Empire Files: Israeli Army Vet’s Exposé – “I Was the Terrorist”

 

 

Even the U.S. Department of State says it “Palestinian children are being mistreated & tortured by israel”

U.S. State Dept. reports grave violations against Palestinian kids

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks during a press event in Washington, on March 6, 2017, broke with precedent and did not participate in the launch of the 2016 State Department Human Rights Reports. (Photo: U.S. Department of State)

Ramallah, March 17, 2017—A U.S. government human rights report released this month highlights grave violations against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.

The annual country reports on human rights practices, which include a specific section covering the situation of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), raises a number of issues related to ill-treatment of Palestinian child prisoners and denial of fair trial rights in Israeli military courts. It notes other grave violations against Palestinian children, including unlawful killing and excessive use of force against Palestinian children by Israeli forces. A senior U.S. official released the annual report and answered questions by phone on condition of anonymity.

The report noted a “significant increase in detentions of minors” in 2016, and that “Israeli authorities continued to use confessions signed by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew.” It also highlighted the renewed use of administrative detention against Palestinians, including children.

“The U.S. government is well aware of ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian child detainees as well as unlawful killings,” said Khaled Quzmar, Defense for Children Interantional – Palestine’s general director. “Until the U.S. government demands Israeli authorities comply with international law, U.S. authorities are simply enabling abuse and perpetuating injustice against Palestinian children.”

The report highlights the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Mahmoud Rafat Badran near the West Bank village of Beit Ur Al-Tahta on June 21, 2016. Six teenage cousins and a driver were in a car heading home around 1:30 a.m. after a night of family fun at a swimming pool in the nearby West Bank village of Beit Sira. Israeli soldiers opened fire on them as they drove through an underpass beneath Route 443. Mahmoud Rafat Badran died at the scene. Two of his cousins and the driver were injured.

Omitted from the report was the February 26, 2016 killing of Mahmoud Shaalan, a 16-year-old who held U.S. citizenship. Israeli soldiers shot and killed Mahmoud as he allegedly attempted to stab them at a military checkpoint near Beit El settlement, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. A witness waiting to cross the checkpoint in his car told DCIP that he saw the teenager approach the soldiers and he did not appear to be carrying a weapon in his hands. He then heard three gunshots and decided to turn his car around, at which point he saw a soldier fire two shots at Mahmoud while he was already on the ground.

Typically, the secretary of state launches the report and provides brief remarks that highlight specific findings included in the report. However, in a break with precedent, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not launch the report on-camera and in person.

Each year the U.S. Department of State drafts and publishes country reports on human rights practices, known as the Human Rights Reports, that cover the situation of human rights in countries around the world. The reported is mandated by Congress.

Since 2007, each annual country report on Israel and the OPT has included data and information on ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, denial of fair trials rights in Israeli military courts and other grave violations against children committed by Israeli forces and settlers.

In February, DCIP and American Friends Service Committee delivered a petition to the U.S. State Department signed by over 11,000 individuals standing against ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children. The petition, part of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, urged the Secretary of State to prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children and to hold Israeli authorities accountable for widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees.

Alliel – A Window Into Tribal Arrogance

March 16, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

This video is a spectacular glimpse into Jewish Identity Politics. In the music clip, Alliel, an  arrogant yeshiva boy is subject to a historical continuum of harassment.   Seemingly, Alliel didn’t bother to ask himself why is he chased and abused time after time by so many people in so many places.  Humanity, for him, is a pictorial remote entity united by Jew hatred. For him the only thing that matters is that Am Israel Chai The Jew always prevail. But then, if this is the case, if the Jews see themselves as omnipotent superheroes why do they expect the rest of humanity to regard them as hopeless victims?

Dressing Up as a Killer: Purim in Israel

Last week I put up a post about children in Israel who were planning to dress up as Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who was caught on video carrying out an execution-style slaying of a wounded Palestinian. That execution took place over Purim of 2016. Purim 2017 was celebrated in Israel this past weekend. Above is a video posted today and showing, indeed, people dressed up as Azaria.

Netanyahu’s corrupted views about origins of Purim & Iran

Zarif gives Netanyahu lesson in Jewish scripture

Arash Karami

Iranian officials harshly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his accusations against Iran over a biblical story from 2,500 years ago.

During an open session of parliament March 12, Speaker Ali Larijani said, “It is necessary to discuss two points about the leader of the Zionist regime [Israel]. First, he has distorted the history of pre-Islamic Iran, and he has reversed the events.” Larijani continued, “Apparently, he knows neither history nor has he read the Torah. Of course more cannot be expected from a nefarious Zionist to spread lies like this.”

In this vein, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted March 12, “To sell bigoted lies against a nation which has saved Jews 3 times, Netanyahu resorting to fake history & falsifying Torah. Force of habit.” Zarif’s tweet was accompanied by a screenshot of text that cites the Persian Kings Xerxes I and Cyrus the Great, who stopped a plot to kill Jews and freed Jews from Babylon respectively, and also World War II, in which Iran took in Jews fleeing Europe.

This particular row was sparked by comments from Netanyahu with respect to the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is believed to involve Xerxes I. During a March 9 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu cited Purim and said, “There is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy the state of the Jews.” Putin dismissed those remarks, saying that those events took place in the 5th century B.C. and “we live in a different world now.” Some Iranian media outlets particularly enjoyed Putin’s dismissal of Netanyahu’s concerns. Then, on March 11, a video also surfaced of Netanyahu speaking to children celebrating Purim saying, “Today in Persia they also want to … destroy us.”

Netanyahu’s narrative of Purim, much like most of his analysis on Iran, misreads important parts of the story, which comes from the Book of Esther from the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament. Though much of the story cannot be corroborated by history, it recounts how a Persian king’s viceroy, Haman the Agagite, plotted to kill all the Jews in Persia over a personal vendetta against a Jewish subject, Mordechai, who correctly assessed the threat against the Jews. The queen, Esther, reveals to the Persian king that she is Jewish and what the viceroy had plotted. The king then allows Mordechai and Esther to take revenge on Haman and his men by killing them.

This isn’t the first time Netanyahu has invoked Purim to make geopolitical attacks against the Iranian leadership. In 2012, Netanyahu gave President Barack Obama a copy of the Book of Esther. Later, in a 2015 speech — a time when relations with Obama had already soured — Netanyahu made his appeal to the US Congress. In the speech, he recounted the story of Esther, drawing a link to Iran’s leaders today, especially Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s main ally in the region, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. Zarif had also responded to those comments in 2015, saying that it was “the Iranian king who saved the Jews.”

 

 

Elor Azaria and the Myth of Jewish Universal Values

March 04, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon interviewed by Alimuddin Usmani for La Pravda and E&R

Alimuddin Usmani: IDF soldier Elor Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a  wounded Palestinian. The case deeply divided Israel. Many Israelis said he was just doing his duty and was scapegoated by the army. On the other hand, a military spokesperson said“This is not the IDF, these are not the values of the IDF and these are not the values of the Jewish people”. Gideon Lévy called the 18 month sentence “a sentence fit for a bicycle thief”.

What are your comments on this case?

Gilad Atzmon: A lot of issues are at stake here. Azaria was obviously a cold-blooded murderer who shot a wounded Palestinian in the head. Basically, he committed an execution in broad daylight.  From an Israeli perspective, Azaria’s main crime was being caught on camera. Yet, the circumstances in which he operated were pretty impossible. These Israeli soldiers are deployed in policing tasks. They, the occupiers, are engaged in conflict with the indigenous people of the land. It is a recipe for disaster. More often than not, Israeli soldiers and police forces end up operating as execution squads. Yet, these vile practices do not necessarily reflect any official military order. Instead, they bring to light the atmosphere within the Israeli street: the PRE-traumatic stress, the impunity to kill, the lack of any ethical sense and so on.

Putting aside Azaria’s brutal act, the court case exposed a deep conflict within Israeli society. Zionism, as we know, promised to make the Jews ‘people like other people.’ Yet, the reality on the ground suggests that Israelis have to spend a lot of time and energy concealing the fact that they actually share very little with other people, if anything at all.

Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter, which is surprising considering the clear evidence of 1st degree murder. Yet he was sentenced to just 18 months in prison.  The explanation of this discrepancy between the court’s verdict and the light sentence can be understood on more than one level.

Military courts, as opposed to civilian courts, are not committed to any notion of ethics but rather to the needs of the military system. For instance, a military court sentencing a soldier to death at daybreak is not guided by the seeking of justice but by the needs of the system. It attempts to deter other soldiers from insubordination, cowardice or defection.    

Similarly, because Israel needs the IDF to sustain the occupation, Israel must make sure that its soldiers are confident that the system will always eventually stand by them even if they are  caught in an unfortunate situation such as shooting a wounded Palestinian in the head.

On the day of the verdict, veteran chief of staff Moshe Yaalon, admitted that his initial and harsh reaction to the Azaria incident was because there was an immediate need to calm the situation on the ground. He basically had to throw something at the Palestinians, hoping to prevent mass protest and possible escalation. But at the end of the day, Israel wants the Palestinians to know that any form of resistance will be met with by radical and unpredictable measures.

This leads us to the notion of Jewish values in general and the IDF’s moral values in particular. As I have said many times before, there are no Jewish universal values. Judaism and Jewish culture are tribally-oriented. Moreover, Judaism is guided by Torah and Mitzvoth (commandments). Accordingly, the Jew is expected to follow rules rather than forming ethical judgments. Haskalah, the Jewish enlightenment, was an attempt to universalize Judaism by mimicking European secular thinking. Thus, those universal values that were introduced by Haskalah are not Jewish, but simply borrowed by the Jews from their host nations.

Zionism was a promise to civilise the Jews by means of ‘homecoming.’ It implicitly accepted that Jews weren’t people like all other people, but it believed they could be. Zionism promised to make the Jews productive, to gravitate towards labour and farming. The IDF was supposed to be a humane and ethical military force.  I grew up with photos of Israeli soldiers giving their own water to Egyptian POWs in the desert (1967). It took a few years before I learned that in fact, the Sinai desert was a slaughter zone for thousands of Egyptian soldiers who were sent to their deaths in the burning sand. It took a few more years before I became aware of the Nakba horror – the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population in 1948. Just 3 years after the liberation of Auschwitz the young Israeli army, together with Jewish paramilitary forces, massacred dozens of  Palestinian villages. I assume I don’t have to go into details of current Israeli war crimes.  To sum it up,  the IDF as never been a moral army. IDF moral values are a myth. What we have instead is a growing record of crimes against humanity.  The facade of the military trial was, in practice, an attempt to convey the image of ethical thinking. After all, ‘by way of deception’ must be a kosher procedure.

Alimuddin Usmani: The Jewish Telegraphic Agency wrote that Socialist primary winner in France, Benoit Hamon, had the backing of prominent anti-semites. Before the vote, Dieudonné and Alain Soral called for Manuel Valls to be knocked out of the race and Valls, known for his zealous support of Israel, did indeed receive a slap in the face.

What do these things reveal about the mood of French people?

Gilad Atzmon: It isn’t just France. We detect a global fatigue with Jewish politics and lobbying. We see it in Britain and in the USA – and Jews are the first to notice it. Jewish organisations have long been complaining about the rapid growth in ‘antisemitic’ incidents (whatever that means). Yet, instead of engaging in some elementary self-reflection, asking themselves what is it about them and their behaviour that brings such anger and opposition, these organisations manage to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Instead of opening the discussion on Israel and Jewish power, they use every means at their disposal to suppress freedom of speech and to silence legitimate criticism of Jewish ID politics, global Zionism and the brutality of the Jewish state.

One would think that, after the Shoah, Jews would learn the necessary lessons and would go out of their way to conceal Jewish arrogance. But In practice, the complete opposite has happened. The Jewish lobbies, both Zionists and ‘antis,’ are more obnoxious and arrogant than ever.

 

Alimuddin Usmani: CRIF defines itself as the political representation and official mouthpiece of the organized Jewish community. In the FAQ on it’s website we find this question : Does CRIF have an influence on French politics? 

And the answer is:

Yes, CRIF influences French politics by defending its vision of what should be the public policy against racism and anti-Semitism, offering its thoughts on the transmission of the memory of the Holocaust, or defending its idea of the peace in the Middle East.

In summary, CRIF acts exactly like any other association concerned by the public interest.   

What do you think of this answer?

Gilad Atzmon: I believe that it is a valid answer as long as French people are willing to accept that one minority group that just happens to be privileged can dominate the discourse on public matters such as racism, French past and foreign affairs. But Jewish history actually teaches us that these celebrations of Jewish power always come to a tragic end.

 

Alimuddin Usmani: On CNN, Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote that the Trump administration has a problem with Jews.

How do you explain that BHL is so worried about Trump?

Gilad Atzmon: It is simple. BHL realises that, considering his intensive bellicosity and war-mongering, he himself is a serious Jewish problem. Zionism was all about a promised land yet global Zionism, for which BHL is a prime conduit, signals the transformation from a ‘promised land’ into a ‘promised planet.’ It is, in fact, immoral interventionists such as BHL who bring disasters on the Jews.

When BHL accuses Trump, the first American Jewish President, of antisemitsm, he may be providing us with a glimpse into his own sense of guilt. It is a last and desperate attempt to prevent the floodlight from exposing the criminal continuum between Israel and the Ziocon wars spreading around our planet.

Alimuddin Usmani: Recently you gave concerts and talks in Czech Republic. You announced that you will be back there in June. What do you like about this country?

Gilad Atzmon: pretty much everything. It is a country that has managed to sustain its culture, its work ethic, its cuisine, its productivity. It is a country that is living in peace with its past and sees a prospect of a future ahead.

Israeli Soldier Sentenced to 18 Months for Execution-Style Killing of Palestinian

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Family of Abdul Fattah al-Sharif, a 21-year-old Palestinian shot last year, sit in their Hebron home watching television coverage of the sentencing of Elor Azarya, the Israeli soldier convicted of killing him.

[ Ed. note – Abdul Fattah al-Sharif was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, on March 24, 2016. He was lying on the ground wounded at the time. His execution-style killing, which was captured on video, took place on the Jewish holiday of Purim. The video later went viral and made headlines around the world.

You can go here to watch the video of the shooting, and here to watch Israeli settlers celebrating Purim on the same Hebron streets later that same day. Al-Sharif and a companion, Ramzi Aziz Qasrawi, were both shot on March 24 following an alleged stabbing attack upon an Israeli soldier. I put up a number of posts last year on the incident, most notably Looks Like it Was a Purim Execution, which I published on March 25, and Ruled By the Insane, an article I wrote and published on April 19 and which deals with a protest held in Tel Aviv in support of the killer. Elor Azarya, the Israeli soldier who shot al-Sharif, was elevated to the status of national hero. Today Azarya was sentenced to 18 months by an Israeli military judicial panel.

The light sentencing underscores the fact that there are two standards of justice in Israel, one for Israeli Jews and another for Palestinians, which of course is the hallmark of apartheid. As the article below notes, Palestinian children will typically serve more time in jail simply for throwing rocks. ]

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Israeli Who Executed Injured Palestinian Gets Slap on the Wrist

By Michael F. Brown

Elor Azarya, the Israeli army medic who shot dead injured Palestinian Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif last year in the occupied West Bank, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison, one year of probation and a demotion.

If not pardoned first, he may walk free after serving just a year in prison.

The light sentence was imposed even though judges found beyond any doubt that Azarya had acted in revenge.

“We are not surprised, from the onset we knew this was a show trial that will not do us justice,” al-Sharif’s family told media. “Even though the soldier was caught on video and it is clear that this is a cold-blooded execution, he was convicted only of manslaughter, not murder, and the prosecution asked for only a light sentence of three years.”

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“The sentence he received is less than a Palestinian child gets for throwing stones,” the family added.

Azarya was indicted for manslaughter after he was caught on video shooting the head of the wounded and incapacitated al-Sharif lying in the street, killing him, on 24 March 2016.

Al-Sharif was shot dead along with Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, both 21 years old. Israel alleges that they stabbed a soldier near the Tel Rumeida settlement in Hebron.

The killing of al-Qasrawi was not caught on video.

Israeli hero

Significant segments of Israeli society – egged on by right-wing politicians including education minister Naftali Bennett and defense minister Avigdor Lieberman – objected to any trial at all for Azarya and have celebrated him as a hero.

The trial court found “beyond all reasonable doubt” that Azarya had acted out of revenge rather than in self-defense.

But after obtaining a conviction, prosecutors asked for only three to five years imprisonment.

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Elor Azarya with his mother in an Israeli military courtroom on February 25, 2017, shortly before being handed down his ridiculously light sentence.

At the time of the verdict, Human Rights Watch said that senior Israeli officials have been “encouraging Israeli soldiers and police to kill Palestinians they suspect of attacking Israelis even when they are no longer a threat.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly announced after the January conviction that Azarya should be pardoned.

He is accurately reading public sentiment, with Israelis reportedly supporting clemency by more than three to one.

Netanyahu, who is under investigation for corruption, is also trying to keep up with Bennett, a rival for the post of prime minister, who has repeatedly insisted Azarya be pardoned.

Impunity

The light sentence would appear to be another instance of the systematic impunity Israel affords its personnel who kill or injure Palestinians.

Last year, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem announced it would no longer refer complaints of violence against Palestinians to Israel’s military justice system.

“We will no longer aid a system that whitewashes investigations and serves as a fig leaf for the occupation,” Hagai El-Ad, the group’s director, explained.

Samir Zaqout of the Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights told Al Jazeera he was not surprised by the outcome.

“Palestinians don’t expect any kind of justice from the Israeli legal system,” Zaqout said. “The lives of Palestinians are judged as worthless.”

Bill Fletcher, Jr., former president of TransAfrica Forum and a Palestine solidarity activist who was involved in the anti-apartheid movement, told The Electronic Intifada, “The sentencing of Elor Azarya reminds us that the value of Palestinian life is not the same as the value of Jewish citizens of Israel.”

“An 18-month sentence is nothing more than a slap on the hand,” Fletcher added. “It will do nothing to discourage further terrorist acts against Palestinians.”

Continued here

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