March 25, 2012
DAily Summary 03/21/2012
ISRAELI OCCUPATION FORCES RAID NABI SALEH; CONFISCATE EQUIPMENT AND CAMERAS
A large force of Israeli troops raided the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh before dawn today, breaking into homes and confiscating computers, cameras and cell phones. According to the media office of the popular resistance committee in Nabi Saleh, Israeli troops confiscated four computers, one which belongs to the media center, one which belongs to prisoner Bassem Tamimi and another which belongs to coordinator of the popular resistance, Naji Tamimi. Forces also confiscated a camera, cell phone and internet modems from Bassem’s home in addition to personal documents and certificates. They also took a number of issues of “Muqawem”, the magazine published by the popular resistance committee and B’Tselem newsletters about Nabi Saleh. According to the committee, Israeli forces closed off the entrances to the village just after midnight last night, breaking into homes, warning the residents of the consequences if they do not stop their weekly protests. In a statement released by the media office, the popular resistance committee said the Israeli army’s repeated and barbaric raids on Nabi Saleh was evidence of their failure to defeat them. The committee said it believed last night’s raid was revenge for the activities of the media office which releases videos and pictures of what goes on in Nabi Saleh. (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=469802)
JERUSALEM: PLAN UNCOVERED TO CONFSICATE 1,235 DUNAMS OF LAND IN WALAJA BY DECLARING IT “NATIONAL GARDENS”
The Israeli planning and construction committee recently announced a new plan to confiscate 1,235 dunams of land from the village of Walaja south of Jerusalem by declaring the area ‘national gardens’ or “Emek Rafaim” According to Ahmad Sub Laban, researcher in settlement affairs, this is part of Israel’s largest plans for establishing these so-called ‘national gardens’ and green areas in Jerusalem, saying the major part of the lands are south of West Jerusalem and fall within the Green Line, reaching 5,600 dunams. Sub Laban said the most recent area to be confiscated and named ‘national gardens’ is the same Palestinian area which the separation wall has separated from the Walaja village. Hundreds of trees have been uprooted and lands destroyed in order for the wall to be built. Sub Laban said the land will be turned into pedestrian paths, bicycle routes, parking lots and public buildings including a tourist center on 50 dunams. A restaurant will be built in the area of the Hanniyeh Spring, one of the well-known springs in Walajah. The plan also includes an archeological site, also in the area of the spring where there are Byzantine ruins. He said Palestinian homes abandoned after the 1948 homes will be classified as Byzantine artifacts. Sub Laban said the declaration of land in Jerusalem as national gardens or green areas is the newest way of confiscating Palestinian land. (Al Ayyam)
PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: PRISONER SHALABI’S LIFE IN DANGER; OFER JUDGE POSTPONES DEISION IN HER CASE UNTIL NEXT WEEK
The military appeals court in Ofer Prison ruled yesterday to postpone his verdict in the case of prisoner Hana’ Shalabi until the beginning of next week until he finishes studying her file. Shalabi entered her 35th day of hunger strike in protest of her administrative detention. A number or sources confirmed that Shalabi’s health has entered the danger zone in spite of her insisting on her steadfastness and battle, saying “Our freedom is stronger than the prison cells of the occupation.” According to the head of the Prisoner Society’s legal unit, attorney Jawad Boulus, the court session had no results even though he demanded a verdict given the emergency of the situation and so that the defense could take legal moves. Head of the Prisoners’ Society Qaddoura Fares claimed the postponement was deliberate stalling by Israeli authorities as means of putting pressure on Shalabi and her supporters. Shalabi is currently in same room in which Adnan Khader was held during his hunger strike in the Ramleh hospital. Shalabi said she was under tremendous pressure to end her strike, adding that she was suffering from extreme pain in her muscles, especially in her chest. Physicians for Human Rights stated that Shalabi was in immediate danger and could die abruptly. Shalabi also said she would meet with any lawyers, contrary to claims made by the prison authorities. Yesterday, prisoner affairs attorney Fadi Obeidat was banned from visiting Shalabi in her hospital room. President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian human rights organizations have called for immediate intervention for Shalabi’s release. (Al Quds) Yesterday, Abbas met with Shalabi’s parents along with other Palestinian officials, ensuring them that he was making a number of calls and pleas to save their daughter’s life and have her released, saying that the leadership puts the prisoner issue at the top of its priority list. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
HANIYEH: QATAR VOWED TO PROVIDE GAZA WITH ITS FUEL NEEDS FOR FREE
Prime Minister of the de facto government in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said last night that Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifeh pledged to provide Gaza with its fuel needs for free, saying they were in discussions with the Egyptians over this issue to cooperate in order to solve this crisis. He said the parties were discussing ways of bringing in the fuel, through ships to sail into Egyptian ports, which would then be brought into the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh said there were promising signs that the crisis would be solved by linking Gaza with the regional grid and raising the capacity of the Egyptian electricity grid. He also said the Islamic Development Bank had agreed to pay for all the expenses of linking Gaza to the Arab grid, holding Israel ultimately responsible for the crisis. Haniyeh also said that when Hamas formed its government in 2006 it took over the debts as well, claiming they reached $2.2 billion but that now, the government has been able to pay off the debts and owes nobody. He said the current government runs the affairs of 42,000 public servants on a budget that is supposed to reach $30 million, adding that the attempts to blackmail the Palestinians with money is rejected. “We will not sell our homeland, dignity and our positions for all the money in the world,” he said. (http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today\20z494.htm&arc=data\2012\03\03-20\20z494.htm)
CAIRO: GAZA GOVERNMENT’S CLAIMS ARE INACCURATE, AIMED AT EXPORTING CRISIS AND DECEIVING THE PEOPLE
A high ranking Egyptian official rejected the recent statements from the Hamas government in Gaza saying that Egypt\s intelligence agency was responsible for the fuel crisis in the Strip, saying they were “inaccurate”. The source told Al Hayat that Hamas wants to stir up trouble with Egypt to evade its own responsibilities. “It wants to distance the crisis far from itself because it is not shouldering its responsibilities towards the people,” the source said, adding that they release false statements as means of deceiving the people by making them believe the problem is with Egypt and not with the movement itself. The source said it was illogical what Hamas was saying. “Does it make sense that a large country like Egypt would blackmail a smaller and brotherly entity like Gaza? No one in their right mind would believe that,” adding that it was Egypt which opened the Rafah Crossing without conditions or restrictions. The source said that the issue of bringing in fuel from the Karem Abu Salem crossing was discussed with the highest echelon in Hamas, who gave their approval, saying there was no agreement to bring it in through Rafah. He also said the agreement was between Egypt and the energy authority and not with Hamas officials. (http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/377133)
DIPLOMATIC BATTLE OVER SETTLEMENTS IN CORRIDORS OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
The Palestinian Authority entered into a diplomatic battle with Israel yesterday during the UNHRC’s 19th session over the settlement issue, calling for an international fact-finding mission to travel to the Palestinian territories. According to Palestinian ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ibrahim Khreisheh, the Palestinians, with the support of Arab and Muslim countries, presented a draft law that indicates the effects of settlements on the political, civil, economic and social rights of the Palestinian people. Voting on the draft law will take place either Thursday night or Friday morning. Khreisheh said he believed the draft law would most likely be ratified upon which a fact-finding mission would be sent to Palestine to draw up a report on settlements, land confiscation, water violations and all other aspects of Israel’s measures against the Palestinians. According to another unnamed Palestinian official, 30 of the 47 members are expected to vote in favor of the draft law, adding that the US and a number of European countries are pressing the Palestinians and the Arab and Islamic countries to withdraw the law. The Palestinians say they are determined to put it to a vote. (http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&issueno=12167&article=669020&feature=)
BRUSSELS: 35 MILLION EUROS GRANTED TO IMPROVE THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF PALESTINIANS
The Brussels conference for UNRWA partners on Palestinian youths closed yesterday with the PA and EU signing two deals on the margins of the meeting for 35 million euros to improve the living conditions of Palestinians. According to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who signed the agreements with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the first agreement is to build a sewage treatment plant in Toubas for 22 million euros, while the second, for 13 euros, is for improving facilities at the crossings in the Gaza Strip. The deal comes just before the donor country meeting today in Brussels. (http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&issueno=12167&article=669018&feature=). The Ad Hoc Liaison committee AHLC will meet today in Brussels under the Norwegian president along with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to discuss donor commitments to the PA in light of the current financial crisis. (Al Ayyam)
PALESTINIANS BREAK AWAY FROM MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN JORDAN
Palestinian and Egyptian sources told the London-based Al Hayat that leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and it members of Palestinian origin have broken away from the organization and joined the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Palestine. The sources said the upcoming Shura Council elections in Hamas would wee the first independent elections for the Brotherhood in Palestine, noting that before this, elections were carried out within the “Greater Syria organization” in which Hamas was included. The sources attributed the split to “a number of objective reasons”, adding that Hamas’ members in the West Bank belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Jordanian branch while Hamas in Gaza was part of the Egyptian branch. (Al Quds)
AT PRESS TIME: ISRAELI OCCUPATION FORCES FIND ROCKET SHELL IN SHUFAT REFUGEE CAMP
Last night, Israeli troops found a rocket hidden in a warehouse in the Shufat Refugee Camp north of occupied Jerusalem. According to eyewitnesses, a large Israeli army and police force along with bomb experts surrounded then raided the camp before finding a rocket shell in one of the warehouses for heavy machinery and excavation equipment. There have not been any reports of arrests according to residents given that the army is still inside the camp (Al Ayyam)
FATAH ACCUSES HAMAS OF GETTING FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM IRAN IN EXCHANGE FOR HINDERING RECONCILIATION
Fatah spokesperson Ahmad Assaf said yesterday that Tehran had recently resumed offering financial aid to Hamas after a short break in funds because of Hamas’ refusal to support Bashar Al Assad. Assaf told Reuters that Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahhar and Ismail Haniyeh were paid during their most recent visits to Iran, claiming that Iran paid Hamas leaders” tens of millions of dollars” adding that Hamas’ leadership in Gaza “killed the reconciliation.” Hamas rejected the statements, with spokesperson Taher Al Nunu saying “Fatah and its government did not implement any of its obligations and prefer American money to national agreements.” Assaf said the visits to Iran were to carry two messages: the first was to Meshaal, telling him that Hamas in Gaza were the ones who ruled there and the second was to Iran to say they were ready to directly coordinate with it, adding that Iran has an interest in the continuation of the split by wanting to control the Palestinian cause through its role in Gaza. Assaf said Iran understands that if reconciliation were achieved this role would be over because the real leadership, the PLO would never allow Iranian control over the cause (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
NEGEV PRISONERS REFUSE TO BE TESTED FOR DNA TODAY
Prisoners in the Negev prison said the administration informed them last night that they would carry out DNA tests on them today regardless of the prisoners’ position on this issue, saying this was an official decision by the Israeli prison authorities. Prisoners, who were angry at the decision, said they would refuse to be tested and threatened to go on hunger strike. The prisoner called on institutions and people to support their decision and move to stop this newest assault by Israeli prison authorities (Al Quds)
Israeli occupation authorities exile eight children from Beit Ummar
The Israeli military court at the Ofer detention prison decided today to exile eight children from the Hebron-area village of Beit Ummar from their homes for a period of six months during which they cannot come within 20 kilometers of the village. Spokesperson for the committee against the wall in Beit Ummar Yousef Abu Mariya said the eight boys, all between 14 and 16 years of age were identified as the following: Zain Abu Mariya, Basel Abu Mariya, Saed Isleibi, Ahmad Isleibi, Ayesh Awad, Samer Abu Joudeh, Muhab Adi and Bilal Awad. After the verdict was announced, the court said it had to postpone the hearing until Sunday after parents verbally opposed the decision and were pushed out of the courtroom by force. (http://safa.ps/details/news/73904/الاحتلال-يبعد-8-أطفال-عن-بيت-أمر.html)
UNRWA gets Israeli approval to build hundreds of homes and 10 schools in Gaza
The UN Relief and Works Agency announced yesterday that Israel informed them of their approval to of the second stage of a Saudi project in the southern Gaza Strip in addition to a Japanese project for homes threatened with collapse in refugee camps. According to Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA’s press advisor said the projects will solve the problems of thousands of families who have been waiting for this for the past 10 years. He said the Israeli approval came after intensive contacts from a number of parties to get the building process started. Hasna said the project and the Israeli approval for it included the construction of around 733 housing units including all accompanying infrastructure, explaining that the houses to be built inside refugee camps include 259 housing units which UNRWA demolished year ago or houses that are near collapse. He said the approval also included the construction of 10 schools in various areas of the Gaza Strip. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
Discussions over making changes to the structure of the Palestinian Authority
According to informed Palestinian sources today, the Palestinian leadership is currently studying a series of changes in the structure of the Palestinian Authority in order to prepare for the coming phase in light of the regional changes in the Arab world. In statements to Quds Net, the sources said President Abbas has held a series of talks with the leadership based on suggestions to make changes to the hierarchy. These changes include pumping new blood into the leadership and the PA, especially young Palestinians and letting others go from their positions. The sources said they expected Abbas to issue a number of presidential decrees in the near future in this regard, adding that there is no truth to the rumors about dissolving the PA. (http://qudsnet.com/arabic/news.php?maa=View&id=216104)
*American military officials expect a wide scale regional war into which it will be dragged and which will result in major losses (Al Quds)
*Russia strongly condemns Iranian threats against Israel (Al Quds)
*Large crowds bid farewell to Pope Shanouda III, who was buried in Wadi Natroun (Al Quds)
*Israeli high court orders evacuation of Palestinian land taken over by settlers (Al Quds)
*Anger in Israel over Ashton’s comments about the attack on a Jewish school in France (Al Quds)
*30 explosions claim kill and injure dozens in Iraq (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Israel to gradually eliminate civil nuclear reactors by 2018 (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*High court postpones opposition to the president assuming the post of prime minister (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Teachers’ Union suspends strike on Thursday after agreement to include cost of living allowance with March salaries. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*UNRWA gets Israeli approval to build hundreds of homes and 10 schools in Gaza (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Israel allocates NIS11 million for security for West Bank settlements (Al Ayyam)
*Syria: 60 killed by Assad forces, mostly in Homs; Security Council looks into presidential declaration draft for a ceasefire (Al Ayyam)
*The President receives Shalabi’s parents, Peruvian officials and British, French and German consul-generals (Al Ayyam)
*Russia: Al Assad is making a lot of mistakes (Al Ayyam)
*One million participants and supporters in the international Jerusalem march on March 30 (Al Quds)
|Front Page Photos |
Al-Quds: Cairo : Coptic priests during the funeral of Pope Shanouda III in the Abbasiyeh Cathedral
Al-Ayyam: 1) view of confiscated land in Walaja; 2) President Abbas in his meeting with Hana’ Shalabi’s parents in the presidential headquarters; 3) Fayyad during the conference on Palestinian youth in Brussels
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: 1) Scene from the funeral of Pope Shanouda; 2) The President with the parents of Hana’ Shalabi
|Voice of Palestine News |
Gaza Strip: Due to continuous electricity shortage crisis, the population of the Gaza strip has been provided with electricity for six hours a day and many areas have been connected to electricity for only four hours a day.
Jerusalem: Ahmad Sob Laban, a field researcher on settlements in Jerusalem, disclosed a new Israeli plan to establish “biblical gardens” on the lands of al-Walajeh village, south of occupied Jerusalem. For this purpose, the Israeli occupation authorities have confiscated over 1235 dunams of the lands of al-Walajeh.
This morning, the Israeli Supreme Court will hold a session on a petition that was filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and “HaMoked” organization against Israeli measures that revoke residency rights for Jerusalemites.
|Voice of Palestine Interviews|
**Physicians for Human Rights: prisoner Hana` Shalabi has been sent back to prison after medical checks; she is now in danger of imminent death **
Amani Dae`if: Physicians for Human Rights.
A doctor visited Hana` yesterday to check her. Although last medical check was conducted only five days ago, the extremely sharp deterioration in Hana`s health condition necessitated another check. Hana` is now in danger of imminent death. Her heart beats have noticeably slowed down and her body muscles, including the heart muscles, have extensively decayed.
Despite of the dangerous development in her health conditions as indicated in the doctor`s most recent report, Hana` has been sent again to prison.
Q: Are you saying that she is not staying now at the hospital?
She is not at the hospital now; she is in prison despite of all our efforts to keep her in hospital.
She has been sent to Ramleh prison that is relatively a developed medical compound; however, not at the level of a hospital. Necessary medical equipments, like a heart rate monitor, to follow up Hana`s condition are unavailable there, let alone the absence of daily medical tests that are crucial to Hana`.
**PLO`s Abed Rabbo: the Israeli government aims by instructing the Civil Admonition “to improve life conditions” in the West Bank to withdraw the remaining PA`s jurisdictions and to consecrate the occupation**
Yasser Abed Rabbo: Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee.
Q: Israel has confiscated 1235 dunams of land in al-Walajeh village to establish so-called “biblical gardens”, and the Israeli government instructed the Civil Administration to improve the life conditions in the West Bank. How would you comment on this?
This is another Israeli attempt to emphasize that the Civil Administration is the authority which is responsible in practice of the West Bank. Although the instruction to “improve the life conditions” is ostensibly positive, it is in fact aimed at withdrawing additional jurisdictions from the PA and to farther consecrate the occupation. This matter is extremely dangerous as it coincides with continuous large-scale settlement actions in Jerusalem and all over the West Bank with the ultimate Israeli goal of preventing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and restoring the occupation without a stated and clear Israeli announcement on this regard.
Q: A White House spokeswoman said that the USA would assist the Quartet Committee in conducting projects in the West Bank without any reference to projects related to the state building. Does this indicate that the role of the Quartet Committee is limited now to supervising the development of the PA?
The role of the Quartet has nothing to do with development. Its key mission is to supervise a political process that could lead to ending the occupation. Any different claim would not only belittle its mission but also weaken the political goal the Palestinian people aspire to and which is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Q: “Haaretz” reported that Obama has demanded president Abbas in their recent telephone conversation not to send a letter to Netanyahu. Can you confirm this and has the Palestinian leadership been facing external pressure on this regard?
There is not such a pressure. The core issue is bigger than to be limited to a request to send or not to send the letter. The core issue is that the USA has not yet met the demand of applying pressure on Israel to halt its violations, first and foremost is the continuous settlement actions. Only two days after this phone call, we see Israel announces a new and broad settlement plan to grab more Palestinian lands under different pretexts.
The US stance towards the Israeli violations is viewed by us and the entire world as a parameter to the extent its seriousness as well as the seriousness of the Quartet Committee in terms of applying pressure on Israel to halt its violations on ground.
**The Energy Authority: internal Egyptian talks are underway to define the specific crossing through which fuel could be safely transferred into the Gaza strip**
Omar Kittaneh: Head of the Energy Authority.
Q: Hamas leaders in the Gaza strip have blamed the PA for the unresolved fuel crisis. How would you comment on these accusations?
I do not have to respond to these accusations; I would only display what we have done. I have been to Cairo last week where we set up all necessary solutions and finalized the financial and technical aspects of these solutions. The meetings were attended by representatives of the Islamic Bank who confirmed that the bank would fund all related projects in the short term and the long term.
However, the political aspect of the solution is still unresolved as it is dictated by the agreements Egypt has with Israel as well as the Rafah agreement in 2005, which determines the terms of the access and movement of individuals and commodities into the Gaza strip. Therefore, this aspect depends now on the outcomes of the underway internal Egyptian talks.
We do not want to accuse Egypt or any specific Egyptian body as they are dealing with the issue that could take some time because the entire crossings are unprepared to the delivery of fuel which is a dangerous material that should not be transferred via crossings that are designated to passengers. In other words, a decision should be taken on the specific crossing where security and public safety could be guaranteed.
**PA government spokesperson: the PA delivered three key messages to the donors in Brussels*
Ghassan al-Khatib: Head of the Palestinian Government Media Center.
Q: In the donors conference, the Norwegian foreign minister has warned of the current fiscal crisis the PA is facing. What are the Palestinian anticipations of this conference?
The Palestinian anticipations are to be able of delivering our messages during this very important conference to the international community, particularly to the donors.
Our first message is related to the exacerbated fiscal crisis that has emerged due to that some donors have not met their financial commitments. The second message is that the PA calls on the donors at this stage is to deal with so-called “C” area and East Jerusalem area as a top priority in terms of allocating development projects. In the third message, the PA affirms in this conference that it will proceed with the policy of preparations for national independence and ending the occupation including in East Jerusalem.
Hana Shalabi: Palestinian non-violence and global indifference
The international community must ensure that Israel abandons the cruel practice of "administrative detention".
By: Richard Falk*(http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/03/201232082829104638.html)
Despite many in Palestine committing to nonviolence, little attention is paid by Israel or the international community to those starving for justice [EPA]
Santa Barbara, CA - No sooner had Khader Adnan ended his life-threatening 66-day hunger strike than new urgent concerns were voiced for Hana Shalabi, another West Bank hunger striker now without food for more than 33 days. Both strikes were directed against the abusive use of administrative detention by Israeli occupying military forces, protesting both the practice of internment without charges or trial and the degrading and physically harsh treatment administered during the arrest, interrogation, and detention process.
The case of Hana Shalabi should move even the hard-hearted. She seems a young, tender and normal woman who is a member of Islamic Jihad but is dedicated to her family, hopes for marriage, and simple pleasures of shopping.
She had previously been held in administrative detention at the HaSharon prison in Israel for a 30 month period between 2009 and 2011, being released in the prisoner exchange that freed 1,027 Palestinians and the lone Israeli soldier captive, Corporal Gilad Shalit. Since her release, she has been trying to recover from the deep sense of estrangement she experienced in prison, and has rarely left her home or the company of her family. As she was returning to normality, she was re-arrested in an abusive manner, which allegedly included a strip-search by a male soldier.
Beginnings of a strike
On February 16, 2012, the day her administrative detention was renewed, Hana indicated her resolve to start a hunger strike to protest her own treatment and to demand an end to the practice of administrative detention - under which people are arrested and imprisoned without charge. A practice now relied upon by Israel to hold at least 309 Palestinians in prison.
Hana's parents have been denied visitation rights, she has been placed in solitary confinement, and her health has deteriorated to the point of concern for her life. According to her lawyer, Raed Mahameed, Hana Shalabi was examined by a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights and the doctor said that "she suffers from a low heartbeat rate, low blood sugar, loss of weight, weakness in muscles, yellowing of the eyes and high levels of salt in the blood which [has] affected her kidneys, causing her pain in her sides, especially the left side, as well as pain in chest bones."
Physicians for Human Rights said that Shalabi cannot sleep because of pain; she also suffers dizziness and blurred and occasional loss of vision. Ms Shalabi told Mahameed that she took salt last week, but refused to take any more and is living on two litres of water a day.
Impressively, her parents have committed themselves to a hunger strike for as long as their daughter remains under administrative detention. Her mother, Badia Shalabi, has said that even to see food makes her cry - considering the suffering of her daughter. Her father has likewise made a global appeal to save the life of his child.
Despite frequent mentoring to Palestinians by liberals in the West to rely on nonviolent tactics of resistance, these extraordinary hunger strikes (Palestinian human rights group Adameer recently tweeted that it was aware of 24 such hunger strikers) have been met with silence or indifference in both Israel and the West.
Israeli authorities crudely declare that undertaking a hunger strike is a voluntary action for which they take no responsibility, and that the striker alone is responsible if any harm results. There is also not a hint that Palestinian grievances about administrative detention will even be considered, much less acted upon. Such hard-heartedness in the face of such sacrificial bravery is a sure sign that Israel is not ready for a sustainable and just peace with Palestinians.
The UN also disappoints those who believe in its ideals. It has not raised its voice even to take notice of Hana Shalabi's plight or of Israel's accountability. I share the view of Khitam Saafin, Chairwoman of The Union of Palestinian Women's Committees: "The UN must be responsible for the whole of violations that are going on against our people. These prisoners are war prisoners, not security prisoners, not criminals. They are freedom fighters for their rights."
The sad yet noble situation of Hana Shalabi is also well expressed by Yael Maron, a spokesperson for the NGO, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: "The story of Hana Shalabi, like that of Khader Adnan before, is, in my opinion, a remarkable example of a struggle that's completely nonviolent towards one's surroundings. It is the last protest a prisoner can make, and I find it brave and inspiring."
To engage in an open-ended hunger strike, especially for a person who is not in a leadership role, requires a deep and abiding dedication to right a perceived wrong of the greatest gravity. It is physically painful and dangerous to bodily health, as well as being psychologically demanding in the extreme. It presupposes the strongest of wills, and usually arises, as in these instances, from a sense that any lesser form of resistance has proved futile, exhibiting a long record of failure. In the end, this unconditional hunger strike is an appeal to the conscience and humanity of the other, and a desperate call to all of us, to understand better the cartography of abuse that abusive imprisonment entails - which can only be pervasively humiliating for a religiously oriented young Islamic woman. To risk life and health in this way without harming or even threatening the oppressor is to turn terrorism against the innocent on its head. It is potentially to sacrifice one's life to make an appeal of last resort, an appeal that transcends normal law and politics, and demands our response.
We can only fervently hope and pray that Hana Shalabi's heroic path of resistance will end with her release and the complete restoration of her health. For Israel's own moral well-being, it is time - really, long past time - to renounce reliance on administrative detention and, to do more than this, to end forthwith its varied crimes of occupation. At this point the only possible way to do this is to withdraw unconditionally behind the 1967 borders, and to start peace negotiations from such an altered position of acknowledged wrongdoing without asking or expecting any reciprocal gesture from the Palestinian side. In the present atmosphere, it is politically unimaginable that Israeli leaders will heed such a call, but it is morally unimaginable that Israel will survive its impending spiritual collapse if it does not quickly learn to do so.
In the meantime, we who are beyond these zones of occupation, abuse, and imprisonment, must do more than stand and watch as this tragic drama plays itself out. We need to do all we can to strengthen the demands of Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi - and all who act in solidarity with them - for the immediate release of all Palestinians currently held in administrative detention, for an end to detention without charge, and to abusive arrests in the middle of the night.
*Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades, most recently editing the volume International Law and the Third World: Reshaping Justice (Routledge, 2008).
He is currently serving his third year of a six year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
The anticipated letter from president Abbas
“Al-Quds Al-Arabi” Editorial (http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today\20qpt999.htm&arc=data\2012\03\03-20\20qpt999.htm)
The US president Barack Obama telephoned the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at his headquarter in Ramallah for the first time after six-month rupture; however, not to check on his health condition but to urge him to mitigate the tone of the letter, which president Abbas is currently writing to be sent to Benyamin Netanyahu, by dropping ultimatums or threats so that the peace process could be maintained and spared of a collapse.
The last time Obama telephoned the Palestinian president was in last September to urge him not to head to the UN with the application of Palestine statehood recognition, and with the same purpose of preserving the peace process and preventing its collapse, as Netanyahu was furious by this “hasty” Palestinian conduct, and because Netanyahu sees that the recognition of a Palestinian state could be achieved only through negotiations with Israel.
We are unaware of the existence of this peace process which Obama is concerned about its collapse. Negotiations have been fed up with repetitive failures as they could not prevent the construction of even one housing unit in any Israeli settlement in Jerusalem and the West Bank. What would justify this antipathetic weeping and this fake care by Obama and others about preserving it?
Two weeks ago, in his speech before the Jewish lobby in Washington, president Obama made no reference at all to the Israeli settlements which he placed as his top priority after winning the presidential election and taking his office because he did not want to upset Netanyahu or the fourteen members who participated in the “AIPAC” annual conference.
We are not aware of president Abbas`s response to Obama`s request and whether he promised him to comply by toning down the letter or that he rejected his rude interference in the Palestinian affair, like Abbas did when he insisted on turning to the UN with the yet unaccomplished statehood recognition application of still an illusionary state.
Another question rises about the goal for which president Abbas has been incited to write this letter to the Israeli prime minister. Is it because of he has a free time and no work to do or is it an attempt to record stances and perform a “grandiosity” show in both Palestinian and Israeli press?
The Palestinian stances do not need this eloquent letter that Netanyahu would put on the shelf like he did with all Arabic and Hebrew texted protocols of previous negotiations. These stances can be declared in a press conference with the presence of international journalists who still have an interest in the Palestinian cause, even though their number is too scarce.
The letter which is anticipated from president Abbas is the one he should address to the Palestinian people and not to Netanyahu in which he could explain the low status the Palestinian cause has been placed at the regional and international agenda, and who is person in charge of taking the pivotal decisions, who is precisely the president, to return it to the top of the world agenda.
Would Abbas do this? We certainly doubt that.
Killing children anywhere is a heinous crime
The Israeli government strongly condemned yesterday EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton`s reference to the killing of Palestinian children in Gaza, during the Israeli aggression in the beginning of 2009, while she was commenting on the killing of three Jewish children in Toulouse city by still unknown armed person. It seems that the killing of Palestinians should be forgotten in a blink of an eye and should remain under the carpet of the international media, and that no US or European officials should make any reference to it anywhere.
We are not trying here to defend the EU commissioner as she herself already said that her statements were taken out of their context and were probably misinterpreted. Yet, the Israeli criticism of her statement arouses many questions; first and foremost, the following questions: is Israel permitted to killing Palestinian children and be spared of even a softened criticism that came in the EU official’s condemnation of the killing of Jewish children in France?
The entire world, including the PA, has condemned the Toulouse crime and considered it as a heinous terror act. Is the entire world prohibited of referring to many Palestinian children who were shot dead by the Israeli army since the beginning of the occupation, particularly during the bloody war against the Gaza strip before over three years?
Absurdly, while the PA condemns the killing of Jewish and Palestinian children alike, the consecutive Israeli governments have not condemned what Palestinian children endured during the first and second uprisings and in the Gaza war. They have even sometimes regarded 12-year protesters against the occupation in the beginning of the second Intifada as adults and thus can be killed because, according to the Israeli pretext, they “constitute a danger to Israel”. This has truly happened.
When the Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman commented on Ashton`s speech, he adhered to the same Israeli media discourse which claims that the civilians who were killed by Israeli forces lived at places where handmade rockets were fired towards Israel. This pretext is nothing but a cliché as the total killed or injured Palestinian children by the Israeli military fire is the core issue. Are not they human beings like the Jewish children? Is the color of their blood different from that of the Jewish children`s red blood?
The entire children worldwide are characterized with innocence and killing them anywhere represents a hideous crime by all earthly and divine standards. Everyone, in compliance with all higher humanitarian standards, should condemned the killing of Palestinian, Syrian, Swiss, Belgium and all other children victims of terror and wars, with no less intensity than the condemnation of the killing of Jewish children.
The criticism Mrs. Ashton has faced absolutely highlights the scope of pressure that is applied on European officials and other officials when they refer, even with hints and even to one percent of the facts they closely observe.
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