U.S.-Mexico Border: An Israeli Tech Laboratory


Migrants running from tear gas fired by American border agents near the fence at Tijuana. (Credit: Hannah Mckay/Reuters)

Brittany Dawson, PALESTINE SQUARE, December 6, 2018

When hundreds of Central American migrants arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in late November, planning to claim asylum in the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection closed the San Ysidro border crossing in anticipation of their arrival. In protest of the closure, asylum seekers rushed the fence separating Mexico and the United States, and border patrol agents fired tear gas at them through the fence. Images of children and their families running through clouds of CS gas went viral on social media. Palestine solidarity activists speculated that the agents used the same U.S.-manufactured tear gas as is used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinians and has been used against activists in the United States from Standing Rock to Ferguson, MO.

Such collaboration between U.S. and Israeli defense establishments is not new. In 2004, Hermes drones manufactured by Israel’s Elbit Systems were the first unmanned aerial vehicles deployed at the U.S. southern border. A decade later, Customs and Border Protection awarded the company’s subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, a $145 million contract to construct its integrated fixed towers system in Nogales, Arizona. And in October 2017, when camera crews gathered in San Diego, California, for the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s border wall prototypes, the only foreign contractor on display was ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.

In an interview published in the Journal of Palestine Studies, excerpted below, I spoke with journalist and author Gabriel Schivone about the use of Israeli technology at the U.S.-Mexico border and beyond. Schivone has published widely on issues of human rights and homeland security technology along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as on the Israeli arms trade in Central America, the Mexican drug wars, and other topics. His book Making the New “Illegal”: How Decades of U.S. Involvement in Central America Triggered the Modern Wave of Immigration (forthcoming from Prometheus Books) includes a chapter on Israel’s military role as a proxy for the United States in Guatemala’s “Dirty War.”

Subscribe to the Journal of Palestine Studies to read the complete interview on the Journal’s website.

[From the Journal of Palestine Studies | The Great March of Return: An Organizer’s Perspective]

One issue on which the United States and Israel have been cooperating for a while is the U.S.- Mexico border. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, he promised to build a “great wall” and to make Mexico pay for it, which ignored the fact that the wall already existed, both physically and virtually through all kinds of security technology. How did this come about?

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December 6, 2018
Film: 5 Broken Cameras

The Marquee Cinema, Union South
1308 West Dayton Street , Madison
7:00 pm

Join UW Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the UW Middle East Studies Program, and the Wisconsin Union Directorate Film and Society & Politics Committees for a screening of the documentary Five Broken Cameras.

The documentary will be followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A with Professor Nevine El Nossery. Five Broken Cameras follows the resistance of one Palestinian farmer and his village against encroachments by the Israeli army.

Solidarity Shields Human Rights Workers from Bombs

, Grassroots International, November 20, 2018

al-Amal Hotel, destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, November 13, 2018. (Photo by PCHR Field Workers)

On Tuesday November 13, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed two Palestinian civilians and wounded 20 others. The airstrikes destroyed a number of buildings and followed a botched raid by Israeli special forces. Some are calling it a preview to an even greater assault.

The devastation is shocking and horrible. But it hits even closer to home for us at Grassroots International. One of the struck buildings had housed Grassroots’ partner, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), until just a few months ago.

Back in April, Grassroots received an emergency grant request for $55,000. PCHR needed to move their former headquarters in Gaza City to a new, more secure location. In their words, they needed to “lower their exposure to possible bomb attacks by Israel.”

Tuesday’s airstrikes confirmed the concern. Israel launched 57 missiles in Gaza City, obliterating residences, an office complex, a TV station and a hotel. Among the bombed-out rubble stood PCHR’s former headquarters, severely damaged.

PCHR’s former headquarters, in Gaza City, after the building was severely damaged on November 13, 2018. (Photo by PCHR Field Workers)

Since 1995, PCHR has documented abuses, provided legal aid to victims, and advocated for human rights. Since 1996, PCHR has been a Grassroots International partner.

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Israel kills Gaza fisher despite ceasefire


Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza City seaport in July 2018. (Ashraf Amra | APA images)

Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, 14 November 2018

Israel killed a fisherman in Gaza less than 24 hours after a ceasefire ended intensive bombing against and rocket fire from the territory.

Gaza’s health ministry identified the slain man as Nawaf Ahmad al-Attar, 20.

The head of Gaza’s fishers union said that Israeli soldiers positioned on land shot at al-Attar when he was only 30 meters into the sea in northern Gaza.

Israel restricted access to the sea for fishing since Monday evening, according to the rights group Gisha.

On Wednesday Israel partly lifted the restrictions but banned fishers from working in the waters of northern Gaza, accounting for one-third of the coastline.

The permitted fishing areas off of other areas of Gaza range from six to nine nautical miles.

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The health system in Gaza cannot handle another war


A new war would lead to the collapse of an already-debilitated medical infrastructure in Gaza, Palestinian health officials warn.


A wounded Palestinian protester is evacuated and treated at Al-Awda Hospital in Gaza City, after the Israeli navy tried to block a flotilla that set out to break the decade-long blockade with gunfire and tear gas canisters on September 24, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

Amjad Yaghi, +972 Magazine, November 13, 2018

GAZA CITY — Fear has been palpable across Gaza for the past couple of days, not only in homes but also in hospitals and medical clinics. For years, health professionals have warned of a looming collapse of medical services. If Tuesday’s nascent, Egyptian-brokered cease-fire doesn’t hold, a war would devastate Gaza’s medical infrastructure, Palestinian health authorities say.

On Monday, Gazans experienced one of the most difficult nights since the war in 2014. After Israeli special forces bungled a covert operation deep inside the strip, the ensuing firefight nearly led to a full-fledged war. The barrage of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket fire into Israel that followed, only made the situation worse.

It’s not just that Gaza’s hospitals and clinics are in bad shape: they are still busy treating people who were wounded in previous rounds of violence, most recently during the Great Return March. Israeli snipers shot thousands of demonstrators, leaving Gaza’s hospitals overwhelmed to the point that hundreds of patients had to make do with treatment in hospital corridors, sometimes on the floor.

Health services in Gaza have been stretched even thinner since early November, when 12 people contracted the swine flu, six of whom ended up dying. There is no vaccine for the virus in Gaza, neither in the Ministry of Health’s stocks nor in private practices, which is emblematic of a far broader problem.

Israeli Incursions into Gaza Are the Rule, Not the Exception

Israeli troops have crossed into Gaza over 70 times this year alone, according to the UN. And those are only the incursions we know about.

File photo of Israeli troops deployed along the Gaza border. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
File photo of Israeli troops deployed along the Gaza border. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Henriette Chacar, +972 Magazine, November 14, 2018

[Editor’s note: In accordance with our legal obligation, this article was sent to the IDF Censor for review prior to publication. We are not allowed to indicate if and where the article was censored.]

Since Israeli special forces troops got into a deadly firefight with Hamas commandos deep inside the Gaza Strip Sunday night, Israel has dropped dozens of bombs and missiles into Gaza and Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

The New York Times described the special forces raid as “the first known Israeli ground incursion into Gaza since Operation Protective Edge, in July 2014.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Since the start of 2015 through the end of October 2018, the Israeli army made 262 known ground incursions and operations to level land inside the Gaza Strip, including over 70 this year alone. This does not include the unknown number of covert operations like the one that went awry on Sunday.

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Scars of Freedom

Addameer, 16 October 2018

“Scars of Freedom” describes the Palestinian experience of arrest, interrogation, and life in captivity that carries great political, economic, and social impact.

From the beginning of the occupation to the present day the arrest and incarceration of Palestinians has been used continuously to suppress their aspirations for independence and freedom, to oppress Palestinian prisoners, and to inflict collective punishment on their families.

Addameer has also published I’ve Been There: A Study of Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Al-Moscabiyah Interrogation Center.

The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners’ rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns. Addameer is Arabic for conscience.

ADC Condemns Israel’s Attacks on Gaza


 
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) | November 13, 2018 |

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) condemns in the strongest terms Israel’s recent airstrikes against the Gaza Strip. On November 12, 2018, Israeli military aerial attacks killed at least seven Palestinian civilians. Additionally, Israel has bombed and destroyed several civilian buildings in Gaza, including family homes, a hotel, the office of the human rights organization Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and a T.V. station office. ADC firmly calls on Israel to immediately stop its military air campaign against the Gaza Strip and to halt targeting and killing Palestinians. Israel continues to commit human rights violations against the Palestinian people with impunity. ADC condemns attacks on all civilians.

Since March 30, 2018, Israel has killed over 200 Palestinians in Gaza, including children, humanitarian aid workers, and marked members of the press. In 2018 alone, Israel has killed 46 children in Gaza and 52 children throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). ADC calls on the U.S. administration together with the international community to hold Israel accountable for its repeated gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

Additionally, Israel’s eleven-year illegal siege of Gaza has created what the UN defines as “one of the world’s largest open-air prisons.” Over 95% of the water in Gaza is deemed undrinkable, electricity is limited to only 3-6 hours per day, and the deteriorating health care system in Gaza operates in a constant crisis mode. The U.N. reports that the humanitarian disaster in Gaza is so severe that Gaza will be unlivable by the year 2020. ADC support the UN’s repeated calls on Israel to lift the siege on Gaza.

We call on the U.S. administration to uphold its domestic laws that stipulate the U.S. must immediately halt financial aid and training to foreign military units that commit gross violations of human rights, as it is stated in the U.S. Leahy law. The U.S. has a responsibility to uphold the values of human rights, peace, and dignity for all people. The Palestinian people are not an exception.

Israeli Cabinet decides to continue airstrikes on Gaza ‘as necessary’

Ma’an News, Nov. 13, 2018

BETHLEHEM — The Israeli Cabinet reportedly decided on Tuesday afternoon to resume the offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, following a nearly seven-hour meeting.

Hebrew-language news sites reported that following a meeting that lasted for nearly seven hours, the Israeli Cabinet decided to continue airstrikes targeting the Gaza Strip “as necessary.”

According to a statement released by the Cabinet and published on Israel National News, “The Political-Security Cabinet discusses events in the south. The cabinet heard reports from the IDF and security sources about the attacks and the widespread actions against the terrorist elements in Gaza, and instructed the IDF to continue its operations as necessary.”

UN and Egyptian officials will reportedly visit Gaza on Wednesday.

Earlier Tuesday, sources told Ma’an that the Palestinian factions agreed to a ceasefire agreement upon request by Egypt and the United Nations (UN).

A total of seven Palestinians have been killed since Monday evening, while more than 30 were injured.