Saturday, September 29, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
La photo gagnante et la photograohe Maram/ The winning picture and the photographer.
Ramallah, 25 September 2007.
(c) Anne Paq/Images for life
NOUVELLES..Le groupe photo de Aida recompense dans un concours photo!
Les sourires des membres du groupe photo de Aida etaient eclatants lorsqu’ils ont decouvert leurs photos sur les Murs de la prestigieuse Academie Palestinienne pour les Arts, a Ramallah. Najwa, Ibrahim, Ahmad, Manar et Maram ont participe en Juin au concours photo “Colours of my City”, organisee par la Fondation Al-Mamal de Jerusalem.
Tout le groupe s’est rendu a Ramallah pour la ceremonie d’ouverture et l’annonce es resulats.. Ils ont pu ainsi decouvrir l’Academie, et pour la premiere fois leurs photos sur les murs.
Avec sa photo du linge etendu sur les toits de Aida Maram du groupe photo de Images for Life a gagne le troisieme prix de la competition Elle a gagne 200 dollars qu’elle va pouvoir utiliser pour acheter une camera.
NEWS. The photo group of Aida got an award in a photo competition!
Najwa, Ibrahim, Ahmad, Manar et Maram participated in June to a photo exhibition entitled “the Colours of my City”, organized by Al-Mamal Foundation.
We then all went to celebrate and enjoy the amazing nightlife in Ramallah. For Maram, it was even the first time she was going to Ramallah. The evening was magical and full with laughs.
If you want to help, we are looking for some volunteers and donations, including equipment, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Last update - 13:24 23/09/2007
By Gideon LevyMahmoud Abbas has to stay home. As things stand right now, he must not go to Washington. Even his meetings with Ehud Olmert are gradually turning into a disgrace and have become a humiliation for his people. Nothing good will come of them. It has become impossible to bear the spectacle of the Palestinian leader's jolly visits in Jerusalem, bussing the cheek of the wife of the very prime minister who is meanwhile threatening to blockade a million and a half of his people, condemning them to darkness and hunger. If Abu Mazen were a genuine national leader instead of a petty retailer, he would refuse to participate in the summit and any other meetings until the blockade of Gaza is lifted. If he were a man of truly historic stature he would add that no conference can be held without Ismail Haniyeh, another crucial Palestinian representative. And if Israel really wanted peace, not only an "agreement of principles" with a puppet-leader that will lead nowhere, it should respect Abbas' demand. Israel should aspire for Abu Mazen to be considered a leader in the eyes of his people, not only a marionette whose strings are pulled by Israel and the United States, or affected by other short-term power plays. Right now power rests with the powerless Abu Mazen. Since Washington - and perhaps Jerusalem as well - badly want the photo-op otherwise known as a "peace summit" to show off an "achievement," Abu Mazen could and should threaten to boycott the meeting to try and force some achievement on behalf of his people. Palestinians live in Gaza, too - an area controlled by Hamas, which Abu Mazen so loathes: He cannot continue to ignore the inhumane conditions in which Gazans live, caged in by Israel. But the impression Abu Mazen makes is that he's no more than a political survivor. He's participating in the American-Israeli masked ball not because of naivete or weakness - for him, Gaza is just as "hostile territory" as Israel is. Therefore, he shares a shameful common interest with Israel, which will do neither side any good. Judging by his behavior Abu Mazen not only doesn't object to what Israel is doing in Gaza, he may even agree with the twisted doctrine arguing that cruel pressure will subdue Hamas and return the people to Fatah's embrace. In so doing, Abu Mazen proves that he's no "downy chick," as Ariel Sharon once put it, but a cynical rooster who cares little for the welfare of his people. A genuine peace conference should involve all the hawks. Peace is forged between bitter enemies. The question of whether Saudi Arabia will take part in the summit or not is futile unless it includes real Palestinian representation. At most Abu Mazen represents only half of his people and could achieve, at best, half an agreement that wouldn't survive anyhow, given Hamas' strong opposition. It is in the interests of all the parties involved, including Abu Mazen, to drag Hamas to the negotiation table. A peace conference without Hamas and without Syria is a joke. But the short-sighted coalition of the royal triumvirate, Jerusalem-Washington-Ramallah, is trying to promote a false vision of "peace talks" without the decisive partners, while the world is busy applauding this illusion. Obviously, it is hard to expect from Abu Mazen that he will rise above his narrow interests and call for an invitation to be issued to Hamas, the party that was democratically elected to lead the Palestinian government. But the least one could expect from the person with the lofty title of "President of the Palestinian Authority" is to strive for the greater good of all his people, especially in light of the extent of their distress. But instead of acting to bring about a cessation of hostilities and opening Gaza to the world, the triumvirate is busy formulating yet another position paper that won't be worth the paper it's written on and that will soon find itself in the garbage bin of history, along with its predecessors. It will only serve to impose increasingly cruel hardships on the people of Gaza. Abu Mazen must not participate in this farce.
Un dirigeant fantoche"
Gideon Lévy - 23/09/07
www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/906283.html Version anglaise : Puppet leader www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/906199.html
Mahmoud Abbas devrait rester chez lui. Les conditions actuelles devraient lui interdire de se rendre à Washington. Ses rencontres avec Ehoud Olmert tournent graduellement à l’humiliation pour son peuple : rien de bon n’en sortira. Le spectacle des visites amicales du dirigeant palestinien à Jérusalem est devenu insupportable à la conscience, avec ce déluge de baisers sur la joue de l’épouse d’un Premier ministre qui menace, dans le même temps, d’imposer le blocus à un million et demi de personnes appartenant à son peuple, de les plonger dans le noir et de les affamer.
Si Abou Mazen était un vrai leader national, et pas un petit revendeur, il devrait annoncer qu’il n’y aura ni conférence ni rencontres tant que le blocus de Gaza ne sera pas levé. S’il était doté d’une stature historique, il ajouterait qu’il n’y aura de conférence que si Ismaïl Haniyeh en est. Lui aussi représente les Palestiniens. Et si Israël voulait vraiment la paix et pas simplement, avec un dirigeant fantoche, un « accord de principes » ne menant à rien, il s’empresserait de respecter cette exigence. Israël devrait lui aussi être intéressé à ce qu’Abou Mazen soit considéré par son peuple comme un dirigeant et non comme une marionnette à fils actionnée par Israël et les Etats-Unis ou par des considérations de pouvoir à court terme.
Le faible Abou Mazen dispose maintenant de pouvoir. A un moment où Washington et peut-être Jérusalem aspirent tellement à ce prétexte à photos baptisé « Conférence pour la paix » afin de pouvoir présenter un « résultat » quelconque, il pourrait et devrait faire peser la menace d’un boycott de sa part pour essayer d’obtenir au moins quelque chose pour son peuple. Dans Gaza maintenant aux mains du Hamas qu’il exècre, vivent aussi des Palestiniens et Abou Mazen ne peut pas continuer d’ignorer la situation inhumaine dans laquelle ceux-ci vivent, emprisonnés par Israël.
Mais Abou Mazen donne l’impression de n’être rien de plus qu’un survivant politique. Ce n’est ni naïveté ni faiblesse s’il prête la main au bal masqué américano-israélien : Gaza est maintenant pour lui, non moins que pour Israël, un « territoire hostile ». Entre Israël et lui existe par conséquent une unité d’intérêts honteuse et qui ne sera utile à aucun des deux camps. A en juger par son comportement, non seulement Abou Mazen ne s’oppose pas à ce qu’Israël fait subir à Gaza, mais peut-être même s’associe-t-il à la doctrine aberrante selon laquelle ces pressions brutales amèneront la capitulation du Hamas et le retour des habitants dans le giron du Fatah. En fait, Abou Mazen démontre par là qu’il n’est pas un poulet-qui-n’a-pas-encore-ses-plumes, comme l’appelait Ariel Sharon, mais un coq cynique pour qui le bien de son peuple est le cadet des soucis.
Un véritable sommet pour la paix devrait réunir toutes les parties au conflit. La paix se fait entre ennemis acharnés. La question décisive n’est pas de savoir si oui ou non l’Arabie Saoudite y participera - c’est sans importance - mais si pourra s’y rendre une véritable représentation palestinienne. Abou Mazen représente tout au plus la moitié de son peuple et il peut aboutir, dans le meilleur des cas, à un demi-accord qui ne pourra pas tenir l’eau face à une puissante opposition du Hamas. Il est dans l’intérêt de toutes les parties, y compris celui d’Abou Mazen, d’amener le Hamas à la table des discussions. Un sommet pour la paix, sans le Hamas et sans la Syrie, n’est qu’une vaste blague. Mais la coalition myope du trio artificiel, Jérusalem-Washington-Ramallah, tente de présenter la vision fallacieuse de « discussions sur la paix » sans la participation des partenaires décisifs, et le monde applaudit à cette mystification.
Il semble difficile d’attendre d’Abou Mazen qu’il s’élève au-dessus de ses considérations étroites et demande qu’on invite le Hamas, qui a été élu, faut-il le rappeler, pour diriger le gouvernement palestinien lors d’élections démocratiques. Mais le minimum qu’on puisse exiger de celui qui porte le glorieux titre de « Président de l’Autorité Palestinienne », serait qu’il essaie de se préoccuper de tous ceux qui appartiennent à son peuple, en particulier quand ils sont plongés dans une détresse aussi terrible. Cependant, au lieu d’œuvrer à un cessez-le-feu et à l’ouverture de Gaza au monde, on s’occupe en ce moment de la formulation d’un nouveau document - qui ne vaudra pas le papier sur lequel il sera signé et sera aussitôt expédié dans la poubelle de l’Histoire comme ceux qui l’auront précédé - ainsi que de nouvelles mesures brutales à imposer aux habitants de Gaza. Il n’est pas permis à Abou Mazen de participer à cette farce qui déferle sur nous depuis Washington.
(Traduction de l’hébreu : Michel Ghys)
Monday, September 24, 2007
See text Below.
(I am finally back with my pictures, sorry for delay due to crapp computer and cameras technical difficulties.)
Thursday, September 20, 2007
A Palestinian boy crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer
Palestinian medical sources reported on Thursday midday that one Palestinian boy was crushed and killed by an Israeli military bulldozer near Al-Buraij refugee camp in central Gaza strip.
Dr. Moaiwyah Hassanain, the director of the emergency department at Health Ministry in Gaza identified the boy as Mahmoud Qasassy, 17. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the boy run over by the bulldozer and crushed to death as he stood near some trees. Witnesses added that another civilian was injured and lay in the fields where medics and ambulances were unable to reach him.
The Israeli army shot and wounded at least two Palestinian residents in the al-Buraij refugee camp. Medical sources said that they were shot by Israeli warplanes which had earlier supported the army's invasion of the area. Witnesses said that a column of Israeli tanks, supported by warplanes, invaded the eastern part of the refugee camp on Thursday night, firing heavily on homes in the area.
Meanwhile, an Israeli special-unit force infiltrated Shuka village, to the east of Rafah city, kidnapping at least 20 residents. Today's events come one day after the Israeli government declared the Gaza Strip 'an enemy entity', and announced that it is considering cutting power and fuel supplies to the region.
At midday on Thursday, Palestinian resistance fighters of the Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said that they fired 11 home-made mortar shells at the invading troops. The Israeli army has not made any reports of injuries to its soldiers.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
GAZA: A CALL FOR URGENT ACTION
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) deplores the unanimous decision by the Israeli cabinet to impose sanctions on supplies of electricity, fuel and other basic goods and services to the civilian population of Gaza, and calls upon the international community to prevent this crime against humanity from being carried out. Indeed, the very legal framework invoked by Israel to carry out this illegal and immoral act – declaring Gaza a “hostile entity” within a “conflict short of war” – has absolutely no standing in international law. The collective punishment of an entire civilian population, by contrast, is explicitly prohibited.
We call on the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to urgently convene the Security Council in order to tell the Israeli government that this step is completely unacceptable and must be rescinded.
We call on the governments of the world, and in particular the American government and the European Parliament, to censure this decision, especially in light of recent attempts to revive the diplomatic process.
We call on the world’s religious leaders to condemn this blatant violation of human rights and the most fundamental assault on human life and dignity, made especially poignant as it is being implemented during the holy month of Ramadan. As Israelis, most of whom are Jews, we call upon Jewish leaders to speak out unequivocally against this offense against Jewish values on the eve of Yom Kippur
And we call upon the peoples of the world to let their officials and leaders know of their repudiation of this cruel, illegal and immoral act – an act that stands out in its cruelty even in an already oppressive Israeli Occupation. ICAHD condemns attacks on all civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian. Violations of international law by governments affecting millions of people are, however, especially egregious and must be denounced.
