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Posts tagged ‘human rights’

Time for international community to get tough on Israel

2017 must be the year that the international community finally toughens up its language and, most importantly, its actions, when it comes to Israel.

The case is well known and irrefutable. Israel is a serial human rights violator whose laws and policies contravene UN Security Council resolutions in addition to various other international humanitarian-law obligations and treaties. Read more

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‘Just a few more apartments’: Netanyahu dismisses concerns over Israeli settlements

Benjamin Netanyahu is a busy man; he certainly doesn’t have time to deal seriously with international objections – even from allies – to petty topics such as settlement expansion.

That was the impression Israel’s prime minister gave on Wednesday, when he dismissed US concerns about the recent approval of 800 new housing units in settlements. “A few more apartments near the municipality of Ma’ale Adumim” are not “preventing peace”, Netanyahu said.

This was classic Bibi disingenuousness. Read more

Ban Ki-moon buckles – and Palestinian children will pay the price

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has overruled his colleagues’ recommendations and removed Israel from a list of parties guilty of grave violations of children’s rights, it was revealed Monday.

The decision to exclude Israel from the list, part of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict presented to the Security Council, was slammed by human rights groups, who accused Ban Ki-moon of buckling under pressure from Israel and the US. Read more

When law is the target: Israel’s campaign will whitewash war crimes everywhere

In 2011, and in response to accusations of war crimes during the final months of conflict with the Tamil Tigers two years previously, the Sri Lankan government convened a conference where then-Minister of External Affairs G. L. Peiris declared that “the entire body of international law must be revisited.” Human Rights Watch called the event “a public relations exercise to whitewash abuses.”

This week, a new conference will take place in Israel on a familiar-sounding theme: “Towards a New Law of War.” According to conference organisers Shurat HaDin, the goal of the event “is to influence the direction of legal discourse concerning issues critical to Israel and her ability to defend herself.” Read more

We need to talk about Israel’s ‘right to exist’

There was outrage last week when the University of Southampton cancelled a forthcoming conference on Israel and international law, ostensibly on the grounds of “health and safety”.

The university had been under pressure from pro-Israel advocacy groups, and organisers have begun legal efforts against what they see as a concession to outside interference and bullying. The story of the campaign to shut down the conference should not, however, distract from why Israel’s supporters found the topics scheduled for discussion so objectionable. Read more

One arrest will not alter Israel’s culture of impunity for violence

On the morning of March 19 this year, there were no television crews around to capture the moment when an Israeli soldier pulled the trigger and fatally wounded 14-year-old Yusef Al Shawamreh. There were no photographers on hand nor CCTV cameras rolling as Israeli forces, lying in ambush along the path of the apartheid wall, opened fire on children out to pick plants.

Killed while trying to reach his own family’s farmland, Yusef was shot without warning from a few dozen metres away. There was no “threat”, not even a demonstration: just three friends out to find gundelia, cut down by the soldiers of an occupying army. Read more

Premeditated murder: the Shuja’iyya massacre and Israeli criminality

65-year-old Ahmed Suleiman Akram al-‘Atawai and his 10-year-old grandchild Tala were running from Israel’s onslaught on Shuja’iyya. As they fled, they were hit by Israeli artillery shells, and died.

They were among the dozens of victims Sunday, when Israeli forces pulverised the Gaza City district. Some, like Ahmed and Tala, were cut down in the streets; others were killed when shells hit their homes. A paramedic, killed as he attempted to rescue the wounded. The ‘Ayad family, hit by a missile from an Israeli warplane, killing ten, including three children. Read more

This smear against Israeli human rights activists is all too familiar

Adalah defends Palestinian rights. The European Jewish Congress attack on it reflects a wider pattern of bullying.

Last week, the president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) launched an extraordinary attack on an Israeli human rights organisation, Adalah, comparing the NGO to the far-right French National Front and British National party. Read more

Direct from Iran, an Unvarnished Assessment of Protests’ Potential

The protests rocking Iran are of great significance for the politics and society of a Middle East regional superpower, yet one relies in vain on Western media coverage for a decent understanding of developments. Once again, the mainstream press seem incapable of analyzing crucial events in the Middle East without recourse to cliché, condescension, simplification, and decontextualization.

In terms of the election itself, this is not a case of goodies versus baddies. Mousavi, who has now become the principal political figurehead opposing the results of a highly suspect election, is not a random outsider, but a veteran of the Islamic revolution. As Prime Minister for most of the 1980s, he had low tolerance for dissent and was backed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. Read more

Abducted in Egypt

Last Friday night, after a peaceful, small-scale march north of Cairo in solidarity with the besieged Palestinians of Gaza, Egyptian secret police kidnapped one of the event organisers, Philip Rizk. Philip is an Egyptian-German blogger, film-maker and activist, who had previously lived in Gaza for two years. As I write this, no one has yet received confirmation of his location or had any communication with him.

There are more detailed accounts of what happened on Friday and events since then on various blogs. The family, while desperately worried, have been working with local activists and friends abroad to mobilise a campaign for Philip’s release (the Facebook group attracted more than 2,500 members in the first two days). Read more