Pence Consoles Jews in Missouri Over Vandalizing of Jewish Cemetery

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Two heinous acts of religious desecration occurred last weekend at two separate sites in two separate states. In response to one of these events, the vice president of the United States personally involved himself, making a trip to the scene to denounce what had happened and to assist in the cleanup.

The other event he seems to have completely ignored.

At the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, vandals targeted a statue of Jesus outside the church, severing the head from the body. The attack occurred sometime during the night of February 19/20.

On the same weekend vandals attacked a Jewish cemetery causing damage to approximately 150 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Jewish cemetery located in University City, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

 photo cemeterystlouis_zpsfo7bwizd.jpg

Vandalized gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery

After the media raised an uproar over the attack on the cemetery, an uproar which included complaints that President Trump had not sufficiently condemned the attack or denounced anti-Semitism enough, Vice President Pence made a trip to St. Louis, where he spoke at the cemetery and even participated in the cleanup.

“I am so inspired by what the people of Missouri are doing, by the way you are handling this,” he is reported to have said.

I did an Internet search in an effort to determine if Pence had made any similar-type gestures on behalf of the Christians at the church in Indianapolis, but could find no indication he had, or even that he had bothered to issue a public comment on it–even though the attack occurred in Pence’s home state of Indiania and even though it was the second time in two weeks that the statue had been desecrated.

Here is a news report on what happened at the church…

And here is a video of Pence at the cemetery, participating in a prayer with a Jewish rabbi and helping with the cleanup…

I guess it’s nice to see a member of America’s political elite with a rake in his hand and doing some actual physical work, but the video would seem to provide us with ample evidence of what group of people he’s really working for.

Is World War 3 on the Way?

NATO troops preparing for war game exercise in eastern Europe

NATO troops preparing for war game exercise in eastern Europe

Is World War 3 on the way? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s a question I have pondered a number of times in a number of posts dating back over the past three years. I will ponder it again here.

As before when I have put up posts of this nature, a number of disturbing signs point to increased cause for concern, but before I get to these, let me show you a video. It’s one featuring David Icke, which I posted nearly three years ago, in July of 2014, in a post which I entitled “The Vortex.” It was one of the first posts I ever put up basically speculating on the possibility of a coming war.

In the video interview, Icke talks about a prediction made way back in the late 19th century–a prediction by Albert Pike of three world wars in which “political Zionism” would play a role. In the third war, the entire world would be drawn into a “vortex” of chaos centered around a war between political Zionism and Islam, and Icke puts that prediction into the context of events playing out in the Middle East, including the rise of ISIS, which at the time (in the summer of 2014, when Icke gave the interview) had only just appeared upon the world stage.

Icke exhibits a remarkable amount of prescience, not only with regard to the rise of ISIS and the role it would come to play in the Middle East wars (which would have been hard to predict in 2014), but also with regard to Russia being drawn into the conflict in Syria (the interview was done more than a year before Russia formally sent troops into the country). Perhaps most important, however, are his words regarding the world political and financial powers, including the US government, who are funding ISIS:

“These people are sheer, undiluted evil, and people need to understand that, otherwise they will reject that anyone could do what they are doing and kill and maim and slaughter so many people. They can do it because they have no heart, they have no empathy, they have no emotional compassion, and thus mayhem is their currency, and they have no emotional consequence. They are not like us, so don’t judge what they’ll do by what you would do, because it ain’t the same thing.

Wise words, and the point he is making–that evil, pure evil–does indeed exist, is an important one to remember. And now on to the latest somewhat unnerving indications of where things may be headed.

***

According to a report here the US is now considering sending more troops to Syria:

More US troops may be needed in Syria to speed up the campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the top commander for the Middle East has stated, specifically referring to the push to liberate Raqqa.“I am very concerned about maintaining momentum,” General Joseph L. Votel, the head of the United States Central Command, told reporters, as quoted by CBS News.

He said local forces being supported by the US “don’t have as good mobility, they don’t have as much firepower, so we have to be prepared to fill in some of those gaps for them,” noting that such support may involve additional fire support capability and “a variety of other things” to help “offset some of the gaps.”

The report also offers the following placatory note…

Votel stressed, however, that Washington is not considering sending US troops to take over the fighting, and that the strategy developed during the Obama administration of keeping local forces at the forefront would remain unchanged.

…but of course similar statements are made at the outset of each new troop buildup in each new war the US gets involved in. And the same report also includes this…

Lieutenant General Townsend revealed over the weekend that the 450 American advisers working with the Iraqis in Mosul had moved closer to the front lines in order to stay in touch with Iraqi commanders as they advanced on the city.

The US has about 500 Special Operations troops in Syria. If American military presence were to be expanded, additional troops could come from conventional combat units, the New York Times reported. However, Votel stressed that he would not recommend deploying large combat formations.

“We want to bring the right capabilities forward,” he said. “Not all of those are necessarily resident in the Special Operations community. If we need additional artillery or things like that, I want to be able to bring those forward to augment our operations.”

In addition to the above, you can also go here to access an RT video that includes commentary from former Pentagon official Michael Maloof, who points out that bringing in conventional troops and heavy equipment will require still more troops just to handle the logistics of transport and the setting up and maintaining of bases, all of which becomes a “slippery slope.”

***

As the US contemplates deploying these “conventional combat units” into Syria, additional US troops–lots of them–have already begun to be deployed to Eastern Europe along Russia’s borders. An article at Newsweek gives some insight into the extent of this. The author devotes much of the piece to demonizing Russia and Putin, but then offers the following information about NATO troop deployments:

As a response to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, NATO has plans to send four 1,000-troop-strong battalions toward Russia’s borders; one for each of the three Baltic countries, and one for Poland.

Additionally, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force comprises about 5,000 troops. The unit is meant to “respond to emerging security challenges posed by Russia, as well as the risks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa,” according to a statement on NATO’s website.

Overall, the U.S. has about 35,000 military personnel in Europe, including two Army infantry brigades. To deter Moscow, the U.S. has recently deployed an additional heavy brigade to Poland, comprising about 3,500 troops and 87 tanks, as well as a unit of 500 troops to Romania.

The U.S. also has troops in Ukraine conducting a training mission for Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The U.S. has restated its commitment to NATO and Article V, and Russia should recognize that those security guarantees remain rock solid,” Kochis said. “Any deviation only invites aggression and miscalculation.”

NATO’s eastward deployments are still just a fraction of Ukraine’s military buildup near Russia’s border, underscoring how the overall military balance of power in Europe has shifted since 2014 due to Russian aggression.

Ukraine now has about 60,000 combat troops, supported by heavy artillery and armor, forward deployed to the Donbas—Ukraine’s embattled southeastern territory on the border with Russia. That’s a force of 60,000 combat troops near Russia’s border that wasn’t there

***

Trump’s new pick to fill the role of national security advisor is Lieutenant General Herbert R. McMaster, who apparently is something of a Russophobe. McMaster replaces Gen. Michal Flynn, who was friendly toward Russia but who was basically hounded out of office by the media. Here is what former CIA Offficer Philip Giraldi has to say about McMaster:

“He [McMaster] regards Russia as ‘the enemy’ and apparently believes falsely that Moscow has been the aggressor in Georgia and Ukraine,” Giraldi said. “He wants to forward deploy more US forces to Europe to deter Russia.”

And on the subject of Iran:

“While [McMaster] is hostile to Iran he does not share the intense hatred of that country exhibited by Flynn,” he said.

And here is what NPR says regarding McMaster’s appointment:

Trump’s announcement of McMaster was met with widespread acclaim by the Washington national defense establishment, including from people who are not particular fans of Trump’s.

The Trump non-fans who are in love with McMaster include John McCain…

Lt Gen HR McMaster is outstanding choice for nat’l security advisor – man of genuine intellect, character & ability http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=22A583B0-4B7A-417A-BE94-C70D54FE0B26 

Giraldi adds an additional point on this:

“He [McMaster] is much loved by the neoconservatives with Bill Kristol and John McCain gushing over the appointment, which should give one pause.”

So score another one for the media and the deep state. They have replaced Flynn, who posed somewhat of an obstacle to war with Russia, with McMaster, who likely will grease the skids.

***

Recently Russia Insider published an article about four Russian servicemen who were killed in Syria when a radio-controlled bomb targeting a Syrian military convoy exploded. Curiously the attack took place on February 16, the same day that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had their first meeting–a meeting which has been described as “awkward” and in which Tillerson ordered that the press be removed from the room. The piece raises the possibility that the attack may not have been carried out by ISIS, and that Tillerson may have already been informed of it (or possibly even had inside knowledge it was going to occur) at the time of his meeting with Lavrov. Here is an excerpt from Russia Insider. Those interested might wish to go and read the full article:

Sunni terrorists dream of killing Russian special forces or military advisers. Why would any militia or terrorist group in Syria execute a successful operation like this, and then not immediately claim responsibility? And again, as far as we know, we’re still waiting for someone — anyone — to say they were responsible for the attack.

Please correct us if you think we’re being unreasonable, but doesn’t this seem odd to you? The Russians might consider the deaths of these soldiers a state secret — but we’re positive ISIS wouldn’t.

Our second point is a bit more nuanced. But we still think it’s an interesting coincidence: February 16 was the same day that Sergei Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson for the first time in Germany.

According to Bloomberg, it was an “awkward first encounter”…

***

As if all of this isn’t worrying enough, Trump publicly vowed on Thursday that the US would work to maintain its nuclear supremacy over all other nuclear powers in the world. “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” he said.

***

Recently writer Finian Cunningham published a couple of interesting articles, one entitled “Western Russophobia in Psychotic Phase,” published February 22, and an earlier piece, “Insanity of NATO 2.0 for Mideast,” published February 16. The earlier piece deals with Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump and discussions that have been held between the two leaders on the possible formation of a military alliance against Iran that would involve the US, Israel and certain Sunni Arab states. The latter would include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Basically what is being envisioned is a NATO-type alliance, only set in the Middle East, or “NATO 2.0,” as Cunningham refers to it. You can go here to read a Times of Israel report on the discussions that have been held on the subject. Given the distinguished “cast of characters” that would be involved with this alliance, should it come into being, one cannot help wondering: would the coalition’s raison d’être be in effect to combine the resources–financial, military and otherwise–of its various members in the support of ISIS?

Below is an excerpt from Cunningham’s commentary:

The bitter irony in all this is that the real danger to Middle East peace is not Iran, but rather is Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land, as well as Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Arab monarchies funding Islamist terror groups.

The six-year [war] that has ravaged Syria largely stems from an externally driven covert war for regime change against the Assad government which is an ally of Russia and Iran. The war in Syria has been instrumented by proxy jihadist mercenaries, including Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which are funded, armed and directed by the US, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

Israel is also believed to have played a covert role in fomenting the regime-change war in Syria, working in collusion with the US and Saudi Arabia. That war has been stymied due to the military intervention by Russia and Iran over the past year.

Saudi Arabia has a long, despicable history of fomenting Wahhabi terror groups going back to the 1970-80s when it funded the precursors of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the then Soviet-backed government. Saudi Arabia has traditionally supplied the money and weapons while the American CIA and Israeli’s Mossad provided the military logistics and intelligence. The awarding last week of Saudi spy chief Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef by CIA director Mike Pompeo was seen by some critics as a particularly nauseating testimony of this nefarious relationship.

The very idea of this US-led axis in the Middle East now setting up a formal alliance along the lines of NATO is a harbinger of ramped up conflict in the region. And especially given the stated purpose of such an alliance being dedicated to “contain Iran”.

The US-led NATO alliance in Europe has already plunged relations with Russia into deeper hostility. The ongoing build up of NATO forces on Russia’s border – allegedly to contain Russian aggression – has stoked fears that a nuclear war could be precipitated.

NATO continually claims to be a force for stability and defense – whenever any sane-minded observer can see that the opposite is true, inciting tensions in Europe and Russia to levels not seen since the heyday of the Cold War.

The same manic double-think is being replicated in the Middle East with the latest American plans to form a NATO 2.0 with Israel and terror-sponsoring Arab monarchs.

In the most recent piece, Cunningham discusses the “fake, unethical journalism that has become a staple in Western media,” coming to the conclusion that Russophobia is no longer a “random prejudice” in Western countries, but instead has reached the point where it has become “endemic” and “pathological,” essentially amounting to a “collective psychosis.”

When such propaganda becomes a systematic form of public discourse then it can be said that the mindset has moved dangerously beyond a condition of reprehensible Russophobia, to one of collective psychosis.

And this affliction among Western states seems to be worsening. The appointment by US President Donald Trump this week of Lt General HR McMaster as his National Security Adviser was greeted with applause among hawkish lawmakers in Congress.

The cause for their celebration is because McMaster is seen as having staunch “anti-Russian views” – unlike his ousted predecessor, Michael Flynn, who reportedly wanted to restore friendly relations with Moscow.

McMaster’s appointment marks a “100 per cent threat to Russia,”said Franz Klintsevich, the First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security.

Klintsevich added that “Washington’s Russophobia is increasing, not weakening.”

Not surprisingly given the relentless anti-Russian “news” saturating Western media, a new Gallup poll found that favorability among ordinary Americans towards Russia has plummeted. Four years ago, some 50 per cent of Americans had a friendly view of Russia. Now, the figure is down to 28 per cent.

Assuming the poll results reported by Gallup are genuine and not faked for propaganda purposes (a possibility that should not be discounted), what it suggests is that despite the media’s plummeting credibility, the lies are still taking hold in large segments of the population. A major concern at this point has to be a false flag attack designed to ignite a war with Russia–possibly in the form of a staged attack upon US troops in Syria or the Baltic states. Were a number of US troops to die in an attack that could be blamed upon Russia, the case for war would be made.

So what is the motive for all this? Why are these people trying so hard to start a war with Russia? I think Icke puts his finger on it in the video above. The idea all along has been to create a global government that would replace sovereign, independent states. What is happening in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and elsewhere is not random. “None of it has been random,” says Icke.

“It’s part of this long term plan to take over the world by creating enormous chaos–to which they can offer the order out of the chaos–their order, their new world order,” he adds.

***

A week ago I posted a commentary entitled “We Are Living in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era.” The article dealt with a remark by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, made at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference, in which the official, noting that harmony among nations could be achieved by advancing justice and practicing “modesty,” asserted, “If everyone adopts that approach, we could overcome the period of post-truth fast and resist information wars imposed on the international community.”

For many of us, at least those of us who come from a Christian background, the idea that a “post-truth” era has overcome us–and the realization that the lies being told by the media are “endemic” and “pathological,” as Cunningham puts it–brings to mind, perhaps invariably, the words of Jesus in John 8:44: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

It’s a verse that seems to be gaining a lot of traction these days. A search using the key words “John 8:44” turns up more than 2 million results on Google and a staggering 38 million on Bing. Jesus, here in this passage from John’s Gospel, is speaking to a group of Jews, who, in verse 31, are identified specifically as “the Jews who had believed him.” Odd, you might think, that he would speak such words to those who had believed in him, but I’m guessing these were Jews who were looking for a warrior messiah, a divinely-designated belligerent who would lead them in a revolt against Rome–the same Jews who, once it became apparent this was not his mission, would turn against him and call for his crucifixion. This in fact becomes clearer and more plausible as you read through the verses leading up to verse 44. Here, starting with verse 31, is how the exchange transpires:

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Their comment that they have “never been slaves of anyone” may sound curious. After all, was not Judea under Roman occupation? Technically speaking yes, but the reality is the Jews were given so much leeway to run their own affairs that you could almost say it was a case of the Jews occupying the Romans rather than the other way around. Jews were allowed to have their own courts, legislative body, and tax collection system, yet at the same time they were also granted full citizenship rights as Roman citizens.

These were privileges not granted to any other peoples living under Roman occupation, and they applied not only to Jews in Judea, but to those living in other Roman-ruled areas as well such as Alexandria in Egypt–where a large community of Jews also resided. These extra privileges granted to the Jews of Alexandria eventually led to strife between the Jews and the native Egyptians. At the same time there were also tensions between Jews and the Greek citizens of Alexandria as well–all of which led eventually to the famed Alexandria Riots in the summer of 38 AD–an event which became one of the first pogroms against Jews in recorded history and which I portray in my most recent novel, The Memoirs of Saint John, part II.

But to return to our passage in John chapter 8. In the next verse, Jesus replies to the Jews “who had believed him” that they were indeed slaves–not to the Romans but to their own sins…

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Here they speak boastfully, elevating themselves from the offspring of Abraham to the offspring of God himself. It is an expression of supremacy and “chosenness,” and an expression also of rebellion. These may well have been Zealots, that is to say they may have come from a party of Jews known by that name and who were somewhat similar in outlook to the Pharisees, only more extreme. The Zealots got their start in 6 AD when a man named Judah the Galilean led a revolt against the Roman census that had been decreed at that time. In Judah’s view, Jews were bound by no law other than the law of God–a view which seems rather prevalent today in Israel.

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

And so yes, today we find ourselves living in a “post-truth” era–one which perhaps, in a manner of speaking, has been building toward this point for the last 2,000 years.

This may sound strange to you, but actually I think we are blessed to be living in the times we are living in. Yes, it is a time of darkness in which the forces of pure evil reign supreme over much of the world. But it is also a time in which the Holy Spirit comes to us and strengthens us.

برّي: معادلتان ذهبيتان

برّي: معادلتان ذهبيتان

ناصر قنديل

– من طهران أطلق رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه برّي معادلتين ذهبيتين، واحدة لبنانية والثانية إقليمية، فقد أعلن بري أن بإمكان العرب والمسلمين المُجمعين على اعتبار قيام واشنطن بنقل سفارتها من تل أبيب إلى القدس تحدياً فظاً لمشاعر العرب والمسلمين، واعتداء سافراً على هوية القدس، وفتحاً للباب «الإسرائيلي» على خطوات تصعيدية تتصل بتهويد القدس واستكمال تهجير مواطنيها العرب، وتشجيعاً لحكومة الاحتلال للسير بالمزيد من الخطوات الاستباقية لتدمير كل فرصة للتسوية والذهاب لإشعال المنطقة. وتساءل بري عمّا يمكن للعرب فعله، فقال: لماذا لا يستعمل العرب والمسلمون سلاح ردع بين أيديهم، وهو التهديد المسبق بأنهم سيُغلقون سفاراتهم في واشنطن في حالل إقدامها على خطوة نقل سفارتها إلى القدس؟

– سلاح الردع الذي وضعه بري في التداول كشف عن وجود بدائل للنحيب والتسوّل، يشبه الكشف عن سلاح النفط الذي استعمل كسلاح ردع في حرب تشرين عام 1973 وأثبت فعالية عالية، لكن الواقع يؤكد هذه المرّة أن قضية الحكومات العربية والإسلامية ليست بغياب البدائل بل بغياب الإرادات والعزائم، من دون أن تنتفي الوظيفة التحريضية لمعادلة برّي التي ستُحرج الحكومات العربية والإسلامية وتُحرج واشنطن بمجرد إطلاقها على لسان برّي وتحوّلها معادلة شائعة في الرأي العام، توجِّه للحكومات السؤال: لماذا لا تفعلون ذلك؟ وتضعها واشنطن أمام حساب قدرة الحكومات المحسوبة عليها على تحمّل ضغوط بهذا الحجم، وحساب المصلحة الأميركية في تعريض هذه الحكومات التابعة للاهتزاز والسقوط، عدا عما سيترتّب على معادلة بري من إطلاق لتحرّكات مدنية وشعبية تحمل المعادلة إلى الشارع كمطلب وتحوّله عنواناً لحراك استباقي ضاغط بوجه الحكومات وواشنطن وتل أبيب معاً.

– المعادلة الذهبية الثانية التي أطلقها برّي كانت ما يتصل برسم الحدّ الفاصل بين قانون الانتخاب العادل والمزيّف، بقوله، نحتاج لقانون يضمن بعض الغموض في النتائج، رداً على توصيفه للحال بقيام كل طرف بحساب موقفه من صيغ القوانين بمدى قدرته على احتساب حصته النيابية سلفاً قبل إجراء الانتخابات. ومعادلة بري هي في علم السياسة شرط القانون الصحيح والعادل، لأنه قانون انتخابات وليس مرسوم تعيينات، والذهاب إلى الانتخابات مع توقّع بعض المفاجآت هو الذي يمنحها حماسة الناخبين، ويجعل للتحالفات الانتخابية معنى، وللتنافس مبرراً، وبدون الغموض في النتائج التي ستترتّب على اعتماد أي قانون انتخابي يتحوّل القانون صفقة محاصصة حزبية وطائفية مقيتة لا تستحق النقاش ويتساوى فيها قانون الستين بالمختلط بالنسبي على دوائر مفصلة على المقاسات. وهذا الغموض هو الذي يمنح النسبية الشاملة وفقاً للدائرة الواحدة تفوّقها على سائر المشاريع، ويضعها في المقدمة كضامن للتعددية السياسية والحزبية والطائفية.

– معادلتا بري ذهبيتان، والواقع العربي واللبناني برونزيّ، إن لم يكن بعضُه «تنك».

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How Booking.com is aiding israel’s war crimes @bookingcom

How Booking.com is aiding Israel’s war crimes

Two years ago, I wrote an article exposing how Booking.com was offering hotel rooms in settlements that Israel has built in violation of international law. I also highlighted how the travel website was misleading clients by giving “Israel” as the address for hotels in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

A correction of sorts has been made since then. When I checked Booking.com earlier this month, I learned that it now gives “Israeli settlement” as the address for some of its accommodation listings.

The change was more than likely made in response to European Union guidelines.

Yet that does not alter the fact that Booking.com is still abetting Israel’s settlement activities – activities which constitute war crimes.

Take the Kalia Kibbutz Hotel. In 2015, Booking.com claimed that this hotel was in Israel. Today, the website states that it is “located within an Israeli settlement.”

It would not be clear to anyone unfamiliar with Middle East geography or politics that the hotel is situated on occupied Palestinian land.

Booking.com does not elaborate on what exactly “located within an Israeli settlement” means. It does not specify that the settlement has been built in violation of international law.

Unsuspecting tourists may simply think that the hotel is in an attractive location, a short drive from the Dead Sea.

The photographs of manicured lawns and a spacious swimming pool would not alert prospective visitors that by reserving a room here, they would be entering the scene of a war crime.

Deceptive

A 2013 United Nations report defined settlements as encompassing “all physical and non-physical structures and processes” built or undertaken to install, expand or maintain “Israeli residential communities” outside the “Green Line” – the boundary between Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hotels located within Israeli colonies would appear to fall within that definition, as they are contributing economically to tourism activities in the settlements.

Other listings by Booking.com are arguably even more deceptive.

The website gives “Israel” as the address for accommodations in occupied East Jerusalem. This is despite the UN Security Council viewing Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem as a violation of international law.

For example, Booking.com offers its clients the opportunity to book chalets in Ramot, an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem. The website claims that the chalets are in Israel, without acknowledging that they are located in an illegal settlement.

Screenshot of Ramot hotel listing shows cabin-style building
Booking.com identifies a hotel in Ramot settlement as located in Israel when it is in the occupied West Bank.

Booking.com is headquartered in the Netherlands. It should, therefore, abide by Dutch and European Union law.

In November 2015, the EU published guidelines for firms doing business in the Middle East. They state that the Union “does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories” it has occupied since 1967 – the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza and the Golan Heights – and “does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory.”

The guidelines add that information published by firms about the origin of the products they sell “must be correct and not misleading for the consumer.” Labeling a product from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as being “from Israel” would be misleading, according to the guidelines.

While the guidelines focus on goods, rather than services, there is nothing in them to indicate that hotels should be exempt from their provisions.

Giving “Israel” as the address for East Jerusalem clearly runs counter to what the guidelines stipulate.

Besides offering settlement hotels in the occupied West Bank, Booking.com is continuing to claim that the Rimonim Hermon Holiday Village is in Israel. In fact, the holiday resort is actually situated in the Golan Heights, an Israeli-occupied part of Syria.

Inadequate

Booking.com has not gone far enough by only partially complying with these guidelines.

All of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its civilian population into territories that it occupies.

As the construction and expansion of Israel’s settlements involve war crimes, the EU should not simply be telling companies to use appropriate terminology. Rather, it should be banning the sale of goods and services to and from those illegal colonies. The EU should do so, mindful of how the UN has, in effect, defined businesses within those colonies as settlement activities.


Booking.com’s listing for Rimonim Holiday Village gives its location in Israel when it is in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

Two years ago, Booking.com tried to evade its responsibilities. A spokesperson for the firm told me it was “not up to us” to determine if Israeli settlements were “illegal, disputed [or] unrecognized.”

The corporation did not respond to more recent requests for comment. Danwatch, a Copenhagen-based research center, recently criticized the Priceline Group – the parent company of Booking.com – for refusing to address the “possible negative effects on human rights” from listing hotels in Israeli settlements.

Jeff Handmaker, a law lecturer at Erasmus University in The Hague, insisted that “companies cannot be disconnected” from their obligations under international law.

Handmaker argued that under the Dutch international crimes act, Booking.com could be sued for enabling violations of international law.

By continuing to offer services in illegal settlements, “Booking.com is – deliberately or not – actively facilitating the commission of war crimes,” he added.

The only acceptable course of action is for Booking.com to refuse all listings from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

Nobody should be invited – knowingly or not – to holiday in an illegal destination.

Mieke Zagt is a co-founder and president of the Article 1 Collective, a human rights organization.

Theresa May’s IHRA used to silence critics of israel

Mrs May’s IHRA used to silence critics of Israel

The Facebook photo for International Apartheid Week, 2016

University cancels Israel Apartheid Week event

A University of Central Lancashire spokesperson said: “The UK government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes antisemitism.”

By Rosa Doherty, Jewish Chronicle
February 22, 2017

The University of Central Lancashire has cancelled an event which was due to take place as part of “Israel Apartheid Week” activity on its campus.

The session was organised by the university’s Friends of Palestine group and was billed as a panel discussion looking at the boycott of Israel.

It was due to feature speakers including anti-Israel activist Ben White and pro-Palestinian academics.

But a spokesperson for the university said “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine” contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and was “unlawful”.

In a statement on behalf of the university in Preston, Lancashire, the spokesperson said: “The UK government has formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes antisemitism.

“We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.”

He added: “In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”

The talk was scheduled to take place as part of a week of anti-Israel events expected to be held at universities nationwide.

The North West Friends of Israel group welcomed the move. Co-chair Raphi Bloom said NWFoI had led a campaign to ban the event.

“Universities across the UK have signed up to the government’s definition of antisemitism and have a duty of care to their Jewish students – and staff – to ensure that they do not feel intimidated or abused on campus,” he said.



Prevent guidance says that support for Palestine is among views that ‘may be regarded as extremist but are not illegal’, London March, August 2014. Photo by PSC/Flickr

REVEALED: UK universities told to ‘manage’ Palestine activism

Prevent training package advises that events involving ‘vocal support for Palestine’ should be ‘risk-assessed and managed’

By Simon Hooper, MEE
February 22, 2017

British university staff are being advised to “risk-assess and manage” events on campus relating to “contentious” issues including Palestine and criticism of western foreign policy in the Middle East in order to demonstrate their compliance with the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy.

Critics fear that the guidance, which is contained in an online training presentation, is already stifling free speech and political expression, with one institution, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), on Tuesday cancelling an event organised by a Friends of Palestine society because of concerns that it would not be “balanced”.

Other issues for which higher education institutions are being instructed to put in place measures to ensure that “extremist views” are challenged include opposition to Prevent itself following vigorous campaigning against the strategy by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 100,000 university staff.

“Vocal support for Palestine”, “Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza”, “Criticism of wars in the Middle East” and “Opposition to Prevent” are included in a list of “contentious topics” in the presentation on a website, Safe Campus Communities, created for university staff to help them fulfil their Prevent Duty obligations.

Since 2015 the Prevent Duty has required public sector workers by law to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

UK councils link ‘empathy’ for Palestinians to terrorism threat

The creators of Safe Campus Communities, who include the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), told Middle East Eye the list was intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure that “topics that may be seen as controversial” could be “debated in a safe environment”.

Elsewhere in the training material, the topics are described as a “list of views that may be regarded as extremist but are not illegal”. Accompanying notes state that holding such views “may be legitimate provided they are not expressed or furthered by statements, deeds or actions which result in the harassment, intimidation or threats of violence against individuals or society itself”.


 

Prevent training_0The presentation states: ‘Holding these views may be legitimate provided they are not expressed or furthered by statements, deeds or actions which result in the harassment, intimidation or threats of violence against individuals or society itself’. Screengrab

The presentation advises institutions to take steps for events at which “extremist views are likely to be expressed” to ensure that such views are challenged by “inviting additional speakers with opposing views” and through “independent and effective chairing”.

“Relevant higher education bodies also need to risk assess and manage events where these or similar views may be expressed,” it says.

But critics fear that the guidance could lead to a culture of caution and censorship on campuses in which discussion of topics considered controversial is shut down.

On Tuesday, UCLan said it had cancelled a Friends of Palestine event scheduled to take place on 28 February as part of “Israel Apartheid Week” because of concerns that it would be antisemitic and unlawful.


Ben White testifies at the Russell Tribunal, NY City.

The event, titled “Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement]”, was due to feature Ben White, an MEE contributor.

In a statement, UCLan said it believed the event would fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism adopted by the UK government last year.

The IHRA defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

“We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests,” a spokesperson for the university said.

“In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”


Poster for Israeli Apartheid Week, provisionally 28th February- 6th March, 2017.

White told MEE: “It is clear from social media posts, as well as an earlier statement issued by the university, that officials caved to pressure from pro-Israel groups, and in so doing, threw their students – and their right to freedom of expression – under a bus.

“Israeli Apartheid Week is marked on campuses across the globe, and its importance is only underlined by the fact that the Israeli government – emboldened by the Trump administration – is so openly opposed to Palestinian self-determination.”

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told MEE it was absurd to single out support for a Palestinian state or opposition to Israeli settlements as controversial or extremist. He said,

“Given that all major political parties in the UK and the overwhelming majority of governments across the world support a Palestinian state and oppose settlements on the basis that they violate international law and are an obstacle to peace it is absurd to define these as extremist views.

“There is an urgent need for the relevant bodies to review these materials and ensure that any training offered to educational establishments truly reflects the stated intention to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression.”

The Safe Campus Communities presentation is the most substantial element in a “package of HE-specific Prevent training materials” produced collaboratively by HEFCE, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Universities UK and BIS, according to HEFCE’s website.

Since last year, the implementation of Prevent on campuses has been overseen by HEFCE and its counterparts in Scotland and Wales.

But the training material also acknowledges concerns about the government’s efforts to define extremism.

“It is the difficulty in defining what is and what isn’t extremist that has led people to be concerned that the Prevent duty constitutes a threat to academic freedom/freedom of expression,” it says.

“The government definition of extremism is considered by some to be somewhat vague.”

In a statement to MEE, HEFCE said the material in the presentation was intended to uphold free speech and was currently being evaluated.

israeli authorities brand Indian Jew genetically inferior

SOURCEJacob - Indian Jew described as genetically defective by Israeli Jews

Marianne Azizi writes:

Jacob is Indian. He is also an Israeli citizen. His parents immigrated to Israel when he was a very young boy.

When Jacob reached the age of four he started kindergarten. But because his parents spoke their own language at home, his knowledge of Hebrew was weak. This was the cause of a lifetime of persecution by the Israeli education and welfare systems that continues to this day.

For 20 years Jacob has been fighting in the courts for justice and compensation for the abuse he endured in the Israeli education system.

Jacob suffers from muscular dystrophy but the Israeli authorities refuse to carry out a proper diagnosis and describe his physical illness as psychosomatic, or mental disorder.

A “Neanderthal” from a “culturally inferior wasteland”

Jacob has been described by the Israeli authorities as Neanderthal, coming from a cultural wasteland that is genetically inferior to Israeli society. He has also been accused of being a homosexual and told that he needs drugs to overcome his “anti-feminist” views.

Not only has this been told to Jacob and his family to their faces, but it was also documented in the defence papers of an ongoing claim for compensation that has so far lasted for two decades.

This week Jacob lost his appeal but he intends to take the individuals and ministries concerned to the Israeli Supreme Court and also sue them abroad. His lawyer, Hanna Boulas, an Arab Christian lawyer who is appalled by the racist abuse hurled at Jacob, has represented him for free for nearly 20 years.

Jacob wants his story to be told. He asked for an interview, and sent his story as a warning to others.

Jacob comes from a respectable family: his father having a patented invention of his own and his great grandparents worked as architects when India was under British rule.

In his interview, Jacob says:

In India my family was very respected and well educated: my grandfather and my father’s brother were both draftsmen in a British architect company. My great grandfather was an officer in the British army, my grandmother’s father was a senior director of the main post office in Aden, Yemen. My mother’s father was a senior clerk in the main post office of Bombay – examples from more than 100 years back and to this day. Still, they [the Israelis] keep referring openly to my family’s “genetic inferiority” as proof that I was born defective.

Quacks, ignoramuses and sadists

What Jacob didn’t know as a child was that he suffered from a form of muscular dystrophy known as spinal muscular atrophy. There is cognitive evidence to show that children afflicted with this disease are in fact more intellectually advanced than others, and this is true for Jacob.

In their ignorance, Jacob’s Israeli teachers decided that his struggle to climb stairs, which left him breathless and weak, was a mental disorder. He was stigmatised by “psychiatrists” as early as four as a reserved child and this was used to build on for more than 10 years of educational and other system abuse.

Jacob relates his experiences:

At school, not only the kids were very violent and abused me every day, the teacher, Miriam Tzabbar, was truly sadistic and physically abused me: because of the violence I was absent from school many times, and the authorities sent a special officer to warn me and my parents that if I would not go to school every day, my parents would go to prison and I would be sent to an institution for young criminals. She also came with uniformed officers who scared me about life in prison. “Do you really want to see your parents in prison because of you?”

Jacob was to endure his whole schooling being abused. It went as far as him being beaten and even having a flagpole inserted into his backside while the teacher looked on with apathy. The abuse Jacob endured through his education extended to psychiatric tests: enforced hospitalisation, enforced drugs and medication.

Jacob was forced to take the anti-psychotic drugs Ridazin, which the authorities claimed would help him with his “fear of dogs”, and Modal. He suffered every side effect of the drugs, which the authorities claimed were “all in his mind”. Imagine giving drugs of this kind to a child who was yet to be diagnosed with his terminal illness but was showing all the physical symptoms!

Jacob describes his fight against being forced to take medication:

The female family-doctor and every doctor who met me told me “you have nothing” without examining me because they saw the referral letter which said I am “under psychiatric treatment”. They were sure that my complaints were imaginary and shouldn’t be treated seriously.

In the summer of 1993 Jacob was sent to a secure mental hospital as a result of the side effects of the drug Modal. A “diagnosis” committee determined that his inability to climb stairs was “a bad mental condition”, and this was signed off by two “psychologists” and a “psychiatrist”.

Jacob spent 10 years being passed around institutions and was threatened that if he didn’t comply his parents would be punished by the state. He was determined to get his education despite all the beatings and emotional abuse. By the end of his schooling, with help from a few good people, he emerged with 85 per cent on his grades.

When in 1994 Jacob was eventually diagnosed properly, his teachers still refused to accept his medical condition. This is how he describes his school’s response to his diagnosis:

In the beginning of 1995 I got an appointment with the school counsellor. She was very hostile to me, refused to believe that I suffer from a physical disease. She smiled and kept irritatingly nodding her head and saying: “No, no, no, you don’t understand. Don’t speak about physical problems, I am asking about your mental condition.”

Punishing the victim

Jacob is an extraordinary man. He is a fighter, refusing to be beaten by his disease, and more so, refusing to lie down and die, which he believes the authorities would like.

He can walk only a short distance and needs constant care, yet he refuses to die without justice. He says:

My case discloses a long chain of severe negligence, failures and corruption in the education establishment of Israel, while the leading policy dealing with violence, even today in 2017, is still that when a group of kids abuse and beat up one specific child, the system will do everything possible to punish, slander and throw the victim out of the system, not the perpetrators, as a senior educational psychologist, Dr Menachem Ophir, clearly told to me. That is exactly what explains so well the false diagnoses, misleading presumptions and the harassment by the authorities against me and my parents.

They were looking only for retrospective excuses for the question why I’ve been so many years in therapeutic institutions while they found nothing real against me. They even suggest something about suspicion of homosexuality, which was never even close to reality.

Jacob is by no means the only child abused in the system. Stories are abound of children who are drugged in institutions to “correct their mental attitudes”, children who have no diseases but are separated from their parents, children who simply are pining and yearning to go home.

Institutional perjury

Jacob, his family and his lawyer are having to fight the institutional perjury in the courts. Here are some examples of the lies put out by Israeli institutions to smear him and his family

Lie: “As a child, Jacob was the victim of sexual abuse by his grandmother and grandfather.

Fact: Jacob never knew his grandfather, who died when his own father was seven years old.

Lie: “Yakov was behaviourally disturbed in school and was yelling in the class very hateful remarks against women, Jews and Israel.”

Fact: Every teacher described Jacob always as too quiet, too shy, introverted and a gentle kid. But one of his teachers, Soffy Katz, a divorced feminist, spread falsehoods about Jacob, for example by telling Jacob in front of everybody, including psychiatrists:”You are against feminism because you have a problem in your brain.” She even claimed that drugs would resolve his views about feminism!

What child would not suffer emotionally or mentally? Yet Jacob has a host of friends and a dedicated lawyer fighting for him. Once his case reaches the international arena, it remains to be seen how so many experts testifying for him can be ignored.

Here is an example from Jacob’s lawsuit (in Hebrew).

Many elements of Jacob’s story are similar to those of numerous other parents and children in Israel: children being medicated against their will with strong psychotropic drugs; ignoring physical conditions or illnesses, which in many instances are caused by the side effects of drugs; enforced incarceration in mental hospitals when the child is intellectually proven to be fit.

As with many victims, Jacob tried to get his story told on Israeli mainstream media. Most of these stories are stopped at the last minute by the authorities.

What is special about Jacob’s case is that he can prove the lies and misinformation about him. Yet, he cannot get justice.

Jacob needs help to file a lawsuit overseas for racism and abuse as his remedies in Israel are almost exhausted. Just as the Ethiopians are fighting to overcome racism, Jacob, with his Indian heritage, fights on.

For further information about Jacob’s case, contact Marianne Azizi.

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (16 – 22 February 2017)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian

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Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(16 – 22 February 2016)

Three Palestinian civilians were wounded, including a child, in the West Bank.

  • Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea.
  • 5 fishermen were arrested, one of whom was wounded, and their boat was confiscated in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

  • Israeli forces conducted 65 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
  • 72 civilians, including 10 children and 4 women, were arrested in the West Bank.
  • 18 of them, including 7 children and 3 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

  • Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • A residential house was demolished in a Bedouin Community in al-Khan al-Ahmar area and another house in Beit Hanina.
  • Shweiki and Qara’in families self-demolished their houses in Silwan and al-Mukaber Mount villages to avoids demolition costs.

 

  • Israeli forces continued their settlement activities in the West Bank
  • A waterline was uprooted in the Northern Jordan Valley.

 

  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 7 Palestinian civilians were arrested at military checkpoints.

Summary

 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (16 – 22 February 2017).

 

Shooting:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the West Bank.  In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces also continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, wounding a fisherman.

 

In the West Bank, On 19 February 2017, Israeli forces wounded a Palestinian child in Bazaria village, northwest of Nablus when they opened fire from an Israeli military jeep at a number of students, who were on their way out of schools, without any reason.

 

On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah, and wounded two civilians with bullets in the lower limbs.

 

In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, on 19 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and chased them.  The shooting recurred on 19 and 20 February 2017.  During the reported attacks, the Israeli naval soldiers arrested 5 fishermen; one of whom was wounded, and confiscated their boat along with the fishing net and equipment.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 65 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 72 Palestinian civilians, including 10 children and 4 women. Eighteen of them, including 7 children and 3 women, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem.

 

Efforts to create Jewish majority

 

In the context of house demolitions, On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces demolished a residential house (caravan) in al-Tebnah Bedouin Community in al-Kan al-Ahmar area, east of occupied Jerusalem.  The 50-square-meter caravan sheltered Fatmah al-Tebnah (37) from ‘Arab al-Jahalin.

 

In the context of self-demolitions, on 17 February 2017, the family of Saleh Shweiki self-demolished their house in Beer Ayoub neighbourhood in Silwan village, south of Jerusalem’s Old City, upon a decision issued by the Israeli Municipality.  The 80-square-meter house sheltered a family of 13 members, including 8 children.

 

On 18 February 2017, Mo’atasem Fayez Qara’in was forced to self-demolish his house in al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of Jerusalem, upon the Israeli Municipality’s decision and to avoid paying the Municipality’s high demolition costs.  The house was built 8 years ago on an area of 65 square meters.

 

In the context of demolition notices, on 19 February 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Khan al-Ahamr Bedouin Community, east of Jerusalem, and handed the residents notices to demolish and evacuate 40 facilities, including houses, livestock barns, a school and mosque, under the pretext of building without a license.

 

On 22 February 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a residential house in “Tal’et Hezmah” area in Beit Hanina neighbourhood, north of occupied Jerusalem.  The 120-square-meter house belongs to the family of Lo’ay Abu Romouz and sheltered his family of 7 members, including 5 children.

 

Settlement crimes and settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property:

 

On 20 February 2017, Israeli forces uprooted an 8.5-meter drinking waterline between ‘Atouf village and Kherbet al-Hadidiyah in the northern Jordan Valley.  It should be mentioned that the abovementioned waterline was donated by UNICEF and ACF and made of plastic pipes.

 

On the same day, Israeli forces confiscated a fuel pump belonging to Sabri Abu Mariah in Beit Zere’atah area, east of Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron.  The owner was threatened in case he re-runs the fuel station.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people.  The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy.  They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:10, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 3 civilians and took them to Al-Jalamah Detention Center. The arrested civilians were identified as Huyai Hamzah Husain (21), Wahbi Mousa al-Khouli (26) and Anas Badwan Badwan (23).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Shuwaikah Suburb, south of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Murad Moneer Yusuf Mahdawi (26).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ezbet Shufah, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Muhannad Salem Ismail Abdul Razeq (36).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Eastern Barta’ah village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested Yusuf ‘Esam Kabha (27).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Howarah village, south of Nablus; Dura, Beit Kahel, Bani Na’im and Deir Samet villages in Hebron

 

Friday, 17 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 02:20, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Eyad Abdul Rahman Selmi (25) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 19:20, Israeli forces moved into Qarawet Bani Hassan village, northwest of Salfit. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to ‘Esam Abdul Razeq Mohammed Rayan (19) and Abdullah Basem Mohammed Rayan (22) and then arrested them.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Samou’i, Traqumiya villages and al-Fawar refugee camp in Hebron.

 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Haryah Valley neighbourhood, in the eastern area of Hebron, stationed at the entrance to Palestine Polytechnic University and closed the street leading to it. They raided a scientific library belonging to Majdi Rashid Abdul Ghani al-Karki (39), from al-Qadi Valley neighbourhood in the city. After breaking the main door, the soldiers damaged some stationary and then confiscated 14 hard-desks, 50 flash drivers and the DVR of the surveillance cameras. The soldiers left a list of the confiscated items, embeding the 1945 Defence Emergency Regulations. The Israeli soldiers later withdrew, but neither arrests nor questioning the library’s owner were reported.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron. They raided and searched 3 houses after which they arrested 3 civilians namely Mohammed Mo’ath Haliqawi (22), Ahmed Hasan Haliqawi (21) and Amin Jaber ‘Osfour (22).

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Salam Street in Hebron, and stationed on the street adjacent to the Sharia School for Girls. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jehad Husain Ershiyed (50), father of Dania and Jehad Ershiyed, who were killed by the Israeli soldiers at the end of 2015. The soldiers handed a summons to Ershiyed to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion” settlement complex, south of Bethlehem.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported:’Ourta village, southeast of Nablus; Birzeit and Kuber villages, north of Ramallah.

 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 00:20, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They patrolled the streets amidst firing of tear gas canisters, claiming they were thrown with stones. As a result, 2-month-year-old Zain Salim Omer Abu al-So’uod suffered tear gas inhalation when he was near his house. Zain was transferred to the hospital to receive medical treatment. The soldiers also raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Samir al-Shubaki and then handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 4 civilians namely ‘Oudai Mohammed Yunis Thawabtah, Yusuf Mahmoud Abdul Salam Taqatqa, Eyad Mahmoud Mousa Taqatqa and Rashad Samih Diriyah.

 

  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli forces moved into Silwad village, northeast of Ramallah. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 3 civilians, including a child, namely Faraj Mousa Shuqeirat (42), Baraa’ Ibrahim Hamed (21) and Amjad Taiseer Hamed (16).

 

  • At approximately 07:30, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased The shooting sporadically continued until approximately 09:00. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor damages were reported.
  • At approximately 13:00, an Israeli military jeep moved into Bazaria village, northwest of Nablus while Palestinian students were on their way out of their schools. A soldier fired a rubber-coated metal bullet towards a number of students. As a result, Osama Yusuf Abdul Latif ‘Ouda (16) sustained a metal bullet wound to the abdomen. He was transferred to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm to receive medical treatment. Osama said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

 

“At approximately 13:00 on Sunday, 19 February 2017, my colleagues and I went out of the Bazaria High School in the centre of the village, and then arrived near the Bazaria Elementary School, which 400 meters away from our high school. We were then surprised with an Israeli military jeep traveling on the street leading to Tulkarm. As soon as the car approached us, a soldier opened fire at us and left the area. As a result, I was directly wounded with a bullet to the abdomen. The students carried and put me into a car for Ayman Suleiman Salem, who took me to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarm. After receiving the medical treatment, it was found out that I was hit with a metal bullet to the abdomen.”

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (6) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Nablus and ‘Ourta village, southeast of the city; al-‘Aroub refugee camp, Beit Oula, al-Hadab and Qalqas villages in Hebron.

 

Monday, 20 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jaber Mohammed al-Rajoub (30).They later withdrew, but no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 01:20, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Maher Sameer Abu Haniyah (23) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Nedal Mahmoud Jaber Balasmah (33) and Loai Jamil Qashmir (21) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Mahmoud Saqer Ahmed ‘Asidah (29) and Mos’ab Tawfiq al-Hendi (27). At approximately 04:00, The Israeli forces withdrew taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Surif village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ibrahim Mohammed Abu Farah (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit ‘Awa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mohammed Rezeq ‘Essa (28) and Ramzi Abdul Fattah Masalmah (49). At approximately 04:00, they withdrew taking them to an unknown destination.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Romanah village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Mahdi Morshed Bushnaq (42).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Fathi Mohammed Hammad (19) and then arrested him. They also fired live bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the civilians. As a result, Jehad Mohammed Abu Hmaid (23) and Qusai ‘Ali Hendi (19) were hit with bullets to their legs.

 

  • At approximately 06:45, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee for fear of their lives, but neither casualties nor material damages were reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Traqumiya, al-Thaheriyah and al-Samou’i villages in Hebron.

 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Tal village, southwest of Nablus. They raided and searched a number of houses and then arrested Kayed Mohammed Isma’il al-Hendi (37), an officer at the Palestinian Security Service. They also raided and searched a120-square-meter  workshop belonging to Tahseen Husain Mohammed Ramadan (65) in ‘Ein Qatiri area on the eastern side of the abovementioned village. They arrested Tahseen’s son, Naseem (38), a Palestinian Intelligence officer at the Palestinian Intelligence Service, while he was sleeping in the workshop. They then welded the doors with oxygen from the inside and outside and hanged posts at the walls in the Arabic and Jewish languages saying it is closed with red wax until a further notice.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into Baraqah village, northwest of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and then arrested Adham Anwar Ahmed Salah (29).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Reihiyah village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Oudai Abdul Muhsen ‘Essa al-Tubani (37) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into al-Am’ari refugee camp, south of Ramallah. They raided and searched a house belonging to Zuhdi Theeb Zuhdi Salem (49) and then arrested him and his sons Mohammed (26), Fadi (24), Ehab (22) and Bahaa’ (16).
  • At approximately 02:50, Israeli forces moved into Qalqiliyah. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Anas Wajih Hasan Abtali (22).

 

  • At approximately 07:30 on Tuesday, 21 February 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah Shore, west of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. They then surrounded a fishing boat belonging to Sabri Mohammed Sa’id Baker (56) and manned by his 3 children, ‘Abdullah (19); Mahmoud (17) and Mohammed ‘Emran (23) in addition to Thabet Mohammed ‘Abdel Razeq Baker (20) and ‘Omer Mohammed Najib ‘Omer Baker (26).  All the aforementioned fishermen live in al-Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza City.  Due to the shooting, Mohammed ‘Emran Baker was hit with a bullet to the left side of his waist and then transferred to Barzilai Hospital in Ashqelon for medical treatment. The Israeli naval soldiers ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat.  They were then arrested and taken to Ashdod Seaport while their boat and fishing net were kept in custody.

 

Wounded fisherman, Mohammed Baker, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

 

“Due to the heavy shooting at the boat we were on, I was hit with a bullet to the left side of the waist.  When the Israeli naval soldiers ordered us to jump into the water, I told them I was wounded, so the soldiers took me to their gunboat’s board.  They handcuffed and blindfolded me and then took me to Ashdod Seaport.  They brought a doctor to medically examine my wound, and he asked to transfer me to the Barzilai Hospital in Ashqelon to receive medical treatment.  At approximately 01:00 on the next day, I was released and taken by a Palestinian ambulance to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for medical treatment.  Medical sources there described my wound as moderate.”

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Deir Estia village, northwest of Salfit; Kafer al-Deek village, west of the city; Howarah village, south of Nablus; Yatta and Bani Na’im village in Hebron.

 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into Dura, south west of Hebron, and stationed in Karisah neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Nayef Mahmoud al-Rajoub (55), a PLC Member representing the Hamas Movement’s Change and Reform Bloc. The soldiers confiscated Nayef’s car before they withdrew. In the meantime, other Israeli forces raided and searched 3 houses belonging to Yaser Mohammed al-Rajoub,  Rezeq Abdullah Musallam al-Rajoub (60), whose car was as well confiscated, and Abdullah Mohammed al-Rajoub. At approximately 03:00, the Israeli forces withdrew and stationed in the center of the city. Moreover, they raided and searched Abu Sharekh Mall. The soldiers broke doors of a number of offices, including Java Cultural Center, lawyer Ahmed al-Haroub’s office and al-Khawarezmi Center for Mental Intelligence, and searched them.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Taramah village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Emad Mohammed Jadallah (33) and then confiscated his car, but no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces accompanied with 15 military jeeps moved into Beta village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested 5 civilians, including the mother of Naser Sadeq Mohammed Abu Mazen (49), who carried out a stab attack in Petah Tikva on 09 February 2017, due to which the father Naser Sadeq Mohammed Abu Mazen (49) was arrested after two hours of the attack. The arrested civilians were identified as Joudah Mohammed Abdul Majid Abu Mazen (46), Naseem Dawoud Ibrahim Bani Sahmsah (18), Duraid Abed Ibrahim Bani Shamsah (18), Namer Sameer Abdul Rahman Bani Shamsah (19) and Samer Zaki Sanouber (19).

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Shehab Eden Ahmed al-Titi (24) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into ‘Aydah refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Emad al-‘Azraq (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Jenin. They raided and a number of houses after which they arrested Mohammed Basem al-‘Orabi (24) and Zakaria al-‘Ammar (42).

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Awa village, west of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses after which they arrested Mohammed Rezeq ‘Essa (28) and Ramzi Abdul Fattah Masalmah (49).

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Surif village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ya’qoub Mohammed al-Heeh (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Tabaqah village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Abdul Muhsen Abu Ras (64) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Hadab al-‘Alqah village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Basel ‘Ali Dawdeen (39) and then arrested him.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (4) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Sa’ir, Beit Ummer and Emrish villages in Hebron and Sa’ir village, southwest of Jenin.

 

  • Use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations protesting settlement activities and the construction of the annexation wall

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following the Friday prayer on 17 February 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians and Israeli and international human rights defenders organized demonstrations in Bil’in and Nil’in villages, west of Ramallah and al-Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city; at the entrance to al-Jaalzone refugee camp, north of the city; and in Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, protesting against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

 

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested

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