New videos contradict IDF claims about West Bank killing

Footage from four separate cameras appears to show Israeli soldiers were not in any danger when they shot a mentally challenged Palestinian man in the back of the head in Tulkarm last week.

By +972 Magazine Staff

CCTV footage of Israeli soldiers shooting Muhammad Habali in the back of the head in the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Dec. 4, 2018. (Photo: Screenshot of footage released by B'Tselem)

CCTV footage of Israeli soldiers shooting Muhammad Habali in the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Dec. 4, 2018. (Photo: Screenshot of footage released by B’Tselem)

CCTV footage of Israeli soldiers shooting a Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Tulkarm last week appears to contradict the army’s claims about the killing.

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The footage, taken from four separate cameras, appears to show that, unlike the army’s claims, no clashes were taking place at the time of the shooting, no crowd control measures were used, and that the soldiers were not in any danger when they shot Muhammad Habali in the back of the head.

The army, despite having opened a military police investigation into the deadly shooting, has not changed its story since seeing the footage.

B’Tselem released the following statement on Tuesday:

On Tuesday, 4 December 2018, at around midnight, some 100 Israeli soldiers invaded the city of Tulkarm in the West Bank. Some of them entered four homes in different parts of the city and conducted a brief search. A few young Palestinian men came to the areas where the soldiers were and threw stones at them. The troops responded with rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas.

At some point during the night, about 30 soldiers came to the area of a-Nuzha Street, an east-west street in the western part of Tulkarm. Some of the force spread out along the street in groups of threes and fours. The others entered the alleyway opposite the al-Fadiliyah Boys’ High School and raided a home there. Further down the street, about 150 meters away from the soldiers, several residents were standing at the doorway of the a-Sabah Restaurant and on the adjacent street.

One of them was Muhammad Habali, a mentally challenged 22-year-old from Tulkarm Refugee Camp. Habali walked back and forth, crossing and re-crossing the road.

Video footage from four security cameras installed on three separate buildings along the street allows for construction of a full picture of the scene. It clearly shows that there were no clashes between residents and soldiers in the immediate vicinity of the spot where Habali was shot.

Testimonies collected by B’Tselem, coupled with the video footage, indicate that at 2:25 a.m., an officer and two soldiers advanced towards a-Sabah Restaurant and stopped about 80 meters away. According to eyewitness accounts, a few seconds later the soldiers opened fire at young men standing in front of the restaurant, and the young men then fled the scene.

Habali, who is seen in the footage carrying a long wooden stick – which he had picked up a few minutes before the shooting – was the last to leave. After he took several steps, he was shot in the head from behind, from a distance of about 80 meters. Another shot hit M.H., a resident of Tulkarm, in the leg. About a minute after the shooting, the three soldiers are seen rejoining the other soldiers in the area and leaving, without providing Habali or M.H. with any medical assistance.

Asked about the video footage, an Israeli military spokesperson sent the following statement:

A military police investigation was opened into the incident last week. At this stage it can be said that during the course of operational activities by IDF combat soldiers in Tulkarm, violent disturbances developed, during which dozens of Palestinians threw stones toward the soldiers.

In response, the soldiers used crowd dispersal measures and live gunfire. It was reported that one Palestinian was killed and another was wounded.

When the investigation is completed, its conclusions will be examined by the military prosecution. Additionally, the incident is being investigated at a command level.

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Sent to prison for trespassing on his own land

Israeli authorities have demolished Al-Araqib over 100 times. Before heading to prison for rebuilding and staying on his land, the village’s leader says he knows justice is on his side.

Sheikh Sayeh Abu Madi’am in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in al-Naqab, which Israeli authorities have demolished 136 times. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Sheikh Sayeh Abu Madi’am in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Araqib, which Israeli authorities have demolished 136 times. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“I have a good feeling I’ll be in prison alongside Netanyahu,” Sheikh Sayeh Abu Madi’am jokes, sitting in a tent in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Araqib, which Israeli authorities have demolished well over 100 times — 136 times, to be exact.

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Later this month, Abu Madi’am is supposed to begin serving a 10-month prison sentence for unlawfully entering and trespassing on public land — his village’s land. A court case to resolve whether he owns the land, which his lawyers say should have been concluded before he could be convicted of trespassing on it, is still pending.

“I did not steal, I did not cheat,” Abu Madi’am says. “The law recognizes property purchased by Jews before 1948 but it does not recognize a Bedouin who bought land from another Bedouin in 1905. Our cemetery has been here since 1914. Where was the Israeli government back then?”

Al-Araqib, located just a few miles from Be’er Sheva in the south, has become a symbol of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli efforts to disposes the Bedouin community of their land and homes in the Negev, or al-Naqab in Arabic.

Al-Araqib’s land was expropriated under a 1953 law that allowed the state to easily take land for purposes of “development, settlement, and security.” Israeli authorities have never used the land, however, for any purpose.

In the 1970s, Israel allowed Bedouins to file land ownership claims. At least on paper, it offered them a fair process for adjudicating such claims. In the early 2000s, however, the state froze that process and began filing counter claims on plots of land claimed by Bedouin citizens of Israel, seeking to register the plots as state land. That’s what happened when Al-Araqib filed an ownership claim.

The state has a 100-percent success rate in all of the counter claims it has filed.

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I first met the sheikh in 2009 at the village’s first protest demanding that Israel connect their homes to water, electricity, and sewage grids. Israel refuses to connect dozens of Bedouin villages in the Negev — referred to as unrecognized villages —  to basic infrastructure.

At that time hundreds of people lived in Al-Araqib, in small cement homes. They had constructed their own roads, a water tower, and used generators for electricity. Almost a decade later, but especially since the first demolition took place in July 2010, everything is different.

Many of Abu Madi’am’s family members have long since fled to the nearby township of Rahat, driven out by difficult living conditions in the village, which Israeli authorities have demolished more than once a month on average. After every demolition, those who remain reconstruct their tents. From the authorities’ perspective, every time the villagers “rebuild,” they are violating the law.

Only a few dozen people remain today. Some of them are living inside the village cemetery because it’s the one place authorities won’t carry out demolitions.

A resident of al-Araqib approaches Israeli police during one of the dozens of times authorities demolished the unrecognized village. (Activestills.org)

A resident of al-Araqib approaches Israeli police during one of the dozens of times authorities demolished the unrecognized village. (Activestills.org)

The sheikh believes his arrest was part of an attempt to drive the Negev’s Bedouin population off its land.

“They sprayed our crops [with pesticides] for years and did not succeed. They demolished our buildings and did not succeed,” says Abu Madi’am. “They destroyed our future and the future of our children and did not succeed. They are left with only one option: to do away with the people of Al-Araqib and send them to prison. If they think sending me to prison will act as a deterrent, they’re making a big mistake.”

Despite the violence and daily harassment, Abu Madi’am remains optimistic: “I believe justice is on my side.”

“The government is re-opening wounds from 1948. Instead of putting a Band-Aid on it so it can heal, they’re pouring salt on it,” says Abu Madi’am. “Those who remained in what became Israel after the expulsion of 1948 are now being expelled again. This time they are using a different method.”

Israel’s primary tactic, used in other villages and in East Jerusalem, is to express willingness to recognize Bedouin ownership claims to their land and even compensate them for it — but only if they agree to give it up.

Abu Madi’am has refused all such offers.

I press the sheikh, asking him whether there’s room for compromise, perhaps where he only has to give up some of his land. “The authorities have tricked many Bedouins in the Negev,” he responds, claiming that alternative plots of land have not panned out to be what was promised. But then he says that if authorities came to him with a serious offer, one that included one-for-one compensation for the same size plot of land, then there might be a path to some sort of agreement.

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“They turned us into regulars at the Be’er Sheva court. I’m there almost every week,” he says, chuckling, of the numerous cases pending against him. In addition to the criminal cases — there are several — the state is demanding he and others pay compensation to cover the costs of all the times authorities had to demolish their homes. There is also a contempt of court case for staying on their land despite court orders to leave. And then there is the case he and the other villagers filed against the state, demanding that it recognize their ownership of the land.

The sheikh says he’s not afraid of going to prison for the crime of staying in his home: “I want to prove to the world and to the State of Israel that its laws do not [equally] protect Arabs in Israel.”

“I hope that all those Jewish Israelis striving for coexistence do not forget about Al-Araqib and continue supporting us,” he concludes. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in prison or if I die and am buried in the village’s cemetery, I will feel your support.”

A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

The post Sent to prison for trespassing on his own land appeared first on +972 Magazine.

Exclusive: Trump says he could intervene in U.S. case against Huawei CFO

Believes he is totally above the law! Forget anti-Iran moves are his moves – rotflmao! U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the Justice Department’s case against a top executive at China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

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Arab League urges Bolsonaro to reconsider embassy move

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Brazil’s right-wing President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, was warned in a letter on Monday that his plans to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would seriously harm relations with Arab countries. Arab diplomats are expected to meet in Brasilia to further discuss the intended embassy move, along with Bolsonaro’s plans to close the Palestinian mission in Brasilia.

Natanyahu praised the planned move: “I congratulate my friend Brazilian President-Elect, Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!” Bolsonaro is due to be sworn in on 1st January 2019, and Netanyahu reportedly hopes to attend the inauguration ceremony.

A diplomat from the Arab League stated: “the Arab world has much respect for Brazil and we want not just to maintain relations but improve and diversify them. But the intention of moving the embassy to Jerusalem could harm them.”

Hanan Ashwari, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s executive committee, condemned the plans, stating “these are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilize security and stability in the region.”

Currently, the United States and Guatemala are the only nations with embassies located in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv. The Organisation of Islamic Countries has called on member states to abstain from importing cardamom from Guatemala, and not to conduct high level visits to this country or to organize joint cultural, sportive or artistic events” until its embassy is removed from Jerusalem. The organization has announced that similar measures will be taken against countries which relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.

According to Reuters, the president-elect’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, said the embassy move was “not a question of if, but of when”, speaking after recently visiting Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner at the White House.

Brazil is among the largest exporters of halal meat to the arab world, and this move would threaten the trading relationship in the future. However, as Bolsonaro attempts to align himself with Trump and position the nation favourably with regard to the US, it is doubtful whether the potential economic interest at stake will weigh heavily enough against the embassy move.

San Francisco Police Have A Bizarre Habit of Charging 89 Percent of the Youth They Arrest With Non-Specific Offenses

San Francisco police fail to specify charges in nearly 90 percent of youth arrests in 2017

by Mike Males

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) deviates from all other law enforcement agencies in California in two key ways: it continually fails to report Hispanic statistics separately (Open Justice), and it fails to specify exactly what offenses it charges nearly nine in 10 arrested youths.

In 2017, 869 of the 974 arrests of youths under age 18 in San Francisco (89.2 percent) resulted in a charge under three unspecified categories of “other felony” and “other misdemeanor” offenses, as shown in tabulations from the 2017 arrest file provided by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). In California’s other 57 counties, just 1,525 of the total of 56,249 youth arrests (2.7 percent) resulted in charges under these three codes. San Francisco, with fewer than 2 percent of the state’s juvenile arrests, accounted for 36 percent of arrests for unspecified offenses.

Table 1. San Francisco juvenile arrests by offense and reporting agency, assorted years 1995-2017

The SFPD’s unique failure to specify exactly what criminal codes nearly 90 percent of youth arrestees are charged with raises multiple issues. First, the Bureau of Criminal Statistics codes (96, 99, and 990) under which 869 arrests of San Francisco youth were made in 2017 are a grab-bag of more than 700 offenses including rare, obscure offenses such as violating fishing regulations, drugging a racehorse, mishandling explosives, and tampering with a signal light. In contrast, just 61 youths were arrested for specified violent or property crimes and none for drug offenses. Since it is unlikely that San Francisco’s 869 youth arrests in 2017 were for obscure offenses that rarely generated arrests in other jurisdictions or past eras, SFPD should provide the exact criminal codes for these youth arrests.

Mike Males, Senior Research Fellow, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Second, while SFPD reports 974 youth arrests in 2017, the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department reports receiving just 551 petitions from the District Attorney for juvenile arrestees. Given prosecutorial discretion, the release of some mistakenly arrested juveniles, and the time lag between arrest and petition, we would expect some divergence between police and probation department numbers – but not the large difference we see today. Since 2003, the proportion of juvenile arrest petitions reported by the probation department compared to arrests reported by SFPD has fallen from 98 percent to 57 percent. What happened to more than 400 arrested youths in San Francisco in 2017 who apparently were not referred to juvenile probation?

Third, while the police department specified the offense in just 11 percent (105 of 974) juvenile arrests, the probation department specified the offense in 97 percent (536 of 551) petitions for arrest referrals it received during the same time period (Table 1). This large discrepancy is disturbing.

The SFPD’s increasingly haphazard reporting prevents accountability in terms of what offense police even arrest youths for, raises major questions about their validity and distorts local and statewide numbers. Importantly, the SDPD’s reporting gaps extend to adult arrests as well. The SFPD reports much higher than average proportions of adults arrested under unspecified codes (30 percent of the state’s unspecified felonies, and 5 percent arrested for unspecified misdemeanors) compared to other jurisdictions.

The SFPD’s deficient statistical practices severely hamper transparent analysis, especially with regard to youth arrests. Supervising agencies, which have passively allowed this situation to deteriorate, should take steps to bring SFPD arrest reporting by race, ethnicity, and offense into line with statewide standards, to hold the SFPD and SFJPD accountable for explaining their discrepant statistics, and to correct any past error.


Editor’s note:  Author Mike Males contacted the SFPD for additional information on the unspecified categories  but they have yet to reply.


Mike A. Males is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), where this essay first appeared. Dr. Males has a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from U.C. Irvine and over 12 years of experience working in youth programs. He is also content director of Youth Facts.

Germany: AfD′s ′white men′ Advent calendar sparks controversy and ridicule | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.12.2018

Germany’s right-wing populists said they sought to celebrate the contributions of white men, who faced “rampant discrimination” in society. The calendar was promoted with the hashtag “yes to white men” on Twitter.

Source: Germany: AfD′s ′white men′ Advent calendar sparks controversy and ridicule | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.12.2018