Israeli troops shot and wounded nine Palestinians near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday night, and injured two others north of Hebron, security officials and medics said.
Palestinian security officials said that Palestinians from the Jalazoun refugee camp, near Ramallah, were hurling stones at Israeli motorists near an illegal Jewish settlement before coming under fire from soldiers.
They said that six of the injured were sent home after receiving first aid at a Palestinian hospital and three were kept in, although none of them was in life-threatening condition.
An army spokeswoman said that troops opened fire with 0.22 ammunition after tear gas and rubber bullets failed to disperse the crowd of about 50 people engaged in “a violent disturbance.”
Earlier in the day, troops fired tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against the confiscation of land by Israel in the nearby village of Deir Jarir.
On Saturday the Israeli army used road blocks to shut the main road connecting Deir Jarir and other villages with Ramallah near the location of the attack, according to the head of the village council Imad Alawi.
Alawi told Wafa news agency that the road is the only direct passage to Ramallah for seven villages in the area. Its closure means Palestinians traveling to Ramallah must now take an extended route through the notorious Qalandia checkpoint.
It was unclear if the closure was directly linked to incidents on Friday.
And also on Friday, in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron, Israeli forced shot two Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets, breaking the jaw of one man, and hitting the other in the hand, according to medics.
Luay al-Badawi was hit in the face with a plastic-coated bullet that broke his jaw, and then shot again in the head, Red Crescent official Nasser Qabaja told Ma’an news agency.
Witnesses said a second man, who was not identified, was shot in the hand.
Locals said clashes erupted after Israeli forces stormed the camp. Residents confronted the soldiers and threw stones at them, and the soldiers fired tear gas and rubber coated-coated bullets.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers responded to a “violent riot in which Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli security forces” with “riot dispersal means.”
She told Ma’an that forces used rubber bullets and that two Palestinians were injured.
(AFP, Wafa, Ma’an)
- Jewish settlers attack West Bank village with Israeli army support (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Live ammunition fired at Deir Jarir demonstration against land grab and settler violence (palsolidarity.org)
On May 12, we arrived at Al Fakheit School where we were met by “Al Jazeera” journalists filming a documentary about the difficulty that children face in getting to school in Occupied Palestine. They told us about one school near East Jerusalem where children have to pass through a sewer pipe to reach their school.
As we were describing similar difficulties faced by children in the South Hebron Hills, and the dangers of living in a live firing zone, the headmaster approached us looking crestfallen. He told us that soldiers had just stopped three teachers as they were driving to Jinba School and told them that the police would arrest them since they were not allowed to be in a closed military area. Police then came and took the teachers into a nearby illegal Israeli settlement and held them for two hours before release. They allowed two teachers to continue on to the school, but made one return home. The police had previously arrested him at a non-violent protest against the firing zone, and said he was not permitted to return to the area.
Children in Al Fakheit and Jinba face daily disruptions from the army, whose helicopters often hover over their schools. As we were playing football with the children in Jinba, they suddenly started shouting “jesh, jesh” (army, army) and we saw a large military jeep whiz through the village, passing very close to the school and houses. Within five minutes it was back again, speeding through the village, kicking up stones and dust. Children have got used to the military presence near their homes, but are still fearful of what might happen. Will the army stop and arrest someone? Will they come to demolish something? On our way home, we stopped in the village of Mirkez. An old lady invited us in for tea. She told us that a few days ago, while a 14-year-old boy was herding his flock, the army took him into a nearby settlement but later released him.
Imagine the insecurity of living in an area where soldiers or police could pick you up any day for no reason. The people living in this area also face threats and acts of violence from settlers. A few days before our visit, settlers damaged 60 thirty-year-old olive trees. The olive tree is a symbol of peace. Villagers in the South Hebron Hills are committed to non-violent resistance. I am inspired by their continued strength and struggle. They face so many obstacles just trying to do things that people I know take for granted, like getting an education and grazing their sheep on their own land. Who knows how the daily intimidation and fear will affect these children in the future? I hope and pray that when they are ready to bring up children themselves, the occupation will have ended, and they will be able to go to school and herd their flocks free of fear.
Please sign this petition to tell Israel that this behavior must stop.
- “Nothing forbidden for them, but nothing allowed for us” (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Price tag’ attack in South Hebron Hills (palsolidarity.org)
I can claim to have had a small hand in instigating the legal complaint to the International Criminal Court by the Comoros Islands against the murders by Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmara. The Washington Post writes:
In a filing, lawyers from the Istanbul-based law firm Elmadag argued that the events that took place on the Mavi Marmari should be considered as having occurred on the territory of Comoros.
As though this were in any sense a matter of dispute. That crimes committed on any ship outside of territorial waters are under the jurisdiction of the flag state of the ship, is both customary international law of ancient standing and a fundamental provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Ships shall sail under the flag of one State only and, save in exceptional cases expressly provided for in international treaties or in this Convention, shall be subject to its exclusive jurisdiction on the high seas.
The Comoros Islands are a tiny state off the East coast of the continent. They are part of the disgraceful system where small or failed states lease out their shipping registers – often corruptly – to western companies who run them, enabling major shipping owners to evade safety, conditions, qualifications and pay regulations of more serious states. Liberia has been the most notorious example. The Comoros government therefore deserves huge congratulation for taking its flag state responsibility so seriously, and so bravely, in taking on Israel.
It is a responsibility Turkey deliberately shed just before the Mavi Marmara was attacked.
There is, in this regard, as I reported from my meetings with organisers and bereaved families of the Mavi Marmara in Izmir two years ago, something extremely disturbing about the case of the Mavi Marmara:
Shortly before sailing, the registration was switched from Turkey to the Comoros Islands. This exempted Turkey from the responsibility of jurisdiction. It also made discussion at NATO much easier for the US; if the Israelis had attacked in international waters a ship flying the flag of a NATO state, that would have been a much more difficult thing for the alliance to ignore.
It turns out that the change was made at the insistence of the Turkish Ministry of Transport. They carried out a number of inspections of the Mavi Marmara prior to the Gaza trip and made repeated demands for changes: mattresses and cushions had to have more modern, fire resistant foam. Internal walls had to be upgraded for fire resistance. Whatever changes were then made, the Ministry found new faults. In the end, the Ministry had said that the Mavi Marmara would be impounded unless it changed its registration, as it could not meet the safety requirements for a Turkish flagged ship.
The strange thing is that the Mavi Marmara had been Turkish flagged for years, and had been running tourist cruises out of Istanbul. None of the faults the Ministry found resulted from any changes, yet none had apparently been a problem on past inspections. The family told me that, before the Mavi Marmara sailed, they had been in no doubt the Turkish government had been deliberately obstructive and had forced the change of flag.
Part of the Turkish state was insistent on giving the Mavi Marmara no protection. You have to ask the question, did these people know in advance the Mavi Marmara was to be attacked? The fatal shootings on board were mostly not random - they were targeted shots to the head of selected people. If Israel had planned this, how long in advance, where did they get their intelligence on who was aboard? If they had assistance from within the Turkish state, of course the Turkish state would want to ensure they did not have legal responsibility over the killings.
Let me be plain. I am not accusing the current government of Turkey. But they inherited a bureaucracy and political establishment riddled, especially at the most senior levels, with ultra-nationalists and relatives and connections of the Turkish military. The Turkish Foreign Office in particular is notoriously ultra and completely penetrated and corrupted by Israel. The Turkish government has had a most difficult job in changing the direction of the country without provoking violent nationalist reaction. That has been a process; and the result is that those apparently in power did not in reality get control of all the levers of power at once.
We are a long way yet from knowing the full truth about the Mavi Marmara: and Israel is not the only place to look.
Prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has been removed from his cell to an unknown location, losing all contact with his family and lawyer, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported Wednesday.
In an appeal sent out by the human rights group, Rajab had reportedly witnessed prisoners at the central Jaw prison being tortured.
Rajab’s wife had received a phonecall from Rajab testifying on what he had witnessed in the prison. Shortly after, Rajab’s wife was told that her husband had been removed from his prison cell.
His lawyer, family and fellow activists have not been in contact with him since.
On Wednesday, six Bahraini tweeters were sentenced to one year in jail each for insulting the King and “misusing the right of free expression.”
Torture in Bahraini prisons is very commonly used to force prisoners to sign confessions. In February of last year, leading political prisoners began refusing food after reporting systematic abuses in Bahrain’s jails, including beatings, torture and the use of tear gas.
Nabeel Rajab, who founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights in 2002, has been in custody since June 6 on charges of “public insults against plaintiffs,” the prosecution said in a statement at the time of his rearrest in June 2012.
The avid Twitter user has been charged with insulting the security forces, posting comments on Twitter deemed insulting to a government body and organizing peaceful protests.
His activism has given him the largest Twitter following in Bahrain, and the fourth largest in the Arab world.
The BHCR appeal calls for the immediate release of Rajab “as it is believed that he has been targeted solely due to his legitimate and peaceful work in the defense of human rights.”
The US military officer overseeing sexual assault prevention at the Fort Hood base in Texas is now under investigation for sexual assault, including allegations of maltreatment of subordinates and running a prostitution ring.
Two senior officials at the Pentagon and a Capitol Hill staffer briefed on the case confirmed to USA Today that a sergeant serving at the Texas military installation, whose name has not been released, is under investigation for abusive sexual contact, forcing a subordinate into prostitution and sexually assaulting at least two others.
The officer has now been relieved of his duties, though charges had yet to be filed. The sergeant oversaw a sexual assault prevention program at the battalion level, and was responsible for a unit of some 800 soldiers.
Both Pentagon officials who confirmed the investigation, including inquiries into the alleged prostitution ring, spoke on condition of anonymity as the case is still ongoing.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reacted with “frustration, anger and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said on Tuesday, following official acknowledgment of the investigation at Fort Hood.
The announcement also comes on the heels of another blow to the armed forces, adding to an ongoing narrative showing a widespread culture of sexual abuse in the American military. Earlier in May, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the officer in charge of the Air Force’s sexual abuse prevention program based at the Pentagon, was arrested for drunkenly groping a woman. Krusinski is set to appear in court in July for sexual battery.
To compound the unwanted attention, Krusinski’s arrest came the same week that the Pentagon released an annual report revealing a 35% increase in unreported sexual assault incidents over two years, totaling 26,000 up from 19,300 in 2010.
Reported sexual assaults of both men and women in the military rose to 3,374 last year, up from 3,192 a year earlier, according to that same Pentagon report. About a quarter of those who were assaulted and received medical attention declined to press charges, which officials cited as an indicator of victims’ fears of retribution.
“Tragically, the depth of the sexual assault problem in our military was already overwhelmingly clear before this latest highly disturbing report,” said Sen. Carl Levin, (D-MI), who currently chairs the personnel panel of the US Armed Services Committee, in response to Tuesday’s revelation.
Air Force officials have already been criticized for their handling of sexual assault issues. Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh was blasted by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for blaming “hook-up culture” for contributing to continuing sexual abuse problems.
“To say this report is disturbing would be a gross understatement. For the second time in a week we are seeing someone who is supposed to be preventing sexual assault being investigated for committing that very act,” said Gillibrand.
“We have to do better by the men and women serving and assure them that they will not be attacked by their colleagues,” she added.
In response to this latest incident, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday ordered the armed services to immediately “re-train, re-credential and re-screen” tens of thousands of recruiters and military sexual assault prevention officers.
Mounting pressure from national media and the local community still has not convinced California police to offer any explanation for why they confiscated cell phone video taken by witnesses who say eight or nine officers beat a helpless man to death.
The Kern County Sherriff’s Office has responded to allegations of police brutality only by stonewalling reporters and the family of David Silva, 33, who died last week after witnesses say police took turns hitting the supposedly inebriated man in the head with their batons. Observers who phoned 911 to report the police abuse were later visited by detectives demanding they turn over any footage captured in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 8.
The seven Kern County deputies officials say were involved in the incident (the number of California Highway Patrol officers present is still unknown) have not been placed on administrative leave, according to the Bakersfield Californian, and department officials have refused to explain why.
“We’re following the same protocol, as far as the administrative process is concerned, that we’d follow in similar-type incidents,” said sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt. Other law enforcement higher-ups echoed a similar sentiment by implying their silence was warranted by an “ongoing investigation” that could last for months.
The cause of death will be announced pending a toxicology report from the coroner as well as microscopic studies. But the delay in explanations fail to account for why witnesses told local and national media outlets that Silva appeared to die in front of them, after a police beating and while a canine unit looked on, apparently ready to intervene if Silva would have been allowed to stand.
Melissa Quair told the Bakersfield Californian that aggressive deputies showed up at her door and blocked the exit as they seized her boyfriend’s phone, which contained video of the beating. She also asserted that her mother was forced to forfeit her phone, even after the police were told it did not contain any supposed evidence.
“They used more force than was needed,” Quair said. “I told them that they didn’t have permission to say who could go in or out of my house. My mom is disabled and has a lot of doctor and medical numbers stored in her phone. But the detective didn’t care and they told my mom to write all her contacts down on a piece of paper and while she did they watched her like hawks.”
Only one poorly-lit video of the beating has surfaced, but 19 blows are visibly delivered by three officers.
“Constant bashing, this is constant bashing,” Chris Silva, brother of the victim, told KBAK-TV after the tape was broadcast on the local news. “You can count, you know – I can’t keep track. And it hurts my head looking at this.”
- California dad ‘begged for his life’ as police beat him to death – witnesses (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Nawaz Sharif who is to be Pakistan’s prime minister for a third time, called Washington to end its drone strikes in the Asian country.
Sharif said the drone strikes pose a “challenge” to Pakistan’s national sovereignty, the Associated Press quoted him as talking to reporters from his family’s estate outside the eastern city of Lahore on Monday.
“Drones indeed are challenging our sovereignty. Of course we have taken this matter up very seriously. I think this is a very serious issue, and our concern must be understood properly,” said Sharif.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party appeared on course to secure a majority of seats in Pakistan’s parliament and form the next government after claiming victory in Saturday’s election.
Beit Ummar, Occupied Palestine – At 3am on 13th May, Nasri Sabarna of Beit Ummar woke up to the sound of Israeli soldiers kicking down his front door. The sound of them shooting tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs at people passing his house on their way to the Mosque for morning prayer also woke up his 3 year old granddaughter, whose crying in turn woke up the rest of the Sabarna household.
The 6 jeeps full of soldiers had come to arrest his 21 year old son Achmed – for the fifth time. Achmed is a 21 year old student who has yet to be charged with any crime. As Achmed was not home at the time the soldiers invaded his home, the whole family were ordered to go to the police station in the illegal settlement of Gush Etzyon the following morning at 9am. It was here that Achmed was taken into interrogation. Despite not being guilty of committing any crime, his father does not expect to see him anytime soon. Achmed has already been forced to miss two years of university because of similar incidents, which have cost his family a lot of money – Achmed was arrested for the first time when he was 13 years old.
His father, Nasri is no stranger to the Israeli culture of injustice practiced against Palestinians. At the age of 13, he himself was arrested by Israeli soldiers without charge and imprisoned for 10 months. His whole life has been shaped by the occupation around him. He remembers seeing Israeli bulldozers demolish three historic homes in his village of Beit Ummar at the age of 10 – such events inspired him to become politically active. In 1978 he established the first student council in Palestine, going on later to become mayor of his home village of Beit Ummar. In Israel’s bid to crush any Palestinian political organisation, Nasri was imprisoned for 6 years between 1988 and 1994 for the sole reason of being a member of the political party Fatah.
Nasri’s main concern now is the effect that Israel’s systematic use of administrative detention, harrassment and abuse will have on the younger generations of Palestinians born under occupation. When he was mayor, 40 soldiers broke into his house and destroyed most of their belongings. They wore balaclavas as they did so and terrified his youngest son Abdullah.
Over the following weeks Abdullah’s teachers told his father that his mood had changed, he had become aggressive, argumentative and unusually violent. Nasri sought the help of psychologists from Medicenes Sans Frontiers who worked with Abdullah regularly. He told the psychologists of times where soldiers had lined him and his classmates up when walking home from school and made them jump over their guns before beating them.
The psychological treatment helped Abdullah, who is now ten, to deal with such issues and his behaviour is now back to normal. But Nasri worries for those hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are not so lucky to receive treatment. A combination of abuse and detentions coupled with the daily destruction of homes, land, resources and opportunities for young people in the West Bank diminishes any hope they may have for the future and ultimately leads them to seek out revenge through violence.
Nasri emphasised that this is not a struggle between religions, nor are different religious groups inherently incapable of coexisting in harmony. Colonialism and Zionism are the driving forces behind the brutality of the occupation and only granting Palestinians their freedom can bring around real peace. To summarise, Nasri said “No nation can just get rid of another nation.”
- Israeli settlers’ attacks continue: Vineyards poisoned in Beit Ummar (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israel’s occupation forces targets medic and injures 17 in clashes in Beit Ummar (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
President Barack Obama is currently blocking the release—or allowing the CIA to block the release—of a comprehensive Senate report on the use of torture by the George W. Bush administration CIA that is said to conclude that torture was not an effective or reliable method of interrogation and that the agency repeatedly misled the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress about its interrogation efforts.
Initiated by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and continued by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) when she succeeded him in 2009, the Senate torture probe entailed about six years of work and the review of 6 million pages of documents. In December 2012, the committee voted out the report on a mostly party line vote. Since that time, the report has been stuck in limbo at the CIA, with Director John Brennan refusing to state when his review will be complete, and reports indicating that the agency intends to write a rebuttal and oppose public release of the report.
Although the report validates anti-torture positions taken by Democrats, including President Obama, during the Bush years, Obama may be delaying its release over concerns about shedding negative light on his own, related, anti-terror policies that offend human rights, such as the continued use of torture at Guantánamo Bay or the predator drone assassination program. Further, the deep involvement of Obama’s hand-picked CIA Director, John Brennan, in the Bush-era torture and kidnapping programs may call Obama’s judgment about Brennan into question.
On the issue of torture at Guantánamo, the Obama White House claimed in 2009 that the President had canceled all Bush-era legal memos purporting to justify the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques not authorized by the Army Field Manual. The President did not, however, cancel an April 13, 2006, memo regarding the 2006 revision of the Army Field Manual and its controversial Appendix M on interrogation. That memo justifies the use of isolation, sleep deprivation, and forms of sensory deprivation that have been denounced as torture or abuse by a number of human rights and legal groups—and which sparked the ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo.
Obama may be concerned about the impact release of the report might have on his predator drone targeted assassination program. In 2009, the Obama administration successfully persuaded the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to overrule a trial judge’s ruling ordering release of a September 17, 2001, presidential directive that established a wide range of anti-terror efforts, including the use of torture. Why Obama went to such great lengths to keep the directive secret may have been revealed by the appeals court opinion, which stated that “the withheld information pertains to intelligence activities unrelated to the discontinued [torture] program,” including targeted killings of suspected al-Qaeda operatives.
- Obama Administration Keeps Report On Secret Terms (salon.com)
- The Absurdity of Letting the CIA Vet the Torture Report (theatlantic.com)
- Criminal Government (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Russia Bars Bush-Era Torture Lawyers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On Wednesday, 8 May 2013, Israel held its annual Jerusalem Day celebration, commemorating its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Old City during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israeli settlers marched through East Jerusalem neighborhoods carrying Israeli flags and singing, celebrating and asserting their control of what is internationally recognized as the capital of any viable future Palestinian state.
Settlers marching in and out of the Damascus Gate, located directly alongside the largest Palestinian shopping center in the city, were met with a pro-Palestine counter-demonstration.
Hundreds of Israeli police were on the scene to put down the Palestinian counter-demonstration. Israeli police detained upwards of 18 individuals and beat dozens of others. Among the detainees were minors as well as several photographers.
(All photos by Dylan Collins)
UK spy technology was used against British citizen in Bahrain, new evidence filed in a UK high court has claimed. Activists are calling for a judicial review of the UK’s failure to hold firms accountable for sales of spy software to repressive regimes.
The evidence submitted contains a witness statement from Bahraini activist and writer Ala’a Shehabi, 30. She has both Bahraini and British citizenship, and is one of the founding members of Bahrain Watch, an independent research and advocacy organization set up following a security crackdown in the country in February 2011.
Shebabi became one of the targets of the FinSpy malware emails, developed by UK firm Gamma International, the Guardian reported.
The activist claimed she received four phishing emails from what appeared to be authentic email accounts after being released after detention.
The FinSpy software reportedly allows for surveillance of emails, social media messaging and Skype calls, and can retrieve files saved on an infected computer’s hard drive. It also can remotely operate microphones and cameras on computers and mobile phones.
“I have real concerns about the Bahraini regime having effective unfettered access to my computer, reading my emails and monitoring my calls. Not only is this a gross invasion of my privacy, I am concerned that it could put in danger from the Bahraini authorities myself, my family members and other activists,” the paper quoted Shehabi as saying.
In her witness statement, she claims that the first infected email was supposedly from Kahil Marzou, the deputy head of Bahrain’s main opposition party. Other emails purported to have come from an Al Jazeera journalist.
“It upset me a lot, scared me and made me feel quite paranoid. I am very concerned that it appears that a product of a British company,” she stressed.
The campaign group Privacy International (PI) in November reported that Gamma International is selling surveillance technology without a proper license. The technology sold is being used by 25 countries to spy on activists, who are later targeted by repressive regimes – a situation that “amounts to criminal conduct” on the part of the tech firms, the activist group said in an 186-page report it sent to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
In the spring and summer of 2012, Bahraini activists, including Shehabi, received emails containing malware. After the University of Toronto’s CitizenLab investigated the case, it found evidence connecting the malware to FinSpy.
With this new witness statement, privacy rights groups are seeking to force the UK government to review exports of surveillance technology. The activists are pushing for a judicial review of the government’s apparent failure to investigate whether the sale of technology to repressive regimes is a breach of export-license controls.
In April, Privacy International filed an application for judicial review of HMRC over its role in allowing the export of advanced surveillance technology used by repressive regimes worldwide – including Bahrain – to spy on dissidents.
Privacy International’s lawsuit is over the government’s refusal to disclose whether it investigated UK-based Gamma International (GI). GI’s FinSpy software has allegedly been used by some two dozen countries worldwide.
“In the wrong hands, today’s surveillance technologies can have devastating effects, and the public, especially victims targeted by this surveillance, have a right to know what the UK government is doing about it,” said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International.
Gamma International, an Anglo-German company registered in the British Virgin Islands, denied reports it had sold to oppressive regimes, and maintained that it complies with export controls.
The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills advised Gamma International that FinSpy products have been controlled by EU legislation since 2000 and “require a license” in order to be sold outside the EU. This would require the tech firm to disclose the names of export customers.
Bahrain’s human rights violations
Bahrain’s human rights situation is “critical in the wake of the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that erupted in February 2011,” Human Rights Watch reported in December.
Police regularly use violence to disperse crowds of protesters, while Bahrainis, led by the country’s Shia Muslim majority, are continuing to protest, demanding greater rights and freedoms from the ruling Sunni minority.
More than 80 people have died in unrest since the pro-democracy protests begun in the February 2011 uprising, with thousands arrested and imprisoned and severe violence reportedly employed during the course of the arrests. Physical and psychological torture of prisoners to sign false confessions has also been reported.
New laws were passed in Bahrain in April making it illegal to insult the country’s king and national symbols, charges that carry five-year jail sentences.
JERUSALEM – Patriarchs and heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem on Sunday released a joint statement denouncing attacks by Israeli police officers on worshipers and pilgrims during Holy Saturday at the Church of Holy Sepulcher.
Signatories of the statement highlighted that they saw “awful scenes of the brutal treatment to clerics, average people and pilgrims in Jerusalem during Holy Saturday.”
They added: “A day of joy was turned into a day of severe sadness and pain for several of our faithful brothers who were mistreated by a number of Israeli police officers at the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem leading to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.”
It is unacceptable, according to the statement, that clergymen and average people “get beaten brutally and indiscriminately and be denied access to their churches under the pretext of keeping order.”
The statement urged the Israeli government to denounce the violence that police practiced against worshipers and clergymen.
The patriarchs and heads of churches also denied claims of those who blamed the churches for what happened during the Holy week in Jerusalem. “These claims are counter to what happened in reality, and all heads of churches condemn the Israeli procedures and violations of the Christians’ rights,” the statement said.
The statement was signed by heads of all recognized churches in the Holy Land including the Roman Orthodox Church, the Latin Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Custodian of the Holy Land, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and the Armenian Catholic Church.
- Egyptian assaulted by Israeli police (dailynewsegypt.com)
- More zionist crimes against Christianity: Settlers raise Israeli flag over West Bank church (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Settlers Burn Greek Orthodox Church Land In Jerusalem (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)