April 16, 2008

Ground control to Morrisey: Israel tortures children, families

Q: what country could torture children & families, bulldoze schools & playgrounds, close orphanages, shun a visiting former US president, and still get serenaded by the likes of Morrissey and Bjork?

A: Clearly the answer is best left to readers' fervid imaginings. To suggest the answer could be the only "Jewish" state may leave this blog open to accusations of the worst sort. But whilst you're racking your brains, consider this:

AFP, April 12: "They're Routinely Tortured for Throwing Rocks"

Shehab, 15:

"They broke several of my teeth and my nose. They put a heater beside my face. They pinched me on the stomach and chest with pliers. They kicked me." He finally broke down and signed a confession.

A mere abberation? Surely the Light Unto the Nations wouldn't treat children this way routinely? “A central aspect of the interrogation phase is the use of particular forms of torture and ill treatment,” quoth Defence for Children International.

VOA, April 14:

The anti-torture group [PCATI] says the security agency has arrested Palestinian suspects' family members, or pretended to arrest them, on a number of occasions to break down prisoners' resistance to questioning. It contends the tactic causes severe psychological suffering, and in some cases amounts to torture.

In one case, the rights group said, a subject who had been warned to cooperate was shown his weeping mother being aggressively questioned in another room.

The anti-torture committee said the mother was subsequently indicted on a marginal charge to justify what it called her false arrest. The group says such tactics illegally exploit detainees and should be explicitly prohibited.

The Rebuilding Alliance:

The children of Al Aqabah, a Palestinian village in the Jordan River Valley, are facing the demolition of their kindergarten and their whole village. On April 17th, Haj Sami Sadeq, the Village Council Head, and attorney Elia Tusya Cohen will petition the Israeli High Court to repeal the 35 demolition orders issued against the kindergarten (built by the Rebuilding Alliance), the mosque, the medical clinic, all the roads, and all the homes. None of these pose security threats. They are not near settlements, or the Separation Wall. The village has clear title to its land. The Israeli Civil Authority issued demolition orders citing "lack of a building permit" -- but it never issued building permits to Palestinians in that Jordan River Valley area.

IMEMC, Feb. 24: "Palestinian children's playground partially demolished by Israeli forces"

On Friday, February 22, the Israeli military demolished half of a playground built for the children of Jayyous and Azzoun villages by USAID and YMCA funds.

The military announced that it has orders to demolish the other half of the playground on March 15th. The children's playground was constructed by two international organizations, the YMCA and USAID, in 2006, to bring some joy to the children of two villages whose land is being confiscated for the Israeli Annexation Wall.Israeli authorities claim that the playground was built without permits, but Israel has refused to issue building permits for any construction on Palestinian land in what is called 'Area C' (aside from illegal Israeli settlements) since 1967.The playground is the only one of its kind in the region, providing swings, slides and play structures for the children to enjoy. It was built on private Palestinian land, which was donated by the owner for the purpose. Families in the area have called it "an oasis of hope in a sea of hopelessness".

CPT, April 15: "Update on military harassment of Hebron Schools and Orphanages"

Monday night, 14 April, soldiers entered the Rahma Bakery and took all the display cases, refrigerators, fixtures, equipment and most of the inventory, leaving an oven that they wrecked. Upstairs the soldiers destroyed heating ducts. This bakery provided bread for the orphanages.

I'll spare Morrissey & Bjork any whining about Carter. But they should ask themselves why they're performing in a state that finds the man so traife for saying unkind things about a state that tortures children & families, destroys playgrounds, schools, and orphanages...

UPDATE: It appears Bjork hasn't escaped PACBI's attention. In a letter to the chanteuse asking her not to perform in Israel they note the following:

At Hayarkon park in Tel Aviv, where you plan to sing, the Palestinian village of Jarisha was wiped off the map by the Zionist forces 60 years ago.


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