Tag Archives: security

Israeli-occupied territories – Wikipedia, the free …

The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. They consist of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; much of the Golan Heights; the Gaza Strip, though Israel disputes this and argues that since the implementation of its disengagement from Gaza in 2005 it no longer occupies the territory; and, until 1982, the Sinai Peninsula. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are also referred to as the Palestinian territories or Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Palestinian Authority, the EU,[1] the International Court of Justice,[2] the UN General Assembly[3] and the UN Security Council[4] consider East Jerusalem to be part of the West Bank and occupied by Israel; Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital and sovereign territory.

The International Court of Justice,[2] the UN General Assembly[3] and the United Nations Security Council regards Israel as the “Occupying Power”.[5] UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called Israels occupation an affront to international law.[6] The Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that Israel holds the West Bank under “belligerent occupation”.[7] According to Talia Sasson, the High Court of Justice in Israel, with a variety of different justices sitting, has repeatedly stated for more than 4 decades that Israels presence in the West Bank is in violation of international law.[8]

Israeli governments have preferred the term “disputed territories” in the case of the West Bank.[9][10]

The first use of the term ‘territories occupied’ was in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War in 1967, which called for “the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” to be achieved by “the application of both the following principles: … Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict … Termination of all claims or states of belligerency” and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1980 (see Jerusalem Law) and the Golan Heights in 1981 (see Golan Heights Law) has not been recognised by any other country.[11]United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared the annexation of Jerusalem “null and void” and required that it be rescinded. United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 also declared the annexation of the Golan “null and void”. Following withdrawal by Israel from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, as part of the 1979 IsraelEgypt Peace Treaty, the Sinai ceased to be considered occupied territory. Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in September 2005, and declared itself no longer to be in occupation of the Strip. However, as it retains control of Gaza’s airspace and coastline, it continues to be designated as an occupying power in the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly[12] and some countries and various human rights organizations.[13][14][15][16]

The significance of the designation of these territories as occupied territory is that certain legal obligations fall on the occupying power under international law. Under international law there are certain laws of war governing military occupation, including the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention.[17] One of those obligations is to maintain the status quo until the signing of a peace treaty, the resolution of specific conditions outlined in a peace treaty, or the formation of a new civilian government.[18]

Israel disputes whether, and if so to what extent, it is an occupying power in relation to the Palestinian territories and as to whether Israeli settlements in these territories are in breach of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power and constitute a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and whether the settlements constitute war crimes.[19][20]

Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War. It established settlements along the Gulf of Aqaba and in the northeast portion, just below the Gaza Strip. It had plans to expand the settlement of Yamit into a city with a population of 200,000,[23] though the actual population of Yamit did not exceed 3,000.[24] The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979 as part of the IsraelEgypt Peace Treaty. As required by the treaty, Israel had to evacuate Israeli military installations and civilian settlements before establishing normal and friendly relations.[25] Israel dismantled eighteen settlements, two air force bases, a naval base, and other installations by 1982, including the only oil resources under Israeli control. The evacuation of the civilian population, which took place in 1982, was done forcefully in some instances, such as the evacuation of Yamit. The settlements were demolished, as it was feared that settlers might try to return to their homes after the evacuation[citation needed].

Since 1982, the Sinai Peninsula has not been regarded as occupied territory.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. A ceasefire was signed on 11 June 1967 and the Golan Heights came under Israeli military administration.[26] Syria rejected UNSC Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967, which called for the return of Israeli-occupied State territories in exchange for peaceful relations. Israel had accepted Resolution 242 in a speech to the Security Council on 1 May 1968. In March 1972, Syria “conditionally” accepted Resolution 242,[citation needed] and in May 1972, the Agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria was signed.

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The dilemma of stable West Bank

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin is a member of Benjamin Netanyahus Likud party and his predominantly rightwing Cabinet. In a recent interview with The Economist, Elkin used the familiar tone of being conceited and oblivious to such notions as international or human rights and reaffirmed his rejection of a Palestinian state. Instead, Elkin wants Israel to annex a chunk of the West Bank. There is nothing new here; as such language is now official Israeli discourse. But one statement stood out, one that many Palestinians would find bewildering and exasperating. These days, said Elkin with a chuckle, the West Bank is the most stable part of the Middle East. The bewilderment would stem from the fact that the West Bank is an occupied Palestinian territory. Its population is held at gunpoint; they have no freedom and enjoy no rights. Their land is seized by force to make room for more settlements and illegal Jewish settlers, now numbering well passed the half million mark. Needless to say, the West Bank should not be stable. Instead, Palestinians should be leading their own revolution until they achieve their full rights and freedom. This is not a call for violence, but a natural human course. However, Palestinians are not rebelling. Many factors are holding them back, one of which is the very Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Its troops are in constant security coordination with Israel. The PAs mission apparently is not to liberate Palestine, but to ensure the subservience of the Palestinians while Israel carries on with a colonial project that has extended for decades. Elkin knows this. Netanyahu himself, along with every Israeli official, understands that the PA, despite Mahmoud Abbas occasional attempts at appearing defiant and rebellious, is no threat to Israel, nor will it ever be. This will be so even if the US-imposed April 29 deadline for a framework agreement between the Israeli government and the PA passes and even if Abbas took the seemingly daring step of signing the applications to join 15 international organizations. Abbas and his men understand that there are red lines, which they cannot cross under any circumstances. Abbas may be weak, but he is clever. He knew that Kerrys peacemaking efforts would not go anywhere and that Netanyahu would find a way to thwart the process. If Abbas were lucky, Kerry could even blame Israel for derailing the peace process, as he already has. Then, Abbas would do what many would find reasonable; seek further international recognition for the state of Palestine. This might frustrate the Americans a little, anger the Israelis a lot, but it would give his supporters reason to promote the 79-year-old leader as another Yasser Arafat, heroic and defiant to the very end. The Israelis still need Abbas. He is important in maintaining stability in the West Bank. This means the continuing of the security coordination that ensures the safety of the armed settlers, providing an extra layer of protection to Israeli soldiers as they kill at will, seize more land, demolish homes and trees, erect walls, dig trenches and level mountains. So what if some imaginary state existed on papers in the files of some international body in Geneva or Brussels. For Israel, the law is that of its military, and reality is what is taking place in Area C, not in some European capital. This is why Elkin is chuckling. He is at ease, in the same way the Israeli political establishment is. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, a deal was struck between Israel and what became a pervasive, controlling and corrupt Palestinian political class. Israel maintained its military occupation, carried on with its colonial project and continued to disfigure the occupied territories in any way that it found consistent with its security needs. Palestinian elites were granted economic privileges and access that is denied to the vast majority of the Palestinians. The PAs constant challenge is to maintain a level of legitimacy. True, it uses its monopoly on force, which is readily sanctioned by Israel, in order to arrest, torture and kill resisting Palestinians when necessary. It uses the logic of trickledown economics to hold the bulk of Palestinians hostage to winning their daily bread. But that is not enough. It needs a brand to market itself as the exclusive harbinger of freedom for Palestinians. It uses slogans, flags and kuffiyas to promote that brand through its control of the media. Many PA supporters dance to that tune and playact that Abbas and only Abbas is capable of exacting the coveting liberation of Palestine from the obstinate hands of the Israeli prime minister. Palestinian officials are proficiently inflating Abbas image to ensure that Palestinians dont question the wisdom of their aging leader, after the latest and predictable failure of the peace process, which was never truly meant to succeed anyway. A Palestinian official spoke of Abbas refusal to heed a call by US Secretary of State John Kerry to halt applications to join international treaties. He claimed that Kerry warned Abbas of a strong (Israeli) response to Palestinian action. Abbas replied: Israels threats scare no one. They can do what they like. The words were repeated in Palestinian media. The Abbas image is being overstated once more. There is no space for those who question the mans credibility, legitimacy or failed methods. More posters of the old man are now erected in the occupied Palestinian towns. His latest antics will help perpetuate the myth that the PA is a platform for resistance, not capitulation. As long as the West Bank is stable, and as long as Abbas, and those that follow him continue to sell Palestinians old illusions of revolutions that never took place, and heroes that only exist on colored posters hung around the streets of Ramallah, Elkin will continue to chuckle. And as long as the West Bank is stable, Palestinians will never achieve their freedom, for submission achieves no rights; only resistance does.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist. Email: [emailprotected]

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Israeli Crimes Against Humanity – Michael A. Hoffman II

Israel’s Crimes against Palestinians: War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide

by Francis Boyle Professor of International Law

At the Brussels’ Palace of Justice on March 6, 2002, Souad Srour El Meri, one of 28 Palestinians filing war crimes charges against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the 1982 massacre of Sabra-Shatila, shows a photo of Arab children killed by Sharon’s proxies. A Brussels appeals’ court is considering putting Sharon on trial for war crimes he perpetrated in Lebanon.

The International Laws of Belligerent Occupation

Belligerent occupation is governed by The Hague Regulations of 1907, as well as by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and the customary laws of belligerent occupation. Security Council Resolution 1322 (2000), paragraph 3 continued: “Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in a Time of War of 12 August 1949;…” Again, the Security Council vote was 14 to 0, becoming obligatory international law.

The Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip, and to the entire City of Jerusalem, in order to protect the Palestinians living there. The Palestinian People living in this Palestinian Land are “protected persons” within the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention. All of their rights are sacred under international law.

There are 149 substantive articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention that protect the rights of every one of these Palestinians living in occupied Palestine. The Israeli Government is currently violating, and has since 1967 been violating, almost each and every one of these sacred rights of the Palestinian People recognized by the Fourth Geneva Convention. Indeed, violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention are war crimes.

So this is not a symmetrical situation. As matters of fact and of law, the gross and repeated violations of Palestinian rights by the Israeli army and Israeli settlers living illegally in occupied Palestine constitute war crimes. Conversely, the Palestinian people are defending themselves and their land and their homes against Israeli war crimes and Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission

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Freenet – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Freenet is a peer-to-peer platform for censorship-resistant communication. It uses a decentralized distributed data store to store information, and has a suite of free software for working with this data store. Both Freenet and some of its associated tools were originally designed by Ian Clarke,[5][6] who defines Freenet’s goal as providing freedom of speech with strong anonymity protection.

Freenet works by storing small encrypted snippets of content distributed on the computers of its users and connecting only through intermediate computers which pass on requests for content and sending them back without knowing the contents of the full file, similar to how routers on the Internet route packets without knowing anything about filesexcept with caching, a layer of strong encryption, and without reliance on centralized structures. This allows users to publish anonymously or retrieve various kinds of information. Freenet has been under continuous development since 2000.

Since Version 0.7 (2008), it offers two modes of operation: a darknet mode in which it connects only to friends, and an opennet-mode in which it connects to any other Freenet user. Both modes can be used together. When a user changes to pure darknet operation, Freenet becomes very difficult to detect from the outside. The transport layer created for the darknet mode allows communication over restricted routes as commonly found in mesh networks, as long as these connections follow a small-world structure.

The distributed datastore of Freenet is used by many third-party programs and plugins to provide microblogging and media sharing,[7] anonymous, decentralised version tracking,[8] blogging,[9] a generic web of trust for decentralized spam resistance,[10] Shoeshop for using Freenet over Sneakernet,[11] and many more.

Freenet has always been free software, but for most of its history it required users to install proprietary Java software. In 2011, this problem was solved and Freenet can now also work with the free OpenJDK Java system.

Freenet is different from most other peer-to-peer applications, both in how users interact with it and in the security it offers. It separates the underlying network structure and protocol from how users interact with the network; as a result, there are a variety of ways to access content on the Freenet network. The simplest is via FProxy, which is integrated with the node software and provides a web interface to content on the network. Using FProxy, a user can browse freesites (websites that use normal HTML and related tools, but whose content is stored within Freenet rather than on a traditional web server). The web interface is also used for most configuration and node management tasks. Through the use of separate applications or plugins loaded into the node software, users can interact with the network in other ways, such as forums similar to web forums or Usenet or interfaces more similar to traditional p2p “filesharing” interfaces.

While Freenet provides an HTTP interface for browsing freesites, it is not a proxy for the World Wide Web; Freenet can only be used to access content that has been previously inserted into the Freenet network. In this way, it is more similar to Tor’s hidden services than to anonymous proxy software like Tor’s proxy.

Freenet’s focus lies on Free speech and anonymity. Because of that, Freenet acts different at certain points that are (direct or indirect) related to the anonymity part. Freenet attempts to protect the anonymity of both people inserting data into the network (uploading) and those retrieving data from the network (downloading). Unlike file sharing systems, there is no need for the uploader to remain on the network after uploading a file or group of files. Instead, during the upload process, the files are broken into chunks and stored on a variety of other computers on the network. When downloading, those chunks are found and reassembled. Every node on the Freenet network contributes storage space to hold files, and bandwidth that it uses to route requests from its peers.

As a direct result of the anonymity requirements, the node requesting a datum does not normally connect directly to the node that has it; instead, the datum is routed across several intermediaries, none of which know which node requested the datum or which one had it. As a result, the total bandwidth required by the network to transfer a file is higher than in other systems, which can result in slower transfers, especially for unpopular content.

Since Version 0.7, Freenet offers two different levels of security: Opennet and Darknet. With Opennet, users connect to arbitrary other users. With Darknet, users connect only to “friends” with whom they previously exchanged Public Keys, named node-references. Both modes can be used together.

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NATO – Homepage

NATO and Afghanistan

NATOs primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan authorities to provide effective security across the country and ensure that the country can never again be a safe haven for terrorists.

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In these times of austerity, each euro, dollar or pound sterling counts. Smart defence is a new way of thinking about generating the modern defence capabilities the Alliance needs for the coming decade and beyond.

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NATO and its partners are taking concerted action to support implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, which was adopted in October 2000. UNSCR 1325 recognizes the disproportionate impact that war and conflicts have on women and children, and highlights the fact that women have been historically left out of peace processes and stabilization efforts.

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No to NATO – Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was founded in 1949, in the early years of the Cold War. Initially conceived as a defensive organisation, the founding members were Belgium, Canada,Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK and the USA. The Warsaw Pact was established in response in 1955, by the then Soviet Union and its allies. In the 1950s, Greece, Turkey and West Germany also joined NATO, followed by Spain in 1982.

At the end of the Cold War,the Warsaw Pact was dissolved,but NATO was not. Hopes of a peaceful new world order werenot realised. Rather than scaling back its global military presence,the US moved to fill the positions vacated by its previous rival. As the countries of eastern Europe embraced free market economics and multiparty democracy, the US movedrapidly to integrate them into its sphere of influence via NATO.This would prove to be an effective strategy, as witnessed by the support of those countries for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The 1990s saw NATO developing its regional cooperation forums and inviting new members to join the alliance. In March 1999, Hungary,Poland and the Czech Republic were all admitted as full members. Ten days later they found themselves at war with their neighbour Yugoslavia, as part of NATO’s illegal bombing campaign. But developments at that time were not limited to NATO expansion. At NATO’s fiftieth anniversary conference in Washington in April 1999, a new ‘Strategic Concept’, was adopted. This moved beyond NATO’s previous defensive role to include ‘out of area’ in other words offensive operations,anywhere on the Eurasian landmass.

In March 2004, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania were admitted to NATO not only former Warsaw Pact members, but also former Soviet republics in the case of the Baltic states. In 2009, Albania and Croatia also became members. This scale of expansion has contributed to international tension as Russia sees itselfincreasingly surrounded by US and NATO bases, including in the Balkans, the Middle East and central Asia. Georgia, Macedonia,Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina arealso in various stages towards becoming members.

Out of area activity

Over the past decade, the US drive for global domination through military influence has become increasingly active, most notably in Afghanistan. NATO assumed control of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in 2003, marking NATO’s first deployment outside Europe or North America. ISAF will transfer responsibility for the security of the country to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014, which should signal the end of the NATO-led combat mission. However, NATO stated ina declaration following a summit in Chicago in May 2012 that it will establish a ‘new post-2014 mission of a different nature in Afghanistan’, thereby maintaining its influence in the region. Recently, NATO has also undertaken operations inLibya and the Horn of Africa.

Global reach?

NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept at its summit inPortugal in November 2010, entitled Active Engagement,Modern Defence. It recommitted to an interventionistmilitary agenda that set back the cause of peace and nuclear disarmament. This included an expansion of its area of work to counterterrorism, cyber-security, and theproliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons’.The summit also agreed to integrate the US missile defencesystem with a European theatre missile defence programmeunder the auspices of NATO. But concerns remain thatmissile defence will enable the US to attack another country without fear of retaliation. Following its summit in May 2012 in Chicago, NATO reaffirmed its determination to retain and develop the capabilities necessary to promoting security in the world. At this summit, NATO declared that it had taken successful steps towards establishing a missile defence system. It also announced developments in its air command and control system, as well as plans for improved and more integrated armed forces. There seems no doubt that there is a long term plan formaintaining and extending its global influence.

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The dilemma of stable West Bank

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin is a member of Benjamin Netanyahus Likud party and his predominantly rightwing Cabinet. In a recent interview with The Economist, Elkin used the familiar tone of being conceited and oblivious to such notions as international or human rights and reaffirmed his rejection of a Palestinian state. Instead, Elkin wants Israel to annex a chunk of the West Bank. There is nothing new here; as such language is now official Israeli discourse. But one statement stood out, one that many Palestinians would find bewildering and exasperating. These days, said Elkin with a chuckle, the West Bank is the most stable part of the Middle East. The bewilderment would stem from the fact that the West Bank is an occupied Palestinian territory. Its population is held at gunpoint; they have no freedom and enjoy no rights. Their land is seized by force to make room for more settlements and illegal Jewish settlers, now numbering well passed the half million mark. Needless to say, the West Bank should not be stable. Instead, Palestinians should be leading their own revolution until they achieve their full rights and freedom. This is not a call for violence, but a natural human course. However, Palestinians are not rebelling. Many factors are holding them back, one of which is the very Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Its troops are in constant security coordination with Israel. The PAs mission apparently is not to liberate Palestine, but to ensure the subservience of the Palestinians while Israel carries on with a colonial project that has extended for decades. Elkin knows this. Netanyahu himself, along with every Israeli official, understands that the PA, despite Mahmoud Abbas occasional attempts at appearing defiant and rebellious, is no threat to Israel, nor will it ever be. This will be so even if the US-imposed April 29 deadline for a framework agreement between the Israeli government and the PA passes and even if Abbas took the seemingly daring step of signing the applications to join 15 international organizations. Abbas and his men understand that there are red lines, which they cannot cross under any circumstances. Abbas may be weak, but he is clever. He knew that Kerrys peacemaking efforts would not go anywhere and that Netanyahu would find a way to thwart the process. If Abbas were lucky, Kerry could even blame Israel for derailing the peace process, as he already has. Then, Abbas would do what many would find reasonable; seek further international recognition for the state of Palestine. This might frustrate the Americans a little, anger the Israelis a lot, but it would give his supporters reason to promote the 79-year-old leader as another Yasser Arafat, heroic and defiant to the very end. The Israelis still need Abbas. He is important in maintaining stability in the West Bank. This means the continuing of the security coordination that ensures the safety of the armed settlers, providing an extra layer of protection to Israeli soldiers as they kill at will, seize more land, demolish homes and trees, erect walls, dig trenches and level mountains. So what if some imaginary state existed on papers in the files of some international body in Geneva or Brussels. For Israel, the law is that of its military, and reality is what is taking place in Area C, not in some European capital. This is why Elkin is chuckling. He is at ease, in the same way the Israeli political establishment is. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, a deal was struck between Israel and what became a pervasive, controlling and corrupt Palestinian political class. Israel maintained its military occupation, carried on with its colonial project and continued to disfigure the occupied territories in any way that it found consistent with its security needs. Palestinian elites were granted economic privileges and access that is denied to the vast majority of the Palestinians. The PAs constant challenge is to maintain a level of legitimacy. True, it uses its monopoly on force, which is readily sanctioned by Israel, in order to arrest, torture and kill resisting Palestinians when necessary. It uses the logic of trickledown economics to hold the bulk of Palestinians hostage to winning their daily bread. But that is not enough. It needs a brand to market itself as the exclusive harbinger of freedom for Palestinians. It uses slogans, flags and kuffiyas to promote that brand through its control of the media. Many PA supporters dance to that tune and playact that Abbas and only Abbas is capable of exacting the coveting liberation of Palestine from the obstinate hands of the Israeli prime minister. Palestinian officials are proficiently inflating Abbas image to ensure that Palestinians dont question the wisdom of their aging leader, after the latest and predictable failure of the peace process, which was never truly meant to succeed anyway. A Palestinian official spoke of Abbas refusal to heed a call by US Secretary of State John Kerry to halt applications to join international treaties. He claimed that Kerry warned Abbas of a strong (Israeli) response to Palestinian action. Abbas replied: Israels threats scare no one. They can do what they like. The words were repeated in Palestinian media. The Abbas image is being overstated once more. There is no space for those who question the mans credibility, legitimacy or failed methods. More posters of the old man are now erected in the occupied Palestinian towns. His latest antics will help perpetuate the myth that the PA is a platform for resistance, not capitulation. As long as the West Bank is stable, and as long as Abbas, and those that follow him continue to sell Palestinians old illusions of revolutions that never took place, and heroes that only exist on colored posters hung around the streets of Ramallah, Elkin will continue to chuckle. And as long as the West Bank is stable, Palestinians will never achieve their freedom, for submission achieves no rights; only resistance does.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist. Email: [emailprotected]

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Gaza cops trade bullets for laser-tech in training

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Security forces in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are using technology to practice shooting on laser simulators, saving money spent on ammunition in the cash-strapped Palestinian territory. "Electronic shooting has great advantages," said Colonel Mohammed al-Nakhala, head of training in Gaza's National Security organisation. The ministry's training …

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Cash-strapped Hamas turns to e-bullets

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) In a long hallway that looks more like a videogame arcade than a military base, Hamas security forces are holding target practice using assault rifles fitted with lasers all without firing a bullet.

For the cash-strapped Hamas government, the system is a much-needed money saver that eliminates the need to train with live ammunition, which is in short supply in Gaza. Hamas also says the quiet, indoor facility is less likely to attract the attention of the Israeli military than the open-air firing ranges that are frequently targeted in airstrikes.

“Our training centers are targeted all the time by the occupation, so we have a closed-door shooting range that is hidden from the occupation,” said Abdallah Karmot, the deputy director of training at Hamas’ Interior Ministry, which oversees security in the seaside strip of land. “We also save money and the time it takes to move officers to training camps for live shooting.”

Karmot said Hamas developed the electronic shooting range with homegrown technology. The modified Kalashnikovs, powered by software developed by Hamas programmers, fire green laser beams at their targets, which mimic the sound of real rifle fire when there is a direct hit.

The move indoors is the latest sign of the deep financial crisis plaguing Hamas, which is suffering its worst money woes and ammunition shortage since taking power. Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of the seaside strip since Hamas seized power from the rival forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization responsible for killing hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks. Israel and Hamas have engaged in heavy fighting over the years, most recently an eight-day battle in 2012 in which Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

Under the blockade, Egypt looked the other way for years as cement, fuel and weapons were smuggled into Gaza through a network of tunnels running under the border with Egypt.

That changed last summer after the Egyptian military overthrew the country’s Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi. Egypt’s new military government cracked down on Hamas, the local offshoot of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, and destroyed nearly all of the tunnels. With the tunnels out of operation, Hamas lost a key source of tax revenue and a main conduit for weapons.

“Due to the Egyptian crackdown on the tunnels, we can talk about some sort of arms crisis facing all the armed groups in Gaza, as well as the security forces that used smuggled supplies in the past,” said Adnan Abu Amer, an expert on Palestinian militant groups at Gaza’s Al Ummah University.

He said the prices of some weapons have nearly doubled in recent months, and the price of ammunition has tripled. “The most significant result of the tunnel demolitions has been the scarcity of weapons, ammunition and explosives,” he said.

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West Bank settlers derided as terrorists for turning on their own army

Extremist Jewish settlers attacked a nearby IDF encampment after several mobile homes in a settlement outpost were demolished. Israeli security officials called for harsh measures.

For years extremist Jewish settlers have targeted Palestinians in retaliation for Israeli government efforts to curtail settlement growth, typically receiving only light punishment. But this week they turned on the soldiers charged with protecting them and they may have gone too far.

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On Tuesday, residents of the settlement Yitzhar and other sympathizers attacked a nearby Israel Defense Forces encampment staffed by reservists, destroying their living quarters. Condemnation has been swift and strident: Current and former government officials have called for the attackers to be labeled terrorists and rounded up. The overarching sentiment is that Israel’s so-called “price tag” settlersare out of control.

“What is going on in the territories is Jewish terror,” Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet, told Yediot Ahronot. “All of the other definitions coming from the prime minister, from the ministers, or the president ‘hate crime,’ bad weeds,’ and such are meaningless. Laundered words. And until they do this, they wont solve the problem.”

This isn’t the first time that vigilante settlers, who use the term “price tag” for their revenge attacks on Palestinians in response to Israeli efforts to curtail settlements, have attacked IDF targets. But they have never lashed out at guardposts of their own settlements, nor at reservists, who are seen by Israelis as sacrificing work and family for the state.

Security experts blame Israel’s army, police, and government for yielding to the vigilante settlers for years, which emboldened them to risk igniting widespread Palestinian unrest.

“If such an incident had occurred in an Arab village, the IDF would go from house to house, search for illegal weapons, and try to arrest the law breakers,” wrote Alex Fishman, a defense analyst in the daily Yediot Ahronot newspaper. “Now the army is slightly annoying the residents leaving the settlement, checking papers, asking questions. The police made an arrest. Thats nothing.”

The IDF encampment sits on anisolated plateaubetween the hilltop settlement of Yitzhar and two Palestinian villages in the valley below.On Tuesday morning, dozens of settlers roused the reservist soldiers from sleep and told them stand down. They proceeded to destroy a tent, a latrine, and a gas heating installation.

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