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Colombian Community Mourns the Loss of Another Social Leader

teleSUR | July 17, 2018

Another Colombian social leader was reportedly murdered in the municipality of Caloto, Cauca, a national human rights network confirmed Monday.

The father of a former FARC soldier, an active participant in the Association of Pro-Constitution Workers Zones of the Caloto Campesina Reserves, Luis Eduardo Dague was a leader in his community. He assisted in founding the Carmelo of the Municipality of Caloto Cauca community and worked on the El Carmelo Action Board and various union, trade, and agricultural groups, the human rights network Francisco Isaías Cifuentes reported.

Dague’s remains were found in the El Carmelo Monday morning with marks consistent with torture across his body, face, and neck. Experts say Dague was most likely stoned or beaten to death.

According to local reports, a group of soldiers was camped on property owned by the victim near the crime scene. This is the second murder registered in Cauca this week. On Sunday, the body of Jose Bayardo Montoya was found in Miranda, also allegedly beaten to death, his skull completely crushed.

The Human Rights groups denounced the recent violence, calling on the state to act accordingly and to uphold the rights to life, liberty, personal safety, as well as physical, and psychological integrity; saying, “The necessary legal actions to determine the collective and individual responsibilities for the homicide.”

Late last week, Colombia’s inspector general, Fernando Carrillo, accused elements of the country’s police and military of collaborating with criminal organizations to assassinate human rights defenders and community leaders.

While earlier this month, demonstrations were organized in Paris, Valencia, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, London, New York, Rome and Buenos Aires to protests the violence targeting social rights leaders.

Jaime Gutierrez, of the National Confederation of Community Action, told El Espectador: “Why do they kill leaders? Because we’re against illegal mining, because it’s us who denounce the drug routes.”

Despite government promises from outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos to address the paramilitary violence, the number of fallen social leaders continues to climb with over 400 deaths since the signing of the Peace Treaty signing in November 2016.

RELATED:

Colombia: State Agents Accused of Murdering Social Leaders

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Chief Rabbi Vs. Labour Party

By Gilad Atzmon | July 17, 2018

The BBC reports this morning that Britan’s chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said Labour will be “on the wrong side” of the fight against racism unless it toughens up its anti-Semitism code of conduct.

Rabbi Mirvis said Labour’s new anti-Semitism definition sent “an unprecedented message of contempt to the Jewish community”.

Apparently the Chief Rabbi is not alone. The J Post reports this morning that “Sixty-eight British rabbis signed an open letter decrying antisemitism in the country’s labor Party and calling on the party to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.”

Labour has defended its new code as the most “comprehensive” of any party.

But one may wonder, why do we need a special definition for antisemitsm? Is a general and universal denouncement of racism, bigotry and discrimination of all kinds not sufficient?  Are Jews somehow special?

The new Labour code does endorse the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism and includes behaviours it lists as likely to be regarded as anti-Semitic – yet Jewish critics point out that it leaves out four examples from that definition:

*  Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country

*  Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour

*  Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations

*  Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis

Far from being surprising, Corbyn’s Labour see Israeli criminality as a problem and insists upon the right to criticise the actions of the Jewish State and its lobbies in political, cultural and historical contexts.

Rabbi Mirvis attacked the omission of these examples by the Labour and said it was “astonishing that the Labour Party presumes it is more qualified” to define anti-Semitism than the Jewish community.

The Rabbi could be slightly confused here.  Jews are more than welcome to define antisemitsm, as they like, but the labour party has the duty to define what it regards as an anti Jewish bigotry in accordance to its own alleged universal values.

Mirvis said Labour risked being on the “wrong side of the fight” against racism and intolerance

I would argue however that the Labour party, Rabbi Mirvis and most British Jewish institutions are on the wrong side of history here. If racism and Bigotry are defined as the discrimination of X for being X (X=woman, Jew, Black, Muslim, Gay, White etc.), then for Britain to move forward and to sustain the spirit of the common law, it must oppose all forms of racism and bigotry all together and equally.

To fight racism we need to follow one simple universal guideline rather than looking for the specific demands of one group or another.

Support Gilad’s legal costs.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Police Ban Academic Conference In Jerusalem

IMEMC News – July 14, 2018

Dozens of Israeli police officers prevented Palestinian academics, intellectuals and religious leaders from holding a conference Saturday at a Palestinian college in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli officers also issued an order shutting the educational facility down.

The officers, accompanied by security officials, surrounded the Arts Campus (Hind al-Husseini Campus) of Al-Quds University, in Sheikh Jarrah, and prevented the Palestinians from holding the two-day planned Fourth Academic Conference on Islamic Waqf (Endowment) in occupied Jerusalem.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the conference was organized by Waqf and Heritage Reservation Society and the Islamic Supreme Committee, in Jerusalem, and was funded by the Jerusalem Waqfiya Fund headed by Palestinian businessman and philanthropist Munib al-Masri.

WAFA added that the police detained al-Masri, and took him to an interrogation facility, in occupied Jerusalem.

The attack is the latest in a series of Israeli violations targeting conferences, meetings and various social, religious and political activities in the occupied city, as part of its attempt to solidify its full control over all aspects of life in Jerusalem.

Following the attack against the education facility, the Palestinian Education Ministry issued a statement strongly condemning the Israeli violation, and its constant attempt to disrupt the cultural and educational process in occupied Jerusalem.

The Health Ministry also denounced the illegal Israeli order shutting the campus down until further notice.

It said the invasion is part of Israel’s ongoing crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, including their educational facilities.

The Ministry added that Israel is encouraged by the deadly silence of the international community, and the unconditional support it receives from the United States.

“We have seen how Israel demolished a school in Yatta, near Hebron, how the soldiers surrounded al-Khan al-Ahmar, near Jerusalem, including its school,” the Ministry said, “Israeli is imposing severe restrictions on teachers and students, which is in serious violation of International Law.”

It called on all local, regional and international media and human rights organizations to expose the Israeli violations, and act on protecting the Palestinians and their basic rights to live in peace, without the constant harassment, violations and ongoing threat of violence by the occupation, endangering the children and the entire educational process.”

Under international law, East Jerusalem, which fell under Israeli occupation along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, is an occupied Palestinian city, the capital of the future independent Palestinian State.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

Rescue Our Children: They Are Trapped Too

By Sondoss Al Asaad | American Herald Tribune | July 9, 2018

The entire world is fearfully following the latest updates regarding the 12 boys and their coach who are trapped in a cave in Thailand. Definitely, we wish them urgent and safe rescue and to shortly return to their families. A case that has stimulated scores of international activist and volunteers to rush and evacuate the trapped football team. BBC, CNN, France 24, etc. have all been covering the case all over the past two weeks.

These mainstream media are much concerned about the case’s aftermath psychological impacts on those children. They are focusing on the impacts on both the children and their parents. Absolutely, it is quite important to care for others and to offer every possible means of help but without double standards or hypocrisy!!

During the prolonged imposed war on Syria and particularly back in April, the same series of Western Capitalist spoke-channels and Imperialist trumpets have shown the same concern over the Syrian children after the alleged “Chemical Attacks.” Ongoing tears were released and many condemned a fallacious incident, merely because it was a Western promoted propaganda.

For instance, Banna al-Abed; a Syrian “ISIS-wood” star has emerged since the onset of the Syrian war to play an outstanding role in such fake “Chemical Attacks” comedies. The whole world has shown an unusual sympathetic interest in Banna’s case. She and her mother have gotten unprecedented coverage as she has been predicted as the legitimate regiem’s “target” along with other children.

Unequivocally, children have the right to safety, protection, health, nutrition, education, etc., regardless their identity, gender, religion, race or ethnicity. How come the West turns blind eyes and deaf ears to the heinous violations of children’s rights in our ravaged, colonised and impoverished countries? The question too is whether these mainstream media regard the innocent Yemeni children as children or as in accordance to its double standards “Terrorists”?

The same question applies to the Palestinian children who are purposelessly murdered on daily basis. Have these channels and the #Metoo campaigners heard about the 17 years old Ahed al-Tamimi, who has been trapped in the Zionist prisons since November 2017, unfairly tried and sexually harassed?

In Bahrain as well many children are trapped in prisons, denied the right to education, to access parents, to religious rituals or to fair trials. They are severely beaten and detained along with criminals and thieves.

The Western media must deal with our children as equals to as its other “beloved” children. Many of our children are also trapped in the imposed imperialist caves and thus haunted by terrible memories, suffocating and enduring psychological problems. They constantly witness atrocities, bombardments, inhumane treatment. Consequently, they are psychologically torn, disparate and broken.

Let the devoted activists all over the world exert effective and efficient efforts to immediately and urgently rescue the Yemeni and Palestinian children who are trapped inside the aggressive wars’ caves. Let them urge their governments to stop selling weapons which are used to end our children’s lives. Let them awaken the arrogant West in order to save our hopeless children and to deal with them as equals.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

Medical Aid for Palestinians founder, Dr Swee Chai Ang, to join Freedom Flotilla

Founding Trustee of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) Dr Swee Chai Ang
MEMO | July 9, 2018

Founding Trustee of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) Dr Swee Chai Ang is set to board the Freedom Flotilla boat Al-Awda next week in an effort to break the 12-year siege of the Gaza Strip.

In a statement sent to MEMO, Ang said: “I am highly honoured to be invited on board. It is important to explain to you why I chose to do this. A doctor, a surgeon is a human being with a conscience and a compassionate heart, much more than just a skilled technician.”

“The very fact that I can do operations and fix broken bones will not stop me from losing my humanity. A robot might turn the other way, but a child of God does not.”

“The Flotilla brings hope to the besieged Palestinians,” she added.

“This summer marks the thirty-sixth year of my journey with the Palestinians. It began in 1982 when as an ignorant Pro-Israel Christian doctor I first stepped foot as a volunteer surgeon in Gaza Hospital in Beirut’s Sabra Shatilla Palestinian refugee camp,” she explained.

“There I fell in love passionately with a generous, kind, honest and gentle people – the Palestinians. They were forced out of Palestine in 1948, and found themselves refugees.”

“Most of you know that I am going to seventy come the end of the year and I would like to make this my birthday present to the people of Gaza and Palestine.”

You can read Dr Ang’s full statement below:

When invited to come on board Al-Awda, the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, I know I must join them. This summer marks the thirty-sixth year of my journey with the Palestinians. It began in 1982 when as an ignorant Pro-Israel Christian doctor I first stepped foot as a volunteer surgeon in Gaza Hospital in Beirut’s Sabra Shatilla Palestinian refugee camp.

There I fell in love passionately with a generous, kind, honest and gentle people – the Palestinians. They were forced out of Palestine in 1948, and found themselves refugees. Despite the dispossession, persecution and injustice they remained human.

About 3 weeks after my arrival, more than 3,000 of them were cruelly massacred. My heart was broken and trampled on, and would have remained dead and buried in the rubble of their bulldozed homes. But the survivors even while burying their own loved ones nurtured me back to life with their tears and love. The children filled with courage, hope and dignity inspired me and gave me strength to walk on with them.

“We are not afraid Doctora come with us.” It is now 70 years since the Palestinian Nakba and Diaspora in 1948. When will their journey home begin? Today, six million Palestinians dispersed in various refugee camps are denied the right of return to their ancestral Palestine; the other six million lived under occupation in Gaza and West Bank.

For 12 years, two million Palestinians have been imprisoned under a brutal land and sea military blockade in Gaza. During this time there were three major military assaults where Gaza was relentlessly bombed for weeks. Recently, since 30 March 2018, unarmed Gaza demonstrators calling for the Right of Return are shot at with high grade military assault rifles leaving more than 124 dead and 13,000 severely wounded with hundreds of amputees and potential amputees.

The Flotilla brings hope to the besieged Palestinians. They are praying for us in their mosques and churches in the Gaza Strip. They know we are making this journey for them. Even if we are to be abducted, imprisoned and deported, may we remain faithful in solidarity and love for the people of Palestine and Gaza.

Dr Swee Ang

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon; author From Beirut to Jerusalem

July 2018

See also:

Swedish Freedom Flotilla: ‘The people of Gaza need us to act’

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel bans Palestinian TV channel

MEMO | July 9, 2018

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday banned Palestinian Al-Quds channel.

In a decree signed on July 3, Lieberman said the ban was based on Israel’s anti-terrorism law.

Under the decree, the channel will not be broadcast inside Israel

The decree did not give a reason for the ban, but Israeli authorities accuse the channel of being a propaganda tool for Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

There was no comment from the Palestinian channel on the Israeli ban.

Al-Quds channel broadcasts from Lebanon and has a correspondent based in Jerusalem.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel sentences rights activist to 8 years in prison

Firas al-Omari
Palestine Information Center – July 9, 2018

NAZARETH – The Israeli Central Court in Beersheba sentenced on Sunday the rights activist Firas al-Omari, 46, to eight years imprisonment.

Al-Omari, from northern Israel’s Arab town of Sandala, is an activist in the Islamic Movement (the northern branch) and head of Yusuf Al-Siddiq Foundation for prisoners’ affairs.

He was arrested in March 2017 for being allegedly affiliated to a banned organization.

The Israeli security authorities have embarked on arresting activists from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement following the right-wing government’s decision to classify it as a banned group in November 2015.

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement and its members are known for peacefully defending Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque against Israel’s violations.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel is bulldozing Khan Al Ahmar – and with it the two-state solution

By Jonathon Cook | The National | July 8, 2018

Israel finally built an access road to the West Bank village of Khan Al Ahmar last week, after half a century of delays. But Israel only allows vehicles like the bulldozers scheduled to sweep away its 200 inhabitants’ homes.

If one community has come to symbolize the demise of the two-state solution, it is Khan Al Ahmar.

It was for that reason that a posse of European diplomats left their air-conditioned offices late last week to trudge through the hot, dusty hills outside Jerusalem and witness the preparations for the village’s destruction. That included the Israeli police beating residents and supporters as they tried to block the advance of heavy machinery.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain submitted a formal protest. Their denunciations echoed those of more than 70 Democratic lawmakers in Washington in May – a rare example of US politicians showing solidarity with Palestinians.

It would be gratifying to believe that Western governments care about the inhabitants of Khan Al Ahmar – or the thousands of other Palestinians who are being incrementally cleansed by Israel from nearby lands but whose plight has drawn far less attention.

After all, the razing of Khan Al Ahmar and the forcible transfer of its population are war crimes.

But in truth, Western politicians are more concerned about propping up the illusion of a peace process that expired many years ago, than the long-running abuse of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

Israeli soldier confronts villager in Khan al-Ahmar. (Photo by Mazin Qumsiyeh)

Western capitals understand what is at stake. Israel wants Khan Al Ahmar gone so that Jewish settlements can be built in its place, on land it has designated as “E1”.

That would put the final piece in place for Israel to build a substantial bloc of new settler homes to sever the West Bank in two. Those same settlements would also seal off West Bank Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the expected capital of a future Palestinian state, making a mockery of any peace agreement.

The erasure of Khan Al Ahmar has not arrived out of nowhere. Israel has trampled on international law for decades, conducting a form of creeping annexation that has provoked little more than uncomfortable shifting in chairs from Western politicians.

Khan Al Ahmar’s Bedouin inhabitants, from the Jahalin tribe, have been ethnically cleansed twice before by Israel, but these war crimes went unnoticed.

The first time was in the 1950s, a few years after Israel’s creation, when 80 per cent of Palestinians had been driven from their homes to make way for a Jewish state.

Although they should have enjoyed the protection of Israeli citizenship, the Jahalin were forced out of the Negev and into the West Bank, then controlled by Jordan, to make way for new Jewish immigrants.

A generation later in 1967, when they had barely re-established themselves, the Jahalin were again under attack from Israeli soldiers occupying the West Bank. The grazing lands the Jahalin had relocated to with their goats and sheep were seized to build a settlement for Jews only, Kfar Adumim, in violation of the laws of war.

Ever since, the Jahalin have dwelt in a twilight zone of Israeli-defined “illegality”. Like other Palestinians in the 60 per cent of the West Bank under Israeli control, they have been denied building permits, forcing three generations to live in tin shacks and tents.

‘Leaving the Desert in Death’

Israel has also refused to connect the village to the water, electricity and sewage grids, in an attempt to make life so unbearable the Jahalin would opt to leave.

When an Italian charity helped in 2009 to establish Khan Al Ahmar’s first school – made from mud and tyres – Israel stepped up its legal battle to demolish the village.

Now, the Jahalin are about to be driven from their lands again. This time they are to be forcibly re-settled next to a waste dump by the Palestinian town of Abu Dis, hemmed in on all sides by Israeli walls and settlements.

