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Israeli forces shoot dead 16-year-old Palestinian boy

Defense for Children International Palestine | June 11, 2021

Ramallah — Israeli forces shot dead a 16-year-old Palestinian boy today in the northern occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces shot Mohammad Said Mohammad Hamayel, 16, with live ammunition around 4:30 p.m. today during a protest in the village of Beita, located southeast of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. The bullet entered the right side of Mohammad’s chest and exited the left side, striking him in the left arm, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Mohammad was taken to the Beita field hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Israeli forces frequently use live ammunition for crowd control to disperse protesters, ignoring their obligation under international law to only resort to intentional lethal force when a direct, mortal threat to life or of serious injury exists,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Systemic impunity has fostered an environment where Israeli forces know no bounds.”

When Mohammad was killed, Beita village residents were protesting against a new illegal Israeli outpost recently established on the village’s land. In the last month, Israeli settlers have established a new illegal outpost, Evyatar, on lands belonging to Beita and two other Palestinian villages, Qabalan and Yatma, Haaretz reported this week. The outpost, which already has around 40 structures, was established on a hill that was the site of an Israeli army base in the 1980s, according to Haaretz.

Since 2013, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 168 Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with live ammunition and crowd-control weapons, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

Mohammad is the eighth child from the occupied West Bank shot and killed by Israeli forces this year. On May 5, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Said Yousef Mohammad Odeh in Odala, a neighboring village about one mile north of Beita. Israeli forces reportedly confronted Palestinian youth at the village entrance prior to Said’s shooting. Said did not pose any threat to Israeli forces at the time he was shot, according to information collected by DCIP.

Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

Israeli forces are rarely held accountable for grave violations against Palestinian children, including unlawful killings and excessive use of force. According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, around 80 percent of complaints filed with Israeli authorities by Palestinians for alleged violations and harm by Israeli soldiers between 2017 and 2018 were closed with no criminal investigation opened. Of complaints where a criminal investigation was opened, only three incidents (3.2 percent) resulted in indictments. Overall, the chances that a complaint leads to an indictment of an Israeli soldier for violence, including killing, or other harm is 0.7 percent, according to Yesh Din.

An outpost is an emerging illegal Israeli settlement initially established as small communities on hilltops throughout the West Bank, generally located nearby or in between larger permanent illegal settlements. They house a few families or several settler youths living in trailers and other temporary shelters with only basic infrastructure. Funding and support from private donors and the Israeli government help to construct roads and infrastructure and eventually transform the outpost into a permanent Jewish-only Israeli settlement.

Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law. Israel’s policy of settling its civilians in occupied territory is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 7 Comments

What happened in the ‘torture room’ at Israel’s police station in Nazareth?

IMEMC | June 7, 2021

Lawyers from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel have collected multiple sworn affidavits testifying to rampant, systemic Israeli police attacks and brutal beatings of Palestinian protesters, innocent bystanders, children, and even attorneys inside Nazareth’s police station during the period of protests in the city in May.

The graphic testimonies from victims, attorneys, and paramedics on the scene tell a story of systemic Israeli police brutality and physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the northern city, and indicate that Israeli officers ran a “torture room” inside the Nazareth police station – an informal term whose initial use may be traced to the recent detainees and lawyers on the scene.

Adalah submitted a formal complaint to senior Israeli officials today, Monday, 7 June 2021, regarding serious failures on the part of Israeli police and investigators in Nazareth that amount to grave criminal offenses, starting on 9 May 2021 and continuing for a number of days.

In their letter, Adalah attorneys Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi and Wesam Sharaf highlighted brutal, overt Israeli police violence in Nazareth in breach of the rights of Palestinian citizens grabbed off the street and held in the station, including the rights to liberty, dignity and bodily integrity, as well as the right to counsel and due process.

Israeli “police officers led the detainees to a room located on the left side of the entrance corridor to the station, forcing them to sit on the floor handcuffed, to lower their heads towards the floor, and began to beat them on all parts of their bodies, using kicks and clubs, slamming their heads against walls or doors, and more. Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.”

Most of the violent arrests of and attacks on Palestinian citizens of Israel in the city were carried out by Israeli special police forces, including undercover mista’aravim officers posing as Palestinians. Israeli officers would continue beating, shoving, and choking detainees while walking them from the scene of their arrest to the city’s police station.

Additional testimonies indicate Israeli police prevented Palestinian detainees in the Nazareth station from receiving urgent medical care for wounds resulting from beatings and attacks by officers, also another extremely serious criminal offense.

Almost every night during the Nazareth protests, ambulances were summoned to the police station and wounded Palestinian detainees were evacuated to the city’s hospitals. Other detainees appeared in court following their arrests displaying clearly visible signs of abuse and violence, including stitches on their head, facial swelling, scratches, and extensive bruising.

Sworn testimonies collected from attorneys on the scene indicate Israeli police in Nazareth also attacked them and their colleagues, who were seeking to provide legal aid to Palestinian detainees, used force to distance them from the station, seized telephones and even detained a lawyer.

Adalah demands immediate criminal probe of Israeli police torture

“What happened inside the police station in Nazareth amounts to torture and ill-treatment, and requires the immediate opening of a criminal investigation to examine the circumstances and conditions of the protesters’ detention at the station – including the investigation and prosecution of police officers involved in the violence,” Adalah attorneys wrote in the letter.

Faiz Zbedeiat, 21, university student, Nazareth resident

The protesters stood in a circle … and I stood about 6-7 meters away from them. After a while, a police officer approached the scene and announced over the loudspeaker that the gathering was forbidden and demanded that the participants disperse. When I heard this, I stepped back so that it was clear that I was not part of the rally. I was on the phone with a friend, and a second after I hung up, the cops threw a stun grenade into the street. Suddenly, I noticed a Border Police officer running towards me, and when he got to me he punched me in the nose. I immediately said: “I’m standing far away [from the protest], what have I done? I didn’t do anything.” He suddenly started yelling at me, cursing me, hitting me again, and he said, “Don’t talk to me, talk to the interrogator.” I immediately said that I was not resisting… Two more policemen arrived, grabbed me and pushed me towards another Border Police officer who grabbed me, hit me, and tried to slam my head against the wall. I asked why they were hitting me when I’m not resisting. I even I put my hands behind my back even though they didn’t handcuff me. Nevertheless, the same Border Police officer hit me in the nose with the walkie-talkie that he was holding. I raised my hands above my head to protect myself, and this angered him and he started cursing and threatening me.

The cops dragged me, grabbing me by the head and forcing me to look down. I was taken to the police station a few minutes’ walk away. On the way to station, the same cops continued beating me even though I wasn’t resisting at all. On the way, we met a policeman who appeared to be an officer, and he started laughing and said to them: “Did you only arrest him? That’s not enough. We need more.”

[In the Nazareth police station], police brought more detainees into the room, some of them minors who were nevertheless held together with us rather than being separated. At this point, the cops started beating us and kicking us with their feet and batons. [My friend] who was next to me, received a blow that caused a head wound which began to bleed. The blood could be seen on the floor. I told him he should ask for immediate medical attention, but he was afraid that if he asked for help they would beat him again. The cops kept saying “Close the door.” No one was allowed to raise their head; whomever raised his head or spoke was beaten more. I saw one guy who had a broken nose, his face covered in blood, and yet they kept hitting him inside the room. One of the police officers had an M-16 rifle and I saw that he used it to hit detainees. There was a moment when I could take a glance back and see that a police officer who was beating the detainees was masked.

The cops hit us in the back, slapped us in the face. I personally was hit in the back. They tried to hit me in the head but I dodged the blow, so they hit me in the stomach and slapped me in the face. I remained calm and composed the whole the time, but those who resisted or reacted were beaten more. The cops kept trying to provoke us, they cursed and threatened us. For example, during the adhan (Muslim prayer), they started laughing and saying “Pray that God will get you out of here.” After awhile, a police officer approached me and whispered in my ear, threatening me. He cursed my mother, my sister, and my wife. He then asked, “Did you understand?” I didn’t answer, and he immediately slapped me in the face. He asked me again: “Do you understand?” I still didn’t answer and he slapped me again in the face. Finally, he said “Go explain to your friends”. He pushed me back down to the floor and hit me again.

I saw deliberate humiliation of the detainees. I saw one of the cops kicking a detainee in the leg. Another officer came over and said to him “That’s not how you beat someone,” and kicked the detainee harder. The two cops started laughing.

