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A number of IDF soldiers have over the last year faced investigation and penalty for documenting themselves performing questionable acts in front of Palestinian prisoners or while on patrol.
A new video uploaded to YouTube shows an Israel Defense Forces soldier wriggling in a belly dance beside a bound and handcuffed Palestinian woman, to the cheers of his comrades who were documenting the incident.
The IDF’s internal investigation department ordered an immediate probe into the matter after the Ch. 10 television program Tzinor Laila caught wind of the clip on the internet. The full clip and the details behind the incident will be broadcast on the show just before midnight on Monday.
A number of IDF soldiers have over the last year faced investigation and penalty for documenting themselves performing questionable acts in front of Palestinian prisoners or while on patrol.
In August, former soldier Eden Abergil raised controversy by posting pictures of herself beside a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner on her Facebook page.
Days later, three IDF soldiers were arrested taking photographs of themselves alongside cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees using their cellphones.
Photographs uploaded by Abergil and labeled “IDF – the best time of my life,” depicted her smiling next to Palestinian prisoners with their hands bound and their eyes covered.
A comment attached to one of the photos of the soldier smiling in front of two blindfold men and posted by one of Abergil’s friends read “That looks really sexy for you,” with Abergil’s response reading: “I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I’ll have to tag him in the photo.”
A comment allegedly added by Abergil to her Facebook page later that wee said that she would “gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them.”
“In war there are no rules,” Abergil allegedly wrote on the wall of her profile page.
Other soldiers faced disciplinary action over the last year for uploading video of themselves stopping a patrol in the West Bank to dance to American electro-pop singer Kesha’s hit Tick Tock.
The video “Batallion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah” shows six dancing Nahal Brigade soldiers, armed and wearing bulletproof vests, patrolling as a Muslim call to prayer is heard. Then the music changes and they break into a Macarena-like dance.
The video was uploaded over the weekend, and quickly spread across Facebook pages and blogs before it was removed by those who uploaded it.
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The issue of Israeli settlements has captured attention far beyond the arena of international politics. Several celebrities have now thrown their weight behind what is being termed a “cultural boycott” against further building on Palestinian land. But with Israel’s construction freeze due to expire at the end of the month, there are doubts that these efforts will make any impact. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports.
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Israeli settlers are reported to have set fire to a mosque in a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank, damaging prayer rugs and a large number of copies of the Quran, as well as spraying anti-Arab graffiti on the walls.According to witnesses, five Jewish settlers broke into a mosque in Beit Fajjar in the early hours of Monday and set it alight before the morning prayers, Ahmad Thawabteh, the town's mayor, told Al Jazeera.
The Israeli military told Al Jazeera that primary investigations showed Hebrew graffiti and burnt carpets at the mosque, located south of Bethlehem.
Avital Leibovitch, a spokeswoman for Israel's military, said Israeli authorities will bring the guilty parties to justice.
"The Israeli police ... have opened a very widespread investigation; the other security forces in Israel will be a part of [it], as well as Palestinian information that has some contribution to this investigation,” she told Al Jazeera.
“We see this incident in a very severe manner. We will do the utmost to find these lawbreakers and bring them to court.”
Emotions running high
Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh, reporting from the mosque, said emotions are quite high in the town.
“It was a little before three in the morning when residents saw smoke coming out of the mosque, that they rushed in to put out the fire,” she said.
“We heard residents [break] into chants about revenge. Much of the talk here is [calling this a] religious type of attack rather than a politically motivated one.”
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said: “Certainly this is something that is ratcheting up tensions at a time when the Israeli cabinet are meeting to decide on extending the settlement freeze.
“A mosque was burned in the West Bank earlier this year by settlers who say it was on their land – land that they claim and occupy.
“There is certainly a pattern here. There will be a settler demonstration north of the West Bank today which is also linked to a mosque that the settlers want destroyed.”
Vandals occasionally spray-paint the words “price tag” on buildings and cars, suggesting that the attacks are the “price” for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb the growth of illegal settlements.
Human-rights groups say the Israeli government does not take the attacks seriously enough.
A report by Amnesty International, the London-based rights group, found that “impunity remains the norm” for settlers accused of vandalism and physical attacks on Palestinians.
The incident in Beit Fajjar comes as Israeli and Palestinian officials prepare to resume indirect negotiations.
Palestinian leaders are pushing for a complete freeze in new Israeli construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, approved last year a temporary halt in West Bank settlement growth – but it does not apply to East Jerusalem.
Many communities in the West Bank have ignored the order and continued new construction.
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Discrimination faced by Palestinians living within Israel’s borders remains one of the key sticking points in Middle East peace talks. Umm al-Fahm is a town made up almost entirely of Palestinian Israelis – those who found themselves within the new border when Israel was created in 1948. Israel’s declaration of independence, the equivalent of a constitution, states that all citizens are equal but the one-fifth of the population who are Palestinian, believe they are less equal than others. Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan reports from Umm al-Fahm, Israel.
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Documentary about Israeli peace activists. For more information – join on Facebook > http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=134111073300491
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GAZA: Israhell´s “humanitarian” siege of Gaza “How is the disclosure that Israel forbids the entry of sage and ginger, yet allows in cinnamon, related to security needs?
For a partial list of the permitted and prohibited goods, click here.
Gisha responds to a State submission in its Freedom of Information Act petition: How Will Disclosing Whether Coriander Is or Isn’t Allowed into the Gaza Strip Harm Israel’s National Security?Thursday, May 6, 2010 – After 12 months of unsuccessful attempts by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement to obtain documentation from the Israeli authorities about Israel’s policy concerning the entry of food and other goods into the Gaza Strip, and after claiming for many months that no such documents exist, Israel has finally admitted that it does indeed possess the information requested by Gisha, including a list of goods whose admission into the Gaza Strip is permitted. Following a petition submitted by Gisha under the Freedom of Information Act, and as a result of the Tel Aviv District Court’s rejection of the State’s claim that it had already provided all relevant information, the State last week submitted its response to the court. In this response the State apologized for “inaccurate statements made to the court”, that it claimed were the result of a misunderstanding and admitted to the existence of four primary documents. Following this admission, however, the State refused to disclose the contents of the documents. It argued that, despite not previously raising such an objection, disclosure of the documents “…would harm national security and foreign relations”. Gisha today filed its response to the court.The documents whose existence the State now confirms are: (1) “The procedure for admitting goods into the Gaza Strip,” which regulates the processing of requests for transfer of goods to Gaza and updates of the list of products allowed into the Gaza Strip, (2) “The procedure for monitoring and assessing supply in the Gaza Strip” a document which regulates the monitoring of the level of supply of goods in Gaza to prevent shortages, (3) “A list of humanitarian products approved for admission into the Gaza Strip” which outlines the products which may be transferred to Gaza, and (4) a presentationcalled “Food Needs in Gaza – Red Lines,” a document that reportedly establishes the minimal nutritional requirements for the subsistence of the residents of the Gaza Strip. This document purportedly contains detailed tables of the number of grams and calories of each kind of food each resident should be permitted to consume, broken down by age and sex, apparently in order to establish a minimal threshold for restrictions on the admission of goods.Regarding the first three documents, the State relied on an exception in the Freedom of Information Act to argue that it is concerned that harm would be done to Israel’s national security or its foreign relations if these working documents are revealed. The State refused to explain why revealing the documents would harm national security, arguing that the facts and reasons are so confidential that it could only present them to the court on an ex parte basis, i.e. in a closed hearing without the presence of Gisha’s lawyers. In relation to the “Red Lines” document, the State argued that it is not required to disclose it under the Freedom of Information Act because it is a draft document that does not serve as the basis for policy. However, this argument does not provide an answer to the question of how Israel manages to “provide effective warning of expected shortages” of goods in Gaza while continuing to insist that there is no working document that defines the minimum required quantities?“It is not clear why Israel, instead of promoting transparency, chooses to invest so many resources in the attempt to conceal information”, said Adv. Tamar Feldman of Gisha, who wrote the petition. “How is the disclosure that Israel forbids the entry of sage and ginger, yet allows in cinnamon, related to security needs? It is also hard to imagine how disclosing this information would harm Israel’s foreign relations, unless the State is equating fear of harm to Israel’s image with fear of harm to its foreign relations”.In the petition submitted by Gisha, the Ministry of Defense and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories were asked to answer very basic questions about Israel’s policy concerning the entry of food and other vital goods into the Gaza Strip, a policy that is shrouded in thick haze that obscures the State’s procedures. So, for example,it is not clear why Israel refuses to allow into Gaza products such as cans, which would allow farmers in Gaza to preserve and market their tomatoes, yet permits the transfer of packaged tomato paste manufactured in Israel. Nor is it clear how the decision to ban the import of other raw materials for industry such as industrial salt or large blocks of margarineare related to the security needs which are supposed to inform the policy for the crossings into the Gaza Strip.Ref: GishaFood Shortages In Gaza Raise “Serious Questions About The Underlying Legality Of The Blockade.” According to Dr. Guilfoyle: “The BBC has reported UN agencies as saying that insufficient aid is reaching Gaza, possibly less than one quarter of daily needs. This raises serious questions about the underlying legality of the blockade.The relevant rules of armed conflict prohibit intentionally starving the civilian population and require that humanitarian supplies essential to survival must be allowed to pass, albeit subject to certain controls by the blockading power. To maintain a population at a level just above the bare minimum needed for survival might arguably be within the strictest letter of the law, but could never seriously be thought consistent with its spirit. Calls for the immediate cessation of the blockade may well have a good case in law as well as in humanitarian policy.” [Times of London, 6/1/10, emphasis added]
- 2006: Israeli Government Adviser Speaks Of Putting “Palestinians On A Diet.” According to the Christian Science Monitor: “Israel says it will withhold $55 million a month in taxes and other fees collected by Israel, but owed to Palestinians. “‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,’ Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, told the Israeli media.” [Christian Science Monitor, 2/27/06]
Israeli Blockade Exacerbating Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza. According to Amnesty International: “Israel’s military blockade of Gaza has left more than 1.4 million Palestinian men, women and children trapped in the Gaza Strip, an area of land just 40 kilometres long and 9.5 kilometres wide. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food price rises caused by shortages have left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law.” [Amnesty International, 6/1/10]
Gaza Blockade Is Only Hurting Civilians. As the Independent explains, “It is widely accepted internationally that the blockade is hurting the civilian population much more than Hamas, whose grip has tightened in the last three years. It has destroyed a once-entrepreneurial and productive economy, ensured that 80 per cent of its population now depend on food aid, left most of its water undrinkable, and prevented reconstruction of some 75 per cent of the buildings destroyed by Israel’s devastating military offensive in the winter of 2008-9, not to mention many, many thousands more destroyed since the beginning of the intifada in 2000; or the building of 100 new schools the UN refugee agency UNRWA desperately needs to meet its ever-soaring demands. It’s because world leaders understand this – at least on a theoretical basis since few ever enter Gaza – that the Quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN has repeatedly called for the siege to be lifted.” [Independent, 6/2/10]
Gaza Blockade Is Collective Punishment. According to Amnesty International: “This gratuitous exacerbation of the privations already suffered by the inhabitants of Gaza seriously hampered their access to health care and education and destroyed industries and livelihoods. Imposed ostensibly to deter rocket-firing into Israel by Palestinian armed groups, the blockade was nothing less than an outrage – the imposition of collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza. All too predictably, it hit hardest on the most vulnerable – children, the elderly, the homeless and the sick, including those in need of medical treatment outside Gaza – not the armed militants responsible for rocket firing.” [Amnesty International, accessed 6/3/10]
UN: Since Blockade Is “Collective Punishment,” It Violates The Geneva Convention. According to a 2009 report to the United Nations: “As noted by senior United Nations human rights and humanitarian officials, among others, the blockade of Gaza amounts to collective punishment, which is prohibited under international humanitarian law. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that ‘No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or terrorism are prohibited. [...] Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.’” [UN Report, 11/6/09]
Ref: Political Correction
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As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time, hundreds of IDF commandos stormed the Free Gaza international humanitarian fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have been murdered and more than 50 were injured. Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.
For days the Israeli government prepared the Israeli society for the massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had ‘terrorists’ on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters.
Make no mistake. If I knew exactly where Israel was heading and the possible consequences, the Israeli cabinet and military elite were fully aware of it all the way along. What happened yesterday wasn’t just a pirate terrorist attack. It was actually murder in broad day light even though it happened in the dark.
Yesterday at 10 pm I contacted Free Gaza and shared with them everything I knew. I obviously grasped that hundreds of peace activists most of them elders, had very little chance against the Israeli killing machine. I was praying all night for our brothers and sisters. At 5am GMT the news broke to the world. In international waters Israel raided an innocent international convoy of boats carrying cement, paper and medical aid to the besieged Gazans. The Israelis were using live ammunition murdering and injuring everything around them.
Today we will see demonstrations around the world; we will see many events mourning our dead. We may even see some of Israel’s friends ‘posturing’ against the slaughter. Clearly this is not enough.
The massacre that took place was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’ expands with the more dead it leaves behind.
The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw yesterday wasn’t just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society.
It is no secret that Palestinians are living in a siege for years. But it is now down to the nations to move on and mount the ultimate pressure on Israel and its citizens. The massacre was committed by a popular army that followed instructions given by a ‘democratically elected’ government.
Considering the fact that Israel stormed naval vessels sailing under Irish, Turkish and Greek flags, both NATO members and EU countries must immediately cease their relationships with Israel and close their airspace to Israeli airplanes.
Considering yesterday’s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely. Israel is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless about human life, as we have been following the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter; Israel actually seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.
REf: Al jazeera
– Gilad Atzmon (gilad.co.uk) is an Israeli-born writer and jazz musician living in London. He had previously served in the Israeli military but he is currently an anti-racism campaigner. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America.
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