Palestine Update 495
A united Palestine can dislodge the occupation
Palestinian prisoners who have previously escaped from Israeli prisons and were recaptured had to face the worst kind of penalizing actions. Punishments almost always included solitary confinement. Other hideous procedures included extended interrogations; sleep deprivation, horrific food, as well as physical assault and torture. Hamas has declared that the six prisoners will remain the highest in the priority of any future prisoner exchange deal with Israel. For now they do not have access to their lawyers under orders from the Israeli intelligence services. Lawyers have not been able to speak to the prisoners and have little information about the nature of the interrogations and potential violations being carried out against the prisoners. It must be remembered that the Israeli Supreme Court outlawed the use of torture in 1999. These orders have routinely been ignored. The Arab Joint List party expressed has support of the six escaped Palestinian security prisoners although four of them were recaptured. The prisoners who escaped are generally viewed as freedom fighters. The ‘great escape’ as it is now referred to have brought out the most strident reactions in the Palestinian political class. They have said: “If six prisoners managed to break through the narrow and crowded prison, then millions of the Palestinian people can end the occupation – so that the people will be released and the prisoners will be released,”
Dispelling Israeli myths about Palestinian prisoners
The Israeli media often claims Palestinian political prisoners are treated to ‘five-star’ treatment. In reality, they face some of the worst conditions in the West.
“If there is one issue that unites Palestinians in the occupied territories, it is that of political prisoners. According to the Palestinian Authority, one in five Palestinians has sat in an Israeli prison since the occupation began in 1967. In a reality in which any child can end up spending months in a military prison simply for demonstrating in their own village, prisoners are given a special status in Palestinian society. As such, the escape has allowed many Palestinians, if only for a moment, to imagine a “self-liberation” of all prisoners locked up by Israel. The event should also serve as a moment for Israelis to reflect on the Palestinian struggle. For Palestinians, the escaped prisoners — along with the other 4,650 Palestinians currently imprisoned by Israel — are not “terrorists” but rather political prisoners and prisoners of war. And for many, like in other anti-colonial struggles, even those who take part in or help plan attacks against Israeli civilians are part of the legitimate fight against a systematically violent occupation.”
Biden officials want Abbas to shelve ICC probe against Israel
PA resisting calls so far, saying it’s one of few non-violent cards it has left against Israel, though US pressure has subsided recently as sides wait for Israel to pass budget
“Senior officials in the Biden administration have privately pressed the Palestinian Authority, including its president Mahmoud Abbas, to walk back Ramallah’s effort to have Israel tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC), a Middle Eastern diplomatic official told The Times of Israel on Thursday…Nonetheless, Biden officials have several times urged Abbas and other senior figures in the PA to renounce the ICC investigation, arguing that it exacerbates efforts to keep dimming prospects for a two-state solution alive and antagonizes Israel, the Middle Eastern diplomat said. Abbas, for his part, has bucked the requests, maintaining that he has every right to pursue the probe and that it is one of the few avenues he has to peacefully confront Israel, the diplomat explained. Distancing himself from the ICC probe would also be a highly unpopular move among Palestinians for the PA president, who is already facing a severe legitimacy crisis.”
Palestinian teen describes brutal attack by Israeli settlers
Tareq Zubeidi says he was abducted and beaten by a group of Israeli settlers after they found him and his friends eating snacks near an evacuated hilltop settlement in the occupied West Bank
“The settlers beat him with wooden clubs before blindfolding him and tying him to the hood of the car, he said. They drove for about five minutes, back up the hill, before the car came to a sudden halt, sending him tumbling to the ground. “Then they started to hit me, spit on me and swear at me,” he said. He said the settlers tied him to a tree and whipped him with a belt. Then they took him down, cut his legs with a knife and burned the soles of his feet with a car cigarette lighter. In the end, they hit him over the head with a club, knocking him unconscious, he said.”
There are parallels between the occupations of Afghanistan and Palestine
The Palestinian public observed keenly the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. For most Palestinians, it represented a window of hope and a major morale boost; if the greatest world power could be defeated then surely the Israeli occupation could be defeated as well.
Yet, there was a stark contrast between the response to the withdrawal from Hamas and the other resistance factions and that from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Predictably, Hamas welcomed the American move and congratulated the people of Afghanistan and the Taliban for liberating their land. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh opted not to address the Afghan people but instead addressed the Israeli government. He used the withdrawal to warn the Israelis that the same could happen to them, as they are also dependent on foreign support if they continue to violate the rights of the Palestinian people and deny them a viable, independent state. Of course, Abu Rudeineh did not intend to draw a parallel between the PA and the Taliban. On the contrary, he made many Palestinians contemplate the similarities between Ashraf Ghani’s US-backed puppet government in Kabul and the PA run by Mahmoud Abbas.
Many have compared the collapse of Ghani’s government to what happened in Gaza in 2006/7, when a much smaller number of forces loyal to the election-winning movement, Hamas, defeated Fatah-dominated PA security forces to take security as well as political control of the coastal territory. Like the Taliban, Hamas fought forces backed by a foreign enemy and enjoyed public support, while the PA chose to cut deals with the occupation and remains both corrupt and unpopular.
Hashtag ‘Untie_Our_Hands’: How Many More Palestinians Must Die for Israel’s ‘Security’?
A large Israeli army campaign is taking social media by storm. The unstated aim of what is known as the “#Untie_Our_Hands” initiative is the desire to kill, with no accountability, more Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence. The campaign was motivated by the killing of an Israeli sniper, Barel Hadaria Shmueli, who was reportedly shot from the Palestinian side of the fence on August 21.
An immediate question comes to mind: what do Israeli soldiers want, considering that they have already killed over 300 unarmed Palestinian protesters and wounded and maimed thousands more at the Gaza fence during what Palestinians referred to as the ‘Great March of Return’ between 2018 and 2020? This ‘march’ is now being renewed, though it often takes place at night, where frustrated Palestinian youth gather in their thousands, chanting anti-Israeli occupation slogans and, at times, throwing rocks at Israeli snipers who are stationed nearly a mile away.
Months after the Israeli onslaught on Gaza – a relatively brief but deadly war between May 10-21 – the stifling status quo in the besieged Strip has not changed: the hermetic Israeli siege, the snipers, the occasional nightly bombardment, the devastating unemployment, the closures, and the lack of everything, from clean water to cement to even cancer medication. Therefore, it should not be surprising that Palestinians in Gaza, especially the youth, are in desperate need of a platform to express their justifiable rage at this ongoing misery; thus, the renewed mass protests at the fence.
Israel warns Gaza citizens living next door to Hamas members
Israel reportedly sent text messages to citizens in Gaza warning them that they are living in the same buildings as Hamas members and they may become targets in future fighting.
“Al-Majd, a security website affiliated with the Hamas movement in Gaza, revealed Sept. 4 that Israeli intelligence services sent text messages to some citizens in the Gaza Strip about Hamas members living next door or in the same apartment building. The texts reportedly warned them that their homes will be targeted in the next round of fighting. The Hamas website warned residents in Gaza not to disseminate these messages on social media. Al-Majd monitors Israeli communication with citizens in Gaza and tracks attempts to collect information from them. The website explained, “The Israeli intelligence aims to morally assassinate the resistance members, to undermine the popular base’s confidence in the resistance and to distract the resistance fighters from focusing on [military] development and training. This was not achieved.”