Omaiyer Lawabne, Nazareth resident

On the eve of Eid el-Fitr and the last day of Ramadan, my brother and I and two other friends decided to go out and celebrate with two friends. We left the house around 21:00, and went to the “Checkers” store near the parking lot on Hagalil Street in Nazareth. I parked the car there, and we went to withdraw money from an ATM. I immediately noticed many police forces in the area, some of whom were well-equipped and looked like special units, as well as a demonstration that was taking place nearby. When I saw this, I started to walk away slowly in order to distance myself a bit. At one point, I looked to my right and saw a police officer in full gear running towards me with his fist raised in the air. The officer hadn’t appealed to us, hadn’t called out to us, hadn’t demand that we identify ourselves or stop. As soon as he saw us, he came running towards me with his fist raised in the air. But the thing is, we were just standing there, away from the demonstration, in a place where no one was gathering.

When I saw the police officer running towards me, I was scared, and I knew he was going to hit me. Out of fear, I started running. I wanted to stop and explain to him that I hadn’t done anything, but when I looked back I heard someone call out “Throw it, throw it,” and I realized that they were referring to stun grenades. The cops started throwing grenades at me, and I kept running because I knew that if I stood still I could be badly wounded by the grenades… While I was still running, one of the policemen raised his hand and hit me in the left eye, and I fell to the ground.

I covered my face while begging the cops who surrounded me to release me because I hadn’t done anything. Suddenly, one of the cops started kicking me in the face and head, stepping with his boot on my head and then on my shoulder. Several cops gathered around me as I lay on the ground. They began to hit me, both kicking and punching. I felt intense pain all over my body, from my head to my legs. One of them started kicking me in the artery behind the ear. At that moment, I thought I was going to die.

After a few minutes, two of the cops dragged me to the city police station. I tried to explain to them that I hadn’t done anything, but when I tried to speak they started punching me in the stomach… I saw that every detainee they brought into the station, they would slam his head against the door. I tried to keep my head away from the door as I didn’t want a scar that would stay with me for life but they still tried to slam my head against the door.

When we entered the station, we continued straight and turned left through a doorway. One of the officers immediately started cursing me and my family, and another slapped my face. There were a lot of detainees in the room, and I was shocked to see that they looked like prisoners of war: They were forced to sit on the floor, with their legs folded under their bodies and their heads held down. One masked officer was walking around the room with an object in his hand – I couldn’t tell if it was a club or something else – but everyone who raised his head was hit on the head with this object. They pushed me down into a corner and I lowered my head and curled up. Nevertheless, the same police officer hit me hard on the head with that object.

Seconds later I felt a great pain in my head, I saw that there was a large amount of blood coming down from a head wound, and I felt very dizzy… When they saw this, the police dragged me out, and ordered me to put my head under a tap of water. I told them I wouldn’t put my head under the tap because it would aggravate the pain and aggravate the bleeding, that they are also not doctors, and I didn’t need diagnosis by cops but rather professional medical treatment. One of the cops told me to shut up and hit me on the stomach. I felt threatened so I followed his orders and put just part of my head under the tap, so that it wouldn’t harm the wound. The officer then told me to “put my whole head under the faucet”, held me by the neck, and forced me to put the wound under the faucet.

A few minutes later two paramedics came to me. As soon as they saw me, they immediately decided to take me to the hospital… When the ambulance arrived, the officer who hit me in the head demanded to explain to the paramedics what had happened. I replied that the officer had beaten me with some object, but the officer – in an attempt to cover up my accusation – rejected my explanation and said, “Wrong. You were hit by a rock” [thrown during the demonstration]. I replied that I was not at the demonstration at all, and that police had in fact photographed me at the entrance to the station without any wounds and without bleeding, so it could be seen that I was therefore wounded only after being brought into the station.

That night I was released from hospital directly home rather than back to the police station. I couldn’t sleep for two nights because of the pain and dizziness. I couldn’t eat because of pain from the blows to my stomach. If I tried to eat, I would start vomiting. My chin hurt and I couldn’t speak well. It was the first time I had been arrested, an arrest that I believe was illegal, pointless, and very violent. Since then, I have not been summoned to the police station for any questioning or to provide testimony.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 5 Comments

Revealed: The American Money Entwined with Israel’s Jewish Terrorist Groups

By Jessica Buxbaum | MintPress News | May 28, 2021

JERUSALEM — As Israel rained rockets down on Gaza in mid-May, inside 1948-occupied Palestine (Historic Palestine and modern-day Israel), another kind of Israeli terror emerged. Jewish supremacists stormed cities with high Palestinian populations chanting “Death to Arabs!,” attacking scores of Palestinians and vandalizing their properties.

The mob violence killed two Palestinian citizens of Israel, according to the Mossawa Center: the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel. And despite calls for calm, the attacks are ongoing. On Thursday, a Jewish mob dragged a Bedouin driver out of his car and beat him with glass bottles in northern Historic Palestine. Earlier, footage posted on social media showed Arab gas station workers lying on the ground after being surrounded and beaten by a Jewish mob in the town of Binyamina:

The American Jewish community condemned the wave of anti-Palestinian violence, under the assumption these attacks stem from the fringes of Jewish society. In reality, however, these Jewish supremacists receive financial support from a network of charities in the United States.

Jewish extremists organizing online

As the Israeli government orchestrated a bombing campaign on Gaza, right-wing Israeli activists were coordinating their own war-like operations online.

According to HaBloc, an Israeli nonprofit organization monitoring anti-democratic activity, tens of new groups have been created in the last two weeks on WhatsApp and Telegram. The number of participants in each group ranged from the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. About 2,200 people in total were active in these groups.

HaBloc’s observation of these ultra-right-wing groups reveals how they used social media to organize attacks in advance offline. The groups exchanged information, sold weapons like knives, bats, and pepper spray, used inflammatory rhetoric such as calling for revenge against Palestinian citizens of Israel and documented themselves rioting in the streets.

“This is far more than what’s happening on a daily basis within the far right in Israel,” Ran Cohen, co-founder of HaBloc, said of the extremist activity.

News media reported that the main groups behind the recent rampage were Lehava, a Jewish supremacist organization opposing assimilation and coexistence, and La Familia, a far-right group supporting the Israeli Premier League football club Beitar Jerusalem.

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, has been monitoring Lehava’s activity for more than a decade.

“Lehava is an organization that claims to work against assimilation, but basically wants to create a Jewish-only space in Jerusalem and in Israel in general,” Rabbi Noa Sattath, IRAC’s director, told MintPress News. “In this last wave of violence, they were certainly instigators in several of the cases.”

IRAC demanded Lehava be labeled a terrorist organization in a letter sent this week to Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, and Head of the Shabak (General Security Service) Nadav Argaman.

Researchers within HaBloc, cautioned, though, attaching the violence to specific organizations.

“The role of Lehava in what happened is not direct,” HaBloc said. “It’s not like there was a central command and they’re sending people into the streets. It was really something that sort of spread out in a more organic way.”

“But the infrastructure and the ideology of Lehava is present and it contributes to what happened in the past few weeks,” HaBloc added.

The American charities bankrolling Lehava

Ben-Zion Gopstein is the leader of Lehava (or “flame” in Hebrew) and founded the organization in 2005. He is a notorious right-wing activist and disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane, an American-Israeli extremist who founded the Kach Party, a political movement espousing racist beliefs.

After a brief stint in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in the 1980s, the Kach Party was banned from Israeli politics and deemed a terrorist organization by both Israel and the U.S.

Kahane called for the expulsion of Palestinians and Arabs from the Holy Land and advocated for the outlawing of marriage between Jews and non-Jews.

Four years after Kahane’s assassination in 1990, Baruch Goldstein, an ardent Kahane follower, opened fired at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron—killing 29 worshippers.

Kahane and Goldstein have become revered within the Israeli settler movement. Settlers have shared Kahane’s teachings on social media and have prayed at his grave.

Lehava is considered the successor to Kach, and Kahane’s racist ideology, Kahanism, runs deep within Lehava circles.

In addition to following right-wing interactions online, HaBloc’s research has also found a complex web of nonprofits in Israel and the U.S. connected to Lehava.

Lehava is not a registered charity in Israel so it can’t accept donations. Instead, money is funneled to Lehava through the Israeli nonprofit, the Foundation for the Salvation of the People of Israel, or Hakeren Lehazalat Am Israel in Hebrew. Israeli fund, Chemla or “mercy” in Hebrew has also been linked to Lehava until about 2014, according to HaBloc.

The Foundation for the Salvation of the People of Israel did not respond to requests for comment via email. The email address may be Gopstein’s as “benzion” is part of it. When contacted at the telephone number associated with the organization’s GuideStar (a nonprofit database) profile, the person said this was not the foundation and hung up. Contact information for Chemla is not publically available.

Two tax-exempt charities in the U.S. fund Kahanist activity in Israel: Charity of Light and the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi.

Charity of Light funnels money to Chasdei Meir (which translates roughly into “charity which shines” in Hebrew). Chasdei Meir was named after Kahane, according to the fund’s website. As evidenced on Charity of Light’s tax returns, Chasdei Meir is related to the Chemla Fund. Charity of Light donated $72,000 to Chasdei Meir/Chemla Fund in 2018, according to its most recent tax filing.

Jewish terrorism

Armed members of Chasdei Meir are shown wearing jumpsuits emblazoned with portarts of Meir Kahane

The American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi directly supports Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi or the Jewish Idea Yeshiva, a Jewish education institution founded by Kahane.

“This is sort of the place for indoctrination of Kahanist ideology,” HaBloc said. “It’s where Benzi Gopstein studied and other prominent Kahanist figures.”

The charity gave $154,000 to Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi in 2018, according to the most recent tax report. The yeshiva is even classified as a terrorist organization by the United States. The yeshiva’s dean, Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, is also part of Chasdei Meir. The yeshiva did not return a request for comment.

The nonprofits’ tax filings list Levi Chazan as the director of Charity of Light and American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi, and Steven Goldrich is listed as a director of Charity of Light and treasurer of American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi. Chazan was convicted in a 1984 bus shooting in the Occupied West Bank, which wounded seven Palestinians. Both did not respond to requests for comment.

HaBloc explained this entanglement of Israeli and American organizations is not directly supporting Lehava with monetary contributions, but rather aiding the network around it.

“The relationship between [Lehava] and groups that are funded with American money are two separate issues,” HaBloc’s Cohen said. “There are connections, of course, but we cannot say that these groups that were active in the last two weeks were funded with American dollars.”

Other financial players

The aforementioned charities are largely linked to Kahanism and Lehava, but other American foundations have also been tied to Israeli extremism.

The Traditional Fund gave $51,000 to American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon and $11,500 to American Friends of Chasdei Meir in 2018. The American Friends of Chasdei Meir is not listed in any available nonprofit database, however, Chasdei Meir’s website does name the American Friends of Chasdei Meir as its contact. The Traditional Fund did not respond to press inquiries.

According to T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Central Fund of Israel (CFI) funds Chemla and Yeshivat HaRa’ayon HaYehudi. The organization filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2018 to revoke CFI and the American Friends of Yeshivat HaRa’ayon’s charitable status on the grounds these groups are funding terrorism.

IRS charity law states that terrorist activities are considered substantial means for disqualifying an organization’s tax-exempt status. This is in accordance with engaging in illegal acts contrary to standard U.S. policy.

A litany of private foundations supports the CFI. Most notably, the foundations belonging to the late American billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Irving Moskowitz. The Moskowitz family foundations have contributed more than $8 million to CFI since 2018 and Adelson’s foundation gave $50,000 to CFI in 2018.

Israeli soldiers and settlers attack Palestinian protesters in the Occupied West Bank town of Salfit, Nov. 30, 2020. Majdi Mohammed | AP

Jay Marcus of CFl said in a statement to MintPress News that, “The Central Fund of Israel absolutely rejects violence and does not support any organizations that promote violence. Furthermore, if an organization that we once supported ever started promoting violence, CFI would not support them in the future.”

Marcus claims that he hasn’t heard of Lehava, adding, “having had rockets indiscriminately showered down on my head, I would certainly disagree with your myth about which ‘groups start violence.’”

The Falic family, owners of the major retail chain Duty Free Americas, has supported The Fund for Saving the People of Israel in the past, providing a total of $60,000 to the association from 2007-2017. The money is wired through the Falic’s Israel-based foundation, the Segal Fund. The Falics could not be reached for comment.

Kahanism’s surge in Israel

Kahane’s Kach Party was banned from entering Israeli politics in 1988. But thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kahanists are now infiltrating the halls of the Knesset (Israeli parliament).

In the lead-up to Israel’s March election, Netanyahu pushed for a right-wing alliance with Itamar Ben-Gvir, a Kahanist, a defense lawyer for price tag campaigners, and leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party. Otzma Yehudit partnered with the anti-LGBTQ Noam Party and the National Union-Tkuma faction to form the Religious Zionism bloc in the last election. The coalition allowed the electoral list to secure six seats in the Knesset and for a Kahanist to gain political power. Rabbi Sattath pins the blame squarely on Netanyahu for Jewish supremacists’ rise in government.

A Jewish settler wears a T-shirt with the image of Meir Kahane near the city of Ramallah. Bernat Armangue | AP

“Because the prime minister was in such a dire situation and was desperate for every vote, he gave [Otzma Yehudit] the legitimacy,” Rabbi Sattath said. “What we’re seeing here in Israel and around the world is that one of the symptoms of democracies in decline is when the extreme right takes over the center right. The fact that the prime minister and some of the right-wing parties gave the Jewish Power Party legitimacy has then increased their power. And that’s what enabled them to use these methods they’ve used for over a decade on a large scale in the last wave of violence.”

Upon reflecting back to Kahane’s short time in the Knesset, Rabbi Sattath said he faced opposition from every politician and was immediately ostracized.

“When he got into the Knesset, he got the bare minimum [of votes] to get one seat. But what happened in the eighties was he was boycotted by every other Knesset member. Nobody would sit in the plenum when he was speaking,” Rabbi Sattath said. “Everybody from the left and the right understood that these ideas were dangerous and extreme and had to be restrained.”

Today, the political climate in Israeli politics is different.

“What we’re seeing now is that the restraint is completely over,” Rabbi Sattath continued. “And we’re hoping that by shedding light on the past weeks’ violence, we can return to the understanding that there needs to be a red line, that these violent militias and racist, Jewish supremacists have to be stopped.”

Jessica Buxbaum is a Jerusalem-based journalist for MintPress News covering Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Her work has been featured in Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Gulf News.

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli State Terror — Killing Palestinians with Impunity

By Stephen Lendman | May 31, 2021

Throughout Jewish state history, its ruling regimes treated Occupied Palestinians and Arab citizens ruthlessly.

Terrorizing them is longstanding Israeli policy, including daily arrests throughout the Occupied Territories, torture, beatings and other forms of abuse, targeted killings, and justice nearly always denied.

Last week, Al Jazeera reported about “grief and anger (in the al-Amari refugee camp) as women wept, young men chanted with raised fists, and masked gunmen fired into the air during” Ahmed Fahd’s funeral.

According to his family, he was extrajudicially arrested by Israeli undercover agents — then assassinated by multiple shots in the back and legs.

Mortally wounded and bleeding to death in public pre-dawn, he was left to die in Ramallah’s Um al-Shayaret neighborhood last Tuesday.

What happened to Fahd repeats time and again throughout the Occupied Territories, accountability virtually never forthcoming.

Weeping at her son’s funeral, Fahd’s mother mother said he “was shot without mercy.”

According to a Palestinian health ministry spokesman, he was shot multiple times at close range, adding:

“Doctors reported that one of the bullets that entered his back made a 2.5cm entry hole, but when it exited his stomach the hole was 7cm, proving that he’d been shot at close range.”

Israeli soldiers, security forces, and undercover agents use dumdum “butterfly bullets,” Palestinian doctors explained.

They explode on impact, cause severe internal injuries, and make large exit wounds.

Palestinian human rights group Al Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin said Fahd’s state-sponsored murder was no accident, adding:

His “killing is part of a deliberate Israeli policy of assassinating Palestinians at close range by undercover units known as Musta’ribeen as well as regular troops.”

“The(se) (elements) come into Ramallah nearly every night after 2:00 AM to carry out arrests.”

“There have been a number of cases where Shin Bet intelligence officers phoned the families of Palestinians they killed after shooting them at close range and blocking ambulances from evacuating those critically wounded – young men whom they accused of armed attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers – saying that ‘the account had now been settled.’ ”

Al Haq documented numerous cases of Israeli state-sponsored assassinations of Palestinians for invented reasons.

Musta’ribeen are ruthless. Arabic speaking, they pose as Arabs to seek out, abduct, and assassinate targeted Palestinians.

According to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), undercover Israelis “pos(e) as protesters and incit(e) the situation.”

They “attack civilians very violently and make severe threats, especially against minors.”

“There have been cases when undercover officers pulled people, including minors, off the street without identifying themselves, which made the arrests look like kidnappings.”

In May alone, Palestinians threatening no one were killed almost daily in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — with impunity.

B’Tselem explained that when Israeli security forces kill or otherwise harm Palestinians, “none of those responsible have faced charges.”

Most often, probes aren’t conducted. When initiated, whitewash nearly always follows.

The Israeli Yesh Din human rights group denounced targeted killings of Palestinians, saying:

“The combination of permissive rules of engagement, regarding firing at unarmed protesters and a law enforcement system that prevents genuine, effective investigation of protester deaths, is a lethal one,” adding:

“The result is the unfortunate, unnecessary loss of many lives, a lack of accountability for harming innocents, and the abandonment of (Palestinians) who remain defenseless against the specter of losing their lives.”

