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PALESTINE INFO 3 / BACKGROUND
Pressemitteilung

PROZESS GEGEN PALÄSTINENSISCHEN PARLAMENTARIER MARWAN BARGHOUTI BEGINNT AM 6. APRIL

Am 6. April 2003 beginnt im District Court in Tel Aviv der Prozeß gegen den palästinensischen Abgeordneten Marwan Barghouti. Zahlreiche Delegierte französischer, italienischer und deutscher Anwaltsorganisationen, des Europäischen Parlaments und von NGO werden als Beobachter nach Israel reisen.

Vom 6. April bis voraussichtlich zum 6. Mai wird über die Anklage verhandelt, Barghouti sei an der Planung terroristischer Akte beteiligt gewesen. Neben der Zurückweisung dieser Beschuldigung wird die Verteidigung insbesondere auf die Verstöße gegen internationales Recht im Umgang mit Gefangenen verweisen.

Der 1958 in Ramallah geborene Marwan Barghouti saß von 1978 bis 1986 wegen Widerstands gegen die Besatzungsmacht in israelischen Gefängnissen, danach wurde er bis 1994 ins Exil verbannt. Nach der Rückkehr lehrte er Internationale Beziehungen an der Universität Jerusalem. Er ist Vater von vier Kindern. Als Generalsekretär der Fatah im Westjordanland und gewählter Abgeordneter des palästinensischen Parlaments gilt er als einer der Protagonisten einer politischen Lösung des israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikts, weshalb er stets ein angesehener Gesprächspartner gemäßigter israelischer Politiker und europäischer Parlamentarier war. Barghouti ist am 15. April 2002 in Ramallah festgenommen und in ein israelisches Haftzentrum gebracht worden. Seither wurde er in verschiedenen israelischen Gefängnissen in Einzelhaft gehalten und gefoltert. Eine faire Prozessführung wird ihm verweigert. Gegenwärtig sieht er dem Beginn der Gerichtsverhandlung in einer dunklen, feuchten und schmutzigen Zelle entgegen, die er nur für eine Stunde am Tag verlassen darf. Sein Gesundheitszustand ist bedenklich, ärztliche Behandlung wurde ihm verweigert.

Als gewähltes Parlamentsmitglied sollte Barghouti in Übereinstimmung mit den Oslo-Abkommen parlamentarische Immunität genießen. Schon seine Verschleppung aus den palästinensischen Gebieten in ein Haftzentrum in Israel war eindeutig eine Verletzung der Vierten Genfer Konvention, die solche Überführungen durch Besatzungsmächte ausdrücklich verbietet. - Es ist darauf hinzuweisen, daß am 17. März 2003 eine weiteres Mitglied des palästinensischen Parlaments in israelische Haft verschleppt wurde, der Abgeordnete Hussam Khader, ebenfalls ein bekannter Protagonist des Friedensprozesses.

Die Verteidiger Barghoutis werfen der israelischen Regierung schwerwiegender Verletzungen der Vierten Genfer Konvention zum Schutz von Zivilisten in Kriegszeiten und der internationalen Konventionen für Menschenrechte vor - so u.a. der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte, des Übereinkommens gegen Folter, der Konvention zum Schutz der Menschenrechte und Grundfreiheiten, des Pakts über bürgerliche und politische Rechte und fast aller UNO-Resolutionen.

Da der Fall Marwan Barghouti für die Lage von Tausenden Palästinensern in israelischen Gefängnissen und Haftzentren exemplarisch ist, folgten bereits im August 2002 150 Rechtsanwälte aus neun Ländern dem Ruf eines Internationalen Komitees (www .freebareghouti.org), in Kairo über die Verteidigung Marwan Barghoutis und von 8.000 anderen von Israel widerrechtlich inhaftierten Palästinensern zu beraten. Ein Internationaler Beobachterausschuss bildete sich, dem bekannte Persönlichkeiten angehören, so der frühere Präsident Südafrikas, Nelson Mandela, der amerikanische Intellektuelle Noam Chomsky, der portugiesische Nobelpreisträger Jose Sammoga, der palästinensische Dichter Mahmoud Darwish, der palästinensisch-amerikanische Intellektuelle Edward Said und das Mitglied des Palästinensischen Parlaments Hanan Ashrawi.

Eine Gruppe deutscher Organisationen und Personen (http://freebarghouti.de) schließt sich den Forderungen des Internationalen Komitees für die Freilassung Marwan Barghoutis an: unverzügliche Beendigung der Menschenrechtsverletzungen durch die israelische Armee, Freilassung Marwan Barghoutis und aller anderen palästinensischen politischen Gefangenen, Einstellung der Verhaftungen in den besetzten palästinensischen Gebieten Sie wendet sich an die Journalistinnen und Journalisten in Deutschland, die Mauer des Schweigens über das Schicksal der palästinensischen politischen Gefangenen zu durchbrechen.

Sie wendet sich an Parlamentarierinnen und Parlamentarier in Deutschland und in der Europäischen Union, sich für ihren Kollegen Marwan Barghouti einzusetzen und vom Staat Israel die Einhaltung der parlamentarischen Immunität, der Menschenrechte und des Völkerrechts zu fordern.

01.04.2003

Herausgeber der Pressemitteilung:
Initiative zur Unterstützung des Internationalen Komitees für die Freilassung Marwan Barghoutis und aller palästinensischen politischen Gefangenen kontakt at freebarghouti.de


"Sie haben nur das Auto verwechselt"
Bregenzerin Karin Tiefenthaler erlebt Schießerei mit vier Toten in Bethlehem

VON THOMAS MATT E-MAIL: thomas.matt at vn.vol.at
Vorarlberger Nachrichten - 29.3.03

Bethlehem (VN) Die 26-jährige Bregenzerin Karin Tiefenthaler hat eben in Bethlehem erlebt, was die allgemeine Nervosität aus Menschen machen kann. Übrig blieben Tote und Verletzte.
"Gestern Abend ist vor unserer Haustüre die Tochter von Carolyns bester Freundin erschossen worden." In ihrem jüngsten E-Mail beschreibt die Friedensaktivistin aus Bregenz den Alltag in Bethlehem. Sie wohnt zur Zeit bei einer palästinensischen Familie.
Gerade hatte sie ein Internetcafé betreten. "Da begann eine wilde Schießerei." Nach einer Viertelstunde war alles vorbei. Zurück bei ihrer Gastgeberin Carolyn, fand Karin deren Kinder völlig verängstigt vor. Während der Schießerei waren sie in den Korridor geflüchtet, "haben die Lichter ausgemacht und dort ausgeharrt". Das Telefon klingelt ununterbrochen, beschreibt Karin Tiefenthaler die Stunden danach. "Gerüchte darüber, was passiert sein soll, häufen sich. Tränen, Hoffen auf einen Irrtum, angstvoll geöffnete Kinderaugen." Von draußen dringt Lärm ins Haus. Weil es stürmt, "ist es unmöglich zu unterscheiden, ob es Schüsse sind, oder Donner oder die Flugzeuge, die in den Irak fliegen, um dort zu bombardieren."
"Das darf nicht sein"
Dann bringt das Bethlehemer Lokalfernsehen die ersten Bilder: zwei total zerschossene Autos. "Die Fensterscheiben zerbrochen, der Kofferraum wie ein Sieb durchlöchert, daneben Verletzte, Ambulanz, über eine Person wird ein weißes Plastik gebreitet. Karins Gastmutter erkennt das Auto von Nijwe Saada, ihrer besten Freundin. "Nein, das darf nicht sein. Wieder Tränen. Ihre zwölfjährige Tochter sei schwer verletzt, heißt es."
Am Telefon kann die Mutter von Nijwe kaum sprechen. Die zwölfjährige Tochter ist tot, die 14-jährige hat eine Beinverletzung, Nijwes Mann wurde in den Nacken geschossen. Nijwe selber ist leicht verletzt.
Das gleiche Auto
Das Lokalfernsehen zeigt inzwischen Bilder von der toten zwölfjährigen Christina. Inzwischen entschuldigt sich das israelische Militär bei Nijwes Familie, "weil man das Auto verwechselt habe". So passierte der "Unfall": Das Militär hatte Befehl, auf einen hellen Peugeot zu schießen, in dem angeblich Hamasmitglieder sitzen sollen. Das Pech von Nijwes Familie war, dass sie das gleiche Auto fuhr.
Die ganze Familie meiner Gasteltern schlief diese Nacht in einem Bett. Alle hatten Angst.
KARIN TIEFENTHALER FRIEDENSAKTIVISTIN
Karin Tiefenthaler versucht Palästinenser vor Übergriffen der Armee zu schützen. Mehr im Internet unter www.womenspeacepalestine.org, Spendenkonto: "IWPS Palästina", Hypo Bregenz, BLZ 58000, Ktn. 10.340 935.018
Die zwölfjährige Christina wird zu Grabe getragen. (Fotos: AFP)
Verhaftungen nach der Schießerei in Bethlehem.

Blinder Alarm?
von Uri Avnery
uri-avnery.de 15.03.2003

"Warum denken Sie, dass Sharon den amerikanischen Angriff auf den Irak ausnützen wird, um in den besetzten Gebieten eine Vertreibung durchzuführen?" fragte mich ein Journalist, nachdem wir eine Warnung in diesem Sinne in dieser Zeitung veröffentlichten. "Schlagen Sie nicht etwa blinden Alarm?" Ich hätte ihm eine Liste mit Zitaten von Mitgliedern der jetzigen Regierung geben können, die alle offen die Massenvertreibung der Palästinenser befürworten. Ich hätte Gerüchte zitieren können. Ich hätte ihm erzählen können, dass schon eine ganze Zeit lang eine schleichende Vertreibung im Gange sei, indem man das Leben der Bewohner unerträglich macht, dass man ihre Häuser zerstöre, Absperrungen und Ausgangssperren verordnet und Hungersnot zuläßt . Aber ich wollte lieber über Geschehnisse berichten, bei denen ich in der Vergangenheit selbst Augenzeuge war. Es war 1967, als die israelische Armee die Westbank erobert hatte. Unmittelbar danach kam der Schriftsteller Amos Kenan, der als Soldat im Raum Latrun diente, zu mir. Er legte mir einen Bericht über das, was er mit eigenen Augen gesehen hatte, auf den Schreibtisch. (Ich war zu jener Zeit Mitglied der Knesset und Herausgeber der Zeitschrift Haolam Hazeh - ein Nachrichtenmagazin) In dem schockierenden Bericht beschreibt Kenan, wie die Bewohner von vier Dörfern im Latrungebiet aus ihren Häusern vertrieben wurden. Männer und Frauen, Kinder und alte Leute waren gezwungen worden, in der erstickenden Hitze von über 30 Grad C zu Fuß nach Ramallah zu laufen - eine Entfernung von etwa 30km. Gleich danach begann die Armee, die Häuser zu zerstören. *1 Ich eilte dorthin.. Die vier Dörfer - Imwas, Yalu, Bet-Nuba, Dir Ayub - waren schon fast vernichtet. Ich sah, wie die Bulldozer die letzten Häuser platt walzten. Als ich versuchte, Fotos zu machen, trieben mich die Soldaten weg. Von dort ging ich direkt zur Knesset und bat ranghohe Personen zu intervenieren. Nachdem sie alle möglichen Leute kontaktiert hatten, sagten sie mir, es wäre zu spät. Der Abbruch der Häuser sei beendet. Warum gerade diese Dörfer? Warum in solcher Eile? Dieses Gebiet der Westbank bildete (nach Israel hinein ) eine Ausbuchtung, die die alte Straße von Tel Aviv nach Jerusalem beherrschte und die 1948 abgeschnitten wurde. Die Regierung war davon überzeugt, dass die Weltgemeinschaft Israel zwingen würde, alle Gebiete, die es besetzt hat, wieder zurück zu geben, wie es nach dem letzten Krieg (im Suez-Krieg 1956) geschah. Sie dachte, wenn die vier Dörfer dem Erdboden gleichgemacht werden, ohne dass eine Spur von ihnen bleibe, wäre es für Israel möglich, wenigstens dieses Gebiet zu behalten. Es wurde natürlich kein Druck auf Israel ausgeübt, und Israel durfte bis heute im Besitz aller besetzten Gebiete bleiben. Noch immer schmachten die Flüchtlinge in den Lagern bei Ramallah. Auf ihrem Land wurde der "Kanada-Park" errichtet - zum Ruhme dieses humanistischen und liberalen Landes, das diese Ehre dankbar annahm.

Während die Traktoren im Raum Latrun arbeiteten, geschah etwas Ähnliches in Kalkilya. Nach dem die Stadt erobert war, begann die Armee, systematisch einen zentralen Stadtteil zu sprengen. Die Bewohner waren vertrieben worden und gezwungen, die ca 25 km nach Nablus zurückzulegen. Dort lagen sie in öffentlichen Parkanlagen herum. Ich erhielt ziemlich früh diese Nachricht. Ich fuhr hin, um mich zu versichern, dass dies wahr sei und ging wieder zur Knesset und schnappte mir einige Minister, einschließlich Menahem Begins, der gerade zum Minister ohne Geschäftsbereich ernannt worden war, und Israel Barzileis, den Mapam-Minister für Gesundheit. Ich fand einige ranghohe Abgeordnete, die die Nachricht direkt an den Ministerpräsidenten Levy Eshkol weitergeben konnten. Ich weiß nicht, ob dies geholfen hat. Aber die Zerstörung wurde sofort gestoppt. Den Bewohnern wurde es erlaubt, zurückzukehren, und der Stadtteil wurde wieder aufgebaut. Warum Kalkilya? Weil diese von allen Westbankstädten Tel Aviv am nächsten lag. Von einem Hügel nahe der Stadt hatte jordanische Artillerie den Großstadtraum von Tel Aviv beschossen. Der damalige Verteidigungsminister, Moshe Dayan, wollte die Grenze hier begradigen. Jahre später erfuhr ich, dass zur selben Zeit im benachbarten Tulkarem die Vertreibung auch begonnen hatte. Ra'anan Lurie, der berühmte Karikaturist, der zu jener Zeit ein Armeeoffizier war, war in dem Augenblick dort, als der Befehl zur Vertreibung nach Jordanien gegeben wurde. Obwohl er ganz und gar kein Linker war, verweigerte er den Befehl, den er als offenkundig illegal betrachtete. Trotzdem wurden Busse gebracht und die Einwohner gezwungen, einzusteigen. Sie wurden direkt zur Jordanbrücke gebracht und nach drüben getrieben. Lurie bestätigte dies später. Die bei weitem größte Vertreibung dieses Krieges aber fand in Aqabat-Jabr und den andern großen Flüchtlingslagern von 1948 in der Nähe Jerichos statt. Es waren die größten Lager im Nahen Osten. Sie wurden vollständig geräumt - bis zum letzten Mann wurden sie ins nahe Jordanien vertrieben. In jenen Lagern waren mindestens hunderttausend Flüchtlinge. Als ich sie unmittelbar nach dem Krieg besuchte, waren sie wie Geisterstädte.

Nach dem Krieg versuchten einige dieser Flüchtlinge, nachts heimlich den Jordan zu überqueren. Eines Tages kam ein Soldat - offensichtlich verstört -- zu mir ins Büro und erzählte mir, dass all diese Flüchtlinge gefangen genommen und auf der Stelle erschossen worden seien. Ich bat ihn darum, eine eidesstattliche Versicherung zu unterschreiben, die ich dem Generalstabschef, Yitzhak Rabin, zusandte. Sein Adjutant bestätigte, dass der Generalstabschef das Dokument gelesen habe. Ein oder zwei Tage später hörte das Morden auf *². Ich hatte noch ein entsetzliches Erlebnis. Nach dem Besuch der Flüchtlingslager, fuhr ich in der glühenden Hitze des Jordantales auf der steilen Straße von Jericho nach Jerusalem zurück. Das Thermometer näherte sich der 40 Grad Marke. Hunderte von staubbedeckten Leuten schleppten sich auf dieser Straße in Richtung Jerusalem. Man hatte sie unter Drohung und mit Gerüchten über bevorstehende Gräueltaten dazu gebracht, aus Jerusalem und Bethlehem nach Jordanien zu fliehen. Aber bevor sie den Jordan überquerten, erlaubte man ihnen, zurückzukehren. Unter ihnen waren Frauen, die auf dem Kopf schwere Lasten trugen, Kleidung, Decken, Küchenutensilien und kleine Kinder mit sich zogen. Alte Leute humpelten mit Hilfe von Stöcken. Die meisten waren vor Müdigkeit und Durst der Ohnmacht nahe. Wir taten, was wir konnten und brachten ihnen Trinkwasser. Es war schrecklich.

Nach verschiedenen Schätzungen waren es zwischen 100 und 260tausend Palästinenser, die während der sog. "kleinen Nakbeh" vertrieben wurden. In Oslo (1993) war man überein gekommen, dass ein gemeinsames israelisch-palästinensisch-ägyptisch-jordanisches Komitee Mittel und Wege finden würde, damit sie wieder zurückkehren könnten. Aber dieses Komitee wurde niemals zusammengerufen. General Matti Peled erzählte mir einmal, dass vor dem Krieg, als er Kommandeur des Jerusalem-Distriktes war, bei seinem Personalstab zwei Offizieren begegnet sei, die ihm unbekannt waren. Als er sie befragte, eröffneten sie ihm, dass sie zu einer geheimen Einheit gehören, die für eine etwaige nächste Gelegenheit eine Massenvertreibung vorbereitete. Peled jagte sie natürlich im hohen Bogen hinaus. Im Krieg von 1956 fand keine Vertreibung statt, weil der Krieg nur gegen Ägypten war. Während des 1973 Krieges hatte keiner Zeit, daran zu denken. Im Libanonkrieg hatte Israel keine Pläne für Annexionen. In keinem vorhergehenden Krieg hatte Israel eine Regierung, dessen Minister öffentlich über Massenvertreibung debattierten. Wenn ein "Trennungszaun" gebaut wird, der mehrere palästinensische Dörfer zwischen diesem und Israel isoliert liegen lässt, fürchten Palästinenser natürlich, dass sie aus diesen Dörfern vertrieben werden. Sie fürchten außerdem, dass auch benachbarte Städte und Dörfer östlich der Mauer noch geräumt werden.

Kann ich Palästinenser beruhigen, ihre Befürchtungen seien unbegründet ?

--- *1 Der vollständige Bericht von Kenan kann nachgelesen werden in "Die Kinder von Bethlehem" Rohlfs-Muhaisen, S.59 ff *2 s. im selben Buch S.61


To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: As war starts, Palestinian fears rise

As the war approaches, Palestinian fears rise

In recent weeks, residents in the West Bank and Gaza have been spinning horror scenarios that could happen under cover of the war in Iraq.

By Amira Hass - Haaretz

Nearly every night these past three weeks, F. has been dreaming that she, her family, her neighbors and the rest of the inhabitants of Ramallah are expelled from their homes. As the attack on Iraq becomes more certain, the scenes have become sharper and more persistent. In her recurring nightmares, the army orders everyone out of their houses. People are taken to a piece of land devoid of buildings and trees. She loses her husband and two of her four children. Children are crying and the elderly are muttering: "Here they are going to build us a new refugee camp."

F., a Ramallah resident, laughs in consternation as she relates her nightmare. It is not complicated to identify its sources: as the war approaches, the street is full of fears, rumors and terrifying assessments. Mass deportation is one scenario that comes up in conversations on the street, in the grocery stores, and in living rooms in front of the television set, and it arouses real fear. How will this happen? While the whole world is concentrating on what is happening in Iraq, people think, there will be a heavier media blackout than usual on what the Israel Defense Forces does in the Palestinian territories, and who can guarantee that there will be no deportation under cover of the blackout?

In recent weeks, people have been preparing themselves for five horror scenarios. These are not based on intelligence information or open warnings that have been passed along by Israeli sources, but rather on the experience of the Palestinians' recent and less recent past. One scenario, based on the experience of the past two years, is that Israel will impose an internal closure that is more stringent than usual. That is, the movement of people, vehicles, medications, raw materials, food, and other goods will be more limited than it has been during the past two years.

Another scenario is based on the previous Gulf War, in 1991, when the IDF imposed a full curfew on the territories that lasted six weeks.

A third scenario is based on the experience of the past two months and Operation Defensive Wall in April. According to this scenario, Israel will increase military attacks on cities, refugee camps and villages in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and will interfere with the electricity and water supplies, and the number of casualties will increase.

The fourth scenario, of internal deportation within the territories, is based on memories of the 1967 Six-Day War. At that time, Israel expelled the inhabitants of three villages in the area of Latrun (Amawa, Beit Nuba and Yalo), immediately demolished their houses, and years later established Canada Park in their place. At the same time, the IDF began to expel people from Qalqilyah and demolished houses close to the Green Line of the 1967 border. Internal Israeli opposition eventually stopped the process.

People were also expelled from Tul Karm and its refugee camp - some to Jordan and some to Nablus. More than 100,000 people who lived in refugee camps in the Jordan Valley were also made to flee into Jordan. The geography of the expulsion policy - to empty everything that is close to the border and the Green Line - is clear. Now, they fear, Israel will continue to "thicken" the Green Line - i.e. to annex de facto more Palestinian lands. Even now tens of thousands of Palestinians have had their lands confiscated due to the building of the separation fence in the western part of the West Bank. Now they are afraid that under the cover of the war in Iraq, Israel will initiate expulsions. The first in line believe Palestinian activists in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), could be about 14,000 people in 15 villages that, according to the route of the separation fences, will find themselves trapped between the Green Line and the fence and will be cut off from the rest of the West Bank. F.'s family lives in one of these trapped villages, which appears in her nightmares.

The fifth scenario is based on an even more distant memory, from 1948, and this is mass expulsion. The entry of Moledet, the party that openly preaches transfer, in the government only increased these fears.

The appointment of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) as the Palestinian Authority's prime minister, a process that to a large extent has been a production of the United States and Britain, has slightly dulled the sharpness of a sixth scenario: the expulsion of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat or even an Israeli attempt on his life. Until about a month ago, this scenario was mentioned in the same breath as the other scenarios; now it is no longer the case.

There is a large gap between the gravity of the scenarios and the ways of dealing with them. If the Palestinian Authority has drawn up plans to deal with these scenarios, the Palestinian public has not heard about it. Therefore, dealing with the first two scenarios is mainly personal and familial.

Stocking up

In recent weeks, people have been hoarding food and preparing for a long curfew. "I have never emptied my stock so quickly, emptied it and restocked," says the proprietor of a grocery store as he calculated the price of eight kilograms of flour, six kilograms of sugar and five kilograms of rice purchased by a young couple. The trucks that sell propane gas canisters pass through every neighborhood twice a day, and recently there always have been customers. There has been an increase in the sale of flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, blankets, diapers and powdered infants' milk.

In a society in which 60 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, stocking up on food is no simple task. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) has already filled its storehouses with enough foodstuffs and medicines for three months. This is on the assumption that as in 1991, there will be a freeze on the movement of goods through the Ashdod port, the Allenby Bridge, and Ben-Gurion Airport. UNWRA recently reinforced its staff of non-Palestinian drivers in order to overcome the restrictions of an internal closure. If needed, some UNWRA staff will work as drivers.

All the Palestinian aid organizations have hoarded foodstuffs, and all of them are accelerating their distribution. In some cities and villages, distribution is being coordinated by "popular committees that were established during the past two years to prevent duplications and cheating." The Israeli organization Ta'ayush Arab Jewish Partnership has emptied its coffers in order to send dozens of tons of flour to villages that are already cut off due to the internal closure, and with the outbreak of the war, it is not at all certain there will be access to them. This has been done in coordination with the popular committee activists.

The Al Najah University in Nablus has already recommended that its students return home to their families in the villages and in other cities based on the assumption that in the event of an internal closure, it will be impossible to hold classes. The Palestinian Authority's Education Ministry has been prepared for some time for the possibility of a closure, and has posted many teachers in jobs close to their home so they will not be stuck at the roadblocks. Nevertheless, in case of a stringent internal closure, several hundred teachers will not be able to get to work, and tens of thousands of students will not be able to attend class. In such a case, the ministry's instructions are that every district will act according to the circumstances.

The third scenario - curfew and closure accompanied by military Defensive Wall-type attacks - is more difficult to prepare for. Even without recommendations from medical organizations, people know they have to equip themselves with first aid kits in every home, or at least in every building, and at least a month's supply of medications for the chronically ill. F.'s children have already gone back to sleeping on mattresses, on the floor, along an internal wall. In this way, they are farther from the windows, and if shooting starts again, it will be safer. The talk of war is reviving the fear they felt during the days when bullets were whizzing above their heads and missiles, tank shells and bombs smashed windows, cracked walls, shook the lamps in the house, and knocked dolls and toy cars off their shelves.

It was the children who persuaded F. to fill empty bottles with tap water. According to what they had heard in school, everyone is doing it, they said. Maybe Israel will cut off the water supply, like it once did in Beirut. "This can't happen, and anyway, we have a large water tank on the roof," says the children's mother, trying to reassure them. But the children persisted. What if the soldiers shoot at the water tanks on the roofs? This has happened to thousands of houses in the Al Aroub, Deheisheh, Balata and Jenin refugee camps, and in the cities. Now the porch is filled with bottles full of water.

In worse shape than in 1991

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry has prepared a stock of medications and oxygen canisters. By yesterday, it was supposed to have completed an emergency plan for dealing with extreme situations of closure and curfew, as well as with the renewal of military attacks. Medical Relief Committees, a large health NGO, has trained 2,000 volunteers over the past year who will be able to provide first aid to the wounded and the sick, an assumption that the conditions of a closure and curfew, especially if accompanied by a massive military presence in the cities, will make ambulance and medical team movements very difficult. Medical Relief Committees has also set up 100 emergency centers in several cities.

The initiative to put together an emergency plan based on various scenarios came from Palestinian NGOs, but apparently their main concern is to keep the lines of communication open and ensure the uninterrupted transmission of information to international organizations in order to prevent the escalation that everyone fears. In the context of the media struggle, representatives of these NGOs have set up an emergency committee together with the Palestinian political organizations and the PA, and they have met with about 25 Israeli activists from 10 organizations. For hours they discussed the possibility of the horror scenarios, and Gush Shalom's Uri Avneri recommended that the expulsion scenario be taken seriously. He noted the acts of deportation in 1967. The Palestinians and the Israelis agreed that it is important to keep many lines of communication open with field activists.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the director of Medical Relief Committees and a political activist, explained to representatives of the foreign consulates this week the various scenarios, concentrating on the first three: stringent closure and curfew accompanied by increased military attacks. Barghouti, who with Gaza's Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi last year created the Palestinian National Initiative - an organization trying to fill the vacuum between Fatah and Hamas - spoke about the figure published by the IDF last week saying that only 18 percent of the Palestinians killed during the past two years "were not involved in terror," while the rest, ostensibly, were involved. According to Palestinian human rights organization figures, 85 percent of those killed were civilians.

Barghouti warned the consular representatives of an Israeli campaign of "statistical distortion" that, in his estimation, is intended to prepare the ground for a drastic increase in the number of Palestinian dead. All this under cover of the war with Iraq. The killing of peace activist Rachel Corrie, he said, was not coincidental. In his opinion, it was aimed at frightening the hundreds of young foreign citizens who are spread out throughout the Palestinian villages, refugee camps, and cities trying to serve as a buffer, or at least to report on what is going on.

The worst of the scenarios is mass or internal expulsion, but the less extreme scenarios are also frightening. Barghouti said the ability to deal, on an individual and social level, with a prolonged curfew is far weaker than in 1991. After two-and-a-half years of economic decline as a result of the closure, people and communities do not have the financial resources and state of health they had in 1991.

A seventh scenario - an Iraqi attack involving chemical or biological weapons - does not concern the Palestinian public. "Sealed room" is a term that brings a smile to those who remember with disgust the days of curfew in a crowded home. Ramallah inhabitants are not running out to buy gas masks that are being sold by two pharmacies, which received them from purveyors in Israel. First, they don't have the money, and second, because they don't believe that Saddam Hussein has biological or chemical weapons or that he plans to use them. "The danger that we might face from the Israeli army is far more palpable," says F.

------------------------------------------------------------ "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" Martin Luther King

"A time has come when silence is betrayal. That time is now." Martin Luther King

More background information on the Oscar scandal by Phil Ed and Latuff:

The Academy goes to war with the Bush Administration in the Oscar race.
by Phil Ed

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to refuse the Palestinian entry for the nomination of Best Foreign Film, while accepting submissions from countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Chad. This decision has been expedited under the false pretext that the Academy doesn't recognize Palestine as a nation. It would be interesting to read the definition of "nation" as seen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. What the Academy knows and therefore reminds everybody, is that the government of each nation is allowed to submit one film to represent its country. This more or less defines the right for a film to be presented.

Therefore, as long as the Palestinian government had agreed to submit "Divine Intervention" by Elie Souleimane, the Academy had no right to refuse to include it in the selection, unless the Academy, sitting atop its unchallenged power and authority doesn’t recognize the Palestinian government. If Palestine doesn't exist in the movie world, why then was the same "Divine Intervention" selected as a Palestinian entry at the Cannes Film Festival this year?

I'm sure that by now, Palestinian filmmakers - and there are a few, very talented people - wonder what nationality they are. Israeli? How ironic! As we very well know, the Israeli government would never choose to send to Hollywood, a Palestinian film to represent its country. So for the Academy, it’s probable that Palestinian films simply cannot be submitted, denying in a way, their right to exist. Sound familiar?

Isn't it in the "constitution" of the Academy, or at least in its principles, to promote art without any distinction of race, religion or politics? Well, sometimes, the Bush administration would use the phrase "in times of war." Now that art has to be put to the service of politics, it seems to me that the Academy and the entire Hollywood film industry has lost yet another piece of its credibility.

Sources:
Oscar Watch: http://www.oscarwatch.com/
Au Cinema http://www.au-cinema.com/News.htm


A further indication of Sharon's intention to expel the Palestinians
(Shraga Elam, Nov. 28, 2002)

According to the enclosed Ha'aretz article, Sharon rejected a Jordanian request to issue a public declaration opposing "transfer" (mass expulsion) of Palestinians. By doing so he of course strengthens the overwhelming evidence that Israel plans to escalate the ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign and deport Palestinians from their country. The official Israeli position - as stated by, for example, Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Washington - is that it is not necessary to issue such denials because "the Israeli government has never believed in the transfer option."(1).
This statement cannot be taken seriously, as several Israeli ministers repeatedly declared their support of such an intent. US assurances to Jordan that there is no danger of "transfer" must be viewed skeptically. Though Israel's devastating economic situation makes it more dependent than ever on the USA and therefore open to Bush administration pressure to make serious concessions, including revoking the "transfer" plans, should the Bush administration really wish to exert such pressure. But there are few indications that the US wants to dictate any essential change in Israeli policy. The Bush administration has till now at best just slowed down the tempo of Israeli escalation of ethnic cleansing. The Israeli-American cooperation has never been so strong as at the moment. Israel and its US supporters are essential to, perhaps even the engine of, the so-called anti-terror campaign. For example, Israel has the job of helping to break down German resistance to attacking Iraq. Last week, following a request from Washington (2), Israel wielded the "Auschwitz club" (3) and made Germany soften its opposition to the Iraq campaign. Following a signal from Jerusalem the German government declared its readiness to supply Israel with totally unnecessary "Patriot" rockets (most likely together with German soldiers!). This symbolic gesture is expected to be the springboard for further German concessions. At the first Iraqi retaliation against Israel, the German government will almost certainly withdraw its reservations and join the war efforts.
Israel is likely to cash in heavily for its services; it seems only a matter of time before it gets more US funds and military materiel. To win the coming election any Israeli candidate has to be able to promise massive external financial support. The person with the best chance of getting the necessary assurances from abroad is of course Sharon, who is therefore interested that the US to escalate its military actions against Iraq before the Israeli election. Israel is likely to get a war dividend of some 14 billion dollars, whether or not it refrains from taking part in the military activities against Iraq.

"Transfer" probability
The "transfer" scenario has a very high likelihood, for the following reasons, among others:

1. According to MK Benny Allon (quoted in the Israeli weekly Makor Rishon), Condoleezza Rice has asked US think-tanks to study the feasibility of deporting Palestinians to Iraq, Jordan serving 'only' as a transit country. Thus it might even be that US authorities are not lying in assuring Jordan that masses of Palestinians will not be (permanently) transferred to Jordan. The Jordanians may even be informed about the project and either trying to sabotage it or looking for an alibi in case it comes to pass.

2. The strategy of the Israeli military junta under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Ya'alon is obvious. They are working hard to finish the project of 1948: expulsion of the Palestinians from all of what was mandatory Palestine. Sharon declared recently that he is for a Palestinian state, but neglected to mention where. There is no chance that these generals will agree to return to the Oslo model, according to which Palestinian armed police forces were supposed to have the job of suppressing their people's armed resistance to Israeli occupation. Mofaz restated recently clearly his opposition to the Oslo model at the funeral of Col. Dror Weinberg. He said: "I don't wish to rely on the Palestinians [to do the dirty work for us] but only upon us."(4) The Israeli army has done its "best" to sabotage any efforts to achieve a cease-fire and a political solution. The IOF has also destroyed extensively the capability of Palestinian police forces to suppress Palestinian resistance. On the other hand, there doesn't appear to be an Israeli desire to return to the mode of full responsibility as an occupying power, with Israel exerting direct control over the Palestinians. Otherwise the Israeli army wouldn't have given way to such an orgy of destruction in the Palestinian territories. Israel would have to invest a lot of money to reconstruct damaged Palestinian infrastructures and generate jobs for Palestinians, if it intended to administer a Palestinian population in these territories. Such a mission is not to be found high on the Israeli agenda or in the budget. Thus the only real option for the Israeli military junta is "transfer." It is only a question of creating the necessary international conditions that will "justify" and enable the mass expulsion of the Palestinians. Two Anti-"Transfer"-Actions In order to try to prevent this horrifying scenario from happening I propose two actions:
1.The planned and ongoing ethnic cleansing fulfils the definition of Genocide according to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide from 1948 (http://www.preventgenocide.org/law/convention/text.htm): "Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.2
This article was endorsed again in the Rome Statute from 1998 (http://www.preventgenocide.org/law/icc/statute/) and is accordingly integrated in the penal codes of many countries.
Therefore, in all these countries lawsuits should be initiated against the Israeli persons responsible for the crime of genocide and also against their collaborators, such as officials of Zionist lobbies outside Israel that support, consciously or not, these criminal acts:

"Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.

Article IV: Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals. " Lawsuits should be part of a campaign aimed to pressure the international community to fulfil its obligations and protect the Palestinians.

2. Considering that we're facing an escalating genocide and considering the fact that Israel abuses the Nazi Judeocide to justify its present crimes, all people who care for a peaceful and just solution in the Middle East should use, as a form of radical protest, the most easily recognizable symbol of the Jewish catastrophe in WWII, the yellow Star of David. Beginning in 1939, the Nazis used this sign to mark Jews apart. This was part of the effort to deport them from the 3rd. Reich. As of 1941/42 deportation came to mean systematic extermination.

With all the differences between circumstances in Nazi Germany and present-day Israel, still we cannot avoid seeing some very alarming similarities. For this reason such a strong but non-violent measure should be considered worldwide (see the enclosed yellow star drawn by http://www.haefely.info/).

Further references to this proposal are to be found at: http://www.redress.btinternet.co.uk/selam.htm. In the name of all of Nazism's victims we should protest against the Judaization of the Palestinians, and work to create powerful and effective non-violent methods to stop the ethnic cleansing.

Shraga Elam, Zurich
------------
Notes
(1) USA TODAY September 29, 2002
(2) According to the Israeli TV
(3) The term "Auschwitz Club" was created 1991 by Prof. Michael Wolffsohn an Israeli/German historian
(4) Ma'ariv November 22, 2002



-------------------

Ha'aretz November 28, 2002

PM rejects Jordan's request to rule out `transfer' in Iraq war:
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=235416


From: Yehudith Harel
Subject: Another Politcal Extrajudicial Execution - Eyad Sawalha,Jenin 9.11.2002
Another Politcal Extrajudicial Execution

Dear All,

Eyad Sawalha, a senior leader in thePalestinian Jihad, who was suspected by Israel to be responsible for the suicide bombings of at least twoIsraeli civilan busses at the Megido and Karkur junctions, killing many innocent Israelis - was cold bloodedly murdered by an Israeli Execution squads. ( see detailed report bellow). This was another illegal extrajudicial execution - one in a long series - committed by the Israeli Army, an act which constitutesa major War Crime and is in starkcontravention of the Iternational Law and ofbasic human values. Being a suspect of whatever hineous crimes, does not give the right to executeone without a trial, moreover, when fortunately capital punishment does not exist in Israel. Beyond the moral outrage - this execution came as many before it, at a verycarefully calculated timing, when Palestinian leaders from various factions including the Hammas are convening in Cairo in an attempt to sign an agreement to put an end to the suicide bombings and maybe even to the armed struggle as the majorvenue for the Palestinian Resistance.

It is clear that the Sharon - Mofaz - Eitam government are doing their best to undermine another important Palestinian effort to put an end to the indiscriminate killing of civilians and channel the Palestinian Resistance to the Israeli occupation into non violent venues. They simply cannot and won't allow this to happen as they have no answer to aCivil Palestinian Resistance. They cannot tolerate a non vilolent Palestinian Resistance movementthat can re-envigorate not onlythe world wide solidarity and support of the Palestinian people, but it can alsowake up the Israeli people and free them from the fascist Sharonian propaganda and brainwashing.Sharon needs more bloodshed of innocent Israelis and Palestinians to be the scapegoats for his coming election campaign. He needsthe escalation in orderto allow him to continue to oppress the Palestinian people, destroy whatever is left of their infrastructure and carry out his more dangerous schemes, including a possible large scale transfer of Palestinians under the "Umbrella" ofthe American war against Iraq.

In these difficult times We - Israelis and Palestinians who belive that we have one common future in this country, need to reach out to each other and defy the Sharonian power politics and the philosophyand practice bloodshed. We need to find ways to cooperate to stand up against all the above mentioned evil schemes and in orderto convince both our peoples that we have an alternative and that we can live together in this country in Full Equality and Peace.
Yehudith Harel

 [If you decide to forward this message then, please, copy it and send it as a new mail - in order to avoid broken lines.]
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lawsociety" Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 1:26 PM
Subject: Extra-judicial killing in Jenin

 Extra-judicial killing in Jenin
November 10, 2002

 Yesterday, Saturday November 9, Israeli forces extra-judicially  assassinated Iyad Sawalha (27) by using heavy fire upon his home while he  hid within. 

 According to information gathered by LAW, a large number of  Israeli "Special Forces" surrounded a house in the al-Casaba area of  Jenin's old city. They forcibly took Khalid Kamil (29) from a neighboring  home as a human shield. He was forced to stand at the entrance of the  surrounded home and use a megaphone to call Iyad Sawalha and his wife to  leave the home. Sawalha's wife left the house with her hands raised.

  Following her exist, Israeli troops opened heavy fire from all directions  upon the house, targeting windows and doors. Sawalha, was hit with more  than 15 bullets all over his body and died immediately, according to  sources at Jenin local hospital, where he was taken. His right hand was  completely shot off, and the house was destroyed.

 During the extra-judicial killing, Khalid Kamil (29) was seriously  injured with a gunshot to the head, while he was forced to stand at the  door's entrance as the Special Forces opened fire.

  Earlier, Israeli forces arrested on Friday November 8, Iyad Sawalha's  mother, Najih (55) and her daughter, Arsline (26) from their house in  Kufr Ra'i south of Jenin city. They were released on Saturday at around  7pm after being forced to tell Israeli troops where Iyad and his wife  were hiding.

 At least 173 Palestinians have so far been killed in extra-judicial  executions committed by Israel, including 63 Palestinian bystanders. This  is the third extra-judicial killing to take place over forty-eight hours. 

 LAW emphasizes that extra-judicial executions constitute willful  killings, which are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and as  such constitute war crimes subject to universal jurisdiction. 

 Extra-judicial killings cannot be reconciled with the Fourth Geneva  Convention, which seek to protect the lives of protected persons, and  violate human rights norms that affirm the right to life and the  prohibition on execution of civilians. 

 LAW strongly condemns Israel's assassination policy. Israel is legally  responsible for the acts of its agents, and is under corresponding  obligations to ensure that its agents adhere to the Convention and to  prosecute those agents who commit grave breaches. 

 All state signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention have also the right  and are under a positive obligation to seek out and prosecute individuals  responsible for committing or commissioning grave breaches, wherever the  perpetrators are. Article 148 of the Fourth Geneva states that 'no High  Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High  Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by any other  High Contracting Party...' 

 Israel's ongoing human rights violations further illustrates the need for  the immediate deployment of an international protection presence to  prevent violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to protect  Palestinian protected persons within the Occupied Palestinian  Territories. 

--- Transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site
For Hebrew http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum.html
For English http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum_eng.html



On the recent plan to outlaw human rights work in Israel

By Yael Oren Kahn (received 31 Oct 2002)

Hi, Please circulate, voice your protest to the local and national media as well as sending your protest to the Israeli addresses enclosed below.

The Israeli government split is unlikely to topple the plan to outlaw human rights organisations. Israelis who committed war crimes have not been prosecuted, regardless whether the Labor Party participated in the government. In the latest move towards securing impunity of the war criminals, Israeli human rights activists would now face 10 years imprisonment.

Citizens of 'the only democracy in the Middle East' would face 10 years imprisonment for assisting the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague with "the provision of any information such as writings, photographs, documents, opinions and reports". The new bill, which was tabled at the Israeli Parliament on 29 Oct by the chair of the government coalition, also forbids "the holding of investigations and the writing down of their results". Additionally, any association engaged in any such activities would be liable to be disbanded.

Clearly, this law would ensure the destruction of the evidence of war crimes, outlawing even the investigation of human rights abuse. While this law tantamount to an admission that they have something to hide and that Israelis are engaged in war crimes, the Israeli government is now set to sabotage any attempts to have Israeli war criminal prosecuted, in particular by International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague.

The bill tabled on 29.10.01 at the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) was presented by MK Zeev Boim, a senior member of the ruling Likud party and chair of the government coalition. This law is the latest plan to silence the few courageous citizens of Israel who dare to act against war criminals.

Any act by human rights activists and organizations, such as the collecting and disseminating testimonies of human rights violations, could be punishable and construed as violation of the new law, on the pretext that the reports might find their way to the Hague Court and used by it as evidence. The same may holds for the Settlement Watch reports periodically issued which contain information about a clear violation of international law, and which are widely disseminated throughout the world.

Even without the new law most citizens of Israel are reluctant to assist in the collection of human rights abuse. Some of them because they do not oppose these abuses, others fear the consequences to themselves (both the reaction of Israelis and government apparatus). Thus once the law is implemented, almost all the information you receive about the human rights abuse would cease to be available. It would as hard to obtain evidence as of the holocaust under Nazism. Thus pre-empting the objective of creating the International War Crimes Court. The Israeli Government tries to destroy it by forbidding its own citizens on pain of dire punishment from helping the same court. It would place conscientious citizens of Israel, who care about human rights and international law, in an impossible dilemma: either be an accomplice to war crimes or face prosecution and imprisonment.

The new law could outlaw the courageous human rights organizations, such as Physicians for Human Rights www.phr.org.il, B'Tselem www.btselem.org, and Adalah www.adalah.org.

Some of you might have heard of my attempts to collect, prepare and transfer information on the mass grave north of the Sea of Galilee. These actions would now be illegal under the new law. Similarly the keeping of the evidence, and even investigating and writing down the results are now illegal. Even without the new law most citizens of Israel were reluctant to assist in the collection of the information, either for fear (reaction of colleagues, friends etc) or other reasons. Needless to say that even without the new law Israel has quite successfully sabotaged this investigation and the publication of its findings. The new law would make it impossible.

The enactment of such a law would violate Israel's adherence to the international community and the institutions established by the community to maintain International Law. If Israel succeed in my view this would pave the way to similar bills in other countries.

Please note, this new draconian law was reported in the extremely short article "Bill would outlaw assistance to Hague court", in Ha'aretz, the most reliable Israeli paper, at: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=224921&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y" Under Knesset procedures, a private member's bill needs 45 days between being tabled and being presented to a vote, which gives some time for organizing an protest campaign. Sometimes during these 45 days, the Boim Bill should come up on the agenda of the Cabinet Legislative Committee, which should decide whether or not the government would back it.

Protests should be addressed to
Justice Minister Sheetrit
and/or to the fax number: + 972 (0)2 6285438;
and to The Foreign Minister
and/or to the fax number (+972-2) 5303506 / 5303896 / 5303367

(As Shimon Peres has now resigned the new holder of the Foreign Affairs portfolio is not yet know; but whoever the minister, Foreign Ministry officials can be expected to be concerned for Israel's image in the world and therefore vulnerable to protests from abroad.)

Yours truly,
Yael Oren Kahn
yaelorenkahn at hotmail.com
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