Gantry 5


Bulletin No43 Février 2024  Israel's abuses
UNRWA report denounces systematic torture of prisoners
Intended to remain internal, this report was finally revealed, among others, by the “  New York Times  ”.  There are reports of  hundreds  of Palestinian prisoners returning  traumatized  to the Gaza Strip after being released by Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing point, south of the enclave. The director of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, who confirmed the existence of this report, speaks of an  ordeal: “We have seen these people return from detention, some after a few weeks, some after a few months. And most of them completely traumatized by the ordeal they had experienced.”
It describes  : “a wide range of ill-treatment […] people systematically humiliated, people photographed naked, subject to verbal and psychological abuse, threats of electrocution […] sleep deprivation, the use of extreme noise to prevent sleep […] the use of dogs to intimidate”.
Among these prisoners who experienced this  ordeal  are several UNRWA employees; the Israeli authorities committed acts of  torture  against some of its employees arrested in the Gaza Strip. “Our employees reported to us atrocious things during their detention and interrogation by the Israeli authorities”, such as  “torture, ill-treatment, abuse and sexual exploitation” (UNRWA press release sent to the 'AFP).
“Some of our employees reported to UNRWA teams that they had been forced to make confessions under torture”  when they were  “questioned about relations between UNRWA and Hamas and about involvement in the “October 7 attack on Israel”,  we can also read.
Of course, Israel denies and accuses UNRWA of employing 450 “  terrorists  ”, resorting to its usual war propaganda, a subject which hardly interests our media at the behest of the dominant ideology. The very official newspaper "Le Monde", which discusses the situation denounced by UNRWA, uses a plethora of precautions and even tells us that Israel's initial accusation indicating that the agency employed people who participated in the attack on 7 October “  forced  ” certain states (all Western, but this is not said in the song) to suspend their subsidies.
However, the practice of psychological, physical and sexual torture in the prisons of the Zionist state is known, denounced for decades by many Palestinians and even by Amnesty International. Recently the autobiographical book by lawyer Salah Hamouri, “  The Prisoner of Jerusalem  ”, clearly raises these questions. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that the size of Israeli cells is less than 3 m², while standard cells in most EU countries have a surface area of ​​between 6 and 12 m². In June 2017, the Israeli Supreme Court decided to increase the size of the surface to 4.5 m² and gave the prison administration nine months to make this change. She then twice extended the deadline. Seized by several Israeli associations, it delivered a judgment on December 29, 2022 which again extended the deadline, until December 31, 2027, while recognizing, in the reasoning, with regard to the prisoners, that “depriving them of their freedom by incarceration does not mean depriving them of their right to dignity, which derives from the prisoner's right to determine the minimum living space.
Furthermore, in its  2019-2020 annual report  , the Israeli Public Defense (branch of the Ministry of Justice responsible for defending detainees who cannot afford to hire a lawyer) warned of prison overcrowding and violations of the rights of detainees. This report described the conditions of detention as “  a serious attack on human dignity  ”. He criticized the narrowness of the 2.5 m² prison cells, arguing that it is "  too small, even for one prisoner  ". The report reiterates previous calls to immediately stop keeping prisoners in these cells, saying they are "unsuitable for human beings  ." He also points out that a prison cell today is less than half the minimum approved by the Israeli prison administration, an authority which had set the reasonable space at 6 m².
Of course, cell size is not the only bullying and torture exercised by the colonizing state on prisoners. But it is data reported including by Israeli authorities, which could have attracted the attention of any journalist in search of the truth.
The more time passes, the more it turns out that UNRWA is a witness to the genocide perpetrated by the Zionist army and, as such, becomes more and more annoying for those who would like to massacre in silence and out of sight.
Israeli soldiers stage their crimes
In all wars, soldiers display killed or tortured enemies as proof of their superiority. Everyone remembers this American soldier holding a prisoner on a leash in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. But until then this type of images was reserved for a restricted circle and only reached the general public thanks to other outraged soldiers.
With social networks and due to the very nature of Israel's colonial war against the Palestinians of Gaza, the bombings, the destruction, the humiliations are staged by soldiers, and the images shared with the population. There are no more men, women or children, but “  enemies  ” to be killed, “  things  ” to be made to disappear. Here are some examples among the many videos published on social networks, addressed to the general Israeli public.
What is most striking is the number of photos and videos coming from happy, even hilarious, soldiers taking full responsibility for their own crimes, like a couple of soldiers proposing in a freshly bombed school in the north of Gaza. Or the soldier who celebrates his engagement with his comrades, counting down until a bomb explodes in a civilian building right behind him.
We could also cite this soldier having fun with the abandoned belongings of Gazan children, these soldiers breaking into a safe in a house, and singing in the middle of the ruins while displaying the Torah scroll, or even this incredible scene in Jenin , in the West Bank, where resting warriors smoke shisha, eat chips or the like, feel comfortable in the house of Palestinians who appear blindfolded and with handcuffed hands in the background – all in a offbeat atmosphere that suited a group of friends returning from a walk.
Also in Jenin, we see a soldier singing Jewish prayers at the minbar of a mosque (where the imam stands for Friday sermons). Here, another soldier brags about destroying the buildings of Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. There, two soldiers smoke a cigarette while an entire block of civilian homes is destroyed. There is also this video showing two soldiers in front of a food aid truck intended for Gazan civilians, with this comment from one, all smiles: “It’s  the second day of Hanukkah [the Jewish festival of lights] ( ...) that everyone has a happy holiday  ”, before setting fire to the provisions.
A second type of publication involves careful staging. These small, short, scripted, carefully written films, for example, show soldiers facing the camera preparing missile launchers, installing bombs to destroy civilian structures in Gaza against the backdrop of lively music and congratulating themselves at each explosion. The latest chic for the Israeli military is to sign a shell with more or less warlike messages. A gesture echoed by Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog himself, on December 25, 2023, during a visit to the field. On request, a missile strike can be dedicated to a loved one, just like a song on the radio. Or write messages on the shells and then accompany the soldiers as they fire them into Gaza.
These abuses inspired these comments from Nimrod Flaschenberg, an Israeli peace activist, now a refugee in Germany: “  There was a rapid process of legitimization of aggressiveness and racism. This is what caused this atmosphere and allowed artists and politicians to express themselves freely in genocidal language  .” He continued: “  What is disturbing is that they film themselves celebrating the bombing of universities and homes in Gaza. It's amazing the level of joy and pride these soldiers feel in razing a country and its population. This dehumanization is so gangrenous that they don't think they're doing anything wrong. ". And yet we only see the tip of the iceberg, as the army controls and censors everything that leaves Gaza.
In an article published in “Le Grand Soir” (Belgian online medium), Fatma Ben Hamad, a journalist from the site “Orient XXI”, directed by Alain Gresh, comments on the state of mind of Israelis regarding these scandalous videos : “  Gazans do not exist. What happens to civilians in Gaza is not shown. Only Hamas exists, and it is responsible for civilian losses. In Israel, ordinary people who do not want the occupation to continue are unaware of the suffering caused by the bombings. The conversation takes place purely in intra-Israeli comfort: "Are we going to bring back the hostages? Are we going to end Hamas rule?" Gazans are nowhere in the equation....  ”
Finally, we must mention the Palestinian organization “  7amleh  ” which addressed all multinationals with social networks on February 7 to report these videos and emphasize their responsibility and their complicity with the genocidal rhetoric thus spread. Since October 7, “  7amleh  ” has recorded nearly three million pieces of hateful content or incitement to hatred of Palestinians online, compared to at least 4,400 cases of censorship of pro-Palestinian content. Only one multinational, Meta (Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp) responded to the Palestinian NGO, only assuring that it plans to revisit its rules by now considering that the use of the terms “  Zionist  ” and “  Zionism  ” is discourse. hateful against Jewish or Israeli people. Find the mistake !!!
Towards the unity of Palestinian movements in the resistance
Meeting between Palestinian movements in Moscow
On February 16, Russia announced, through the presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, a new initiative aimed at reuniting the organizations of the Palestinian national movement, including Hamas and Fatah, by organizing an inter-Palestinian meeting in Moscow from February 29 to March 2.
The inter-Palestinian meeting took place over two days (Thursday February 29 and Friday March 1). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended the discussions of the first session held on Thursday. It is impossible to know how many organizations were present, or which ones, apart from the two largest.
Palestinian organizations agreed to “  continue dialogue to achieve comprehensive national unity including all Palestinian forces and factions within the framework of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people  .” They agreed to "  confront the criminal Israeli aggression and genocidal war against our people in the Gaza Strip, as well as to resist, stop and thwart attempts to displace the Palestinian people from their homeland, Palestine." , particularly in the Gaza Strip, or in the West Bank and Jerusalem. »
They also agreed to: "  compel the occupying army to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and prevent attempts to establish its occupation or control over any part of the Gaza Strip." or on the rest of the occupied territories  . They also reiterated their principled position regarding the unity of all Palestinian territories in accordance with the Basic Law and the creation of a State of Palestine.
If we can think that this meeting and this agreement are going in the right direction, that of the necessary unity of all Palestinian organizations with a goal, not compromise with the occupier, as is the case year after year since Oslo, but of resistance to colonial occupation, we must have no illusions about the role played by imperialist Russia.
Russian leaders and capitalists are making fun of the fate of the Palestinian people like they did in the year 1940. But they find there an opportunity to advance pawns in the inter-imperialist struggle that they are waging, alongside the Chinese imperialists, against the Western imperialist bloc. The discredit of Israel, a creature of the West, and of the USA, the dominant imperialism, opens doors for them. If this can be useful for uniting Palestinian resistance, so much the better. But, without illusion.
The position of the Palestinian Communist Party (PCP) on the Moscow agreement
The PCP published a statement on March 4, which discusses, among other things, this subject. Before addressing the Moscow agreement, the press release denounces the latest atrocities committed by the occupying army and then mentions the Arab countries: “  Some Arab nations play the role of conspirators and partners in the aggression against our people, as the regimes of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates demonstrate. Even neighboring countries like Jordan and Egypt, despite peace agreements with the occupier, have not provided humanitarian aid to our people in Gaza. Aerial displays of solidarity do not alleviate hunger, and what is being asked of Arab nations, at a minimum, is to sever ties and cancel agreements with the occupying state. However, it is quite the opposite that we observe, certain nations without hesitation exporting vegetables and food products to the racist occupier, justifying this by agreements with the enemy.  ". The position of the PCP is clear, the Palestinians can only count on themselves and the solidarity of the peoples of the world, but in no case on states, even Arab ones.
Regarding the Moscow meeting and the agreement reached, we can say that the PCP is not fully satisfied: “  The meeting concluded with a modest declaration signed by all the participating factions, it presented weaknesses. First, it did not include all factions in the Palestinian arena, excluding several of them, including the Palestinian Communist Party, without giving reasons. Second, the Moscow meeting declaration requires substantial work, real effort and political will to truly end Palestinian division. Therefore, our party expects that everything that happened in Moscow will remain ink on paper and that all the sacrifices made and those continuing in the West Bank and Gaza will not be enough to put end to Palestinian division. Third, what the fascist enemy failed to achieve through war should not be achieved through negotiations. The immense sacrifices and massive destruction suffered by Gaza must be compensated by the release of all prisoners without exception, the withdrawal of the occupying forces from Gaza, the agreement on reconstruction, the lifting of the blockade and the continued delivery of help without conditions.  ".
For the Communist Revolutionary Party, we must not rejoice too soon. The path to Palestinian unity is not a long, quiet river. It is strewn with pitfalls: the class interests of each side, the strength of the bourgeois organizations (Hamas, Fatah) and the relative weakness of the Marxists, the tendency of a part of Fatah to be satisfied with its advantages and its role in maintaining order vis-à-vis the colonizers, the rivalries for leadership and the desire to pull cover for oneself, etc... Not to mention the interests of imperialist Russia, which we spoke about above.
Nevertheless, there is a step, however modest, that we must try to take advantage of. This is also the meaning of the conclusion of the PCP declaration: “  Faced with these challenges which threaten our people and the danger which weighs on our national cause, the Palestinian Communist Party renews its call for the formation of a broad national front including all Palestinian forces and the various popular movements without exception. This front should be based on a specific political program to bring our people out of the Palestinian impasse since Oslo until today. The agreement on the mechanisms of struggle and resistance should not be determined by any party based on their personal and factional interests, leaving our people to choose the path that suits them in the struggle, without diktat. Next, the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) requires national revolutionary foundations capable of changing the defeated reality and leading a revolution against it. It must be the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian Arab people.  ".
In conclusion
The unity of Palestinian organizations for the purpose of resistance is a necessity. But we know that unity is a struggle. It alone can get rid of occupation, apartheid, colonization, all things that the Zionist state has embodied since its unilateral creation in 1948. We totally agree with the PCP in its desire to exclude compromise , the third ways, the agreements continuing to recognize the genocidal State.
From this observation, the position of the Communist Revolutionary Party is clear. It is not a question of “throwing the Jews into the sea  ”, but of putting an end to an apartheid, theocratic State, itself entitled “Nation-State of the Jewish people  ”.
This is why we support the fundamental demands of the Palestinian national liberation movement: an end to Zionist military aggression, the right of refugees to return, the formation of a Palestinian state on the territory of Mandatory Palestine.