Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian occupied territories

What access restrictions in the West Bank and Jerusalem by the Israeli Occupation Forces?

The countless road barrier, checkpoints, roadblocks, road gates, trenches… set up by Israel in the Palestinian occupied territories are not meant for security purposes.

The main objective of Israel is to dehumanize and humiliate the Palestinians and force them to give up and immigrate out of Palestine.

60% of Palestinian juveniles have passed through Israel jails, on administrative detention, and done randomly to cow them into subjugation.

This is a new report issued by UN OCHA on access restrictions in the West Bank by the Israeli Occupation Forces

This is a new report issued by UN OCHA on access restrictions in the West Bank by the Israeli Occupation Forces

If you care for detailed map of these obstructive schemes check this link


Israeli intelligence veterans’ letter in full to Netanyahu and military chiefs 

34 reserve soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 explained why they refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

To: Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi

Commander of Unit 8200

We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Israel prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, defence minister Moshe Ya'alon, chief of staff Benny Gantz

R to L: Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, defence minister Moshe Ya’alon and chief of staff Benny Gantz look at maps of Gaza during the recent conflict. Photograph: Ariel Hermoni/Israel Defence Forces/EPA

It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people.

However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel‘s military occupation over the territories.

The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection.

There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence.

Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself.

In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed.

Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years.

This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement.

This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security.

The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act.

We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians.

We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end.

We believe that Israel’s future depends on it.

Senior Academic Officer Or

First Sergeant Ori

Sergeant Ella

Sergeant ***

Sergeant First Class Amitai

Captain Assaf

Lieutenant Assaf

First Sergeant Ariel

First Sergeant Guy

Sergeant First Class Galia

Lieutenant Gilad

First Sergeant Doron

Captain D

Professional Academic Officer H

First Sergeant T

First Sergeant Tal

Sergeant First Class Yair

First Sergeant Yoav

First Sergeant Yuval

Lieutenant Yonatan

Sergeant First Class Lior

Sergeant Liron

Sergeant Maya

Sergeant Michal

First Sergeant Menahem

First Sergeant Nadav

Sergeant Noa

First Sergeant Sa’ar

First Sergeant Eden

Sergeant Idan

Professional Academic Officer Amir

First Sergeant Amit

Sergeant K

Sergeant Keren

Sergeant First Class Regev

First Sergeant Roi

Sergeant R

First Sergeant Rotem

First Sergeant Shira

Major Shmulik

First Sergeant Schraga

Sergeant Sheri

Senior Academic Officer Tomer


Timeline: boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli products in occupied territories

The antidote to apathy is success. For the cynical among us and those who have become jaded over the years regarding the possibility of effecting positive change in Palestine and holding Israel accountable for its various atrocities and violations of International Law since its inception in 1948, please check out the following link:

It’s a graphical timeline that highlights the successes and victories of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement since July 9th 2005, when the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society issued a call for BDS until Israel complies with International Law.

Some of these victories are small, others are larger, but all of them count. Get informed and consider participating.

Introducing the BDS Movement

The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007.

BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.

For 6 decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation.

Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.

In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response. On July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel.

The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements.

The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.

Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.

Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations.

As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel.

Divestment means targeting corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies.

These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

Sanctions are an essential part of demonstrating disapproval for a country’s actions. Israel’s membership of various diplomatic and economic forums provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes.

By calling for sanctions against Israel, campaigners educate society about violations of international law and seek to end the complicity of other nations in these violations.

The BDS National Committee

The efforts to coordinate the BDS campaign, that began to grow rapidly as soon as/once the 2005 Call was made public, culminated in the first Palestinian BDS Conference held in Ramallah in November 2007.

Out of this conference emerged the BDS National Committee (BNC) as the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide. See the BNC page for more details.



The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement called for by the majority of Palestinian civil society has made huge strides since it was launched in 2005.

People of conscience around the world are taking effective action to end Israeli impunity and hold Israel accountable under international law.

This timeline, launched at the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the BDS call, charts the key successes of the movement.

You can view the timeline in full screen here.




“Cardinal” of French Communists converted to Islam: Roger Garaudi passed away

He was 98 years old. Roger Garaudi was a highly cultured man, a politician, chairman of the French communist party, a deputy, a senator, and an engaged activist…and published 40 books

Roger was kicked out of the communist party in 1970 for his anti-Stalinism positions. A year later, he converted to Islam and took the name of Raja (Hope).

In 1913, at the age of 14, from an atheist family, he converted to Protestantism. He received a doctoral degree in philosophy from the university of Moscow.

Between 1940 to 1943, Garaudi was incarcerated by the French Vichy government in an Algerian camp for 30 months.

Roger was elected deputy in 1954 and acceded to the vice-presidency of the French Senate from 1959 to 1962.

For a decade (1960-70), Garaudi headed the editing of the “Cahiers du Communism“, the mouthpiece and center of research of the communist party.

In 1971, Garaudi converted to Islam and published in 1981 “Promises from Islam“.

He joined the presidential campaign of Francois Mitterrand and split shortly after.

The publication of “The Founding Myths of Israel Politics” brought down on him the calamities of the various Zionist lobbies, which harassed him of antisemitism, and denying the Nazi Holaucost, and …..

In 1998, the French appeal court condemned Garaudi for 9 months of prison term without prison and heavy fines for critiquing the exaggerated propaganda of crimes against humanity exacted by Nazi Germany on the Jews…

In the later years, Garaudi visited Cairo, Tehran, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Qatar, and the Palestinian Occupied Territories

Note: Translated from the arabic version of the French daily Le Monde

Crowd-sourcing in Syria? Satellite crisis-mapping Imagery Analysis?

What if we crowdsourced satellite imagery analysis of key cities in Syria to identify evidence of mass human rights violations?

Looks like using micro-tasking, with backend triangulation to crowdsource the analysis of high resolution satellite imagery for human rights purposes, is definitely breaking new ground.

This is precisely the question that Patrick Meier and his colleagues at Amnesty International USA’s Science for Human Rights Program are being asked to follow upon.  

Patrick Meier of Crisis Mapping at Ushahid has been publishing posts on mapping Syria military concentration. The post is titled “Help Crowdsource Satellite Imagery Analysis for Syria: Building a Library of Evidence” and says:

“I coordinated this pilot project for Somalia.  AI-USA has done similar work in the past with their Eyes on Darfur project. But using micro-tasking, with backend triangulation to crowdsource the analysis of high resolution satellite imagery for human rights purposes, is definitely breaking new ground.

A staggering amount of new satellite imagery is produced every day. Millions of square kilometers’ worth of images are mapped according to one knowledgeable colleague. This is a big data problem that needs mass human intervention, until the software can catch up.

I recently spoke with Professor Ryan Engstrom, the Director of the Spatial Analysis Lab at George Washington University, and he confirmed that automated algorithms for satellite imagery analysis still have a long, long way to go. So the answer for now has to be human-driven analysis.

Professional satellite imagery experts, who have plenty of time to volunteer their skills, are far and few between.

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), is composed of a very small team and a few interns. Their focus is limited to the Sudan and they are understandably very busy. My colleagues at AI-USA analyze satellite imagery for several conflicts, but this takes them far longer than they’d like and their small team is still constrained given the number of conflicts and vast amounts of imagery that could be analyzed. This explains why they’re interested in crowdsourcing.

Indeed, crowdsourcing imagery analysis has proven to be a workable solution in several other projects & sectors. The “crowd” can indeed scan and tag vast volumes of satellite imagery data when that imagery is “sliced and diced” for micro-tasking.

This is what we did for the Somalia pilot project thanks to the Tomnod platform and the imagery provided by Digital Globe. The yellow triangles below denote the “sliced images” that individual volunteers from the Standby Task Force (SBTF) analyzed and tagged one at a time.

We plan do the same with high resolution satellite imagery of three key cities in Syria selected by the AI-USA team. The specific features we will look for and tag include: ”Burnt and/or darkened building features,” “Roofs absent,” “Blocks on access roads,” “Military equipment in residential areas,” “Equipment/persons on top of buildings indicating potential sniper positions,” “Shelters composed of different materials than surrounding structures,” etc.

SBTF volunteers will be provided with examples of what these features look like from a bird’s eye view and from ground level. Like the Somalia project, only when a feature—say a missing roof—is tagged identically  by at least 3 volunteers will that location be sent to the AI-USA team for review.

In addition, if volunteers are unsure about a particular feature they’re looking at, they’ll take a screenshot of said feature and share it on a dedicated Google Doc for the AI-USA team and other satellite imagery experts from the SBTF team to review. This feedback mechanism is key to ensure accurate tagging and inter-coder reliability.

The screenshots shared will be used to build a larger library of features. For example, what a missing roof looks like as well as military equipment in residential areas, road blocks, etc. Volunteers will also be in touch with the AI-USA team via a dedicated Skype chat.

There will no doubt be a learning curve, but the sooner we climb that learning curve the better. Democratizing satellite imagery analysis is no easy task, and one or two individuals have opined that what we’re trying to do can’t be done. That may be true, but we won’t know unless we try.

This is how innovation happens. We can hypothesize and talk all we want, but concrete results are what ultimately matters. And results are what can help us climb that learning curve. My hope, of course, is that democratizing satellite imagery analysis enables AI-USA to strengthen their advocacy campaigns and makes it harder for perpetrators to commit mass human rights violations.

SBTF volunteers will be carrying out the pilot project this month in collaboration with AI-USA, Tomnod and Digital Globe. How and when the results are shared publicly will be up to the AI-USA team as this will depend on what exactly is found.

In the meantime, a big thanks to Digital Globe, Tomnod and SBTF volunteers for supporting the AI-USA team on this initiative.

If you’re interested in reading more about satellite imagery analysis, the following blog posts may also be of interest:

• Geo-Spatial Technologies for Human Rights
• Tracking Genocide by Remote Sensing
• Human Rights 2.0: Eyes on Darfur
• GIS Technology for Genocide Prevention
• Geo-Spatial Analysis for Global Security
• US Calls for UN Aerial Surveillance to Detect Preparations for Attacks
• Will Using ‘Live’ Satellite Imagery to Prevent War in the Sudan Actually Work?
• Satellite Imagery Analysis of Kenya’s Election Violence: Crisis Mapping by Fire
• Crisis Mapping Uganda: Combining Narratives and GIS to Study Genocide
• Crowdsourcing Satellite Imagery Analysis for Somalia: Results of Trial Run
• Genghis Khan, Borneo & Galaxies: Crowdsourcing Satellite Imagery Analysis
• OpenStreetMap’s New Micro-Tasking Platform for Satellite Imagery Tracing

In particular, we are looking to identify the following evidence using high-resolution satellite imagery:

  • Large military equipment
  • Large crowds
  • Checkpoints
The idea is to provide volunteers the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) Satellite Team with as much of road map as possible so they know exactly what they’re looking for in the  satellite imagery they’ll be tagging using the Tomnod system:

Here are some of the links that Chris already sent us for the above imagery:
Comment:  This a great endeavor. I suggest to Patrick Meier to start crowd sourcing on Israeli check-points, road-blocks, concentration of military centers in Jewish colonies in the Palestinian occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Let us be fair and equitable in matters related to human rights, regardless of what States like to define their political systems and disseminate false images.  Palestine is an independent State, recognized by the UN.
Note 1: Patrick Meier, born and raised in Africa, is director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and co-founder of the International Network of Crisis Mappers. Previously co-directed Harvard’s Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning.
Note 2: In one of the many articles I published related to Syria uprising in the last six months I wrote:
Note 3: The same technique is being used for the search of the missing Malaysian airliner this March 2014.  Apparently, about 30,000 registered clients view each of the shots and report whether they have seen any party of the wreckage.  If many report on a shot, the image is sent to a specialist to decide before forwarding the shot to the proper authorities. This search has not been successful so far.

A child girl must be married quickly: Why and how?

Outside the Western societies, girls must be married quickly, preferably before the age of 16, and at 13 is perfect, regardless of religion or race.  Why?

Because boys must get married quickly and early on.  Why?

Communities and societies’ stability depend on boys marrying and settling down the sooner the better.

I can hear you mumbling: “Man, your deductive reasoning got me lost”.  Never mind; your turn to exercising the power of your imagination.

Anyway, I disagree with these customs and so-called pragmatic realities, but what do I know?  Besides reading about many cases of pains and suffering and humiliation among young couples, who even never met before the wedding ceremony, traditions are considered to have longer memories and vaster imagination than my limited capacities.

Now that the “why” part is taken care off, let us attack the “how” portion of the problem.


With many modern appendages added to the customs for wedding ceremony, prior, during, and after the wedding expenses are serious barriers to contracting out marriages for younger generations.

It is no longer as simple as borrowing a separate tent  for the couple and planting it a few yards away from the main family tent.

It is no longer as organizing a quick razzias and rounding up sheep, cows, horses, and camels and satisfying the legitimate dowry for the bride.

Here are a list of stages, steps, and requirements before , during, and after the wedding ceremony.

First, the groom and his family must secure the negotiated dowry that does not have to be paid before the ceremony.  The dowry is an obligation paid to the wife for emergency cases such as legal divorces or problems in the inheritance procedures.  The dowry represents the current market price of either 10 camels, 100 cows, or 1,000 sheep.

The family of the groom might start negotiations based on the cheapest of the three options, and the bride’s family by the highest of option.  In Iran, the dowry was regulated to be around $6,000 and in Saudi Arabia about $8,000.   In the Palestinian occupied territories, mayors, head of clans, and deputies have agreed on a charter reducing the dowry to $2,000, including ring, and jewlery (or the dowry publicly recorded).

Second, the tradition requires that the family of the groom pays for the “white night” or the feast among the male friends; the formal feast among the females: the formal feast offered to the bride’s family and cousins; the formal feast to the community and the slaughter of a sheep; and the night of the “henna” for coloring and painting the bride.

The Palestinian charter circumvent all these unnecessary and expensive customs to the bare minimum.

Third, the groom has to offer seven formal dresses to the bride in various colors and shapes for all the occasions before, during, after the wedding ceremony.  The groom has also to extend dresses to all the female members of the bride’s family.  The Palestinian charter reduced these expenses according to customs.

Fourth, the groom is to arrive to the wedding ceremony in a rented luxury car and the feast to be at an expensive hotel charging no less than $20,000.  The Palestinian charter encourages the couple to come in regular cars; limiting the number of the train of cars; the feast be held in public places; and that the number of plates to feeding the crowd be reduced.

Fifth, the family of the groom and cousins are invited for the dinner feast at the bride’s family after the wedding.

Sixth, the Palestinian charter proposed to cancel all cash gifts by the invitees to the wedding ceremony, except those who need to repaying debts.

Seventh, the Palestinian charter proposes that the bride’s family share in the expenses by one-fourth of the total expenses.

Note: After the couple give birth to children, boys of 12 are rounded up by the Israel prison service, supposedly for questioning on the “terrorist” members in the family and incarcerated for several months as advanced punishment and a reminder of their fate: 60% of Palestinian males were made to pass by Israel prison service.

The little girls suffer the same treatments and are threatened to be raped in front of all their family members.




December 2022

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