ISRAEL DEHUMANISING! Ben Deri sentenced for murdering unarmed Palestinian Nadeem Nuwara

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IN RESPONSE to the sentencing of Israeli border policeman Ben Deri who murdered unarmed Palestinian teenager Nadeem Nuwara in cold blood on May 15th, 2014, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member, Hanan Ashrawi, said the sentencing represents Israel’s deliberate dehumanisation of its Palestinian victims.

It is ludicrous that Palestinian child Ahed Tamimi who confronted an Israeli soldier who invaded her home in the occupied West Bank has been forced to serve eight months in an Israeli jail cell.

‘Meanwhile, Israeli border policeman Ben Deri who shot and murdered unarmed Palestinian teenager Nadeem Nuwara only received a nine month prison sentence,’ Ashrawi said in a statement.

‘Such a conviction represents Israel’s deliberate dehumanisation of its Palestinian victims, primarily children, which is the outcome of decades of the military occupation that holds an entire nation under captivity and employs an unremitting and lethal shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians,’ she added.

‘Deri’s use of excessive violence and live ammunition against a child who posed no immediate threat constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity under international law. This unwarranted and unjust decision represents a double standard in Israel’s outrageous sentences passed against Palestinians by Israeli military courts while Israeli occupation forces and illegal and extremist settlers are given free licence to act with complete impunity.’

Ashrawi said that as long as the international community remains silent, the injustice and oppression of the Palestinian people will continue unabated. ‘Israel must be held to account for its unbridled violence and gross violations against the Palestinian people,’ she said. The Israeli border policeman who murdered a 16-year-old Palestinian teen on Nakba Day four years ago was Wednesday sentenced to only nine months in prison.

The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Israeli border policeman Ben Deri to nine months in prison after being convicted of negligent homicide after killing Nadim Nuwara in Ramallah four years ago.

Nuwara and another Palestinian teenager, Mohammad Abu Daher, 17, were deliberately shot dead during a protest commemorating the anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2014 in Beitunia town near Ramallah. Neither one had posed any threat to the Israeli forces in the area.

Under a plea deal, Deri was fined 50,000 shekels (approximately $14,000) in compensation for Nuwara’s death and would only serve seven months in prison as the sentence includes time served. Earlier this year, Ben Deri was cleared of the charge of manslaughter and convicted instead of negligent homicide. He admitted to firing at Nuwara’s chest, but claimed he did not realise it was live ammunition as opposed to a rubber-coated steel bullet.

Slamming the lenient verdict, Nuwara’s father, Siam, described the sentence as ‘ludicrous’. He has called for an international probe into the killing of his son.

• The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Wednesday that it may stop providing services in all of its operating areas starting September due to its chronic financial crisis, UNRWA spokesman Sami Mushasha said.

He told WAFA that the money UNRWA recently received, which amounts to $200 million, will be enough for several months and the financial crisis will recur in September unless something is done to cover the deficit and to provide regular contributions to UNRWA.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl said at a donors’ meeting on Syria in Brussels that UNRWA may not open its schools in the next school year that starts in September as a result of its most serious deficit in its 50-year history. He said that food subsidies to around one million refugees in the Gaza Strip may stop as of June if UNRWA is unable to collect $200 million after US President Donald Trump slashed $350 million in US aid to the humanitarian organisation.

• News about Israeli demolition and stop work orders issued to a number of Palestinian buildings in the village of Qalandia, bordering Jerusalem from the north, was highlighted on the front page of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies on Wednesday.

Al-Quds said the orders affect 15 buildings where 35 Palestinian families live. Al-Ayyam said similar orders were issued for Palestinians in the town of al-Samou, near Hebron in the south of the West Bank. Al-Hayat al-Jadida and the two other dailies also reported on the demolition of a house in Jenin that belonged to the family of Ahmad Qunba, who was arrested by Israel and charged with complicity in the killing of a settler in the north of the West Bank in January.

In other news, al-Quds highlighted the fighting in and around Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus. It said dozens were killed and injured in the fighting. It said the body of Fadi al-Batsh, who was assassinated apparently by Israeli agents in Malaysia last week, was expected to arrive in Gaza on Wednesday for burial in his hometown. The other two dailies said the body was expected in Gaza yesterday.

Al-Quds reported on the upcoming meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) with a headline: ‘The PNC: between necessity of convening and fears of boycott.’ The paper said Gaza hospitals postponed 4,000 operations following pressure due to the high number of injuries from Israeli army gunfire during the border protests in the last few weeks.

Al-Ayyam said a video showed Israeli soldiers celebrating when a Palestinian protester was shot in the West Bank town of Madama. It quoted presidential spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, saying the Palestinian leadership will reject any plan other than an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The paper had a story by its Jerusalem correspondent reporting on how Israel first turned Palestinian-owned land in Sur Baher, an East Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood, into public property and then turned it into a Jewish settlement.

It said in a story by its Gaza correspondent that the idea of the creation of an alternative leadership to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was stillborn due to rejections by the factions. It said Jewish groups have called for breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on May 13th, when Israel marks its occupation of East Jerusalem based on the Jewish calendar. The paper also said the government announced that Tuesday, May 1st, is a national holiday marking Labour Day.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida highlighted the meetings of President Mahmoud Abbas at his headquarters with creative women. It also reported on the telephone call between Abbas and Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

It said as well that the Palestinian cabinet condemned in its meeting on Tuesday the smear campaign against the leadership and expressed support for the meeting of the PNC at the end of this month. It said the family of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the 13-year-old Palestinian who was burnt alive by Jewish terrorists few years ago in Jerusalem, is suing for compensation from the killers.