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Headlines Reveal Life in Occupied Palestine

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, May. 20, 2012 at 9:12 PM


Headlines Reveal Life in Occupied Palestine

by Stephen Lendman

They also reflect rogue Israeli leadership threatening humanity. More on that below.

Gaza remains isolated and besieged. Its health minister said the lives of 404 kidney failure patients are threatened. Enough dialysis "Bloodline" supplies aren't available.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said without them, dialysis machines stop. Patients need treatment two - three times weekly. Without it they'll die.

Supplies are nearly exhausted. Around 150 patients are treated daily.

"When supplies run out, clinics will shut down and dozens of patients will face serious deterioration in their health conditions," said Al-Qudra. "Their lives will be the tax they pay for this 6-year long Israeli siege imposed on Gaza."

He appealed to the ICRC and WHO, as well as local and other international aid and humanitarian organizations for help. Time is running out.

Israel's prison gulag remains a moral outrage. Deal or no deal, appalling abuses continue daily.

In April, Defence for Children International/Palestine Section (DCI-P) said children imprisoned increased 63% since December.

An urgent appeal for Beit Ummar, West Bank youths was issued. Children young as nine are affected.

Nine-year old Mahmoud A. was arrested, detained, traumatized, then released. Twelve year old Jameel Z. was arrested, detained, abused, and bogusly accused of throwing stones.

Middle-of-the night apprehensions are common. Children are traumatized. Parents are tormented. Anything can happen and often does. Many children face prison, fines or both.

Beit Ummar lies halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron. It's about three kilometers south of Gush Etzion and adjacent Karmi Zur settlements. Each Friday, demonstrations protest against being denied access to their farms.

Children participate with parents and older youths. Middle-of-the-night arrests and baseless charges follow. Since January 2009, DCI-P documented 26 child arrests for alleged stone-throwing from Beit Hummar alone.

Overall UN figures show 43 in 2010 and another 27 through February 2011.

Virtually all targeted children report arrest-connected physical violence. Harsh interrogations follow. Most face prosecutions and detentions.

Each year, 500 - 700 West Bank children (aged 12 - 17 or younger) are arrested, interrogated, prosecuted, and detained. Since 2000, around 7,500 were affected on largely bogus or exaggerated charges. Stone-throwing is most common. Imagine facing prison for something this minor, whether or not true.

"Credible reports of torture and/or ill-treatment" follow. Torment begins from arrest. Children are awakened, shackled, blindfolded and abused. Parents aren't told where they're taken. They're denied visitation rights.

Prolonged mistreatment includes exposure to the elements, lack of food, water and toilet facilities, verbal abuse and physical violence, as well as isolation with no parental or legal contacts.

Interrogation techniques include physical abuse, mental torment, and pressure to confess, or else. Intimidated children plead guilty. It's the quickest way out of their ordeal.

An April 2012 DCI-P report is titled "Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children in military detention."

It discussed 311 documented cases from time of arrest through prosecution. Within days of apprehension, children face military tribunals shackled, traumatized, and terrified. Despite their innocence, most plead guilty to end their ordeal as quickly as possible.

Within days of arrests, they're detained in Israeli prisons. Doing so violates international law. So does torture and other abuse.

Family visits are denied. So is legal counsel until close to initial court appearances. Sometimes, it's hours or less before proceedings begin.

DCI-P disclosed a systematic pattern of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Torture is routinely used. Effective complaint mechanisms are absent. Arrested children are guilty by accusation. So are virtually all Palestinian detainees.

Common complaints DCI-P heard included shackling, blindfolds, physical violence, detention inside Israel, arrests between midnight and 5:00AM, forced confessions, verbal abuse, humiliation and other threats, strip searches, solitary confinement, and more.

Under this type abuse, adults struggle to cope. Imagine the effect on children.

Nations treating them this abusively don't hesitate dispensing appalling treatment to anyone, in or out of prison, domestically or abroad.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners sustained hunger strikes for justice. Deal agreements left Israel wiggle room to systematically violate provisions early on or later.

Mahmoud Sarsak, Akram al-Rikhawi, and Mohammad Abdul Aziz continue striking. They refused terms they consider unacceptable. Sarsak wants POW recognition. Al-Rikhawi protests against administrative detention uncharged.

Redress won't come until thousands of lawlessly held political prisoners are freed, occupation ends, and Palestinian sovereignty is universally recognized.

Israeli prisons replicate Guantanamo harshness. Deal or no deal, they won't change enough to matter unless current abuses end entirely. A system practicing guilt by accusation, torture, ill-treatment, and humiliation to young children on baseless charges reflects one too abusive to tolerate.

Israel's Military Order 378 grants extraordinary powers to tribunals and judges. Defendants haven't a chance. Numerous other military orders criminalize ordinary daily life. Military occupation denies due process and judicial fairness. Virtually everyone charged is guilty by accusation.

Daily life in Palestinian communities reflect other common abuses. Israel chooses violence over peaceful coexistence, confrontation over diplomacy, and strength through militarism, intimidation, and lawless aggression.

Wars of choice, not necessity, are waged. Longstanding policies are racist and discriminatory. Land theft is policy.

On May 18, a new project was announced. Around 2,100 housing units are planned on stolen Palestinian land. Qalqiliya and Tulkarem governorates are affected.

Ariel settlement will expand in two phases. Palestinian towns and villages are affected. They include Azzoun, Jinsafut, Baket AlHatab, Ozba, Abu Hamada, and Kafr Aboush.

Other West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements expand daily, gradually and quietly. Israel wants all valued parts of Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem for its exclusive capital. Palestinians are denied, abused, and shut out.

Netanyahu Threatens Humanity

Netanyahu is a world class criminal. He wages wars at home and abroad. His Justice Ministry proposed a new bill to expand police state surveillance. He wants cell phones and emails monitored. Privacy advocates are outraged.

The bill almost doubles the number of state agencies given access to personal data when conducting investigations or monitoring Israelis and Palestinians for specific reasons or none at all.

Violating personal privacy reflects police state harshness. America's done it for years. Israel wants to replicate the worst FBI and other US agency abuses.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Israel Bar Association called earlier Big Brother legislation excessive. Unjustifiable intrusions followed. Netanyahu wants more and may get it.

He also may wage war on Iran. He calls its peaceful nuclear program "the paramount issue of our time." He claims ongoing negotiations a "chess game." It buys Tehran time, he said.

"....I see no evidence whatsoever that Iran is serious about ending its nuclear program."

Why should it? It's peaceful. It complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provisions. No evidence suggests otherwise. In contrast, Israel is a nuclear outlaw. It's armed and dangerous. It maintains stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. It threatens to use them if endangered.

Washington's Israeli envoy, Dan Shapiro, said US plans to attack Iran are "fully available" either alone or jointly with Israel.

Shapiro said what Netanyahu wants to hear. America "guarantee(s) that the military option is ready and available to the president at the moment he decides to use it."

"Ready" doesn't mean bombs away, but suggests war remains an option. Baseless allegations are made. Evidence disproves them. Media scoundrels regurgitate official lies. Facts are ignored.

A Final Comment

World peace hangs by a thread. Hawkish leaders hold nuclear triggers. Imagine if they squeeze. Imagine what's next if they do.

Obama and Netantanyu are war criminals multiple times over. Perhaps they want their resumes embellished. Millions globally want imperial wars ended.

Nuclear weapons use should scare everyone. The possibility of ending human life is "the paramount issue of our time."

Netanyahu said it right but pointed fingers the wrong way. Global peace actions can reverse things responsibly. That's how real change begins. Hopefully it'll gain traction in time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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