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Palestinians continue the struggle against the Adei Ad outpost

International Solidarity Movement | December 20, 2014

Turmusaya, Occupied Palestine – Hundreds of Palestinian children, women, and men gathered at Turmusaya on Friday December 17th to complete the tree planting began by Palestinian Authority minister Ziad Abu Ein, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on Friday December 10th.

“Ziad was planning to plant olive trees on private Palestinian land near the illegal outpost of Adei Ad, but was violently prevented from reaching the site by the Israeli military who assaulted and killed him. We thought that after killing the minister, yesterday the military would allow us to plant trees peacefully but we found the same soldiers prepared to use even more violence against us,” said human rights defender Abdullah Abu Rahmah.

“Despite the occupation forces’ violence, we planted trees in the place where Ziad had planned to plant them. Despite their violence, we will continue to struggle with the farmers whose land is stolen and the farmers who are prevented from cultivating their land by the occupation.” Abu Rahmah was injured by a stun grenade that was thrown directly at him while he was planting an olive tree.

After praying near the spot where the minister was stopped by the army, protesters with olive trees climbed the hill to the site where Abu Ein had intended to plant trees. They began planting under a barrage of tear gas; stun grenades, and beatings by Israeli border police.

Mohammed Khatib

Mohammed Khatib

Two Palestinian activists, Mohammed Khatib and Jaffar Hamayel, Israeli citizen and ISM co-founder Neta Golan, and US citizen and activist Danika Padilla, were all violently arrested.

Danika Padilla, to the left, and Neta Golan as they are arrested.

Danika Padilla, to the left, and Neta Golan as they are arrested.

In another area of the protest, youths responded to the military assault with stones as the army sprayed demonstrators with putrid water known as “skunk”, fired rubber-coated steel bullets and .22 caliber live ammunition. Many demonstrators suffered severe tear gas inhalation and two Palestinians sustained leg injuries from the .22 bullets.

The four arrested activists were taken to the Binyamin settlement police station. Neta and Danika were released in the early hours of this morning. Mohammed and Jaffar have been charged with assaulting and disturbing the border police and rioting after being told to disperse. They have been taken to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem  where they will remain in detention until their court date tomorrow, December 21st, at Ofer military court.

Jaffar Hamayel

Jaffar Hamayel


More from Yesh Din:

The outpost of Adei Ad sits on land belonging to the villages of Jalud, Al Mughayer, Qaryut and Turmusaya. Twenty-six percent of the constructed area of the outpost sits atop private Palestinian land, while the rest was built on “public land” allotted by the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization (Hebrew). The Palestinian agricultural land around the outpost is classified as private and unregistered.. As a direct result of the building of the outpost, residents of the four villages have systematically lost access to their land and found themselves victims of violence by Israeli civilians. Between 1998 and 2012 we managed to document 96 criminal incidents around the outpost. It is important to note that these are not all the criminal incidents that took place near the outpost, but merely those we managed to document (the actual number must be assumed to be significantly higher). Most of the incidents consisted of theft or vandalism, although 22 percent included physical assault or threats by use of a weapon. The Samaria and Judea Police Department (SJPD), as usual, proved incompetent: of the 56 cases in Yesh Din documented a complaint filed with the police, 46 – 80 percent – were closed due to the failure of the police investigation. We must further note that since April 2013, when our report was published, Yesh Din investigators documented 13 more incidents around Adei Ad, one of which included violence.

The violence surrounding Adei Ad has a clear, ideological reason: to strike fear in the heart of the Palestinians and dispossess them of their land. Israeli civilians have taken over this land rapidly: in 1998 the size of the outpost was 15,554 square meters; in 2010 it ballooned into 465,331 square meters, growing some 30 times in size. At the time our report was published, 26 families lived in Adei Ad.

Due to the presence of these 26 families, the situation of the villages whose land was taken over by Adei Ad has deteriorated greatly. The fear of working your land with the knowledge that you may be attacked by outlaws, that no one will protect you and that the area’s ruler will turn a blind eye, leads Palestinians to abandon their villages. While we do not have data on Al Mughayer and Turmusaya, we do know that 6,000 people have already left Qaryut, leaving only 2,800 residents. Of the 1,000 residents of Jalud, 400 have abandoned the village.

The very presence of Adei Ad harms the right of the Palestinians to their property with the support of the authorities (these are mostly agrarian communities who make their livelihood off of the land). As soon as the outpost was built, the army hastened to declare areas around it as closed off to Palestinians. Sometimes these took the form of undocumented, oral orders (which cannot be appealed), while other times these were official orders. But when the rights of the Palestinians to the land collided with the lack of rights of the squatters, the army stood (and continues to stand) by the latter time and time again. This harms not just the right of the Palestinians to their land, located in Area C and under full Israeli military and civil control, but also their right to freedom of movement and right to work.

And all this so that 26 families can lord over a territory of 465,321 square meters (not including a much larger region around the outpost, where Palestinians are routinely denied entry). The economic existence of four villages is endangered – leaving their residents defenseless in the face of ideological violence – in the name of 26 families of the chosen people, who are sentenced in one justice system while their neighbours are sentenced in another.

Yet Adei Ad is but one outpost. There are about 100 of them, and a 100 more proper settlements.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Regime-Change Makeover: Blaming Syria for the Rise of ISIS

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.12.2014

If a recent report in the British Guardian is to be believed, then the West is angling for a new pretext to step up its covert war of regime in Syria. The new pretext, it would seem, is that the Damascus government of Bashar al Assad was the main driving force in the creation of the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror network.

The report by Guardian Middle East correspondent Martin Chulov, published on December 11, is riven with contradictions and anomalies. It raises more questions than answers that the author seems strangely indisposed to delve into.

But the upshot is the apparent conclusion that the Syrian government of President Assad is to blame for the rise of IS, or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). That the Syrian army has emerged as the main fighting force on the ground to defeat IS in the latter’s campaign to overthrow the Assad government is right away a troubling question mark over the credibility of the Guardian report.

Nevertheless, if we follow the dubious logic of this narrative, then it would seem to be aimed at providing a «just cause» for Western hostility towards Assad and for the objective of regime change.

IS, an offshoot of the Al Qaeda network, is portrayed in the Western media as «the world’s most menacing terrorist group». It has gained notoriety for its videos purporting to show the execution of Western hostages. The US government has appointed itself as the leader of an international coalition to «wipe out» IS with air strikes on its bases in remote areas of Iraq and Syria.

The efficacy and legality of these US-led air strikes are questionable, and as already noted, it is the Syrian state forces carrying out ground operations that are actually inflicting the heaviest losses on the IS network – the latest being in the eastern city of Deir al Zour.

So, it is at odds, to say the least, that the Guardian should now be casting the Syrian authorities as the originating sponsors of the very network that they are locked in mortal combat with.

The report, headlined ‘ISIS: the inside story’, informs readers that around early 2009 the Syrian government gave the group crucial help in ramping up its insurgency in Iraq. That insurgency, according to the Guardian, then «spilled over» into Syria in 2011, as if by accident. And so we can condemn the «dastardly Syrians» for their own maladroit blowback.

The main source of the story, we are told, is «one of the Islamic State’s senior commanders» who goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Ahmed.

The Guardian correspondent writes: «Syria’s links to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq had been regularly raised by US officials in Baghdad and by the Iraqi government. Both were convinced that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, allowed jihadists to fly into Damascus airport, where military officials would escort them to the border with Iraq».

That «assessment» is largely based on «interrogations» of captured jihadists. In other words, by torture techniques that even the US Senate Intelligence Committee report last week described as «unreliable».

According to the Guardian, the Syrian plot to destabilise Iraq with Sunni extremists was hatched during two top-secret meetings near Damascus during early 2009. The meetings were between Syrian military intelligence, senior members of the Baathist party of President Assad and the jihadists of Al Qaeda in Iraq – the latter being the precursor to the IS network.

The Syrian objective was allegedly to «unsettle the Americans and their plans for Iraq». This was nearly three years before the Americans ended their military occupation of the country at the end of 2011.

Apparently, the Iraqis knew of Syria’s alleged covert involvement and that led to a «poisoning of relations» between the then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and Assad.

However, this is where the story does not add up. Why would the Alawite-Shia-led government of Bashar al Assad get into bed with Sunni extremists to fuel a sectarian war against co-religionists in Iraq? Why would the Assad regime cause mayhem in a neighbouring Shia country and to provoke enmity with regional allies in Baghdad and Tehran? Not only that but to fan an insurgency by Sunni extremists who avowedly harbour a death wish against Alawites, Shia and other Sunnis who have for centuries formed a stable social order in Syria? Such a gambit by the Syrians would be suicidal. It is completely counter-intuitive.

These are just some of the questions that throw serious doubt on the narrative put forward by the Guardian, which seeks to pin the blame on Syria for the rise of IS – «the world’s most menacing terrorist group».

Tellingly in this «in-depth exposé» on the origins of IS in Iraq, there is not a single mention of the well-documented role that Western ally Saudi Arabia played, and continues to play, in fuelling the network and its Wahhabi fundamentalist ideology.

Moreover, the report appears to go into great detail about how IS and its Al Qaeda forerunner came into being at the giant US prison in southern Iraq known as Camp Bucca. The detention centre opened in 2004 and brought together some 24,000 suspected members of various Sunni militia. According to several sources, the inmates were permitted by the Americans to freely associate.

Even the Guardian’s IS source, Abu Ahmed, noted the lax prison conditions under US command. «We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else. It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire al-Qaida [sic] leadership».

One of the inmates to be given special attention by the US jailers was Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who is now leader of IS and self-proclaimed caliph of the Middle East. Al Baghdadi was seen by the Americans as a «fixer» and a figure who could sort out fractious disputes and «resolve conflicts among the inmates». It is obvious that the «emir» was being groomed by the Americans as a future leader. Al Baghdadi, who several sources believe is a US intelligence asset, was released from Camp Bucca at the end of 2004, less than a year after being first imprisoned and despite the fact of his past terrorist activities.

Incredibly, the Guardian affects a doe-eyed naivety in this account and spins a narrative that the IS terror group was formed under «the noses of the American jailers». That is, without US knowledge or intent.

The newspaper’s IS «source» is quoted as saying: «When [the civil war in] Syria became serious it wasn’t difficult to transfer all that expertise to a different battle zone. The Iraqis are the most important people on the military and Shura councils in Isis now, and that is because of all of those years preparing for such an event. I underestimated Baghdadi. And America underestimated the role it played in making him what he is».

Contrary to the spin, the American handlers didn’t underestimate anything. Baghdadi and his future IS role went to plan.

Camp Bucca has been rightly referred to by several other observers as a «terror academy» from which IS graduated. Some 70 per cent of the IS current senior commanders are believed to have passed through Camp Bucca and other American detention centres before they were shut down at the end of the US occupation of Iraq. That the IS group was inculcated and mentored by American intelligence seems without question – except to Western media like the Guardian.

But that Western media whitewash of the real American origins of IS is now overlaid with a new veneer of misinformation that purports to lay the blame for the rise of IS terrorism on the Syrian government. A classic case of the terrorists and their terror-master blaming the victim.

Why the Americans are now leading a bombing campaign against their own creation is a good question. But the answer has got nothing to do with defeating terrorism, as the ineffectual bombing campaign so far would suggest. As the Western media narrative evolves, it seems rather more to do with extending the mission of IS – regime change in Syria.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ecuador ends deal with Germany on environmental issues

Press TV – December 20, 2014

Ecuador has terminated its environmental cooperation with Germany after German legislators tried to visit an Amazon rainforest recently opened for oil exploitation, the country’s foreign minister says.

“Ecuador unilaterally ends all cooperation with Germany on environmental issues,” Ricardo Patino said on Friday.

In 2012, Germany and Ecuador inked a cooperation deal worth 36 million euros ($44 million) to protect the environmentally sensitive rainforest known as Yasuni. They also signed another deal worth 7 million euros ($9 million) in other environment projects.

“If they think they had the right to doubt the word of Ecuador’s government on the issue of Yasuni because they were providing funds, we’ll give them their money back with interest,” Patino added.

He also noted that the Latin American country has not received the funds for the rainforest, and the money allocated for the other projects will be returned soon.

In 2007, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa asked rich countries to donate $3.6 billion to help protect the Yasuni in exchange for pledges not to drill for the oil beneath it.

However, Correa allowed the national oil company to do drilling after his proposal was not welcomed by the other countries.

Earlier this month, Correa did not permit the German lawmakers to visit the Yasuni to observe oil production and talk to activists opposing the measure.

The Ecuador government assured that it will take every measure possible to protect the sensitive Amazon environment during the extraction process. However, the Correa government was not pleased that the German delegation wanted to meet with opposition groups first.

“We either have relations based on equality, or none at all,” Correa said in a statement to the German delegation, asking if Germany would likewise accept a delegation from Ecuador coming to their country to inspect their nuclear projects, for instance. Correa added that his country “stopped being a colony 200 years ago.”

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism | , | 1 Comment

MTV Glorifies Venezuela’s Barricade Protests in New Reality TV Show

By Z.C. Dutka | Venezuelanalysis | December 18, 2014

Santa Elena de Uairen – US entertainment channel MTV has signed a contract with a Venezuelan media group to purchase extensive footage of the violent anti-government protests that wracked the South American nation earlier this year, to be featured in the new reality series Rebel Music.

The footage, captured by citizen reporters with GoPro cameras, show masked and shirtless men throwing handmade grenades and wreaking general havoc in a coordinated effort to force president Nicolas Maduro’s resignation that lasted from February to May this year.

43 people were killed during that time, the majority while trying to clear rubbish from or cross the barricades set up by demonstrators. Numerous public institutions including hospitals, universities, and transportation agencies were also burnt down in protest.

Reporte Confidencial became known for editing the GroPro material nightly, adding in a pumping dubstep track befitting a London club scene, and posting the finished videos to YouTube, where they received thousands of views from around the world.

It is this material MTV now seeks to own.

The reality show Rebel Music claims to be inspired by young people who “are raising their voices to demand change for a better future…. often putting their lives on the line,” according to the show’s website.

With this premise, many Venezuelans fear the show’s narrative will grant hero status to those hardcore protestors – whose tactics were so violent they effectively drove away a majority of opposition supporters, according to polls.

Furthermore, as the White House approves sanctions against Venezuelan government officials, others accuse the MTV program of dovetailing too neatly with US foreign policy. […]

The series, which first aired last month, will also feature voices of dissent in Myanmar, Iran, Senegal, Turkey and US Native American communities.

The US media has made no effort to hide its contempt of Venezuela’s socialist government since the Hugo Chavez’s election in 1999, while Chavez, in turn, repeatedly accused Washington of funding subversive movements to remove him from office.

Shepard Fairey and USAID

Venezuelan political analyst Luigino Bracci pointed out the paradoxical use of red stars and other archetypal communist symbols in an op-ed for Caracas newspaper Alba Ciudad last week, which he attributes to the show’s executive producer, Shepard Fairey.

Fairey is the pop art empresario behind the OBEY campaign and the red and blue stencil portrait of Barack Obama, which featured the word HOPE and was used universally throughout the US president’s initial campaign.

Though he calls himself apolitical, Fairey has been criticized for reproducing communist Cuban and Korean poster art with slight twists and selling them as his own. In a 2008 interview with the magazine Mother Jones, reporter Liam O’Donoghue also called the artist out on appropriating images from social movements, usually created by artists of color, and stripping them of their political messages.

In a promotional video, Rebel Music features Venezuelan reggae artist OneChot whose 2010 video for the English-language single “Rotten Town” generated controversy for its depiction of Caracas as an Inferno of crime and murder, replete with images of dead and dying children.

Though the reggae singer also claims to abstain from politics, his music is more popular with Venezuela’s privileged class, the same sector that widely supports the opposition.

“You are not free of violence anywhere. That is why I fight for change in Venezuela,” OneChot says to the MTV cameras.

While many Caracas artists would be eager for such international exposure, some mistrust the pre-determined script many reality shows are known to possess, believing it may spell out further US defamation of Venezuela’s socialist leaders.

After being approached by MTV correspondents to represent the pro-Chavez version of events, underground hip hop artist Arena La Rosa announced her refusal on her Facebook page.

“My dignity and my ideas are worth more than a million [page] views, so I have wisely decided not to participate,” the chavista rapper said.

On the same day La Rosa posted her response, the Associated Press released documents detailing the US government’s failed attempt at infiltrating the Cuban hip hop scene, by way of the developmental organization USAID.

According to the AP, Washington had sought to build a network of young people seeking “social change” to spark a resistance movement against the government of Cuban president Raul Castro.

Incidentally, Maduro has accused numerous opposition leaders of attempting the same kind of subterfuge during February’s unrest. A committee of victims and their families has even assembled to seek justice from those public figures who they believe encouraged such extreme tactics.

Meanwhile, Venezuela will have to wait for the MTV segment to be released to understand how their high-stakes reality will be adapted to meet the lofty demands of broadcast entertainment.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Day CIA Backed Anti-Castro Forces Tried To Bomb The U.N.

Anti-Castro forces in the US, backed by the CIA, had mounted an insidious campaign to stop Che Guevera from speaking.

By Thalif Deen | IPS | December 19, 2014


Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Minister of Industries of Cuba, addresses the General Assembly on Dec. 11, 1964. UN Photo/TC

UNITED NATIONS, – When the politically-charismatic Ernesto Che Guevera, once second-in-command to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was at the United Nations to address the General Assembly sessions back in 1964, the U.N. headquarters came under attack – literally.

The speech by the Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary was momentarily drowned by the sound of an explosion.

The anti-Castro forces in the United States, backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had mounted an insidious campaign to stop Che Guevera from speaking.

A 3.5-inch bazooka was fired at the 39-storey glass house by the East River while a CIA-inspired anti-Castro, anti-Che Guevara vociferous demonstration was taking place outside the U.N. building on New York’s First Avenue and 42nd street.

But the rocket launcher – which was apparently not as sophisticated as today’s shoulder-fired missiles and rocket-propelled grenades – missed its target, rattled windows, and fell into the river about 200 yards from the building.

One newspaper report described it as “one of the wildest episodes since the United Nations moved into its East River headquarters in 1952.”

With the United States resuming full diplomatic relations with Cuba on Wednesday – after a 53-year hiatus – will there be a significant change in its attitude towards the politically-ostracised Caribbean nation in the world body?

The United States has routinely led or co-sponsored scores of U.N. resolutions critical of human rights violations in Cuba and consistently voted against every single General Assembly resolution calling on Washington to lift the economic embargo on Havana imposed in 1960.

At the last General Assembly vote in October 2014, an overwhelming majority – 188 out of 193 members – voted to end the embargo, for the 23rd consecutive year.

As in most previous years, the only two countries to vote against the resolution were the United States and Israel.

And three other countries that have traditionally voted with the United States – Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands – abstained on the vote this year.

After the vote, and as if anticipating a change in the political horizon, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez invited the United States to establish “mutually respectful relations.”

“We can try to find a solution to our differences through respectful diplomacy. We can live and deal with each other in a civilised way despite our difference,” he added.

Asked about the historic U.S.-Cuba agreement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had been informed in advance of the announcement by the U.S. government.

“This news is very positive. And I’d like to thank President Barack Obama of the United States and Cuban President Raul Castro for taking this very important step towards normalising relations,” Ban said.

“As much of the membership of the United Nations has repeatedly emphasised, through General Assembly resolutions during the last many, many years, it is time Cuba and the United States normalise their bilateral relations,” Ban told reporters Wednesday.

“The United Nations stands ready to help both countries to cultivate their good neighbourly relations,” he declared.

As longtime U.N. staffers would recall, the failed 1964 attack on the U.N. building took place when Che Guevera launched a blistering attack on U.S. foreign policy and denounced a proposed de-nuclearisation pact for the Western hemisphere, as he addressed delegates.

It was one of the first known politically motivated terrorist attacks on the United Nations.

After his Assembly speech, Che Guevera was asked about the attack aimed at him. “The explosion has given the whole thing more flavour,” he joked, as he chomped on his Cuban cigar.

When he was told by a reporter that the New York City police had nabbed a woman, described as an anti-Castro Cuban exile, who had pulled out a hunting knife and jumped over the wall, intending to kill him, Che Guevera said: “It is better to be killed by a woman with a knife than by a man with a gun.”

Copyright © 2014 IPS-Inter Press Service

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

UN Offers to Monitor Colombia Ceasefire

teleSUR | December 20, 2014

The United Nations has welcomed the FARC’s (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) declaration of an indefinite unilateral ceasefire in Colombia, and offered to help oversea it – if both parties involved agree.

“The United Nations has the competency,” Hochschild told reporters Thursday. He also stated that the U.N. has the willingness and the experience needed for the job.

The leftist rebel group called the indefinite earlier this week in Havana, Cuba marking the end of the last round of peace negotiations for the year.

The FARC and the Colombian government have been engaged in peace talks since November of 2012 to end the 50 years of civil war in the country. Although unilateral ceasefires have been called in the past, this is first time that no time limit has been set, leaving many optimistic that the two sides may be approaching an agreement.

One of the conditions for the ceasefire set by the FARC was that the situation be monitored by an outside body.

On Thursday, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) announced that they were open to overseeing the ceasefire. The leftist fighters also approached the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Broad Front for Peace to oversea the ceasefire.

President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, welcomed the ceasefire, however has refused to agree to it, stating fears that rebels would use the time to recalibrate and acquire arms.

The President has also refused to meet the FARC’s conditions for an outside monitoring body, saying the government itself could monitor the situation.

Earlier on Friday, the government accused the FARC of killing five soldiers during clashes in the southwestern state of Cauca. The attack reportedly happened only hours before the ceasefire was due to begin, however it is not clear who started the aggressions. The FARC has not accepted responsibility and has yet to comment on the matter.

According to the FARC, the ceasefire – which took effect at midnight on Saturday – must lead to a truce, and will only call it off if Colombian soldiers directly attack FARC troops.

Santos has said he is only willing to halt military actions if a peace agreement is signed.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Just 2% of pledges paid for rebuilding Gaza

MEMO | December 20, 2014

instagram10Palestinian and international officials have revealed that only 2 per cent of the pledges made by donor states to rebuild the Gaza Strip have actually been paid. The pledges were made in a donor conference in Egypt two months ago. A total of $5.4 billion was pledged for the reconstruction of the beleaguered territory after it was destroyed during Israel’s latest war against the civilians of Gaza during the summer. Of the major donors, Qatar pledged $1 billion, Saudi Arabia $500 million and the EU $780 million.

It was expected that half of these pledges would have been spent on rebuilding houses and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and the remainder would boost the Palestinian Authority’s budget. According to UN officials, just $100 million has been handed over from donors.

“We received funds and pledges worth about $100 million for shelters and house renovation,” said Robert Turner, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza. “This money will run out in December in the middle of a harsh winter.” The shortfall, he added, is $620 million.

Palestinian Housing Minister Mofeed Al-Hasayneh said that the Arab states did not pay anything from their pledges for this month. The Europeans, however, have paid “a few millions”.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

UN General Assembly votes for Israel to compensate Lebanon for 2006 oil spill

Al-Akhbar | December 20, 2014

Israel was asked by the UN General Assembly on Friday to compensate Lebanon for $856.4 million in oil spill damages it caused during the July 2006 war.

The non-binding vote, which passed 170-6 with three abstentions, asks Israel to offer “prompt and adequate compensation” to Lebanon and other countries affected by the oil spill’s pollution.

While General Assembly votes are non-binding, they reflect broader international opinion without the possibility of veto by world powers like in the Security Council.

The resolution indicated that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “expressed grave concern at the lack of any acknowledgment on the part of the government of Israel of its responsibilities vis-a-vis reparations and compensation” for the oil spill.

Lebanon’s permanent representative to the UN Nawaf Salam hailed the resolution, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

“Lebanon considers this to be a major progress,” Salam said. “This resolution also paves the way for further compensation into other areas of damage (health, ecosystem services as habitat, potential groundwater contamination, and marine diversity), that were not considered in the current calculated amount.”

“Furthermore, its adoption asserts the will of the overwhelming majority of the international community to hold countries responsible for their internationally wrongful acts,” he added.

“We affirm that Lebanon will continue to mobilize all resources and resort to all legal means to see that this resolution is fully implemented, and that the specified compensation is paid promptly.”

In a statement, Israel condemned the resolution as “[serving] no purpose other than to contribute to institutionalizing an anti-Israel agenda at the UN,” Israeli media reported.

The oil spill was caused by Israel’s air force when it bombed oil tanks near a coastal Lebanese power plant during its fierce month-long war with Hezbollah resistance fighters.

The attack flooded the Mediterranean coastline with 15,000 tons of oil, according to the United Nations.

The adopted resolution cited $856.4 million (700 million euros) in damages caused by the oil spill, accounting for inflation of a October 2007 estimate by the United Nations Secretary General that reported the spill caused $729 million in damage.

Lebanon bore the brunt of the spill, but the Syrian coast and other Mediterranean countries have suffered as well, the UN said.

The oil slick made by the spill “has had serious implications for livelihoods and the economy of Lebanon,” the resolution said.

The UN asked Lebanon to continue clean-up efforts and the international community to increase funding for its environmental restoration.

The US, Australia, Canada and Israel were among the six states that voted against the UN text.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment