Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the Palestinians (22 – 28 November 2018)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations 

Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 22 – 28 November, 2018.

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 4 others, including a child, in the West Bank. Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. 86 civilians, including 31 children, 7 women, 3 journalists, and 5 paramedics were wounded; the injury of one of them was reported serious.

Shooting:

 

In the West Bank, on 27 November 2018, the Israeli forces killed Ramzi Abu Yabes (32) from al-Duheishah refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, after shooting his vehicle he was traveling in the northern Hebron.  The Israeli forces claimed that Ramzi ran over Israeli soldiers who were stationed near the main road and 3 of them were wounded.  Meanwhile, Ramzi’s family confirmed that their son suffers weakness in eyesight.  Moreover, there was no local eyewitness in the area to conform or refute the Israeli claims, but PCHR’s previous investigations into similar killings proved that they were normal car accidents and not deliberate.  Further, the residents of the West Bank have become worried that they would get shot for trivial reasons.

 

In the same context, the Israeli forces during the reporting wounded 4 civilians, including a child, in Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest, northeast of Qalqiliyah.

 

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders.  During the reporting period, the Israeli forces wounded 86 civilians, including 31 children, 7 women, 3 journalists and 5 paramedics.  The injury of one of those was reported serious.

 

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 42 21 4 3 5 1
Gaza City 22 0 0 0 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 19 9 3 0 0 0
Khan Younis 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rafah 3 1 0 0 0 0
Total 86 31 7 3 5 1

 

As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented 8 incidents against fishermen, including 5 off al-Wahah resort, northwest of Beit Lahia; and 3 off al-Soudaniyah area, west of Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip.  As a result, 3 Palestinian fishermen were arrested in the northern Gaza Strip and their boat was confiscated.

 

As part of targeting the border areas on 23 November 2018, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of ‘Abasan al-Kabirah village, east of Khan Younis, opened fire at the agricultural lands near the fence.

 

On 24 November 2018, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at the shepherds and bird hunters.

 

On 25 November 2018, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a border control point belonging to the Palestinian armed groups, east of al-Maghazi.  However, no casualties were reported.

 

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 117 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 similar ones into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 67 Palestinians, including 9 children and a woman, in the West Bank.  Moreover, 42 others, including Jerusalem’s Governor and a number of political and community activists, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs.

 

 

Israeli Forces continued to create a Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem:

 

As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on 28 November 2018, the Israeli forces levelled demolished a hopuse belonging to Mahran al-Mughrabi in al-Mughrabhi neighbourhood in al-Mukaber Mount village, south of East Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without a license.  The house is a 200-square-meter roof where the abovmenetioned wife and 2 children had lived for one year and a half. al-Mughrabi said that the house was destroyed on the house contents, but neither he nor the family could takem the contents out.  They demolished a 50-square-meter commercial facility (an office) belonging to Majed Abu ‘Eishah in Sho’afat neighbourhood, north of East occupied Jerusalem.  Meanwhile, in al-Tour neighbourhood, the bulldozers demolished a fence surrounding a plot of land belonging to Khader al-Sa’idi.

 

 

As part of taking over property belonging to Palestinian civilians for the interest of settlement associations, on Wednesday afternoon, 21 November 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of the occupied East Jerusalem, and allowed “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association to continue its procedures relevant to expelling 700 Palestinians and forcing them to pay hundred thousands of shekels, claiming to compensate settlers for the costs of the legal proceedings and house rents for all the years.  It should be noted that the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood had submitted a petition against the decision of the Administrator General (Custodian of Absentee Property) to hand a plot of land in the abovementioned neighborhood that had been owned by Jews until 1948, but which is today home to 700 Palestinians, over to three members of Ateret Cohanim.  The latter association, which is very active in creating a Jewish Majority in occupied Jerusalem, filed a request to expel the Palestinian families with the help of the Israeli Justice Ministry’s administrator general to take over the area and buildings established there, claiming they belong to Jews, and to hand 70 Palestinian families judicial notices in this regard.

 

As part of imposing further restrictions on the Palestinian associations” work in the occupied city, the Israeli authorities prevented the Minister of Jerusalem’s affairs in the Palestinian government, ‘Adnan al-Husseini (71) from traveling abroad for 3 months and imposed on him a bail of 10,000 NIS.

 

In the same context, the Israeli forces arrested the governor of Jerusalem, ‘Adnan Ghaith (46), from his house in the Central neighborhood in Silwan village, and extended his detention until Thursday, 29 November 2018, under the pretext of interrogating with him.  It should be noted that the Israeli forces have prosecuted Ghaith since the first day of appointing him as the Governor of Jerusalem either by arresting or summoning him.  Moreover, this is the third time within 40 days ‘Adnan has been arrested.

 

As part of the settlers’ attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property, On Friday dawn, 23 November 2018, settlers from “Price Tag” groups slashed tires of 3 vehicles and wrote racist slogans and Star of David on the vehicles and walls of houses in al-Burj area in Beit Eksa village, northwest of East occupied Jerusalem.

 

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

As part of the Israeli house demolitions and demolition notices, on 22 November 2018, Israeli forces demolished a carwash in al-Nabi Younis area, north of Hebron.  The carwash was established on the roadside and was built of tin plates and iron on an area of 50 square meters belonging to Mohammed Hasan Mor’eb.

 

On 26 November 2018, Israeli forces demolished an uninhabited house in al-Murihah village, west of Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin.  The 50-square-meter house was ready for habitation and belonged to Bahaa’ Hamadouni.

 

On 27 November 2018, the Israeli forces demolished an agricultural room built of bricks and tin plates on an area of 40 square meters in Kherbet Souba, south of Ethna village, west of Hebron, belonging to Nabil al-Hilah (58).

 

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, during the reporting period, PCHR’s fieldworkers in the West Bank documented 5 incidents carried out by settlers.  As a result of those attacks, 30 olive trees were uprooted and tires of 30 vehicles were punctured.

 

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Israeli forces continued its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:

 

Gaza Strip:

 

In the Thirty-fourth week of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activities, Israeli forces wounded 86 civilians, including 31 children, 7 women, 3 journalists and 56 paramedics. Doctors classified a civilians’ injury as serious. The incidents were as follows:

 

  • The Northern Gaza Strip: 8 civilians, including 4 children and a journalist, were wounded. Seven of them were hit tear gas canisters and one was hit with a rubber bullet. Doctors classified a civilian’s injury as serious. The wounded journalist identified as Ismail Khalil Ismail Hamadah (31), a photojournalist at Palestine Today TV Channel from Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza City, was hit with a tear gas canister to the head.

 

  • Central Gaza Strip: 18 civilians, including 8 children and 3 women, were wounded. Fourteen of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, 3 were hit with tear gas canisters and one was hit with a rubber bullet.

 

  • Rafah: 3 civilians, including a child, were hit with tear gas canisters.

 

  • At approximately 14:15 on Monday, 26 November 2018, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, and Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, opened fire and fired sound bombs at dozens of Palestinian civilians who were at the Return camp along the border coastal, adjacent to adjacent to “Zikim” military base , northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that this is the 16thtime for Palestinian boats to sail for Breaking the Siege. As a result, 34 civilians, including 17 children, a woman, 5 paramedics and 2 journalists, were wounded. Four of them were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, 15 were hit with rubber bullets and 15 were hit with tear gas canisters. The 5 paramedics were identified as:
  1. Sharif Mo’een Fayez al-Buzum (32), a paramedic at Military Medical Services, was hit with a rubber bullet to the head
  2. Amirah Khalil Abdullah al-Safadi (21), a paramedic at the Youth Volunteer Team, was hit with 2 rubber bullets, one to the left thigh and the other to the left hand.
  3. Reem Mansour Abdul Jawad Shatat (20), a paramedic at the Youth Volunteer Team, was hit with a rubber bullet to the head.
  4. Abdullah Farid Mohammed Abu ‘Oudah (27), a paramedic at the Youth Volunteer Team, was hit with a tear gas canister to the right shoulder.
  5. Sa’ed ‘Oudah Khamis al-Tarabin (33), a paramedic at PRCS, was hit with a tear gas canister.

The wounded journalists were identified as:

  1. Mohammed Hazem Sami al-Masri (20), a photojournalist at Gaza News Agency, was hit with a rubber bullet to the face.
  2. Safenaz Baker Mahmoud al-Louh (29), a photojournalist at Amad News Agency, was hit with a tear gas canister to the left hand.

 

  • At approximately 16:30, on the same Monday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at a 17-year-old child from al-Buraij when he attempted to approach the border fence. As a result, he was hit with a live bullet to the lower limbs.

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday afternoon, 23 November 2018, a group of Palestinian civilians moved from the center of Kufor Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, into the eastern entrance to the village, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of the entrance to “Kedumim” settlement established on the village lands. The protestors chanted national slogans demanding end of occupation and condemning the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinian protestors along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. The protestors threw stones at Israeli forces stationed behind sand barriers. The Israeli forces fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 4 civilians were hit with rubber bullets, including Mohammed Hekmat Eshtiwi (7), who was hit with a rubber bullet to the waist.

Efforts to Create a Jewish majority

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 18:00, on Thursday 22 November 2018, Israeli forces raided the Palestinian directorate of education and Dar al-Aytam Islamic school in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and confiscated computers and control cameras. Sawsan al-Safadi, head of Public and International Relations at the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem, said that Israeli forces raided the office and the school and searched in the school’s files. They also confiscated a computer belonging to the school’s director and the control cameras.
  • On Thursday’s evening, Israeli forces prevented ‘Adnan Ghaleb al-Husayni (71) , the Palestinian mayor of Jerusalem, from traveling abroad for 3 months. They also forced him to pay 10 thousand NIS as a bail after calling him for investigation. Israeli intelligence service have called al-Husayni for investigation in the previous day in al-Maskobya Detention Facility, west of Jerusalem, and confiscated his passport. It was scheduled that al-Husayni will deliver a speech on behalf of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, during the conference in which the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Gutteres, will attend.
  • At approximately 01:00, on Sunday 25 November 2018, Israeli forces moved into Jabal al-Mukkaber neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khaled Ibrahim ‘Owysat and confiscated his two sons’, Ahmed (19) and Mohammed (18), mobile phones.
  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Hara al-Wosta in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the mayor of Jerusalem , ‘Adnan ‘Adel Ghaith (46). They also arrested Ghaith and took him to al-Maskobya detention center, west of Jerusalem, for investigation. After some hours of arrest, they extended his arrest until Thursday 29 November 2018 under the pretext of completing the investigation. It should be noted that the Israeli forces have been pursuing Ghaith either by arresting him or calling him for investigation since he became a mayor. On 20 October 2018, they arrested him in an ambush after intercepting his car in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of Jerusalem. He was released after two days of arrest on condition of staying away from his home in Silwan village for 7 days, which made him stay in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood. During the 7 days, the Israeli forces raided his house arrest many times to make sure that he stays there. On 1 November 2018, Ghaith was arrested from al-Silwan club in Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood during his participation in an interactive meeting called by Jerusalem institutions. On 8 November 2018, Ghaith was called to al-Maskobya Police Station and handed him a decision preventing him from entering the West Bank for 6 months by order of “central region commander “. on 11 November 2018, Ghaith was called one more time to al-Maskobya Police Station and was informed about a decision that prevents him from communicating with some Palestinian people regarding selling Jerusalemite properties to settlers. On 19 November 2018, He was subjected to the last procedure before his arrest, in which “the commander of the interior and the military commander” issued a decision prevents Ghaith from communicating with 7 Palestinian people for 6 months. Those Palestinian people are : Jihad Mohammed Mahmoud Faqeeh, ‘Adnan Ghaleb Mo’ath al-Husayni, Majed ‘Ali Mohammed Faraj, Shady Sa’d Mator, ‘Adel Hassan Mohammed abu Znaid, ‘Awad Sadiq Sarhan Salayma, and Mo’tasem Kamal Mohammed Taym.
  • At approximately 17:00, on Sunday 25 November 2018, Israeli forces repressed a protest in Salah al-Deen street, in the center of occupied East Jerusalem. The protest was organized by youth groups protesting against arresting the Israeli forces for ‘Adnan ‘Adel Ghaith and chasing him continuously since he became the mayor of Jerusalem. The protesters carried slogans saying that ” targeting the governor of Jerusalem, ‘Adnan Ghaith, is a war crime … there is no legitimacy to the occupation in our capital Jerusalem”. They also raised Palestinian flags in the area, chanted slogans supporting Jerusalem, and asked for releasing the mayor and stop chasing him. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers besieged the protesters and photographed them, attacked some of them, and suddenly threw sound bombs to enforce the protesters to leave the area. They also arrested Jawad syam, Director of Wadi Hilweh Information Center, and confiscated the Palestinian flags. It should be noted that the Israeli forces released Syam after detaining him for many hours accusing him for organizing a protest in Salah al-Deen street. His release was on condition of deporting him from Salah al-Deen street, Sultan Sulaiman and Bab al-‘Amoud , preventing him from participation in any protest in the city for 2 weeks, and signing a personal guarantee and a third party guarantee worth 3000 NIS.
  • On Monday early morning, 26 November 2018, Israeli forces moved into many neighborhoods and towns in the occupied East Jerusalem and surrounded their entrances and streets along with intensive flies of Israeli warplanes. They carried out a wide-scale arrest campaign against 36 civilians from Fateh movement in Jerusalem after raiding and searching their houses asserting their association with the Palestinian Security Services. (PCHR keeps the names of these detainees). On the above mentioned day afternoon, The Israeli Magistrate’s Court extended the detention of the detainees until Thursday, 29 November 2018, to continue investigation on suspicion of working in the security services of the Palestinian Authority, “which constitutes a threat to Israeli security” according to Israeli authorities.
  • At approximately 16:00, on Tuesday 27 November 2018, Israeli forces arrested Mahmoud Ahmed al-‘Abassi (40), from ‘Ein al-Lawza neighborhood in Silwan village, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, during his presence in Bab al-‘Amoud area. Israeli soldiers took him to al-Maskobya Detention Facility for investigation.
  • At approximately 18:00, on the same day mentioned above, Israeli forces prevented a protest in Salah al-Deen Street, in the center of occupied East Jerusalem, which was organized against the arrest of Jerusalem’s mayor and some of Fateh Movement cadors in the city. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli forces forcibly prevented a protest in Salah al-Deen Street after the protesters chanted slogans against the policy of arrest in the city. The Israeli forces chased the protesters in the streets and checked their ID cards. They also arrested Mohammed abu al-Hams (50), a member of Follow-Up Committee in al-‘Issawya village, Yassir Darwish (37), secretary of Fateh Movment in Jerusalem, and activist ‘Ahed al-Rashq and referred them to investigation in Salah al-Deen street’s police station. The Israeli forces released the activists after some hours of their arrest on condition of deporting them from Salah al-Deen Street, Bab al-‘Amoud and al-Sultan Sulaiman street for two weeks.

 

House Demolitions and Notices:

 

  • At approximately 07:00, on Wednesday 28 November 2018, Israeli Municipality’s bulldozers demolished a house belonging to Mahran al-Mughrabi in al Mughrabi neighborhood in Jabal al-Mukaber village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Al-Mughrabi said that Israeli forces accompanied with bulldozers and Israeli Municipality staff raided and demolished his houses, which occurs in al-Mughrabi neighborhood near al-Sal’a area intersection in al-Mukaber neighborhood. He added that his house is a 200-square-meter rove in which he has been living with his wife and 2 daughters for a year and a half. He also mentioned that he had submitted papers to the Israeli Municipality for licensing but the Municipality claimed that they prevent construction in this area, knowing that the rove is an additional floor for the original building. The demolition took place without allowing them to empty the house contents and plantings, making the furniture unusable and causing damage to the downstairs. It should be noted that the demolition was in a densely-populated area which contains primary and secondly schools, which lead to prevent students from going to schools due to closing the vicinity of the house, which occurs in the middle of a main street. The neighborhood’s residents said that many students were unable to go to schools and buses were unable to reach the houses to transfer the students. So, many students took bypass roads to reach schools.

 

  • In a related context, Israeli Municipality’s bulldozers moved into Shu’fat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, on early hours of the day mentioned above. They demolished a 50-square-meter commercial facility belonging to Majed abu ‘Eisha under the pretext of non-licensing. In al-Tour neighborhood, Israeli bulldozers destroyed a fence surrounds a land belonging to Khader ‘Owda al-s’aidy for the same reason.

 

Seizing Lands in Favor of Settlement Associations

 

On Wednesday afternoon, 21 November 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of the occupied East Jerusalem, and allowed “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association to continue its procedures relevant to expelling 700 Palestinians and forcing them to pay hundred thousands of shekels, claiming to compensate settlers for the costs of the legal proceedings and house rents for all the years.  It should be noted that the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood had submitted a petition against the decision of the Administrator General (Custodian of Absentee Property) to hand a plot of land in the abovementioned neighborhood that had been owned by Jews until 1948, but which is today home to 700 Palestinians,over to three members of Ateret Cohanim.  The latter association, which is very active in creating a Jewish Majority in occupied Jerusalem, filed a request to expel the Palestinian families with the help of the Israeli Justice Ministry’s administrator general to take over the area and buildings established there, claiming they belong to Jews, and to hand 70 Palestinian families judicial notices in this regard.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Supreme Court’s Judges (Daphne Barak-Erez and Barron Valron) rejected a petition filed by 104 Palestinian civilians from Batn al-Hawa neighborhood against the 2009 decision by the General Custodian of Absentee Property to “free the land on which they have lived for decades.”  After Judge Erez first rejected the request by the settlers to dismiss the petition, she later detailed a series of flaws in the administrator general’s conduct of transferring the land to Ateret Cohanim without even bothering to inform the residents who had lived there for decades.  The judge emphasized that the general administrator never investigated whether the land’s legal classification under the laws of the Ottoman Empire and even allowed the land to be turned over. Only in the final stages of the legal process did the State start looking into this complex question that is still with no definitive answer to it.  Yet despite all these problems, she decided that the High Court is the wrong place to investigate these factual arguments, and that the problems didn’t stem from the way the administrator acted, but rather “lie in the statutory arrangement.” Therefore, she rejected the petition. As a result, the dozens of suits Ateret Cohanim has filed to evict 70 Palestinian families will be resumed in the coming weeks.

The Israeli media has referred to a number of decisions issued recently by the Israeli Supreme Court in which they indicate, “there is a radical change in its policies,” under the auspices of the Israeli Justice Minister, “Ayelet Shaked”, which was described by the media as “Lady of the Coup in the Supreme Court, particularly when it comes to Palestinians’ rights”. Among these latest decisions was the rejection of the Supreme Court’s Judges of an appeal filed by Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against their expulsion from their homes. It should be noted that on Monday, 19 November 2018, the Israeli Knesset approved in the second and third readings the construction of residential units and houses in the national and public parks, which means the expansion of settlement of “Ir David” settlement in Silwan village that is considered one of the areas most targeted by the Israeli settlers and Government.

Settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:

 

  • On Friday, 23 November 2018, Israeli settlers from “Price Tag” Groups punctured the tires of 3 vehicles and wrote racist slogans and Star of David on the vehicles and walls of houses in al-Burj area in Beit Eksa village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. The residents of the village said that the settlers punctured a number of vehicles and wrote racist slogans threatening to kill the Palestinians and attempting to burn the Mosque in al-Burj area in the village, which was taken over by the Israelis and where they built “Ramout” settlement.  It should be mentioned that “Beit Eksa” village is isolated behind the annexation wall, and Israel does not allow anyone to enter except for the village residents who undergo tightened search measures.

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

Israeli forces’ attacks:

  • At approximately 11:00 on Monday, 22 November 2018, Israeli forces backed by 2 military vehciles and accompanied with a vehicles belonging to the construction and organization department in the Civil Administration and a JCB Excavator moved into al-Nabi Younis area in northern Hebron. They stationed at the intersection of the road connected with Bypass Road 60.  The soldiers deployed in the area while the excavator destroyed a carwash established on the roadside that is built of tin plates and construction steel on an area of 50 square meters and belonging to Mohammed Hasan Mor’eb.  The demolition came under the pretext of unlicensed building in Area C.
  • At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 26 November 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with a vehicle and a bulldozer belonging to the construction and organization department in the Civil Administration moved into al-Murihah village, west of Ya’bud village, southwest of Jenin. The bulldozer started demolishing a house belonging to Bahaa’ Amin Hasan Mousa Hamadouni that was built on an area of 130 square meters.  The house is ready for inhabitation and the demolition came under the pretext of unlicensed building in Area C.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 27 November 2018, Israeli forces backed by a military vehicle and accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the construction and organization department in the Civil Administration moved into Sousi village, south of Yata, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer handed the heirs of ‘Abdel Muhsen Mohammed Nawaj’ah a demolition notice relevant to 2 tents of 30 square meters under the pretext of unlicensed building.
  • At approximately 13:00, Israeli forces backed by a military vehciles and accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the construction and organization department in the Civil Administration moved into al-Dirat village, east of Yata, south of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer handed Fawar Mohammed Rab’ie (40) a notice to stop the construction works in his house of 160 square meters under the pretext of unlicensed building.
  • At approximately 15:00, Israeli forces backed by 2 military vehicles and accompanied with a vehicle belonging to the construction and organization department in the Civil Administration and a JCB Excavator moved into Kherbet Souba, south of Ethna village, west of Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area while the excavator started demolishing an agricultural room built of bricks and tin plates on an area of 40 square meters.  The construction costs were provided by ACTED organization.  This room and a 2-dunum land in the vicinity of it belong to Nabil Mohammed Mahmoud al-Heilah (58).  The demolition came under the pretext of unlicensed construction in area C.

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Friday, 23 November 2018, a group of settlers from “Yitsihar” settlement attacked the southern neighborhood of ‘Asirah al-Qabaliyah village, south of Nablus. The settlers attacked the Palestinian vehciles parked in front of the owners’ houses and their yards as well as on the streets.  They also wrote racist slogans against Arabs and Muslims on the houses’ walls and cars in addition to puncturing with sharp tools the tires of 16 cars before leaving the village.  PCHR keeps the names of the owners of those cars damaged.

 

  • Around the same time, a group of settlers attacked the eastern neighborhood of Howarah village, south of Nablus. They attacked the Palestinian vehicles parked in front of the owners’ houses and their yards as well as on the streets.  They also wrote racist slogans against Arabs and Muslims on the houses’ walls and cars in addition to puncturing with sharp tools the tires of 6 cars and 3 trucks belonging to al-Hawari Contracting Company before leaving the village. PCHR keeps the names of the affected owners.
  • At approximately 15:00 on Saturday, 24 November 2018, a group of settlers from “‘Aadi ‘Aad” settlement destroyed and cut 35 olive trees in lands in al-Seder area in Termes’aya village, northeast of Ramallah. ‘Abdullah Ratib Na’san (45) said to a PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“I was in our land in Qalsoun area, which is 500 meters away from al-Seder area, north of the village and is 3 kilometers away from “‘Aadi ‘Aad” settlement, to plant and cultivate the land along with my cousins.  At approximately 15:00, we saw a group of settlers; around 15, approaching the barbed-wire fence surrounding the trees in al-Seder area and destroyed it so they could enter the land.  They started cutting the olive trees and breaking their branches randomly and left the area.  After that, 2 settlers came to cut and damage other trees in the same way and left quickly towards the abovementioned settlement.  The number of those trees cut down was 35 olive trees planted 5 years ago and belonging to ‘Abdullah Hasan Abu ‘Awwad and Hasan Kheir Abu ‘Alia.”

 

  • At approximately 02:55 on Sunday, 25 November 2018, Israeli settlers from”‘Aadi ‘Aad” settlement attacked 4 vehciles in al-Naqqar area, north of al-Mugheir village, northeast of Ramallah. They wrote hostile slogans on the vehicles and punctured their tires.  Those vehciels belong to AMhmoud Saleh Soliman Abu ‘Alya (37); Akram Kamal Na’asan (45); ‘Amer Hussein Abu ‘Aalia (38); and Mojahed ‘Eid Na’asan (38).  The latter civilian said to a PCHR’s fieldworker after watching a video captured by the surveillance cameras in his house that shows what 2 settlers did to his vehicle.

“At approximately 02:55, 2 settlers dressed in civilian clothes punctured the tires of my vehicle and removed the tires, writing racist slogans on the vehicle and the houses’ walls.  That happed two hours after the Israeli forces’ incursion into the village and patrolling in al-Naqqar neighborhood, where I live. The vehicle was parked in front of my house with an Israeli registration plate as I use it to work inside and outside the village”

 

 

Recommendations to the International Community:

 

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC to continue to investigate the Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and grave violations in the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community 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.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  7. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  8. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  9. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  10. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  11. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

Fully detailed document available at the official website for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

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Murder of 12-year-old girl shows human rights in israel (apartheid state) are only for Jews

Murder of 12-Year-Old Girl Shows Human Rights in Israel Are Only for Jews

The asylum-seeker community in Israel is in a state of crisis and its women and teenage girls are paying an increasingly heavy price

Vered Lee

The murder of 12-year-old Silvana Tsegai in south Tel Aviv has shaken up the Eritrean asylum-seeker community in Israel, but it is far from the first case of a woman being murdered in that community. In November 2010, a 30-year-old pregnant woman was murdered by her partner. In July 2012, 18-year-old Natznet Michael was murdered by her Eritrean partner and in September 2015, a 29-year-old woman was murdered by her 33-year-old partner, Dasbella Havos.

The asylum-seeker community in Israel is in a state of crisis and its women and teenage girls are paying an increasingly heavy price. Women are a minority among the refugees – there are only 7,000 female asylum seekers in Israel. Thirty percent of these were victims of abuse and torture in the Sinai desert, and many of them have suffered sexual harassment at work but don’t report it. Without access to the police and out of fear of how the authorities will relate to them, these women and girls don’t report the domestic violence they suffer. The handful who do report it do not get protection from the police and say that their partners ignore restraining orders fearlessly. Battered women’s shelters are not set up to accept asylum seekers, even as the demand increases.

>> Analysis: Why the murder of a 12-year old in south Tel Aviv comes as no surprise

In December 2012 I interviewed Sanait Kidana, the founder of the Eritrean Women’s Community Center. Kidana has since emigrated to a Western country. We met following the murder of six Eritrean women by partners or family members between 2010 and 2012.

“I couldn’t listen to any more stories about murdered women, domestic violence, threats and harassment,” Kidana said, explaining why she had set up the center, which provides women with vocational training, family counseling and enrichment programs. “No official Israeli institution keeps records but we are overwhelmed by women coming to us for help. I estimate that 70 percent of the women in the Eritrean community suffer from violence – from being locked up at home to economic, sexual, verbal and physical violence.” Her successor at the center confirms that these problems persist today.

The controversial law requiring asylum seekers working in Israel to deposit 20 percent of their salaries into a closed account they can only access when they leave the country forced many asylum seekers into poverty and pushed many women into prostitution. Only a month ago it was decided to exclude women from this law, but the damage had already been done.

The scope of the prostitution was documented in a recent government report commissioned by the Social Affairs Ministry, the Health Ministry, and the interministerial anti-trafficking coordinator. An investigative report by Haaretz on the increasing number of asylum seekers forced into prostitution is now part of the government documentation. In 2014, aid organizations found that some 40 asylum seekers were caught up in the cycle of prostitution, while today there are 400 documented cases. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Despite the understanding of their situation, there is no rehabilitation available to these asylum-seeker women. Human rights in Israel are for Jewish women only.

Asylum seekers in Israel are subjected to systematic institutional abuse aimed at breaking their spirit. Israel could have absorbed the members of the community with dignity, enabled them to integrate, provided basic social benefits and respectful access to welfare, education and health institutions. The government’s decision to play with the feelings of an entire population is leaving its signs on the most vulnerable among them – the women.

“The murder of the girl [Tsegai] by the mother’s partner is a sad and shocking case; we condemn all violence in our community and hope that the murderer will be caught today,” says Eden Tesfamariam, the new director of the Eritrean Women’s Community Center. “That sweet girl was magic, she was always friendly and was always happy and optimistic. This is a great loss for all of us.”

“Life in Israel is not easy for us,” says Tesfamariam. “We suffered a great deal during the journey and here in Israel. Because we were not accepted as refugees, we were left to cope alone. Many of the men who came to Israel experienced many traumas and never underwent any rehabilitation process, and if that weren’t enough, the government has exerted heavy pressure on us from the moment we arrived and did everything in its power to make us feel undesirable, with laws that restrict our freedom, that sink us into poverty with the deposit law. There is a great deal of frustration at the lack of an orderly policy regarding our asylum requests.”

“Unfortunately, more than a few men turn to alcohol, which in many cases leads to violence, and the first ones hurt are us women, who must cope with all this at home. Many times we are left with nowhere to turn and are forced to again cope alone. Please stop exerting this pressure on us and instead institute an orderly policy so that we can make use of our rights as women, so that we can get proper solutions in the realms of welfare and health, to prevent other painful cases like this one,” she said.

Syria urges illegal foreign forces to leave Arab country

Syria urges illegal foreign forces to leave Arab country

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja'afari attends a session of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, November 29, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari attends a session of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, November 29, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari has called on all foreign forces, who are operating on Syrian soil without Damascus’ consent, to leave the Arab country.

Ja’afari made the request during a press conference at the end of the 11th round of talks on the Syria crisis in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on Thursday.

He accused the US, Britain, France and Turkey of dispatching troops to Syria illegally and occupying some areas in the war-torn state.

“There is a clear discrepancy in the stances taken by the US, France and Britain who have already agreed on the UN Security Council resolutions on commitment to Syria’s sovereignty; meanwhile these countries have been deploying their troops illegally in Syria,” he said.

He also expressed concerns about the illegal Turkish military presence in Syria in violation of Ankara’s commitments in the Astana and Sochi agreements.

So far, 11 rounds of Syria peace talks, mediated by Iran, Russia and Turkey, have been held in Astana. The 10th round of the discussions took place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi back in July 30-31.

The talks have brought representatives from Syria’s warring parties to the negotiating table and resulted in the establishment of safe zones across the country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ja’afari raised alarm at the complicity of certain countries in delivering chemical weapons to terrorists in Syria’s Idlib Province.

“The use of shells containing chemical substances by terrorist organizations indicate an escalation by the sponsors of terrorism,” he said.

Separately on Thursday, the 11 round of the Astana talks published a closing statement, condemning any use of chemical arms in Syria and demanding a transparent probe into reports concerning the issue.

In the statement, Tehran, Moscow and Ankara, which are acting as the guarantors of an all-Syria ceasefire, reaffirmed their determination to fight terrorism in Syria and eliminate Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups there.

The guarantor countries further “reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.”

Russia: Daesh planning gas attack in Syria

On Wednesday, Russia warned that Daesh Takfiri terrorists had been planning a chemical weapons attack on the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants, in order to provoke an airstrike by the US-led coalition against the Syrian army.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that 11 terrorists trained abroad had arrived in Syria and are currently filling mines with chemical substances.

“The chemical munitions are planned to be used in an attack on the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces … in the Hajin area of the Dayr al-Zawr Province,” the statement read.

On April 7, an alleged chemical weapons attack hit the Damascus suburb town of Douma,  just as the Syrian army was about to win the battle against the militants there.

Western states blamed the Syrian government for the incident, but Damascus firmly rejected the accusation.

One week after the suspected gas attack, the US, Britain and France launched a coordinated missile strike against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce chemicals.

This is while Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the OPCW and the UN

Pushback Against israel (apartheid state) Is Beginning

Pushback Against Israel Is Beginning

Pushback Against Israel Is Beginning

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

The Anglophone Israel Lobby benefits from its ability to mold the media narrative while at the same time using financial incentives to corrupt the political class. For those who do not succumb to the corruption, there is always the option of direct pressure, which in the United States and Britain consists of targeted interference in the political system to remove critics either through promotion of scandal or by supporting well-funded alternative candidates in the following election. In the United States, this has led to the removal of a number of congressmen who had dared to criticize the Jewish state, terrifying the remainder into silence. All of this goes on with little or no debate in the media or in congress itself.

There are signs, however, that the general tolerance of Israeli misbehavior might be ending. The election of at least three Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who might be willing to discuss Israel in something less than worshipful ways is a minuscule shift in the alignment of the Democratic party, where Jewish money dominates, but it reflects the views of the party’s grass roots where a recent poll demonstrates that surveyed Democrats favor Israel over Palestine by a margin of only 2%, twenty-seven per cent versus twenty-five per cent with the remainder of responders favoring neither side.

Much more significant is last week’s announcement by Senator Rand Paul that he intends to place a “hold” on the current package of $38 billion in military aid to Israel, which means he can filibuster the issue in the Senate to delay its passage. Paul, who, like his father, is a skeptic regarding foreign aid in general, did not cite any specific issues connected to the aid package, but critics have long noted that Israel is in fact ineligible for any foreign aid from the United States because it has an undeclared nuclear arsenal consisting of at least 200 weapons. For that reason, providing aid to Israel is illegal under the Symington Amendment of 1961 as well as due to the fact that Tel Aviv has rejected signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT.

Paul’s action is extremely courageous as he is the first Senator since William Fulbright to dare to say anything negative about the Jewish state. Fulbright was, of course, punished by the Israel Lobby, which committed major resources to defeating him when he next came up for reelection. Another U.S. Senator Charles Percy was so bold as to maintain that Palestinian Arabs might actually have “rights” also found himself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who defeated him for reelection, so Paul’s action is far from risk free. In fact, the Israel Lobby is already reacting hysterically to the “hold,” as is the Israeli government, and one can be sure that all their massive resources will be used to punish the senator.

Another area where one might have expected more pushback from Americans is the lack of any serious resistance from Christian groups to the process whereby the conservative Likud dominated Netanyahu government is seeking to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state. That too is changing due to Israeli behavior. Even though Israel boasts that it provides a safe haven for Christians to practice their religion, reports occasionally surface suggesting something quite different. Jewish Zealots spit on Christian clergy and curse them out in the streets without any fear of repercussions. Some clergy have been harassed and even assaulted by Jewish extremists. Churches and religious foundations are frequently vandalized or defaced with obscene graffiti and the Israeli government has also confiscated or destroyed church property.

America’s Presbyterian Church has led the charge in criticizing Israeli brutality. At its June General Assembly it passed a resolution condemning Israeli apartheid. Its Office of Public Witness has been in the forefront in calling on Israel to cease and desist. An Action Alert issued this summer entitled “Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the killing, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all” denounced the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli Army.

Now it is the turn of the Quakers in Britain, who have banned any investment by the church in companies that exploit the “military occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government.”, prompting a furious response from Jewish leaders. It is the first British Church to do so and leaders of the group have compared their action to taking steps against apartheid and the slave trade.

It is certainly a turnabout to see anyone taking on Israel and its all too often invincible lobby. What is significant is that Christian churches and even some congressmen have begun to speak out in spite of the knowledge that immense Jewish power in the United States and Britain will make them pay a price for doing so. May the realization that Israel’s interference in friendly countries damages their democracy finally reach a point where some people in Congress, the media and even in the White House will begin to listen.

The Two-State Chimera Is a Cover for Israel’s One-State Reality

Astute News

William Hague made one, and only one, memorable statement during his time as one of Britain’s more mediocre and gutless British foreign secretaries. It concerned Middle East peace.

“If progress on negotiations is not made next year,” Hague said, “then the two-state solution could become impossible to achieve.”

This remark was made on 28 November 2012 during a Commons statement on Palestinian statehood. Former US PresidentBarack Obama was about to launch his attempt to negotiate a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis, but that initiative swiftly floundered.

Two-state solution is dead

To this day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu persists with his illegal policy of building settlements in the occupied West Bank. US President Donald Trump has mocked international law by moving the US embassy to occupied East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israel appears poised to evict Palestinians from the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar.

So, Hague’s prediction has come…

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Anti-Assad UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI)

By Stephen Lendman
Source

There’s nothing independent about the COI. Established in August 2011, it’s headed by pro-Western Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.

Mandated to investigate human rights abuses in Syria, it operates largely as an imperial tool. Time and again, it falsely accused Assad of crimes Syrian forces had nothing to do with.

It consistently ignores Pentagon-led terror-bombing, responsible for vast destruction and tens of thousands of Syrian civilian deaths, the horrific toll increasing daily.

Its reports are hugely biased, disregarding or ignoring core issues, blaming government forces for CW use and other atrocities committed by US-supported ISIS and other jihadists.

Earlier the COI lied claiming “(g)overnment forces continued to deliberately target civilians, including through the use of chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas.”

It lied saying Syrian warplanes “used sarin in Khan Shaykhun, killing over 80 people, most of whom were women and children.”

The incident happened days after Syrian forces were falsely accused of using “toxic substances” in Hama province.

Accusations about government use of CWs are fabricated, the COI going along with countless Big Lies during nearly eight years of endless war. 

No evidence indicates Syrian, Russian, Hezbollah, or Iranian responsibility for CW attacks or other atrocities. Clear evidence proves the culpability of US-supported terrorists, as well as Pentagon and partnered forces in the country.

The COI earlier lied claiming Syrian warplanes bombed “medical facilities” – a US, NATO, Israeli, Saudi, UAE speciality, no evidence ever indicating Syrian responsibility for targeting hospitals or other non-military sites.

The COI falsely calls US aggression in Syria “civil war.” There’s nothing remotely “civil” about it.

On November 28, COI’s latest report called for “the Syrian State to account for the fate and whereabouts of detained and missing individuals countrywide,” adding:

The commission further calls for Damascus “to take a number of essential steps to address the most pressing concerns of both the victims and their families on this matter, including acknowledging the truth about how victims perished, revealing the whereabouts of their remains, and promptly, thoroughly, transparently, and independently investigating all custodial deaths, as well as deaths resulting from summary or extrajudicial executions.”

An earlier COI report falsely accused Assad of “extermination,” calling it “a crime against humanity.”

The commission, in cahoots with the US and NATO, blames Assad for Nuremberg-level high crimes committed by Washington, its imperial accomplices, and terrorist foot soldiers.

It failed to address near-daily US-led terror-bombing, notably the rape and destruction of Raqqa, massacring tens of thousands of defenseless Syrian civilians – on the phony pretext of combating ISIS Washington created and supports.

Since the Obama regime launched naked aggression on Syria in March 2011, high crimes committed by its forces and allies have been consistently ignored – by the COI, world community, and supportive media.

Throughout years of war, Assad has been responsibly involved in defending his country and people against what he justifiably called “invaders.” 

It’s a vital campaign warranting high praise, not condemnation or blame for US-led high crimes committed against the country and its people.

A Final Comment

On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry warned about (US-supported jihadists) planning a CW attack against Kurdish forces in northern Syria – a pretext for more US, UK, French terror-bombing of Syrian sites, Damascus to be falsely blamed again for use of banned weapons.

The US-staged false flag is planned for Deir Ezzor province, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry, saying ISIS terrorists (trained in Jordan by Pentagon contractors) are filling mortar shells with toxic agents “to carry out a strike” to be falsely blamed on government forces.

Russia is monitoring the situation closely. Its S-400 and S-300 air defense systems can down hostile aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles.

The only language Washington and its imperial partners understand is force. It’s long past time for Russia to act against US, NATO, and Israeli air attacks on Syrian targets – high crimes of war never to be tolerated.

Would taking this action risk East/West confrontation, possible nuclear war? Failure to act against US-led aggression assures more of it, including along Russia’s borders, risking they’ll be aggressively crossed.

Years of Kremlin diplomatic outreach to Washington and its allies over Syria and other conflicts failed to stop US-led aggression.

Challenging it forcefully is the only way to get Washington’s attention. Failure to act will let things fester and worsen. Appeasing bullies is wrongheaded. It never works. 

Perhaps the best way to prevent global war with nukes is by confronting Washington forcefully enough to show its bullying no longer will be tolerated.

The West Stays Mum About Aleppo Chemical Attack

By Alex Gorka
Source

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More than 100 people were injured as a result of a chemical attack in Aleppo on Nov. 24. The Syrian government asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to the city. Evidently the rebels were responsible. The West’s reaction has been surprising. Unlike in previous instances, the West has stayed mum instead of creating an uproar after the attacks and blaming Syria without any sort of thorough investigation to prove its guilt.

When rebel-controlled areas came under chemical attacks, Western leaders raised a hue and cry, but they more or less shrugged it off when civilians living in Aleppo’s government-controlled areas became the targets — shot by 120-mm mortars firing chlorine-filled rounds. The shelling came from Idlib — the province where the remaining rebels are based. There is no way the Syrian government troops could have been the perpetrators. Nobody would believe a story claiming that they attacked their own forces so deep behind their own lines. Russia and Syria are proud of the fact they have established peace in Aleppo, and they have no interest in disturbing it.

Neither the US nor its comrades-in-arms — the UK and France — is launching missile and air attacks to strike rebel-held positions in Idlib. And no one is rushing toward international podiums to do any finger-pointing. No statements have been issued from either Washington or Brussels as of Nov. 27. The silence is deafening.

Only French President Macron has announced that his country is condemning the use of chemical weapons in general and in the Syrian city of Aleppo in particular. Some time ago, Paris was vigorously advocating for the West’s intervention in Syria. It joined the US military actions against Syrian government forces. French special forces operate side-by-side with their American counterparts there. The French president has always expressed his indignation and condemnation of the Syrian government for the things it has not done. This time he failed to castigate the radicals in Idlib for the crime they really did commit.

It was Russian forces who attacked the terrorist positions from where mortars were firing chemical rounds, according to intelligence sources. The Russian Air Force prevented another chemical attack in order to protect civilians. Russian and Syrian medical personnel saved human lives by rapidly coming to their aid. Syria and Russia joined efforts in an investigation to produce proof that it was Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants (the former Jabhat al-Nusra) who perpetrated this war crime.

Russia had warned that the White Helmets were preparing to stage such an attack while freely operating in the terrorist-controlled areas. They had been painted in the West as human-rights defenders until their group was exposed as terrorist collaborators. Interestingly, the group had always operated in areas controlled by the extremists, never in zones held by the so-called “moderate opposition.”

But the question is — why were the Russian warnings  ignored? Another question — what will the OPCW do after it has acquired new powers to hand down verdicts about who is to blame? Russian experts are already there investigating and producing tangible results, while that global watchdog is not sure if it is safe enough for a team to be sent to Aleppo! Even if it goes in, it’ll have lost too much time to be able to conduct an effective investigation. The way to do it is to arrive on the scene quickly and gather evidence. It has not done this. Will it cooperate with the Russian military as it should? After all, Russia has hard evidence it can produce, otherwise it would not have attacked Idlib and breached the ceasefire accord. It protected the civilians in Aleppo knowing perfectly it would have to justify its actions.

In any event, the chemical attack in Aleppo is an acid test that will demonstrate the OPCW’s ability to beef up its credibility as an international body empowered with the authority to assign blame. The inspectors did not travel to Syria’s Shayrat air base to conduct an inspection after the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack last year, nor did they go to see with their own eyes what really happened in Douma, where a chemical attack took place in April. It’ll have to behave more responsibly this time, even if its own safety is not guaranteed.

The idea behind the attack was to provoke a clash between Turkey, which is responsible for the situation in Idlib, and the Russian-backed Syrian government that is defending Aleppo. But those plans fell apart when they were exposed by Russian intelligence. The attack was not unexpected. And there was one other thing that was exposed as a result — the duplicity of the West.

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