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UN raises alarm over rise in contacts between Israel troops, Syria militants

Press TV – June 21, 2017

United Nations UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed concerns about a spike in contacts between Israeli armed forces and Syria militants in recent months.

In a report released recently, Guterres warned that the growing interactions between the two sides could lead to escalation and cause harm to members of the UN Disengagement Observer Force deployed to the Golan Heights.

According to the report, UN observers listed 16 meetings between the Israel forces and the Syria militants in the border area, including on Mount Hermon, in proximity to UN outposts in Syria’s Quneitra Province and the Golan Heights, from March 2 to May 16.

“Relative to the previous reporting period, there has been a significant increase in interaction” between Israeli soldiers and individuals from the Syrian side of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, “occurring on four occasions in February, three in March, eight in April and on one occasion in May,” the report said.

In its previous report released in March, the UN listed at least 17 interactions between the two sides between November 18, 2016, and March 1, 2017.

The figures show a significant increase when compared with only two such meetings recorded between August 30 and November 16, 2016.

The report said people likely affiliated with the militant groups, some of them armed, arrived at an Israeli outpost accompanied by mules and were greeted by the soldiers.

“In some instances, personnel and supplies were observed to have been transferred in both directions. On all occasions, the unknown individuals and mules returned to the Bravo (Syrian) side,” it added.

The UN chief said such interactions have “the potential to lead to clashes between armed elements and the Syrian Arab Armed Forces.”

“All military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose a risk to the ceasefire and to the local civilian population, in addition to the United Nations personnel on the ground,” he wrote.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has been providing Takfiri terrorists in Syria’s Golan Heights with a steady flow of funds and medical supplies.

Citing militant commanders and people familiar with Israel’s thinking, the paper said Israel’s “secret engagement” in the war aims to install a buffer zone on the Syrian border with elements friendly to Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv regime regularly attacks positions held by pro-Damascus forces in Syria, claiming that the attacks are retaliatory.

The Syrian army has on several occasions confiscated Israeli-made arms and military equipment from terrorists fighting the government forces. There are also reports that Israel has been providing medical treatment to the extremists wounded in Syria.

In April, Israel’s former minister of military affairs Moshe Ya’alon admitted to a tacit alliance with Daesh, saying the terrorist group had “immediately apologized” to Tel Aviv after firing “once” into Israel.

Read more:

Israel secretly aiding Syria militants: US paper

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US police arrest anti-nuclear weapons activists at UN

Press TV – June 20, 2017

A number of anti-nuclear weapons activists have been arrested in New York during a protest against Washington’s decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The arrests were made after the activists chanting slogans such as “US join the talks, ban the bomb,” blocked the entrances to the US mission to the United Nations.

The protesters sat in front of the doors before the police moved in. police said they warned the demonstrators that they would be arrested if they did not leave the place.

In March, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States, Britain and France had decided not to join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The United Nations is currently holding a second round of negotiations about the issue.

The world body adopted a resolution in December to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination and encouraged all member states to participate.

A total of 113 nations voted in favor of the resolution but 35 countries, including the United States, Britain and France, voted against it. Thirteen countries abstained.

According to the US military’s recent declaration, the United States has 806 deployed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile), SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missile), and heavy bombers as well as 1,722 deployed nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon is also equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), a highly advanced version of the intercontinental nuclear missile carrying several independent warheads.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

UNSC liable for consequences of Saudi war on Yemen: Ansarullah

Press TV – June 17, 2017

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has held the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) accountable for the consequences of the deadly Saudi aggression, stressing that the nation reserves the right to defend itself.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, the movement’s spokesman, said on Saturday that the UNSC issues statements that encourage the invader to continue its attacks and sieges, increasing the suffering of millions of Yemenis and dashing hope for a political resolution of the conflict, the al-Masirah television network reported.

The Yemeni army and allied popular forces would use all means to respond to Saudi assaults as Yemen, like other nations, reserves the right to defend itself against any invasion, Abdulsalam said.

The UNSC, which is in charge of preserving global peace, should know that the Saudi war supported by the US arms and financial aid, threatens international security, he added.

The Houthi official also stressed that the deterioration of the health situation in Yemen with the outbreak of Cholera is “a source of shame” for the body that claims to be promoting human rights.

He further held Saudi Arabia responsible for the stalemate in talks between Yemen’s warring sides, the siege on Yemen and Sana’a Airport activities.

In a lengthy statement on Thursday, the UNSC called on the Houthis and allies to cease all attacks at Saudi Arabia.

It also urged Yemen’s warring sides to reach a UN brokered deal on management of the strategic port city of Hudaydah at a time that the country slides closer to famine.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a brutal military campaign against Yemen for more than two years to eliminate the Houthi movement and reinstall a Riyadh-friendly former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The military campaign, however, has failed to achieve its goals and left over 12,000 Yemenis dead.

The country is also grappling with a Cholera epidemic.

Earlier this week, Save the Children charity said at least 942 people have been killed since the outbreak began in Yemen in April.

It further warned that the rate of infection is increasing and that one child is contracting the disease every 35 seconds.

“Disease, starvation and war are causing a perfect storm of disaster for Yemen’s people. The region’s poorest country is on the verge of total collapse, and children are dying because they’re not able to access basic healthcare,” said Grant Pritchard, Save the Children’s Yemen director.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection that is spread through contaminated food or water. It can be effectively treated with the immediate replacement of lost fluids and salts, but without treatment it can be fatal.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Israel attempts to block yet another UN report

MEMO | June 15, 2017

Having succeeded in blocking a recent UN report that accused Israel of maintaining a system of apartheid, Israeli officials are now attempting to remove another UN report, which has charged Tel Aviv with carrying out extrajudicial executions along with a list of other human rights violations.

The report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which previously accused Israel of apartheid, has come under fire from Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, because it states that in the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 Israeli security forces killed 63 Palestinians, including 19 children, and wounded an additional 2,276 Palestinians including 562 children.

The previous ESCWA report, which had accused Israel of apartheid, was removed by the UN following protests by Danon and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who this week described the UN report of “reeking with anti-Israel bias”.

The new report accuses Israeli security forces of using disproportionate force against Palestinians and in some cases of “extrajudicial executions”. The report cites the UN Committee Against Torture and its concern about “Israeli practices towards Palestinian detainees”.

The list of human rights violations included in the report were also “torture or ill-treatment of Palestinian children” and “deprivation of basic legal safeguards for administrative detainees, isolation and solitary confinement of detainees, including minors, punishment and ill-treatment of hunger strikers.” The report also claimed that “no criminal investigation was opened into more than 1,000 complaints of torture or ill-treatment filed since 2001.”

Israeli sources have reported that Danon will work to have this report removed. “This is yet another blood libel against the State of Israel,” Arutz Sheva reported Israel’s envoy to the UN saying. “Just as we succeeded in having the previous preposterous report removed, we will fight relentlessly against this blatantly false distortion of the truth as well.”

Read: The ESCWA Report

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

UN Last Hurdle Before Israel Can Rid Itself of the Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | June 15, 2017

Nazareth – Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy.

The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood.

Danon makes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu look moderate. He has backed Israel annexing the West Bank and ruling over Palestinians apatheid-style. Haley appears unperturbed. During a meeting with Netanyahu, she told him that the UN was “a bully to Israel”. She has warned the powerful Security Council to focus on Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbollah, instead of Israel.

To protect its tiny ally, Washington is threatening to cut billions in US funding to the world body, plunging it into crisis and jeopardising peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

On the way to Israel, Haley stopped at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, demanding it end its “pathological” opposition to Israel’s decades of occupation and human rights violations – or the US would pull out of the agency.

Washington has long pampered Israel, giving it millions of dollars each year to buy weapons to oppress Palestinians, and using its veto to block UN resolutions enforcing international law. Expert UN reports such as a recent one on Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestinians have been buried.

But worse is to come. Now the framework of international laws and institutions established after the Second World War is at risk of being dismembered.

That danger was highlighted on Sunday, when it emerged that Netanyahu had urged Haley to dismantle another UN agency much loathed by Israel. UNRWA cares for more than five million Palestinian refugees across the region.

Since the 1948 war, Israel has refused to allow these refugees to return to their lands, now in Israel, forcing them to live in miserable and overcrowded camps awaiting a peace deal that never arrives. These dispossessed Palestinians still depend on UNRWA for education, health care and social services.

UNRWA, Netanyahu says, “perpetuates” rather than solves their problems. He prefers that they become the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which looks after all other refugee populations.

His demand is a monumental U-turn, 70 years in the making. In fact, it was Israel that in 1948 insisted on a separate UN refugee agency for the Palestinians.

UNRWA was created to prevent the Palestinians falling under the charge of UNHCR’s forerunner, the International Refugee Organisation. Israel was afraid that the IRO, formed in the immediate wake of the Second World War, would give Palestinian refugees the same prominence as European Jews fleeing Nazi atrocities.

Israel did not want the two cases compared, especially as they were so intimately connected. It was the rise of Nazism that bolstered the Zionist case for a Jewish state in Palestine and Jewish refugees who were settled on lands from which Palestinians had just been expelled by Israel.

Also, Israel was concerned that the IRO’s commitment to the principle of repatriation might force it to accept back the Palestinian refugees.

Israel’s hope then was precisely that UNRWA would not solve the Palestinian refugee problem; rather, it would resolve itself. The idea was encapsulated in a Zionist adage: “The old will die and the young forget.”

But millions of Palestinian descendants still clamour for a right of return. If they cannot forget, Netanyahu prefers that the world forget them.

As bloody wars grip the Middle East, the best way to achieve that aim is to submerge the Palestinians among the world’s 65 million other refugees. Why worry about the Palestinian case when there are millions of Syrians newly displaced by war?

But UNRWA poses a challenge, because it is so deeply entrenched in the region and insists on a just solution for Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA’s huge staff includes 32,000 Palestinian administrators, teachers and doctors, many living in camps in the West Bank – Palestinian territory Netanyahu and Danon hunger for. The UN’s presence there is an impediment to annexation.

On Monday Netanyahu announced his determination to block Europe from funding Israeli human rights organisations, the main watchdogs in the West Bank and a key data source for UN agencies. He now refuses to meet any world leader who talks to these rights groups.

With Trump in the White House, a crisis-plagued Europe ever-more toothless and the Arab world in disarray, Netanyahu wants to seize this chance to clear the UN out of the way too.

Global institutions such as the UN and the international law it upholds were created after the Second World War to protect the weakest and prevent a recurrence of the Holocaust’s horrors.

Today, Netanyahu is prepared to risk it all, tearing down the post-war international order, if this act of colossal vandalism will finally rid him of the Palestinians.

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen descending into total collapse as world watches: UN

Press TV – May 30, 2017

The United Nations says impoverished Yemen is on the brink of total collapse, as the country is facing an ongoing bloody military aggression by Saudi Arabia, an emerging famine, and an outbreak of cholera.

“Crisis is not coming, it is not looming, it is here today, on our watch and ordinary people are paying the price,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien in a speech on Tuesday, addressing the UN Security Council.

“The people of Yemen are being subjected to deprivation, disease and death as the world watches,” he said, adding that the crisis is triggering “total social, economic and institutional collapse” in the Arab country.

O’Brien told the council that “the time is now” to finish the world’s largest food emergency and to put Yemen on the path of survival.

His alarming remarks come as the UN Security Council has so far failed to turn off the Saudi war machine and prevent it from inflicting more damage to the kingdom’s poor southern neighbor.

Since March 2015, Yemen has been heavily bombarded by Saudi warplanes as part of a brutal campaign against the impoverished country in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the president who has resigned and is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Latest tallies show that the war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more. Indiscriminate Saudi bombardments have also taken a heavy toll on the Yemeni infrastructure, schools and hospitals, with prominent rights groups censuring Riyadh’s military for the use of internationally-banned weapons against Yemeni civilians.

The relentless airstrikes have put more than half of all health facilities in Yemen in a state of complete or partial shutdown. Nearly 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition.

Some 19 million out of the country’s 28 million population are in dire need of humanitarian aid and many of them are reported to be on the brink of famine. The relentless airstrikes have also put more than half of all health facilities in Yemen in a state of complete or partial shutdown.

Furthermore, the war-torn nation has been grappling with a deadly cholera outbreak since last October. Over 55,200 Yemenis, one third of them children, are infected by the disease. The UN figures show that since late April nearly 500 Yemeni have lost their lives due to cholera infection. It is estimated that some 150,000 new cases of cholera are surfaced in the next six months.

The chaos in Yemen, caused by the Saudi campaign, has also given the Takfiri al-Qaeda and Daesh terror groups room to operate in the country, further complicating the situation on the ground there.

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Certain states boosting Takfiri firepower: Iran’s Shamkhani

Press TV – May 24, 2017

A senior Iranian official says a number of countries, either directly or indirectly, side with the Takfiri terrorists in Iraq and Syria, helping arm the outfits with devastating effects.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the remarks at a high-level international security summit underway in Russia’s northwestern city of Tver.

He further said that those countries would either directly transfer weapons to the Takfiri terrorists or hand them over to the so-called “moderate” militants, whom they have propped up themselves before the arms are taken away by the terrorists.

This, he said, is the reason why the weapons, which are in the hands of the Takfiri terror groups of Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front), are more advanced than the ones possessed by the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

Shamkhani reiterated that Iran’s ongoing provision of military advisory support to the Iraqi and Syrian armies was taking place at their respective governments’ request.

Acting on Damascus’ plea, Iran has been cooperating with Russia to push back terrorists in Syria. This, he said, has helped inflict serious losses on terrorist camps, separated them from the ranks of the armed Syrian opposition, and eventually contributed to the conclusion of last year’s ceasefire with the opposition.

Had the United Nations acted more decisively in the face of the invasion by the US and some of its Middle Eastern and North African allies, the region would not be witnessing such conflagration today, the official asserted.

“Isn’t the time ripe for putting an end to these defeated and pernicious policies?” he asked, stressing that a failure to resolve the regional crises through political means would result in further warfare.

The official concluded his remarks by urging action against the terrorists’ attempts to establish their reign over cyberspace.

The summit started on Tuesday and would last until Thursday, with issues of global information security and fight against international organized crime high on the agenda.

“Representatives of over 90 states arrived at the meeting… Within the conference, over 10 meetings between the representatives of the delegations have been held,” said Evgeny Anoshin, the spokesman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF).

Presidential aides, ministers and intelligence officials are among the summit attendees.

It is the eighth such event in Russia. The first security summit was held in the Russian resort of Sochi in 2010 with participants from 44 countries while the 2016 conference gathered representatives from 75 states in the city of Grozny.

SCRF Secretary Nikolai Patrushev hailed the increase in the number of participants over the past years, adding that 16 European states were present in the 2017 conference “despite EU officials not recommending participating, they (intelligence agency representatives) personally took the decision [to come].”

On the sidelines of the summit on Tuesday, Shamkhani, who is heading the Iranian delegation to the Tver summit, held a four-way meeting with Patrushev, Iraq’s National Security Advisor Falih Fayaz and head of Syria’s National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Government Minister calls for assassination of President Assad and war on Iran

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | May 16, 2017

Israeli housing Minister Yoav Galant has openly called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is the first time an Israeli Minister has called for the killing of the Syrian President.

Responding to unsubstantiated claims that Syria cremates prisoners, Galant stated,

“We are crossing a red line, and in my view the time has come to assassinate Assad. And when we finish with the tail of the serpent, we will reach the head of the serpent which can be found in Tehran, and we will deal with it, too”.

The last part of the quote appears to be a call for war against Iran.

Such a crass and barbaric call to assassinate world leaders has no place in the 21st century.

It is imperative that the United Nations condemns Israel for these despicable remarks.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Above the law: Israel’s non-implementation of UN resolutions on Occupied Palestine

MEMO – May 1, 2017

Half a century has elapsed since Israel established its brutal occupation of Palestine, and almost seven decades have passed since the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, which constitutes the beginning of discrimination, dispossession and displacement for Palestinians and their persistent suffering. Since then, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people have figured prominently on the United Nations (UN) agenda. Nonetheless, the plight of the Palestinians continues.

In the light of this, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) has commissioned a report – “Above the Law: Israel’s Non-Implementation of UN Resolutions”. The report assesses Israel’s implementation of resolutions concerning Palestine and Palestinian rights adopted by the main UN bodies – the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and ECOSOC – from 1948 to 2017. The 330 page study builds on assessment by UN experts, governments and civil society actors, and draws on field observations in Palestine. It focuses on six selected thematic areas, which are periodically addressed in UN resolutions:

  1. Palestinians’ right to self-determination
  2. Legal, geographic and demographic status of Occupied Palestine
  3. Palestinian refugees and displaced persons
  4. Governance, natural resources and economy
  5. Militarisation and military operations
  6. Palestinians’ human rights

The main finding of the study is that Israel has blatantly disregarded all UN resolutions criticising its illegal activities and their dire consequences for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people since 1948. The study also finds that Israel’s occupation of Palestine is intricately linked with its apartheid system. Israel’s distinction between Jewish nationality and the “citizenship” or “residence” statuses of Palestinians forms the basis for discrimination against Palestinians. This system is also interlinked with Israel’s increasingly anti-democratic policies and practices targeting political opponents, including Jewish Israeli dissidents.

The right to self-determination

The report shows that the groundwork for Israel’s illegal policies and practices characteristic of colonialism and apartheid was laid almost seven decades ago, with the 1948 Nakba. Overriding the partition resolution, Israel had extended its borders beyond the UN-designated partition lines and annexed West Jerusalem, which had been envisaged as a city under an international regime. After having imposed its military occupation on the remaining territory of Palestine in 1967, Israel furthered administrative and legislative measures aimed at establishing permanent control over occupied Palestine, notably through its settlement policy. In recent years, Israel has taken actions subverting Palestinian self-determination in retaliation for explicit recognition of this right by the international community.

Legal, geographic and demographic status

Pursuant to its establishment in 1948, Israel was quick to develop the legislative framework for the expropriation of Palestinian land and property for the sake of Jewish settlement – first within Israel and from 1967 onwards in occupied Palestine – in an effort to alter the character, status and demography of historic Palestine illegally. On grounds of discriminatory domestic property laws, military orders and an apartheid zoning and planning regime, Israel has unabatedly confiscated Palestinian land and expropriated or demolished Palestinian property inside Israel and in occupied Palestine to construct and consolidate illegal Jewish settlements. These measures run counter to innumerable UN resolutions determining that Israel’s construction of settlements has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. Rather than constituting a novel policy, Israel’s retroactive “legalisation” of outposts hitherto considered illegal even under Israeli law, which allow for the expropriation of private Palestinian land, is a continuation of longstanding violations.

The settlement policy, in conjunction with the erection of physical obstacles, undermines the contiguity of Palestine and fragments Palestinian communities in small disconnected enclaves controlled by the Occupying Power and surrounded by massive Israeli settlement blocs, walls, checkpoints and vast security zones and roads for the exclusive benefit of Israeli settlers. Appeals by the international community, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ), dissolved into thin air in the face of Israel’s unabashed settlement and Wall construction, which deepened the fragmentation of Palestinian land and tore families apart.

The report, moreover, reveals how Israeli activities since 1948 have eroded the traditional status of Jerusalem as the centre of Palestinian political, cultural and social life and continue to subvert the future status of East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state.

Refugees and displaced persons

Notwithstanding landmark General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 and Security Council resolution 237 of 14 June 1967, as well as innumerable related resolutions, Israel persists in its denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons, particularly their right of return. In the absence of a just solution, many face immense suffering and deplorable conditions under occupation and in exile marked by vulnerability, dispossession and perilous socioeconomic situations. Israel’s population transfer and recurrent military operations result in incessant displacement among the Palestinian population, for which accountability and compensation remain absent.

Governance, natural resources and the economy

A further thematic area of UN resolutions whose implementation is assessed is Israel’s interference with or obstruction of Palestinian governance, economy, social development and infrastructure, which violate Palestinian political, social and economic rights.

Governance: After 1967, Israeli military forces attacked, detained or deported Palestinian politicians and attacked or closed down government institutions. The Oslo Accords entrenched the political occupation because the Palestinian Authority became dependent on Israeli funding and bound by the provisions of the agreement. Until today, Israel continues to interfere in Palestinian governance through, inter alia, the withholding of funds, the prevention of development projects, the closing down of institutions and offices, the curbing of political activity and the restriction on movement of Palestinian government officials.

Natural resources: The discriminatory system of control over Palestinian resources lies at the heart of Israel’s exploitation of Palestinian natural resources for the benefit of the Israeli economy and population, including settlers. Israel’s closure policy and movement restrictions further obstruct Palestinians’ use of their own natural resources.

Economy, social development and infrastructure: Israel lost no time in gearing the Palestinian economy towards Israeli interests. Under the 1994 Paris Protocol, Palestinian economic dependency on the Occupying Power became entrenched. Israeli restriction on the movement of people and goods, rigorous sanctions, the discriminatory zoning and planning regime, military actions and the suffocating blockade on Gaza have devastated the Palestinian economy and caused lasting socioeconomic hardship as well as a protracted humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Militarisation and military operations

The continued refusal of Israel to apply the Fourth Geneva Convention since 1967 created a situation in which a defenceless civilian population faces a vast and powerful military sustained financially by the Israeli state and supported by the Israeli government on a daily basis. Israel persists in its prolonged military occupation and frequent devastating operations, particularly in Gaza, marked by excessive use of force affecting Palestinian civilians disproportionately. These cause unquantifiable loss and suffering, further deprive the Palestinian people of a dignified life and deepen despair.

Human rights

The widespread violations by Israel against the Palestinian people constitute the longest outstanding, serious human rights issues on the UN agenda. Regardless of repeated appeals by the international community since 1967 to apply its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law in occupied Palestine, Israel has entrenched its deliberate, organised and institutionalised violations of Palestinians’ human rights, which have been criticised regularly in UN resolutions:

  • The use of excessive and often lethal force by Israeli occupying forces and the failure to prevent settler violence violate Palestinians’ fundamental right to life.
  • Israel continues to conduct large-scale arbitrary arrests and detention under untenable conditions of imprisonment and under the use of torture, to impose collective punishment, most deplorably in the form of its blockade on the entire population of Gaza, and to displace and deport Palestinians forcibly.
  • The Occupying Power arbitrarily and violently interferes with the right to property by destroying homes and vital infrastructure on the basis of discriminatory laws, military orders and an apartheid zoning and planning scheme.
  • Severely infringing on Palestinian freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and the right to participate in public and political life, Israel, inter alia, closes down institutions, disperses peaceful protests violently and arrests human rights defenders.
  • Israel limits Palestinians’ right to education, inter alia, through restrictions on school development, demolitions and closing down of educational institutions, movement restrictions, military raids and settler violence.
  • Restricting freedom of movement, Israel imposes curfews on entire areas and has constructed and maintains the Wall, the system of checkpoints and other physical obstacles and the associated permit regime.
  • Undermining the right to residence and family life, Israel enacts discriminatory laws governing entry and residence as well as family reunification, and perpetuates practices that discriminate against the Palestinian population, inter alia, the denial and revocation of residency statuses.
  • The Occupying Power, furthermore, violates the freedom of religion and worship, notably through access restrictions and “archaeological excavations” imperilling the maintenance of Holy Places. Frequent incursions, provocations and incitement by government officials, religious leaders, occupying forces and extremist settlers violate the historic status quo and sanctity of Holy Sites.
  • Through its policies and practices, Israel deprives Palestinians of the right to an adequate standard of living. Its actions imperil livelihoods, heighten poverty and food insecurity, deny Palestinians social services, restrict access quality medical care and have hurled Gaza into an entrenched humanitarian crisis.

General assessment

While Israel has continued to defy international law and human rights law with utmost impunity throughout almost seven decades, Palestinians see their inalienable rights disintegrate in the face of prolonged occupation, asymmetrical warfare, power politics and political expediency. The unrelenting efforts by several UN Member States to introduce necessary forcible measures under UN Charter Chapter VII through the Security Council to force Israel to comply with its international obligations have been blocked repeatedly by the veto of the United States.

The report concludes that the only way to end violations in the region is to dismember the brutal system of occupation. The liberation of Palestinians from the shackles of occupation and apartheid and the dissolution of discrimination against ethnic and increasingly political minorities within Israel would give way to real democracy and just peace in the region. To finally achieve this aim, all actors who are genuinely concerned about human rights and peace must act as a united front to bring to an end an inhumane system that threatens the humanity of, and justice for, all of us.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia backs China’s call to stop N. Korea nuke tests in exchange for halt in US-S. Korea drills

RT | April 29, 2017

Russia has supported a Chinese initiative in the UNSC intended to stabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula. It calls on the North to refrain from missile and nuclear testing, while the US and South Korea should halt military drills in the area.

“Members of the [UN] Security Council have unanimously called upon DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to stop missile and nuclear tests and to fulfill UNSC resolutions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday following a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session held in New York earlier on Friday.

The UNSC called for a political and diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry added.

“In this context, the Russian Federation supported a Chinese proposal for a ‘double suspension’ (Pyongyang is to stop missile and nuclear tests and the US and South Korean militaries are to halt drills near North Korea) as a starting point for political negotiations.”

However, the council was not able to agree on a common solution, the ministry added.

The UNSC session was joined by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, who urged Washington and Seoul to reconsider their decision to station a THAAD anti-missile system on the Korean Peninsula, warning that it will serve as a “destabilizing factor” in the region.

Gatilov said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) had been deployed “in line with the vicious logic of creating a global missile shield,” while warning that it is also undermining the security and deterrent capacities of adjacent states, such as China, thus threatening “the existing military balance in the region.”

“It is not only we who perceived this step very negatively. We are once again urging both the United States and the Republic of Korea to reconsider its expediency, and other regional states not to yield to the temptation of joining such destabilizing efforts,” the deputy foreign minister said.

Ahead of the UNSC session, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that a peaceful solution to the Korean crisis is the “only right choice.”

“Peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations represents the only right choice that is practical and viable,” Wang said.

READ MORE: ‘Destabilizing factor’: Russia urges US, S. Korea to reconsider THAAD anti-missiles deployment

April 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Tillerson puts Nikki Haley in her place. Tells her to clear comments with State Department

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | April 28, 2017

Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, who has this month started to find his feet as the US’s foreign minister, has finally acted to assert his authority over Nikki Haley, the US’s out of control UN ambassador.

It has become increasingly clear over the last few weeks that Nikki Haley, who is a politician with Presidential ambitions not a diplomat, has been abusing her position as the US’s UN ambassador to grandstand in preparation for what I am sure is an intended Presidential bid.

I have previously discussed Nikki Haley’s behaviour and the exaggerated role she has been allowed to carve out for herself

That doubtless also explains the increasingly undisciplined behaviour of Nikki Haley. Not only is she being allowed to wander around the television studios unchecked, firing off comments which she has clearly not coordinated either with the White House or the State Department, but she is gaining a level of prominence which is completely out of proportion to her supposed role as the US’s UN ambassador. At the moment, instead of being obviously subordinate to Tillerson and McMaster, she appears to be their equal.

It is difficult to avoid the impression that Haley, who is a politician not a diplomat, and who was previously governor of South Carolina and was apparently seriously considered by Mitt Romney for his Vice-Presidential running mate, is running what is in effect an election campaign, with her sights ultimately on the White House. Thus the publicity stunts, like the waving of photos of dead children during a UN Security Council session, which annoyed the veteran diplomats present, but which was clearly aimed at the US television audience.

One result of Haley’s undisciplined behaviour is that the administration either finds itself pulled along by her comments, with the result that Haley is in effect making policy for the White House, or officials like McMaster have to find some way of reconciling what she says with the administration’s actual policies, which may be completely different. A perfect example of this was McMaster elaborate explanation during his Fox News interview explaining why despite the obvious differences between the things Haley and Tillerson are saying, on the subject of regime change in Syria they are actually saying the same thing.

WALLACE: The Trump administration seems to be sending mixed signals this weekend. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley says that getting rid of Assad is a priority. On the other hand, Secretary of State Tillerson says that first, we have to get rid of ISIS, destroy ISIS, Assad can wait.

So, which is it? How does the president see this playing out in Syria?

MCMASTER: Well, both Secretary Tillerson and Ambassador Haley are right about this. What we really need to do, and what everyone who’s involved in this conflict needs to do is to do everything they can to resolve this civil war, to halt this humanitarian catastrophe, this political catastrophe, not only in Syria, but the catastrophe is affecting the greater Middle East, it’s affecting Europe and it’s a threat to the American people as well.

And so, to do that, what’s required is some kind of a political solution to that very complex problem. And what Ambassador Haley pointed out is it’s very difficult to understand how a political solution could result from the continuation of the Assad regime.

Tillerson has now clearly signalled that he has had enough, and his officials have apparently informed Haley, who is technically Tillerson’s subordinate, that she should clear her comments on contentious issues in future with the State Department before she makes them.

This has been confirmed in this article in The New York Times, which reads in part as follows:

The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, has often been the first, most outspoken member of the Trump administration to weigh in on key foreign policy issues, on everything from military strikes on Syria to sanctions against Russia and how to approach human rights.

Much of that has come as a surprise to the State Department, and the Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson, has often been far from the limelight.

Now, in an apparent attempt to foster greater coherence in American foreign policy, State Department officials are urging her aides to ensure her public remarks are cleared by Washington first.

An email drafted by State Department diplomats urged Ms. Haley’s office to rely on “building blocks” written by the department to prepare her remarks.

Her comments should be “re-cleared with Washington if they are substantively different from the building blocks, or if they are on a high-profile issue such as Syria, Iran, Israel-Palestine, or the D.P.R.K.,” added the email, the text of which was seen by The Times. D.P.R.K. refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea.

In a further sign that Haley is being brought to heel, Tillerson has signalled that he will personally attend and lead the US delegation at the UN Security Council session at which the North Korean issue will be discussed.

