You are browsing the archive for Amnesty International.

by CTuttle

Israel’s ‘Trigger Happy’ Ways

8:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Alex Kane at Mondoweiss…

Gaza heats up: Israel bombards coastal enclave under siege with multiple airstrikes

The immediate cause of the latest round of fighting in the Gaza Strip, which featured rockets and mortars fired into Israel and air attacks on the coastal enclave, occurred over the last two days. But the roots of the latest fighting are Israeli violations of the November 2012 truce between Hamas and Israel, and the years-long blockade and occupation crippling the Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad attacked Israeli soldiers said to be advancing towards the Gaza Strip. In response, an Israeli airstrike killed three fighters. That, in turn, caused Islamic Jihad to unleash a barrage of some 70 projectiles into southern Israeli communities. No injures in Israel have been reported.

The Palestinian group said that its attacks were a way to avenge the deaths of six Palestinians killed in the West Bank and Gaza in recent days, as Allison Deger reported here.

The rockets and mortars fired into Israeli territory were the most significant Palestinian counter-attack since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in late 2012. The Islamic Jihad attacks caused some Israeli officials to act tough, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying Israel needed to “reoccupy” Gaza–most likely bluster, since the Israeli military has no interest in actually doing so.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “if there won’t be quiet in the south, there will be noise in Gaza – a lot of noise, and this is an understatement.”

Sure enough, Israel reportedly launched 29 airstrikes and attacked Islamic Jihad positions with artillery. According to Ma’an News Agency, no Palestinians have been killed or injured, perhaps reflecting an Israeli intention to escalate just enough so that peace talks with the West Bank leadership continue. Islamic Jihad and Hamas also have little interest in provoking an all-out assault.

Still, even if this latest escalation doesn’t immediately break out into full-scale war, it’s one more step on the way towards that path. That’s because the Egyptian and U.S.-brokered ceasefire from 2012 between Palestinian militant groups–including Islamic Jihad and Hamas–has been threatened by repeated Israeli violations. And it’s those Israeli violations that have provoked rocket fire into Israel.

From MEMO…

Isolating Gaza to justify Israel’s continuous state terror

The latest Israeli violent incitement against Palestinians in Gaza has been distorted into the usual rhetoric of defence. Following the murder of three resistance fighters in Khan Younis by Israeli soldiers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised further violence in the wake of Palestinian retaliation against the murders.

“If there is no quiet in our south, no quiet for the residents of Israel, there will be noise, lots of noise in Gaza. And that’s putting it mildly,” he said. The threat was uttered in the presence of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who upheld Netanyahu’s distorted reality and defended the settler-colonial state’s self-imposed right to defend itself. According to Cameron, Israeli aggression against Gaza’s legitimate resistance illustrates “the importance of maintaining and securing Israel’s future and the security threats you face, and you have Britain’s support in facing those security threats.”

Cameron deemed legitimate resistance “indiscriminate, aimed at civilian populations” and a reflection of barbarism. The statement evokes an accurate depiction of Israel’s settler-colonial state and its constant refinement of atrocities to maintain its illegal presence in Palestine, supported by its imperialist allies. {…}

The statements attest to the enforced permanent isolation of Gaza. Gaza has never relinquished its right to resistance; hence the regurgitated argument disseminated by mainstream media excusing Israeli violence as a consequence of rocket attacks is invalid. Resistance is the legitimate and necessary response to Israel’s colonial and imperialist-supported terror; a means to combat the sanctioned illegality endorsed by the UN. Gaza’s resistance does not contribute to the destabilisation of the region. However, the pervading discourse hailed as absolute truth is indicative of Israel’s commitment to incarcerate Palestinians in Gaza, this time in collaboration with a neighbouring country which has already proved its allegiance to Israel.

“Collective punishment”, the convenient term describing Israel’s brutality against Palestinians, should be rendered obsolete. In case of another superfluous Zionist campaign aimed at consolidating Israel’s “defence”, it is worth remembering that the sole entities which can claim defence are historic Palestine and the Palestinian population. Any Zionist actions against Palestinian land, people and memory is nothing but an extension of refined colonial violence, displaying Israel’s constant need to protect its illegal settler presence upon land it can never claim to own – a fact proven by Palestinian resistance.

A look-see at Cameron’s recent Knesset appearance… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: IAEA, Iran, and Israel

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Gareth Porter tweeted recently…

To be sure…

Kerry: U.S. must pursue Iran talks before considering going to war

The United States has an obligation to pursue nuclear negotiations with Iran before it considers going to war with Tehran to force it to give up its nuclear activities, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

“We took the initiative and led the effort to try to figure out if before we go to war there actually might be a peaceful solution,” Kerry told a group of reporters.

Iran reached a landmark preliminary agreement with six world powers, including the United States, in November to halt its most sensitive nuclear operations, winning some relief from economic sanctions in return.

U.S. President Barack Obama, like his predecessors, has said that all options are on the table with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, using diplomatic code for the possibility of military action. While U.S. officials have long held out that threat, Kerry’s comments appeared to indicate that the Obama administration would seriously consider a strike on Iran if the diplomatic talks fail.

Apparently Israel is still up to no good with the IAEA…

IAEA ‘opted against’ sensitive Iran report

The UN nuclear watchdog planned a major report on Iran that might have revealed more of its suspected atomic bomb research, but held off as Tehran’s relations with the outside world thawed, sources familiar with the matter said.

Such a report — to have been prepared last year — would almost certainly have angered Iran and complicated efforts to settle a decade-old dispute over its atomic aspirations, moves which accelerated after pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani took office in August.

According to the sources, the International Atomic Energy Agency has apparently dropped the idea of a new report, at least for the time being. There was no immediate comment from the IAEA. The sources said there was no way of knowing what information collected by the agency since it issued a landmark report on Iran in 2011 might have been incorporated in the new document, although one said it could have added to worries about Tehran’s activities. As relations rapidly improved, Iran struck an interim nuclear deal with six world powers in November which Israel denounced as a ‘historic mistake’ as it did not require Tehran to dismantle its uranium enrichment sites.

One source said probably only Israel, which is believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed state, would criticise the IAEA for not issuing a new report in the present circumstances. Iran and the world powers hope to reach a final settlement by July, when the interim accord expires, although they acknowledge this will be an uphill task. A decision not to go ahead with the new document may raise questions about information that the United Nations agency has gathered in the last two years on what it calls the ‘possible military dimensions’ to Iran’s nuclear programme. Tehran says the programme is peaceful and denies Western allegations that it is seeking to develop the capability to make bombs.

The sources, refusing to be identified, suggested the more recent material concerned extra detail about alleged research and experiments that were covered in the November 2011 report.

Jim White promptly swatted that bunk down… Dahl, Reuters Grant Anonymity to “Sources” Peddling Iran Info Rejected by IAEA

Indeed… IAEA denies Israeli accusations of concealing report on Iran’s nuclear program

Moving along… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Bibi’s Response to The Horrific Murders in The West Bank: Build More Settlements And Collective Punishment

7:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As the Daily Mail had reported…

Israel approves hundreds of new West Bank settlements in response to massacre which saw young family butchered in their beds

…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special session of a ministerial committee on settlement to approve the step after pledging publicly the stabbings on Saturday would not deter Israel from building more homes for Jews in the West Bank.

‘This is the despicable murder of an entire, innocent family, parents and their young ones while they slept in their house,’ he said.

‘Israel will not ignore such a contemptible murder and will act aggressively to ensure the security of its civilians and to punish the murderers,’ he said in a statement.

Troops searched outside the settlement of Itamar, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, for the attacker or attackers who snuck into the home of Ehud and Ruti Fogel at night and knifed them and three of their children, aged 11, 4 and 3 months, as the family slept.

A 12-year-old daughter found their bodies after returning home from an evening youth group meeting.

With anger high in Israel and among settlers, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that ‘ministers decided to authorise construction’ of several hundred housing units in the Etzion bloc of settlements and in Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer.

The move was likely to draw international dismay and harden Palestinian resolve not to return to peace talks frozen over Netanyahu’s refusal to extend a 10-month moratorium that expired in November on housing starts in West Bank settlements.

‘This decision is wrong and unacceptable and will only create problems,’ said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Expanded construction in West Bank settlements could bolster Netanyahu within his governing coalition, which is dominated by pro-settler parties, including his own right-wing Likud.

Btw, it’s 500 buildings approved, 100 for each death, but, Netanyahu fails to appease Jewish settlers outraged by brutal attack

Now, isn’t this an interesting turn of events…

Press report: Itamar culprit an Asian worker

An Asian worker is suspected of the murder of the Fogel family, a settler family from Itamar settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestinian press sources.

Quds Net news quoted local residents fro at infuriated with an Israeli settler for not paying him his wages carried out the killing of the settler’s family in Itamar, Palestinian press sources reported.

Quds Net news agency on Monday quoted a Palestinian family from Awarta village next to the settlement as saying that Mr. Fogel refused to pay 10,000 shekels in wages which he owed an Asian worker he hired. The worker threatened to kill the settler and his family.

The worker is suspected of committing the crime after midnight Friday using a knife then fleeing the scene to nearby Palestinian villages, the report added.

It noted that the Israeli army knows of the information leading to the suspect but refuse to announce or deal with it for political as well as security reasons.

And right on cue, from today’s Haaretz…

IDF continues mass West Bank arrests in wake of Itamar massacre
According to reports from Palestinian news agencies, the IDF took all men from the West Bank village of Awarta in for questioning.

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service continued to make wholesale arrests Monday in the West Bank village of Awarta, following the attack Friday night in the nearby settlement of Itamar, in which five members of the same family were murdered.

Meanwhile, groups of settlers tried to damage several houses in the Palestinian village. According to reports from Palestinian news agencies, the IDF took all Awarta men in for questioning…

Here’s a chilling eyewitness account of what has happened in Awarta…

Awarta Under Seige

International Solidarity Movement activists in Awarta describe a horrific “collective punishment” of the Palestinian village: children taken from school, homes raided, imposition of a 24-hour curfew, constant drone surveillance, and massive imprisonments of the male population.

“The soldiers have locked us with the children and young men and are guarding me now,” said an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We can’t leave the house and right now we can’t even leave this room.”

Awarta has become a ghost town, with all the villagers confined to their homes, running out of gas, scared and crying quietly under the buzz of drones and detonations of sound bombs.

“The soldiers take people in every house. I don’t know how many hundreds of people they’ve taken now. The children are scared, of course. The women are crying. They take their sons and fathers away. All the village is very quiet, people can’t really talk, the children have to be quiet,” the member said. After gathering some of them from school, Awarta’s boys and men were taken by soldiers to the jail near Huwara. “Here they are collectively punished.”

ISM reports that the military has beaten people, cut off electricity and polluted water lines, and broken computers and phones…

As Amnesty International reports…

Spike in West Bank violence condemned

Since Saturday morning, Israeli settlers have reportedly used stones, Molotov cocktails, guns, clubs and knives to attack Palestinians in vehicles and in their homes in villages and towns across the West Bank. Settlers have also burned fields, cars and property.

“We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Israeli security forces must act to prevent reprisals against Palestinian civilians by armed Israeli settlers.and bring those responsible to justice”

In some cases Palestinians have reported that Israeli security forces on the scene did nthing to stop the settler attacks. The Israeli military is also reported to have imposed a curfew in the village of Awarta, near Itamar, since Saturday morning, and to be detaining some 300 village residents. On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved the construction of 500 additional housing units in West Bank settlements in response to the killing of the Fogel family. “The timing of this announcement on settlement construction was deliberate. But the deplorable killing of the Fogel family must not be used as a pretext for acts by Israeli authorities that lead to further human rights violations,” said Philip Luther.

Israel to publish photos of Itamar murder victims around world… So, where’s the media attention for the Palestinians…? Oh, right… Israel demands CNN apology over attack coverage, and, Reuters denies using anti-Israel rhetoric…

I suppose the AFP has it about right for the Israelis’ taste…

Settlers ‘protest’ as army hunts killers near Nablus…

*gah*