SANCTIONS ON SYRIA: THE CRIMINAL, SILENT, KILLER

In Gaza

In 2016, I visited the centre depicted in the linked RT news report on the effect of western sanctions on children with cancer. At the time, the director told me they were trying to help 240 children, were underfunded and in debt, the people working there were volunteers, and (at that time) were facing constant power outages, as was the norm in Aleppo due to terrorists outside of Aleppo controlling the power plant.
Formerly, cancer patients in the north of Syria had excellent treatment at the Kindi Hospital, a massive complex that was respected throughout the region. It was truck-bombed by terrorists in late 2013, completely destroyed. In November 2016, I met and interviewed the former director of Kindi, Dr. Ibrahim Hadid. He emphasized how he tried to get the attention of international organizations both when the hospital was initially occupied by terrorists, and later when it was destroyed. He was met with silence.

Yet another obstacle for cancer patients needing treatment was the fact that for years, the road out of Aleppo would be cut by terrorists, meaning the 1.5 million or more civilians within greater Aleppo were under siege. Aleppo residents told me there were times where the siege lasted for weeks, and more.
The director of this centre rightly insisted there should not be sanctions on medicine. This is criminal. As noted in the RT report, 30 children had died of cancer in that area, due to western sanctions, according to the director.
I previously wrote about the issue of these criminal western sanctions on Syria, quoting Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, who I interviewed in December 2015. I noted:
In terms of how to provide actual relief to the Syrian people, Dr. Shaaban stated:
“The first thing the West should do in this battle against terrorism is to lift the sanctions from the Syrian people. The sanctions are helping terrorists against the Syrian people, who are suffering doubly from the terrorists and from Western measures against the Syrian people.”
Stephen Gowans recently wrote about the US government’s long-time plans to topple the Syrian government, sanctions being one part of the plot.
“Documents prepared by US Congress researchers as early as 2005 revealed that the US government was actively weighing regime change in Syria. …As an alternative to direct military intervention to topple the Syrian government, the United States chose to pressure Damascus through sanctions and support for the internal Syrian opposition.”
The advocacy website, End The Sanctions on Syria, notes: “Similar sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s were shown to have caused the deaths of more than half a million Iraqi children.”
The site went on to report that (as of May 2014), “701 of 1,921 Syrian health centres have been ‘completely gutted’ by the terrorist attacks. Yet rehabilitation of these centres is retarded by the US-EU sanctions, which have already left ‘a deep mark on the healthcare system’… including by blocking access to medicines, medical equipment, transport and communications.”
A May 27, 2015 article in The Lancet reports: “The cost of basic food items has risen six-fold since 2010, although it varies regionally. With the exception of drugs for cancer and diabetes, Syria was 95 percent self-sufficient in terms of drug production before the war. This has virtually collapsed as have many hospitals and primary health-care centres.
Economic sanctions have not removed the President: …only civilians are in the line of fire, attested to by the dire state of household and macro-economies. Sanctions are among the biggest causes of suffering for the people of Syria.”
Recall that last April, when the US and allies illegally bombed Syria on false pretext of Syria having used a chemical or nerve agent in Douma (didn’t happen), one of the targets was a facility in densely-inhabited Damascus which was involved in the local production of cancer treatment components.
As I wrote:

Regarding the actual nature of the buildings bombed, Syrian media, SANA, describes the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industries Research Institute as “centered on preparing the chemical compositions for cancer drugs.” The destruction of this institute is particularly bitter, as, under the criminal western sanctions, cancer medicines sales to Syria are prohibited.

Interviews with one of its employees, Said Said, corroborate SANA’s description of the facility making cancer treatment and other medicinal components. One article includesSaid’s logical point: “If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here. I’ve been here since 5:30 am in full health – I’m not coughing.”

Of the facility, the same SANA article noted that its labs had been visited by the OPCW, which issued two reports negating claims of any chemical weapons activities. This is a point Syria’s Ambassador al-Ja’afari raised in the April 14 UN Security Council meeting, noting that the OPCW “handed to Syria an official document which confirmed that the Barzeh centre was not used for any type of chemical activity” that would be in contravention to Syria’s obligations regarding the OPCW.

Advertisements

Don’t be Deluded – Our Saudi ‘Partners’ are Masters of Repression

Kenan Malik

Five Saudi activists face possible execution. Their crimes? “Participating in protests”, “chanting slogans hostile to the regime” and “filming protests and publishing on social media”.

The five, including women’s rights campaigner Israa al-Ghomgham, come from the Shia-majority Eastern Province. They have spent more than two years in prison. Now the prosecution has demanded their deaths.

Their plight reveals the vacuity of claims that Saudi Arabia is “liberalizing”. The death in 2015 of King Abdullah and his replacement by Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has led to much gushing in the west about the new reforming regime and, in particular, about the “vision” of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir apparent and driving force behind the “modernization” moves. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a fawning piece about the Saudi “Arab spring”. “It’s been a long, long time,” he wrote, “since any Arab leader wore me out with a fire hose of new ideas about transforming his country.” Even the fierce critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suggested that if the crown prince “succeeds in his modernisation efforts, Saudis will benefit from new opportunities and freedoms”.

Yes, Salman has allowed women to drive, to run their own businesses and to attend sports events. Cinemas have opened and rock concerts been staged. But the king remains the absolute ruler of a kingdom that practices torture, beheads dissidents and exports a barbarous foreign policy, including prosecuting one of the most brutal wars of modern times in Yemen.

Over the past year, dozens of activists, clerics, journalists and intellectuals have been detained in what the United Nations, an organization usually wary of criticizing the kingdom, has called a “worrying pattern of widespread and systematic arbitrary arrests and detention”. Few countries execute people at a higher rate. Under the current “reforming” regime, at least 154 people were executed in 2016 and 146 in 2017. Many were for political dissent, which the Saudi authorities rebrand as “terrorism”. A regime that permits women to drive but executes them for speaking out of turn is “reforming” only in a columnist’s fantasy.

For all the paeans, what really attracts western commentators and leaders to Saudi Arabia is that the regime’s refusal to countenance any dissent has until now created a relatively stable state that is also pro-western. Precisely because the Saudi royal family is deeply reactionary, it has long been seen as a bulwark against “radicalism”, whether that of the Soviet Union, Iran or local democratic movements.

Last week, in the wake of a Saudi bombing of a school bus in Yemen that left 33 children dead, Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, defended Britain’s relations with Riyadh on the grounds that the two countries were “partners in fighting Islamist extremism” and that the Saudis have helped to stop “bombs going off in the streets of Britain”. In fact, Saudi Arabia bears more responsibility for the rise of ‘Islamist’ terror than any other nation.

From the 1970s onwards, flush with oil money, the Saudis exported across the world Wahhabism, a vicious, austere form of Islam that the Saud clan has used to establish loyalty to its rule after creating Saudi Arabia in 1932. Riyadh has funded myriad madrasas and mosques. It has funded, too, ‘jihadist’ movements from Afghanistan to Syria. Osama bin Laden was a Saudi. So were most of the 9/11 bombers. A 2009 internal US government memo described Saudi Arabia as “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. The Saudis have leveraged their knowledge of such groups to win influence with the west.

The viciousness of the Saudi regime is matched only by the cynicism of western leaders. The price is being paid by the children in that school bus and by the five activists facing possible beheading for peaceful protests; by the million of Yemenis on the verge of starvation and by thousands of Saudis imprisoned, flogged and executed for wanting basic rights. But what’s all that when set against the value of a “friendly” regime?

How the Media Keeps Americans in the Dark about the Slaughter in Yemen

By CJ Werleman

August 21, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  A somewhat grainy video, presumably shot from a decade old cell phone, shows more than two dozen load Yemeni kids, aged 6 to 15, playing, laughing, and excitedly moving about their school bus, invoking warm childhood memories for anyone who has ever caught a bus to and from a school outing.

Moments later every single one of these kids were killed, vaporized by a Saudi fired missile.

This atrocity took place on 9 August, leaving 51 dead, 40 of whom were children, with most victims under the age of 10, while another 77 were seriously injured, according to the International Red Cross.

The US Department of Defense has tried to downplay the United States role in what must surely constitute a war crime and/or a crime against humanity by either arguing it’s still investigating the matter or by disingenuously minimizing its involvement.

“We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the US sold to them,” Army Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesperson for US Central Command, told Vox. “We don’t have a lot of people on the ground.”

Well, we do know who sold Saudi Arabia the missile, and there are plenty of Yemeni journalists and international aid agencies in Yemen “on the ground.”

Remnants of the missile, which were posted on Twitter by Hussein Albikaiti, a Sana’a-based journalist, show its CAGE code, serial number, and the wording, “FIN GUIDED BOMB.”

A search of the CAGE code shows the missile to be issued by US defense contractor Lockheed Martin, while the serial number shows it to be a MK-82 missile manufactured by General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas.

“A US made laser guided bomb did this 2 a bus full of school children,” tweeted Albikaiti. “The bus was directly hit by a Saudi-UAE jet, fueled by USA plane, coordinates by US and UK satellites. One bomb sent these happy children to the graves after burning them alive and cutting them to pieces.”

Worse – the British and US mainstream media is complicit in the cover-up of yet another atrocity in Yemen, like always!

Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda?

Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter

No Advertising – No Government Grants – This Is Independent Media

Maybe the most dangerous reality of the Trump presidency might be the media’s obsessive want to over analyze every tweet, off-hand remark, and gaff made by the current occupant of the White House, which, in turn, places television news networks at the centre of what has been a more than a 3-year long psychodrama if you count the 2016 election campaign.

The media’s obsession with this obviously unhinged and deranged US President comes at the cost of informing the American public of the horrors that are occurring in their name and with their tax dollars in countries many voters can’t even find on a map.

While CNN and a handful of other mainstream television networks carried news of the Saudi coalition missile attack on the school bus, there has been almost no follow up, leaving the public totally in the dark about the role the US played in this war crime, and in what has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

According to FAIR, a media analysis service, the left-leaning cable news network MSNBC has not run a single segment related to the conflict in Yemen since early 2017 but ran with more than 1,300 broadcasts regarding Trump’s probable but still speculated collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.

The US media demonstrates a proclivity to report on Yemen only when an American serviceman is killed, according to FAIR, with networks devoting substantial coverage to a botched raid on January 29, which left one US soldier dead alongside dozens.

On the August 9th strike in Yemen, the British media has fared no better. The Guardian, for instance, widely considered a “bastion of liberal values and humanitarian concern,” failed to feature the killing of 40 Yemeni children among its 13 headline stories, while the Independent failed to include it among its top 8 headlines, according to Middle East Eye.

Coupled with a lack of media coverage is the near total silence that emanates from both US lawmakers and the Department of Defense, with the latter holding only a few public hearings on Yemen since the conflict began more than 3 years ago, one that has resulted in more than 23 million Yemenis being in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

This is unconscionable and anti-democratic given the US provides the intelligence, guidance systems, warplanes, bombs, and missiles to the Saudi coalition.

Moreover, on the few occasions, Yemen is mentioned in the media, the extent of the human catastrophe is downplayed and underestimated. For instance, most media reports include a total death count of approximately 10,000 Yemenis, but aid agencies have estimated more than 150,000 died of disease and starvation in 2017 alone, with up to 130 children dying each and everyday.

According to the International Red Cross, 70% of the population needs aid to survive; 2.5 million have no access to clean drinking water; 1 in every 12 is severely malnourished; 940,000 are suspected of having cholera; while almost no medical supplies are getting into the country because of the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports, and the destruction of infrastructure throughout the country.

While this is a Saudi war of choice, it is planned and supported by the government of the United States, acting on behalf of the American taxpayer. It’s time the media report the full extent of the US role in prolonging the suffering in the Middle East’s poorest country so that voters can pressure their elected representatives into bringing an end to this senseless violence.

The lives of the next busload of Yemeni school kids depends on it.

CJ Werleman is a journalist, political commentator, and author of ‘The New Atheist Threat: the Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists.

This article was originally published by “American Herald Tribune –

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

The Hour When Children Die: What Is Going on in Yemen?

The Hour When Children Die: What Is Going on in Yemen?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 17.08.2018

The Hour When Children Die: What Is Going on in Yemen?

Vijay PRASHAD

A busload of young boys are on a field trip. They are excited – their summer session of school is over, and this is to be the outing to celebrate. The boys jostle on the bus. It is noisy. One of them covers his ears. They are all laughing.

One of their friends is taking a video (which will later be shown on Yemen’s al-Massira television). The video shows the universal joy of being an adolescent, of being filled with anticipation at the field trip.

Along the way, the bus stops at a crowded market in the town of Dahyan, in the Saada governorate in Yemen’s north, on the border with Saudi Arabia. This governorate, or province, is largely in support of the Ansarullah insurgency and is the center of regular aerial bombings by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The teachers with the young boys make the stop to pick up supplies for the trip: snacks and water. The excitement on the bus does not abate.

It is just then, in this crowded market, that Saudi aircraft fire on the bus. It is a direct strike, according to witnesses.

The Red Cross now says that 50 children died in the strike (11 adults were killed). Among the 79 wounded, 56 are children – many fighting for their lives.

report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  this year suggested that this kind of violence is not unusual. Five children have been killed or injured in Yemen each day since the start of the Saudi-UAE war on the rebel-held areas of that country in March 2015.

The numbers are shocking, but also numbing – nearly every child in those parts of Yemen (11 million of them) needs humanitarian assistance, with millions of children acutely malnourished, with no safe drinking water or sanitation, with few schools, with cholera and acute diarrhea as normal features of life and with regular bombings and shootings around them.

Funerals in places of war and occupation are not sober affairs. They are heightened by the anger at the manner of death, but more so they are political rallies of great emotion.

The children’s bodies arrived in cars wrapped in green. The coffins, wooden boxes, had a picture of each child on them. They were carried along the road to a simple graveyard. Their coffins were carried by boys from the Yemeni Scouts and Guides Association, their motto on their shirts reading kun musta’idan, or “be prepared.”

Bomb strikes are routine; Saudi and Emirati planes might have struck this funeral as they did in 2016, when they killed about 155 people in the al-Kubra Hall in Sanaa. Chants against Saudi Arabia rent the air. They were mingled with chants against the United States. No one in Yemen is unaware of the US complicity in this war.

‘War can’t be a clean operation’

Remorse is not forthcoming from either Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Both governments insist that the raid was “legitimate” and that “war can’t be a clean operation unfortunately” (as UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash put it in Dubai). The Saudis, like the Israeli government when it arrests and kills children, said it was the Yemenis who were “responsible for recruiting and training young children.”

There is barely remorse in the United States, from which the weapons of death go to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It was a US-made plane that fired US-made bombs on these Yemeni children. Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee took a picture of part of the 500-pound (227-kilogram) Mark 82 bomb used to kill the children.

This bomb was made by General Dynamics at its plant in Garland, Texas. In 2017, bombs from this factory made their way to resupply the arsenal of Saudi Arabia, whose free-fall bombs were getting low as a result of the war on Yemen. General Dynamics made millions of dollars on this sale. This same type of bomb was used in the Saudi strike on the funeral in Sanaa in 2016. US weapons firms have made hundreds of billions of dollars selling weaponry to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he had sent a three-star general to lead an internal investigation into “what happened.”

But what happened is well known and has been well known for a very long time.

Last November, a 30-year veteran of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Bruce Riedel, described Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen as a “quagmire.” He said it had become the “worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world” and that if the Saudi blockade continued, “50,000 children could die in Yemen.”

A year before that, Riedel pointed his finger directly at Washington and London. In April 2016, he said frankly, “If the United States of America and the United Kingdom tonight told King Salman [of Saudi Arabia] that this war [on Yemen] has to end, it would end tomorrow, because the Royal Saudi Air Force cannot operate without American and British support.”

In other words, any war crime committed in Yemen by the Saudis and the Emiratis is a war crime committed by the governments in London and Washington, which continue to supply these monarchies with billions of dollars’ worth of deadly weaponry that can be used to kill children on a school trip.

Exit from this war?

On September 6, the various parties to this war will go to Geneva to try to restart impossible talks. The contending Yemeni parties have said they will come to the table. It is obvious that this war is seen by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a way to weaken Iran, although Iran’s actual role in Yemen is dubious. Nonetheless, Iran has said it awaits an invitation from the UN to come to Geneva. It would like to hold face-to-face talks with its adversaries, with the UN as arbiter.

Iran has submitted a four-point plan to give the talks some heft, including an end to the aerial bombardments and an immediate ceasefire. But there is no stomach in Saudi Arabia to take Iran’s offer seriously.

In a recent article, Riedel says this war in Yemen is the “signature foreign-policy initiative” of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman. “The crown prince,” Riedel writes bluntly, “has blemished his reputation by the reckless decision to intervene in Yemen and the humanitarian catastrophe it created.”

It is unlikely that Saudi Arabia, absent serious external pressure, will stop this war. The integrity of the current king and his son – and in many ways the monarchy itself – is enveloped in this war.

Pressure will not come from the US government. It is happy enough to see its weapons dealers make enormous profits – the kind of “Made in America” that pleases President Donald Trump. In the United Nations Security Council, the US pressured the members not to demand an independent inquiry. All that was asked for was a “credible” investigation. That means there will be no real investigation, as there was none for the Sanaa funeral bombing in 2016.

Staff members at UNICEF, meanwhile, have been heartbroken. The children had UNICEF backpacks, part of the aid that keeps the country from total breakdown. “There’s obviously a war on children,” said Juliette Touma of UNICEF.

This is the hour when children die. This is the hour when adults fail them, the hour of bombings and impossible negotiations.

atimes.com

Report Details Horror of UAE Torture Chambers in Yemen

August 13, 2018

A deserted cell in the public section of Aden Central Prison (Photo by AP)
A deserted cell in the public section of Aden Central Prison (Photo by AP)
Over 49 detainees have been tortured to death in clandestine prisons run by the UAE in southern Yemen where brutal interrogation techniques, including physical and psychological torture, are used by Emirati forces, a report says.

The report provided by Yemeni military figures, who worked with the Saudi-led war coalition against Yemen, and obtained by Al Jazeera revealed that detainees in UAE-run jails in southern Yemen were subjected to sexual abuse by Emirati army personnel and their Yemeni surrogates.

The forces subjected the inmates to rape and electrocution in the genitals, chest and armpits, it said, adding some prisoners were physically assaulted and insulted while being hung in midair.

The sources also recounted other examples of horrors in the UAE-controlled prisons, saying electric cables were used alongside wooden bats and steel poles during interrogation sessions.

Some of the detainees were subjected to sleep deprivation while being confined to narrow spaces with poor hygienic conditions and limited air ventilation, according to the report.

This form of torture was accompanied for some of the inmates by sessions where their skins were lashed with whips and their injuries were subsequently covered in salt. Others, it said, had industrial nails inserted into their fingers and toenails.

According to the report, more than 49 people were tortured to death and five gravesites were used to bury the deceased.
The number of UAE-run secret prisons, according to the report obtained by Al Jazeera, is 27, including sites in Hadramout, Aden, Socotra, Mayyun Island, as well as a facility in Eritrea where the UAE maintains a military base.

SourcePress TV

Related Videos

Trump’s Policies & the ‘True Face’ of America

Darko Lazar

30-06-2018 | 09:02

In February of last year, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei thanked US President Donald Trump for finally revealing Washington’s “true face”.

Donald Trump

“What we have been saying, for over thirty years, about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the US ruling establishment, he [Trump] came out and exposed,” Sayyed Khamenei told a group of Iranian Air Force commanders on February 7, 2017. “With everything he is doing … he is showing the reality of American human rights.”

In the months that followed, Trump has been busy pulling back the curtain.

Between filling his cabinet with warmongering neocons like John Bolton and pairing up with hawkish generals and shady billionaires, the Trump administration also found time to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

Citing alleged anti-“Israel” bias, the US will be the first state to leave the UN body voluntarily.

“For too long, the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” exclaimed the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, earlier this month.

One can be forgiven for thinking that this reads a little too much like a bit of soul-searching on the part of the American government.

But while Washington’s exit from the HRC can certainly be described as ironic, the move is hardly surprising.

The ill-timed maneuver came as American border guards ripped apart families, and Washington assisted allies in massacring tens of thousands in Yemen, all the while defending the killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

According to US-based peace activist Scott Rickard, “the Human Rights Council should have been considering ejecting the United States based upon its human rights violations.”

“In the United States we have one of the most atrocious human rights records; we have almost ten thousand people a year being killed by police officers,” Rickard added. “At the same time, the United States is heavily involved in warfare around the world, murdering millions in my lifetime alone.”

‘Murderers & thieves’

In the lead-up to the US withdrawal from the Council, the outgoing UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, blasted the Trump White House for its “unconscionable” policy along the US border with Mexico.

Zeid was referring to the Trump administration’s recently abolished effort to dissuade illegal migrants from crossing the border by separating children from their parents and dispatching them to detention centers with no assurances that they would ever be reunited.

“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” Zeid said during his opening remarks to the HRC’s 38th session this month.

Trump attempted to justify his immigration policy by citing concerns over ‘security and safety’.

Recently, he was quoted as saying that those who sneak across the border “could be murderers and thieves and so much else.”

Such comments, much like the mass outrage by Trump’s critics at home who are often complicit in the slaughter of Yemeni and Syria children, are intended to disguise the fact that the asylum seekers are fleeing the very violence and chaos that the US instigated.

“The president has to realize what a hundred years of US policy towards Central and South America has caused,” said radio talk show host Robert Patillo.

“US efforts to destabilize governments, US efforts to set up puppet dictators – that’s why we have this level of crime and this dysfunction in Central America,” Patillo explains.

For puppet dictators, look no further than Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom, which remains the source of the Takfiri ideology, fueling global terrorism and the country of origin of 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 has somehow stayed off of Trump’s travel ban from seven countries.

This week, the US Supreme Court upheld the ban, arguing that it had a “legitimate grounding in national security concerns” and was thus constitutional.

Trump’s ban, which is breathtaking in scope and inflammatory in tone, extends to North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Venezuela.

And while Saudi nationals are responsible for the deaths of more than 2,360 people as a result of terrorist attacks on US soil, the countries covered by Trump’s ban are responsible for none. 

Journalist and political commentator Syed Mohsin Abbas believes that “those Muslims who are the lackeys and the puppets of the US foreign policies, who freely give their recourses to the US and who don’t oppose the US’ imperialist policies in the Middle East are not banned.”

Abbas describes the ban as a “direct attack against any nation in the world who dares to stand up to the US” with Iran being one of the primary targets.

American Civil War 2.0

The policies of the Trump administration are as much a reflection of a deeply polarized United States, as they are an indication of the responsibility that the powers that be bear for instigating those very same divisions.

A new poll testifies to just how divided the American public has become over issues like immigration, declaring that some 31% of the population believes a second civil war is likely in the next five years.

The Rasmussen national telephone and online survey revealed that uncompromising accusations of fascism and an alleged desire for open borders have raised fears in the US over the possibility of an armed confrontation between Trump’s supporters and those opposed to his policies.

And in light of the manner in which the current political climate in the country has drawn the curtain to reveal the hitherto well-concealed, callous visage of American society, any suggestion that this previously unthinkable scenario now appears far more likely holds water indeed.

Source: Al-Ahed

israeli police teach schoolchildren how to shoot Palestinians

Source

Shooting practice at an Israeli school: targets set up by police depicted figures wearing the Palestinian kuffiyeh headdress.

Israeli police planned to teach children how to shoot at Palestinians as part of a training exercise in a school.

The incident in the Menashe Regional Council, near Haifa in northern present-day Israel, was brought to light in recent days when Palestinian citizens of Israel took photos of what was happening.

Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli parliament from the Joint Arab List, is demanding an investigation into the training sponsored by the Israeli police and the education ministry, which he said “prepares students psychologically to kill Arabs.”

One photo shows a person – most of their body blurred with a black marker – using a paintball gun to fire at cutouts of men and women wearing checkered kuffiyeh headscarves that are associated with Palestinians.

Zahalka made his demand in a letter to public security minister Gilad Erdan, according to the publication Arab48.

The activity in Menashe Regional Council is part of widespread training of children by police in Israeli schools, according to Arab48.

In 2011, the newspaper Haaretz reported on how a group of Israeli high school students from Herzliya took part in a simulated shooting attack at a military base “in which the targets were figures decked out with the Arab kuffiyeh headdress.”

One source told Haaretz that the exercise, which was also supported by the education ministry, was tantamount to “educating toward hatred of Arabs.”

The training in the Menashe Regional Council school is also reminiscent of an incident last year in which Israeli police put on a demonstration for a group of fifth-graders for how to “confirm a kill” – in other words how to perpetrate an extrajudicial execution.

Early this year, American comedian Jerry Seinfeld visited a training center in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank where tourists are given demonstrations on how to kill Arabs.

And in a disturbing parallel in 2015, police in North Miami Beach, Florida, were found to be using photos of African American men for target practice at a shooting range.

Separate and unequal

Zahalka noted that the incident occurred in Menashe Regional Council, which bills itself as a paragon of coexistence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

There are approximately 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. They are the survivors and their descendants of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Unlike Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, they hold Israeli citizenship and a right to vote, but nonetheless live under dozens of laws that discriminate against them because they are not Jewish.

Israel operates a separate and unequal school system for Jewish and Arab students.

Anti-Arab incitement and indoctrination is endemic in schools for Jewish children from the earliest grades.

Proud to kill

The Israeli police said that the targets in the Menashe Regional Council school had been set up as part of an activity day to teach children “about good citizenship” and that to “engender interest among participants, a paint gun station was erected.”

“Before the activity began, the activity’s commanders and the school staff noticed the matter and hid the images, and no children saw them during the activity itself,” the police claimed.

The education ministry also called the use of the targets, according to the publication Ynet, a “serious mishap.”

Zahalka also wrote to Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett calling for those responsible for organizing the shooting training to be punished.

He stated that it was unacceptable for the ministry to merely cancel the activity without seeking accountability, and to try to shift the blame to the police alone.

Zahalka quipped that had a similar activity taken place in a school run by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “would have demanded a meeting of the UN Security Council.”

Nadav Perez-Vaisvidovsky, an Israeli college lecturer, expressed shock at the training, tweeting, “This is the type of thing you see in history books and wonder how it could be allowed to go on.”

Yet this is only a small part of what the so-called international community is allowing Israel to do with impunity.

The European Union, for instance, which never ceases to issue reminders of the importance of learning “lessons from the past,” is currently pretending not to see how Israel is deliberately massacring unarmed civilians besieged in the Gaza Strip.

And there is little chance of accountability, since the incitement comes from the top, with Israeli ministers regularly calling for or applauding extrajudicial executions.

Naftali Bennett, the education minister, himself notoriously declared in 2013, “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

Ending complicity

Last December, Belgium’s KU Leuven university announced that it would end its role in an EU-funded “research” project carried out in partnership with Israeli police.

“The participation of the Israeli public security ministry indeed poses an ethical problem taking into account the role which the strong arm of the Israeli government plays in enforcing an unlawful occupation of the Palestinian territories and the associated repression of the Palestinian population,” university rector Luc Sels explained.

In light of Israel’s ongoing premeditated killing and maiming of unarmed protesters in Gaza, Palestinian activists recently renewed their calls for an international arms embargo on Israel, including a ban on cooperation and joint training with Israel’s police and military.

In a major victory for this campaign, Durham, North Carolina, recently became the first city in the US to pass such a ban.

“What the Israeli police did is not that unusual, especially in the current atmosphere of racism against Arabs,” Zahalka wrote.

“In any case, the Israeli police do not require such an atmosphere as their record is full of disregard for the lives of Arab citizens, whom they continue to treat as enemies and not as citizens.”

Zahalka concluded that firing on cutouts of Arab citizens “falls within the racist policies of Netanyahu and his government, and therefore everyone is called upon to confront this racism until it is defeated.”

 

%d bloggers like this: