Briefing Notes on the Recent Violence in Occupied Palestine

16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdair was abducted from East Jerusalem and reportedly burned alive by Zionist Jews. [I know the boy's uncle who lives in my area. The boy was tortured and burned alive. Zionist Jew style murder.]

The Zionists in our midst have been telling us the truth all along. Just replace "Arab" with "Israeli," replace "Al-Qaeda" with "Mossad," etc.-Seymour Hersh

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

By way of deception

The three "Israeli" teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel disappeared from outside an illegal Israeli settlement on June 12, and their remains were found nearby nineteen days later. In the ostensible search for these youths, Israeli occupation forces have rampaged throughout the West Bank and Gaza in a massive display of illegal
collective punishment where they have:

- Killed at least 6 Palestinian civilians, including one 14-year-old child and mentally ill man on his way to morning prayers. Three members of armed Palestinian groups in Gaza were also extra-judicially assassinated in violation of international law;

- Contributed to the death of two elderly Palestinian who suffered fatal heart attacks during night raids. A 12th Palestinian, a 17-year-old shepherd boy also died after stepping on a landmine in the Jordan Valley. It is not yet known who laid the mine;

pal-death-since12jun- Wounded at least 90 others, including 16 children, 7 women and three journalists;

- Conducted over 160 military incursions into Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps, where hundreds of civilian homes have been invaded and raided;

- Arrested between 440 and 560 Palestinians, including at least 10 children, bringing the total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons to between 5710 and 5830, while the number of children in detention has surpassed 250. There are also 20 members of the Palestinian parliament now imprisoned, including the Speaker;

- Conducted in the region of 100 airstrikes, shellings or other attacks in the Gaza strip which have caused injuries to civilians. Some of the targets of these strikes have been greenhouses, an UNRWA health clinic, blacksmith workshop and turnery, a concrete factory and agricultural lands;

- Raided 4 university campuses and 18 charitable associations, a refugee cultural centre and the offices of two cultural magazines.

- Restarted its illegal policy of punitive home demolitions, destroying the family homes of two men it accuses of being behind the killing of the Israeli teenagers, and planning to destroy the home of a man it accuses of killing a police officer.

- Illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have carried out at least 14 attacks on Palestinian people and property, including firing live ammunition at Palestinian quarry workers, firing upon a funeral, firing upon a car, attacking Palestinian homes, vandalising vehicles and chopping down olive trees and setting fire to a farm.

- On 19th June the Israeli government approved a further 172 illegal settlement dwellings in East Jerusalem. On 29th June lands were levelled near Salfit for the construction of a new illegal settlement and the Israeli government announced a $90 million plan for greater security control over occupied and illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem. On 1st July the cornerstone was laid for the new Kochav Jacob illegal settlement near Ramallah by the Knesset Chairperson Yuli Edelstein. Israeli PM Netanyahu has called for “a wave of settlement construction and the establishment of a new settlement in memory” of the teenagers. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and are considered war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

- The Gaza strip continues to exist under an illegal Israeli-imposed siege, a “flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” according to Amnesty International. At present the most immediate crises being provoked by this inhumane blockade are a severe shortage in vital medicines, and a continuing electricity shortage.

- According to the Palestinian Businessmen Forum, the blockade of Hebron by the Israeli military has led to economic losses estimated at around $10 million per day in trade, and €2 million per day for employees unable leave to work.

- Amnesty International states that Israel has imposed “measures that clearly constitute collective punishment on Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”, that “collective punishment cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever, including violations by another party” and that “collective punishment of civilians is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as customary international humanitarian law”. It further notes that “authorities are also considering transferring Hamas officials or prisoners who are residents of the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits an occupying power from forcibly transferring or deporting people from an occupied territory”

This is only a very limited survey of the events of a two-and-half week period in Israeli-occupied Palestine, however, it regrettable that little if any of this has been reported in Irish media outlets.
Context is always crucial

It must be noted these acts of violence are occurring within the context of an enduring, unjustifiable and colonial military occupation, that Gaza remains under an illegal and cruel siege and that Israel has chosen to expand its illegal settlement activities at the expense of a negotiated peace.

Since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000, over 6,800 Palestinian have been killed by Israeli occupation forces or illegal settlers. Of those, the vast majority were civilians. According to Defence for Children International, over 1,400 of the fatalities were children, giving an appalling average of one Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces every 3.5 days, or once every 84 hours, over the past 14 years. DCI figures also show that at any given time, Israel holds between 200 and 300 Palestinian children in prison. Various reports, including by UNICEF, Save the Children and a British government-funded legal fact-finding mission, have attested to the cruel and inhumane treatment faced by child prisoners from arrest to incarceration to the effects on them following their release.

The IPSC therefore appeals to journalists and media outlets to recognise and report on this vital context and to reflect the political, military and humanitarian reality on the ground, and to thereby ensure that the lives and rights of all people in Israel and Palestine are afforded the dignity and importance that they are entitled to. That the outrage expressed at one group of murders is not balanced by indifference to the more prevalent, consistent and officially condoned murders that Palestinians daily experience.

Note on sources: The statistics given above are drawn from various sources, including the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Amnesty International – Ireland, Defence For Children International – Palestine, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and various news agencies.

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If you sit by a river long enough, you'll see the body of your enemy float by.
Old Japanese proverb