Arab writers denounce celebration of Israel at Mexican Fair

[Recently received:  "Below is a statement issued by Arab writers and intellectuals protesting having Israel as the guest of honor at the Guadalajara International Book Fair – Mexico, which opened on Saturday November 30......The main signatories are: Idriss Allouch (Poet) from Morocco, Abdul-Razzaq Bukubba (Novelist and Storywriter) from Algeria, Naela al-Wardi (Plastic Artist and Translator) from Tunisia, Najwan Darwish (Poet) and Rasha Hilweh (Writer) from Palestine, Mohammad Dibo (Poet) from Syria, Samah Idriss (Writer and Publisher) from Lebanon, and Jamal Naji (Novelist), Ilias Farkouh (Novelist), Fakhri Saleh (Literary Critic), Ghazi al-Theibeh (Poet), Basma al-Nsour (Storywriter), Mahmoud al-Rimawi (Storywriter and Novelist), and Hisham Bustani (Storywriter) from Jordan." -- Frontlines ed.]
Guadalajara International Book Fair
“Israel” should be boycotted and condemned, not celebrated and honored
 
We write to you from a region that suffers from daily oppression, oppression that is the direct result of the establishment of the Zionist movement in Europe during the late nineteenth century, its campaign to found a settler colonialist state in Palestine with the assistance of imperialist powers, and its declaration the “State of Israel” in 1948 – an event that marked a catastrophe for Palestinians, for Arabs and for humanity. This event was accompanied by massacres and ethnic cleansing, atrocities that the “State of Israel” – built on fabricated religious myths and values of isolationism, aggression, expansionism and hegemony – continues to commit until this day.
 
We are living in the twenty-first century and “Israel” continues to exist as a settler colonialist state. It continues to exist as a state built on imprisoning people in Bantustans and ghettos behind high cement walls. “Israel” is one of very few states in the world today that is openly based on religion, in an age that scorns isolationism, denounces religious discrimination and mocks those who claim to have a mandate from God … that is, except “Israel”.
 
Justice, freedom and openness are fundamental values in the creative world. They are values that cannot be realized in a settler colonial state – a state that on a daily basis commits murders and massacres, shells people, assaults them and confiscates their land. Any person – especially one from the region of Latin America, which has suffered from such colonialism in the past – knows that such a regime can only survive through complete hegemony and the systematic destruction of indigenous people, their society and culture, and by falsifying history – with the catastrophic implications this has for humanity as a whole. Continue reading

Israel’s Colonial Conquest at Mexican Book Fair Draws Protests

Protest Israel’s honoured status at FIL!

Published on 12 November 2013
Written by Connie Hackbarth, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

 Israel was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mxIsrael was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mx

Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), slated for 30 November – 8 December, selected Israel as its guest of honour for this year’s event. A hasbara dream for Israel, the fair’s guest of honour “brings to the city its publishing industry and literary presence, as well as the best of its culture, including the performing and visual arts, music, cinema, gastronomy and folklore.” “Each night,” the Fair’s website notes “the Guest of Honour offers a performance at FIL’s Foro as well as several performing venues throughout the city that host events in an effort to display and achieve a transforming experience for the public.”

Prominent intellectuals in Mexico publicly condemned the selection of Israel as guest of honour, writing in the Mexican press that the creation of Israel “caused the tragedy of the Palestinian people, condemned to exile, oppression and dispossession…Coexistence was replaced by a state founded on ethnic and cultural exclusion which has denied the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state and a territory.”

Signatories of the statement include Néstor Braunstein, an Argentine exile in Mexico and one of Latin America’s most prominent psychoanalysts, and Margit Frenk, the daughter of Jewish German refugees in Mexico and world expert in Spanish literature and Miguel Cervantes. 

Israel understands the importance of this honoured position, which according to fair organisers has over the years “consolidated the Book Fair’s international and multicultural character.” Israeli President Shimon Peres himself will be present to open the Israeli pavilion.

Statement signatories requested that a “pluralistic and representative roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be conducted during this year’s fair, and that Palestine be invited as the honoured guest in 2015. It is unclear at this stage if the fair organisers have responded positively to this public request.

Continue reading

Event honoring Edward Said prompts Zionist smear campaign against San Francisco State students

The mural honoring Edward Said at San Francisco State University.

An anti-Palestinian group is mounting an attack against students at San Francisco State University. Following an on-campus event honoring a mural of the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, the group asserted that an artistic stencil glorified “the murder of Jews.”

The university’s president, at the urging of pro-Israel advocates, has joined the condemnation of the students.

On 7 November, as part of the sixth annual event to celebrate the mural and Palestinian culture, activists with several allied student organizations, including the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS), an indigenous student group, set up informational tables on the campus’s Malcolm X Plaza.

The SKINS’ table made various stencils available for students to express themselves using images and slogans. One slogan read “my heroes have always killed colonizers,” which has been used for years by indigenous cultural workers in commemorating the resistance to the genocide of First Nations peoples and other indigenous communities around the world.

For the last two years, for example, indigenous communities have held cultural events entitled “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” in San Francisco during Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a day reclaimed from the national holiday celebrating the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

It didn’t take long for local Zionist watchdogs to launch a vicious attack against the entire event, the student organizations involved, and even the co-sponsoring academic department on campus, calling it “anti-Semitic” and insinuating that the stencil “glorif[ies] the murder of Jews.” Continue reading

The Zionist Threat to “Take Alice Walker Out”

“Alice Walker’s New Book Makes Her the Zionists’ Target”Smearing Alice Walker
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT, in CounterPunch, June 26, 2013
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

In the comments section of a recent online article in the right wing New York Jewish publication, Algemeiner, not to be confused with the Frankfurter Allgemeine but conceivably with Der Sturmer, there was an argument over whether or not the “Mossad should deal with” Alice Walker as punishment for the critical comments directed towards Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel in her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road” which, we can assume, none of those commenting had read.

All it took to set off the threat and a stream of racist venom against the 69 year African-American author was an inflammatory headline in Algemeiner’s June 19th edition:“ADL Blasts Anti-Israel Author Walker: ‘She is ‘unabashedly infected with Anti-Semitism’” followed by an article in the same vein.

As could be anticipated from the headline, the story featured a statement by Anti-Defamation League director, Abe Foxman:

“Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism.

“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before.  Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

According to an ADL press release, Walker’s book “devotes 80 pages to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, denigrating Judaism and Jews, and suggesting that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

To make the point, the ADL includes four examples. Let’s look at one of them:

“Walker analogizes the Palestinians’ situation with the civil rights era and discrimination against Blacks in the American South.  She writes: ‘It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel’s attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land.’”

In case the inner racists of its readers hadn’t been stirred up enough by Foxman’s rant, the Algemeiner reporter added that “Walker has a history of making extreme anti-Israel statements. In June 2012 she refused to allow an Israeli company to publish a Hebrew edition of her novel, ‘The Color Purple.’ Most recently, Walker wrote a letter calling on the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming July 4th concert appearance in Tel Aviv.”

“In her book,” the article concludes, “Walker accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘cruelty and diabolical torture.’” In so doing, it should be noted, she is simply observing the same phenomena that a number of dissident Israelis have previously noted. Continue reading

US / Israel: Behind the Mask of “Human Rights” — Spies for Repression

ADL Spies
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT

“[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda….Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source.”

–  Letter from Benjamin R. Epstein, National Director, Anti-Defamation League to Saul Joftes, Executive Secretary, B’nai B’rith, July 7, 1961.

Those were the days when snooping usually meant digging through garbage cans, checking other people’s mailboxes, and primitive phone tapping. How the Anti-Defamation League is doing it today one can only imagine.

Over the last three days of April, the ADL celebrated its 100th anniversary in Washington DC in high style with Vice President Joe Biden the featured speaker at its Centennial Gala dinner on April 30 and Attorney General Eric Holder doing the obligatory genuflecting the day before.

Standing next to the ADL’s ubiquitous current national director, Abe Foxman, Biden told the one thousand paying guests, “You have become the conscience of this country, no matter what the issue. You have been a pillar of the Jewish community, but you reach out and you have reached out your embrace for all communities.”

For hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals the ADL’s embrace has been too close for comfort and “unconscionable” would be a term more befitting the organization’s activities. What is definitely in order is a reminder that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the exposure of a nation-wide spying operation run by the ADL that went back at least five decades. Continue reading

Palestine: Female Detainees Start Hunger Strike

author Thursday June 06, 2013 — by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies

Palestinian female detainees, held by Israel, started an open-ended hunger strike demanding the Israeli Prison Authority to provide the needed medical treatment to detainee Heba Abu Rezeq.

detaineesf.jpg[Abu Rezeq was kidnapped three months ago, and is being held in solitary confinement.]

She is facing several psychological problems, and needs urgent therapy, yet, the prison administration is threatening to move her to a different facility, and to completely isolate her.

The detainees are demanding the transfer of Abu Rezeq to a private hospital. They stated they would escalate their strike should Israeli refrain from providing the needed medical attention to Heba.

The International Coalition for Breaking the Chains has reported that what is happening to Heba is a direct proof of the ongoing Israeli policies against the detainees in direct violation of International Law.

The Coalition held Israel responsible for the life of Abu Rezeq, and the lives of all hunger striking female detainees

“Israel leads global drone exports” (and marketing hype for war crime conspiracies) “as demand rises”

[For the other side of the Israeli/repressive munitions story, which AP will never disclose, see http://israelglobalrepression.wordpress.com/ where you can download the important booklet, "Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression" in English or Spanish.  And for more information on UAV/drone warfare, see http://www.livingunderdrones.org, http://droneswatch.org/, "People & Power - Attack of the Drones: Al Jazeera Documentary" (http://youtu.be/SdQvF5xmKL4), and the recent Frontlines posting  (http://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/india-uav-proves-ineffective-in-anti-maoist-operations/).  All this runs counter to the official US government story: "The US publicly describes its drone program in terms of its unprecedented ability to 'distinguish … effectively between an al Qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians,' and touts its missile-armed drones as capable of conducting strikes with 'astonishing' and 'surgical' precision." --  Frontlines ed.]

BEN-GURION AIRPORT, Israel – The Associated Press, 7 June 2013

Israel’s long record of using drones in its region of conflict has turned it into a dominant force in the industry, as the worldwide demand for the morally criticized systems has been soaring”

Drones are seen in a hangar at Israel Aerospace Industries.

Israel has emerged as the world’s leading exporter of the aircraft, putting it in a key position. Global spending on the technology is expected to jump from an estimated $6.6 billion this year to $11.4 billion in 2022, according to the Teal Group. AP photo

In an expansive hangar in central Israel, workers toil on one of the world’s most contentious aircraft, fitting dozens of drones with advanced sensors, cameras and lasers before they are shipped to militaries worldwide to perform highly sensitive tasks.Whereas drones are often criticized elsewhere for being morally and legally objectionable, in Israel they are a source of pride. Israel – a pioneer of drone technology – has emerged as the world’s leading exporter of the aircraft and its accessories, putting it in a strong position as the industry continues to grow.

A report produced by U.S. consulting firm Frost & Sullivan determined earlier this year that Israel is now the largest exporter of unmanned aerial systems, surmounting aerospace giants in the U.S. The report said that from 2005 to 2012, Israel exported some $4.6 billion worth of systems, including aircraft, payloads, operating systems and command and control caravans. U.S. overseas sales for the same time period were between $2 and $3 billion, the report said. Continue reading

Cruelty of Israel’s Cast Lead assault captured by new documentary

Daryl Meador, The Electronic Intifada, 6 June 2013

WBoy leans against fence with destroyed homes in backgroundhere Should the Birds Fly, the new documentary directed and narrated by Fida Qishta, begins with chilling footage of Israeli bulldozers destroying houses in Rafah in 2004. Qishta, a native of Rafah, the city in the south of the Gaza Strip, watched her parents’ house of 30 years crumble under the bulldozers. As it was destroyed, her father told her and her family to leave and keep walking. “He feared if our eyes took in the sight, our hearts would be filled with hate,” Qishta says.

The young woman channeled the intense anger and frustration felt from this episode, and many others caused by the Israeli blockade, to create a touching film that reveals many of the daily injustices in Gaza.

Qishta began her career as a wedding videographer. After becoming comfortable with the camera, she began to film her surroundings and eventually accompanied human rights observers to document their work.

Much of the first half of the film features scenes of everyday life for Palestinians in Gaza. Qishta left the Gaza Strip in 2006 to visit Europe; when she returned she was forced to wait for three weeks at the border. She filmed the time she spent waiting to re-enter her home.

Shots of the border crossing terminal show tired men, women and children as they waited indefinitely without being offered beds or food.

Targeted by snipers

The documentary visits the farming village of Khozaa, which lies in the Israeli-designated “buffer zone,” land near the boundary with Israel that Palestinians are forbidden from entering. The land, once fertile farmland, is frequently targeted by Israeli sniper fire when farmers attempt to tend it.

The documentary follows farmers as they are accompanied by international activists and try to work the land. Included in this scene is footage of International Solidarity Movement volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni, who dedicated much of his life to working in Gaza and was murdered there in 2011.

Arrigoni stands up against the faraway Israeli soldiers who are shooting at the farmers and yells into a bullhorn, “Stop shooting. We are unarmed.” The shooting continues. Continue reading

Washington DC: Students Against Israeli Apartheid confront Israeli Occupation


Published on Jun 5, 2013

See the protester’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GMUSAIA

On June 4, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Washington, D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson Center to offer a so-called “moderate” perspective on Middle East affairs and the Palestinian-Israeli impasse. A DC area coalition of Palestinian justice activists, led by George Mason University Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), were there to challenge Olmert and interrupt the Wilson Center’s complicity with the ongoing normalization of Israeli occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid. Making clear that no Zionist presence is welcome in the DC metropolitan area, throughout the event activists interrupted Olmert, discrediting the supposed “peace plan” he has been parading around as a viable solution.

Palestine: “After the flames, only determination remains in Burin and Madama”

International Solidarity Movement | June 3, 2013

Burin and Madama, Occupied Palestine – On Monday 3rd June, around a dozen settlers from the illegal colony of Yizhar set fire to Palestinian’s fields in the villages of Burin and Madama, destroying at least 50 acres of arable land with olive trees. The settlers were joined by a jeep of border police when 40-50 Palestinians from the village of Burin came out to attempt to put out the fire, with some being stopped from doing so by the border police present.

As people from the two villages south of Nablus were hoping for an uneventful workday, the settlers from Yizhar, renowned for being one of the worst for settler violence, set fire to fields in the Khallat al-Injas neighbourhood of Madama. One young person there desribed how, “then I went there quickly with my friends and tried to extinguish it. During that time the settlers went to the eastern area which is between Madama and Bureen. They set fire into the hills there.”Before long, the enormous fires spread across the field and towards the olive tree groves of neighbouring Burin. Shortly after, Israeli border police turned up at the scene in Burin’s land, delaying the extinguishing of the fire.

Salman Valley was a major source of income for Burin (photo: ISM)

Salman Valley was a major source of income for Burin (photo: ISM)

Of the Palestinians that gathered, the Israeli border police only allowed uniformed firemen and those from the Palestinian Authority’s civil volunteer service to put out the raging fires. Those who approached to help were threatened with pepper spray. The fire was eventually slowed down when  the border police left and the community was able to help. Areas of the hills still burned when volunteers were leaving at around 6 o’clock in the evening. The Israeli fire service appeared in case the fire spread to settler-occupied land, but did nothing to help the Palestinians nearby. Continue reading

Israel demolishes West Bank homes, water wells

[A woman from the 24-member Palestinian Ghaith family stands with the rubble of her home destroyed by Israeli forces under the pretext that it was built without a permit in the mostly Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur on 29 April 2013. (Photo: AFP - Ahmad Gharabli)]

Monday, April 29, 2013 — Israeli forces on Monday demolished Palestinian homes and water wells in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as settlers confiscated land near Hebron to build a new outpost, local media reported.

In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces razed two apartments in the Tur neighborhood after several attempts by the owners to reverse the demolition order failed.

The authorities evicted 24 members of the Ghaith family, including five children and an elderly woman, from the two apartments ahead of the demolition, Rushi Ghaith, one of the owners, told Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

The apartments were scheduled for demolition in December but the family secured a court-ordered injunction to stop it from going ahead, Ghaith said.

The Ghaith family lawyer said they had successfully stalled attempts to raze the apartments since September 2004, when Israeli authorities handed down the demolition notice because the home was built without a licensing permit. The family’s case to reverse the demolition order is ongoing.

Ghaith said the family has been fined 80,000 Israeli shekels (about $22,000) since the case began.

Meanwhile Israeli soldiers demolished water wells south of Hebron in al-Fawar refugee camp, as settlers from the nearby Ma’oun settlement seized land west of Yatta in preparation for the establishment of new outposts. Continue reading

Protests, hunger strikes mark Palestinian Prisoner’s Day

Palestinians gather to commemorate Prisoners' Day in Nablus on April 17, 2013. Palestinians across the territories are attending marches and rallies as a show of solidarity with prisoners from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza held in Israeli facilities, whose numbers according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem reach 4,713. (Photo: AFP - Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

[Palestinians gather to commemorate Prisoners' Day in Nablus on April 17, 2013. Palestinians across the territories are attending marches and rallies as a show of solidarity with prisoners from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza held in Israeli facilities, whose numbers according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem reach 4,713. (Photo: AFP - Jaafar Ashtiyeh)]
 Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Palestinians across the territories attended marches and rallies Wednesday as a show of solidarity with prisoners from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza held in Israeli facilities.

Some 3,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails on Wednesday refused breakfast as part of a one-day hunger strike to mark Prisoners’ Day, an Israeli prison official said.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem estimates some 4,713 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.
Activists reached the Ofer prison perimeter on Wednesday morning, and tore down 50 meters of the prison fence, mounting a Palestinian flag on prison grounds.

“After around four minutes of being at the fence, Israeli soldiers showed up. They fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs at the protesters,” Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, spokesman of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, told Al-Akhbar.

“It is necessary to pressure Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers,” he added. Continue reading

Israel’s dirty war

[Repressive ethnic wars, designed for mass displacement and elimination, are characterized by their indiscriminate targeting and by their use of weapons which combine their military purposes with malevolent political objectives of humiliation, de-humanization through inducing disease and transforming verdant lands into toxic wastes.  Here is a report on recent Israeli (and Egyptian) attack methods against Palestine.  -- Frontlines ed.]
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David Polden, Peace News

While Palestinian prisoners continue hunger strikes against their detention without trial, Israeli and Egyptian forces are using sewage against Palestinians.

Ayman Sharawna (PN 2552-53), hospitalised after a seven-month hunger strike, has agreed to confinement in Gaza for 10 years in return for his release. However, Samer Issawi, 240 days into his hunger strike, announced on 18 March that he had refused a similar deal.

Middle East News reported that, on 6 March, Israeli forces sprayed Palestinian homes in the village of Nabi Saleh with raw sewage as a punishment for organising weekly protests against the ‘separation wall’.

Since February, Egyptian security forces have been flooding tunnels into Gaza with sewage. The tunnels, which are illegal, are a vital trade route for Gaza, breaching the Israeli blockade.

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners launch hunger strike protesting death of prisoner

4,500 Prisoners Refuse Food, Launch 3-Day Hunger Strike in Israeli Jails

On Wednesday 3rd April, around 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails sent back their food this morning as part of a protest launched following the death of their fellow prisoner, Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, who suffered from cancer.

Palestinian prisoners also launched a three-day hunger strike following the death of 64-year-old Abu Hamdiyeh, who was serving a life term in Israeli prison.

An autopsy of Abu Hamdiyeh’s body was scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv in the presence of a Palestinian observer. The body will then be transferred to the Palestinian Authority for burial.

Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral was scheduled to take place Thursday in his hometown of Hebron.

Palestinian protesters hold up photos of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who died of cancer while in an Israeli jail.

Palestinian protesters hold up photos of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who died of cancer while in an Israeli jail.

Protests immediately erupted in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and in Israeli prisons on Tuesday over his death. More protests are expected to break out at his funeral in Hebron on Thursday.

Protestors and the Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed on Israel for medical negligence and bare Israeli authorities the full responsibility for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death. Abu Hamdiyeh was claimed a hero and a martyr. 

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Jail death sparks Palestinian protests

Jerusalem (CNN), April 3rd, 2013— A well-known Palestinian prisoner died of cancer in Israeli custody on Tuesday, sparking outrage among Palestinian groups who accuse Israel of denying him treatment.

Maysara Abu Hamdiya, 64, a retired Palestinian general, had been in Israeli prisons since 2002 and was serving a life sentence for alleged involvement in an attempt to bomb a Jerusalem cafe. He died Tuesday morning in an Israeli hospital after being admitted last week because of his deteriorating health, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Government Media Center. Continue reading

Obama Urged to Heed Warnings of ‘Palestine on Fire’

[President Obama, who has carefully clung to his Zionist-loyalist agenda (while his meaningless rhetorical differences with Israeli settlement policies have been exaggerated by his 'liberal' spin-doctors), is being warned by a comprador-trained Palestine Authority official that things may get uncontrollable if he does not make a dramatic show of concern for Palestinian prisoners.  If Obama decides to heed this warning,   his upcoming trip to Israel may test his rhetorical and theatrical skills.  Those who think Obama will launch a meaningful change in US-Zionist relations should, however, sober up. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Palestinian officials warn of possible third intifada in wake of Arafat Jaradat’s death

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Common Dreams

In the wake of the death of detained Palestinian Arafat Jaradat, officials with the Palestinian Authority have issued a warning to President Obama that Palestine could be “on fire” during his upcoming visit to the region if he does not exert pressure on longtime ally Israel regarding the ongoing treatment of prisoners.

Wrapped in the Palestinian flag, Arafat Jaradat received a ‘hero’s burial’ on Monday in the West Bank village of Saeer. (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters) On Monday, over 10,000 Palestinians took part in a funeral procession for Jaradat, the thirty year old Palestinian man who died Saturday after being in Israeli custody for less than one week. An autopsy showed that he had many broken bones, and the PA attributed his death to “extreme torture” inflicted by his captors.

“If President Obama wants to visit the region peacefully, he should exert pressure on Israel to release the prisoners—especially the ones who are on hunger strike—or else he will visit while Palestine is on fire,” said Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe, speaking at a news conference in Ramallah.

Obama’s trip to Israel in March will be his first since becoming US president. Continue reading