims by Palestinian Arabs to properties owned in what became Israel in 1948.

 

– FACTS & FIGURES –

‘Restricted access to East Jerusalem had a negative impact on patients and medical staff trying to reach the six Palestinian hospitals there that offered specialized care unavailable in the West Bank. IDF soldiers at checkpoints subjected Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances from the West Bank to violence and delays, or refused entry into Jerusalem even in emergency cases… The PRCS reported hundreds of violations against its teams and humanitarian services during the year. Most incidents included blocking access to those in need, preventing their transport to specialized medical centers, or maintaining delays on checkpoints for periods sometimes lasting up to two hours.’

  • Following its capture in 1967, Israel expanded the municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem, which comprised about four square miles, annexing an additional 45 square miles (more than 17,000 acres) of the occupied West Bank to the city.
  • Since 1967, Israel has expropriated approximately 5776 acres of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.
  • Palestinian residents of Jerusalem contribute around 40% of the city’s taxes but only receive 8% of municipal spending.
  • In an attempt to separate and isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank, Israel has built a ring of settlements around its outskirts. This ring has been reinforced by the wall Israel is constructing, which also separates Israeli settlements in and near East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.
  • Since 1993, Israel has prohibited non-Jerusalemite Palestinians from entering the city unless they obtain an Israeli-issued permit, which is rarely granted. As a result, over four million Palestinians are denied access to their holy places in Jerusalem, are prohibited from studying in East Jerusalem, and are denied certain medical treatments that are only available in East Jerusalem hospitals.
  • The State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 noted:

THE ‘JUDAIZATION’ OF EAST JERUSALEM –

Revoking residency rights and social benefits of Palestinians who stay abroad for at least seven years, or who are unable to prove that their “center of life” is in Jerusalem. Since 1967, Israel has revoked the residency rights of about 14,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians, of which more than 4,500 were revoked in 2008.The encouragement of Jewish settlement in historically Palestinian-Arab areas. While severely restricting the expansion of Palestinian residential areas and revoking Palestinian residency rights, the Israeli government, through official and unofficial organizations, encourages Jews to move to settlements in East Jerusalem.

Systematic discrimination in municipal planning and in the allocation of services and building permits. According to a 2011 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

‘Since 1967, Israel has failed to provide Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem with the necessary planning framework to meet their basic housing and infrastructure needs. Only 13 percent of the annexed municipal area is currently zoned by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up. It is only within this area that Palestinians can apply for building permits, but the number of permits granted per year to Palestinians does not begin to meet the existing demand for housing and the requirements related to formal land registration prevent many from applying. As a result, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem find themselves confronting a serious shortage in housing and other basic infrastructure. Many residents have been left with no choice other than to build structures “illegally” and therefore risk demolition and displacement.’

Demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures built without difficult to obtain permission from Israeli authorities. Since 1967, approximately 2000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated to be as high as 20,000.

According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • According to the 2009 US State Department International Religious Freedom Report: “Many of the national and municipal policies in Jerusalem were designed to limit or diminish the non-Jewish population of Jerusalem.”
  • According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem: “Since East Jerusalem was annexed in 1967, the government of Israel’s primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city. To achieve this goal, the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians, living in the city.”
  • In 2010, Jerusalem city councilman Yakir Segev stated: “We will not allow residents of the eastern [occupied Palestinian] part of the city to build as much as they need… At the end of the day, however politically incorrect it may be to say, we will also look at the demographic situation in Jerusalem to make sure that in another 20 years we don’t wake up in an Arab city.”
  • Methods used by Israel as part of an effort to “Judaize” or alter the religious composition of Jerusalem by increasing the number of Jews while decreasing the number of Palestinians, include:

DENIAL OF FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

  • Since 1993, Palestinians living in the West Bank have been forbidden by Israel to enter East Jerusalem without a difficult to obtain permit. As a result, millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza are prevented from accessing their holy sites in Jerusalem.
  • According to the 2010 State Department International Religious Freedom Report: “[Israel’s] strict closure policies and the separation barrier constructed by the Israeli government severely restricted the ability of Palestinian Muslims and Christians to reach places of worship and to practice their religious rites, particularly in Jerusalem.”
  • The same State Department report noted: “The Government of Israel’s construction of a separation barrier, begun in 2002 due to stated security concerns, has severely limited access to holy sites and seriously impeded the work of religious organizations that provide education, healthcare, and other humanitarian relief and social services to Palestinians, particularly in and around East Jerusalem.”

THE WEST BANK WALL: Wall of Shame

(Click here for 2011 UN map of the wall)

In June 2002, under the pretext of security, the Israeli government began unilaterally constructing a wall, much of it on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank. (Since 1994, the Gaza Strip has been surrounded by an Israeli wall that cuts off the 1.6 million Palestinians living there from the rest of the world. See section on Gaza restrictions.)

– LEGAL STATUS –

  • In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion deeming the West Bank separation wall illegal. The court said the wall must be dismantled, and ordered Israel to compensate Palestinians harmed by its construction. It also called on third-party states to ensure Israel’s compliance with the judgment. While the ICJ’s decision was an advisory opinion, and therefore not binding on the parties, it is an authoritative statement of the status of the wall in international law.

– FACTS & FIGURES –

  • As of May 2012, more than 325 miles of the wall had already been built, at a cost of $2.6 billion (US).
  • Once completed, the full length of the wall will be between 420 and 440 miles (according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and B’Tselem, respectively) – more than twice the length of Israel’s internationally recognized border with the West Bank.
  • Eighty-five percent of the wall will be built not along Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 border, but on Palestinian land inside the occupied West Bank.
  • When finished, the wall, along with the settlements, Israeli-only highways and closed military zones, are projected to cover 46% of the West Bank, effectively annexing it to Israel.
  • Critics have accused Israeli authorities of designing the wall’s route to envelop as much Palestinian land and as many Israeli settlements as possible on the western, or Israeli side, while placing as many Palestinians as possible on the eastern side. In total, about 85% of the Israeli settler population is expected to end up on the Israeli side of the wall.
  • The wall also surrounds much of occupied East Jerusalem, cutting its more than 200,000 Palestinian residents off from the rest of the occupied West Bank.
  • During construction of the wall, Israel has destroyed large amounts of Palestinian farmland and usurped water supplies, including the biggest aquifer in the West Bank.

 

RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT

(Click here for 2011 UN map of barriers to movement in the West Bank)

  • At any given time, there are upwards of 500 checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to Palestinian movement inside the West Bank – an area smaller than Delaware – hindering Palestinians from moving between their own towns and cities and the outside world.
  • Palestinians are prohibited from driving on the vast network of settler roads built inside the West Bank, which are restricted to Israeli citizens.
  • In addition to limiting movement of individual Palestinians, Israeli restrictions also impede the flow of commercial goods and commerce, with adverse effects on the Palestinian economy and development.
  • According to a September 2011 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    • 522 roadblocks and checkpoints obstruct Palestinian movement in the West Bank, compared to 503 in July 2010.
    • 200,000 people from 70 villages are forced to use detours between two to five times longer than the direct route to their closest city due to movement restrictions.
    • One or more of the main entrances are blocked to Palestinian traffic in ten out of eleven major West Bank cities.
    • 4 of the five roads into the Jordan Valley are not accessible to most Palestinian vehicles.
    • Almost 80 percent of land in the Jordan Valley is off-limits to Palestinians, with the land designated for Israeli settlements’ ‘firing zones’ and ‘nature reserves.’ (See here for 2012 UN map)
    • Palestinian access to their private land around approximately 55 Israeli settlements is highly restricted.

GAZA RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT

(Click here for December 2011 Gaza access and closure map)

– SIEGE & BLOCKADE –

‘The prolonged blockade of Gaza, which had already been in place for some 18 months before the current fighting began, amounts to collective punishment of its entire population.‘The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically prohibits collective punishment. Its Article 33 provides: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”’

‘Israel’s punitive closure of the Gaza Strip, tightened after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in June 2007, continued to have severe humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population.‘Gaza’s economy grew rapidly, but the World Bank said the growth depended on international assistance. The economy had not returned to pre-closure levels; daily wages, for instance, had declined 23 percent since 2007. Israel’s near-total restrictions on exports from Gaza hindered economic recovery. Due to low per capita income, 51 percent of the population was unable to buy sufficient food, according to UN aid agencies.

‘Israel allowed imports to Gaza that amounted to around 40 percent of pre-closure levels, the UN reported. Israel continued to bar construction materials, like cement, which it said had “dual use” civilian and military applications. Israel allowed shipments of construction materials for projects operated by international organizations, but as of September Gaza still had an estimated shortage of some 250 schools and 100,000 homes.’

  • Since the early 1990s, Israel has restricted passage to and from Gaza, but in 2006, following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian elections, Israel tightened its restrictions severely and imposed a total naval blockade on the tiny coastal enclave.
  • Israel’s siege and naval blockade of Gaza are acts of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, and is considered as such by the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.
  • A 2009 Amnesty International report following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, stated:
  • In 2011, the UN released the so-called Palmer Report on Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists (one of them a US citizen). The report deemed Israel’s blockade legal, however it was widely considered a politicized whitewash, containing the important caveat that “its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law.”
  • Shortly after the Palmer Report was released, an independent UN panel of experts released a report concluding that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does violate international law, stating that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The International Committee of the Red Cross and a UN fact-finding mission into Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla reached the same conclusion in 2010.
  • Israeli officials have admitted that the siege is not motivated primarily by security concerns, but is part of a strategy of “economic warfare” against the people of Gaza. In 2006, senior advisor to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Dov Weisglass, said the goal of the Gaza siege was to put the 1.6 million people of Gaza “on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
  • Despite the fact that Israel loosened restrictions under international pressure following the assault on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, the siege and blockade continue to strangle Gaza economically. According to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report:

‘NO-GO’ ZONES –

(Click here for UN map showing no-go zones)

  • In May 2010, Israel declared “no-go” zones within 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall that surrounds Gaza. In practice, however, the UN has concluded that the no-go zone is actually 500 meters (546 yards). Palestinians who venture into this area risk being shot by Israeli soldiers without warning. Numerous Palestinian civilians, including children and the elderly, have been wounded and killed in these areas.
  • Human rights organizations such as B’Tselem have documented dozens of cases of cases in which Israeli soldiers opened fire at people who posed no threat and were much farther than 300 meters (328 yards) from the wall – up to 1,500 meters (1640 yards) away.
  • According to UN statistics, the area of the official no-go zones, together with the area in which entry is effectively restricted due to a real risk of gunfire, covers about 39 square miles, or 17% of the total area of Gaza.
  • The no-go zones affect some 113,000 Palestinians (7.5% of Gaza’s population), causing harm to their homes, land, workplaces, and schools. Seven schools are located in these areas.

RESTRICTIONS ON FISHING –

(Click here for UN map showing nautical fishing limit)

‘In addition to the harsh restrictions on fishing, B’Tselem has documented cases in which naval forces have attacked and harassed fishermen. The documented cases include, for example, gunfire, detention, delay, and confiscation of boats and fishing equipment.‘The prohibition on entering deep waters and the danger now inherent to every excursion to sea deny fishermen access to areas abundant with fish, limiting their catches [to] small fish of poor quality. As a result, it is extremely hard to earn a living from fishing, or even cover fishing expenses. Given the lack of other sources of income in the Gaza Strip, some fishermen are left no option but to violate the prohibition and endanger their lives.

‘The fishing sector in Gaza has suffered a sharp blow. According to various estimates, the livelihood of some 3,000 families in Gaza, comprising some 19,500 people, depends directly on the fishing industry, and another 2,000 families make a living from affiliated industries, such as building and maintenance of boats and sale and maintenance of equipment. The imports also raise the cost of fish, preventing many families from obtaining an important source of protein. Because of the short supply, the price of fish has risen.’

  • In the Interim Agreement signed by Israel and the PLO as part of the Oslo Accords during the 1990s, Israel agreed to allow fishing boats from Gaza to travel some 20 nautical miles from shore, except for several buffer zones near the borders with Israel and Egypt to which they were denied entry altogether. But according to a 2011 report from B’Tselem: “In practice, however, Israel did not issue permits to all the fishermen who requested them, and allowed fishing up to a distance of 12 nautical miles.”
  • Since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the Israeli navy has reduced that limit to three nautical miles.
  • According to the aforementioned 2011 B’Tselem report:

PRISONERS

– FACTS & FIGURES –

‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier. In January a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’

  • According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
  • Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
  • Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
  • According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

TORTURE & ABUSE –

  • Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
  • In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.” These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
  • In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated. Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:

    Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.”

  • Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
  • The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –

  • Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
  • Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
  • There are currently as of May 29, 2012,approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
  • Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
  • Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
  • Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
  • An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
  • In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”

CHILD PRISONERS

  • As of April 2012, there were 220 Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons.
  • Since September 2000, Israel has arrested and imprisoned more than 7000 Palestinian children.
  • Like all Palestinians from the occupied territories, Palestinian children are subject to Israeli military tribunals.
  • Palestinian minors are frequently arrested in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers, taken away without their parents and harshly interrogated without a guardian or lawyer present.
  • According to a recent report by the Israeli NGO No Legal Frontiers, which followed the cases of 71 Palestinian children as they made their way through the Israeli military court system:
    • The most common offense was throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. In most cases the object was not actually thrown, did not hit a target, or cause any damage. In no case was serious harm caused.
    • In 94% of cases the children were held in pre-trial detention and not released on bail.
    • In 100% of cases, the children were convicted of an offense.
    • 87% of them were subjected to some form of physical violence while in custody.
  • Under pressure from human rights organizations and children’s rights advocates, the Israeli army announced in 2011 that it would raise the age that Palestinians are treated as adults from 16 to 18 years of age, however, critics complain that they are still subject to the same unjust and abusive treatment accorded Palestinian adults.

HOME DEMOLITIONS

‘Israel usually carries out demolitions on the grounds that the structures were built without permits, but in practice such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas, whereas a separate planning process available only to settlers grants new construction permits much more readily.’

  • Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
  • Israel has demolished approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967.
  • Demolitions are carried out for three stated reasons: military purposes; “administrative” reasons (i.e. a home or structure is built without difficult to obtain permission from Israel); and to deter or punish militants and their families, a violation of provisions of international law that prohibit collective punishment.
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:
  • Since 1967, some 2,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem. According to official Israeli statistics, from 2000 to 2008 Israel demolished more than 670 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated at up to 20,000.
  • Palestinians in East Jerusalem are often forced to choose between demolishing their own homes and paying for Israeli authorities to do it.

THEFT & DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

After taking control of the occupied territories in 1967, Israel began to exploit their natural resources. Most critically in the semi-arid region, Israel began to exploit aquifers and other water sources.

According to international law, including Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power is prohibited from using an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own benefit. An occupying power may only use resources in an occupied territory for military necessity or for the benefit of the occupied population. Thus, Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian resources such as water for use in Jewish settlements and inside Israel proper is a clear breach of international law, a position supported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

Despite this clear prohibition, in December 2011, in response to a petition filed by Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israeli companies could continue exploiting Palestinian resources in the occupied territories.

WATER –

‘In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.‘Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached [a] crisis point.’

‘According to Amnesty International, Palestinians received on average of 18.5 gallons of water per person per day, falling short of the World Health Organization’s standard of 26.5 gallons per person per day, the minimum daily amount required to maintain basic hygiene standards and food security.’

‘Between January and July, according to the UN, the Israeli military destroyed 20 water cisterns, some of which were funded by donor countries for humanitarian purposes.’

‘Palestinian residents reported that water supplies were intermittent, and settlers and their security guards denied Palestinians, including shepherds and farmers, access to the springs.’

  • While Israeli settlers water their lawns and fill swimming pools, Palestinians living nearby often cannot access an adequate amount of water for drinking, cooking, or proper hygiene.
  • In the West Bank, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the total amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, some 2.5 million people.
  • A 2012 UN report documented the rising use of threats, violence and intimidation by settlers to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. It found that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs, most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report also criticized Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy.”
  • According to a 2010 Human Rights Watch report, 60,000 Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank (which is under full

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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