The European Parliament Calls for Immediate End to Blockade on Gaza

The European Parliament Calls for Immediate End to Blockade on Gaza

By The Palestinian Information Center,

The European Parliament (EP) on Thursday called for an immediate and unconditional end to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and condemned the Israeli killing of peaceful protesters near Gaza’s eastern border over the past three weeks.

The Parliament during its Thursday session passed a resolution by a majority of 524 votes (nearly 70% of the EP members) to conduct transparent and independent investigations into the crimes committed against the protesters taking part in the Great March of Return.

The resolution stressed the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest, called for utmost restraint and underlined that priority must be to avoid any further escalation of violence and loss of life.

The EP expressed deep concern over the UN reports that the Gaza Strip will become uninhabitable by 2020.

It also praised the aid and services provided by UNRWA at many levels to about 1,3 million Palestinian refugees in the region.

The resolution reaffirmed that the main goal of the European Union is to achieve a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as a joint capital.

Thousands of Palestinians have taken part in the Great March of Return launched since 30th March along Gaza’s border with the 1948 occupied territories in demand of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

At least 35 Palestinians have been killed and about 3,100 injured by the Israeli gunfire deliberately targeting peaceful protesters.

A tightened blockade has been imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip since 2007 causing unprecedented deterioration in the living conditions in the coastal enclave as well as high rates of unemployment and poverty.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas in April 2017 decided to wage a set of punitive measure against Gaza to force Hamas to hand over the administration of the territory to the PA government.

The measures included cutting 30%-50% of the salaries of PA employees in Gaza, forcing some of them into early retirement, reducing power supplies and halting medical referrals.

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Beware of White Helmets Bearing News

Beware of White Helmets Bearing News

The celebrated White Helmets of Oscar fame appeared to have made their own feature film in Duma on the night of the alleged chemical attack, as Ann Wright explains.

By Ann Wright Special to Consortium News

At the center of the controversy over an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Duma on April 7 are the White Helmets, a self-described rescue operation about whom an Oscar-winning documentary was made.

Reporter and author Max Blumenthal has tracked the role of the White Helmets in the Syrian conflict. He reported that the White Helmets were created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, a former British MI5 agent. The group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as millions from the Kingdom of Qatar, which has backed a variety of extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.

Blumenthal writes, “When Defense Secretary James Mattis cited ‘social media’ in place of scientific evidence of a chemical attack in Duma, he was referring to video shot by members of the White Helmets. Similarly, when State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert sought to explain why the US bombed Syria before inspectors from the OPCW could produce a report from the ground, she claimed, ‘We have our own intelligence.’ With little else to offer, she was likely referring to social media material published by members of the White Helmets.”

The reference to social media as evidence in the most serious decision a leader can make—to engage in an act of war—is part of a disturbing trend. Then Secretary of State John Kerry pointed to “social media” as evidence of the Syrian government’s guilt in a 2013 chemical attack in the same Damascus suburb. But as Robert Parry, the late founder and editor of this site, pointed out in numerous reports, Syrian government guilt was far from a sure thing.

Rather than wait for the arrival of a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to assess whether chemicals had even used in this latest incident, Trump gave the order to bomb.

Gas!    

The possible role of the White Helmets in the latest alleged chemical attack was first revealed by veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk, writing for The Independent. In “The Search for Truth in the Rubble of Douma-And One Doctor’s Doubts Over the Chemical Attacks,”  Fisk reported that he tracked down 58-year-old Syrian doctor Assim Rahaibani.

A White Helmet (Photo: whitehelmets.org)l

The doctor told Fisk that he learned from fellow physicians who were on duty at the clinic the night of the attack. Rahaibani said patients were brought in by “jihadi gunmen of Jaish el-Islam [the Army of Islam]” in Duma and that the patients appeared to be “overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”

Rahaibani told Fisk, “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Duma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss.”

Rahaibani continued: “Then someone at the door, a ‘White Helmet,’ shouted ‘Gas!’, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

Fisk writes that, “There are the many people I talked to amid the ruins of the town who said they had ‘never believed in’ gas stories – which were usually put about, they claimed, by the armed Islamist groups. These particular jihadis survived under a blizzard of shellfire by living in other’s people’s homes and in vast, wide tunnels with underground roads carved through the living rock by prisoners with pick-axes on three levels beneath the town. I walked through three of them yesterday, vast corridors of living rock which still contained Russian – yes, Russian – rockets and burned-out cars.”

Significantly, Fisk reported that locals told him that White Helmets left with jihadists bused out of Duma in a deal made with the Syrian government and Russia, which provided security for the transfer.

Other Reports

Other reporters have corroborated what Fisk found. Reporter Pearson Sharp of One America News, a conservative Christian TV network and supporter of President Trump, interviewed doctors and witnesses at the clinic. They also said there was no chemical attack and that strangers came into the clinic and shouted “Gas!” and filmed the reaction.

RT’s Arabic service also tracked down an 11-year old boy filmed in the “attack,” and found him in completely good health and able to answer questions of the RT reporter. He told her he was with his mother when they were urged to enter the clinic. “We were outside,” the boy said,
and they told all of us to go into the hospital. I was immediately taken upstairs, and they started pouring water on me.”

Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was also a US diplomat and was in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the US government in March 2003 in opposition to the lies the Bush administration was stating as the rationale for the invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq.  She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

The U.S. Role in the Destruction of Syria

The U.S. Role in the Destruction of Syria
By David Ray Griffin

Information Clearing House” – In Syria, the goal of creating chaos has succeeded in spades. Mnar Muhawesh wrote: [F]oreign powers have sunk the nation into a nightmare combination of civil war, foreign invasion and terrorism. Syrians are in the impossible position of having to choose between living in a warzone, being targeted by groups like ISIS and the Syrian government’s brutal crack- down, or faring dangerous waters with minimal safety equipment only to be denied food, water and safety by European governments if they reach shore.

Of course, many Syrians were unable, or chose not to try, to reach Europe. Continuing her discussion of the refugee crisis created by the destabilization of Syria, Muhawesh added:

Other Syrians seeing the chaos at home have turned to neighboring Arab Muslim countries. Jordan alone has absorbed over half a million Syrian refugees; Lebanon has accepted nearly 1.5 million; and Iraq and Egypt have taken in several hundred thousand. . . . Turkey has [by 2015] taken in nearly 2 million refugees.55

By the end of 2015, the conflict in Syria had “displaced 12 million people, creating the largest wave of refugees to hit Europe since World War II.”56

Planning to Destabilize Syria

Some neocons had come into office with preformed ideas about destabilizing Syria. As mentioned earlier, Richard Perle and other neocons had prepared a 1996 paper for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, en- titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It suggested that Israel seek peace with some neighbors while beginning to topple the regimes of its enemies, especially Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Although regime change in Iraq would be the first goal, it would be achieved primarily for the sake of “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria,” ultimately overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. In other words, the road to Damascus would run through Baghdad.57

When Bush and Cheney took control of the White House, a new largely neocon document, “Navigating through Turbulence: America and the Middle East in a New Century,” had the same message: “ e two main targets” of the new administration, the document said, “should be Syria and Iraq.”58 In 2001, a week after the 9/11 attacks, 40 members of the Project for the New American Century, led by Bill Kristol, wrote a letter to President Bush saying:

We believe the administration should demand that Syria and Iran immediately cease all military, financial and political support for Hizbollah [sic] and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the Administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.59

A few months later, Assistant Secretary of State John Bolton accused Syria of developing chemical and biological weapons and warned Damascus that it might be included in the “axis of evil.” Shortly thereafter, the State Department declared Syria to be a sponsor of terrorism, after which Congress made most US dealings with Syria illegal.60

The Bush-Cheney Hostility to Syria

The Bush-Cheney administration was hostile to Syria partly because Israel was hostile to Syria, and especially to its president, Bashar al-Assad. Syria had opposed Israel and especially Zionism; Syria had been aligned with Iran, which Israel considers its major threat.
More generally, Assad is an Alawite, which is a branch of Shiite Islam, and Assad has been viewed as, said Parry, the centerpiece of the “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Since Israeli leaders (and thus the American neocons) see Iran as Israel’s greatest enemy, the goal of collapsing the “Shiite crescent” has concentrated on bringing down Assad.61

More particularly, Israel has been hostile to Syria because it had sup- ported Lebanon’s paramilitary fighting force, Hezbollah, which defeated Israel militarily in 2006; and although Israel in the 1967 war took Syria’s Golan Heights—which now provides 15 percent of Israel’s water—Syria wants it back. More generally, Syria, with the assistance of Hezbollah, had prevented Israel from realizing its goal of taking control of land that, it claims, belongs to it by divine right.

There have been, in addition, several other reasons for the US hostility to Syria, Assad in particular. An overarching one is that Syria has remained independent of the US-dominated global order. For example, Syria has its own state-owned bank and has no IMF loans through which it could be ordered around. And Syria has refused to be included within the American empire. The document “Navigating through Turbulence” complained that “[m]aintaining a strong alliance with Israel” had not prevented “every state on Israel’s border, except Syria, from accepting America as their principal source of military aid and matériel.”62

As to why Syria did not want to be absorbed into the American empire: American politicians and media do not remind the world that four years before the CIA overthrew Iran’s elected government in 1953, it had over- thrown Syria’s government for the same reason—the price of oil.63

For a variety of reasons, “ousting the Assad dynasty,” said Parry, had been “a top neocon/Israeli goal since the 1990s,” so the Bush-Cheney administration was from the beginning intent on destabilizing Syria. In 2002, Under-Secretary of State John Bolton named Syria as one of the “rogue states” that “can expect to become our targets.”64

Knowing how he was regarded, Assad made many attempts to develop better relations. In 2004, Assad started secret peace talks in Turkey with Israel, offering what Israel’s leading newspaper called “a far reaching and equitable peace treaty that would provide for Israel’s security.”65

Although the talks were supported by a large number of senior Israelis, “the Bush administration nixed them”— not surprisingly, because Cheney was “an implacable opponent of engagement with Syria.”66 In 2007, the Bush-Cheney administration, discussing “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” distinguished between “reformers” and “extremists,” placing Syria, along with Iran and Hezbollah, in the latter category. According to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article “The Redirection,” the US participated in clandestine operations aimed at Syria as well as Iran.67

Information about what went on behind the scenes in the Bush-Cheney administration has been provided by WikiLeaks, which had obtained the cables of William Roebuck, the political counselor for the US Embassy in Damascus. These cables are discussed by Robert Naiman in a chapter of Julian Assange’s The WikiLeaks Files, entitled “WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath.” Roebuck’s cables show, according to Naiman, that regime change had been a long-standing goal of US policy; [and] that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its regime-change policy, thus helping lay the foundation for the sectarian civil war and massive bloodshed that we see in Syria today.68

Some commentators today suggest that the US hostility to Assad began with his brutal response to the Arab Spring protests in 2011. However, “as far back as 2006— five years before ‘Arab Spring’ protests in Syria,” reported Naiman, the cables show that “destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy,” and Roebuck’s cables suggested strategies for doing this. Accordingly, said Naiman:
We are told in the West that the current efforts to topple the Syrian government by force were a reaction to the Syrian government’s repression of dissent in 2011, but now we know that “regime change” was the policy of the US and its allies ve years earlier.

According to these cables, Naiman summarized, the top US diplomat in Syria believed that the goal of US policy in Syria should be to destabilize the Syrian government by any means available; that the US should work to increase Sunni-Shia sectarianism in Syria. . . ; the US should try to strain relations between the Syrian government and other Arab governments, and then blame Syria for the strain; that the US should seek to stoke Syrian government fears of coup plots in order to provoke the Syrian government to overreact. . . ; the US should work to undermine Syrian economic reforms and discourage foreign investment; that the US should seek to foster the belief that the Syrian government was not legitimate; that violent protests in Syria were praiseworthy.69

The 2011 Protests and the Obama Administration

The Obama administration publicly gave the same reason for hostility to Assad, namely, his excessive reaction to the 2011 uprising against him— a reaction that led to major protests, which soon turned into a civil war between Assad and rebel forces.
The Need for a Balanced View: However, that was a very limited understanding of the events: The conflict resulted from a complex interplay of factors, some of which were Assad’s fault, some of which were not. One of the factors that was not his fault was the beginning in 2006 of a drought in Syria, which some climate scientists said to be the worst in 900 years; other scientists even call it the worst since agricultural civilization began many thousands of years ago.70 Describing the context for the war, William Polk wrote:

In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In others crop failures reached 75%. And generally as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms and ed to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies. Outside observers including UN experts estimated that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabit- ants were reduced to “extreme poverty.”

Also, added Polk, “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Iraqis had in previous years taken refuge there, so that the new Syrian refugees had to compete with them for jobs, water, and food.”71

By 2008, the representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization had described the situation as “a perfect storm,” which threatened Syria with “social destruction.”72

However, Assad made the effects of the drought worse by poor governance. Central to this was what Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell called criminal mismanagement of Syria’s natural resources, which contributed to water shortages for farmers. Favoring the big farmers over the poor farming communities, Assad’s regime subsidized wheat and cotton, which are water-intensive, and it also allowed unsustainable farming and irrigation techniques. It even allowed the big farmers to take all the water they wanted from the aquifer (although this was illegal), while the government’s wasteful use of water also meant that rural people needed to drill for water, thereby emptying the aquifers. Moreover, Assad gave no aid to the increas- ingly poor farmers, and even raised their expenses: While subsidizing the wheat and cotton farmers, Assad damaged ordinary farmers by cutting subsidies for diesel and fertilizers.73

Because of the severe drought and Assad’s mismanagement, almost a million people, having lost their livelihoods by 2009, were forced to move to the slums, and many more were to follow. By 2011, about a million people had insufficient food. There is little room for doubt, therefore, that the beginnings of the Syrian opposition movement were originally rooted in Assad’s own destructive policies (in conjunction with the drought).74

An important factor in this insufficient food supply was another feature of criminal mismanagement: “Lured by the high price of wheat on the world market, it sold its reserves.” Accordingly, Polk said:

[T]ens of thousands of frightened, angry, hungry and impoverished former farmers constituted a ‘tinder’ that was ready to catch fire. The spark was struck on March 15, 2011, when a relatively small group gathered in the town of Dara’a to protest against government failure to help them.75

The protest in Dara’a began after a group of children had “painted some anti-government graffiti on a school wall” and then were arrested and tortured by city police. Some protesters were shot. This excessive response by the government led to protests in the city. Assad made several attempts to calm the situation: He fired government and security officials for their roles in the overreaction; he assured the residents that the shooters would be prosecuted; and he announced several national reforms. But his response did not satisfy the protestors and they continued destroying property and attacking police and soldiers. Dara’a was declared a “liberated zone.” And the protests spread to other towns.76 But why did the protests turn violent?

The Turn of Violence: The standard portrayal of the protest movement, summarized independent researcher Jonathan Marshall, was that “the protest movement in Syria was overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011.”77 The Syria government rejected this view from the beginning, but its claim was long dismissed. But Marshall has provided evidence that the government’s view was essentially correct on this point. In an essay entitled “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War,” Marshall said, “opposition to the government had turned violent almost from the start.” For example, unknown gunmen in Dara’a reportedly killed 19 Syrians; in addition “nine Syrian soldiers on their way to quell demonstrations in Banyas were ambushed and gunned down on the highway outside of town.”78

Professor Joshua Landis, the head of Center for the Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, reported that video footage of the fighting showed that the government account was correct: “the soldiers stationed in the town were overrun by armed and organized opposition.”79

The protests in other towns also involved armed men. In one city, about 140 members of the police and security forces were massacred. But media largely ignored this side of the story. After studying the protests and the press’s coverage of them, Landis concluded: “Western press and analysts did not want to recognize that armed elements were becoming active. They preferred to tell a simple story of good people fighting bad people.”80

It is important to recognize that this method of setting up a leader to be overthrown was an oft-repeated modus operandi by the US govern- ment. Besides being used in Libya as well as Syria, it was previously used in the 1990s, recalled William Engdahl, when the Bill Clinton administration wanted to split up Yugoslavia into its six republics. Making a deal with Bosnia to start a war with Serbia, the Washington propaganda machine began demonizing the Serbs as Nazis, and made up fake stories claiming that they not only bombed civilians and hospitals but also raped thousands of Muslim women.81

In any case, at some point the Syrian government cracked down ruth- lessly on the protestors, and several hundred protestors were reportedly killed. But even here it appears that the press, as well as giving a one-sided account, exaggerated. The private intelligence firm Stratfor, sometimes called the “Private CIA,” warned their clients not to be misled by opposition propaganda. “Although it is certain that protesters and civilians are being killed,” said Stratfor, “there is little evidence of massive brutality compared to . . . other state crackdowns in the region.”82
Some human rights organizations also, pointed out Jonathan Marshall, acknowledged that armed opposition forces had begun committing crimes against civilians.

For example:
Human Rights Watch sent an “open letter” to leaders of the Syrian opposition, decrying “crimes and other abuses committed by armed opposition elements,” including the kidnapping and detention of government supporters, the use of torture and the execution of security force members and civilians, and sectarian attacks against Shias and Alawites.83

Not incidentally, this same pattern—armed elements joining a largely peaceful protest and shooting police as well as civilians—would occur with the protest leading to the coup d’etat in Ukraine as discussed in Chapter 9. In fact, said Engdahl,
Washington’s Arab Spring protests often used secret CIA and mercenary snipers to enflame and anger the population against their government by creating innocent martyrs and blaming the killings on the regime.84

Accordingly, the beginning of the opposition was due not only to the drought, Assad’s mismanagement of the country’s natural resources, his foolish and immoral responses to the drought, and his neo-liberal economic policies. The 2011 violence did begin with the Assad regime’s brutal response to the protests, but this response was stimulated by armed elements. Accordingly, whereas Western propaganda has portrayed Assad as almost uniquely evil, said Marshall, “the deadly provocations against Syrian government forces put an entirely different cast on the origins of the conflict.”85

In sum, the Obama administration’s interpretation of the origins of the anti-Assad movement was one-sided to the point of being false.
US Contributions to the anti-Assad War: An adequate understanding of the war in Syria requires an expanded discussion of the role played by the United States. Some of this role was played by the Bush-Cheney administration.

In 2008, that administration withdrew its ambassador from Damascus as part of an effort to weaken and isolate Assad.86 It also played a role in the Assad regime’s failure to prevent the drought from resulting in so much social destruction. In November 2008, the representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Syria appealed to USAID for assistance, noting that Syria’s minister of agriculture said that the economic and social fallout from the drought was “beyond our capacity as a country to deal with.” However, the Bush-Cheney USAID director said (in a cable that was later published by WikiLeaks), “we question whether limited USG resources should be directed toward this appeal at this time.”87

More generally, as pointed out above, the Bush-Cheney administration had begun talking about how to destabilize Syria, such as undermining its attempts at economic reform, toward the goal of bringing about regime change.

But the actual beginning of the war in Syria occurred during the Obama administration. His administration made part of its contribution to the war by its false interpretation of the origins of the anti-Assad movement—by saying that that the civil war arose out of a spontaneous and peaceful uprising against Assad. But like Marshall, Muhawesh said that it was not entirely spontaneous: Wikileaks cables “reveal CIA involvement on the grounds in Syria to instigate these very demonstrations as early as March 2011.”88 That is, of course, what should be expected, given Naiman’s report of the Wikileaks cables during the Bush-Cheney administration about ways to destabilize Syria.
Robert Parry also agreed with Marshall’s account of the instigation of violence: “Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011,” wrote Parry,
the powerful role of Al Qaeda and its spinoff, the Islamic State, has been a hidden or downplayed element of the narrative that has been sold to the American people. at storyline holds that the war began when “peaceful” protesters were brutally repressed by Syria’s police and military, but that version deletes the fact that extremists, some linked to Al Qaeda, began killing police and soldiers almost from the outset.89

The Number of Protesters

Another issue raised by Muhawesh relates to the reports by major media outlets, such as the BBC and the Associated Press, that “the demonstrations that supposedly swept Syria were comprised of only hundreds of people.” Writing in 2015, she asked:
How did demonstrations held by “hundreds” of protesters demanding economic change in Syria four years ago devolve into a deadly sectarian civil war, fanning the flames of extremism haunting the world today and creating the world’s second largest refugee crisis?

She replied:
Just a few months into the demonstrations which now consisted of hundreds of armed protesters with CIA ties, demonstrations grew larger, armed non-Syrian rebel groups swarmed into Syria, and a severe government crackdown swept through the country to deter this foreign meddling. It became evident that the United States, United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would be jumping on the opportunity to organize, arm and finance rebels to form the Free Syrian Army as outlined in the State Department plans to destabilize Syria.90
In other words, without the intervention of the United States and other countries, the protestations could have never turned into a civil war.
Regarding the Free Syrian Army, the BBC said that by 2013 there were “believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters.”91 The most powerful of these groups were ISIS and al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front (which had joined ISIS only briefly). Can anyone say that Assad did not have the right to defend his democratically-elected government against these outside forces?92

As for the United States in particular, its CIA started sending large shipments of weapons by 2012. “The CIA,” reported Seymour Hersh, “was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria.”93 In fact, Chris Stevens, who had become the American ambassador in Libya, was killed in Benghazi after he had come there to negotiate a transfer of several hundred tons of Gaddafi’s weapons to Syria. In what Hersh called a “rat line,” these weapons were sent from Libya to Syria via southern Turkey, in an operation headed by General David Petraeus, the then-director of the CIA, under the supervision of Secretary Clinton. Indeed, the “consulate” where Stevens was killed was really only a mission, which existed merely “to provide cover for the moving of arms,” according to a former intelligence officer.94

In 2013, during a Congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack, Clinton swore under oath that she knew nothing about the weapons shipments to Syrian rebels prior to the attack. But in 2015, Judicial Watch obtained previously classified documents from the State Department and DOD that provided the first official confirmation that the US government knew about the shipments of arms from Benghazi to Syria.95

In 2016, moreover, Julian Assange reported that Clinton’s claim was disproven by 1,700 hacked emails about Libya in Wikileaks’ Hillary Clinton collection. These emails included, said Assange, proof that Clinton pushed for weapons to be sent to “jihadists within Syria, including ISIS.”96 This would seem to mean that she had lied under oath.

In any case, the CIA, beginning in 2012, spent $1 billion a year and trained some 10,000 “moderate” rebel forces.97 This was done in spite of the fact that then-DIA director Michael Flynn, reported Hersh, “had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition.” His reports, Flynn told Hersh, “got enormous pushback” from the Obama administration. “I felt,” said Flynn, “that they did not want to hear the truth.” The Joint Chiefs of Staff likewise believed, reported one of their advisors, “that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists.”98

Indeed, the idea that the United States and its allies were funding only moderate rebels—ones who were fighting both against Assad and the al- Qaeda jihadists—was increasingly regarded as a myth. Many observers provided evidence that there were now no moderate rebels in Syria.99
In fact, Vice President Biden admitted this. Saying that America had been trying to identify a moderate middle for a long time, he added:
[T]he idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. The fact of the matter is . . . there was no moderate middle, because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers.100

Admitting that the jihadists had been armed by America’s allies, Biden went on to say that America’s “allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria.” Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he explained, had “poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad.” The result, Biden added, was that “the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” Biden thereby contradicted the Obama administration’s public posture, according to which, in Secretary Kerry’s words, armed “legitimate opposition groups” exist separately from Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front.101 (Gareth Porter called this “Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Deception.”102)

The administration’s claim, that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) consisted of non-terrorist rebels, was contradicted by many facts. A 2016 story reported that al-Nusra (which had changed its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham [Conquest of Syria Front], claiming that it was breaking ties with the al- Qaeda network103) reportedly took orders from Israel. Alastair Crooke, who had been a senior figure in British intelligence, said that “the FSA is little more than a cover for the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra.”104

In any case, besides starting to fund so-called moderate anti-Assad rebels covertly, Obama declared that Assad needed to step down. After it was learned in 2012 that Assad had chemical weapons, Obama announced that using them would be a “red line,” to which America would respond militarily. Then in 2013, there was a chemical attack, using deadly sarin gas, which reportedly killed seven hundred civilians. Arguing that Assad was responsible, neocons and other hawks pressured Obama to carry through with his “red line” declaration, and he planned a major attack on Assad’s military.

At the last minute, however, Obama cancelled the attack order. There were evidently two reasons for this cancelation. On the one hand, President Vladimir Putin convinced Assad to destroy his chemical weapons, thereby giving Obama a face-saving out.105 On the other hand, Obama became convinced, according to Seymour Hersh, that there was insufficient evidence to claim that Assad had been responsible for the sarin gas. There seem to have been three reasons for Obama’s reevaluation of the evidence:

James Clapper, he director of national intelligence, told Obama that the intelligence community lacked “slam dunk” evidence of Assad’s responsibility.

A “vector” analysis, which supposedly showed that the rockets  carrying the sarin gas could have come only from Damascus, broke down, showing that they could have come from rebel territory. Relevant to this possibility is the fact that, Hersh reported, “the US and its allies knew from highly classified CIA and allied intelligence reporting throughout the spring and summer of 2013, that the jihadist opposition to Assad (primarily al-Nusra) had the ability to manufacture a crude form of sarin.”106

A British laboratory showed that, it Hersh’s words, “the gas used  didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal.” The sarin gas, Hersh concluded, was a false-flag attack launched by Turkey “to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line.”107

It is good that Obama resisted the temptation to support an attack on Syria as a “humanitarian intervention.” But his decision not to start a war against Syria led to great pressure on him to reverse it. In 2015, for example, 51 members of the State Department—which Hillary Clinton had headed for four years, during which she gave important posts to neocons108— issued a “dissent,” saying against Obama’s policy that the US should bomb Syria until it agrees to our wishes. The dissent’s argument was based on an extremely superficial understanding of the reasons for the Syrian war. “The government’s barrel bombing of civilians,” the dissent said (according to a summary by the New York Times), “is the ‘root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region.’”109 
 This interpretation was rejected by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, who said:

It’s true that the initial phase of the Syrian Spring seems to have been largely spontaneous. Facts show, however, that outside interveners—primarily the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia—cooperated in lighting the match that brought the inferno of civil war. Covert funding and provision of weapons and other material support to opposition groups for strikes against the Syrian Government 
 provoked a military reaction by Assad—which created a pretext for our enlarged support to the rebel groups.110

Besides evidently not understanding what had been going on in Syria in 2011, the State Department “dissenters” ignored the fact that they had suggested a policy that would be completely illegal under international law.111 Moreover, they also seemed to be unaware of how terribly unwise their proposed policy would have been.

In an article asking the question “Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda?” Parry pointed out that for Obama to have followed the urging of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Hillary Clinton to permit a full-out attack on Syria would have been insane. If these powers attacked Syria while Russia’s troops were there, Russia—having insufficient ground forces and conventional weapons to protect them—might have been tempted to resort to tactical nuclear weapons, and this response could easily have led to a nuclear showdown. The insanity is that “the United States [is] being urged to take on that existential risk for all humankind on behalf of preserving Al Qaeda’s hopes for raising its black flag over Damascus.”112 (An extensive discussion of the threat of nuclear war is reserved for Chapter 9.)

The Main Reason for Attacking Assad

If the US desire for regime change in Syria was not based on Assad’s crack-down on rebels, we must deal with the question about the real reason (aside from the desire of neocons in general and Hillary Clinton in particular to help Israel—see the section on Israel below). Mnar Muhawesh said that what has been driving the chaos is “control over gas, oil and resources.”113 Wesley Clark—in his report on the Bush administration’s plan to take out seven regimes, including Syria’s—indicated that this strategy was fundamentally about the region’s oil and gas.114

Chris Floyd likewise wrote:

Vast interests in oil and natural gas—both existing and potential—are in play. . . . Competing pipelines—one favoring the West, undercutting Russia, the other bolstering Moscow and Tehran—are in the mix.115
Dmitry Minin, an independent analyst, wrote:

A battle is raging over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey.116

Minin based his ideas primarily upon “renowned researcher on energy issues F. William Engdahl.” Engdahl is, in fact, the researcher who—along with Pepe Escobar, the author of Empire of Chaos117—has over the years written the most about gas pipelines in relation to Syria.
F. William Engdahl on the Syrian Pipeline War

“In a fundamental sense the entirety of the five-year-long war over Syria,” Engdahl wrote in 2016, “has been about control of hydrocarbon resources— oil and natural gas—and of potential hydrocarbon pipelines to the promising markets of the European Union.”118 Political assessments, he had said in 2012, had not fully appreciated “the dramatically rising importance of the control of natural gas to the future.” This importance had been greatly enhanced in the European Union by its mandate to reduce CO2 emissions significantly by 2020, and natural gas has been considered far less polluting than coal (even if that is questionable119). The importance of this situation to the Middle East was enhanced still further by the discovery of huge natural-gas sources in Syria as well as Israel and Qatar.120

The movement toward the Syrian war as a pipeline war began in 2009, Engdahl said, after “it became clear to some geopolitical Washington strategists that Qatar could play a strategic role in pushing Russia out of the EU natural gas game and put a US-controlled supplier, Qatar, in the dominant role.” Accordingly, the Emir of Qatar, which owns the world’s largest gas field, went to Damascus in 2009 to propose to Bashar al Assad the construction of a natural gas pipeline that would begin in Qatar, cross Saudi Arabia and Syria, then end up in Turkey, where the gas would be sold to EU markets.

However, Assad declined the offer, saying that he wanted “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.” Engdahl continued: “This was the beginning of the NATO decision to militarily destroy the Assad regime.” That this decision was made in 2009—rather than after Assad’s 2011 response to the protesters—was made clear by Ronald Dumas, a former French Foreign Minister, who in 2009 “revealed that British military were preparing for invasion of Assad’s Syria.” Also, the previously mentioned intelligence firm, Stratfor, reported that by 2011, “US and UK special forces’ training of Syrian opposition forces was well underway.” 121

In any case, Syria chose a competing project, an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipe- line. Iran would get its natural gas from its part of the Pars field (Qatar gets its gas from its portion of the same field) then cross Iraq and end up in Syria. “ The deal was formally announced in July 2011,” pointed out Pepe Escobar, “when the Syrian tragedy was already in motion.”122

Then in July 2012, the three countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding to construct a pipeline from Iran through Iraq to Syria. This route, sometimes called the Shi’ite Pipeline, would leave Turkey and Qatar out in the cold, so they began doing everything they could to thwart the construction of that pipeline, including arming the anti-Assad rebels. The signing of this Memorandum was also, Engdahl added, “the precise point when the US gave the green light to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to back regime change in Damascus—mad pipeline geopolitics.”123

Victory would open the door for the Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Turkey gas pipeline to Europe, with its huge natural gas import market. Besides bringing riches to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the war would intend, said Dmitry Minin, to accomplish three goals: “to break Russia’s gas monopoly in Europe; to free Turkey from its dependence on Iranian gas; and to give Israel the chance to export its gas to Europe by land at less cost.”124

The first of these goals

was most important to Washington. Whereas Russia had been filling 40 percent of the EU’s natural gas demand, Washington wanted it and her allies to control much of the gas to meet this demand. Here we find “the true agenda behind Washington’s five-year-long war for regime change in Damascus,” said Engdahl, “a war with terrorist groups such as ISIS or Al Nusra Front-Al Qaeda in Syria financed largely by money from Qatar.”125

In sum, from the perspective of Engdahl and the other researchers discussed in this section, the Syrian War has been primarily about energy and money (not good and bad people). Indeed, Escobar’s 2015 essay on the war in Syria as a pipeline war began by stating, “Syria is an energy war.”126

The Extreme Moral Charges against Assad
Contributed to Chaos

The claim that Assad was unbearably evil, like the claims about Saddam and Gaddafi, was used to get politicians and others in America and Europe to support the US drive, begun by the Bush-Cheney administration, to bring about regime change in Syria.
But even if he were as evil as he was portrayed by US officials, this would not have justified the attempt to depose him. Colin Powell, referring to his “old Pottery Barn rule,” cautioned:

I think you have to be extremely careful. We thought we knew what would happen in Libya. We thought we knew what would happen in Egypt. We thought we knew what would happen in Iraq, and we guessed wrong. In each one of these countries the thing we have to consider is that there is some structure . . . that’s holding the society together. And as we learned, especially in Libya, when you remove the top and the whole thing falls apart. . . you get chaos.127

This chaos has resulted in a tragedy for the Syrian people. In July 2016, international lawyer Franklin Lamb wrote:

The conflict here has, according to some NGO estimates, now claimed the lives of nearly half a million Syrians, out of a pre-war population of 22 million. More than 11 percent of the Syrian population is estimated to have been killed or injured. More than five million have fled the country while approximately 8 million are internally displaced. The UN estimates that nearly 12 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, more than six million being children ranging from infants to age 12.128

The Syrian chaos resulted primarily from the Bush-Cheney administration and its neocon attitudes, which continued significantly in the Obama administration. Robert Parry observed:

In Neocon Land, it goes without saying that once the United States judges some world leader guilty for having violated international law or human rights or whatever, it is fine for the US government to “take out” that leader. . . . In this view, the “exceptional” United States has the right to invade any country of its choosing and violently remove leaders not to its liking.129

Unless this neocon way of thinking can be overcome, there will be little hope that the United States will quit causing chaos in the Greater Middle East. When this book was first planned, it appeared that the Queen of Chaos herself would be the next US president. She made it clear, said Parry, that she was “eager to use military force to achieve ‘regime change’ in countries that get in the way of US desires.”130 Indeed, argued Andre Damon, “There is little doubt that talks were underway between the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration, and planning was well advanced, for a massive US military escalation in Syria to be launched after the expected election victory of the Democratic candidate.131

Evidently realizing that the United States under Obama and Clinton was going to continue its assault on Syria, rather than helping to achieve a tolerable resolution to the Syrian situation, Russia, Iran, and Turkey set up talks without inviting the United States.132 Excluding the United States, at least under the neocon-inspired Democrats, seemed necessary to begin bringing the ruination of Syria to an end.

Moreover, the ruination resulting from the neocon ideology of the Bush-Cheney administration, continued by Obama and Secretaries Clinton and Kerry, has not been limited to the Greater Middle East. As a 2016 Newsweek article said, “The Tide of Syrian Refugees Is Unraveling Europe”133—a problem to be explored after a discussion of ISIS and Russia. . . .

Russia, Syria, and ISIS

Near the end of 2015, Russia’s airforce intervened in Syria to protect Assad—at Assad’s invitation. This invitation made Russia’s intervention legal, according to international law, whereas any US intervention in Syria would be illegal. (Secretary Kerry has even admitted this in private.147)

Russia’s intervention allowed Assad to take the offensive against ISIS and the other jihadists. The success of this intervention led the Obama administration to drop its public insistence that Assad had to go, but it continued to try to protect al-Nusra and other jihadists.148

Russia tried to work out a plan in which it and the United States would join forces against ISIS and other jihadists, but it soon concluded that the US was not going to cooperate but instead wanted to use ISIS against Assad’s government. So Russia, along with Syria and Hezbollah, launched “a three-prong attack intended to dispose of the US-backed jihadists.”149

The effort to clean the jihadists out of Syria focused first on Aleppo—in particular, East Aleppo, which had been under the control of al-Nusra since 2012. Not appreciating the successful beginning of this effort, the United States used this as an opportunity to claim that Russia and Syria, having deliberately targeted children and hospitals, were guilty of war crimes. The US corporate press, being almost unanimous in repeating these charges, evidently convinced most Americans that these claims were true.

The White Helmets

However, Finian Cunningham pointed out that these press claims should not be accepted at face value, because claims of Russian and Syrian “war crimes” made by Western reporters were based on “rebel sources,” not on interviews with ordinary citizens in Aleppo. Also, much of the “information” that got reported came from the so-called “volunteer aid” group known as the White Helmets, which made many false claims about itself.

For one thing, it called itself the Syria Civil Defense, but it is not Syrian. Rather, it was created by the U.K. and the USA; it was established in Turkey; and its “volunteers” were mainly trained in Turkey and Jordan. In addition, whereas the real Syria Civil Defense has existed since 1953, the White Helmets was formed in 2013 by James Le Mesurier, a former British intelligence officer who was involved in NATO’s interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. He then “moved into the lucrative private mercenary industry,” where he became “a mercenary with the Olive Group, a private contracting organization that is now merged with Blackwater-Academi.”150

The real Syria Civil Defense, which was founded in 1953, is the only one. “The White Helmets,” said the International Civil Defense Organization, “are not even civil defense concretely. We are working . . . only with official governments… , not the White Helmets.”151

The real Syria Civil Defense no longer operated in East Aleppo. Journalist Vanessa Beeley, who probably wrote the most about the White Helmets, said that in an interview with the real Syrian Civil Defense, inside West Aleppo, she was told that, in 2012, when various militant factions infiltrated East Aleppo, they drove out the real Syria Civil Defense crew—they massacred many, they kidnapped others, they stole equipment, including all of the ambulances and three to five re engines.152

Another false claim by White Helmets was that it was composed of “volunteers” and that it is “fiercely independent and accepts no money from governments.” In truth, it received funding from various governments, especially the U.K. ($65 million) and the US ($23 million), which had collaborated with Le Mesurier in creating the White Helmets. In particular, calling themselves “impartial,” the White Helmets claimed, “We’re not being paid by anybody to pursue a particular line.”153 However, Abdulrahman Al Mawwas, the chief liaison officer of the White Helmets, confirmed that the group was sponsored by the Western governments.154

In any case, this organization did have a very particular, twofold purpose: First, to demonize Assad as a butcher, who killed his own people indiscriminately, so as to argue the need for a no-fly zone (which was, of course, how the attacks on Iraq and Libya began). In campaigning for a no-fly zone, the White Helmets were working together with the public relations organization Avaaz, which had delivered a petition with 1,203,000 signatures to the UN for the Libya no-fly zone. In 2015, Avaaz began trying for a million signatures for a “Safe Zone” petition for Syria.155

Second, although the White Helmets served as a terrorist support group, “in the sense of bringing equipment, arms, even funding, into Syria,” said Beeley, their “primary function is propaganda,” as investigative journal Rick Sterling explained.156

Whereas the US press willingly accepts such propaganda, which supports our government’s negative description of Assad and hence Putin, independent journalists who have spent time in Syria, where they have talked to ordinary Syrians, have presented views of Assad that disagree radically with the claims of White Helmets and the US press. See, for example, interviews of journalist Eva Bartlett, who said, “The Media Is Lying to You!” and Vanessa Beeley, who said, “Everything the US Media Says about Aleppo Is Wrong.”157

Similarly, the highly respected journalist Stephen Kinzer wrote a Boston Globe article entitled “The Media Are Misleading the Public on Syria.” Although the truth about Aleppo was being reported by “brave correspondents in the war zone,” Kinzer said, their reports do “not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening.”158

David Ray Griffin is a retired American professor of philosophy of religion and theology, and a political writer.

ENDNOTES

55  Mnar Muhawesh, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines,” MintPress News, 9 September 2015.
56  Lydia Depillis et al., “A Visual Guide to 75 Years of Major Refugee Crises around the World,” Washington Post, 21 December 2015.
57  Tyler Durden, “A Short History: The Neocon ‘Clean Break’ Grand Design & the ‘Regime Change’ Disasters It Has Fostered,” Zero Hedge, 1 July 2015.
58  “Navigating through Turbulence: America and the Middle East in a New Century,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001.
59  William Kristol, “Lead the World to Victory,” Project for the New American Century, 20 September 2001.
60  Charles Glass, “Is Syria Next?” London Review of Books, 3 July 2003.
61  Robert Parry, “Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda?” Consortium News, 
18 February 2016.
62  Adrian Salbuchi, “Why the US, UK, EU & Israel Hate Syria,” RT, 10 September, 2013; William Blum, “Why Does the Government of the United States Hate Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad,” Information Clearing House, 4 November 2015.
63  Andrew Cockburn, “The United States Teams Up With Al Qaeda . . . Again,” Harper’s, 18 December 2015.
64  Jonathan Marshall, “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess,” Consortium News, 20 July 2015.
65  Robert Parry, “Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party,” Consortium News, 11 June 2016.
66  Marshall, “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess.”
67  Seymour M. Hersh, “The Redirection,” New Yorker, 5 March 2007.
68  Robert Naiman, “WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath,” The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire (Verso, 2015), Chapter 10.
69  Ibid.
70  Andrew Freedman, “The Worst Drought in 900 Years Helped Spark Syria’s Civil War,” Mashable, 2 March 2016; Elaisha Stokes, “The Drought that 
Preceded Syria’s Civil War Was Likely the Worst in 900 Years,” Vice News, 3 March 2016; Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, “Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest,” Think Progress, 3 March 2012.
71 James Fallows, “Your Labor Day Syria Reader, Part 2: William Polk,” Atlantic, 2 September 2013.
72 Femia and Werrell, “Syria.”
Ibid.; Jan Selby and Mike Hulme, “Is Climate Change Really to Blame for Syria’s Civil War?” Guardian, 29 November 2015.
73 Femia and Werrell, “Syria.”
74 Fallows, “Your Labor Day Syria Reader, Part 2: William Polk.”
76 Jonathan Marshall, “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War,” Consortium News, 20 July 2015.
77 Ibid.
78 Ibid.
79 Joshua Landis, “The Armed Gangs Controversy,” Syria Comment, 3 August 2011.
80 Ibid.
81 F. William Engdahl, The Lost Hegemon: Whom the Gods Would Destroy (mine.Books, 2016).
82 Marshall, “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.”
83 Ibid.
84 Engdahl, The Lost Hegemon, 261.
85 Marshall, “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.”
86 Jim Lobe, “US Brief Talks with Syria Spur Speculation,” Inter Press Service, 30 September 2008.
87 Fallows, “Your Labor Day Syria Reader, Part 2: William Polk.
88 Muhawesh, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines.”
89 Robert Parry, “The NYT’s Neocon ‘Downward Spiral,’” Consortium News, 6 October 2016.
90 Muhawesh, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines.”
91 “Guide to the Syrian Rebels,” BBC News, 13 December 2013.
92 In June of [2014], wrote Steve MacMillan, “Assad won Syria’s Presidential election with 88.7 percent of the vote. . . . A group
of international observers emphasized that the election was a valid and democratic expression of the views of the Syrian people.” Steve MacMillan, “Bashar al-Assad: The Democratically Elected President of Syria,” Near Eastern Outlook, 20 December 2015.
93  Seymour M. Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, April 2014; see also Frederick Reese, “Seymour Hersh: Benghazi Attack a Consequence of Weapons ‘Rat-Line’ to Syria,” Mint Press News, 21 April 2014.
94  Ibid.; Aaron Klein, “CIA Ops Finally Revealed: What the US Ambassador in Benghazi was Really Doing,” Global Research, 23 October 2015; Gareth Porter, “Why the US Owns the Rise of Islamic State and the Syria Disaster,” TruthDig, 8 October 2015.
95  “Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance,” Judicial Watch, 18 May 2015.
96  Alex Christoforou, “Julian Assange Says ‘1,700 Emails in Hillary Clinton’s Collection’ Proves She Sold Weapons to ISIS in Syria,” The Duran/Democracy Now; James Barrett, “WikiLeaks: Hacked Emails Prove Hillary Armed Jihadists In Syria—Including ISIS,” Daily Wire, 1 August 2016.
97  Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” New York Times, 21 June 2012; C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt,” Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid from C.I.A.,” International New York Times, 24 March 2013; Trevor Timm, “The 
US Decision to Send Weapons to Syria Repeats a Historical Mistake,” Guardian, 19 September 2015; Adam Johnson, “Down the Memory Hole: NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government,” Common Dreams, 21 September 2015.
98  “Military to Military—Seymour M. Hersh on US Intelligence Sharing in the Syrian War,” London Review of Books, January 2016.
99  Ben Reynolds, “There Are No Moderate Syrian Rebels,” Counterpunch, 3 October 2014; Stephen Lendman, “No Moderate Syrian Rebels Exist,” Global Research, 6 November 2015.
100  Quoted in Jonathan Marshall, “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess.”
101  Ibid.; Parry, “Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda?”
102  Gareth Porter, “Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Deception,” Consortium News, 16 February 2016.
103  “Nusra Front’s Rebranding: Story of Rats Trying to Pass for Flurry White Rabbits” Sputnik International, 6 August 2016.
104  “Syrian Militants in Tumult after Israel Moves to Restructure Fatah Al-Sham Command in Quneitra,” FARS News Agency, 28 September 2016; Alastair Crooke, “How the US Armed-Up Syrian Jihadists,” Consortium News, September 29, 2016.
105  Mark Landler and Jonathan Weisman, “Obama Delays Syria Strike to Focus on a Russian Plan,” New York Times, 10 September 2013; Juan Cole, “How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union 
from Further Embarrassing Themselves on Syria,” Informed Comment, 10 September 2013.
106 Mark Karlin, “Seymour Hersh on White House Lies about bin Laden’s Death, Pakistan and the Syrian Civil War,” Truthout, 14 August 2016.
107 Robert Parry, “Will We Miss President Obama?” Consortium News, 19 March 2016; Parry, “ e Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case,” Consortium News, 7 April 2014; Seymour M. Hersh, “ e Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, April 2014.
108 Robert Parry, “Neocons Have Weathered the Storm,” Consortium News, 15 March 2014.
109 Mark Landler, “51 US Diplomats Urge Strikes Against Assad in Syria,” New York Times, 16 June 2015.
110 Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, “Intel Vets Call ‘Dissent Memo’ on Syria ‘Reckless,’” Consortium News, 25 June 2016.
111 Center for Citizen Initiatives, “Seeking a Debate on ‘Regime Change’ Wars,” Consortium News, 20 June 2016; Marjorie Cohn, “US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Illegal,” Consortium News, 22 June 2016.
112 Parry, “Risking Nuclear War for Al Qaeda?”
113 Muhawesh, “Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled by Competing Gas Pipelines.”
114 James Huang, “Who Exclusive: Gen. Wesley Clark on Oil, War and Activism,” Who. What. Why., 24 September 2012.
115 Chris Floyd, “Seeing Ghosts: History’s Nightmares Return in Syria,” Empire Burlesque, 12 January 2016.
116 Dmitry Minin, “The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis,” Strategic Cultural Foundation, 31 May 2013.
117 Pepe Escobar, Empire of Chaos (Nimble Pluribus, 2014).
118 F. William Engdahl, “The Syrian Pipeline War: How Russia Trumped USA Energy War in the Mideast,” Russia Insider, 21 September 2016.
119 See David Ray Griffin, Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? (Clarity Press, 2015), 369-72.
120 F. William Engdahl, “Syria, Turkey, Israel and the Greater Middle East Energy War,” Global Research, October 11, 2012
121 F. William Engdahl, “Silence of the Lambs-Refugees, EU and Syrian Energy Wars,” NEO, 10 November 2016.
122 Pepe Escobar, “Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War,” Strategic Culture, 7 December 2015.
123 Engdahl, “The Syrian Pipeline War.”
124 Minin, “The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis.
125 Engdahl, “The Syrian Pipeline War.”.
126  Escobar, “Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War.”
127  Kathy Gilsinan, “The Pottery Barn Rule: Syria Edition,” Atlantic, 30 September 2015.
128  Franklin Lamb, “Don’t Cry for Us Syria. . . . The Truth Is We Shall Never Leave You!” Counterpunch, 29 July 2016.
129  Parry, “Delusional US ‘Group Think’ on Syria, Ukraine.”
130  Parry, “Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party.”
131  Andre Damon, “The Media Disinformation Campaign on Russian Hacking and the US Debacle in Syria,” Global Research, 9 January 2017.
132  Ben Hubbard and David E. Sanger, “Russia, Iran and Turkey Meet for Syria Talks, Excluding US,” New York Times, 20 December 2016.
133  Judy Dempsey, “The Tide of Syrian Refugees Is Unraveling Europe,” Newsweek, 25 February 2016.
134  Karen Yourish et al., “Where ISIS Has Directed and Inspired Attacks around the World,” International New York Times, 22 March 2016; “List of Terrorist Incidents Linked to ISIL,” Wikipedia.
135  Terrence McCoy, “How the Islamic State Evolved in an American Prison,” Washington Post, 4 November 2014.
136  Bobby Ghosh, “ISIS: A Short History,” Atlantic, 14 August 2014; “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” Wikipedia.
137  Bill Palmer, “Why President Obama’s Correct Usage of ‘ISIL’ vs ‘ISIS’ Drives Ignorant People Crazy,” Daily News Bin, 20 December 2015; Kathya, “Why Obama Says ‘ISIL’ instead of ‘ISIS’ — Conspiracy Theory v. Logic,” Liberal America, 11 December 2015.
138  Stephen Zunes, “The US and the Rise of ISIS,” National Catholic Reporter, 10 December 2015.
139  Lauren Boyer, “Former US Military Official Says George W. Bush Created ISIS,” US News, 1 December 2015.
140  Andrew Bacevich, “ e George W. Bush Refugees,” Politico, 18 September 2015.
141  Andrew Kirell, “4 Most Noteworthy Moments from Obama’s Interview with Vice News,” 16 March 2015.
142  Savage, Power Wars, 684-86.
143  Pamela Engel, “ e Air War against ISIS Is Costing the US about $11 
Million a Day,” Business Insider, 19 January 2016.
144  David Swanson, “ e US Wants the Islamic State Group to Win in 
Syria,” TeleSUR, 29 March 2016.
145  Chris Floyd, “Seeing Ghosts: History’s Nightmares Return in Syria,” Empire Burlesque, 12 January 2016.
146 Eric Margolis, “US Fight against ‘Covert Western Asset’ ISIS Is a ‘Big Charade,’” Ron Paul Institute, 2 October 2015; “‘US Has Always Been Main Sponsor of Islamic State’—Former CIA Contractor to RT,” RT, 29 September 2016.
147 Anne Barnard, “Audio Reveals What John Kerry Told Syrians Behind Closed Doors,” New York Times, 30 September 2016.
148 Simon Tidsdall, “US Changes Its Tune on Syrian Regime Change as ISIS Threat Takes Top Priority,” Guardian, 25 January 2015.
149 Mike Whitney, “Putin Ups the Ante: Cease re Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo,” Smirking Chimp, 27 September 2016.
150 Vanessa Beeley, ‘’White Helmets Campaign for War Not Peace—RLA & Nobel Peace Prize Nomination should be Retracted,” 2 October 2016; Beeley, “ e REAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes Fake ‘White Helmets’ as Terrorist-Linked Imposters,” 21st Century Wire, 23 September 2016; Max Blumenthal, “How the ‘White Helmets’ Became Global Heroes While Pushing for US Military Intervention in Syria,” Alternet, 4 October, 2016; Tim Anderson, The Dirty War On Syria: Washington, Regime Change and Resistance (Global Research Publishers, 2016), 75.
151 “Syria’s White Helmets Are Multi-million Funded, ‘Can’t Be Independent,’” RT, 7 October 2016.
152 “Syrian White Helmets a ‘Terrorist Support Group & Western Propaganda Tool,’” RT, 25 October 2016.
153 Beeley, ‘’White Helmets Campaign for War Not Peace.”
154 “‘We Don’t Hide It’: White Helmets Openly Admit Being Funded by Western Govts,” RT, 19 October 2016.
155 Max Blumenthal, “Inside the Shadowy PR Firm That’s Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria,” Alternet, 3 October 2016.
156 “Syrian White Helmets a ‘Terrorist Support Group’”; Sterling, “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators.”
157 See “Journalist Eva Bartlett, ‘I’m Back from Syria. The Media Is Lying to You!’” The Event Chronicle, 13 February 2016; “Liberty Report Talks to Vanessa Beeley: ‘Everything the US Media Says about Aleppo Is Wrong,’” Liberty Report, 29 September 2016. She should not be described as an “Assad supporter,” Beeley said, because she has various criticisms of him. She simply disagrees with the view that Syria should be destroyed in order to save it.
158 Stephen Kinzer, “The Media Are Misleading the Public on Syria,” Boston Globe, 18 February 2016.
159 David W. Lesche and James Gelvin, “Assad Has Won in Syria. But Syria Hardly Exists,” New York Times, 11 January 2017.
160  “Audio Evidence: John Kerry Privately Confirms Supporting and Arming Daesh,” Voltaire Network, 13 January 2017; referring to “Absolutely Stunning—Leaked Audio of Secretary Kerry Reveals President Obama Intentionally Allowed Rise of ISIS,” The Last Refuge (The Conservative Tree House), 1 January 2017.

israel needs to stop rewriting history

Stop Rewriting History

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-editorial-stop-rewriting-israeli-arab-history-1.5243309

Without recognizing the Palestinian Nakba it is impossible to understand the source of the Israeli-Arab conflict

For decades, successive Israeli governments have waged a resolute war over the shaping of historical consciousness. In the center of the battle over national consciousness stands the Nakba – the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Israel’s War of Independence, and the refusal to permit their return. Israel is not willing to take responsibility for these events. It even invests enormous effort, mainly educational in nature, to suppress and eliminate stories or testimony that could support the existence of the Nakba.

One example of how the state tries to cause the erasure of history it finds uncomfortable can be found in the article by Shay Hazkani (“Of their own free will,” Haaretz Magazine, May 17 ), about research commissioned in the early 1960s by then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, with the aim of finding evidence for the Israeli claim that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees left their homes of their own volition.

The research was assigned in the wake of calls in the U.S. administration for Israel to allow some of the Arab refugees from 1948 to return. It was carried out by a quasi-academic institution with close ties to Israel’s army and state institutions. As expected, its conclusion was that the Palestinians left for many reasons, the common denominator of which was a vague connection, at best, to the actions of the Israel Defense Forces.

Over the years, many details have come to light showing that the Israeli side bears great responsibility for the genesis of the refugee problem. Unfortunately, very little of this information has reached Israeli high-school students. The state educational system, which for the past several years has been controlled by ultranationalist politicians, is the agent behind the suppression of this information. One of the main goals of the previous education minister, Gideon Sa’ar, was to prevent discussion of the issue as much as possible.

A few years ago, the Education Ministry commissioned a civics textbook about Israel’s Arab citizens. That was at a time when those responsible for educating the next generation still tried to overcome the stereotypes and the walls of hostility instead of perpetuating them. The book was completed about a year ago, but it did not stand a chance in the atmosphere that Sa’ar assiduously cultivated; it was never published.

In his first speech as education minister, Shay Piron announced that, under his leadership, the state’s education system will encourage students who are “inquisitive, questioning, wondering.” Approving the new civics textbook would prove that he meant what he said.

The Palestinian Nakba begs for Israeli recognition. Without this, it is impossible to understand the source of the conflict with the Arabs and to achieve a historic reconciliation. That is not the task of the education minister alone; it is also the task set before the prime minister.

Palestinian women hold symbolic keys and chant "the right of return will not die," during a rally to
Palestinian women hold symbolic keys and chant “the right of return will not die,” during a rally to mark the Nakba Day in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Wednesday, May 15, 2013AP

 

US city bans police training with israeli military, which is directly linked to police brutality in the country

US city bans police training with Israeli military

Law enforcement officers, including a sniper perched atop an armored vehicle, watch as demonstrators protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Aug. 13, 2014.Law enforcement officers, including a sniper perched atop an armored vehicle, watch as demonstrators protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Aug. 13, 2014.

The city council in Durham in the US state of North Carolina has banned training and exchanges between Durham’s police department and the Israeli military, which some analysts have said is directly linked to police brutality in the country.

Durham’s city council unanimously voted to adopt the measure on April 16, after a coalition of community organizations successfully lobbied the city to prohibit exchanges with the Israeli military, making the first US city to ever explicitly take such measure, Al Jazeera News reported on Thursday.

“The council opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training since such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham,” the resolution read.

The statement Durham is committed to create safe and healthy environment of its residents and to “recognize and share the deep concern about militarization of police forces around the country.”

“We know that racial profiling and its subsequent harms to communities of color have plagued policing in our nation and in our own community,” the statement said.

Police in riot gear stand guard as protesters gather on August 19, 2015 in St. Louis.

US police have been often criticized over fatal shootings of and brutality against African Americans and other ethnic minorities, who are killed and incarcerated in disproportionate numbers.

Many African Americans have been shot dead in recent years, leading to a series of protests and court trials which have failed to check the repeat of those incidents.

The militarization of police and use of heavy-handed tactics against protesters, especially in communities of color like Ferguson and Baltimore, have become a major concern for many in the United States.

In court trials, police officers have mostly defended their actions as a measure against the threat which they faced because the victims carried arms, but in other cases those shot dead even did not carry arms.

Some analysts have said that police brutality in the United States is directly linked to the training of Israel, which is training the US police force with a mindset to become an occupying army.

“As for the increase in police brutality within the United States,” American political commentator John Miranda has told Press TV, “I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers.”

“This is not a myth, this is actually happening. I know this first-hand from friends of mine that are police officers,” he stated.

Debunking 10 lies about Syria and Assad

Debunking 10 lies about Syria and Assad

Chris Kanthan — NationofChange April 17, 2018

When I wrote the article about the “Most Dangerous Decade” two weeks ago, I didn’t realize that my time frame was too optimistic. What’s happening now in Syria has the potential to start WW III. Don’t believe for a second that the Syrian crisis is over after Trump’s recent bombing. There are large regions of Syria that are still held by Al Qaeda, and the overall goal of the U.S. still remains unattained.

Although Americans are starting to wake up, many people are still caught up in the mainstream narrative regarding the Syrian war. I have written a book and many articles on this topic, but perhaps what the average person needs is a really short article that highlights the truth and debunks the common lies about Syria, Assad and the war.

Assad’s terrible regime caused the Civil War

Nope. Fact is that starting in 2011, tens of thousands of foreigners – Al Qaeda and other jihadists – were sent into Syria to overthrow Assad. The U.S. and its allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey & Jordan – assisted in buying and transporting weapons to the “insurgents.” Special forces from the U.S., U.K., France and Israel also spent billions of dollars arming and training the terrorists, a.k.a “moderate rebels.” What’s happening in Syria is not a civil war – it’s a proxy war.

Flow of weapons and terrorists into Syria. Click to enlarge

Flow of weapons and terrorists into Syria. Click to enlarge

Assad kills his own people

Assad has been fighting the Islamic terrorists for seven years. It’s cynical and Orwellian for the West to shed crocodile tears for the Syrians and blame Assad for this brutal war.

While the presstitutes make it look like Assad is fighting women and children, fact is that the rebels have highly sophisticated weapons – million-dollar tanks, U.S.-made anti-tank missiles that cost $250,000 etc.

rockets mortars tanks tow missiles

Assad oppresses minorities

Assad protects Christians and other minorities. There’s no Sharia Law in Syria, and religious minorities have full freedom. The only group that’s “oppressed” in Syria is the violent Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned for many decades. The Syrian opposition consists of Sunni extremists who have been persecuting and killing Shiites and Christians for the last seven years.

Assad and the pope

Syrians hate Assad

The mainstream media will never show how popular Assad is. War propaganda’s #1 rule is to completely demonize the enemy.

Assad crowds

In the CNN and Zogby polls conducted in 2009 and 2010, Assad was ranked as the most popular Arab leader. In the first 10 years of Assad’s government (2000 – 2010), Syria’s GDP tripled and the country was safe and peaceful.

Syria is a Jihadist country

Less than 5% of the country are violent extremists motivated by Salafist/Wahhabi sectarianism. Syria has always been a secular, moderate country.

Syria from the 1950s to now

USA supports the good guys

As a Pentagon memo warned even back in 2012, the US has been supporting the bad and evil guys – Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and ISIS. That’s the difficult truth that most Americans cannot accept. Calling them “moderate rebels” is just Orwellian doublespeak to sell the disastrous policy to the American public. What we did in Syria was basically what we did with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

i-did-not-join-the-marine-corps

USA/UK got involved only because of atrocities

Globalists and colonialists have been trying to overthrow secular Syrian governments since the late 1940s. From the 1950s thru the 1980s, the U.S. and the U.K. tried to use Muslim Brotherhood for their subversive plots. In the 1990s, the Neocons made it clear that Syria had to be defeated.

Infamous Wesley Clark Memo

In 2007, the Bush administration started funding the Muslim Brotherhood again. In 2009, the U.K. started a satellite T.V. station to broadcast anti-Assad propaganda.

In 2011, the U.S. and its allies funded and armed the opposition to start the fake “revolution.” When it failed, they brought in Al Qaeda, created ISIS, and spent billions of dollars on this psychotic project.

White helmets are awesome

The U.S./U.K. governments have given more than $100 million to the White Helmets, who are conniving jihadists in uniforms. They are armed and only operate in rebel-controlled areas. They participate in extrajudicial executions and possibly in organ trafficking. The fact that they won an Oscar just goes to reveal the unfathomable levels of deception in the New World Order.

Same girl rescued 3 times by the white helmets

Monster Assad used chemical weapons

Is it really hard to believe that jihadists would kill people and children in order to frame Assad? Syrian rebels put children in cages and use them as human shields:

Caged human shields. Click to enlarge

Caged human shields. Click to enlarge

The rebels have bombed buses full of children simply because the kids were Shiite Muslims, and the “moderate rebels” use even their own daughters and sons – some as young as nine years old – as suicide bombers. Yet, we are supposed to trust the pictures, videos and the false flag narratives that these head-chopping barbarians feed us?

There has never been a single proven case of Assad using chemical weapons. No, you can’t determine anything from videos and pictures – we don’t know when and where they were taken, and you certainly can’t determine how the people died. Biological samples sent to the CIA by Al Qaeda should be ignored as well, obviously. Proper due process involves independent weapons experts going to the alleged sites, specialists performing autopsies and so on.

The UN has confirmed that ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria have used chemical weapons more than 100 times. The most hypocritical aspect of this whole drama is that, after the fall of Gaddafi, the U.S. transferred Libya’s chemical weapons (Sarin, mustard gas and others) to the Syrian rebels.

If Assad loses, there will be peace in Syria

If Assad goes away, the tiny country of Syria will be broken up into ethnic regions; millions of Christians and Shiites will be persecuted, killed or driven from their homes; ISIS and Al Qaeda will rule the Sunni region; and the bigger, deadlier conflict – Iran War – will begin shortly. America will spend a few trillion dollars, millions of people will be killed, and Europe will be flooded with more refugees. In other words, it will be a wet dream for Neocons, Israel, globalists and the military-industrial complex.

This is, of course, a quick summary. You can find more details in my book, “Deconstructing the Syrian War” which also delves into history, geopolitics, Islamic terrorism, war propaganda and the bigger picture about the struggle for global hegemony. If Americans and Europeans don’t understand the true motives and facts about the Syrian war, they will be lead into calamitous military adventures and destructive global wars in the near future.

Source

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

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

(12 – 18 April 2018)

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

Another Bloody Week since 2014 Latest Offensive on the Gaza Strip

(12 – 18 April 2018)

 

  • Israeli forces continued to directly target peaceful protests that did not pose any threat to the Israeli soldiers’ life.
  • 2 Palestinian civilians were killed, in the Gaza Strip.
  • 393 Palestinian civilians, including 67 children, 10 women, 4 journalists and 3 paramedics, were wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 17 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the Gaza Strip.

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 78 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • 78 civilians, including 10 children and a woman, were arrested.
  • 19 of them, including 4 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem.
  • A forge was raided and its contents were confiscated.

 

  • Israeli forces continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem
  • Elia for Media office was closed as part of targeting the civil society organizations in the city.
  • Israeli forces continued to open fire at the border areas in the Gaza Strip.
  • 5 civilians were wounded and a house sustained damage in eastern Khan Younis.

 

  • Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank.
  • 3 agricultural rooms, concrete fences and stone chains were levelled while a caravan was confiscated in Shaqba village, west of Ramallah.
  • Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated tents of Kherbet Zanouta School, south of Hebron, for the second time within a week.
  • Israeli settlers set fire to a mosque in ‘Aqraba village and damaged 29 trees in ‘Orif village in Nablus.
  • Israeli settlers also punctured tires and wrote hostile slogans on 52 cars in the villages of al-Sawiyah and al-Laban al-Sharqi, south of Nablus.

 

  • 10 Shooting incidents were reported against the Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Sea, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 11th consecutive year.
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • Israeli forces imposed a complete closure on the oPt for two days.
  • 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested at the military checkpoints in the West Bank.
  • Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (12 -18 April 2018).

 

Shooting:

 

Israeli forces continued to use excessive lethal force against Palestinian civilians, who participated in peaceful demonstrations organized on the 42nd anniversary of the Earth Day, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed peaceful demonstrations along the eastern Gaza Strip border area, where ten thousands of defenseless Palestinian young men, women, children, and elderlies participated. On 13 April 2018, the Gaza Strip witnessed peaceful demonstrations where ten thousands of Palestinian civilians participated.  Those non-violent demonstrations continued sporadically during the reporting period.  As a result, 2 Palestinian civilians were killed, so the death toll has increased to 29 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and a journalist, since the beginning of the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip only on 30 March 2018.  Moreover, during the reporting period, 393 Palestinian civilians, including 67 children, 10 women, 4 journalists and 3 paramedics were wounded; 20 of them sustained serious wounds.  In the West Bank, the Israeli forces wounded 17 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, in separate incidents.

 

This high number of casualties in the Gaza Strip proves that the Israeli forces continue to commit crimes and use excessive force against Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives and upon an official political decision. PCHR indicates that according to Israeli forces’ spokesperson on his Facebook page following the declaration of organizing these demonstrations commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the Land Day, the Israeli forces prefigured the demonstrations, whose organizers previously declared they would be peaceful, sending threatening messages to intimidate the organizers and Gaza Strip residents and deploying Israeli snipers along the border fence.

 

 

According to investigations and field observations by PCHR’s fieldworkers:

 

  • Though the number of victims killed this week decreased, dozens of Israeli snipers stationed behind sand barriers and hills and military jeeps along the border fence in the eastern Gaza Strip deliberately and selectively opened fire but more lightly than the previous times at the participants in the peaceful demonstrations that included dozen thousands of civilians in 5 areas in the eastern Gaza Strip.
  • The demonstrations were as always fully peaceful, and PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or even armed persons dressed in civilian clothes among the demonstrators, who were thousands of elderlies, women, children and entire families raising flags, chanting slogans and national songs and flying kites. The demonstrators also set fire to tires and burned the Israeli flags while in other demonstrations there were folklore and sports performances.  However, they were targeted by the Israeli forces.
  • Again, there was no threat to the soldiers’ life and no Israeli soldier has so far been wounded. Though few numbers of demonstrators approached the border fence and attempted to throw stones, they did not pose any threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers who were stationed behind sand barriers that are around 50-100 meters away from the fence.
  • During this week, the Israeli forces widely used bursts of tear gas canisters targeting the center of the demonstrations and beyond away from the demonstrators near the border fence. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures; some of them were transferred to hospitals.
  • The Israeli forces targeted with 10 gas canisters the field hospital and a medical tent belonging to the Algerian Society in Khuza’ah and its vicinity, noting that both are 800 meters away from the border fence. Moroever, the ambulance crews were targeted in Rafah and al-Bureij refugee camp.  This proves that the Israeli forces deliberately and explicitly target and obstruct the work of medical crews for the first time since the beginning of the incidents.  As a result, dozen members of medical crews suffered tear gas inhalation while 4 paramedics were shot with bullets and directly hit with tear gas canisters.
  • The Israeli forces again directly targeted the press crews. As a result, Ahmed Mohammed Hasan Ashraf Abu Hasan (24) was hit a bullet to his left underarm while he was covering the demonstration in eastern Jabalia and wearing his Press-marked vest and helmet. His injury was classified serious. Moreover, 2 journalists were hit with live bullets and tear gas canisters in Rafah, and a journalist was wounded in Eastern Khan Younis.
  • PCHR’s investigations indicate also that those two killed during this week were hit one with a bullet to the chest and the other to the back.
  • According to medical sources in the Gaza Strip hospitals when dealing with the injuries, many were hit with live bullets, causing large tissue lacerations and big holes in the injured part, indicating the bullets used are explosive live bullets.

 

Injuries in the Gaza Strip in the period between 02 and 18 April 2018 in Each Governorate

Governorate Injuries
Total Number Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Cases
Northern 65 12 1 1 2 2
Gaza City 148 24 6 0 0 6
Central 55 15 0 0 0 3
Khan Younis 71 12 3 1 0 3
Rafah 63 4 0 2 1 6
Total 393 67 10 4 3 20

 

As part of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Deir al-Balah, al-Maghazi and al-Bureij in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at the Palestinian farers and shepherds on 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 April 2018 in addition to targeting a checkpoint belonging to the Palestinian Armed Groups.  However, no casualties were reported.

On 18 April 2018, Israeli tanks fired 6 artillery shells and heavily opened fire at a group of young men who were tens meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel towards the agricultural lands and a border control point, east of Khuza’ah, east of Khan Younis.  As a result, 5 young men were wounded; one of them in serious condition.  The shelling also caused damage to a house sheltering a family of 6 members.

 

As part of targeting fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against fishermen in the Gaza Sea, indicating to the on-going Israeli policy of targeting their livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR’s fieldworkers monitored 10 shooting incidents; 3 in north-western Beit Lahia and 7 in Western Soudaniyah, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, on 12 April 2018, two Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli forces moved into Shaqba village, west of Ramallah, to level civil facilities.  A number of residents gathered in the place, so the Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at them.  As a result, 2 of them were hit with rubber bullets to their feet.

 

In addition to the abovementioned injuries, during the reporting period, 15 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded after Israeli forces opened fire at them and fired tear gas canisters directly during peaceful protests and stone-throwing at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrances to the Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Those demonstrations came in the light of demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in protest at Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Israeli forces’ ongoing settlement crimes, confiscation of Palestinian lands, and Israeli forces’ crimes against the peaceful demonsrtations organized by the Palestinians along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 78 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 similar ones into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 59 Palestinians, including 6 children, in the West Bank.  19 civilians, including 4 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs. Among those arrested during the reporting period was Sheikh Jamal al-Tawil, a political leader in Hamas Movement in the West Bank and former prisoner who served 17 years in the Israeli jails.

 

In the Gaza Strip, on 16 April 2018, Israeli forces moved 70 meters into the eastern side of the al-Fukhari village, southeast of Kahn Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.  They leveled along the border fence and repaired the second fence along the Gaza Strip.

 

On 17 April 2108, the Israeli forces moved 70 meters into eastern Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.  They leveled lands in the border area and repaired the second fence in front of the Return Camp established since 30 March 2018.

 

 

Efforts to Create a Jewish Majority in East Jerusalem:

 

As part of targeting the work of civil society organizations in occupied East Jerusalem, on 18 April 2018, the Israeli forces closed office of Elia Media Association for Youth on Salah al-Deen Street in central Jerusalem.  The Israeli Intelligence officers fixed on the outside and main door of the association a decision to close it considering it “a terrorist organization”.  The decision signed by the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman provides that “a temporary decision declaring Elia Media Association for Youth as a terrorist organization under the 2016 Anti-Terrorism Law.  After being absolutely convinced that the foundation is commensurate with Article 4 of the law, I declare that any office, association, society, company, authority, committee or center belonging to this Association is considered a terrorist organization.”

 

Settlement Activities, Demolitions, and Settlers’ Attacks against Palestinian civilians and their Property:

 

As part of demolition of civil objects, on 12 April 2018, the Israeli forces demolished a number of facilities in “Khelet Motawe’a” area, north of Shaqba village, west of Ramallah. The demolished facilities were 3 agricutural rooms, 600-meter concrete fences, stone chains and a mobile house (caravan.) The demolition came on grounds of building in Area C classified according to Oslo Accords.  The area on which those facilities were established is 3 kilometers away from ” Ofarim” settlement, 2 kilometers away from the annexation wall and 1 kilometers from the settlement Road 446.

 

On 16 April 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with a staff from the Construction and Organization Department in the Civil Administration moved into Kherbet Zanoutah, west of al-Thaheriyah village, south of Hebron.  The Department officers started demolishing and confiscating the tents established again after being dismantled and confiscated on 09 April 2018.

 

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and property, on 13 April 2018, a group of settlers set fire to al-Sheikh Sa’adah Mosque, west of ‘Aqrabah village, southeast of Nablus.  The settlers poured a flammable material at the mosque entrance and lit it.  As a result, the entrance and 3 water coolers caught fire before some residents rushed to the mosque to extinguish it.

 

On the same day, a group of settles from “Itmar” settlement damaged 7 olive trees in Khelet Rajeh, northeast of Rojib village, east of Nablus, and destroyed a water well and retaining wall surrounding the land in addition to damaging the fence.

 

On 14 March 2018, Israeli settlers from “Havant Maoun” settlement established on Palestinian lands in eastern Yata, south of Hebron, attacked with stones houses in Kherbet al-Towanah.

 

On 17 April 2018, settlers attacked al-Laban al-Shariqyah village, south of Nablus, and the Palestinian vehicles parked in front of the owners’ houses, in the house yards and on the village streets.  The settlers wrote slogans against Arabs and Muslims and on the houses’ walls and cars in addition to puncturing the tires of 26 cars.  On the same day, the Israeli settlers attacked the nearby al-Sawiyah village and the Palestinian vehicles in it.  The settlers also wrote slogans against Arabs and Muslims and on the houses’ walls and cars in addition to puncturing the tires of 26 other cars.

 

On 18 April 2018, Israeli settlers calling themselves “Price Tag” Groups from “Yitsihar” settlement established on the lands of Eastern ‘Orif village, south of Nablus, attacked a land belonging to Najeh Shehadah and Ra’ed Sabbah.  The settlers damaged 29 olive and almond trees and grape vineyards and wrote in Hebrew on a container “Death to Arabs.”

 

 

 

Details

 

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

 

Thursday, 05 April 2018

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Ummer village, north of hebron and stationed in al-Tarbiqah neighbourhood. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Jihad Hesham Khalil Abu Maria (25), whose wedding party was after 2 days, and Ahmed Raf’ea Jamil Salibi (20) and then arrested them.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Duheishah refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Emad Raqban. They also handed summonses to Karam Nasri Abed Rabbuh (24) and Mohammed Kahlid al-Saifi (26) to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abdul Salam Mohammed al-Jawabrah (18) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Dahiyah neighbourhood, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed ‘Ala’a Eden al-Zarba (23) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Fare’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mohammed Safi ‘Awad (25). At approximately 05:00, the Israeli forces arrested Rami ‘Essam Abdul Jawad al-Ghoul (23) and Qasem Fathi As’ad ‘As’ous (25) and later withdrew from the village. taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Qabatiyah village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 3 civilians namely Ahmed ‘Essam Zakarnah (20) and rami Khalid Abu al-Rab (23) and Ayman Maher Abu al-Rab (24).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Faqou’ah village, northeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 3 civilians namely Sayaf Khalil Massad (22) and Fadi Osama al-Khatib (25) and Qusai Nasser al-Khatib (26).

 

  • At approximately 06:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore, 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, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

  • At approximately 08:15, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued from time to time until approximately 08:40 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (7) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Kafel Hares village, north of Salfit; al-Shuyoukh, Beit Awla, Sa’ir, al-Majd, al-Mawreq villages and Halhoul in Hebron.

 

Friday, 13 April 2018

 

  • At approximately 01:40, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Amir Taleb Abu Hamed (35) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 08:45, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting continued from time to time until approximately 09:10 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah; Dura, Yatta, and Deir Samet village in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’a village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Emad Kamal Jabrin and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of the city.

 

  • At approximately 06:45, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily 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, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds. As a result, the shepherds were forced to leave the area fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Jabarah village, south of Tulkarm; Nazlet Abu al-Nar village, north of the city and Howarah village, south of Nablus.

 

Sunday, 15 April 2018:

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Kharsa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mosheer Talab al-Shahteet (30) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces accompanied with 2 military vehicles moved into Abu al-‘Asja village, southeast of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Bastanji (29) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli moved into Farkhah village, southwest of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Marwan Saber Mohrah (43) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed ‘Ezzat Abu Sakout (19) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 3 civilians namely Hamzah Husein Omer (18), Ahmed Abdul Rahman Abu Kuwaik (28) and Mojahed Zohair Hamad (27).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli force moved into al-Birah and stationed in Um al-Sharayet neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jamal Mohammed Farah al-Tawil (58) and then arrested him. It should be noted that Jamal is apolitical Hamas leader in the West Bank and former prisoner who served 17 years in the Israeli prisons. Jamal is also the father of prisoner journalist Bushra al-Tawil who was arrested on 01 November 2017 and is still under arrest.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Deir Qaddis village, west of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ayham Ra’ed Hamad (13) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into several neighborhoods in Hebron. They raided and searched 3 houses and then arrested Mohammed Hasan Abu Shakhedim 923), ‘Ala’a Hasan Marar (26) and Mohammed Samih Abu Shakhedim (23).

 

  • At approximately 08:10, Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian shepherds and farmers. As a result, the shepherds and farmers were forces to leave the area fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 09:50, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

  • At approximately 10:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Naserah Street, northwest of Jenin. They raided and searched al-Waha Supermarket and confiscated the DVR of the surveillance cameras. They later withdrew from the street and no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 19:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (6) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Ummer and Tarqumiya villages in Hebron; Hablah village, south of Qalqiliyah; Kafer Thuluth village, east of the city; Salfit and Ramin villages, east of Tulkarm.

 

Monday, 16 April 2018

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Ra’ed ‘Amirah (24) in the Old City and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Balatah refugee camp, east of Nablus. They raided and searched a house Ahmed Taleb abdul Karim Maskawi (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 4 civilians, including a child, namely Mahmoud Ayman Barham (15), Sa’ad Mustafa Sharim (22), Mo’ath Abdul Bari Abu al-Sheikh (20) and ‘Odai Zeyad Abu ‘Asab (20).

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ourif village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Mohammed Khalil Shuhadah (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Duheishah refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Omer al-Atrash (19) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Koum village, west of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Nasser Mohammed al-Rajoub (26) and Yunis Mohammed al-Rajoub (25) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Qabatiyah village, south east of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 4 civilians namely Ahmed Hakam Rafiq Yaseen Kamil (18), Amjad Saleh Khader Lubani “al-Damuni” (38), Mustafa Mohammed Mustafa Kamil al-Dab’ie (19) and Mohammed emad Yusuf Taza’zah (20).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Mousa Fares Hendi who was arrested from his work place in Israel in the previous day. The Israeli forces later withdrew and no arrests were reported.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Taqou’a village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Ammar Yasser al-‘Amour (18) and the arrested him.

 

  • At 03:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Sabri Badwan (18) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into Joyous village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Obadah Saleh Khalid (15) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 5 civilians, including a child, namely Aysar Rami Zayed (22), Diya’a Yasser al-Shani (25), Anas Eyad ‘Eliyan (20), Ramzi Hani Dalas (22) and Yasser Nabih Sanif (17).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Deir Abu Mesh’al village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zaid Taha Zahran (27) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Odai Omer Hamad (26) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 05:15, Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian farmers. As a result, the farmers were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 08:00, Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian farmers. As a result, the farmers were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 09:00, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel about 70 meters into Eastern al-Fukhari village, southeast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. They levelled lands adjacent to the border fence and repaired the second border fence for hours and then headed to the north towards the east of Khuza’ah village. During the incursion, the Israeli forces opened fire at a group of civilians who gathered in the vicinity of the demonstration camp established since 30 March 2017, but no casualties were reported. The Israeli forces later redeployed along the border fence at approximately 18:00.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (9) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Tulkarm, Hebron, Sa’ir, al-Shuyoukh, al-Nazlah al-Sharqiyah, Nazlet ‘Essa, and al-Nazlah al-Gharbiyah villages, north of Tulkarm; Baqah al-Sharqiyah village, northeast of the city and Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliya.

 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Kufor al-Labad village, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abdul Jabbar Ahmed Ibrahim Ghazalah (52). The family said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the Israeli soldiers confiscated about NIS 1,600 and a Golden Lira from the house and broke a window, but no arrests were reported. Abdul Jabbar said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 17 April 2018, an Israeli force violently raided our house. When I opened the door, about hundred soldiers entered the house. At the beginning, the soldiers locked us in one room and searched the main bedroom.  They then moved us to another room that was searched by them and locked us in it.  They then went to search the children’s bedroom. My wife and I opened the closet to make sure that the money was still there as I I was hiding about NIS 1,000 between my shirts. We searched very well, but did not find the money. I then went to the officer and informed him that “there was NIS 1,000 today in the closed and your soldiers stole them”. The officer answered me immediately that no one took the money without interrogating the soldiers and though he was outside not seeing the soldiers while searching. After the soldiers finished searching my apartment, they moved to an apartment belonging to my son Moneer. They locked him with his family and stole NIS 600 from his closet in addition to a Golden Lira belonging to his wife Afnan Masarwah. The officer denied that too. The soldiers further moved to the apartment of my second son Samir, who works in the National Security. Neither Samir was at the house nor his wife, who was at her parents’ house, so the soldiers broke the balcony window and did not wait for us to bring the key. They caused severe damage to the house contents.” 

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Nablus and stationed in al-Makhfiya neighborhood, west of the city. They surrounded and raided al-Razah building and then arrested Husam Mohsen Sa’ed al-Razah (58).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Barqin village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khalid ‘Ali Qablawi (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ibrahim Suleiman Jamil Da’dou’a (18) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:10, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily 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, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

  • At approximately 03:15, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested 4 civilians, including 2 children, namely Ja’far Mohanned Dahbour (20), Yazan Shabitah al-Haid Shabitah (18) and Ahmed Mohamed Abu Haniyah (17) and Osama Bilal Saleh Suweidan (15).

 

  • At approximately 08:30, Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian farmers and shepherds. The shooting continued until approximately 12:30 on the same day. As a result, the farmers and shepherds were forced to leave their lands fearing for their lives, but no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 04:45, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Nader Adul Elah ‘Abbas (28), Dawoud Suleiman Haboub (26) and Ahmed ‘Ata’a Abdul Mohsen (24).

 

  • At approximately 06:20, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

 

  • At approximately 12:00, Israeli forces accompanied with a number of military vehicles moved 70 meters from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, into Eastern Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. They leveled lands adjacent to the border fence and repaired the second security fence adjacent to the demonstration camp. The Israeli forces redeployed along the border fence after hours, and no casualties were reported.

 

  • At approximately 19:30, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at a border control point belonging to Palestinian armed groups, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Yatta, Halhoul ,  Beit Ummer, Surif and al-Burj villages in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Jenin and stationed in the industrial area. They surrounded a 3-storey building belonging to Shadi Mahmoud Fares al-Rakh. One of the building floors is used as a blacksmith’s workshop. The Israeli forces raided and searched the 2nd floor, where Shadi’s family lives. They then took Shadi with them to the ground floor and ordered him to open the blacksmith’s workshop doors. They confiscated the tools, claiming that these tools are used for manufacturing weapons, and later withdrew.
  • At approximately 04:10, Israeli tanks fired 6 shells and heavily opened fire at a group of youngsters, who were tens of meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, agricultural lands, and a border control point in the vicinity of al-Shuhadaa Khuza’ah School in Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Ambulances arrived at the area and then a group of residents along with other people from Return Camp, northeast of the targeted area, gathered looking for any casualties in the area. Half an hour later, the ambulance crews along with youngsters managed to find 5 civilians, who sustained shrapnel wounds, and were then taken to European Hospital. Doctors classified the injury of 4 civilians as moderate while the condition of the last civilian was classified as serious. The bombing damaged the border control point built of tin plates in addition to causing damage to a house belonging to Mohamed Othman Ibrahim Abu Rock, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 06:20, Israeli naval forces stationed in the sea, west of al-Sudaniyia Shore, west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. At approximately 07:30 on the same day, the Israeli gunboats opened fire again at the same area. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
  • At approximately 11:00, a group of Palestinian young men gathered at the entrance to al-Aroub College adjacent to bypass road (60) and then threw stones at Israeli vehicles after moving into a road leading to the college and stopping some students. The Israeli forces immediately fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the stone-throwers while other soldiers deployed on the road and denied journalists’ access to the area. The Israeli forces beat up 3 journalists and confiscated the DVR of Surveillance Cameras belonging journalist Sari Shareef Jaradat, who works as a reporter at Watan TV. The two journalists Mos’ab Abed al-Samad Shawar, who works as a reporter at al-Hadath Newspaper, and Mohamed ‘Awan Halayiqah, who works as a freelance journalist, were beaten up and prevented from taking photos. Clashes continued until 15:00, while the Israeli forces continued to close the college main entrance.
  • At approximately 22:40, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Deir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip, fired flare bombs and opened fire at agricultural lands, but no casualties were reported.

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Hebron, Ethan and al-Dahiryia villages and Beit ‘Awa village.

 

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

 

Continuing the demonstrations in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy to it, Palestinian civilians organized protests against the decision throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They further organized peaceful demonstrations where ten thousands of civilians participated on the 42nd Anniversary of the Land Day in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The demonstrations were named as “The Great March of Return and Break the Siege.” The demonstrations were as follows during the reporting period:

 

 

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 17:45 on Thursday, 12 April 2018, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel into the east and northeast of the demonstration yard, east of Khuza’ah, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets at a group of Palestinian protestors who were in the northeast of the demonstration camp as some of them attempted to approach the border fence. As a result, Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah al-Shahri (28), from Khan Yunis, was hit with a live bullet to the chest. He was transferred via a civilian car to Gaza European Hospital in the city and doctors classified hi injury as serious. At approximately 19:00 on the same day, medical sources announced that Abdullah succumbed to his wounds.

 

  • Since early morning on Friday, 13 April 2017, hundreds of civilians, including women and children within entire families started swarming to the demonstration camp established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, east of Khuza’ah, east of Khan Yunis. The camp is surrounded from the eastern and northern sides with the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel at distances averaged between 250 and 500. At approximately 01:30 following the end of Friday Prayer, the number of participants increased in the demonstration yards and outside it reaching to hundred thousands of men, elderlies, women and children. They deployed inside and outside the camps yards, raised flags, and chanted slogans and folk songs, while only a few numbers of them attempted to approach the border fence, set fire to tires, burned the Israeli flags and threw stones at the Israeli forces. A few number of the protestors approached the first security fence established inside the Palestinian lands, 70-50 meters away from the main border fence. According to observations conducted by PCHR’s fieldworker, Israeli snipers stationed behind sand barriers and military vehicles, 30-50 meters behind the border fence and sporadically opened fire at the protestors’ gatherings.

The demonstrations were as always fully peaceful, and PCHR’s fieldworkers did not witness weapons or even armed persons dressed in civilian clothes among the demonstrators, who were thousands of elderlies, women, children and entire families raising flags, chanting slogans and national songs and flying kites. The demonstrators also set fire to tires and burned the Israeli flags. However, the Israeli forces widely used bursts of tear gas canisters targeting the center of the demonstrations and beyond away from the demonstrators near the border fence. As a result, many civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures ; some of them were transferred to hospitals. The Israeli forces targeted with 10 gas canisters the field hospital and a medical tent belonging to the Algerian Society in Khuza’ah and its vicinity, noting that both are 800 meters away from the border fence. This proves that the Israeli forces deliberately and explicitly target and obstruct the work of medical crews for the first time since the beginning of the incidents. The Israeli forces again directly targeted the press crews that were standing in a high area near the field hospital, east of Khuza’ah. The shooting continued until approximately 20:00 on the same day evening. As a result, 67 civilians, including 10 children, 3 women and a journalist, were wounded. Thirty three of them were hit with live bullets; 32 were directly hit with tear gas canisters and 2 civilians were hit with rubber bullets. The wounded civilians were taken to field hospitals in the camp and then transferred of Nasser and Gaza European and Algerian  Hospitals in the city. Doctors classified the injury of 3 civilians as serious.

 

  • At approximately 08:00 on the same Friday, ten thousands of civilians, including women and children, within entire families participated in the “Great March of Return” established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City. The activates included raising Palestinian flags, burning Israeli flags, chanting slogans and national songs, setting fire to tires and flying kites. Despite that were as always fully peaceful, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel deliberately and randomly fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, Islam Mahmoud Rushdi Herzallah (27) from al-Sheja’eya neighborhood was killed after being hit with a bullet that entered his back and exited the chest. Moreover, 137 civilians, including 20 children and 5 women, were wounded.  One hundred and four of them were hit with live bullets, 5 were hit with rubber bullets and 28 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. They were transferred to al-Shifa and al-Quds Hospitals in Gaza City. Doctors classified the injury of 5 civilians as serious.

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on the same Friday, hundreds of Palestinian protestors swarmed to the camps established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege 700 meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shawkah village, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Following the Friday prayer, the number of participants increased when thousands of civilians arrived at the area by buses, cars, and motorcycles and on foot. A number of them approached the border fence, raised Palestinian flags, set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. The clashes that continued until the evening resulted in wounding 63 civilians, including 4 children,2 journalists and a paramedic. The injuries of 6 civilians were classified as serious. The wounded were identified as:

 

  1. Journalist Ahmed Mohammed Abu ‘Amrah (28) was hit with 2 live bullets to the thighs.
  2. Journalist Mo’ath Fathi al-Hams (22) was hit with a rubber bullet to the left leg and a tear gas canister.
  3. Paramedic Ashraf Mousa Jom’ah al-Wawi (38) was hit with a live bullet to the right leg.

 

In addition, hundreds, including paramedics and journalists, suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures after the Israeli forces stationed along the border fence heavily fired tear gas canisters.

 

  • At approximately 12:00 on the same Friday, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Abu Safiya Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at hundreds of civilians who were in the area for the third Friday within the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activates established by the Supreme National Authority under the title: “Burning the Israeli Flag Friday.” The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones from far distances at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The clashes, which continued until approximately 20:00, resulted in the injury of 55 civilians, including 12 children, a woman, a journalist and 2 paramedics. Twenty nine of them were hit with live bullets, one civilian was hit with a rubber bullet and 25 others were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Moreover, Ahmed Mohammed Ashraf Hasan Abu Husein (24), a photojournalist at Bisan News, a reporter at Sawt El Shaab Radio Station and member of the Democratic Press Assembly, was hit with a live bullet to the lower side of the armpit though he was wearing a vest marked “PRESS” and Helmet TV marked helmet. Moreover, paramedics ‘Ala’a ‘Ali Mohammed Janid (22) was hit with a tear gas canister to the right thigh and Khalid Suheil ‘Ali ‘Abed (26) was hit with a tear gas canister to the abdomen, both of them work in the Military Medical Services. The wounded civilians were transferred via ambulances belonging to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Medial Services,  Union of Health Work Committees and the Ministry of Health to the Indonesian, al-Awda, Kamal Edwan Hospitals. Doctors classified the injuries of 2 civilians as serious. It should be noted that there was an excessive use of firing tear gas canister by the Israeli forces. As a result, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures

 

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on the same Friday, Palestinian protestors amounted to thousands began swarming to camps established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege 350 meters away from the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip. A number of young men approached the border fence, set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. The clashes, which continued until the evening hours, resulted in the injury of 53 civilians, including 13 children, and doctors classified the injury of 2civilians as serious. Due to Israeli excessive firing of tear gas canisters at areas where the ambulance cars were present on Jaker Street, 300 meters away from the border fence, 29 civilians, including 10 PRCS ambulance officers suffered tear gas inhalation and doctors classified the injury of 2 of them as serious and were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, while the others’ injuries were classified between moderate as minor.                     

 

  • At approximately 13:00 on Saturday, 14 April 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered into the east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City, to participate in the activities of “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.” The protestors threw stones at Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 3 civilians, including a child and a woman, were wounded.

 

  • At approximately 19:30 on the same Saturday, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, north and northeast of the demonstration yard, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets at a group of protestors who were present in the northeast of the demonstration camp. Some of the civilians attempted to approach the security fence. As a result, a 16-year-old child was hit with a live bullet to the right hand. He was transferred to Gaza European Hospital and doctors classified his injury as minor.

 

  • At approximately 13:00 Sunday afternoon, 15 April 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered into east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City, to participate in the activities of “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege.” The protestors threw stones at Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a civilians from al-Sheja’eya neighborhood was hit with a live bullet to the chest. He was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. doctors classified his injury as serious as he is staying at the ICU.

 

  • At approximately 16:30 on the same Sunday, Israeli forces stationed behind a sand barrier, 50 meters into the east of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Abu Safiya  Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at dozens of civilians who were about 50 to 150 meters into the west of the abovementioned border fence. As a result, a 24-year-old civilian was hit with a live bullet to the left leg.

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on the same Sunday, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, north and northeast of the demonstration camp, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at protestors who were in the northeast of demonstration camp. Some of the protestors attempted to approach the border fence. The shooting continued sporadically for 2 hours. As a result, a civilian was hit with a live bullet to the right leg. He was transferred to Gaza European Hospital and doctors classified his injury as moderate.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Tuesday, 17 April 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered at the east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City to participate in “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. They threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldier soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 5 civilians, including 2 children, were wounded. They were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to receive medical treatment.

 

  • At approximately 16:00 on the same Tuesday, hundreds of protestors started swarming to the Return camps, east of al-Buraij in the central Gaza Strip to participate in “Great March of Return” activities established by the Supreme National Authority for the Great March of Return and Breaking Siege in the Gaza Strip to commemorate the Land Day activity. Dozens of the children and young men gathered near the border fence between the Gaza Strip as a few number of them approached the barbed wire and threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers along the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at them. the clashes, which continued until the evening hours, resulted in the injury of 2 children, both of them from al-Nuseirat. They were taken via a PRCS ambulance to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Doctors classified the injury of one of the children as serious and he was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, while the other child’s injury was classified as minor.

 

  • At approximately 18:30 on the same Tuesday, Israeli forces stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip, north and northeast of the demonstration camp, east of Khuza’ah village, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at a group of protestors who were in the northeast of the demonstration camp. Some of the protestors attempted to approach the border fence and pull the security fence newly established by the Israeli forces inside the Palestinian lands, 50-70 meters away from the main border fence. The shooting sporadically continued for an hour. As a result, 2 civilians, including a child, were hit with 2 live bullets to the lower limbs. They were transferred to Gaza European Hospital and doctors classified their injury as moderate.

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered into the east of Malakah intersection, east of al-Zaitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City, within their participation of “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. They threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 2 civilians were wounded.

 

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer on 13 April 2018, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in al-Mantarah area, east of Kufor Qalil village, south of Nablus, in protest against the Israeli crimes against Palestinian protestors at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. They set fire to tires and threw stones and at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers at al-Mantarah Hill. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, an 18-year-old civilian was hit with alive bullet shrapnel to the right hand. He was transferred to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus to receive medical treatment.

 

  • Around the same time, dozens of Palestinian protestors gathered near the Bridge of Madama village, which was closed by sand barriers on the abovementioned day, south of Nablus to secure a Marathoun for Israeli settlers on bypass Road to “Yitzhar” settlement. They set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers who arrived at the area and stationed behind sand barriers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, a 21-year-old civilian was hit with 3 rubber bullets to the chest, shoulders and right hand finger . he was transferred to Rafidiya hospital in Nablus to receive medical treatment.

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian protestors gathered at the eastern entrance to al-Laban village, south of Nablus near the iron gate established by the Israeli forces at the village entrance branching from Ramallah-Nablus Street. The protestors set fire to tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers  who arrived at the area and stationed behind sand barriers. The soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, a 38-year-old civilian was hit with a live bullet to the right foot. he was transferred to Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit to receive medical treatment.

 

  • At approximately 15:00, a number of Palestinian young men gathered in al-Zawiyah Gate area in the center of Hebron. They threw stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers established at the closed entrance to Shuhada’a Street, and set fire to tires. A number of soldiers chased the soldiers between shops and fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. Meanwhile, a number of soldiers set traps to the young men between the shops and then arrested Hamzah al-Qawasmah (20).

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian children and young men gathered at the northern entrance to al-Birah in protest against the Israeli forces crimes against Palestinian protestors at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within the “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities at “al-Mahkamah” checkpoint near “Beit Eil” settlement, north of the city. The Israeli soldiers fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 5 civilians, including 2 children, were hit with rubber bullets to the lower limbs. The wounded civilians were transferred via a PRCS ambulance to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive medical treatment. Doctors classified their injuries as moderate.

 

  • At approximately 17:20 on Saturday, 14 April 2018, a group of Palestinian civilians moved from Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah into the eastern entrance to the village, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of the entrance to “Kedumim” settlement established on the village lands. The protestors chanted national slogans demanding to end occupation, condemning the U.S President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital Israel and condemning the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinian protestors at the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. The protestors threw stones at Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand barriers. The soldiers fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a 17-year-old child was hit with a rubber bullet to the right foot.

 

  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

 

Note: Due to technical reasons, we could not obtain the official statistics from the department responsible for issuing the statistics.

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

(11-16 April 2018)

Category 11 April 12 April 13 April 14 April 15 April  16 April
Patients 48 23 2 58 50
Companions 48 22 3 56 47
Personal needs 33 45 3 42 36
Familiesof prisoners
Arabs fromIsrael 6 24 14 17 11
Diplomats 10 14 1
International journalists 2
International workers 40 50 5 32 26
TravelersAbroad 80
Business people 188 190 6 301 170
Business meetings
Security interviews 3 2
VIPs 1
Ambulances to Israel 4 3 2 5
Patients’ Companions 3 3 2 5

 

 

Note:

  • On Sunday, 15 April 2018, Israeli forces allowed 2 persons; on Monday, 16 April 2018, one person, and on Monday, 09April 2018, 3 persons to return to the West Bank.

 

  • On Wednesday, 11 April 2018, Israeli forces allowed 6 persons; on Thursday, 12 April 2018, 18 persons; on Sunday, 15 April 2018, 26 persons; and on Monday, 16 April 2018, 3 persons to celebrate Christian Holidays.

 

  • 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:

 

  • Ramallah al-Bireh:

On Thursday, 12 April 2018, Osraeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah; at the entrance to ‘Ain Yabroud village, northeast of the city; and in ‘Atara village bridge, north of the city.

 

  • Hebron: Israeli forces established (18) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 12 April 2018, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Sa’ir and Hahoul villages.

On Friday, 13 April 2018, 4 similar checkpoints were established at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, at the entrance to Halhoul village, on Abu Risha Road, and at the southern entrance to Hebron.

On Saturday, 14 March 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Sa’ir village and at the northern entrance to Halhoul village.

On Sunday, 15 April 2018, 4 similar checkpoints were established at the entrances to Ethna, Bani Na’iem, al-Dahiryia, and Tarama villages.

On Monday, 16 April 2018, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Shayyoukh and Beit Ummer villages.

On Tuesday, 17 April 2018, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Sa’ir village.

On Wednesday, 18 April 2018, 4 similar checkpoints were established at the southern entrance to Hebron, at the entrance to al-Dahiriyia village, at the northern entrance to Halhoul village, and at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp.

 

  • Qalqiliyia: Israeli forces established (10) checkpoints all over the city.

At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 14 April 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia.

At approximately 08:20 on Sunday, 15 April 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jeet village, northeast of Qalqiliyia.

 

  • Salfit:

At approximately 23:15 on Saturday, 14 April 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Qarawet Bani Hassan village, west of Salfit.

At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, 15 April 2018, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Burqeen village.

At approximately 22:00, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Dir Balout village, west of the city.

 

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Thursday, 12 April 2018, Israeli officers, who guard the annexation wall adjacent to Qalqiliyia, arrested 3 Palestinian civilians who were near the wall. The arrested civilians were identified as Ya’qoub Yousef Abu Hamdi (18), Mohamed Abdul Latif Dawoud (18), and Baker Sufyan Dawoud (18). All of them are from Qalqiliyia.

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on Monday, 16 April 2018, Israeli forces stationed at a military checkpoint in Hebron’s Old City, arrested Firas Ya’qoub Waheed al-Natsha (12) and then took him to Ja’bara Police Station. The Israeli forces claimed that he did not obey to the soldiers’ orders.

 

  • Efforts to Create A 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:

 

 

  • Arrests and Incursions:

 

 

  • At approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 12 April 2018, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They patrolled the village streets, during which they arrested Mahmoud Sa’di al-Rajbi (23) while he was in front of his house.

 

  • Following the Friday prayer, on 13 April 2018, Israeli police stationed in al-Aqsa Mosque gates in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, arrested 7 Palestinian civilians after chasing them while getting out of al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli police then took the arrested civilians to an investigation center in the city, where they questioned them about a protest organized in Dome of the Rock yard before the Friday prayer. The Israeli police released the arrested civilians on bail and on a condition that they will be deported from al-Aqsa Mosque. They arrested civilians were identified as Nidal Ibrahim Siyam, ‘Ismat al-Hamouri, Abed al-Rahman ‘Ismat al-Hamouri, Rafat Sameeh Najeeb, Tawfiq al-Kalouti, Abdullah Marar, and Hamzah Marar.

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 14 April 2018, Israeli forces arrested Ihab Mohamed Taha (14) while he was in Bab al-‘Amoud area in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 16 April 2018, Israeli forces moved into Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Ameer Khadir al-Debis (26) and Nidal Shikhah (23).

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Abu Dis village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Amer Faze’ al-Rabee’ (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00 on Monday, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour village, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Mahmoud Waleed Abu al-Hawa (15), Yazan Anwar al-Salfiti (15), and Ameer Hazem al-Sayiad (16).

 

  • At approximately 07:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour village, east of occupied East Jerusalem. The raided and searched a house belonging to Wafaa Abu Jum’a (56) and then arrested her.

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Monday, Israeli forces arrested 3 Palestinian civilians near the French Hill Area, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, claiming that they burnt the Israeli flags. The arrested civilians identified as Mostafa Foad al-Tahan, Mohamed ‘Obaid, and Mohamed Shehada were then taken to al-Maskobiyia investigation center.

 

  • Targeting Civil Society Organizations in Occupied Jerusalem

 

  • In the light of targeting civil society organizations in occupied East Jerusalem, on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, Israeli forces closed Elia Media Association for youth on Salah al-Deen Street in the center of the city. The Israeli Intelligence officers fixed to the associations outside and main door a decision to close the association, considering it as a terrorist organization. The decision signed by the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman included: “The decision of an interim declaration to consider Elia Association as a terrorist organization under the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2016, and after my full conviction that the association work is in conformity with article 4 of the Law, I declare that any organization, office, institution, association, company, body, commission or center affiliated with this association will be considered a terrorist organization!”

 

On Monday, 16 April 2018, Israeli website (0404) declared that the Israeli Defense Minister signed a military order to consider Elia Media Association for youth in occupied Jerusalem, as a “terrorist organization “, in addition to closing it. The Israeli website (0404) also pointed out that the association is working as a social center for youth in Jerusalem, but it is related to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In a tweet on Monday, Lieberman announced that he declared Elia Association in East Jerusalem as “a terrorist organization” according to the information gathered by the General Security Service (Shabak). He claimed that the organization “pretends to be a social center for youth, but in practice it recruits terrorists, produces inciting videos, and supports terrorism.

Director of the Elia Association, Ahmad Safadi, condemned the decision to close the association. He declared that this act intends to silence and prevent the truth from being revealed and comes within a campaign targeting the institutions operating in Jerusalem in an attempt to force them to move out.

 

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

 Israeli forces’ attacks

 

  • At approximately 07:00 on Thursday, 12 April 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with 2 military vehicles, a vehicle of Israeli Civil Administration, 2 bulldozers, and a truck moved into Shaqbah village, west of Ramallah. They stationed in Khelit Motawe’ area, north of the village. The military vehicles suddenly started demolishing a number of agricultural rooms and concrete fences. The demolition was as follows:
  • A 50-square-meter agricultural room comprised of a living room, bathroom, kitchen; concrete fences; and 2 stone chains belonging to Falah Yousef Mousa al-Masri.
  • A 20-square-meter under-construction agricultural room built of bricks and roofed with concrete, concrete fences, a concrete-roofed bathroom built of bricks, a 50-square-meter agricultural room built of bricks and comprised of a living room, bathroom, kitchen, and concrete fences, in addition to confiscating a caravan. All the above mentioned property belongs to Mosbah Yousf Mousa al-Masri.

Falah and Mosbah al-Masri said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the building was built a year ago and the demolition was carried out under the pretext of being in area classified as C, according to Oslo Accords. The area on which these facilities are located is about 3 kilometers away from Ofarim settlement, 2 kilometers from the annexation wall, and one kilometer from Settlement Road 446.  He added that in January 2018, the Israeli Civil Administration hanged notices on the abovementioned building to stop the construction works. After that, Falah and Mosbah headed to al-Quds Center for Legal Assistance, where they submitted papers to get a license through a lawyer.  They also appointed a surveyor and submitted a request to the Civil Administration to get a license, but they were surprised on the mentioned date that the Israeli forces moved into the area and carried out the demolition in addition to imposing a cordon on the area. The Israeli forces prevented any person from entering and exiting the area. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered, so the Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber- coated metal bullets at them. As a result, 2 civilians were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets to the feet.

 

  • At approximately 21:00 on Monday, 16 April 2018, Israeli forces accompanied with 2 military vehicles and a vehicle of Israeli Civil Administration moved into Khebit al-Zanotah, west of al-Dahiryia village, south of Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers demolished and confiscated tents, which were established again after being dismantled and confiscated on 09 April 2018. They confiscated desks and chairs and left in the area a list of the confiscated property. The school shelters around 23 students.

 

Israeli Settlers’ Attacks:

 

  • On Friday, 13 April 2018, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to al-Shaiekh Sa’ada Mosque (Abu Shaher) in ‘Aqraba village, southeast of Nablus. The Israeli settlers poured a flammable material inside the mosque and then set fire. The mosque entrance, 2 water coolers, and electrical switches caught fire before a number of civilians managed to extinguish it. The Israeli settlers also wrote hostile slogans in Hebrew against Arabs and Muslims.

 

  • On Friday, a group of Israeli settlers from “ Itmar“ settlement damaged around 7 olive trees in Khilet Rajeah, northeast of Rujeeb village, southeast of Nablus. These trees belong to the heirs of Rajeh Darwish Dowikat. The settlers also damaged a water well, retaining wall, and fence.

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 14 March 2018, a group of Israeli settlers from “Havat Ma’on“ settlement established in Palestinian civilians’ lands, east of Yatta, south of Hebron, attacked Palestinians houses in Kherbit al-Tawanah with stones. A force of Israeli soldiers arrived at Kherbit al-Tawanah, prevented Palestinian civilians from moving, and closed all its entrances. The Israeli settlers later withdrew and no more casualties were reported.

 

  • On Tuesday, 17 April 2018, a group of Israeli settlers moved into al-Laban al-Shariqiyah village, south of Nablus, and attacked Palestinians vehicles parked in front of their owners’ houses and on the village streets. The settlers wrote hostile slogans against Arabs and Muslims on the houses’ walls and on vehicles. They also punctured tires of 26 cars with sharp tools. The Israeli Liaison accompanied with a fingerprint expert arrived at the area and took photos of the vehicles. ’Ali Abed Al-Rahman Qasem al-Nobani, one of the vehicles’ owners, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

 

At approximately 02:30 on Tuesday, 17 April 2018, I was in my house near the Old Mosque in the center of al-Laban al-Shariqiyah village, south of Nablus. Meanwhile, I woke up to the sound of tires exploding under my house. I immediately got up from my bed and went to the southern balcony of the house, overlooking the mosque and its yard. I saw three masked persons, one of them carying a military bag on his back and wearing military uniform while the two others wearing civilian clothes. After that, one of the abovementioned persons punctured my vehicle’s tires while another one was standing at the mosque entrance. In the meantime, I immediately knew that they were settlers, so I went to my son’s room, woke him up and then we got out of our house. We chased the settler after they punctured my 2 vehicles’ tiers and wrote slogans on my house walls. I chased them for fear of setting fire to the mosque because they set fire to it in 2011. We chased them until they left the village, but after they punctured around 26 vehicles’ tires and wrote hostile slogans on it.” PCHR keeps the names of persons, whose vehicles were attacked.

 

  • On Wednesday, 18 April 2018, a group of Israeli settlers from “Yitzhar” settlement, east of ‘Orif village, south of Nablus attacked a plot of land belonging to Najeh Abdullah Deib Shehada in al-Safafeer area, 2 kilo meters away from the settlement. The settlers damaged about 10 olive trees, 10 almond trees, and 3 grape vineyards, which were planted 2 years ago. They also attacked a plot of land belonging to Raied Mahmoud Sabbah and cut off 4 olive trees and 2 almond trees, which were planted 6 years ago. The Israeli settler wrote in Hebrew “Death to the Arabs” on a container built of tin plates in a plot of land belonging to Moayed Shehada and later withdrew.

 

 

 

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 11 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 this year 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
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