+972 Magazine » News http://972mag.com Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:32:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 A Week in Photos: Survivors, art and destruction in Gaza http://972mag.com/a-week-in-photos-survivors-art-and-destruction-in-gaza/104982/ http://972mag.com/a-week-in-photos-survivors-art-and-destruction-in-gaza/104982/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:25:35 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104982 Ten photos from Gaza — of survivors and the devastated urban landscape seven months after the last Israeli offensive.

Photos by Anne Paq/Activestills.org

This week marks seven months since Israel’s war in Gaza last summer, “Operation Defensive Edge.” During the course of the war, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed. Tens of thousands are still homeless due to Israeli strikes. Almost no reconstruction has taken place because of Israeli and Egyptian restrictions on the import of raw materials into the Strip.

The following are images from the Gaza Strip in the past week, March 17-25, 2015, showing the destruction, the lives of survivors, memories of the dead and daily life in the besieged strip of land.

Elizabeth Tanboura stands with three of her daughters: Sundos, Malak, and Marwa (right), in front of their destroyed home in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, March 19, 2015. Elizabth's husband, Radad, and their children Ahmed (15) and Amna (13), were killed during an Israeli attack on August 25, 2014. Two other boys survived because they were not in the house at the time of the attack.

Elizabeth Tanboura stands with three of her daughters: Sundos, Malak, and Marwa (right), in front of their destroyed home in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, March 19, 2015. Elizabth’s husband, Radad, and their children Ahmed (15) and Amna (13), were killed during an Israeli attack on August 25, 2014. Two other boys survived because they were not in the house at the time of the attack.

Issam Joudeh sits where an Israeli attack killed four of his children and his wife in the Tel Al-Za'tar neighborhood of Jabaliya, Gaza Strip, March 19, 2015. Israeli forces attacked the yard of the family's home without any warning on August 24, 2014. Three children survived, one of them Thae'er had his leg amputated and is still in Germany where he is receiving medical treatment.

Issam Joudeh sits where an Israeli attack killed four of his children and his wife in the Tel Al-Za’tar neighborhood of Jabaliya, Gaza Strip, March 19, 2015. Israeli forces attacked the yard of the family’s home without any warning on August 24, 2014. Three children survived, one of them Thae’er had his leg amputated and is still in Germany where he is receiving medical treatment.

A photo of Abdallah Abdel Hadi Al Majdalawi amid the ruins of his home, Gaza Strip, March 19, 2015. Abdallah (13) was killed alongside his brother Abdelrazek (19) and his cousins Rawan (9) and Mahmoud (8), by an Israeli attack which took place without any warning on August 3, 2014. The attack also destroyed the adjacent home of Ahmed Al Majdalawi.

A photo of Abdallah Abdel Hadi Al Majdalawi amid the ruins of his home, Gaza Strip, March 19, 2015. Abdallah (13) was killed alongside his brother Abdelrazek (19) and his cousins Rawan (9) and Mahmoud (8), by an Israeli attack which took place without any warning on August 3, 2014. The attack also destroyed the adjacent home of Ahmed Al Majdalawi.

Ahmed al-Nashash, 50, stands in front of a closet that still contains clothes belonging to his sons, who were killed during the last Israeli offensive, Rafah City, Gaza Strip, March 18, 2015. The al-Nashash family was fleeing attacks on July 27, 2014, when they were struck by an Israeli missile some 100 meters from their home. Seven members of the family were killed, including his wife of Ahmad, Hana (45), and their five sons. Two of his daughters, Meena (4) and Fatma (2) survived.

Ahmed al-Nashash, 50, stands in front of a closet that still contains clothes belonging to his sons, who were killed during the last Israeli offensive, Rafah City, Gaza Strip, March 18, 2015. The al-Nashash family was fleeing attacks on July 27, 2014, when they were struck by an Israeli missile some 100 meters from their home. Seven members of the family were killed, including his wife of Ahmad, Hana (45), and their five sons. Two of his daughters, Meena (4) and Fatma (2) survived.

Gaza Strip artist Raed Issa during the opening of his exhibition, "Simple Dreams," in the Eltiqua Gallery in Gaza City, March 23, 2015. The exhibit included some of his destroyed paintings that he salvaged from the ruins of his home. Issa’s home, which included his studio, was destroyed by an Israeli attack last summer. Raed lost many paintings and art materials.

Gaza Strip artist Raed Issa during the opening of his exhibition, “Simple Dreams,” in the Eltiqua Gallery in Gaza City, March 23, 2015. The exhibit included some of his destroyed paintings that he salvaged from the ruins of his home. Issa’s home, which included his studio, was destroyed by an Israeli attack last summer. Raed lost many paintings and art materials.

Graffiti is seen in on rubble in the destroyed quarter of Shujaiya, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015. The rubble is being recycled to produce low quality concrete.

Graffiti is seen in on rubble in the destroyed quarter of Shujaiya, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015. The rubble is being recycled to produce low quality concrete.

Palestinians walk through a destroyed quarter of Al-Shaaf neighborhood, in Al-Tuffah, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are still internally displaced and many are living in very dire conditions.

Palestinians walk through a destroyed quarter of Al-Shaaf neighborhood, in Al-Tuffah, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are still internally displaced and many are living in very dire conditions.

Palestinians drive through a destroyed quarter of Al Shaaf neighborhood, in Al Tuffah, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015.

Palestinians drive through a destroyed quarter of Al Shaaf neighborhood, in Al Tuffah, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015.

A Palestinian removes rubble from a destroyed quarter of Al Shaaf area, in Al Tuffah, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015. The rubble is then recycled to produce low quality concrete for reconstruction.

A Palestinian removes rubble from a destroyed quarter of Al Shaaf area, in Al Tuffah, east of Gaza City, March 21, 2015. The rubble is then recycled to produce low quality concrete for reconstruction.

 

The ruins of a four-story building belonging Abdul Jawad Mheesin, which was destroyed during the last Israeli military offensive, Gaza Strip, March 25, 2015. The attack killed Nisreen Ahmad (38) and her son Hussein (8), who were living in the adjacent home, as well as Suheir Abu Meddin (43), who was living in the tower and went back inside to take some belongings minutes after a warning missile was fired.

The ruins of a four-story building belonging Abdul Jawad Mheesin, which was destroyed during the last Israeli military offensive, Gaza Strip, March 25, 2015. The attack killed Nisreen Ahmad (38) and her son Hussein (8), who were living in the adjacent home, as well as Suheir Abu Meddin (43), who was living in the tower and went back inside to take some belongings minutes after a warning missile was fired.

 

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PHOTOS: When even holding signs is forbidden by Israeli Police http://972mag.com/photos-when-even-holding-signs-is-forbidden-by-israeli-police/104950/ http://972mag.com/photos-when-even-holding-signs-is-forbidden-by-israeli-police/104950/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:36:00 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104950 Dozens of Israeli, Palestinian and international activists protested in the Old City and Sheikh Jarrah against the Judaization of Jerusalem. The police, however, didn’t take kindly to their expressions of free speech.

By Natasha Roth, photos by Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org

Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators march against Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators march against Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Israeli, Palestinian and international activists gathered at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City Friday afternoon, before marching to the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in order to protest the Judaization of East Jerusalem.

The march came amid increased tensions over the attempt by Jewish settlers to take over property in Palestinian areas of the city, following the attempted eviction of the Sub Laban family from their home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The most recent attempt on March 15 failed, thanks to the presence of Palestinian and Israeli activists who went to the Sub Labans’ home to try and prevent them from being forced out. The threat of eviction, however, remains.

The crowd, which included individuals from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement and Women in Black, began to move away from Damascus Gate, holding signs calling for the end to the occupation and settlements in East Jerusalem, while accompanied by drumming and chanting.

Members of the Shamasneh family speak during a protest against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Members of the Shamasneh and Sub Laban families speak during a protest against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The police immediately approached and informed demonstrators that it was illegal for them to carry their signs (without explaining why), and as the march made its way up Nablus Road in the direction of Sheikh Jarrah, they began confiscating signs one by one. Those who attempted to hold onto their signs — including elderly women — were manhandled by the police. One Palestinian who passed by the demonstration even shouted at the police about freedom of expression and questioned what kind of a democracy engages in such behavior.

An Israeli policeman confronts an Israeli demonstrator during a march against the Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

An Israeli policeman confronts an Israeli demonstrator during a march against the Judaization in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

The march continued — with the majority of signs confiscated — escorted by two Border Police on horseback, Jerusalem Police on foot and a Border Police patrol car. After pausing briefly at the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah, where more police cars arrived, the procession descended into the neighborhood, where protesters met with several members of the Shamasneh and Sub Laban families, both of which face eviction. They explained their plight and thanked the demonstrators for their solidarity. One of the speakers pointed out that if the police wanted to confiscate signs, that was their problem — he would bring a thousand more.

The march carried on to the outskirts of Sheikh Jarrah, where the police again began assaulting demonstrators holding signs that had not yet been confiscated. Several scuffles broke out as police officers continued to snatch signs and tear them up, as well as attempting to confiscate people’s drums. Eventually, however, the drumming started up again, and some of the signs were returned to demonstrators who held them at the edge of the pavement, facing the traffic. It seemed that the entire performance was simply a show of force on the part of Israeli security — against an unarmed, peaceful crowd, which counted children and the elderly among its numbers.

And Israeli policemen confiscates a sign from a protester during a demonstration against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

And Israeli policemen confiscates a sign from a protester during a demonstration against the Judaization of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, March 27, 2015. (photo: Mareike Lauken, Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

As the protest drew to an end, members of the two families again thanked the participants and reminded them that the battle to save their homes is ongoing. There was just enough time for one final opinion to be expressed: a car driving past the group slowed, the window opened, and a young Israeli eyeballed the crowd, while putting up his middle finger. And so, another Friday in Sheikh Jarrah came to a close.

Natasha Roth, a British immigrant to Israel, is a freelance writer and researcher, and a former coordinator at the ARDC. She can be found on twitter at @NatashaRoth01.

Related:
Palestinian family under threat of eviction by settlers
The occupation doesn’t take a day off for elections in E. J’lem

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PHOTOS: Hundreds mourn Palestinian youth shot dead by Israeli soldiers http://972mag.com/photos-hundreds-mourn-palestinian-youth-shot-dead-by-israeli-soldiers/104900/ http://972mag.com/photos-hundreds-mourn-palestinian-youth-shot-dead-by-israeli-soldiers/104900/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:47:26 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104900 By: Ahmad al Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered to take part in the funeral of Ali Safi in the Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah Thursday. Safi, 18, was shot with live bullets by Israeli soldiers during clashes near the refugee camp on Wednesday, March 18. He was taken to a hospital in Ramallah and placed in the ICU until he died on Wednesday night.

Hundreds participated at the funeral of Ali Safi in Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. By: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds participate in the funeral for Ali Safi, Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

Palestinian medical sources reported that the bullet exited Safi’s body through his back, leaving him in a coma. At least three other Palestinian were wounded by live fire during the clashes.

According to Ma’an News Agency, the clashes erupted last week after a protest against the construction of a wall between the nearby Israeli settlement of Beit El and Jalazun.

Hundreds participated at the funeral of Ali Safi in Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. By: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds participate in the funeral for Ali Safi, Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

 

Hundreds participated at the funeral of Ali Safi in Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. By: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds participate in the funeral for Ali Safi, Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

 

Hundreds participated at the funeral of Ali Safi in Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. By: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds participate in the funeral for Ali Safi, Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

 

Hundreds participated at the funeral of Ali Safi in Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. By: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Hundreds participated in the funeral of Ali Safi, Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, March 26, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org)

 

Construction of a wall is seen between the near by Israeli colony of Bet El and the refugee camp, March 26, 2015. Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills

An Israeli bulldozer builds a wall between Jalazun refugee camp and the Jewish settlement Beit El, March 26, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills)

Related:
PHOTOS: Clashes follow funeral of 14-year-old Palestinian-American
PHOTOS: Police kill Bedouin man, wound dozens at funeral
PHOTOS: Palestinians mourn woman who died after inhaling tear gas

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PHOTOS: Joint List marches for unrecognized Bedouin villages http://972mag.com/photos-joint-list-marches-for-unrecognized-bedouin-villages/104884/ http://972mag.com/photos-joint-list-marches-for-unrecognized-bedouin-villages/104884/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:13:27 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104884 Arab leaders begin four-day march across Negev to pressure Israeli government to recognize dozens of villages that lack electricity and running water.

Photos: Oren Ziv, text: Yael Maron

Hundreds march from the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na'am on a four-day journey through the unrecognized villages of the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Dozens march from the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am on a four-day journey through the unrecognized villages of the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Dozens of members of the Joint List — including chairman Ayman Odeh, Dov Khenin and other future members of Knesset — marched alongside other Arab leaders Thursday on a four-day trip through the Negev/Naqab’s unrecognized Bedouin villages. They were joined by representatives of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages. The march is set to end at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Odeh, who opened the march in the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am, just south of Be’er Sheva, told the marchers: “Nearly 100,000 citizens live in the Negev in poor living conditions. Can you imagine your life without electricity? Without running water? Where your children have to drive kilometers, on poor roads, just to get to school?”

Hundreds march from the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na'am on a four-day journey through the unrecognized villages of the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Dozens march from the unrecognized village of Wadi Al-Na’am on a four-day journey through the unrecognized villages of the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“The reality in the unrecognized villages is unbearable, and it is our responsibility to struggle together in order to bring about real change for these citizens. I invite all citizens of the country, Arabs and Jews, to join us in our call to recognize all the unrecognized villages, and to invest in a joint future for all residents of the Negev.”

Odeh organized the march as part of his pre-election promise to support the years-long struggle of the unrecognized villages. The plan is to present President Reuven Rivlin with an operative plan for recognizing the Bedouin villages of the Negev, which will emphasize the benefits that such recognition will have on both the Jewish and Arab populations of the Negev.

Joint List head Ayman Odeh (center) and MK Dov Khenin (left) march during a four-day journey across unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Joint List head Ayman Odeh (center) and MK Dov Khenin (left) march during a four-day journey across unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Fady Masamra, who heads the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages, spoke to +972 at the beginning of the march: “The issue of recognizing the villages has been up in the air for too many years. This march is just the beginning of the recognition process. The 100,000 residents of the unrecognized villages have suffered enough. Children have lived without water and electricity for long enough — now it needs to stop. This is a call for everyone who believes in human rights to come march with us and join the struggle of the Negev’s indigenous people.”

Hadash MK Dov Khenin also spoke to +972, saying: “We are marching today from the place that most acutely represents the injustice and danger of the unrecognized villages. Students from Wadi Al-Na’am learn in tin shacks next door to the chemical factories of Ramat Hovev. Despite the dangers facing the villagers, we have not been able to advance a solution to their unbearable situation over the past years. Wadi Al-Na’am is just one story out of many. We cannot continue to make peace with this kind of reality. Instead of fighting the Arab Bedouin citizens, the time has come to solve their problems, and first and foremost recognize their villages.

Villagers from the unrecognized village Al-Araqib march with dozens of others during a four-day march across the Negev desert, March 26. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Villagers from the unrecognized village Al-Araqib march with dozens of others during a four-day march across the Negev desert, March 26, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The four-day march stopped in the unrecognized village Al-Araqib, which has been destroyed by Israeli authorities over 80 times. They marchers will also stop in Beit Jubreen and Abu Ghosh before ending in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Joint List chair Ayman Odeh leads a recognition march throughout the unrecognized villages of the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Joint List chair Ayman Odeh leads a recognition march throughout the unrecognized villages of the Negev, March 26, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The unrecognized villages of the Negev have existed for generations, and many of them were either established before the founding of the State of Israel, or were moved to their current location by the state. The villagers live without basic infrastructure, including water and electricity, health services, roads or schools, which forces families to send their children long distances in order to exercise their basic right to education.

Related:
Negev Bedouin are now demolishing their own homes out of despair
How many cars does it take for a Bedouin village to vote?
Israel’s Bedouin: Civilians in death alone

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IDF: Nothing illegal in Gaza strike that killed three journalists http://972mag.com/idf-nothing-illegal-in-gaza-strike-that-killed-three-journalists/104853/ http://972mag.com/idf-nothing-illegal-in-gaza-strike-that-killed-three-journalists/104853/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:16:32 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104853 The chief military prosecutor investigates the IDF’s killing of three journalists and finds that ‘the [mortar] fire was carried out in accordance with Israeli and international law,’ in response to intensive fire toward IDF troops.

By Oren Persico

A destroyed quarter in Shujaiyeh neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, during a ceasefire, July 27, 2014. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A destroyed quarter in Shejaiya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, during a ceasefire, July 27, 2014. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

IDF Military Advocate General Danny Efroni decided not to open a criminal investigation into the killing of three journalists, among others, during Operation Protective Edge last summer, according the IDF prosecutor.

On July 30, 2014, IDF forces shelled the market area of the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza. Rami Rayan, 26, who reportedly worked as a cameraman for Gaza-based news agency PNJM, was killed on the spot in the shelling. Muhammad al-Diri, 26, who also worked as a cameraman for the same news agency, was wounded and died a few days later. Same al-Ariyan, 28, who worked as a presenter on Hamas’s television station Al-Aqsa, was also wounded in the shelling and died hours later.

Since the end of “Protective Edge,” the IDF General Staff, led by Gen. Noam Tivon, has been reviewing various incidents in which it is suspected that IDF soldiers broke the law. Roughly six months ago, the IDF Prosecutor announced [Hebrew] that the General Staff had examined a different incident, in which Gaza journalist Hamed Shaheb was killed, and reached the conclusion that there was no evidence Shaheb indeed worked as a journalist. It added that his vehicle was bombed because it was transporting weaponry.

At the same time, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) identified the journalists who were killed during the operation and reached the conclusion that some of them were terror operatives [Hebrew]. However, also according to the ITIC, the three journalists killed by IDF shelling on July 30 in the market area of Shejaiya were working as journalists at the time they were hit. Additionally, despite the fact that one of them was employed by a Hamas media organization, there was no evidence found that the three were involved in terrorism.

Gazans flee Shejaiya after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The IDF Prosecutor this week published the findings of the General Staff review of the events of July 30. The findings show that the three journalists were not killed while documenting civilians shopping in the market, as was reported in the Palestinian media. Instead, the review found, they were bombed as they arrived to film the bombing of a family home adjacent to the market. According to the IDF’s General Staff review, the strike on that home led to the deaths of seven people and a crowd civilians and journalists subsequently gathered around the house. Then the house was hit again and a number of those gathered were also killed.

[tmwinpost]

According to the IDF Prosecutor’s announcement, the attack took place as the IDF was responding to mortar fire it identified as targeting its troops, and which wounded one soldier. In order to prevent harm to civilians the IDF held its fire for around an hour, during which the mortar fire continued. When the IDF ultimately returned fire, according to the Israeli military review, it was very restrained because it feared high “collateral damage.” IDF forces fired five mortar shells toward one of the identified sources of fire, and roughly 18 minutes later, when the mortar fire didn’t stop, it fired another 10 rounds at the same area.

“The [IDF] forces assumed at the time of the incident that the probability they would hit civilians was low,” the IDF Prosecutor’s announcement said:

Before the start of the ground incursion in [Shejaiya], a widespread warning to evacuate had been provided, which, according to the information in the force’s possession, had resulted in the evacuation of the vast majority of the civilian population in the neighborhood. An additional warning to evacuate was made two days prior to the incident, on 28 July, in order to keep the civilian population at a distance from the area of hostilities. Moreover, during the ongoing aerial surveillance carried out in the area in the period leading up to the incident, no civilian presence was identified on the roads and in the open areas of the neighborhood – which are the areas in which the danger posed by mortar shells is generally greater than the danger to those inside a building. In real time, no aerial surveillance capabilities were available to the forces. Thus, even if the possibility of civilian presence in the area had not been entirely ruled out, in consideration of the assessment that most of the population had evacuated and that no civilian presence was identified in the area prior to the incident, the understanding was that the risk of harm as a result of the limited fire was low.

After the event, by comparing the actions taken by IDF forces with the allegations contained in the complaint received by the MAG Corps, it can be concluded that one of the shells from the first round of fire carried out by IDF forces apparently struck the roof of the Al-Salak family, at a time when the family was on the roof, and killed seven family members; and that two shells from the second round of fire carried out by IDF forces apparently struck the crowd which had gathered next to the Al-Salak house in the wake of the first strike. At the same time, the possibility that the harm to civilians during this incident resulted from a misfire by a Palestinian terror organization has not been ruled out, in light of the extensive enemy mortar fire emanating from the area at the time.

The chief IDF Prosecutor, as communicated in the announcement, reached the conclusion that, “the [mortar] fire was carried out in a manner that accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements,” because, “the fire was aimed towards mortars and their operators, with the aim of neutralizing their capacity to continue carrying out ongoing and intensive fire on IDF forces, who found themselves in a situation of clear and present mortal danger.”

Later in the announcement it says that:

The MAG found, that in the incident in question, there occurred a number of coincidences and series of events that a military commander should not be expected to predict – the shell that resulted in the first instance of extensive harm to civilians (members of the Al-Salak family) landed on a roof, at a time where there was a group of people on the roof (while the chance that the shell would penetrate the building and cause similar harm to persons inside, was lower); and the second instance of extensive harm was caused to a group who had gathered outside the house of the Al-Salak family, in the wake of the previous strike. At the time when the decision was made to carry out the second round of fire, IDF forces were not aware of the hit on the Al-Salak house as a result of the first round of fire, nor of the crowd which had gathered outside the Al-Salak house.

In light of the above, the MAG found that the commander’s assessment that the collateral damage expected from the strike would not be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated from it, was not unreasonable under the circumstances, in light of the information that was at his disposal at that time. As such the MAG found that there had been no misconduct on the part of IDF forces in regards to the incident in question, and that even though the ultimate outcome of the action was tragic, it does not affect the legality of the fire post facto.

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WATCH: IDF fires tear gas canisters directly at protestors http://972mag.com/watch-idf-fires-tear-gas-canisters-directly-at-protestors/104835/ http://972mag.com/watch-idf-fires-tear-gas-canisters-directly-at-protestors/104835/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:11:03 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104835 Two Palestinian protesters have been killed from the practice in recent years despite it being illegal.

By Natasha Roth

In keeping with a recent upsurge in the illegal use of lethal force during weekly Friday demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, video footage emerged last week of an Israeli soldier firing tear gas canisters directly at protesters on March 13, 2015, filmed by local journalist Bilal Tamimi. Shooting tear gas canisters directly at humans can be deadly, due to the velocity at which the canisters are fired. Just over three years ago, Mustafa Tamimi was killed in the same spot after being hit in the face by a canister at close range. In 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmah was killed after being struck in the chest by a tear gas canister in Bil’in. According to Israeli military guidelines, firing tear gas at a direct trajectory toward people – is irregular use of the weapon, and illegal.

[tmwinpost]

This joins the army’s increasing use of live fire in Nabi Saleh against unarmed protesters, also illegal except in situations of “mortal danger.” During the demonstration shown in the video, a Palestinian demonstrator was shot in the leg by a live bullet; the army released a statement saying that the use of live fire had been in response to a “violent riot of 200 Palestinians” and that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown.

Both these claims are untrue; the demonstration was, however, a particularly violent one due to the actions of the Israeli army and Border Police. Several women and children demonstrators were beaten by soldiers, and three women were arrested: two residents of Nabi Saleh, Bushra Tamimi and Shireen al-Araj, and one Israeli activist, Tali Shapiro. Border Police also used stun grenades in an irregular fashion during the demonstration, throwing them directly at protesters rather than rolling them along the ground [Heb] – also visible in the video (the black canisters are stun grenades).

As those not being beaten and arrested started to run away from the attacks that day, the head of the Border Police unit repeatedly screamed “go home!” as canisters continued to fly past people’s heads and skid next to their feet.

The West Bank military commander, Brig. Gen. Tamir Yadai, boasted recently that the army had taken a “tougher approach” in the area. In light of this, the customary “bad apples” defence that is wheeled out when Israeli security forces’ thuggish behavior is exposed falls flat. Nonetheless, as evinced by the IDF’s statement last Friday, impunity will continue to spread its protective wings over the army’s use of force in the Occupied Territories.

Natasha Roth, a British immigrant to Israel, is a freelance writer and researcher, and a former coordinator at the ARDC. She can be found on twitter at @NatashaRoth01. Thanks to Bilal Tamimi, a local journalist from Nabi Saleh who documents every demonstration that takes place in the village, as well as incursions by Israeli security forces.

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[VID] Street Talk: Why did the Left fall short on election day? http://972mag.com/vid-street-talk-why-did-the-left-fall-short-on-election-day/104792/ http://972mag.com/vid-street-talk-why-did-the-left-fall-short-on-election-day/104792/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:15:32 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104792 Following the results of the elections for the 20th Knesset, Social TV takes a street survey and asks residents of Tel Aviv to explain the unexpected results, and why they think the left-wing parties failed yet again.

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WATCH: Noam Sheizaf at J Street: Nobody is talking about Gaza http://972mag.com/watch-noam-sheizaf-at-j-street-nobody-is-talking-about-gaza/104768/ http://972mag.com/watch-noam-sheizaf-at-j-street-nobody-is-talking-about-gaza/104768/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:22:40 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104768 Speaking at the 2015 J Street Conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday, +972 co-founder and writer Noam Sheizaf participated in a plenary panel called “Does Liberal Zionism Have a Future?”

Sheizaf called out both the conference and liberal American Jewry for the lack of discussion about the latest Gaza war. (Watch the full panel here.)

Later in the discussion, Sheizaf explained the dichotomy between liberalism and Zionism as it manifests itself in Israel, concluding that talk of diplomatic solutions must be preceded by a real civil rights movement.

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No, Bill Maher, Netanyahu’s campaign was indeed racist http://972mag.com/no-bill-maher-netanyahus-campaign-was-indeed-racist/104750/ http://972mag.com/no-bill-maher-netanyahus-campaign-was-indeed-racist/104750/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 23:38:02 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104750 Citing example after example of racism and stoking ethnic tensions in U.S. history, the HBO host finds a way to justify Netanyahu’s warning that Arabs are voting.

American television personality Bill Maher addressed Israeli elections on his show a few days ago, specifically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-day warning that Arabs are voting en masse.

Maher, who has made a career shrugging off the constraints of politically correct discourse on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” argues that playing the race card in order to galvanize one’s base is an acceptable political tactic.

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How do we know? Well, because it’s happened in the United States — so it must be okay.

“Like Reagan didn’t win [presidential] races with racism? Like Nixon, like Bush? They didn’t play the race card?” Maher posits. If those guys did it, what could be wrong?

But that was only the beginning.

Rejecting his own hypothetical in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney warns of black voters, Maher continued: “I think that would be a good analogy if America was surrounded by 12 or 13 completely black nations who had militarily attacked us many times, including as recently as last year. Would we let them vote?”

I think I see where you’re going, Bill. Would the United States allow its own citizens to vote if they were of the same race as a country that the U.S. recently fought? It certainly has done some ugly things we don’t like to bring up very often, but at the end of the day the arc of history bends toward justice, or something like that, and America is different today — right?

Not so much on Real Talk.

“I don’t know,” Maher continued. “When we were attacked by the Japanese we didn’t just not let them vote, we rounded them up and put them in camps.”

And there you have it. In an attempt to justify electoral race-baiting by Israel’s prime minister, Bill Maher suggests that arbitrarily putting over 100,000 American citizens in internment camps — on the basis of race — in response to a threat that never materialized was somehow justified?

When the world noticed Netanyahu’s racist campaigning last week I wrote about how Americans should rethink the idea that the bonds tying together Netanyahu’s Israel and the United States are cemented with shared values. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they do share some values after all.

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Settlers attack, wound six-year-old Palestinian girl http://972mag.com/settlers-attack-wound-six-year-old-palestinian-girl/104691/ http://972mag.com/settlers-attack-wound-six-year-old-palestinian-girl/104691/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2015 17:47:28 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=104691 West Bank settlers attacked a six-year-old Palestinian girl with rocks in the South Hebron Hills on Saturday, wounding her in the head, according to Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem.

Six-year-old Palestinian girl after being reportedly attacked by the settlers of Havat Maon. (photo: B'Tselem/Nasser Nawaj'a)

Six-year-old Palestinian girl bleeds from her head after being attacked by masked settlers from Havat Maon. (photo: B’Tselem/Nasser Nawaj’a)

The girl was wounded after a group of masked settlers threw rocks at her near the entrance to the illegal outpost of Havat Maon, said B’Tselem. She was also lightly injured in her leg as she attempted to flee. B’Tselem reported that Israeli police took the girl and her father to a local station to file a complaint, and that she was treated at a local clinic for her wounds. The police are currently searching for suspects.

Attacks by settlers on Palestinian civilians are a nearly everyday occurrence across the occupied West Bank. While Palestinians themselves are often the target of settler violence, Palestinian homes, property and sources of income are also constantly at risk. Just between March 10-15, OCHA recorded seven attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians or their property. This included physical assault and injury of two men in Hebron and East Jerusalem; the uprooting of 72 olive trees in At Tuwani and Al Khader; and vandalism to four vehicles and several water tanks. 

According to human rights group Yesh Din, between 2005-2013 just 8.5 percent of investigations against Israeli settlers suspected of harming Palestinians and their property ended in indictment. In the vast majority of cases, the investigators simply failed to locate the offenders or to collect sufficient evidence for prosecution. If recent history is any guide, the likelihood that the settlers who attacked the girl will be located is extremely low. 

And while the police and army are considered the two bodies entrusted with protecting the Palestinian civilian population, they often protect the settlers or turn the other cheek in the face of their violence.

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The settlers of Havat Maon — an outpost on the edge of the already-established settlement of Maon — are notorious for their violence against the surrounding villages of At Tuwani and Tuba. I visited the area along with activists from Ta’ayush on a solidarity trip in early 2011; we planned to re-plant hundreds of trees that had been felled just a few days earlier, most likely by the settlers of Havat Maon.

When we arrived, accompanied by IDF soldiers, the settlers immediately made their way toward where we were working. Confrontations began as they started yelling “whore!” at an elderly woman who was trying to pick weeds, and continued when they attempted to attack some of the locals who were with us. At some point, an older settler came up and told me that he couldn’t wait for the day that I would be hung in the middle of Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. A few minutes later group of hooded teens began kicking sheep that belonged to a Palestinian shepherd. The soldiers just stood there and did little more than try and separate the two groups.

After what seemed like hours of verbal abuse, the soldiers declared the area a closed military zone, and forced the Palestinians back into their village. The order did not apply to the settlers, who continued walking around the fields of the village, taunting the Palestinians and the activists from afar. The Palestinians refused to go back, and eventually began clashing with some of the soldiers, one of them even throwing a rock at settlers. A group of three or four soldiers pounced on the him, arrested him and threw him in the back of a jeep. The settlers, some 40 feet away, were dancing and laughing hysterically.

Then we went home.

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