Israeli Soldier Found Guilty of ‘Manslaughter’ After Execution-Style Killing of Palestinian

[ Ed. note – The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, has responded to the verdict by calling Azaria’s trial a “show trial.” ]

Ma’an News

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court Wednesday convicted an Israeli soldier of manslaughter for the execution-style shooting of a severely wounded Palestinian in the flashpoint area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank.

Elor Azarya, now 20, was the only Israeli official to be charged with the death of a Palestinian in 2016 —when at least 111 Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces and settlers, according to Human Rights Watch.

According to rights group Yesh Din, of the 186 criminal investigations opened by the Israeli army into suspected offences against Palestinians in 2015, just four yielded indictments.

The case of Azarya and the killing of 21-year-old Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif was caught on film by Israeli NGO B’Tselem and received widespread condemnation from rights groups and the UN who condemned the incident as an “extrajudicial execution” of al-Sharif who had already been shot for allegedly attempting to stab another soldier.

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Ayman Odeh, member of the Israeli parliament’s Joint List political bloc — representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset — told Ma’an Wednesday that the “main difference in this case was the presence of cameras which documented the crime thanks to B’Tselem.” The court notably ruled Wednesday that B’Tselem’s videos were authentic and admissible.

Odeh stressed that there have been hundreds of similar crimes and that “the rulers of Israel are the occupation’s criminals who produced murderers like Azarya.”

A report released this week by Human Right Watch further documented evidence that Israeli authorities have endorsed a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians since a wave of unrest began in October 2015, that has left 246 Palestinians and 34 Israelis killed since.

The three-judge panel handed down the sentence for the case, which was being monitored by an International Criminal Court prosecutor as a sign of credibility of Israel’s legal system.

Violent clashes reportedly broke out in front of the courtroom between Israeli police and hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting against the likely conviction, chanting: “Azarya was born free,” “the people of Israel support and salute this hero,” and “Muhammad is dead,” according to reports from social media and Israeli outlets.

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Amid the more than two-hour-long lead up to the final verdict’s announcement, social media reports from Israeli journalists inside the courtroom were already predicting a conviction due to the Israeli judge Maya Heller’s detailed refutation of every claim made by Azarya’s defense team.

While the defense has argued Azarya believed the immobilized man could have reached for a knife or had been concealing explosives underneath his jacket, the judge said she completely accepted prosecution’s argument that the soldier committed an unjustified revenge killing for the Palestinian’s alleged attempted attack.

Azarya’s version has been thoroughly contradicted during the duration of the trial by his commandersand experts, who stated that al-Sharif did not constitute a threat at the time of his death, and that him wearing a jacket was not suspicious given the weather that day.

The judge pointed out that the trial had already proven the knife was too far from al-Sharif’s body, who was immobile and severely wounded on the ground after already being shot, and Azarya himself had changed his story a number of times and had been evasive to cross examinations throughout the trial.

Heller reportedly addressed the defense team saying, “you can’t have it both ways,” as they have attempted to claim that al-Sharif was already dead when Azarya shot him while simultaneously arguing the soldier felt threatened.

She also noted his statement after the shooting, that the “terrorist deserves to die,” saying that it carried “serious significance,” and called the “expert testimony” of former Israeli army generals on behalf of Azarya “regrettable” and “ill-informed”.

Manslaughter charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Azarya can appeal both the conviction and the sentence to the Israeli Military Appeals Court.

A court reporter for Israel’s The Jerusalem Post said that the judge’s “one-sided” conviction made the decision more vulnerable to appeal, as judges had not expressed any sympathy to the defense’s argument.

According to Haaretz, it is likely the sentence will not come close to the 20-year maximum, based on research showing precedent for Israeli soldiers who have been indicted and tried for manslaughter in a number of cases since 2000, the majority of whom were not convicted and accepted a plea bargain instead.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin may also face a request to pardon him, according to Haaretz. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has already stated that Azarya should be granted an immediate pardon, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also reportedly not ruled out the possibility of a pardon.

A report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlined a number of instances when senior Israeli officials have either openly called for the extra-judicial killing of Palestinians or have failed to condemn the calls.

Sari Bashi, the Israel advocacy director at HRW said in the report that “it’s not just about potentially rogue soldiers, but also about senior Israeli officials who publicly tell security forces to unlawfully shoot to kill.”

“In some cases, officials directly responsible for the conduct of law enforcement officers have publicly encouraged them to kill rather than to arrest suspected attackers when feasible,” the report read.

Senior Israeli officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and then Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, initially called for the recognition of the Israeli military’s “rules of engagement” in the wake of al-Sharif’s killing.

However, breaking under pressure of the support for Azarya by the Israeli general public and politicians, Netanyahu later came out in support of the soldier himself and replaced Yaalon with ultra-right Lieberman as defense minister who in 2015 publicly stated his support for killing alleged Palestinian attackers, writing on his Facebook page: “No attacker, male or female, should make it out of any attack alive.”

HRW noted that Israel’s shoot to kill policy has received widespread support among Israeli citizens, citing a 2016 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute which found that 47 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the sentiment that “any Palestinian who carries out a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot, even if he has been captured and clearly does not pose a threat.”

Terrorists Rights Watch Purposefully Mistranslates a Leaflet to Aleppo Rebels from Syrian Government

Global Research, December 01, 2016
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Rami Jarrah (who is widely cited as an authority by mainstream Western media) posted the Arabic leaflet dropped by Syrian government forces and the English translation by Human Rights Watch, which has been widely circulated.

I will provide to you my translation of the original Arabic and you judge how reliable the translation by Human Rights Watch is. [Moreover they have shortened the text of the message]

The Arabic says (in full):

“Read and Repeat.  This is the last hope.  Save yourselves.

If you don’t evacuate those areas soon, you shall be finished off (or vanquished or destroyed).

WE have provided you with a safe passage to exit.  Take your decision fast. Save yourselves.

You know that all have abandoned you and left you by yourselves to face your destiny and they won’t provide you with any help.  General Command of the army and armed forces.”

PS The word annihilation is very specific and has an equal Arabic equivalent “Ibadah” which does not appear in the original Arabic.

[The substance of the message is turned upside down in the English translation. It does not mention that the government is providing exit and safe passage to the Al Qaeda rebels.]

HRW: US Should Stop Making Excuses for Saudi Violations in Yemen

October 11, 2016

Source

Sanaa massacre

Despite rising outrage over the bloody civilian toll in Yemen’s war, the United States administration is showing no signs of breaking with – or attempting to check – the actions of its ally Saudi Arabia, the leader of the nine-nation coalition against Yemen, a report by Human Rights Watch said.

The report refers to an article in the Washington Post this week that suggested the US is willing to rationalize Saudi responsibility for laws-of-war violations in the 19-month campaign – as well as attempting to minimize its own role in the conflict.

“Does an ally have to give you a blank check for everything you’re doing in a war?” a senior State Department official is quoted as saying.

The HRW report stated highlighted that the US has supported the Saudi-led campaign with aerial refueling and targeting assistance without criticizing Saudi Arabia and its allies for repeatedly and unlawfully bombing civilians, committing apparent war crimes.

“The nature of this support makes the US a party to the armed conflict, and potentially culpable in unlawful strikes,” it said.

“The US also continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia – more than $20-billion worth of military support and weapons in 2015 – despite increasing recognition that weapons may get unlawfully used,” it added.

The report underscored in the W. Post report that “US officials say that “errors of capability or competence, not of malice” led to repeated Saudi-led coalition strikes on civilian structures. But how do they know? There have been no serious investigations into allegedly unlawful attacks.”

“Moreover, whether Saudi targeteers were malicious or simply poorly trained does not absolve the government of responsibility. Indiscriminate attacks that fail to distinguish between civilians and military objectives as well as those that cause disproportionate loss of civilian life or property are also illegal under the laws of war,” HRW stressed.

Editor of the report, Priyanka Motaparthy , wrote that when she visited Washington this summer “to share Human Rights Watch’s findings on how the coalition has repeatedly hit civilian objects, administration officials said they believed the Saudis were just bad at targeting. This belief strains credulity. Coalition airstrikes have repeatedly struck, including with precision-guided weapons, civilian structures like medicine factories and food storage compounds, and clearly marked hospitals for which Medecins Sans Frontieres previously provided GPS coordinates. They have also repeatedly hit marketplaces during the day, when high numbers of civilians are known to be present. Lacking competence and showing insufficient regard for civilian lives or protected facilities are not mutually exclusive.”

The Washington Post article added that “military lawyers have reviewed Saudi actions and say no laws have been violated because, in their view, the civilian deaths appear to be unintentional.” But coalition pilots and operational commanders do not have to intentionally kill civilians to commit war crimes. Reckless attacks can be subject to war crimes prosecutions.

“As congressional concern with Washington’s role in Yemen increases, US officials will need to provide better answers for Saudi actions, rather than making excuses or stonewalling on the US role and how US weapons have been used. Helping a longtime ally does not let one off the hook for all responsibility in the deaths of more than 4,000 civilians, nor for shipping billions of dollars of arms that are likely to be used in the coming year’s abuses,” HRW ended up saying.

Source: Human Rights Watch

The Unspoken War on Yemen, Anglo-American Crimes against Humanity, U.N. and Media Silence, Complicity of “The International Community”, Destruction of an Entire Country…

Global Research, September 08, 2016
Yémen hôpital

Is your money that good? Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?” (Bob Dylan, b 1941, Masters of War.)

On Tuesday 6th of September, twenty-four hour monitoring by Yemen’sLegal Centre for Rights and Development (LCRD) recorded the bombings by the Saudi led “coalition”, armed by the US and UK and advised by their military specialists, thus collusion and co-operation of both countries render them equally culpable for the carnage.

Yemen has a population of just 24.41 million (2013 figure) and according to the Rural Poverty Portal:

“ … is one of the driest, poorest and least developed countries in the world. It ranks 140 out of 182 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index (2009). An estimated 42 percent of the people are poor, and one Yemeni in five is malnourished. Poverty is endemic, particularly in more remote and less accessible areas.”

In the one day and night period covered here, attacked were the capital Sana’a and Sa’dah, Marib, AlJawf, Hajjah, Hodeidah.

 

CLICK BANNER ABOVE TO ACCESS LCRD FACEBOOK PAGE:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=683855828431452&id=551288185021551

Hajjah province: Seven raids targeted Midi District. 

Hodeidah Province: One air raid led to a death in the area Alhemah District, al Khokhah Directorate.

Al-Jawf province: Eight strikes with a woman injured, the targeting of a house resulted in the destruction and damage to fifteen nearby houses in Al Ghayl District.

·    Twelve mercenaries loyal to Saudi Coalition were killed and nine injured by Saudi air raid targeting a house in Al Ghayl District.

·    Three air strikes destroyed a house and damaged eighteen adjacent houses also in Al Ghayl District.

·    Three air strikes further targeted three farms in Al Ghayl District.

Marib province: Two air raids targeting Sirwah District and an air strike on Hylan Mountain in Sirwah District.

This heartbreak, fear and destruction has been rained down in commensurate devastation near every twenty four hours since March 2015, Saudi Arabia is the lead culprit, but in the “coalition” are also Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.

Ironic to remember Kuwait’s “victim” status in 1990, when Iraq was threatened with being “reduced to a pre-industrial age” for taking revenge for Kuwait’s slant drilling theft oil from Iraq’s Rumaila oil fields. Now Kuwait, population just 3.369 million (2013) is now in the gang of murderous bullies decimating a poverty stricken country – no doubt as a thank you to Saudi Arabia for extending hospitality to their ruling family when they fled ahead of the Iraq troops, leaving their subjects to face the onslaught which their theft had generated.

Those who unleashed near Armageddon on Iraq over an oil dispute are either silent on or participating in Yemen’s nightmare – and as ever money is talking and the US and Britain are selling the arms and the ‘planes in billions of $s.

 

[the above data in the chart pertains to a single year, IT IS NOT UPDATED]

Further ironically is that in September 2015, Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, was elected Chair of a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) panel. At the time UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said: “It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel. Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.”

In June this year Amnesty International called for Saudi to be stripped of its place on the UNHRC with Richard Bennett, heading Amnesty’s UN Office saying:

“The credibility of the UN Human Rights Council is at stake. Since joining the Council, Saudi Arabia’s dire human rights record at home has continued to deteriorate and the coalition it leads has unlawfully killed and injured thousands of civilians in the conflict in Yemen. To allow it to remain an active member of the Council, where it has used this position to shield itself from accountability for possible war crimes, smacks of deep hypocrisy. It would bring the world’s top human rights body into disrepute.”

He continued:

“The strong evidence of the commission of war crimes by the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen should have been investigated by the Human Rights Council. Instead, Saudi Arabia cynically used its membership of the Council to derail a resolution to establish an international investigation … As a member of the Human Rights Council Saudi Arabia is required to uphold the highest standards of human rights. In reality, it has led a military coalition (carrying out) unlawful and deadly airstrikes on markets, hospitals and schools in Yemen. The coalition has also repeatedly used internationally banned weapons in civilian areas…” (Emphasis added.)

The double standards of the “international community” and its UN “umbrella” is ever breathtaking.

Equally breathtaking is that in July, the UK refused to rule out electing Saudi to its place in the UNHRC for a second time, in spite of Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, having stated that “carnage” caused by some Saudi coalition airstrikes appear to be war crimes.

But then, according to The Independent (1) official figures in January this year showed sales of British bombs and missiles to Saudi: “ increased 100 times in the three-month period since the start of the attacks on Yemen. The sales jumped from £9 million in the previous three months to £1 billion.”

Arms sales above flesh and blood, terror, heartbreak and humanity, every time.

Note 

1.    http://www.independent.co.uk/ news/uk/politics/saudi-arabia- human-rights-un-united- nations-uk-british-elected- behead-a7140501.html

The author is indebted to the LCRD for the documentation of the attacks and for the careful translation by Ameen Alharazi.

Bloodshed and War Crimes: Yemen’s Children Deserve Better

Global Research, September 04, 2016
IPS 2 September 2016
young-Yemenis

In Yemen, conflict, violence, and bloodshed are now a daily occurrence. In spite of ongoing human rights violations global media outlets have chosen to take a back seat and remain silent. Why has  the grave severity of Yemen’s rising conflict been kept in the shadows rather than exposed  as a recurrent headline?

If Western media outlets possess the power to shed light on injustice and ultimately aid in the eradication of warfare and conflict, why has Yemen’s crisis not been considered an issue worthy of international attention?

It is time to  question the “strategic” silence.

Is the dark veil drawn over Yemen’s struggle in the face of violent extremist groups a strategic manoeuvring on the West’s part? Does the Occidental world play a hidden role in this conflict? Would international superpowers much rather skim over the truth and dismiss the sheer horror of bombings and casualties as a means of protecting their own “favourable” global position?

Violations against children cease to discontinue in war-torn Yemen. Credit: Rebecca Murray/IPS.

Violations against children cease to discontinue in war-torn Yemen. Credit: Rebecca Murray/IPS.

The sheer gravity of Yemen’s conflict should subsequently ignite  a deafening  global cry for  justice, however, as long as the public are “strategically” kept  in the dark, little change can realistically be implemented.

The stifled cries of Yemen’s  grief-stricken will remain unheard. The unrest which plagues Yemen today was triggered by the Houthi takeover of Sana’a in 2014. This was later followed by the coalition airstrikes  led by Saudi Arabia in March 2015.

Destructive bombing worsened by perilous ground fighting have taken a devastating toll on the civilian population. Particularly in the case of Yemen’s vulnerable children who are continuously subjected to life-threatening human rights violations.

In an so-called  effort to eradicate the threat “Houthi” rebels pose, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and militarily supported by the United States and the United Kingdom have waged war against Houthi rebel forces in a bid to”protect” Yemen and its people.

In reality, it appears the atrocity and devastation these unlawful airstrikes have inflicted on the people of Yemen has resulted in exactly the opposite. The Saudi-Led coalition’s definition of  “protection” has  led to nothing short of an  outbreak of chaotic destruction.

Impoverished families have enlisted their children with Houthi or pro-government forces in exchange for the equivalent of 7-15 USD per day.

The outcomes of ruthless warfare have proved detrimental to the future educational, economic and societal development of Yemen.

More than 6,500  people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced. As  one of the world’s poorest countries well before the conflict ensued, Yemen now not only faces the setbacks of poverty-stricken deprivation but the fearful strife of bloodshed  too.

The New York Times has stated that the US has actually been complicit in the carnage of Yemen, having sold over USD 20 billion in weapons over the course of 2015.

Since the beginning of Yemen’s downfall, the United Kingdom has not acted as the innocent bystander it wishes to portray to the public eye, with the sale of close to USD 4 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

As the US and the UK continue to sell weapons to the Saudi-led coalition and  ongoing bombings, killings, and corruption ceases to discontinue, Yemen’s Children are left scarred by the threats of exploitation and violence.

UNICEF has verified that more than 900 children were killed and 1,300 injured in 2015 alone, with a rate of 6 children killed or maimed every day since the escalation of hostilities in March 2015.

What’s more, Houthi forces, pro-government forces, and extremist groups continue to engage in the recruitment of child soldiers, who are estimated to make up one-third of the fighters in Yemen.

The UN documented up to 850 cases of child recruitment in 2015, a five-fold increase over 2014. These armed parties have also detained children who upheld suspected loyalty to enemy forces. They relentlessly  abuse their child prisoners and subject them to inhumane conditions whilst in captivity.

According to Human Rights Watch, of the 140 detained by southern armed groups, 25 of the victims were children under the age of 15.

For those who fear the threat of violence or captivity, a clear alternative shines through  the enticing employment prospects of fighting for Houthi Forces.

Many young boys are  lured in by the promise of safety, security and most significantly, economic prosperity. Economic hardship is, in fact, one of the fundamental pull factors in the process of child soldier recruitment Al Jazeera confirms. A vast number of impoverished families have enlisted their children with Houthi or pro-government forces in exchange for the equivalent of  7-15 USD per day.

“There are many families in several provinces that deliberately send their children to fight for the sake of money, after these families lost their source of income at the beginning of the war.”Amal al-Shami, the head of the Sanaa-based Democracy School, a non-profit organisation to raise awareness in human rights and democracy among children, explained to Al Jazeera.

Khalil, a former construction worker from Taiz has been unable to find secure employment due to the war. In a state of financial desperation,  he urged his 15-year-old son to join the houthi forces.   “I am not a supporter  of the Houthis, but I sent my eldest son to fight with them. They pay him 9.30 USD daily, and this is enough for us.” he stated. The necessity to join rebel forces is further accentuated by the widespread demolition of schools.

In many cases, with the destruction of their sole source of education these children and their families see no other alternative than to engage in the warfare.

In many ways, Yemen has consequently developed into a new breeding ground for child soldiers.

The conflict has become ingrained and inter-generational. You’re seeing the cycle continue. Children are being killed because they are being seen as future fighters. Kids are being brought up to hate.” Anthony Nolan, a UNICEF child protection specialist  emphasised.

UNICEF has released a report stating that children as young as 14 are currently fighting on the front line in Yemen.

Both the Houthis and the government have gone back on anti-violence pledges they have made to end their merciless recruitment of children.

Western media outlets can no longer stand by in idle silence and keep the world ignorant of the devastation occurring in Yemen.

As the lives of  thousands are lost including those of vulnerable children, it is time to draw global attention to their plight.

In spite of ongoing UN-backed peace talks and half of all prisoners released by pro-government and opposing Houthi forces in early June 2016, more action needs be taken, particularly in the case of child soldiers.

The parties to the conflict in Yemen should be placed under international pressure to release captured children and stick by their commitments to not re-enlist child soldiers.

Through widespread awareness-raising by major media outlets  and the open condemnation of brutal war practices, we will not only strive for the eradication  of child soldier recruitment, we will help Yemen’s people restore peace in their war-torn nation.

Crimes against Humanity: Seventy-two Daesh-ISIS Mass Graves Containing Up to 15,000 Discovered in Iraq and Syria. Who are the State Sponsors of ISIS? Who is Training, Who is Financing Them?

Global Research, August 31, 2016
RT News 30 August 2016
Mass-Grave-of-230-Killed-by-ISIL-Terrorists-Found-in-Syria

As Islamic State retreats the true scale of its atrocities is becoming apparent. Associated Press collated existing documents and testimonies to produce the fullest picture yet – but activists say that thousands more victims buried in shallow mass graves are yet to be discovered.

The agency says it has pinpointed the exact location of 72 Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) mass graves – 17 of those in Syria, the rest in Iraq – which contain anything from at least 5,200 to over 15,000 victims.

The information came from AllSource, a satellite intelligence firm that has matched photos from space with eyewitness accounts, aid groups such as Yazda, which are recording the systematic slaughter, and often IS itself, which has boasted about killing hundreds of ‘infidels’ and ‘traitors’ in its own regularly-broadcast videos.

“They are beheading them, shooting them, running them over in cars, all kinds of killing techniques, and they don’t even try to hide it,” said Sirwan Jalal, who has been appointed by Iraqi Kurds to investigate the mass burials.

The biggest documented massacre was committed in Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June 2014, when Islamic State gunned down between 1,000 and 1,700 unarmed Shiite Iraqi Air Force recruits, forcing them to shout slogans as they lay down, waiting to be executed.

Thirty-six of the perpetrators were hanged for the war crime earlier this month.

But while that location was well known, another massacre happened near Ramadi just two days earlier. AllSource looked for images of disturbed earth in the city in the northwest of Iraq – big enough to be noticeable from a satellite image – that tallied with accounts given by survivors to Human Rights Watch.

This was a testimony by a man only known as A.S., who was singled out for being a Shiite and put in a line in which each man had to shout out his number: ”I was number 43. I heard them say ’615,’ and then one ISIS guy said, ‘We’re going to eat well tonight.’ A man behind us asked, ‘Are you ready?’ Another person answered ‘Yes,’ and began shooting at us with a machine-gun.”

A.S. told HRW that he escaped by playing dead and then sneaking out at night, among about 15 others, a common tactic among the few survivors of such large-scale massacres.

With war still ongoing, in places such as Hardan, a Kurdish area, the authorities have merely roped off the mass graves, and say there are currently no resources to excavate and document the dead.

As the bodies continue to decay, and the wind blows away the earth, revealing the still-clothed bones, locals are served a daily reminder of the horrors.

“I have lots of people I know there. Mostly friends and neighbors,”Arkan Qassem, who lives in a village outside Hardan, told AP. ”It’s very difficult to look at them every day.”

With IS counting different sects – such as Shias and Yazidis – different ethnicities – such as Kurds – and even Sunni tribes as their enemies, there are estimated to be “hundreds” of mass graves that will take years to be fully mapped, and their victims to be given a proper burial.

“This is a drop in an ocean of mass graves expected to be discovered in the future in Syria,” said Ziad Awad, from The Eye of the City, a publication in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor, which is cataloguing the IS massacres.

Journey into the Heart of Reality

The Syria Times

It has indeed been an honor for the Syria Times Online Newspaper and its Editor-In-Chief to receive Eva Bartlett, a close friend of mine and co-founder and member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement (www.syriasolidaritymovement.org).

Sharing and exchanging ideas and thoughts mainly about the ongoing in Syria with such a prominent brilliant activist (who also lived for 3 years doing solidarity work in the Gaza Strip, experiencing on the ground two zionist wars against Palestinians) is a journey into the heart of reality.

First, I would like to congratulate the Syrians, their heroic Army and defense forces, President Bashar Al-Assad, and allies for their steadfastness in the face of the ongoing terrorist war against Syria, said Eva Bartlett, the renowned Canadian peace activist and freelance journalist.

The Syrian Army is defending Syrians but the West falsifies facts and turns blind eyes to the truth, ignoring the immense number of civilians and army personnel martyred while fighting terrorists all over Syria, added Eva at Syria Times headquarters, highly lauding  the Syrian Arab Army, defense forces and the role played by Russia, Iran, Hezbollah in defending Syria against foreign-backed terrorism.

 I visited a number places in Syria during my four prior visits, including different Homs neighbourhoods (al-Waer, al-Zahra’a, the Old City), Lattakia, Sweida, Ma’loula, and Yarmouk neighbourhood. These are all areas where the Syrians have suffered a great deal from foreign-backed terrorism, and areas housing many other Syrians who have left areas occupied by terrorists–fleeing instead to government-secured areas where they area safeguarded and sheltered, Eva pointed out.

In my conversations with Syrians, they tell me first and foremost that they are Syrians, and only reluctantly mention their religion when asked; there is interfaith merger among them, intermarriage and joint-celebrations of religious holidays, unlike the extremism found and rooted in places like Saudi Arabia, said Eva describing Syrians as  educated, cultured, modern, and warm, hospitable and generous, and deeply rooted in history and civilization.

Women in Syria are treated with respect and equal rights with men and their position in Syria is as equal as that of men, and are highly-educated and work in professional capacities in all sectors. They occupy high positions like Vice-President Dr. Najah Al-Attar, Parliament Speaker Dr. Hadiyeh al-Abbas, and the Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shabaan, among many others, added the independent writer, asserting that In her country, Canada, there are not many females in leading positions like the case in Syria.

Since 2006 and even before, the west has orchestrated to spread sectarianism in Syria. They wanted to spread sedition and mistakenly thought that Syria would fall in months after the implementation of the false “revolution” in Syria. The enemies of Syria have been working as to install a puppet government for the West, a government without sovereignty or independent decisions. They want to bring in multi-national corporations and destructive institutions which Syria has rejected, such as the IMF, the World Bank… They wanted to divide up Syria, Eva added, citing the destructive roles played by the neighbors of Syria in backing terrorists against the secular, civilized modern Syria.

The West has funded and supported terrorism against Syria. The NATO alliance and countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, consisten violators of human rights, are exploiting the issue of human rights as a pretext to invading Syria. Reports in Western media do not honor the Syrians’ sacrifices and fight against terrorism. They are launching media campaigns against Syria… they are lying…There is a media war to falsify facts and confuse people, said Eva.

Syria should be rewarded for its leading role and fight against terrorism, underlined Bartlett, asserting that UN Resolutions pertaining to fighting terrorism should be implemented, to end the flow of terrorists, money and arms  to terrorists, as Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari has endlessly requested of the UN Security Council and Secretary General.

They wanted to dismantle Syria, declared Eva and warned against the poisonous role played by some human rights groups which only aim to endorse lies about the Syrian government and army, groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Avaaz, and other Syria-specific poisonous institutions financed by George Soros and Wall Street, like the so-called “Syria Campaign”  and the “White Helmets”…more accurately known as Al Qaeda With a Facelift (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aAaReVn2I4 ). In effort to raise awareness to these destructive groups, Eva created the page, “Human Rights” front groups (“Humanitarian Interventionalists”) warring on Syria (http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/human-rights-front-groups-humanitarian-interventionalists-warring-on-syria/  ).

The West does not act in a just way and those of us who visit Syria aim to depict reality and convey what Syrians in Syria have to say. Many people in western nations don’t support the war against Syria, and instead support and stand by Syria in its fight against terrorism.

The US must realize, after over 5 years of its war against Syria, that Syria will not be defeated, and that it is to change US policy and stop supporting terrorism in Syria. All have to respect the sovereignty of Syria and to acknowledge its influential role in fighting terrorism, asserted Eva, calling on Western people to come to Syria to talk with Syrians as to know the reality of the matters on the ground.

H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad is a highly educated man, highly respected and  has carried out many reforms and changes, including the writing of a new Constitution, and holding Presidential and Parliamentary elections, said Eva, adding that President Assad could have fled his country and lived at ease abroad but that he stayed heroically defending his country and Syrians in fighting terrorism on behalf of the world.

The First Lady, Asma Al-Assad‘s role and extensive humanitarian work should also be noted.

Last year, before Christmas, I attended an Al-Farah concert. The day before, at choir practice, the President and the First Lady dropped in on the choir. Photos and videos showed thrilled choir members, happy, smiling at the visit.

He has popular support as President more than most world leaders, including notably those in countries like France, Canada, the USA, Germany and others, confidently asserted Eva, by way of example, singing in Arabic what millions of Syrians chant: ‘ Allah, Syria, and Bashar’. Eva noted the many massive demonstrations in support for President Al-Assad, since early 2011 onwards.

The Syrians tell me that they are determined to restore Syria to what it was and even to better than before, and that they believe in President Assad, embodiment of sovereignty and independence, along with the Syrian people themselves will bring Syria back to peace and stability, concluded Eva Bartlett.

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

Syria: Defender of the World

https://youtu.be/YFojnwq1ltI

 

 

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