In the new location they will be forced to abandon their pastoral way of life. As resident Ibrahim Abu Dawoud observed: “For us, leaving the desert is death.”

In another indication of the Palestinians’ dire predicament, the Trump administration is expected to propose in its long-awaited peace plan that the slum-like Abu Dis, rather than East Jerusalem, serve as the capital of a future pseudo-Palestinian state – if Israel ever chooses to recognise one.

Khan Al Ahmar’s destruction would be the first demolition of a complete Palestinian community since the 1990s, when Israel ostensibly committed to the Oslo peace process.

Now emboldened by Washington’s unstinting support, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is racing ahead to realise its vision of a Greater Israel. It wants to annex the lands on which villages like Khan Al Ahmar stand and remove their Palestinian populations.

There is a minor hurdle. Last Thursday, the Israeli supreme court tried to calm the storm clouds gathering in Europe by issuing a temporary injunction on the demolition works.

‘Short-Lived Reprieve’

The reprieve is likely to be short-lived. A few weeks ago the same court – in a panel dominated by judges identified with the settler movement – backed Khan Al Ahmar’s destruction.

The Supreme Court has also been moving towards accepting the Israeli government’s argument that decades of land grabs by settlers should be retroactively sanctioned – even though they violate Israeli and international law – if carried out in “good faith”.

Whatever the judges believe, there is nothing “good faith” about the behaviour of either the settlers, or Israel’s government towards communities like Khan Al Ahmar.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ veteran peace negotiator, recently warned that Israel and the US were close to “liquidating” the project of Palestinian statehood.

Sounding more desperate than usual, the Europe Union reaffirmed this month its commitment to a two-state solution, while urging that the “obstacles” to its realisation be more clearly identifed.

The elephant in the room is Israel itself – and its enduring bad faith. As Khan Al Ahmar demonstrates all too clearly, there will be no end to the slow-motion erasure of Palestinian communities until western governments find the nerve to impose biting sanctions on Israel.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel set to indict Turkish woman

MEMO | July 8, 2018

Israeli prosecutors are set to charge a Turkish national on Sunday with aiding Palestinian group Hamas, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

Ebru Ozkan, 27, was arrested by Israeli forces at Ben Gurion Airport on June 11 when she was returning to Turkey for alleged links with terrorist groups. Haaretz said Israeli prosecutors will file an indictment against the Turkish national on Sunday.

Ebru’s detention had been extended four times, Elif Ozkan, a sister of Ebru, noted.

Her lawyer Omar Khamaysa says she was charged with asking to transfer money and a cellphone charger to Hamas members, but she wasn’t aware of their identity.

Israel labels Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, as a terrorist organisation.

Ozkan is not the first Turkish citizen to have been recently detained by Israeli authorities.

In January, Osman Hazir, a 46-year-old Turkish national, was arrested for snapping a selfie at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque while holding a Turkish flag.

And last December, Israel arrested two other Turks – Abdullah Kizilirmak and Mehmet Gargili – after the pair had quarreled with Israeli police who had tried to bar them from entering the flashpoint holy site.

In the same month, Adem Koc, another Turkish national, was arrested inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for allegedly “disturbing the peace and taking part in an illegal demonstration”.

Kizilirmak, Gargili and Koc were all subsequently released on bail.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Bahar: Gaza will not pay political prices for humanitarian aid

Palestine Information Center – July 8, 2018

GAZA – MP Ahmed Bahar, first deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, has affirmed that there will be no political price for any humanitarian assistance provided for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

In press remarks on Saturday, Bahar stated that the recent decision that was taken by US president Donald Trump to suspend millions of dollars in aid to UNRWA was part of steps to end the issue of the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian cause in order to pave the way for his deal of the century (the ultimate deal).

The lawmaker underscored that the Palestinian people have the right to defend their rights, their land and holy sites by all available means, including the armed struggle against the occupation.

“Our people have the right to establish a seaport and an airport and to receive humanitarian aid, but all this would never be in exchange for giving up anything of our people’s rights, and we will not pay any political price for it,” he said.

“We cannot accept any plan to exchange any part of our land for another land as part of US or regional projects in the area. Our people are resisting in order to restore their Palestinian land and not to exchange it for any other land,” he added.

He also called on the Palestinian Authority to lift its blockade on the Gaza. “How can the Palestinian Authority claim that it is against the deal of the century while it is imposing a siege on Gaza, persecuting the resistance through its security coordination with the occupation, and suppressing marches calling for lifting the siege on Gaza.”

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colombia: ELN Denies Responsibility For Murdered Social Leaders

teleSUR | July 7, 2018

Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) has refuted allegations by the General Prosecutor that the group is responsible for the majority of social leaders murdered since the peace agreement was signed in 2016.

Posting on its official Twitter account on July 7, the insurgent group said: “The Office of the Prosecutor confuses and contaminates intentionally without providing information to support his accusations against us.”

The group also called attention to the General Prosecutor’s failure “to resolve the deaths and threats against leaders,” and said the words of National Director of Public Prosecutions Gonzalez Leon “represent a smokescreen to hide the true perpetrators of these murders.”

“The Prosecutor’s Office must stop participating in the ‘war of information’ and we urge the government to show its willingness to stop this extermination,” the ELN tweeted.

On July 6, Leon had told local media: “In the areas where these killings occur, we have found the (drug cartel) Clan del Golfo and the ELN as the main authors in Antioquia; the ELN in Choco and the municipalities of Cauca and Nariño, as well as FARC dissidents.”

The exchange followed a flurry of reports released by various social organizations earlier in the week, which variously accused the government and paramilitary groups of complicity in the killings.

One report, entitled ‘All The Names, All The Faces,’ names 123 of the 125 social leaders murdered between January 1 and July 4 this year. The two additional victims were murdered immediately after the report was published.

Another report on assassinations between 2002 and 2015 revealed that the majority of the murders aren’t related to Colombia’s half-century internal armed conflict, but are perpetrated by state security forces.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Purported neutrality at the UN is harmful to Palestinians

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 6, 2018

On Monday, Israeli lawyer Yuval Shany was appointed to chair the UN Human Rights Committee – a body of experts that monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 1(1) of the covenant states: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Commenting on his appointment as quoted in Haaretz, Shany stated: “Currently the UN’s Human Rights Committee faces several challenges, chiefly that we live in an international climate that no longer supports human rights.” His aim as committee chair, he said, is “to harness its positive and apolitical influence to secure human rights for all citizens of the world.”

There are always discrepancies between the UN and human rights. Shany’s appointment, which is not the first occasion in which an Israeli has held influential positions at the UN, is another example of how the international institution exists to serve human rights violations. By allowing Israel this platform, the committee is also calling attention to the fact that the UN is in favour of normalising Israel’s colonial violence against Palestinians.

According to the Times of Israel, Shany described the committee as being less dictated by global politics. This specification seems to be making the case against other UN organisations which have been deemed as having an “anti-Israel bias”, notably by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. However, the play upon what constitutes political, particularly in terms of power, is always subject to manipulation at the UN.

Self-determination – the subject of Article 1 in the mentioned Covenant – is a political right. The presence, or absence, of such a right, cannot be divested from political acts. If, by commenting upon “apolitical influence”, Shany is indicating neutrality, there is also no escaping the fact that taking such a stance is also a clear political act.

The overseeing of implementation of the Covenant, which is the committee’s role, takes the form of reviewing individual state reports and offering “concluding observations” accordingly. It is a strategy that is employed across several UN institutions and that leaves severe political implications for Palestinians.

One of these implications is the constant pleading by Palestinian officials to the UN for international protection; the latest by PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi. Wafa news agency carried Ashrawi’s comments, in which she emphasised the need for “serious intervention from the international community”.

Shany, however, does shine a light on international complicity in rendering the Palestinian cause apolitical. The underlying purported neutrality across UN institutions with regard to Palestine, particularly its persistence regarding the two-state compromise, makes the organisation a very dangerous platform. It is easy to forget that behind the international banner, individual countries are exerting their power and building allegiances to the detriment of the oppressed.

In Palestine’s case, there is no doubt it is in dire need of political action. However, expecting such a stance from institutions that wield their political power behind screens of alleged neutrality is to cede what remains of Palestine’s political rights. Looking within and returning to the roots of anti-colonial struggle is important. Yet it is precisely the foundations that are being neglected, with the result that Palestinians are constantly exploited at an international level, to pave the way for the international community’s manipulation of politics that marginalises Palestine and puts another Israeli representative at the helm.

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment