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June 30, 2010

7,300 Palestinians in Israeli jails

Israeli soldiers take a young boy into custody by force

Tue, 29 Jun 2010 02:40:50 GMT

7,300 Palestinians, including 17 legislators and two former ministers, are currently detained in about 20 Israeli prisons, a report says.

Hundreds of them have never been charged or put on trial.

Among the detained are 33 women, nearly 300 children, 296 administrative detainees, and dozens of political leaders, Palestinian researcher Abdul Nasser Farawna said in a report issued on Monday.

Farawana, who specializes in detainee affairs, said that 1,500 of them are ill and need urgent medical attention and dozens need surgeries and hospitalization, but no action has been taken by the Israeli authorities.

The detainees are held in about twenty prisons and detention and interrogation centers, mainly in Ramon, Shatta, Galboa, Asqalan, Hadarim, Al-Damoun, Be’er Sheva, Ofer, Majoddo, and the Negev detention camp, he added.

He went on to say that 83 percent of the detainees are from the West Bank, 10.6 percent are from Gaza, while the rest are Arab residents of Israel and other Arab nationals.

Jail terms range from 10 years to life sentences, Farawna, who is also a former detainee, explained.

Political figures like Nael al-Barghouthi, Fakhri al-Barghouthi, and Akram Mansour have been in prison for over 30 years.

Farawna has asked human rights groups and other similar institutions to bring this issue to light and is seeking help to obtain their release.

He added that the only Israeli prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, who is held in Gaza, should not be released until all Palestinian detainees are released.


Condemnation over Gaza attack

BRISTOL City Council has voted to condemn Israel for the Gaza convoy incident that saw nine human rights activists killed.

Members called for the Government to “hold Israel to account for this illegal action” and to impose sanctions on the country until it “complies with international law and ceases perpetrating human rights abuses”.

Two Bristol men were aboard the Freedom Flotilla of ships when the Israeli military opened fire on May 31. One of them, Cliff Hanley, spoke in support of the motion before last night’s council debate.

He was joined by a number of pro-Palestinian protesters outside the council chamber, who want a boycott of all Israeli goods and companies in Bristol.

Mr Hanley said: “We question the morality of the council having money invested in Israeli banks or investment funds where it gains interest derived in any way over 60 years of ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine, the illegal occupation of the West Bank and the brutal starvation and slaughter of the people in Gaza.”

Proposing the motion, Lib Dem councillor John Kiely (Easton) compared life in Gaza to Bristol during the Blitz.

The Conservatives put forward an alternative motion, with what they described as “less emotive language” and calling for Israel to “exercise restraint”.

The amendment failed and while the Conservatives voted against the Lib Dem motion, the majority of the council approved it.


The attack on the Gaza relief flotilla jeopardizes Israel itself


By John J. Mearsheimer

Israel’s botched raid against the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla on May 31 is the latest sign that Israel is on a disastrous course that it seems incapable of reversing. The attack also highlights the extent to which Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States. This situation is likely to get worse over time, which will cause major problems for Americans who have a deep attachment to the Jewish state.

The bungled assault on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla, shows once again that Israel is addicted to using military force yet unable to do so effectively. One would think that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would improve over time from all the practice. Instead, it has become the gang that cannot shoot straight.

The IDF last scored a clear-cut victory in the Six Day War in 1967; the record since then is a litany of unsuccessful campaigns. The War of Attrition (1969-70) was at best a draw, and Israel fell victim to one of the great surprise attacks in military history in the October War of 1973. In 1982, the IDF invaded Lebanon and ended up in a protracted and bloody fight with Hezbollah. Eighteen years later, Israel conceded defeat and pulled out of the Lebanese quagmire. Israel tried to quell the First Intifada by force in the late 1980s, with Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin telling his troops to break the bones of the Palestinian demonstrators. But that strategy failed and Israel was forced to join the Oslo Peace Process instead, which was another failed endeavor.

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Bloggers unite for Gaza

July 09, 2010

On 9 July, we are urging bloggers to make a simple promise: “Gaza, We Will Not Forget You”.

Humanitarian aid cannot address the hardship faced by Gaza’s 1.5 million people. The only sustainable solution is to lift the closure. The blockade imposed on Gaza is about to enter its fourth year, thwarting any real chance of economic development. As Gazans endure unemployment, poverty and warfare, the quality of their health care has reached an all-time low.

Israel’s raid on the Gaza aid flotilla brought the issue to international attention. We must act now to put an end to the humanitarian crisis once and for all.

On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion condemning Israel’s infringement of the Palestinian right to self-determination and violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The ICJ explicitly affirmed the international community that the burden also falls on them not to recognise or assist the illegal situation.

This year, on 9 July 2010, remind your own government of its own obligations not to recognise or assist Israel’s violations of international law. Urge that there must be an independent and international inquiry into the attacks on the Gaza aid flotilla. And make a simple promise: “Gaza, We Will Not Forget You.”

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