Wednesday, November 3, 2010

[wvns] Facing death on Gaza's border

Dozens of Palestinians have been shot by Israeli troops while collecting rubble.

Facing death on Gaza's border
21 Oct 2010

Three Palestinians have been shot and injured by Israeli troops in recent days while collecting rubble near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel.

Many young Palestinians scour the area to gather the bricks and stones from demolished homes to sell to help them scratch out a living.

A UN report says that at least 25 Palestinians have been killed and scores of others injured by Israeli gunfire along the border since last year. Doctors say about one-third of the victims are under the age of 18.

Human rights groups in Gaza and Israel have threatened to launch a legal challenge over what they describe as Israeli violations of the buffer zone.

Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports from Beit Hanoum in Gaza.



Israel: Delayed Exit of a Toddler from Gaza Results in Death
Physicians for Human Rights -

Nasma Abu Lasheen died on Saturday, October 16, 2010 in Gaza. Israel failed to issue her an urgent entry permit for life-saving medical treatment at Ha-Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel. She was two years old.

Abu Lasheen, a young resident of Gaza diagnosed with Leukemia, was referred for emergency treatment in Israel on October 6, 2010. When requests to the Israeli Army for an entry permit went unanswered for several days, by way of B'tselem, the family contacted Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-Israel) for additional help. That very same day, on October 13, 2010, PHR-Israel contacted the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) demanding a permit be issued immediately to the baby and her father to enable their entry into Israel. A military approval was finally granted the next afternoon, October 14, 2010.

Abu Lasheen's medical condition had been deteriorating rapidly and by the time the permit was received, the treating doctor in Gaza, Dr. Mohammad Abu Sha'aban, said she was too sick to travel. Nasma died in the early morning hours of October 16, 2010.

PHR-Israel immediately lodged a complaint with the head of the Israeli DCO, demanding an immediate inquiry into those responsible for the delayed response.

Abu Lasheen's death comes just days PHR-Israel testified to the Israeli Turkel Commission which investigates the Flotilla incident, on the humanitarian situation in Gaza Strip as a result of Israel's closure policy. In their October 13th testimony, PHR- Israel pointed to the rising numbers of Gaza patients denied exit for treatment in hospitals outside the Strip, a phenomenon that has intensified since Israel's tightened closure took effect June 2007. PHR-Israel emphasized that for the patients, a delayed or non-approved permit could mean the difference between quality of life and preventable pain and suffering, and in many cases, even the difference between life and death, as demonstrated by the Abu Lasheem case.

PHR- Israel calls on the Israeli authorities at Erez Crossing to investigate those responsible for delays involved in Nasma Abu Lasheen's case. PHR- Israel reiterates its demand that Israel fulfill its obligations vis-à-vis the residents of Gaza by ensuring them full and timely access to medical treatment unavailable in the Gaza Stip.

For more information, please contact Ran Yaron, Director of PHR-Israel's Occupied Territories Department by telephone: +972-54-7577696, or via E-mail


Commander questioned over Gaza killings

Samouni children in a Gaza City morgue [MaanImages]

TEL AVIV (Ma'an) -- An Israeli army commander was questioned Thursday over his involvement in the killing of 21 members of a Gaza family during Israel's last war on Gaza, Israeli press said.

Colonel Ilan Malka told Military Police that he was unaware of a civilian presence in the Samouni household when he approved an airstrike on the home on 5 January 2009, the Israeli news site Ynet said. The bombing killed 21 members of the same family and injured a further 19.

The initial investigation conducted by the Israeli military found nothing unusual about the attack. A new probe was launched after the report issued by the UN fact-finding mission headed by jurist Richard Goldstone found that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians in the attack.

Soldiers had ordered around 100 Samouni family members to stay in the house the day before the airstrike.

"Everything indicates that the Israeli forces knew that there were about 100 civilians in the house. Indeed, the families had asked to be allowed to leave the area towards a safer place, but had been ordered to stay in Wa'el al-Samouni's house. The house must have been under constant observation by the Israeli soldiers, who had complete control over the area at the time," the report found.

Malka, who authorized the bombing, was questioned under caution for the first time on Thursday, Ynet said. Since the war, which Israel launched in December 2008, Malka was promoted to assistant chief of staff for operations at the Central Command, Ynet said, adding that his promotion to brigadier-general had been put on hold.

An unnamed security source told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the probe into this particular incident had raised "explosive and highly sensitive material," which could call Israel's rules of engagement into question.

The military police investigation was opposed by at least two senior Israeli army officials, including Commander-General Yoav Galant and General Avi Mizrahi, Haaretz reported. Further, on reviewing video footage of the killing, Mizrahi said he "would have done the same," the report said.

Wa'el Samouni, whose house was targeted by the missile strike, told the UN mission, "The entire Samouni family was destroyed. Their land was churned. We have no trees left. What we are asking for is one thing, one question. Please answer this question. Why did the Israelis do this to us? They killed our children, our women, and once you have lost your loved ones, what can you do in life. Why did you do this? Why did the Israelis do this?"

No decision has been made on whether to charge officers, Haaretz said.


The Children Of Balata: Putting Faces To Statistics
Palestine Monitor
18 October 2010

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Balata's 0.25 sq km area is home to more than 23,600 registered refugees, although the true population could be much higher.
The camp was formed in 1950, designed for 5,000-7,000 people. For its 23,000+ occupants, the camp has one food distribution center, one women's program center and one community-based rehabilitation center. The camp is plagued by water shortages and sewage treatment problems that cause hygiene issues and lengthy droughts.
Written and photographed by Brynn Utela.

The camp is the home to thousands of children. 40% of Balata's population are under 15.CHECK OUT BEAUTIFUL PICS:


Center Reports on Israeli Abuse of Children

Thursday October 21, 2010 12:26 by Mays Al-Azza - IMEMC & Agencies
The Palestinian, Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights published, on Thursday, new reports about Israeli abuse and random detention of Palestinian children and their parents in the town of Silwan next to the old city of Jerusalem.

One of these reports came from Abdullah Ghaith, 17. He told a social worker in the Center that he received a phone call on Thursday October 14, from his brother's school principal telling him that his brother, Mahmud, was detained by the Israeli military within the school.

Abdullah and his mother went to the school. where they found Mahmud surrounded by soldiers. While he was arguing with the soldiers about the reason for detaining his brother, Mahmud tried to run away from them. Then the soldiers attacked him and harassed him. When his mother saw him on the ground and handcuffed, she started to argue with the soldiers to release her son. Instead they hit her with their guns until she lost consciousness.

The soldiers then took Mahmud to an Israeli police station for questioning, and afterwards to al-Masqubeya center. He spent the night there before he was released by signing a personal guarantee of five thousand shekels, approximately 1,400 U.S. dollars.


In the Name of the Children
October 18, 2010
By Johrah Baker for MIFTAH

Reader comments may often be the best litmus test for public opinion. They are sometimes even more interesting than the article itself because they provoke varying points of view from a wide spectrum of people, many of whom violently clash.

This was certainly true of a recent story and video showing a settler leader in Silwan running down two Palestinian boys with his car. The video, understandably, generated a barrage of comments, some of them shockingly callous.

"Those aren't mere kids, they had murder in their little hearts," read one comment about the children captured on film who were later arrested by Israeli authorities. "Lock 'em up", read another.

One of these children was Omran Mansour, who was released on October 17 after spending nine days in an Israeli detention center. While some reports put the boy as young as eight others have reported him to be 12. In either way, he is a child. After his release, the boy was ordered under house arrest – allowed only to go to school and back with a parent. He was also made to pay a fine of NIS2,000.

Mansour was throwing stones, there is no question about it. Yes, he and a few other children were hell-bent on stoning the settler car as it entered their neighborhood. No one is denying this. However, it is very disturbing that one, Israeli authorities treat these children like commonplace criminals (adults nonetheless) and two, that some malice-filled readers repeatedly suggest that Palestinian adults staged the whole thing. Oh, and that the kids deserve everything they get.

Several comments fed into the ugly stereotype of Palestinian parents inciting their children towards violence. "… the video, showing how the kids were incited by adults holding cameras to attack the car," read part of one comment.

Another wrote, "Why don't you write about what kind of parents send their 6 and 7 year olds to a main road to throw stones!?" One particularly disturbing comment to a related article on the Jerusalem Post read, "If you throw rocks at my car I will run you over…it is obvious that the Palestinians do not want to peacefully coexist with Jews. They should all go to Jordan."

Of course, there were many friendly and supportive comments by people around the globe, calling Israel's action shameful. The settler, whose car was stoned, was taken in for questioning and let out on bail on the same day.

While opinions may vary as to the effectiveness of stone-throwing, especially by children, the more important issue is the motive behind it. Unlike some would want to portray, Palestinians - children or otherwise - are not more inclined to violence than any other people on this earth. In Silwan, the extenuating circumstances surrounding the "violence" show a much more complex picture than meets the eye. Jewish settlers, illegally squatting on Palestinian land in Silwan, have been the source of the real violence in this east Jerusalem neighborhood and the reason why its residents are fighting home demolition orders, land confiscation and overall everyday harassment. Settlements are a manifestation of the violence of the occupation and in Silwan, it is at its worse.

So, it is no surprise that the residents of Silwan would want to resist the settlers' presence. Even internationally, these settlers have no right to be there. East Jerusalem is occupied territory, which means that members of the occupying power cannot live or alter the land. When legalities become personal stories, the urgency only gets stronger. To the people of Silwan, the occupied land is theirs, handed down from their fathers and grandfathers. The homes Israeli municipal authorities tack demolition orders on have been their shelter for decades. The streets the settlers so self-righteously roam are Palestinian and thus severely impinge on the Palestinians' right to the same luxury.

So, when children, who have lived, breathed and tasted this ongoing injustice day in and day out, see an intruder (in this case, settler leader David Be'eri), they choose to fight back in any way they know. This in no way means their parents incite them to take to the streets armed with roadside stones. All parents love their children in much the same way. The universality of wanting to protect and guide your children to safety and happiness applies to Palestinian parents just as much as to parents of any other nationality. To insinuate otherwise is racist to the bone.

Besides, what justification can be given for dragging a child of 10 or 11 years of age out of his home after midnight without allowing his parents to accompany him and keeping him locked up for nine days in an adult detention center? Children, according to universal laws, are to have special treatment and should only be detained or imprisoned as a "last resort."

"The welfare, special needs, best interests, and human rights of juveniles 'shall be a primary consideration'," reads the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty. Furthermore, while Israeli children are those aged 18 and under, Israeli military law considers Palestinian children as young as 12 as a young adult.
With that attitude, it is no surprise that this month, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced that "[Palestinian] children could not receive immunity." He was right. Palestinian children are imprisoned, held for days without charge, beaten, sexually harassed and isolated then put under house arrest for months. Yes, Omran Mansour threw rocks at a settler car in his neighborhood. While this is true, there is also another glaring truth that cannot be overlooked. If Mr. Be'eri were living somewhere in Tel Aviv (or the US) and illegal settlers were gone from the occupied sector of Jerusalem, little Omran would have been living a normal life (without stone throwing) very much like any other child in the world.

Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at



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