Gaza war crimes report: Allegations of 49 illegal civilian deaths nixed
JPost 24 Aug by Yonah Jeremy Bob — In the 5th report on 2014 Gaza war crimes probes released by the IDF the death of 49 civilians deemed legal — The army on Wednesday closed four cases of allegations of killing large numbers of Palestinian civilians during the 2014 Gaza war. The decision was issued in the IDF legal division’s fifth report on war crimes probes since Operation Protective Edge ended two years ago. The IDF, the UN Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court and others have been investigating war crimes allegations related to the killing of around 2,100 Palestinians – including an unclear number of civilians – during the 2014 war in which 73 people were also killed in Israel and Gaza rocket fire made hundreds of thousands flee their homes. The report found that, in four cases of allegations of killing large numbers of civilians – adding up to a total of 49 people – the IDF strikes were legal due to either mistakes, Hamas being responsible or an attack not happening at all. Out of 360 incidents the IDF has reviewed, 31 have led to full criminal investigations, 13 have been closed and one, a case of theft, has led to an indictment. On July 20, 2014, it was alleged that seven civilians were killed in an attack on a structure in al-Bourj. The IDF explained that the target had been a Hamas site and that one Hamas agent and two Hamas senior agents were killed in the strike.
It did not dispute that the other four persons killed were civilians. Rather, it said that precautions had been taken to limit the collateral damage to civilians and that the military situation under the circumstances validly outweighed the harm to civilians. Regarding a July 21, 2014, attack that allegedly killed 12 from the Chiam family in Rafah, the IDF said that it had no record of carrying out any attacks in that area at the time. In addition, the report noted that pictures of the damage allegedly caused by the attack received by investigators did not support the allegations that the IDF was responsible … Next, there were allegations the IDF had killed 15 civilians from the Zuarov family on August 1 in Rafah. The IDF said the attack did occur and that one senior Hamas official, Nazmi Zuarov, and some other Hamas agents were killed. It did admit, however, in this case that civilians were killed due to faulty intelligence that indicated there were no civilians in the area. Based on the intelligence available to the IDF’s attacking forces at the time, which indicated no civilians were present, they could not be prosecuted, said the report. The IDF explicitly denied this attack was connected with attempting to stop the abduction of the body of Lt. Hadar Goldin, noting that this merely happened to occur the same day and in the same general area … Two years later, there is still no decision on whether to criminally investigate the two other cases from the war, the Hannibal Protocol incident and the Shejaia incidents. The fact there are still no decisions means IDF Military Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek has decided not to follow the 2015 Ciechanover Commission recommendation to make an initial decision even in the most complex case within 21 months of its occurrence – the deadline which passed several months ago. Indications are there will not be decisions on these two complex incidents in the coming months.
In Khuza'a, Mohammed stands on what used to be his house. 54 more homes surrounding him are completely destroyed. pic.twitter.com/UGQXW9ArcC
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) January 5, 2015
State Dept urges US citizens to leave Gaza ‘as soon as possible’
RT 24 Aug — The US State Department has urged Americans in the Gaza Strip to leave the area “as soon as possible.” The announcement follows an escalation between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military over the weekend. “Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile,” the travel warning statement reads. The State Department warned Americans against “all travel” to Gaza and urged those present to “depart as soon as possible when border crossings open.” The Wednesday warning is not the first time the State Department has issued a call to US citizens in the region – it issued a similar advisory in December 2015.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces kill youth two months before his wedding
Electronic Intifada 24 Aug by Maureen Clare Murphy — Israeli forces shot and killed 24-year-old Sari Muhammad Abu Ghurab on a highway in the northern occupied West Bank on Wednesday. The army told media that soldiers pursued a car from which rocks were being thrown at passing vehicles, hitting the windshield of a military jeep. The army said that when soldiers stopped the car, Abu Ghurab exited the vehicle and attempted to stab a soldier in the neck and was shot dead. A soldier was reported to have been lightly wounded during the incident. He was treated at a hospital and released. Photos from the scene apparently showing Abu Ghurab’s body still seated in the car which he was driving, and soldiers evacuating his body from the vehicle, appear to contradict the army’s account that Abu Ghurab exited the car before he was shot dead: The slain youth’s cousin, Saad Abu Ghurab, refuted the army’s claims that Sari had tried to stab soldiers. He told the Palestinian Quds news site that Sari was due to be wed in two months and was getting a new home ready to start his married life. He was also setting up a restaurant in the city of Nablus that he was planning to open in a few days. “These false allegations are an attempt by the occupation forces to promote [the idea] that he tried to stab a soldier, while the photos prove that he didn’t get out of the car he was driving, and that the occupation soldiers fired bullets directly at his chest,” Saad Abu Ghurab said. Sari Abu Ghurab was reportedly originally from the village of Qabatiya, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Nearly a dozen youths from Qabatiya have been slain during attacks or alleged attacks since a new phase of deadly confrontations between Palestinians and occupation forces began last autumn….
Israel returns body of slain Palestinian withheld for 5 months
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Israeli authorities returned the slain body of 19-year-old Abd al-Malak Abu Kharoub, a resident from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr ‘Aqab, at midnight on Wednesday after his body was withheld by Israeli for more than five months. A Ma’an reporter on the scene said that Israeli authorities closed the entrances of Salah al-Din street, as forces were deployed near the al-Mujahidin cemetery where the burial took place. Local sources told Ma’an that the Israeli police were deployed on rooftops of the buildings near the cemetery, while Israeli intelligence checked Abu Kharoub’s grave before returning the body to the family. A lawyer from prisoners’ rights group Addameer, Mohammed Mahmoud, said that Israeli authorities only allowed 25 people to attend the funeral in Jerusalem as one of several preconditions the family agreed to in order for the body to be released. Israeli authorities also imposed a fine of 20,000 shekels ($5,298) that the family would be expected to pay if they had violated any of the conditions. The head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) in Jerusalem, Nasser Qaws, said that Israeli authorities took pictures during the funeral of the attendees at Herod’s Gate, where the cemetery is located. Israeli authorities reportedly banned the family from speaking with the media following the burial. Mahmoud added that negotiations with Israeli authorities over the return of the remaining slain Palestinian bodies held by Israel were ongoing….
UN calls on Israel to investigate deadly al-Fawwar raid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, called on Israel to conduct a full investigation into the killing of a Palestinian teen by Israeli forces during an unprecedented raid into al-Fawwar refugee camp last week which left dozens of others injured by Israeli fire. In a statement released on Monday, the agency said it was “gravely concerned” about the killing of Muhammad Abu Hashhash — who was reportedly unarmed when he was shot in the chest by a sniper stationed some 100 meters away — and the numerous other injuries from Israeli live ammunition that led to the hospitalization of dozens of Palestinian civilians. According to the UN, at least 52 other camp residents were injured, 32 in the lower extremities, by live fire. At least 13 other camp residents had to be treated for severe tear gas inhalation, including a pregnant UNRWA teacher who required treatment after suffering from tear gas inhalation while she was at her home. UNRWA Director of West Bank Operations Scott Anderson commended in the statement “the selfless actions and collective effort of the medical teams from UNRWA and the Palestine Red Crescent Society who quickly responded in providing emergency medical care to the large number of civilians injured during the incursion into the camp,” and called on Israel to “uphold the standards of international law.” Witnesses told Ma‘an that medics had been prevented from accessing the site, and that Israeli soldiers stopped a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance that was trying to evacuate a seriously injured young man, preventing the ambulance from leaving the camp for an hour … According to UNRWA, during the devastating raid, “refugees were also prevented from entering or leaving the camp and a curfew was enforced to keep people trapped in their homes — a reminder of the recent closures in Hebron that created humanitarian access challenges for the 9,500 residents of Fawwar camp.“… According to Israeli army, the raid — during which some 200 refugee households were searched and ransacked, with families reporting being locked inside rooms in their homes for hours on end — was conducted as an “operational activity to uncover weaponry” and search for wanted Palestinians. By the end of the 20-hour-long raid, the army said they had uncovered just two pistols, a commando knife, and some military equipment. Three Palestinians were detained, including a father and son after Israeli forces claimed to have found a broken gun in the house.
Israeli forces carry out massive raids in Bethlehem, Hebron, injuring 6 Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Israeli forces launched massive raids in and around the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Monday night, as well as in the Hebron area, injuring a number of Palestinian youth with live fire and rubber-coated bullets during clashes, in what the Israeli army said was the“largest” operation “against weapons smuggling” in the occupied Palestinian territory in the past year. Palestinian security sources said that a large number of Israeli military vehicles stormed Bethlehem and the nearby towns of Beit Jala and Doha during predawn hours, as soldiers broke open the doors of several blacksmith and lathing workshops, confiscating machinery and equipment. The sources said Israeli troops left notices on the doors informing the owners that their workshops had been closed until further notice by an Israeli military order “because a workshop (in the area) manufactures weapons.” Several of the targeted workshops were reportedly owned by the Atiq, al-Hanash, Anistas, and Denho families. Israeli forces also broke into al-Jamiaa cafeteria in the Cinema neighborhood, located in the center of Bethlehem, at dawn, locking workers inside. Palestinian security sources added that clashes broke out in Bethlehem near the al-Azza refugee camp, as well as in Doha, between young Palestinian men and Israeli troops “who opened fire haphazardly” at the youth. At least one young man was injured in the leg by live fire and was taken to hospital for treatment. Sources from the Palestinian Red Crescent said that five other Palestinian youth were shot with rubber-coated bullets, and that six suffered from tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot. In addition to using live fire, rubber-coated bullets, and tear gas, locals reported that drones could be heard flying overhead during the clashes. Meanwhile, similar Israeli military raids were reported in the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank….
Israeli forces detain 14 Palestinians during predawn raids, injure 1 with live fire
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least 14 Palestinians, including a young woman and three minors, during predawn raids on Wednesday across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, while a Palestinian was injured with live fire during clashes with Israeli forces overnight in Jenin refugee camp, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians, at least two of whom were minors, identified by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) as Mahir Sarhan, 16, Muhammad Zeidani, and Yousif Basim al-Khatib, 14. Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained at least four Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron. Three of the detainees were taken from the village of Halhul, identified by the municipality as Abd al-Qader Moussa Janazreh, Ayman Ibrahim Imran, and Ali Hasan Sarayaa. Local sources also told Ma’an that undercover Israeli forces had “kidnapped” Ayman Ahmad Abdullah Hmeidat from the village of Surif. In the Bethlehem district, Israeli forces reportedly detained two Palestinians during overnight raids. PPS identified the detainees as Alaa Muhammad Taqatqa, 20, and Ahmad Ibrahim Faraj, 16. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that one Palestinian was detained from ‘Aida refugee camp, and another from the village of Beit Fajjar. PPS reported additional raids in Thinaba in the Tulkarem district, where Suhayb Iyad Abd al-Hadi, 20, was detained by Israeli forces, as well as in the district of Qalqiliya, where Anas Abd al-Qader Barham was detained. Ahmad Majid Rabayaa was also detained from the village of Meithalun in the northernmost district of Jenin. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two Palestinians were also detained in the village of Kharbatha al-Misbah in the Ramallah district.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted in the Jenin refugee camp during an Israeli army raid, as a Palestinian was injured with live fire after Israeli forces opened fire during the clashes. The injured youth was identified by Palestinian medical sources as Rafat Khalil al-Saadi, 25. Palestinian security sources said that the clashes broke out when Israeli soldiers raided the camp searching for the house of Ziyad Abu al-Haija.The head of the ambulance and emergency department at the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an that al-Saadi was taken to the Khalil Suleiman hospital in Jenin city after being wounded by a live bullet in the loins and two bullets in the leg.. Medical sources told Ma‘an that al-Saadi’s wounds were moderately severe and that he was in stable condition.
Palestinians also clashed with Israeli forces during overnight raids in the neighborhood of Hizma in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district, as Israeli soldiers shot rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas into the community, according to locals. No injuries were reported. Hizma has reportedly been placed under a security closure by Israeli forces for at least four weeks when the main entrances were closed by cement blocks, dirt mounds, and military checkpoints, according to a Ma‘an reporter.
Israeli security forces arrest West Bank document forger
JPost 23 Aug by Eliyahu Kamisher — Israeli security forces raided a large document forgery operation Monday night in the West Bank village of ‘Akraba, 18 kilometers southeast of Nablus. The operation undertaken by police in coordination with the IDF produced hundreds of fake identity cards, Israeli work visas, and permits to enter Israel. A 32-year-old Palestinian suspect was arrested and confessed to forging hundreds of fake documents and selling them for NIS 300, according to police. The suspect is detained and police are seeking to extend his detention. The police also seized a laptop, printer, and raw materials for making the documents. Last week, speaking at the Knesset State Control Committee, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that around 50,000-60,000 Palestinians illegally enter Israel daily from the West Bank. However only 4,300 of these persons are arrested each year.
Control and ID-check of Palestinians
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 23 Aug by ISM, al-Khalil Team — As a Palestinian you have to have your ID on you at all times, otherwise you may get detained or arrested. In Palestine they have 3 different kinds of ID. The green ID is for people who live in the West Bank. People who have this ID are not allowed to go to Gaza or Jerusalem. Then there is the green ID for people who live in Gaza, who are not allowed to be in the West Bank or in Jerusalem. And the last one is the Blue ID which is for Palestinians who live in Jerusalem, and they are not allowed to be in Gaza, a permit is needed. Imagine yourself going to buy a few groceries, and before you leave you have to remember to take your passport with you. This is how it is for Palestinian people every day. Just the fact that you always have to have your ID on you shows clearly how controlled the Palestinian people are, and how there are huge difference on your rights, depending on what family they were randomly born into; Israeli or Palestinian. Just imagine that soldiers can stop you any time, and there is nothing you can do about it. Not only constantly checked at checkpoints, but also randomly on the street. That’s called a flying checkpoint, and If the soldier is holding your ID you can’t go anywhere, it can be everything from minutes to hours, of them holding you from leaving. Asking Palestinians how many times they have been detained, they normally don’t give a number, because its uncountable. When you are 16 you receive the ID, so if are younger than 16, but look older, the Israeli military can claim to see your birthday certificate. This is very humiliating, and its often just to show off their power. One of the Palestinian men explains how there is no doubt that it’s not for creating safety, but just pure harassment, when they take their IDs for hours without even checking it….
Women of war: Meet the IDF’s special operations officers
Ynet 22 Aug by Elisha Ben Kimon — When IDF Special Forces go on covert operations, they receive crucial information from the special operations officers at the situation room. The Judea and Samaria Division’s five special operations officers talk about their challenging jobs and sleepless nights. Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 9:55pm: The phone in the Eztion Brigade’s situation room is ringing. An intelligence officer is on the line. “There is an indication that the terrorist has arrived at the destination,” he reports to the territorial brigade’s special operations officer, Lt. P. Within 20 minutes, we had forces inside the village,” Lt. P. recalls. “I sent ten different units into Surif, among them were five Special Forces units that were scrambled to the area: The Border Police’s counter-terrorism unit (Yamam), Duvdevan, and others. This was the beginning of a procedure known as ‘pressure cooker’ (code name for surrounding a terrorist who barricaded himself in a house). The adrenaline was insane: Sky-high excitement as we were all watching on the monitors. I organized the forces around the house. The village was still quiet. All of a sudden, we found ourselves in a state of crazy uncertainty. It turned out that the terrorist wasn’t there. For a week, information was flowing to us that he was moving between the villages in the Hebron and Etzion area. We had concrete information that he was planning to carry out a shooting attack in the immediate future, and all of a sudden he went missing on us. “The clock was ticking. There was immense pressure in the situation room. Then, a gun battle erupted. It was like the Wild West. The shots were coming from houses and rooftops. Then, a sigh of relief: The terrorist was sighted on one of the building’s floors. We used a bulldozer, which took a ‘bite’ out of one of the sides of the house. We gave the terrorist time to surrender, but the shooting continued. He refused to come out. We started demolishing the house. Later, I spoke on the phone to S., the officer in charge of special operations in the Judea District. She asked me, ‘did you get him?’ and I answered ‘yes.’ I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction, a little rest after almost a month.” That is how Lt. P. directed the forces that eliminated the terrorist Mohammed al-Fakih, who murdered Rabbi Miki Mark in Mount Hebron, about a month prior.
The interview with the five special operations officers, all women, took place in the Judea and Samaria Division headquarters. This is a position that only exists in the Judea and Samaria Division and is filled — almost exclusively — by young, female officers who are about 22 years old and hold the rank of lieutenant. Their weapon is an encrypted cellular device known as the “Mountain Rose,” which they don’t let out of their sight for a moment, constantly stepping out during the interview to talk to commanders and prepare them for the next operation. Their eyes are red with exhaustion and they’re fueled with massive amounts of coffee and adrenaline. “One time, I decided to count the number of calls I made in a day,” said Lt. E., the Ephraim Brigade’s (Qalqilya area) special operations officer. “I got to 400, but during the last wave of terror attacks, I think I got to more.”….
Israeli forces detain Palestinian woman at Hebron-area checkpoint
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Israeli forces Wednesday detained a Palestinian woman in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron for allegedly carrying a knife, according to locals. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces deployed at the Abu al-Rish checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque stopped 22-year-old Shifa Arif al-Atrash and detained her after searching her bag and allegedly finding a knife in her possession. According to Israeli media, al-Atrash was transferred for interrogation with Israeli intelligence.
Unauthorized visit to West Bank holy site ends in violence for ultra-Orthodox
Haaretz 23 Aug by Yotam Berger & Gili Cohen — Israeli troops had to extricate a group of about 60 Breslau Hasidim after Palestinians hurled rocks at their bus as they made an unauthorized visit to the site of Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank. A 17-year-old Israeli was lightly wounded by a rock. Police detained about half the group for questioning, after removing them from the scene. The Hasids’ lawyer, far-right activist Itamar Ben Gvir, said in response that “he regrets that the police detained them. When radical leftists go into Ramallah, no one stops them. Strange that when a group of Breslau Hasidim do so the police discriminates against them.” The tomb, a site where many Orthodox Jews believe the biblical figure of Joseph is buried, is located inside the largest Palestinian city of Nablus. It has been a frequent flashpoint of violence when Israelis visit the area.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian man at Gaza border crossing
GAZA (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — A Palestinian man was reportedly shot and injured by Israeli forces near a border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, medics told Ma‘an. The medical sources said that the 30-year-old Palestinian was injured after being shot in the foot at the Erez crossing between the besieged Palestinian enclave and Israel, giving no further information on the incident. They added that the man was taken to the Indonesian hospital and was in moderate condition.
Israeli forces wound Palestinian fisherman after opening fire on boats in the northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Israeli naval forces detained a Palestinian fisherman early Thursday after opening heavy fire at his boat off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources, while Israeli sources told Ma‘an a Palestinian fisherman was taken for medical treatment after being wounded with Israeli live fire. Head of the Palestinian fishermen union Nizar Ayyash told Ma‘an that the Israeli navy detained Abed al-Aziz Saadallah off the coast of Beit Lahiya after opening heavy fire at Palestinian fishing boats. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a Palestinian fisherman was detained after deviating from the “designated fishing zone,” and was also reportedly wounded by Israeli live fire. According to the spokesperson, Israeli forces told the fishermen to stop, as they shot warning shots into the air. When the boats failed to stop, Israeli forces shot towards the vessels, wounding one Palestinian with live fire. The spokesperson said that the wounded Palestinian was receiving medical treatment at Israel’s Ashdod port. The spokesperson added that during the incident shots were fired from the northern shore of the Gaza Strip toward Israeli naval forces.
Israeli naval forces open live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Israeli naval forces Tuesday evening opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Coordinator for fishermen committees Zakariya Bakr told Ma‘an that Israeli naval ships opened fire at fishing boats, after reportedly chasing the boats for two nautical miles.
Egyptian electricity lines to southern Gaza Strip back in operation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Egyptian power lines feeding the southern Gaza Strip were operating normally on Wednesday after three days of the power being disconnected due to damage. An official at Gaza’s electricity company told Ma‘an that the Egyptian power lines feeding Rafah and parts of Khan Yunis were working again, adding that the lines feed the southern Gaza Strip with 20 megawatts of power. Even at full capacity, Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza’s sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy needs. The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel’s crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.The enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages over the years, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.Gaza’s usual electricity schedule alternates eight hours of power followed by eight hours without.
Al-Qassam: Israeli captives to get same treatment as ours in its jails
GAZA (PIC) 22 Aug — Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, has said that the Israeli prisoners being held in the Gaza Strip will be treated the same way as the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. This came in a speech by spokesman for the Brigades Abu Obaidah during a military parade organized on Sunday in southern Gaza to commemorate the martyrdom of three senior Qassam leaders during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014. “The enemy should know that its prisoners will receive the same treatment that our prisoners receive in its jails,” Abu Obaidah said. The spokesman warned the Israeli occupation state of persisting in its “wanton and repressive acts against the Palestinian prisoners in its jails, stressing that al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas would spare no effort to liberate them.
Laziz the tiger and friends leave Gaza for new life
EREZ, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 24 Aug — Gaza’s last tiger left the war-ravaged Palestinian enclave Wednesday with monkeys, emus, a porcupine and other animals from a zoo dubbed the “world’s worst”, heading for a new life in South Africa and elsewhere. Laziz (Cutey in Arabic) the tiger and the 15 other remaining animals from the Khan Yunis zoo were driven on a trailer in cages to the Erez crossing before dawn, an AFP journalist said. The animals crossed the border en route to sanctuaries and zoos in South Africa, Jordan and Israel “to provide them a better quality of life”, the Israeli army said in a statement. As well as Laziz, five monkeys, two emus, two deer, two eagles, two turtles, a pelican and a porcupine were transferred, the Four Paws charity ensuring the animals’ welfare said. For months vets from Four Paws had been visiting the zoo in southern Gaza to treat the animals and transfer them out … “(Laziz) went into his transport crate without hesitation,” a Four Paws statement said. “He even seems to behave more calm in the crate now more than he has in his desolate cage.” “Laziz’s crate will be cooled with ice and a fan all day long.” In the years after its 2007 opening there were more than 100 animals housed at the zoo, but they were decimated by repeated wars and shortages of customers. The owners were unable to afford enough food, with some animals starving.”I am very sad,” lamented owner Ziad Aweda [from Reuters: “I have lived and worked nine years in this zoo. I was connected to the animals more than I was to people. Today I am forced to let them go so they can live better,” Oweida, 26, told Reuters. He said he will particularly miss eight-year-old tiger Laziz, whom he had raised since the animal was a cub. “I feel as if my soul has been taken away,” Oweida said] [See many photos of the animals here in the Daily Mail]
VIDEO: Gaza’s Shifah Hospital
Al Jazeera 24 Aug — A film by Ahmed Wahaidi — Two years on, a graphic and harrowing look behind the scenes at the Shifah Hospital in Gaza during the seven weeks of Israeli attacks in July and August 2014. The Shifah is Gaza’s biggest and oldest medical facility and the dead and injured were brought there day and night during almost two months of bombardment by Israeli forces. Thousands also took refuge in and around the hospital while Palestinian medics often put in 30 hour shifts. The conflict in Gaza in the summer of 2014 claimed 2,220 lives, two-thirds of whom were civilians. Over 11,000 more were injured and many of these were treated at the Shifah Hospital. Space, medicines, equipment and beds were all limited, power cuts frequent and the Out Patients department took a direct hit. Here, cameras record the suffering, chaos and distress – and we hear from Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian anaesthetist and trauma expert. A frequent visitor to the Shifah until his ban by Israel in November 2014, Gilbert brings desperately needed supplies – but also joins the Palestinian doctors in the constant, brutal decision-making about which patients should live and who should be left to die.
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid suspends hunger strike after 71 days
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid has suspended his hunger strike after spending 71 days without food to protest being held in administrative detention by Israel, prisoners’ rights group Addameer General Director Sahar Francis announced on Wednesday. Kayid went on hunger strike in June after Israeli authorities sentenced him to administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — on the day he was scheduled to be released from prison after serving a 14-and-a-half year sentence. Francis said that Kayid suspended his hunger strike after reaching an agreement with Israeli authorities to end his administrative detention at a specific date. Francis declined to release further details on Wednesday, stating that a press conference would be held on Thursday to disclose further information. However, anonymous Palestinian sources said that the agreement set the date for Kayid’s release to December 12. The announcement came the same day as a protest in support of Kayid in occupied East Jerusalem was repressed by Israeli forces, who violently assaulted the demonstrators at Damascus Gate in the Old City before detaining three. Kayid has been hospitalized after his health severely deteriorated due to his hunger. However, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has kept him shackled to his hospital bed and has had guards surrounding him at all times, policies the Palestinian Prime Minister’s office said amounted to “torture.” The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) “saluted Kayid for his fight against administrative detention which lasted 71 days. ”PPS called on Palestinians to keep supporting four other prisoners on hunger strike — Malik al-Qadi and Ayyad al-Hreimi, who have been on strike for 40 days; Muhammad al-Balboul who has been on strike for 49 days; and his brother Mahmoud Balboul, who has been on hunger strike for 52 days….
Palestinian PM office: Israel’s ‘horrific treatment’ of Bilal Kayid amounting to ‘torture’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — The Palestinian Prime Minister’s office called on Tuesday for the immediate release of Bilal Kayid, saying that Israel’s “horrific treatment” of the hunger-striking prisoner amounted to “torture.” Kayid has been on hunger strike for 70 days after Israeli authorities sentenced him to administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — on the day he was scheduled to be released from prison after serving a 14-and-a-half year sentence. Kayid has since been hospitalized after his health severely deteriorated. However, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has kept him shackled to his hospital bed and has had guards surrounding him at all times. “Israel’s horrific treatment of Bilal Kayid amounts to torture,” Jamal Dajani, the director of strategic communications at the Prime Minister’s Office, said. “The decision to keep Mr. Kayid imprisoned after he served his sentence is inhumane and violates basic human rights.” “Israel is violating all medical ethics by shackling a human being like an animal,” Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in Tuesday’s statement. “The Israeli authorities are directly responsible for Mr. Kayid’s well-being and should release him immediately.” An appeal was also presented to the Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday regarding the conditions in which Kayid was being held, in response to an earlier Israeli court decision which rejected a request that he no longer be handcuffed to his hospital bed and be allowed to have an outside doctor check on his health.
Palestinian prisoner suspends hunger strike after Israel agrees to end solitary confinement
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Palestinian prisoner Walid Masalma suspended his hunger strike after 38 days without food, after reaching an agreement with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) regarding his solitary confinement, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs announced on Wednesday. Palestinian prisoner leadership and IPS agreed that Masalma would spend three more months in solitary before being transferred back into general population prison. Masalma, a 41-year-old father of five who has spent the past 15 years imprisoned by Israel, began his hunger strike on July 18 to protest being held in solitary confinement since Oct. 26, 2015, after the IPS in Eshel prison claimed he attempted to escape. He was since transferred to the Soroka Medical Center over his deteriorating health. Masalma has reportedly developed intense chest and kidney pains and suffered from fainting and vomiting spells, as well as passed blood in his urine….
Palestinian released, placed under house arrest after serving 14-year sentence in Israeli prisons
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug – An Israeli judge Tuesday ordered the release of a Palestinian from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir who was redetained four days after being released from a 14-year sentence in Israeli prisons, according to local sources. Israeli Magistrate Court’s judge ordered the release of Jerusalemite prisoner Sufyan Fakhri Abdo from Israeli prison and imposed 14 days of house detention and a 10,000 shekel ($2,653) fine on him. Abdo’s father told Ma‘an that his son was detained on August 19, four days after being released following a 14-year sentence in Israeli prison, after Israeli authorities accused him of inciting violence during a march in Jabal al-Mukabbir. According to the father, the march was organized as a peaceful demonstration honoring his son after spending 14 years in Israeli prisons. Palestinians reportedly marched through the streets of the neighborhood, but did not approach any illegal settlements in the area. His father was also summoned by Israeli intelligence on Monday evening and held at a police station for two hours for interrogations. He was given five days of house arrest after he was released. The Israeli magistrate court judge ordered the release of ten Palestinian prisoners from Jabal al-Mukabbir and imposed house detention order for seven days and a 750 shekel fine ($199) for each Palestinian released.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
UN warns of a heightened risk of forcible transfers of Bedouins in the West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine warned in a statement on Tuesday of a heightened risk of the forcible transfer of Bedouins in the occupied West Bank. Robert Piper warned of the risks of forcible transfer after visiting the Bedouin community of Abu Nuwwar in the Jerusalem governorate southwest of the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim. Abu Nuwwar is one of several Bedouin villages facing forced relocation due to plans by Israeli authorities to build thousands of homes for Jewish-only settlements in the E1 corridor. The statement highlighted that last week Israeli authorities displaced 64 Palestinians, including 24 children, after demolishing 29 structures in eight locations, adding that Israeli forces have also destroyed or confiscated 85 civilian structures in 28 communities in the West Bank since the start of this month, leaving 129 Palestinians homeless and impacting the livelihoods of at least 2,100 Palestinians. “Among the 85 recently destroyed or confiscated structures, 24 had been provided by donors as emergency relief, including emergency shelters following previous home demolitions, animal sheds, latrines, a community center and a new drinking water network, the latter supported by UNICEF,” the statement read. The demolitions also affected almost 1,000 Bedouin Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley who, the statement highlighted, already suffer from extreme water scarcity. The statement also expressed concern over the situation in Susiya in the southern West Bank where Israeli authorities have made moves to destroy the entire village….
Israeli forces demolish 3 homes, cultural center in village of Umm al-Kheir
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Israeli bulldozers Wednesday demolished three Palestinian homes and a cultural center in the village of Umm al-Kheir in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, detaining an elderly disabled man in the process. The coordinator of popular committees in southern Hebron, Rateb al-Jbour, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village and demolished three homes, two of which belonged to Shuiab al-Hathalin, a disabled elderly man, while the third belonged to Suleiman al-Hathalin. Shuiab al-Hathalin was detained by Israeli forces following the demolition of his two homes. Israeli forces also demolished a cultural center in the village. According to al-Jbrour, Israeli forces had demolished several homes in the village during the past two weeks, claiming the properties were unlicensed. The village is located in Area C — the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military jurisdiction — where it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.
Peace Now: New settlement will add 100 more Israeli settlers in Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Israeli human rights group Peace Now Tuesday revealed further information on a planned settlement in the location of an Israeli military base in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, saying that the settlement plan would increase the number of Israeli settlers by 100. The group said in the statement that Israel’s Housing Ministry was planning to build 28 housing units at the military compound of Plugat Hamitkanim for Israeli settlers, after former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon approved a portion of the land for allocation to the ministry, adding that the move would increase the settler population in the city by 10 percent — adding approximately 100 settlers to the area. While Peace Now reported on Monday that the renovations for the housing units were already underway, the statement on Tuesday said the planning process for the new settlement had not yet begun in the Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee. Despite a legal opinion issued by the administration’s legal adviser in 2007 which concluded that it was forbidden to establish a settlement at the base, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the units for the settlement anyway. The housing plan reportedly seeks to sidestep the law by deducting the area in question from its military designation. However, Peace Now highlighted in the statement that, according to the administration’s legal adviser, the land was leased to the Hebron municipality in a protected lease agreement — first by the Jordanians and then by Israel — and should the military seizure be lifted, the land must be returned to its Palestinian tenants….
Israeli museum transfer sets ‘dangerous precedent’
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (Al Jazeera) 24 Aug by Ylenis Gostoli — A recent court ruling sanctioned the move of a rare archaeological library from East to West Jerusalem — At the entrance to the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, an old floor plan maps out the rooms that make up its collection. Artefacts from various historical periods were brought here during the British Mandate, with the museum founded in 1930. The majority were unearthed during British excavations at the turn of the century in historic Palestine. The museum was established with the philanthropic contributions of American oil magnate John D Rockefeller, whose name it later acquired. But the print on the museum’s floor plan features its original name: Palestine Archaeological Museum. Parts of the museum’s collection, particularly the rare books stored in its archaeological library, are set to be moved next year from the museum’s premises in East Jerusalem to a new location in West Jerusalem, a decision sanctioned last month by an Israeli court. Activists and archaeologists are worried that this could create a dangerous precedent and allow for more artefacts to be removed from the occupied territories and brought to Israel, in contravention of international law. The museum features an important archaeological library, including thousands of volumes. Some of the oldest books date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, including accounts from pilgrims and scholars who travelled to the region, while others from the 19th and early 20th centuries cover antiquities sites in the region….
Solidarity / BDS
Palestinians go green, cheer Scottish soccer fans’ solidarity
teleSUR 23 Aug — Chanting “I love Celtics,” Palestinian video praises Scottish soccer fans for “one of the biggest solidarity actions in European football history.” — Waving banners, blowing kisses, and chanting “I love Celtics” in accented English, men, women, and children at a West Bank refugee camp appeared on a video released Tuesday to thank the fans of Scottish champions Celtic soccer team for waving Palestinian flags last week at a match against an Israeli rival, and then raising $US 132,000 to pay the anticipated fine and donate to charity. Calling the gestures “one of the biggest solidarity actions in European football history,” a Palestinian community group, the Lajee Center – a cultural and sports project for children in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem – posted the video online Tuesday praising both the Celtics “Green Brigade” for waving the red, black, green and white Palestinian flags at the August 17th match in Celtics stadium against Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva….
Video: No Palestinian flags as Hapoel Be’er Sehva beat Celtic 2-0
Security personnel performed thorough security checks on Celtic fans to make sure no Palestinian flags would fly during the match between Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Celtic Glasgow in Beersheba.
Israeli activist seeks asylum in Canada
EI 22 Aug by Ali Abunimah — An Israeli citizen is claiming asylum in Canada, citing his government’s escalating repression of political activism, particularly the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Gilad Paz told The Electronic Intifada that he landed at Montreal airport on 11 August, after traveling from Tel Aviv, and immediately asked for political asylum. He said he told the Canadian asylum officer that he is a BDS and human rights activist. Paz, 34, is an attorney who specializes in civil cases and employment law. He has also been a member of Amnesty International’s Israel section and the leftist Zionist party Meretz for several years….
BDS campaign ‘winning battle for hearts and minds’
Al Jazeera 22 Aug by Jinan Almameary — The “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” campaign denies it has been defeated by Israel following claims by PM Netanyahu — An international campaign to exert economic pressure on Israel to end its violation of Palestinian rights has not been defeated, one of its founders has said, despite claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We are winning the global battle for hearts and minds,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist who co-founded the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in 2005. Since its launch, BDS has aspired to campaigns such as those seen during the anti-apartheid era, when people were called on to boycott goods from South Africa and divest from the country. Netanyahu’s recent claims that BDS is in retreat are “laughable”, Barghouti told Al Jazeera. “This [was] Netanyahu’s desperate attempt to deflect internal condemnation of his failure to stop BDS,” he added….
VIDEOS: Fatah militia leader killed by PA forces
Electronic Intifada 24 Aug by Maureen Clare Murphy — The fatal beating of a detainee at the hands of Palestinian Authority security forces in Nablus on Tuesday was met with street protests and condemnations from Palestinian factions and human rights groups. Ahmad Izzat Halawa, 50, was arrested during the pre-dawn hours at a home in the northern occupied West Bank city, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. He was taken to a Palestinian Authority compound where he reportedly “argued with security officers, who then severely beat him to death despite attempts by other security officers to rescue him,” PCHR stated. The rights group described the incident as an “unlawful” act of “revenge” for the killing of two Palestinian security officers in Nablus last Thursday. Security forces spokesperson Adnan Damiri told Al-Haq, another Palestinian human rights group, that Halawa was the most wanted suspect in connection to the fatal shootings. Halawa has been described by Palestinian media as a well-known leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah party, in the Nablus area. He is the third wanted person to be killed by Palestinian security forces in the city since Thursday.
“Torture and ill-treatment” The Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer described the slayings as “acts of torture and ill-treatment, which exemplify modern lynching techniques by government personnel.” James Heenan, head of the United Nations Human Rights Office in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, said his agency was “extremely concerned about the apparent extrajudicial execution” of Halawa, the Ma’an News Agency reported. Halawa’s killing prompted a slew of resignations by members of the Fatah party, which dominates the Palestinian Authority. Halawa’s family condemned the slaying, stating that he was killed “in cold blood without the slightest regard for the sanctity of human life.” Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesperson for the Islamist party Hamas, accused the Palestinian Authority security forces of “a policy of field executions.”
Hundreds protested in Nablus following the killing on Tuesday. Demonstrators marched on the streets calling for the departure of Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah, Nablus governor Akram Rajoub and security forces commander Nidal Abu Dukhan before being dispersed by Palestinian officers, who reportedly used tear gas on the crowd. Shops in Nablus’ Old City were shuttered after a general strike was declared: Hamdallah announced that a committee had been formed to investigate the “exceptional” incident. The deadly events of the past week come one month after two other Palestinian security forces personnel were shot dead in Nablus. Adnan Damiri said on Sunday that Palestinian security forces would continue their arrest campaigns in Nablus until “the phenomenon of illegal weapon possession is brought to an end,” the Ma’an News Agency reported. Damiri said that security forces found weapons in Nablus’ Old City, suggesting that they were supplied by Israel to foment intra-Palestinian tensions.
Local elections in Nablus postponed after ‘extrajudicial execution’ by Palestinian police
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Political factions and institutions in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus have decided to postpone municipal elections set to take place in October in the wake of violent confrontations between armed groups and Palestinian security forces which culminated in the brutal killing of one suspect while in police custody. According to Palestinian official sources, a meeting was held by the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Palestinian officials in Nablus to discuss recent developments in the city, and a decision to postpone the elections in the city — and not the entire Nablus district — was taken unanimously. The sources added that a letter would be sent to Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah for him to approve the decision.
Meanwhile, parliamentary blocs of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) demanded on Wednesday that a committee of parliamentary representatives investigate the death of Ahmad Izz Halaweh, reportedly the most prominent Nablus-area leader of Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who was beaten to death by police officers on Tuesday.The PLC members called for an end to Palestinian security forces’ extrajudicial procedures, the prosecution of Halaweh’s killers, and for the maintenance of calm and law enforcement in Palestinian society.
Palestinian security forces reportedly raided Area C village without Israeli approval
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Palestinian security forces reportedly entered a Jerusalem district village of the occupied West Bank in Area C on Tuesday, Israeli media reported, in a highly unusual move in an area officially under full Israeli military control. According to Israeli Channel 2, dozens of members of the Palestinian National Security Forces entered the village of ‘Anata in the early hours on Tuesday as part of a search for Palestinian suspects wanted in the deaths of two Palestinian police officers, as part of a security crackdown turned deadly in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The Palestinian security forces reportedly detained the suspects in ‘Anata before returning to Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas. Israeli authorities confirmed to Channel 2 that Palestinian security forces did not coordinate with them before entering ‘Anata, which is located in the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control. According to the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is divided into three zones, which include Area A, the 18 percent of the territory officially under PA control; Area B, the 22 percent under administrative Palestinian control and Israeli military control. In contravention of the agreement, Israeli forces regularly raid Area A, whereas PA forces only enter Israeli-controlled areas in extremely rare circumstances.
A step back for Palestinian workers’ rights and for Israeli democracy / Stuart Appelbaum
Haaretz 23 Aug — Israel’s justice minister has recently instituted a new regulation that will undermine the right of Palestinians living in the West Bank who are employed by Israelis – in Israel or the West Bank – to seek legal redress for abusive and unlawful labor practices. The Jewish Labor Committee opposes this new regulation, explicitly designed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, both of the right-wing, pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi party, to prevent Palestinian employees of Israeli businesses from benefiting from Israel’s progressive labor laws. We call on the Knesset and Israel’s Supreme Court to act forthrightly to defend these workers’ just rights to fair labor practices, and nullify the new regulation. Under the new requirement, non-citizens will be obligated to make a monetary deposit before submitting a lawsuit against an employer in Israeli labor court, unless they can immediately present evidence proving their claim. If they cannot do so, the deposit will be forfeited. Such a measure would primarily affect Palestinians living in the West Bank – most notably those who work on Israeli-owned farms in the Jordan Valley, who will greatly suffer the consequences – by placing a heavy financial burden on those who seek to sue their Israeli employers for labor-law violations. Israeli farmers in the valley, who in the past have been sued for labor law violations, have applauded this new measure….
IOF confiscates money of Palestinian woman at crossing
RAMALLAH (PIC) 22 Aug — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) confiscated 1,198 Jordanian dinars [about US$1691] from the wife of Khalil Assaf, head of the Palestinian independent personalities’ assembly in the West Bank, after detaining her for hours while heading to Jordan via al-Karama crossing. Khalil Assaf revealed that the IOF stopped him along with his wife and children at the crossing and searched them twice. Then, they rounded up his wife and took her to the police station of Ma’aleh Adumim where they detained her until three o’clock in the morning, he added.
Turkey slams Israeli strikes in Gaza despite reconciliation
ISTANBUL (AP) 22 Aug — Turkey on Monday condemned what it said were “disproportionate” Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, insisting that a recent reconciliation pact doesn’t preclude it from speaking out against the country’s actions. Israel responded hours later, calling Turkey’s condemnation “baseless” and vowing to defend its civilians. The Israeli military carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, targeting Hamas positions in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that hit an Israeli border town. “The fact that our ties with Israel have normalized does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of such attacks that target the Palestinian people,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “On the contrary, we will continue to (defend) the Palestinian cause,” it said, calling Israel’s actions “against international laws and especially against consciences.” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon responded: “The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations.”….
After bombarding Gaza, Israel attacks Syria’s Golan Heights
teleSUR 22 Aug — Israeli aircraft attacked a government target in Syria on Monday after claiming stray fire from fighting between government forces and rebel groups struck near the border in the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. The Israeli army itself said it believed that the mortar fire was not directed at the Israeli military in the occupied Golan but nonetheless retaliated and targeted a “Syrian army launcher.” “Earlier, stray fire from Syrian conflict breached Israeli territory in the Golan Heights,” an Israeli military spokesperson said in a tweet. “IAF targeted Syrian Army launcher in Syrian Golan Heights, in response,” he said, referring to the attack by the Israeli Air Force. The Syrian fire had hit an open area near the border in the Golan Heights, causing no injuries, Reuters reported. Over the past five years of the conflict in Syria, Israel has struck Syrian government targets several times….
UN to exhibit drawings by soldier whose body is held in Gaza
JTA 23 Aug — The drawings of Hadar Goldin, an Israeli soldier who was killed by Hamas in Gaza where his body is being held, will be exhibited at UN headquarters in New York. A main exhibition area of the building will display the drawings during the General Assembly in September. Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha of Kfar Saba, and his twin brother, Tzur, will attend the exhibit’s opening at the United Nations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will speak before the General Assembly. The exhibit is titled “The Final Peace,” named for a misspelling by Goldin, a lieutenant, in one of his drawings. The Goldin family decided to hold the exhibit after a curator who visited them during the shiva week saw the drawings and was impressed by his artwork … Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, is working with the world body’s officials and representatives from various countries to arrange diplomatic meetings for the Goldins aimed at ensuring the return of the remains of Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, whose remains also are held by Hamas, for burial in Israel…
Prisoner not seen publicly since 2002 at Gitmo hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) 23 Aug — The first high-profile al-Qaida terror suspect captured after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 appeared Tuesday at a U.S. government hearing called to determine whether he should remain in detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian not seen publicly since his capture by the CIA in 2002, sat expressionless during the brief hearing. Zubaydah was also the first to vanish into the CIA’s secret “black site” prison network and was subjected to “enhanced interrogation.” The review panel issued no immediate ruling on his status. He has been held at Guantanamo Bay since September 2006. The U.S. contended that Zubaydah, 45, was one of the most senior figures in al-Qaida when he was captured in Pakistan. It has since dropped that claim. Zubaydah’s lawyers deny he was a member of al-Qaida. Following his capture, the CIA under President George W. Bush initiated an interrogation program, now widely viewed as torture. Under this once-secret program, Zubaydah was subjected to what the Bush administration called “enhanced interrogation” in the belief that he was withholding information about al-Qaida. A Senate report released in 2014 said that belief was false. Zubaydah was subjected to the torment of waterboarding 83 times in August 2003. Straining under a waterlogged cloth clamped over his face, Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth,” according to CIA emails cited in the Senate report. He was body-slammed by his captors. He was hooded, then unmasked and ominously shown a coffin-like box. In a statement prepared for the review and provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday, a lawyer for Zubaydah asserted that he poses no danger to the U.S. “Abu Zubaydah is not now and never has been an enemy of the United States and has been involved in no terroristic acts,” the lawyer, Mark P. Denbeaux, said in the statement….
Homeland Security cuts water supply to native tribes protesting pipeline
teleSUR 23 Aug — Homeland Security head Greg Wilz claimed the removal of the water tanks was based on alleged unlawful activity — North Dakota’s homeland security removed water tanks and state-owned trailers from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest campsite Monday afternoon, taking away the camp’s main drinking water supply as the sun heated up, bringing temperatures to around 90 degrees. “I feel like I just got shot down,” said Johnelle Leingang, executive secretary to Standing Rock Sioux Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II and the nation’s emergency response coordinator. “It’s very hurtful,” she added, according to the Bismarck Tribune. The protests have temporarily halted the building of the US$3.8 billion oil pipeline. The Bakken pipeline, as it is also known, is almost as long as the previously proposed Keystone XL and will run through wildlife areas, sacred Native American sites and the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, prompting its critics to assert that the pipeline poses a major threat to Indigenous life as well as ecosystems. Right before noon, a pickup truck backed up to the water tanks and hauled them away, along with two air-conditioned trailers and a command center vehicle that had all been delivered last week by the North Dakota Department of Health at the request of the Standing Rock. Homeland Security Division Director Greg Wilz, claimed the removal was based on alleged unlawful activity, “Based on the scenario down there, we don’t believe that equipment is secure.” Protesters believe that it is meant as further punishment for the growing protests. The campsite’s numbers have grown to about 4,000, with members from across North America sending delegations, including the Kickapoo Nation in Mexico, according to the Censored News blog.