Sunday, March 21, 2010

4 Palestinian youth killed in West Bank by Israeli military in less than 24 hours

Dear friends,

the terrible news has come through that the Israeli military has shot dead 4 Palestinian youth in less than 24 hours in the West Bank. Mohammed Qaddous, age 16, was killed when he was shot from behind by the Israeli military with live ammunition. Ussayed Qaddous, 19, from the same village of Iraq Burin was also shot in the head with live ammunition and died several hours later. The Israeli military has denied the use of live ammunition, despite medical proof to the contrary.

My teammates from the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS), Marie and Gwen, were in the village at the time of the shootings and I have included their initial report below [at the time of the report was written the second boy, Ibrahim remained in coma. Sadly, he died later].

Two other Palestinian from the village of Awarta, which is also in the Nablus region were shot dead by the Israeli military in the hours following the death of the first two boys. The Israeli military is claiming the two boys attacked them with pitchforks. However, according to my team mates from IWPS, who have since visited Awarat, the villagers have contradicted the IOF's story, saying that Muhammed Faysal (19 yrs) and Salah Muhammad Qawariq (16 years), were in fact killed by settlers.

Reports in the Haaretz have reported Palestinian Authority spokespersons saying that witnesses stated that the two young men were killed in cold blood after they had been arrested and bound by the IOF.

According to Marie and Gwen, while they can not ascertain the manner of the boys death at this time, they believe the story about the boys attacking the IOF is unlikely. What is not in dispute, however, according to my team mates is that the boys were unarmed and were killed in cold blood.

In addition, to the report from my colleagues at IWPS, I have also included a report from Haaretz on the 4 shootings and a report from YNet on the first two deaths in Iraq Burin.

In solidarity, Kim


Medical Xray of live ammunition lodge in the skull of Ussayed Qadous.
Photograph by Salma aDeb'i - B'Tselem



Today, March 20th, Gwen and I responded to a call earlier in the week by the Mayor of Iraq Burin, Abu Haitham, to be an international presence in his village during what has become weekly clashes between armed settlers and Israeli soldiers and unarmed villagers.

We arrived at the village a little after 11:00am and were soon joined by a group of international volunteers from Project Hope who work in the Nablus refugee camps, who were there for informational resources rather than villager accompaniment, then a little later a couple of ISM’ers . Later in the day members of EEAPI came to be a presence for a time.

We gathered at a community building in the village and were given some history on the problems the villagers of Iraq Burin has had with the illegal settlement of Bracha, their inhabitants and the military. Construction on the settlement began in 1982 taking land from neighboring villages Burin and Kufr Kalil, and now plan to expand onto land belonging to Iraq Burin. According to the coordinator for the Project Hope delegation, Israel plans to link the settlements around the Nablus area to the Larger settlement of Ariel.

According to Israeli law, if land is left unused it reverts to the state (of Israel) after 3 years. The villagers of Iraq Burin held their weekly Friday prayers on the land surrounding their village that wasn’t being used for agriculture. About six months ago the military began denying the village access to this land. The villagers went to court and got an order giving them freedom to access all their land. However, settlers began attacking them during their Friday prayers. The military was called in but did not prevent the settlers from attacking. Instead, they acted as escorts for the settlers. The settlers began “holding prayers” at a well on the land of Abu Haitham. In actuality, they have thrown stones in the well, swam in it and made it unfit for potable water.

The villagers then proposed they would not hold demonstrations against the settlers if they would be allowed access to their land on Saturdays to plant. This was agreed to by the military; however, access to their land on Saturdays has been met with violent resistance by both the settlers and the military.

In the past couple of weeks 15 people have been injured in settler violence.

Today, when we arrived in Iraq Burin their were approximately 12 soldiers visible on the hills surroundng the village. After our meeting with the Mayor and other internationals, about 50 people proceeded toward part of the land in dispute. Soldiers (not those in position when we first arrived but rather another group) immediately began provoking the villagers with taunts and shooting live ammunition into the air in an attempt to disperse the gathering. This went on for about 10 minutes. The military then began shooting tear gas as well as the live ammo. There was a retreat of the demonstration, then the demonstration would go back, replaying the scene of violence over and again for several hours.

When it appeared that the military was retreating for the day IWPS and ISM prepared to leave. Suddenly, there was a great commotion with villagers running toward the village and yelling. Five or Six military jeeps came into the village from the road while those who had been engaged in the demonstration came down from the hills. Heavily armed soldiers began a house to house search, and arrested 3 young men. At one house an ISMer attempted to enter the house with the soldiers to document their treatement of the inhabitants but he was physically blocked from entering.

We followed the soldiers to each house they raided, but unfortunately there were too few of us to adequately document the human rights abuses. While we were shadowing the soldiers we heard what I assumed to be tear gas explosions in another part of the village. After the soldiers completed their house raids they quickly exited the area and soon after villagers again started running toward the center of the village. As well, ambulances headed in the same direction. We followed and heard that teenagers had been shot, a 16 year old by the name Muhammed of was shot in the back and a 15 year old named Ibrihim was shot in the head. According to villagers they were shot with live ammunition. At the time of this writing, we are waiting to hear of the condition of Ibrihim, who is in surgery.
Written by Marie
Edited by Gwen

Mohammed Qaddous: Photograph by Salma aDeb'i - B'Tselem

Mohammed Qaddous: Photograph by Salma aDeb'i - B'Tselem

Last update - 21:46 21/03/2010
PA accuses Israel of killing Palestinian teens 'in cold blood'

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies
Tags: Israel news, Nablus, IDF

Senior Palestinian Authority officials on Sunday accused Israel of escalating tensions after Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinian youth in the West Bank in 24 hours.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib called for an independent investigation into the killing of 19-year-old cousins Mohammed Qawariq and Saleh Qawariq on Sunday, who were shot by Israel Defense Forces troops who they attempted to stab with a pitchfork. The soldiers were not harmed in the incident.

Khatib cited witness accounts that the two had been shot only after being arrested, while Mahmoud al-Aloul, a senior figure in the Fatah party led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the youth had been killed
in "cold blood".

"Nobody can imagine that we can stand with our hands tied vis-a-vis what is happening," Aloul told around 1,500 mourners at their funeral in Awarta, south of Nablus.

According to initial reports, soldiers from the IDF's Nahshon Battalion were stationed south of the Israeli settlement of Itamar in order to protect Palestinians plowing their land.

"Two men tried to stab a soldier during a routine patrol near the Awarta security crossing near Nablus. The force opened fire and confirmed their death," an army spokeswoman said.

Earlier Sunday, a 19-year-old Palestinian died of wounds sustained one day earlier when IDF troops opened fire on demonstrators south of Nablus.

Oseyd Abd al-Nasser Kadus was hit in the midriff by a rubber-coated bullet and was taken to the hospital in Nablus, where he had been listed in critical condition.

Another youth, Ibrahim Abd al-Khader Kadus, 16, died Saturday after being hit in the heart by a rubber-coated bullet fired by IDF troops.

The two were wounded clash after IDF soldiers tried to prevent clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians near the village of Iraq Burin, south of Nablus. Villagers own land that borders the nearby settlement of Bracha.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel had responded to U.S. and international efforts to revive peace talks "with more escalation" that thwarted attempts to get negotiations going.

The head of the local village council, Abd al-Rahim Kadus, told Haaretz that every Saturday settlers come to the village, attack the locals and destroy property, leading to clashes with the Palestinians.

Israeli troops usually intervene to break up the fighting, which then turns into a confrontation between young villagers and the soldiers.

The Palestinians maintain that the two teenagers were hit by live ammunition and that the soldiers prevented Palestinian medical staff from evacuating them. The two teenagers were subsequently rushed to the hospital in private cars.

The IDF began an investigation into the incident, which marked the first killing of a Palestinian in months. Army sources told Haaretz that the Palestinians' claim that live rounds were fired is false.

The human rights group B'Tselem, which sent an investigator to the hospital in Nablus, said that both casualties were the result of live rounds.

In recent weeks demonstrations have taken place in the area by villagers, who have also pelted soldiers with stones

Thursday, March 11, 2010

48% of Israeli highschoolers oppose equal rights for Palestinians / 56% would deny Palestinians the right to run for political office in Israel

Dear friends,
a recent poll conducted by the Israel War and Peace Index revealed that 57% of Israeli's thought that "national security" was more important that human rights (see: Israeli news website, YNET,7340,L-3851567,00.html).

Today's Haaretz has reported that in another poll, half of Israel's high school students do not believe Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship should be entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel. This percentage when broken down further revealed 82% of religious Jewish students held this view, compared to 39% of "secular" Jewish students (the poll surveyed both Jewish and Palestinian Arab students).

The poll went onto reveal that 56% of students believed that Palestinian with Israeli citizenship should be denied the right to run for Parliamentary office in Israel - with the further break down being similar to the above responses.

According to a YNET article on the same poll (which lists the 48% as 46%), 21% also think that "Death to Arabs" is a legitimate expression (with 45% of religous Jews agreeing with this and 16% of secular Jews). YNET also notes that 1 out of 6 Israeli students do not want to study with Eithopian Jewish students or Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

According to one Israeli academic quoted in the Haaretz article: "There is a combination of fundamentalism, nationalism, and racism in the worldview of religious youth"

in solidarity, Kim


March 11, 2010

Poll: Half of Israeli high schoolers oppose equal rights for Arabs
By Or Kashti

Nearly half of Israel's high school students do not believe that Israeli-Arabs are entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel, according to the results of a new survey released yesterday. The same poll revealed that more than half the students would deny Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset.

The survey, which was administered to teenagers at various Israeli high schools, also found that close to half of all respondents - 48 percent - said that they would refuse orders to evacuate outposts and settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Nearly one-third - 31 percent - said they would refuse military service beyond the Green Line.

The complete results of the poll will be presented today during an academic discussion hosted jointly by Tel Aviv University's School of Education and the Citizens' Empowerment Center in Israel. The symposium will focus on various aspects of civic education in the country.

"Jewish youth have not internalized basic democratic values," said Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the conference organizers.

The poll was commissioned last month by Maagar Mochot, an Israeli research institution, under the supervision of Prof. Yitzhak Katz. It took a sampling of 536 Jewish and Arab respondents between the ages of 15-18.

The survey sought to gauge youth attitudes toward the State of Israel; their perspective on new immigrants and the state's Arab citizens; and their political stances.

The results paint a picture of youth leaning toward political philosophies that fall outside the mainstream.

In response to the question of whether Arab citizens should be granted rights equal to that of Jews, 49.5 percent answered in the negative. The issue highlighted the deep fault lines separating religious and secular youths, with 82 percent of religious students saying they opposed equal rights for Arabs while just 39 percent of secular students echoed that sentiment.

The secular-religious gap was also present when students were faced with the question of whether Arabs should be eligible to run for office in the Knesset. While 82 percent of those with religious tendencies answered in the negative, 47 percent of secular teens agreed. In total, 56 percent said Arabs should be denied this right altogether.

The survey also delved into the issue of military service and following orders that are deemed politically divisive.

While an overwhelming majority (91 percent) expressed a desire to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, 48 percent said they would not obey an order to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank.

Here, too, researchers note the religious nexus. Of those who would refuse evacuation orders, 81 percent categorize themselves as religious as opposed to 36 percent who are secular.

"This poll shows findings which place a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth," said an Education Ministry official.

The survey, which also revealed that a relatively high number of youth plan on voting and that democracy is still the preferred system of government, indicates "a gap between the consensus on formal democracy and the principles of essential democracy, which forbid the denial of rights to the Arab population," the official said.

"The differences in positions between secular and religious youth, which are only growing sharper from a demographic standpoint, need to be of concern to all of us because this will be the face of the state in another 20-30 years," said Bar-Tal. "There is a combination of fundamentalism, nationalism, and racism in the worldview of religious youth."


11 March, 2010

Poll: 46% of high-schoolers don't want equality for Arabs,7340,L-3861161,00.html
Some 81% of religious students said they would refuse to evacuate settlements, versus 36% of secular counterparts. Every second student is opposed to granting right to vote to Arabs, and 32% don't want Arab friends

Yaheli Moran Zelikovich
Published: 03.11.10, 10:42 / Israel News

Racism and refusal to evacuate alongside support for a democratic system of government – these are the jumbled sentiment of Israel's high school students, according to a recent poll.

They support a democratic form of government, but more than half of them believe that Arabs should not be allowed to vote in Knesset elections. One out of every six students would not want to study in the same class with an Ethiopian or an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, and 21% of them think that "Death to Arabs" is a legitimate expression.

Nearly every second student would refuse orders to evacuate settlements. They mostly prefer Shimon Peres as prime minister over Ehud Barak and Avigdor Lieberman.

The students were asked questions regarding their viewpoints on the IDF and insubordination. Some 91% of secular high school students said they want to enlist in the IDF, versus 77% of religious students. Eighty-one percent of the religious students said they would refuse orders to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank, versus 36% of secular students. Overall, 43% of the students polled said they would refuse orders.

The teens were asked about the rights of Arab Israelis. Here, too, there was a gap in the opinions of religious and secular students. While 82% of religious students responded that they don't believe Arabs should be granted equal rights as Jews, 36% percent of seculars responded that they do not believe in equal rights for Arabs and Jews. Overall, 46% students believe there should not be equality between Jewish and Arab citizens of the State of Israel.

The poll showed that many students believe the phrase "Death to Arabs" is racist, and, therefore, not legitimate. Forty-five percent of religious students and 16% of secular students, however, believe it is a legitimate statement.

Some 82% of the religious students believe Arab Israelis should not be allowed to vote in Knesset elections, versus 47% of seculars. Overall, 56% of the high school students polled believe Arabs should not be allowed to vote.

Students were asked if they would be willing to have an Arab friend who is the same sex and age as they are. Out of the religious students polled, 81% said they would not be willing, versus 23% of secular students who would not want to have an Arab friend. Overall, 32% of students said they would not want to have an Arab friend.

'Don't want immigrants in our class'

The poll showed that secular high school students tend to be more willing to accept immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. When asked if they would want Ethiopian students to study in the same class as them, 16% of secular students and 23% of religious students answered in the negative.

When asked about their willingness to study with a classmate from the former Soviet Union, 12% of secular students answered that they would not, versus 32% of religious students.

Regarding their opinions on the character of Israel's government, the students were asked which type of government they would prefer. Eighty percent chose democracy; 16% chose dictatorship; and 4% responded that they did not know.

Seventy-five percent of Jewish students, versus 64% of Arab students think Israel is considered a democratic country. Some 20% of Arab students responded that they believe it is legitimate to forcefully oppose government policies to which they are opposed – about two times the percentage of Jewish students who believe so.

In the political sphere, the teenagers (38%) responded that there preferred prime minister is Benjamin Netanyahu. Next in line were Tzipi Livni with 24%, Shimon Peres – 19%, Avigdor Lieberman – 13%, and Ehud Barak – 6%.

The survey was conducted by the Maagar Mochot research institute on 536 youth between the ages of 15 and 18 from the Jewish and Arab sectors on the topic of today's youth and the face of tomorrow's Israel.