There is a widespread tendency to treat Nikki Haley as a reincarnation of her predecessor, Barack Obama’s UN ambassador Samantha Power. As someone who has given himself the tedious task of following and comparing the comments of both, I have to say that I disagree.

Samantha Power is in my opinion an ideological fanatic who sincerely believes that the US has a ‘duty’ to intervene all over the world as part of some great liberal crusade to spread ‘democracy’ (as she defines it) everywhere. Nikki Haley by contrast comes across to me as simply a politician on the make.

Regardless of that, Tillerson – one presumes with the President’s agreement – is finally acting to bring to bring Nikki Haley to heel. Not before time I might add.

April 29, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.04.2017

The refusal of the United Nations to qualify the recent US airstrike against Syria as an act of aggression makes the Organization irrelevant – something Russia has been trying to prevent. It has become vulnerable to scathing criticism after demonstrating its impotence and inability to act. The continued paralysis is an eloquent example of the UN’s disengagement and lack of political will to fulfill its duty. The Organization’s image has suffered great damage. It still has a chance to rectify it by launching an investigation into what really happened in Syria.

Article One of the UN Charter states that one of the purposes is «To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace». It also mentions «adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace».

The April 7 attack on Syria is no doubt an act of aggression against a sovereign state. There is nothing to support the US accusations against the Syrian government. No evidence to go upon has been presented. If it were, it would still be no reason to use force. Neither the UN Charter nor any other international document envisages the right of US president to strike other countries at his discretion, even if they are suspected of possessing and using chemical weapons (CW).

The US has a long record of trampling on international law under the pretext of conducting military operations for «humanitarian reasons» or to protect «democracy».

The UK and several other Western countries rushed to support the action. No wonder! If they had the capability, they would have done the same thing. The prospects for being left without the US «nuclear umbrella» made them really scared after Donald Trump was elected. Now they are happy that the 45th president has failed to keep his promises. Their support for the US action is understandable and was expected. But what about the United Nations?

The Secretariat of the UN has shied away from taking a position. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, emphasized that neither the CW attack in Idlib nor the following US airstrikes influenced the UN stance. According to him, «For us, we would reiterate the importance of the process going on in Geneva, which, obviously, one of the issues on the agenda is transition. What is important is that the future leadership of Syria be decided by the Syrian people themselves, as we have said since the beginning of this crisis. And, again, I think we would call on all the parties to recommit themselves to the Geneva process and the political discussions going on in Geneva».

Asked about the statement made by Nikki Haily, the US Ambassador to the UN, about the loss of legitimacy by Syrian President Assad after the chemical attack, he said «the future leadership of the Syrian… of Syria should be decided by the Syrian people themselves». At least, the official admits that it’s the people who should rule the country, not the leaders of other states who order to strike Syria with cruise missiles!

On the other hand, the refusal to condemn the United States for its attack in Syria makes the law a sham. The strongest is always right! The UN turns a blind eye on violations and crimes.

There is another aspect of the problem that is important to draw attention on. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said Syria has no CW. In 2013, the elimination of CW in Syria was an OPCW-UN joint mission. Is the organization operating under the auspices of the United Nations not trustworthy? If it is, why not wait for its results of its investigation? Thus, the very affirmation that the Syrian government has CW is a severe blow against the OPCW and the UN.

So, the stance taken by the UN Secretariat actually diminishes the UN influence on international affairs. The UN refuses to comply with the provisions of its own Charter!

What’s wrong with Russia’s calls for broader UN role? Moscow says important decisions related to international security must be taken collectively and after detailed consultations in the UN. Should this position be resisted? Is it reprehensible to insist on thorough investigation of CW attack in Idlib before discussing the issue and taking decisions on what to do about it? Is it right to forget the lesson learnt in Iraq when no weapons of mass destruction were found to justify the invasion with terrible repercussions to follow, including the emergence of the IS?

An investigation would meet the interests of all. That’s what UN officials should be talking about instead of repeating the mantra of the Geneva negotiations having a chance to make progress. Turgid words to make a hollow statement.

A CW attack is a serious crime against humanity. The culprits must face justice. So is the US attack against a UN member state. At least, it must be discussed within the framework of the United Nations. The US could veto any decisions but the world has the right to know.

With all the tensions running high and global security threated, the time is propitious for the UN to start fulfilling its duties and abide by its obligations. The world needs deeds, not empty words.

April 16, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment