Statement by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in response to Washington’s hostile actions

 

Statement by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in response to Washington’s hostile actions

December 30, 2016

We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.

As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.

The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.

It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.

My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.

I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.

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The Israeli Jailer Whose Orders Killed 21 Palestinian Civilians

By Amira Haas | Haaretz

Brig. Gen. (res.) Ilan Malka was recently appointed deputy chief commissioner of the Israel Prison Service and then promoted to commissioner (a rank parallel to major general in the Israel Defense Forces). As someone who has been exonerated for the killing of Palestinian civilians, both beforehand and retroactively, no one is more worthy to move to the top of the pyramid of the Israeli jailers corps.

Malka, a former commander of the Givati Brigade, is one of many who symbolize Israel’s great talent: to be above and beyond the law. That’s also the reason Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now firing in every direction. It’s not because of the UN Security Council resolution, which is too little, too late, but to frighten and deter anyone who dares question our comfortable position of being exempt from punishment, both beforehand and retroactively, both in Israel and around the world.

Malka’s appointment should be highlighted this week, which marks eight years since the winter onslaught against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Operation Cast Lead began on that black Saturday, December 27, 2008.

In the international community, Israel was exonerated from blame and exempt from punishment for killing some 760 besieged Palestinian civilians without shelters and anywhere to flee, and another 260 ordinary city policemen, who were attacked in their police station.

In Israel, Malka was exonerated for the killing of 21 members of the Samouni family from the Zeitoun neighborhood. As usual, the IDF investigated itself and found itself free of any problem.

The Samouni family’s disaster turned it into a symbol of the 2008-09 assault. One order from Malka to press the button on the morning of January 5 sent a few missiles toward the structure in which about a hundred family members had been gathered. His soldiers from the Givati Brigade had conquered the neighborhood 24 hours before, killed a boy and three unarmed adults in or near their home, and took the frightened civilians out of the houses, some of which had been turned into IDF positions.

The soldiers closely supervised the line of old men and old women, the men and the children and the women with babies, who walked in the cold and thought that together, in one building, they would be safe. What’s more, the IDF position was only a few dozen meters away. The soldiers could see that a few men had gone out to get boards to start a fire and make a little bread for the children, who were crying in fear and shivering from cold.

But the high-tech forward command post interpreted the long boards they were carrying as rocket-propelled grenades, and Malka ordered a bombardment. The men carrying the boards were sentenced to death, along with the rest of the civilians in the building, who Malka’s soldiers knew full well were there.

Let’s remember the Samounis’ 10 babies and children that Malka’s order killed that morning: Mohammed, less than 1 year old; Muatasam, 1 year old; Aza, a 2-year-old girl; Nassar, 5; Fares, 12; Ishak, 13; Rizka, a 14-year-old girl; Ismail, 15; Walid, 16; and Huda, a 16-year-old girl. May their memory be blessed.

Now, exempt from blame and punishment, Malka can stand at the head of the institution a third of whose prisoners (about 6,200 according to information provided this month to the Center for the Defense of the Individual) are Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Of only a few may it be said that they have the blood of 21 civilians on their hands.

Meanwhile, there are 572 administrative detainees. Like Malka and other senior Israeli commanders, they have never been brought to court. Only they haven’t killed 21 people, 10 of whom were children, and unlike Malka, they are being punished by a long, indefinite incarceration based on suspicions they are not allowed to know.

Forgetting and causing us to forget the Samouni family’s dead, and the thousands of other Palestinian civilians killed, is an integral part of Israel’s philosophy of existence. We are allowed everything, and anyone who opposes our tyranny is a criminal.

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (22 – 28 December 2016)

December 29, 2016

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(22 – 28 December 2016)

West Bank: Israeli Forces Close al-Jesser Road Between Ras Karkar and Deir Ibzaigh Villages. 
  • A Palestinian civilian was killed and child succumbed to his wounds in the West Bank.
  • 14 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Gaza Strip border areas, but no casualties were reported.
  • Israeli forces continued collective punishment measures against the Palestinian civilians.
  • Demolishing the walls of a house belonging to Abu Sbaih family in Kufor Aqeb village, north of occupied Jerusalem, and closing it.
  • Israeli forces conducted 60 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip.
  • 52 civilians, including 16 children and a woman, were arrested.
  • 16 of them, including 10 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • 5 agricultural and commercial facilities in Silwan village were demolished.
  • A new tunnel was opened in Silwan village. The tunnel resulted in cracks in dozens of houses.
  • Settlement activities continued in the West Bank.
  • A well and an agricultural room were demolished. In addition, new demolition notices in Hebron were issued.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 9th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 4 Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints.

 

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (22 – 28 December 2016).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian while a child succumbed to his wounds in the West Bank. Moreover, they wounded 14 civilian, including 3 children and a journalist. Thirteen of them were in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, on Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 3 others when the soldiers used force to disperse dozens of youngsters gathering around Qalandia refugee camp and Kufor Aqeb village, north of occupied Jerusalem, and attempting to prevent the demolition of Abu Sbaih house in the said village.

 

On the same day, Palestinian medical source pronounced Fares al-Bayed (15), from al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, dead because of wounds he sustained on 15 October 2016. The aforementioned child sustained a bullet wound to the forehead causing laceration and coma.

 

During the reporting period also, 10 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, were wounded during peaceful protests or Israeli incursions.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 25 December 2016, a Palestinian civilian was wounded during a peaceful protest near the border fence, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. His wound was classified as moderate.

 

In the context of targeting the border areas, on 24 December 2016, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence opened fire at farmers digging a well, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.

 

On 26 December 2016, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers in the east of al-Salqa valley, east of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported as well.

 

Collective punishment measures:

 

On 22 December 2016, Israeli forces demolished the walls of a house belonging to the family of Mosbah Abu Sbaih in Kufor Aqeb village, north of occupied Jerusalem, and closed it upon a decision from the Israeli High Court. The house is an apartment on the 7th floor of a building owned by Abu Sbaih’s father. It should be noted that Mosbah was killed on 12 October 2016 after he carried out a shooting attack in Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 60 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 others in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 52 Palestinian civilians, including 16 children and a woman. Sixteen of them, including 10 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 27 December 2016, Israeli forces moved about 50 meters around Sofa military site in al-Shouka village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. They levelled and combed lands and then withdrew.

 

Efforts to create Jewish majority

 

On 28 December 2016, the Israeli municipality demolished 5 agricultural and commercial facilities in Ein al-Louza neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Jamal Siyam said that Israeli forces demolished 3 agricultural containers and a barrack he own in addition to parts of a commercial store belonging to Abu Hawdan family.

 

In the same context, on 27 December 2016, the Israeli authorities opened a new tunnel in Wadi Helwa neighbourhood, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City that resulted in cracks in the houses and streets.

 

Settlement activities:

 

On 27 December 2016, Israeli forces demolished a well and an agricultural room in al-Bus area, west of Ethna village, west of Hebron. They issued also final demolition orders against 4 houses in Beit Awwa village, southwest of Hebron, and 18 notices to halt construction works in Masafer Yatta, south of the city.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people.  The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy.  They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

 

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 00:10, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Saber Mohammed ‘Ali Abdul Fattah Dawoud (40), owner of Asayel Yafa Printing House, and then arrested him. They locked his brothers and their children in a house belonging to their brother Samer Dawoud. Around the same time, another Israeli force raided the abovementioned printing house. They confiscated 13 printers and 6 hard disks and then closed the printing house until 21 January 2017, due to the charge of printing incitement materials. It should be noted that Israeli forces raided the printing house on 23 November 2016, and confiscated PCs, hard desks and 3 passports.
  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Hebron and stationed in Ezone neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zaid Majed Mohammed al-Jo’bah (23) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Khaled Khdaish (19) and then arrested him.
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Jala. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mustafa Haitham al-Masalmah (34) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 3 civilians namely Yazan Nabih Deriyah (16), Mohammed Ayman Taqatqa (16) and Ibrahim Jebril Taqatqa (16).
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Einabus village, east of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to lawyer Mohammed Naser Eden Mufdi ‘Elan (32) and then arrested him. At approximately 13:00, he was released. They questioned him in Hawarah Detention Center about his posts on “Facebook” and threatened him if he continued writing incitement posts, they will arrest him.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Bita village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Asid Mohammed Ma’la (20), an economics student at the Palestine Technical University “Khadoorie”, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Sanad Riyad Zuhdi Abu Shanab (18) and beat him in front of his parents. At approximately 04:30, they withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Anin village, west of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Khalid Ma’moun Hammad (16). At approximately 18:00, they withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 22:25, Israeli forces moved into Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jamil Abdul Wahhab Abdullah. At approximately 23:00, they withdrew from the village, but no arrests were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Thaheriyah and Taffouh villages in Hebron and Salfit.

 

Friday, 23 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. A number of civilians gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired live bullets at them in response. As a result, a 24-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound in the chest and was taken to Rafidia Surgical Hospital to receive medical treatment. Due to his serious wound, he was transferred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. In the meantime, the Israeli soldiers raided and searched a house belonging to Jaber Ahmed Jaber Abu Hamadah (28) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 11:00, Palestinian medical sources announced the death of Fares Zeyad ‘Ata al-Bayed (15) from al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, succumbed to his serious wounds. According to investigations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworker, at approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 15 October 2016, a number of young men protested at the entrance to al-Jalazoun refugee camp to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Ahmed Sharakah, who was killed on 11 October 2016 by the Israeli forces. When the young men arrived at the abovementioned entrance, about 10 soldiers directly opened fire at them. One of the Israeli soldiers directly opened fire at al-Bayed from a distance of 15 meters. As a result, he was wounded with a metal bullet to the head. He was then transferred by an ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment. His wounds were classified as serious due to brain laceration and severe bleeding. He underwent a surgery and then went into coma until his death was announced.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Dajan, east of Nablus; Beit Awa, Sa’ir and al-Mareq villages in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Zawiyah village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ehsan Ahmed Mawqedi (22) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 13:20, hundreds of civilians from Beit Ummer village and the adjacent villages in the northern side of Hebron gathered to participate in the funeral procession of Khalid ‘Elian Bahar (22), who was killed by the Israeli forces after claiming that he carried out a run-over attack against Israeli soldiers on 30 November 2016 and his body is under the Israeli custody since then. The civilians headed to the entrance to the village where the Islamic Cemetery adjacent to Bypass Road “60”. Before their arrival to the entrance, a large Israeli force of the border guards closed the village entrance via their jeeps while another force deployed between houses adjacent to the entrance of the village. After that, a number of angry young men threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas canisters at them in response. After finishing the funeral procession of Khalid, dozens of young men headed to the entrance and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the Israeli soldiers. The military jeeps then moved toward the village while a number of them stationed between residential houses. The soldiers randomly fired live bullets at the civilians, who were on the street. As a result, Ra’ed Mohammed Mahmud Abu ‘Ayash sustained a live bullet wound in the right side of the pelvis. He was taken to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron where he underwent a surgery. He suffered from a broken pelvic bone.
  • At approximately 13:40, Israeli forces stationed inside the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a number of Palestinian farmers while they were digging a water well in Karm Abu Mo’amer neighbourhood, east of al-Shawkah, east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. However, no casualties were reported

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Dura, Beit Ummer, al-Shyoukh and al-Burj villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 25 December 2016

 

  • In the early morning, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched houses belonging to Ma’rouf Bajes Nakhla (27) and ‘Alaa Khaled ‘Ali Qasem (28) and then arrested them.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 4 civilians, including 2 children. The arrested civilians were identified as Anas Ahmed Rasmi Taqtqa (17), Mahdi Majed Taqtqa (21), Yazan Ahmed Thawabtah (17) and Fadi Fayez Taqatqa (20).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Kafer al-Deek and al-Zawiyah villages, west of Salfit and Beta village, southeast of Nablus.

 

Monday, 26 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into the eastern side of Nablus to protect hundreds of settlers, who moved into Joseph’s Tomb area to perform Talmudic and religious rituals. A number of young men gathered and threw stones at the military jeeps and settlers’ buses. The Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and sound bombs to disperse them. As a result, Mahdi Bilal Dueikat (19) from Balata village sustained a live bullet wound in the foot and then was arrested. Following that, a number of Israeli soldiers raided and searched a house belonging to Hatem Feras al-Zaghah (21), a student in Najah National University, and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the village. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zaid Mohammed ‘Essa ‘Awad (35), who suffers a difficulty in speaking, hearing and visual impairment. The soldiers beat him and used a sniffer dog to search his house, causing fear among Zaid’s children and pregnant wife under the pretext of looking for his brother. The soldiers destroyed the house contents and then withdrew, but no arrests were reported. Following that, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Essa ‘Awad (65), who suffers from several diseases and blood clots. The soldiers smashed several doors on the second floor and locked the family members namely Sali (21), Ahmed (26), ‘Essa (28), Rashid (22) and their mother Zuleikha (58) in a room on the first floor. After an hour of searching the second floor using dogs and metal detectors, the soldiers moved the family members to the second floor where they damaged the house contents. They then handed Rashid a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem. Rashid said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 09:00, he went to the Intelligence Service’s office where the officers questioned him about his personal life, friends, family and the funeral of Khalid Bahar. He was released after an hour and half.

Zaid Mohammed ‘Essa Awad (35) said in his statement to PCHR:

My wife and I woke up hearing violent knocking on the door. As soon as I opened the door, a soldier kicked me harshly on my chest, so I fell to the  ground and my head hit a wooden chair. When I tried to stand up, the soldier held my neck strongly and punched me on the face breaking my eyeglasses. He then hit me with his gun butt on my back. After that, the soldiers searched the house, damaged it contents and withdrew an hour later”.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belong to Majed Teiseer al-Titi (22) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, large Israeli forces moved into Tammun village, southeast of Tubas. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Ayman Rabah Bani ‘Oudah (31) and handed his family a summons for him to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Samou’ village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ismail Ahmed Mahmud al-Hawamdah (33) and then arrested him.
  • At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at Palestinian farmers, into the east of al-Salqa Valley village, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. The farmers were forced to leave their lands fear for their lives, but no casualties were reported.
  • In the evening, Israeli forces arrested Nayef Yusuf Ibrahim Gheithan (37) from Qibya village, west of Ramallah, after referring to the Israeli Intelligence Service upon a summons.
  • Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (10) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Burin and ‘Iraq Burin villages, south of Nablus; Beit Awla, Nuba, Kharas, Tarqumiya, Bani Na’im and al-Thaheriyah villages in Hebron; Jenin and Bedia village, west of Salfit.

 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Qabatiya village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses from which they arrested 4 civilians namely Ahmed Najeh Kamil (20), Khali Walid al-Sahou (20), Anas Mousa Kamil (21) and Bilal Walid Kamil (22).
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces move into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Essa Rashid Awad (66). They locked the 6 family members in a room as the search continued for 3 hours. Later, Israeli forces withdrew from the house, but no arrests were reported. It should be noted that they raided an searched the abovementioned house in the previous day as they damaged the house contents. In the meantime, an infantry unit raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Mohammed al-‘Alami (20), but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military jeeps and bulldozers moved from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel about 50 meters around Sufa military site in al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The bulldozers levelled the area and then withdrew behind the abovementioned border fence at approximately 13:00.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Deir al-Hatab village, east of Nablus; Qaryout village, southeast of the city and al-Samou’i, Beit Oula and Tarqumiya villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and ‘Asker refugee camp, northeast of the city, Balata refugee camp, east of the city, and ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp, west of the city. A number of young men from ‘Asker and Balata refugee camps gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who immediately fired live bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets at them in response. As a result, 4 young men, including 2 children, were wounded. A 23-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the right foot; a 17-year-old child sustained a metal bullet wound to the left thigh; an 18-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound to the left thigh while another 17-year-old civilian was hit with a metal bullet to the left hand.

During the incursion, Israeli soldiers raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Mohammed Amin Abdul Hakim Mahmud al-Thaher (25) from al-Makhfiyah neighbourhood, west of the city, and Mohanned ‘Anbusi (26) from the Old City. They also handed a summons to the family of Mazen Hasan al-Dambak (38) to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service. Israeli forces also raided and searched al-Aghbar workshop belonging to ‘Awni Hamdi al-Aghbar in al-Dahiyah neighbourhood. ‘Awni said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces did not confiscate anything from the workshop in contrary of the Israeli saying that they confiscated ammunition and arms.

Israeli forces raided and searched a workshop belonging to Osama Mohammed Saleh Ragheb ‘Aj’aj (33) in the street of al-Hesbah Market, east of the city. They confiscated 3 lathes and then arrested Osama. They claimed that they found ammunition and arms inside the workshop. It should be noted that ‘Aj’aj is a mechanical engineer from Najah National University.

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Jabaa’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Murad walid Malaishah (26) and ‘Emarah ‘Awni Fashafshah (25). At approximately 04:30, they withdrew from the village taking the arrested civilians to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Jenin and its camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mohammed ‘Eid ‘Amer (18) and Muntaser ‘Arafat al-Sa’di (20). At approximately 05:00, they withdrew taking them to an unknown destination. 
  • Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron, al-Samou’I, Bani Na’im and al-Tabaqah villages in Hebron. 
  • Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

 

West Bank:

  • Following the Friday prayer on Friday, 23 December 2016, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstration from Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, towards the eastern entrance to the village protesting against closing it with an iron gate since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada. As soon as they arrived at the abovementioned entrance, Israeli forces fired live bullets and sound bombs at the protesters. As a result, two civilians, including a child, were injured. A 45-year-old civilian sustained 2 live bullet wounds to the left foot and chest while a 15-year-old child sustained a live bullet wound  to the right hand. The Israeli forces then detained Momen Murad Eshtiwi (7) on the spot for half an hour due to which he panicked. They also attacked Abdul Rahman Mousa Abdul Latif ‘Ali (40) with a stone to the head and then arrested him.
  • In the afternoon of the same day, dozens of Palestinian and International activists organized a demonstration called for by national and popular figures in Bethlehem at the military checkpoint “300” between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, demanding the freedom of movement and access to the holy places in coincidence with the Christmas holiday. A number of activists dressed like Santa Claus. The march began in front of the Caritas Hospital  in the central Bethlehem where the activists raised Palestinian flags and a poster demanding the entry to occupied East. As soon as they arrived at the abovementioned checkpoint, the Israeli soldiers fired live rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, Mohammed Shushah, journalist at Roya TV Channel, was hit with sound bomb shrapnel to the right foot  and was then taken to a hospital in Bethlehem to receive medical treatment. Eyad Nemer Hamad (58), a journalist at Associated Press (AP) News Agency, suffered from tear gas inhalation as well.
  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah, and al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses.  As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.

 

Gaza Strip: 

  • On Friday afternoon, 25 December 2016, dozens of young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza. They threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind the abovementioned fence. The Israeli soldiers sporadically fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the young men in response. At approximately 17:00, Mohammed Hesham Fouad Abu Jarad (22) sustained a live bullet wound to the right foot and was taken to al-Shifaa’ Hospital in Gaza to receive medical treatment. His wounds were classified as moderate.

 

Collective Punishment:

  • On Thursday morning, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with hundreds of soldiers and dozens of military jeeps moved into Qalaniyah refugee camp and Kafer ‘Aqab village, north of Jerusalem, in implementation of the Israeli High Court’s decision to demolish and close a house belonging to Mesbah Abu Sbaih (see shooting incidents – Efforts to Create Jewish Majority below).

Jaber Abu Sbaih, Mesbah’s brother, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 01:00, the Israeli forces raided the house, demolished the walls and then closed the main door of the house. Last Monday, 19 December 2016, the Israeli High Court approved the demolition decision of Abu Sabaih’s house in Kafer ‘Aqab village. The decision was issued by the Israeli military commander of the area on 17 November 2016, based on the 1945 British Mandate Emergency Regulations. The  High Court decided to demolish the walls of the house and sealed it with red wax after submitting an engineering report confirming that the demolition of the exterior walls would cause damage to the whole building and neighboring apartments as Abu Sbaih’s apartment is on the seventh floor in a building. Abu Sbaih mentioned that the Israeli High Court approved the house demolition though the apartment does not belong to his brother Mesbah, but for their father Sbaih Abu Sbaih. It should be noted that Mesbah Abu Sbaih (39) was killed on 12 October 2016, after carrying out a shooting attack near the head office of the Israeli police leadership in al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of East Jerusalem.

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.

 

Movement at Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah, is designated for the movement of goods

(11-17 December  2016)

Date 11 December 12December 13December 14 December 15 December 16 December 17 December
Total Imports 484 495 546 516 612
Various goods truckloads 167 154 226 177 232
Humanitarian aid truckloads 94 136 116 118 135
Cooking gas tons 264.600 236.090 239.190 283.260 242.720
Benzene liters 222.958 117.986 151.976 221.986 256.920
Diesel & Diesel for UNRWA liters 1010.898 560.956 627.966 624.222 787.905
Industrial fuel liters 336.546 338.986 305.003 294.029 518.446
kerosene liters 112.000
Cement  Tons 3520 9752 3200 3960 3680
Bulk cement Tons 105
Construction aggregates Tons 11807 10931.01 11401 12165 13360
Construction steel truckloads 6 16 10 6 22

 

Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is designated for the movement of individuals, and links the Gaza Strip with the West Bank.

 

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(21 – 26 December 2016)

Category 21 December 22 December 23 December 24 December   25 December  26 December
Patients 37 22 1 60 39
Companions 37 21 2 55 36
Personal needs 23 51 17 18 28
Familiesof prisoners 32
Arabs fromIsrael 12 5 12 9 12
Diplomats 1 3 1 1
International journalists
International workers 31 43 9 2 18
TravelersAbroad
Business people 190 178 2 1 268 177
Business meetings
Security interviews 2 8 6 5
VIPs
Ambulancesto Israel 5 3 1 1 1
Patients’ Companions 5 3 1 1

 

 

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

 

  • Hebron: Israeli forces established (17) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Tarama village and the northern entrance to Halhoul village.

On Friday, 23 December 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints on the road of Beit ‘Aynoun village and at the entrances of Beit Ummer village and al-Fawar refugee camp.

On Saturday, 24 December 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Dura village; and at the entrances to Sa’ir village and al-Fawar refugee camp.

On Monday, 26 December 2016, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Samou’a, al-Jalajil and Beit ‘Awaa villages and on the road of Wad al-Jouz area.

On Tuesday, 27 December 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit ‘Awaa, Beit Ummer and Halhoul villages.

On Wednesday, 28 December 2016, Israeli forces established similar checkpoints at the entrances to Beit ‘Aynoun and Ethna villages.

 

  • Ramallah and al-Bireh: Israeli forces established (12) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints near the bridge of ‘Atara village; near the intersection of ‘Ain Sinaa village, north of Ramallah; at the intersection of al-Tayiba village (on al-Mo’arajat road between Ramallah and Jericho).

At approximately 15:00 on Friday, 23 December 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of al-Taiba village, east of Ramallah.

On Saturday, 24 December 2016, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah; ‘Atara bridge, north of the city; between Ras Karkar and Kafur Ne’mah villages; and at the entrance to Senjel village, north of the city.

On Sunday, 25 December 2016, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to ‘Aboud, al-Nabi Saleh and Yabroud villages. In the evening, Israeli forces closed a road leading to al-Jalazoun refugee camp and closed a road between Ras Karkar and Deir Bziegh villages, west of Ramallah.

At approximately 18:00 on Monday, 26 December 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Aboud village, west of Ramallah.

 

Salfit: Israeli forces established (4) checkpoints all over the city.

At approximately 17:30 on Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to al-Zawiyia village, west of Salfit. At approximately 17:55, they established a similar checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Balout village, west of the city.

At approximately 20:00 on Wednesday, 23 December 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint under the bridge of Sakaka village, east of Salfit. At approximately 21:25, they established a similar checkpoint at the entrance to Kaful Hares village, north of the city.

 

Arrests at military checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces stationed at Hawarah checkpoint, south of Nablus, arrested Zahir Mohamed Wahdan (24), from Tamoun village, southeast of Tubas village. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces stopped a vehicle carrying the abovementioned civilian and checked his ID. They then ordered him at gunpoint to step out of the vehicle.
  • At approximately 20:00 on Saturday, 24 December 2016, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit. They checked the civilians’ IDs and searched the vehicles. They then arrested Rida Taysir Madi (26) and Nidal Ra’fat Ali al-Rimal (25). Both of them are from Salfit.
  • At approximately 19:00 on Monday, 26 December 2016, Israeli forces arrested Thiraa Mohamed al-Barghouthi (20), from Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah. Thiraa was arrested while crossing a checkpoint established by Israeli forces near the entrance to ‘Aboud village.

 

Maltreatment at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces stationed at al-Karama crossing severely beat Hamza Abed al-Hakeem Hamdi Abu Zahra (22), from Nablus. Hamza was beaten when he put his suitcase for searching and then headed to the crossing hall to deliver his passport. Hamza was returning from Jordan. He said to PCHR’s fieldworker that he did not do anything and when he entered the waiting hall, a number of Israeli soldiers stationed in the hall hit him until he fainted. He woke up and found himself at Jericho Governmental Hospital. After he underwent medical examination, medical sources clarified that he sustained bruises to the face, head and chest.

 

  1. Efforts to Create Jewish majority

 

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

 

Shooting incidents:

  • On Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 3 others while dispersing dozens of protesters, who gathered in the vicinity of Qalandia refugee camp and Kafur ‘Aqoub village, north of occupied Jerusalem. The protesters were attempting to prevent the demolition of Mosbah Abu Subeih’s house in the abovementioned village. According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses, at approximately 01:00 on Thursday, hundreds of Israeli soldiers accompanied with 37 military vehicles moved into Qalandia refugee camp and Kafur ‘Aqoub village, north of occupied Jerusalem, to implement a decision issued by the Israeli High Court to close and demolish the house of Mosbah Abu Subeih. Israeli forces imposed a tight cordon on the area and deployed on the main street extending from Qalandia refugee camp to the intersection of Kafur ‘Aqoub village. Moreover, Israeli snipers topped the houses’ roofs adjacent to the targeted house. At approximately 01:40, Israeli forces demolished the house walls and then closed the main door. In the meantime, the entrance of Qalandia refugee camp and the intersection of Kafur ‘Aqoub village witnessed violent clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian young men. Israeli soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinian civilians, who threw home-made hand grenades and Molotov cocktails at them. The clashes continued until 04:30 and resulted in killing Ahmed Nashat Othman al-Kharobi (19). Ahmed was hit with 2 live bullets to the heart and left shoulder by an Israeli sniper. It should be noted that Ahmed is from al-Beirh city and he succumbed to his wounds after he was admitted to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. Furthermore, 3 other civilians were wounded. After that,  Ovijaa Adraei, the spokesman of Israeli forces, published a statement reading the following, “In an implementation of political instructions, Israeli forces in cooperation with Israeli Border Guard officers and Civil administration, demolished Musbah Abu Subeih house in Kafur ‘Aqoub village. The demolition against Musbah’s house came as a result of Musbah committing an attack in Talet al-Thakhirah area in Jerusalem on 09 October 2016, which led to the killing of a female civilian and a policeman while other civilians were wounded. During the demolition, Israeli forces were exposed to gunfire, due to which they opened fire in response targeting a Palestinian civilian, who threw an explosive device at them, and killed him.

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour neighbourhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mohamed Nasir Abu Jum’aa (15); ‘Odai Fadi Abu Jum’a (13); and Abed al-Hadi Basem Abu Ghazalah (13).
  • At approximately 04:00 on Thursday, Israeli forces moved into Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Yazan Mohamed Harafsha (14) and his brother Ayham (13); Mohamed Nasir Jamjoum (16); and Malek ‘Asaliya (15). 
  • At approximately 18:00 on Friday, 23 December 2016, Israeli forces moved into Hezmah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Laith Ashraf al-Khatib (16) and arrested him. 
  • At approximately 13:30 on Saturday, 24 December 2016, Israeli forces arrested ‘Aisha Yousef al-Afghani (35) while walking on al-Wad Street in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They claimed that she had a knife in her bag. 
  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 26 December 2016, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aisawiya village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Ahmed Darwish (21), Anas Darwish (19), Yazan Mohamed Abu ‘Asab (15), and Mohanad Ma’moun Abu ‘Asab (13).
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Qatanna village, northwest of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Imad Raied Shamasnah (23) and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Sawanah neighbourhood, east of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Abdullah Mohamed al-‘Alami (21) and Ahmed al-‘Alami (23).

 

House demolitions and demolition notices:

 

  • On Wednesday, 28 December 2016, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished agricultural and commercial facilities in Selwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non- Jamal Siyam stated that Israeli forces accompanied with the Israeli municipality’s crews moved into ‘Ain al-Louza neighbourhood. They demolished 3 agricultural containers belonging to Jamal Siyam without warning. Jamal said that Israeli forces also demolished an 80-square-meter barrack, in addition to the above-mentioned containers (20 square meters each). Moreover, Israeli municipality bulldozers demolished parts of a 10-square-meter commercial facility belonging to Abu Wahdan family.

 

Opening a new tunnel in Selwan village

 

  • On Tuesday, 27 December 2016, Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regevopened a new tunnel in Wady Helwa neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in coincidence with the appearance of cracks in the buildings and streets. Israeli media reported that the abovementioned Minister along with the Israeli Municipality Mayor, Nir Barakat; director of ‘Ad settlement association, David Biri; and other rabbis opened a tunnel in Wady Helwa neighborhood, and organized a celebration. It should be noted that Israel Antiquities Authority and ‘Ad settlement association started working in the tunnel 2 years ago. Additionally, the tunnel is located in the center of Wady Helwa neighborhood, towards Bab al-Magharba yard. The opening of the tunnel in Wady Helwa neighborhood came in a time when new cracks appeared in many houses and old cracks in 40 other houses became clearer. This coincides with the Israeli digging works in the neighborhood, which may lead to the collapse of some buildings.

 

  1. Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

  • At approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 25 December 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with a Civil Administration vehicle moved into Beit ‘Awwa, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They stationed in Um Hezwah area to the east of the village, where the Civil Administration officer delivered 4 final demolition notices for four houses belonging to al-Masalmah family under the pretext of building without a license.  It should be mentioned that on 21 September 2016, the Israeli authorities issued notices to stop construction works in those houses under the pretext of building without a license.  As a result, the owners resorted to a law firm, which will apply for a license and challenge the demolition notices.  The noticed houses were as follows:

 

Owner Family members Number of children Number of floors Area of building (sqm)
Ahmed Yaser Masalmah 8 6 1 240
‘Abdel Fattah Yasser Masalmah 6 4 1 240
Mohammed ‘Abdel Majeed Masalmah 6 4 2 270
Tal’at Nayef Masalmah 5 3 1 100

 

  • At approximately 11:00 on the same day, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Construction and Organization Department moved into al-Taban and al-Majaz areas to the east of Yata, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer handed 17 civilians from the families of No’man, Khalil, Abu ‘Aram, Hammad, ‘Abeid, Hamamdah and residents of Tabban Kherbah notices to stop construction works under the pretext of building without a license.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 27 December 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the Construction and Organization Department in the Civil Administration and a digger moved into al-Bus area, west of Ethna village, west of Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area while the digger started demolishing a water-collection well and 10-squar-meter agricultural room belonging to Mousa Ahmed Farajallah.  It should be mentioned that the Israeli authorities handed the aforementioned civilian a notice to stop construction work in the well and room back in 2011.

 

Settlers attacks:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Thursday, 22 December 2016, a security officers, who guards “Gosh Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, attacked Ahmed Saber Zamel Abu Mariya (12) and his sister Ritaj (7) while returning from Beit Ummer primary school to their house in Beit Za’tah neighbourhood, northeast of Beit Ummer, north of Hebron. The security officer stopped his car in front of the abovementioned children and pointed his firearm at them, due to which they panicked. The children fled to one of the nearby houses to hide. Ahmed Abu Mariya said to PCHR’s fieldworker that, “I was returning along with my sister Ritaj from school, 2 kilometres away from our house. When we approached our house, a vehicle with an Israeli registration plate suddenly swerved toward us, so we moved away. An Israeli officer stepped out of the vehicle and then pulled his firearm and pointed it at us. As a result, my sister and I fled to the house belonging to Sa’di Mohamed Abu ‘Ayiash and told him about what happened. He called our father, who came 20 minutes later. My father told us that the security officer was still out on the road leading to Abu ‘Ayisha house. We waited for some time until the arrival of an Israeli patrol. After that, we got out of the house along with our father and Sa’di ‘Ayiash. The officer hid his firearm when he saw us. My sister and I hid behind my father and the officer was shouting at us and attempting to catch me. Few minutes later, the officer left with Israeli soldiers after taking photos of me with his mobile phone.”

 

Recommendations to the International Community

PCHR emphasizes the international community’s position that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation, in spite of Israeli military redeployment outside the Gaza Strip in 2005. PCHR further confirms that Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures on the Gaza Strip, which have escalated since the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in which Hamas won the majority of seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council. PCHR stresses that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and the international humanitarian law, especially the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land and the Geneva Conventions. Israel is bound to apply the international human rights law and the law of war sometime reciprocally and other times in parallel in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for victims.

 

In light of continued arbitrary measures, land confiscation and settlement activities in the West Bank, and the latest 51-day offensive against civilians in the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the United Nations, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention and the European Union – in the context of their natural obligation to respect and enforce the international law – to cooperate and act according to the following recommendations:

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community and the United Nations to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination, through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine;
  2. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to provide international protection to Palestinians in the oPt, and to ensure the non-recurrence of aggression against the oPt, especially the Gaza Strip;
  3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to compel Israel, as a High Contracting Party to the Conventions, to apply the Conventions in the oPt;
  4. PCHR calls upon the Parties to international human rights instruments, especially the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to pressurize Israel to comply with their provisions in the oPt, and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the concerned committees;
  5. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation to ensure the application of the Conventions, including extending the scope of their jurisdiction in order to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator and the place of a crime, to pave the way for prosecuting suspected Israeli war criminals and end the longstanding impunity they have enjoyed;
  6. PCHR calls on States that apply the principle of universal jurisdiction not to surrender to Israeli pressure to limit universal jurisdiction to perpetuate the impunity enjoyed by suspected Israeli war criminals;
  7. PCHR calls upon the international community to act in order to stop all Israeli settlement expansion activities in the oPt through imposing sanctions on Israeli settlements and criminalizing trading with them;
  8. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly to transfer the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council in order to refer it to the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute;
  9. PCHR calls upon the United Nations to confirm that holding war criminals in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a precondition to achieve stability and peace in the regions, and that peace cannot be built on the expense of human rights;
  10. PCHR calls upon the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to explicitly declare that the Israeli closure policy in Gaza and the annexation wall in the West Bank are illegal, and accordingly refer the two issues to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel to compel it to remove them;
  11. PCHR calls upon the international community, in light of its failure to the stop the aggression on the Palestinian people, to at least fulfil its obligation to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after the series of hostilities launched by Israel which directly targeted the civilian infrastructure;
  12. PCHR calls upon the United Nations and the European Union to express a clear position towards the annexation wall following the international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, as the annexation wall seizes large parts of the State of Palestine;
  13. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that both sides must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel, and the EU must not ignore Israeli violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians;

…………………………………………………………

Public Document

For further information please visit our website www.pchrgaza.org or contact PCHR’s office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip by email pchr@pchrgaza.org or telephone +972 08 282 4776 – 282 5893.

 

Stratfor’s and others forecasts for Russia in 2016: Hit or Miss, by Scott

December 29, 2016

Stratfor’s and others forecasts for Russia in 2016: Hit or Miss, by Scott

Despite claim that Western sanctions were supposed to target just parts of Russia’s economy and not its general population, they were specifically designed to trigger the collapse of its banking system, food production,  civil construction, and to trigger massive unemployment, widespread hunger and civil unrests.  In essence, in 2016 Russia was supposed to have a return of the 90s catastrophe period known as “perestroika.”

As for Russia’s involvement in Syria, it was supposed to become a ‘quagmire’ that would destroy what precious little military power the country had.

For those who ever relied on Western analytics, it should already be clear that the think tankers’ jobs have been to transmit the desires of their politicians for the future, while Russia and its allies work to change the reality now.

“The Russian reinforcement has changed the calculus completely.”  From this Senate testimony made by  Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, we had learned in February 2016 that the US intelligence had some sort of a calculus.

If we go back through official statements and the political forecasts on Russia, will we find a calculus at work?

The following is a list of most popular predictions among the Western think tankers , and some numbers and facts to reflect the real state of affairs.

 

  1. The Western sanctions against Russia that began in March 2014 were designed to undermine financing and investments in Russia’s resource-based economy over a five-year period.
  2. Russia will blink under sanction pressure in 2016.
  3. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Russia’s $80 billion National Reserve Fund, set up to sustain the nation after the EU and U.S. began punitive sanctions, has already spent $40.85 billion on economic subsidies this year and will be wiped out in 2016.
  4. The combination of challenges accelerated the damage to Russia’s economy, and will foment internal unrest.
  5. Russia is “getting to the point where financing delays in key projects, along with financing constraints on Russian companies and Western firms doing business in Russia, could cause irreparable harm to the economy in the not-too-distant future,” according to Stratfor Global Intelligence.
  6. With ExxonMobil leaving Russia, deep off-shore energy exploration evaporated. Russia will never be able to develop its off-shore oil and gas deposit.
  7. Russia has had very little ability to effectively respond to Western sanctions.
  8. The Russian economy contracted by 4.30 percent in the third quarter of 2015, versus about 1 percent growth for the same period last year.
  9. Russia’s economy minister (Ulukaev that was arrested a month ago) suggested that possibly 60 of 83 Russia’s regions are in crisis mode, and 20 may have already been defaulting on their debt.
  10. Russia faces food shortages, and per Stratfor   Kremlin is “stepping up its security apparatuses” to suppress the starving population.
  11. Per Stratfor, Russia is involved in Syria as a strategy to force engagement with the West.
  12. Moscow’s key objective for 2016 is winning relief from the sanctions, per Stratfor
  13. Stratfor believes Russia will “use whatever it can–Ukraine and Syria included–to present itself as a willing partner.”
  14. Obama predicted that Russia’s involvement in Syria will become a ‘quagmire.’  In 2015, the U.S. officials called a Russian air campaign in Syria to be a ‘predetermined failure.’

 

Facts and numbers

  1. This prediction had failed. Partially due to the Western sanctions, Russian economy is positioned to have five best years ever.
  1. This prediction had failed also. Not only Russian government and large businesses didn’t ‘blink’ and didn’t give in to the Western pressure, they used the sanctions as a tool to curb the capital flight and to boost production.  In 2015, Russia saw a net capital outflow of $58.9 billion, almost three times less than in 2014.  The Russia’s Net Capital Outflow Totals $9.6Bln in Jan.-Sept. 2016

As a reminder, a part of what’s called ‘capital outflow’ is the government debt payments. In 2016, Russia still was paying back debt incurred by the Soviet government. Russia has accepted the Soviet Union debt, relieving all the other former Soviet republics from its burden.

  1. This prediction has failed, also.

Volume of the National Wealth Fund – $71,26 billion dollars, down from  $71,72 billion on January 2016.

Volume of the Reserve fund – $31,30 billion as of December 2016, down from $49,95 billion. It’s not wiped out as predicted.

Also, Gold Reserves in Russia increased to over 1600 tons in fourth quarter of 2016, up from from 1415 for January 1st, 2016. .

Only in November the Bank of Russia purchased 1 million troy ounces of gold, or 31 tons.

This might explain relatively modest holding of US dollars.

  1. This prediction has failed. “Internal unrest in Russia” being a wet dream of the Western politicians and military is not going to happen. Instead, the society is united and consolidated as never before. Large segments of population have become actively involved into monitoring social and professional media for any attempts to disturb peace and tranquility in the country. It’s even come to ridiculous complains by the Western pundits that the last elections of the members of Duma was “boring” and “uneventful.” Considering, that two weeks prior the elections, an arrest of a Police colonel yielded $200 million in cash fresh from the US Mint press, still wrapped in federal mint packaging. Considering, also, that another $300 million were found on his father’s bank accounts. It’s a general idea that this cash was intended for organization of a “Maidan” like event in Russia. That didn’t pan out, because an “opposition” doesn’t exist without foreign money, just like mold doesn’t exist without dampness.

By the way, this half a billion dollars went to the federal budget.

  1. Failed. Predicting “an irreparable harm” to Russia’s economy, Stratfor only achieved an irreparable harm to itself.

6. The US and EU sanctions included prohibiting the export of goods, services and technology in support of E&P for Russian deepwater, Arctic offshore and shale projects to Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegas and Rosneft, including Yuzhno-Kirinskoye Field. Sanctions were aimed at crippling the country’s energy and finance sectors.

The intent was to be surgical,” said Thane Gustafson, senior director and advisor of Russian and Caspian energy for IHS. But “The actual results have been dramatically different. … The sector that was supposed to have been targeted is the one that has been least affected.”

Matthew Sagers, managing director of Russian and Caspian energy for IHS, said Russia has “managed to fly in the face of gravity,” being the only area to his knowledge to increase capex in 2015 and see more development drilling.

Russian production rose to 10.7 million barrels a day (MMbbl/d) in December 2015 and inched up to about 10.8 MMbbl/d in January 2016. [source]

Russian Gazprom created a brand new gas production center beyond the Arctic Circle, that no country in the world was able to do. Russia has proven its leadership in the Arctic.

The VI International Conference “Russian Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Arctic and Far East” (ROOGD-2016)

China’s imports of Russian oil hit an all-time high of 33,670,000 barrels, up 52.4% from the year before.

OPAL gas pipeline increased its capacity load to 81% as of December 27, press service of OPAL Gastransport GmbH

NB:  EPMAG is lying to its readers by stating that “oil and gas revenues account for more than 50% of the federal budget revenues in Russia.” In reality, Oil and gas revenue. Oil and Gas Revenue Accounts for 21% of Russia’s Budget Not 50%

Russia runs a quite acceptable, by Western standards, budget deficit, which is expected to be 3.8% of the GDP (consolidated budget), down from 4.6% in the previous year.

For the next 2017,  country expects GDP growth of 1.6%, budget deficit of 1.7% of GDP and the dollar’s average exchange rate of 63.5 rubles for 2017 with the average price of Brent crude oil of $50 per barrel. If the average oil price is closer to $60 per barrel in 2017 GDP growth may exceed 2%, budget deficit will be within 1% and the dollar’s exchange rate may be below 60 rubles mark.

  1. The Austrian Institute of Economic Research, the strong fall in exports from the EU to Russia was due, at least partially, to the imposition of sanctions and counter sanctions. The potential trade loss in terms of value added (€34 billion in the short run and €92 billion in the long-run) and employment were attributable to deterioration in trade relations that extended sanctions can exacerbate. That study (inter others) thus concludes that the sanctions have had serious consequences on employment in the EU with cost to the EU over €100 billion in business and up to 2.5 million in jobs.
  2. Christensen, O. Fritz and G. Streicher , “Effects of the EU-Russia Economic Sanctions on Value Added and Employment in the European Union and Switzerland”, WIFO Study, Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna, July, 2015.
  1. Russia’s economy grew in 2016. Stock market is up over 40% year-to-date. In December the Russian Ministry of Economic Development revised its outlook for industrial production growth in 2016 to +1% compared to the previous +0.4%. In November, national statistics firm Rosstat said industrial production in the first 11 months of 2016 rose +0.8% from 2015 and +2.7% compared to the same month a year ago. IP also rose around +1% from October levels.

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov [see #3]“The economy may surprise to the upside next year,” Siluanov said. “If so, growth will have an impact on the dynamics of wages and incomes, which have already shown a steady growth pattern in real terms thanks to falling inflation.”

Suddenly… FSB arrests just one liberal minister, and economy starts growing.

  1. His prediction has failed. Russia’s economy minister Ulukaev was arrested a month ago, officially for bribery and corruption, unofficially for treason. The IMF data of debt-to-GDP ratio by country shows that that Russia’s share in a world debt is lowest in Europe and equal only to 0,49 percent of the world debt, while the European continent, excluding Russia, holds over 26 percent of total world debt. In September 2016, Fitch Affirms Russia’s Penza Region at ‘BB’; Outlook Stable. Penza’s economy is historically weaker than the average Russian region with a GRP per capita at 76% of the national median in 2014. Other Russia’s region were also affirmed as “stable.”
  1. No to predicted hunger revolts. Per Bloomberg’s October report: Russia becomes a grain superpower as wheat exports explode with the grain harvest is amounting to 117 million tons in 2016, which is the highest ever in history. In 2016, US lost out to Russian wheat exports. Russia’s poultry producers found new markets to sell due to significant increase the domestic production due to import cuts.

RosStat: In 2016 an average Russian consumed 98.5 kg of fresh vegetables and 72.6 kg of fresh fruit and berries.

Russia records increase in greenhouse vegetable production per fruit-inform.com

Based on data from regional agro-business management bodies: the gross yield of greenhouse vegetable crops in the whole country amounted, as of 29 November 2016 to 607.1 thousand tons; which is 31% more than in 2015, when the total volume stood at 462.4 thousand tons. The volume of cucumbers increased by 23% and amounted to 409.4 thousand tons, compared to 333.1 thousand tons in 2015. The tomato production amounted to 182.5 thousand tons, which is 53% more than in 2015, when it amounted to 119.4 thousand tons. 15.2 thousand tons of other vegetable crops were also harvested. For comparison, in the same period of 2015 the yield was 9.9 tonnes, i.e. it was 1.5 times smaller.

  1. This prediction has also failed. The agreements between Russia, Syria, Iran and Turkey to end the war in Syria took place, and the Western countries were excluded from the deal.
  1. This prediction has failed. Russia’s counter sanctions are already in place until December 2017, with an indefinite renewal option.
  1. This prediction had also failed. The Western sanctions actually gave a boost to the economy.
  1. Another failed prediction. One year on, Russia’s war in Syria is hardly the predicted ‘quagmire.’ Even the Dark side itself admits that “the United States made a mistake by waving off this intervention as a doomed adventure. Failing to take it seriously has ramifications for the region beyond the Syrian war.”

As the warontherocks author also admits, “the quagmire is less visible in Russia’s military operations, and more in U.S. thinking on how to deal with Moscow.”

News in brief:

A word from the Dark side:

Russia is playing from a position of enormous strength in the new 2017 year

 

A collective failure of the Western “analytics” is so obvious that anyone should start looking for answers someplace else, rather than wasting money to feed a greedy bottomless pit, populated with ‘stink’ tankers.

Consider that the thesaker.is predictions and analytic have been always accurate.

Thank you for your time,

Scott

A featured image: MOSCOW – AUGUST 21, 2016: Aerial view of Moscow-City over Moskva River. Moscow-City (Moscow International Business Center) is a modern commercial district in central Moscow.

Lebanese Writer Answers Netanyahu’s Bogus Claim About Christmas

[ Ed. note – The writer of the piece below is Elie Fares, who maintains the blog A Separate State of Mind. The language he uses is a bit “colorful” in places, but he makes some good  points about a bogus claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made yesterday. In a diatribe against Secretary of State John Kerry–and given in response to a speech Kerry made earlier in the day–Netanyahu claimed, falsely, that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas.”

I put up a post about the Israeli leader’s rant yesterday entitled Spitting Vitriol. ]

***

No Netanyahu, Israel Isn’t the Only Middle Eastern Place Where Christians Can Celebrate Christmas

A Separate State of Mind

In his increasingly childish bitchfit against the international political establishment that saw his country’s transgressions through settlements on Palestinian land finally made illegal with a UN resolution banning Israel – yeah, right – from building more of them, the Israeli PM is lashing out at his country’s closest ally and the reason Israel has been off the hook in everything it’s done for years, the United States.

As part of a rant aimed at US Secretary of State John Kerry whose tone was very moderate towards the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with him recognizing the plight of Palestinians and their refugees, the land grab they’ve been victim of, among other things, Netanyahu figured it best to remind Kerry, and by extension of his buzz words that you know will circle Fox News for months to come, other Americans and Westerners who see Israel as the only worthy beacon of civilization in the Middle East that – and I quote:

Continued here

Bahrainis Rally in Rejection of Regime’s Normalizing Relations with Zionist Entity

December 30, 2016

Rallies in Bahrain

Thousands of People rallied in Diraz area in rejection of the regime’s steps to normalize relations with the Israeli entity after a Zionist delegation visited the capital Manama.

The protesters held the photos of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Issa Qassem and chanted slogans which reject normalizing Bahrain’s ties with the Zionist entity, burning the Israeli flag and highlighting their support to the Palestinian cause.

A number of Bahraini figures condemned the regime’s act of facilitating the entrance of the Israeli delegation to the Bahraini territories, denouncing the attempts to establish a closer relations with the Zionists.

A circulated video showed a group of Zionist extremists chanting and dancing with Bahraini businessmen during their visit to Manama.

The slogans they chanted asserted their intention to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque to build the alleged Solomon’s Temple, according to the video.

Source: Al-Manar Website

Syria: Another Pipeline War

اتمنى لهذا الفيديو ان ينتشر بسرعة شديدة كما انتشر الطاعون في جيش نابليون بونابارت

 

Report: Polygamy Approved by Israeli Rabbis to Counter Demographic Threat

Middle East Monitor

Israeli rabbis have approved the practice of polygamy to counter what they believe is a demographic threat posed by Arab populations living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

An expose by Channel 10, an Israeli broadcasting channel, revealed the practice was approved by the rabbinate that has actively encouraged and facilitated polygamy, claiming the practice will give Jews an edge in the demographic race against Arabs in Israel.

One rabbi who has been married for 26 years is filmed by an undercover reporter persuading a single woman to become his second wife.

“If your parents ask you why you don’t marry like everyone else,” he told her, “tell them that it is a mitzvah [religious commandment] and I want to do a mitzvah.”

The rabbi showed the reporter a letter signed by Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar permitting him to marry a second wife.

Reporting on the story, The Times of Israel commented that “although Jewish law forbids a woman to marry more than one husband, a practice known as polyandry, it does permit a man to marry more than one wife.”

“There are several instances of polygamy in the Bible, including two of the three patriarchs (Abraham and Jacob) and many of the kings. Jewish law gives guidelines as to the circumstances under which polygamy is permitted,” The Times of Israel explained.

The Israeli newspaper also claimed that there are cases outside of Israel, primarily within Sephardic communities, where a husband who refuses to divorce his wife is granted permission to remarry by a rabbi. This leaves the first wife as an aguna, or chained woman, who is forbidden by Jewish law from remarrying.

A spokesperson for a pro-Jewish demographic domination group, The Complete Jewish Home, told Channel 10:

“We are dealing with men and women who are responsible, and this is a solution to the problem of having more single women than men seeking marriage. It also ensures the Jewish demographic majority in the country, and guarantees the right of religious women to become mothers.”

Though polygamy has been illegal in Israel since 1977, authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DECEMBER 30, 2016: GOVT FORCES FOIL MAJOR MILITANT OFFENSIVE

30.12.2016

A nationwide Syrian ceasefire started last night with a major-scale offensive of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jund al-Aqsa against government forces in northern Hama. The so-called “opposition” seized the hill of Bijo and aimed to take seize the town of Mahardeh, mostly populated by Christians. If Islamist militants were able to success in this, there would be a massacre of civilians in the area. However, the Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) rebuffed the attack and retook control of the Bijo Hill. The situation in the area remains tense.

The night incident clearly showed existing gaps in the ceasefire agreement signed by the Syrian government and a number of armed groups and brokered by Turkey and Russia. While the document allegedly states that the only sides excluded from the ceasefire are Jabhat al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and ISIS, only 7 groups officially signed the deal.  Their total manpower is estimated from 52,000 to 62,000 fighters. The total number of militants in Syria, excluding ISIS members, is estimated by experts as 120,000 – 130,000. So, only about a half of the so-called “opposition” claimed its adherence to the ceasefire.

On December 29, the Syrian army, the NDF and Hezbolalh secured an important hill top – Tell Shurifah – at the Al-Qaryatayn-Tyas road in the province of Homs.

Government forces engaged ISIS forward detachments and as result of a series of firefights were able to entrench in the area. Until December 29 the hilltop had been vulnerable for ISIS raids and posed a threat to government forces movement.

Clashes were also reported near the Shurifah village west of the Tyas Airbase. Government forces were clashing there with ISIS raid units aiming to annoy the Syrian army and its allies and prevent them from an offensive operation along the Tyas-Palmyra road.

Pro-ISIS sources claim that the terrorist group has destroyed up to 11 battle tanks belonging to the Syrian army and its allies near the Tyas Airbase since on December 28 and December 29. Pro-government sources claim that ISIS lost up to 50 fighters and about 5 units of military equipment.

On December 29, various Turkish media outlets reported, citing anonymous military sources and Turkish officials, that the Russian Aerospace Forces had started to target ISIS terrorist near the ISIS-controlled town of al-Bab, providing an air support to Turkish forces in the area. The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the issue.

Related

The Shameful Netanyahu Government

“The 500,000 Israeli West Bank settlers are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should not be living where they are and should be removed, immediately.”

Comment

All  Israelis are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should return to the countries they came from
The Shameful Netanyahu Government

MATTHEW JAMISON | 28.12.2016

The Shameful Netanyahu Government

The recent resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council condemning the growth of the illegal colonial Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land of East Jerusalem and the West Bank was a necessary reprimand for the Netanyahu Government. What made it all the more remarkable was the fact it passed the Security Council without being vetoed by the United States. Historically the United States has shielded Israel from censure by the UN Security Council but this time the Obama administration rightly abstained.

Now, I am about as pro-Israel as they come and feel very protective of Israel. I strongly believe in Israel’s right to exist and I am a huge admirer of the State of Israel and the Israeli and Jewish people. All my closest friends at university were Jewish and I attended meetings of the Cambridge University Jewish Society as well as speaking in defence of Israel at the Cambridge Union. It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to visit the great State of Israel back in November 2013. It was one of the most poignant and memorable trips of my life. My group were taken to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as the Israeli-Lebanese border and the Israeli-Syrian border up in the Golan Heights. We got to visit the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament where we had consultations with various Israeli MPs from the Labor Party, Kadima and Likud. We also visited the inspiring Shimon Peres Peace Centre as well as Galilee and Yad Vashem. I would one day love to live in Israel. A magnificent country, only the size of Wales, yet extremely dynamic, innovative, cultured and intellectual with a prodigious output and work ethic. Truly an amazing country and people. But it was not just Israel we visited. We went into the West Bank to Ramallah and met with the de facto Palestinian Foreign Minister as well as Palestinian peace activists.

My meetings in Israel and Palestine made a profound impression upon me and confirmed my belief that one can be at the same time both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. I have always believed that Israel must relinquish the land it conquered in the 1967 Six Day War and return the West Bank to Palestinian rule while sharing Jerusalem. I have absolutely zero tolerance for the Israeli West Bank settlements. It really is a very simple proposition. Israel’s proper, internationally recognised legal borders are what they were prior to the Six Day War. The West Bank settlements are not only illegal but they are a transparent policy of crude imperialism. The 500,000 Israeli West Bank settlers are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should not be living where they are and should be removed, immediately. The West Bank is Palestinian land, not Israeli land. End of story. If the illegal Israeli colonists on the West Bank what to remain there and will not go or be forcibly removed then they will have to live under Palestinian rule, not Israeli. 

My visit to Israel and my work on attempting to revive the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative also reinforced my contempt for Binyamin Netanyahu and his extremist right wing Likud Government. Netanyahu is a terrible man and has done a great disservice to Israel. He is full of hate. He does not believe in the rights and dignity of Palestinians and does not want a State of Palestine living side by side with a State of Israel.

One of my greatest Israeli political hero’s was the late, great Yitzhak Rabin. While Rabin was showing the greatest of visionary statesmanship, strength and courage in the early 1990s striving to make peace with the Palestinians, the odious Netanyahu was out protesting on the streets against Rabin’s efforts and helping to incite and whip up the atmosphere that would eventually contribute to the assassination of Rabin.

Netanyahu has done everything in his power to frustrate peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including making the viability of a Palestinian State seriously problematic given his horrible Governments unrelenting, enhanced and accelerated colonial settlement building activity in occupied Palestinian land of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu called the passage of the UN Security Council resolution as «shameful». What is shameful is not the resolution but Netanyahu himself and his inbred, disgusting Government, which brings continual shame on Israel. It was heartening to see America pull back from vetoing the condemnation though it would have been even better if it had of voted with Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom to support the resolution. In the end, to achieve a Two State Solution, which is the only possible path to secure long term, long lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians it could be that the United States and Russia will have to work together with peace loving Israelis and Palestinians to produce, finally, a Two State Solution.

It is only the United States and Russia who have the credibility and clout with Israel and the regional prestige and standing to help resolve this issue, even if it means imposing upon the Netanyahu Government a Comprehensive Final Peace Plan. Britain is but a very minor player in the Middle East and does not command the respect or attention of Israel. It has little credibility with Israeli Governments given the deep anti-Israel bias of its Foreign Office, media and populace. It is of no use in brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. Just as the United States and the late Soviet Union came together and cosponsored the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, so too should the new Trump administration and the Russian Government partner together to finally achieve a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and harmony with a secure State of Israel.

Spitting Vitriol

 photo vitriolicneta_zps8facfl9o.jpg

Israeli leaders seem to be spitting a lot of vitriol these days over the recent UN vote. It’s almost as if they’re discharging their sputum into a revolving global fan blade. We don’t really know where the spittle is going to end up next.

On Christmas Day, the Israeli government summoned the ambassadors of ten different countries, presumably for a vitriolic dressing down over the resolution which passed the Security Council two days earlier. At a Cabinet meeting, later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu openly accused the Obama administration of being the prime impetus behind the resolution.

“According to our information, we have no doubt the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the wording and demanded it be passed,” he said.

At least some of the spittle, however, seems to be catching a tailwind from the fan and blowing back into the Israelis’ faces. Nina Ben Ami, the Israeli ambassador to Uruguay (Uruguay is currently a member of the Security Council and voted in favor of the resolution), issued a public rebuke to top officials in that country but seems not to have chosen her words with care. (H/T Ariadna )

“Please allow me [to speak] a sincere word in this moment over a recent event,” said Ben Ami. “I have to say that we have been disappointed by the support that Uruguay gave to the resolution of the UN Security Council, which attacked Israel again, while other atrocities and territorial conflicts much more serious go on unnoticed.”

“Other atrocities…much more serious”? The implication (probably unintended) is that Israel commits its fair share of atrocities, they just tend to be somewhat less serious than those committed by other countries.

The ambassador also alluded to the other Security Council members in a manner which, considered in a certain light, might be construed as menacing–although gratefully she seemed somewhat more forgiving toward Uruguay.

“El primer ministro habló de cosas que quiere hacer con quienes votaron la resolución. Pero no todos los países están en la misma situación. De Senegal y Nueva Zelanda que hicieron la propuesta ya hemos removido al embajador. No es el caso acá en Uruguay asi que buscamos como salir de esa situación pero es complicado”, concluyó Ben Ami.

Which according to our interpreter, Ariadna, translates to:

“The Prime Minister [i.e., Netanyahu] talked about what he wants to do with those who voted the resolution. But not all countries are in the same situation. From Senegal and New Zeeland — who proposed it — we have already recalled our ambassadors. It is not the case of Uruguay, so we are looking to see how we can get out of this situation but it is complicated,” concluded Ben Ami.

Yes, of course. Everything always becomes “complicated” whenever anyone gets to justifying the longest occupation in world history.

The spitting continued on Wednesday in a response to a speech given by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington. Attempting to lay out the administration’s reasons for not vetoing the UN resolution, Kerry said, “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and reiterated his belief that current Israeli policies are contravening that goal.

“The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements,” Kerry said.

“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by world leaders. No one wants peace more than the people of Israel,” Netanyahu riposted.

He also accused Kerry of “attacking the only democracy in the Middle East” and laid claim that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas,” insisting at the same time that “all of this doesn’t interest the US Secretary of State, unfortunately.”

If it was a spitting contest between Kerry and Netanyahu, it looks like Netanyahu is hands down the winner.

In fact, the Obama administration now seems to be crying uncle. Following Netanyahu’s response, Ben Rhodes, White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, went on CNN to assure the world that the US will veto any further resolutions critical of Israel which may come up during the remainder of the president’s term in office.

It is a shame we have officials in what is purportedly the most powerful nation on earth succumbing so easily to intimidation from a foreign leader, but it looks like top brass in the Obama administration will be carrying umbrellas whenever venturing outdoors between now and January 20.

Maria Finoshina: Merry Christmas from Damascus!

Published on Dec 26, 2016

Maria: Merry Christmas from Damascus!
Santa told us he brought Peace for Syria this year.
Let’s all pray for this Christmas to be the last one in war.

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U.S. Pushed Out of Middle East by Russia-Iran-Turkey Pact

Published on Dec 26, 2016

In the twelfth edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor, Professor Filip Kovacevic discusses the front-page articles from four Russian newspapers: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Komsomolskaya Pravda. He focuses on the Polish-Ukrainian relations within the anti-Russian geopolitical bloc, the aftermath of the brutal assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey Andrei Karlov and four versions of who might be behind it, the dethronement of the U.S. as the dominant Great Power in the Middle East by the Russia-Iran-Turkey pact, and the interview with Paul Craig Roberts prominently featured in a Russian daily newspaper.

Show Notes
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Syrian War Report – December 28, 2016: Govt Deploys 10,000-Strong Force For Advance On Palmyra

Syrian War Report – December 29, 2016: YPG Withdrawing From Aleppo City?

On December 29, preliminary reports appeared that an evacuation agreement were made between the Syrian military and militants operating in Syrian Ayn al-Fijah, Baseema and Dayr Qanoon in the Wadi Barda region northwest of Damascus. Local sources reported that militants are divided over the withdrawal issue. So, most likely, the Syrian military will be pushed to make a series of separate of withdrawal agreements until the whole region is liberated.

A day before, on December 28, the Syrian army and Hezbollah, backed up by the Syrian Air Force, continued to storm Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham defense lines. Clashes were reported at the villages of Souq Wadi Barada, Kafr al-Awamid, al-Husyaniyah and Baseema. As a result, the Syrian army and Hezbollah entered Baseema and seized a number of buildings there. According to local sources, a part of militants holding a defense line there just fled to Dayr Qanoon and Kafr Az Zayt where no clashes were reported. About 20 militants were reportedly killed in the operation.

Kurdish YPG forces are withdrawing from the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo city, according to reports circulating in YPG- and rebel-linked media outlets and social media accounts. The Ara News press agency reported on Tuesday that about 50 YPG fighters had already left the neighborhood and headed towards the northern countryside of Aleppo. Nonetheless, this report cannot be confirmed independently.

Earlier in December, information appeared that the Syrian government was going to demilitarize Sheikh Maqsoud after the YPG or the SDF how the mainstream media prefers to call Kurdish forces allegedly decided to accept into its ranks a group of 250 Fatah Halab militants that had fled from eastern Aleppo. If this decision is confirmed, the real reason of possible tensions between YPG/SDF units and pro-government forces in Aleppo will be exposed.

On December 28, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported that Turkey and Russia had agreed for a nation-wide ceasefire effort in Syria that was set to be launched at midnight local time on December 29. After Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the agreement, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was pushed to clarify that the two countries had only prepared a text of the truce accord to be presented to the warring parties. On December 29, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that the Syrian government and armed opposition groups have reached an agreement on a ceasefire in Syria and on readiness to start peace talks.


ISIS Terrorists Lost 12 Units Of Military Equipment In Desperate Attacks On Tyas Airbase

29.12.2016

ISIS terrorists have continued desperate attacks against Syrian government forces at the Tyas Airbase and nearby points.

Since December 27, ISIS has launched 3 attacks against the Syrian army and its allies in the area, but failed to achieve any sucess.

2 battle tanks, 7 armoured vehicles and 3 vehicles equipped with machine guns belonging to the terrorist group were destroyed, according to pro-government sources.

The ISIS advance in the area is in a dead-lock. Terrorists failed to encircle the Tyas Airbase and are not able to break government defenses there.

The Syrian military has continued to deploy reinforcements to the battlefront against ISIS terrorists near the Tyas Airbase in the province of Homs. Pro-government sources say that the government is set use a 10,000-strong offensive force led by the Tiger Forces, the Desert Hawks Brigade and Hezbollah in the expected military operation to retake the ancient city of Palmyra. While local sources confirm the fact of deployment of additional fighters, it’s hard to expect that a major-scale military operation to retake Palmyra can be started in the nearest future. Most likely this will be a goal for 2017.

Clashes between ISIS and US-backed YPG forces continued on December 27 and 28 north of the Tabqa dam in the province of Raqqah. ISIS attacked YPG units near the vilalges of Jabar, Suwaydiya Saghirah and West Tareq. As a result terrorists stopped the YPG advance on the Tabqa dam but were not able to prevent Kurdish forces from expanding their zone of control along the Khirbat al-Sharafat-Widyan road.

ISIS-linked ‘Amaq’ news agency reported on Tuesday that the US-led coalition airpower accidentally hit YPG forces near Jabar. Nonetheless, no photo or video proofs were provided. YPG-linked media outlets and activists ignored the report.

Syrian government forces repelled an ISIS attack in the area of Deir Ezzor. Last night ISIS units advanced on Syrian army positions in the Rashidiyah Neighborhood but failed to overrun government forces defenses and retreated. Over 20 ISIS terrorists were killed.

Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan said at a press conference on Tuesday that Turkey has evidence that the US-led coalition providing support to terrorist groups in Syria, including ISIS and Kurdish militias linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” he said.

Earlier this week, Turkey blamed the US-led coalition for a lack of air support after the Turkish Army and pro-Turkish militants had repeatedly failed to break ISIS defenses near al-Bab.

Commenting on Ankara’s accusations, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Erdogan’s claims were “ludicrous.” Toner added that Washington is “100 percent behind the defeat and destruction of Daesh [ISIS], even beyond Syria and Iraq.”

A major problem with these statements aiming to show that Washington and Ankara are deeply involved in the battle against ISIS is that they don’t answer to a question: Why had US and Turkish forces been allowing the ISIS oil smuggling business in Syria and Iraq until Russia launched a wide-scale campaign to destroy it in 2015?

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DECEMBER 27, 2016: MILITANTS IN DARAA SURRENDER TO SYRIAN ARMY

On December 26 and December 27, the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force were delivering massive airstrikes on Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) targets in the Idlib-Aleppo countryside, according to local sources. The activity of the Syrian-Russian air power in the area was synchronized with reports about deployment of a high number of Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters for an operation in the area of Hader and Qarassi.

Mass graves of torture victims have been uncovered in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on December 26.

“Mass burial sites of many dozens [of Syrians], who had been subjected to brutal torture and [then] murdered, have been found,” Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said. The Russian general said that the cases are being thoroughly recorded as heavy war crimes to be put to maximum publicity “so that European backers of the so-called opposition in London and Paris are well aware of who their wards actually are.”

Konashenkov added that militants of the “moderate opposition” mined in eastern Aleppo nearly everything: streets, entrances to premises, and cars.

Russian engineers are working to demine the city.

Earlier reports appeared that government forces seized large stocks of ammunition and weapons in the liberated parts of Aleppo: missiles, mortar shells, assault rifles, various kind of munitions and humanitarian aid.

Tensions among various militant factions on more time erupted in the province of Idlib where Jabhat Fatah al-Sham raided houses and arrested a number of Liwa Suqur al-Jabal militants that had returned to Idlib after participation in the Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Aleppo. The event took place in Kansafra and followed sporadic reports that Liwa Suqur al-Jabal had been redeploying fighters to Idlib to oppose the expected government offensive in the area.

Kurdish YPG forces have been continuing to develop the momentum against ISIS in the province of Raqqah. The YPG is working to secure the area north of the Tabqa Dam, controlled by ISIS. When it’s done, Kurdish forces will likely attempt to retake this strategic site from the terrorist group. Especially heavy clashes are now ongoing in the area of Jabar.

A high number of militants has laid down arms and joined the reconciliation process with the Syrian government in the province of Daraa. The event took place in the government-held town of al-Sanamyen north of the provincial capital. The total numbers of Free Syrian Army members that had laid their arms and took the amnesty were estimated from 150 to 250. Local sources argue that this was a prelude to a wider reconciliation agreement in the province that will allow government forces to set control over all parts over the city of Daraa.

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President Assad: EU Must Recognize Syrians Determine Solution of Country’s Crisis

December 29, 2016

President Assad receiving EU parliamentary delegationPresident Assad receiving EU parliamentary delegation

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received on Thursday a joint delegation comprising MPs from the European Parliament and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia.

Members of the delegation affirmed the importance of this visit to get acquainted with the reality of situation in Syria and to show support to the Syrian people in the war against terrorism as well as to congratulate Syrians on the victory achieved in the city of Aleppo, stressing their rejection of any foreign interference in the Syrian internal affairs.

During the meeting, President al-Assad briefed members of the delegation on the developments in Syria, answering their questions in this regard. The President considered that as this delegation includes MPs from a number of European parties and from Russia, it is an important signal that Russia and the European countries have common interests, stressing the important role played by parliamentarians to express the interests of their people.

As for the role that could be played by the European countries to reach a solution in Syria, President al-Assad considered that if the European countries want to help Syrian people, they must first stop supporting terrorists and lift the unjust blockade which affects the basics of Syrians’ life, affirming that the European officials have to recognize that the solution in Syria would be through the Syrian people only.

President al-Assad stressed that the Western officials must admit that the terrorist attacks taking place in their countries are a result of their wrong policies, therefore, they have to ask themselves if their policies, they adopt, were in the interest of their own people or against it.

On the fight against terrorism, President al-Assad considered that this operation is carried out through the military track which is progressing well because of the Russian support and drying the financial resources through which terrorists can recruit people, most importantly, is how to deal with terrorism as an ideology, adding that the Wahhabi mentality should be eliminated for the success in any operation of the fight against terrorism.

President al-Assad also considered that while Russia supports Syria, it is not only defending the Syrians’ security, but it also defends the security of its people and the European peoples too.

Source: SANA


 

President Assad: Syrians Don’t Need Humanitarian Aid, Just Stop Supporting Terrorism

President Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said foreign support provided for Takfiri terrorist has been prolonging the Syrian crisis.

“You cannot talk about the war being over until you get rid of the terrorists in Syria,” Assad said in a Thursday interview with Italian TG5 channel.

“And those terrorists unfortunately still have formal support from many countries including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and many Western countries,” the Syrian leader said, noting that terrorists are inspired by Wahhabi dark ideology.

President Assad slammed European countries for supporting terrorism and imposing embargo on Syria.

Assad stressed that the Syrian people, especially the refugees in Europe, don’t need the European countries’ humanitarian aids but what they need is to stop supporting terrorism and to halt the embargo imposed on Syria.

“They don’t need your support in your country; they need your support in our country. They need to stop supporting terrorists, they need to lift the embargo that pushed many Syrians to go to Europe because of the embargo, not only because of the terrorism. Because of the embargo, they cannot live anymore in their country,” the Syrian leader addressed the European countries as saying.

Assad meanwhile, said that the European governments are working against interests of their own people.

“They are working against the interest of their own people. They are supporting the terrorists. How can I help them if they are supporting the terrorists in our region, in order to halt terrorism attack in Europe?”

On the other hand, President Assad stressed that Syria have a wide spectrum of religious diversity, calling Syrians to unite and to learn from the lessons of the war.

“This war has brought many Syrians together. They learned the lessons – so many lessons – that if we don’t accept each other, if we don’t respect each other on every level of this word, you cannot have unified society. Without this unified society, Syria cannot be reborn. So, I think, not only to talk about the rebirth of Syria, I can feel today that if you don’t have terrorism, the social society is going to be much stronger than the society that you knew before the war, because of the lesson that we’ve learned.”

Source: Agencies

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The cruel experiments of israel’s arms industry

The cruel experiments of Israel’s arms industry

 

Palestinian protesters stand in a cloud of tear gas fired by Israeli forces during confrontations in the West Bank city of Bethlehem in October 2015.

Anne Paq ActiveStills

Round the back of Ramallah’s main hospital lies the house of Iyad Haddad, a 52-year-old human rights investigator. His home office is the shopfront of a decrepit building and at first glance it looks like a bric-a-brac shop. But the objects placed out on the tables are not household trinkets. The surfaces are, in fact, cluttered with spent ammunition, tear gas canisters, sponge bullets and shell casings.

Haddad has spent the past three decades documenting the violence of the Israeli forces occupying his people’s land. These ugly little pieces of memorabilia are his testament to that process.

Many of these weapons have been fired on peaceful demonstrators protesting against Israel’s wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank. The villages of Nilin, Bilin and Nabi Saleh have been organizing regular protests for years. To my surprise, Haddad does not approve of those demonstrations.

“Sometimes they are using us so they can know how to use each kind of weapon,” he said. “For me, these kinds of activities by the Palestinians become helpful to the Israelis because it makes this area into a laboratory to test their weapons, to develop them and make it a commercial industry in order to sell them to other countries.”

The idea that the Israeli arms industry benefits from the occupation through having a captive population it can test new weaponry on is now widely accepted.

Israel tries out weapons in the West Bank and Gaza and then presents them as “battle proven” to the international market.

The high-velocity tear gas canister has been heavily tested in Bilin. In 2009, the weapon killed Bassem Abu Rahmah, an unarmed local activist, protesting the wall slicing into that village. At the end of 2011, another protester, Mustafa Tamimi, was killed in Nabi Saleh by a tear gas canister, shot at his head.

There is a sense of weariness in Haddad’s voice. “I have seen how they are developing their tools and their weapons industry and the ways of dealing with the community,” he said. “And, in 30 years, I never heard once that there is any kind of accountability for any soldier.”

But he goes on. He must go on.

“Tested and retested”

“The laboratory of the occupied territories is where things can be fine-tuned, they can be tested, they can be retested,” said Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “They can say, ‘Hey this was used by the IDF [Israel’s military], this must be good.’ And that helps the marketing of the goods.”

Later, in Ramallah, I sat down with Abdallah Abu Rahmah, coordinator of the Popular Struggle Committee against the wall and settlements in Bilin. Every Friday – for a decade – he and his neighbors have gone to the wall to protest.

For these efforts, they have been subject to night raids by the Israeli military. Abu Rahmah himself has been arrested and imprisoned by Israel a number of times.

“There are many reports about when they [the Israelis] have tried to sell military products and they told the buyers about its use in Bilin,” said Abu Rahmah. “Things like skunk water, they used it the first time in our village.”

Skunk water is a putrid smelling liquid that is sprayed at protesters in order to get them to disperse. “Because Bilin is famous, sometimes they come to our actions and they take video and photographs showing how effective the weapons are in stopping the action,” Abu Rahmah said.

Israeli military vehicle shots skunk spray high above protester
A Palestinian youth throws stones towards a truck with a skunk water canon during confrontations near the Beit El settlement outside the West Bank city of Ramallah in October 2015.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Jeff Halper, author of War Against the People, a book on Israel’s arms and surveillance technology industries, said: “Israel has kept the occupation because it’s a laboratory for weapons.”

“Now, there has always been a tension,” added Halper, also a founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. “Because you’ve had the right wing that look at the West Bank as Judea and Samaria and Gaza as Gush Katif and, of course, East Jerusalem. So they want it all as part of the land of Israel. But then you’ve got another part especially the – I would say the military and the economic people – that say, ‘Hey, this is a laboratory, this is really a resource for us, and we really shouldn’t give it up.’”

Eitay Mack, a Jerusalem-based human rights lawyer and activist, raises the prospect that Israel uses Palestinians as test subjects for foreign arms companies as well.

Testing America’s bullets

“In East Jerusalem, the Americans give Israel sponge bullets,” Mack said. “First, they started with a blue sponge bullet but then they decided – this is their statement – that because the Palestinians wore a lot of clothes, it was not very effective so then they changed it to a [more powerful] black sponge bullet, which caused huge damage and there are dozens of Palestinians that have lost their eyes and other organs of their body.”

The black sponge bullets are manufactured by Combined Tactical Systems, a Pennsylvania-based firm which also supplies Israel with tear gas.

The company’s brochure for these bullets contains a note marked “caution.” It reads: “Shots to the head, neck, thorax, heart or spine can result in fatal or serious injury.”

Israeli troops began using the black bullets in 2014.

The Israeli arms industry is dominated by four companies: Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit, Rafael and Israel Military Industries.

More than 75 percent of all weapons exported by Israel are made by the first three of those firms. In 2015, the total value of Israel’s arms exports came to $5.7 billion.

The attack on Gaza the previous year enabled Israel to showcase some of its newest weapons. It was reported, for example, that the Hermes-900, one of Elbit’s drones, made its “operational debut” in that assault.

Israel allocates more than 5 percent of gross domestic product to the military. That means Israel spends a higher proportion of its national income on the military than even the US, the world’s only superpower.

“War sells weapons”

Some veterans of the Israeli military have developed careers as experts on the arms industry.

Shlomo Brom is one of them. A retired brigadier general, he now works at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

I asked Brom if it’s true that Israeli arms companies use the fact that their products have been tested on Palestinians to gain international business. “Of course,” he replied. “Why not? Marketing [professionals] try to use any advantage and if they can use the advantage that this system was tested operationally and it worked, they will of course use it for marketing.”

Uzi Rubin, a founder of Arrow, an Israeli anti-ballistic missiles program, is now a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

He defended the way Israel has marketed its weapons as “battle proven.”

“It is legitimate because the Vietnam War sold a lot of weapons,” he said. “War usually sells weapons. But this is not to say that Israel is seeking war in order to sell weapons.”

Barbara Opall-Rome has spent a few decades covering Israel for DefenseNews, a trade magazine for arms manufacturers. She advocates that Israel should allocate greater resources into what she calls “less-than-lethal technologies.”

In her view, the Israeli weapons industry should think beyond weapons such as tear gas and skunk water that it is already deploying in the West Bank.

“I’m talking about using the electromagnetic spectrum or high-powered microwaves to get people dizzy,” she said. “If you’re dizzy you lose your balance. You know, I’d rather people just get an upset stomach and really just have to have diarrhea right in the middle of a demonstration or puke their guts out than to be killed.”

Her comments reveal much about the sadistic mentality of Israel’s weapons-makers and their promoters. For them, Palestinians are not human beings worthy of respect but subjects in one cruel experiment after another.

Matt Kennard is director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London. He is the author of Irregular Army: How the US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members and Criminals to Fight the War on Terror (Verso, 2012) and The Racket: A Rogue Reporter vs The American Elite (Zed, 2016). His trip to Palestine was partly funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Pathetic Obama impose more sanctions on Russia over mythical hacking as FBI-Homeland Security confirms no evidence

BREAKING: Joint FBI-Homeland Security report fails to prove Russians behind Clinton leaks

by Alexander Mercouris

BUT NEVERTHELESS  Obama imposes more sanctions on Russia over claims of Russian hacking

Joint report by FBI and Department of Homeland Security into Russian hacking allegations derided as ‘childish’ by IT experts; fails to prove Russians behind Clinton leaks.

In conjunction with US President Obama’s announcement of new sanctions against Russia, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have published a 13 report into the Russian hacking allegations

I think it is fair to say that a mountain has moved and produced a mouse.  To get a sense of the absurdity, consider that the report actually begins with a Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp. Reference Number: JAR-16-20296 December 29.

After this unpromising beginning, the report – which goes by the frankly weird title “Grizzly Bear” – provides a summary that reads as follows

Previous JARs have not attributed malicious cyber activity to specific countries or threat actors. However, public attribution of these activities to RIS is supported by technical indicators from the U.S. Intelligence Community, DHS, FBI, the private sector, and other entities. This determination expands upon the Joint Statement released October 7, 2016, from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security. This activity by RIS is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the U.S. government and its citizens. These cyber operations have included spearphishing campaigns targeting government organizations, critical infrastructure entities, think tanks, universities, political organizations, and corporations leading to the theft of information. In foreign countries, RIS actors conducted damaging and/or disruptive cyber-attacks, including attacks on critical infrastructure networks. In some cases, RIS actors masqueraded as third parties, hiding behind false online personas designed to cause the victim to misattribute the source of the attack. This JAR provides technical indicators related to many of these operations, recommended mitigations, suggested actions to take in response to the indicators provided, and information on how to report such incidents to the U.S. Government.

Note that the report is solely concerned with hacking.  It does not discuss who provided the DNC or Podesta material to Wikileaks, it does not say that Russian Intelligence carried out the hacking to influence the outcome of the US Presidential election, and nor does it say that Russian intelligence did this in order to swing the election to Donald Trump – all questions concerning which the FBI is known to have doubts.  On the contrary, it is careful to say that it is the US government (ie. the Obama administration), not the US intelligence community or the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security, which assesses that the Russians passed the DNC and Podesta material on to Wikileaks for onward publication in the media

The U.S. Government assesses that information was leaked to the press and publicly disclosed.

(bold italics added)

The report provides no evidence that the hacking was the work of Russian intelligence agencies.  It merely states it as a fact

The U.S. Government confirms that two different RIS actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party.

The two “actors” in question are the two groups of hackers known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.  As I have pointed out previously, the claim that these two groups of hackers act for Russian intelligence has so far been based purely on inference, with no hard facts behind it.

There is nothing in this report that changes that, or which substantiates this claim, and nothing in the report that remotely resembles a hard fact to support it. On the contrary as the paragraph I have quoted above shows, the claim is still based purely on inference . That the claim is entirely inferential, and may be based on completely false reasoning, is it turns out also the opinion of an expert in this field.

The rest of the report  – which is to say nearly all of it – is taken up with technical information intended to confirm the existence of the hacking – something which no-one denies happened – and various suggestions for ways to mitigate against such hacking in the future.  Whilst this is no doubt helpful, it is hardly the issue under discussion.  Frankly it looks like padding, made to make the report look longer and more substantial than it actually is.

Even the Guardian has been forced to admit that this is thin stuff.

Security experts on Twitter criticised the government report as too basic. Jonathan Zdziarski, a highly regarded security researcher, compared the joint action report to a child’s activity center.

Tom Killalea, former vice-president of security at Amazon and a Capital One board member, wrote: “Russian attack on DNC similar to so many other attacks in past 15yrs. Big question: Why such poor incident response?”

If this is the sum total of the evidence upon which the Obama administration is claiming that the Russians were behind the leak of the DNC and Podesta emails, and that they did this to swing the election to Donald Trump, then this “evidence” in no way does that.  Indeed if anything what the report shows is how confected this whole scandal actually is.

I would add that the complete absence of enthusiasm on the part of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for the Obama administration’s attempts to use the claims of Russian hacking for its own political ends shines through the whole report.  Anyone with experience of such reports can spot it immediately.  This is very much a report produced to order, which does the absolute minimum it can get away with in order to appear to comply with the order.

Interestingly the NSA, the branch of US intelligence which has presumably the greatest expertise in the area, and which has the most information about it, is not a co-author of this report.  I wonder why?

 

Proof that the USA’s so called “moderate rebels” are in reality Jihadist terrorists

Reality Check: Proof That Those “Moderate Rebels” in Syria are Really Jihadists

Reality Check: Proof That Those “Moderate Rebels” in Syria are Really Jihadists. “These are not “freedom fighters” they are not looking to make Syria free, they are looking to enslave it.” Part 1

Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(22 – 28 December 2016)

West Bank: Israeli Forces Close al-Jesser Road Between Ras Karkar and Deir Ibzaigh Villages.
West Bank: Israeli Forces Close al-Jesser Road Between Ras Karkar and Deir Ibzaigh Villages.

 

 

  • A Palestinian civilian was killed and child succumbed to his wounds in the West Bank.
  • 14 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Gaza Strip border areas, but no casualties were reported.
  • Israeli forces continued collective punishment measures against the Palestinian civilians.
  • Demolishing the walls of a house belonging to Abu Sbaih family in Kufor Aqeb village, north of occupied Jerusalem, and closing it.
  • Israeli forces conducted 60 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip.
  • 52 civilians, including 16 children and a woman, were arrested.
  • 16 of them, including 10 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • 5 agricultural and commercial facilities in Silwan village were demolished.
  • A new tunnel was opened in Silwan village. The tunnel resulted in cracks in dozens of houses.
  • Settlement activities continued in the West Bank.
  • A well and an agricultural room were demolished. In addition, new demolition notices in Hebron were issued.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 9th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 4 Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints.

 

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (22 – 28 December 2016).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian while a child succumbed to his wounds in the West Bank. Moreover, they wounded 14 civilian, including 3 children and a journalist. Thirteen of them were in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, on Thursday, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 3 others when the soldiers used force to disperse dozens of youngsters gathering around Qalandia refugee camp and Kufor Aqeb village, north of occupied Jerusalem, and attempting to prevent the demolition of Abu Sbaih house in the said village.

 

On the same day, Palestinian medical source pronounced Fares al-Bayed (15), from al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, dead because of wounds he sustained on 15 October 2016. The aforementioned child sustained a bullet wound to the forehead causing laceration and coma.

 

During the reporting period also, 10 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, were wounded during peaceful protests or Israeli incursions.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 25 December 2016, a Palestinian civilian was wounded during a peaceful protest near the border fence, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. His wound was classified as moderate.

 

In the context of targeting the border areas, on 24 December 2016, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence opened fire at farmers digging a well, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.

 

On 26 December 2016, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers in the east of al-Salqa valley, east of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported as well.

 

Collective punishment measures:

 

On 22 December 2016, Israeli forces demolished the walls of a house belonging to the family of Mosbah Abu Sbaih in Kufor Aqeb village, north of occupied Jerusalem, and closed it upon a decision from the Israeli High Court. The house is an apartment on the 7th floor of a building owned by Abu Sbaih’s father. It should be noted that Mosbah was killed on 12 October 2016 after he carried out a shooting attack in Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood, north of East Jerusalem.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 60 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 others in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 52 Palestinian civilians, including 16 children and a woman. Sixteen of them, including 10 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 27 December 2016, Israeli forces moved about 50 meters around Sofa military site in al-Shouka village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. They levelled and combed lands and then withdrew.

 

Efforts to create Jewish majority

 

On 28 December 2016, the Israeli municipality demolished 5 agricultural and commercial facilities in Ein al-Louza neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of non-licensing. Jamal Siyam said that Israeli forces demolished 3 agricultural containers and a barrack he own in addition to parts of a commercial store belonging to Abu Hawdan family.

 

In the same context, on 27 December 2016, the Israeli authorities opened a new tunnel in Wadi Helwa neighbourhood, south of East Jerusalem’s Old City that resulted in cracks in the houses and streets.

 

Settlement activities:

 

On 27 December 2016, Israeli forces demolished a well and an agricultural room in al-Bus area, west of Ethna village, west of Hebron. They issued also final demolition orders against 4 houses in Beit Awwa village, southwest of Hebron, and 18 notices to halt construction works in Masafer Yatta, south of the city.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people.  The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy.  They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

 

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 00:10, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Saber Mohammed ‘Ali Abdul Fattah Dawoud (40), owner of Asayel Yafa Printing House, and then arrested him. They locked his brothers and their children in a house belonging to their brother Samer Dawoud. Around the same time, another Israeli force raided the abovementioned printing house. They confiscated 13 printers and 6 hard disks and then closed the printing house until 21 January 2017, due to the charge of printing incitement materials. It should be noted that Israeli forces raided the printing house on 23 November 2016, and confiscated PCs, hard desks and 3 passports.

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Hebron and stationed in Ezone neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zaid Majed Mohammed al-Jo’bah (23) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Khaled Khdaish (19) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Jala. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mustafa Haitham al-Masalmah (34) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 3 civilians namely Yazan Nabih Deriyah (16), Mohammed Ayman Taqatqa (16) and Ibrahim Jebril Taqatqa (16).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Einabus village, east of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to lawyer Mohammed Naser Eden Mufdi ‘Elan (32) and then arrested him. At approximately 13:00, he was released. They questioned him in Hawarah Detention Center about his posts on “Facebook” and threatened him if he continued writing incitement posts, they will arrest him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Bita village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Asid Mohammed Ma’la (20), an economics student at the Palestine Technical University “Khadoorie”, and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Sanad Riyad Zuhdi Abu Shanab (18) and beat him in front of his parents. At approximately 04:30, they withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Anin village, west of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Khalid Ma’moun Hammad (16). At approximately 18:00, they withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 22:25, Israeli forces moved into Deir Ballut village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jamil Abdul Wahhab Abdullah. At approximately 23:00, they withdrew from the village, but no arrests were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Thaheriyah and Taffouh villages in Hebron and Salfit.

 

Friday, 23 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. A number of civilians gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired live bullets at them in response. As a result, a 24-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound in the chest and was taken to Rafidia Surgical Hospital to receive medical treatment. Due to his serious wound, he was transferred to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. In the meantime, the Israeli soldiers raided and searched a house belonging to Jaber Ahmed Jaber Abu Hamadah (28) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 11:00, Palestinian medical sources announced the death of Fares Zeyad ‘Ata al-Bayed (15) from al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, succumbed to his serious wounds. According to investigations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworker, at approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 15 October 2016, a number of young men protested at the entrance to al-Jalazoun refugee camp to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Ahmed Sharakah, who was killed on 11 October 2016 by the Israeli forces. When the young men arrived at the abovementioned entrance, about 10 soldiers directly opened fire at them. One of the Israeli soldiers directly opened fire at al-Bayed from a distance of 15 meters. As a result, he was wounded with a metal bullet to the head. He was then transferred by an ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment. His wounds were classified as serious due to brain laceration and severe bleeding. He underwent a surgery and then went into coma until his death was announced.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Dajan, east of Nablus; Beit Awa, Sa’ir and al-Mareq villages in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Zawiyah village, west of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ehsan Ahmed Mawqedi (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 13:20, hundreds of civilians from Beit Ummer village and the adjacent villages in the northern side of Hebron gathered to participate in the funeral procession of Khalid ‘Elian Bahar (22), who was killed by the Israeli forces after claiming that he carried out a run-over attack against Israeli soldiers on 30 November 2016 and his body is under the Israeli custody since then. The civilians headed to the entrance to the village where the Islamic Cemetery adjacent to Bypass Road “60”. Before their arrival to the entrance, a large Israeli force of the border guards closed the village entrance via their jeeps while another force deployed between houses adjacent to the entrance of the village. After that, a number of angry young men threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas canisters at them in response. After finishing the funeral procession of Khalid, dozens of young men headed to the entrance and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the Israeli soldiers. The military jeeps then moved toward the village while a number of them stationed between residential houses. The soldiers randomly fired live bullets at the civilians, who were on the street. As a result, Ra’ed Mohammed Mahmud Abu ‘Ayash sustained a live bullet wound in the right side of the pelvis. He was taken to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron where he underwent a surgery. He suffered from a broken pelvic bone.

 

  • At approximately 13:40, Israeli forces stationed inside the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a number of Palestinian farmers while they were digging a water well in Karm Abu Mo’amer neighbourhood, east of al-Shawkah, east of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. However, no casualties were reported

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Dura, Beit Ummer, al-Shyoukh and al-Burj villages in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 25 December 2016

 

  • In the early morning, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched houses belonging to Ma’rouf Bajes Nakhla (27) and ‘Alaa Khaled ‘Ali Qasem (28) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 4 civilians, including 2 children. The arrested civilians were identified as Anas Ahmed Rasmi Taqtqa (17), Mahdi Majed Taqtqa (21), Yazan Ahmed Thawabtah (17) and Fadi Fayez Taqatqa (20).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Kafer al-Deek and al-Zawiyah villages, west of Salfit and Beta village, southeast of Nablus.

 

Monday, 26 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into the eastern side of Nablus to protect hundreds of settlers, who moved into Joseph’s Tomb area to perform Talmudic and religious rituals. A number of young men gathered and threw stones at the military jeeps and settlers’ buses. The Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and sound bombs to disperse them. As a result, Mahdi Bilal Dueikat (19) from Balata village sustained a live bullet wound in the foot and then was arrested. Following that, a number of Israeli soldiers raided and searched a house belonging to Hatem Feras al-Zaghah (21), a student in Najah National University, and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the village. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zaid Mohammed ‘Essa ‘Awad (35), who suffers a difficulty in speaking, hearing and visual impairment. The soldiers beat him and used a sniffer dog to search his house, causing fear among Zaid’s children and pregnant wife under the pretext of looking for his brother. The soldiers destroyed the house contents and then withdrew, but no arrests were reported. Following that, Israeli forces raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Essa ‘Awad (65), who suffers from several diseases and blood clots. The soldiers smashed several doors on the second floor and locked the family members namely Sali (21), Ahmed (26), ‘Essa (28), Rashid (22) and their mother Zuleikha (58) in a room on the first floor. After an hour of searching the second floor using dogs and metal detectors, the soldiers moved the family members to the second floor where they damaged the house contents. They then handed Rashid a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem. Rashid said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 09:00, he went to the Intelligence Service’s office where the officers questioned him about his personal life, friends, family and the funeral of Khalid Bahar. He was released after an hour and half.

Zaid Mohammed ‘Essa Awad (35) said in his statement to PCHR:

My wife and I woke up hearing violent knocking on the door. As soon as I opened the door, a soldier kicked me harshly on my chest, so I fell to the  ground and my head hit a wooden chair. When I tried to stand up, the soldier held my neck strongly and punched me on the face breaking my eyeglasses. He then hit me with his gun butt on my back. After that, the soldiers searched the house, damaged it contents and withdrew an hour later”.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belong to Majed Teiseer al-Titi (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, large Israeli forces moved into Tammun village, southeast of Tubas. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Ayman Rabah Bani ‘Oudah (31) and handed his family a summons for him to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Samou’ village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ismail Ahmed Mahmud al-Hawamdah (33) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 16:30, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at Palestinian farmers, into the east of al-Salqa Valley village, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. The farmers were forced to leave their lands fear for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • In the evening, Israeli forces arrested Nayef Yusuf Ibrahim Gheithan (37) from Qibya village, west of Ramallah, after referring to the Israeli Intelligence Service upon a summons.

 

  • Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (10) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Burin and ‘Iraq Burin villages, south of Nablus; Beit Awla, Nuba, Kharas, Tarqumiya, Bani Na’im and al-Thaheriyah villages in Hebron; Jenin and Bedia village, west of Salfit.

 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Qabatiya village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses from which they arrested 4 civilians namely Ahmed Najeh Kamil (20), Khali Walid al-Sahou (20), Anas Mousa Kamil (21) and Bilal Walid Kamil (22).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces move into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Essa Rashid Awad (66). They locked the 6 family members in a room as the search continued for 3 hours. Later, Israeli forces withdrew from the house, but no arrests were reported. It should be noted that they raided an searched the abovementioned house in the previous day as they damaged the house contents. In the meantime, an infantry unit raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Mohammed al-‘Alami (20), but no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military jeeps and bulldozers moved from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel about 50 meters around Sufa military site in al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The bulldozers levelled the area and then withdrew behind the abovementioned border fence at approximately 13:00.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Deir al-Hatab village, east of Nablus; Qaryout village, southeast of the city and al-Samou’i, Beit Oula and Tarqumiya villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and ‘Asker refugee camp, northeast of the city, Balata refugee camp, east of the city, and ‘Ein Beit al-Maa’ refugee camp, west of the city. A number of young men from ‘Asker and Balata refugee camps gathered and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who immediately fired live bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets at them in response. As a result, 4 young men, including 2 children, were wounded. A 23-year-old civilian sustained a metal bullet wound to the right foot; a 17-year-old child sustained a metal bullet wound to the left thigh; an 18-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound to the left thigh while another 17-year-old civilian was hit with a metal bullet to the left hand.

During the incursion, Israeli soldiers raided and searched a number of houses from which they arrested Mohammed Amin Abdul Hakim Mahmud al-Thaher (25) from al-Makhfiyah neighbourhood, west of the city, and Mohanned ‘Anbusi (26) from the Old City. They also handed a summons to the family of Mazen Hasan al-Dambak (38) to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service. Israeli forces also raided and searched al-Aghbar workshop belonging to ‘Awni Hamdi al-Aghbar in al-Dahiyah neighbourhood. ‘Awni said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli forces did not confiscate anything from the workshop in contrary of the Israeli saying that they confiscated ammunition and arms.

Israeli forces raided and searched a workshop belonging to Osama Mohammed Saleh Ragheb ‘Aj’aj (33) in the street of al-Hesbah Market, east of the city. They confiscated 3 lathes and then arrested Osama. They claimed that they found ammunition and arms inside the workshop. It should be noted that ‘Aj’aj is a mechanical engineer from Najah National University.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Jabaa’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Murad walid Malaishah (26) and ‘Emarah ‘Awni Fashafshah (25). At approximately 04:30, they withdrew from the village taking the arrested civilians to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Jenin and its camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mohammed ‘Eid ‘Amer (18) and Muntaser ‘Arafat al-Sa’di (20). At approximately 05:00, they withdrew taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron, al-Samou’I, Bani Na’im and al-Tabaqah villages in Hebron.

 

  • Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer on Friday, 23 December 2016, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstration from Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, towards the eastern entrance to the village protesting against closing it with an iron gate since the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada. As soon as they arrived at the abovementioned entrance, Israeli forces fired live bullets and sound bombs at the protesters. As a result, two civilians, including a child, were injured. A 45-year-old civilian sustained 2 live bullet wounds to the left foot and chest while a 15-year-old child sustained a live bullet wound  to the right hand. The Israeli forces then detained Momen Murad Eshtiwi (7) on the spot for half an hour due to which he panicked. They also attacked Abdul Rahman Mousa Abdul Latif ‘Ali (40) with a stone to the head and then arrested him.

 

  • In the afternoon of the same day, dozens of Palestinian and International activists organized a demonstration called for by national and popular figures in Bethlehem at the military checkpoint “300” between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, demanding the freedom of movement and access to the holy places in coincidence with the Christmas holiday. A number of activists dressed like Santa Claus. The march began in front of the Caritas Hospital  in the central Bethlehem where the activists raised Palestinian flags and a poster demanding the entry to occupied East. As soon as they arrived at the abovementioned checkpoint, the Israeli soldiers fired live rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at them. As a result, Mohammed Shushah, journalist at Roya TV Channel, was hit with sound bomb shrapnel to the right foot  and was then taken to a hospital in Bethlehem to receive medical treatment. Eyad Nemer Hamad (58), a journalist at Associated Press (AP) News Agency, suffered from tear gas inhalation as well.

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah, and al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses.  As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up.

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • On Friday afternoon, 25 December 2016, dozens of young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, east of Gaza. They threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind the abovementioned fence. The Israeli soldiers sporadically fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the young men in response. At approximately 17:00, Mohammed Hesham Fouad Abu Jarad (22) sustained a live bullet wound to the right foot and was taken to al-Shifaa’ Hospital in Gaza to receive medical treatment. His wounds were classified as moderate.

 

 

Collective Punishment:

 

  • On Thursday morning, 22 December 2016, Israeli forces accompanied with hundreds of soldiers and dozens of military jeeps moved into Qalaniyah refugee camp and Kafer ‘Aqab village, north of Jerusalem, in implementation of the Israeli High Court’s decision to demolish and close a house belonging to Mesbah Abu Sbaih (see shooting incidents – Efforts to Create Jewish Majority below).

 

Jaber Abu Sbaih, Mesbah’s brother, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 01:00, the Israeli forces raided the house, demolished the walls and then closed the main door of the house. Last Monday, 19 December 2016, the Israeli High Court approved the demolition decision of Abu Sabaih’s house in Kafer ‘Aqab village. The decision was issued by the Israeli military commander of the area on 17 November 2016, based on the 1945 British Mandate Emergency Regulations. The  High Court decided to demolish the walls of the house and sealed it with red wax after submitting an engineering report confirming that the demolition of the exterior walls would cause damage to the whole building and neighboring apartments as Abu Sbaih’s apartment is on the seventh floor in a building. Abu Sbaih mentioned that the Israeli High Court approved the house demolition though the apartment does not belong to his brother Mesbah, but for their father Sbaih Abu Sbaih. It should be noted that Mesbah Abu Sbaih (39) was killed on 12 October 2016, after carrying out a shooting attack near the head office of the Israeli police leadership in al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of East Jerusalem.

 

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.

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