25 OCAK 2011

THE BACKGROUND TO ISRAEL’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH GREECE Are New Guantanamos Forming in the Aegean? Israeli-Greek relations have developed at an amazing pace over the last year. A few years before now, or even a year ago, no one would have believed that relations between Israel and Greece would have reached such a level of development, such volume, content, level or depth. Behind the scenes of this recent improvement in Israeli-Greek relations lie “islands”, and for a very critical reason.

When the rapprochement began between Israel and Greece, many people, especially those who were experts on Israel and Greece, found something to be amiss. There was no viable explanation for the two countries to be about to enter such a concentrated cooperation. Although both states may have had their run ins with Turkey from time to time, they did not have the minimal partnership reasons to realise an alliance.

Athens Has Made Israel a Party to the Aegean It was also highly strange that Israel should be active in the Aegean despite having no strategic targets or tactical planning for the area. A series of strange events from the Israeli and Greek armies carrying out military exercises in the Aegean to entering an exchange of information in certain fields came one after another. Greek Gain: Israeli Support for the Aegean Thesis That Israel should begin to have an impact over the Aegean with help from Greece soon made the answer to certain questions become clear.

For Greece had made Israel a part of the Aegean problem. Athens had been unable to receive any EU support over the Aegean up until know. Apparently, the reason for Israeli jets flying over the Aegean recently is to lend support to Greece’s claims over its air zone. In the same vein, it is possible that Greece will make new moves through joint marine exercises, manoeuvres and activities with the Israeli navy.
Israel’s Interests in the Aegean are Great For Israel, this cooperation has a few very profitable dimensions. It may be said that Israel will be amply rewarded for the help it is lending Greece. It is impossible to validate this claim for now. Such claims may only become visible upon being realised. However developments show that the economic crisis in Greece is becoming worse. On contrary to what is thought, things in Greece are not getting any better. Greece urgently needs injections of cash but no one wants to lend to Greece under the critical circumstances. It will be worthwhile to bear in mind that most claims made about Israel become fact in a short amount of time.

Greece’s recent deep interest and complimentary approach to Israel is known to all. At the same time, Israel approaches Greece with warmth and interest. For just as Israel will help heal a few of Greece’s wounds, so will Greece meet some of Israel’s needs. Islands on the Cheap from Greece to Israel There is no end to the claims regarding the rapprochement. Some of these regard the Greek islands. Greece has 3,054 islands. Almost all of them are public property and there are settlements in just 87 of them. Therefore most of them are away from the prying eyes of strangers. Furthermore, some of these islands have a disputable position within maritime law.

There are claims that Israel’s interests in Greece’s Aegean islands are not trade or tourism related. Of course, the transaction will provide some cash necessary for the Greek economy. However, there is an important reason for Israel obtaining these islands from Greece on the cheap in return for the support it gives Athens over the aerial zone, the FIR line, continental shelf and similar issues. When Israel’s Guantanamo “1391” was Revealed... The favour Greece will do Israel is worth its weight in gold for the Israeli administration.
For Israel has had a previous unsuccessful attempt at having a Guantanamo. The presence of Detention Facility 1391 was revealed to the world. Detention Facility 1391 is a secret prison that did not exist on the records. The presence of such a detention facility is against article 4 of the Geneva Convention and Israeli laws. The torture endured by those sent to Detention Facility 1391 and various statements are increasing the sensitivity of the world public opinion on the issue. Researchers think that Detention Facility 1391 is an old British camp on the road from Hadera to Afura near Pardes Hanna, in northern central Israel.

This guess has been featured by the world press. From what is to be understood by Palestinians who were detained at this facility and later spoke to the press, there are prisoners from different periods, ranging from Operation Litany with which Southern Lebanon was invaded to the operation Israel launched on the West Bank. Other than Palestinians there are Jordanian, Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Iranian prisoners. Many Hezbollah and Al Fatah members and officers were held there. It has come to the surface that many people taken into custody by the Israeli domestic intelligence service Shin Bet and military intelligence Unit 504 were detained in these secret prisons for long periods of time.

The Israeli Defence Ministry had to acknowledge the presence of these facilities in April 2002. Although the location of the said facility may still be kept a secret, its existence is no longer denied. The Sweden branch of the International Commission of Jurists took up the issue in 2003 and declared that the practice was in breach of the decision 43/173 of 1988 of the UN General-Assembly and the Geneva Convention. It has been ascertained that at least 68 per cent of the detainees held in the facility were tortured. Will Israel set up a Torture Island in the Aegean? “It is probable that certain Greek islands in the Aegean will change hands. These islands will no longer be Greek property and will be owned directly or indirectly by Israel.

Israel will set up secret prisons on these islands.” This is the claim. It is argued that Israel will transport many “special” Palestinian convicts and prisoners. It is also highly possible that these will be private prisons, just like the “private security forces” which fight in Iraq and Afghanistan but which are not officially parties. It is also possible that the Palestinians to be detained in these private prisons will not have been officially arrested or sentenced. So that if Israel should be accused, it will easily be able to say that it does not hold any such detainees or prisoners, that they are not to be found in any of its prisons or even in its territory. As the human rights pressure on Israel begins to pile up, a new step becomes an urgent necessity for it. Israel is aware that it needs to mitigate the reaction it receives from the world public opinion over human rights.

It must be for this reason that Israel thinks it can hit more than one birds with one stone by supporting the petty and laughable theses of Greece over the Aegean. There could also be a few limited touristic investments in the operation to be launched. Thus the issue may be camouflaged by giving the impression that it is about a few touristic facilities. If the said “torture islands” are identified, for at least the construction will be noticeable, they can be presented to the world as security measures against illegal immigration. In the coming years the Aegean Sea and the Aegean Islands may come to occupy the world agenda. This process may start a period in which multiple international problems become intertwined and become gradually impossible to solve. Whether the Aegean will from now on come to be known for the “torture islands” given by Greece to Israel instead of the colour blue, the wind, the seagull and the olive, time will tell.
 What is Guantanamo? T

he Guantanamo Camp is a part of the military base in Guantanamo Bay which has been used as a military prison since 2002. During the last quarter of the twentieth century, the Guantanamo Military Base was used to detain Cuban and Haitian refugees caught at open sea. These refugees were held in a detention area called Camp Bulkeley until the 8th of June 1993 what the US Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. Ruled that the camp was unconstitutional. Today people who are suspected of having links with Al-Qaeda and the Taleban, who were caught primarily in Afghanistan but also in other countries, are being held at Guantanamo. That Guantanamo Bay should be used as a military prison has drawn criticism and protest from many human rights organisations and sections of society. The prisoners were tortured. They were subjected to maltreatment and poor conditions. Non-governmental organisations have pointed out the uncertainty of the legal situation of the people detained here. Detainees in Guantanamo have not been identified as war criminals or as common criminals over the years. The detainees cannot apply to the US legal system, nor demand anything from it. The Bush administration claimed that the Third Geneva Convention could not apply to members of Al-Qaeda or the Taleban. It has been claimed that the US Administration has been in breach of the Geneva Convention by trying to create a distinction between “war criminals” and “illegal fighters”. The UN, the European Parliament and Amnesty International have declared the situation to be a scandal in the reports they published.
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İsrael’s Palestinian Prisoners

It has been announced that there are 6,700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, of which 283 are children. According to the report prepared by the statistical department of the Palestinian Administration ministry responsible for prisoners, 10 per cent the Palestinian prisoners who are detained in around 20 prisons and detention centres in Israel are from the Gaza Strip. It has been stated that 192 of the prisoners are under administrative observation and that there have been no charges pressed or a court decision passed regarding them. According to an official Palestinian report, 25 per cent of Palestinians have been arrested at least once by Israeli troops. General Director Radi al-Cera of the Programme to Reintegrate Released Prisoners with Society says that there are at present 7,254 Palestinians of both sexes who are prisoners in Israeli prisons.

322 of these, 4.2 per cent of the total, are children. Age distribution for other prisoners are as follows: 18-30: 53.1 per cent, 31-40: 37.1 per cent, 51-60: 3.2 per cent and the rest is over 60 years of age. According to a report published by Amnesty International, Israel has arrested 700,000 Palestinians from 1967, in which it occupied eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaze, to 2000 and tortured 90 per cent of them. 92.9 per cent of prisoners were kept in extreme cold and 76.7 per cent kept in extreme heat for long periods of time while 91.6 per cent were made to stand up for long durations of time. 68.1 per cent were taken by the throat and threatened strangulation. 77.4 per cent were left hungry for long periods of time. 86 per cent were kept in solitary confinement for long periods of time. 71.5 per cent were deprived of sleep for long periods of time. 81.6 per cent were grabbed violently. 94.8 per cent were verbally assaulted. 90.6 per cent were threatened in various ways. 70.2 per cent were made to watch as another person was tortured. 13.4 per cent were made to inhale toxic gas. 9.5 per cent were tortured through various means, especially through electrical shock.

Of those tortured, 28.1 per cent were tortured in front of relatives and friends, 27.9 per cent were threatened that their wives or mothers would be raped. 44.9 per cent were beaten up in front of relatives and friends. According to a 2003 report by the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, in the period running from September 2000, when the intifada began, until April 2003 28,000 Palestinians were arrested. 58 per cent of those arrested were subjected to physical violence, 52 per cent were deprived of sleep and 72 per cent were subjected to verbal violence.
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Methods used in Israel to torture Palestinians under arrest or in custody: To search and damage the homes of those taken into custody or their relatives, To subject prisoners to various types of physical torture in specially prepared facilities, To keep prisoners in chains for hours, To leave prisoners defenceless against the elements in extreme heat or cold, To keep prisoners in cells which are one to one and a half metres wide, which let in enough air and sunshine to keep the prisoner alive and which do not even have toilet facilities, To force to undress, to scare by means of dogs and to make prisoners watch as others are being tortured.
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