Thursday, January 01, 2015

Why Palestinian Sovereignty Matters

Why Palestinian Sovereignty Matters

by Stephen Lendman

New Year's day 2015 in Occupied Palestine changed nothing. Israeli viciousness as extreme as on most other days.

A Palestinian man was crushed to death. At an Israeli checkpoint. Near Tulkarem. Ahmad Samih Bdeir headed for work inside Israel.

Muhammad Yakoub died the same way last year. At the same checkpoint. Passing through takes hours.

Israeli soldiers control things. Palestinians treated like cattle. Herded into metal pens. Unable to leave once inside. Until permitted to enter Israel.

Days earlier, Maan News said more than 5,000 Palestinian workers refused to cross the checkpoint. Protesting Israel's humiliating inspection procedures.

On New Year's eve, Israeli forces kidnapped dozens of Palestinians. Including children. In West Bank communities and East Jerusalem.

Witnesses said soldiers ambushed eight Palestinian children near Ofer prison. Kidnapped them. Assaulted their mothers.

Trying to protect their children. Attacked with tear gas for doing so. A 2013 UNICEF report accused Israel of "ill treatment of children who come in contact with (Israel's) military detention system…"

Saying abuse is "widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing."

Guilt is automatic. Accusations suffice. Innocence is no defense. Children are terrorized. Many traumatized.

Abdul-Nasser Ferwana heads the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs census department.

Israel systematically attacks and abducts Palestinian children, he said. In brazen violation of international law.

Multiple times daily. 1,266 in 2014 alone. 3,755 in the last four years. Ferwana is a former Israeli political prisoner.

Children need protecting, he said. Their formative years matter. International leaders able to help do nothing to change things.

Especially since Israel tortures young children during interrogations. "Statistics reveal an alarming increase in the kidnapping of children, especially in occupied Jerusalem," said Ferwana.

Around 700 last year. In 2014 alone, Israel abducted 6,059 Palestinians. Men, women and children.

Throughout all sectors of Palestinian society, Ferwana said. "There hasn't been a single day that did not witness the abduction of Palestinians," he explained. 

"On average, the army has kidnapped 505 Palestinians each month; approximately 17 a day."

Numbers affected increased markedly over the past four years. Every Palestinian affected faces physical and/or psychological torture.

Besides humiliation and other forms of abuse. Including in public. Or in front of their families.

Israel violates core international humanitarian and human rights laws multiple times daily.

Palestinians are systematically terrorized. Helpless against Israel's onslaught. Aided and abetted by Abbas' security forces. Brutalizing their own people.

On December 29, Israeli forces murdered a Palestinian child. Wounded another.

Imam Jamil Ahned Dweikat and Nael Tal'at Diab were hiking. Threatening no one. Attacked by Israeli soldiers.

Using live fire. Terrifying both boys. They tried to seek safety. Dweikat was struck in the back.

He screamed. Fell to the ground in pain. Diab tried to help. Israeli live fire wounded him in his left thigh. 

He's alive. Dweikat died. Murdered by Israeli ruthlessness. Excessive force is longstanding Israeli practice. Young children as vulnerable as adults.

International law protections don't matter. Israel breaches them multiple times daily.

Committing cold-blooded murder. Lawless arrests and imprisonments. Torture and other ill-treatment as standard practice.

Palestinian lives and welfare don't matter. During the week of December 18 - 23 alone, Israel wounded five Palestinians in northern Gaza. Including two children.

Conducted two air attacks. Used brutalizing force against peaceful West Bank protests. Wounding around a dozen Palestinians. Including four children.

Conducted 51 incursions into Palestinian West Bank communities. Wounding five Palestinians. Including three children.

Arresting 46 Palestinian civilians. Including 11 children and two women. Israeli naval forces continue attacking Palestinian fishermen. 

At times, damaging their boats. Confiscating their property. Making it impossible to fish in peace. Despite pledging no further attacks.

Palestinian farmers at times prevented from accessing their land. Israeli forces attack them with teargas. Rubber bullets. Other weapons. For any reason or none at all.

National Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements coordinator Rateb Jabour said Israeli forces prevented Ismirat family members from entering their own land to farm. 

Claiming they had no permit permission. It's their land. They own it. Not good enough for Israel. Inventing ways to persecute. 

Making life in Occupied Palestine intolerable. Throughout the West Bank. In East Jerusalem. Especially in besieged Gaza. 

Lawlessly blockaded. Effectively holding 1.8 million Palestinians hostage. Prisoners on their own land.

Witnesses said soldiers targeted Housan village. Attacked a school complex. Using teargas. Causing multiple suffocation cases.

Homes were invaded. Broken into. Terrorizing residents. Palestinian students were attacked in Hebron's Old City.

B'Tselem accused Israeli security forces of "fir(ing) teargas grenades directly at (peaceful) demonstrators with the aim of hitting them, or fire carelessly, without ensuring that demonstrators are not in the direct line of fire, in direct contravention of regulations."

On New Year's eve, the Electronic Intifada reported on a New York panel discussion titled "Defense with a conscience: Exploring military ethics in Israel."

Convened by the Zionist New Israel Fund. Moderated by the Jewish Daily Forward's editor-in-chief Jane Eisner.

Panelists included so-called Israeli military "ethicists" Asa Kasher and Moshe Halbertal. Retired US air force major general Robert Latiff attended.

According to the Electronic Intifada:

"Kasher and Halbertal co-authored the Israeli military code of ethics, which has guided the army’s conduct during Israel's increasingly ferocious military assaults against the Palestinians it occupies as well as its neighbors over the last two decades."

Attendees "listened to the ethicists doing what they do best: twisting international law to sanctify Israel’s 'right' to inflict limitless suffering on the 1.8 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees, confined to the Gaza Strip solely because they are not Jews."

Hamas was wrongfully blamed for well-planned Israeli aggression. Civilian lives don't matter.

Willfully targeted. As fair game as combatants. Longstanding Israeli policy. Including young children and infants. The elderly and infirm.

Slaughtered in cold blood. Israel outrageously calls itself the world's most moral army. Brutality defines its missions. 

The more horrific the better. Jewish lives alone matter. Murdering hundreds of Palestinians to save one Jew is OK. Maybe thousands.

Soldiers are taught these notions. Arabs are subhumans. Their lives and welfare don't matter.

Mass slaughter is OK. Palestinian self-defense is called terrorism. Endless Israeli abuses continue.

Multiple times daily. Horrifically when Israel wages aggression. Dirty wars. Without mercy. 

Using terror weapons. Illegal ones inflicting maximum suffering.

Palestinian sovereignty won't end Israeli ruthlessness. At best perhaps able to slow it down. Make it more obvious when unleashed. 

Maybe more possible to hold culpable officials responsible. Longstanding injustices beg for redress. 

Palestinians deserve it and much more. As much peace and security as possible. Entirely denied under occupation harshness.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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