If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Gilad Atzmon

Jewish history is a chain of disasters: inquisitions, holocausts and pogroms. Time after time, throughout their history, Jews find themselves discriminated against, persecuted and expelled and, to most Jews, this continuum of tragedy is largely a mystery. Yet one would expect that Jews, clever people for sure, would peer into their past, understand it and take whatever measures necessary to change their fate.

I was born and raised in Israel and it was many years before I realised that Israel was Palestine. When I was a young Israeli boy, the Holocaust and Jewish suffering were somehow foreign to me and my peers. It was the history of a different people, namely the diaspora Jews and we young Israelis didn’t much like their Jewish past. We didn’t want to associate ourselves with those people, so hated by so many, so often and in so many different places. Erasing two thousand years of imaginary ‘exile’, we saw ourselves as the sons and daughters of our Biblical ‘ancestors.’ We were proud youngsters and we were disgusted by victimhood.

So Jewish suffering has, in many ways, been a riddle to me. But yesterday, at the London School of Economics (LSE), I witnessed a spectacle of Jewish bad behaviour, so incredible, that much that hitherto had been unclear, suddenly became all too clear.

Yesterday, at a talk given by one of the greatest humanists of our generation, Professor. Richard Falk, it took Israel-advocate Jonathan Hoffman just sixty minutes of intensive hooliganism to cause him to be ejected from the hall.  As Hoffman and his associate were thrown out of the building, the entire room expressed their feelings by shouting “Out, out, out”

Hoffman wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill thug. Waving his Jewish nationalist symbols, he was acting openly as a Jewish-ethnic activist. Later I learned that he is associated with many Jewish and Zionist institutions: BOD, Zionist Federation and so on.

Behaving as he did with total disrespect to an academic institution, did Hoffman think that the LSE was some kind of yeshiva or perhaps just his local synagogue? I guess not. My guess is he just assumed that, like so many spaces in our country today, the LSE was simply ‘occupied’. It seems that merely the presence in a room of just one Zionist is enough to transform that room into occupied territory.

Never in my life have I seen an entire room so united in its outrage and if anyone within the Jewish community believes that hooliganism a la Hoffman & co is going to make Jews popular, they are wrong. Judging by the reaction I witnessed in the LSE yesterday, there is now total fatigue with Zionist thought control, book burning and brutality.

But I would also like to use this opportunity to issue a sincere apology. In Falk’s book launch yesterday, I suggested to a Palestinian supporter that, rather than reading Jewish historian David Cesarani on the Holocaust, he may like to give David Irving a try. Some Jewish students were outraged by my comment so I would like here to correct my statement, to make it more inclusive and categorical. Don’t just read David Irving. If you genuinely want to understand the world around you, make sure you hear every voice these people want to suppress and read every text these people try to burn.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Once you’ve read it, you decide whether the text should make it to your bookshelves – or to the pyre.

So to Jewish thought-controllers and book burners, both Zionist and ‘anti’: You have clearly launched a war against academic freedom. You are engaged in thought-control and book burning. You have begun a fight with core Western values: openness, scholarship, tolerance. All those things associated, not with Jerusalem, but with Athens. I have no doubt that in this war you may win some battles, you may manage to cancel a talk here and there, you may even manage to burn a book or two.  But you will lose the war. Freedom will prevail, for the yearning  for freedom is engraved in the human soul.

I urge Jews and Jewish institutions to consider carefully whether their behaviour really serves Jewish interests. As the author of the most read book on Jewish identity politics, I can see in the making, a disaster.

Beware.

Yemen war: More than half of British people unaware of ongoing conflict seeing UK weapons deployed by Saudis

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More than half of British people are unaware of the “forgotten war” underway in Yemen, despite the Government’s support for a military coalition accused of killing thousands of civilians.

A YouGov poll seen exclusively by The Independent showed 49 per cent of people knew of the country’s ongoing civil war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced three million more and left 14 million facing starvation.

The figure was even lower for the 18 to 24 age group, where only 37 per cent were aware of the Yemen conflict as it enters its third year of bloodshed.

More than 2,100 people were given a list of 16 countries and asked to identify any “currently involved in an ongoing armed conflict” for the research, with 84 per cent naming the Syrian civil war.

The Human Appeal, a Manchester-based charity that commissioned the poll, warned a lack of international awareness was worsening a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Yemen.

“The crisis in Yemen has been forgotten about or ignored completely,” said CEO Othman Moqbel.

“We believe this is because that the conflict has not generated a huge amount of refugees coming to Europe and there is the misperception amongst the public that it’s only a regional crisis.

“To treat what is currently happening in Yemen, and has been happening for two years, as something insignificant is turning a blind eye to the escalating humanitarian emergency.”

At least 75 people are estimated to be killed or injured every day in the conflict, which has pushed the country to the brink of famine as 14 million people lack a stable access to food.

Almost 3,800 civilians have been killed by the conflict, where President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government is fighting Houthi rebels and fighters loyal to the former President, President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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.

The UN human rights office said the Saudi-led air campaign, seeing rebel-controlled areas heavily bombarded, was responsible for 60 per cent of civilian deaths – almost 2,300 lives.

British-manufactured weapons, including cluster bombs, have been used in the strikes, despite calls by MPs to suspend sales to Saudi Arabia over war crimes allegations.

Peter Salisbury, a senior research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, said Britain was the principal sponsor of a UN Security Council resolution used by Saudi Arabia to justify its intervention.

“The UK is also a huge arms supplier and provides a great deal of logistical support to Saudi forces,” he told The Independent.

“Arguably the UK has also given political coverage to the Saudis by preventing various resolutions and investigations from happening.”

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Theresa May meeting King Salman of Saudi Arabia in December at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain (Getty)

Mr Salisbury said that while opposing the attempted coup in Yemen, the British Government was “quiet” about the military overthrowing Egypt’s elected government in 2013.

“The decision was made that Yemen was a ‘bad coup’,” he added. “And that in many ways comes down to where allies sit.”

Iran supports Houthi forces in Yemen, with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies supporting the Hadi government.

As battles continue, the Human Appeal is among international charities attempting to provide aid to Yemen’s impoverished population.

It has provided food parcels to thousands of families, clean drinking water for 37,500 people, blankets, clothing and healthcare projects including supporting the Al Jumhori public hospital.

Hundreds of Somali refugees who originally fled conflict in their home country are among those caught up in the violence in Yemen, with more than 40 massacred by a helicopter gunship as they attempted to flee on a boat on Thursday night.

While the humanitarian situation deteriorates, the conflict has largely reached a stalemate, with rebels controlling much of densely populated western Yemen, the Hadi government in the centre and east and pockets of territory held by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsuala (AQAP), Islamist militias and Isis.

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Yemenis inspect damaged houses following reported Saudi-led coalition air strikes on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital Sanaa (Getty)

But the UN Refugee Agency has warned of intensified hostilities in recent weeks, forcing more than 62,000 people from their homes in western and central Yemen, who are now sleeping in public buildings, tents, on the streets or in ruined buildings.

Calling Yemen a “forgotten war”, Mr Salisbury said neither a peaceful resolution nor an outright victory for any party was likely in the near future.

“The Trump presidency could see US play a more decisive role,” he added, although American forces have mainly been targeting AQAP terrorists, including in a botched raid that killed dozens of civilians earlier this year.

“Yemen is not an island, it is connected to other countries and the rest of the world and we’re seeing this massive growth in sectarian violence.

“All of these things have long-tern consequences for countries outside of Yemen.”

The British Government stresses that although it the Saudi-led intervention “to deter aggression by the Houthis and allow for the return of the legitimate Yemeni Government”, it is not part of the coalition.

“British personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen, nor involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process,” a spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told The Independent

“Peace talks are the top priority. The UK has played a leading role in diplomatic efforts, including bringing together key international actors to try and find a peaceful solution.”

The UK is the fourth largest donor to Yemen, committing £103 million in humanitarian aid last year.

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” 

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” — UN report

Report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 2017
Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue №1
Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid

UN group cowers to Israeli & US complaints – takes down report finding Israel guilty of apartheid

United Nations

“The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law.”

This report was commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) from authors Mr Richard Falk and Ms Virginia Tiley.

This report examines, based on key instruments of international law, whether Israel has established an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Having established that the crime of apartheid has universal application, that the question of the status of the Palestinians as a people is settled in law, and that the crime of apartheid should be considered at the level of the State, the report sets out to demonstrate how Israel has imposed such a system on the Palestinians in order to maintain the domination of one racial group over others.

A history of war, annexation and expulsions, as well as a series of practices, has left the Palestinian people fragmented into four distinct population groups, three of them (citizens of Israel, residents of East Jerusalem and the populace under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza) living under direct Israeli rule and the remainder, refugees and involuntary exiles, living beyond. This fragmentation, coupled with the application of discrete bodies of law to those groups, lie at the heart of the apartheid regime. They serve to enfeeble opposition to it and to veil its very existence. This report concludes, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, and urges swift action to oppose and end it.


Executive Summary

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.

The analysis in this report rests on the same body of international human rights law and principles that reject anti-Semitism and other racially discriminatory ideologies, including: the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965). The report relies for its definition of apartheid primarily on article II of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973, hereinafter the Apartheid Convention):

The term “the crime of apartheid”, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to… inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.

Although the term “apartheid” was originally associated with the specific instance of South Africa, it now represents a species of crime against humanity under customary international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, according to which:

“The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.

Against that background, this report reflects the expert consensus that the prohibition of apartheid is universally applicable and was not rendered moot by the collapse of apartheid in South Africa and South West Africa (Namibia).

The legal approach to the matter of apartheid adopted by this report should not be confused with usage of the term in popular discourse as an expression of opprobrium. Seeing apartheid as discrete acts and practices (such as the “apartheid wall”), a phenomenon generated by anonymous structural conditions like capitalism (“economic apartheid”), or private social behaviour on the part of certain racial groups towards others (social racism) may have its place in certain contexts. However, this report anchors its definition of apartheid in international law, which carries with it responsibilities for States, as specified in international instruments.

The choice of evidence is guided by the Apartheid Convention, which sets forth that the crime of apartheid consists of discrete inhuman acts, but that such acts acquire the status of crimes against humanity only if they intentionally serve the core purpose of racial domination. The Rome Statute specifies in its definition the presence of an “institutionalized regime” serving the “intention” of racial domination. Since “purpose” and “intention” lie at the core of both definitions, this report examines factors ostensibly separate from the Palestinian dimension — especially, the doctrine of Jewish statehood as expressed in law and the design of Israeli State institutions — to establish beyond doubt the presence of such a core purpose.

That the Israeli regime is designed for this core purpose was found to be evident in the body of laws, only some of which are discussed in the report for reasons of scope. One prominent example is land policy. The Israeli Basic Law (Constitution) mandates that land held by the State of Israel, the Israeli Development Authority or the Jewish National Fund shall not be transferred in any manner, placing its management permanently under their authority. The State Property Law of 1951 provides for the reversion of property (including land) to the State in any area “in which the law of the State of Israel applies”. The Israel Lands Authority (ILA) manages State land, which accounts for 93 per cent of the land within the internationally recognized borders of Israel and is by law closed to use, development or ownership by non-Jews. Those laws reflect the concept of “public purpose” as expressed in the Basic Law. Such laws may be changed by Knesset vote, but the Basic Law: Knesset prohibits any political party from challenging that public purpose. Effectively, Israeli law renders opposition to racial domination illegal.

Demographic engineering is another area of policy serving the purpose of maintaining Israel as a Jewish State. Most well known is Israeli law conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country. The World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency are vested with legal authority as agencies of the State of Israel to facilitate Jewish immigration and preferentially serve the interests of Jewish citizens in matters ranging from land use to public development planning and other matters deemed vital to Jewish statehood. Some laws involving demographic engineering are expressed in coded language, such as those that allow Jewish councils to reject applications for residence from Palestinian citizens. Israeli law normally allows spouses of Israeli citizens to relocate to Israel but uniquely prohibits this option in the case of Palestinians from the occupied territory or beyond. On a far larger scale, it is a matter of Israeli policy to reject the return of any Palestinian refugees and exiles (totalling some six million people) to territory under Israeli control.

Two additional attributes of a systematic regime of racial domination must be present to qualify the regime as an instance of apartheid. The first involves the identification of the oppressed persons as belonging to a specific “racial group”. This report accepts the definition of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of “racial discrimination” as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. On that basis, this report argues that in the geopolitical context of Palestine, Jews and Palestinians can be considered “racial groups”. Furthermore, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is cited expressly in the Apartheid Convention.

The second attribute is the boundary and character of the group or groups involved. The status of the Palestinians as a people entitled to exercise the right of self determination has been legally settled, most authoritatively by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 2004 advisory opinion on Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. On that basis, the report examines the treatment by Israel of the Palestinian people as a whole, considering the distinct circumstances of geographic and juridical fragmentation of the Palestinian people as a condition imposed by Israel. (Annex II addresses the issue of a proper identification of the “country” responsible for the denial of Palestinian rights under international law.)

This report finds that the strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people is the principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime. It first examines how the history of war, partition, de jure and de facto annexation and prolonged occupation in Palestine has led to the Palestinian people being divided into different geographic regions administered by distinct sets of law. This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance. Different methods are deployed depending on where Palestinians live. This is the core means by which Israel enforces apartheid and at the same time impedes international recognition of how the system works as a complementary whole to comprise an apartheid regime.

Since 1967, Palestinians as a people have lived in what the report refers to as four “domains”, in which the fragments of the Palestinian population are ostensibly treated differently but share in common the racial oppression that results from the apartheid regime. Those domains are:

1. Civil law, with special restrictions, governing Palestinians who live as citizens of Israel;

2. Permanent residency law governing Palestinians living in the city of Jerusalem;

3. Military law governing Palestinians, including those in refugee camps, living since 1967 under conditions of belligerent occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip;

4. Policy to preclude the return of Palestinians, whether refugees or exiles, living outside territory under Israel’s control.

Domain 1 embraces about 1.7 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. For the first 20 years of the country’s existence, they lived under martial law and to this day are subjected to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish. That policy of domination manifests itself in inferior services, restrictive zoning laws and limited budget allocations made to Palestinian communities; in restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities; and in the mostly segregated landscape in which Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel live. Palestinian political parties can campaign for minor reforms and better budgets, but are legally prohibited by the Basic Law from challenging legislation maintaining the racial regime. The policy is reinforced by the implications of the distinction made in Israel between “citizenship” (ezrahut) and “nationality” (le’um): all Israeli citizens enjoy the former, but only Jews enjoy the latter. “National” rights in Israeli law signify Jewish-national rights. The struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel for equality and civil reforms under Israeli law is thus isolated by the regime from that of Palestinians elsewhere.

Domain 2 covers the approximately 300,000 Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, who experience discrimination in access to education, health care, employment, residency and building rights. They also suffer from expulsions and home demolitions, which serve the Israeli policy of “demographic balance” in favour of Jewish residents. East Jerusalem Palestinians are classified as permanent residents, which places them in a separate category designed to prevent their demographic and, importantly, electoral weight being added to that of Palestinians citizens in Israel. As permanent residents, they have no legal standing to challenge Israeli law. Moreover, openly identifying with Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory politically carries the risk of expulsion to the West Bank and loss of the right even to visit Jerusalem. Thus, the urban epicentre of Palestinian political life is caught inside a legal bubble that curtails its inhabitants’ capacity to oppose the apartheid regime lawfully.

Domain 3 is the system of military law imposed on approximately 6.6 million Palestinians who live in the occupied Palestinian territory, 4.7 million of them in the West Bank and 1.9 million in the Gaza Strip. The territory is administered in a manner that fully meets the definition of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention: except for the provision on genocide, every illustrative “inhuman act” listed in the Convention is routinely and systematically practiced by Israel in the West Bank. Palestinians are governed by military law, while the approximately 350,000 Jewish settlers are governed by Israeli civil law. The racial character of this situation is further confirmed by the fact that all West Bank Jewish settlers enjoy the protections of Israeli civil law on the basis of being Jewish, whether they are Israeli citizens or not. This dual legal system, problematic in itself, is indicative of an apartheid regime when coupled with the racially discriminatory management of land and development administered by Jewish-national institutions, which are charged with administering “State land” in the interest of the Jewish population. In support of the overall findings of this report, annex I sets out in more detail the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory that constitute violations of article II of the Apartheid Convention.

Domain 4 refers to the millions of Palestinian refugees and involuntary exiles, most of whom live in neighbouring countries. They are prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Israel defends its rejection of the Palestinians’ return in frankly racist language: it is alleged that Palestinians constitute a “demographic threat” and that their return would alter the demographic character of Israel to the point of eliminating it as a Jewish State. The refusal of the right of return plays an essential role in the apartheid regime by ensuring that the Palestinian population in Mandate Palestine does not grow to a point that would threaten Israeli military control of the territory and/or provide the demographic leverage for Palestinian citizens of Israel to demand (and obtain) full democratic rights, thereby eliminating the Jewish character of the State of Israel. Although domain 4 is confined to policies denying Palestinians their right of repatriation under international law, it is treated in this report as integral to the system of oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole, given its crucial role in demographic terms in maintaining the apartheid regime.

This report finds that, taken together, the four domains constitute one comprehensive regime developed for the purpose of ensuring the enduring domination over non-Jews in all land exclusively under Israeli control in whatever category. To some degree, the differences in treatment accorded to Palestinians have been provisionally treated as valid by the United Nations, in the absence of an assessment of whether they constitute a form of apartheid. In the light of this report’s findings, this long-standing fragmented international approach may require review.

In the interests of fairness and completeness, the report examines several counterarguments advanced by Israel and supporters of its policies denying the applicability of the Apartheid Convention to the case of Israel-Palestine. They include claims that: the determination of Israel to remain a Jewish State is consistent with practices of other States, such as France; Israel does not owe Palestinian non-citizens equal treatment with Jews precisely because they are not citizens; and Israeli treatment of the Palestinians reflects no “purpose” or “intent” to dominate, but rather is a temporary state of affairs imposed on Israel by the realities of ongoing conflict and security requirements. The report shows that none of those arguments stands up to examination. A further claim that Israel cannot be considered culpable for crimes of apartheid because Palestinian citizens of Israel have voting rights rests on two errors of legal interpretation: an overly literal comparison with South African apartheid policy and detachment of the question of voting rights from other laws, especially provisions of the Basic Law that prohibit political parties from challenging the Jewish, and hence racial, character of the State.

The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law. The international community, especially the United Nations and its agencies, and Member States, have a legal obligation to act within the limits of their capabilities to prevent and punish instances of apartheid that are responsibly brought to their attention. More specifically, States have a collective duty: (a) not to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a State in maintaining an apartheid regime; and © to cooperate with the United Nations and other States in bringing apartheid regimes to an end. Civil society institutions and individuals also have a moral and political duty to use the instruments at their disposal to raise awareness of this ongoing criminal enterprise, and to exert pressure on Israel in order to persuade it to dismantle apartheid structures in compliance with international law. The report ends with general and specific recommendations to the United Nations, national Governments, and civil society and private actors on actions they should take in view of the finding that Israel maintains a regime of apartheid in its exercise of control over the Palestinian people.


The original report was deleted from the UN website. Alternative source here

The full report: (download pdf here)

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Saudi Arabia, member of UNHRC blocks Yemen’s largest port to stop humanitarian aid

Saudi Arabia’s Blockade Of Yemen’s Largest Port Expected To Worsen Humanitarian Crisis

UN elects Saudi Arabia to Human Rights Council

Despite a warning from the UN to end its existing blockades of Yemeni ports, a Saudi-led coalition is planning another major assault on the nation’s largest port city of Al Hudaydah, a move that threatens to worsen Yemen’s already unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

 

A Yemeni man looks at a World Food Program ship at the port of Aden, Yemen

A Yemeni man looks at a World Food Program ship at the port of Aden, Yemen, Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

MINNEAPOLIS – While the Syrian conflict has long dominated international coverage of Middle Eastern crises, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has been continually overlooked by the mainstream media. Since March 2015, the nation has been in a state of chaos following the overthrow of former Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was installed by the United States and Saudi governments, by a grassroots political movement led by the Houthis.

Following the Houthi-led coup, Saudi Arabia essentially invaded Yemen, eager to maintain control over the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait, a critical area for the region’s oil trade. The Saudis’ efforts to maintain their undue influence in Yemeni politics and maintain hegemony over a key oil route has now manifested as a war effort bordering on genocide — one that has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians. In addition, more than a third of Saudi airstrikes in the nation are believed to have destroyed civilian targets.

Despite the severity of the crisis, as well as Saudi Arabia’s apparent penchant for bombing hospitals and civilian infrastructure, the U.S. has remained unusually silent, essentially turning a blind eye in the face of repeated war crimes committed by its ally. The U.S. has involved itself militarily in Yemen to aid in the Saudis’ destruction of their southern neighbor, launching missiles and – more recently – botched raids that claimed the lives of numerous civilians, including an eight-year-old U.S. citizen.


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The U.S. has also enabled the Saudis to commit war crimes in Yemen by continuing to sell them millions of dollars in weapons, despite their documented tendency to attack and bomb civilians. While the U.S. has been quick to accuse other nations of similar atrocities in Syria, it has been eerily silent, as well as complicit in, the crimes committed by Saudi Arabia.

The combination of minimal media attention, as well as tacit U.S. support for the Saudi war effort, has Yemen on the verge of collapse. According to the NGO Save the Children, tens of thousands of children in the embattled nation are dying due to the collapse of the country’s health care system. Since Saudi Arabia first invaded, more than 270 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed, many directly by the Saudis.

In addition, more than half of Yemen’s estimated 3,500 health facilities are closed or barely functioning, leaving nearly eight million Yemeni children without access to adequate health care, resulting in the deaths of nearly a thousand children every week, according to estimates.

But the health crisis is only part of the suffering that has become a daily reality for Yemenis. Famine is also taking its toll, with an estimated 19 million people – two-thirds of Yemen’s entire population – in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. More than half of the nation is suffering from a lack of adequate nutrition, according to UN estimates, with more than 370,000 children under the age of five suffering from severe malnutrition.

Much of the famine is preventable, as it has largely manifested as a direct result of the Saudis’ naval blockade of key Yemeni ports. Recent changes to Yemen’s central bank also threaten to rob many Yemenis of their capacity to purchase what little food is still available in the country.

In this Tuesday, March 22, 2016 photo, infant Udai Faisal, who is suffering from acute malnutrition, is hospitalized at Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Udai died on March 24. Hunger has been the most horrific consequence of Yemen’s conflict and has spiraled since Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the U.S., launched a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade a year ago. (AP Photo/Maad al-Zikry)

In this Tuesday, March 22, 2016 photo, infant Udai Faisal, who is suffering from acute malnutrition, is hospitalized at Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Udai died on March 24th. Hunger has been the most horrific consequence of Yemen’s conflict and has spiraled since Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the U.S., launched a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade two year ago. (AP/Maad al-Zikry)

Despite UN pleas to the Saudis to end their blockades, the Saudis and their anti-Houthi coalition have announced plans to assault Al Hudaydah, Yemen’s largest port city. Catherine Shakdam, associate director of the Beirut Center for Middle Eastern Studies and an expert on Yemen, told MintPress that “government officials in Hodeida have already confirmed an increase in attacks in Yemeni waters” as a result of the latest Saudi-led assault. She added that “fishermen have been shot at for trying to feed their families and drones have been spotted doing what is believed to be reconnaissance work.”

Shakdam added that this assault is only the most recent effort by the Saudis to cripple the strategic port city, remarking that the Saudis are “determined to punish civilians in the hope they will rise against the resistance movement and defeat its forces from the inside.”

Russia’s foreign ministry condemned the Saudis’ latest plan to cripple the Houthi movement, saying that the operation “would not only inevitably lead to a mass exodus of the [local] population but would also de facto cut the [Yemeni] capital of Sanaa from… food and humanitarian aid supplies.” The U.S. has yet to comment on the plan, but its silence thus far already speaks volumes

West Sanctions Hitting Syrian Kids’ Cancer Treatment: WHO

Created on Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:28

Western sanctions on Syria are seriously impacting the treatment of children with cancer, say local and World Health Organization (WHO) officials, according to Press TV.

“The impact of economic sanctions imposed on Syria heavily affected the procurement of some specific medicine, including anti-cancer medicines,” said the WHO representative in Syria, Elizabeth Hoff.

Before the terrorist war, Syria produced 90 percent of the medicines it needed but anti-cancer drugs were among those where it traditionally relied on imports.

Syria has been under an array of sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union, which claim they have included exemptions for medicines and other humanitarian supplies for Syria, rejecting criticisms of sanctions.

“Such measures are not aimed at the civilian population,” an EU spokeswoman claimed. “EU sanctions do not apply to key sectors of the Syrian economy such as food and medicine.”

However, the sanctions are affecting trade in pharmaceuticals due to restrictions on financial transactions and business with the Syrian government.

The sanctions are preventing many international pharmaceutical companies from dealing with the Syrian authorities as well as hindering foreign banks’ handling of payments for imported drugs, Hoff said.

The WHO official added that in addition to cancer medication, there were critical shortages of insulin, anesthetics, specific antibiotics needed for intensive care, serums, intravenous fluids and other blood products and vaccines.

Meanwhile, the head of the Damascus hospital, Maher Haddad, also blamed sanctions for the lack of much-needed medication.

“Most of the cancer medicines are imported. Pharmex (the company that buys drugs for hospitals across Syria) used to import medicines that public hospitals need. But it has not been able to do so largely because of the economic sanctions, I believe,” he said.

This comes as six years of foreign-backed militancy has heavily affected the Syrian health service, once one of the best in the Middle East.

According to WHO, only 44 percent of hospitals are now fully functioning across Syria and more than a quarter are not working at all as a result of the war.

H.M

Video: A Peek Inside the White Helmets’ former HQ in E. Aleppo

Turns out that the two buildings housing the central headquarters for the White Helmets and Al-Nusra were located adjacent to each other in Eastern Aleppo–and that both were just a short walk from the M10 hospital, a facility formerly pronounced “destroyed” by the mainstream media (though it is in fact still standing, as the video shows).

The video above offers a look inside all three buildings, but the walk through the White Helmets domicile is particularly interesting…lots of graffiti, including support of ISIS. Well hardly surprising–but still interesting to see.

Pierre Le Corf

The video was filmed by Pierre Le Corf, who has been doing humanitarian work in Syria and who is also the founder of the organization We Are Super Heroes. According to his Linked-in profile, his work in Aleppo has included providing first aid training for youth and adults. In his walk through the White Helmets building, he pauses at a second-floor window–at which point the camera looks out…at the Al-Nusra headquarters and the M10 hospital, both practically within spitting distance.

The White Helmets, you’ll recall, were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last year. They didn’t get it. But a Netflix documentary about them did get an Oscar at the Academy Awards. Meanwhile the media go on extolling them as saintly humanitarians. Here is what CBS reported just over a week ago:

Some of last week’s Oscar winners did not attend the ceremony because they were saving lives in Syria. The White Helmets are showing the best of humanity in the worst of places.

The White Helmets did on Monday what they always do — racing to the aftermath of a deadly airstrike to pull civilians and bodies from the rubble.

Business as usual in the hellish chaos of Syria’s civil war, where Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes destroy neighborhoods.

21st Century Wire has posted a commentary on Le Corf’s video–a commentary which also gives a perspective on the White Helmets, though one slightly different from that churned out by CBS. Here is an excerpt:

During the liberation of East Aleppo from Nusra Front-led extremists, Le Corf recorded events on a daily basis, including tireless evidence gathering of the terrorist mortar attacks that decimated entire neighbourhoods of West Aleppo and maimed and mutilated thousands of children – largely unreported by western NATO aligned media and NGOs.

After liberation, Le Corf has been returning to the liberated areas of East Aleppo and investigating the evidence left behind by the departing terrorist groups and their “civil defence”, the NATO and Gulf state, multi million dollar funded, White Helmets who did not stay behind to assist with the civilian refugees but departed with Nusra Front, Harakat Nour al Din Zinki and other extremist groups responsible for civilian executions, torture, abuse, deprivation, starvation and rape during the almost five year occupation of East Aleppo.

In the video (above), Le Corf films the Nusra Front terrorist compound, the M10 hospital that was allegedly bombed according to the corporate media reports during November and December 2016, and finally he films inside the largest White Helmet centre in East Aleppo located inside the Nusra Front compound, in fact directly opposite Nusra Front. The Nusra Front flags and extremist graffitti inside the White Helmet centre are further proof of their affiliation to the various terrorist and extremist groups.

The article then supplies a lengthy quote from Sheila Coombes, whose Facebook page can be found here. I’ll quote just a bit of what she had to say. You can go to the 21 Wire page to read it in full:

There were NO international aid organisations on the ground in East Aleppo prior to the liberation, all of the mainstream media reporting was written, and in the case of the White Helmets, filmed, by terrorists & armed extremists and spoon fed to lazy mainstream media regime-change tools. Forget the BBC, forget Channel 4, forget CNN, NBC, the holier than thou and deadly as sin Guardian, the Independent and the do gooders, bombing for democracy and freedom, the blood they have on their hands will not wash off – and the pompous idiots who condemn anyone who questions their narrative are complicit in stifling dissent for these enablers of death and destruction.

I wonder how the media would explain what is revealed in Le Corf’s video–namely that the headquarters of Al-Nusra and the headquarters of the White Helmets were located basically just across a courtyard from each other? I don’t suppose CBS or the others would even attempt to go there.

Saudi Aggression on Yemen: 20+ Martyred in New Massacre at Al-Hudaydah [Graphic Content]

 11-03-2017 | 10:48

Local Editor

In a new horrible massacre against Yemen, more than 20 people have been martyred in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a marketplace in the town of al-Hudaydah in Yemen. Graphic footage appears to show debris and bodies burning in the aftermath of the bombing.

According to AFP, 26 people were martyred in the airstrike.

Al-Masirah TV channel reported that 27 people were martyred and dozens wounded in the attack.

The Red Sea port of al-Hudaydah is Yemen’s fourth-largest city, with a population of around 400,000, located in the west of the country.

Riyadh and its allies have been accused of war crimes by humanitarian groups after their airstrikes hit residential areas and public gatherings on numerous occasions.

Human Rights Watch [HRW] reported in October that the Saudi coalition, “with direct military support from the US and assistance from the UK,” conducted at least 58 “unlawful airstrikes.”

In late February, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said that around 10,000 people have been martyred in the country since Saudi Arabia intervened, with 7 million people close to starvation.

According to World Health Organization figures, more than 7,400 people have been martyred, with around 1,400 of them being children.

The UN Security Council on Friday convened for a report by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien on the humanitarian situation in a number of countries, including Yemen.

O’Brien said that, with regard to Yemen, “only a political solution will ultimately end human suffering and bring stability to the region.”

Vladimir Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, said that “the settlement of the conflict in Yemen lies exclusively in political realm and can be achieved only through negotiations in accordance with a balanced and mutually acceptable settlement plan.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, communications and advocacy director at Human Rights Watch [HRW], Middle East & North Africa, said that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is “increasingly unsustainable” and the urgent action must be taken by both sides in the conflict to stop the country plunging further into a “deep humanitarian catastrophe” as the situation “cannot continue like this for very long.”

“We ourselves, at Human Rights Watch, were able to document 61 apparent unlawful airstrikes, all conducted by the coalition, some of which may amount indeed to war crimes and that have killed nearly 900 civilians and have hit civilian areas, including markets, schools, hospitals and private homes,” he said.

He called on western powers, who are continuing to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons despite the damning evidence of its human rights violations in Yemen, to immediately halt deliveries.

“We clearly recommend that the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others should suspend all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia until they curtail their unlawful airstrikes in Yemen and until also a credible investigation is conducted about those violations,” the HRW representative said, adding that previous investigations conducted by the coalition do not appear to HRW to be “fair or credible.”

Benchemsi also slammed the blockade “organized by the Saudi-led coalition”.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

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