Archive | March 6th, 2020

A Pandemic of Fear

by EVAGGELOS VALLIANATOS

Photograph Source: CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy – Public Domain

A microscopic virus has been unsettling global business as usual: killing people all over the world, hospitalizing countless others, and spreading a pandemic of fear. The Los Angeles Times reported March 1, 2020, the novel corona virus “sends shudders daily across the planet.”

In an area the size of a quarter of the United States, China has locked down over 100 millions of its citizens. Travel restrictions are affecting 780 million Chinese.

The human machine

This unpredictable intrusion of an invisible being into the vast human machine is slowly grinding down the world in its deadly track.

The human machine is exceedingly complex. It’s made up of armies, nuclear bombs, international trade, construction, buying, selling, travelling, waging war, logging of forests, the burning of the Amazon, plundering each other and the natural world, rural exodus to the overcrowded cities, obese and hungry people sleeping next to each other: some sleeping in luxury and others in the streets. Meanwhile, in the midst of these social and ecological calamities, privileges rain on the rich and super rich billionaires.

Government officials and the World Health Organization see no connection between this hell on Earth, the failed international order and the virus. They confine themselves in issuing instructions on the magnitude and symptoms of the corona disease. Not a word that perhaps this sort of thing – anthropogenic onslaught on the Earth resembling biological warfare — is likely the explanation for the corona virus.

Too many people

This thinking is alien to societies / countries absorbed by their daily struggle for survival. They have populations growing out of bounds. In 1800, the planet had 1 billion people. In 2019, world population was 7.7 billion. The numbers of people keep increasing, even doubling every few decades. This assures class tensions, exploitation of the weak by the powerful, impoverishment of the natural world and perpetual waves of migrants and refugees seeking a better life.

Populations of tropical countries in the south are growing faster than those of the north. Some of them are exploding internally and spilling over borders. War, as in Syria, and higher temperatures make this population movement inevitable, tragic, and dangerous.

Climate chaos

At the same time, the world machine is being threatened by a different, much more dangerous climate. This is the result of decades-old apathy, especially on the part of northern countries, which have been responsible for most of the pollution of the Earth for more than a century. Yet they keep ignoring corporate and state decimation of forests, lands, and seas. The primary fuels behind such attacks include petroleum, natural gas, and coal.

Climate scientists have been telling “policy makers” the world over that burning fossil fuels is bad. It’s triggering the potential end of life. It’s morally abhorrent and monstrous. It’s undermining civilization.

Scientists explain that rising world temperature is melting the ice on mountains and seas, with the result rising and warmer sea and ocean waters are undermining seacoasts and islands.

Climate change is changing agriculture for the worst. Industrialized agriculture is becoming less productive and more deleterious. Corporate managers and scientists continue fiddling with the genetic engineering of crops. They also continue increasing the amounts of toxic and carcinogenic pesticides they spray the very food people eat.

Animal farms are major sources of greenhouse gases. However, they have become symbols of affluence. Mass slaughtering and eating of animals is fashionable and on the rise. Animal factories are now in China producing meat for hundreds of millions of urban people. Such dive into factory agriculture bodes ill for the efforts of China to get reacquainted with its ancient agrarian culture, much less ecological civilization.

Warmer seas and oceans are increasingly becoming less hospitable to life, including fish. Add commercial overfishing, and the future of fish supplementing human diet becomes problematic and dark.

Climate change sounds abstract. It is not. It’s a cosmic force brought to life by human ecocidal activities, especially industrialized agriculture, the logging and burning of forests, and the burning of fossil fuels. This awakened climate is a gigantic monster transforming the Earth into a hostile place for humans and wildlife.

Fragility of life

This is big deal because the Earth has always been Mother Earth: source of all life, animal and human, and civilization. Humans have reached a state of technological wherewithal that threatens their own existence (with any deployment of nuclear weapons) or the slower undermining of their civilization (with burning fossil fuels and aggressive ecocidal policies).

What should we say about these facts? Dare we connect them to science and progress?

I have been criticizing such abysmal and immoral developments for decades. It’s not that we have not had warnings about the fragility of life or the toxic effects of public policies for private profit rather than public good.

Euripides, that genius of a poet in fifth century BCE Athens, speaks as if he were alive today. He urges us to live responsibly every day as if that day was our last. Death, he says, is an obligation. It’s the price we all pay. No person alive today can speak with authority of being alive or dead tomorrow. No matter what scientific  studies you do, there’s no way of predicting the future. No man can pin down dark fortune. We are only humans, so think human thoughts. Pay attention to Aphrodite and the pleasures she brings. Drink some wine and you will enjoy yourself. Life for those solemn and irresponsible people is not life but catastrophe (Alcestis 780-802).

Inhuman power

That catastrophe has been encoded on the DNA of those who have been building nuclear bombs and still keep them as potential bullets against their enemies. Holding on to such destructive and genocidal weapons makes possible all other atrocities against the natural world and against humans. Nothing is worse that the obliteration of nuclear power. It freezes humans to the inhuman camp of exterminators.

Nuclear power is inhuman power. It has been normalizing all other evils in the world: burning and clearcutting of forests, mining the public lands for petroleum, plundering the natural world, industrializing farming to mine the land for food and the burning of fossil fuels and ignoring the consequences of climate change.

I don’t pretend to know the origins of corona virus: the source for the current worldwide health emergency. On February 28, 2020, Congressman Ami Bera, chairman, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation, described the corona virus as a “rapidly evolving public health threat.”

It would not be farfetched guessing, as I have already done, the origins of the virus pandemic in the deleterious human effects on the natural world, our Mother Earth. Biologists should be asking the scientific and philosophical question if undisturbed wild life is a source of deadly diseases. I doubt it is. Diseases come from ecological disturbances, too much cold, too much heat, bad food, no food, and pollution and wars. Conventional reports, however, suggest that the corona virus emerged in December 2019 in the wild animal markets of the large city of Wuhan, China.

Reimagining the world

If I am right in my speculation, a real rather than a cosmetic solution of the pandemic would require the remaking of our world: banning nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants; enforcing a strict worldwide population control like that of China; ending fossil fuels, replacing them with solar, wind and other renewable forms of energy; returning to small-scale democratic and ecological farming without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. And, of course, a worldwide ban of the plundering of the natural world.

I know this is a dream unlikely to go very far. But I am a dreamer in love with the good and the beautiful. The least I can do, and I am doing, is to speak truth to power.

UN and other climate scientists have given policy makers about ten years for the elimination of fossil fuels.

The challenge of reinventing and making the world is immense. The fire of Prometheus is still burning among us. Let’s use it for the benefit of all humanity. Focus in the restoration of environmental and public health. Nothing is possible without health. Herophilos, a third century BCE Greek physician, wrote in his “Regimen” that when health is absent wisdom all but disappears, science is obscure, strength dissipates, wealth is useless, and reasoning impossible (Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 9.50).

In our case, the wealth of the billionaires the world over could be put to good use in this epic struggle of rebuilding our wrecked environment and civilization.

Posted in HealthComments Off on A Pandemic of Fear

Nazi army detained a child for nearly a year without charge

Israel’s army detained a child for nearly a year without charge

Laith K. was still a child under international law when he became an administrative prisoner. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Ramallah, July 9, 2019—It began like most night arrests. Early on the morning of September 20, 2017, around 2 a.m., Israeli soldiers entered Laith K.’s home in Kafr Ein village, outside of Ramallah. Laith, then 17 years old, was bound, blindfolded, and physically assaulted by Israeli forces. He was neither informed of the reason for his arrest nor presented with a warrant.

Over the next eleven hours, Laith was transferred to multiple locations, including a military checkpoint and an Israeli police station in an illegal settlement.

Laith K. sits on the balcony of his house in Kafr Ein. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

“While inside the jeep, it felt like the trip took hours,” he later told Defense for Children International – Palestine.  

Laith arrived at Israel’s Ofer military compound around 1 p.m. During interrogation, he was questioned about throwing stones, a “security offense” under Israeli military law. He denied the allegations. The interrogator printed out a statement in both Arabic and Hebrew and made him sign it. 

That afternoon, Laith had his first appearance before a military court judge at Ofer military court. It was there that Laith first learned of the Israeli military authorities’ intention to detain him without any charges against him. At this initial hearing, Laith’s detention was extended for 72 hours to allow Israeli military authorities to prepare and issue an administrative detention order. 

A general view of Kafr Ein, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Not then, nor at any of his subsequent court appearances, was Laith — or his DCIP attorney — ever informed of the reason for his detention. 

Six days after he was detained, an Israeli military judge approved a four-month administrative detention order against Laith. The order was renewed in January 2018 for an additional four months, and renewed for a second time in May.

On August 6, 2018, more than 6 weeks prior to the September 17 expiration of Laith’s third administrative detention order, Israeli forces released Laith without explanation. He spent nearly 46 weeks in military detention and was never formally charged with a crime. This prolonged detention forced him to miss his final year of high school. 

Since 1967, all Palestinians in the West Bank live under Israeli military law. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

Unfortunately, experiences like Laith’s have increased in frequency in recent years. Between 2012-2014, Israeli forces briefly suspended its practice of detaining children under administrative detention orders. However, between October 2015 and June 2019, DCIP documented 30 children in administrative detention. 

Most recently, Israeli forces detained 16-year-old Suleiman G. from Qalandia refugee camp, near Jerusalem, on January 22, 2019. Israeli military authorities held the boy in administrative detention for approximately four months before releasing him on May 13. Of four Palestinian teenagers who were minors at the time Israeli forces placed them in administrative detention in 2018, one has been released while the other three remain under administrative detention but have since turned 18.

In total, Laith was detained without charge or trial for nearly 46 weeks. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz).

Administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without charge or trial. Children held under administrative detention orders are never presented with charges, and their detention is based on secret evidence that is neither disclosed to the detainee nor the detainee’s attorney. Therefore, children held in administrative detention and their attorneys have no legal means of challenging the detention and the alleged basis for it. This amounts to a denial of a fundamental due process right.

Military court judges, who are active duty or reserve officers in the Israeli army, have the authority to approve administrative detention orders lasting up to six months. There is no limit to the number of times an administrative detention order can be renewed. As a result, children held in administrative detention face the added uncertainty of indefinite imprisonment, in addition to the ordinary struggles child prisoners face.  

DCIP attorney Farah Bayadsi says that administrative detention presents unique challenges for attorneys given that they cannot review or even know the contents of the alleged evidence against the child. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

“You can’t know when you will be released, what will happen to you, or anything else,” Laith said in an interview with DCIP after his release.

United Nations human rights bodies, including the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee Against Torture have expressed concern over Israel’s use of administrative detention and Israel’s prosecution of children in military tribunals. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a body of independent experts that investigates cases of arbitrary detention and imprisonment, has emphasized in numerous opinions that Israel’s military tribunal system does not rise to the level of independence and impartiality required by international law. 

Former child administrative detainee Laith K., pictured with his parents on either side of him on May 4, 2019. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

In March 2018, after Laith had already been imprisoned for more than six months without charge and with no end to his detention in sight, DCIP filed a petition on Laith’s behalf with the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Working Group concluded Israeli military authorities’ detention of Laith amounted to an arbitrary detention. The Working Group found the detention arbitrary based on four of the five categories that the Working Group considers. The conditions need only be established in one of the five categories for the Working Group to determine a detention to be arbitrary.  

In its favorable opinion released in November 2018, the Working Group described Laith’s interrogation as “wholly unacceptable according to international standards,” expressed serious concern about Israeli forces’ treatment of Laith, and referred his case to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Laith shows a Red Cross document with his arrest details. (Photo: DCIP / Ahmad Al-Bazz)

The Working Group also noted that many of the administrative detention cases follow “familiar pattern[s]” of systematic human rights violations, which could amount to crimes against humanity. 

DCIP evidence shows that Israel’s army detains an average of 500-700 Palestinian children annually, systematically ill-treating and abusing the detained children, while the military courts lack basic safeguards for a fair trial.

Related Content

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi army detained a child for nearly a year without charge

Super Tuesday: ‘Israel’ partisans work to block Sanders’ nomination

Super Tuesday: Israel partisans work to block Sanders’ nomination

By Alison Weir

As voters go to the polls in 14 states, the Democratic establishment, often heavily influenced by Israel partisans, is trying to block a Sanders’ nomination. Israeli leaders and partisans worry that a Sanders win could eventually have “catastrophic” results for Israel.

Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg have now dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden. (The inducements used to accomplish this are not yet known.) Meanwhile, billionaire Bloomberg, an Israel advocate, has also been lobbying superdelegates and is hoping for a brokered convention where he could win on a second ballot.

NBC News reports, “Unlike other top presidential candidates throughout history, Sanders has been openly critical of Israel and its leadership.” NBC notes that Sanders “has been increasingly pushing for a major overhaul to American foreign policy — including on Israel. That has many Israelis and pro-Israel Americans in both parties terrified.” The report continues:

“These fears are not unfounded. Unlike other top presidential candidates throughout history, Sanders has been openly critical of Israel and its leadership. At the most recent Democratic debate, he made a dramatic departure from American political orthodoxy by calling the Israeli prime minister a ‘reactionary racist.’ He made an equally unprecedented attack on the largest pro-Israel lobby and mainstay of Washington politics, AIPAC, which is holding its annual gathering Monday, by saying it provides a platform ‘for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.’

“It’s not just rhetoric that has rattled many Jewish voters. Sanders has expressed a willingness to condition the major pillar of the U.S.-Israel alliance, the billions in military aid the U.S. gives Israel, on the country’s treatment of the Palestinians — though the United States also benefits from Israel serving as a counterweight to radicalism in the region and an important source of military, technology and intelligence cooperation and innovation. And while Sanders touts his Jewish heritage and time on an Israeli kibbutz to demonstrate his belief in the country’s right to exist, he also calls for a more balanced approach to the Palestinian conflict and frequently highlights their suffering. Unlike Trump, he is unlikely to tolerate any expansionist Israeli policies.

“Israeli leaders, not generally known for their subtlety, have been transparent about their fears. Foreign Minister Israel Katz of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party has said that ‘people who support Israel will not support’ Sanders. Parliamentarian Yair Lapid, who is running with Gantz’s centrist party, has said Sanders’ rise has him ‘very worried.’ Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations called him an ‘gnorant fool.’ More surprising has been the public alarms sounded by American Jews. In response to his criticism, AIPAC called the Vermont senator ‘shameful.’ The Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel PAC, has run attack ads against him [at least $800,000 worth].

“A wedge between the countries could be catastrophic for Israel, which relies heavily on the United States for both military assistance and diplomatic support; the U.S. is also Israel’s largest trading partner. In international forums, like the United Nations, the U.S. is often Israel’s lone defender from resolutions that seek to censure Israel and restrain its actions against terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The U.S. has also been critical in helping Israel counter the isolation of the growing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, movement, and its shared desire to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional terror have given Israel space to maneuver.”

Jewish Insider reports that Israel advocate Brad Schneider (D-IL) believes Biden is “the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party, critically for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Schneider noted that Biden’s first trip as a member of the Senate was to Israel. “He is a friend of Israel and has always worked with me in my efforts to support Israel. The day he takes office, he can say with credibility that he stands with Israel, stands with our allies, and the world will believe him because he has a track record on that.”

The Washington Post reports that Biden is “benefiting from the Democratic establishment’s desperation to stop Bernie Sanders from securing an insurmountable delegate lead on Super Tuesday. Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who dropped out in November, also endorsed Biden in Dallas, a few hours after former Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced his support in Nevada.”

While Biden has sometimes criticized Israel through the years, he has called himself a “Zionist,” defended Israel’s strangling blockade on Gaza, and in 1982, supported Israel’s ruthless invasion of Lebanon. According to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Biden “said that if someone from Canada were to infiltrate into the United States, and kill its citizens all of us (and thus he indicated a circle) would demand attacking them, and we wouldn’t pay attention as to whether men, women or children were killed.”

‘Pro-Israel community will work to defeat opponents’

The Hill reports that AIPAC’s head promised at its national convention on Sunday “to ‘defeat’ political movements seen as threatening the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, a veiled attack against Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

The AIPAC CEO threatened: “The pro-Israel community will work to defeat those who try to harm our friends, and those who try to harm the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that AIPAC “had purchased Facebook ads earlier this month that blamed ‘radicals in the Democratic Party’ for ‘pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people.’ And it wasn’t difficult to figure out which candidate’s camp those ‘radicals’ were part of.”

Another fervent Israel partisan, attorney Alan Dershowitz, recently said that if Bernie Sanders is elected Democratic Party candidate, it would “give impetus to the BDS movement.”

According to Israeli media, “He called Sanders the ‘Corbyn of the United States,’ adding that “the idea that the United States will be led by a Jewish Corbyn arouses horror. He’s a Jew, but only from his parents.’”

Dershowitz  said that if Sanders was elected he “will not vote for the Democratic party and will even campaign against it.”

Mike Bloomberg: half a billion dollars in ads

The other candidate for Israel, Mike Bloomberg, is the only one to appear in person at the recent AIPAC convention. He is hoping to obtain the Democratic nomination through a brokered convention. Bloomberg gave a rousing speech at AIPAC, blasting Sanders for criticizing AIPAC and for having “spent 30 years boycotting this event.”

Politico reported in February that Bloomberg had been “privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him — and block Bernie Sanders — in the event of a brokered national convention.”

Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood told Politico, “We have an enormous apparatus that is constantly reaching out to all types of people for support.”

Politico reports that other candidates have also quietly been in contact for months with superdelegates. While these hand-picked delegates can’t vote on the first ballot, they could prevent a Sanders’ nomination if Sanders fails to win a majority and the convention goes to a second ballot.

But Bloomberg has something none of the others have – limitless funding from his $60 billion fortune.

As the Washington Post reports:

“On the craps table of this campaign, there’s a $500 million chip sitting on ‘Super Tuesday.’ The bettor’s name is mike — small “m,” according to the visual design of his campaign, like he’s your modest neighbor from the split-level down the block instead of a titan of media and finance with estates in Bermuda and Southampton.

“That’s Bloomberg. Mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. Democrat, then Republican, then independent, then Democrat. Purveyor of fancy data terminals. Ninth-richest person in the world. A few months ago Bloomberg saw a moribund field of candidates and thought he could vault his way to the nomination through a delegate grab on Super Tuesday.

“So now it’s mike, responsible presidential candidate, asking for the car keys as the nation stumbles around.”

The Post continues: “What’s a democracy worth? A year ago, before mike arrived on the scene, Bloomberg pledged a half billion to vanquishing Trump.”

“Now, mike is in your Facebook feed,” the Post continues. “He’s in your Google search results. Every time you glance at the television, he’s there. The 2020 presidential candidates have spent $26 million on TV ads in Texas alone; 80 percent of that was for mike, according to Advertising Analytics. One ad cost $4.3 million all by itself.”

Another Post article reports: “Fox’s Bret Baier pressed Bloomberg to name states where he might actually win the primary. ‘Well, keep in mind you don’t have to win states, you have to win delegates,’ Bloomberg replied. “The most likely scenario for the Democratic Party is that nobody has a majority, and then it goes to a convention, where there’s horse-trading and everybody decides to compromise. It doesn’t even have to be one of the two leading candidates.

“’The Sanders people would say they’re trying to steal it,” Baier noted.

“’Look, if the rules say that you can swap votes or make deals, then you can swap votes and make deals,’ countered Bloomberg. ‘And if you don’t like those rules, don’t play.’”

Sanders on Palestine

Sanders, in speaking to J Street last fall, repeatedly said that the $3.8 billion in aid the US gives to Israel should be used as leverage to “fundamentally change” the country’s approach toward Palestinian land and rights.

“It is a lot of money, and we cannot give carte blanche to the Israeli government, or for that matter to any government at all,” Sanders said. “I would say that some of the $3.8 billion should go right now to humanitarian aid in Gaza.”

While Sanders continues to insist he is not anti-Israel, noting he lived there for awhile, he has increasingly spoken out against Netanyahu and in support of Palestinians. He has aligned himself with pro-Palestinian activists such as Linda Sarsour, and a chief foreign policy advisor is Matt Duss, a longtime human rights advocate.

On Saturday Sanders campaigned with Minnesota Congress member Ilhan Omar, calling her “one of the greatest people I know.” (Rashida Tlaib also endorsed him.)

Omar said: “We are going to win because we are building a movement that is multiracial, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-religious….. We are motivated. And we are mobilized. And we are activated to create a different tomorrow.’

Growing support for Palestinian rights

Sander’s support for Palestinians resonates with a growing number of Americans, particularly progressive Democrats, as recent surveys show that an increasing number support Palestine over Israel. A poll a few years ago found that 60 percent of Americans feel that Israel gets too much US tax money. The US currently gives Israel over $10 million per day, and this is slated to go even higher.

And a recent poll indicated that 57 percent of Democrats are ready to support “economic sanctions” against Israel to stop Israel from confiscating more Palestinian land.

The Associated Press reports that “Biden’s new backers feature a who’s who of current and former Democratic officials across the nation,” but does not yet include former President Barack Obama.

In addition to those noted above, Biden’s backers currently include former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid; Obama national security adviser Susan Rice; Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly; former Colorado Sen. Mark Udall; former California Sen. Barbara Boxer; Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.; and Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Calif; and is expected to soon include Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, the first member of Congress to endorse Buttigieg.

The states holding primaries or caucuses today are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Democrats Abroad, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia, plus American Samoa. More information, including the number of delegates in each, is here and here.


RELATED:

Democratic candidates on Israel/Palestine – a guide

“Progressive Except Palestine” groups gang up on Bernie Sanders

Bernie vs AIPAC: As Sanders Surges, pro-Israel Democrats Scramble for Backup Plan

Israel partisans make Perez Democratic National Committee chair, defeat Keith Ellison

Sanders and the Jewish Vote: How the senator from Vermont is testing the pro-Israel establishment

How do Bernie & Buttigieg stand on Israel-Palestine?

Bloomberg: Fanatic pro-Israel billionaire trying to buy US Presidency

Where’s the outrage over Netanyahu trying to interfere in the US election?

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, CampaignsComments Off on Super Tuesday: ‘Israel’ partisans work to block Sanders’ nomination

I was meant to talk about Palestinian kids at the UN. ‘Israel’ forced me out

Belgium caved into Israeli pressure to disinvite me from the Security Council. In doing so, they helped undermine human rights work for Palestinian children.

By Brad Parker 

Fadi Ibrahim Abu Khusa (4) holds the photo of his two killed siblings, Shahed (9) and Mohammed (2), in their home in Zawaida village, central Gaza Strip, February 24, 2015.  The two children were killed with their parents, Ibrahim and Sabreen, and 4 other members of their family by an Israeli attack on their home which occured on July, 30, 2014. Ibrahim and Sabreen went to the home of Sabreen's father one week before the attack thinking they would be safer. (Anne Paq / Activestills.org)

Fadi Ibrahim Abu Khusa (4) holds the photo of his two killed siblings, Shahed (9) and Mohammed (2), in their home in Zawaida village, central Gaza Strip, February 24, 2015. The two children were killed with their parents, Ibrahim and Sabreen, and 4 other members of their family by an Israeli attack on their home which occured on July, 30, 2014. Ibrahim and Sabreen went to the home of Sabreen’s father one week before the attack thinking they would be safer. (Anne Paq / Activestills.org)

Last week, the government of Belgium caved in to intense Israeli government pressure and effectively disinvited me from briefing the UN Security Council in New York today.

Ironically, the decision to exclude my voice as a representative of Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), a Palestinian human rights organization, exemplifies and reinforces the message I had prepared to deliver before the Council.

I was invited by Belgium’s Permanent Mission to the UN in late January to brief members of the Security Council on violations of children’s rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.Get Our Weekly NewsletterSign up

Belgium, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency for this month, is a leader of the UN’s global agenda on children and armed conflict, and as such wanted to highlight these specific themes during the Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East and Palestine Question. The Belgians wrote in their invitation that this focused discussion would help “to enrich the debate” on the Palestinian issue.

I gladly accepted. The fact that Belgium was willing to invite a local Palestinian human rights organization like DCIP to brief the Council was commendable, as civil society space at the UN has been shrinking for years. While they urged me to be “balanced” in my statement (which I had shared with them for feedback), they understood that Palestinian children overwhelmingly and disproportionately bear the brunt of the kinds of violations they sought to highlight.

Then the troubles began.

The UN Security Council, December 18, 2015 (United Nations Photo)

The UN Security Council, December 18, 2015 (United Nations Photo)

As soon as Israeli diplomats were informed of my attendance, Emmanuel Nahshon, the Israeli Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, reportedly asked the Belgian government in early February to cancel the invitation. The Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned Belgium’s Deputy Ambassador to Israel, Pascal Buffin, on two separate occasions to formally object to the invitation. These requests were initially rejected.

Israeli officials and right-wing organizations, like NGO Monitor, and their affiliates subsequently mounted a well-orchestrated political and media disinformation campaign to press the Belgians to capitulate.

Then, four days ago, I received an early morning phone call informing me that Brussels had decided to change the Security Council event from an open meeting to a closed meeting — meaning that I was no longer a participant.

Targeted defamation campaigns

Belgium’s acquiescence to Israel’s demands is a frustrating and devastating blow. Not only is it a shameful act of censorship, but it also boosts longstanding efforts to delegitimize human rights work and basic tenets of international law when it comes to Palestinians.

Over the past two weeks, I have falsely been called everything from an “extreme anti-Israel activist” and “minor American propogandist,” to a “terror supporter” and “diplomatic terrorist.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, even wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres calling DCIP “an arm of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) in order to enact diplomatic terror against Israel,” adding, “A place that promotes peace and security in the world has no room for people like Parker.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon seen during a meeting of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and President Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, June 7, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon seen during a meeting of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, June 7, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

DCIP and other civil society organizations in Palestine and Israel have been increasingly targeted and attacked by Israeli officials, government ministries, and a rising network of right-wing and nationalist social forces in Israel, the U.S., the U.K., and across Europe. A key strategy of these forces is to launch targeted and organized defamation campaigns, based on a range of allegations that try to link us to national counter-terrorism legislation in order to undercut our work.

For DCIP specifically, officials like Ambassador Danny Danon, the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry, NGO Monitor, and UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) are alleging that we support and further terrorist acts. They amorphously claim that DCIP board and staff members are “affiliated,” “linked,” or have “alleged ties” to the PFLP.

Yet, no evidence is presented on how DCIP’s work — our field research, documentation, legal services, and advocacy — is in any way involved in supporting terrorist acts. Moreover, no trials or indictments have been initiated by Israeli authorities against DCIP board or staff members on such accusations during their time with the organization.

Rather than demand Israeli authorities stop unlawfully killing Palestinian child protesters in Gaza with live ammunition, or end ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian child detainees, or hold perpetrators accountable, these actors are disseminating misinformation aimed at silencing, defunding, and eliminating legitimate human rights work and criticism of illegal Israeli policies toward Palestinians. And unfortunately — wittingly or unwittingly — governments like Belgium are helping them.

Exempted from UN blacklist

So, if Belgium had not crumbled to the pressure, what did the Israeli government not want me to tell the UN Security Council today?

Four-year-old Palestinian girl Shayma Al-Masri, who was wounded in an Israeli air strike that killed her mother and two of her siblings, lies next to her doll as she receives hospital treatment in Gaza City, July 14, 2014. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

Four-year-old Palestinian girl Shayma Al-Masri, who was wounded in an Israeli air strike that killed her mother and two of her siblings, lies next to her doll as she receives hospital treatment in Gaza City, July 14, 2014. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

First, using largely UN-verified information, I would have explained how Palestinian children are disproportionately affected by armed conflict at the hands of Israeli forces. Second, I would have highlighted how the persistent failure of the UN Secretary-General to hold Israel accountable has fostered impunity for such grave violations against children.

My planned statement offered a solution. Each year the UN Secretary-General submits a report to the Security Council detailing the situation of children’s rights in specific situations of armed conflict, including Israel and the State of Palestine.

Security Council Resolution 1612, adopted in 2005, formally established a UN-led, evidence-based monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations against children during armed conflict. The six violations include killing and maiming; child recruitment; sexual violence; attacks on schools or hospitals; denial of humanitarian access for children; and abduction.

Where armed forces or groups are found to commit such violations against children, the Secretary-General is obligated to list them in the annex of his annual report. This list has become known as the UN’s child rights “blacklist” or “list of shame.”

The mechanism has proven to be a strong tool to bolster protections for children during armed conflict over the past decade. But despite persistent reports by UN agencies like UNICEF and local groups like DCIP, both Guterres and his predecessor Ban Ki-moon refused to include Israeli armed forces on the blacklist.

Secretary-General António Guterres during press conference on the theme on violence against women in conflict. 25 February 2019. (UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferré)

Secretary-General António Guterres during press conference on the theme on violence against women in conflict. 25 February 2019. (UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferré)

This was despite the fact that Ban Ki-moon, for example, noted in his 2014 report that there had been a “dramatic increase in the number of children killed and injured, especially in Gaza,” with at least 557 Palestinian children and four Israeli children killed, and 4,249 Palestinian children and 22 Israeli children wounded.

While he expressed alarm at the “unprecedented and unacceptable scale” of destruction and harm caused by Israel’s military operation that year, he still omitted Israel’s forces from the annex. Reportedly, he caved in to significant pressure from the U.S. and Israel.

Defending international law

Ban Ki-moon’s decision, and Guterres’ continuation of that decision, has effectively transformed a strong accountability mechanism into a politicized process where powerful governments can exempt themselves from scrutiny and the rules of international law.

As I wrote in my planned statement to the Security Council, Israel’s absence from the blacklist essentially gives it “tacit approval to continue committing grave breaches of international law with impunity. We are still, today, dealing with the impact of this decision.”

Mourners carry the body of 13-year-old Palestinian boy Ahmed Sharaka, who was killed by Israeli troops after being hit in the head by a plastic-coated metal bullet, in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah, October 12, 2015. (Flash90)

Mourners carry the body of 13-year-old Palestinian boy Ahmed Sharaka, who was killed by Israeli troops after being hit in the head by a plastic-coated metal bullet, in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah, October 12, 2015. (Flash90)

Today, I had hoped to reaffirm a message that Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director of the human rights organization B’Tselem, had brought to the Council in 2018: a rules-based international order will not defend itself.

If the UN’s children and armed conflict agenda is to remain relevant and credible, it is imperative that the listing process does not give an exception to Israel for its grave violations. Year after year, Palestinian children must deal with the compounded failures of these policymakers, and without accountability, these violations will continue bleeding from one year to the next.

Given the attacks and campaigns against Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society, Belgium’s actions are entirely irresponsible. When a supposed champion of these values lifts you up, knowing full well that it may place a target on you, it is disheartening to seem them give in to such pressure. This lack of political will all but ensures systemic impunity will remain the norm for Palestinian children.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, UNComments Off on I was meant to talk about Palestinian kids at the UN. ‘Israel’ forced me out

Sudan: Zionist warming ties

What is behind Israel’s warming ties to Sudan?

Israeli-Sudanese relations have been fraught with public tensions and secret collaborations — with the fate of refugees in Israel hanging in the balance.

By Inbal Ben Yehuda 

Protesters on a train coming from Atbra city about 300 km from Khartoum, during the Sudanese revolution, 17 August 2019. (Osama Elfaki/Wikimedia)

Protesters on a train coming from Atbra city about 300 km from Khartoum, during the Sudanese revolution, 17 August 2019. (Osama Elfaki/Wikimedia)

A meeting last month between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the interim leader of Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, caused widespread uproar over the perceived normalization of ties between the two countries.

Both men are in a complicated position: Netanyahu is entangled in legal affairs and leading a third election campaign this year, while al-Burhan — a military ruler and head of Sudan’s sovereign council — is struggling to distance himself from the regime of Omar al-Bashir, whose 30-year tyrannical reign came to an end last April. Al-Burhan and some of his peers in the transitional institutions were key figures under al-Bashir’s rule who participated in his violent oppression of Sudan’s marginalized groups, and of political dissidents across the country.

Netanyahu and al-Burhan were representing two countries whose historical relations are fraught with tension and hostility, as well as secret collaborations and rapprochement efforts.

Israel has for decades considered Sudan an “enemy state,” while at the same time seeing it as a potential target in the “alliance of the periphery” — a policy by which Israel strove in its early decades to find partners among Middle Eastern and African countries, mainly out of narrow political and security-led interests. In the 1950s, on the eve of Sudan’s independence, Israel and the Sudanese Umma party made mutual attempts to create an alliance in order to curb Egypt’s influence in Sudan and the Middle East.

From the mid-1960s, the Israeli government closed off the route to Khartoum amid Sudan’s shaky political situation, while simultaneously supporting South Sudanese liberation movements. These groups were rebelling against their political exclusion and the Sudanese government’s violent control over the south of the country; in time, their ongoing struggle devolved into civil war.

Sudanese soldiers seen patrolling the streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan. South Sudan became an independent state on July 09, 2011, and soon thereafter also a UN member state. August 20, 2011. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Sudanese soldiers seen patrolling the streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan. South Sudan became an independent state on July 09, 2011, and soon thereafter also a UN member state. August 20, 2011. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

During the same period, the regime in Khartoum increasingly identified itself with political Islam, developing warm ties with Iran after the 1979 revolution and with movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Against this backdrop, Israel has led several air strikes in Sudan in recent years, aimed at thwarting ammunition production and shipments to the Gaza Strip.

Over the past decade, Sudan has been viewed in Israel as the origin country of thousands of asylum seekers, most of whom are from the marginalized groups and regions in conflict with the Khartoum regime. These people, alongside other African refugee groups, have become a political tool and a burning issue among the Israeli public.

Common xenophobic arguments about jobs, crimes, and the so-called “globalist left” are used in conjunction with a uniquely Israeli anti-immigrant argument: that being non-Jewish, these immigrants are a “risk” to the Jewish demographic majority. And although Sudan’s image as a violent dictatorship was reinforced among Israelis, it did not always translate into greater tolerance of Sudanese asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, Israel has gained a significant place in the Sudanese mindset. In 1948, 1967, and 1973, Sudanese soldiers were sent to assist the Egyptian army in its wars against Israel. Following the 1967 Six-Day War, Khartoum hosted a conference of Arab states that ruled against peace with Israel, against recognizing the country, and against negotiations. This agenda aligned with that of General Jaafar al-Nimeiri, who came to power in a military coup about two years later and who increasingly reinforced Sudan’s Arab identity and, eventually, its Muslim identity as well.

Nonetheless, al-Nimeiri collaborated with Israeli officials in the 1980s and allowed Ethiopian Jews to immigrate through Sudan under Operation Moses in late 1984, as part of his efforts to strengthen Sudan’s ties with the United States. This gesture was actually an attempt by al-Nimeiri to ensure his political survival; but while it brought him some financial benefits, it eventually contributed to the downfall of his regime.

Asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea wait in line to enter the Ministry of Interior in the city of Bnei Brak, in order to renew their temporary visas or submit their asylum requests, in the early morning hours of February 4, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea wait in line to enter the Ministry of Interior in the city of Bnei Brak, in order to renew their temporary visas or submit their asylum requests, in the early morning hours of February 4, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The legacy of colonial rule in Sudan, and its conditions at independence — a vast, ethnically- and culturally-diverse territory — sparked a “war of visions” over whether the country would be “Arab” or “African,” Muslim or multi-religious and multicultural. As this contest deteriorated into civil war, the southern independence cause relied primarily on regional and global Christian support, as well as on Israeli backing.

Successive Sudanese governments, meanwhile, have embraced a strong Arab-Muslim identity, gaining legitimacy as Africans in the Arab world through, among other things, propaganda against Israel regarding its oppression of Palestinians. This propaganda, especially during the al-Bashir era, was supplemented and reinforced by the influence of Arab media outside the country, and helped implant Israel into the Sudanese public consciousness.

Accordingly, for certain groups of dissident Sudanese, a change in hostile attitudes toward Israel and Jews went hand-in-hand with expressing general opposition to the regime. Urban liberals, supporters of secularism or reformist Islam, activists from the peripheries at odds with the regime, and immigrants and refugees abroad, among others, began to take an interest in Israel as a complex, multi-narrative country, beyond a singular “Zionist entity.” For some, this was manifested by making contact with Israelis to learn various narratives about the state and its inhabitants, and even to learn Hebrew.

At the same time, a sense of nostalgia emerged for Sudan’s former small Jewish community, which gradually left the country following independence. Today, a spectrum of attitudes toward cooperation with Israel can be found among Sudanese liberals in the country and in the diaspora. These include groups heavily influenced by growing pro-Israeli propaganda efforts (including in Arabic), to staunch opponents who condemn Israel for systematically violating the human rights of Palestinians.

Bumpy road to normalization

Sudan is currently facing a challenging transitional period. The people who took to the streets en masse to overthrow the al-Bashir regime, and those who supported the revolution from the diaspora, are filled with hope and anxiety over the transitional institutions’ prospects of bringing political, security, and economic stability, and even democratic rule, to Sudan.

Omar al-Bashir, former president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa's Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009. (US Navy photo by Jesse B. Awalt)

Omar al-Bashir, former president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009. (US Navy photo by Jesse B. Awalt)

In these conditions, Israel is offering Sudan a possible lifeline from a much-feared economic disaster. The meeting between Netanyahu and al-Burhan was the most publicized move to date between the two countries’ leaders, due to its suggestion of a rapprochement.

However, it is worth noting that during the final years of his rule, and like al-Nimeiri before him, al-Bashir had similarly viewed engagement with Israel as a channel for warming up ties with the U.S., even as his anti-normalization rhetoric continued.

This has to do with Sudan’s entanglement in the coalition of Arab Gulf countries and Egypt vis-à-vis countries like Iran and Qatar. This is expressed in part by Sudan’s dispatching of tens of thousands of soldiers — including children — to Yemen in recent years to fight against Yemen in a coalitional proxy war between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.

Israel shares the latter’s anti-Iran stance, and has therefore provided Sudan with some lobby support in Washington, resulting in the U.S. lifting most of its economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in October 2017. Yet Sudan remains on the United States’ list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Among other sanctions, this makes it difficult for Sudan to obtain aid budgets, which are considered essential by the authorities for the success of the transitional period.

While many Sudanese see the warming of relations with Israel as an opportunity for economic survival, others highlight the problem of the country succumbing to the economic and political interests of influential Arab neighbors, Israel, and the U.S., especially while it is stuck in financial distress and at a diplomatic disadvantage.

Given the sensitive regional situation stirred by Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century,” as well as Sudan’s intricate domestic dynamics, resistance to normalization is based not merely on religious sentiments or a sense of Arab nationalism, but also on pragmatic considerations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a conference on Israeli-African relations, organized by Likud parliament member Avraham Negusie, at the Israeli parliament on February 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a conference on Israeli-African relations, organized by Likud parliament member Avraham Negusie, at the Israeli parliament on February 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

For one, Netanyahu met with Sudan’s military ruler but not with the head of the civil cabinet, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, an apparent exclusion that has caused a great stir. The meeting thus illuminated the numerous difficulties in post-Bashir Sudan, including uncertainty over who is in charge — the military or civilians — and where Sudan’s interim leaders are taking the country at such a fragile moment.

Despite the clear opposition in some circles to normalization with Israel, foreign powers’ interests may yet compel Sudan to continue down this road. In the process, however, Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel could become a human, cultural, and social bridge, which also has business and economic potential. This group has both the knowledge and the skills to disperse preconceptions about Sudan, and to provide a more informed context to the discourse on normalization.

Still, despite a degree of integration and coexistence, the fact remains that the reality of life for asylum seekers in Israel has been defined by the country’s racism toward non-Jews in general, and African communities in particular. Unsurprisingly, there has been speculation regarding the potential deportation of Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel back to Sudan under the auspices of “normalization” between the two countries.

This issue serves as a reminder for the Israeli government that Sudan’s rulers do not represent the whole country, and that it is more than just a strategic asset. It remains to be seen how Israel will treat the citizens of the country it wishes to partner with, when those citizens are within its own borders.

Posted in Africa, ZIO-NAZI, SudanComments Off on Sudan: Zionist warming ties

Nazi army is trying to ‘break’ this East Jerusalem village — with brutal results

Israel is trying to ‘break’ this East Jerusalem village — with brutal results

Malek is the latest child in occupied Issawiya to lose an eye from a rubber bullet as Israeli police intensify repression of Palestinian residents.

By Judith Sudilovsky 

Malek Issa at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Malek was shot in the eye by a sponge-tipped bullet fired by an Israeli police officer in Issawiya on Feb. 15. (Sharona Weiss/Activestills.org)

Malek Issa at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Malek was shot in the eye by a sponge-tipped bullet fired by an Israeli police officer in Issawiya on Feb. 15. (Sharona Weiss/Activestills.org)

For more than a week since their nine-year-old son Malek was shot in the eye by a sponge-tipped bullet, Wael and Sawsan Issa kept vigil over him together with friends and relatives at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, first at the intensive care unit and then at the pediatric ward. 

Despite several surgeries, doctors were unable to save Malek’s left eye and thus had to remove it. After being sent home on Monday, the family returned to Hadassah a few hours later due to the pain the boy was suffering. 

Concerns that Malek might have suffered brain damage have been allayed and he has been communicating, says his father Wael Issa. “He is sleeping. He does not want to speak with anyone. It hurts and he wants quiet. It will take some time.”  Get Our Weekly NewsletterSign up

The bullet that hit Malek’s head was shot by an Israeli police officer on Feb. 15, during an arrest raid by Israeli forces in the Palestinian village of Issawiya in East Jerusalem. According to press reports, the officer claimed he had shot the bullet at a wall to calibrate his sights.

The police also claimed they were responding to protests they had encountered during the arrest; however, video footage of the incident showed only normal street traffic in the area. 

“We know the boy was injured in the upper part of the body when the police were on patrol in the area,” Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told +972. “As far as we know, the incident is being investigated by the Ministry of Justice,” as per protocol when civilians are injured by a police officer, he says.

Issa charges that the bullet was aimed directly at the middle of his son’s forehead.

An Israeli Border Policewoman stands guard during a demonstration in Issawiya, East Jerusalem, against the new cement blockades at the entrances to Issawiya, on November 12, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

An Israeli Border Policewoman stands guard during a demonstration in Issawiya, East Jerusalem, against the new cement blockades at the entrances to Issawiya, on November 12, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Eyewitnesses, including Malek’s 10-year-old cousin who had been with him and his two sisters when they stopped at a kiosk to buy a sandwich, also say there were no disturbances on the street.

The cousin, whose mother asked that his name not be used, explained that Malek did not hear his sisters telling him to wait because there were soldiers in the street, and had run ahead of them. “Then he fell to the floor,” the cousin said.

For the cousin’s mother, this incident is a familiar story in Issawiya. “The police come to make arrests when the children are coming out of school,” she says. After the shooting, her child “was very nervous at home. It is as if they also injured my son.” A social worker and psychologist were to meet Malek’s classmates to help deal with their traumas from the event, she added. 

The shooting is not an isolated incident. Malek is the eleventh child from Issawiya to lose an eye from a rubber-tipped bullet, says his father, who has left his job at a Tel Aviv restaurant to be with his son while he recovers. His wife and daughters have sought counseling, he notes, but he is doing without. 

Issawiya has been the site of increased police patrols and arrests since last summer, with over 700 people arrested and one youth killed. Residents have complained of constant harassment by the Israeli authorities, with parents fearing for their children’s safety in public.

“I don’t allow my children to go outside and play anywhere,” says Issa. “I’m afraid all the time. But they had come back from school, and their mother told them that it was a nice day and that they could walk home from where the bus dropped them off. They stopped for a minute to buy some sweets, and despite all my precautions, Malek was shot.”

Israeli Border Police blocking the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, checking every Palestinian wanting to pass, on Friday, October 16, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israeli Border Police blocking the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, checking every Palestinian wanting to pass, on Friday, October 16, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A tour through the village reveals many apartment buildings donning brand new roll-down blinds — not out of aesthetic concern or because people have money to spend, but for protection against stray bullets, says community leader Mohammed Abu-Hummos.

“It is a daily thing,” says fellow village resident Hashem Ashahab, who has five children. “The police come to create tension. There was an agreement (with local leaders) that they would not come when schools let the children out, but they broke the agreement… Why do the police always choose to come to make their arrests and patrols during the time when there is the most traffic? I have five children, three of them go to school, and I am always afraid something will happen to them. [But] I can’t not send my children to school.”

Climbing into a minivan used for local transportation in Issawiya, a woman, 35, who declined to give her name, says incidents between the police and the youth could break out at any moment, and residents always have to be on alert.

Aviv Tatarsky, a research assistant at Ir Amim who has been tracking the situation in Issawiya in cooperation with local Palestinian residents, explains that there has been “quite an intense police disruption of freedom of movement and safety of the residents” in the village since June 2019.

Though the intensity of the summer raids have decreased for now, they are still ongoing, Tatarsky says. Despite dialogue between the police and local leaders under the auspices of the Jerusalem municipality, he adds, police have disregarded the agreements reached, as resident Ashahab similarly charged.

The Jerusalem municipal courts and the Israeli Welfare Ministry have not been vocal enough against the police raids which disrupt the lives of the village residents, continues Tatarsky, though council members Laura Wharton and Yossi Chaviliao, together with a group of 40 school principals, have appealed to Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion about the situation. “Maybe a few things are said behind closed doors but certainly not in the open,” he says.

Palestinian women look on during a raid by Israeli police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, July 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women look on during a raid by Israeli police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, July 1, 2019. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A high-ranking official in the municipality’s education department tried to offer himself as an intermediary between the residents and the police, says Tatarsky. “But without the backing of the mayor they do not have the power to stop the police.”  

Police Spokesman Rosenfeld told +972 that police patrols are carried out in all East Jerusalem villages to prevent violent activities from taking place and to respond when they do occur.

He says that “severe incidents” had been taking place over the past months in the neighborhood, including petrol bombs and stones thrown at police cars and at cars traveling along the Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adumim highway (Road 1), located below the village. In October, he added, a local resident’s vehicle was hit by a Molotov cocktail intended for a police car. “Unfortunately in that village, there are many more incidents than in other villages,” says Rosenfeld.

“Our police officers are in contact with leaders of the community in order to try to prevent incidents from taking place,” he continues. “Our message for the community is to prevent incidents before they take place. Police will continue patrolling the area day and night in order to prevent violent incidents both in and around the village.”

Tatarsky holds that the image of Issawiya as a hot-bed of violence is more of a creation of Israeli imagination than anything else. “If you look for attacks or groups who are active in Issawiya you will find none. It is very telling that the police have not been able to show any single event or series of events that prompted its attacks.”

Current Jerusalem police chief Doron Yadid, attending an Economy Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on March 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Current Jerusalem police chief Doron Yadid, attending an Economy Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on March 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Tatarsky links the increased police presence to new Jerusalem Police Chief Maj. Gen. Doron Yadid, who replaced Yoram Halevi in February 2019. According to Tatarsky, the intensified raids began just a few months after Yadid took over.

“He made a few changes in policing East Jerusalem, more aggressive,” he explains. For example, Yadid re-introduced the use of border police in Palestinian neighborhoods instead of the regular community police patrols which had been used by his predecessor.

But Yadid’s hardline tactics to disrupt daily life including through collective punishment to “break” Issawiya residents is a “big mistake,” warns Tatarsky. “He achieved the opposite: resistance and opposition. Opposition against military presence in the neighborhood is… worse than it used to be with his predecessor. Border police are not welcome in Issawiya.”

Moreover, according to Tatarsky, out of some 700 arrests made by the police, only 20 indictments have been issued, and even then for acts that were committed only because the police entered the neighborhood.

“You terrorize youth who now have all kinds of psychological damage and anger. This has caused more damage and (the police chief) is not able to show anything he actually achieved,” says Tatarsky.

“What is happening in Issawiya is unprecedented,” he adds. “We never had such an intensive violent disruptive campaign with really no reason and for so long.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi army is trying to ‘break’ this East Jerusalem village — with brutal results

Palestinian child detainees amounts to war crime

Image result for Palestinian child detainees PHOTO

Israeli forces’ transfer of Palestinian child detainees amounts to war crime

Ramallah, January 20, 2020—Israeli authorities transferred dozens of Palestinian child detainees outside the occupied West Bank to a prison inside Israel last week, amounting to a war crime.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) transferred 33 Palestinian children on January 13 from Ofer prison, located southwest of Ramallah inside the occupied West Bank, to Damon prison, located inside Israel near Haifa, DCIP confirmed. International humanitarian law and international criminal law prohibit the transfer of persons part of an occupied civilian population outside of an occupied territory, including prisoners. 

“The transfer of Palestinian child prisoners outside the occupied West Bank is a war crime,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program Director at DCIP. “Israeli authorities must only detain children as a measure of last resort for the shortest necessary period of time without transferring them outside the occupied West Bank.” 

Five of the children transferred to Damon prison are currently represented by DCIP lawyers. Four of them have not yet been sentenced and appeared in Ofer military court today where they met with their lawyer for the first time since being transferred from Ofer prison last week. 

The children told their lawyer they were transferred without their clothes and bed sheets, and remained in the same clothes for three days until their belongings arrived. The children described being detained at Damon prison in basement rooms with terrible conditions, including mice. During the first three days at Damon prison the children refused meals to protest the transfer and prison conditions. 

The immediate practical consequence is that the trip to Ofer military court is now a three-day journey, as children are transferred to Al-Ramleh prison before and after they appear in the military court. The children are more severely separated from their families as parents face undue obstacles when attempting to visit children detained at prisons inside Israel.

At the end of December 2019, at least 186 Palestinian children aged between 14 and 17 years old were detained in the Israeli military detention system, according to the most recent data released by the IPS. The overwhelming majority of Palestinian children detained by Israeli authorities are held in Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank or unlawfully transfered to Megiddo prison located inside Israel, according to IPS figures. 

While a child is in detention, families may apply for visitation permits through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which coordinates the permit process. Israeli authorities unilaterally approve or deny the family visit applications. In the absence of exceptional circumstances, only immediate family members who have not been previously incarcerated are eligible to apply.

In addition to permit delays, the unlawful transfer of Palestinian children to prisons inside Israel, such as Megiddo and Damon, presents an undue obstacle to family visits. Families must travel long distances and pass through checkpoints in order to visit their children, according to evidence collected by DCIP.

Some families also cite harassment and security checks as a barrier to visitation, since each person must undergo a thorough screening—which may include a strip search—before entering Megiddo. Once they have completed their security checks, family members may visit with child prisoners in Megiddo through a glass barrier for a maximum of 40 minutes.

The Israeli military detention system consists of a network of military bases, interrogation and detention centers, and police stations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and inside Israel. Palestinians, predominantly from the West Bank, are initially taken to one of these facilities for questioning and temporary detention. Some of these facilities are inside Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians, including children, are held at these facilities for interrogation purposes, pre-trial detention, or prior to appearing in the military courts. Following an initial appearance in one of the military courts, Palestinian child detainees are transferred to prisons, some located inside Israel, where they sit in pre-trial detention, wait to be sentenced, or serve their prison sentence.

Transfer of Palestinian detainees, including children, to prisons and interrogation and detention facilities inside Israel, even for brief periods, constitutes an unlawful transfer in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime in violation of Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Israel’s practice of unlawfully transferring Palestinian prisoners out of occupied territory has been challenged twice before the Israeli Supreme Court. In both instances, the court held that when in conflict, primary Israeli legislation overrides the provisions of international law.

Related Content

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Palestinian child detainees amounts to war crime

Trump’s Other “Phony Deal of the Century” Unravelling. “Peace with the Taliban”

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

The Trump regime’s so-called deal with the Taliban is intended to facilitate future talks with the US and its puppet regime in Kabul. 

It has nothing to do with assuring peace and stability to the war-torn country, nothing to do with ending US occupation — nothing to do with giving Afghanistan back to the Afghans, free from US control of their territory.

It’s not a peace or ceasefire deal. The so-called “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” is subterfuge — guaranteeing nothing to its long-suffering people because the US doesn’t operate this way, serving its own geopolitical interests by controlling and exploiting other nations.

The US came to Afghanistan to stay, permanent occupation planned, the same plan in all its war theaters, waged to transform nations into vassal states — ruled by installed puppet regimes subservient to US interests.

The Kabul regime was uninvolved in US/Taliban talks with no say on the signing document that included a prisoner swap.

When US-installed president Ashraf Ghani objected, saying he “made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners” as part of a prisoner swap a day after the agreement was signed in Doha, Qatar, fighting resumed.

A separate so-called Joint Declaration between the US and its Kabul puppet regime makes no mention of numbers of prisoners to be exchanged, saying the following:

“To create the conditions for reaching a political settlement and achieving a permanent, sustainable ceasefire, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will participate in a US-facilitated discussion with Taliban representatives on confidence-building measures, to include determining the feasibility of releasing significant numbers of prisoners on both sides.”

Failure to release about 5,000 Taliban prisoners as stipulated in the US agreement with its representatives could unravel the deal before the ink is dry.US-Taliban Talks: Real or Illusory Progress? Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Mineral Wealth

On March 10, intra-Afghan dialogue is supposed to discuss prisoner swap arrangements. Ghani objected saying “(i)t is not the authority of the (US) to decide. (It’s) only a facilitator.”

On March 3, Trump spoke with Taliban leaders in Doha. A day later, Pentagon warplanes terror-bombed Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj.

Reportedly their fighters killed 30 Afghan forces and four civilians in areas they control.

Before the February 29 Doha signing ceremony, the Taliban and Trump regime agreed to a week-long cessation of fighting.

Breached by resumption of violence, the fragile deal is unravelling much faster than anticipated.

It calls for reducing numbers of US and allied forces in the country in the coming months, withdrawing entirely in 14 months, including abandonment of Pentagon bases that cost billions of dollars to build and maintain.

It affirmed a phony US commitment to aid Afghan security forces prevent ISIS, al-Qaeda, and likeminded jihadist groups from operating in Afghanistan — groups the US created, supports, and deploys to combat theaters as proxy troops.

It permits continued Pentagon military operations with consent of the Afghan government on the phony pretext of combatting terrorism as necessary.

It prohibits use of force by the US and allied countries “against the territorial integrity or political independence of Afghanistan or intervening in its domestic affairs” — how the US operates time and again against targeted nations to control them.

Terms of so-called agreements the US signed with the Taliban and Kabul puppet regime aren’t in sync with each other.

Taliban officials won’t deal with the Kabul regime unless a prisoner swap agreed to with the US is fulfilled, what Ghani objects to.

Further complicating things is the disputed September 2019 presidential election Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah both claim to have won — the Trump regime yet to recognize one figure over the other.

Resumed fighting between Taliban fighters and government forces may continue as long as terms agreed to in Doha aren’t fulfilled.

In response, the Pentagon said it’ll “defend Afghan forces” by attacking Taliban positions.

The US/Taliban agreement doesn’t obligate its fighters to cease combatting government forces.

Trump wants concluded whatever will help his reelection campaign.

Claiming an end to over 18 years of war in Afghanistan and bringing home US troops in whatever numbers could help his chances even if conflict is far from resolved.

A resumption of fighting on the ground along with Pentagon terror-bombing of Taliban controlled areas could unravel the Doha deal altogether.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on Trump’s Other “Phony Deal of the Century” Unravelling. “Peace with the Taliban”

The Legacy of Michael Bloomberg’s Muslim Surveillance Programme

Thousands of informants infiltrated mosques, restaurants and charities in a bid to find would-be militants. No arrests were made. Instead, a legacy of mistrust remains

By Azad Essa and Nur Ibrahim

Global Research,

When Asad Dandia received a friend request on Facebook, he didn’t think much of it. 

The college student was active with a religious-based charity, so it was common for people to reach out on the social media platform and offer to donate food and money.

Dandia and the man also had several friends in common. So when he read a message requesting advice on how to become a better, practising Muslim, he willingly responded.

Over the next few months, the two became friends. Dandia even invited him to his family home, where he met his parents and ate with them.

Once, he even spent the night.

But what Dandia didn’t realise was that the man hadn’t reached out to better himself, make new friends or help the community. He would later confess that he was paid $1000 a month to spy on Dandia for the New York Police Department.

The informant, it later turned out, was part of a wide network of infiltrators working at the behest of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office – monitoring and surveilling the Muslim community in New York City and New Jersey.

“We were rattled and we were shaken,” Dandia, now a graduate student at Columbia University, told Middle East Eye.

Bloomberg was mayor of New York City between 2002-2013, during which he presided over the much-maligned stop-and-frisk policy – which targeted African Americans and Latinos – and the surveillance of Muslims.

Like Dandia, hundreds of thousands of Muslims from New York and New Jersey are still coming to terms with Bloomberg’s discriminatory practises that left a legacy of distrust between communities and contempt for the police.

Dandia subsequently received help from the City University of New York Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) project and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and he joined a class-action suit against the city for unlawful surveillance.

Bloomberg’s short-lived run for the White House has left those impacted by his policies troubled, wondering how he could have even been considered as a Democratic presidential nominee.

Would-be militants

Under his direction as mayor, the NYPD’s Demographics Unit – built with the help of the CIA – secretly mapped the Muslim community, sending informants to mosques to watch religious sermons, to cafes to listen in on conversations and even on white water rafting trips to look for would-be militants.

Not only did the programme that began after September 11 unlawfully target one community, it failed to provide a single criminal lead, internal audits of the NYPD have revealed.Say No to Bloomberg

Ayisha Irfan, a New Yorker who studied at Brooklyn College in the mid-2000s, remembers being told as an 18-year-old to “watch what you say and who you trust because there are police informants at the university”.

The fear of being watched meant that Muslim youth were forced to avoid congregating, participating in social or civic life, and inevitably, avoiding each other.

“When it all began to come out following the Associated Press expose, we found benign details of our college lives in government documents,” Irfan says.

“They even wrote down that a group of Muslims go to Dunkin Donuts after Jumah (Friday prayers).”

While Bloomberg has apologised for the stop and frisk policy that targeted mostly black and brown people, he has since doubled down on the surveillance programme, arguing “that it was just after 9/11 and everyone was petrified of another terrorist attack”.

Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is one of the few establishment politicians to criticise the programme, recently calling it a “failure”.

“As the person who ended Bloomberg’s racist and counterproductive Muslim surveillance programme, I will tell you what he won’t. It actually made us less safe,” said de Blasio.

“It bred resentment and distrust, just when we most needed to bring our police and our Muslim community together.”

The legacy of surveillance

In the Astoria neighbourhood of Queens, a New York City borough with a thriving Arab and Muslim population, Zohran Mamdani says the impact of Bloomberg’s surveillance policies still persist.

He recalled how the police would note down the time boys gathered at the local park to play soccer.

“We had the Demographics Unit go up and down Steinway Street surveilling Muslims, whether they were in barbershops, grocery stores, cafes, hookah bars, masjids; it doesn’t matter where we were.

“If there was even one Muslim in an area, it was considered cause for suspicion,” Mamdani, who is a candidate for New York State Assembly, told MEE.

“This is the kind of legacy the people have had to live with, [the idea] that we should not build any type of collective because the response of the state will be to both surveil and imprison us.”

Bloomberg has repeatedly downplayed the scale and impact of the surveillance policy of his administration.

In an interview with PBS in late February, Bloomberg said his office had “sent some officers into some mosques to listen to the sermon that the imam gave. The courts ruled it was exactly within the law and that’s the kind of thing we should be doing.”

He has also doubled down on justifying the singling out of the Muslim community.

“All of the people came from the same place and all that came were from a place they happened to be one religion. And if they’d been another religion, we would’ve done the same thing,” he added.

But no court has ever ruled the programme legal; several lawsuits were filed against New York City’s programme.

In the Raza v. City of New York class-action suit, which Dandia joined, the final settlement approved by the court in March 2017 “established a number of reforms designed to protect New York Muslims and others from discriminatory and unjustified surveillance”.

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organisation, described Bloomberg’s assertions as a “fantasy”.

“What happened in New York City was a massive civil rights breach that caused lasting harm to countless innocent American Muslims. Mayor Bloomberg needs to correct the record immediately,” Khera said.

Muslim community has failed to organise itself

In Harlem, the northern half of Manhattan, many black Muslims have had to endure both the stop and frisk policy that targeted African Americans and Latinos, as well as the surveillance of Muslims.

Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, from the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc, in Harlem, says that the Muslim community failed to organise itself and exact a political consequence for Bloomberg’s policies.

“Any other group who had been treated in that way, they would have exacted a political consequence for his statements.”

Abdur-Rashid argued that as someone running for president, Bloomberg’s refusal to apologise or make amends for the surveillance programme said a lot about the place of Muslims in the imagination of presidential candidates.

“Obviously, he doesn’t see this as a liability because Muslims are still seen across the US with suspicion,” he says.

Ayiesha Irfan agrees. “Apparently a million Muslims placed on an unlawful, secret surveillance programme, and weaponising the biggest police force in the country against Muslim does not merit even an apology,” she says.

Dandia says he is not interested in a half-hearted apology. He wants reparations.

“Now that Bloomberg is out of the race, he ought to reflect over the enormous harm he has caused to communities of colour during his time as mayor of New York, and he must offer material reparations to all those he harmed.

“He is one of the richest men on the planet. He is more than capable of doing that. He should also meet with Muslims and ask them: how can I serve you?” he said.

“However, Bloomberg endorsing Biden shows that he is not committed to any structural change or reparations, and prefers the same establishment politics that he benefited from at our expense.”

Posted in USAComments Off on The Legacy of Michael Bloomberg’s Muslim Surveillance Programme

Turkey at War with Syria

By: Global Research,

Empires of the Steppes Fuel Erdogan Khan’s Dreams

By Pepe Escobar,

The latest installment of the interminable Syria tragedy could be interpreted as Greece barely blocking a European “invasion” by Syrian refugees. The invasion was threatened by President Erdogan even as he refused the EU’s puny “offer you can refuse” bribe of only one billion euros.

Well, it’s more complicated than that. What Erdogan is in fact weaponizing is mostly economic migrants – from Afghanistan to the Sahel – and not Syrian refugees.

Erdogan Tells Putin: “We’re in Idlib to Protect the People There.”

By Eric Zuesse,

According to Middle East Eye, on Saturday February 29th, reporting under their headline “Erdogan asks Putin to stand aside as Ankara deals with Syrian government forces”, Erdogan said in Istanbul that on Friday the 28th he had told Putin (presumably by phone or some other remote means) that, “We did not go there [into Syria’s Idlib Province] because we were invited by” Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad; but instead, “We went there because we were invited by the people of [Idlib Province of] Syria. We don’t intend to leave before the people of Syria say ‘okay, this is done’.” Thus, “Erdogan said he asked Putin to leave Turkey ‘to do what is necessary’ with the Syrian government.”

Video: Syrian Armed Forces Teach ‘2nd Strongest NATO Army’ Painful Lesson in Idlib

By South Front,

Units of the Russian Military Police entered the town of Saraqib in eastern Idlib following the second liberation of the town from al-Qaeda terrorists and Turkish forces. According to the Russian military, the deployment took place at 5:00pm local time on March 2 and was intended to provide security and allow traffic through the M4 and M5 highways. In fact, the Russians came to put an end to Turkish attempts to capture the town and cut off the M5 highway in this area.

Turkey in Syria: Down a Blind Alley in an Unwinnable War?

By Tony Cartalucci,

Fighting in northern Syria has escalated as Syrian forces retake the last remaining bastions of foreign-funded militants and encircle, cut-off, and in some cases catch in the crossfire their Turkish backers.

Turkey had been making some promising steps in the right direction since Washington’s disastrous proxy regime-change war in Syria began unraveling – yet it still maintains a problematic position inside Syrian territory, backing what are unequivocally terrorists and obstructing Syria’s sovereign right to recover and restore order within its own borders.

Turkey Asks NATO to Join Its War Against Syria and Russia

By Eric Zuesse,

The spokesperson for the Islamist party of Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has called upon all of NATO to go to war against Syria for Syria’s having killed dozens of Turkey’s troops in order for Syria to defeat Turkey’s invasion and military occupation of Syria’s Idlib Province, which borders on Turkey. Going to war against Syria would mean going to war also against Russia, which is in Syria to protect Syria’s sovereignty over its own territory.

Turkey Sacrifices Their Own Troops to Protect Al-Qaeda?

By Matthew Ehret-Kump,

After 33 Turkish troops were killed in a Syrian army offensive on February 27 amidst the current Russia-backed campaign to liberate Idlib, Erdogan responded by laying the blame entirely on Russia and Syria – successfully avoiding all mention of the uncomfortable fact that Turkey has been protecting radical terror networks not only in Idlib but across Syria as a whole for years.

During this time, Islamist forces within Turkey favorable to Assad’s overthrow have been attempting to play a complex game of geopolitics for which they are totally unqualified.

Turkey and Syria Are at War Without a Declaration of War

By Paul Antonopoulos,

Although Turkey has supported anti-Syrian government forces, especially terrorist organizations  like ISIS and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra and Turkistan Islamic Party, since the very beginning of the Syrian War in 2011, no declaration of war has ever been announced between the two neighboring countries. Russia became militarily involved in 2015 and its intervention saw the quick defeat of ISIS and the recovery of large swathes of the country back into Syrian government control, as well as a partnership emerging with Turkey to discuss the Syrian crisis.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkey at War with Syria

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING