Weekly report on israel’s terrorism on Palestinians (07 February – 13 February)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations  (07 – 13 February 2019)

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 07 – 13 February, 2019.

Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. 2 Palestinian civilians were killed and another one succumbed to his wound in the Gaza Strip. 109 civilians, including 45 children, 5 women, 1 paramedic, and a journalist, were wounded in the Gaza Strip.

Shooting:

 

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders, which witnessed the peaceful protests for the 46th week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. They also continued to use armed force as well during the incursions into the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed Hamza Mohamed Ishtawi (17), from al-Zaytoun neighborhood, and Hasan Eyad Shalabi (14), from Khan Yunis, while participating in the Return and Breaking Siege March, east of Gaza City and Khan Yunis. Eyewitnesses said that the civilians killed did not pose threat to the soldiers’ life and they were wounded while present in varying distances along the border fence with Israel. The civilians killed were among the peaceful demonstrators in the eastern border areas.

 

On 12 February 2019, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital declared the death of  Hassan Nabeel Ahmad Nofal (16), from Nuseirat in the Central Gaza Strip. Hasan succumbed to wounds he sustained on Friday, 08 February 2019. It should be mentioned that he was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the head while participating in the Return and Breaking the Siege March, east of al-Bureij

 

 

Injuries in the Gaza Strip between 07-13 February 2019 According to the Governorate

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 24 13 3 0 0 0
Gaza City 30 11 1 0 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 19 8 1 0 0 3
Khan Younis 11 3 0 1 1 0
Rafah 25 10 0 0 0 1
Total 109 45 5 1 1 4

 

As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods.  During the reporting period, PCHR documented 8 incidents were adjacent to northern Gaza Strip Shore. As a result, a fisherman sustained minor wounds.

 

 

As part of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, opened fire 9 times at lands located in the border areas with Israel in the central of Gaza Strip and southern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.

 

 

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 78 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 44 Palestinians, including 8 children, in the West Bank. The Israeli forces conducted at least 8 military incursions into Jerusalem, where they arrested 2 civilians and carried out 2 demolitions. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces conducted 1 limited incursion in eastern Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. The owners of the demolished houses in the West Bank said that the Israeli forces confiscated large amount of money and gold from their houses and handed them a list of the confiscated items. They also ordered them to refer to the competent authorities.

 

 

Israeli Forces Continued to Create a Jewish Majority in East Jerusalem City:

 

  • As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on 08 February 2019, Israeli forces ordered Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Abaidat to self-demolish his house and a shop under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • On 09 February 2019, Israeli forces ordered Tha’er Jamal Bkairat to self-demolish his 42-square-meter house, where 5 persons, including 3 children, live. It should be noted that Tha’er paid NIS 25,000 as fine during several years.
  • On 11 February 2019, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished a house belonging to Ahmed Maher Abu al-Haija in Jwaiza neighborhood, within the Municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, in al-Walja village.
  • On 12 February 2019, the Israeli authorities forced Sa’eed Sarhan, from al-Thawry neighborhood in Silwan, to self-demolish a 60-square-meter room used as a living and dining room.
  • On the same day, Israeli bulldozers demolished a 125-square-meter house belonging to Feryal Ja’abees in al-Sal’a, in al-Mokaber mount village.
  • On the same day, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished 2 apartments and a store belonging to Jamal Edkaik in Silwan village.

 

 

 

 

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

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians civilians and their property, PCHR’s fieldworkers documented during the reporting period 5 attacks carried out by Israeli settlers.

On 08 February 2019, an Israeli force accompanied with an Israeli settler namely Leor Livy, tried to raid a house belonging to Ahmed Abu Srour (70), located in the vicinity of al-‘Aroub refugee camp, west of Hebron, adjacent to the Bypass Road “60”. They claimed that the house is attached to Beit al-Baraka facility land, which a settlement association claims that it bought it from its owners in 2008.

 

On 09 February 2019, Israeli settlers threw stones at civilians’ vehicles while they were passing on al-Dalb Valley road near Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, causing fear among civilians inside the vehicles.

On 10 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, who call themselves price tag group, threw stones at a house belonging to Romal Mohammed Hussain Shahour, Director of Al Haya Newspaper’s office located on the main street near Howara High School for Boys at Howara village’s northern entrance, southeast of Nablus.

On 12 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers attacked Barakat ‘Ali Zohdy Abu Mohssen (25) in Kherbit al-Farisiyia in northern Jordan Valley. They beat and bruised him in the right hand, chest and legs before handing him to Israeli forces, who arrested his brother Loai (20), taking him to “Mkhola” settlement.

On the same day, dozens of Israeli settlers, from settlement outposts in Hebron’s Old City, carried out riots and chanted racists slogans against Palestinians on al-Shohadah Street and Tal al-Rameeda area. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection.

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

 

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

 

Gaza Strip:

 On Friday, 08 February 2019, in the 46th week of the Return and Breaking Siege March, Israeli forces wounded 91 civilians, including 38 children, 2 women and a paramedic. The incidents were as follows:

  • Northern Gaza City: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 13 civilians, including 8 children. 5 of them were hit with rubber bullets and shrapnel, 5 were hit with rubber bullets and 8 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded civilians were taken via PRCS and Health Union Committee ambulances to the Indonesian Hospital and al-Awda Hospital, which belongs to Heath Union Committee.

 

  • Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in the eastern Shuja’iyya neighborhood resulted in the killing of Hamza Mohammad Rushdy Eshtawy (17), from Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza. Hamza was hit with a live bullet, when he was 200 meters away from the border fence with Israeli, resulting in his immediate death. Furthermore, 30 civilians, including 11 children and a woman were wounded. Among the wounded civilians, 8 were hit with live bullets, 10 with rubber bullets and 12 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. 
  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting and throwing tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the injury of 13 civilians, including 6 children and a woman. 4 of them were hit with a live bullet and shrapnel and 9 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded civilians were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where the wounds of 3 of them were classified as serious, while the others’ wounds were classified between moderate and minor. Furthermore, several civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and many of them were taken to the hospital while the others were treated on the spot.

 

  • Khan Yunis: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in Khuza’a village, which continued until 17:30, resulted in the killing of Hassan Eyad ‘Abed al-Fattah Shalaby (14), from Hamad Town in Khan Yunis, as he was hit with a live bullet to the chest at approximately 15:50, while he was around 150-200 meters away from the border fence with Israel. He was declared dead at the Field Medical Point. Furthermore, 10 civilians, including 3 children, were directly hit with live bullets and tear gas canisters. Among the wounded civilians, there was Jehad Ahamd Mahmoud al-Hennawy (50), a paramedic at Civil Defense, who was hit with a tear gas canister to the left leg. Moreover, an ambulance belonging to Civil Defense was directly hit with a tear gas canister.

 

  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in al-Shawkah village, which continued until 17:00, resulted in the injury of 25 civilians. 3 of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, 6 with rubber bullets and 16 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. Among the wounded civilians, there were 10 children, whom their wounds were classified as serious. Furthermore, dozens of civilians, especially children and women, suffered seizures and tear gas inhalation. Many of them were taken to the Medical Point of the Camp and others to Abu Yusef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. 
  • At approximately 17:50 on Sunday, 10 February 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of the Return Camp, east of Abu Safia Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of civilians that approached the border fence. The demonstrators fired homemade sound bombs, set fire and used loudspeakers as part of evening activities of March of Return and Breaking Siege. As a result, several demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot. 
  • At approximately 14:45 on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, and Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, opened fire and fired sound bombs at dozens of Palestinian civilians who were at the Return camp along the border coastal, adjacent to adjacent to “Zikim”military base, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. It should be noted that this is the 23thtime for Palestinian boats to sail for Breaking the Siege. The Israeli shooting at the Palestinian demonstrators, which continued until 17:15, resulted in the injury of 10 civilians, including 5 children and 3 women. 9 of them were hit with tear gas canisters and a child was hit with a live bullet. Moreover, dozens suffered tear gas inhalation. 
  • At approximately 16:30, on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered in eastern al-Bureij, near the Return Camp. The demonstrators set fire to tires and tried to throw stones at the Israeli forces stationed on the top of sand berms along the border fence. The forces opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, resulting in the injury of 5 demonstrators, including 2 children. 4 of the them were hit with live bullets, while the other was directly hit with a tear gas canister. The wounded civilians were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where doctors classified the wounds of 2 of them, including a child, as serious, while the wounds of the others were classified between minor and moderate. 
  • At approximately 18:00 of the same day, doctors at al-Shifa Hospital declared that Hassan Nabeel Ahmad Nofal (16), from Nuseirat in the Central Gaza Strip, succumbed to his wounds that he had on Friday, 8 February 2019. It should be mentioned that he was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the head, while participating in the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, east of al-Bureij. Meanwhile, he was taken to al-Aqsa Hospital and then taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza due to his serious health condition. He remained for treatment in al-Shifa Hospital ICU until he was declared dead. 
  • At approximately 17:50, on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of the Return Camp, east of Abu Safia Hill, northeast of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of civilians that approached the border fence. The demonstrators fired homemade sound bombs, set fire and used loudspeakers as part of evening activities of March of Return and Breaking Siege. As a result, a 31-year-old male was hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg and was taken to the Indonesian Hospital, where doctors classified his wounds as minor. Furthermore, medical staff treated several demonstrators, who suffered tear gas inhalation on the spot. 
  • Around the same time, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Bureij in the Central Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at demonstrators, who were protesting there and setting fire to tires. As a result, a civilian was directly hit with a tear gas canister to his lower limbs. 
  • At approximately 19:00 on the same day, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, near the Return Camp, east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire and fired tear gas canisters at a group of civilians that approached the border fence, set fire to tires, used laser lights and fireworks as part of evening activities of March of Return and Breaking Siege. As a result, Mohammad Samy Barbakh (21), a journalist at Barq Gaza Network, was hit with a tear gas canister to the right hand and his wounds were classified as minor. It should be mentioned that Mohammad was hit with a live bullet in the 4thFriday of the Return March. Furthermore, several demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation.

 

 West Bank: 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 09 February 2019, a group of Palestinian civilians and the Israeli activists of Combatants for Peace organized a voluntary day to plant olive seedlings in the lands threatened by confiscation in Abu Sawda Mount area, south of Beit Fajar village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli forces arrived to the location, prevented the participants to plant the seedlings, and handed then a notice to evacuate the area under the pretext that it is a closed military zone. The participants spread out in the land and started to plant the seedlings, but the Israeli forces attacked them and heavily fired tear gas canisters at them, forcing them to leave after some of them suffered tear gas inhalation.

 

  • 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 04:00 on Sunday, 10 February 2019, Israeli forces arrested Adam Ma’moun Abu Riala (13), from al-“Aissaweya. Adam’s father said to the PCHR’s fieldworker that around 30 Israeli soldiers raided the house and arrested Adam. It should be noted that Adman was interrogated for 4 hours while he was alone in al-Maskoubya prison in occupied Jerusalem without being accompanied by anyone. Adam was released after a decision issued by the Israeli court in Jerusalem under the condition of open house arrest. 
  • On Monday, 11 February 2019, Israeli forces arrested the imam of al-Aqsa Mosque Waleed Seyam, from Silwan village, while he was leaving the mosque, taking him to an unknown destination.

 

Notices and House Demolitions:

  • On 08 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-Mokaber Mount village in Jerusalem and forced Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Abaidat to self-demolish his house and a shop under the pretext of non-licensing. Ahmed said that his house was built on an area of 40 square meters and was sheltering 6 persons, including 4 children. Ahmed added that the shop was built on an area of 35 square meters and used for electronic equipment. It should be noted that this was the second demolition of Ahmed’s house during the past 5 years.
  • On 09 February 2019, Israeli forces moved into Sour Baher village in Jerusalem and forced Tha’er Jamal Bkairat to self-demolish his 42-square-meter house, where 5 persons, including 3 children, live. It should be noted that Tha’er paid NIS 25,000 as fine during several years. Tha’er said that the Israeli Municipality forced him to self-demolish his house or he will pay the demolition’s expenses estimated at NIS 80,000.
  • On 11 February 2019, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished a house belonging to Ahmed Maher Abu al-Haija in Jwaiza neighborhood, within the Municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, in al-Walja village. Ahmed said to the PCHR’s fieldworker that his house was built on an area of 140 square meters, where his family comprised of 7 persons, including 2 female children, live.
  • On 12 February 2019, the Israeli authorities forced Sa’eed Sarhan, from al-Thawry neighborhood in Silwan, to self-demolish a 60-square-meter room used as a living and dining room attached to the house. It should be noted that Sa’ed built the room 8 years ago. Sa’eed received a demolition notice on 16 January 2019, to self-demolish his 60-squre-meter room.
  • On the same day, Israeli bulldozers demolished a 125-square-meter house belonging to Feryal Ja’abees in al-Sal’a, in al-Mokaber mount village, where 6 persons including 4 children, live. It should be noted that the house was established a year and a half ago and the family was handed the demolition notice 6 months ago. It is worth to mention that Feryal along with her sons are living now in a tent provided by PRCS.
  • On the same day, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers in Jerusalem demolished 2 apartments and a store belonging to Jamal Edkaik in Silwan village. Jamal was aiming at giving one of the prepared apartments to one of his sons to live in it after getting married while the other apartment and the store are still under construction. The two apartments built on an area of 100 square meters, while the store built on an area of 20 square meters.

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

Israeli forces continued to target the areas in the West Bank classified as C according to Oslo Accord signed by the Israeli government and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the areas located in the vicinity of settlements and route of the separation wall in order to expel them from the Palestinian residents for the sake of settlement expansion.

Israeli forces’ attacks: 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 11 February 2019, Israeli border guard officers backed by military vehicles and accompanied with 2 bulldozers moved into al-Jwaiza area in the vicinity of al-Walja village, southwest of Jerusalem, north of Bethlehem. The Israeli officers raided a house belonging to Najlaa Maher Abu al-Haija (43), where she lives with her family comprised of 7 members. They forced Najlaa and her family to leave the house claiming that there was a decision issued by the court to demolish the house under the pretext of non-licensing. After evacuating the house, the bulldozers started to demolish the 140-square-meter house. Two hours later, the Israeli force withdrew and left two rooms without demolishing them because bulldozers could not reach them. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities seized 155 dunums from the village’s lands, where two settlements were established on part of the village’s lands. The first settlements is “Har Gilo”, which was established in 1972 and shelter 365 Israeli settlers, while the second settlement was“Gilo”, which is established in 1981 and shelters 27569 Israeli settlers. Moreover, 246 dunums were confiscated for the Bypass Roads “436” confiscated in addition to 69 dumuns to the annexation wall. It should be noted that the annexation wall will isolate around 4171 behind it.  The village’s lands were classified as Area C, B, A according to Oslo Agreement. The Area B constitutes 03% while Area C constitutes 97%.

Mohamed Abu al-Haija said:

“At approximately 03:00, Israeli border guard officers raided our house after breaking the door and detained me along with my family members. They informed us that there is a decision to demolish the house. They forced us to leave the house and stand 150 meters away from it while some workers started to evacuate some of house’s contents and then the bulldozers began the demolition. On 18, October 2018, The Civil Administration handed us a house demolition notice. We submitted a request to the municipality of Jerusalem after paying NIS 20,000 in 2 instalments in order to reach the Court of First Instance to submit a petition after the demolition but the court reused our petition submitted by a lawyer during a session on 23 January 2019 so the court decided to demolish the house. “

  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 13 February 2019, Israeli force accompanied with a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, a vehicle of the Water Utility “ Markot”,  2 bulldozers, and a truck, moved into al-Msafer area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The vehicles started to level the road sides leading to al-Msafer villages and remove pipes that provide the residential areas with water. They claimed that these pipes were set without a permission from the competent authorities. 

 

Israeli settlers’ attacks:

  • At approximately 15:00 on Friday, 08 February 2019, an Israeli force accompanied with an Israeli settler namely Leor Livy, tried to raid a house belonging to Ahmed Abu Srour (70), located in the vicinity of al-‘Aroub refugee camp, west of Hebron, adjacent to the Bypass Road “60”. They claimed that the house is attached to Beit al-Baraka facility land, which a settlement association claims that it bought it from its owners in 2008. The settlers seized the land at the beginning of July 2018 under a tight Israeli forces protection and closed it. It should be noted that the land contains an old hospital and other buildings surrounding the hospital. Moreover, Ahmed’s family members tried to prevent the settler, who wanted to take the house’ measures, from reaching them. In addition, the Israeli soldiers attacked the family members and sprayed pepper-spray at Ahmed’s son ‘Abed al-Qader (27). The soldiers attacked ‘Abed al-Qader and then arrested him, taking him to an investigation center in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem. It should be noted that at the beginning of October 2015, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published on its website that Moshe Ya’alon, Former Defense Minister of Israel, said that he decided to annex the Christian Presbyterian Church building, located adjacent to the Bypass Road “60” to become a part of settlement Gafar Etzion Complex, south of Bethlehem. It is worth to mention that al-Baraka facility has been established 70 years ago. The facility provided treatment services for Tuberculosis patients until its closure in 1983. In August 2018, Israeli settlers demolished a 50-square-meter old building, where Ahmed Ibraheem ‘Abd Rabo Samour (60), and his sister Asmahan Samour (50) live for around 40 years. Ahmed was expelled from the land, where he was working as a guard.
  • In Saturday evening, 09 February 2019, Israeli settlers threw stones at civilians’ vehicles while they were passing on al-Dalb Valley road near Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, causing fear among civilians inside the vehicles.
  • At approximately 20:30 on Sunday, 10 February 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, who call themselves price tag group, threw stones at a house belonging to Romal Mohammed Hussain Shahour, Director of Al Haya Newspaper’s office located on the main street near Howara High School for Boys at Howara village’s northern entrance, southeast of Nablus. As a result, the windshield of Romal’s car was broken, in addition to the rear window of his brother Khaled’s car before Romal shouted at the settlers, which made them escape among olive trees surrounding the area.
  • At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 12 February 2019
  • At approximately 23:00 on Tuesday, 12 February 2019, dozens of Israeli settlers, from settlement outposts in Hebron’s Old City, organized a demonstration that was started from the entrance to Beit Hadassa  and then headed to al-Shohadah Street and Tal al-Rameeda area. The settlers were under the Israeli forces’ protection. The settlers chanted racist slogans calling for killing Arabs and expelling them out of their houses. Moreover, they attacked some civilians’ houses on al-Shohadah Street and heavily knocked their doors, causing fear and panic among the residents.

 

  • 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.

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

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BBC-staged footage on Syria’s Douma Western media’s ‘theater of absurd’: Russia

Source

Press TV – February 14, 2019

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacts during the annual news conference of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia, on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacts during the annual news conference of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia, on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia says the latest revelations by BBC that the footage of an April chemical attack near the Syrian capital was fabricated proves the “theater of absurd” in Western media’s coverage of events in the Arab country.

“Over the past few years, and not just in Syria, we have been witness to a travesty being staged by the West and its media agencies, which on [the one] hand brags about brilliant democratic goals and support for civilians of a sovereign state, but on the other does not … give a damn about … international law, various forms of freedom and rights of a nation or a certain minority,” the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

The footage broadcast by BBC showed people being treated after a chemical attack in Douma.

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the issue had been investigated for six months.

Zakharova added, “The culmination of this theater of absurd may be a statement by a BBC producer, who confirmed based on his own research that the footage [in Douma] had been staged with direct participation of [the so-called civil defense group] White Helmets.

She further pointed out that Russia wanted to listen to BBC’s explanation because it actively covered the events in favor of the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The Western-backed White Helmets group, which has been repeatedly accused of cooperating with Takfiri terrorists and staging fictional chemical attacks, published a video in April 2018, alleging that Syrian government forces had launched a chemical assault in the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of Damascus.

The US has warned it would respond to any possible chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, stressing that the attacks would be stronger than those conducted by American, British and French forces last year.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.

On September 11 last year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov censured the US threats to use military force against Syria as part of Washington’s blackmail policy.

“Unlike the United States, Britain and their allies, Russia provides particular facts on a daily basis through its Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry as well missions in New York, The Hague and Geneva. We particularly name geographical points, where preparations are underway for certain terrorist groups backed by the US and its allies to carry out provocations,” Ryabkov said.

 

israel (apartheid state) and Arab nations discuss ‘common interests of war with Iran’ – Netanyahu

Israel and Arab nations discuss ‘common interests of war with Iran’ – Netanyahu

Israel and Arab nations discuss 'common interests of war with Iran' - Netanyahu

Israel and Arab countries are in talks “in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, although the translation from Hebrew was later downgrade to mere “struggle.”

The promise of a major conflict in the Middle East was floated by the Israeli leader during his trip to Warsaw.

“From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran,” Netanyahu said as quoted by Jerusalem Post.

“What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

The Israeli PM is in the Polish capital to take part in a two-day international forum on the Middle East, which starts on Wednesday. Representatives from the United States and the European Union are in attendance in addition to Netanyahu and ministers from Gulf kingdoms. The EU representation at the event however is less than impressive, with heavyweights Germany and France choosing not to send their foreign ministers.

The US delegation is headed by Vice President Mike Pence, who is accompanied by vocal Iran hawk Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor. The Anti-Iranian goals of Israel and the US are apparently dominating the agenda of the forum.

“We’re trying to expand the number of nations who are engaged and have a stake in the future of a peaceful and prosperous Middle East,” Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, told Reuters.

Also on rt.com EU-Iran trade mechanism will be ‘good way’ to bypass US sanctions, Zarif tells RT The EU is on a shaky ground vis-a-vis Iran as it’s member Poland hosts the meeting. The Europeans are attempting to resist the push for confrontation with Iran coming from Washington, hoping to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The Iranians still stick to the terms of the agreement even after US scrapped it under the Trump administration, but the promise of lucrative business opportunities with the EU, which was a major part of the incentive for Tehran to accept the deal, are nowhere near to materializing under the threat of American sanctions.

“Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned ahead of the gathering in Warsaw.

Israel and Iran are already engaged in a proxy war in Syria, where Israeli military regularly attack what they call Iranian military targets encroaching on Israel. Building on the foundation of common hostility with Iran, the Jewish state also entered cozy relations with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf supporters over the past decade.

Whether the regular exchange of threats grows into an open shooting war in the Middle East, as Netanyahu seems to be promising, is anyone’s guess.

In Hebron, israel (apartheid state) removes the last restraint on its settlers’ reign of terror

In Hebron, Israel removes the last restraint on its settlers’ reign of terror

Jewish settler terrorism in Hebron

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

You might imagine that a report by a multinational observer force documenting a 20-year reign of terror by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers against Palestinians, in a city under occupation, would provoke condemnation from European and US politicians.

But you would be wrong. The leaking in December of the report on conditions in the city of Hebron, home to 200,000 Palestinians, barely caused a ripple.

About 40,000 separate cases of abuse had been quietly recorded since 1997 by dozens of monitors from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey. Some incidents constituted war crimes.

Exposure of the confidential report has now provided the pretext for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to expel the international observers. He shuttered their mission in Hebron this month, in apparent violation of Israel’s obligations under the 25-year-old Oslo peace accords.

Israel hopes once again to draw a veil over its violent colonisation of the heart of the West Bank’s largest Palestinian city. The process of clearing tens of thousands of inhabitants from central Hebron is already well advanced.

US aiding terror and war crimes

Any chance of rousing the international community into even minimal protest was stamped out by the US last week. It blocked a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council expressing “regret” at Israel’s decision, and on 8 December added that ending the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was an “internal matter” for Israel.

The TIPH was established in 1997 after a diplomatic protocol split the city into two zones, controlled separately by Israel and a Palestinian Authority (PA) created by the Oslo accords.

The “temporary” in its name was a reference to the expected five-year duration of the Oslo process. The need for TIPH, most assumed, would vanish when Israel ended the occupation and a Palestinian state was built in its place.

While Oslo put the PA formally in charge of densely populated regions of the occupied territories, Israel was effectively given a free hand in Hebron to entrench its belligerent hold on Palestinian life.

Settler terror and land theft

Several hundred extremist Jewish settlers have gradually expanded their illegal enclave in the city centre, backed by more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers. Many Palestinian residents have been forced out while the rest are all but imprisoned in their homes.

TIPH faced an impossible task from the outset: to “maintain normal life” for Hebron’s Palestinians in the face of Israel’s structural violence.

Until the report was leaked, its documentation of Israel’s takeover of Hebron and the settlers’ violent attacks had remained private, shared only among the states participating in the task force.

However, the presence of observers did curb the settlers’ worst excesses, helping Palestinian children get to school unharmed and allowing their parents to venture out to work and shop. That assistance is now at an end.

Hebron has been a magnet for extremist settlers because it includes a site revered in Judaism: the reputed burial plot of Abraham, father to the three main monotheistic religions.

But to the settlers’ disgruntlement, Hebron became central to Muslim worship centuries ago, with the Ibrahimi mosque established at the site.

Israel’s policy has been gradually to prise away the Palestinians’ hold on the mosque, as well the urban space around it. Half of the building has been restricted to Jewish prayer, but in practice the entire site is under Israeli military control.

As the TIPH report notes, Palestinian Muslims must now pass through several checkpoints to reach the mosque and are subjected to invasive body searches. The muezzin’s call to prayer is regularly silenced to avoid disturbing Jews.

Faced with these pressures, according to TIPH, the number of Palestinians praying there has dropped by half over the past 15 years.

In Hebron, as at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a Muslim holy site is treated solely as an obstacle – one that must be removed so that Israel can assert exclusive sovereignty over all of the Palestinians’ former homeland.

A forerunner of TIPH was set up in 1994, shortly after Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli army doctor, entered the Ibrahimi mosque and shot more than 150 Muslims at prayer, killing 29. Israeli soldiers aided Goldstein, inadvertently or otherwise, by barring the worshippers’ escape while they were being sprayed with bullets.

Today Hebron’s old market, once the commercial hub of the southern West Bank, is a ghost town, and Palestinians are too terrified to enter large sections of their own city.

The massacre should have provided the opportunity for Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister of the time, to banish Hebron’s settlers and ensure the Oslo process remained on track. Instead he put the Palestinian population under prolonged curfew.

That curfew never really ended. It became the basis of an apartheid policy that has endlessly indulged Jewish settlers as they harass and abuse their Palestinian neighbours.

Israel’s hope is that most will get the message and leave.

With Netanyahu in power for a decade, more settlers are moving in, driving out Palestinians. Today Hebron’s old market, once the commercial hub of the southern West Bank, is a ghost town, and Palestinians are too terrified to enter large sections of their own city.

TIPH’s report concluded that, far from guaranteeing “normal life”, Israel had made Hebron more divided and dangerous for Palestinians than ever before.

In 2016 another army medic, Elor Azaria, used his rifle to shoot in the head a prone and badly wounded Palestinian youth. Unlike Goldstein’s massacre, the incident was caught on video.

Israelis barely cared until Azaria was arrested. Then large sections of the public, joined by politicians, rallied to his cause, hailing him a hero.

Despite doing very little publicly, TIPH’s presence in Hebron had served as some kind of restraint on the settlers and soldiers. Now the fear is that there will be more Azarias.

Inciting against human rights organisations

Palestinians rightly suspect that the expulsion of the observer force is the latest move in efforts by Israel and the US to weaken mechanisms for protecting Palestinian human rights.

Netanyahu has incited against local and international human rights organisations constantly, accusing them of being foreign agents and making it ever harder for them to operate effectively.

And last year US President Donald Trump cut all aid to UNRWA, the United Nations’ refugee agency, which plays a vital role in caring for Palestinians and upholding their right to return to their former lands.

Not only are the institutions Palestinians rely on for support being dismembered but so now are the organisations that record the crimes Israel has been committing.

That, Israel hopes, will ensure that an international observer post which has long had no teeth will soon will soon lose its sight too as Israel begins a process of annexing the most prized areas of the West Bank – with Hebron top of the list

Guaido’s True Colors: “President” to Fix Venezuelan Relations with israel (apartheid state)

Guaido’s True Colors: “President” to Fix Venezuelan Relations with Israel

By Jim Carey | Geopolitics Alert | February 13, 2019

juan guaido israel venezuela

Caracas – In an interview over the weekend, “interim President” of Venezuela Juan Guaido promised he would work on restoring relations with Israel.

Despite not actually having a government or being in any type of official position of power within Venezuela Juan Guaido is still somehow making big promises. Last week it was the promise to sell oil he doesn’t control to the US and this week he is setting foreign policy for a state, a military, and a diplomatic core that he doesn’t have.

Regardless of Juan Guaido’s material position, Israel has been more than willing to indulge in the US fantasy in Venezuela and was one of the early states to recognize the fraud as “interim President.” Now it seems Guaido is more than willing to repay the favor should he ever actually hold office.

Guaido made this promise in a recent interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper where he told the interviewer that he was “very happy to announce that the process of stabilizing relations with Israel is in full swing.” While what exactly that means when you’re a President with no power is rather ambiguous, for some reason Guaido has said restoring relations “is very important for us.”

Regardless of all these factors, there are still several reasons the new President has made this a high priority. Even without any actual diplomatic staff recognized by the state, Guaidó has still been in contact with Israel and has even discussed opening a new Venezuelan embassy in Israel, saying it “is one of the subjects we are talking about.”

Another reason Guaidó claims he wants to restore relations with the Zionists is due to the fact that there “are many Venezuelans in Israel and many Jews in Venezuela.”

According to Guaidó, this Venezuelan Jewish community “is very active and prosperous” and have expressed to the president their hopes for renewed relations with Israel.

Guaidó says this Jewish community has a friend in him and he wishes to ‘restore their rights’ and has “no doubt that the Jews are afraid.” Now Guaidó has promised to protect this Jewish community should he ever take power.

Relations between Israel and Venezuela were cut off in 2009 under Hugo Chavez, the previous Venezuelan President and mentor of Nicolás Maduro. Chavez knew well that Israel is very active in Latin America in helping the US subvert democracy and didn’t wish to allow the Zionists a base of operations in his country.

Obviously, the reasons cited by Hugo Chavez to justify throwing the Zionists out of Venezuela is perfectly legitimate but this has been a sore point with Washington and imperial media for some time. US media considers the fact that Chavez expelled the Zionists and supported Palestine as proof of the anti-semitism inside the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

This is all totally ridiculous of course and the Chavistas chose to expel the Israelis in solidarity with Palestine against imperialism. This shift in foreign policy was framed as dangerous and the distrust of Zionism is said to be responsible for the “flight” of Venezuelan Jews to Israel.

But just how big is this important Jewish community?

Before Chavez, the total Jewish population in Venezuela was only estimated at about 22,000 out of over 30 million. Since Chavez took power that population has dwindled down to around 7,000 meaning there are about 15,000 Venezuelan Jews in Israel.

Supposedly restoring the Venezuelan embassy in Israel is very important, just not to more than about 20-30,000 people. Many Venezuelans still oppose any type of outside intervention in their country and it likely wouldn’t matter if it was US or Israeli soldiers but Guaidó is clearly more beholden to his foreign backers than he is to his own people.

With all that said, Guaidó still hopes Israel will invest more in regime change in his country. “Many Western countries have already committed to sending humanitarian aid to Venezuela,” he said adding that he is “confident that Israel will also help us.”

Since Israel is basically a US proxy this likely means Guaidó would like aid from them in the form of firearms like the ones Washington recently tried to smuggle in. Chavez made the correct choice in throwing out the Zionists and their agents of subversion, meaning the best hope for Venezuela to remain independent is for the Chavistas to uphold this legacy of anti-imperialism.

February 2019 Gilets jaunes SITREP

February 2019 Gilets jaunes SITREP

by Le Saker Francophone for The Saker Blog

After the Act XIII held on Saturday, February 9, we can witness that the movement is still holding and will not falter by spring. Too many people have now understood what is at stake.

Between 50,000 demonstrators, according to government figures, and 250,000, according to the figures of a police union have rallied all around France and not just in Paris, as the corporate media, all centralized in Paris, want to believe.

As for the rest of the population, the latest survey, according to the French version of the Huffington Post, shows that 64% of the French people support the movement and 77% find it useful.

The attempted counter-demonstration in support of Macron, called the Foulards rouges [the Red Scarves], took place on January 27th and gathered only a few thousand people, all in Paris and nobody in the provinces.

For now, the main concern of the demonstrators is police violence, as evidenced by the many amateur videos filmed by the demonstrators themselves and posted on social networks. Lost eyes, exploded hands, skull fractures, the CRS [the equivalent of the SWAT] no longer hesitate to shoot the demonstrators at close range with their grenades and other so-called defensive weapons. Once again, act XIII ended with a ripped hand and many wounded.

See the source image

 

Here are some of those videos:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1092559621166981120

https://twitter.com/i/status/1084126716216279040

https://youtu.be/yxhKta2f5io

https://twitter.com/i/status/1084185911787773956

https://twitter.com/i/status/1084465600796286981

https://youtu.be/u2V2A46hlxc

https://twitter.com/i/status/1084783946196533248

https://twitter.com/i/status/1085293073448484864

https://twitter.com/i/status/1085081456240664577

https://twitter.com/i/status/1071379975381622785

https://twitter.com/i/status/1071460208206077952

https://www.facebook.com/GiletsJaunesAnonymous/videos/1137370393089700/

https://www.facebook.com/GiletsJaunesAnonymous/videos/340657089994063/

Conducting such a census gave me the impression that journalists are targeted and not protected by the police. This has just been confirmed by three journalists who say they have been voluntarily targeted by the CRS during act XIII.

An analyst compared this yellow vest movement to the demonstrations that shook the Paris suburbs in 2005, where very aggressive young people did not hesitate to attack the police directly. However, there were very few injuries during these demonstrations because the anti-demonstration police were trained, and well trained, for this purpose. It therefore appears that since this is not the case for the Yellow Vests demonstrations, the police did receive orders to be particularly violent against them. This analyst believes that the intention is to terrorize the demonstrators so that they will not dare to leave home the following Saturday and that the movement will run out of steam on its own.

However, the Minister of the Interior has been recorded saying “I don’t know any police officer nor gendarme who has attacked Yellow vests”, showing, once again, to the French population either his taste for lies or his filthy ignorance of the reality on the ground; both of which are a major flaw for a Minister of the Interior.

The Human Rights League is trying to have the use of these offensive weapons banned by the CRS, but the High court has refused to do so, showing that the elite in the judiciary is not on the side of the people too.

Hundreds of demonstrators has been arrested and put in custody just because they were demonstrators. Their lawyers has condemned the hastily procedures used by the justice against them.

At the same time, Macron launched what he himself calls “Le Grand débat” [the Great Debate], a debate that consists of touring France and discussing with the mayors, which leads his opponents to say that he is campaigning, at the expense of the state, for the next European elections, elections that polls show to be favorable to those whom the mainstream press calls “the populists”, i.e. those against whom Macron is fighting. While the first debates, broadcasted entirely on television, had attracted a lot of curious spectators, their audience has rapidly decreased. Nothing has emerged from this Great Debate so far and a large majority of the French (60%) believe that it is a simple smoking screen from which nothing will come out.

As for the Prime Minister, he just submitted to the parliament an “anti-hooligans law” which, in his opinion, is “not at all a law due to the actual conditions” but a law to allow demonstrators to demonstrate in complete safety; as if it was the hooligans and not the CRS who were threatening the safety of the demonstrators. This law will allow any police officer to register any person “suspected of being a hooligan” in a protest ban file, the suspicion being sufficient. The same kind of file already used against football hooligans but not on mere suspicion this one.

On the other hand, we are witnessing the emergence of small citizen initiatives around the movement. Assembly of Yellow Vests ; promotion campaign of the RIC by Etienne Chouard ; a young lawyer, Francois Boulo, a very good speaker, is becoming an effective spokesman of the movement ; the launch of a special Yellow Vests app named GJ-France….

Internationally, the Italian government has ostensibly shown its support for the Yellow Vests and the Italian Prime Minister has even met with them. An angry Macron reacted by recalling the French ambassador to Italy, something we have never seen since Mussolini, and accuses the Italian government of interfering in French internal affairs. To which the Italian government replied that at the time of the last Italian elections, Macron had ostensibly expressed his support for the opposition, so why not return the favor? So nice for the united European Union. For Act XIII, a group of French Yellow Vests wanted to cross the border to meet an Italian group and show that if their two governments are no longer friends, the two peoples continue to be. The police prevented them from crossing the border.

To add another layer to the infamy of this government, it is now entangled in a particularly gloomy and really bizarre scandal: the Benalla affair.

Benalla is supposedly a simple security adviser/bodyguard for Macron, but the total protection offered by his boss indicates that he would be much more than that. Benalla, a 26-year-old man, has been filmed violently hitting a demonstrator in the street. As Benalla does not belong to the police, it is indeed an act outside the law that is involved, an act of violence against an individual who has not attacked him. Indignation in the population. Macron is forced to speak and claims to have fired him immediately. However, a few weeks later, the same Benalla was caught leaving for Africa, with a diplomatic passport, to have interviews with some high-ranking personalities. New public outrage. How can a person who should be in prison, who would only be a simple bodyguard, could hold a diplomatic passport and meet African personalities, on behalf of the French state since he benefits from a diplomatic passport. It smells really bad. Embarrassed and incomprehensible explanations from the government but only symbolic actions taken against the bad guy. The case seemed to be getting a little forgotten, especially since all the attention is focused on the Yellow vests, when Boum, the case flares up again and then the stench is suffocating. One of the few remaining somewhat independent mainstream media in France, Mediapart, publishes two recordings in which the famous Benalla boasts of having the full support of his boss, “you’re going to have them as he told me, you’ve always been stronger than them”, then discusses ways to get compromising evidence from Macron’s party, LREM, under the nose and beard of the police guarding the office. A real mafiosi discussion in a bar in Naples. And then, icing on the cake, Benalla would also have served as an intermediary in a rather shady business with, be careful, “a Russian oligarch close to Putin”. The scandal is of atomic proportion.

How does the government react then? Has he put the infamous Benalla in preventive detention to avoid any obstruction of justice while finally awaiting his trial, you‘re going to ask me. Well, no, better than that, he sent prosecutors to Mediapart’s offices to search them to appropriate the tapes and, above all, to find out where these recordings came from. Search which will also go wrong because it was done without a search warrant. So at least a big scandal in all the French newspapers the next day, you’re going to ask me? Well, no, not even and we even see journalists trying to defend this indefensible case. Nobody wants to bite the hand of the person who feeds you. And who feeds these journalists? The same people who put Macron in charge of the French presidency, the French plutocrats. Chances are that Benalla is part of their private mercenary militia, which would explain the incredible tolerance shown by the justice system and the government towards him. A double scandal then: the first, that a close relation of Macron dares to behave out of the rules ; the second, that nor the government, nor the media nor the justice are reacting.

What this month of January/February 2019 and its Yellow Vest movement have shown is that the plutocrats and the small gang of mercenaries in their pay firmly hold political power in France, are not about to make the slightest concession to the people and are ready to use means that will bring France close to a banana dictatorship status to remain in power. However, the dynamic launched in the population by the Gilets jaunes and the increasingly visible “government by buddies for buddies” of the Macron regime mean that the movement will not be extinguished until it has led to a profound change in the French political system. The French spring will be very hot.

Le Saker Francophone

The best democracy money can buy. Pro-israel (apartheid state) Lobby Caught on Tape Boasting That Its Money Influences Washington

Pro-Israel Lobby Boasts That Its Money Influences Washington

 by Ryan Grim

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participated in a panel discussion, at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2018. Photo: Cheriss May/Sipa via AP ImagesRep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participated in a panel discussion, at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2018. Photo: Cheriss May/Sipa via AP Images

Pro-Israel Lobby Caught on Tape Boasting That Its Money Influences Washington

Rep. Kevin McCarthy

A debate about the power in Washington of the pro-Israel lobby is underway, after Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded sharply to reports that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was targeting both Omar and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan.

Omar quoted rap lyrics — “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” — to suggest McCarthy’s move was driven by the lobby’s prolific spending. Asked specifically who she was referring to, Omar responded, “AIPAC!”

The debate over the influence of pro-Israel groups could be informed by an investigation by Al Jazeera, in which an undercover reporter infiltrated the Israel Project, a Washington-based group, and secretly recorded conversations about political strategy and influence over a six-month period in 2016. That investigation, however, was never aired by the network — suppressed by pressure from the pro-Israel lobby.

In November, Electronic Intifada obtained and published the four-part series, but it did so during the week of the midterm elections, and the documentary did not get a lot of attention then.

In it, leaders of the pro-Israel lobby speak openly about how they use money to influence the political process, in ways so blunt that if the comments were made by critics, they’d be charged with anti-Semitism.

“Congressmen and senators don’t do anything unless you pressure them.”

David Ochs, founder of HaLev, which helps send young people to American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference, described for the reporter how AIPAC and its donors organize fundraisers outside the official umbrella of the organization, so that the money doesn’t show up on disclosures as coming specifically from AIPAC. He describes one group that organizes fundraisers in both Washington and New York. “This is the biggest ad hoc political group, definitely the wealthiest, in D.C.,” Ochs says, adding that it has no official name, but is clearly tied to AIPAC. “It’s the AIPAC group. It makes a difference; it really, really does. It’s the best bang for your buck, and the networking is phenomenal.” (Ochs and AIPAC did not immediately return The Intercept’s requests for comment.)

Without spending money, Ochs argues, the pro-Israel lobby isn’t able to enact its agenda. “Congressmen and senators don’t do anything unless you pressure them. They kick the can down the road, unless you pressure them, and the only way to do that is with money,” he explains.

He describes a fundraiser for Anthony Brown, a Democrat running for Congress in Maryland, as typical. “So we want the Jewish community to go face to face in this small environment, 50, 30, 40 people, and say, ‘This is what’s important to us. We want to make sure that if we give you money, that you’re going to enforce the Iran deal.’ That way, when they need something from him or her, like the Iran deal, they can quickly mobilize and say look, we’ll give you 30 grand. They actually impact,” Ochs tells the reporter.

Such a claim is not so different from what Omar was describing, and for which she was roundly condemned. In the wake of Omar’s tweets, the Washington Post, for instance, reported, “The American Jewish Committee demanded an apology, calling her suggestion that AIPAC is paying American politicians for their support ‘demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic.’” (On Monday, Omar apologized for her tweets, but insisted that AIPAC and other lobbyist groups are harmful to U.S. politics.)

In the censored documentary, Ochs went on to describe a fundraiser hosted by Jeff Talpins, a hedge fund giant, as similar as well. “In New York, with Jeff Talpins, we don’t ask a goddamn thing about the fucking Palestinians. You know why? ’Cause it’s a tiny issue. It’s a small, insignificant issue. The big issue is Iran. We want everything focused on Iran,” Ochs says. “What happens is Jeff meets with the congressman in the back room, tells them exactly what his goals are — and by the way, Jeff Talpins is worth $250 million — basically they hand him an envelope with 20 credit cards, and say, ‘You can swipe each of these credit cards for a thousand dollars each.’”

Ochs explains that the club in New York required a minimum pledge of $10,000 to join and participate in such events. “It’s a minimum commitment. Some people give a lot more than that.”

AIPAC, on its own website, recruits members to join its “Congressional Club,” and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.

Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells the Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results. “Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did,” he notes at one secretly recorded lunch. “Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”

The film, called “The Lobby,” was produced by Al Jazeera’s investigative unit, and features hidden-camera footage obtained by the reporter, who posed as a Jewish, pro-Israel activist from Britain who wanted to volunteer with the Israel Project

Outfitted with a luxury apartment in Dupont Circle, the reporter hosted multiple gatherings and otherwise socialized broadly within the pro-Israel community, winning the confidence of senior officials, who divulged insider details, many of which have been leaked and created international news.

A companion version of the film, which looked at the Israel lobby’s influence in the United Kingdom, did make it to air and was the subject of intense controversy. It exposed a plot by an Israeli embassy official in the United Kingdom to “take down” pro-Palestinian members of Parliament, leading to his resignation.

That film, however, included a snippet of footage from the United States. Officials here quickly realized that they, too, had been infiltrated. In the U.K., the Israel lobby lodged an official complaint claiming the series was anti-Semitic, but the U.K.’s communications agency rejected the claim, finding that “the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith.”

Pro-Israel officials in the United States, rather than file an official complaint, exerted political pressure. A bipartisan group of 19 lawmakers wrote to the Justice Department requesting an investigation into “the full range of activities undertaken by Al Jazeera in the United States,” and suggesting that the organization be made to register as a foreign agent. Ultimately, Qatar bent to the pressure and killed the documentary.

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