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"."

miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2013

The bombing of a UN school during Cast Lead

A painting displayed at the Ministry of Detainee´s Affairs depicting the shelling of the Al-Fakhura UN school in Jabalia on 6th January 2009 during "Operation Cast Lead". In the attack, 43 people were killed (14 of them children) and over 50 were injured. The justification given by the Israeli army was that militants were firing rockets from the site. The unsupported claim was vehemently rejected by the United Nations and had to be retracted.

Painting by Abu Ibrahim Bahadir, a witness of the massacre.

The views from CPDS library

domingo, 17 de febrero de 2013

Kamil and Hosam Al-Kafarn

On the 14th of February 2013, Kamil Adham Al-Kafarn (20) was scavenging construction materials near Erez crossing in the north of Gaza Strip. He and his cousin Hosam were working in the area with permission from the Israeli authorities when they were shot by an Israeli sniper. The bullet entered through the right  part of his torso, and damaged his stomach, diaphragm and liver. The doctors believe that due to the damage inflicted upon his internal organs, he will never fully recover.

Hosam Al-Kafarn (21) was wounded along with Kamil when they were scavenging construction materials near Erez. The first bullet hit his right hand, and a second one wounded his left arm. He will need to undergo surgery due to the damage sustained to his bones.

Ashkelon as seen from Beit Hanoun

viernes, 15 de febrero de 2013

Akram Al-Rikhawy

Ex-political prisoner Akram Al-Rikhawy, released on the 7th of February 2013, after spending 9 years in an Israeli jail accused of being a member of Hamas. He only received two family visits during the time he was imprisoned, and all communication with friends and relatives was severed. On the 12th of April 2012 he started a hunger strike that lasted for 104 days to protest against his imprisonment.

 Akram Al-Rikhawy addressing the people that gethered to welcome him in Gaza City.

martes, 12 de febrero de 2013

Forough Farrokhzad - To My Sister

Sister, rise up after your freedom,
why are you quiet?
rise up because henceforth
you have to imbibe the blood of tyrannical men.

Seek your rights, Sister,
from those who keep you weak,
from those whose myriad tricks and schemes
keep you seated in a corner of the house.

How long will you be the object of pleasure
In the harem of men's lust?
how long will you bow your proud head at his feet
like a benighted servant?

How long for the sake of a morsel of bread,
will you keep becoming an aged haji's temporary wife,
seeing second and third rival wives.
oppression and cruelty, my sister, for how long?

This angry moan of yours
must surly become a clamorous scream.
you must tear apart this heavy bond
so that your life might be free.

Rise up and uproot the roots of oppression.
give comfort to your bleeding heart.
for the sake of your freedom, strive
to change the law, rise up.

Translation by Michael C. Hillmann

domingo, 10 de febrero de 2013

Olive tree planting in the "Buffer Zone" near Zeytoun


On Saturday 9th of February in the Zaytoun district on the outskirts of Gaza City, hundreds of local farmers and fishermen were joined by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and activists from International Action for Palestine as they participated in the International Day of Action for the Boycott of Israeli Agricultural Products. They marched to Palestinian farmland in the 'buffer zone' near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip and planted olive trees on razed farmland which had previously contained vast numbers of olive and citrus trees until they were bulldozed by the Israeli army in recent years. 

Today's demonstration affirmed the call by Palestinian agricultural organisations and the Palestinian BDS National Committee for worldwide campaigns to boycott Israeli agricultural products and Israeli agricultural export corporations. These companies are deeply complicit in Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. Whilst they profit from stolen Palestinian land, Palestinian farmers are unable to export their own produce, thereby crippling the Palestinian agricultural sector.

Therapy for children in Nuseirat

Children participating in a group therapy in Nuseirat to relieve the stress and trauma that resulted from the latest bombing of Gaza.

Among other therapeutic techniques, puppets are used so children can express more easily their emotions and traumatic experiences that resulted from the latest war, such as being terrified by the sound of bombs and coping with the shock of loosing relatives.

viernes, 1 de febrero de 2013

Lectura Recomendada: Giving Voices to the Voiceless: Gender-Based Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Giving Voices to the Voiceless: Gender-Based Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Jamileh Abu-Duhou
American University in Cairo Press, 2012

Gender-based violence (GBV) affects women throughout their lives and occurs in different forms including physical, psychological, sexual and economic abuse. GBV has a diverse impact on women and may result in homicides, suicides, and many adverse health problems. It occurs as a result of gender roles and cultural norms, which influence the expression of violence within intimate relationships. In Palestinian society such violence is about exertion of control and a sanctioned way of life, a way of life that is legitimized by religion and culture. The level of violence experienced is heightened by the on-going violent conflict in Palestine, which adds to the level of violence against women due to increased feelings of despair, loss of control and emasculation among Palestinian men. Regardless of their age, religion or social economic status, Palestinian women are rarely heard. They have loud voices and they are outspoken; yet the culture requires that they are not to be seen or heard outside the confines of the home. This book, a collection of voices of Palestinian women victimized both by the ongoing violent conflict and at the hands of their husbands, is intended to redress this balance.