Work of UN employees impeded by delays at Israeli checkpoints

Bethlehem – Ma’an – exclusive report – After receiving several complaints from UN officials about the treatment they receive at Israeli military checkpoints, Ma’an sent a reporter to monitor southern West Bank checkpoints. He found that Israeli soldiers at military checkpoints deliberately undermine UN employees and impede their activity.

UN employees travel to their working places in Jerusalem in buses with UN written on the side. However, Israeli soldiers do not hesitate to stop them and keep them waiting for a long time at checkpoints.

In March 2008, Israeli soldiers began to adopt a new way of checking UN employees from Bethlehem and Hebron in the southern West Bank when they head to their headquarters in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem through the ‘tunnels’ checkpoint. Israeli soldiers began to order UN employees to step out of their buses to have their identity cards inspected, ignoring all the immunity and privileges that UN employees enjoy all over the world.

Israeli soldiers inspected every single UN vehicle more thoroughly than other cars. When employees complain, the inspection process is prolonged.

According to an official UN source in charge of Palestinian refuge camp affairs, the UN has lost more than 4,000 working hours (600 working days) during March due to inspections at Israeli checkpoints at the entrance to Jerusalem. 3,000 working hours were lost during April.

To circumvent the delays, UN employees use the Wadi An-Nar road then enter Jerusalem from the east through Az-Z’ayyim checkpoint which is a much greater distance than the more direct route through the ‘tunnel’ checkpoint which is only 15 minutes drive from their offices.

Ref: Maan

David killed by Golaith…

Israel hides truth about ongoing colonization

The government is refusing to publish a database containing
full details about the settlement enterprise in the territories,
including outposts and neighborhoods built across the Green
Line. In response to a High Court of Justice petition on the
matter, the Defense Ministry is arguing that publication would
harm state security and Israel’s foreign relations.

In October 2006, Haaretz revealed the existence of the Spiegel
Report – the largest database ever compiled by the state on the
settlements, by then special adviser to the defense minister
Brigadier General Baruch Spiegel. The report, whose
preparation was kept secret, revealed that extensive building
was carried out without permits on dozens of veteran
settlements – not just outposts – often on privately owned
Palestinian land. Spiegel’s data came from the Civil
Administration and other government agencies, as well as from
photographic sorties carried out by civilian aircraft leased by
the military establishment.

The data collection began after Spiegel and other Defense
Ministry officials realized that the state’s figures on the
settlements were incomplete. It became clear that often the
state’s own information was incomplete in comparison with the
data presented by the U.S. administration or gathered by Peace
Now’s monitoring staff. The lacunae stemmed from the
government’s policy of looking the other way. In some cases,
information was deliberately kept hidden in order to help the
settlers expand their control over land without having to
contend with judicial oversight of their activities.

At the time, military sources described the information as
“explosive” from a security and foreign-policy point of view,
and claimed that part of the reason for the secrecy about the
database was to avoid embarrassing Israel’s relations with the
U.S. In the wake of reports about the database, the Movement
for Freedom of Information in Israel and Peace Now petitioned
the district administrative court in Tel Aviv, demanding that the
database be released for publication in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Law.

Last week the Tel Aviv district prosecutor’s office submitted a
pre-petition response including a statement from Brigadier
General Mike Herzog, Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s chief of
staff. Herzog and the prosecution asked the court to bar
publication of the material. They claim that while they have no
quarrel with the principle of freedom of information they seek
to invoke Chapter 9A of the law to prevent publication “for fear
of harming state security and foreign relations.”

In his statement, Herzog argued that, “At the present time,
public disclosure of the material could cause injury,” about
which “we are unable to expand upon.” The attorney’s office
even asked the court for an in camera session, without the
presence of the petitioners, during which the state would
explain the basis of its claim. Judge Michal Rubiyet issued a
decision on the matter.

Ref: Haaretz

Gaza: The Killing Zone – Israel/Palestine

life in Gaza is a constant gauntlet of Israeli sniper fire, military rockets and army bulldozers. No one is safe. In light of the escalating tensions, we’re bringing back one our most moving documentaries, a hard-hitting expose of life in the Occupied territories. We speak to the children caught in the crossfire and find out the true cost of Israel’s targeted assassinations policy

Ref: journeyman pictures

James Miller

‘Breakthrough’ in Gaza death case

Israel to compensate family of British filmmaker killed by IDF
Film-maker ‘murdered’ by soldier