Sunday, January 30, 2011


Another blog entry from a friend working with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine:

"The funeral for the Palestinian I wrote about in my last post was on Friday, and on the same day another youth – 17-year old Yousef Ikhleil – was shot by settlers north of Hebron. I wrote that following the first death, it was difficult to ascertain what happened, as the major media sources and local testimonies offered conflicting reports. However, talking to people at the funeral, and speaking with the doctor who performed the autopsy, we were able to gain a clearer picture of how he died. The following is the report a colleague and I put together for the ISM:

On 27th January, 20-year old Odai Maher Hamzeh Qaddous was killed by settlers whilst farming between the villages of Burin and Iraq Burin, just south of Nablus. According to family sources, the Palestinian youth was alone and gathering wood when settlers – most likely from the nearby, illegal settlement of Bracha – shot Qaddous once through the chest, with the bullet entering his right shoulder and remaining lodged beside his left lung. Sources say that it was over an hour before an ambulance was able to reach him, and he was pronounced dead-on-arrival at the hospital. There was evidence that he was also beaten: his face was covered in blood, and a left-rib broken. Doctors concluded he died of surgical emphysema as a result of the gun-shot wound.

The funeral for the deceased was held the following day in the village of Iraq Burin, and was attended by around 500 people from the villages and surrounding areas. A large police presence followed the procession, which lead from the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus - where the body was being held - to the village. No clashes were reported to have followed the ceremony.

This tragedy comes less than a year after his younger brother, 16-year old Mohammed Ibrahim Qaddous, was killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces in the same region of the West Bank.

The frequency of killings of unarmed Palestinians by settlers is quite horrific – two in as many days, and six in the last month – and even the Israelis can’t evade acting on these crimes. According to military sources several suspects have been arrested but, really, this means nothing; the settlers – if any have actually been arrested – will walk free within days. Nonetheless, the fact that the Israeli military is even willing to provide lip service to these accusations is I think a signifier that times may well be changing in the occupied territories.
It cannot have escaped your attention that the Middle East - and Egypt in particular - is in a state of revolution. Following the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, talk has been of revolt: since Tuesday, protests in Egypt have been escalating against the corruption, unemployment and rising prices, all of which are blamed on the dictator of 30-years, Hosni Mubarak. Clashes have spread from Cairo, east to Suez and south to Luxor; today, Al Jazeera stated that the army have been deployed in the tourist resort of Sharm-el-Shaikh. The cabinet have resigned, but Mubarak refuses to go. Against such widespread condemnation, however, it is hard to see how he could stay much longer.

Mubarak’s resignation, or his expulsion, would prove disastrous for Israel: the peace treaty signed whilst he was vice-president was not acceptable to the Arab people and would not have been made had Egypt been a democracy. The popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt - echoes of which are being heard in Jordan and Syria - may well be enough to swing the Arab League into taking direct action against Israel, in the form of economic sanctions. Whilst Israel could perhaps weather sanctions coming from the Arab states, it would be increasingly dependent on a United States which is increasingly unable to support it; it will be very interesting to see just how European governments react, whose premiers are not reliant on the pro-Israel vote, but who do gain financially from the economic ties.

We must remember that the South African apartheid was brought to an end by economic sanctions, not military might; the same, I suspect, will be true in Palestine. With luck, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the dictatorships across the Middle East and, hopefully, with them will fall the Israeli occupation."

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