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Friday, 22 December 2017

Why do we tolerate Labour MPs Joan Ryan, Louise Ellman and Ian Austin - all of whom support Israel’s abuse and torture of Palestinian children?

The Silence of Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement Apologists for Israel is Deafening

On the 6th January 2016 the House of Commons held a debate on Child Prisoners and Detainees: Occupied Palestinian TerritoriesDuring this debate there were two Labour MPs who were determined to defend Israel’s army and its abuse of children – Ian Austin and Louise Ellman. 

Austin tried to intervene no less than 7 times.  Most of the time other MPs wouldn’t give way to his asinine comments. Austin sought to blame the Palestinians for Israel’s child abuse.  His most substantive contribution was the following:

‘As a psychologist, will the hon. Lady comment on the likely impact on children of the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terrorists who have murdered Israelis, presenting them as role models? What is the likely impact on children of Palestinian schools using textbooks that glorify violence and of countless examples of hatred and anti-Semitism being promoted on children’s television programmes on official Palestinian Authority TV in the west bank?’

Using  standard Zionist propaganda points, Austin argued that but for the Palestinian Authority’s ‘glorification of terrorists’ and the content of their school books, Palestinians would just love the Occupation, the check points and the confiscation of their land!  It was only ‘incitement’ that stopped Palestinians falling in love with their occupiers, settlers included!
Ian Austin MP heckling Jeremy Corbyn in the debate on the Chilcott Report
Given that the PA acts as the Palestinian arm of Israel’s security forces, such mind numbing stupidity is difficult to understand even from a member of Progress.

Austin merits a special page in the annals of infamy.  During the debate on the Silcott Inquiry, when Jeremy Corbyn was introducing the debate, Austin repeatedly heckled him telling him to 'shut up' and 'sit down'.  Clearly it was painful for him to listen to someone who had bee proven right over the Iraq War.  I don't often agree with Owen Jones, but his comment that Austin was an 'astonishingly unpleasant person' just about sums it up.  His deselection is long overdue.

Louise Ellman made 3 contributions. She too blamed the Palestinians for Israel’s use of torture, beatings, night-time arrests of children, the use of blindfolds and of course painful plastic  hand cuffs. 
Louise Ellman, the Liverpool Riverside and Tel Aviv South MP
When I accused Ellman of appearing to be act as the MP for Tel Aviv South than Liverpool Riverside the Jewish Chronicle’s idiot columnist, Marcus Dysch, accused me of racial abuse no less.   I can’t recall such comments when we accused Tory MPs such as John Carlisle and Julian Amery of being the MPs for Pretoria in the days of South Africa apartheid.  Mention Israel and your automatically accused of 'antisemitism' - unless of course you actually are an anti-Semite.

Joan Ryan, the Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, has acted as the standard bearer for the Israeli state and its military.  Despite LFI's ‘support’ for a 2 States Solution, which is a smokescreen for denying the 5 million Palestinians under occupation any democratic, civil or political rights, Ryan is a strong supporter of Israel’s military occupation, including its settlements.
One wonders whether calling Ryan the MP for Jerusalem Central is also anti-Semitic given she's not Jewish?  Ryan's main claim to fame is claiming the most expenses of any MP in 2006-7 and being the runner up the year before

There has grown up in recent years a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement whose aim is to put pressure on Israel. Israel has screamed blue murder.  It is ‘anti-Semitic’ etc. Yet historically BDS has been the weapon of the oppressed.  From the Boycott of Captain Boycott in Ireland to the Boycott of Slave Grown Sugar in the West Indies, to the Jewish Boycott of Nazi Germany and the Boycott of South Africa, Boycott has been a weapon of the oppressed.

Ironically Israel is all in favour of Boycotts.  It enforces a Boycott of Gaza through its military siege but that is one boycott that Ryan supports.
When Martha Osamor came out in support of the BDS Ryan immediately penned an open letter with the usual Zionist talking points about ‘demonising the only Jewish state in the world.’  As if not having a religious state was some kind of sin.  I responded with my own open letter which, for some reason, Ryan hasn’t responded to.
 
This week the issue of Palestinian  children has come to the fore with the night time arrest of Ahed Tamimi, a 16 year old girl who had been videod slapping an Israeli soldier in order to prevent him entering her house, after her 14 year old cousin had been shot in the head.
I explain why Dysch's suggestion that referring to Ellman as  a Tel Aviv MP is no more racist than calling John Carlisle and Julian Amery the MPs for South African constituencies
Marcus Dysch's hatchet job in the Jewish Chronicle - I have written to him but he doesn't seem eager to cross swords with me!  Hacks rarely do
She and indeed the rest of her family has now been arrested and the treatment of this brave 16 year old school girl has gone viral.  See We Are All Ahed Tamimi.  The time has come to root out of the Labour Party those who offer their support to Israel’s occupiers.  We need to turn the witch hunt on the real witches, such as Ryan, Austin and Ellman.

Amira Hass, Ha’aretz   Dec 21, 2017
The incidence of reported physical violence against child detainees has risen since a 2013 UNICEF report on the matter. Other aspects of detention, such as access to a lawyer, have improved
Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the USA and Knesset Member suggests that Ahed Tamimi 'dresses up in American clothes' - this racist can't handle the fact that Ahed comes across as a normal teenager in the abnormal situation of an occupation reacting as any kid would to armed soldiers
About two thirds of the 70 Palestinian minors who testified about their arrest and incarceration in 2017 reported that they were subjected to violence and physical abuse by soldiers during their custody.

The kinds of violence reported were slaps, kicks, pinches, blows with various objects, pushing and being forced to sit in painful positions, according to the October report published by Military Court Watch, a group of lawyers and social activists that monitors the treatment of children in Israeli military detention.

The 70 minors, ages 12 to 17, are but a sample of the hundreds of Palestinian minors arrested this year by the Israeli army. The final figures for 2016 and this year haven’t been submitted yet.
According to Israel Prison Service figures, by June 2017, 318 Palestinian minors were classified as security detainees in Israeli prisons. Since 2013, when the survey was first taken, the number of arrested minors who reported physical abuse against them rose from 60 percent to 64 percent.
The 540 minors whose testimonies were taken from the beginning of 2013 to the end of November 2017 represent about 14 percent of all the minor detainees during those five years.
In 2013, UNICEF published a report on Palestinian children arrested by Israel, concluding that “the ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest to indictment of the child, the conviction and issuing of the verdict.”

The report confirmed claims of Palestinian child protection organizations that children in custody were systematically abused. Night arrests, cuffing and blindfolding, failure to inform detainees of the right to remain silent, denial of access to lawyers and parents prior to interrogation were part of the routine, in addition to violent treatment of the children by soldiers, the report found.

After the UNICEF report’s release, Israeli officials promised to improve the situation. The Military Advocate General distributed a memorandum among brigade and battalion commanders, reminding them of the proper arrest rules. Among other things the memorandum stressed that using physical violence was prohibited.

The IDF reported to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel in 2014 that the memorandum says the commander of an arrest unit must make sure the detainee is held in “reasonable conditions,” including a place protected from intense heat or rain, provision of food and water and access to toilets, with a prohibition on physical and verbal violence, as well as other forms of abuse.
Following the report’s release, a number of lawyers and activists set up Military Court Watch to check whether the army was upholding the international standards for the arrests of minors.
As the organization’s monthly reports have shown, some improvement has taken place since then only in a few procedures – 21 percent of the minors whose testimonies were taken in 2017 said they were allowed to consult with a lawyer – compared to 0 percent in 2013 and 12 percent in 2016. In 2013 none of the detainees received a summons prior to his arrest, compared to 10 percent who received a summons in 2015 and 7 percent this year.

However, no improvement was made regarding the minors’ physical abuse. The children reported slaps (51 percent ), kicks (19 percent), pinches (14 percent), being beaten with various objects (9 percent) pushing (6 percent) and painful sitting positions (1 percent). The number of minors who reported verbal violence on the soldiers’ part declined from 49 percent in 2013 to 41 percent this year.

Most of the children, 61 percent, reported this year that the soldiers and policemen threatened them, compared to 47 percent in 2013 and 38 percent in 2014; more than half, 56 percent, reported that they were made to sit down on the jeep floor when they were driven from their home to interrogation, compared to 78 percent last year. Almost all, 93 percent, reported that their hands were cuffed and 79 percent reported that they were blindfolded. The large majority, 79 percent, reported that they were made to sign documents written only in Hebrew – another procedure branded by human rights organizations as illegal.

Free the Tamimi Family

Tuesday morning at 3am, Israeli forces invaded my home and arrested my daughter.  They dragged Ahed out of bed, handcuffed her and put her in the back of their military jeep. She is 16-years-old.

The next morning, my wife went to the police station to be with our daughter as she was interrogated. But Israel took her into custody as well. The following day, they arrested my 21-year-old niece Nour. 

All of this started with last Friday when soldiers in my village shot 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi directly in the face with a rubber coated steel bullet. Following surgery, Mohammad had to be placed in amedically-induced coma. Then the soldiers came to our home. Ahed and Nour slapped the soldiers in the face and pushed them back, yelling that they could not enter our home. 

The Israeli military is threatened by our regular protests, by our refusal to live with occupation. 
Ahed appeared in court yesterday. Her detention was extended because she is refusing to talk. No cooperation with the occupation! Nour and my wife, Nariman, appeared in military court today. Their detention was also extended until at least Monday. Ahed, Nariman and Nour arebeing held Hasharon prison. Ahed is being held with Israeli prisoners and Nariman and Nour are being held with Palestinian prisoners. Even though Ahed is not in the same section of the prison as her mother and cousin, she is remaining strong and determined. 

It is our responsibility to resist the soldiers who enter our village and settlers who occupy our land and resources. For our family’s work, I have been recognized by the European Union as a Human Rights Defender. At the age of 13, my daughter won the Handala award for Courage in Turkey. Amnesty International, during one of my imprisonments, declared me a prisoner of conscience. Each week, my wife helps lead our anti-occupation demonstration. Now her resistance takes place from the inside of an Israeli jail. 

People and organizations around the world from Youth Against Settlements in Palestine to Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK and others in the US are supporting us. They are writing press releases, making phone calls and standing by our side. Tomorrow at 12pm EST, (7pm Palestine time) there will be a twitter storm with the hashtag #FreeAhedTamimi. I thank everyone for their support and hope my family will be free soon.

Towards freedom, 
Bassem Tamimi, 

Human Rights Defender

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