Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Al Ma'sara demonstration and a note on disinformation / Manifestation à Al Ma'sara et une note sur la désinformation, 23.03.2012

(c) Anne Paq/, Al Ma'sara, 23.03.12.

I am posting quite late these photos about the last weekly demonstration in Al Ma'sara, but here they are.
What was striking that day was the number of Israeli soldiers, almost more numerous than the demonstrators who once again were prevented to reach the lands behind the route of the Wall. Even walking one the side of the road was not allowed. Symbolically some olive trees were planted after the protesters finally manage to get through a line of Israeli soldiers and a bit of pushing. The sheep had also problems passing the line. You could see the hesitation of the Israeli soldiers facing with this daunting quesiton: should we let the sheep pass or not?
An officer intervened to open the way to the sheep..but they closed it to the Palestinians who as always still remain in high spirit: the Palestinian women did some singing and dancing and we all went away.

This not the end of the story. Later in the evening I read an article claiming that three women have been injured in Al Ma'sara. The article even claimed that the women "suffered bruising". Soon of course the headline was circulated on tweeter. It was a false allegation. I was there and documenting the whole demonstration; as well as many photographers and cameramen. If some women would have been beaten, then the pictures would have been circulated right away. Of course I am not defending the Israeli army. I have witnessed countless brual acts of attacks against unarmed demonstrated. But during this demonstration, nothing of that sort happened, even if this is true that the Israeli soldiers pushed back some demonstrators who were trying to pass them. I dont think even a woman was touched by a soldier at this particular demonstration (again in other demonstrations; I saw some Israeli soldiers violently attacking some women). I shared the media report with somebody else from the village who contacted the media and told them that this was untrue and later on they changed the report. But this is not the first time that I saw that some Palestinians; sometimes for personal gain of some sort, distorting the truth.

I dont want this to be used in a direction that will re-enforce the feeling that: "see Palestinians are lying all the time and making false allegations". This is rather an exception, and the lies that the Israeli propaganda machine are using all the time are by far more systematic and even further from the truth, usually transforming the victims of oppression to "radical and violent rioters".

I just want to say: exaggering the truth or making out facts is unnecessary and damaging. The situation is bad enough. Sticking to the facts is what we need.


Je poste assez tard ces photos de la dernière manifestation hebdomadaire contre le Mur à Al Ma'sara, mais les voilà.

Ce qui était assez frappant ce jour-là était le nombre de soldats israéliens, presque plus nombreux que les manifestants. Comme d'habitude; les maniesftants ont été bloqués par les soldats et n'ont pu atteindre leurs terres derrière le tracé du Mur.
Même marcher sur le côté de la route n'a pas été autorisé. Symboliquement, quelques oliviers ont été plantés après que les manifestants aient réussi à passer une ligne de soldats israéliens et un peu de bousculades. Les moutons ont même eu aussi des problèmes à passer la ligne de soldats. On pouvait voir l'hésitation sur le visage des soldats israéliens face à cette question de taille: faut-il
ou non laisser passer les moutons?
Mû par un excès de bon sens; un officier est intervenu pour ouvrir la voie à la brebis .. mais elle a été refermée aux Palestiniens qui, comme toujours, n'en ont pas perdu pour autant leur moral: les femmes palestiniennes ont chanté quelques chants et ont dansé clôturant ainsi la manifestation dans un climat plutôt bon enfant.

Ce n'est cependant pas la fin de l'histoire. Plus tard dans la soirée, j'ai découcert à ma grande surprise un article affirmant que trois femmes aient été blessées à Al Ma'sara. L'article a même prétendu que les femmes "ont subi des ecchymoses". Bientôt le titre était repris sur tweeter. Il s'agissait d'une fausse allégation. J'étais là et j'ai documenté toute la manifestation, ainsi que de nombreux photographes et cameramen. Si certaines femmes avaient été battues, les images auraient été diffusé tout de suite. Bien sûr, je ne prends pas la défense de l'armée israélienne. J'ai été témoin d'innombrables actes brutaux d'attaques des soldats contre des manifestants non-armés, certains même qui ont provoqué la mort.

Mais lors de cette manifestation, rien de ce genre ne s'est passé, même s'il est vrai que les soldats israéliens ont repoussé certains manifestants qui tentaient de les passer avec une certaine violence.
Je ne pense même pas qu'une femme ait été touchée par un soldat à cette manifestation (dans d'autres manifestations cependant, j'ai vu des soldats israéliens violemment attaqué certaines femmes).
J'ai partagé l'article avec quelqu'un d'autre du village qui a contacté immédiatement les médias pour rectifier, et plus tard ils ont changé le rapport.

Mais ce n'est pas la première fois que j'ai vu que certains Palestiniens, parfois à des fins personnelles, déformer la vérité.

Je ne veux pas que cela soit utilisé dans une direction qui servira à renforcer l'idée souvent propagée à des fins politiques selon laquelle: «vous voyez les Palestiniens mentent tout le temps et propagent de fausses allégations". Ceci est plutôt une exception, et les mensonges que la machine de propagande israélienne utilise tout le temps sont de loin plus systématiques et souvent une distorsion complète de la vérité, le plus souvent transformant les victimes de l'oppression en "émeutiers radicaux et violents".

Je tiens simplement à dire: exagérer les faits ou rapporter simplement des informations fausses est inutile et contre-productif. La situation est assez mauvaise. S'en tenir aux faits est ce dont nous avons besoin.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Because they are not numbers: by Gaza blogger Ebaa Rezeq

Because they are not numbers: A guest post by Gaza blogger Ebaa Rezeq

Following last weekend's contribution to this blog from Gaza blogger Nader Elkhuzundar, I am posting a new guest post from Gaza by Ebaa Rezeq, a 21-year-old English and French literature student who blogs at and tweets at @Gazanism. In her post on the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, Ebaa describes what it is like to live tweet the killing of 12 year old child, and details the inhumane responses from Israeli social media activists who blamed Gaza's government for not doing a better job of keeping civilians safe from Israeli missile strikes.

Before reading Ebaa's post, take a minute to consider Nader's request for donations to help him study abroad. After earning his BSc in Management Information Systems, Nader was accepted to Westminster University in London to pursue an MSc Business Intelligence And Analytics. Unfortunately, he and his family cannot afford to fund his education abroad. So he has taken his plea online. You can help Nader here.

Because they are not numbers
By Ebaa Rezeq

As social media activists, Palestinians always get attacked by Israeli and pro-Israeli Zionists. Their response to the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza proposes that “Hamas is to blame for not caring for the safety and security of Palestinian civilians”. “Hamas is to blame for not building shelters for Palestinians like Israel does!”

What is strikingly laughable is not the weak Israeli argument (or lack thereof) but the sheer ignorance of Israeli public. Whenever there is an assault on civilians in Gaza, the only moral thing to do is to condemn the attacks, not blame the Hamas government for not providing shelter from the Israeli bombs raining on Palestinian civilians. How humane is it to justify the killing by simply saying “Oh, it is legitimate for us to bomb you but it is not our problem you have nowhere to hide?” But when it comes to Israeli violence against Gaza, it always seems easier to blame the victim. We’re always classified as wild animals thirsty for blood and death, so who cares how many of us die?

What outsiders tend to forget is that Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. There are over 1.6 million people literally trapped in this besieged coastal enclave. Bombing them is nothing but a war crime. Our unemployment rate has risen to over 40% with constant water, cooking gas and fuel shortages. Gaza has been under an ongoing Israeli siege by air, land, and sea for 1739 days. So, if we have no construction materials to build the homes of the 80 to 90 thousand displaced people displaced from their homes by Israel's so-called Operation Cast Lead then excuse us if we are unable to build shelters or Iron Domes to meet Israeli “security” levels. We are not funded as though we were America’s 51st state. This attitude reminds me of how insignificant the people of Gaza feel when outsiders tell them to "take care" or "stay safe." Call me naïve, but how do you suggest we do that?

Palestinian victims are not numbers. They once were part of a family. They were loved and granted love. They had people waiting for them at the dining table every day. They had names, jobs, schools seats, friends, lovers, wives and children. They too had a dream of a free country, but it was their turn to pay for “dreaming too big”. A friend, a family member, or even I could have been among these victims. Israel can just call you a terrorist or claim that you were planning an attack against them to coldly put an end to your not-so-worthy life.
When Israel decides you are a threat to its security, Israel would target while you and your whole family are asleep, walking, riding a motorcycle or driving your car. Their blind airstrikes are indiscriminate and then the righteous Palestinian retaliation is all to blame.

One of the martyrs is my friend’s cousin. Nayef Qarmout is a twelve-year-old Palestinian kid who was murdered while going to school. A friend wrote of the killing: "Nayef Karmout, 12 years old, killed by an Israeli air raid this morning while 4 of his schoolmates were injured. Reports say pieces of his flesh scattered along their school bags."

At the age of 15, I remember how important my school bag style was to me. I wonder what was on your mind when that rocket hit! I am sorry Nayef, I won't go to your funeral. But how can I not hope for another life after this one, a world beyond our present reality where no one can end a child's life by pressing a button. But now you are gone and what I hope for does not mean much anyway.

One day prior to Nayef’s murder, I argued with my mother over whether to take my four-year-old nephew to kindergarten or not. Though I knew we were not even safe in our own home, I insisted he should not go. But mom was too stubborn to listen. The next day, we heard the news of Nayef’s murder, his friends’ injuries and the school that caught fire due to an airstrike close by.

Could you possibly imagine the rush of feelings I had while live-tweeting the incident? No, you could not. You have never experienced it, but I have. When our little boy made it home, I cried, hugged him, and wept over Nayef. I could not imagine how his mom must have felt. Her boy could have grown to a handsome young man that would have knocked girls off their feet. He could have been a doctor, a teacher, a footballer. He could have had a beautiful family. He could have been his mom’s spoiled boy. He could have been her only source of support when she grew old. He could have brought her flowers on Mother’s Day. But Israel took away the only flower his mother cared about.

Later that night, my young nephew caught an inadvertent glimpse of the pictures of victims on the news. He asked: "Who are these dead people? Who killed them and why?" Unable to answer or maybe unwilling, I thought to myself, “We really do not raise our children to hate but Israel makes sure they do every second of the day.”

Amid all the killing we held Israeli Apartheid Week in Gaza, part of the week of Palestine solidarity events that took place on university campuses around the world. Throughout the lectures and rallies, we listened as Palestinian ambulance sirens blared through the streets, rushing frantically to reach victims at the site of Israeli bombings.

Life went on, weddings were held, universities and schools opened, shops and markets never closed. Israeli aggression continued with the world’s approving silence. But this has never stopped the Gaza Strip from standing tall.

Because they are not numbers…because we Gazans are humans with beautiful and painful stories…We make sure we are remembered…So keep in your memories those names and in your hearts their stories:

1. Zuhair Qaisi, 49, Secretary-General of PRC. Gaza city
2. Mahmoud Hanani, 44. Qaisi's brother/son-in-law and assistant. Gaza city
3. Obaid Gharabli, 22. Gaza city
4. Mohamed Harara, 24. Gaza city
5. Shady Seqali, 27. Gaza city
6. Hazim Awad Qreqe, 20. Tufah- Gaza city
7. Mahmoud Nejem, 22. BeitLahia
8. Mohamed Maghari, 25. BeitLahia
9. Motasem Hajjaj, 22. Gaza city
10. Ahmed Hajjaj, 22. Gaza city
11. Fayek Saad, 28. Gaza city
12. Mohamed Ghamiry, 26. Dier Al-Balah
13. Hussien Berem Hammad, 51. Khanyounis
14. Mansour Abu Nusirah, 20. Khanyounis
15. Mahdi Abu Shawish, 24. Rafah
16. Ahmad Salem, 24. Zaitoun- Gaza city (wedded two days before his murder)
17. Ayoub Asalyia, 15. Jabalia
18. Salman ABu Metleq 24. Khan Younis
19. Refa'at Abu Eid, 24. Khan Younis
20. Nayef Qarmout, 12. Jabalia
21. Mohammed Al Hsoumi, 65.
22. Fayza Al Hsoumi (Mohammed’s daughter) 35.
23. Adel El Issi, 52. Gaza City
24. Bassam el Ejla, 20. Shejaeya- East Gaza
25. Mohammed Thaher, 21. Shejaeya- East Gaza

Friday, March 16, 2012

Demonstration in Nabi Saleh, 16.03.2012

(c) Anne Paq/, 16.03.2012.

Despite heavy rain, Palestinians together with international and Israeli activists held the weekly demonstration against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Friday, March 16, 2012. The demonstration was held in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner Hana Shalabi, currently on hunger strike for 30 days, in protest of her administrative detention in Israeli prison.

As soon as the march reaches the main road, it was attacked by the "skunk" -an Israeli army water canon spraying foul smelling chemical water, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. Palestinian youth tried to prevent any invasion of the village by throwing stones.

The Israeli army did invade the center of the village and fired tear gas canisters at houses. The confrontations spread to the surrounding hills. A Palestinian youth was hit in the foot by a tear gas canister. Later an Israeli activist was hit by a rubber-coated bullet in the head. When the Israeli soldiers understood that she was Israeli, they rushed to find her and surrounded her, pushing away the photographers and Palestinian medics. After they put a bandage around her head, they helped her going down and she was then taken by a Palestinian ambulance.

It was quite shocking to see the different reactions of the Israeli soldiers when they found her she is an Israeli. In December 2011, when Mustafa Tamimi was hit in the head by a tear gas canister, he was left bleeding on the tarmac. It was only after some critical time that he got administered first aid on the spot by an Israeli medical team.


Malgré de fortes pluies, les Palestiniens avec des activistes internationaux et israéliens, ont organisé la manifestation hebdomadaire contre l'occupation dans le village de Cisjordanie de Nabi Saleh, le vendredi 16 Mars 2012. La manifestation a été organisée en solidarité avec la prisonniere palestinienne Hana Shalabi, actuellement en grève de la faim pendant 30 jours, pour protester contre sa détention administrative dans une prison israélienne.

Dès que le marche a commencé à descendre sur la route principale, les manifestants ont été attaqués par le "skunk", un liquide chimique nauséabond, du gaz lacrymogènes et des balles métal recouvertes de caoutchouc. Les jeunes palestiniens ont alors tenté d'empêcher toute invasion du village en jetant des pierres.

L'armée israélienne a de fait envahi le centre du village en masse et ont lancé des grenades lacrymogènes sur les maisons. Les affrontements se sont propagés sur les collines environnantes. Un jeune Palestinien a été touché au pied par une grenade lacrymogène. Une activiste israélienne a aussi été touchée
à la tête par une balle recouverte de caoutchouc . Lorsque les soldats israéliens ont réalisé qu'elle était israélienne, ils se sont précipité à sa recherche et se sont mis à l'entourer, en repoussant les photographes et des médecins palestiniens. Après lui avoir bandé la tête; ils l'ont aidée à descendre et elle a ensuite été emmenée par une ambulance palestinienne.

Il était assez choquant de voir le changement de réactions des soldats israéliens quand ils se sont aperçus de la nationalité de l'activiste. En Décembre 2011, lorsque Mustafa Tamimi a été frappé à la tête par une grenade lacrymogène, ils l'ont laissé saigner sur le tarmac. Ce n'est qu'après un certain temps critique qu
'une équipe médicale israélienne lui a administré les premiers soins.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When it becomes even criminal to show your own village / Quand montrer son village devient un crime, Al-Walaja, 13.03.2012

(c) Anne Paq/, Al Walaja, 13.03.2012

Update: see below article by the Harvard students about the incident

Today a visit by internationals of the village of Al-Walaja and how it is affected by the Wall was interrupted and then prevented by the Israeli army. A bus full of US students from Harvard university was stopped by the Israeli army and police when it arrived in front of the house of Hajajleh family. Once the Wall be completed; this house which will be located on the other side of the route of the Wall, will be connected to the village only by a tunnel monitored by the Israeli army. It will have also a special fence all around it.

The tour was conducted by Shereen Al Araj, a Palestinian woman activist from Al-Walaja, member of the local council and the popular committee against the Wall. Shereen is a brave activist who has participated and organized countless popular protests and visits to delegations to her village so that to raise awareness on the critical situation of Al-Walaja. Once completed, the Wall will totally surround the village, cutting it from basic services. From its 18,000 original dunums, Al-Walaja will be left with 2,000 dunums.

The Israeli soldiers boarded the bus. Three military jeeps and a police cars were necessary to escort the "dangerous" bus to the checkpoint where the students were detained. As a Palestinian, Shereen got of course a special treatment and was brought to Atarot; a police station close to Bethlehem for further investigation on her very subversive behavior. There was no charge. But she was warned that next time she will have to pay a 5,000 nis.

This is another clear attempt by the Israeli authorities to prevent the truth to come out, another pathetic way to silence any Palestinian voice who dare to show what is happening on the ground to the internationals and speak up. Now it has become criminal to show your own village and explain the situation. Does it not remind you of any dictatorships that so many people easily criticize? Why Israel should be treated differently? If Israel has nothing to hide, why then it prevented a simple visit by students?

I should add, that while those unwelcomed visitors were kicked out of Al-Walaja, the bulldozers were working full time on expanding the nearby settlement of Har Gilo, which is built on the lands of Al-Walaja and Beit Jala. It seems that the other kind of visitors; the ones who are Jewish and grabbing the lands of Palestinians, are more than welcomed by the Israeli authorities. I dream about the day when these settlers will be escorted at gun point to the checkpoints and be told to never come back.

On Being Detained

source: The Harvard Crimson

Being detained by foreign police isn’t on a typical spring break agenda. Then again, the West Bank isn’t a typical destination. As members of the fifth annual Palestine Trek—a student-organized trip to the West Bank and Israel—we witnessed injustices perpetuated by Israel’s occupation of Palestine. There, we experienced a police encounter that has been inaccurately represented in the media. Following the incident in which Israeli authorities detained the group, news outlets reported that we were “provocateurs.” Some claimed we were arrested. The Israel-based newspaper Haaretz, published that the road was “for security vehicles only,” calling the alleged offense a “violation in every sense.” For us, the events illustrated adversities Palestinians face daily under occupation.

Tuesday morning, our group of over 50 Harvard students traveled to Al-Walaja in the West Bank to understand the tensions between Israel and Palestine that have been exacerbated by the Wall and unlawful Israeli settlements. Adjacent to the village sits the Jewish settlement Har Gilo, which is illegal under international law as Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits an occupying force from moving its citizens onto occupied land. Although the International Court of Justice and every government except Israel acknowledges this, settlements continue to expand into Palestinian land. Their populations grow by 5.7 percent annually, and only a small number have ever been dismantled, due to an international body unwilling to hold Israel responsible for its violations. Citing security concerns, Israel has constructed a wall through Al-Walaja, creating a cleavage within the village, which defies the internationally recognized 1967 borders.

The public road through Al-Walaja where we stopped was unsigned and unmarked. Students stepped off the bus to gain a clearer view of the area as our guide Shireen al-Araj—a local activist—showed large unmanned gaps in the structure, contradicting Israel’s ubiquitous justification that the wall is for “security purposes.”

Minutes after we disembarked, two police vehicles approached us. Four officers carrying assault rifles demanded we return to our vehicle and leave the area. When asked why we were being expelled, an officer responded, “because I said so.” In subsequent statements to the media, they reported that we were on a restricted military road.

However, several non-military cars were present, and in most circumstances, declaring areas as military zones requires official documentation and road signs. Wednesday, the Office of the Quartet Representative, Tony Blair, confirmed via email that the area remains open to the public, noting that they have taken many visitors there without incident, including the day prior.

As we retreated, an officer pushed several students toward the bus. They seized identification from Palestinians traveling with us, and placed Shireen and the bus driver under arrest. We were told we would be taken to a nearby checkpoint to be searched. Two officers boarded the bus as the police vehicles escorted us to the checkpoint. When asked why we were being detained, one responded, “I don’t know,” and later refused to answer. At the checkpoint, Shireen was driven from the premises and later released. No Harvard students were searched or arrested.

As individuals who emerged unscathed, we wish to highlight not what happened to us, but the appalling trend from which this incident stems. Our hour-long encounter with the police was insignificant, yet because we are an international group, the incident was widely publicized. Our detainment is not the important narrative. We were never in danger, but Israel’s misuse of authority means the Palestinians with us could have been jailed indefinitely under martial law. Instead of our story, those of countless Palestinians forbidden from entering their original homes, detained at checkpoints for hours every day, and living in homes with demolition orders should be told.

The police arbitrarily declared the road a military zone. They claimed we participated in illegal activity though they neither cited signs nor provided required documents to justify their assertions. These realities illustrate the oppressive power imbalance that belittles an entire population.

We were appalled by the actions of Israeli authorities and the ensuing media coverage that frames us as protesters attempting to provoke authorities. In a Crimson interview, Assistant Dean of the College Jay Ellison incorrectly stated that we were photographing “areas [we] weren’t supposed to photograph (military installations, etc),” a claim that remains unsubstantiated. In fact, there were no military installations, and the photographer Anne Paq, who initially reported our detainment, was working in the same area without consequence. The media response to the events has undermined the truth and distorted innocent voices of people like Shireen who seek justice. We have become objects of a culture of impunity that has allowed the occupation to occur with little backlash.

We call on fellow students to listen to these untold stories. The oppressive and stagnant status quo must be reformed; this can only be done when the international community holds Israel accountable for its transgressions. The first step to initiate real change is to open our eyes to the realities of the situation, beyond the one-sided version Israel promotes.

Atul Bhattarai ‘14, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a government concentrator in Quincy House. Eliza M. Nguyen ‘14, a Crimson News editor, is a History and Science concentrator in Quincy House.


Aujourd'hui, une visite effectuée par des internationaux à Al-Walaja dont le but était de mieux comprendre l'impact de la construction du Mur sur le village a été interrompue, puis empêchée par l'armée israélienne.

Un bus rempli d'étudiants américains de l'université de Harvard s'est fait arrêté par l'armée israélienne et la police quand il est arrivé en face de la maison de la famille Hajajleh. Une fois le Mur achevé être; cette maison qui sera située de l'autre côté de la route du Mur, ne sera relié au village que par un tunnel surveillé par l'armée israélienne. Elle aura également une clôture spéciale tout autour du petit terrain autour de la maison.

La visite était organisée par Shereen Al Araj, une activiste palestinienne d'Al-Walaja, membre du conseil local et le comité populaire contre le Mur et experte en droits humains. Shereen est une activiste courageuse qui a participé et organisé d'innombrables manifestations et des visites de délégations à son village pour sensibiliser l'opinion sur la situation critique de Al-Walaja. Une fois terminé, le Mur va totalement entourer le village, en le coupant de services de base. De ses 18.000 dunums à l'origine, Al-Walaja se retrouvera avec 2.000 dunums.

Les soldats israéliens sont montés à bord du bus. Trois jeeps militaires et voitures de police ont semblé être nécessaires pour escorter le "dangereux" de bus au checkpoint où les étudiants ont été arrêtés. En tant que Palestinienne, Shereen a eu bien sûr un traitement spécial et a été emmenée à Atarot, un poste de police près de Bethléem, pour une séance d'interrogation sur son comportement très subversif. Il n'y avait pas de chef d'accusation. Mais elle a été avertie que la prochaine fois elle aura à payer une amende d'environ 1000 euros.

C'est une autre tentative claire par les autorités israéliennes d'empêcher que la vérité éclate, une autre façon pathétique de faire taire toute voix palestinienne dissidente qui ose montrer ce qui se passe sur le terrain aux internationaux et ose prendre la parole. Désormais il est devenu criminel de montrer votre propre village et d'expliquer la situation. Cela ne vous rappelle-t-il pas toutes les dictatures que tant de gens critiquent facilement? Pourquoi Israël devrait être traité différemment? Si Israël n'a rien à cacher, pourquoi alors une simple visite par des étudiants a-elle été interdite?

Je dois ajouter que, tandis que ces visiteurs jugés indésirables ont été chassés d'Al-Walaja, les bulldozers travaillaient à plein régime sur l'expansion de la colonie voisine de Har Gilo, construite sur les terres d'Al-Walaja et Beit Jala. Il semble que l'autre type de visiteurs; ceux qui sont juifs et accaparent les terres des Palestiniens, sont plus que bien accueilli par les autorités israéliennes. Je rêve du jour où ces colons seront aussi escortés à la pointe du fusil aux checkpoint et se verront dire de ne plus jamais revenir.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gaza under attack! / Gaza attaqué: le monde se tait.

Gaza: 20 dead; dozens injured
Israel: 1 treated for "shock"

Gaza: 20 morts; des dizaines de blessés
Israel: 1 traité pour "choc"
La bande de Gaza a subit une attaque à grande échelle les dernières 48h à coup de bombardements; y compris dans des zones densément peuplées comme dans le camp de réfugiés de Jabaliya. Israël a ainsi rompu la trêve; et en tuant un leader d'un des groupes armés de résistance a déclencher des rockets en réponse. Faut-il s'attendre à ce que les groupes restent sans réactions quand leurs leaders sont assassinés? Faut-il rappeler que la pratique "d'assassinats ciblés" qui semble être devenue la norme à Gaza est contraire au droit international? Toute personne soupçonnée de crimes a le droit à un procès équitable! Israël encore une fois se met au-dessus des lois internationales en tout impunité sans que la communauté internationale réagisse! Bien au contraire; Israël est plus que jamais soutenu dans sa démarche.
Le Consulat de France à Jérusalem a ainsi lancé ce communiqué:

"Situation dans la bande de Gaza

Nouvel épisode de violence à Gaza et dans le sud d’Israël (10 mars 2012)

Nous condamnons les tirs de roquettes et les conséquences humanitaires de ces violences et déplorons les victimes civiles.

La France appelle instamment à un retour au calme et à la retenue afin d’éviter une escalade qui risquerait de toucher à nouveau des civils.

Notre consul général à Tel Aviv se rendra dimanche matin à Ashdod et Ashkelon pour exprimer sa solidarité."

Dans ce communiqué; les roquettes sont jugées responsables des violences, et Israël n'est aucunement condamné pour les violations incessantes du droit international! Le fait que le Consul se rendra uniquement auprès des villes Israéliennes proches de la bande de Gaza en dit aussi long sur la complicité de la France. Il faut rappeler que lors des 48 heures, ce sont 20 Palestiniens qui ont été tués et des dizaines ont été blessés dont de nombreux femmes et enfants. Du coté Israélien, il n'y a eu aucun blessé.
Le peuple de Gaza est bien le seul si je ne me trompe à être un peuple occupé, attaqué et sous blocus. Il est temps de remettre en question ce qu'essaye de nous faire croire les médias généralistes et nos politiques. L'agresseur ici et non la victime est Israël. Israël, en refusant de se retirer des territoires occupés palestiniens et à accorder aux Palestiniens leurs droits fondamentaux reconnus par le doit international, est le seul responsable des violences. La où il y a oppression, il y aura toujours une résistance.

"Mowing the lawn": On Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza and the lies behind it

A wounded Palestinian child is checked by doctors at a hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on March 11, 2012, following a fresh Israeli air raid, bringing the death toll from strikes since March 10 to 17 and dashing Hamas hopes of restoring a tacit truce.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)

By this Sunday evening in Gaza, a weekend of relentless Israeli bombing has left 18 people dead and dozens wounded. Israeli propaganda insists that the attacks are about preventing “terrorism” and stopping “rockets.”

But in fact, Israel provoked this violence and according to some Israeli commentators its goals are to escalate pressure for war with Iran and to drag Hamas away from diplomacy and back into violence.

The latest of Israel’s victims today include Ayoub Useila, 12, of Jabalya refugee camp, whose seven year-old cousin was injured, and Adel al-Issi, 52, a farmer near Gaza City. Others suffered horrifying injuries, as recounted by doctors at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.

Israel launches attack on Friday

The Israeli assault began on Friday, when Israeli forces carried out the extrajudicial executions of Zuhair Al-Qaisi and Mahmoud Al-Hannani of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), whom Israel alleged were “masterminds” of an attack near Eilat last year. Except, as Max Blumenthal demonstrated, this is untrue, as even Israel previously acknowledged.

This weekend’s attacks have followed a typical pattern. Israel launches a lethal attack knowing full well that Palestinian resistance factions will respond. It then uses the response—dozens of rockets falling on Israel rarely causing injuries or damage—as the very pretext for continued bombing. Israel also claims to have shot down several dozen incoming missiles using its US-subsidized “Iron Dome” anti-missile system.

On Twitter, the Israeli military spokesperson even praised Israel for its “restraint” as if Israel hadn’t started the violence itself on a completely false pretext:

IDF’s Twitter

#IDF Spox: No other country in the world would have allowed 130 rockets in 48 hours and shown such restraint. #IsraelUnderFire
Mar 11 via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

Recall that after the Eilat attack last August, Israel launched a ferocious assault on Gaza, also on false pretexts, killing 14 people including a 2-year old child, a 13-year-old boy and a doctor.

Extrajudicial murder

Beyond the propaganda, informed Israeli commentators, even those supporting the action, acknowledge that Israel chose to initiate the current escalation of violence:

In the Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz wrote:

When the IDF decided on Friday afternoon to assassinate the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip, it knew what it was getting itself into.

Assessments ahead of the decision to bomb the car carrying Zuhair Qaisi predicted that around 100 rockets could be fired into Israel during each day of the round of violence expected to erupt. This was a price the government felt it was capable of paying.

In other words, Israel was prepared to carry out an extrajudicial execution, a war crime, knowing that there would be retaliation. Israel’s routine policy of executing Palestinians in occupied territories without charge or trial, based on flimsy allegations made by the killers themselves, is a major violation of international humanitarian law and makes a mockery of Israel’s claim to be a “democracy” by any possible measure.

Even in China, Iran, and the United States, all prolific users of the death penalty where no doubt many innocent people have been put to death, authorities at least go through the formality of a trial. Not so in Israel, where in the past decade hundreds of Palestinians have been sentenced to death in secret and then executed in their beds, on the street, while riding in cars, or even when confined to wheelchairs, along with hundreds of bystanders.

Of course now, the Obama administration has openly adopted Israeli-style extrajudicial execution even of its own citizens—just another example of the “shared values” US and Israeli leaders are always eager to proclaim.

Israeli commentators cut through the official propaganda

In Haaretz, Gideon Levy undercut the official propaganda, that extrajudicial executions—“targeted killings”—are ever justified, let alone in this instance:

Who started it? The IDF and the Shin Bet security service did. The impression is that they carry out the targeted killings whenever they can, and not whenever it is necessary.

When are they necessary? Do you remember the debate on targeted killings sometime in the distant past? Then, it seemed the targets had to be “ticking time bombs” en route to carry out their attacks. In any event, such a vague standard no longer applies. In 2006, in his last court ruling handed down before his retirement, then Supreme Court President Aharon Barak barred such killings when they were meant to be “a deterrent or punishment.”

The latest target killed was Zuhair al-Qaissi, the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza. IDF sources said he was responsible for the terrorist attack on the Egyptian border last August - which would make his killing an act of “deterrence or punishment.” But to be on the safe side, it was also noted that he had “led and directed plans to carry out a terror attack within Israel, which was in its final stages of preparation.”

This convoluted announcement by the IDF spokesman was enough to get the Israeli public to accept this latest regular dose of targeted killing with automatic understanding and sympathy. And who knows what the late al-Qaissi had planned? Only the Shin Bet does, so we accept his death sentence without unnecessary questions.

Also in Haaretz, Zvi Bar’el cast further doubt on the Israeli claim that the executed PRC men posed a threat that would justify the Israeli attack:

It is hard to understand what basis there is for the assertion that Israel is not striving to escalate the situation. One could assume that an armed response by the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad to Israel’s targeted assassination was taken into account. But did anyone weigh the possibility that the violent reaction could lead to a greater number of Israeli casualties than any terrorist attack that Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, could have carried out?

Mowing the lawn”

Perhaps the most chilling explanation of why Israel was bombing Gaza came, again, from Yaakov Katz in The Jerusalem Post:

the IDF is using this as an opportunity to do some “maintenance work” in Gaza and to mow the lawn, so to speak, with regard to terrorism, with the main goal of boosting its deterrence and postponing the next round of violence for as long as possible.

So 12 year-old Ayoub Useila is not even an animal. He’s just part of a “lawn” of faceless nameless Palestinians, to be bombed into submission as routinely as an Israeli settler on stolen West Bank land maintains his suburban-style yard and swimming pool.

Hamas “completely uninvolved”

Katz continues:

This is essentially the situation in the Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009.

Every few months, something happens, setting off a round of violence that usually lasts a few days until it suddenly ends just like it began. Once it is an antitank missile attack against an Israeli school bus and the next time a targeted killing of a top terrorist.

Either way, the scenario is pretty much played out the same way. The main difference today is that Hamas is completely uninvolved in the sense that its operatives are not firing rockets into Israel. On the other hand, Israel does believe that Hamas could be doing more to stop the fire into Israel.

Katz himself had already acknowledged that Israel set off the round of violence by its assassination of the PRC activists but then he goes on to admit that Hamas isn’t even involved. Hamas, the usual bogeyman and justification for Israel’s aggression on Gaza “is completely uninvolved in the sense that its operatives are not firing rockets into Israel.” That’s quite an admission.

Indeed it has been reported that leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are completely uninterested in escalating violence with Israel and are committed to a “ceasefire.” That would be consistent with their long-term policies which are to retaliate against Israeli aggression but not to seek out confrontation.

The escalation in Gaza is good for Israel”

So given all this, why has Israel decided to kill people in Gaza for no discernible reason? According to Bar’el in Haaretz it has everything to do with Israel’s effort to build support for an attack on Iran:

Advocates of a strike on Iran couldn’t have hoped for a more convincing performance than the current exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza. “A million Israelis under fire” is only a taste of what is expected when Iran’s nuclear project is completed. When that happens, seven million Israelis will be under the threat of fire and nuclear fallout.

This is what happens when “only” the Islamic Jihad fires Grad rockets, when Hamas stays out of the fight, and when the “miraculous system” that prevents missiles from falling on kindergartens still works. Under the threat of a nuclear Iran, miracles won’t help, and people in Tel Aviv will also be forced to hide in bomb shelters or escape to Eilat.

Here’s the proof: There is no alternative to striking Iran and there is no better time than the present, when the weather permits and world diplomacy is preoccupied with Syria. For Israelis, there is no better proof that no harm will come to them as a result of an attack on Iran than the performance of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which has demonstrated a 95% rate of effectiveness. The escalation in Gaza is good for Israel – that is, for that part of Israel that wants to strike Iran.

It is hard to understand what basis there is for the assertion that Israel is not striving to escalate the situation. One could assume that an armed response by the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad to Israel’s targeted assassination was taken into account. But did anyone weigh the possibility that the violent reaction could lead to a greater number of Israeli casualties than any terrorist attack that Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, could have carried out?

Bar’el sees at least one other compelling reason why Israel chose violence once again: the ‘threat’ from Hamas’ ever more determined turn to reliance on diplomacy over armed struggle—which Bar’el attributes in part to Hamas’ need to maintain good relations with Egypt:

This dependence on Egypt has managed in the past to produce extended ceasefires which have proven themselves in recent months, especially after the signing of the reconciliation agreement with Fatah, which produced Khaled Meshal’s declarations that Hamas would restrict itself to nonviolent forms of struggle against Israel.

However, it seems that the change in Hamas not only hasn’t convinced Israel, but even stands in the way of its “no partner” policy and could sabotage its efforts to head off the creation of a Palestinian unity government, which would lead to renewed efforts at the UN to secure an independent Palestinian state.

Thus, Hamas must be dragged toward military activity against Israel, and nothing is easier, at least in Israel’s estimation, than to launch a “unilateral” attack against a wanted non-Hamas man, to wait for the response to come, and hope that Hamas joins in.

So far, it hasn’t happened. Hamas still prefers the diplomatic channel and has carried on intensive diplomatic contacts over the past two days with Egypt’s Supreme Military Council. Israel apparently needs to wait for another opportunity.

What that “opportunity” will be no one yet knows, but what is sure is that innocent people will pay with their lives.

Facts behind Israel’s rocket propaganda

Whenever you hear Israel’s tired hasbara refrain about rockets, rockets, rockets, remember to ask the question Yousef Munayyer recently asked: Why don’t Israel’s spokespeople ever tell us how many rockets, missiles and bullets Israel has fired on Gaza?

Of course the answer is because it is by orders of magnitude greater in both number and explosive power than anything Palestinian armed groups have or ever could muster against Israel. There are some data, however.

In one 18-month period between September 2005 and May 2007 in which Palestinian armed groups fired 2,700 rockets toward Israel killing four people, Israel fired 14,617 heavy artillery shells into Gaza killing 59 people, including at least 17 children and 12 women. Hundreds more were injured and extensive damage caused.

This data comes from a 2007 Human Rights Watch reported titled Indiscriminate Fire, which states in addition that:

A subsequent artillery attack on November 8 [2006] killed or mortally wounded 23 and injured at least 40 Palestinians, all civilians.

The report adds:

Human Rights Watch has been unable to find any report or claim that those killed or injured by artillery fire included persons believed to be combatants, and the IDF has not responded to a Human Rights Watch request about whether any Palestinians killed or injured by artillery fire into the Gaza Strip were combatants or believed to be combatants. Israeli artillery strikes in 2006 also left many unexploded shells strewn on the ground that constitute a continuing hazard to lives and livelihoods.

That report dates from 2007, but in the years before and since, thousands more Palestinian civilians were killed and injured in Israeli attacks, by what must be tens of thousands of Israeli munitions. This included the 2008-2009 assault called “Operation Cast Lead” and Israeli fire has been an almost daily occurrence since its end claiming many innocent lives.

And Operation Cast Lead itself was launched on the false pretext—echoed ad nauseam by media—that Palestinians were firing unprovoked barrages of rockets into Israel leaving it no choice to attack in “self-defense.” That too was a lie as Israel’s own official figures showed at the time.

As Munayyer notes, citing UN statistics:

In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children and the injury of 468 Palestinians of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57% or 310, were caused by Israeli Aircraft Missile fire, 28% or 150 were from Israeli live ammunition, 11% or 59 were from Israeli tank shells while another 3% or 18 were from Israeli mortar fire.

That is why Israeli official propaganda has to be so distorted and selective.

Friday, March 09, 2012

New demonstration in Beit Dajan / Nouvelle manifestation à Beit Dajan, 09.03.2012

(c) Anne Paq/, Beit Dajan, near Nablus, 09.03.2012.

Hundreds of Palestinians and a few Israeli and international activists participated to the first demonstration against the closing of the main road to Nablus in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan, on 09.03.2012.

Beit Dajan depends on Nablus, located only 10 kilometers away, for many basic services. It used to take just a few minutes to reach Nablus through the main road but from 2000 onwards Israel has started to impose severe restrictions and confiscated the main road for the settlers. The way to Nablus has become much longer and costly. This is affecting many aspects of the villagers' lives, such as education, health and water supplies. It is not possible to reach Nablus hospitals after 5pm without coordination with the Israeli army. Due to the closure, they had been 5 martyrs from Beit Dajan and adjacent villages. One of the martyr is of Fatima Jamal Abu Jaish, a nurse at the Rafidiya hospital in Nablus, who was killed instantly on 7 January 2001,when Israeli soldiers opened fire on the taxi she was riding in near her village of Beit Dajan. The taxi was travelling along a rugged and perilous mountain road, hastily opened by desperate villagers to allow them to move between Palestinian towns and villages, since the main roads are firmly sealed either by roadblocks manned by settlers or the army, or simply blocked by huge piles of earth.

The demonstration proceeded to the direction of the military gate which prevent Palestinians from Beit Dajan to reach the main road. The march was particularly united with only Palestinian flags, and not party flags, at sight.
As soon as the protesters reached the gate, Israeli soldiers began shooting tear gas canisters and sound bombs directly at protesters, causing some injuries. As a clear illustration of the apartheid system in place in the OPTs; while the Palestinians were contained, forced to stay behind an Israeli military gate, and attacked; some settlers cars and buses were seen comfortably passing by, using a large road. Palestinians from Beit Dajan must in turn use bumpy roads.
More Israeli soldiers joined to suppress the protest which lasted for about one hour. Palestinians declare that they will be back the following week.

New villages such as Beit Dajan continue joining the popular resistance and challenging the military occupation.


Des centaines de Palestiniens et quelques militants israéliens et internationaux ont participé à la première manifestation contre la fermeture de la route principale menant à Naplouse dans le village de Cisjordanie de Beit Dajan, le 09.03.2012.

Beit Dajan est un village qui dépend de Naplouse, situé à seulement 10 kilomètres, pour de nombreux services de base. Par le passé, il fallait seulement quelques minutes pour atteindre Naplouse par la route principale, mais à partir de 2000, Israël a commencé à imposer des restrictions sévères et a confisqué la route principale pour les colons. Le trajet pour Naplouse est désormais beaucoup plus long et coûteux. Cela affecte de nombreux aspects de la vie des villageois, comme les services d'éducation, de santé et la fourniture en eau.
Après 17 heures; il n'est pas possible de se rendre aux hôpitaux de Naplouse sans coordination avec l'armée israélienne. En raison de la fermeture, 5 martyrs de Beit Dajan et villages voisins ont été dénombrés. Une des martyrs est Fatima Jamal Abu Jaish, une infirmière à l'hôpital Rafidiya à Naplouse, qui a été tuée sur le coup, le 7 Janvier 2001, quand les soldats israéliens ont ouvert le feu sur le taxi dans lequel elle se trouvait près de son village de Beit Dajan. Le taxi roulait sur une route de montagne rude et périlleuse, ouverte précipitamment par les villageois désespérés pour leur permettre de se déplacer entre les villes et villages palestiniens, après que la route principale ait été scellée par des barrages tenus par des colons ou l'armée israélienne.

La manifestation a procédé en direction direction de la barrière militaire qui empêche les Palestiniens de Beit Dajan de rejoindre la route principale. La marche a envoyé un message fort d'union, en arborant uniquement des drapeaux palestiniens, et non des drapeaux des partis.
Dès que les manifestants arrivèrent à la barrière, les soldats israéliens ont commencé à tirer des grenades lacrymogènes et des bombes assourdissantes directement sur les manifestants, causant plusieurs blessures. D'autres soldats israéliens ont rejoint ceux déjà sur place pour supprimer la protestation qui a duré environ une heure. Les Palestiniens ont déclaré vouloir continuer leur manifestation la semaine prochaine.

De nouveaux villages tels que Beit Dajan continuent de rejoindre la résistance populaire et de défier l'occupation militaire israélienne.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tribute to Palestinian Women in struggle for international women day / Hommage aux femmes en lutte pour la journée internationale de la femme

Just some of my favourite shots on my series "Palestinian women in struggle". Seemed appropriate to share on International Women day. Some women that I met here are just amazing and inspire me everyday. They give strength and hope. The revolution and the liberation of Palestine will only happen with the full active participation of women, and yes they can lead as well.

Tonight I can only think of Hana Shalabi, a Palestinian prisoner, a Palestinian woman, struggling against an unjust system, fighting for all prisoners, entering her 22nd day of hunger strike in Israeli jail where she is held without being charged.

In solidarity, we all stand with her.


Voici quelques-unes de mes photos préférées de ma série " femmes palestiniennes en lutte». Il a semblé judicieux de les partager lors de la journée internationale pour les femmes.

Certaines femmes
que j'ai rencontrées ici sont tout simplement admirables et m'inspirent tous les jours. Elles donnent force et espoir. La révolution, et la libération de la Palestine, ne se produira qu'avec la pleine participation active des femmes, et oui elles peuvent aussi en être les leaders.

Ce soir, je ne peux aussi que penser à Hana Shalabi, une prisonniere palestinien, une femme palestinienne, qui se bat contre un système d’oppression injuste, pour tous les prisonniers, et qui vient d'entrer dans son 22eme jour de grève de la faim dans une prison israélienne où elle est en détention administrative sans avoir été inculpée.

En solidarité, nous sommes toutes avec elle.