Aletho News


Nariman and Ahed Tamimi: Icons of Palestinian Resilience

By Bassem Tamimi | MEMO | March 20, 2018

The incarceration of the two most important women in my life, my wife Nariman and daughter Ahed, is not an extraordinary or exceptional case. On the contrary, Palestinians have continued to endure such atrocious behaviour from Israel as an occupying power since the Nakba of 1948. Perhaps my family represents a model of Palestinians in general, and women specifically, who suffer from inhumane practices on a daily basis.

While families in the Middle East and elsewhere celebrate Mother’s Day, my heart aches for my late mother who passed away about three years ago. She died after suffering from a severe illness, while also still grieving the murder of my sister Bassema. About 25 years ago, my sister was brutally beaten to death by a group of Israeli settlers at the entrance of an Israeli court while waiting to see her detained son. During this painful period, I also went through one of the most difficult and life-threatening periods of my life. While incarcerated in an Israeli prison, I sustained a brain hemorrhage that led to a coma, which left me incapacitated for a long period. The day I was released from Israeli prison, my sister was buried; a devastating time for me and my family. While the Palestinian people continue to suffer from this indefinite occupation, it feels as if these devastating days are a never-ending part of our everyday lives.

Such is the case as my wife and daughter continue to be imprisoned by the Israelis. In the early morning hours of 19 December, 2017, over 30 Israeli soldiers invaded my home and imprisoned my 16-year-old daughter, Ahed. The soldiers declared my village a closed military zone and sealed off all entrances and exits. With more than 12 military jeeps, they fired teargas and detonated sound bombs – they came to terrorize my child and family. Ahed was strong, resilient and calm. While sitting chained in an Israeli military jeep, she called, “Don’t worry, I am strong”. Yes, my child will continue to be strong and resilient and perhaps that is why many people idolize her, while others fear her strength.

Prior to the arrest, some Israeli groups launched a vicious campaign against her because she stood tall against Israeli intimidation and brutality. When my wife Nariman attempted to visit her at the Israeli interrogation centre, she was also arrested. Today, these two strong women await justice and freedom.

I should not be surprised by Ahed’s perseverance, strength, and rejection of the occupation. When she was a small child she asked me what ‘occupation’ means. “Fear,” I said. Despite Ahed’s gentle and warm personality, she grew up knowing how to face that fear and to be strong in the face of it. She stood strong against an armed solider and all that he represented in this illegal occupation. All she did was to unwaveringly say no, in her words and actions, to the occupation.

Despite Ahed’s youth, she stood strong and proud against intimidation and threats during her interrogation by the Israeli military. They tried to break her will, but my child won. In a letter sent through her lawyer, Ahed said, “What happened was expected, and when I remember why I am in Israeli prison, my will becomes stronger. This cause deserves a great deal. We have endured difficulties and we will overcome, as I was taught by my parents. The encouragement and enthusiasm I have received has made me immensely happy, however, I hope that the rest of the Palestinian prisoners receive the same support as I have.”

No doubt, I am a proud father, a father of a girl that has become an icon of popular and peaceful resistance. However, my heart is full of sadness and anger as my child is robbed of her childhood.

Despite my family’s long history of peaceful resistance and demonstrations, and both myself and Nariman’s numerous arrests by the Israelis, I cannot hide the fact that I am in distress and fear for Ahed’s future—perhaps because this is her first experience in Israeli prisons and her first time away from home.

Since 2010, Nariman has participated in hundreds of peaceful demonstration organized in our village against the Israeli occupation. Our home was raided hundred times and Nariman was arrested three times—but this did not deter her from continuing her struggle against the occupation. During the course of demonstrations, she rescued countless Palestinian youth who sustained injuries and attacks by the Israeli military. Yet, she was not able to rescue her own brother who was brutally killed by the Israeli military in 2012. Nariman captured the Israeli attacks on video that day, but did not know that she was in fact filming the death of her own brother. Planting the seeds of resilience in Ahed and my children, Nariman continues to be a role model to women everywhere.

The Palestinian people continue to endure hardship and dispossession, from the time of the Nakba in 1948 until today, both at the hands of the Israeli occupying authorities, as well as the terror of illegal Israeli settlers. Palestinians worldwide, whether living under occupation, in the refugee camps, or elsewhere in exile—continue to live a daily Nakba. We in An Nabi Saleh village represent every Palestinian family who continues to endure Israeli policies of disenfranchisement, a policy that deprives Palestinians of the basic human right to live free. Despite these inhuman and illegal policies and practices against our families, and especially against women in particular, Palestinian women have persisted in their fight. In An Nabi Saleh, women and girls are leaders, and their role in peaceful demonstrations is vital, and are considered role models for many women here in Palestine and abroad.

While the Israelis chose Mother’s Day to prosecute Nariman and Ahed, my family, village, and Palestinians worldwide await the day when they, and all political prisoners, are released from Israeli prison. I would like to extend my family’s sincere gratitude to all those who have supported my wife and daughter, especially human rights organizations.

I am a proud husband and father. I am proud of all the women and mothers of Palestine who, with their strength and determination, have taught us to be fearless. I am proud that today, my child’s beautiful face has become a universal symbol of steadfastness, resistance and anti-injustice – like the iconic image of Che Guevara.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to be sentenced to 8 months in Israeli prison

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 21, 2018

Ahed Tamimi, 17-year-old activist from Nabi Saleh whose case has received widespread global attention, will be sentenced to eight months in Israeli prison following a plea bargain on 21 March at Ofer military court, Palestinian media have reported. The plea bargain will involve a modified indictment with four items instead of the 12 that were originally included in the indictment, under which she was threatened with imprisonment for up to 10 years.

In the revised indictment, Ahed is accused of obstructing and assaulting an occupation soldier as part of the famous incident in which she slapped an occupation soldier on her family’s land, demanding he leave. Other charges of “incitement” and allegations related to political speech were excluded from the new indictment, as were five other incidents in which she was accused of assaulting occupation forces when they invaded her village, Nabi Saleh.

Ahed’s mother, Nariman, is also imprisoned and facing similar charges relating to the action on 15 December, in which Ahed confronted an Israeli occupation soldier invading her village alongside her cousin, Nour. Nariman Tamimi livestreamed the confrontation on Facebook in a video that soon went viral, expressing Palestinians’ commitment to resist occupation. Ahed and her family are leaders in the grassroots indigenous land defense movement in Nabi Saleh, confronting the illegal settlement of Halamish and occupation soldiers who have confiscated the village’s spring and lands.

The vast majority of all military court cases in occupied Palestine end in plea bargains. Palestinian prisoners are forced into plea bargains with threats of lengthy sentences that pose an all-too-real danger, especially with the inflated charges and lengthy indictments proffered against Palestinians. Over 99 percent of all military court cases end with a conviction, and lengthy sentences have become a norm, even for many children. Plea bargains are forced on Palestinians by a colonial “court” system that is only designed to suppress their resistance and isolate organizers and leaders from the Palestinian people.

The sentence comes only days after the Israeli military appeals court ruled on 19 March that Ahed’s trial must be held behind closed doors and away from public view. Ahed and her lawyer, Gabi Lasky, are rejecting the closed trial, especially as the case has helped to shine an international light on Israeli practices against Palestinian prisoners, especially Palestinian children targeted for arrest and persecution. Ahed’s case has helped to highlight the ongoing, systematic practice of the military imprisonment and trial of hundreds of Palestinian children each year.

While the Israeli court justified its order for a closed trial with language about the protection of minors, the Israeli army videotaped and widely distributed footage of Ahed’s arrest and leading Israeli politicians have publicly demanded she spend the rest of her life in prison. The village of Nabi Saleh has been subjected to repeated raids and attacks and the imprisonment of yet more children of the extended Tamimi family.

Over 1.5 million people have signed a global petition to demand Ahed’s freedom and thousands of people around the world have participated in hundreds of events and actions to demand her release and that of the over 6,100 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails, including over 350 Palestinian children. The struggle to free Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle must be continued and intensified; the global action was critical in maintaining a high profile for Ahed’s case, and every Palestinian prisoner also deserves this attention, solidarity and struggle.

Free Ahed Tamimi! Free all Palestinian prisoners!

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Irishmen subjected to CIA-style ‘5 techniques’ by British not tortured – European court

RT | March 20, 2018

A European court has rejected a request to find that a group of 14 men detained during internment in Northern Ireland suffered torture. The prisoners were subjected to white noise, sleep and food deprivation as well as beatings.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected the Irish government petition to revise a 1978 judgement against the UK and find that the prisoners, known as the ‘hooded men’ were subjected to torture.

The men were exposed to methods known as the “five techniques” – hooding, white noise, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and food deprivation. The practice was applied over an unknown period of four to seven days for an unspecified number of hours at a time. Similar interrogation techniques have since been deployed by the CIA and outlined in a 2014 Senate Torture report.

The men, who were all Catholic, were detained in 1971 at the height of The Troubles after Northern Ireland used the Special Powers Act to introduce internment without trial for those suspected of being involved in violence. They were hooded and flown by helicopter to a secret location, later revealed as a British Army camp outside Derry in Northern Ireland. Before landing they were dangled out of the helicopter and told they were high in the air, although they were close to the ground. None of the individuals were ever convicted of wrongdoing.

In 1978 the ECHR found that the British authorities’ actions amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, but not torture. Following a TV documentary in 2014, which brought archived files to light, the Irish government requested a revision of the original judgment.

The Irish government submitted that a psychiatrist who gave evidence as an expert for the British government misled the Commission by saying that the effects of the ill-treatment were short-lived when he knew that the use of the five techniques had long-lasting and severe effects. The government cited archived documents that allegedly revealed the British authorities had tried to prevent the court from accessing the full truth about the five techniques.

Overall, the court found that the documents did not demonstrate facts which were unknown at the time. It added that it could also not be said that such knowledge might have had a decisive influence leading to a finding of torture, noting that the original judgment had made no reference to the issue of such long-term effects. The revision request was dismissed by a chamber of seven judges by six votes to one.

Amnesty International, who visited the detainees in 1971 and stated then there was evidence of torture at the camp, described today’s decision as “disappointing.” It noted that the ruling is not a statement that the ‘five techniques’ do not constitute torture as it is legally defined today.

“What has been revealed in the files withheld by the UK government cannot be denied. These men were tortured, and with approval at the highest levels of government. The record of what these men endured in those interrogation rooms 47 years ago, and the devastating impact on them afterwards, still stands,” Amnesty said.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson – Britain’s Record of Conducting State Sponsored Assassinations

Pat Finucane (right) leaving Court with Pat McGeown, the IRA volunteer who had charges related to the deaths of 2 British soldiers dropped.
By Gavin O’Reilly | American Herald Tribune | March 15, 2018

With the eyes of the world focused on the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, the Russian who worked as a British double-agent before being exiled to the UK in 2010, since he and his daughter were found slumped on a Salisbury public bench last Sunday, one can’t help but notice the hypocritical reaction of the British political establishment to the attack.

Addressing the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May alleged Kremlin involvement in the incident due to ‘Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations’.

These words were spoken in a self-righteous sense, one that suggested the UK held the moral ground over Russia and would never go so far as to conduct assassinations of political opponents on foreign soil.

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of British foreign policy towards Ireland however, would know that this patently isn’t the case.

In 1989, the north of Ireland was at the height of a bloody conflict in which Irish Republican militants were waging a guerrilla campaign on Crown Forces in a bid to end British rule in the region.

In order to counter the threat posed by the IRA and other such groups, Westminster had long decided that anyone charged with Republican activity in the occupied six counties would be brought before a non-Jury ‘Diplock’ court; thus maximising the chances of conviction and imprisonment.

One human rights Lawyer from Belfast however, would quickly gain prominence for successfully defending Republicans charged before these courts.

Pat Finucane first came to public attention through his campaigning for Republican prisoners during the 1981 H-Block hunger strike.

He would quickly become a thorn in the side of the British establishment by representing Republicans in several high-profile cases throughout the 1980s, with the final straw coming in November 1988 when he successfully defended an IRA Volunteer in a case related to the deaths of two British soldiers.

On the 12th of February 1989, a pro-British death squad burst into Pat Finucane’s home and shot him 14 times as he had Sunday dinner with his wife and children.

The death squad in question, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was a then-legal organisation under the control of the Force Research Unit (FRU), a covert British military unit tasked with turning the UDA into a more ‘professional’ organisation.

British state involvement in the killing went even higher than the military, with then-Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg lamenting in the weeks before Finucane’s death that there were Lawyers in the north of Ireland who were ‘unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA’.

The murder of Pat Finucane was not an isolated incident however, and not even a tactic confined by the British to intense periods of conflict in Ireland, such as the 1980s were.

Ten years after Finucane’s killing, the level of conflict in Ireland had decreased significantly following the 1998 surrender agreement between the Provisional IRA and British government.

This ‘peace’ however, was and still is maintained by the threat of violence from the British state should anything upset the status quo.

This is what ultimately led to the murder of Rosemary Nelson.

A human rights lawyer, like Pat Finucane, Rosemary had also risen to prominence through her successful defence of Republicans in high-profile cases.

However, it was her representation of the family of Robert Hamill, a young Nationalist beaten to death by a Loyalist mob in 1997 whilst in full view of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) the north of Ireland’s pro-British police force, that drew the most ire from the British establishment.

On the 15th of March 1999, Rosemary Nelson was killed by a car bomb outside her home in Armagh, occupied Ireland. The attack was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a breakaway faction of the UDA.

Rosemary Nelson 79438

The scene of Rosemary Nelson’s murder

In the days following her murder, it emerged that members of the RUC’s covert Special Branch had been involved in a surveillance operation close to Nelson’s home the night before her death, ostensibly to monitor suspected members of the IRA.

Despite the intense surveillance of the area surrounding Nelson’s home, no Special Branch members reported seeing the RHD team that carried out attack; like Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson had also become another victim of Britain’s bloody record of state sponsored assassinations.

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s New CIA Director Oversaw Torture in ‘Black Sites’

Gina Haspel © The OSS Society / YouTube
teleSUR | March 13, 2018

Gina Haspel, who is accused of overseeing torture interrogation cases in a “black site” in Thailand, is now the head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, after President Donald Trump appointed Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state following the sacking of Rex Tillerson.

Haspel became the CIA’s deputy chief in 2017 despite multiple accusations linking her to torture cases as an undercover official.

She was responsible for the CIA’s first overseas detention center in Thailand, known as Cat’s Eye base or Detention Site Green, where suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim Nashiri were brutally interrogated in 2002 for their alleged involvement in the al-Qaida network.

According to the Intelligence Committee’s investigation, Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times and slammed into walls between Aug. 4 and 23, 2002. He was beaten so brutally he lost consciousness with water bubbling up from his lungs that doctors had to revive him. He also lost sight in his left eye before interrogators decided he didn’t have any valuable information.

Zubaydah’s torture was videotaped and stored in Thailand until 2005, when Haspel and Jose Rodriguez, then director of operations and head of the National Clandestine Service, ordered the footage be destroyed without previous consultation or authorization by the U.S. Congress. Al-Nashiri’s torture tape was also destroyed.

In June 2017, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a lawsuit to German federal prosecutors against Haspel for her involvement in the Thailand torture cases. The complaint states that psychologist James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were the only two people authorized to contact Zubaydah, and that they were under Haspel’s supervision.

But during the first years of the new “war on terror” that started after the Sept. 11, 2001 events, the George Bush administration considered waterboarding and other torture interrogation techniques to be legal.

Haspel became Rodriguez’ chief of staff in 2003, who back then was the director of the Counterterrorism Center. As chief of staff, Haspel ran programs that commonly used torture methods on suspects, including sleep deprivation, coffins and waterboarding to conduct brutal interrogations.

According to John Sifton from Human Rights Watch, Haspel was also one of the senior officials running the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) CIA program, which had the aim of kidnapping suspects all around the world and handing them to other countries for interrogation, which more than often also included torture.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said multiple times he thinks that torture works and has vowed to bring waterboarding back. Trump’s policy is reflected in the decision to make Haspel first Deputy Director and then Director of the U.S. intelligence agency.

“If Ms. Haspel seeks to serve at the highest levels of U.S. intelligence, the government can no longer cover up disturbing facts from her past,” said Senator Ron Wyden, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

And Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State doesn’t inspire much hope either. The former CIA director supports waterboarding and other intense interrogation techniques, saying they “don’t even constitute torture” and praising “patriots” who have used such methods to counter terrorism.

Other advocates of waterboarding deny the method is a kind of torture, and even call it “enhanced interrogation.”

Haspel’s position has yet to be ratified by the Senate.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Israeli settler runs over, injures Palestinian teenage boy in occupied West Bank

Press TV – March 11, 2018

A Palestinian teenage has reportedly sustained injuries after an Israeli settler ran him over in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Local sources, requesting anonymity, told Arabic-language Ma’an news agency that the 16-year-old victim, identified as Rushdi Yasser al-Khatib, was struck on the road linking the towns of Hizma and ‘Anata northeast of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds on Sunday afternoon.

The sources added that the settler fled the scene after the incident.

The Palestinian Health Ministry later announced that Khatib had been transferred to the Palestine Medical Complex in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, describing his injuries as serious.

Palestinian medics said the teenager has suffered a fractured skull and bruises all over his body.

There have been scores of “hit and run” incidents targeting Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, with most of them largely going uninvestigated by Israeli authorities. Some of such events have resulted in fatalities.

A 21-year-old Palestinian woman, identified as Tamara Thawabta, was run over near the entrance to Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie in al-Arroub town, located 15 kilometers south of Bethlehem, on September 26, 2017.

Asil Tariq Abu Aoun was run over by an Israeli settler near Hamra checkpoint in Furush Beit Dajan village, located 10 kilometers east of Nablus, on August 26. The 8-year-old Palestinian girl later succumbed to her serious injuries.

On August 10, an Israeli settler ran over four Palestinian children in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli soldiers pose as news crew to abduct student leader from West Bank university

RT | March 8, 2018

Disguised Israeli forces have stormed Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank and seized the head of the university’s student council. Two students were reportedly injured by gunfire during the raid.

Omar Kiswani was taken by soldiers who reportedly posed as journalists. The university posted footage of Wednesday’s raid online, showing a group of six men pinning Kiswani down and pointing their guns at onlookers.

According to the university, the attackers “carrying firearms in their backpacks, entered the campus during working hours and attacked the student in front of the Student Council Building.” It also called the operation a “barbaric intrusion” and said that two students were recovering in hospital after being injured when the Israeli forces fired into the campus.

Student council member Yahya Alawi, who witnessed the abduction, told the Palestinian Quds News Network that the Israelis “identified Omar and called over to him as if they wanted to interview him as journalists.” Alawi said they then “beat [Kiswani], pulled out their weapons, and a large group of occupation soldiers stormed through the main entrance of the university.”

The Union of Journalists in Israel issued a statement condemning the soldiers impersonation saying that they were “troubled” by “undercover forces impersonating a news crew at Bir Zeit University.” The union added: “Such behavior is likely to endanger real journalists doing their jobs and strikes a blow at freedom of the press. Journalistic work is important and journalists must not be endangered, even in order to conduct security operations.”

This is not the first time 24-year-old Kiswani has been arrested. He previously spent a year in prison for his participation in a group affiliated with Hamas on campus. Following his abduction on Wednesday, Israeli army troops covered the plainclothes operatives’ departure from the scene, firing shots at a group of students throwing stones.

“This is not the first violent intrusion by Israeli army forces, who systematically invade the university’s campus – even though it is specifically protected under international humanitarian law –  and constantly harass students, faculty members, and staff at Birzeit University and other Palestinian educational institutions,” the university’s Right to Education Campaign wrote in a statement.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Forces Attack Students at Hebron Technical University

Palestine Chronicle | March 5, 2018

Clashes broke out on Sunday between Israeli forces and Palestinian students of Palestine Technical University in the West Bank district of Hebron, with no injuries reported until the moment, according to director of students’ affairs department, Issa al-Amla.

Israeli occupation forces reportedly fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters toward the students and the university’s campus; however, no injuries or arrests were reported.

The director said Israeli forces deliberately provoke students through their almost daily presence at the university’s entrance, where they often search and interrogate students on their way to or from campus.

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Lies and Self-deceptions at Work Within Israel’s “Moral” Army

By Jonathan Cook | The National | March 5, 2018

It is has been a very bad week for those claiming Israel has the most moral army in the world. Here’s a small sample of abuses of Palestinians in recent days in which the Israeli army was caught lying.

A child horrifically injured by soldiers was arrested and terrified into signing a false confession that he was hurt in a bicycle accident. A man who, it was claimed, had died of tear-gas inhalation was actually shot at point-blank range, then savagely beaten by a mob of soldiers and left to die. And soldiers threw a tear gas canister at a Palestinian couple, baby in arms, as they fled for safety during a military invasion of their village.

In the early 2000s, at the dawn of the social media revolution, Israelis used to dismiss filmed evidence of brutality by their soldiers as fakery. It was what they called “Pallywood” – a conflation of Palestinian and Hollywood.

In truth, however, it was the Israeli military, not the Palestinians, that needed to manufacture a more convenient version of reality.

Last week, it emerged, Israeli officials had conceded to a military court that the army had beaten and locked up a group of Palestinian reporters as part of an explicit policy of stopping journalists from covering abuses by its soldiers.

Israel’s deceptions have a long history. Back in the 1970s, a young Juliano Meir-Khamis, later to become one of Israel’s most celebrated actors, was assigned the job of carrying a weapons bag on operations in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. When Palestinian women or children were killed, he placed a weapon next to the body.

In one incident, when soldiers playing around with a shoulder-launcher fired a missile at a donkey, and the 12-year-old girl riding it, Meir-Khamis was ordered to put explosives on their remains.

That occurred before the Palestinians’ first mass uprising against the occupation erupted in the late 1980s. Then, the defence minister Yitzhak Rabin – later given a Hollywood-style makeover himself as a peacemaker – urged troops to “break the bones” of Palestinians to stop their liberation struggle.

The desperate, and sometimes self-sabotaging, lengths Israel takes to try to salvage its image were underscored last week when 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi was grabbed from his bed in a night raid.

Back in December he was shot in the face by soldiers during an invasion of his village of Nabi Saleh. Doctors saved his life, but he was left with a misshapen head and a section of skull missing.

Mohammed’s suffering made headlines because he was a bit-player in a larger drama. Shortly after he was shot, a video recorded his cousin, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, slapping a soldier nearby after he entered her home.

Ahed, who is in jail awaiting trial, was already a Palestinian resistance icon. Now she has become a symbol too of Israel’s victimisation of children.

So, Israel began work on recrafting the narrative: of Ahed as a terrorist and provocateur.

It emerged that a government minister, Michael Oren, had even set up a secret committee to try to prove that Ahed and her family were really paid actors, not Palestinians, there to “make Israel look bad”. The Pallywood delusion had gone into overdrive.

Last week events took a new turn as Mohammed and other relatives were seized, even though he is still gravely ill. Dragged off to an interrogation cell, he was denied access to a lawyer or parent.

Shortly afterwards, Israel produced a signed confession stating that Mohammed’s horrific injuries were not Israel’s responsibility but wounds inflicted in a bicycle crash.

Yoav Mordechai, the occupation’s top official, trumpeted proof of a Palestinian “culture of lies and incitement”. Mohammed’s injuries were “fake news”, the Israeli media dutifully reported.

Deprived of a justification for slapping an occupation soldier, Ahed can now be locked away by military judges. Except that witnesses, phone records and hospital documentation, including brain scans, all prove that Mohammed was shot.

This was simply another of Israellywood’s endless productions to automatically confer guilt on Palestinians. The hundreds of children on Israel’s incarceration production line each year have to sign confessions – or plea bargains – to win jail-sentence reductions from courts with near-100% conviction rates.

It is more Franz Kafka than Hollywood.

A second army narrative unravelled last week. CCTV showed Yasin Saradih, 35, being shot at point-blank range during an invasion of Jericho, then savagely beaten by soldiers as he lay wounded, and left to bleed to death.

It was an unexceptional incident. A report by Amnesty International last month noted that many of the dozens of Palestinians killed in 2017 appeared to be victims of extra-judicial executions.

Before footage of Saradih’s killing surfaced, the army issued a series of false statements, including that he died from tear-gas inhalation, received first-aid treatment and was armed with a knife. The video disproves all of that.

Over the past two years, dozens of Palestinians, including women and children, have been shot in similarly suspicious circumstances. Invariably the army concludes that they were killed while attacking soldiers with a knife – Israel even named this period of unrest a “knife intifada”.

Are soldiers today carrying a “knife bag”, just as Meir-Khamis once carried a weapons bag?

A half-century of occupation has not only corrupted generations of teenage Israeli soldiers who have been allowed to lord it over Palestinians. It has also needed an industry of lies and self-deceptions to make sure the consciences of Israelis are never clouded by a moment of doubt – that maybe their army is not so moral after all.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 9 Comments

The spin machine behind Saudi Arabia’s ‘humanitarian aid plan’ for Yemen

By Dan Glazebrook | Middle East Eye | March 2, 2018

On 22 January, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen unveiled a new plan to deliver “unprecedented relief to the people of Yemen”.

The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) is a new “aid” programme with the ostensible aim of “addressing immediate aid shortfalls while simultaneously building capacity for long-term improvement of humanitarian aid and commercial goods imports to Yemen”.

This will primarily be done through increasing the “capacities of Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian as well as commercial imports” – and all sealed with a whopping $1.5bn in aid contributions. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Starvation politics

The problem here is not only that the funding required to meet the needs created by the Saudi-led coalition is estimated by the UN to be twice that amount. The real problem is that the plan will not, in fact, increase the imports on which Yemen is utterly dependent, but reduce them still further.

This is because the much-vaunted “improvements in port capacity” will apply solely to “coalition-controlled ports”, excluding the ports outside their control – Hodeidah and Saleef – which, between them, handle about 80 percent of Yemen’s imports.

For these, absolutely critical, ports, the plan explicitly states that it wants a reduction in the flow of cargo they handle: by around 200 metric tons per month, compared to mid-2017 levels. Yes, you heard correctly: cargo levels in mid-2017 – when 130 children were dying each day from malnutrition and other preventable diseases largely caused by the limits on imports already in place – are now deemed in need of further, major, reductions.

This plan is nothing less than a systematisation of the starvation politics of which the Saudis were accused by the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen in relation to their closure of Hodeidah and Saleef in November.

Back then, noted the panel’s final report, all Yemen’s ports had been closed following a Houthi missile attack on Riyadh airport. But while coalition-controlled ports were quickly reopened, Hodeidah and Saleef remained closed for weeks.

“This had the effect,” said the panel, “of using the threat of starvation as an instrument of war.” Today, the “Comprehensive Operations” plan envisages making permanent the juxtaposition of wilful starvation of Houthi-controlled territory (in which the vast majority of Yemenis live) and “generous” aid deliveries into coalition-controlled territories.

Spin masters

These are the same “methods of barbarism” as were employed by the British in the Boer war – when Boer-controlled territories were subjected to scorched earth policies of torching farms and destroying livestock – and then revived for Britain’s colonial wars in Malaya, Kenya and, indeed, Yemen in the 1950s-60s. Small wonder Britain is so deeply involved today.

But such a strategy will surely be hard to sell in this day and age. Certainly, the Saudis seem to think so, which is presumably why they have employed a plethora of PR agencies to help them do so.

An exceptional investigation by the IRIN news agency reported that “the press release journalists received announcing the [YCHO] plan came neither from the coalition itself nor from Saudi aid officials”.

It came, along with an invitation to visit Yemen, straight from a British PR agency. The investigation also revealed that the PowerPoint presentation used to introduce the YCHO to high-level UN officials was authored by Nicholas Nahas, of Booz Allen Hamilton, a US management consultancy with long-established links to the US government (including involvement in the illegal SWIFT and PRISM mass surveillance programmes). The consultancy currently has, says IRIN, “35 job listings in Riyadh on its website, including ‘military planner'”.

This role requires the applicant to: “Provide military and planning advice and expertise to support the coordination of joint counter threat operations executed by coalition member nations and facilitate resourcing to enable operations.”

Another PR company involved in “selling” the YCHO, long on the Saudi payroll, is Washington DC-based Qorvis MSLGroup. According to IRIN’s report, the company “booked US revenue of more than $6m from the Saudi Arabian embassy [in the US] over a 12-month period up to September 2017”.

These masters of spin have certainly been busy: their work on the plan has been delivered to “the offices of major INGOs in the UK as well as to members of the UK parliament”, and YCHO accounts have been set up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Gmail.

The YCHO Twitter account has around 10,000 followers; but, says the IRIN investigation, “almost half of YCHO’s followers have less than 10 followers themselves, while some 1,000 followers were accounts created on the same day in 2016 – signs that a significant number of bots or fakes are inflating YCHO’s popularity”.

“All of this,” concludes IRIN, “has fed suspicions that rather than a genuine attempt to help the people of Yemen, the plan is really intended more to gloss over the Hodeidah issue and improve Saudi Arabia’s battered image, or at least a bit of both.”

You would think a strategy aimed at starving the world’s most starved population still further would be a hard sell. But, then, money not only talks, it silences. And $1.5bn is a lot of money.

The UN response

The UN’s own Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, issued just two days before the YCHO, on 20 January, had noted that: “Al Hudaydah port, which accounts for 70-80 per cent of commercial imports in Yemen, remains a critical lifeline, despite operating at reduced capacity after being hit by an air strike in August 2015.”

The UN statement added that “the extended blockade imposed on Al Hudaydah and Salif ports on 6 November 2017 significantly threatened this lifeline of Yemenis” and that “only a sustained flow of imports of essential basic goods can avert further catastrophe”.

Yet the cash-strapped UN, facing dramatic budget cuts from the Trump administration, and presumably nervous of saying anything that might jeopardise Saudi-Emirati money as well, officially welcomed the announcement, despite its clear commitment to essentially tightening the very blockade of Hodeidah and Saleef ports which the UN had denounced just days earlier.

Politicising humanitarian aid

Thankfully, the aid agencies do not seem to have been fooled. A joint statement on the YCHO by a number of international NGOs, including Oxfam and Save the Children, stated that:

“We remain concerned that the blockade on Red Sea ports has still not been fully lifted and about the insufficient volume of fuel reaching these, which has led to an increase in the price of basic goods across the country.

“As a result, we are seeing families pushed into preventable disease and starvation because they cannot afford to buy food and clean water. Hodeidah port handles the majority of the country’s imports and cannot be substituted. It is vital that the warring parties commit to keep Hodeidah port fully open and functioning, including unfettered access for both humanitarian and commercial supplies.”

Save the Children’s Caroline Anning explained that the plan “is a misconception – in the publicity around this new plan they say the blockade around Hodeida port has been fully lifted but actually what we’re seeing is that fuel is still being blocked coming into that port which is having a really horrendous knock-on effect around the country.”

And the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s scathing response – issued with the title “Yemen: Saudi ‘aid’ plan is war tactic” – is worth quoting at length:

“The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO), announced on January 22, 2018, is neither comprehensive, nor reflective of clear, shared humanitarian priorities… The YCHO politicizes aid by attempting to consolidate control over access and transit points. Rather than endorsing a parallel plan, which was created without broad input from humanitarian actors, the Saudi Led Coalition (SLC) and its supporters, notably the US and UK, should work to ensure the full implementation of the existing UN humanitarian response plan.

“A meaningful response to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis requires more access – not less. At best, this plan would shrink access and introduce new inefficiencies that would slow the response and keep aid from the neediest Yemenis, including the over eight million on the brink of starvation,” said Catanzano.

“At worst, it would dangerously politicize humanitarian aid by placing far too much control over the response in the hands of an active party to the conflict.”

Essentially, this is a plan to tighten the blockade while monopolising access to aid in the hands of the aggressors, presented as a great humanitarian effort, and unveiled just as the coalition begins an attack on the country’s “vital lifeline” which will lead to “a complete horror show” and “near-certain famine”.

Tighten the blockade

On 9 February, the UN announced that 85,000 people had been displaced in 10 weeks due to “surging violence”, particularly on the Red Sea coast, where the coalition have mounted a new campaign to capture the country’s strategically important Hodeidah port.

With the Hodeidah campaign now entering a new phase, this war on the Yemeni population is set to escalate still further. Since it launched in early December, the coalition and its Yemeni assets have taken several towns and villages in Hodeidah province, and are now poised to take the battle to the city itself.

On 20 February, Emirati newspaper The National reported that, in the coming days, “more forces will be committed to Hodeidah as a new front is to be opened in the next few days by Maj Gen Tariq Mohammed Abdullah,” nephew of the deceased former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

This attack would put the almost completely import dependent country’s most essential port out of action for months, leaving millions unable to survive. “If this attack goes ahead,” Oxfam chief executive, Mark Goldring, told the press when a similar attack was proposed earlier last year, “this will be a deliberate act that will disrupt vital supplies – the Saudi-led coalition will not only breach International Humanitarian Law, they will be complicit in near certain famine.”

His colleague Suze Vanmeegan added that “any attack on Hodeidah has the potential to blast an already alarming crisis into a complete horror show – and I’m not using hyperbole.”

The Yemen Quartet

There is no doubt the war’s British and American overseers have given their blessing to this escalation. In late 2016, the “Yemen Quartet” was formed by the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to co-ordinate strategy between the the war’s four main aggressors.

Throughout 2017, they met sporadically, but since the end of the year their meetings have become more frequent and higher-level.

At the end of November, just before the launch of operations in Hodeidah province, British Foreign minister Boris Johnson hosted a meeting of the Quartet in London as British Prime Minister Theresa May simultaneously met with King Salman in Riyadh, presumably to give the go-ahead to this new round of devastation for Yemen’s beleaguered population.

They met again two weeks later, and then too on 23 January, also at Johnson’s instigation, where the meeting was attended, for the first time, by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The “economic quartet” – also attended by officials from the IMF and World Bank – convened on 2 February in Saudi Arabia, while Johnson and Tillerson once again met with their Saudi and Emirati counterparts to discuss Yemen in Bonn on 15 February.

Of course, these meetings do not carry out the nitty-gritty of strategic war planning – civil servants in the military and intelligence services do that. The purpose of such high level forums is rather for each side to demonstrate to the other that any strategic developments carry the blessing of each respective government at the highest level.

That the “quartet” met just days before an announcement that the long-planned attack on Hodeidah port was imminent, then, speaks volumes about US-UK complicity in this coming new premeditated war crime.

In the twisted minds of men like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Rex Tillerson and Boris Johnson – for whom even the liquidation of an entire people is apparently a noble cause in the pursuit of containing Iran – this is what passes for humanitarianism today.

– Dan Glazebrook is a political writer and editor of He is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis and blogs at

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.


The starvation plan for Yemen

Culture of concealment: The UK government’s brazen duplicity in Yemen

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanese Nuclear Physics Student Found Dead in France

Al-Manar | March 1, 2018

A Lebanese man studying nuclear physics was found dead earlier this week in France, while reports on his death were conflicting.

It was initially reported that Hisham Salim Mourad- from the southern town of Braikeh in Nabatieh, was stabbed in his house.

However, Lebanon’s consul general in Marseille, Sonia Abou Azar, said the Grenoble police published its report on the death of Mourad and determined that he died after falling from the balcony of his house.

Mourad was studying at the Joseph Fourier University in the city of Grenoble. It was the last year of his master’s program.

The death sparked outrage among Lebanese people in Lebanon and abroad who were also shocked last week by the killing of another Lebanese student in Canada.

Hasan Ali Kheireddine, 23, was killed on Feb. 13 at a student residence on the St. Mary’s University campus in the Canadian region of Halifax.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced earlier on Sunday that instructed the Lebanese embassy in Canada to “follow up on the case in order to unveil the details of this horrible crime and the motives behind it.”

Although Canadian authorities have been downplaying the murder of Kheireddine, it is seen by many in Lebanon as suspicious, especially that the bright student was studying economics and had been well-known for his research on the influence of Zionism on the international economy.

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli Occupation Forces arrest former governor of al-Khalil

Palestine Information Center – February 28, 2018

AL-KHALIL – The Israeli Occupation Forces arrested Tuesday evening former governor of al-Khalil city Abdel Halim Ja’bari after being summoned for investigation.

Local sources affirmed that Ja’bari, 70, was summoned Tuesday morning for investigation in Etzion investigation center where he was later detained.

Ja’bari was the head of al-Khalil University for Academic Affairs, al-Khalil’s governor between 2002 and 2007, and Jericho’s governor in 2008.

February 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment