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West Bank government workers on Strike against Israeli sanctions/election disqualification/testimony

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  • Cort Greene
    - *Palestine*. About 50,000 Government employees in the West Bank have begun a two-day general
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 19, 2012

      *Palestine*. About 50,000 Government employees in the West Bank have begun
      a two-day general
      protesting against a delay in the payment of their wages amid Israeli
      economic sanctions.

      Israel announced at the start of December that it was withholding about
      $100 million in tax revenues, after Palestine obtained Observer State
      recognition at the United Nations General Assembly.

      The Palestinian Authority, which oversees the West Bank, was in financial
      difficulties before the latest Israeli step, with salaries issued late for
      153,000 public sector workers.
      Two new election polls came out yesterday, both telling roughly the same
      story: the Likud-Beitenu party is losing some voters to the
      National Religious Party and to Otzma Le�Israel, *an extreme faction led by
      former Kahane man Michael Ben-Ari( at recent anti-war demos, he counter
      demonstrated against anti-war Israeli's, campaigned and spoke for the
      Israeli leftists to be jailed and deported, some at the counter-demo had
      called for the leftists to be sent to Gaza to be bombed and killed)*. Both
      parties are identified with the settler movement (though settlers are well
      represented in Likud as well).

      *Israel*. *The Central Election Committee has
      Zoabi, a current member of the Knesset, from standing in January's

      *The decision will automatically be taken to the Supreme Court for

      *Ofir Akunis, the legislator who submitted the request to disqualify Zoabi,
      welcomed the committee's decision, "[She] clearly violated the Basic Law of
      The Knesset when she took part in the Marmara terror attack [the Freedom
      Flotilla that challenged the Israeli blockade of Gaza in May 2010], and
      therefore she has no place in the Knesset. Israeli democracy needs to know
      when to defend itself from those who are trying to destroy it from within."*

      *Zoabi, one of 11 MPs representing Arab parties, has been challenged since
      she took part in the Freedom Flotilla trying to break Israel's blockade of
      Gaza in May 2010. Nine Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos
      stormed the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, on which Zoabi was a passenger.*

      *The Committee turned down motions for bans on two Arab parties. The
      motions to ban the Arab parties, Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al, were based on a
      provision in the Basic Law, which says a party or an individual candidate
      can be disqualified if their actions deny Israel to be a Jewish and
      democratic state, incite racism, or support armed struggle, an enemy state,
      or a terrorist organisation.*



      Schools to strike Wednesday, Thursday
      Published yesterday (updated) 19/12/2012 14:38
      BETHLEHEM (Ma�an) � The Palestinian Authority�s ministry of education is
      considering heading early to the winter holiday before final exams, a
      ministry official said.

      Undersecretary Muhammad Abu Zeid told Ma�an that �the ministry is following
      up with the teachers� strike hour by hour, and is studying a suggestion to
      go early to the winter holiday in an attempt to save the semester.�

      According to Abu Zeid, it was suggested that the winter holiday start
      Sunday, and students would have to sit for final exams at the beginning of
      the second semester.

      The suggestion came as an attempt to cope with the ongoing teachers�
      protests as the general union of teachers announced Tuesday that teachers
      and all employees at the ministry�s offices across the West Bank would go
      on strike Wednesday and Thursday protesting unpaid wages.



      By Haggai Matar <http://972mag.com/author/haggaim/> |Published December 19,
      2012Testimony: Soldier fired directly at Bil'in demonstrator killed in 2009

      *New light is shed on the shooting death of non-violent demonstrator Bassem
      Abu Rahme in Bil�in in 2009: A soldier who served in the same brigade as
      the shooter testifies how the incident was perceived by other soldiers. The
      testimony strengthens the claim that the shot was fired against army

      *�The guy who shot him� was kind of pleased with the whole thing, he had an
      X on his launcher.�*

      On April 17, 2009 Bassem Abu Rahme was killed by an extended-range tear-gas
      canister that hit him directly in the chest. Abu Rahme, one of the most
      prominent figures in the popular struggle against the wall in Bil�in, was
      demonstrating non-violently and shouting at the commanding officer across
      the fence to stop firing tear gas, as a foreign national had just been hit
      in the ear by a gas canister. Another projectile was fired, hitting and
      killing him almost immediately. The entire incident was caught on tape by
      artist and photographer David Reeb (the deadly shot is fired at around


      (Video: David Reeb)

      Military orders are quite clear in regards to the shooting of tear gas
      canisters, stating that they should always be fired at an arched angle,
      never point-blank (in a direct trajectory), which makes the canisters much
      more lethal. Even so, as B�Tselem has warned several
      has documented<http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UCZPbX1npRo>,
      it is a common practice amongst soldiers to shoot projectiles directly at
      demonstrators, causing serious injury and at times even death � as in the
      cases of Abu Rahme and Mustafa
      Nabi Saleh) after him.

      As is often the case, the army refused to open an investigation into the
      case of Abu Rahme, claiming the shot was fired in accordance with
      procedures, and that the canister changed its arched course after hitting a
      wire. Only after the Abu Rahme family and attorney Michael Sfard petitioned
      the High Court, with video evidence and a forensic expert opinion
      supporting the claim that the shot was fired directly, did the army launch
      an investigation <http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20100712>, which
      has been going on for more than two years now.

      *Officers told soldiers the shot was fired against regulations*

      Now, three and a half years after the shooting, a new testimony given
      to �Breaking
      the Silence <http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/>� exposes how the story
      looked from the uniformed side of the fence. A soldier who served in the
      same brigade as Abu Rahme�s shooter told the NGO�s researchers that
      officers informed the troops that the shot was illegal, that soldiers would
      watch Reeb�s video of the incident and laugh about it, and that the shooter
      marked a victorious X on his rifle, signifying a successful kill. The
      testifying soldier was a sergeant in the 7thArmored Brigade at the time.

      Some soldiers had a grenade launcher installed on their guns, so they also
      had the option of shooting tear gas canisters. In the second company, which
      was stationed in Ni�lin at the time, there was one person� you know the man
      who got killed in Bil�in? So this is how he got killed, from one of the
      soldiers� launcher. The actual order is to not shoot the gas canisters
      point-blank, but rather to aim in an arch at where the demonstrators are
      standing. The grenade flies into their midst and releases the gas and that
      should disperse them. But this one time, one of the soldiers simply aimed
      at someone point-blank, and it hit his chest and he got killed.

      *How did you hear about this?*

      Everybody heard about it. It was a mess. Once something happened in the
      [military] sector everybody would hear.

      *How did everyone know that it was point-blank?*

      Because they would tell us.

      *Your commanders talked about it?*

      They didn�t linger on it for too long, you know. Just explained what
      happened. The use of grenade launchers is not really that common (*amongst
      army units, H.M*). Dispersing demonstrations is mostly handled by the
      Border Police.

      *Who �explained what happened�?*

      The platoon commander or something. Usually in briefings they�d tell what
      had happened recently and explain. At the time there was a video of this
      incident where you see the man who got shot, you see something hit him,
      then he roles over and shouts and then he actually dies. Some of the
      soldiers had this clip on their phones and they�d send it to one another
      and have a bit of a laugh. The guy who shot him, I don�t remember his name,
      I personally don�t know him but I had an idea of who it was. He was kind of
      pleased with the whole thing, he had an X on his launcher.

      (The full testimony was published in
      Hebrew<http://www.shovrimshtika.org/testimonies/database/635697> on
      Breaking the Silence�s site. This is my own translation)
      [image: Bassem Abu Rahme Was Killed by a Tear Gas Canister in Bil'in in

      Bassem Abu Rahme, killed by a tear gas canister in Bil�in in 2009

      Following the publication of this testimony, B�Tselem spokesperson Sarit
      Michaeli wrote on her Facebook page that she herself once documented a
      soldier aiming a grenade launcher directly at a Palestinian youth,
      threatening to �give him the Abu Rahme,� in the soldier�s own words. As
      mentioned above, the investigation of the shooting of Abu Rahme is still

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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