Ahed Tamimi remains in Israeli prison as “trial” adjourned

by Ali Abunimah
Electronic Intifada
More than two dozen prominent US Black artists and public figures are speaking out in support of Ahed Tamimi, as the teenager’s trial began in an Israeli military court.

On Tuesday, Ahed was brought before the Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank.

Amid the presence of many journalists and diplomats, the military judge ordered the session to be held behind closed doors, claiming this was for Ahed’s own good.


New York bookseller bowed to Israel supporters after violent threats

by Ali Abunimah
Electronic Intifada
A New York City bookseller faced threats of violence from Israel supporters before it caved in to demands to sign a statement repudiating the nonviolent BDS -- boycott, divestment and sanctions -- movement for Palestinian rights.

The statement, written by a local rabbi, also declares that Israel has a “right to exist.” Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine and Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace are reaffirming a call to boycott the bookseller, Book Culture, unless it rescinds the statement.

Book Culture issued the statement in the wake of threats and intimidation because it was promoting a children’s book called P is for Palestine.



Empire Files: Abby Martin Meets Ahed Tamimi -- Message From A Freedom Fighter

Ahed Tamimi, Teen Palestinian Activist, Speaks on Life Under Occupation

Like a Safari: Israeli Troops in Jeeps Hunt a Palestinian Teen and Shoot Him in the Head

by Gideon Levy

The killing field of young Laith Abu Naim is an empty lot in the remote village of Al-Mughayyir, north of Ramallah. Someone once planned to build a house here, but got no further than iron rods and a retaining wall. The boy ran for his life between the rods, pursued by two armored Israel Defense Forces jeeps. The chase ended when the door of one of the vehicles opened and a soldier aimed his rifle straight at Laith’s forehead from a range of 20 meters. He fired one bullet, killing the teen ? the same way an animal is hunted down and bagged on a safari.

A 16-year-old boy who dreamed of becoming a soccer goalie threw stones at a jeep and suffered the punishment of execution at the hands of a soldier, perhaps to teach him a lesson, perhaps as revenge. The rubber-coated steel bullet struck the exact spot it was aimed at ? the boy’s forehead, above his left eye ? and had the anticipated result: Laith fell to the ground and died shortly afterward. The outstanding IDF sniper could have aimed at his legs, used tear gas, or tried to stop him in other ways. But he chose, in what seems to be an almost standard pattern in recent weeks in this area, to fire a round directly at the head.

That’s how soldiers shot two young men named Mohammed Tamimi, one from Nabi Saleh, the other from Aboud, wounding both youngsters seriously. The latter is still hospitalized in grave condition in a Ramallah hospital; the former, part of his skull missing, is recovering at home.

Laith Abu Naim now lies in the ground in his village’s cemetery.



Israeli leaders celebrate extrajudicial execution

by Maureen Clare Murphy
Electronic Intifada

In the early morning hours on Tuesday Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian man who they claim was involved in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in early January.

A second Palestinian was reportedly killed during confrontations with soldiers in the northern occupied West Bank on Tuesday night. The confrontations erupted as the Israeli military surrounded a house in Nablus belonging to the father of a Palestinian who Israel suspects of fatally stabbing another Israeli settler a day earlier.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry stated that 32 people were injured by live fire during the confrontations and six were critically wounded.

Statements by Israeli leaders and intelligence bodies indicate that the Palestinian killed during the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday may have been extrajudicially executed, according to the Palestinian Center for Human rights.



Losing Sight: A 4-Year-Old Girl Was the Sole Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan. Then She Disappeared.

by May Jeong
The Intercept

Asadabad, the sylvan capital of Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan, has a population of half a million but the feel of a village. Little happens there without being noticed. Were you out surveying the bazaar on September 7, 2013, you might have seen eight men, three women, and four young children climb into a red Toyota pickup. Most were members of an extended family, returning home after running errands. The pickup was just large enough to accommodate the women and children, with the men piled into the back alongside the sacks of flour they had purchased. Their village, Gambir, was a 2 1/2-hour drive northwest on a rough and undulating road. The village had no electricity or running water, and whatever food that couldn’t be grown had to be brought in from town. To get a phone signal, you climbed a hill. To feel warm to the bone, you waited for spring.

1. The Valley of Death

The driver was a 26-year-old father of two named Abdul Rashid. Because the road into Pech Valley toward Gambir was famously treacherous, a kind of buddy system had developed among cab drivers. That morning, Abdul Rashid had been trying to coordinate the journey with his friend and relative, Mohibullah, but by early afternoon, he had decided to go ahead without him. The four children — including Abdul Rashid’s daughter, Aisha, age 4, and her baby brother, Jundullah, 18 months — were growing restless with the wait. Just after 3 p.m., the truck began to move.

Abdul Rashid stopped in the east end of Asadabad to pick up one last passenger, a woman traveling alone, before heading west. For the last three days, the drivers servicing the Pech had staged a strike to protest poor road conditions. September 7 was Rashid’s first day back on the job.

An hour into the journey, they entered Watapur, a district that sits along the northeastern tributary of the Pech River. Around then, the road paved by the U.S. military came to an end and the gravel path began. On occasion, the truck would get stuck in a bog, and the men would jump off to push it forward. In this way, the party continued to thread north toward Gambir. Watapur is as staggeringly beautiful as it is inaccessible, and along the way, the travelers might have seen children swimming in nearby a brook, or kites flying on the crest of a hill.

Around 5:30 p.m., not long after Abdul Rashid dropped off the lone passenger, a missile fired by a drone hit the right side of the pickup. Those who were not engulfed in the initial conflagration rushed out of the truck. Three more strikes tore through the vehicle in three-minute intervals. After a 10-minute lull, the final strike came, its shrapnel meant to kill everyone in its fragmentation radius. The strike was over in less than 20 minutes.

The landscape of Kunar, alive with thick vegetation and violence, can be hostile to outsiders. In military memoirs, of which there are many, Kunar’s Pech Valley is typically depicted as an impenetrable fortress. Often referred to as the “heart of darkness,” Pech’s capillary valleys have been the subject of much Orientalizing prose. In “Lone Survivor,” the account of a Navy SEAL operation gone awry, the Pech is described as a “dust-colored place,” where “angry, resentful men” who are “Primitive with a big P,” live in “caveman conditions.” The U.S. military made little effort to understand its area of operation when in 2003, it sent a detachment of Green Berets into the valley who spoke Korean, Mandarin, and Thai and later, conventional military units with even less local understanding.

Apart from the dense foliage, the country here is also veined with gullies flanked by rocks in shades of umber and ochre, making it difficult for troops to maintain consistent contact, let alone arrange for a helicopter landing zone. Soldiers’ accounts are replete with mentions of altitude sickness, torn knee ligaments, and twisted ankles.



Seinfeld boosts Israel’s “shoot to kill” fantasy tours

by David Sheen
The Electronic Intifada

Jerry Seinfeld drew criticism earlier this month when it emerged that while in Israel to perform in Tel Aviv, the famous comedian visited an air force base and took his family to a tourist attraction in the occupied West Bank for ideological and military instruction.

Caliber 3, the Israeli firm that runs what Israeli newspaper Haaretz calls an “anti-terror fantasy camp” boasted about the Seinfeld family’s patronage in a Facebook post on 7 January.

“Finally we are allowed to tell you!! The legendary Jerry Seinfeld and his family were at Caliber 3 during their visit to Israel last week, they came to us for shooting training with displays of combat, Krav Maga [martial arts], assault dogs and lots of Zionism,” the post, which has since been deleted, said, according to Haaretz.

Currently located in the settlement of Efrat, Caliber 3 says it was founded in 2002 by Colonel Sharon Gat and “works in close cooperation” with the Israeli army.