Palestine pre-1948: were Israeli families there before 1948?

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Palestine before 1948, before Israel The video contains pictures of different Palestinian cities during the 1920’s and 1930’s, before the creation of the state of israel by the zionists in 1948.


Even if jews were living in palestine before 1948, still it does not legalize the bandit state called “israel”.

“If I came with a bible in one hand and a rifle in the other, knocked on your door, and said: “According to my bible, my family lived in your home two thousand years ago”, would you pack up your bags and leave?”— Dr. Norman Finkelstein

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israel Invites Saudis to Broker Peace While Terror-Bombing Gaza

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 By Stephen Lendman,

Truth is stranger than fiction. Israel and Saudi Arabia deplore peace and stability – perhaps a tie that binds them, along with uniting against Iran, the main reason for their alliance.

According to Saudi state-run media, Israel invited militant crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to broker peace talks with Palestinians – dead-on-arrival each time initiated, further out-of-reach following Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, igniting a firestorm in Occupied Palestine.

Last month, Abbas met with MBS in Riyadh. He received an offer designed to be rejected – statehood without sovereignty, comprised of isolated bantustans on worthless scrubland, surrounded by expanding settlements encroaching on their land, stealing it, barriers they’re forbidden to approach, ghettoizing them.

Jerusalem would become Israel’s exclusive capital, East Jerusalem increasingly off-limits to them. Diaspora Palestinians would have no right of return.

Israel would be free to exploit Palestinian resources, they way things are today. MBS’ proposal reflects Palestinian impotence under longtime Israeli collaborator Abbas.

Yet the idea of Riyadh involvement in peace talks adds an implausible element to the fraudulent process, Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz, saying:

“This is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to take the initiative upon itself and come to the Palestinians and offer its sponsorship,” adding:

“In such a situation of Saudi leadership, I’m ready to have negotiations. I’m calling on King Salman to invite Netanyahu for a visit and for the Saudi crown prince to come here for a visit in Israel.”

The Saudis can “lead processes and make decisions for the region, as well as for the Palestinians.” They’re “weak and unable to make decisions.”

Washington and Riyadh lack credibility in negotiating peace. Both countries reject equity in justice for Palestinians, their own populations, and elsewhere.

They’re warrior nations, rogue terror states. Regional peace and stability defeat their agendas.

Days earlier, Netanyahu turned truth on its head, defying reality, saying “(t)he sooner Palestinians (recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), the sooner we will move towards peace” – his notion pushing for unconditional Palestinian surrender and subjugation under endless occupation.

Separately, in response to rockets fired from Gaza, injuring no one, one alone causing minor damage, Israeli warplanes have been terror-bombing Gaza for days, including overnight, targeting Hamas positions even though its military wing had nothing to do with what’s happening.

Israel waged three wars of aggression on Gaza since December 2008. The risk of a fourth looms.

According to an IDF spokesman, “(a)nything less than total calm (in Gaza) is simply unacceptable…We will not allow (rocket) fire to continue.”

Sderot major Alon Davidi said he expects Netanyahu, defense minister Lieberman, “and the IDF commander to strike (Gaza) without mercy.”

In the wake of Palestinian rage in response to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, Mike Pence postponed his visit to Israel, scheduled for early next week.

Abbas’ diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khaldi said “(t)here will be no meeting with (him) in Palestine. The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem declaration.”

Palestinian UN envoy Yiyad Mansour said he’s working on a draft resolution to “reaffirm the positions of the Security Council (on Jerusalem) and asks the Americans to rescind” Trump’s declaration.

US veto power assures nothing adversely affecting Israeli interests becomes a Security Council adopted resolution.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

With the USA’s help, Saudi War on Yemen Is Killing 130 Children a Day

Screen shot / YouTube

The Saudi-led coalition is waging total war on Yemen in a bid to defeat the guerrilla group, the Houthis or the Helpers of God. The Houthis took power in Sanaa in fall of 2014 and consolidated it in early 2015. By March-April, Saudi Arabia’s Muhammad Bin Salman, now the crown prince, had ordered air strikes on the country that have continued to this day. These strikes have been indiscriminate, hitting schools, hospitals, apartment buildings and key civilian infrastructure like ports, bridges and roads. Any one of these strikes is a war crime. In the aggregate they become crimes against humanity.

The Houthi gang is also guilty of war crimes, and of severe human rights violations and cannot be held blameless in the unfolding devastation of Yemen. But the Saudi-led war and the various forms of blockade Riyadh is imposing on Yemen are far worse. The Houthis are a radical group deriving from Zaydi tribes in Saadeh and other towns in rural north Yemen, who as Shiites deeply resent Saudi proselytizing for hard line Salafi Sunnism in Yemen. Houthi leaders have vowed to overthrow the House of Saud and have tried to imitate the rhetorical style of Hizbullah in Lebanon. However, Houthis are a local indigenous protest movement in Yemen, and are not a proxy for Iran. Houthi weaponry is mostly American and Iran does not give them much money or other support. The Saudis try to blame Iran for the Houthi revolt in order to shift blame from their own aggressive policies.

These political considerations should not allow us to forget what is being done to Yemen children. Save the Children writes,

“Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and dangerous form of undernutrition. Symptoms include jutting ribs and loose skin with visible wasting of body tissue, or swelling in the ankles, feet and belly as blood vessels leak fluid under the skin.”

* 130 children die every day in Yemen from extreme hunger and disease–one child every 18 minutes. The Saudi blockade on ports such as Hudeida will increase this death toll.

* This year, at least 50,000 children are expected to die as indirect casualties of the war (if food cannot be off-loaded at ports, and bridges are knocked out, children will die of malnutrition).

* Nearly 400,000 children will need to be treated for severe acute malnutrition in Yemen in the next twelve months. Aid organizations are being actively interfered with in this work by the Saudi blockade and bombing strikes.

* As a result of the Saudi blockade, aid organizations like Save the Children will be out of food and medicine stocks in the next two to three months.

* If left untreated some 20 to 30 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition will perish every year.

* It should be remembered that famines usually do not kill people because there is no food at all. What happens is that the food becomes too expensive for the poor to purchase. This situation now obtains in Yemen and obviously the Saudi blockade, by obese princes who are obviously getting three square meals a day, is driving up the price of food for Yemenis.

* A shocking 10,000 children are likely to die in Taiz district and another 10,000 in the Hodeidah district this year.

The aid organization concludes:

“Save the Children currently has five shipping containers full of life-saving food for sick and malnourished children stuck in Aden because of road closures. Our staff cannot reach communities to provide life-saving care and much-needed supplies and relief workers cannot enter the country. Essential medicines, fuel and food stocks could start running out in a matter of weeks. It’s utterly unacceptable to let children die of neglect and a lack of political will. Without urgent action the future looks bleak.”

Yemeni Journalist: Saudi Arabia’s Total Blockade on Yemen is “Death Sentence” for All

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United Nations officials say Yemen will face the world’s largest famine in decades if the Saudi-led coalition refuses to lift its blockade on deliveries of aid. On Monday, the coalition shut air, land and sea routes into Yemen after Houthi rebels fired a missile that was intercepted near the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Saudi Arabia says its blockade is needed to stop Iran from sending weapons to the rebels. The U.N. says aid agencies were given no prior notice of the Saudi decision to shut down all land, air and seaports in Yemen. Meanwhile, medical experts warn the clampdown will worsen Yemen’s cholera epidemic, which has sickened more than 900,000 people. We are joined by Afrah Nasser, an independent Yemeni journalist who is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Sana’a Review. Facing death threats, she is in exile from Yemen but continues to report on human rights violations, women’s issues and press freedom there. She is here in the U.S. to receive the International Free Press Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Yemen, which United Nations officials say will face the world’s largest famine in decades if the Saudi-led coalition refuses to lift its blockade on deliveries of aid. On Monday, the coalition shut air, land and sea routes into Yemen after Houthi rebels fired a missile that was intercepted near the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Saudi Arabia says its blockade is needed to stop Iran from sending weapons to the rebels. U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock warned that if the blockade is not lifted, the resulting famine will claim millions of lives. He was speaking to reporters after a briefing at the Security Council.

MARK LOWCOCK: There will be a famine in Yemen. It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.N. says aid agencies were given no prior notice of the Saudi decision to shut down all land, air, seaports in Yemen. The World Food Program said Monday, out of Yemen’s population of 28 million people, about 20 million, quote, “do not know where they’re going to get their next meal.” Meanwhile, medical experts warn the clampdown will worsen Yemen’s cholera epidemic, which has sickened more than 900,000 people.

For more, we’re joined by two guests. We’re going to begin with Afrah Nasser, award-winning independent Yemeni journalist, founder and editor-in-chief of the Sana’a Review. Facing death threats, she’s in exile from Yemen but continues to report on human rights violations, women’s issues, press freedom there. She’s here in the U.S. to receive the International Free Press Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Afrah. I was wondering if you could start by talking about this blockade, talking about war, famine and cholera in your country, Yemen.

AFRAH NASSER: It’s an extremely dire situation. Like even before this total blockade, there were many reports that every 10 minutes there is one child getting killed because of the implications caused by the war, such as, you know, the total collapse of the healthcare system. Already there was a partial blockade imposed on many entries in Yemen for more than one year, that really exasperated the humanitarian situation because of the lack of access for, you know, humanitarian operations to operate in the country and to send humanitarian aid and send medicine and food. And so, even before this total blockade, there was a partial blockade that impacted all aspects of life. So, the recent, like over the weekend, the decision by Saudi Arabia or the Saudi-led coalition to impose a total blockade means a death sentence that will kill all Yemenis. If we used to warn about a looming famine, it is already there.

Now we will not even hear or listen or know anything about what’s happening on the ground. The journalists are where they’re behind jail. International journalists are not able to have an access to the country. So, it’s going to be like—it’s beyond tragedy, that doesn’t even caught, you know, world’s attention, because of the blockade and the impossible access for journalists to report from there.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Afrah Nasser, on Monday, you tweeted, quote, “I woke up, reading a message from my family in Sana’a, ‘All entries to Yemen are closed. We will die, we will die.’” Now, your own mother is in Sana’a, and other relatives of yours, whom you’re in touch with regularly. What do you hear from them?

AFRAH NASSER: Most of my family are in Sana’a. And my story is not a exception. Death is the new norm in Yemen. Every household have been impacted by the war. They have one cousin or one brother or one relative who died because of—if it’s not under the Saudi-led airstrikes or the shelling of the Houthi and Saleh forces in Taiz and other disputed areas, the shortage, the extreme lack of medicine and food and healthcare have—you know, I’ve lost count of how many relatives that I know, or friends of friends and relatives of my friends, who died because of the implication caused by the conflict. Myself, I lost my aunt two years ago. Just last week, I lost also another two relatives, distant relatives. And all were not victims of the airstrikes, but they were victims of the blockade and the shortage in medicine and the total collapse of healthcare.

When I got my message—that message from my mother, it was like a pleading message to the world. She knows that I get an access to speak to international media. And she wanted to tell the world that nobody will know what is happening to us, and we will die in a silent death, because of this total blockade.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Afrah Nasser, since you’ve been here, yesterday you met with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. You’ve been meeting with officials here in the U.S. What are you telling them? What do you think needs to be done? What should the U.S. position be?

AFRAH NASSER: I think the U.S. administration—actually, to be honest, it’s hopeless with the White House, and our only hope is with the Congress and the senators, who have better sympathy toward the situation in Yemen.

And no question that the U.S. has its hand in what’s going on in Yemen. They are a participant in creating, you know, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. They are a participant in creating the largest famine that we will see, that the U.N. official was talking about earlier. I think the U.S. administration has to admit that it is giving its political backing to the Saudi-led coalition. It has given its, you know, support with the arms sales and the intelligence and logistic assistance to the military operation, plus even with this total blockade. The U.S. Navy has about 80 percent control over the ports to Yemen. So, absolutely, this is—what’s going on in Yemen is absolutely relevant to the U.S. administration.

From my meetings so far, there have been some positive feedback, because, you know, as a journalist, I was able to meet and talk and report like firsthand to them. But that is not, you know, like a privilege that other journalists get. If it was not for the support from Committee to Protect Journalists, I wouldn’t have that chance, you know, to give like a firsthand narrative to what’s going on to my family and friends and everyone that I know in Yemen.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Afrah Nasser, on the question of arms sales, The Independent newspaper in the U.K. reported recently—this week, in fact—that the country’s sales of bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia have increased by almost 500 percent since the Saudi bombing campaign of Yemen began. The U.S. and the U.K. remain the largest suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia. Could you talk about that and what you think the U.S. and the U.K.—what can be done to stop these arms sales, or at least to limit them?

AFRAH NASSER: That sounds really shocking, but to be honest, for me, I was not surprised when I read the report. Just like one week or two weeks ago, there was a report that the U.K. general secretary was—state secretary was giving a talk at a hearing, saying that our criticism to Saudi Arabia human rights record would definitely harm our arms sales to them. So, absolutely, there is a double standard from Western governments, like the U.K. and the U.S. and others, that, you know, once their ally have the money and the cash, they will have disregard to the human costs that these weapons or how these weapons could be used to commit war crimes. This is absolutely like a double standard, that Yemenis themselves know or understand better than everyone, that their blood costs nothing. Their lives don’t matter in face of the cash coming from Saudi Arabia or the other members in the Saudi-led coalition, such as United Arab Emirates.

I live in Sweden, and I’m working right now on an article that expose the arms sales from Sweden to the United Arab Emirates. Believe it or not, there is like a military weaponry office and semi-factory in Abu Dhabi, in United Arab Emirates. And I can imagine that living and, you know, thinking that—in Western countries, there are a lot of lecturing about the human rights and respect for democracy values and so on. But once it’s in a country that its only fault that it’s poor, so there is no—there is disregard to the human cost that such a arms deal could, you know, accomplish on the ground. It’s such a—

AMY GOODMAN: Afrah Nasser, let’s go to a clip of an Al Jazeera reporter questioning the U.N. secretary-general’s spokesman on the Saudi blockade.

JAMES BAYS: Does the U.N. believe that by its actions—this blockade—that Saudi is in breach of international humanitarian law?

STÉPHANE DUJARRIC: I’m not in a position to issue a legal ruling. What we do know is that the blockading of ports and airports and land routes can have a tremendously negative impact on a situation which is already catastrophic.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Afrah Nasser, your response to the U.N. secretary-general’s spokesperson?

AFRAH NASSER: I’m not surprised. I’m sorry.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Do you think he should have named Saudi Arabia specifically and said that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the devastation of Yemen today?

AFRAH NASSER: Actually, there are many participants in what’s happening in Yemen. Absolutely, it’s Saudi Arabia and the members of the Saudi-led coalition, and also other Western countries that are directly involved in, you know, the military operation. So, all these countries have responsibility to, you know, to uphold the human well-being, before their—the political and military gains that they are looking for. It’s been more than three years now, with no military gains made by either one side from the warring parts. So, this war sounds insane, actually.

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Lebanon Demands Saudis Return PM Saad Hariri

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PM Resigned Amid Claims of Assassination Plot

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned last week amid claims of an assassination plot, has gone missing from his trip in Saudi Arabia, and despite Saudi denials, Lebanese officials believe he is being held by the Saudi government.

Saad Hariri

Lebanon has yet to accept the resignation, which was made during Hariri’s Saudi visit, and President Aoun is seeking diplomatic help to try to figure out what exactly happened. Other officials are demanding his return, saying restricting his movements is a violation of national sovereignty.

The Hariri resignation was made within Saudi Arabia, and blamed Iran and Hezbollah, at roughly the same time Saudi officials blamed Iran and Hezbollah for a missile fired from Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been moving to escalate tensions with Lebanon ever since.

But Hariri’s fate seems a mystery. Saudi officials initially claimed he’d left, then claimed he could leave any time he wanted. Since then, there’ve been numerous false reports of him being en route to various places, but so far he’s never turned up.

UK Sales of Bombs and Missiles to Saudi Arabia Increase by Almost 500%

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Exclusive: Campaigners say ‘mountain of evidence’ shows British-made weapons being used to commit war crimes

The number of British-made bombs and missiles sold to Saudi Arabia since the start of its bloody campaign in Yemen has risen by almost 500 per cent, The Independent can reveal.

More than £4.6bn of arms were sold in the first two years of bombings, with the Government grant increasing numbers of export licences despite mounting evidence of war crimes and massacres at hospitals, schools and weddings.

The United Nations says air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition are the main cause of almost 5,295 civilian deaths and 8,873 casualties confirmed so far, warning that the real figure is “likely to be far higher”.

It has condemned the “entirely man-made catastrophe” leaving millions more on the brink of famine and sparking the world’s worst cholera epidemic, while blacklisting Saudi Arabia for killing and maiming children.

There is also fresh concern over the Kingdom’s attempt to shut all air, land and sea ports into Yemen, which it said was to stop the flow of weapons but will also halt aid imports.

British-made bombs have been found at the scene of bombings deemed to violate international law but the UK has continued its political and material support for Riyadh’s campaign.

Figures from the Department for International Trade (DIT) show that in the two years leading up to the Yemen war, £33m of ML4 licences covering bombs, missiles and countermeasures were approved.

But in the two years since the start of Saudi bombing in March 2015, the figure increased by 457 per cent to £1.9bn, according to calculations by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT).

Licences covering aircraft including Eurofighter jets have also risen by 70 per cent to £2.6bn in the same period.

Tom Barns, co-director of CAAT, said the Government has been accelerating sales of “equipment being used to commit atrocities in Yemen” as the pace of Saudi-led air strikes increases.

“Over the course of this year the situation in Yemen is only getting worse,” he added.

“At a time when the UK should at least be putting more consideration into what’s being sold they are giving more and more of these licences.”

The products being sold include Raytheon’s Paveway IV bomb, which was found at the scene of an air strike that hit vital food stores in January last year, and the Brimstone, Storm Shadow, PGM 500 Hakim and Alarm missiles.

Accelerating sales look set to continue after Brexit, with former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon telling a controversial arms fair in London that demand was going “through the roof” because of increasing war and terror.

“As we look to life post Brexit and spread our wings further across the world, it’s high time we do more to compete for a share of this international export market,” he told Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) before his resignation.

Mr Barns said: “We’re being told that Brexit is a time for new opportunities and trading relationships but what that seems to point to more dodgy deals with the Middle East, propping up dictators and warmongering in the region.”l

The campaign group is launching a crowdfunding campaign to continue its legal battle, which has already cost it £40,000.

Kristine Beckerle, a Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said a “mountain of evidence” against Saudi Arabia had not been properly considered.

Explaining that international law does not require the intent to kill civilians for a violation to have taken place, she added: “What more does the UK Government need to start exerting leverage over the Saudi-led coalition?”

“The UK goes on and on about how it’s concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen but it seems unwilling to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to make it better.

“It’s clear that governments use arms sales as a means of leveraging political support.”

The UK has pointed to Saudi Arabia’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), which investigates allegations of civilian casualties in bombings, but HRW and other groups say its findings are not robust or credible.

“It feels like people are looking for excuses for arms sales to continue when there is clear evidence that there is a real risk,” Ms Beckerle added.

yemen2a.jpg

People stand in front of houses destroyed by Saudi-led air strikes in the Yemeni city of Saada (Reuters)

Britain is also carrying out military training for Saudi forces, including a programme helping the Royal Saudi Air Force to “improve their targeting processes”.

But the initiatives appear to have had little effect, with the UN reporting more atrocities on Tuesday.

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it was deeply concerned about attacks killing dozens of civilians, including children, over the past week.

“International humanitarian law prohibits attacks against civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate attacks, and it obliges all parties to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects,” he said, listing Saudi-led air strikes that destroyed a market, family home and public square alongside Houthi atrocities.

The conflict started in March 2015 after an opposition offensive drove the government out of the capital Sana’a, sparking an intervention by Saudi Arabia and its allies to support the internationally recognised government.

Critics have accused Riyadh, along with Western allies, of hypocrisy in supporting rebels the Syrian conflict and the “legitimate government” in the Yemen.

Saudi Arabia insists its intervention at the request of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi is a justified operation against his rival’s supporters and Houthi rebels.

The head of the country’s foreign aid agency previously told The Independent Saudi Arabia was the “number one donor for aid and development in Yemen” and that there was “no intention” to bombard civilians.

cholera.jpg

A child victim of cholera in Yemen (Reuters)

But Mr Barns said the “clear pattern of attacks” causing civilian casualties should have caused the UK to stop arms sales to the authoritarian state long ago.

“It’s a relationship that gives military and political support to one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world,” he added.

“Far from defending the world from terrorism, the bombing of Yemen is also creating ungoverned spaces where al-Qaeda and similar groups are thriving.”

The British Government has emphasised that it is not a member of the Saudi-led coalition or party to the conflict, but reinstated its support for its intervention to “deter aggression by the Houthis and allow for the return of the legitimate Yemeni Government”.

A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “The UK government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world.

“We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We will not grant a licence if to do so would be inconsistent with these Criteria.

“The Government publishes regular statistics on the value of export licences, but these are not necessarily a measure of actual exports shipped as exporters must re-apply where a licence is unused. This results in double counting.”

But Amnesty International UK said a total halt to British arms exports to Saudi Arabia was “long overdue”.

Polly Trustcott, its foreign affairs analyst, said: “When the High Court made its very disappointing ruling in the summer, we said there was a clear human rights need for the UK and other governments to stop selling arms to the Saudi coalition unless they were willing to risk becoming a party to terrible crimes in Yemen.

“These figures are a further reminder of how the UK Government is apparently more interested in the financial bottom line for the arms industry, than in the need to protect civilians.”

UK accused of blocking UN inquiry into alleged war crimes in Yemen

Jamie Merrill

Rights groups say UK is putting arms sales to Saudi Arabia before investigations into civilian deaths from coalition bombings

Yemeni men walk through a Sanaa building destroyed in a Saudi coalition air attack (AFP)

The UK is set to block an attempt to establish an independent international inquiry into the war in Yemen, prompting dismay among rights groups.

Canada and Holland are hoping to garner broad support for their proposal that the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva establish an inquiry to examine civilian deaths in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is accused of committing war crimes as part of a campaign against the Houthis.

More than 5,000 civilians have died since the conflict started in March 2015, with evidence mounting of the deliberate bombing of schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure in its campaign to support the exiled president, Abd Rabbuh Hadi.

Despite calls from rights groups, the UK government now looks set to neuter calls from Canada and several European countries for a commission, similar to the one in Syria, to document crimes that have been committed by both sides during the conflict.

Saudi investigates own air strikes, clears itself

A rival resolution backed by Egypt, a member of the Saudi-led coalition, rejects calls for an international body to investigate allegations of war crimes.

Alistair Burt, Foreign Office minister for the Middle East and North Africa, recently told reporters at the UN that the UK government believed that Saudi Arabia was best placed to investigate allegations.

“Our view is that it is for the Coalition itself, in the first instance, to conduct such investigations. They have the best insight into their own military procedures and will be able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations,” he said on 21 September.

The UK’s stance on the negotiations in Geneva come after it emerged that Saudi Arabia has investigated just 36 out of 293 allegations that it has breached international humanitarian law in Yemen recorded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London.

The figures, revealed in little noticed written answers in the UK parliament, come after Saudi Arabia’s UK-trained Joint Incidents Assessment Team reported that it only found three targeting errors in its latest batch of investigations.

The panel, which was set up after international pressure, cited the presence of fighters at the homes, school and medical clinics that were targeted. The latest report, released last week, said the coalition had acted in accordance with international humanitarian law, Reuters reported.

Half-hearted investigation

David Mepham, Human Rights Watch’s UK director, said the UK government was making “extraordinary excuses for the Saudi-led coalition” and its “half-hearted” investigations into deadly air attacks.

“Yemen is Boris Johnson’s chance to step up – to match the gravity of events on the ground with a strong British policy, rooted in justice and compassion, which can help build a better future for ordinary Yemenis,” he said.

The deadline for diplomats in Geneva to agree a consensus is Friday, but a source in Geneva told MEE that the likelihood of an independent investigation was slim. If no agreement is reached, this will be the third year in a row that the HRC has failed to address allegations of war crimes in Yemen.

Lobbying effort from Saudi Arabia killed off similar moves two years ago, while last year Saudi Arabia had its name removed from an annual UN list of countries that kill and maim children in war.

The lack of strong action from the Foreign Office comes after Saudi Arabia warned countries earlier this week that support for the resolution could “negatively affect” trade and diplomatic ties with the oil-rich kingdom. The UK granted export licences for more than £3.8bn of arms since the start of the conflict in Yemen.

Not fit for purpose

Andrew Smith, a spokesperson for anti-arms trade pressure group Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), told MEE: “The UK government has been complicit in the atrocities carried out against Yemeni people, and now it is acting to stop them from getting justice.

“The current JIAT process is clearly not fit for purpose. The Saudi regime cannot be trusted to uphold and observe the most basic human rights of Saudi people, so how can it possibly be trusted to investigate itself for war crimes?”

Last week, the MoD announced a new defence and security deal with Saudi Arabia despite increasing political pressure that has seen Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn call for a halt to arms exports to Saudi Arabia over the kingdom’s bombardment of Yemen.

“We are selling arms to Saudi Arabia… and at the same time we are sending aid in, we should not be doing both,” he told delegates at Labour’s annual conference on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office told MEE: “We are discussing with our international partners the two resolutions that have been proposed on how best to protect human rights in Yemen.”

 

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