The Battle in the Shadow of the War against Daesh

Darko Lazar

The recent shooting down of a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet is only the latest in a long list of incidents during which the Americans have opened fire on Syria’s army.

US soldiers

From direct military strikes targeting the al-Shayrat air base, to bombing pro-government armed formations that supposedly enter dubiously-demarcated no-go zones, the US is only reinforcing the narrative that its objectives have nothing to do with fighting Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”].

Instead, these incidents are the consequence of the race for control of eastern Syria.

It is precisely in this context that the Americans have allowed themselves to declare their so-called “de-confliction zone” near the strategically-important Syrian border town of al-Tanf.

The blueprints, drawn up in Washington, envisaged al-Tanf as the launching point for a northward push by US-backed militants towards the Euphrates, and the eventual capture of Syria’s entire southeast.

But the Syrian army, backed by Iranian and Russian forces, have diluted these plans by liberating Daesh-controlled territory, and reaching the Iraqi border – effectively encircling Washington’s ‘zone’.

Faced with the option of sitting with their hands crossed in a stretch of desert rendered strategically useless by the Syrian maneuver, the Americans cooked up quite a creative alternative.

Since the US could find absolutely no justification for directly attacking the corridor established by the Syrian forces, Daesh terrorists were put to use once again and ‘encouraged’ to move south.

Recent reports from the ground have shown that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] are allowing Daesh fighters to flee the ‘encircled’ city of Raqqa towards Deir ez-Zor in the east.

The idea is to put pressure on the aforementioned corridor, which sits just south of Deir ez-Zor. However, things have not exactly gone to plan thanks to the efforts of the Syrian army and its allies.

This brings us back to the Syrian Su-22, which was shot down this week by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet while taking part in operations to fend off the advancing militants.

“Collective self-defense”

Since the inception of the so-called US-led coalition against Daesh, the military alliance’s efforts to partition Syria have been hard to miss.

While acknowledging that the overthrow of Bashar al Assad is improbable – if not impossible – Washington threw its weight behind the Kurds and other militant formations, aiming to sever Damascus’ link with Europe in the north, and its allies – Iraq, Iran – in the east.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the US continues to claim that “the Coalition’s mission is to defeat ‘ISIS’ in Iraq and Syria.”

A statement released by US Central Command attempted to justify the downing of the SU-22 as “collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces”, a reference to the SDF, which the Americans claim was being targeted by the Syrian jet.

“The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat, “the statement adds.

Aside from the fact that this logic fails to explain why no such defenses are being mounted against the Turks, who bomb the SDF at least once a week, the statement also has the potential to backfire on Washington.

While the UN Charter recognizes the right to self-defense, it only applies to the defense of other states, rather than non-state actors like the SDF.

However, the real trap for Washington lies in its continuous assertions that the SDF and other militant formations are an extension of the US. As such, all actions attributed to these groups, including potential war crimes, are automatically credited to Washington.

The June 19 statement also goes on to call

“on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.”

One of the more obvious problems with that claim is the American presence in al-Tanf and the deployment of its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS] to the area, which is not capable of targeting Daesh positions from that distance.

Confrontation with Russia

American motives in the region have long since led to tensions with the Russians, which have the potential to morph into a direct military confrontation.

Following the downing of the Syrian jet, the Kremlin blasted the U.S. for its blatant violation of international law and issued a stern warning.

“In areas where Russian aircraft are carrying out military tasks in the skies above Syria, any flying objects, including international coalition aircraft and drones found operating west of the River Euphrates, will be tracked by Russian land and air-based anti-aircraft ground systems as targets,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.

This is the most serious threat the Russians have aimed at Washington since the start of the Syrian conflict. Even when Turkey had shot down a Russian warplane over Syria in November 2015, Moscow stopped short of threatening to treat Turkish aircraft as fair game.

Of course, it’s unlikely that the Russians would allow themselves to shoot down American warplanes over Syria without a very good reason.

If nothing else, the Russians have proven to be pragmatic players on the world stage, and shooting down American planes hardly qualifies as pragmatism. The question, though, is: when does such an option become a pragmatic one?

Perhaps more concerning is Moscow’s decision to halt the use of an incident-prevention hotline with Washington, established to prevent accidental clashes between the different forces operating across Syrian airspace.

The fact that the Russians are at a point where they would rather risk an accidental confrontation than cooperate with the Americans further testifies to the lack of trust between the supposed partners in the fight against a ‘common enemy’.

The Philippines scenario

The latest example of how the US uses Daesh as an excuse, rather than a reason for its military interventions, is the fighting taking place in the Philippines.

Just over a month before the outbreak of violence, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte said that his “foreign policy has shifted from pro-western”.

“I now have this working alliance with China and I hope to establish a good working relations with Russia. Why? Because the western world, EU and everything, they have these double talks,” he added with trademark bombast.

Anyone who has followed international affairs over the last few decades is aware that statements such as the one above never turn out too well. Duterte must have known it too. Even if he has forgotten about leaders like Slobodan Milosevic, he surely remembers Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi – not to mention Bashar al Assad.

And just like Assad, Duterte is now in Washington’s crosshairs.

The anti-Duterte operation was activated on May 23, when none other than Daesh footsoliders invaded Marawi City on the predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao.

The Philippine president responded by declaring martial law on the island, and launching an uncompromising military operation.

Interestingly, the island also houses a US military base with more than a hundred marines, a significant number of special operations units, as well as P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft.

So, the question is obvious. How on earth had a group of terrorists managed to sneak into Marawi, stocking weapons in mosques and basements, and then building tunnels fit to withstand a fierce siege by a better-armed adversary, without alerting American spy planes and special forces?

Just like in Syria, the appearance of Daesh is quickly followed by the appearance of American soldiers, who are supposedly there to protect the locals from the scourge of terrorism. And just like Assad, Duterte had never asked for help.

“I never approached any American to say… ‘Help us’,” the Philippine leader said shortly after the American embassy in Manila announced that US Special Forces were “assisting” operations in Marawi.

The true geopolitical value of Daesh for Washington’s military elites cannot be understated. From the Middle East to the Far East, this terrorist machine is yet to fail in aiding long-term US objectives.

Whether paving the way for a permanent American military presence in Syria, or creating a source of instability for the Philippine government, the battle being fought in the shadows of the war against Daesh is far from over.

Source: Al-Ahed News

24-06-2017 | 09:47

Middle East Rapidly Heading To Another Military Conflict. Threat Of Global War Growing

24.06.2017

Middle East Rapidly Heading To Another Military Conflict. Threat Of Global War Growing

Saudi Arabia and its allies have presented Qatar with a 13-point list of demands, incuding shutting the Al-Jazeera TV network, cutting back diplomatic ties with Iran, severing relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and ending the urkish military presence in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain issued the ultimatum on June 23 and gave Qatar 10 days to respond. This ultimatum amounts to calling for a total capitulation. If Qatar rejects it, the Saudi-led block may consider “other options” in solving the ongoing Qatar crisis. It may attempt to use a military force against the Arab nation or to implement a “cold war” approach against Doha.

On Saturday, Qatar confirmed that it is reviewing the presented demands.

“We are reviewing these demands out of respect for … regional security and there will be an official response from our ministry of foreign affairs,” Sheikh Saif al-Thani, the director of Qatar’s government communications office, said.

BBC reported:

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had asked the four countries to make their demands “reasonable and actionable”.

However, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, quoted by Al-Jazeera, said: “The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was ‘reasonable and actionable’.

“The British foreign secretary asked that the demands be ‘measured and realistic.’ This list does not satisfy that [sic] criteria.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have little options to step back following the release of their ultimatum to Qatar. If the Saudi-led block fails, this will lead to a dramatic fall of their public image and political influence in the Arab world.

It’s unlikely that Saudi Arabia and its allies didn’t consider various scenarious of conflict and hold consultations with the US before issuing of the ultimatum.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appointed his son Mohammad Bin Salman as his successor instead of Mohammad Bin Nayef. This fact was very likely linked with the confrontation against Qatar.

The question is what kind of measures are the Saudis and their allies ready to implement? The Middle East is rapidly heading to another military conflict and a threat of another global war is growing with it.

 

Qatar Crisis
 According to the Qatari state-run media outlet Al-Jazeera, the list of demands includes:

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base, which is currently under construction, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.

3) Sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare these entities as terror groups as per the list announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

5) Hand over “terrorist figures”, fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Align Qatar’s military, political, social and economic policies with the other Gulf and Arab countries, as well as on economic matters, as per the 2014 agreement reached with Saudi Arabia.

10) Cease contact with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over files detailing Qatar’s prior contact with and support for opposition groups, and submit details of their personal information and the support Qatar has provided them.

11) Shut down all news outlets funded directly and indirectly by Qatar, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of list being submitted to Qatar, or the list will become invalid.

13) Consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.

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Weekly report on israel’s terrorism against the State of Palestine (15 – 21 June 2017)

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

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

(15 – 21 June 2017)

 

 

  • Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians in occupied Jerusalem.
  • 12 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces conducted 42 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • 65 civilians, including 6 children and 2 women, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 23 of them, including 6 children, were arrested in Jerusalem.
  • Israeli forces continued practicing the collective punishment policy.
  • Collective punishment measures were imposed against the Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem and Deir Abu Mesh’al village.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 15 civilians, including 2 children and a fieldworker at B’Tselem, were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

 

Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (15-21 June 2017).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians, 3 of them were killed in occupied Jerusalem, while the other was killed at Jaba’ military checkpoint, northeast of the City. Israeli forces wounded 12 civilians, including 3 children, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces chased the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea and opened fire at the farmers along the border area.

 

In the Gaza Strip, the border area witnessed peaceful protests against the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force against the protestors, as result, 7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded. Five of them were hit with live bullets and the two others sustained shrapnel wounds.

 

In the context of Israeli attacks against fishermen in the sea, on 17 June 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire at and chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip. The shooting recurred at the Palestinian fishing boats in the same area on 18 and 19 June 2017. As a result, the fishermen were obliged to sail back. Neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

In the West Bank, on 16 June 2017, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians from Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, and wounded three by-passers when Israeli forces opened fire at the three civilians, who carried out a stabbing and shooting attack in Sultan Suleiman Street at the northern entrance to Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

On 20 June 2017, Israeli forces stationed at Jaba’ military checkpoint, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, killed Baha’ al-Herbawi (23), from al-Eizariya village, east of the city. Israeli forces claimed that the killed attempted to carried out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers during an ordinary check-up at the checkpoint. Therefore, they shot him dead.

 

In addition to the wounded persons mentioned above, on 17 June 2017, 2 other civilians were wounded during an Israeli incursion into Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 42 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and 8 others into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 65 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children and 2 women. Twenty three of them, including the 6 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem and its suburbs.

Among those arrested was Zainab Mohammed ‘Ankoush (41), the mother of Adel ‘Ankoush who was killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem on 16 June 2017, as well as Enaya Abed al-Khair Saleh (45), the wife of prisoner Saleh Sulaiman Ata. Both of them are from Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 19 June 2017, Israeli forces moved about 100 meters into al-Shouka village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. They combed lands along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip and withdrew later.

 

Collective punishment measures:

 

Following the stabbing and shooting attack carried out in East Jerusalem on 16 June 2017 that resulted in the killing of 3 Palestinian youngsters and an Israeli female soldier, Israeli forces imposed a series of collective punishment measures against the Palestinian civilians in occupied Jerusalem and later in Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, from which the youngsters come.

 

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, 15 June 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Obiyat area, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ra’ed Ibrahim Abu Fariha al-‘Obiyat (21) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into several neighborhoods in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Morad Abed al-‘Afow al-Qawasmah (32) in Daeret al-Sair neighborhood and then arrested him. After that, the Israeli forces moved into ‘Ein Sarah area. They raided and searched a house belonging to Safwat Mohammed al-Ja’bari (30) and then arrested him. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Ali al-‘Owaiwi (29) in al-Dahdah neighborhood and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Dawhah village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Bilal Ismail Masalmah (22). They then arrested him and confiscated his PC set.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed ‘Obaidallah (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and stationed in Rafidia neighborhood, west of the city. They raided and searched a house belonging to Fareq Nabil al-Bashtawi (27) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Birah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Nayef Mohanned Abdul Fattah Bazar (27) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli forces raided a gas station in Beit Ummer village near the Bypass road (60), north of Hebron. They arrested Jehad Hesham Khalil Abu Maria (26) and Treq Jamal Khalil Abu Maria (25) from their work place at the station. It should be noted that the arrested civilians are from Beit Ummer village.

 

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

 

Friday, 16 June 2017

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ein Sarah neighborhood in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Ali Mohammed Qafisha (40) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Samou’, Beit Ummer villages  and the southern area in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mohab Husain al-Damiri (23) and Abdullah Taiseer Abdul Latif Hasan (25). At approximately 04:00, they withdrew taking the arrested civilian to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, an Israeli infantry force moved into Thanabah Suburb, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Amjad Shukri Abdul Karim al-Hamshari (25) and Mas’oud Yusuf Hattab (28).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Thanabah village, west of Hebron, and stationed in ‘Aziz neighbourhood, west of the village. They raided and searched 2 houses and kept the inhabitants outdoors. They then arrested 3 civilians, including 2 brothers namely Ahmed Mohammed Farajallah (25), Mo’ath (15) and his brother Ward Ahmed Farajallah (20).

 

  • At approximately 22:45, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. However, neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir and al-Koum villages in Hebron and Sanjal village, north of Ramallah.

 

Sunday, 18  June 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Shaheen Valley area, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohanned ‘Atiyah Ta’amrah (19) and arrested

 

  • At approximately 21:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. However, neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Monday, 19  June 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Anwar Abdul Hamid Bour (60) and then arrested his sons Medhat (26) an Ibrahim (22).

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Jaba’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Rashad Khaldoun Jarrar (25). At approximately 03:30, they withdrew taking him to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit Sahour and stationed in Abu Fariha area. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested Isam’il Hasan ‘Obaiyat (27) and Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Farihah (36).

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Salem village, east of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 3 civilians, one of them is blind and suffers from a neurological problem. The arrested civilians were identified as Mohammed Sayel Mustafa Eshtiyah (24), the blind; Abdul Rahman Nsouh Eshtiyah (31) and Fawzi Mohammed ‘Awwad (27).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Husan village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mohammed Samih Hamamrah (22) and Mohammed Hasan Hamamrah (21).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in al-Matinah and Muthalath Safa areas. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed ‘Elian Ekhleil and handed over 2 summonses to his sons Ramzi (24) and Shadi (25) to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem. In the meantime, an Israeli patrol established a military checkpoint at Safa crossroad. They stopped some civilians, who were heading to perform prayers. The Israeli patrol was accompanied with an infantry unit that moved from “Kermi Tsur” settlement established on Palestinian confiscated lands, south of the village. They made their way to al-Thaher neighborhood, which is about 200 meters away from the abovementioned settlement. The soldiers raided and searched a house belonging to Husain Mustafa Abdul Mo’ti Abu Maria and handed a summons to his son Ahmed to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in the abovementioned settlement.

 

  • At approximately 03:50, Israeli forces moved into Seneria village, south of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Amin al-Sheikh (28) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 08:30, Israeli forces accompanied with military jeeps and bulldozers made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. They moved about 100 meters into al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. They leveled and combed the area before they redeployed along the abovementioned border fence.

 

  • At approximately 21:00, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. However, neither casualties nor material damage were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Nablus and Hablah village, south of Qalqiliyah; Hebron and Beit Awla village.

 

Tuesday, 20 June  2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Husan village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Diyaa’ Mohammed Zaghloul (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Mousa (21) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Bassah area in Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud ‘Amer Abu al-Shoker (19) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved from Tarqumiya village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Bilal Na’im Ja’afrah (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 05:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron, and stationed in al-Hamam Valley. They raided and searched a house belonging to Hamzah Nader Abu Hleil (19) and then arrested him.

 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron, and stationed in al-Thaher area and the industrial zone. They raided 2 houses belonging to Mohammed Ashraf Mohammed Khalil ‘Alqam (20) and Samer Zuhar Mohammed Ekhleil (20) and then arrested both of them.

 

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir, Bani Na’im, al-Shyoukh and Farsh al-Hawa area in Hebron.

 

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

 

Demonstrations in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer on 16 June 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized a protest in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages, west of Ramallah; al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city and Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, in protest 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 protesters into olive fields and houses. As a result, some of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises as Israeli soldiers beat them up. Moreover, Israeli forces arrested Abed Ayed Srour (30), from Ni’lin village, and took him to an unknown destination.

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 15:30 on Friday, 16 June 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered few meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shuhadaa’ Cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. They set fire to tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed along the abovementioned border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:00 on the same day. As a result, a 22-year-old civilian from Jabalia sustained a live bullet wound that penetrated the left ear and wounded his neck. He was transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabalia. His wounds were classified as moderate.

 

  • At approximately 17:00 in the same Friday, dozens of Palestinian young men made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip, in rejection to the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza strip. The young men gathered near the security fence, set fire to tires, raised the Palestinian flags and then threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the young men and the agricultural lands to the west of the abovementioned border fence. As a result, a child (PCHR keeps his name) sustained a live bullet wound to the left leg and other civilians sustained tear gas inhalation. The wounded child was taken to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah where medical sources classified his injury as moderate.

 

  • Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis. They set fire to tires and raised flags and banners condemning the Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip. A number of the young men approached the abovementioned border fence and threw stones at the Israeli forces stationed there. The Israeli soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters for an hour and a half around the protestors to disperse them. As a result, 2 civilians (PCHR keeps their names) sustained live bullet wounds. They were transferred to Gaza European Hospital and their injuries were classified as moderate.

 

  • At approximately 17:00, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered few meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel near Karm Abu Mo’amer neighborhood, east of al-Shawkah village, northeast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, in response to calls for protests in the border area against the Israeli-imposed closure on Gaza. A number of the protestors approached the border fence, set fire to tires, raised the Palestinian flags and then threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets at them. The clashes continued until approximately 19:00 on the same day. As a result, a 16-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound to the right leg, a 17-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet shrapnel to the right foot and an 18-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound to the left leg. The wounded civilians were transferred to Abu Yusuf al-Najjar in Rafah. Medical sources classified their injuries as moderate.

 

Collective punishment Measures:

 

  • At approximately 05:30 on Saturday, 17 June 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with several military jeeps and a bulldozer moved into Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah. They stationed in many neighborhoods in the village while the soldiers deployed patrolled between the houses. They raided and searched 10 houses, including the houses belonging to the families of the three young men, who were killed on Friday, 16 June 2017, at Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) area in Jerusalem, by Israeli soldiers and police officers after they carried out a stab attack causing the death of an Israeli female border guard officer. The soldiers detained the families members in a room in each house, thoroughly searched the houses and caused damage to their contents. The soldiers stayed at the three houses for 4 hours during which the engineering unit took measurements of the houses and handed over the owners of the houses decisions to demolish the houses without mentioning the date. The killed young men, whose family houses were raided, were identified as:
  1. Osama Ahmed Dahdouh ‘Ata (18), lived in a two-story house with an area of 150 square meters and his family members are 6;
  2. ‘Adel Hassan ‘Ankoush (19), lived in a two-story house with an area of 110 square meters and his family members are 10
  3. Bara’ Ibrahim Saleh Ata (18), lived in a two-story house with an area of 140 square meters and his family members are 6.

 

In the meantime, dozens of angry young men gathered, threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, closed the roads of the village with metal barriers and set fire to tires. The Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs, tear gas canisters and live bullets sporadically at the young men and around houses. As a result, two Palestinian civilians were wounded. An 18-year-old civilian sustained a live bullet wound to the right leg and a 19-year-old civilian sustained a rubber-coated metal bullet wound to the right hand. They both were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive the necessary medical treatment. At approximately 07:30, the Israeli forces stationed at the main entrance to the village prevented about 80 high school (Tawjihi) students from setting for the Tawjihi exams in Shaqba village. Half an hour later, the students were transferred via buses in coordination with the Palestinian Military Liaison  and returned to the village after two hours. At approximately 11:30, the Israeli forces withdrew from the village after they confiscated (40 illegal cars) and stationed at the eastern entrance  to the village and closed it with an iron gate. They also closed 3 sub-entrances to the village with sand barriers. Several military jeeps stationed in the vicinity of the abovementioned village and prevented the civilians from leaving the village.

 

  • On Sunday, 18 June 2017, Israeli forces continued its operations in the village. At approximately 02:30, an infantry unit of about 30 soldiers moved into the center of the village. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to prisoner in the Israeli jails Saleh Suleiman ‘Ata and Mohammed Sa’id Zahran. The soldiers damaged the houses’ contents. During the raid, the soldiers confiscated about 60 grams of gold jewelry from the house of the prisoner Saleh in addition to Mohammed’s own car. Moreover, before the soldiers withdrew, they arrested Saleh’s wife ‘Enayah Abdul Khair Saleh (45) and Mohammed Sa’id Zahran. At approximately 04:30, the Israeli forces stationed at the main entrance to the village prevented the workers from going to their work in Israel and confiscated permits they had to enter Israel.

 

  • At approximately 07:30 on Wednesday, 21 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Adel Hassan ‘Ankoush, one of the attackers in Jerusalem on Friday, 16 June 2017. They then arrested ‘Adel’s mother Zeinab Mohammed ‘Ankoush (41). In the meantime, another Israeli force raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Esmat Abdul Karim ‘Ata (43) and then arrested him. They also closed 2 sub-entrances with sand barriers and confiscated about 20 illegal cars before they withdrew.

 

  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

 

Date Imports
Category Amount
Tons Number Liters
01 June Various goods 5319
Humanitarian aid 12704
Cooking gas 297,200
Benzene 302,986
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 634,94476,000
Construction aggregates 8000
Cement 3760
Construction steel 227
02 June Cooking gas 184.012
Diesel 523,953
Industrial fuel 169,720
04 June

 

 

Various goods 3684
Humanitarian aid 11256
Cooking gas 295,860
Benzene 190,010
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 519,92837,988
Construction aggregates 7600
Cement 2800
Construction steel 270
05 June

 

 

 Various goods 4836
Humanitarian aid 10696
Cooking gas 289,000
BenzeneBenzene for UNRWA

 

230,02538,000
DieselDiesel for UNRWA 853,83376002
Construction aggregates 7320
Cement 2352
Construction steel 180
Various goods 4308
Humanitarian aid 10742
Cooking gas 290,210
BenzeneBenzene for UNRWA 114,01338,000
06 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 443,88137,986
Construction aggregates 7640
Cement 2120
Construction steel 218
Various goods 4364
Humanitarian aid 6799
Cooking gas 292,976
Benzene 222,040
07 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 405,97638,000
Construction aggregates 4520
Cement 1520
Construction steel 180
Various goods 4785
Humanitarian aid 8640
Cooking gas 292,310
Benzene 225,061
08 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 639,31038,008
Construction aggregates 4720
Cement 2600
Construction steel 480
Various goods 4730
Humanitarian aid 7606
Cooking gas 289,450
Benzene 114,035
11 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 415,97838,000
Construction aggregates 5040
Cement 2240
Construction steel 290
Various goods 4029
Humanitarian aid 7601
Cooking gas 272,790
Benzene 263,022
12 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 481,04238,008
Construction aggregates 5160
Cement 1400
Construction steel 460
Various goods 4579
Humanitarian aid 6518
Cooking gas 291,130
Benzene 187,003
13 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 488,01638,00
Construction aggregates 4920
Cement 1200
Construction steel 4510
Various goods 7225
Humanitarian aid 292,880
Cooking gas 149,009
Benzene 149,009
14 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 443,43875,986
Construction aggregates 5200
Cement 1240
Construction steel 400
Various goods 4984
Humanitarian aid 9675
Cooking gas 288,410
Benzene 263,054
15 June DieselDiesel for UNRWA 478,94276,000
Construction aggregates 6800
Cement 1640
Construction steel 296

 

Exports:

 

  • On Thursday, 01 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 131 tons of tomatoes; 9 tons of eggplants; 6.14 tons of sweet peppers; and 19.2 tons of cucumbers.
  • On Sunday, 04 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 141.5 tons of tomatoes; 14.8 tons of eggplants; 17.05 tons of sweet peppers; 13.23 tons of peppers; 1.9 tons of sweet potatoes; 2 tons of fish; and 7 tons of clothes.
  • On Monday, 05 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 76.2 tons of tomatoes; 8 tons of eggplants; 10.8 tons of sweet peppers; 6.1 tons of peppers; and 0.9 tons of fish.
  • On Wednesday, 07 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 27.8 tons of tomatoes; 4 tons of eggplants; 2.4 tons of sweet peppers; 9.4 tons of peppers; 13 tons of Aluminum scraps; 8 tons of furniture; 7 tons of sweet potatoes; and 0.46 ton of garlics.
  • On Thursday, 08 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 45.5 tons of tomatoes; 6.4 tons of eggplants; and 8.4 tons of sweet peppers.
  • On Sunday, 11 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 8 truckloads of vegetables; a truckload of animals’ skin and a truckload of clothes.
  • On Monday, 12 June 2017,  Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 4 truckload of vegetables and 2 truckloads of Aluminum scraps.
  • On Thursday, 15 June 2017, Israeli forces allowed the exportation of 7 truckloads of vegetables.

 

 

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

(14-19June 2017)

 

Category 14 June 15 June 16 June 17 June 18 June 19 June
Patients 43 50 3 73 73
Companions 35 42 3 65 60
Personal needs 17 48 11 29 27
Familiesof prisoners 23
Arabs fromIsrael 2 5 1 2
Diplomats 1 1
International journalists
International workers 43 63 8 7 9
Travelersabroad 3 2
Business people 108 128 132 133
Business meetings
Security interviews 8 6 3
VIPs 2 1
Ambulances to Israel 2 1 1 3
Patients’ Companions 2 1 1 3

 

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 (20) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 15 June 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron; at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp; at the northern entrance to Halhoul village and at the entrance to Bani Na’iem village.

On Friday, 16 June 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Jalajel village.

On Saturday, 17 June 2017, 4 similar checkpoints were established at the western entrance to Hebron and at the entrances to Beit Ummer, Beit Kahel and Beit ‘Awaa villages.

On Sunday, 18 June 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Samou’a and al-Dahiriyia villages.

On Monday, 19 June 2017, 6 similar checkpoints were established at the entrances to Raboud, Taramah, Sa’ier, and Bani Na’iem villages; at the southern entrance to Halhoul village and at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp.

On Wednesday, 21 June 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Deir Samet village and at the northern entrance to Hebron.

 

  • Ramallah and al-Bireh: Israeli forces established (7) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 00:30 on Thursday, 15 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint in ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of Ramallah.

At approximately 21:50 on Friday, 16 June 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to ‘Ain Kinyia village, west of Ramallah; in ‘Atara village’s bridge; and at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city.

At approximately 18:30 on Monday, 19 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Ain Yabroud village, northeast of Ramallah.

At approximately 23:00, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to ‘Aboud village, northwest of the city.

At approximately 03:20 on Tuesday, 20 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint in ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of the city.

 

  • Qalqiliyia: Israeli forces established (7) checkpoints all over the city.

 

At approximately 23:20 on Thursday, 15 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 22:45 on Friday, 16 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 22:00, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to Hijjah village, northeast of the city.

At approximately 02:40 on Saturday, 17 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 18:00 on Sunday, 18 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 23:20, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of the city.

At approximately 18:00 on Monday, 19 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia.

 

  • Salfit: Israeli forces established (3) checkpoints all over the city.

At approximately 23:00 On Friday, 16 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to al-Zawiyia village, west of Salfit.

At approximately 22:20 on Sunday, 18 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Kafur al-Deek village, west of Salfit. At approximately 23:50, a similar checkpoint was established at the entrance to Qarawit Bani Hassan village, northwest of the city.

 

Arrests at military checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 11:00 on Thursday, 15 June 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem, arrested Anas Ibrahim Shadeed (20), from Kharsa village, south of Dura, west of Hebron. He was arrested while heading to the Israeli Intelligence Service “Shabak”, who summoned him via a phone call on his uncle’s cell phone.

 

  • On Friday, 16 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint in ‘Ain Samiyia area, east of Kafur Malik village, northeast of Ramallah. They stopped a Palestinian vehicle carrying 5 civilians, including 2 children, and arrested them. The arrested persons were then taken to ‘Ofer prison in Bituniyia village, west of the city. The arrested persons were identified as Diyiaa Nayif Hamaiyl (17), Sameh ‘Odai Hamaiyl (16), Hamdi Mazahi Hamaiyl (21), Jihad Mohamed Ba’iraat (23) and Tariq Nidal Hamaiyl (20).

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 18 June 2017, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to Salem Court, northwest of Jenin, arrested Jihad Mohamed ‘Ataa ‘Owais (23). It should be noted that Jihad was heading to the court for attending his brother’s trial.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Sunday, Israeli Border Guard officers arrested a fieldworker at B’Tselem Center for Human Rights, Manal Na’aman Da’na (40), from Nemra neighbourhood, north of the city. Manal was arrested while filming the suffering of residents living near the military checkpoint called “Mafia” established at the entrances to Salameh and Gheith neighbourhoods near al-Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City. Manal was then taken to “Karyiat ‘Arba’” investigation center, under the pretext of obstructing the Israeli soldiers’ movement. They released her after paying a bail estimated at NIS 1,200.

 

  • At approximately 21:30 on Sunday, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit. They searched Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. In the meantime, they arrested Rabie’ Ahmed Mohamed Kan’an (22), from Qarawet Bani Hassan village, northwest of the city.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces stationed at Za’tara village intersection, south of Nablus, arrested Fathi Zahi al-‘Ardah (21), from ‘Askar refugee camp, northeast of the city.

 

  • At approximately 22:00 on Monday, 09 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyia. They searched Palestinian civilians vehicles and checked their IDs. During which, they arrested Jamal Hussain ‘Ahid Taha (19), from the above-mentioned village.

 

  • At approximately 01:20 on Tuesday, 20 June 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of Jeftlik village, north of Jericho. They searched Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked their IDs. In the meantime, they arrested 4 civilians identified as Nouh Mohamed Nofal (24), Omar Mohamed Jahaleen (26), Khalid Mohamed Jahaleen (22) and Ahmed Hasan Jahaleen (24).

 

  • 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 Friday, 16 June 2017, the Israeli forces opened fire at 3 Palestinian boys, from Deir Abu Mish’al village, northwest of Ramallah. As a result, the three boys were wounded with several live bullets and succumbed to their wounds. Additionally, 3 by-passers were wounded as well. The Israeli forces opened fire at the boys after they carried out a stabbing and shooting attack in al-Sultan Suliman street at the northern entrance to Bab al-‘Amoud (Damascus Gate) in occupied East Jerusalem.

According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses statements, at approximately 19:35 on the aforementioned day, the two boys, Baraa Ibrahim Saleh ‘Ataa (18) and ‘Adil Hasan Ahmed ‘Ankosh (18), both of them are from Deir Abu Mish’al village, northwest of Ramallah, fired live bullets at the Israeli forces and Israeli border guard officers stationed near Suliman cave in al-Sultan Suliman street in occupied Jerusalem. The two boys also attempted to carry out a stabbing attack against the Israeli forces stationed in the area. Around the same time, Osama Ahmed Dahdouh ‘Ataa (19), from the above-motioned village, stabbed a female Israeli soldier in Bab al-‘Amoud area. The Israeli forces indiscriminately opened fire in the vicinity of the two attacks area, despite being densely populated during al-Maghreb prayer. As a result, the three boys were killed while ‘Amer Mohamed Rabah Badawi (31), from Hebron, was hit with several live bullets and Mohamed Yousef Kamlah (24), was hit with 2 live bullets to the lower back and kidney while passing by in the area. They were then taken to “Shaarei Tzedeq” hospital in occupied West Jerusalem. The Palestine Red Crescent Society sources stated that their crews treated on the spot a person who sustained shrapnel wounds to the foot and 3 other persons sustaining burns.

 

  • At approximately 16:50 on Tuesday, 20 June 2017, Israeli forces stationed at Jaba’ military checkpoint, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, opened fire at Bahaa’ ‘Emad Sameer al-Herbawi (23), from al-‘Aizariyia village, east of occupied Jerusalem. As a result, Bahaa was hit with several live bullets throughout his body and immediately died. The Israeli forces claimed that he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack against the Israeli soldier stationed at the checkpoint, so the soldier immediately shot him dead.  Iyad al-Herbawi, Bahaa’s uncle, said that Bahaa left al-‘Aizariyia village after he finished his work and told his family that he would go to Ramallah for shopping and visiting his sister. Al-Herbawi added, according to eyewitnesses statements, that when Bahaa returned into al-‘Aizariyia, the Israeli forces stopped him at the checkpoint and searched him. In the meantime, no one knew what happened, but the Israeli forces heavily opened fire at Bahaa. Al-Herbawi added that Bahaa family knew that their son was killed through the media and social media and then officially informed the Palestinian liaison about it.  It should be noted that Bahaa has never been arrested and has no political affiliations.

 

  • At approximately 19:00 on the same day, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aizariyia village and surrounded the area, where al-Herbawi family lives. They then raided his house and arrested Bahaa’s father. They took his father to “Maale Adumim” police station.

 

Collective Punishment:

 

  • Following the above mentioned stabbing and shooting attack, Israeli forces completely closed Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) area, Sultan Suleiman Street and all gates of Jerusalem, excluding Bab al-Asbat (Lions Gate). They banned the Palestinians from entering and exiting the Old City and obliged the commercial stores’ owners to shut down. The Israeli forces also erected metal barriers in the streets leading to Bab al-Amoud and imposed a total  closure on the area while the three young men remained on the ground for hours to until they were transferred by private vehicles. The Israeli officers chased the civilians who were at Bab al-Sahera (Herod’s Gate), al-Mesrara and Nablus Street and fired sound bombs at them. They also arrested 6 young men, who were in the area. Moreover, they assaulted some civilians and pushed the journalists  Lewaa’ Abu Ermilah, Mohammed al-Sharif an Amir Abed Rabboh away from the area when they were at Bab al-Sahera (Herod’s Gate) and hindered their work.

 

  • On Saturday morning, 18 June 2017,the Israeli forces mobilized all over Jerusalem, mainly the streets of Nablus, Bab al-Sahera, Sultan Suleiman and al-Mesrara. They also erected metal barriers and prevented vehicles and buses from using these streets. Moreover, obliged the commercial stores’ owners to shut down otherwise they would pay a fine of over NIS 40,000. Israeli forces stopped the by-passers and checked their IDs and then deported the West Bank residents by buses distributed throughout the city.

 

  • On Saturday evening, the Israeli police accompanied with the Border Guard officers began field measures, including thorough check-ups, throughout Jerusalem. They focused their efforts on Sultan Suleiman and Salah Eden Streets and Bab al-Amoud area. They  deported over 350 Palestinians “who entered Jerusalem without permits, and returned them to the Palestinian territories”

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 15 June 2017, Israeli forces arrested Ja’far Ameen al-‘Afifi (19) and Yousef Jawabrah (18), from al-Doha village, west of Bethlehem. The abovementioned persons were arrested while they were in the vicinity of al-‘Amoud Gate in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

 

  • At approximately 20:30 on Thursday, Israeli forces arrested Khadir Rabah Abu al-Humus (23), from al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied Jerusalem, while passing through Sho’fat camp checkpoint, north of the city.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Friday, 16 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jawad Jaber and arrested his son Ameer (14) after beating him.

 

  • At approximately 22:30 on Saturday, 17 June 2017, Israeli forces arrested Ihab Sa’ied ‘Ajami, from ‘Ateil village, northeast of Tulkarm, while he was in al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Saturday, Israeli forces moved into Abu Deis village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mo’taz Mohamed Jaffal (23) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 18 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Bab Hitah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested 6 civilians, including 5 children. The arrested persons were identified as Mostafa Eyad Ghazali (15), Yazan Amjad al-Basiti (16), Zain Amjad al-Basiti (15), Majd Khalid Sharifah (16), Nizar Nadir Qirsh (15) and Mohamed ‘Azaam al-Tamimi (20).

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces stormed al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, through al-Magharibah Gate. In the meantime, they allowed Israeli settlers to raid the mosque and it yards. As a result, the Palestinian worshipers threw stones at the settlers. After that, a large number of Israeli Special Forces arrived at al-Qibli (southern) Mosque and closed its entrances. They also heavily fired sound bombs. An eyewitness stated that the Israeli forces surrounded the worshipers inside al-Qibli Mosque and pepper-sprayed them. In addition, the Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and sound bombs at the worshipers and arrested 2 of them. The eyewitness added that the Israeli forces topped al-Qibli Mosque roof and damaged one of its windows. They also took photos of the worshipers while praying and confiscated chairs from the Mosque.

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Sunday, Israeli forces moved into Kafur ‘Oqub area, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Elias Zaghir (25) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 00:00 on Monday, 19 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Dawoud al-‘Amour (23).
  • At approximately 03:00 on Tuesday, 20 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into Bab Hitah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ayham Sharifah (19) and arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 23:00 on Tuesday, Israeli forces stormed al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards and arrested Tariq Abu Subaieh (39) while getting out of al-Sahirah Gate.

 

Settlement activities and settlers attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property

 

  • At approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 17 June 2017, a group of Israeli settlers from “Halmish” settlement, established on al-Nabi Saleh village lands, northwest of Ramallah, threw stones at the Palestinian civilian vehicles while passing through the main road leading to villages located northwest of the city. The Israeli settlers also carried out riot acts in the area and obstructed the vehicles movement for few hours.

 

Recommendations to the International Community

 

 

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 10 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

 

  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 in 2017 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on 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 international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. 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.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. 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.
  14. 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

The Reason Behind the US Government’s Secret Hatred of Europeans

The Reason Behind the US Government’s Secret Hatred of Europeans

ERIC ZUESSE | 21.06.2017 | WORLD

The Reason Behind the US Government’s Secret Hatred of Europeans

The reason for the US government’s hostility — at least since 4 February 2014 —toward Europeans, has been a mystery, until now.

This hostility wasn’t even publicly recognized at all, until it leaked out, on that date, from a tapped phone-line of arguably the most powerful person at the US State Department, the person whom American President Barack Obama had personally entrusted with running his Administration’s most geostrategically sensitive secret foreign operations (and she did it actually throughout almost the entirety of Obama’s eight years in office, regardless of whom the official US Secretary of State happened to be at the time): Victoria Nuland.

Her official title was «Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs» and she was appointed to that post by the President himself, but nominally she reported to him through the Deputy Secretary of State William Joseph Burns, who reported to the Secretary of State, who, in turn, reported to the President.

She ran policies specifically on Ukraine (and, more broadly, against Russia). In the famous leaked phone call that she made on 4 February 2014 to the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, she instructed him to place in charge of Ukraine’s government, once America’s coup in Ukraine would be completed (which then occurred 18 days later and overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, entirely in violation of Ukraine’s own Constitution), «Yats» or Arseniy Yatsenyuk. He did, immediately after the coup was completed, receive this crucial appointment — basically, the power to control all other top appointments in the new Ukrainian government. With this appointment, the coup, which had started by no later than 2011 to be planned inside the US State Department, was effectively completed.

In this phone call, Nuland said «F—k the EU!» and no one, at the time, paid much attention to what this outburst was all about, but only that it sounded shockingly undiplomatic. Finally, however, clear evidence has now emerged, concerning what it was actually about.

This crucial evidence consists of a refusal (at long last) by both Germany and Austria, to ratchet-up further, as the US regime now demands, economic sanctions against Russia, sanctions that are a key part of America’s plan ultimately to conquer Russia — a plan that’s been carried out consistently by all US federal governments since the moment, on the night of 24 February 1990, when US President George Herbert Walker Bush himself secretly announced it to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and afterward to other US vassal-heads-of-state — that, though the Soviet Union was already irrevocably in the process of ending the Cold War against the US and its allies, the US and its allies would secretly continue that war, henceforth, against Russia, until Russia itself would be conquered. He was implicitly informing them, there, that the Cold War, on the US side, wasn’t really about ideology (capitalist versus communist), but instead, was actually a long war for conquest, of the entire world (now it would be to strip Russia of its allies, and then to go in for the kill), by the US aristocracy and its vassal aristocracies (whom those European leaders represented).

On 15 June 2017, the Associated Press headlined «Germany, Austria slam US sanctions against Russia», and reported that both of those US vassal-nations, while paying obeisance to the imperial master, were not going to proceed further all the way to destruction of their own major oil and gas companies, in order to please that master:

In a joint statement, Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was important for Europe and the United States to form a united front on the issue of Ukraine, where Russian-based separatists have been fighting government forces since 2014.

«However, we can’t accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies», the two officials said, citing a section of the bill that calls for the United States to continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea. Half of the cost of the new pipeline is being paid for by Russian gas giant Gazprom, while the other half is being shouldered by a group including Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, French provider Engie, OMV of Austria and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall. Some Eastern European countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don’t pass through their territory anymore once the new pipeline is built.

Gabriel and Kern accuse the US of trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. They said the possibility of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project «introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations».

Currently, and for a very long time, the leading energy-supplier to the EU has been Russia, in the forms of oil and, especially, natural gas, both of which are transported into the EU via an extensive network of pipelines, most of which travel through Ukraine, which is a major reason why the US rulers wanted to take over Ukraine — in order to stop that, or at least to cause a necessity for Russia to build alternative pipelines (which the US regime would likewise do everything to block from happening) — but now both Germany and Austria are saying no to this US effort.

The US regime wants fracked US natural gas to fill an increasing portion of Europe’s needs, and for natural gas from US-allied fundamentalist Sunni royal regimes to fill as much of the rest as possible, so as to squeeze-out the existing top supplier, Russia. (Until recently, the plan was for US ally Qatar, owned by the Thani royal family, to become Europe’s main supplier, via pipelines which would traverse through Syria, for which reason Syria needs to be conquered (so that those pipelines through Syria can be built, perhaps even by American firms). However, the Sauds, who usually run US foreign relations — often with assistance from the Israeli regime, which is far more popular in the United States and also in Europe (and thus serves as the Sauds’ agents in the US and Europe) — have now blockaded Qatar because of Qatar’s insufficient compliance with the Sauds’ demand for total international isolation of Iran and of any other nation where Shia are or might become dominant. (For example, the Sauds bomb Yemen to impose fundamentalist Sunni leadership there and kill the Shia population.) And, so, now, after the break between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, even more than before, the main beneficiaries of cutting off Russian gas-supplies to the EU would be US fracking companies.

However, the big European oil and gas corporations would then play a smaller role in the European market, because those firms have mutual commitments with Gazprom and other Russian giants. The only big winners, now, of increased sanctions against Russia, would thus be US firms.

«Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America», Kern and Gabriel said.

Europe already has suffered considerable economic harm from complying with the US on taking over Ukraine, and from absorbing millions of destitute and alien refugees from Syria, Libya, and other countries where the US CIA, and other agencies, fomented the «Arab Spring» to unlock, in those countries, the oil and gas pipeline potential, which, if controlled by the US, would go to US oilfield-services firms such as Halliburton, and not to European ones such as Schlumberger.

Kern and Gabriel — and the local national aristocracies (respectively Austrian, and German) whom they represent — are now speaking publicly about the limits beyond which they will not go in order to obey their US masters.

Consequently, back in February 2014, when the European aristocracies complied with the US aristocracy’s coup in Ukraine even though knowing full well that it was a barbaric and very bloody coup and nothing ‘democratic’ such as the US-manufactured story-line alleged it to have been, those aristocracies accepted the heist because they thought and expected to be cut in on enough of the looting of Ukraine so as to come out ahead on it. But that’s no longer the case. Because of the Sauds’ campaign against the Thanis (the owners of Qatar), the gang are starting to break up. The US gangsters are no longer clearly in control, but are being forced to choose between the Sauds and the Thanis, and have apparently chosen the Sauds. The Sauds financed the 9/11 attacks in the United States, but are the largest foreign purchasers of US-made weapons.

The US aristocracy hate Europeans because the US aristocracy are determined to conquer Russia, and because Europeans aren’t fully cooperating with that overriding US government goal — many EU billionaires want deals with Russia, but America’s billionaires are determined instead to take over Russia, and so the US (and the Sauds) might be losing its traditional support from the EU.

International affairs — US, Russia, Sauds, Thanis, Iran, Germany, UK, etc. — are in unpredictable flux. But Europe seems gradually to be drifting away from the US

And resistant European aristocrats seem to be digging in their heels on this. Here is a translation of a report dated June 17th from the most reliable source of news regarding international relations, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or «German Economic News»:

Eastern Committee: US sanctions against Russia are a threat to Europe

German Economic News | Released:17.06.17 00:36 Clock

The Eastern Committee of the German economy is indignant at the new US sanctions against Russia.

The German companies have sharply criticized the US sanctions against Russia. «The sanctions plans of the US Senate are deeply alarming and, in principle, a threat to the European and German economy», said Klaus Schäfer, Deputy Chairman of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy, on Friday evening in Berlin. «America first is a new dimension to open up international markets to US providers at the expense of European jobs. Furthermore, we consider an extraterritorial application of economic initiatives generally wrong, «he said. In the Eastern Committee, the German companies active in Eastern Europe are organized. The federal government had also clearly criticized the sanction decision.

«Every further turn at the sanctioning screw increases the danger of new trade wars and the uncertainty of the world economy», warned Schäfer. The solution of the Ukraine conflict is not a step closer. A de-escalation on all sides was necessary. He pointed out that the US-Russia trade represented only one-tenth of the EU-Russia trade. «We pay the price of sanctions to Europeans», he criticized. «Implementation of the planned sanctions would make Europe more difficult to provide with favorable energy and inevitably lead to higher prices».

The most remarkable thing about this intensification of economic aggression by the US aristocracy against some of the European aristocracies, is that instead of the aggression being spearheaded this time by the US President, it’s being spearheaded by an almost unanimous US Senate: 97 out of the 100 US Senators voted for this bill. One cannot, this time around, reasonably blame «Donald Trump» for this ‘nationalism’ — it is instead clearly a Cold War, this time, by the US aristocracy (who are represented by the US government), against some European aristocracies, which are paying insufficient obeisance to the demands by the imperial aristocracy: the US gang.

Whereas, at the time of the US coup in Ukraine, the EU swallowed in silence their shock at how brutal and bloody it had been, and stayed with the Americans because the Americans claimed that the takeover would benefit European aristocracies too (‘expand the EU’), the lie about that is now clear to all (and Ukraine has been too wrecked by America, to be of much use to anyone but the Americans as a staging base for their missiles against Moscow), and therefore «the Western Alliance» might finally be breaking up.

The vassal-governments have put up with a lot from the US aristocracy, such as when German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was revealed to be tapped by America’s NSA, and the case was quietly dropped because, «Prosecutors say they can find no actionable evidence to support claims German chancellor’s mobile phone was tapped by US National Security Agency» even though everyone knew that the refusal by Germany’s prosecutors was based upon a lie, and that Germany «remains heavily reliant on the US», and that the US government’s knowing everything that German politicians do, provides against those politicians a blackmail-potential against themselves, that cannot be taken lightly. On the other hand, perhaps there now exists a countervailing force that can outweigh even considerations such as that. Maybe Germany’s billionaires have, somehow, finally become able to turn the tide on this.

They Were ‘Grilled Alive’: US Government Exposed Running Nazi-Like Torture Program in Yemen

The US is once again facing allegations of torture, this time during the interrogation of detainees in more than a dozen secret prisons in Yemen.

Global Research, June 24, 2017
Free Thought Project 22 June 2017

An unprecedented report from the corporate press claims U.S. forces have participated in extreme torture and abuse of detainees accused of affiliation with Al Qaeda in Yemen — including “the ‘grill,’ in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire,” the Associated Press finds.

A network of secretive prisons in southern Yemen provide the backdrop for the alleged barbaric acts allegedly carried out by forces from the U.S. and United Arab Emirates — many of those detention facilities remain hidden in plain sight.

That some of the covert prisons sit inside military bases might not be much of a shock, but others are located in ports, an airport, private villas, and even a nightclub — and all, according to the AP, remain untouchable by the embattled Yemeni government.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on the new revelations, tweeting,

American officials unsurprisingly balked at the accusation troops have participated in the astonishingly heinous behavior described in the AP’s report.

Reports the AP:

“Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture.

“The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Gulf nation, drawing on accounts from former detainees, families of prisoners, civil rights lawyers and Yemeni military officials. All are either hidden or off limits to Yemen’s government, which has been getting Emirati help in its civil war with rebels over the last two years.”

Notably, this is the first ‘official’ acknowledgment the United States participates in interrogations inside the borders of Yemen.

Forces transported some detainees to an Emirati base in Eritrea, according to Yemen Interior Minister Hussein Arab.

Unnamed and unverifiable U.S. defense officials told the Associated Press ‘senior U.S. military leaders’ have been aware of alleged torture taking place in Yemen for some time — but have investigated the charges, and apparently found nothing amiss, as U.S. troops, they claim, were never present during detainee torture.

Perhaps beyond tellingly, neither the AP nor the anonymous officials elucidated on whether the lack of U.S. troop presence during the alleged grilling alive of detainees meant senior military leaders indeed discovered forces from other nations roasting people alive and said nothing, or that the torture allegations were completely baseless.

Those defense officials further

“told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”

Torture this horrific, if proven true, harkens immediately back to Bush-era implementation of barbaric human rights violations by the CIA — which included waterboarding and other acts the agency, itself, knew to be utterly inefficacious — which temporarily halted adherence to the law and all semblance of ethics under the premise of extracting information from detainees following the attacks of 9/11.

“We always adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct,” chief Defense Department spokeswoman, Dana White, told the AP on perusal of its report. “We would not turn a blind eye, because we are obligated to report any violations of human rights.”

In a statement, the UAE government also balked, insisting,

“There are no secret detention centers and no torture of prisoners is done during interrogations.”

“The UAE was one of the countries involved in the CIA’s torture and rendition program,” reminds New York University Professor of Law Ryan Goodman. “These reports are hauntingly familiar and potentially devastating in their legal and policy implications.”

To repeat, the U.S. Department of Defense must report violations of human rights — yet the vagueness of the claim senior military brass investigated allegations of excruciating torture, but would only offer that U.S. troops had not been present. Without further explanation, that detail could indicate a troubling sin of omission — in short, a failure to report violations of human rights.

UAE runs ‘secret torture prisons’ in Yemen as US Interrogating

Source: Middle East Press

Not one of the dozens interviewed by the AP accused U.S. troops of witnessing torture, but the malicious, degrading, deplorable, torturous abuses described by former inmates of the secret prisons would seem impossible to have taken place without their cognizance.

AP continues:

“At one main detention complex at Riyan airport in the southern city of Mukalla, former inmates described being crammed into shipping containers smeared with feces and blindfolded for weeks on end. They said they were beaten, trussed up on the ‘grill,’ and sexually assaulted. According to a member of the Hadramawt Elite, a Yemeni security force set up by the UAE, American forces were at times only yards away. He requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

“‘We could hear the screams,’ said a former detainee held for six months at Riyan airport. ‘The entire place is gripped by fear. Almost everyone is sick, the rest are near death. Anyone who complains heads directly to the torture chamber.’ He was flogged with wires, part of the frequent beatings inflicted by guards against all the detainees. He also said he was inside a metal shipping container when the guards lit a fire underneath to fill it with smoke.”

As in the first revelations on the renewed use of the gross physical and psychological abuses comprising torture, human rights advocates admonished such practices cannot be carried out without the broad knowledge of military and intelligence officials at the scene — particularly not for the duration described.

“It would be a stretch to believe the US did not know or could not have known that there was a real risk of torture,” Amnesty International Director of Research in the Middle East, Lynn Maalouf, told the Associated Press. Amnesty called for a swift investigation by the United Nations into the torture allegations against the UAE and other possible participants or knowledgeable parties.

Torture has been championed as acceptable by the president and other U.S. officials, despite its illegality internationally — almost exclusively as a tool of the War on Terror to extract information from prisoners — but torture has been proven repeatedly to be ineffective for that very purpose.

At least 2,000 people have vanished in Yemen — their families left agonizing over their fate, tragically wondering whether a torturous interrogation took their lives.

“Wives, mothers, and daughters in the north and south of Yemen want to know whether their husbands, sons, and brothers are all right, if they are even alive,” noted Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, after issuance of a similar report on torture in Yemen by her organization, on Thursday.

“Yemen, the UAE, Houthi-Saleh forces, and any other party disappearing people should immediately inform families of where their loved ones are and release those held arbitrarily.”

Despite denial of allegations by the United States military and government of the United Arab Emirates, the report from the Associated Press most likely will be remembered as the beginning of yet another torture scandal embroiling perpetually-ethicless entities during a complex and violent conflict — one, again, involving the U.S., which fights for freedom and against terror by, apparently, eviscerating freedom and waging terror.

Featured image: Free Thought Project

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats’ Golden-Ticket

24.06.2017

Written by Robert Parry; Originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com

The national Democrats saw Russia-gate and the drive to impeach President Trump as their golden ticket back to power, but so far the ticket seems to be made of fool’s gold.

The national Democratic Party and many liberals have bet heavily on the Russia-gate investigation as a way to oust President Trump from office and to catapult Democrats to victories this year and in 2018, but the gamble appears not to be paying off.

The Democrats’ disappointing loss in a special election to fill a congressional seat in an affluent Atlanta suburb is just the latest indication that the strategy of demonizing Trump and blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat may not be the golden ticket that some Democrats had hoped.

Though it’s still early to draw conclusive lessons from Karen Handel’s victory over Jon Ossoff – despite his raising $25 million – one lesson may be that a Middle America backlash is forming against the over-the-top quality of the Trump-accusations and the Russia-bashing, with Republicans rallying against the image of Official Washington’s “deep state” collaborating with Democrats and the mainstream news media to reverse a presidential election.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

A sign at the Women’s March on Washington points out that the demonstration attracted a larger crowd than Donald Trump’s inauguration. Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo: Chelsea Gilmour)

Indeed, the Democrats may be digging a deeper hole for themselves in terms of reaching out to white working-class voters who abandoned the party in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to put Trump over the top in the Electoral College even though Clinton’s landslide win in California gave her almost three million more votes nationwide.

Clinton’s popular-vote plurality and the #Resistance, which manifested itself in massive protests against Trump’s presidency, gave hope to the Democrats that they didn’t need to undertake a serious self-examination into why the party is in decline across the nation’s heartland. Instead, they decided to stoke the hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in the election as the short-cut to bring down Trump and his populist movement.

A Party of Snobs?

From conversations that I’ve had with some Trump voters in recent weeks, I was struck by how they viewed the Democratic Party as snobbish, elitist and looking down its nose at “average Americans.” And in conversations with some Clinton voters, I found confirmation for that view in the open disdain that the Clinton backers expressed toward the stupidity of anyone who voted for Trump. In other words, the Trump voters were not wrong to feel “dissed.”

It seems the Republicans – and Trump in particular – have done a better job in presenting themselves to these Middle Americans as respecting their opinions and representing their fears, even though the policies being pushed by Trump and the GOP still favor the rich and will do little good – and significant harm – to the middle and working classes.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

Hillary Clinton at the Code 2017 conference on May 31, 2017.

By contrast, many of Hillary Clinton’s domestic proposals might well have benefited average Americans but she alienated many of them by telling a group of her supporters that half of Trump’s backers belonged in a “basket of deplorables.” Although she later reduced the percentage, she had committed a cardinal political sin: she had put the liberal disdain for millions of Americans into words – and easily remembered words at that.

By insisting that Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee – after leftist populist Bernie Sanders was pushed aside – the party also ignored the fact that many Americans, including many Democrats, viewed Clinton as the perfectly imperfect candidate for an anti-Establishment year with many Americans still fuming over the Wall Street bailouts and amid the growing sense that the system was rigged for the well-connected and against the average guy or gal.

In the face of those sentiments, the Democrats nominated a candidate who personified how a relatively small number of lucky Americans can play the system and make tons of money while the masses have seen their dreams crushed and their bank accounts drained. And Clinton apparently still hasn’t learned that lesson.

Citing Women’s Rights

Last month, when asked why she accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking to Goldman Sachs, Clinton rationalized her greed as a women’s rights issue, saying: “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made.”

Her excuse captured much of what has gone wrong with the Democratic Party as it moved from its working-class roots and New Deal traditions to becoming a party that places “identity politics” ahead of a duty to fight for the common men and women of America.

Demonstrating her political cluelessness, Clinton used the serious issue of women not getting fair treatment in the workplace to justify taking her turn at the Wall Street money trough, gobbling up in one half-hour speech what it would take many American families a decade to earn.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

The Wall Street bull statue by Arturo Di Modica

While it’s a bit unfair to personalize the Democratic Party’s problems, Hillary and Bill Clinton have come to represent how the party is viewed by many Americans. Instead of the FDR Democrats, we have the Davos Democrats, the Wall Street Democrats, the Hollywood Democrats, the Silicon Valley Democrats, and now increasingly the Military-Industrial Complex Democrats.

To many Americans struggling to make ends meet, the national Democrats seem committed to the interests of the worldwide elites: global trade, financialization of the economy, robotization of the workplace, and endless war against endless enemies.

Now, the national Democrats are clambering onto the bandwagon for a costly and dangerous New Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish their foreign policy from that of neoconservatives, although these Democrats view themselves as liberal interventionists citing humanitarian impulses to justify the endless slaughter.

Earlier this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 28 percent of Americans saying that the Democrats were “in touch with the concerns of most people” – an astounding result given the Democrats’ long tradition as the party of the American working class and the party’s post-Vietnam War reputation as favoring butter over guns.

Yet rather than rethink the recent policies, the Democrats prefer to fantasize about impeaching President Trump and continuing a blame-game about who – other than Hillary Clinton, her campaign and the Democratic National Committee – is responsible for Trump’s election. Of course, it’s the Russians, Russians, Russians!

A Problem’s Deep Roots

Without doubt, some of the party’s problems have deep roots that correspond to the shrinking of the labor movement since the 1970s and the growing reliance on big-money donors to finance expensive television-ad-driven campaigns. Over the years, the Democrats also got pounded for being “weak” on national security.

Further, faced with Republican “weaponization” of attack ads in the 1980s, many old-time Democrats lost out to the Reagan Revolution, clearing the way for a new breed of Democrats who realized that they could compete for a slice of the big money by cultivating the emerging coastal elites: Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and even elements of the National Security State.

By the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council defined this New Democrat, politicians who reflected the interests of well-heeled coastal elites, especially on free trade; streamlined financial regulations; commitment to technology; and an activist foreign policy built around spreading “liberal values” across the globe.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)

Mixed in was a commitment to the rights of various identity groups, a worthy goal although this tolerance paradoxically contributed to a new form of prejudice among some liberals who came to view many white working-class people as fat, stupid and bigoted, society’s “losers.”

So, while President Clinton hobnobbed with the modern economy’s “winners” – with sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom and parties in the Hamptons – much of Middle America felt neglected if not disdained. The “losers” were left to rot in “flyover America” with towns and cities that had lost their manufacturing base and, with it, their vitality and even their purpose for existing.

Republican Fraud

It wasn’t as if the Republicans were offering anything better. True, they were more comfortable talking to these “forgotten Americans” – advocating “gun rights” and “traditional values” and playing on white resentments over racial integration and civil rights – but, in office, the Republicans aggressively favored the interests of the rich, cutting their taxes and slashing regulations even more than the Democrats.

The Republicans paid lip service to the struggling blue-collar workers but control of GOP policies was left in the hands of corporations and their lobbyists.

Though the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American president, raised hopes that the nation might finally bind its deep racial wounds, it turned out to have a nearly opposite effect. Tea Party Republicans rallied many white working-class Americans to resist Obama and the hip urban future that he represented. They found an unlikely champion in real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, who sensed how to tap into their fears and anger with his demagogic appeals and false populism.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads “Vote Trump” on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)

Meanwhile, the national Democrats were falling in love with data predicting that demographics would magically turn Republican red states blue. So the party blithely ignored the warning signs of a cataclysmic break with the Democrats’ old-time base.

Despite all the data on opioid addiction and declining life expectancy among the white working class, Hillary Clinton was politically tone-deaf to the rumbles of discontent echoing across the Rust Belt. She assumed the traditionally Democratic white working-class precincts would stick with her and she tried to appeal to the “security moms” in typically Republican suburbs by touting her neoconservative foreign policy thinking. And she ran a relentlessly negative campaign against Trump while offering voters few positive reasons to vote for her.

Ignoring Reality

When her stunning loss became clear on Election Night – as the crude and unqualified Trump pocketed the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – the Democrats refused to recognize what the elections results were telling them, that they had lost touch with a still important voting bloc, working-class whites.

Rather than face these facts, the national Democrats – led by President Obama and his intelligence chiefs – decided on a different approach, to seek to reverse the election by blaming the result on the Russians. Obama, his intelligence chiefs and a collaborative mainstream media insisted without presenting any real evidence that the Russians had hacked into Democratic emails and released them to the devastating advantage of Trump, as if the minor controversies from leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta explained Trump’s surprising victory.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

The crowd at President Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

As part of this strategy, any Trump link to Russia – no matter how inconsequential, whether from his businesses or through his advisers – became the focus of Woodward-and-Bernstein/Watergate-style investigations. The obvious goal was to impeach Trump and ride the wave of Trump-hating enthusiasm to a Democratic political revival.

In other words, there was no reason to look in the mirror and rethink how the Democratic Party might begin rebuilding its relationships with the white working-class, just hold hearings featuring Obama’s intelligence chieftains and leak damaging Russia-gate stuff to the media.

But the result of this strategy has been to deepen the Democratic Party’s reliance on the elites, particularly the self-reverential mavens of the mainstream media and the denizens of the so-called “deep state.” From my conversations with Trump voters, they “get” what’s going on, how the powers-that-be are trying to negate the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump by reversing a presidential election carried out under the U.S. constitutional process.

A Letter from ‘Deplorable’ Land

Some Trump supporters are even making this point publicly. Earlier this month, a “proud deplorable” named Kenton Woodhead from Brunswick, Ohio, wrote to The New York Times informing the “newspaper of record” that he and other “deplorables” were onto the scheme.

Russia-Gate Flops As Democrats' Golden-Ticket

New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

“I wanted to provide you with an unsophisticated synopsis of The New York Times and the media’s quest for the implosion of Donald Trump’s presidency from out here in the real world, in ‘deplorable’ country. …

Every time you and your brethren at other news organizations dream up a new scheme to get Mr. Trump, we out here in deplorable land increase our support for him. …

“Regardless of what you dream up every day, we refuse to be sucked into your narrative. And even more humorously, there isn’t anything you can do about it! And I love it that you are having the exact opposite effect on those of us you are trying to persuade to think otherwise.

“I mean it is seriously an enjoyable part of my day knowing you are failing. And badly! I haven’t had this much fun watching the media stumble, bumble and fumble in years. I wonder what will happen on the day you wake up and realize how disconnected you’ve become.”

So, despite Trump’s narcissism and incompetence – and despite how his policies will surely hurt many of his working-class supporters – the national Democrats are further driving a wedge between themselves and this crucial voting bloc. By whipping up a New Cold War with Russia and hurling McCarthistic slurs at people who won’t join in the Russia-bashing, the Democratic Party’s tactics also are alienating many peace voters who view both the Republicans and Democrats as warmongers of almost equal measures of guilt.

While it’s certainly not my job to give advice to the Democrats – or any other political group – I can’t help but thinking that this Russia-gate “scandal” is not only lacking in logic and evidence, but it doesn’t even make any long-term political sense.

Bin Salman as A Crown Prince: Adventurer in A Chaotic Kingdom!

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman
Mohammad  Bin Salman has become deputy King of his father Salman after the ousting of Mohammad Bin Nayef, and stripping him of all his positions and deposing him out of power.
The major development in Saudi internal politics is hardly internal. It is an established fact in the kingdom that a king to be, should first take the blessings of the White House, and after that comes the consent of the royal  family. As such goes also the story of MBS.
It was during the March visit to Washington and with the heavy lobbying، grooming and mediation of Emirates strongman Mohammad Bin Zayid that Bin Salman has had the opportunity to finalize a strategic deal with the White House to become the acting King of Saudi Arabia after his sick father Salman.
Bin Salman has emerged to be the strongest man in Saudi Arabia due  his father sickness though he is only 31 years old.
All the levers of power are now in the hands of a young, inexperienced and risk-taking man, who in his short time in power as defense minister has established a reputation for recklessness and irresponsibility.
He launched a war against Yemen and went in a tourist visit to the Maldives. When the White House wanted him it took days to find him.
Each file bin Salman has handled found its way into total failure.
The war against Yemen reached a deadlock, Riyadh is engulfed in a vicious cycle and cannot make any breakthrough and has turned to be a war of attrition.
The war against Syria, which Saudi Arabia took part in, has equally come to a failure as the Syrian government and its allies have been able to stand steadfast and gain major successes in battlefields and politics.
The Saudi-backed war against Iraq has failed completely to achieve any of its goals and the Iraqis have been able to liberate most of the territories controlled by Daesh (Arabic acronym for ISIL Takfiri group).
Even his last siege and crackdown against Qatar has turned to the latter’s favor and presented Doha as a victim of Bin Salman’s childish and reactionary policies.
On the economic level,  the results he yielded are no better. He made drastic pay cuts to government employees, warning the country would be bankrupt in five years. Then he reversed the cuts, claiming financial stability had been created. Then he committed himself to up to $500bn of military purchases from America. This all came at a time when the oil prices have come to its lowest  level in years.
The vision 2030 of Bin Salman has proved so far to be an amateurish short- sighted one. It is not anticipated at all that his economic plans would do his country any good.
The young crown prince is playing all  his cards at one time, counting on the American help to sustain his power. History lessons would not last long or fall on hearing ears when it comes to dynasties. Counting on USA did not help Iran’s shah to stay in power when the Islamic revolution erupted back in 1979. Iran was then the number one US-backed state in the Gulf. Would the US care more for the Saudi sinking ship under Bin Salman? Only the future would answer such question. Most probably the answer is not going to be a good one for Riyadh.

Source: Al-Manar

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