Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gaza War: Developments in Nazareth and Israeli Police Violence on Arab Journalists and Demonstrators

During demonstrations by Palestinians in Israel against the attacks on Gaza, Palestinian journalists in Israel have also come under attack.

Two days ago (Dec 29), Jamal Amara (Editor of Online News website, 'Radar') and Raed Dellasheh (Reporter for the newspaper Fasl al-Maqal and the online news website were both beaten and arrested by the Israeli police. These two journalists came under attack and were later arrested just doing their job in the Arab town of Kufr Kanna in Israel. They were eventually let go. Please see the following reports on the incident from arabs48 and alarab.

Yesterday (Dec 30), in the town of Nazareth, youth were demonstrating the Israeli war on Gaza following a larger demonstration held by the political party 'Jabha'/'Hadash' (the communist party that focuses on Jewish-Arab cooperation). The youth later lit fire to some wood and threw stones at the police building. In response, several hundreds of police showed up at the scene and started attacking the youth and firing tear gas and rubber bullets. They also used helicopters to chase down youth. In the end, around thirty youth were rounded up and arrested in Nazareth. It seems that a number of local media houses have decided not to report the incident. Common police practice when this happens are beatings and various forms of torture. Police have released the names of only 16 of those arrested; the other 14 we are unaware of them. The police say that because they are around 14-15 years old and so are not obligated to carry identity cards, they don't have information on them. As I've said, there seems to be a general quiet about this in the local media, as some have colluded with the authorities not to speak of the extent of police repression and force used on youth. However, these are two of the reports of the incident - from arabs48 and alarab.

It should be remembered that in the demonstrations that took place by Palestinians in Israel in support of the second intifada, Israeli police killed 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel. Known as the October 2000 events, various official state inquiries into the matter have yielded naught - to date, not a single person responsible for the deaths of innocent unarmed civilians (most of them youth) has been charged. See my earlier post here on October 2000 here.

As of 3:05pm local time, 390 in Gaza have been killed by Israeli strikes and over 1750 injured. See al-Jazeera here.

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