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Commentary :: International : Politics
Occupied Palestine: The Outrages Continue
12 Dec 2004
‘Normalcy’ under the Occupation: a prominent alternative candidate for the Palestinian presidency was harassed twice this past week by Israeli soldiers, brutally beating him and members of his staff. A seven-year-old Palestinian girl was murdered in Gaza by IDF ‘random gunfire’ on International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10.
photo_Rana_Ahmed Siyam.jpeg
The head of the Palestinian National Initiative / Al Mubadara and prominent civil rights activist [1], Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, is apparently a thorn in the eyes of the Israeli establishment these days. Why? Because he has decided to toss his hat in the ring and campaign for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority.

Dr. Barghouthi is currently far behind ‘front-runner’ Fatah official candidate Mahmoud Abbas in the polls. Yet he has been targeted twice this past week for vicious harassment by the Israeli army, and is recovering from injuries received on Dec. 8 in Jenin. The Israeli military prevented his campaigning in Hebron by holding him at a check-point at gun-point on Dec. 6. On Dec. 8, Israeli soldiers physically attacked him at an army checkpoint south of Jenin: they stopped Dr. Barghouthi and two of his assistants at the checkpoint, ordered them to leave the car and then began to beat them. They were also forced to kneel down for a time, in an act of humiliation, before they were allowed to continue on the road [ http://www.amin.org/eng/mustafa_barghouthi/2004/dec8.html ] . Mustafa was injured in the chest and required hospitalization near Jenin -- in one of the very hospitals whose work he helps oversee as president of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees.

The attacks on Mustafa Barghouthi – a candidate committed to mass non-violent resistance as the ultimate tool of struggle -- are perhaps an attempt to derail his candidacy and threaten the preferred candidate of Washington and the Israeli oligarchy, Mahmoud Abbas. These attacks are an outrage. They point up the need for the presence of international observers throughout the Territories in the three weeks until the Jan. 9 elections in Occupied Palestine, and a pullback of Israeli military forces. As Genevieve Cora Fraser recently wrote: "The world community should not allow Israel to make a mockery of the democratic process. If Israel persists in obstructing fair and free elections in Palestine, sanctions should be swift and severe"
[ http://www.amin.org/eng/uncat/2004/dec/dec101.html ].

Yet that outrage pales beside the carnage in Khan Younis refugee camp on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. In the midst of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, very much a festival for children. The Israeli military marked the morning by murdering seven-year-old Rana Siyam while she was playing in front of her house in the camp. The soldiers had been ordered to ‘fire randomly’ into the camp after the nearby Israeli settlers’ colony of Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif in Gaza was hit by home-made mortar shells [ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4086031.stm ].

Rana’s senseless murder should remind us that this Occupation continues unabated in its full brutality. ‘Indiscriminate firing’ at a distance of 600 meters into a crowded refugee camp is a war crime. The number of Palestinian children and youths murdered by Israeli state violence in the past 52 months is approaching 600.

Writing in Haaretz Dec. 10 about the disastrous mood in the IDF, Yoel Marcus notes that “a bleak picture arises of barbaric conduct toward the enemy and a serious decline in morale as highly motivated young soldiers find themselves operating in the heart of a civilian population. […]
The IDF spokeswoman, asked whether occupation corrupts, replied: That is something only the citizen can say, not the army. The army receives orders and carries them out’. Heaven help us that such words should fall on Jewish ears - words that were struck from the lexicon after World War II. Soldiers have an obligation to refuse illegal orders in the same way that armies are forbidden to issue them” [ “Quick the house is on fire,” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/512469.html ]

As Marcus implies, Israeli soldiers should begin to refuse to obey such orders. In Gaza and the West Bank. Now.

________________________________

1. For information on the PNI, see http://www.almubadara.org For links to some of Dr. Barghouthi’s articles, http://www.palestinemonitor.org/archives/Article_archives_04.htm
Note in particular the March 2004 interview at http://www.palestinemonitor.org/mustafa/hope_out_of_ramallah.htm. See also his recent statement “After Arafat II: In Palestine Democracy is a Security Issue,” International Herald Tribune, 24 Nov. 2004, www.iht.com/articles/2004/11/23/opinion/edbarghouthi.html

Photo: Ahmed Siyam, 11, the brother of 7-year-old Palestinian Rana Siyam, who was shot and killed by IDF gunfire, showing a photograph of his sister in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday. (AP)

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Comments

Where's the outrage against Islamofascism?
13 Dec 2004
The number of Palestinian children and youths murdered by Israeli state violence in the past 52 months is approaching 600.

But how many Israeli children and youths have been murdered by Hamas and Yasir Arafat's goons in the last 52 months?
Re: Occupied Palestine: The Outrages Continue
13 Dec 2004
Actually Rocky, according to the Israeli military (http://www1.idf.il/DOVER/site/mainpage.asp?sl=EN&id=22&docid=16703.EN ) there have been 694 Israeli civilians killed (989 if you count soldiers, which I would do--they're human beings too) since the start of the current intifada. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent (the local affiliate of the Red Cross, reknowned for its neutrality--http://palestinercs.org/intifadasummary.htm ), there have been 3,455 Palestinians killed. That's approximately 3.5 times as many Palestinians killed as Israelis. Every death in this conflict is a tragedy, but the Israeli government is engaged in terrorism on a far greater scale than Hamas and Islamic Jihad (and, yes, they are terrorist outfits and, yes, terrorism is wrong, regardless of who does it--Islamic fundamentalists or national governments).
Re: Occupied Palestine: The Outrages Continue
13 Dec 2004
get Rocky out of here. he just throws out bullshit racist comments everytime there s a discussion on Palestine. isnt goons a racist term??
Re: Occupied Palestine: The Outrages Continue
13 Dec 2004
ab, you are confused with "gooks", which is a contemptuous term for the Vietnamese. "Goon" is a person, in this case, who commits a suicide bombing!

And you have some nerve calling me a racist, especially when you Dems condone Robert Byrd!
Re: Occupied Palestine: The Outrages Continue
14 Dec 2004
where im from "goon" means a colored person, anyone other than white.
And what about the militants that blew up the Israeli border station? Are they goons for attacking a MILITARY outpost?? Or were they just poor innocent Israeli storm troopers?
Re: Occupied Palestine: The Outrages Continue
14 Dec 2004
" where im from "goon" means a colored person"

Well, AB, you live in a racist neighborhood....palestinians GOONS have been targeting Israeli children for 40 years...where ya been??
"palestinians GOONS have been targeting Israeli children for 40 years"
14 Dec 2004
Hey, when you steal the land of millions of people, bulldoze their farms and homes, there's bound to be some blowback.