UN expert: A drone is not a cop

United Nations Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights

Drone flying above Gaza City residential area

Drone flying above Gaza City residential area

A drone is not a cop – UN rights expert concerned about technologies that depersonalise the use of force

NEW YORK / GENEVA (23 October 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, raised concern about the increasing use of technologies that depersonalise the use of force –including armed drones– not only on the battlefield, but also in the domestic law enforcement.

During the presentation of his report* to the UN General Assembly on the use of armed drones for law enforcement, Mr. Heyns provided examples of such technology that is for sale worldwide, to be used by the police and private security firms to control demonstrations, guard strategic buildings, and to hunt down escapees. Read more »

Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of Israel’s Gaza siege

by Ali Abunimah
Source: Electronic Intifada

 Gaza Siege 2.0: Under guise of reconstruction, UN will help Israel gain even more intrusive control over Palestinian lives. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

Gaza Siege 2.0: Under guise of reconstruction, UN will help Israel gain even more intrusive control over Palestinian lives.
(Mohammed Asad / APA images)

Details given in a confidential briefing this week confirm that the UN has agreed to become the chief enforcer of Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

Under the guise of reconstruction, the UN will be monitoring and gathering private information about Palestinian households to be passed onto Israel, which will have a veto over which families get aid to rebuild their homes.

This was presented as part of an effort to try to entrench and legitimize the Israeli-backed Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza. Read more »

Cyber attacks on Palestinian Solidarity websites

The websites of Palestinian solidarity groups in France and New Zealand have been attacked overnight, rendering them inaccessible.

The Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) website in New Zealand reeported today that they “…can no longer update our website home page,” while CAPJPO-EuroPalestine in France reported that their website “was made inaccessible overnight.”

Israeli hackers are suspected of being behind the attacks.

PFLP calls for resistance to occupation attacks on Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

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The Popular Front for the Liberation called upon the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, in the 1948 occupied areas, the occupied West Bank, and in all locations, to take immediate and urgent action to confront the attacks of hundreds of colonial settlers and occupation soldiers since early Monday, October 13. They are attempting to impose “facts on the ground” as a step toward controlling Al-Aqsa, dividing it, and allegedly “rebuilding the Temple” in its place.

This is all part of a Zionist plan to obtain full control of Jerusalem and attempt to undermine the status of the city as the eternal capital of the Palestinian people. The PFLP said that these ongoing events are a dangerous development and escalation in the ongoing and long-time policy of the occupation forces, who stormed al-Aqsa in the hundreds, closing the area, preventing Palestinians from entering or leaving, in order to ensure a clear course for settlers to enter under the banner of the “revival of the temple.” Read more »

Palestinian NGOs, HR organizations call on Cairo donor conference to lift Gaza blockade, support reconstruction

Press Release
PNGO Network

What remains of the Italy Tower Complex in Gaza City

What remains of the Italy Tower Complex in Gaza City

Palestinian NGOs, human rights organizations, agricultural and fishing sectors as well as affected by Israeli summer war in Gaza Strip people directed an urgent appeal to the participating parties in the Gaza reconstruction conference held in Egypt’s Cairo to contribute and support the various affected sectors in the war torn Gaza Strip and accelerate the process of reconstruction and end the blockade of Gaza Strip without conditions and restrictions.

The representatives of Palestinian NGOs and Human rights organizations as well as various Palestinian sectors stressed the need for guarantees from the Israeli occupation that it won’t repeat the war in the Gaza Strip. Read more »

Donors, or enablers? Cairo’s ‘Gaza Reconstruction Conference’

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Middle East Monitor

Egypt is currently blocking injured Gazans leaving the Gaza Strip, and blocking the flow of reconstruction materials to Gaza

Egypt is currently blocking injured Gazans leaving the Gaza Strip, and blocking the flow of reconstruction materials to Gaza

CAIRO’S Gaza Reconstruction Conference, you ask incredulously? And well you might – after all, Egypt is currently preventing the entry of materials to complete Qatari-funded projects in Gaza addressing the destruction of previous Israeli offensives. Building of roads, housing estates and hospitals have all ground to a halt despite being underway well before the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza – crimes which have only further increased the need. Read more »

After Gaza, What Price Palestine’s Security Sector?

By Sabrien Amrov and Alaa Tartir

Source: Al-Shabaka Policy Brief


Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza calls for redoubled efforts to shake off its carefully constructed system of control of Palestinian lives throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and secure Palestinian rights. A necessary first step must be to address the donor-supported creation of Palestinian security forces that primarily serve Israel’s colonial ambitions. This is increasingly urgent with the PA set to move back into Gaza in the wake of the unity deal.

Al-Shabaka Policy Member Sabrien Amrov and Program Director Alaa Tartir tackle these issues by examining the state of the security sector today, its origins and purposes, and the fast-growing authoritarianism that is turning “Palestine” into a security state. While touching on the Gaza security sector, they focus primarily on its development in the West Bank. They urge that the foundations of security sector reform be challenged as a key step towards setting the Palestinian quest for freedom, justice, equality, and self-determination back on track. Read more »

A Letter to Arabs

This poem was videoed being read by Nourul-Islam abu Huwaishel just 45 minutes before he was killed by the Israeli army.

Translation of the poem:

A Letter to Arabs

In Gaza, we are alright
Comfort us with good news about you
In war, we are alright
How about you?
Our martyrs are under rubble
Our children are living in tents
Asking about you
Where are you?

In Gaza, we are alright
Comfort us with good news about you
The sea is behind us
But we still resist
Our enemy is in front of us
But we still resist
We’ve got enough weapons, food, and promises of peace
We thank you for your “support”
Our souls
Our wounds
Our skies
Our homes
Our faces
Our blood
Our eyes
Our coffins
Protect us from your promises and your words

In Gaza, we are alright
Comfort us with good news about you.

PFLP: War criminal Netanyahu should be in front of the Hague, not the UN

Press Release
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

Netanyahu has no place speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations – the only place he should be speaking is before the International Criminal Court in the Hague charged with war crimes, genocide, incitement to genocide and responsibility for the horrific massacres against the Palestinian people.

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The criminal Benjamin Netanyahu is now using the arena of the United Nations to continue his deception, lies, threats, intimidation and misdirection, attempting to cover up his and his army’s terror massacres against Palestinian civilians, children and elders, who are still being killed in cold blood in full view of the world, said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in response to Netanyahu’s speech at the UN General Assembly.

The Front noted that Netanyahu tried and failed to assume the role of the victim, marketing the Zionist narrative and attempting to discredit the Palestinian resistance factions by putting it in one basket with terror organizations created and supported by the U.S. and Western powers. Read more »

Mass Murder in the Mediterranean: Mohammed’s Story

by the Al Rantisi Family
Source: Middle East Monitor

Mohammed Al Rantisi (right) with his friend and business partner Sajed (left). Their business was destroyed by five missiles from Israeli F16s.

Mohammed Al Rantisi (right) with his friend and business partner Sajed (left). Their business was destroyed by five missiles from Israeli F16s.

Over 400 asylum seekers, including 100 children, were drowned in international waters on their way to Italy after the boat they were travelling on was rammed on 10 September, 2014 by people-smugglers angry because the migrants refused to transfer to a smaller boat.

As a report into the mass murder by human rights organisation EuroMid says, the travellers from the Gaza Strip, Syria, Egypt and Sudan had been promised a safe journey to Europe on a secure and comfortable ship.

One of them was our son and brother, Mohammed Al Rantisi, a 23 year old Management and Technology graduate heading to Europe in search of a brighter future. His favourite song was a message of farewell. Read more »

After ‘Protective Edge’: What Future for Palestine and Israel

by Richard Falk
Source: Global Justice in the 21st Century

The 50-day Israeli military operation that killed over 2100 Palestinians, wounded another 11,000, and undoubtedly traumatized the entire Gazan population of 1.7 million also took the lives of 70 Israelis, of which 65 were soldiers. This last violent encounter has ended without a clear victory for either side. Despite this, Israel and Hamas are each insisting that ‘victory’ was achieved. Israel points to the material results, tunnels and rocket sites destroyed, targeted assassinations completed, and the overall weakening of Hamas capacity to launch an attack. Hamas, for its part, claims political gains, becoming far stronger politically and psychologically in both Gaza and the West Bank than before the fighting began, refusing to give in on the basic Israeli demand of the ‘demilitarization’ of Gaza, as well as further tarnishing Israel’s international reputation. Read more »

Human Rights Group Investigates, Calls for International Action in Response to Sinking of Boat Carrying Asylum Seekers

Euromid Observer for Human Rights

ship (400 x 211)

Executive Summary

On 15 September, 2014, more than 400 asylum seekers from the Gaza Strip, Syria, Egypt and Sudan were drowned in international waters on their way to Italy through the deliberate acts of unscrupulous smugglers who had promised safe passage in return for exorbitant fees.

Euromid Observer for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization based in Geneva and the Gaza Strip, conducted the first investigation of the incident and the events that led up to and followed the mass killing. The organization concludes, among other recommendations, that a comprehensive and coordinated investigation must be launched by the relevant governments, including Egypt, the origin for the ill-fated trip; Malta, whose navy was involved in the emergency follow-up to the catastrophe; and Italy, the refugees’ hoped-for destination. Read more »

Israeli drone conference features weapons used to kill Gaza’s children

by Rania Khalek
Source: Electronic Intifada

The Hermes 900 was among the drones used to bomb Gaza in the recent offensive

The Hermes 900 was among the drones used to bomb Gaza in the recent offensive

Less than one month after killing more than 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza, including more than 500 children, Israel is hosting its annual drone conference.

Organized in partnership with the US embassy in Tel Aviv, “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” offers Israeli military firms an opportunity to flaunt the performance of their products, many of which were tested on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip this summer.

Palestine has long served as a laboratory for Israel’s ballooning “homeland security” industry to test and perfect weapons of domination and control, with disenfranchised and stateless Palestinians serving as their lab rats. Read more »

Bring “Mediterranean mass murderers” to justice – UN Human Rights Chief

Press Release
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Desperate phone calls from migrants on a sinking boat (not the boat in this case) indicating that passing ships ignored their pleas for help

GENEVA (19 September 2014) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday urged Egypt and other North African and European States with relevant information to make a concerted effort to bring to justice the people smugglers who allegedly deliberately sank a boat causing the deaths of between 300 and 500 refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean last week. Read more »

Palestine and International Law

by Rana
Source: Rana “Palestinian Child”

map-of-Palestine (400 x 344)

Since 1948, Palestinians have lived under the brutal and illegal Israeli occupation. More than forty-five years ago, Israel began building settlements in Palestinian territory in order to assert their claim to all of our land. During these years, Palestine has lost many souls including many innocent children. Israel wants to steal all of our land.

Gaza is an exclave region of Palestine on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km border. Nearly two million people almost live in Gaza, almost 1.0 million of them are UN-registered refugees. Gaza is considered one Gaza one of the most densely-populated areas on earth. Gaza’s population lives under the blockade by air, land and water imposed by Israel since 2007, constituting a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. This inhuman and illegal blockade controls Gaza’s access to electricity, water, internet, medical equipment and even the number of calories that enter the strip.

On July 8, 2014, Israel started their massive military aggression against the Gaza Strip denominated “Operation Protective Edge”, once again collectively punishing is inflicted to my people. According to international law, collective punishment is a war crime. Israel used its usual arsenal of weapons against my people but also used new, experimental weapons, as if we are not human but guinea pigs in a lab.

Israel builds new settlements and continues to expand existing ones. Chedi Klibi, former Secretary-General of the Arab League, outlines three basic objectives of Israel’s expansionism: 1) The annexation of more Arab lands, including the displacement of the inhabitants which lead to demographic changes that increase the Jewish population; expropriation of Palestinian property and the necessary and continuous repression required to prevent us from keeping what is rightfully ours. 2) The preemption of any attempt by the Palestinian people to affirm our human rights, among which is the right of self-determination in our own land. Thus, the original and long term objective of proliferating and expanding settlements is to eliminate my people and our recognized national rights from the political map of the region. 3) To use the settlement issue to foil any political solution that doesn’t concede full Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian territory. Israel is saying, in effect, that it will accept nothing less than surrender, even though it insists on calling this surrender “Peace.”

Furthermore, Israel regularly breaks cease fires agreed with the Palestinians. On November 4, 2008, Israel killed seven Palestinians, ending the truce agreed with Hamas in June of 2008 and setting the stage for its genocidal invasion of my land, which was called “Operation Cast Lead”. A statistical analysis from Harvard, MIT and Tel Aviv University found that “79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day)” and that “of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally broke 24, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than nine days. Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine that breaks the cease fire agreements. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that violates these truces lasting more than a week. Israel has violated International law over and over through its savage actions towards the Palestinian people.

In this latest attack on Gaza, Israel has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including almost five-hundred children. Israel’s use of prohibited weapons against my people is a clear violation of the 1980 Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, to which Israel is a signatory. In addition, Israel has used civilians as human shields in many areas such as Khusa‘a, East of Khan Younis, near to where I live. Israel justifies its war crimes by claiming that Palestinian resistance fighters hide among the civilian population. Mainstream human rights organizations have refuted that allegation and have accused Israel of using human shields, in 2002, during “Operation Defensive Shield” and in 2008-2009 during “Operation Cast Lead”. The use of human shields is prohibited under international law.

Did Israel respect the human rights of the Palestinians? Of all human rights, the most natural is the right to live and work in one’s own country. Israel has consistently denied this right to my people, and continues to deny it in a most brutal and inhumane way to the nearly two million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip.

Strangler Fig Nation: The unique national strategy for the state of Israel

by Paul Larudee
Source: Dissident Voice

Strangler fig is the generic name given to a class of vines that sprouts high in the canopy of trees in tropical forests. It is deposited by birds that eat its fruit. Its roots envelope the tree and feed off it, weakening the tree. If the process is allowed to continue indefinitely, it sinks its roots into the ground at the base of the tree and destroys it completely but takes its form, creating a hollow shell of living vines where the tree once stood.

On Friday, July 18, 2014, as one of the most powerful military forces in the world laid waste to the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, leaving widows and orphans in its wake while nevertheless killing a significant number of them, the United States Senate, without objection and by unanimous consent from all 100 senators, passed a resolution supporting this act of genocide and condemning its victims for provoking the powerful aggressor by trying to resist.

At that point, Israel had killed more than 250 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while the resistance forces in Gaza had killed one Israeli, who had been delivering food to troops at the time. The Senate resolution had been drafted by the AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the pillars of the Israel Lobby. Fifty days later more than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 72 Israelis, mostly soldiers, lay dead.

How did the Israel Lobby come to so totally dominate the US Senate and in fact the entire US government?

The story goes back more than a century, to the early years of the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state. Zionism grew out of the 19th and 20th century European racist and nationalist philosophies like Fascism, Nazism and Falangism, which promoted the idea that each race in the world needed a homeland and should seek to fulfill its national destiny there. Read more »

Israel’s Video Justifying Destruction of a Gaza Hospital Was From 2009

by Gareth Porter
Source: Truthout

The video clip showing apparent firing from an annex to the hospital was actually shot during Israel's 2008-09 "Operation Cast Lead," and the audio clip accompanying it was from an incident unrelated to Al Wafa. (Screengrab: The Times of Israel)

The video clip showing apparent firing from an annex to the hospital was actually shot during Israel’s 2008-09 “Operation Cast Lead,” and the audio clip accompanying it was from an incident unrelated to Al Wafa. (Screengrab: The Times of Israel)

A video distributed by the Israeli military in July suggesting that Palestinian fighters had fired from the Al Wafa Rehabilitation and Geriatric Hospital in Gaza City was not shot during the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, and both audio and video clips were manipulated to cover up the fact that they were from entirely different incidents, a Truthout investigation has revealed.

The video, released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on July 23, the same day Israeli airstrikes destroyed Al Wafa, was widely reported by pro-Israeli publications and websites as proving that the hospital was destroyed because Hamas had turned the hospital into a military facility. But the video clip showing apparent firing from an annex to the hospital was actually shot during Israel’s 2008-09 “Operation Cast Lead,” and the audio clip accompanying it was from an incident unrelated to Al Wafa. Read more »

Mizher: Palestinian resistance in Gaza has rehabilitated the Palestinian national cause

Press Release
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

Jamil Mizher, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and leader of the Gaza branch

Jamil Mizher, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and leader of the Gaza branch

The victory of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza “has had many important achievements that have rehabilitated the Palestinian national cause after many years of decline, through legendary steadfastness in the face of the Zionist war machine, the achievements of the resistance on the battlefield, and the accomplishments of the united Palestinian delegation…that continued to insist on the demands of our people and the resistance,” said Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and leader of its branch in Gaza, speaking on Al-Jazeera satellite channel as part of a political seminar called “Gaza victorious.” Read more »

The Ascent of Ahmet Davutoğlu

by Richard Falk
Source: Global Justice in the 21st Century

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So far most commentary on Ahmet Davutoğlu’s selection as Turkey’s new Prime Minister has been focused on what will be his relationship with the country’s new president, Recip Teyyip Erdoğan. Especially opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) tend to portray Davutoğlu as certain to play second fiddle to Erdoğan who is both fiercely resented and feared, and regarded as a ‘Turkish Putin.’ The fact that Erdoğan seems to have handpicked Davutoğlu to succeed him at party leader and prime minister, and acted deliberately to sideline the popular prior president, Abdullah Gul, adds to the concern about what to expect from a government led by Davutoğlu. I believe that such speculation is profoundly wrong, that Davutoğlu is an admirable person of strong beliefs and an adherent of a political vision that has evolved over the years on the basis of study and experience. In my view Davutoğlu will turn out to be a historically significant Turkish leader by virtue of his thoughtful style of governance and through the assertion of his own priorities and programs. Few countries can claim leadership of the quality provided and record achieved by Erdoğan, Davutoğlu, and Gul over the last twelve years. Read more »

Gaza is Israel’s Vietnam, with Hamas victorious

by Mike Carlton
Source: Crikey

gazawreckage (400 x 213)

Benjamin Netanyahu has ensured that no Israeli will ever again know peace, writes former ABC war correspondent and naval historian Mike Carlton.

So Hamas wins. No matter how Israel and its friends spin it, the raw fact is that this “indefinite ceasefire” leaves Hamas unbeaten in Gaza.

Bloodied and battered, yes, with an echelon of its senior military and political leadership killed by Israeli airstrikes. But it is only down, not out. It lives to fight another day, which means that Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-Right Likud-coalition government have failed, and disastrously so, in their stated aim of ensuring Israel’s security by a crushing military and economic dominance of the Palestinian people. They rolled the dice. They lost. Read more »