Israel’s decision to punish Gaza’s civilian population, with all the human suffering that entails, constitutes an instance of State Terrorism against innocent people. Only when Israel is held accountable for its actions and international law upheld will a just peace be possible in the Middle East.
Friday, September 14, 2007
At the start of the New Year knock on our door refugees from the African continent, a continent troubled by bloody wars throughout history. These people fled from genocide occurring in their country and ask for shelter.
In 1949 the young state of Israel proposed anchoring in the Fourth Geneva Convention a clause establishing prohibition for states to refuse those seeking shelter in it's territory, even if they are citizens of an enemy state. This request was raised after Britain allowed shelter to 65,000 German Jews escaping the horrors of the holocaust.
Jewish refugees arrived to the state's shores in complex and operations were breaking the law are the ones who built the cities and town we now call home. Today, nearly 60 years later, hundreds of refugees cross the Egyptian border following long, tiring, and dangerous journeys. Exiled from their country and filled of harassment and abuse in Egypt, they arrive to ask for safe shores in a state whose greatest justification for existing is to give shelter to refugees . Expulsion to Egypt will be a death sentence to these people, since Egypt maintains diplomatic relations with the government that is yearning for their death.
According to the Jewish faith, New Years is when the fate of all those earth bound is set for the upcoming year. During this day we are all equal, without difference of religion color gender or nationality. This is the time to treat people in need as we would like others to treat us.
Don't stand aside, get involved
As part of campaign that initiated the photographers collective Activestills and the group Activists for the sake of refugees, dozens of refugees participated in a photograph that took place on the immigration ship placed in the junction of Herzlia. In the night between Tuesday and Wednesday thousands of posters versus the deportation were being hang in the cities of Israel.
To see photos from the hanging and more photos regarding the African refugges
for the Ben Gurion students site see
to join groups of activists in Tel Aviv or join the mailing list email
to join activists in other cities email
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The five daily prayers helped Nader E'bayat calculate how many days hadpassed during his first weeks of detention at the interrogation
division of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Bethlehem.
Toward the end, when he was transferred to the interrogation cells at
the Bituniya headquarters, he started to lose count. Altogether,
E'bayat spent 47 days in detention, from June 30 to August 15. He was
released on the order of the Bethlehem magistrate's court after no
evidence was presented to prove accusations that he had participated in Hamas' operative force in the West Bank.
E'bayat is one of some 650 Hamas members who have been arrested by the
Palestinian Authority's security forces in the West Bank since the
middle of June, Hamas says. Palestinian human rights organizations
estimate that 80 to 120 Hamas activists are currently detained in
various interrogation facilities throughout the West Bank. Many of
those who were released are afraid to give written testimony about
their ordeal, while the rumor mill has it that Hamas activists have
been instructed to spread orchestrated lies about torture in detention.
Majd al-Aruri, of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens'
Rights (PICCR), believes the detainees were threatened so they would
keep quiet. The commission is an official Palestinian institution
founded by Yasser Arafat in 1993, and its task is to supervise civil
rights in the PA. Its representatives regularly visit some of the
Palestinian detention centers and collect testimonies from those
detained there, including E'bayat.
E'bayat is 30 years old and a surveyor by profession. He is married
with two children, and lives in the village of Ta'amra, east of
Bethlehem. In a conversation in Bethlehem, in a small room in his
sister's beauty parlor, not far from the Church of the Nativity, he
described how he was arrested. On the evening of June 30, he was on the
way with his mother to the family's small workshop for designing signs
and nameplates, where his brother Nasser works. E'bayat's father was
killed on May 6, 2001, at the age of 47, during a clash with the Israel
Defense Forces. According to the family, he had joined the armed Fatah
gunmen who were shooting at Israel from Beit Jallah. His wife and their
11 children were left to fend for themselves.
At 6 P.M., on June 30, E'bayat's mother and her two sons locked up the
workshop and made their way toward their car when suddenly two white
Preventive Security forces jeeps drove up. At first, E'bayat refused
their demand that he climb into their vehicle "for 10 minutes." In the
end, however, he got in, at gunpoint. The security agents were not
masked and he recognized some of them, including several residents of
his village. His mother and his younger brother followed the two
vehicles to the Security Forces' Bethlehem headquarters to wait for
E'bayat, who was "due to be released after 10 minutes." Instead, the
security personnel arrested his brother Nasser as well (he was released
nine days later).
In the past 11 years, E'bayat has been in PA jails twice (for a month
in 1996 and for four months in 1998) and in Israeli jails twice (he
served four years starting in 1999 and two and a half years from 2003
onward) on charges of working for Hamas.
When he arrived for his fifth detention, he says, the interrogator
began "hurling unpleasant words at me." When he protested, E'bayat
says, the interrogator threw a chair at him. In the hallway leading to
the interrogation room, E'bayat saw five detainees whose heads were
covered with cloth sacks, bent forward with their hands tied behind
their backs. A few minutes later, he, too, was handcuffed in the same
position, known among prisoners as the dreaded "shabah." He was
blindfolded and his head was covered with a sack. A warden gave him
water when he asked for it. He was allowed to go to the bathroom, but
only after several requests.
Two days and two nights passed until he was given a break from the
cuffs, the sack and the standing, during prayers in the dark solitary
confinement cell. After two days, E'bayat was again taken to the
interrogation room. He was seated on a chair - another short chance for
a respite from the painful standing. "The interrogator told me they
wanted to finish with my case. I told him, 'There is nothing to finish
because I have nothing to say.' A soldier [warden] came and took me
back to the hallway." The warden then tied his already handcuffed hands
to an iron bar fixed to the wall, forcing E'bayat to bend over
uncomfortably. This is how he spent three days, with the regular short
breaks. He did not shower during the entire detention period, but was
allowed to wash his hands and feet before prayers. During that time,
E'bayat started to feel pain in his right shoulder. He could hear
shouts and groans around him.
On the fourth day of his detention, a radio-tape recorder was put in
the hallway, blaring loud, Western-style music ("so we would not be
able to fall asleep"). The unpleasant noise was interrupted during
prayer times only. For the most part, his interrogations were held
between midnight and 4 A.M. When his handcuffs were removed during one
of the interrogations, he realized he could not move his right hand.
After six days of "shabah," of standing and without any sleep ("Allah
gives us strength," he replies to a question of how this was possible),
a new period began. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays he was put in solitary
confinement (on the floor, without a mattress) in order to sleep, and
on the other days, he was taken back to the "shabah," to stand in the
hallway. And every night there was an interrogation.
The same questions
E'bayat's willingness to be interviewed and to have his case publicized
is unusual. In response to the reports about the difficult torture he
endured, one of the Preventive Security Force's senior officers told a
PICCR lawyer that E'bayat's accusations were fabricated and that he had
not been tortured. Haaretz was not able to get a response from a
Preventive Security Forces official about the case. E'bayat's account
resembles stories of torture described by other released detainees
whose testimonies have reached various legal organizations, members of
the Palestinian parliament and Haaretz.
PICCR members confirmed that the worst charges initially concerned the
detention facility of the Preventive Security Forces in Bethlehem
(which allowed a PICCR representative to visit only in mid-July, at the
conclusion of the state of emergency declared by PA Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas). In general, the PICCR's al-Aruri says that most complaints
about torture have come from people arrested by the Preventive
Security. He says that while some complaints could not be
substantiated, but in other cases, it transpired that contrary to first
impressions, those who were interrogated were indeed tortured.
E'bayat says a new team of interrogators was brought in every week,
"and every time they started asking questions from scratch." A typical
interrogation, in his words, went like this:
Interrogator: "Can't you see what is happening in Gaza? We don't want
this to be copied in the West Bank."
E'bayat: "I am not connected with Gaza. The way you are behaving and
torturing people, you are the ones who are bringing Gaza here."
Interrogator: "You are connected with the operative force of Hamas. You
Interrogator: "You have 26 Kalashnikovs. Give us some and we'll leave
you the rest."
E'bayat: "I can't say 'that's right' about something I didn't do and
about someone I'm not."
Interrogator: "You conscripted people to Hamas' operative force."
E'bayat: "Please bring in the people I've conscripted."
And indeed, at a certain stage during his detention, E'bayat says, two
detainees in neighboring cells told him that under duress, they had
signed a confession stating he had conscripted them to the operative
force. "And I have no idea who they are," he says.
On July 12, E'bayat went on a hunger strike, refusing even to drink
water. As soon as he began his strike, he was released from the
"shabah" position and sent to solitary confinement. He demanded to be
freed, to see a lawyer, and receive family visits. He ended the strike
after five days, when he was promised that he would be freed within two
days. During the hunger strike, he received an injection to give him
strength. He was given several more such injections during his
He had no idea that his mother and youngest sister came to the gate of
the headquarters and demanded to see him, every day. After 25 days in
detention, a warden said to him: "Wash your face. Someone is waiting to
see you." It was his wife Samira and his two sons, 3 years old and two
months old, respectively. An interrogator was present in the room, to
ensure they would merely say insignificant things. But his wild beard
and the pain on his face testified to what he could not say.
Once every 18 days, a general military prosecution representative met
with the detainees. He wanted to know whether they had admitted their
guilt. E'bayat says he told the representative about the torture.
During his fourth week in detention, "they allowed me to rest." They
left him in solitary confinement for eight days. Then, apparently on
July 30, he was taken to the Bethlehem magistrate's court, where he was
represented by a lawyer his family had hired. He told the magistrate
that he had been tortured, and the court ordered that the charges be
investigated. The magistrate also ordered E'bayat's detention be
extended for another 10 days; after this time, and unless proof was
presented of his activities on behalf of Hamas, he would have to be
The days become confused
After the first week of August (here, E'bayat says, the days become
confused), "they came in the night and told me to prepare my things.
'You are free,' they said. But they handcuffed me and blindfolded me
and then I realized that they were merely making fun of me." He was
taken in a car with his eyes covered. During the ride, he realized they
had passed through two IDF roadblocks because he heard his handlers
speaking with the soldiers. "They put me in a room with two doctors and
a group of interrogators. I told the doctors that my hand was paralyzed
and that I felt pain in my back and legs." He says that one of the
doctors told him: "Finish up the matter and you'll be released right
away and they won't take you downstairs [to the interrogation
division]. You have two children. It's a shame." In response, E'bayat
told them that he had nothing to say.
The security officials once again cuffed his hands behind his back,
with his aching right hand turned outward, "so it would hurt more," and
the other hand turned in. They led him "downstairs." Later on he found
out that he was being kept in the Preventive Security building in
Bituniya, near Ramallah. He was put in the hallway and his legs were
cuffed. "The interrogator came, lifted the sack a little from my head
and said to me: 'We have principles. It is forbidden to pray and it is
forbidden to go to the toilet. It is forbidden for you to ask anything
except to say that you want to finish with this affair.'" E'bayat
believes two days went by like this.
Then, after two days, a new interrogator asked him to answer five
questions: "If I was the head of Hamas' operative force in the West
Bank, if I had distributed weapons, if I had trained people to use
weapons, if I had received money and if I had a connection with Gaza."
He said no to all five. As a result, he was tied up in a different
position - standing on one leg, with his right leg and left hand in the
air, tied to an iron door. He was presented with the choice: eat or
pray, for five or ten minutes each time.
On Monday, July 13, a PICCR representative came and was surprised to
see him there - after all, a day before, a magistrate had ordered him
released. But E'bayat's is not the only case where a civilian
magistrate has ordered a release and the military prosecution overrules
it and orders the prisoner's remand extended. The commission protested
this type of practice in its official publication and to the PA. The
following day, Tuesday, E'bayat was twice taken out of the "shabah"
position and taken to the interrogation room. "You have a family," the
interrogators told him. In other words: Admit your guilt already, for
their sake. He responded, "Allah will extend their spirits."
On August 15 in the evening, E'bayat was released. His family members
came to get him. He got home at 2:30 A.M. and was hospitalized for two
days, where doctors discovered he was bleeding internally. He began a
series of treatments for infections in his ears and mouth, and receives
massages to ease the pain in his hand, back and leg. He limps, and
walks and sits down with great difficulty. During his first few days
back home, the signs of the handcuffs were still visible on his hands
and his joints still hurt.
A senior officer of one of the Palestinian security forces, speaking on
condition of anonymity, told Haaretz, "During the wave of arrests of
the past few months, we received important information about the
operative force Hamas set up in the West Bank. But we can't get exact
information through torture, and we didn't get the information we have
in that way. There may be one or two officers who make a mistake under
certain circumstances, but our general policy is that torture is
forbidden. Any officer who tortures a detainee is doing so on his own
accord and if information about such practice reaches his superior, he
will have to bear responsibility." He says that detainees have
exaggerated in their reports about torture.
According to the senior officer, only those suspected of having
connections with the operative force were arrested, not political
activists, as Hamas claimed. He says that the illegal operative force
has even begun conscripting people, training them and buying weapons.
In addition, he claims, they collected information about senior
security personnel and PA political figures, "with the aim of copying
what they did in Gaza, in the West Bank." He promised that these
arrests will continue, even if Gaza returns to its natural state, and
even if there are negotiations. "We will not allow any organization to
hold weapons, other than those that belong to the PA. This is true of
Hamas as well as other organizations, including Fatah."
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Again children. Five children killed in Gaza in eight days. The public indifference to their killing - the last three, for example, were accorded only a short item on the margins of page 11 in Yedioth Ahronoth, a sickening matter in itself - cannot blur the fact that the IDF is waging a war against children. A year ago, a fifth of those killed in the "Summer Rain" operation in Gaza were children; during the past two weeks, they comprised a quarter of the 21 killed. If, heaven forbid, children are hurt in Sderot, we will have to remember this before we begin raising hell.
The IDF explains that the Palestinians make a practice of sending children to collect the Qassam launchers. However, in this case, the children killed were not collecting launchers. The first two were killed while collecting carob fruit and the next three - according to the IDF's own investigation - were playing tag. But even if we accept the IDF's claim that there is a general trend of sending children to collect launchers (which has not been proven), that should have brought about an immediate halt to firing at launcher collectors.
But the IDF does not care whether its victims are liable to be children. The fact is that it shoots at figures it considers suspicious, with full knowledge - according to its own contention - that they are liable to be children. Therefore, an IDF that fires at launcher collectors is an army that kills children, without any intention of preventing this. This then is not a series of unfortunate mistakes, as it is being portrayed, but rather reflects the army's contempt for the lives of Palestinian children and its terrifying indifference to their fate.
A society that holds ethical considerations in high regard would at least ask itself: Is it permissible to shoot at anyone who is approaching the launchers, even if we know that some of these people may be small children, lacking in judgment, and thus not punishable? Or are we lifting all restraints on our war operations? Even if we accept the IDF's claims that its sophisticated vision devices do not enable them to distinguish between a 10-year-old boy and an adult, the IDF cannot evade its responsibility for this criminal action. Even if we assumed a completely distorted assumption that anyone who goes near the launchers is subject to death, the fact that children are involved should have changed the rules. Add to this the fact that the firing at launcher collectors has halted the Qassams, or even reduce their number, and you arrive at another chilling conclusion: The IDF shoots at children to wreak vengeance and punish.
No child in Sderot is more secure as a result of this killing. On the contrary.
Anyone who takes an honest look at the progression of events during the past two months will discover that the Qassams have a context: They are almost always fired after an IDF assassination operation, and there have been many of these. The question of who started it is not a childish question in this context. The IDF has returned to liquidations, and in a big way. And in their wake there has been an increase in Qassam firings.
That is the truth, and they are hiding it from us. When Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Barak assumed their positions, the reins were loosened. If Barak were a representative of the political right, perhaps a public outcry would have already been sounded against the IDF's wild actions in Gaza. But everything is permitted to Barak, and even the fact that the victims are children does not matter - not to him and not to the Israeli public.
Yes, the children of Gaza gather around the Qassams. It is practically the only diversion they have in their lives. It is their amusement park. Those who arrogantly preach to their parents "to watch over them" have never visited Beit Hanoun. There is nothing there, except for the filthy alleys and meager homes. Even if it is true that those launching the Qassams are taking advantage of these miserable children (which has yet to be proven), this should not shape our moral portrait. Yes, it is permissible to exercise restraint and caution. Yes, it is not always necessary to respond, especially when the response ends up killing children.
The way to stop the firing of Qassams is not through indiscriminate killing. Every launcher can be replaced. The start of the school year bodes ill, for us and for them. Anyone who truly seeks to stop the firing of Qassams should reach a cease-fire agreement with the current government in Gaza. That is the only way and it is possible. The liquidations, the shelling and the killing of children will work in exactly the opposite direction of what is intended. In the meantime, look what is happening to us and to our army.