Aletho News


86 Israeli Attacks on Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in 2014

IMEMC News & Agencies | January 2, 2015

Al Aqsa Association for Waqf and Heritage has reported that Israelis carried out some 86 assaults and violations of Islamic and Christian Palestinian holy sites in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in 2014.

In a report published Wednesday, the association stated that about 30 cases of assault on mosques, 21 cases of assault on graveyards, six cases of attacks on Christian holy sites, and other sporadic attacks, including preventing the call for prayer in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque hundreds of times — amounting to dozens a month — were documented.

To the previous list, the association added the complete destruction of 73 mosques, the partial vandalism of 197 mosques, and damage of one church during this past summer’s war on Gaza.

Al-Aqsa Association recorded five cases of burning mosques or parts of them, including the burning of Ali bin Abi Talib mosque in the village of Deir Estia, in Salfit, spraying of racist slogans on a shrine in Anata town near Jerusalem, Abu Bakr mosqe in Umm al-Fahm, and Abu Bakr mosque in the town of Aqraba, south of Nablus, and the Great Western mosque al-Mughayir village in Ramallah.

Other incidents were recorded such as the attacks on two mosques and Islamic shrines with racist writings and Talmudic words. The report also documented the demolishing of five mosques in Nablus, Jerusalem and Naqab.

Meanwhile, six cases of assault on Christian holy sites were also recorded by the association. In April, “price tag” groups vandalized a monastery in Rafat, to the west of Jerusalem, while an extremist Israeli threatened a priest in Nazareth. Another incident happened in the same month, when price tag groups sprayed racist comments near the Roman church in Jerusalem.

In May, Israeli extremists sprayed offensive comments about Jesus Christ near a church in Beersheba. Meanwhile, other Israelis wrote offensive comments about the prophet Mohammad and Jesus, an incident which coincided with the Holy See’s visit to Palestine.

The report also recorded 18 attacks against mosques in Hebron and Bethlehem, while other attacks which were documented targeted Muslim’s graveyards, such as smashing gravestones, stealing monuments, spraying racist comments, confiscating yards and selling the land to build commercial malls.

According to the report, in 2014, Israeli forces and settler efforts increased to take control over Waqf land to turn it into Jewish shrines; among these attempts were putting up fake gravestones and raiding the sites.

As for the Ibrahimi Mosque, which is targeted on daily basis, the call for prayer was prevented more than 250 times under the pretext that it annoys Israeli settlers. The violations include preventing worshipers from entering the mosque to pray.

In the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs said the Israeli army destroyed 73 mosques completely, 197 partially, and one church partially. It added that six Zakat offices were completely damaged, a waqf school was bombarded and 11 graveyards were destroyed.

January 1, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Whistleblower Cop Calls Out Corruption in Her Department, Naturally She’s Being Fired for It

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | December 31, 2014

Louisville, KY — A New Albany police officer of 19-years is being fired after she blew the whistle on her department.

In May, Officer Laura Schook made several claims against her department including corruption, padded overtime and discrimination.

“My supervisors [were] padding their overtime, stealing time from the city, also doing other jobs while they were at work, essentially being paid for two jobs at one time,” Schook said in an interview.

After the allegations were made, Chief Sherri Knight and Assistant Chief Greg Pennell both resigned and asked to be reassigned within the police force.

WDRB’s Valerie Chinn asked Schook if the requests were related or coincidental.

“Coincidental, yet corroborating at the same time,” Schook said. “I mean, that’s the way I would look at it. I believe that it corroborates what I said. There has to be some truth to what I said or they wouldn’t be scrambling around like they are.”

After an “investigation” was launched into Schook’s allegations, Floyd County prosecutor Keith Henderson decided not to bring criminal charges against anyone in the Department and the Merit Commission voted to terminate Schook from the department.

New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey sent a statement to WDRB Monday night, which read:

The Merit Commission voted unanimously to terminate Schook pending the results of an upcoming hearing. I’m making no additional statement this evening due to the matter being an employee disciplinary action.

Laura Landenwich, Schook’s attorney says her client is being disciplined for being a whistleblower and that during the hearing they will present this evidence.

“She is being disciplined for bringing those allegations to light,” Landenwich said.

Unfortunately this response from Schook’s department seems to be standard operating procedure for departments across the country when it comes to rogue officers calling out corruption in their departments.

Last month, also in Kentucky, a sheriff’s deputy was fired for “insubordination” after pointing out that the sheriff had planted drugs in another deputy’s car. Even though the sheriff was indicted, the deputy was still fired.

Earlier this month we broke the story of a cop in Buffalo, NY who was beaten and fired after she stopped a fellow cop from nearly killing a handcuffed man. She is still fighting for her pension.

In September we exposed the Baltimore police department’s attempt to intimidate a whistleblower officer. Detective Joe Crystal became a target of intimidation for his entire department after testifying against other officers in a misconduct case.  Following his testimony, he received threats from other officers, and even found a dead rat on his car one day.

January 1, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | | 3 Comments

Glimpse into 2014 struggles draws image of upcoming year

By Roqayah Chamseddine | Al-Akhbar | December 31, 2014

This year was a powerful amalgamation of torment, dissent, and small victories – a mixture of struggles, oftentimes intersecting, which will shape the new year.

Resistance across Egypt, against the torrent of brutal authoritarianism, is ongoing, and the battle that is being waged against the Sisi regime, which is still netting protesters and attempting to expand its security forces, has not dimmed. This week, 24 protesters, including Yara Sallam, Transitional Justice Officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), were sentenced to two years imprisonment after being charged under Egypt’s restrictive assembly law. This signifies not a deviation from the Mubarak-era suppression but a sustained follow-through, and arguably at times the actions of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s illegitimate government have outdone even Mubarak’s. Under the current regime a more brazenly Zionist Egypt has taken center stage, making life for Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are internally displaced, a living nightmare as they watch another Arab regime collude with the occupier, preventing them from having access to education, healthcare and going as far as to plan the demolition of 1,000 homes in order to expand the Rafah border, forcing many, who are still healing from the latest Gaza war, deeper into the throes of despair.

The displacement of the Palestinians converges with another cruelty – the displacement of the Syrian people. Syrians have been forced into refugee tents by unwavering violence, not only from inside and above but from host countries who are preventing them from having access to proper medical care, work and housing. Lebanon, which is now home to the largest Syrian refugee presence, over 1.1 million according to UNHCR, has unleashed its own brutality against the Syrian people; from the sexual abuse of Syrian women, violence against Syrian workers, to incomprehensible living arrangements by greedy landlords who are looking to profit off misery. To make matters worse, Syrians are also facing ISIS, which threatens to destroy any viable resolution to the conflict, and seeks to expand a violent pseudo-state by indiscriminately targeting anyone deemed a threat, as ISIS is composed of equal opportunity destroyers.

In Bahrain the long shadow of despotism reaches far into the streets, generously filling the jail cells with people like women’s rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja, recently sentenced to three years in prison after she ripped up a photo of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, and Ghada Jamsheer, head of the Women’s Petition Committee, who has been under house arrest since December 19, facing at least 12 charges. Al-Khawaja and Jamsheer are not the only women in the region facing an all-encompassing totalitarian state. In Saudi Arabia, 25-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul, who called for women to join the October 26 movement to end, among other things, the absurd restrictions on driving by taking to the roads, was arrested for doing just that. Al-Hathloul and 33-year-old Maysa al-Amoudi were arrested November 30, al-Hathloul for attempting to drive from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia and al-Amoudi after she arrived to support her.

At the forefront of the greater campaign for women’s rights are organizations in the region that challenge patriarchy, heteronormativity, and imperialism such as Beirut-based Nasawiya and Lebanon’s secular Lebanese civil society organization KAFA (Enough). Nasawiya, working alongside other local groups, have been involved in the fight against Lebanon’s nationality laws, sectarianism, and domestic violence. A domestic violence law, the first of its kind in Lebanon, passed by Lebanon’s parliament on April 1, after a strong, year-long campaign lead by KAFA. KAFA, which works tirelessly to not only provide domestic abuse victims and abusers with counseling, but child protection services, has criticized legislators for not focusing more on women, though despite the laws shortcomings many are calling this a step forward and women’s right activists in Lebanon are promising to continue the fight so as to bring about even more impactful, long-lasting change.

Nasawiya and KAFA have long challenged local discourse regarding not only Lebanese women but migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, and provide migrants with social and legal counseling. A recent publication by KAFA, If Not For The System,” reveals the stories of women migrant workers in Lebanon, in both English and Arabic, and the exploitation they face as they navigate the oftentimes racist and abusive landscape. Lebanon’s migrant workers, who already face physical abuse at the hands of those they work for, are now struggling even harder to make a living if they are found to be Syrian, as many Syrians are now facing the obstacle of a war being waged against their identities, as they are being senselessly blamed for violent extremism in the country. In Qatar we also see the horrific crimes being committed against migrant workers. In a report released in May the Qatari government admitted to some 1,000 migrant deaths, at least one a day, in the last two years alone. Six months after this report was published, and after promising to reform its abominable system, “only a handful of the limited measures announced in May have even been partially implemented,” according to Sherif Elsayid-Ali, Amnesty International’s head of refugee and migrant rights.

It is difficult to read into the future, despite the imprints left behind this year, like a constellation of stains on the inside of a coffee cup. But one can hope that the minor victories for rights that were attained this year – despite the major setbacks – can set the tone for the coming years and forge a more auspicious new year for all.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Sydney based Lebanese-American journalist and commentator. She tweets @roqchams and writes ‘Letters From the Underground.

January 1, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment