Bearing Witness

UN: 290 settler-related attacks on Palestinians by November

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday that settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank increased this year.

Within the first ten months of 2008, OCHA recorded 290 settler-related incidents targeting Palestinians and their property. This figure, while not comprehensive, “reflects a worrying trend,” the UN office said, “since it surpasses the total recorded by OCHA in each of the previous two years.”

In 2006 OCHA recorded 182 attacks for all 12 months combined, while in 2007 the sum was 243.

Similarly, Palestinian deaths and injuries resulting from settler-related incidents in 2008 exceeded the number of Palestinian casualties in each of the previous two years (131 in 2008, compared to 74 in 2006 and 92 in 2007).

Approximately half of all Palestinian injuries from settler violence each year since 2006 have been made up of children, women and the elderly over 70 years of age, the UN office found.

Some areas of the West Bank suffer far higher levels of settler violence and related activity than others, as well. While incidents were recorded by OCHA in all governorates during the first 10 months of 2008, they were more frequent in Hebron and Nablus, with 42 percent and 21 percent of all incidents, respectively.

This trend was also witnessed in the preceding two years.

A root cause of the phenomenon is Israel’s decades-long policy of facilitating and encouraging the settling of its citizens inside occupied Palestinian territory, defined as transfer of population and prohibited by international humanitarian law.

* This article was taken from www.maannews.net
This report does not include the settler violence that was sparked across the West Bank in December by the eviction of settlers from Al-Rajabi family home, the house of contention, in Hebron.The other thing worth noting about the OCHA report is that the vast majority of settler attacks go unreported as Palestinians know they are rarely investigated, let alone prosecuted. Around 90% of these documented attacks go unprosecuted !
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December 20, 2008 Posted by | Media, My Thoughts | , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t believe the hype – Hebron and Gaza

I have just returned from a day in Hebron and was horrified to discover that the Al-Rajabi family home is not back in the hands of  it’s rightful owners, the Al-Rajabi family – as was widely report. Yes the settlers have been evicted, but the home is now being used as Israeli Occupation Force [IOF] watch tower. Leaving the Al-Rajabi family still homeless, 13 months after their home was first occupied. Did the Palestinians of Hebron and the West Bank suffer the desecration of their Mosques and graveyards, stoning, beatings and shootings for another IOF watch tower in Hebron ? Did the Al-Rajabi family spent a year in the Israeli court system to get the settlers evicted, so their home could be turned in a  IOF watch tower to protect the very settlers who occupied their house ?

While in Hebron I also was shown by my guide Tom, from the International Solidarity Movement [ISM], a Palestinian home that had been fire bombed during the settler violence that followed their eviction from the Al-Rajabi family home. The house was next door to IOF watch tower, but when questioned by ISM volunteers the IOF soldiers stated they “heard and saw nothing”. I found this strange as they noticed me taking photo’s straight away – I have never heard a Molotov cocktail being thrown but some thing tells me it’s louder than my camera.

I was also told how scores of children where arrested for throwing stones at the settler in vain attempt to protect their homes, Mosques and graveyards. While the only settler arrested was the man accused of shooting two Palestinians, and he was only arrested after B’tselem release video footage of the shooting to the media.

These incidents show just a few of the double standards that exist in the occupied territories, of which there are many more. They clearly show that there is one policy for Palestinians and another for Jews, fitting the definition of apartheid – the development of practices and policies of separation along racial lines. While also showing that the IOF, who under international law is responsible for for protecting Palestinians in the occupied territories, rarely fulfill these obligations. 

While where on the don’t believe hype theme lets talk about Gaza, I am sure that every time Israel lets the smallest shipment of food into Gaza, it’s widely reported in the western media as noble humanitarian gesture, but again don’t believe the hype. These shipments are like a small amount of rain in a drought, it’s welcome but it’s not drought breaking. The blockade of Gaza has now forced UNRWA to closed its doors as of Thursday 18th of December, saying it would be unable to provide emergency food aid to Gazans, since Israel continued to refuse to allow aid shipments into the Gaza Strip, UNRWA is responsible for feeding 750 000 Gazans. This another violation of international law, as it is a form of collective punishment. 

Again I ask, why is the world less offended by the oppression of the Palestinians people than it was by oppression of Black South Africans ? where are the boycotts and international condemnation ?

The Al-Rajabi family home, now being used as an IOF watch tower

The Al-Rajabi family home, now being used as an IOF watch tower

An IOF watch tower, next to a Palestinian home that was fire bombed by settlers after their eviction for the Al-Rajabi family home.

An IOF watch tower, next to a Palestinian home that was fire bombed by settlers after their eviction for the Al-Rajabi family home.

The results of the fire bomb

The results of the fire bomb

My guide Tom admiring the rubbish disposal methods of settlers

My guide Tom admiring the rubbish disposal methods of settlers

December 20, 2008 Posted by | My Thoughts | , , , , , | Leave a comment