IG: US Has Installed Child Rapists in Afghanistan

IG: US Has Installed Child Rapists in Afghanistan

SEE ALSO

An Afghan boy looks on he stands at the site of a landslide that killed at least 350 people and leaving thousands of others feared dead at the Argo district in Badakhshan,inputted on May 4th, 2014. Farshad Usyan/AFP/Getty Images.   An Afghan boy looks on he stands at the site of a landslide that killed at least 350 people and leaving thousands of others feared dead at the Argo district in Badakhshan,inputted on May 4th, 2014. Farshad Usyan/AFP/Getty Images.   

US Troops Taught For Years Child Sex Abuse Is ‘Culturally Accepted’ In Afghanistan

Jonah Bennett and Saagar Enjeti

U.S. troops deploying to Afghanistan were taught for years that child sex abuse is a “culturally accepted practice” in the country, and were provided no guidance that it constituted a violation of the law and human rights until late 2015.

A new Pentagon inspector general report reveals that although troops weren’t explicitly discouraged from reporting cases of child sex abuse, the issue was not discussed until numerous media outlets reported that troops were encouraged to ignore local Afghan officials abusing little boys.

Interviews of troops from the report suggest that military officials didn’t really care much about stopping child sex abuse.

“In some cases, the interviewees explained that they, or someone whom they knew, were told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation, that it was not a priority for the command, or that it was best to ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it,” the report noted.

One interviewee said after he reported an Afghan commander who abused little boys to his chain of command, he was told: “It was out of our control” and “There’s nothing we can do about it” and “It’s their country.”

“Soldiers [were] told to ignore it and drive on,” another interviewee stated.

The cultural presentation sailors had to undergo stated that pedophilia is an issue in Afghanistan, but added that readers should “control and overcome any frustration caused by cultural differences that they may experience during their deployments.”

Additionally, the presentation advised sailors that they should ask their chains of command what to do in specific circumstances.

Marine Corps cultural training told Marines that they “need to understand the culture, accept it without making judgments, and figure out how to work with it or around it to accomplish your mission.”

The training also said that sometimes Afghan men joke about pedophilia, but Marines should just ignore it and “move on.”

Marines were not given any guidance about what they should do if they ever encounter instances of pedophilia.

The inspector general’s finding was damning. Effectively, the military only started to care about the problem of pedophilia and abuse after media outlets started reporting on the issue.

“We determined that the DoD did not conduct training for personnel on identifying, responding to, or reporting instances of child sexual abuse involving ANDSF personnel before 2015,” the report noted.

While troops have been told to report human rights violations since 2011, child sex abuse was not declared as a violation until September 2016. Between 2010 and 2016, 16 cases of child sex abuse were reported to the Pentagon, but because no proper reporting mechanisms existed, the exact number of cases is unknown.

The first explicit guidance to report child sex abuse only came about in September 2015, following a report from The New York Times, which interviewed former soldiers. They stated they were told to ignore child sex abuse, despite hearing the screams of boys being sexually abused by high-level Afghan officials on U.S. military installations.

Advertisements

Historic US Bill Would Outlaw «Israel» Aid Used To Abuse Children

15-11-2017 | 15:59

Ten members of Congress are cosponsoring a bill to bar the US from financially supporting human rights abuses of Palestinian children by the “Israeli” military.

Palestinian boy arrested by

The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, introduced on Tuesday, is the first ever bill to prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children as a condition for US support, according to campaigners.

The bill requires the Secretary of State to annually certify that no US funds allocated to the “Israeli” entity will have been used to “support military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.”

The legislation would block funds used by the entity to inflict “torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment,” “physical violence, including restraint in stress positions,” “hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats or other forms of psychological abuse.”

It would also target solitary confinement, administrative detention, denial of access to parents or lawyers during interrogations and “confessions obtained by force or coercion.”

It add that while “children under the age of 12 cannot be persecuted in ‘Israeli’ military courts,” the “Israeli” military has in the past detained children under that age for interrogations lasting hours. The sponsors rely on information from Human Rights Watch and the United Nations, as well as on the State Department’s annual human rights report.

They note that the State Department’s 2016 report mentioned “a significant increase in detentions of minors” and accused the “Israeli” authorities of having Palestinian minors sign confessions written in Hebrew, which most of them could not read.

The bill sends a clear message to “Israeli” officials “that widespread ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees must end and is a direct challenge to the systemic impunity enjoyed by ‘Israeli’ forces” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Parker told The Electronic Intifada.

The legislation was proposed by Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, who in 2015 wrote a letter asking the previous secretary of state, John Kerry, to take action on the detention of Palestinian minors.

“‘Israel’s’ military detention of Palestinian children is an indefensible abuse of human rights. I hope this letter results in State Department pressure on the Government of ‘Israel’ to end this systemic abuse immediately,” McCollum wrote.

A number of members of Congress who signed that letter in 2015 have now joined as co-sponsors to McCollum’s legislation. They include House Democrats Earl Blumenauer (Oregon), Peter DeFazio (Oregon), Danny Davis (Illinois), John Conyers (Michigan) and Raul Grijalva (Arizona).

The fact that the legislation drew support from 10 Democrats overall, before being formally introduced in the House, is seen as a sign of success for pro-Palestinian activists in the United States, even if the legislation does not pass in the end.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

The 5-Year-Old Girl Who Opened the World’s Eyes to Yemen’s Plight

08-09-2017 | 12:23

In a hospital room in Yemen, well-wishers sing songs and play the guitar for five-year-old Buthaina. She smiles and tears begin to drop from her eyes. She then picks up her crayons and draws a sketch of her family.

 

Buthaina al-Raimi

Buthaina Muhammad Mansour al-Raimi is the sole survivor in her immediate family after an airstrike destroyed an apartment building in Yemen’s capital on August 25, according to Yemen’s human rights ministry and information ministry. The group also says the attack killed 16 people, including Buthaina’s parents and five siblings.

Buthaina, now in the care of her aunt and uncle, her new guardians, doesn’t know that yet. None of her relatives or doctors have told her.Dramatic photographs published after the strike showed Buthaina being pulled from the rubble, her eyes sealed shut by bruises.

Shortly after, local media tried to interview her while she was on her hospital bed. Buthaina tried to force one of her eyes open to see who was speaking to her.

Little did Buthaina know that the tiny gesture would turn into a symbol of Yemen’s plight.

 

         

    

  

 

Buthaina al-Raimi

The photograph capturing the moment prompted a powerful social-media campaign, highlighting the country’s humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of tweets showed pictures of people mimicking Buthaina’s gesture around multiple hashtags.

A fractured skull 

At her hospital room this week, Buthaina is surrounded by relatives and well-wishers. The walls are decorated with children’s drawings and balloons cover the ground.

Doctors say Buthaina has a fractured skull and many bruises to her body. Her uncle says they don’t know when she will be discharged from the hospital.

The young girl’s cousins try to entertain her with dolls. Buthaina, her rumpled curly hair tied in a ponytail, sits at the center of the gathering.

“She lost her entire family. It’s been 10 days since they died and she still asks her uncle when her parents will visit her,” Yasser al-Ghori, head of the emergency department of the hospital treating Buthaina, told CNN.

Buthaina al-Raimi

“I can never replace Buthaina’s father but she is my daughter now and will be forever. We hope our loss will lead to the end of the nearly three-year war that devastated Yemen and killed thousands of innocent children,” Ali al-Raimi, Buthaina’s uncle and guardian, told CNN.

Since March 2015, the UN Human Rights Office has documented some 13,829 civilian casualties, including more than 5,000 people killed.

Late at night, Buthaina wakes up screaming and crying, said her aunt Samah al-Raimi, who has been sleeping next to her. The woman added that she has trouble knowing whether the source of Buthaina’s anguish is physical pains or bad dreams about the deadly night.

“Buthaina is a priority to me and I give her double personal time, compared to my daughter Sumayya. That is still not enough because the tragedy she went through cannot be forgotten, not now, not forever,” Samah al-Raimi told CNN.

The ongoing Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen has prompted a string of humanitarian crises. According to UNICEF, a child dies every 10 minutes in the war-torn country from preventable causes like diarrhea, breathing infections and malnutrition.

UNICEF has also dubbed Yemen home to “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis,” as well as the world’s biggest cholera outbreak, with over 600,000 cases of suspected cholera recorded by the World Health Organization in just four months.

‘Technical mistake’ 

But the bombings are also taking a horrific toll. During the same week of the airstrike that killed Buthaina’s family, the United Nations estimates that 58 civilians were killed in airstrikes, including 42 in bombings by the Saudi-led coalition. That death toll is higher than in the entire month of July, which saw 57 civilian deaths.

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the deadly airstrike and said it resulted from a “technical mistake,” according to a statement from the state-run Saudi Press Agency on August 25.

The attack flattened two buildings in Sanaa’s southern district of Faj Attan, amid escalating violence in the war-torn country.

A Saudi-led coalition spokesman expressed “deep sorrow for this unintentional accident and for the collateral damage among civilians.”

Buthaina’s supporters in Yemen say they hope that the girl’s pain will open the eyes of the rest of the world to a war that has gone unnoticed by far too many for far too long.

CNN’s Sarah El Sirgany contributed to this report.

Source: CNN, Edited by website team

 

‘It’s a Slow Death’: The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

Shuaib Almosawa, Ben Hubbard, Troy Griggs

After two and a half years of war, little is functioning in Yemen.

Cholera in Yemen


Repeated bombings crippled bridges, hospitals and factories. Many doctors and civil servants have gone unpaid for more than a year. Malnutrition and poor sanitation have made the Middle Eastern country vulnerable to diseases that most of the world has confined to the history books.

In just three months, cholera has killed nearly 2,000 people and infected more than a half million, one of the world’s largest outbreaks in the past 50 years.

“It’s a slow death,” said Yakoub al-Jayefi, a Yemeni soldier who has not collected a salary in eight months, and whose 6-year-old daughter, Shaima, was being treated for malnutrition at a clinic in the Yemeni capital, Sana.

Since the family’s savings ran out, they had lived mostly off milk and yogurt from neighbors. But that was not enough to keep his daughter healthy, and her skin went pale as she grew thin.

Like more than half of Yemenis, the family did not have immediate access to a working medical center, so Mr. Jayefi borrowed money from friends and relatives to take his daughter to the capital.

“We’re just waiting for doom or for a breakthrough from heaven,” he said.
How did a country in a region with such great wealth fall so far and so fast into crisis?

A Collapsed State

Many coalition airstrikes have killed and wounded civilians, including strikes on Wednesday around the capital. The bombings have also heavily damaged Yemen’s infrastructure, including a crucial seaport and important bridges as well as hospitals, sewage facilities and civilian factories.

 

Yemen


Services that Yemenis have depended on are gone, and the destruction has undermined the country’s already weak economy. It has also made it harder for humanitarian organizations to bring in and distribute aid.

The Saudi-led coalition has also kept Sana’s international airport closed to civilian air traffic for more than a year, meaning that merchants cannot fly goods in, and sick and wounded Yemenis cannot fly abroad for treatment. Many of them have died.

Neither of Yemen’s two competing administrations has paid regular salaries to many civil servants in over a year, impoverishing their families as there is little other work to be found. Among those affected are professionals whose work is essential to dealing with the crisis, like doctors, nurses and sewage system technicians, leading to the near collapse of their sectors.

The Devastation of Cholera

Damage from the war has turned Yemen into a fertile environment for cholera, a bacterial infection spread by water contaminated with feces. As garbage has piled up and sewage systems have failed, more Yemenis are relying on easily polluted wells for drinking water. Heavy rains since April accelerated the wells’ contamination.

 

Cholera in Yemen


In developed countries, cholera is not life-threatening and can be easily treated, with antibiotics if severe. But in Yemen, rampant malnutrition has made many people, particularly children, especially vulnerable to the disease.

“With the malnutrition we have among children, if they get diarrhea, they are not going to get better,” said Meritxell Relano, the United Nations Children’s Fund representative in Yemen.

Outside a cholera clinic in Sana, Muhammad Nasir was waiting for news about his 6-month-old son, Waleed, who had the disease. A poor agricultural laborer, Mr. Nasir had borrowed money to take his son to the hospital but did not have enough to return home even if the baby recovered. “My situation is bad,” he said.

Five tents had been erected in the backyard of the cholera ward to cope with the sudden increase in patients. All day, families brought sick relatives. Most were elderly, or children carried on their parents’ backs.

If infection numbers continue to rise, researchers fear that the cases could ultimately rival the largest outbreak, in Haiti, which infected at least 750,000 people after a devastating earthquake in 2010.

Aid organizations say they cannot replace the services that the government is supposed to provide. That means there is little chance for significant improvements unless the war ends.

 

Yemen


“We are almost in the third year of the war and nothing is getting better,” said Ms. Relano of UNICEF. “There are limits to what we can do in such a collapsed state.”

The United Nations has called the situation the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with more than 10 million people who require immediate assistance. And the situation could become even worse.

Peter Salama, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, warned that as the state fails, “the manifestation of that now is cholera, but there could be in the future other epidemics that Yemen could be at the center of.”

Source: The New York Times, Edited by website team

24-08-2017 | 13:16

Related Videos

EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN PROPAGANDA WAR AGAINST SYRIA CONTINUES

Still image from a video being filmed in Egypt, purporting to be in Aleppo, Syria.

In December 2016, filmmakers in Egypt were arrested in the process of staging an Aleppo video with two children: the girl was meant to look injured, and the boy was to vilify both Russia and Syria.

Even the corporate media reported on it, including: “The girl’s dress, covered in red paint, was what caught the attention of a police officer driving by, the ministry said.”

The incidences of fakery and hoaxes, however, does not end there.

Also in December, the scene of a ‘Girl running to survive after her family had been killed’ was said to be in Aleppo. In reality, it was a scene from a Lebanese music video, which someone at some point clearly chose to depict as in Aleppo, for the same anti-Russian, anti-Assad vilification purposes.

In November 2014, a clip dubbed ‘Syrian hero boy’ went viral, viewed over 5 million times already by mid-November. The clip showed what appeared to be a little boy saving his sister from sniper gunfire, and was assumed to have been in Syria.

The Telegraph’s Josie Ensor didn’t wait for any sort of verification of the video which she cited as having been uploaded on November 10, the next day writing: “…it is thought the incident took place in Yabroud – a town near the Lebanese border which was the last stronghold of the moderate Free Syrian Army. Experts tell the paper they have no reason to doubt its authenticity. The UN has previously accused the Syrian regime of ‘crimes against humanity’ – including the use of snipers against small children.”

On November 14, the BBC brought on ‘Middle East specialist’ Amira Galal to give her expert opinion on the clip. She asserted: “We can definitely say that it is Syria, and we can definitely say that it’s probably on the regime frontlines. We see in the footage that there is a barrel, it’s painted on it the Syrian army flag.”

Once again, the so-called ‘experts’ got it wrong. The barrel which Galal referred to had a poor imitation of the flag of Syria painted on it, the flag’s color sequence out of order. The clip she was so certain had been filmed in government areas of Syria was actually produced in Malta by Norwegian filmmakers.

From Video to Twitter Hoaxes

In the propaganda war on Syria, there are convincing lies, and then there are the blindingly clear hoaxes. In the latter realm, the Bana al-Abed Twitter persona takes first prize. The child is being abused by her own family who have seemingly forced her to pretend she can speak English (she cannot).

*Twitter link here

We were meant to believe that sophisticated and nuanced tweets, often calling for Western intervention, are coming from an English-illiterate seven-year-old girl or her mother — whose husband was a militant in Aleppo.

In a detailed article, Barbara McKenzie looks at the campaign which uses the brand Bana for war propaganda. An excerpt includes:

“Bana, the little girl supposedly tweeting from Aleppo, but actually the front for an account run from London, was selected to be the empathetic face of the campaign for a no-fly zone in Syria. Her account was tailored to create the impression of perpetual bombing, perpetual war crimes, on the part of Russia and the Syrian government.”

Bana not only tweeted with impossible frequency from eastern Aleppo, defying any internet lapses those of us who have gone to Aleppo have experienced. Whatever the actual explanation for her alleged preciousness and high-tech abilities, the child was clearly exploited, and continues to be.

Her twitter account continues its advocacy for Western intervention in Syria. Not at all suspicious.

Real Poster Children Brutally Beheaded, Sniped, Starved, Maimed

Effective war propaganda tugs at the heart strings, using many tactics, including adorable children in threatening situations, or dead, and comes hand in hand with condemnations for crimes committed, allegedly, by the villain(s) being caricatured. In the following instances, children being injured or murdered did occur, but the condemnations were muted or not at all.

A few weeks prior to the photo of Omran Daqneesh going viral as the poster child for suffering in Syria, terrorists of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki faction beheaded a boy said to be around 12 years old.

Although the decapitators filmed the entire savage act, posing for gleeful selfies as they tortured the boy prior to murdering him, leaders and media in the US took little notice of the horrific slaughter. Ten days after the questionable events which led to the light injury of Omran, two young boys in the Idlib villages of Foua and Kafraya were shot in their head and neck respectively by a sniper from Jaysh al-Fateh terrorists in the village of Binnish close by. The injuries were serious. They were rendered even more serious given that the villages had been completely surrounded and fully under siege by terrorists since March 2015.

In April 2017, a convoy of children, women, elderly and ill being evacuated from Foua were attacked by a terrorist explosion, with reports over 200 murdered, including 116 children. The attack included luring with potato chips and filming children in the convoy before later blowing them up and claiming to be rescuing them. Not only did these terrorists murder civilians and children, but they staged the scene to then look like heroes.

Indeed, in the West this massacre was called a “hiccup” and little denunciation was made about the vast numbers of dead, let alone the injured.

In October, 2016, Press TV was one of the few outlets to report on another adorable Aleppo boy, Mahmoud, “a six-year-old Syrian boy who was born without arms, and recently lost both of his legs after stepping on a mine planted by militants in Syria’s Aleppo.” The report includes scenes of Mahmoud showing his resilience, adjusting to life without any limbs. But for corporate media, Mahmoud’s were the wrong villains.

Terrorist bombings and snipings have killed children in schools and homes throughout Syria over the years, including the October 2014 terrorist car and suicide bombing of the Akrama Al-Makhzoumi School in Homs, killing at least 41 children by conservative estimates, or up to 48 children by other reports, along with women and other civilians, as well as attacks on Aleppo schools, as I detailed earlier.

In Aleppo and in Damascus, I have visited numerous hospitals and seen endless poster children of suffering in Syria. The differences between these children and those which Western and Gulf media present us, is that these children were murdered, rendered critically-injured, or maimed by the bombs, mortars and snipings of terrorists which the West presents as “moderate rebels”, so their stories will never be front page, much less heard.

The Bitter Truth

The Western and Gulf media work in lockstep with the narratives emanating from Washington on Syria. It is not coincidental that certain photos and stories of Syrian children go viral, while other more damning photos and sordid realities get no notice period.

*Twitter link here

Regarding the Omran case, we now know that he was not gravely hurt as media tried to imply, that his family have gone back to their lives in Aleppo, and the exploitation and lies around Omran cannot continue.

When I met them on June 6th, they showed no signs of the duress which terrorists and their backers—which include Western corporate media—claim. Instead, some neighbors were over, discussing media fabrications around Omran.

However, the children who are believed to have been exploited and used in the 2013 Ghouta chemical weapons fabrications remain missing and have not gone back to their lives, nor have their families in the Latakia countryside.

In March 2017, physicians with Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, after examining a White Helmet’s video, wrote:

“…Swedish medical doctors, specialists in various fields, including pediatrics, have revealed that the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or seemingly fake, including simulated resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.”

The article noted that Dr Lena Oske, a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner, said of an adrenaline injection shown in the video, “If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”

While in al-Waer, Homs, on June 9, 2017, speaking with a woman who had returned not long after the last terrorist had been bused out in the government’s reconciliation agreement, she told me a story of her friend from the area. Bearing in mind that this is second hand information (and that I didn’t have time to stay another day to meet the friend in question), I’ll leave her words and this 2012 link as food for thought regarding the use of children, alive or day, for war propaganda against Syria:

“In 2014, my friend’s son, Louay was leaving his school. A mortar fell on the street nearby and he was hit with shrapnel. The Red Crescent took him in an ambulance to al-Bour, a nearby aid association, which couldn’t treat him, so he was taken to a government hospital in al-Zahra’a. They tried to save him, but he died.

They took him back to al-Bour where they cleaned him for burial. While my friend was waiting, people from al-Bour carried him onto the street yelling the regime killed him, look what the regime does to children.’”

Later, she saw on both al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya footage of her son, with men blaming the “regime” for killing children in Syria.

But she didn’t agree. The government helped her son and tried to save his life. He was 7 years old.

RELATED:

Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda, Jun 12, 2017, RT Op-Edge

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son, Jun 9, 2017, MintPress News

CNN #FakeNews Amanpour Challenged to Interview Aleppo Boy’s Father – #NewWorldNextWeek, Jun 15, 2017, The Corbett Report

Yemen Images Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Want You To See

Batool Ali is six years old, though you would never guess that from her huge, haunted eyes and emaciated frame. Ribs jutting out over her distended belly, Batool weighs less than 16 kilograms (35 pounds). She is one of nearly half a million children in Yemen suffering from severe malnutrition.

Posted June 24, 2017

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

Israel Tutors Children in Fear and Loathing

Nazareth

A display of Israeli-style community policing before an audience of hundreds of young schoolchildren was captured on video last week. Were the 10-year-olds offered road safety tips, advice on what to do if they got lost, or how to report someone suspicion hanging around the school?

No. In Israel, they do things differently. The video shows four officers staging a mock anti-terror operation in a park close to Tel Aviv. The team roar in on motorbikes, firing their rifles at the “terrorist”.

As he lies badly wounded, the officers empty their magazines into him from close range. In Israel it is known as “confirming the kill”. Everywhere else it is called an extrajudicial execution or murder. The children can be heard clapping.

It was an uncomfortable reminder of a near-identical execution captured on film last year. A young army medic, Elor Azaria, is seen shooting a bullet into the head of an incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron. A military court sentenced him to 18 months for manslaughter in February.

There has been little sign of soul-searching since. Most Israelis, including government officials, call Azaria a hero. In the recent religious festival of Purim, dressing up as Azaria was a favourite among children.

There is plenty of evidence that Israel’s security services are still regularly executing real Palestinians.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem denounced the killing last week of a 16-year-old Jerusalem schoolgirl, Fatima Hjeiji, in a hail of bullets. She had frozen to the spot after pulling out a knife some distance from a police checkpoint. She posed no threat, concluded B’Tselem, and did not need to be killed.

The police were unrepentant about their staged execution, calling it “a positive, empowering” demonstration for the youngsters. The event was hardly exceptional.

In communities across Israel this month, the army celebrated Israel’s Independence Day by bringing along its usual “attractions” – tanks, guns and grenades – for children to play with, while families watched army dogs sicking yet more “terrorists”.

In a West Bank settlement, meanwhile, the army painted youngsters’ arms and legs with shrapnel wounds. Blood-like liquid dripped convincingly from dummies with amputated limbs. The army said the event was a standard one that “many families enjoyed”.

The purpose of exposing children at an impressionable age to so much gore and killing is not hard to divine. It creates traumatised children, distrustful and fearful of anyone outside their tribe. That way they become more pliant soldiers, trigger-happy as they rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories.

A few educators have started to sense they are complicit in this emotional and mental abuse.

Holocaust Memorial Day, marked in Israeli schools last month, largely avoids universal messages, such as that we must recognise the humanity of others and stand up for the oppressed. Instead, pupils as young as three are told the Holocaust serves as a warning to be eternally vigilant – that Israel and its strong army are the only things preventing another genocide by non-Jews.

Last year Zeev Degani, principal of one Israel’s most prestigious schools, caused a furore when he announced his school would no longer send pupils on annual trips to Auschwitz. This is a rite of passage for Israeli pupils. He called the misuse of the Holocaust “pathological” and intended to “generate fear and hatred” to inculcate extreme nationalism.

It is not by accident that these trips – imparting the message that a strong army is vital to Israel’s survival – take place just before teenagers begin a three-year military draft.

Increasingly, they receive no alternative messages in school. Degani was among the few principals who had been inviting Breaking the Silence, a group of whistle-blowing soldiers, to discuss their part in committing war crimes.

In response, the education minister, Naftali Bennett, leader of the settlers’ party, has barred dissident groups like Breaking the Silence. He has also banned books and theatre trips that might encourage greater empathy with those outside the tribe.

Polls show this is paying off. Schoolchildren are even more ultra-nationalist than their parents. More than four-fifths think there is no hope of peace with the Palestinians.

But these cultivated attitudes don’t just sabotage peacemaking. They also damage any chance of Israeli Jews living peacefully with the large minority of Palestinian citizens in their midst.

Half of Jewish schoolchildren believe these Palestinians, one in five of the population, should not be allowed to vote in elections. This month the defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called the minority’s representatives in parliament “Nazis” and suggested they should share a similar fate.

This extreme chauvinism was translated last week into legislation that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people around the world, not its citizens. The Palestinian minority are effectively turned into little more than resident aliens in their own homeland.

Degani and others are losing the battle to educate for peace and reconciliation. If a society’s future lies with its children, the outlook for Israelis and Palestinians is bleak indeed.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

More articles by:
%d bloggers like this: