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Israeli occupation forces raid office of Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | September 19, 2019

Israeli occupation forces raided today, Thursday, 19 September 2019 at around 2:00am the office of Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association in Ramallah.

The Israeli forces stole five laptops, memory cards, three laptop memories, one laptop card, several books and additionally searching through the belongings of the office.

This is the third incident where the Israeli soldiers have raided the office, the first was in 2002 and the second incident was in 2012.

Addameer reassures that those constant raids will not stand in the face of any duties the organization has for Palestinian political prisoners. The organization will continue to support Palestinian prisoners to flight all human rights violations they suffer from including torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trails.

Addameer sees this raid as a part of ongoing and systematic attacks against the Palestinian civil society organization. Those attacks are targeting the organizations that have a role in facing the occupation’s violations and claiming accountability for those violations. This is additionally a part of the occupation’s campaign to shrink space, delegitimize and de-fund those human rights and civil society organizations.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

In Chile, Dictatorship-Era Legacy of Impunity Is Still Endorsed by Governments

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 13, 2019

“It does not matter whether the government is right or left-wing; impunity is maintained. Even with the previous governments it was discovered that the Armed forces burnt the archives with information and no steps were taken.” Former Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) member and torture survivor Erika Hennings has experienced the trauma of state-enforced oblivion – she is still seeking the details about the extermination and disappearance of her husband, Alfonso Chanfreau.

Forty-six years since the US-backed military coup overthrew the democratically-elected, socialist government led by Salvador Allende, Chilean society remains fragmented and burdened with a legacy which all governments since the transition back to democracy have failed to challenge.

The neoliberal experiment unleashed upon Chile was violent – in 2011, the Chilean state recognised 40,018 people as victims of the Pinochet dictatorship, among them 3,065 who were killed and disappeared. The Chilean military’s pact of silence has hampered efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as forced Chileans to contend with gaps in their personal and collective memory.

Human rights lawyer and Communist Party deputy Carmen Hertz, whose husband Carlos Berger was one of the victims of the Calama Massacre in October 1973 – the last stop of the dictatorship operation known as the Caravan of Death, has also blamed the governments from the transition onwards for cultivating state impunity. Fragments of her husband’s remains were identified – together with the other Calama victims, Berger was mutilated, buried clandestinely and later exhumed for disposal into the ocean. The Chilean state, Hertz asserted, “has debt in truth, in justice, in reparation.”

The Chilean state, however, has no intention of facilitating the Chilean quest for justice and memory. Upholding impunity remains a prime concern for the government and the military. Oblivion, the act of forgetting which Pinochet insisted upon as the only means to move on from dictatorship crimes against humanity, is never far from Chileans’ consciousness. As a mechanism endorsed and implemented at state level, Chileans involved in memory and resistance activity are perpetually fighting against government efforts to erase remembrance.

Last Sunday, a march led by various human rights and memory group commemorating the victims of the Pinochet dictatorship in Santiago was violently disrupted by the Chilean police.

A recent cruel taunt by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro directed at former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, whose father was murdered by the dictatorship, was mildly reprimanded by Chilean President Sebastian Piñera who, while denouncing the comment as regards subject matter, downplayed its significance by describing Bolsonaro’s dictatorship admiration as “different opinions”.

Bachelet, herself a torture victim, failed to maintain her promise to close the luxury prison of Punta Peuco, where former dictatorship agents serving multiple sentences lead privileged lives in incarceration. During her presidential terms, Bachelet made use of the Pinochet-era anti-terror law to target Mapuche communities and individuals involved in resistance. Although by no means an exception in resorting to the legislation, its use was most widespread during her tenure.

As part of his electoral campaign, Piñera had vowed changes to make the legislation easier to implement against the Mapuche. In November 2018, Mapuche youth Camilo Catrillanca was murdered by the Comando Jungla – a special force trained by the US and Colombia. Evidence related to the killing was destroyed and the witness, a minor, was beaten by the police.

In August this year, it was revealed that the Chilean military was spying on the Chilean investigative journalist and author Mauricio Weibel in 2016.

In another bizarre case, a former DINA agent pressed criminal charges against Javier Rebolledo, a Chilean investigative writer. Rebolledo’s research revealed detailed accounts of torture and sexual abuse perpetrated by DINA agents, among them Raul Quintana Salazar, who sued the author for purported defamation.

State-endorsed oblivion in Chile has made a travesty out of justice. Yet it has also ensured a strengthening of memory. The latter, however, faces one main hurdle in the form of governments normalising dictatorship violence. If governments in Chile continue to uphold the dictatorship pacts of silence, Chile’s memory will, with time, remain tethered to narrations which do not make it beyond diluted versions of history.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Top Iran cultural body slams US protracted detention of stem-cell scientist

Masoud Soleimani, senior Iranian stem-cell researcher in US custody
Press TV – Sep 11, 2019

A leading Iranian cultural organization has slammed the United States for its protracted detainment of an Iranian stem-cell scientist on “hollow” grounds, calling on advocates of human rights worldwide to help end the “arbitrary detention.”

“The US government constantly delays Dr. Soleimani’s trial in violation of academic and research protocols, and has so far failed to produce any official report on the reason behind his arrest,” said Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in a statement published on its website on Wednesday.

Masoud Soleimani was arrested upon his arrival in Chicago in October last year on charges that he had violated trade sanctions against Iran. He has been held in detention south of Atlanta since then.

Soleimani and two of his students, who are free on bond, are accused of conspiring to export biological materials from the US to Iran without a license from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Attorneys in the case say he seized on the plans of a former student to travel from the US to Iran in September 2016 as a chance to get recombinant proteins used in his research at a lower price than what he would pay at home.

Lawyers for the scientists argue that the trio did nothing wrong, stressing that no specific license was required as the proteins are medical materials and that transporting them to Iran for noncommercial purposes does not amount to exporting goods.

The Council further said Soleimani ranked among the world’s top 100 scientists in terms of scientific citation, who had traveled to the US at the invitation of the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic — a ranking nonprofit academic medical center — on a valid visa.

He was arrested right upon arrival without charge or trial, and was currently jailed alongside criminals, drug traffickers, and hooligans, it added.

“Dr. Soleimani’s detention is a clear example of arbitrary arrest,” prohibited under all international norms, added the statement.

The case serves to prove the US’s adversarial and inhumane attitude given that Soleimani’s research and academic background has nothing to do with Washington’s sanctions targeting Iran, it stated.

“The American government, which has failed to block Iran’s monumental scientific progress,…has now resorted to such inhumane behavior,” the document noted.

It asserted that Soleimani was an “apolitical academic figure.” The detention prevented him from seeing his mother, who went into a coma after learning about his arrest, and passed away recently.

The Council also noted that Soleimani’s prolonged detention has severely affected his eyesight and caused him to lose much weight.

Soleimani’s family is paying all the medical and legal costs, it noted. The US government is preventing his access to decent medical treatment, despite the fact that he suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The body called on the world’s justice-seeking people and organizations to help pursue the scientist’s release.

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas: Saudi detains one of ‘our senior leaders’

MEMO | September 9, 2019

Hamas on Monday said “one of its senior leaders” and his son have been in Saudi custody since April of this year, reports Anadolu Agency.

In a statement, the group said the Saudi security services arrested Mohammad al-Khoudary, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for three decades and described the arrest as a “reprehensible action”.

The statement mentioned that al-Khoudary was responsible for administering the relations with Saudi Arabia for over the past two decades and he got several leading positions in the movement.

“Hamas kept silent over the past five months of his arrest to allow for mediations efforts but these efforts have yet to bear fruit”, it said.

Euro-Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights, a Geneva-based group, also said that the Saudi authorities detain around 60 Palestinians in its jails.

In a statement, the rights group called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to order the immediate release of the detainees, especially those who are detained without specific indictments.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Israel bombs Gaza position for an entire hour: Palestinian sources

Press TV – September 7, 2019

Israel has launched a lengthy bombardment of positions in the Gaza Strip, sources inside the besieged enclave say.

Palestinian news agencies said late on Saturday that Israeli airstrikes targeted positions allegedly held by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas north of the Gaza and deep inside the enclave.

Health officials said there were no casualties from the attacks that lasted close to an hour.

Israeli regime sources said the attacks hit Hamas naval facilities on the Mediterranean and two military compounds run by the group in central Gaza.

There was no confirmation from Hamas and its affiliated groups.

The relentless Israeli bombardment came after Hamas launched a drone operation targeting an Israeli military equipment stationed along the border with the occupied Palestinian territories.

It also came a day after Israelis launched attacks on five positions inside Gaza.

Regime sources have claimed the attacks were in response to Hamas operations targeting Israeli settlers and military forces.

However, attacks by Hamas have come in response to regime’s killing of people marching along the border to protest the Israeli occupation.

Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in such attacks by Israeli troops earlier on Friday in clashes that erupted east of the Gaza City.

Some 66 other Palestinians were wounded in Israeli gunfire and other attacks during the anti-occupation protest held the same day.

Hamas has launched two rounds of retaliatory attacks on Israeli positions over the past 48 hours. The group fired five rockets into the occupied territories on Friday night, setting off sirens in Israeli settlements along the Gaza border as well as in the city of Sderot.

The group also responded to Israeli attacks by launching a successful drone operation earlier on Saturday.

The Israeli military confirmed the drone attack inflicted damage to equipment stationed along the border while claiming there were no casualties to its troops.

September 7, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Australia Furthers Its Cooperation With NATO

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 29, 2019

In 2001, Australia became involved in the US “war on terror”, coined by former US President George W Bush as the pretext for invading Afghanistan. The rationale behind Australia’s decision was the ANZUS Treaty – a non-binding security between Australia, New Zealand and the US purportedly in line with the principles of the UN Charter.

Despite the treaty relating to possible attacks on either party in the Pacific, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard invoked Article VI to justify Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan, which states, “This treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Since 2001, Australia has maintained a presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adopting US rhetoric on security and terrorism, the Australian Defence Ministry described its presence in Afghanistan thus: “Our fundamental objective in Afghanistan is to combat a clear threat from international terrorism to both international security and our own national security. Australia cannot afford, and Australians cannot afford, to let Afghanistan once again become a safe haven and training ground for terrorist organisations.”

Needless to say, the war on terror accomplished a continuation of the terrorism fomented by the US in its plans to permanently destabilise the region. Following its involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, Australia has also cooperated with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) since 2005, thus prioritising security discourse at a national level.

In 2012, the Australia-NATO Joint Political Declaration established the foundations for cooperation and strategy – in other words, the prolongation of intervention abroad upon pretexts of security. The document recognises Australia as “one of the leading contributors to the NATO-led ISA mission in Afghanistan, which works under a UN Security Council mandate.”

Additionally, the declaration whitewashes foreign intervention through security concerns: “We understand the need to manage effectively risks and threats to our mutual interest, such as political instability from failed states, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and cyber-attacks.” This statement has been reflected in the recent partnership agreement signed by NATO and Australia earlier this month.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described Australia’s role as “helping us to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.” Days later, US President Donald Trump spoke about US presence in Afghanistan as a purported deterrent to prevent the country from becoming “a laboratory for terror.”

Far from deterring terrorism, international involvement in Afghanistan has created networks of terror which cannot be dissociated from foreign intervention. Dismantling terrorism in a failed state created by foreign intervention is the pretext for prolonged international presence.

Australia’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as a non-NATO member has been one of the most prominent and reportedly in relation to training missions, although it was also involved in capturing and detaining alleged terror suspects.

As early as 2003 while working in close cooperation with the US, Australia not only was knowledgeable about the torture and abuse meted out at Abu Ghraib in Iraq – it was also a participant. Documents reveal that Australia’s representative at Abu Ghraib, officer and military lawyer George O’Kane, blocked the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees undergoing torture sessions. The Australian Government’s response to the revelations refuted responsibility, stating that the techniques applied against detainees were in concordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Australia was also one of the countries, among them NATO members and allies, participating in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) extraordinary rendition program, which involved the transfer of individuals suspected of terrorism to secret US detention and torture centres.

Speaking about the recently agreed framework, Stoltenberg highlighted Australia’s cooperation with NATO as focusing on preventing terrorism. “Training local forces is the best thing we can do in fighting terrorism; helping countries to stabilise their own countries.”

False premises instigated the war on terror. Maintaining it requires the regurgitation of past, dangerous lies. The West’s appropriation of what constitutes “individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law” has fomented perpetual war and subjugation to imperialist powers.

In the words of Australian Defence Minister as to the level of involvement of Australia in the region, “what we’re doing at the moment is assessing the ask from the United States, assessing what other allies are doing and how they’re considering this.” A simple statement that shows the Australian government has no consideration for the countries invaded by NATO, the mutating violence, dispossession of people and permanent instability. Neither, for that matter, will Australia assess its own involvement in terms of the human rights violations it helped to propagate. Dropping bombs in Iraq? Australia seems to have no problem with furthering an oppressive legacy.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Soldiers Injure Numerous Palestinians Near Jerusalem

IMEMC News – August 28, 2019

Israeli soldiers invaded the town of al-‘Isawiya, east of occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening and injured several Palestinians, including a woman who was wounded in her eye, in addition to causing property damage.

Media sources said the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in al-‘Isawiya, and fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at local protesters, and at many Palestinian cars and homes.

The sources added that one woman was injured in one of her eyes after the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets at her car while driving.

The soldiers also surrounded a mosque in the town, and attacked dozens of Palestinians, in addition to firing gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at them, causing many injuries.

One of the wounded Palestinians is an elderly man, who was attacked and pushed by the soldiers before they threw him onto the ground.

In addition, the soldiers surrounded the home of Mohammad Obeid, 21, who was killed by Israeli army fire on June 27th, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it, in addition to occupying rooftops of several surrounding homes.

The soldiers forced the residents to remove Palestinian flags, and posters of the slain Palestinian, in addition to detaining several young men.

The latest attacks took place less than twelve hours after the soldiers invaded the town and conducted extensive and violet searchers of homes and other property, including cars and stores.

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

New Zealand suspends funding to Palestinians through UNRWA

MEMO | August 28, 2019

The government of New Zealand has withdrawn and suspended funding to the United Nations’ (UN) aid agency which provides support for Palestinians.

The country’s suspension of aid and financial contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is to be implemented until the release of a report by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services in October, which would detail allegations of misconduct, corruption, links to terror groups, and anti-Semitism that have been levelled against the agency.

A statement released by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “We expect UNRWA to cooperate fully with the investigation under way and to report back on the investigation’s findings and recommendations.” It added that “The Ministry will review the findings of the UN OIOS report once the investigation is complete and, after that point, will provide advice to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on future funding.”

The move by the island nation is in stark contradiction to its recent announcements that it will provide more aid to the agency and to Palestinians, such as in November last year when it vowed to increase its support to UNRWA and in May this year when it assured its commitment to back the organisation until at least 2021.

This shift in financial policy and the withdrawal of aid comes amid an ongoing campaign to deprive the UNRWA of funding and support from a variety of Western nations, most prominently the United States (US) when the Trump administration withdrew its funding for the agency last year. The most recent cases of the suspension of funds occurred last month when the Netherlands and Switzerland also froze financial support due to reports of alleged corruption within the agency.

The sharp reduction in funding has had a direct effect on the situation of Palestinians in refugee camps in particular. Since the US withdrawal from the agency, there have emerged widespread reports of worsening conditions in the camps scattered throughout Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, and the UN organisation continues to struggle financially amid the ongoing campaign against it, seeking urgent funds to maintain its work.

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s War on Innocence: Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Courts

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | August 7, 2019

On July 29, 4-year-old Muhammad Rabi’ Elayyan was reportedly summoned for interrogation by the Israeli police in occupied Jerusalem. The news, originally reported by the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, was later denied by the Israeli police, more than likely in an attempt to lessen the impact of the PR disaster that followed.

The Israelis are not denying the story in its entirety, but are rather arguing that it was not the boy, Muhammad, who was summoned, but his father. It was Rabi’ Elayyan, they claim, who was called into the Israeli police station in Salah Eddin Street in Jerusalem to be questioned regarding his son’s actions.

The child was accused of hurling a stone at Israeli occupation soldiers in the Issawiyeh neighborhood, which is a constant target for Israeli violence. The neighborhood has also been the tragic location of house demolitions under the pretext that Palestinians there are building without permits. Of course, the vast majority of Palestinian applications for such permits to build in Issawiyeh, or anywhere else in Jerusalem, are denied routinely, while Jewish settlers are allowed to build on stolen Palestinian land unhindered.

As such, Issawiyeh is no stranger to the ridiculous and unlawful behavior of the Israeli army. On July 6, for example, a mother from the beleaguered neighborhood was arrested in order to put pressure on her teenage son, Mahmoud Ebeid, to turn himself in. The mother “was taken by Israeli police as a bargaining chip,” Mondoweiss reported, quoting the Jerusalem-based Wadi Hileh Information Centre.

The Israeli authorities are justified in feeling embarrassed by the whole episode concerning the 4-year-old boy, thus the attempt to poke holes in the story. The fact is, though, that WAFA’s correspondent in Jerusalem had, indeed, verified that the warrant was in Muhammad’s, not Rabi’s, name.

While some news sources bought into the Israeli propaganda and readily conveyed the cries of “fake news”, one must bear in mind that this was hardly a one-off incident. For Palestinians, such news about the detention, beating, and killing of their children has been one of the most consistent features of the Israeli occupation since 1967.

Just one day after Muhammad was summoned, the Israeli authorities also interrogated the father of a 6-year-old child, Qais Firas Obaid, from the same neighborhood of Issawiyeh. This particular boy was accused of throwing a juice carton at Israeli soldiers.

“According to local sources in Issawiyeh the [Israeli] military sent Qais’s family an official summons to come to the interrogation center in Jerusalem on Wednesday [July 31] at 8 am,” reported the International Middle East Media Centre (IMEMC). In one photo, the little boy is holding the Israeli military order written in Hebrew up to the camera.

The stories of Muhammad and Qais are the norm, not the exception. According to the prisoners’ advocacy group, Addameer, there are currently 250 Palestinian children being held in Israel’s prisons. Approximately 700 Palestinian children are taken through the Israeli military court system every single year.

“The most common charge levied against children is throwing stones,” reports Addameer, “a crime that is punishable under military law by up to 20 years in prison.”

That is why Israel has every right to be embarrassed. Since the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, some 12,000 Palestinian children have been detained and interrogated by the Israeli army.

Moreover, it is not only children and their families who are targeted by the Israeli military but also those who advocate on their behalf. Just last week, on July 30, Palestinian lawyer Tariq Barghouth was sentenced to 13 years in prison by an Israeli military court for “firing at Israeli buses and at security forces on a number of occasions.”

As unlikely as the accusation of a well-known lawyer firing at “buses” may sound, it is important to note that Barghouth is well-regarded for his defense of Palestinian children in court. He has also been a headache for the Israeli military court system for his strong defense of Ahmad Manasra.

The then 13-year-old boy was tried and indicted in Israeli military court for allegedly stabbing and wounding two Israelis near the illegal Jewish settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in Occupied Jerusalem in 2015. Manasra’s cousin, Hassan, 15, was killed on the spot, while the wounded Ahmad was tried in court as an adult. It was Barghouth who challenged and denounced the Israeli court for the harsh interrogation and for secretly filming the wounded child as he was tied to his hospital bed.

On August 2, 2016, Israel passed a law that allows the authorities to “imprison a minor convicted of serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder or manslaughter even if he or she is under the age of 14.” The law was crafted conveniently to deal with cases like that of Ahmad Manasra, who was sentenced on November 7, the same year, three months after the law was approved, to 12 years in prison.

Manasra’s case, the leaked videos of his abuse by Israeli interrogators and his harsh sentence placed more international focus on the plight of Palestinian children in the Israeli military court system. “Israeli interrogators are seen relying on verbal abuse, intimidation and threats to apparently inflict mental suffering for the purpose of obtaining a confession,” attorney and international advocacy officer at Defence for Children — Palestine, Brad Parker, said at the time.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Israel has been a signatory since 1991, “prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Yet, explains Parker, “Ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli military and police is widespread and systematic.”

So systematic, in fact, that videos and reports of arresting very young Palestinian children are almost a staple on social media platforms concerned with Palestine and Palestinian rights.

The sad reality is that Muhammad Elayyan, 4, and Qais Obaid, 6, and many children like them, have become a target of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This horrendous reality must not be tolerated by the international community.

Israeli crimes against Palestinian children must be confronted effectively for the simple reason that Israel, its inhumane laws and iniquitous military courts must not be allowed to continue their uncontested brutalization of those who are, at the end of the day, children. Israel’s war on their innocence must be stopped.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London).

August 7, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Food Shipment Destined For Venezuela Seized Due to US Blockade

teleSUR | August 7, 2019

Venezuela’s Vicepresident Delcy Rodriguez denounced Wednesday that a ship containing 25 thousand tonnes of Soya has been seized in the Panama Canal due to the U.S. blockade while calling on the United Nations to take action against the “serious aggression” that impede Venezuela “right to food”.

“Venezuela denounces before the world that a boat that holds 25 thousand tons of Soya, for food production in our country, has been seized in the Panama Canal, due to the criminal blockade imposed by Donald Trump,” the vice president said in a tweet.

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by Donald Trump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food.”

In a subsequent tweet, the Venezuelan senior official explained that the owner of the vessel carrying the merchandise of food was informed by the insurance company that it was prevented from moving that cargo to Venezuela.

The shipment seizure comes just days after Trump signed an executive order Monday that imposes a near-total blockade on government assets in that country, which includes an embargo against food suppliers, among other basic inputs. This is the first time in 30 years that Washington has taken such an action against a sovereign country.

August 7, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

‘There’s no law in the world that says you can cut water from humans’

This is the second of a series of reports documenting the control and devastation of water sources by Israel as a tool of oppression.*

A bulldozer destroys water wells while a Regavim drone hovers above
International Solidarity Movement | August 3, 2019

South Hebron Hills, occupied Palestine – Israel is escalating its war on water in the South Hebron Hills, demolishing wells, ripping out kilometres of pipeline and even confiscating trucks carrying emergency water tanks to parched villages.

In the sweltering month of July, five demolitions targeting water infrastructure were carried out, leaving Palestinian farming villages without access to water.

The latest took place on Wednesday July 31, when the Israeli Civil Administration – the body that governs Area C in the West Bank – cut pipes supplying water to houses and farmland in the area of al-Jaway near At-Tuwani.

Tariq Hathaleen, a local activist from the South Hebron Hills, says that the number of demolitions on water sources has “more than doubled,” this year compared to previous years.

He told ISM: “Now in the summer it sounds like the Civil Administration has a plan to restrict Palestinian access to water in the South Hebron Hills, in Area C in general, and that’s actually to put more pressure on those people to move them away from those villages.

“Because the Civil Administration don’t have a direct excuse to expel those people from their land but the plan is to put more pressure to make them leave by cutting their water sources.”

On July 4, bulldozers destroyed three water wells outside the town of Dkeika, a day after they came to the same area and uprooted over 500 olive trees.

The destruction of the wells and trees have affected around 1,200 people, 60 per cent of them registered as refugees. according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Four water cisterns were also destroyed on July 24 in a park between the villages of Umm al-Kheir and Umm Daraj

“I know the reality of these people,” Tariq, who was at the demolition, adds. “I call them the enemies of life and they prove this by cutting trees, by cutting water pipes, by cutting the lives of people.”

The Good Shepherd Collective, a group that advocates human rights predominantly in the South Hebron Hills, puts the escalation of demolitions down to the actions of far-right settler NGO Regavim.

Regavim, which receives Israeli tax-payers money and has charitable status, spies on Palestinian communities, looking out for structures built without a permit and reporting them to the ICA. They then speed up demolition cases in the courts through petitions.

Their devastating impact can be seen by the steep rise in demolitions in the South Hebron Hills; 65 structures have been bulldozed or confiscated so far this year, compared to 23 structures in the same period last year, according to OCHA.

The al Dababsh family watches as their home is razed to the ground in the village of Khalet al Dabeh

“For anyone who still has qualms about the placement of blame on the state or Civil Administration for the act of demolitions, the message of these continued demolitions in natural areas should serve as a clarifying message,” the Good Shepherd Collective said.

“The state, the settlers and the organizations like Regavim that push forward the destruction of these areas, structures and resources for Palestinians are not motivated by the preservation of humanitarian rights, environmental laws, or the protection of the natural environment.”

The series of attacks on water sources in July comes after Israel ripped out a huge pipe network earlier this year that had supplied 12 Palestinian towns in the South Hebron Hills with running water.

The pipes were built in secret and took four months to install. But just six months later, Israel destroyed them, cutting the 20km lifeline.

The 12 villages have had to return to the old method of accessing water – by transporting tanks on tractors along poor roads which wears down the tyres and wastes precious work days.

Transporting water in this way adds to the economic burden of the area’s small villages, costing 30 shekkles for one cubic metre. In contrast Israelis pay just 8 shekkles per cubic metre.

And even the trucks are not safe from Israel’s war on water; on July 15, 18 water tanks were confiscated by Israeli soldiers. In the same raid, several thousand dollars of water pipeline and drilling equipment to install the pipes were also taken.

“The feeling is hard to accept, the fact that those people, those humans out of blood and flesh agree on themselves to cut other peoples’ lives by cutting the water,” Tariq tells ISM.

“It’s far from doing something legal. There’s no law in the world that says you can cut water from humans and forbid him from having water access. Its insane.”

The South Hebron Hills is in Area C of the West Bank which means it is under full Israeli control. Palestinians in this region are denied building permits even to install water pipelines or wells, and are not allowed to hook up to the water network that Israel has laid across Palestinian land to supply illegal settlements.

As a result, villages in the area are subject to unrelenting attacks on not only their water sources but farmland and homes.


* Water Series: IOF destroy farmland east of Hebron – ISM speaks to owner Ghassan Jaber

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 5 Comments

Israel summons 8-year-old Palestinian girl for interrogation

Israeli forces summoned an eight-year-old Palestinian girl, Malak Sadr for interrogation in the West Bank city of Hebron

MEMO | August 1, 2019

Israeli authorities yesterday summoned an eight-year-old Palestinian girl from the occupied West Bank city of Hebron for interrogation, making her the third minor to be called in for questioning this week.

According to sources who informed the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli soldiers raided the home of Hebron resident Shadi Sadr last night and gave him a summons for his eight-year-old daughter Malak to appear at an interrogation centre. Her crime, the father was told, was allegedly harassing the military-backed Israeli settlers.

The incident comes amid a recent spate of summons and interrogations of extremely young Palestinian children this past week for a number of alleged crimes including throwing cartons at occupation forces and “harassing” settlers and settlement projects. The first arrest was that of four-year-old Muhammad Rabi’ Elayyan on Tuesday and the second was issued to the father of six-year-old Qais Firas Obaid yesterday, both of whom were residents of the same east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya.

According to the Palestine branch of the rights group Defence for Children International, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system since 2000.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments