Autopsy report for Arafat Jaradat [who died in Israeli detention]: No sign of heart attack, more tests ordered

Israel’s Ministry of Health issued an interim finding in the autopsy of Arafat Jaradat [see our earlier post] — this time, after examination of microscopy and toxicology findings.

The microscopy results apparently showed no sign of heart attack.   Therefore, the Israeli statement said, further tests will be conducted.

According to the Israeli statement, the only injuries appeared to be related to [“were consistent with“] a 50-minute attempt to resuscitate Jaradat, who had been undergoing days of harsh interrogation in Israeli custody.

The heart attack hypothesis was first announced by the Israeli Prison Services spokesperson Sivan Weizman, who was responding to inquiries from the media, just after Jaradat’s death was announced.

The Israel Prison Services said their staff began resuscitation efforts, then called in the MDA [Magen David Adom, or Red Star of David] to help try to resuscitate Jaradat.

From the Israeli Health Services statement today, we learn that resuscitation efforts went on for 50 minutes.  This is long, but not unusual in the case of a person in his early 30s, according to one American doctor in Jerusalem.

The full statement of the Israeli Health Ministry, sent around by the Israeli Government Press Office [GPO,  part of the Prime Minister’s Office] says:
“National Center for Forensic Medicine Director Prof. Yehuda Hiss, Health Ministry Medical Administration Director Prof. Arnon Afek, and Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Pathology Institute Director Prof. Iris Barshack, today (Thursday, 28 February 2013), examined the microscopy findings for Arafat Jaradat.
It was found that the hemorrhages and fractured ribs found during the autopsy occurred close to death and are characteristic of the resuscitation attempts that were performed on the deceased by Prison Service and MDA medical staff for 50 minutes in an effort to save his life.  No signs of other contusions were found. The toxicology tests were also negative.
There were no signs of significant change due to illness in other organs that could indicate cause of death; therefore, further tests to determine the cause will be performed”.

Continue reading “Autopsy report for Arafat Jaradat [who died in Israeli detention]: No sign of heart attack, more tests ordered”

Palestinians: is "keeping the lid on" a strategy?

All this talk about a possible Third Intifada…

One of the most irritating things about this discussion is the assumption that violence is the strategy of choice for Palestinians.

Palestinians are not ready for violence, and there are absolutely no indications either that they have in any way prepared for it. Moreover, the sentiment most often heard is a refusal to be the one to go out on the street to protest and get arrested, with all the consequences, while their families will be left alone without support and the others will stay in their offices and continue to be comfortable, making money…

But, the situation is getting worse and worse.

Nevertheless, this speculation about another Intifada is a classic example of “the boogeyman” approach: the suggestion is made that if x or y does not happen, then one’s worst fears will come true…

UPDATE: On Thursday 28 February, Dalia Hatuqa wrote about the Third Intifada speculation in The National here, saying that “Of late, Palestinians have become an afterthought for the Israeli public. This was evident in the latest Israeli elections … There is a too-little discussed acceptance in Israel that the denial of rights and the self-determination of millions of Palestinians is a normal status quo”. She added that ‘Neither Israel nor the PA has an interest in another intifada and, as long as security cooperation between the two continues, Israel can rest easy. But the ongoing policies of Israel’s occupation are unsustainable and it is clear that Palestinians will not tolerate them in perpetuity. As long as Israel continues to rely on carrots and sticks to temporarily quash popular outrage, the PA will be walking a fine line between an angry constituency and a demanding occupying force’. Meanwhile, she reported, “A senior Fatah official, Jibril Rajoub, went on Israel Radio to echo Mr Abbas’s statement, declaring ‘on behalf of the entire Palestinian leadership that there is no plan to lead to bloodshed’.”

Continue reading “Palestinians: is "keeping the lid on" a strategy?”

Arafat Jaradat: detained 18 February on suspicion of throwing stones, died in Megiddo Prison on 23 February, buried today

The funeral today in Sa’ir village, near Hebron, of Arafat Jaradat, who was beaten badly when detained near his home on 18 February — and whose lawyer saw him showing pain, fear and anxiety in court on 21 February — and who then died on 23 February.

This photo, taken by Yotam Ronen for Activestills, is posted in a slideshow published here:

Funeral of Arafat Jaradat who died in Megiddo jail on 23 February [after 5 days of detention]

Another photo shows Arafat Jaradat’s body minutes before the funeral – photo by Oren Ziv for Activestills, published in the same slideshow.

The body of Arafat Jaradat minutes before his funeral
The body of Arafat Jaradat minutes before his funeral

Addameer Prisoner Support organization, a Ramallah-based NGO, reported that the Israeli Army “and the Shin Bet arrested the martyr Arafat Jaradat (30 years old) from his home in the small town of Sa’eer, near Al-Khalil (Hebron) at midnight on 18 February 2013, with claims that he threw stones at cars from a nearby settlement. Arafat was transferred to Jalameh Interrogation Center in the northern West Bank before being transferred to Megiddo Prison. Mr. Kamil Sabbagh, Arafat’s lawyer from the Ministry of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoner’s Affairs who defended him in a court hearing at Jalameh on 21 February 2013, reported that Arafat was subjected to torture during his interrogation, including being forced to sit for long hours in stress positions with his hands shackled behind his back. Arafat suffered from pain in his back, and therefore, during the court hearing on 21 February, his lawyer requested that he be given a health examination due to the severe conditions that he was detained under. Despite this, the judge ruled to extend his detention for a further twelve days, reducing the prosecution’s request of a fifteen day extension by only three days. The judge also ordered that the medical officials in the interrogation center examine his psychological and physical health and to report the results to the Shin Bet and the court. Two days later, on Saturday 23 February 2013, it was learned that Arafat Jaradat had passed away in a special section for the Shin Bet in Megiddo Prison, under conditions which are still unclear”.   This report is published here

An autopsy was performed on Sunday at the Abu Kabir institute near Tel Aviv.  There is no final autopsy report, yet.  Palestinian officials were present at the autopsy — a first. Reuters reported here that “The Palestinian Authority state pathologist [Dr. Saber Al Aloul] was present at the autopsy on Jaradat’s body, which was carried out in Israel”. The Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqa’a and Palestinian Prisoners’ Society head Qaddoura Fares said at a press conference in Ramallah Sunday evening that Arafat Jaradat appeared to have been tortured, and most likely died of shock.  They said there was no sign that Jaradat had a heart attack.  Hours later, under pressure, the Israeli Government Health Ministry issued a statement saying: “This afternoon (Sunday, 24 February 2013), at the National Center for Forensic Medicine, an autopsy was performed on the body of Arafat Jaradat by Prof. Yehuda Hiss, in the presence of Prof. Arnon Afek, Director of the Health Administration at the Ministry of Health, and Palestinian pathologist Dr. Saber Aloul. During the autopsy, no signs of external trauma were found apart from those pertaining to resuscitation [attempts] and a small graze on the right side of his chest. No evidence of disease was found during the autopsy. Two internal hemorrhages were detected, one on the shoulder and one on the right side of the chest. Two ribs were broken, which may indicate resuscitation attempts. The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death. At this stage, until microscopic and toxicology reports are in, the cause of death cannot be tied to the autopsy findings”.

Reuters also reported that “An Israeli police spokesman said the investigation into Jaradat’s death was still ongoing”. This is posted here.

Whatever the cause of Arafat Jaradat’s death, Israeli military court in Jalameh allowed continued interrogation after he admitted charges of stone-throwing, and after his lawyer told the military court judge that Jaradat seemed fearful and unwell.

Even after Arafat Jaradat admitted stone-throwing charges [certainly by the hearing at which his lawyer was present on 21 February], and even after the warnings from Jaradat’s attorney, the judge ordered interrogation continued for 12 days. But, Jaradat died.

What possible justification can there be for allowing Arafat Jaradat’s interrogation to continue beyond his admission of charge against him?

Continue reading “Arafat Jaradat: detained 18 February on suspicion of throwing stones, died in Megiddo Prison on 23 February, buried today”

Amira Hass explains horrifying implications of the amendments to Israeli military order 1651

There is a lot that happened that is not public in the negotiations to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit [seized near Gaza in June 2006], in exchange for the release of some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners [in 2 lots].

And there is a lot that was not publicly reported, or well-explained.

Amira Hass wrote in Haaretz today that some of it amounts to “another act of sabotage and erosion of principles of fair process by military law”.

Her article, posted here, and entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent”, focuses on rearrests, by the IDF and by the Shin Bet security agency, of some of the Palestinian prisoners released in the exchange for Shalit, who was allowed to go out from Gaza in October 2011. The re-arrests are justified by claims that the Palestinian ex-prisoners had violated the conditions of their release — conditions that are either unclear or possibly secret. The evidence that these ex-prisoners had violated these secret conditions is also secret.  She explained:
“The military legislators took a page from civil law, borrowing the damaging clauses concerning releasing prisoners with suspended sentences. At the same time, they ignored the balances in civilian law. They copied from the tradition of administrative detention (imprisonment without trial), and more than anything else, were inspired by the rage of political and defense officials, who believed Hamas managed to twist their arm. Thus, in 2009, two changes were made to the security decree clauses 184 and 186, and decree 1651, which deals with reprieves.

And this is how we have a military release committee, consisting exclusively of officials from the same apparatus that convicted the prisoner in the first place (and does not include social workers or education officials, as its civilian counterpart does.) In fact, the military law allows the arrest of a person until a military release committee decides if an offense has been committed (a civilian committee has no authority to arrest people), with automatic punishment and no need for a conviction.

The IDF and Shin Bet can hide behind ‘confidential evidence’, just as in administrative detention, but without the judicial review every several months, and we also have the committee’s lack of power of discretion: The committee, according to new changes in the decree and in contrast to a civilian committee, must return the released prisoner to jail for the entire term.

And even if a new indictment is submitted, based on new evidence; and even if the offense is not considered serious by the occupying power’s laws, who tend to see every Palestinian as guilty unless proved otherwise, and create offenses from seemingly daily actions such as talking to someone in the grocery store or participating in a demonstration; if convicted, the released prisoner will be sent back to prison, possibly for decades”.

This is more than chilling.

Continue reading “Amira Hass explains horrifying implications of the amendments to Israeli military order 1651”

Assn for Civil Rights in Israel [ACRI] releases timeline of its long involvement in Prisoner X case

ACRI, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has released information of all of its efforts in 2010 and 2011, and in the past few days, to narrow the “gag order” concerning the detention of Prisoner X. Here is ACRI’s account, which is also posted on its website here:

    On 13 May, 2010, the Ynet website published an article about Prisoner X, who according the report was being held in solitary confinement in a cell at the Ayalon Prison. Shortly after the story broke, the article was removed from the website. Following this revelation, Dan Yakir, ACRI’s Chief Legal Counsel, wrote to the Attorney General and expressed concern about the article’s claim that a detainee was being held in isolation from the outside world in violation of his fundamental rights. He further noted that undisclosed detentions and secret trials contradict the basic tenets of a democratic country and damages the right of the public to know. The appeal to the Attorney General was made six months prior to the detainee’s death.

    Attorney Raz Nizri, who was then a senior assistant to the Attorney General (now the Deputy Attorney General), responded on July 13, 2010, explaining that a gag order had been applied to the affair by the Central District Court on March 4, 2010. It was evident from his letter that the media were not informed of the gag order at the time, but only two-and-a-half months later when Ynet published the story. A clarifying decision was issued over a month later, under which the gag order applied to the conditions of the detention, including details of the cell where the prisoner was being detained. The letter further clarified that the Attorney General and other relevant supervisory bodies were ensuring that all individual rights were being upheld according to the provisions of the law.

    The gag order was particularly broad: it included a prohibition against publishing the fact that a gag order had been issued, and even prohibited publishing information on the affair based on information gained from foreign sources.

    On December 15, 2010, Prisoner X was found dead in his cell.

    Continue reading “Assn for Civil Rights in Israel [ACRI] releases timeline of its long involvement in Prisoner X case”

World Press Photo 2013 – Photo of the Year First Prize – by Paul Hansen for Dagens Nyheter

Israeli’s Operation Defensive Pillar a/k/a Operation Pillar of Clouds was the source of a number of prize-winning news photos this year.

The World Press Photo of the Year, [Spot News, 1st prize singles, 2013] announced on 15 February is “Gaza Burial – 20 November 2012”, by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen who has worked for the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter since 2000. One of the judges said that he’d looked at “a lot of powerful material” from Syria and Gaza among this year’s entries.

The winning photo was published by Le Nouvel Observateur here.

"Gaza Burial" - 20 November 2013 - World Press Photo of the Year by Paul Hansen
Gaza Burial” – 20 November 2013 – World Press Photo of the Year taken by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter

The light and color of Paul Hansen’s winning photo is extraordinary — it almost looks like a theater or stage set.

The NYTimes wrote here that the image draws some of its power “from its striking — almost stylized — lighting and tones. Mr. Hansen, 48, said the unusual look resulted when light bounced off the walls of the alley for just a few moments”. It added that “Santiago Lyon, vice president and director of photography for The Associated Press, was chairman of the jury … Mr. Lyon said the jury carefully examines the winning images for post processing. He said they decided Mr. Hansen’s photo was ‘within the acceptable industry parameters’. He added: “Everybody has different standards about these sorts of things, but as a group we felt that it was O.K.”

Here’s how the photo is identified on the World Press Photo website

Gaza Burial
20 November 2012
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories
Photo caption: “Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and  older brother Muhammad [three or four years old] were killed, along with their father Fouad, when their house was destroyed in an Israeli missile strike. Their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry the children to the mosque for the burial ceremony and his body is carried behind on a stretcher“.

UPDATE: Yousef Munayyer of The Palestine Center and The Jerusalem Fund wrote here that, based on a Human Rights Watch account,  “On November 19 at around 7:30 p.m., a single munition struck the house of the Hijazi family in Block 8 of the Jabalya refugee camp. The small, two-story cinderblock house was mostly demolished while 10 family members were inside. The strike killed Fouad Hijazi, a 46-year-old janitor at the Hamad secondary school, along with two of his children, Mohamed, 4, and Sohaib, 2. His wife, Amna, was wounded, as were three of their sons and a daughter”.

Munayyer indicated his information is based on a HRW account posted here, which said this was the result of an aerial bomb strike, one of 18 Apparently Unlawful Airstrikes During the November 2012 Fighting [with no apparent military objective>].

Munayyer picks up HRW’s material that adds this: “The surrounding buildings in the densely packed area were only lightly damaged, except that there was slightly more substantial damage to one side of one adjacent house. The damage suggests that an Israeli aircraft dropped a bomb at the site. Human Rights Watch found no munition remnants at the site.  A neighbor who lives across a very narrow street – too small for a car – from the Hijazi home said he heard no shooting of rockets from the area at the time or at other times during the 8-day conflict. There were no other explosions in the area that night, he said. He and other local residents said they did not know or understand why the Hijazi family home had been hit, saying that the family had no connection to any of Gaza’s armed groups. One of Fouad’s other sons had been killed by an Israeli strike about five years earlier, one neighbor said, but he was a civilian who was killed accidentally.  The IDF did not make any announcements about specific strikes in Jabalya at the time. The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center stated that the three victims were ‘non-involved’ civilians”.

The NYTimes noted that “World Press Photo is a 56-year-old nonprofit foundation with headquarters in Amsterdam, where the announcement of this year’s winners was made on Friday morning”.

On 9 February, Paul Hansen won First Place as Newspaper Photographer of the Year [one of two portfolio honors awarded each year by POYi] for a photo he took in Afghanistan for Dagens Nyheter. This winning photo is posted here.

Photo of the Year international – First Place General News – "Last Kiss"

Picture of the Year - First Place General News - Last Kiss - Gaza 18 Nov 2012
Last Kiss - First Place - Photo of the Year international - General News

This is a gorgeous and moving photo.  The composition, the color, the gesture, the hands — gorgeous, and immensely emotional.  It was taken in Gaza, during the IDF’s Operation Pillar of Defense or Pillar of Clouds last November.

“Last Kiss” won First Place in the General News Category of the Photo of the Year International [POYi] contest.

Its caption reads: “A Palestinian man kisses the hand of a dead relative in the morgue of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012”

The photo was taken by Spanish photographer Bernat Arnangue, of Associated Press, currently based in the Middle East covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Last Kiss” was announced as the First Place winning photo in the General News category today, and it’s published here.

H/T to journalist Ana Cardenes, currently based in Jerusalem, who Tweeted the announcement of the winning photo:
@AnaCardenesPicture Of the Year. General News. First Place @BernatArmangue´s Last Kiss. #Gaza #POY pic.twitter.com/ohvE6CJJ

Winning photographs in all categories judged during the first session are posted on the POYi Web site at www.poyi.org.

The POYi website days that “Photographs are posted without credits until judging is complete. This is to protect the anonymity of entrants across all categories because many images are entered in multiple categories. Once judging has concluded and POY has verified all winning entries, final results will be announced”. Judging judging of all categories will be concluded on 27 February. The Photo of the Year International contest [POYi] is a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (www.rjionline.org) at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Turkel Commission, Part 2 — new recommendations to improve Israel's military investigations

International law professor Aeyal Gross has written in Haaretz that, in its Part 2 report which was presented to Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, “The Turkel committee made 18 recommendations in an effort to improve the mechanisms through which investigations of IDF conduct are carried out. In principle, the committee noted, existing procedure complies with the requirements of international law, although there are certain areas in which there is room for improvement, including actual change in policy”.

That was an understatement. But, it was just the beginning. Aeyal Gross added that “The recommendations are designed to improve investigation procedures in the future, the committee said, and should not be construed as suggesting that the manner in which investigations have been carried out up to now, including the IDF’s investigation of the flotilla incident, was flawed. On the positive side, among the newly released recommendations were those relating to the need to explicitly integrate into Israeli law the rules regarding war crimes and to pass a law that imposes responsibility on IDF commanders and their civilian superiors for violations committed by those who report to them. That responsibility arises when the commanders or their superiors do not take reasonable steps to prevent those violations or do not act to bring those who committed such acts to justice. Those two recommendations are consistent with what international law requires”. This is published here.

Continue reading “The Turkel Commission, Part 2 — new recommendations to improve Israel's military investigations”

Study on Israeli and Palestinian textbooks leads to some surprises

It emerges that the Israeli Ministry of Education is outraged that its textbooks were compared with Palestinian textbooks, in a US State Dept-funded study — and an Israeli Education Ministry official has said this is “libel”.

The Israeli Education Ministry said in a statement:  the “attempt to create parallel between Israeli + Palestinian education systems is without any foundation… and has no basis in reality”.  [This sounds like the high-strung effort to parallel the argument that there’s “no moral equivalence” between Israelis and Palestinians.]

The Education Ministry statement added that “this is a ”study’ the conclusions of which were known in advance … The Education Ministry chose not to cooperate with those…interested in maliciously slandering the Israeli educational system + the State of Israel”…

This study of how Israeli + Palestinian schoolbooks treat the “other” was funded by the U.S. State Department [over $500,000] , and took 3 years.  The first organizational meeting was held in August 2009 and it was basically completed in May 2012.  The time since then was spent on translating, researchers told journalists at a press conference in Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim on Monday morning.  But, there was also fighting, and preparation for the fight that went public just a few days ago, in advance of the report’s launch today.

And, yes, the researchers said at the Jerusalem press conference/launch, the release of the study was delayed until after both the U.S. + the Israeli elections [the U.S. elections???  Somehow, this could hardly have been a major consideration…]

Dr. Bruce Wexler, American [+ Jewish] expert researcher on 3-year study of Israeli + Palestinian school books, revealed that he is having an outraged “Justice Goldstone” moment, as the prepared wave of criticism crested.

[South Africa’s Justice Richard Goldstone was named to head the UN Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza [27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009. But, under the organized criticism of his role in that report, he said he was not going to attend his own grandson’s bar mitzvah, to avoid bringing the controversy there… He later recanted, a bit, but that was a personal stance and did not affect the fact that the report he worked on is still on file, intact, at the UN. Goldstone was on assignment for the UN, while Wexler was working in his personal capacity on a study funded by the U.S. State Department, on who Wexler does not depend, which probably explains at least in part why Wexler has been more candidly outspoken…]

Wexler said at the press conference Monday morning in Jerusalem  [with emotion] that the statement of the Israeli Minister of Education “is false at every level..I did not come into this study to attack Israel”.  He spoke of his loyalty to Israel, and claimed that when the results were conveyed to the two sides, “The Israeli Minister of Education became very aggressive. Frankly, he is a product of these text books …That means he [the Israeli Minister of Education] cannot see beyond the blinders that have come into his mind as a result of the national narrative…and, by the way , people like that [with blinders] “are poor and dangerous national leaders”.

Wexler, a Professor Emeritus at Yale University, said it seems “the Israeli Government would rather hold on to a propaganda claim they know to be false, than to get change in Palestinian books”…

UPDATE: Haaretz reported on 5 February that “Professor Bruce Wexler, the Yale University psychiatry professor who designed the comparative study of Israeli and Palestinian school textbooks, has blasted the ‘blind spots’ of Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar, saying: ‘National leaders who have those blind spots make for poor and dangerous national leaders’… Israel, which has made the condemnation of the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish content of Palestinian textbooks a focal point of its hasbara efforts against the Palestinian Authority, lambasted the report as biased, unscientific and unprofessional”, This is published here.

And on Twitter, a comment from Mitchell Plitnick @MitchellPlit This textbook issue was always phony. So the hasbara crew goes ballistic as yet another of their lies is exposed http://bit.ly/Xkhhzg

Wexler said that this study on Israeli-Palest textbooks had two recommendations: 1) both sides should provide more info about the “other’s” culture, religion, history, and 2) the two ministries should conduct a joint evaluation of study + their own textbooks.

Professor Daniel Bar-Tal [Tel Aviv University] said that while Israeli textbooks do have some stories about individual warm, friendly personal relations, they do NOT on collective level.  Prof Bar-Tal: “We must take into account what is written in textbooks is seen as complete truth”; this “imprints” children’s attitudes early.

The study’s presentation notes that “School textbooks are public statements by governments”.

Researchers told journalists in Jerusalem this morning that Oslo + Taba agreements both included signed statements to deal with text books.  Professor Sami Adwan [Bethlehem University] told one questioner at the press conference this morning to “Ask parties why, despite agreement on trilateral US-Israeli-Palestinian Committee to look at school books, this trilateral committee has never met”.

The Israeli-Palestinian book researchers flatly denied claim [raised by some attending the press conference] that Palestinian school books contain “calls to go murder Jews” or “praise of those who murder Jews”.

The study said that “Dehumanization + demonization of the ‘other’ is rare is both Israeli + Palestinian schoolbooks”.

Professor Sami Adwan [Bethlehem Univrsity] said at the press conference in Jerusalem: “we have to learn to live with 2 sets of terms for holy sites, 2 diff names”; he noted that this happens elsewhere in the world, as well.

Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad said on Monday that the study “confirms “Palestinian textbooks do not contain any form of blatant incitement..based on contempt for the ‘other’… The Government of Israel should “desist from attempts to detract from the objectivity and professionalism of the study.”

The Palestinian Government appears to be very interested in meeting with the Israeli side to discuss this matter .. will it be a way to ease into the resumption of negotiations?

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It would be very interesting to see what would happen if the Palestinian Government were to host a press conference on this study, with the same speakers…

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What other media wrote:

Continue reading “Study on Israeli and Palestinian textbooks leads to some surprises”