PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations against Palestinians (09 – 15 January 2020)

Source

January 18, 2020 4:20 AM

Summary

This week, PCHR documented 179 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory. They were as follows:

As part of the Israeli shooting and excessive use of force:

In terms of excessive use of force, IOF suppression of 4 peaceful protests in the West Bank resulted in the suffocation of dozens of Palestinian civilians. Furthermore, 4 IOF shootings were reported at agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip and 3 at fishing boats at Gaza Sea; no casualties were reported.

This week, IOF aircrafts sprayed herbicides along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border fence with Israel from its north to its Central Governorate. According to PCHR’s fieldworkers, Israeli aircrafts were flying at a low altitude over the border fence while spraying the herbicides, which reached a distance of 700 to 1200 meters into the Gaza Strip, depending on wind speed and direction. IOF’s herbicide-attack on agricultural lands is repeated twice annually (the end of December and the begging of January and April), which are the beginning of the cultivation of winter and summer crops. It should be noted that spraying herbicides caused damage to leafy crops at lands adjacent to the border fence, which caused heavy losses. Some farmers are deterred from planting their lands that are located near the border fence in fear of such attacks. IOF claim that they intend to eliminate grass and crops that impair vision in the areas adjacent to the border fence.

Under IOF incursions and house raids in addition to arresting Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 96 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, arresting and/or injuring many others. During this week’s incursions, 69 Palestinians were arrested, including 10 children and a woman. Also during their raids, IOF confiscated Palestinian civilians’ money, equipment and other properties under various excuses. In the Gaza Strip, IOF arrested 4 Palestinians, 2 while attempting to cross into Israel via the border fence and 2 at Beit Hanoun Crossing.

In a move unprecedented for more than 25 years, Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett issued a decision on 15 January 2020 establishing 7 new natural reserves and expanding 12 others in the West Bank. Under the Minister’s decision, the Area “C” lands were put under the authority of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. It should be noted that Area “C” lands constitute over 60% of the West Bank and falls under the Israeli military and civil control. It is no secret that Israel intends to annex Area “C” lands; this decision came a few day after Minister Bennett announced his intent to annex Area “C” to Israel and to enhance settlement activity.

Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, PCHR documented 8 demolitions, land razing and demolition notices by IOF, including confiscating a barracks used for livestock and a construction vehicle in Ramallah. IOF also distributed 9 demolition notices and orders to stop construction vehicles in Hebron. Additionally, a blacksmith workshop was destroyed in Jerusalem.

On 15 January 2020, IOF issued a military order to confiscate 350 dunums of agricultural land in Bethlehem in order to expand Bypass road (60), which ties settlements near Bethlehem with Jerusalem, including “Gush Etzion,” “Beitar Illi,” “Eilya,” “Efrat” and “Tzur Hadassah;” as well as “Kiryat Arba” in Hebron.

PCHR also documented 3 settler-attacks that included cutting 80 olive trees and assaulting Palestinian civilians in Nablus.

In terms of collective punishment policy, IOF gave demolition notices to the families of 4 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails targeting their houses in Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron. IOF alleged that their imprisoned sons carried out attacks against IOF and settlers.

In terms of the Israeli closure policy, the Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the History of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life. Furthermore, IOF uses Erez Crossing that is designated for movement of individuals as an ambush to arrest Palestinians who obtain permits to exit via Israel.  Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted and they are subject to arrest. This week, IOF arrested 7 Palestinians, including a child and a woman, at temporary military checkpoints.

  1. Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
  2. Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the West Bank
  • At approximately 13:30 on Friday afternoon, 10 January 2019, a peaceful protest took off in Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, and marched towards the village’s eastern entrance, which has been closed for 15 years allegedly for the security of “Kedumim” settlement. The protestors chanted national slogans, demanded an end of the occupation and the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinians. The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms and the latter responded with sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, a few people suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
  • A similar protest launched on the same day in the same village. The protestors threw stones at IOF, who responded with rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters. As a result, several civilians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
  1. Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
  • At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, 09 January 2020, Dozens of Palestinian young men gathered in Bab al-Zawiyah area in the center of Hebron and threw stones at the Israeli military checkpoint established at the entrance to al-Shuhada’a Street, which is closed. Israeli soldiers stationed at the abovementioned checkpoint deliberately opened fire at stone-throwers. As a result, a number of young men suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Friday, 10 January 2020, a number of Palestinian young men gathered at the western entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They threw stones at the Israeli military watchtower established at the main road to the camp. Israeli soldiers chased the young men between houses and fired sound bombs and tear gas canister at them. The confrontations, which continued until 17:00, resulted in several civilians suffocating due to tear gas inhalation. No other incidents were reported.
  • At approximately 14:50, Israeli gunboats stationed west of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. Neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
  • At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 11 January 2020, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands in eastern ‘Abasan area, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 12 January 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed west of Jabalia shore in northern Gaza Strip, chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 23:10 on the same Sunday, IOF stationed at Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza Strip, sporadically opened fire at the border area and fired dozens of flare bombs in the sky of the area. Neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
  • At approximately 07:00 on Monday, 13 January 2020, Israeli gunboats stationed west of Jabalia shore in northern Gaza Strip, chased and heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. The shooting recurred at 09:00 on the same day. As a result, fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 09:20 on Tuesday, 14 January 2020, Israeli aircrafts sprayed herbicides on the agricultural lands along the border fence, northeast of al-Buraij, and headed north to Gaza Valley and southeast of Gaza City, claiming to eliminate the grass for security reasons in the area. The spraying process continued until 10:30 on the same day morning. These pesticides caused damage to the leafy crops in the area adjacent to the border fence.
  • At approximately 09:30 on the same Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts sprayed herbicides on the agricultural lands along the border fence, from northeast of Beit Hanoun to Beit Hanoun Crossing, northwest of the village. The Spraying process continued until 10:30 on the same Tuesday.
  • At approximately 08:50 on Wednesday, 15 January 2020, Israeli aircrafts sprayed herbicides on lands adjacent to the border fence, east of al-Buraij refugee camp and headed to the east of Deir al-Balah. The spraying process continued until 11:00 on the same day morning.

According to PCHR’s fieldworkers, Israeli aircrafts were flying at a low altitude over the border fence while spraying the herbicides, which reached a distance of 700 to 1200 meters into the Gaza Strip, depending on wind speed and direction. IOF’s herbicide-attack on agricultural lands is repeated twice annually (the end of December and the begging of January and April), which are the beginning of the cultivation of winter and summer crops. it should be noted that spraying herbicides caused damage to leafy crops at lands adjacent to the border fence, which caused heavy losses. Some farmers are deterred from planting their lands that are located near the border fence in fear of such attacks. IOF claim that they intend to eliminate grass and crops that impair vision in the areas adjacent to the border fence.

It should be noted that in 2016, Israeli authorities revealed that the used substances in the air spraying are Glyphosate, Oxygal, and Durex. One of these substances at least are classified as Carcinogenic substances. In 2015, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO), classified Glyphosate substance as carcinogenic and causes birth defects. Therefore, a number of states prohibited some of these substances.

  • At approximately 14:10 on the same Tuesday, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at a group of Palestinian shepherds, east of al-Qararah. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 10:30 on Wednesday, 15 January 2020, Israeli aircrafts sprayed herbicides on the agricultural lands along the border fence, from southeast of Beit Hanoun to the east of al-Amal neighborhood, northeast of the village. It should be noted that the spraying process target the buffer zone ranging between 200 – 300 meters in an attempt to burn the grass that is adjacent to the border fence.
  • At approximately 14:30, Israeli soldiers stationed along the border fence, southeast of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at agricultural lands in eastern al-Fukhari village, adjacent to the border fence. No casualties were reported.
  1. Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
  1. Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
  • At approximately 11:00 on Thursday, 09 January 2020, IOF accompanied with workers of Israeli special companies moved into Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, and stationed on the main street. They dismantled and confiscated a 30-sqaure-meter barrack of ‘Emad Ghanem Sayis, from Kafur Ni’meh village, under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • On Saturday, 11 January 2020, Sayil Ibrahim Ja’abees and Sami Mansour Mashahra implemented the Israeli Municipality decision and self-demolished their houses in al-Mukaber Mount area, south of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Ja’abees said that his 80-sqaure-meter house built 4 years ago and sheltered 5 members, including 3 children. He added that on last Thursday, he was shocked by raiding his house by the Israeli Municipality staff to hand him the Israeli court’s decision that gave him until Sunday morning to self-demolish his house, and if he will not be implemented the decision, the municipality staff will do so and impose a fine on him. Ja’abees also said that his house was comprised of 2 caravans and a bathroom built on his father’s land, because he could not afford construction costs. Ja’abees pointed out that he and his family became homeless in the cold weather.

Regarding Mashahra, he said that his 65-sqaure-meter house built in 2014 and sheltered his wife and their child. Masharhra added that during the past years, the Israeli Municipality staff raided his house many times and handed him several demolition notices. He clarified that the self-demolition of his house was so difficult.

  • At approximately 07:00 on Sunday, 12 January 2020, a force of IOF accompanied with the Israeli police officers surrounded itinerant vendors and owners of stalls, which were placed in Metar Checkpoint, west of al-Dahiriyia village in southern Hebron. The bulldozer demolished the stalls, damaged the goods and confiscated them, under the pretext of causing a traffic jam at the checkpoint. It should be noted that in 2019, the Israeli authorities damaged the stalls of itinerant vendors 9 times.
  • At approximately 09:30 on Monday, 15 January 2020, IOF accompanied with a driver from “Shillo” settlement, which is established on al-Moghair village’s lands, moved into agricultural lands in al-Sahel area, 500 meters away from the mentioned settlement. IOF expelled Salem al-‘Asi, a bulldozer driver, and confiscated his bulldozer. Al-‘Asi was building an agricultural road on Palestinians’ lands to facilitate their access to their lands. It should be noted that this agricultural work is part of a project to rehabilitate and reclaim agricultural lands funded by the Agricultural Development Association, “Agricultural Relief”. IOF claimed these agricultural lands are classified as Area S, despite the existence of a land registry owned by the Palestinian farmers.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Monday, 13 January 2020, IOF accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration officers and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Eghziwa area in southern Nablus. The Israeli Civil Administration officers distributed notices to stop construction works and demolish some facilities, under the pretext of non-licensing. The notices included:
  1. Demolishing a 120-sqaure-meter under-construction house property of ‘Anan Mohamed ‘Abed Rabbu.
  2. Demolishing a 12-sqaure-meter residential room and 50-sqaure-meter barrack property of Belal ‘Issa al-Yateem.
  3. Demolishing a 140-sqaure-meter house property of Belal ‘Issa al-Yateem.
  4. Demolishing a 150-sqaure-meter house property of Mohamed Khalil ‘Issa Abu ‘Arram.
  5. Stop Construction works in a 80-sqaure-meter house property of Qasem Mohamed Abu Tuhffa.
  6. Demolishing a 140-sqaure-meter house property of Mohamed Mousa Makhamrah.
  7. Demolishing an 1800-sqaure-meter barrack property of Ahmed Isma’il Dababsah.
  • At approximately 11:00, Hisham Dari self-demolished a retaining wall surrounding his plot of land located at the eastern entrance to al-‘Issawiyia village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. He implemented the Israeli Municipality decision and levelled his land. Dari added that the Israeli Municipality prevented him from using his land and imposed fines on him. The municipality also closed the entrance of his land with concrete blocks and chains.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration officers and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Zaif area in southern Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers handed ‘Issa ‘Ali Abu ‘Arram a 96-hour- notice to demolish his 200-sqaure-meter barrack, under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Tuesday, 14 January 2020, the Israeli Municipality bulldozer backed by IOF demolished Khaled Nimer Abu Kahlil’s blacksmith workshop built of tin plates and bricks near Hizmah military checkpoint, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and confiscated its equipment, under the pretext of non-licensing, according to the Mayor of Hizmah Village municipality, Musallam Abu Helou.
  • In a move unprecedented for more than 25 years, Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett issued a decision on 15 January 2020 establishing 7 new natural reserves and expanding 12 others in the West Bank. Under the Minister’s decision, the Area “C” lands were put under the authority of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The project included the following areas: Soreek cave, al-Moqleq valley, Malha Valley, southern Jordan River, al-Fari’ah valley, and northern Jordan valley.

According to the statement, the 12 natural reserves that will be expanded are: Mountain peaks in western Dead Sea, southeast of Nablus, Fasayil in Jordan valley, Um Zoka in Jordan valley, an area in the Dead Sea, Kharouba village in eastern al-Ramlah, inside the West Bank, northern the Dead Sea, eastern Tubas, northern the Dead Sea, Malha valley, and in Jericho.

Bennett said about his decision to seize areas from the West Bank and establish settlement projects: “Today we are greatly strengthening the Land of Israel by developing Jewish settlement in Area C – with actions, not words,” Bennett said. “Judea and Samaria have natural sites with amazing views. We will expand existing sites and develop new ones…. I invite all Israeli citizens to get up and walk the land, to tour Judea and Samaria, hike, and discover new things and to continue the Zionist enterprise.”

It should be noted that Area “C” lands constitute over 60% of the West Bank and falls under the Israeli military and civil control.

The Minister’s decision came a few day after Minister Bennett announced his intent to annex Area “C” to Israel and to enhance settlement activity.

  • At approximately 14:00 on Wednesday, 15 January 2020, IOF accompanied with the Israeli Civil Administration officers and backed by military construction vehicles moved into Kherbet Tuba in southern Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration officers handed Huda ‘Isaa ‘Awad Najajrah a notice to stop construction works in a 35-sqaure-meter residential room, under the pretext of non-licensing.
  • On Wednesday evening, the Israeli authorities issued military orders to seize 350 agricultural dunums from the lands of al-Khader and Artas villages, south of Bethlehem, according to Hasan Barijiyah, Head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance in Bethlehem. Barijiyah pointed out that the Israeli decision aims at expanding Bypass Road (60) and denying Palestinians’ access to their lands.
  1. Israeli Settler Violence
  • On Thursday, 09 January 2020, Israeli settlers, from “Rihlem” settlement established in northern al-Sawiyia village, east of Nablus, moved into al-Wad area, which is classified as Area C. The settlers attacked agricultural lands, where they damaged Hamad Saleh Mahmoud Jazi’s olive trees (80) planted 8 years ago. Also, the settlers set fire to Nader ‘Abed al-Rahim Kafina land and burned 30 olive trees.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Wednesday, 15 January 2020, Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement, which is established on ‘Oreef, Hewarah, ‘Inabous and Ma’dama village’s lands, attacked with stones the outskirts of ‘Oreef village from the eastern direction. The Palestinian civilians confronted them and threw stones at them. After that, IOF intervene and secure the settlers’ withdrawal. No injuries among Palestinian civilians were reported.
  • At approximately 12:42 on Wednesday, Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement, attacked the outskirts of Ma’dama village from the southern direction. They attacked Yehia Mohamed Sa’ied Qat’s house and broke the windows before the Palestinian civilians intervened and confronted them.
  1. Collective Punishment Policy
  • At approximately 02:30 on Thursday, 09 January 2020, IOF moved into Jenin and handed the family of prisoner Ahmed Jamal Ahmed al-Qumbu’, who has been arrested since 17 January 2018, a notice to demolish their 220-sqaure-meter house in al-Basateen neighborhood in northern Jenin for the 2nd time. It should be noted that the family house sheltering 8 members, including 2 children, was re-built 8 months ago. IOF blew-up the house of al-Qumbu’, who was charged with participation in the killing of an Israeli settler namely Arail Shefeh, from “Hefat Gilad” settlement, southwest of Nablus, on 09 January 2018.
  • At approximately 04:00 on Friday, 10 January 2020, IOF backed by military construction vehicles moved into Birzeit in northern Ramallah. They raided and searched a house of prisoner Yazan Hussaim Maghames (25), who was arrested on 11 September 2019. The soldiers handed Yazan’s father a demolition notice and no arrest among the family members was reported. It should be noted that Maghames was charged with participation in the attack at Ein Bubin near Deir Bzai’a village, west of Ramallah on 23 August 2019, which caused the killing of Israeli female settler and injuring her father and brother.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Ramallah and stationed in al-Tirah neighborhood. They raided and searched the house of prisoner Waleed Mohamed Hanatsha and handed his family a demolition noticr. No arrest among the family members war reported. It should be noted that Hanatsha, the financial director at Union of Health Work Committees, was arrested on 03 October 2019. He was accused of participation in the attack at Ein Bubin near Deir Bzai’a village, west of Ramallah on 23 August 2019, which caused the killing of Israeli female settler and injuring her father and brother.
  • At approximately 13:00 on Friday, 10 January 2020, IOF backed by military construction vehicles moved into Beit Kahel village, northwest of Hebron. They raided and searched the house of Kamel Mohamed ‘Asafrah (63) and handed his daughter-in-law married to his son Mahmoud (40), who was arrested on 20 August 2019, a notice to demolish their 120-square-apartment located on the 2nd floor. It should be noted that ‘Asafrah was accused of participation in the killing of an Israeli soldier “ David Soreek” on 07 August 2019, near “Gosh Etizon” settlement, south of Bethlehem. The soldier photographed the house and later withdrew. On 20 November 2019, the Israeli authorities demolished 4 houses of Sa’ied ‘Atiyah Mahmoud Zhour (46), Saleh Khalil al-‘Asafrah (60), and Qasem ‘Aref Khalil ‘Asafrah (34) and his brother Ahmed (37) in Biet Kahel village. The Israeli Military Court handed the mentioned persons indictment, accusing their sons of participation in the killing of David Soreek.

Full document available at PCHR official.

The «Immoral» Killing of the Iranian General

Source

By Benjamin B. Ferencz, NYT

This is a letter sent by a former Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor, Benjamin B. Ferencz, who says the American public deserves to know the truth.

To the Editor:

Now in my hundredth year, I cannot remain silent. I entered the United States in January 1921 as a poor immigrant boy, and I have felt obliged to repay the United States for the opportunities given to me.

I was an American combat soldier in World War II, and was proud to serve my country as the chief prosecutor in a war crimes trial at Nuremberg against Nazi leaders who murdered millions of innocent men, women and children.

The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had “taken out” (which really means “murdered”) an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war. As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law.

The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law.

Benjamin B. Ferencz

Delray Beach, Fla.

General Soleimani in the Eyes of Western Media

By Muna Issa 

Beirut – The assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani drew the eyes and ears of the entire planet. Iranians and Iraqis mourn, the United States and “Israel” gloat, and world powers wait intently for what was coming for the Middle East. As tensions arose, Western media reports the assassination, and we observe the reaction of the public.

While one side of the world has had enough of conflict, poverty and colonial violence, the other side of the world not only comes to post jokes about the death which has upset millions, but also gloat and celebrate the murder of who they deem as a “terrorist.” We couldn’t blame the American public much, though – this only reflects what they’ve been taught through their news outlets, which are far from trustworthy.

In addition to that, there isn’t much escape from the supremacist mindset in a country like the United States, no matter how egalitarian one might attempt to be. It is deeply embedded in the brain, hence the lack of accountability for the US military’s actions. Neither was it brought salient that this dreadful incident was a breach to international law, nor was there any sense of remorse for the mere act of murder. Sadly, the US public expressed their cheerfulness as though General Soleimani had hurt them personally.

However, we witnessed a dramatic shift in American public opinion after tensions escalated further when Iran vowed a strong retaliation. Opinions shifted from “We killed the bad guy” to “What have you done?”. What was supposedly used to make Americans feel “safer” backfired severely. It is to Iran’s knowledge that they are dealing with a ruthless narcissist; a country built on lack of accountability – the idea that they could treat countries, cultures, systems, and people wickedly and get away with it.

Then came the speech of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, which changed the game. In short, Nasrallah declared the expulsion of United States forces from the region – a milestone decision in our time. Although this would normally startle the masses, Western journalism experienced different a different reaction to the news.

What is interesting is that what Western journalism has painted General Soleimani to be is something along the lines of a “murderer” and “terrorist.” The idea presented to the public serves as a weapon of legitimacy for potential wars and assassination. However, it seemed as though outlets have taken two steps back, and “played nice” after Iran and Hezbollah’s reactions. Rather than calling General Soleimani what they used to call him, articles written on January 5, 2020 neither gave analysis nor propaganda. What moved the American public most is Nasrallah’s exclusion of US citizens from their target. In contrast with their ideas on what Hezbollah is as an organization, the public expressed emotions which came to be a mixture of surprise, bewilderment and relief. The Washington Post, one of the United States’ top newspaper outlets, published an article of the title ‘Hezbollah Says Retribution for Soleimani’s Death Must Target US Military, Not Civilians.’ Americans, whose trust for their news outlets is built on fear and need for military protection, may have a chance to develop new ideals about the other side of the world. This could also mean that they are losing trust in their government (regardless of their politics).

Western media is playing an immense role in shaping opinion. At a very rare occurrence in time, they’re somehow withdrawing their previous ideals of General Soleimani in journalism in attempt to de-escalate tensions.

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The Iranian missile strike: an initial evaluation

The Saker

January 08, 2020

First, as always, a recap.

Turns out that the Iranian strikes were apparently very accurate, check out these photos:

This is interesting, because while I had some US ex-Colonel on idiot-box saying that most Iranian missiles either missed or landed in the desert.  Rah! Rah! Rah!  The US has THE BEST military in the GALAXY!!  We kick these ragheads back to their medieval reality, bla-bla-bla.

The reality is that this has been a very effective “proof of concept demonstration”.  Think like this:  the Iranians have super-accurate coordinates for every single building in the Green Zone.  What impact would you think a determined – non symbolic – missile strike on key US buildings in the Green Zone would have?  How about US forces in Kuwait and/or Saudi Arabia.

Keep in mind that the kind of missiles Iran used is very much an older, less capable, generation.  For example, as far as I know, these missiles have no final guidance capability (you may want to double/triple check this one).  Other ones do (that I am sure of).

Furthermore, it is becoming apparent that Iran had no intention of hitting US personnel, at least not deliberately.  So when the Idiot-in-Chief tweets “so far, so good” he is quite correct, but for all the wrong reasons.

I think of this first strike as a very serious WARNING SHOT which serves two purposes.

First, to show that the “54 targets in Iran” threat is an empty one: Iranians don’t care (for certain) and Pentagon planners probably don’t want it either (most likely).  So besides hot air, the Idiot-in-Chief produced nothing.

Second, to show to those in the US who actually believe their own silly propaganda about the US having THE BEST military in the history of the Galaxy that in terms of missiles, Iran is doing just fine, thank you.

Now, in all fairness, I will ALWAYS welcome ANY gesture which can avoid a massive total war.  There is no doubt in my mind that these events are marking the beginning of the end for the Empire.  The only real question is at what costs to the rest of mankind?  So while he is a narcissistic idiot for sure, and while he wrapped the key part of his statement in all sorts of delusional and dumb chest-thumping and flag waving, I have to admit that Trump did the right thing once again.  Destroying 54 (or even a SINGLE one) Iranian target would have resulted in an Iranian strike on Israel (now we know for sure that it would be an accurate one too!) which would have triggered a massive regional war.  We STILL are not there and while many will call me naive or stupid, I am grateful for ANYTHING which can delay or cancel any major (or even minor) war.  And while I do think that Trump is a narcissistic idiot, I will ALWAYS recognize when he does something either right or even “less bad than what he could have done”.

I will also add this: I consider the US servicemen in Iraq (and the result of the world, for that matter) as guilty of voluntarily signing up to a military which has never and will never fight any just war.  But that is not a sin deserving to be killed in a massive ball of fire, sorry.  In combat, yes, US soldiers are a legitimate target, and legally speaking (from the point of view of the Geneva Conventions and the International Law of War), the targets Iran hit were 100% legitimate since international law does NOT ban collateral damage, it only bans INTENTIONAL collateral damage.  US military personnel are, by definition, legal, legitimate, targets, but on a human level I feel sorry for them and I don’t wish them to pay for the crimes of their commanders (for whom I have ZERO sympathy or compassion).

I am actually quite happy that nobody died in these strikes.

If there were numerous casualties (as some sources report), then I have no problem admitting that this strike was both legal and ethical, but I would feel sad for every killed person (US or Iraqi).

Do the Shia Muslims care about the lives of their enemies?  Yes! They actually do.  Proof?  Just see how Hezbollah treated those Lebanese people who were collaborators with the infamous Israel proxy called the “SLA” (South Lebanon Army) and you will see for yourself.  Have their been Shia executed atrocities in the past? Sure!  Starting in Iraq were various Shia militias committed plenty of horrible atrocities.  But that happens to ANY party to a vicious conflict, and ESPECIALLY a civil war (just look at the butchery the Russian or US civil wars were!).  But the fact is that Shia leaders often emphasize both mercy, compassion and justice (Hassan Nasrallah specifically said that Hezbollah would not target US civilians; contrast that with the Idiot-in-Chief).

So how do we “score” this one?  Who won and who lost”

This all depends on your criteria.

Here are mine: anything which makes it easier for the US to remain in the Middle-East is a victory for the Empire and anything which makes it harder for the US to remain in the Middle-East is a victory for the rest of the planet.

I think that this criteria makes it rather easy to score this latest strike, don’t you?

One more thing: two more rocket strikes seemed to have landed near the Green Zone.  From the (rather minimal) info I have, these were rockets from some kind of MRLS and they were fired by LOCAL Iraqi forces, NOT from Iran.  This is both interesting and telling.  Why?

Because you can expect a dramatic increase in these kind of “hit and run” mini attacks which can’t achieve a real tactical advantage, but which are devastating for morale and which hugely decrease the mobility and ability to operate of the targeted forces.  Again, I invite you to re-apply my criteria above to evaluate the usefulness (or lack thereof) of these strikes.

Singing off for a few hours.  Kind regards

The Saker

PS: one more thing: the Idiot-in-Chief said that “Iran is standing down”.  Just remember that an other no less Idiot-in-Chief announced in 2006 that “Israel had defeated Hezbollah”.  This is an old US trick called “declare victory and leave”.  They have declared victory.  Good.  Now let’s see how long it will take them to get out of Iraq and the Syria and, much further down the road, from the entire Middle-East.

America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

January 05, 2020

by Michael Hudson exclusively for the Saker Blog

The mainstream media are carefully sidestepping the method behind America’s seeming madness in assassinating Islamic Revolutionary Guard general Qassim Suleimani to start the New Year. The logic behind the assassination this was a long-standing application of U.S. global policy, not just a personality quirk of Donald Trump’s impulsive action. His assassination of Iranian military leader Suleimani was indeed a unilateral act of war in violation of international law, but it was a logical step in a long-standing U.S. strategy. It was explicitly authorized by the Senate in the funding bill for the Pentagon that it passed last year.

The assassination was intended to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control the region’s oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control o Near Eastern oil as a buttress o the U.S. dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.

I sat in on discussions of this policy as it was formulated nearly fifty years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute and attended meetings at the White House, met with generals at various armed forces think tanks and with diplomats at the United Nations. My role was as a balance-of-payments economist having specialized for a decade at Chase Manhattan, Arthur Andersen and oil companies in the oil industry and military spending. These were two of the three main dynamic of American foreign policy and diplomacy. (The third concern was how to wage war in a democracy where voters rejected the draft in the wake of the Vietnam War.)

The media and public discussion have diverted attention from this strategy by floundering speculation that President Trump did it, except to counter the (non-)threat of impeachment with a wag-the-dog attack, or to back Israeli lebensraum drives, or simply to surrender the White House to neocon hate-Iran syndrome. The actual context for the neocon’s action was the balance of payments, and the role of oil and energy as a long-term lever of American diplomacy.

The balance of payments dimension

The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America’s military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America’s financial leverage.

The solution turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities. The effect of U.S. foreign military spending thus did not undercut the dollar’s exchange rate, and did not even force the Treasury and Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to attract foreign exchange to offset the dollar outflows on military account. In fact, U.S. foreign military spending helped finance the domestic U.S. federal budget deficit.

Saudi Arabia and other Near Eastern OPEC countries quickly became a buttress of the dollar. After these countries quadrupled the price of oil (in retaliation for the United States quadrupling the price of its grain exports, a mainstay of the U.S. trade balance), U.S. banks were swamped with an inflow of much foreign deposits – which were lent out to Third World countries in an explosion of bad loans that blew up in 1972 with Mexico’s insolvency, and destroyed Third World government credit for a decade, forcing it into dependence on the United States via the IMF and World Bank).

To top matters, of course, what Saudi Arabia does not save in dollarized assets with its oil-export earnings is spent on buying hundreds of billion of dollars of U.S. arms exports. This locks them into dependence on U.S. supply o replacement parts and repairs, and enables the United States to turn off Saudi military hardware at any point of time, in the event that the Saudis may try to act independently of U.S. foreign policy.

So maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. Foreign countries to not have to pay the Pentagon directly for this spending. They simply finance the U.S. Treasury and U.S. banking system.

Fear of this development was a major reason why the United States moved against Libya, whose foreign reserves were held in gold, not dollars, an which was urging other African countries to follow suit in order to free themselves from “Dollar Diplomacy.” Hillary and Obama invaded, grabbed their gold supplies (we still have no idea who ended up with these billions of dollars worth of gold) and destroyed Libya’s government, its public education system, its public infrastructure and other non-neoliberal policies.

The great threat to this is dedollarization as China, Russia and other countries seek to avoid recycling dollars. Without the dollar’s function as the vehicle for world saving – in effect, without the Pentagon’s role in creating the Treasury debt that is the vehicle for world central bank reserves – the U.S. would find itself constrained militarily and hence diplomatically constrained, as it was under the gold exchange standard.

That is the same strategy that the U.S. has followed in Syria and Iraq. Iran was threatening this dollarization strategy and its buttress in U.S. oil diplomacy.

The oil industry as buttress of the U.S. balance of payments and foreign diplomacy

The trade balance is buttressed by oil and farm surpluses. Oil is the key, because it is imported by U.S. companies at almost no balance-of-payments cost (the payments end up in the oil industry’s head offices here as profits and payments to management), while profits on U.S. oil company sales to other countries are remitted to the United States (via offshore tax-avoidance centers, mainly Liberia and Panama for many years). And as noted above, OPEC countries have been told to keep their official reserves in the form of U.S. securities (stocks and bonds as well as Treasury IOUs, but not direct purchase of U.S. companies being deemed economically important). Financially, OPEC countries are client slates of the Dollar Area.

America’s attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign government steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world’s U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil. Any such moves by Europe and other countries would reduce dependence on U.S. oil sales, and hence on U.S. ability to control the global oil spigot as a means of control and coercion, are viewed as hostile acts.

Oil also explains U.S. opposition to Russian oil exports via Nordstream. U.S. strategists want to treat energy as a U.S. national monopoly. Other countries can benefit in the way that Saudi Arabia has done – by sending their surpluses to the U.S. economy – but not to support their own economic growth and diplomacy. Control of oil thus implies support for continued global warming as an inherent part of U.S. strategy.

How a “democratic” nation can wage international war and terrorism

The Vietnam War showed that modern democracies cannot field armies for any major military conflict, because this would require a draft of its citizens. That would lead any government attempting such a draft to be voted out of power. And without troops, it is not possible to invade a country to take it over.

The corollary of this perception is that democracies have only two choices when it comes to military strategy: They can only wage airpower, bombing opponents; or they can create a foreign legion, that is, hire mercenaries or back foreign governments that provide this military service.

Here once again Saudi Arabia plays a critical role, through its control of Wahabi Sunnis turned into terrorist jihadis willing to sabotage, bomb, assassinate, blow up and otherwise fight any target designated as an enemy of “Islam,” the euphemism for Saudi Arabia acting as U.S. client state. (Religion really is not the key; I know of no ISIS or similar Wahabi attack on Israeli targets.) The United States needs the Saudis to supply or finance Wahabi crazies. So in addition to playing a key role in the U.S. balance of payments by recycling its oil-export earnings are into U.S. stocks, bonds and other investments, Saudi Arabia provides manpower by supporting the Wahabi members of America’s foreign legion, ISIS and Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda. Terrorism has become the “democratic” mode of today U.S. military policy.

What makes America’s oil war in the Near East “democratic” is that this is the only kind of war a democracy can fight – an air war, followed by a vicious terrorist army that makes up for the fact that no democracy can field its own army in today’s world. The corollary is that, terrorism has become the “democratic” mode of warfare.

From the U.S. vantage point, what is a “democracy”? In today’s Orwellian vocabulary, it means any country supporting U.S. foreign policy. Bolivia and Honduras have become “democracies” since their coups, along with Brazil. Chile under Pinochet was a Chicago-style free market democracy. So was Iran under the Shah, and Russia under Yeltsin – but not since it elected Vladimir Putin president, any more than is China under President Xi.

The antonym to “democracy” is “terrorist.” That simply means a nation willing to fight to become independent from U.S. neoliberal democracy. It does not include America’s proxy armies.

Iran’s role as U.S. nemesis

What stands in the way of U.S. dollarization, oil and military strategy? Obviously, Russia and China have been targeted as long-term strategic enemies for seeking their own independent economic policies and diplomacy. But next to them, Iran has been in America’s gun sights for nearly seventy years.

America’s hatred of Iran is starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil. The CIA-MI6 coup replaced him with the pliant Shah, who imposed a police state to prevent Iranian independence from U.S. policy. The only physical places free from the police were the mosques. That made the Islamic Republic the path of least resistance to overthrowing the Shah and re-asserting Iranian sovereignty.

The United States came to terms with OPEC oil independence by 1974, but the antagonism toward Iran extends to demographic and religious considerations. Iranian support its Shi’ite population an those of Iraq and other countries – emphasizing support for the poor and for quasi-socialist policies instead of neoliberalism – has made it the main religious rival to Saudi Arabia’s Sunni sectarianism and its role as America’s Wahabi foreign legion.

America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad’s regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British “divide and conquer” ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got “out of line” meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing.

Already in early 2018, President Trump asked Iraq to reimburse America for the cost of “saving its democracy” by bombing the remainder of Saddam’s economy. The reimbursement was to take the form of Iraqi Oil. More recently, in 2019, President Trump asked, why not simply grab Iraqi oil. The giant oil field has become the prize of the Bush-Cheney post 9-11 Oil War. “‘It was a very run-of-the-mill, low-key, meeting in general,” a source who was in the room told Axios.’ And then right at the end, Trump says something to the effect of, he gets a little smirk on his face and he says, ‘So what are we going to do about the oil?’”[1]

Trump’s idea that America should “get something” out of its military expenditure in destroying the Iraqi and Syrian economies simply reflects U.S. policy.

In late October, 2019, The New York Times reported that: “In recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria’s oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country. He has declared that the United States has “secured” oil fields in the country’s chaotic northeast and suggested that the seizure of the country’s main natural resource justifies America further extending its military presence there. ‘We have taken it and secured it,’ Mr. Trump said of Syria’s oil during remarks at the White House on Sunday, after announcing the killing of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” [2] A CIA official reminded the journalist that taking Iraq’s oil was a Trump campaign pledge.

That explains the invasion of Iraq for oil in 2003, and again this year, as President Trump has said: “Why don’t we simply take their oil?” It also explains the Obama-Hillary attack on Libya – not only for its oil, but for its investing its foreign reserves in gold instead of recycling its oil surplus revenue to the U.S. Treasury – and of course, for promoting a secular socialist state.

It explains why U.S. neocons feared Suleimani’s plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi’s on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive.

American politicians have discredited themselves by starting off their condemnation of Trump by saying, as Elizabeth Warren did, how “bad” a person Suleimani was, how he had killed U.S. troops by masterminding the Iraqi defense of roadside bombing and other policies trying to repel the U.S. invasion to grab its oil. She was simply parroting the U.S. media’s depiction of Suleimani as a monster, diverting attention from the policy issue that explains why he was assassinated now.

The counter-strategy to U.S. oil, and dollar and global-warming diplomacy

This strategy will continue, until foreign countries reject it. If Europe and other regions fail to do so, they will suffer the consequences of this U.S. strategy in the form of a rising U.S.-sponsored war via terrorism, the flow of refugees, and accelerated global warming and extreme weather.

Russia, China and its allies already have been leading the way to dedollarization as a means to contain the balance-of-payments buttress of U.S. global military policy. But everyone now is speculating over what Iran’s response should be.

The pretense – or more accurately, the diversion – by the U.S. news media over the weekend has been to depict the United States as being under imminent attack. Mayor de Blasio has positioned policemen at conspicuous key intersections to let us know how imminent Iranian terrorism is – as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11, and as if Iran in fact has taken any forceful action against the United States. The media and talking heads on television have saturated the air waves with warnings of Islamic terrorism. Television anchors are suggesting just where the attacks are most likely to occur.

The message is that the assassination of General Soleimani was to protect us. As Donald Trump and various military spokesmen have said, he had killed Americans – and now they must be planning an enormous attack that will injure and kill many more innocent Americans. That stance has become America’s posture in the world: weak and threatened, requiring a strong defense – in the form of a strong offense.

But what is Iran’s actual interest? If it is indeed to undercut U.S. dollar and oil strategy, the first policy must be to get U.S. military forces out of the Near East, including U.S. occupation of its oil fields. It turns out that President Trump’s rash act has acted as a catalyst, bringing about just the opposite of what he wanted. On January 5 the Iraqi parliament met to insist that the United States leave. General Suleimani was an invited guest, not an Iranian invader. It is U.S. troops that are in Iraq in violation of international law. If they leave, Trump and the neocons lose control of oil – and also of their ability to interfere with Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian-Lebanese mutual defense.

Beyond Iraq looms Saudi Arabia. It has become the Great Satan, the supporter of Wahabi extremism, the terrorist legion of U.S. mercenary armies fighting to maintain control of Near Eastern oil and foreign exchange reserves, the cause of the great exodus of refugees to Turkey, Europe and wherever else it can flee from the arms and money provided by the U.S. backers of Isis, Al Qaeda in Iraq and their allied Saudi Wahabi legions.

The logical ideal, in principle, would be to destroy Saudi power. That power lies in its oil fields. They already have fallen under attack by modest Yemeni bombs. If U.S. neocons seriously threaten Iran, its response would be the wholesale bombing and destruction of Saudi oil fields, along with those of Kuwait and allied Near Eastern oil sheikhdoms. It would end the Saudi support for Wahabi terrorists, as well as for the U.S. dollar.

Such an act no doubt would be coordinated with a call for the Palestinian and other foreign workers in Saudi Arabia to rise up and drive out the monarchy and its thousands of family retainers.

Beyond Saudi Arabia, Iran and other advocates of a multilateral diplomatic break with U.S. neoliberal and neocon unilateralism should bring pressure on Europe to withdraw from NATO, inasmuch as that organization functions mainly as a U.S.-centric military tool of American dollar and oil diplomacy and hence opposing the climate change and military confrontation policies that threaten to make Europe part of the U.S. maelstrom.

Finally, what can U.S. anti-war opponents do to resist the neocon attempt to destroy any part of the world that resists U.S. neoliberal autocracy? This has been the most disappointing response over the weekend. They are flailing. It has not been helpful for Warren, Buttigieg and others to accuse Trump of acting rashly without thinking through the consequences of his actions. That approach shies away from recognizing that his action did indeed have a rationale—do draw a line in the sand, to say that yes, America WILL go to war, will fight Iran, will do anything at all to defend its control of Near Eastern oil and to dictate OPEC central bank policy, to defend its ISIS legions as if any opposition to this policy is an attack on the United States itself.

I can understand the emotional response or yet new calls for impeachment of Donald Trump. But that is an obvious non-starter, partly because it has been so obviously a partisan move by the Democratic Party. More important is the false and self-serving accusation that President Trump has overstepped his constitutional limit by committing an act of war against Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

Congress endorsed Trump’s assassination and is fully as guilty as he is for having approved the Pentagon’s budget with the Senate’s removal of the amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that Bernie Sanders, Tom Udall and Ro Khanna inserted an amendment in the House of Representatives version, explicitly not authorizing the Pentagon to wage war against Iran or assassinate its officials. When this budget was sent to the Senate, the White House and Pentagon (a.k.a. the military-industrial complex and neoconservatives) removed that constraint. That was a red flag announcing that the Pentagon and White House did indeed intend to wage war against Iran and/or assassinate its officials. Congress lacked the courage to argue this point at the forefront of public discussion.

Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress’s sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America’s long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

The question is, how to get the world’s politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America’s all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz, and ultimately global warming and neoliberal dollarization imposed on all countries. It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America’s military budget.

Michael Hudson

  1. https://www.axios.com/trump-to-iraqi-pm-how-about-that-oil-1a31cbfa-f20c-4767-8d18-d518ed9a6543.html. The article adds: “In the March meeting, the Iraqi prime minister replied, ‘What do you mean?’ according to the source in the room. And Trump’s like, ‘Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.’” 
  2. Michael Crowly, “‘Keep the Oil’: Trump Revives Charged Slogan for new Syria Troop Mission,” The New York Times, October 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/politics/trump-syria-oil-fields.html. The article adds: “‘I said keep the oil,’ Mr. Trump recounted. ‘If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did.’” 

Iran’s Judiciary: US Assassinated Soleimani While He Was Guest of Iraqi Gov’t

Iran’s Judiciary: US Assassinated Soleimani While He Was Guest of Iraqi Gov’t

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili says the US assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani is a flagrant violation of international law as he was targeted while being in Baghdad as a “formal” and “high-profile” guest of the Iraqi government.

Speaking to Radio Tehran, the spokesperson said that the killing of an invitee of a sovereign government by “a foreign country illegally present” in Iraq constituted a “blatant instance of government terrorism”.

“This was a barbaric act which goes against human rights and violates all international laws,” he said.

“As the judiciary, we will pursue this crime through international bodies alongside the Foreign Ministry and the High Council of Human Rights,” Esmaili added.

Esmaili’s remarks also echoed those of the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC[ Brigadier General Ali Fadavi, who stressed that Soleimani had been assassinated while formally visiting Iraq.

“Iraq’s government authorities regularly invited Soleimani to meetings regarding various subjects, this is why he had been constantly traveling to the country,” he said.

Soleimani, leading the Quds Force of the IRGC, was assassinated in American airstrikes in Baghdad early on Friday.

The Trump administration has sought to justify the killing as an act of self-defense, hyping up baseless accusations against the former commander.

“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” said Trump on Friday.

Legal experts and rights investigators in the US have, however, noted that Washington’s assassination constituted as a violation of international law.

Israel detained 5,500 Palestinians in 2019

Israeli police officers arrest a Palestinian youth in Issawiya, Jerusalem, 4 January 2017 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]
MEMO | December 31, 2019

Israeli occupation forces detained over 5,500 Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territories in 2019, including 889 children and 128 girls and women, Quds Press reported rights groups saying yesterday.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Commission, Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and Addameer for Human Rights, there are approximately 5,000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, including 40 girls and women, 200 children. Some 450 are under administrative detention.

The groups said that five Palestinian prisoners passed away while in detention this year, citing medical negligence and torture. They were named as: Faris Baroud, Awni Youses, Nassar Taqatqa, Bassam Al-Sayeh and Sami Abu-Dayyak. Israeli authorities withheld the bodies of four Palestinian prisoners.

During 2019, Israeli occupation forces issued 1,035 administrative detention orders, including four against women and four against children.

The rights groups said there are currently 700 prisoners who are in need of medical attention inside Israeli jails, including ten who suffer from cancer and more than 200 who have chronic diseases.

More than 50 prisoners went on hunger strike in protest against the policies of the Israeli prison services, as well as against the policy of administrative detention.

“Israeli occupation authorities violate all the rules of international and humanitarian laws, and reinforce their flagrant violations through the judicial system,” the rights groups said.

They called for local, regional and international bodies to put pressure on the Israeli occupation in order to stop its violations of Palestinian prisoners.

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