A Final Comment

Countless thousands Gazan children were terrorized, traumatized, and severely damaged emotionally from days of Israeli aggression in May.

During round-the-clock IDF terror-bombing and shelling, children endured nightmares.

When bombs detonated overnight, many woke up screaming.

The effects of what happened left permanent scars.

Parents tried to stay strong for their children, but devastation in much of the Strip took a toll on most all its residents.

According to Palestinian psychotherapist Ghada Redwan:

“There are a number of cases suffering from severe panic and intense fear.”

“There are also children whose psychological symptoms are showing up in strong emotions and vomiting.”

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) explained that Palestinian children who survived the trauma of war likely relive what they endured for some time after it ended.

For some, trauma never ends.

As a boy and adolescent in the 1940s, my next door neighbor was a WW II survivor around my own age.

I was too young at the time to understand why he was different from other neighborhood kids, largely keeping to himself, not playing with me and my other friends.

The trauma of war took its toll on countless numbers who survived the ordeal, developing young children likely affected most of all.

May 31, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

‘My youngest son has seen nothing but violence’ – Palestinian activist on life in West Bank village where Israelis killed a child

By Robert Inlakesh | RT | May 28, 2021

Israeli forces killed a 16-year-old boy, Islam Burnat, from the West Bank village of Bil’in earlier in May and have since “terrorized” local families by raiding their homes and arresting children.

“Two of my sons are now imprisoned and [the Israeli authorities] haven’t even explained why,” Iyad Burnat, a Palestinian non-violent resistance activist, told me in an interview about current events taking place in his village, Bil’in, 12km west of Ramallah.

Burnat, the head of the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall, is a well-known activist who I met during my stays in the occupied Palestinian territories. I lived in his family home for two months in 2017 and have since visited him upon returning to the West Bank.

Iyad’s family, as I have personally witnessed on the ground, are routinely targeted by the Israeli forces, most likely due to his active participation in leading international delegations and touring them around Bil’in.

As Israeli-Palestinian tensions escalated earlier this month, large-scale protests took place throughout the West Bank, which triggered a mass campaign of arrests by the Israeli military. During the recent 11-day conflict, at least three Palestinian children were killed in the West Bank, as well as 66 in Gaza.

I asked Iyad how the protests in his village had taken shape and whether he was surprised by the Israeli response.

“In Bil’in, we have had ongoing demonstrations since 2005 – at first, it was everyday and after a while once per week – to protest against the wall and settlements. You know, everyone from Bil’in would join this non-violent demonstration, men, women, children and many internationals even attended,” he explained.

I have covered many of the demonstrations in Bil’in and although violence was regularly used by the Israelis to put down protests, this time it was different. “They were going crazy,” as Hamde Abu Rahma, a local photojournalist covering the protests, put it.

Following these protests, the early morning arrest campaigns began, of which Iyad’s family was one of the primary targets. Israeli forces stormed his home three times recently.

“The first time the Israelis came was on May 17, to arrest Abdul-Khaliq (Iyad’s 21-year-old son), but he wasn’t at home at the time. They came at 3am and destroyed everything in our house, they told me that if I didn’t give him to them they would shoot and kill him, then return to my home every single night,” said Iyad.

“They destroyed the chairs, they destroyed the televisions, they destroyed anything they put their hands on and were searching the entire house, they destroyed the kitchen, tables and threw our clothes everywhere. Later my son Abdul-Khaliq was forced to surrender himself to the Israeli military.

“On the same night my son Mohammed was home, the soldiers took him to a separate room and beat him everywhere on his body, the blood was streaming down his face after the beating,” Iyad added.

I asked him whether the Israeli military had told him what they were searching for, and he said that they gave no reply when he asked them.

“We’ve had many of these invasions of our home, all are similar and we are used to it,”  Iyad said.

The very next day, at a demonstration in the village, young Islam Burnat was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier. Islam was a close relative of Iyad’s. I asked him about what he had witnessed that day.

“The demonstration was to stand with the people of Gaza and demand an end to the killing, to support Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah. Islam was one of the children who were peacefully protesting. Then, suddenly, one angry soldier came and started shooting live ammunition, the soldier took aim and shot him in his head,” Iyad said.

“We all knew Islam and my children grew up with him, I remember him as a baby and I remember him from very young going to the non-violent demonstrations,” he said, holding back tears.

The soldiers later returned twice to Iyad’s family home, again raiding it, arresting his 17-year-old son Mohammed during the early hours of May 18.

“Abdul-Khaliq and Mohammed are now in al-Moskobiya prison in Jerusalem, we didn’t hear anything from him until now, the lawyer can’t even visit him and neither can our family,” he said.

Al-Moskobiya detention facility in West Jerusalem is infamous for its alleged underground holding cells and has a reputation for being the worst Israeli prison in terms of the level of torture allegedly used there during interrogations.

“After they took Abdul-Khaliq and Mohammed, my wife and my daughter don’t sleep, the tears haven’t left my wife’s eyes,” says Iyad. “My youngest son Mohyaldeen is growing up seeing nothing but violence. He knows his eldest brother Majd was shot and almost died, his second-eldest brother Abdul-Khaliq was also shot many times and imprisoned when he was only 17-years-old for 13 months. He has seen nothing but violence and even though it’s normal for these things to happen now, he still gets scared, he’s just a little child.”

For both of his sons and three others who have been arrested in the village of Bil’in, Iyad said that the Israeli authorities are asking for a $1,500 fine each. However, even if this is paid in full, there is no way of telling how long they will be kept in administrative detention where they are being held without charge.

Israel’s military court system is well known to be comprised of kangaroo courts, as they have a near 100% conviction rate, meaning that whatever they charge a Palestinian with, they may be sent to jail regardless of whether they are truly guilty or not.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News and Press TV.

May 30, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Coexistence in Israel’s ‘mixed cities’ was always an illusion

By Jonathan Cook | Axis of Logic | May 26, 2021

Last weekend Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as “terrorists” those Palestinian citizens who have been protesting decades of state-sponsored discrimination. Vowing that “anyone who acts like a terrorist will be handled like one”, he said: “Arab law-breakers are attacking Jews, burning synagogues and Jewish homes.”

Netanyahu has been far from alone in his denunciations of nearly two weeks of protests inside Israel by the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian by origin. They are the remnants of the Palestinian people, most of whom were ethnically cleansed at Israel’s founding in 1948.

Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who is usually seen as far more moderate than Netanyahu, has called Palestinian protesters inside Israel a “bloodthirsty Arab mob” and described their actions as a “pogrom” against the Jewish community.

Both have remained largely silent about the wave of even greater violence against Israel’s Palestinian minority, both from the police and armed Jewish far-right gangs.

General strike

On Tuesday the Palestinian minority observed a general strike in protest at the wave of violence being directed at Palestinians in the region, most especially in Gaza. There, more than 200 people – and more than 60 children – have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.

At the same time, the minority’s main political body, the Follow-Up Committee, called on international organizations to protect Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens from the combined – and seemingly coordinated – backlash by Israel police and mob Jewish mobs.

Adalah, a leading legal organization for the minority, echoed the Follow-Up Committee, saying the Israeli government was “giving a free hand to racist and violent oppression” Arab citizens have been left with no alternative except to appeal to the nations of the world to force Israel to protect them”.

In the main sites of confrontation, in a handful of what Israel misleadingly terms “mixed cities”, it is Palestinian citizens who have been paying the steepest price.

These cities, several of them close to Tel Aviv, are historic Palestinian communities most of whose inhabitants were expelled in 1948. Even since, the small ghettoized Palestinian populations left behind have been aggressively “Judaized” – in what amounts to a long-term process of Jewish ethnic and religious gentrification to erase their presence.

Danger of pogroms

The first death from the clashes in the “mixed cities” was a Palestinian citizen who was shot in Lod, near Tel Aviv, by a group of Jewish residents. All the suspects in the murder are reported to have been released after the police minister, Amir Ohana, was among the senior politicians expressing outrage at the arrests.

Another early incident involved a Palestinian taxi driver being dragged from his car south of Tel Aviv by hordes of masked Jews who beat him savagely in front of Israeli TV cameras and hundreds of onlookers, with police nowhere in sight. Earlier, the same mob rampaged through the town of Bat Yam smashing any stores that looked like they were owned by Palestinian citizens.

Despite Netanyahu and Rivlin’s claims, it is Palestinian communities inside Israel that have been in far more danger of pogroms than the Jewish majority.

In the balance of power, the state’s security forces are tribally Jewish, the government and policy-makers are all Jews, a large proportion of the Jewish citizenry own weapons, and the media speaks for its Jewish population, not its 1.8 million Palestinians.

In a sign of the growing dangers, the Israeli media reported this week that applications for gun licenses – usually available only to Jewish citizens – had risen seven-fold.

Ohana, the police minister, has suggested Jewish citizens act as a “force multiplier” for the police – that is, they should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. And footage has shown police and armed far-right Jewish gangs cooperating in attacks on Palestinian communities in the mixed cities, even as those cities were supposed to be under curfew.

‘Reload the gun magazine’

Like Netanyahu, leading Israeli media figures have been openly inciting vigilante-style violence against Israel’s Palestinian minority.

In one example, a senior TV anchor, Dov Gil-Har, equated the protests by Palestinian citizens against state-sponsored discrimination with historic pogroms against Jews. Earlier, he had suggested to his Jewish viewers – 80 per cent of the country’s population – that the solution to the protests was to “reload the gun magazines”. When challenged by a Palestinian interviewee, he added that he might use his own weapon on the protesters.

The constant message to the Jewish majority has been the Palestinian public are a menace and that it may be necessary for Jews to take the law into their own hands.

And this has been happening just after the violent far-right – Jewish fascists – made unprecedented ground in March’s election, securing six seats in the 120-member parliament and possibly a place in government if Netanyahu can engineer a coalition.

Liberal incitement

But worrying as the direct incitement by Israeli politicians and the media against the Palestinian minority is, it is being strongly reinforced by a much more subtle “othering” by Israeli Jewish liberals. They have masked their own incitement in the more refined language of archeological preservation, Jewish-Arab coexistence, and religious tolerance.

In official Israeli discourse, the “mixed cities” – with Haifa the showroom – have long been presented as rare places where Jewish and Palestinian citizens live in close proximity, offering a potential model for greater understanding and cooperation between the two populations.

The flip side is less often highlighted: the “mixed cities” are just about the only communities where Jewish and Palestinian citizens have some sort of daily interaction.

In the rest of the country, Israel has imposed strict residential segregation. Palestinian citizens are confined to some 120 overcrowded, communities where they are starved of land, planning permits, industrial areas and classrooms for their children.

Herded together

But even in the “mixed cities”, there is no real mixing.

Before Israel’s creation on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland in 1948, cities like Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, Lod (Lydd), and Ramle were some of the most important in Palestine.

Israel’s leaders made it a priority to drive almost all of the Palestinian residents out of these cities during the Nakba and into exile, as part of a policy of making sure there was no educated, urban elite to organise political or diplomatic resistance to its ethnic cleansing campaign.

Today, most of the Palestinians in the “mixed cities” are descended not from the original families living there but from refugees who got trapped in them as they were trying to flee to safety in 1948. The Israeli army often herded the refugees together into the poorest areas of these historic Palestinian cities – neighborhoods Jews did not want to inhabit – while Israel decided what to do with them.

The descendants of the refugees still live in these deprived neighborhoods, typically renting from Amidar, an Israeli state-run property company. For decades, Amidar has denied them permission to renovate or improve their homes. It is usually only too ready to evict them if a state agency or Jewish investors decide these Palestinian families are in the way of a “Judaization” project.

Which is the necessary background for understanding the way the Israeli media, including a respected liberal newspaper like Haaretz, has been engaging in its own covert incitement when covering the latest events in the “mixed cities”.

Much attention has been given to the torching by Palestinian protesters of synagogues and yeshivas, or Jewish seminaries. The sight of Torah scrolls being evacuated from charred buildings has encouraged the Jewish public to conclude that these attacks were driven by antisemitism – a variation of the fear that Palestinians want to push the Jews into the sea.

Preposterously, Lod’s mayor compared these scenes to Kristallnacht – the notorious night of Nazi pogroms against German Jews in 1938 – as if Israel’s Jewish majority were not protected by one of the strongest armies in the world.

But there are practical, far more mundane reasons why synagogues and yeshivas were among the first buildings attacked in Lod.

Settler outposts in Israel

Over the past three decades, Israel’s main effort to “Judaize” the “mixed cities” has been waged through a religious war of attrition. A section of the settler population has been encouraged to “redirect” their attention from the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel. They have slowly encroached into the “mixed cities” as local municipalities and state agencies have lured them with special funding for their extremist seminaries and synagogues.

Homes and land are being taken over in Palestinian neighborhoods to house these new fanatical outposts of the main West Bank settlements inside Israel.

That has had very damaging consequences. The religious extremists have tried to whip up more nationalist sentiments among the local Jewish population of the mixed cities, increasing tensions with Palestinian neighbors. Just as is happening in East Jerusalem’s Old City, these Jewish religious fanatics are seeking to drive Palestinian families out of their own communities.

For years there has been especial anger in Jaffa about the takeover by Jewish religious extremists of the Palestinian parts of the city. That culminated weeks before the current clashes with an attack by two brothers on the head of a yeshivathere.

Even the Israeli court that examined the indictment against the brothers ultimately rejected police claims that the attack was antisemitic. Like many other families, the brothers have been fighting eviction from their home by a government agency. The attack reflected their anger that religious extremists are seeking out, and being offered, new properties in their neighborhood.

Following the incident, Palestinian families held a demonstration chanting: “Jaffa for Jaffans, settlers out.”

The huge resentment among Palestinians in the “mixed cities” towards these new religious occupiers can be explained by the urgent desire for self-preservation, not antisemitism.

‘Barbarians at the gate’

Similarly, the Israeli media have been aghast at the attacks on important archeological sites in places like Acre and Lod. The media’s barely veiled thesis is that these attacks have revealed Palestinian citizens to be, as Israeli Jews long suspected, barbarians at the gate. The impression has been cultivated that the minority’s behavior is little different from the Taliban blowing up the Buddhist Bamiyan statues.

Last week the Israel Antiquities Authority’s chief scientist, Gideon Avni, told Haaretz : “In Acre, an entire life’s work, meant to capture world attention through its archaeological value, went down the drain. In Lod, they [Palestinian residents] tried to destroy the attempt to empower and lift up the city as a center of antiquities.”

But again, there are good practical reasons why Palestinian residents of the “mixed cities”, especially in Lod and Acre, would be targeting archeological sites.

The Palestinian cities now defined as “mixed” are mostly located next to or over Roman, Crusader and Mumlak ruins.

Israel destroyed the Palestinian character of these communities from 1948 onward by expelling most of the Palestinian population, and then gradually Judaized their [environs] as public spaces. Archeology, like religion, has been weaponized against the Palestinian inhabitants of the “mixed cities” to assist in their erasure.

Archeology theme parks

Israel’s politicization of archeology has focused on layers of history unrelated to, and meant to overshadow, its recent Arab Palestinian past. Further, archeological preservation and related tourism ventures have become the pretext for yet again ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their historic cities.

The clearest example has occurred in occupied East Jerusalem, where the Israel Antiquities Authority has allied with a settler organization, Elad. Together, using highly dubious archeological evidence, they have been creating a Disney-style “Kingdom of David” theme park within and below a Palestinian neighborhood called Silwan.

The City of David site has been expanding for more than three decades, aided by the government and Jerusalem municipality. Dozens of armed Jewish settler families have moved into the neighborhood in violation of international law.

In the latest development, Israel is preparing to evict many dozens of Palestinians in the coming weeks as it expands the City of David.

It was these moves that in part fueled the tensions that sparked the current Palestinian protests inside Israel and the rocket fire from Gaza.

Lod mosaic attacked

Watching Silwan’s long-running oppression through archeology, Palestinians in the “mixed cities” have seen a strong echo of their own experiences. The main difference is that the archeological assault inside Israel focuses not only on Jewish history but embraces any historical period that distracts from Palestinian heritage.

Israel has misleadingly sold these archeological projects as “tourism development” and “urban renewal”, often claiming they are designed to improve “Jewish-Arab relations”.

One of the targets of the current protests was a soon-to-be-opened museum for the Lod Mosaic, a world-renowned, almost complete Roman mosaic found in 1996. It had been traveling the world until belated funding meant it could be housed in a poor Palestinian-majority neighborhood next to the old city where it was unearthed.

Although the mosaic was unharmed in last week’s attack, the new building’s glass frontage was smashed.

The residents’ resentment towards the new Lod Museum needs to be understood in two contexts: decades of obscuring the Palestinian heritage of Lod, as well as the visibility of its current Palestinian population; and the investment by Israeli authorities in projects to bring tourists to Lod, even as they continue to neglect local Palestinian residents, who suffer from high levels of poverty.

Lod’s old city was mostly destroyed in the 1950s to erase its Palestinian character. The streets, even in Palestinian neighborhoods, have been given Hebrew names.

Lod municipality recently unveiled plans to renovate another historic site, a Mamluk khan that was used as the city’s main market until 1948. Over the heads of the local population, it is due to be turned into a Judaized cultural space, housing cafes and arts and crafts shops.

And as with Silwan, Lod is developing local tour programs – sometimes in coordination with incoming settler populations – that highlight an ancient Jewish heritage and ignore the city’s Palestinian past and present.

Or as a report from Emek Shaveh, an Israeli organization of dissident archeologists, recently concluded: “The city of Lod thus erases once again the city’s glorious heritage and views its Arab residents as a nuisance.”

Families face eviction

In Acre, archeology has become an even more overt weapon to be used against the local Palestinian population. Since 1948, they have been largely confined to the seafront old city, where they were long ignored and mired in poverty.

But while the United Nations’ decision to designate the old city a World Heritage Site 20 years ago came to the rescue of the ancient buildings there, it did little to help the local inhabitants. In fact, their situation has become even more precarious as Israel, Jewish investors and foreign countries have poured money into the old city’s “development”.

Overseeing these projects are the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Acre Development Corporation, neither of which have consulted with the local or national Palestinian leaderships in Israel.

Gideon Avni, of the Antiquities Authority, told the Haaretz newspaper: “These symbols [in Acre] are being destroyed in front of our eyes.” Another unnamed expert echoed him: “Gangs of looters have systematically destroyed property after property.”

One of the main targets in Acre was the Antiquities Authority’s conservation center, supported by the Italian government.

The old city of Acre was built in the 18th century by a Palestinian ruler, Daher el-Omar, atop the ruins of an earlier Crusader city. But the Israeli authorities have been sidelining this important Palestinian layer – just as it has excluded the local Palestinian population – to encourage tourists to head into the underground, Crusader Acre.

Even when Palestinian heritage is being preserved in Acre, it has been repackaged as “Ottoman” – presented to Israeli Jews and tourists as a legacy of Turkish colonial influence rather than as the cultural and architectural artifacts of local Palestinians who lived under Ottoman rule.

One of the most visible Palestinian buildings is the well-preserved Khan al-Umdan, once the city’s main market, located in the harbor.

It has been sealed off for years as the Development Corporation has been finding investors to turn it into a luxury hotel. Palestinian families living in the warrens of alleys around the khan are facing eviction so as not to detract from the new ambience the Israeli authorities hope to create for tourists.

Disneyfication of Acre

Aiding this process have been wealthy Jewish investors, such as Uri Jeremias. They have been the driving force behind the gentrification of Acre’s old city above ground to take advantage of the new tourism. Jeremias’s small empire started with a fish restaurant on the seafront and has expanded to include a popular ice cream parlor and an ambitious hotel called the Efendi.

As the name suggests, the Efendi has contributed to the Disneyfication of Acre, remaking some of the old city’s most impressive Palestinian buildings into a hotel where tourists can experience generic “Ottoman” splendor, shielded from the poverty outside and from any trace of meaningful Palestinian heritage.

It is not surprising that Jeremias’s properties were also attacked, as was another hotel, the Arabesque.

In a fawning portrait in the Haaretz newspaper, Evan Fallenberg, owner of the Arabesque, was able to present his hotel as simply a site of cultural and economic renewal, and a symbol of “Jewish-Arab coexistence”. He called it “a labor of love shared by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike”.

Referring to his assumptions about Acre as a “model of successful coexistence”, Fallenberg added: “What gave me hope over the past few years is that this was some kind of microcosm of what could happen in this country, and it’s in danger of being lost now.”

Illusion of coexistence

But that coexistence model in the “mixed cities” was always an illusion, one that the protests finally served to smash. Coexistence worked for one ethnic group only, Jews. It was built on the continuing Judaization of these historic Palestinian communities to erase their Palestinian heritage and drive out their Palestinian populations.

Tourism and archeological preservation were simply more convenient, image-conscious ways to go about Judaization in the 21st century. They attracted less attention and international opposition than Israel’s ethnic cleansing operations and wholesale community demolitions of the previous century.

By stripping out this context – of Israel’s ongoing Judaization of Palestinian communities inside Israel – Israeli liberals have only deepened the incitement against Palestinian citizens. They have confirmed the picture presented by the right, whether it be President Rivlin’s “bloodthirsty mob”, Netanyahu’s “terrorists”, or the mayor of Lod’s “Kristallnacht”.

In doing so, Israeli liberals have offered their own form of legitimacy to the rationalizations by Jewish far-right gangs for their violence against Palestinian citizens: that they are protecting Jews and Jewish honor, that they are averting pogroms.

In defense of a non-existent coexistence, Israeli liberals have thrown their hand in with the far-right, exposing the Palestinian minority to the very real threat of Jewish pogroms.

The author lives in Nazareth, Israel.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

The Bogus January 6 Commission Poses a Real Threat to Freedom

By James Bovard – Mises Wire – 05/25/2021

“Truth will out” is the most popular fairy tale in Washington. Members of Congress are clashing over whether politicians will appoint an “independent” commission to reveal the facts behind the January 6 Capitol ruckus. Proponents are portraying the issue as a simple choice between “truth or Trump.”

Recent history provides no reason to expect a politically controlled process to expose facts that undermine powerful politicians. Congress has long been worse than useless as a fact-finding agency. “Oversight” is a euphemism for stupefying congressional procedures designed to avoid discovering information that might embarrass their allies. A senior House Republican admitted in 2004: “Our party controls the levers of government. We’re not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to cause heartburn.” Most members of Congress are more likely to grovel before federal agencies than to challenge their power. “How are you so great and how can we help you?” is the usual response when the FBI director testifies, as Guardian columnist Trevor Timm noted in 2016.

There is no reason to presume that a commission investigating January 6 would not be hogtied official stonewalling. Former Senate Intelligence Committee staff director Andy Johnson observed in 2014: “The fog of secrecy made a mockery of oversight” of the CIA torture scandal. The Obama administration did not object even when the CIA illegally spied on a congressional committee to thwart the torture investigation. Both Bush and Obama administration officials repeatedly lied during congressional testimony on war on terror policies but faced no consequences. But everything would be different in this investigation, right?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team want a congressionally appointed commission in lieu of disclosing what actually happened on January 6. Cameras posted in and around the Capitol recorded fourteen hundred hours of film on January 6, but very little of the evidence has been publicly disclosed. Fourteen news organizations have requested that the Justice Department publicly release key videos on the federal court’s electronic dockets but no such luck. Capitol Police chief lawyer Thomas DiBiase warned that “providing unfettered access to hours of extremely sensitive information to defendants who already have shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process will … [cause that information to be] passed on to those who might wish to attack the Capitol again.” But it is also “interfering with the democratic process” to withhold evidence of actions which have been endlessly demonized by the president, top congressional leaders, and their media allies.

Disclosing the video could settle the question of whether most protestors behaved like violent attackers or gaping tourists. Julie Kelly, writing for American Greatness, recently posted a forty-five-second video clip of protestors after they entered the Capitol that day. Capitol Police officer Keith Robishaw tells a group of protestors: “We’re not against … you need to show us … no attacking, no assault, remain calm.” The citizens shown in that clip don’t appear to have been hell-bent on overthrowing the government that day.

The media is touting the fact that Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the cochairs of the 9/11 Commission, have endorsed a commission to investigate January 6. But invoking Kean and Hamilton is like relying on the Three Stooges as references for a job application at a pie factory.

Kean and Hamilton issued a joint statement boasting about the 9/11 Commission: “We put country above party to examine, without bias, the events before, during, and after the attacks…. The January 6th attack on the US Capitol was one of the darkest days in our history. Americans deserve an objective and accurate account of what happened. As we did in the wake of September 11, it is time to set aside partisan politics and come together as Americans in common pursuit of truth and justice.”

The 9/11 Commission “pursued truth and justice” by permitting the White House to edit the final version of their report before it was publicly released. Despite its canonization inside the Beltway, that report would not be admissible in a court of law, because it relied on torture for many of its key assertions. The New York Times’s Philip Shenon, the author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, noted that “more than a quarter of the report’s footnotes—441 of some 1,700—referred to detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s ‘enhanced’ interrogation program.” Shenon reported that commission members “forwarded questions to the CIA, whose interrogators posed them on the panel’s behalf. The commission’s report gave no hint that harsh interrogation methods [including waterboarding] were used in gathering information.” The commission’s report was released months after shocking photos from Abu Ghraib and key Justice Department and Pentagon memos leaked out, exposing the Bush administration’s torture regime. Yet, as Shenon noted, “The commission demanded that the CIA carry out new rounds of interrogations in 2004 to get answers to its questions.” The 9/11 Commission became profoundly complicit in the torture at the same time it pretended to objectively judge the Bush record.

The commission report was released in July 2004 at the same time that Bush was exploiting the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War for his reelection campaign. The commission ignored evidence compiled by a joint House-Senate investigation revealing that Saudi government agents bankrolled multiple Saudi hijackers in the US prior to the attacks (fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis). But the Bush administration suppressed those twenty-eight pages of that congressional report and they were not released until 2016. Bush embraced Saudi leaders while insisting that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was somehow to blame for 9/11. If the 9/11 Commission had quoted the 2002 FBI memo stating that there was “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these [9/11 hijacker] terrorists within the Saudi Government,” Bush might have been seriously damaged, but 9/11 commissioners chose to serve the White House rather than truth. Kean and Hamilton remain venerated by the media, because their kowtowing buttressed public trust in the political system.

Would an investigation of January 6 be more honest than the investigation of September 11? President Biden and Democratic congressional leaders are vested in the “terrorist attack/Pearl Harbor” narrative that they established within hours of the fracas. Democrats still refer to the protestors murdering a Capitol Police officer long after the belated revelation that he died of natural causes. The New York Times noted that that advocates of a January 6 commission insist it is “an ethical and practical necessity to fully understand the most violent attack on Congress in two centuries.” Tell that to the Puerto Rican nationalists who shot up Congress in 1954 or to Congressman Steve Scalise and two other Capitol employees who were shot by a Democratic Party zealot in 2017. If such “facts” are the baseline for accuracy, then citizens can start scoffing long before a commission issues a final report.

The biggest illusion behind the push for a January 6 commission is that there is a political constituency in Washington for truth. But that hasn’t been the case for decades. As French essayist Paul Valery warned long ago, “At every step, politics and freedom of mind exclude each other.”

In the same way that it took almost fifteen years for some key facts about the 9/11 attacks to be revealed, it may be months or years until key damning revelations about the Capitol clash are extracted from federal agencies or private individuals and groups. Creating a pseudoindependent commission is more likely to codify a deceptive but politically profitable storyline than to expose facts that undercut powerful Washingtonians or government agencies.

A façade of political “truth” can be more dangerous than no disclosure at all. Biden and congressional Democrats are seeking to turbocharge their push for a new domestic terrorism law to permit widespread federal crackdowns on their opponents. Any rigged commission would likely pour gasoline on a fire that could singe far more American rights and liberties.

May 26, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , | 2 Comments

Biden Regime Blocks Security Council Action on Israeli East Jerusalem Violence

By Stephen Lendman | May 11, 2021

On Monday, Security Council members met behind closed doors to discuss weeks of Israeli state terror against defenseless Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The Biden regime blocked a statement — demanding that Israel “cease settlement activities, demolition and evictions” of Palestinians from their homes and land, according to AFP.

Short of a binding international law resolution, the watered down statement expressed “grave concern regarding escalating tensions and violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

It called for “refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric, and upholding and respecting the historic status quo at the holy sites.”

Since establishment of a Jewish state on stolen Palestinian land in 1948, the US supported and ignored the worst of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against Palestinians and regional states.

Instead of condemning Israeli violence in Occupied East Jerusalem, State Department spokesman Price said the following on Monday:

The Biden regime “condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel” from Gaza.

Price ignored Palestinian retaliation against weeks of Israeli state-terror.

He was silent about IDF terror-bombing of multiple parts of the Strip, killing at least two dozen Gazans, injuring many more, traumatizing thousands, causing extensive damage.

Defying reality, he “welcome(d) (nonexistent) steps by the (Netanyahu regime) aimed at avoiding provocations (sic).”

At the same time, he called Israeli aggression “self-defense.”

Asked if he condemned Israeli killing of Palestinian children, he ignored reality by claiming:

“(W)e don’t have independent confirmation of facts on the ground yet, so I’m very hesitant to get into reports that are just emerging.”

Instead of denouncing Israeli plans to dispossess Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood families of their homes and land, he largely ducked the issue, saying:

“We’ve been clear in urging the Israelis to act responsibly, to treat Palestinian residents with compassion and with humanity in this case.”

Refusing to call East Jerusalem occupied, he said what’s going on in the city “is a final status issue to be determined by the parties (sic).”

Ignored was that following the Oslo Accords over a generation ago, Palestinians got nothing in return but empty Israeli promises, colonization, apartheid, and occupation harshness.

They got nothing for renouncing armed struggle, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and agreeing to leave major unresolved issues for later final status talks. They’re still waiting.

Major unresolved issues include an independent sovereign Palestine free from occupation, the right of return, settlements, borders, water and other resource rights, as well as East Jerusalem as exclusive Palestinian territory and future capital.

One-sidedly supported by the US — while pretending otherwise — Israel refuses to accept all of the above, its hard-wired policy for over half a century.

It includes delaying resolution of issues with Palestinians to facilitate continued theft of their land — wanting all valued parts of historic Palestine Judaized, including Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital, its Arab residents expelled, and diaspora Palestinians denied their right of return.

During a Monday press briefing, Price refused to condemn ongoing Israeli state terror against defenseless Palestinians — calling on both sides to show restraint instead, along with ducking responses to tough questions.

According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society on Monday:

“At least 612 Palestinians sustained injuries in the course of the day in (and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound) and the Old City of Jerusalem.”

During the day, Israeli violence escalated after its security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque — Islam’s third holiest site.

They fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinian worshipers inside, causing large numbers of injuries.

Rocket fire from Gaza on Israel followed its desecration of the holy site.

Ignoring Israeli state terror on Monday and previous days, interventionist Blinken said the following:

“We’re very focused on the situation in Israel, West Bank, Gaza, very deeply concerned about the rocket attacks that we’re seeing now (sic), that they need to stop (sic).”

“They need to stop immediately (sic).” But IDF terror-bombing of Gazan civilians is OK, according to longstanding one-sided US support for apartheid Israel.

A Final Comment

On Monday, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said the following:

“…Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) violated al-Aqsa Mosque and its facilities, suppressed, and assaulted Palestinian worshipers and fired sound bombs and rubber bullets inside the Mosque and in its yards.”

“As a result, 305 Palestinians, including 8 journalists, were wounded — 7 were deemed in critical condition.”

“This serious escalation came only a few hours before a planned demonstration by thousands of Israeli settlers in Bab al-‘Amoud area and near al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates.”

“Chief of Israel Police ordered a large force to raid al-Aqsa Mosque in an attempt to facilitate the entry of Israeli settlers, who were gathering in Bab al Magharibah, into the Mosque.”

“Afterwards, IOF moved into al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards and its facilities via Bab al Magharibah and Bab al Silsilah amid heavy firing of rubber bullets, teargas canisters and sound bombs for 4 consecutive hours.”

At the same time, “Israeli snipers topped al-Aqsa Mosque’s western roofs, in addition to al-Qibli Mosque’s roof, and then raided the Mosque, assaulted Palestinian worshipers, and fired rubber bullets, teargas canisters and sound bombs at them.”

“As a result, dozens of Palestinians, old and young, men and women, who were detained inside the Mosque sustained wounds.”

“Also, IOF prevented medical and paramedics crew from providing first aid for the wounded. Moreover, IOF assaulted and severely beat worshipers.”

The Biden regime and its press agent media ignored virtually all of the above — in support of apartheid Israeli viciousness against defenseless Palestinians.

May 11, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 8 Comments

Venezuela: Accusations of Meddling in Colombia Protests ‘Shameful’

Colombian state violence and human rights abuses have stoked the protests in which nearly 50 have died

By Paul Dobson | Venezuelanalysis | May 10, 2021

Mérida – Venezuelan authorities have dismissed accusations that they are intervening in on-going mass protests in neighboring Colombia.

Speaking on Friday from a Miami-based forum on Defense of Democracy in Latin America, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno claimed that “Our [Ecuador’s] and Colombia’s intelligence agencies have detected a gross intervention from the dictatorial and authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro [in the Colombian protests] (…) We call on Maduro to remove his bloody and corrupt hands from the democracy and stability of the Colombian people.”

The outgoing right-winger went on to describe the Venezuelan president as “the great instigator and financier of the violence in Colombia,” claiming that he had authorized public payments to pay for the “intervention.”

The evidence-free accusations were quickly echoed on social media by rightwing former Colombian Presidents Andrés Pastrana and Álvaro Uribe, with the latter writing that “They [the Maduro administration] are destroying Colombia, which has a future, in order to construct another Venezuela or Cuba, which do not.”

Following Moreno’s comments, Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano claimed a “strong” Venezuelan participation in the protests, referencing the arrest and deportation of six Venezuelan citizens allegedly participating in the protests over 10 days ago. There are an estimated 1.7 million Venezuelans living in Colombia, many of which have denounced frequent xenophobic attacks against them.

While Colombian President Iván Duque is yet to comment on the alleged “intervention,” his government decided to take action against Argentina and Cuba over the weekend, accusing them of meddling and expelling a Cuban diplomat from the country.

Both Duque and Moreno recognize US-backed self-declared “Interim President” Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. They also belong to the Lima Group, a regional ad hoc organization of right governments which have previously made similar accusations of Venezuelan incitement, financing or involvement in mass protests across the region, including in Colombia (2019 and 2020), Ecuador (2020), Bolivia (2019), Chile (2019 and 2020) and the United States (2020), all of which were rebutted by Caracas.

In response to the latest claims, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described the accusations as “shameful,” going on to say that the accusers were “underestimating their people.” He also quoted Spanish poet Antonio Machado, writing via Twitter that “Lies are the most destructive weapon used by fascism.”

For his part, Chavista number two Deputy Diosdado Cabello likewise downplayed the accusations, questioning Colombian intelligence capabilities. “They couldn’t even investigate Operation Gedeon – the failed maritime incursion which happened a year ago and was planned in Colombia – but they can conclude that we [supposedly] have people there. Get out of here!” he said.

Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas chimed in as well, pointing out the hypocrisy of the accusations in comparison to Duque’s 2019 call for Venezuelan soldiers to rebel against the Maduro government.

Colombia has been rocked by a wave of popular protests and strikes since April 28, with government sources claiming 27 people have died. Independent organizations have placed the figure as high as 47, with around 800 injured and more than 400 missing.

The protests were initially organized to oppose a fiscal reform which increased the poor’s tax burden. In efforts to quell the protests, Duque withdrew the reform last Sunday and Finance Minister Alberto Barrera resigned.

However, widespread police brutality, as well as accumulated grievances based around the state’s noncompliance with the 2016 Peace Agreement and other human rights violations have stoked the mass demonstrations. Despite ongoing dialogue, the protests have continued, with Duque authorizing state agencies to use “all necessary force” against them on Monday.

Reports of widespread state violence and human rights abuses have been denounced by a range of Venezuelan leftwing movements, including at a piquet outside the Colombian Consulate in Caracas on Friday.

The rally, which featured the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) bloc and a number of other leftist forces, came in addition to a number of activities in solidarity with the Colombian people held across the country. Solidarity events also took place in a number of other Latin American cities, including Buenos Aires, Santiago and La Paz.

Venezuela and Colombia have had a tense relationship over past years, with diplomatic relations broken and borders closed in 2019. Recent border skirmishes have resulted in a number of deaths, with the Venezuelan government pointing to Colombian “irregular armed groups.” Additionally, Caracas has accused it neighbor’s government of backing regime change attempts, including the 2018 drone attack against Maduro, the 2019 attempted ‘humanitarian’ border incursion, the 2020 Operation Gedeon, and a 2021 foiled terrorist plot, amongst others.

May 11, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Two former British soldiers acquitted of murdering IRA leader as trial collapses due to inadmissible evidence

RT | May 4, 2021

Two former British Army paratroopers accused of murdering an Official IRA commander have been acquitted, after prosecutors failed to provide further evidence against them and the trial collapsed.

Joe McCann, 24, was unarmed when he was shot dead by paratroopers as he tried to evade arrest by a plainclothes police officer in Belfast in 1972.

The accused, identified only as Soldiers A and C, have admitted firing at McCann, but claim they acted within the law. The veterans, now in their 70s, made statements to the Royal Military Police in 1972 and were interviewed by the Historical Enquiries Team – a police legacy branch – in 2010.

At Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday, presiding judge Justice John O’Hara ruled that the statements – which formed key evidence for the prosecution – were inadmissible at the trial. Prosecutors accepted the judge’s findings that the statements were not given under caution and the soldiers did not have access to legal representation.

The court heard that McCann was allegedly behind the deaths of 15 British soldiers in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. His family have said they will ask the attorney general to open an inquest into his death.

Outside the court their lawyer, Niall Murphy said: “This ruling does not mean that Joe McCann was not murdered by the British Army.”

Four other cases involving the prosecution of former British soldiers in Northern Ireland are currently at the pre-trial stage.

May 5, 2021 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Why the Embargo Against Cuba?

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 23, 2021

Now that Cuban president Raul Castro has resigned the presidency of Cuba, will the U.S. government lift its six-decades-long economic embargo against Cuba?

Don’t count it. Squeezing the life out of the Cuban people as a way to get regime change has become such a normalized way of life for the United States that it is unlikely that this cruel and brutal policy will be ended anytime soon.

Back in the day, the embargo was justified as part of the Cold War against “godless communism” and, specifically, the international communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia and that supposedly threatened to envelope the United States and the rest of the world. (Yes, that Russia, the one we are being called upon, once again, to treat as our official enemy.) The Pentagon and the CIA steadfastly maintained that the “national security” of the United States was gravely threatened by a communist outpost only 90 miles away from American shores.

But when the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly came to an end in 1989, the embargo just kept gong and going. And even though former communist dictator Fidel Castro is now dead and his brother Raul is now out of the presidency, there is no push within the federal government to finally bring an end to this cruel and brutal program.

What’s up with that? The U.S. government doesn’t have an embargo against communist Vietnam, whose northern half killed some 58,000 American men. Why have an embargo against a country that has never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so?

I suspect that part of the reason is that the CIA has never been able to get over the humiliation of having been defeated when its ragtag army of Cuban exiles invaded Cuba in 1961 in a futile attempt to secure regime change on the island. In fact, my hunch is that the CIA and the Pentagon have never been able to get over the fact that their entire regime-change operations against Cuba, including sabotage, terrorism, and assassination, as well as the embargo, failed to oust the communist regime and replace it with a U.S.-installed regime, one that would, once again, do the bidding of the U.S. government.

In the ultimate analysis, it’s all about empire and control. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the U.S. came to the defense of Cuba in its war for independence from the Spanish Empire. Once Spain was defeated, however, the U.S. government double-crossed the Cubans and refused to permit them their independence. Instead, the fledgling U.S. Empire simply replaced the Spanish Empire.

The U.S. Empire then proceeded to control Cuba for the next 60 years through a succession of pro-U.S. dictators who agreed to do the bidding of the U.S. government. They were what are sometimes referred to as “puppets”—dancing to the strings of U.S. control. That’s in fact how the U.S. government got its imperial outpost in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. government’s puppet regime in Havana gave that portion of Cuba to the United States.

One of the U.S. puppets was Fulgencio Batista, a corrupt pro-U.S. tyrant who was ousted by the Cuban revolution in 1959. One of his programs was to have his government goons go out into the Cuban countryside and kidnap young girls — minors. They would then bring them back to Havana, where they would be handed over to the Mafia-controlled casinos, which were giving Batista a cut of the action. The girls would be handed over to the high-rollers in the casinos as sexual favors.

U.S. officials loved Batista and were hoping that he would remain in power. It was not to be. The person who instigated the revolution was a woman named Celia Sanchez, who had a young girlfriend who was kidnapped by Batista’s goons and then raped as a sexual favor in the Mafia’s casinos.

What the Pentagon and the CIA want today is to resume control over Cuba with another pro-U.S. dictator who will do their bidding, just like before the Cuban revolution. That’s what the embargo is all about. That’s why they continue to target the Cuban people with death and economic privation. They want to resume control over Cuba, and they want it bad.

There is something else to keep in mind about the U.S. government’s relationship with Cuba for the last 60 years: It has always been the U.S. government that has been the aggressor. It is the U.S. government that has targeted the Cuban people with death and economic privation with its embargo. It has been the U.S. government that has engaged in sabotage and terrorism against the Cuban people. It is the U.S. government that has repeatedly tried to murder Cuban officials, even in partnership with the Mafia, one of the biggest criminal organizations in the world.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that the U.S. government’s embargo against Cuba has always been a direct attack on the natural, God-given rights of freedom of travel and economic liberty of the American people. After all, let’s not forget that Americans are the ones who are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated for traveling to Cuba and spending money there without the official consent of their Washington overlords.

If the American people wished to begin restoring a sense of morality to the U.S. government and a small bit of economic freedom to their lives, a good place to begin would be by bringing about an end to the six-decades-old embargo against Cuba. It’s an evil and destructive Cold War dinosaur that deserves extinction.

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Israel official calls for executing Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem

MEMO | April 21, 2021

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Aryeh King, yesterday called on Israeli police to execute Palestinian protesters who take to the streets of the holy city at night, Shehab news agency reported.

He proposed a change in police policy regarding dealing with protesters and stop using traditional means to disperse them.

According to the Israeli TV Channel 7, King said that shooting the protesters “is the only way which can end the night protests phenomenon.”

Police “do not save any efforts to prevent these demonstrations which were aggravated by the start of Ramadan,” he added.

King, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said, is best known for settling Jews in occupied East Jerusalem and evicting Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

April 21, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 4 Comments