martes, 26 de febrero de 2013

Arafat Jaradat´s murder and the routinary torture of Palestinian prisoners

A puppet hangs from the ceiling at Gaza´s Ministry of Detainees permanent exhibition in a simulation of one of the torture practices endured by Palestinian prisoners.

"The ordeal that Arafat suffered before he died at the hands of Israel's Shin Bet is common to many Palestinians that pass through Israel's prisons. According to the prisoners' rights organisation Addameer, since 1967, a total of 72 Palestinians have been killed as a result of torture and 53 due to medical neglect. Less than a month before Jaradat was killed, Ashraf Abu Dhra died while in Israeli custody in a case that Addameer argues was a direct result of medical neglect.

The legal impunity of the Shin Bet, commonly referred to as the GSS, and its torture techniques has been well established. Between 2001 and 2011, 700 Palestinians lodged complaints with the State Attorney's Office but not a single one has been criminally investigated.

Writing in Adalah's 2012 publication, On Torture [PDF], Bana Shoughry-Badarne, an attorney and the Legal Director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, wrote, "The GSS's impunity is absolute."

Israel's High Court has been extravagantly helpful in securing the Shin Bet with its imperviousness to accountability to international law, and thus enabling widespread and lethal torture."

"Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization Addameer published its 1 February monthly detention report, which notes the following trends:

- The total number of Palestinians prisoners in Israeli jails increased by 69 to 4,812.
- It is disturbing to note that the number of child prisoners increased by 26 to 219, including 31 children younger than 16 which is 8 more than per 1 January 2013.
- The number of female prisoners rose by 2 from 10 to 12.
- The number of Palestinian Legislative Council members increased from 12 to 15. Nine of the lawmakers are held without trial under administrative detention. In total, 178 Palestinians are held under administrative detention.
- The number of prisoners from Gaza remained the same with 437.
- Furthermore, the number of Palestinians serving life sentences increased with 2 to 531"


One Tandoori, two Italian Chicken... and one Viagra, please...

viernes, 22 de febrero de 2013


The "Ceasefire" in numbers


Illustration and design: Rachele Richards

"Three months have passed since the ceasefire that brought an end to Israel's eight-day attack on the Gaza Strip known as Operation "Pillar of Defence". This infographic depicts the number of attacks on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military during this three-month period, as well as the number of Palestinian attacks emanating from Gaza. Since late November, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have averaged over one a day, everyday. These include shootings by troops positioned along the border fence, attacks on fishermen working off the Gaza coast, and incursions by the Israeli army.

This data is important for three reasons. First, it is a response to the Western media's failure to cover the vast majority of Israeli attacks. This fits with a familiar and disturbing pattern, where a regional "period of calm" is exclusively defined in terms of attacks on Israelis. "Calm" from this perspective means security for Israelis - but more dead and injured Palestinians.

Second, data of this nature lay bare the daily reality for Palestinians and the power imbalance between the occupier and an occupied, colonised people fighting for their basic rights. It is instructive that the Israeli army refers to the entry of its forces into the Gaza Strip as "routine activity". Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers continue to snatch Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank, enforce segregation, and protect settler land theft. We have included numbers for Palestinians killed and wounded in the West Bank over this same period because developments there and in Gaza ought not to be viewed as isolated from one another.

Third, if or when there is another assault by Israel on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government and many in the West will seek to emphasise the "rockets" narrative once again. So remember this data, and note what the Israeli army has been doing when - in the words of Israel's own consul general in Los Angeles - "for the last three months, there hasn't been a rocket fired from Gaza"."