Archive for the 'War' Category

On the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem


Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to the UN Human Rights Council Special Session of the Human Rights Council

On the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Geneva, 18 May 2018

Mr. President,
Appalling recent events in Gaza have called this Council into Special Session. Since the protests began on 30 March, 87 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli security forces in the context of the demonstrations, including 12 children; 29 others, including three children, were killed in other circumstances. And over 12,000 people have been injured, more than 3,500 of them by live ammunition.

The violence reached a peak on Monday 14 May, when 43 demonstrators were killed by Israeli forces – and the number sadly continues to climb, as some of the 1,360 demonstrators injured with live ammunition that day succumb to their wounds. These people, many of whom were completely unarmed, were shot in the back, in the chest, in the head and limbs with live ammunition, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters. Israeli forces also killed a further 17 Palestinians outside the context of the five demonstration hot spots. Together, this figure of 60 is the highest one-day death toll in Gaza since the 2014 hostilities. Read more »

560 Palestinian victims of Israeli gunshots are contacting the International Criminal Court


For Immediate Release – 18th May 2018


Israeli crimes committed in Gaza
560 Palestinian victims of Israeli gunshots
are contacting the International Criminal Court

On 17 May 2018, a group of 560 Palestinian victims of Israeli live fire during Gaza demonstrations sent Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a complaint denouncing these war crimes and requesting that she refer it to the Court’s judges in order to obtain authorisation to open an inquiry.

1. A joint organised task from Palestine

The complaint was announced from Gaza, directly from the victims or a close relative.

It is the result of work carried out by the Independent Palestinian Commission for the Pursuit of Zionist Crimes against the Palestinians (TAWTHEQ) – a public entity created by the Palestinian Legislative Council on 29 October 2010 – together with some 40 lawyers working in Gaza in co-operation with renowned French lawyer Gilles Devers and lawyer Khaled Al-Shouli. The complaint has also been signed by 30 lawyers registering their involvement and solidarity.

This complaint is a continuation of an ongoing effort initiated nearly 10 years ago, the first complaint to the International Criminal Court having been made in January 2009 concerning the Israeli “Cast Lead” military attack. Read more »

Pregnant women, newborns contaminated with heavy metals linked to Israeli attacks

Julie Webb-Pullman

Remnants of Israeli attacks....

Remnants of war….

Newborn babies and their mothers exposed to Israeli attacks in 2014 have a high level of heavy metal contamination in their hair, reports a study published in the latest British Medical Journal (BMJ Open). The research was carried out in Gaza on 502 women who were pregnant at the time of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

Italian, Finnish and Gazan researchers analyzed the quantities of 23 kinds of metal in the hair of the women and the children they subsequently gave birth to, and compared them with the metal content in women’s hair outside of war zones. They also studied in utero transmission of heavy metals, as well as the hypothesis of contamination unrelated to war.

“Heavy metals used during wars are toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic, and this study has shown they pose a health risk to pregnant women and their children, now and in the long-term” said lead researcher, Paola Manduca.

Teratogens disrupt the development of the embryo and can cause birth defects, while carcinogens can cause cancer.

“They are known as endocrine disruptors. They remain in the environment, remain in bodies and accumulate due to chronic exposure if their sources are not eliminated from the environment,” said Manduca.

Such sources include weapon remnants themselves, substances released during the explosion of missiles and shells, and contaminated ruins.

Using Plasma-Mass-coupled spectrometry (ICP-MS), the researchers made comparisons with groups exposed to domestic and agricultural chemicals.

Although women’s heavy metal load was higher than that of the newborns, it was not enough of a difference to protect the babies from harm: the study found an increase in birth defects and preterm births from 2011 data.

The rate of birth defects reported in the Gaza study was 4.5%, compared for example to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) figure of 3% for the United States – the Gaza rate is 50% higher.

Equally worrying, the study documented that the frequency of exposure to military attacks was about 70% in the random sample of 502 mothers, suggesting overall contamination of the entire population.

“Surveillance, bio-monitoring and further research on this subject is essential,” said Paola Manduca. “The risk of transgenerational genetic mutations can not be ruled out.”

Why the United States’ Use of Force Against Syria Violates International Law

Curtis FJ Doebbler


Photo: Tjeerd Royaards

Cartoon: Tjeerd Royaards

The United States’ use of force against the sovereign state of Syria is a prima facie violation of international law. It is an act of aggression against an UN Member State in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. It therefore gives Syria the right to react in self-defense or a legal justification for the use of force. It also gives any other UN Member State the right to act in collective self-defense and to support Syrian action against the US. This is the basic understanding of the international legal consequences of the United States’ use of force against Syria.

An analysis of the US use of force must review the known facts and the applicable international law. The position of US law, while relevant to Americans, has little to do with the evaluation of international law. National law can never be a justification for a violation of international law. Similarly, national emotions, even the emotional concerns of a US President, cannot justify the actions of the US government that are inconsistent with international law. Read more »

Review: Stealth – the new war machine

Derek Summerfield
Book Review


I’ve never met a finer man than Hans Husum, nor finer doctor – which is to say, a doctor-citizen for whom it is as much an ethical imperative to contest the social forces which code for distress and disease in whole populations, as it is to treat the individual patient in front of him. He is a trauma surgeon from Tromso University, Norway who operated under bridges or inside trucks in Afghanistan in the late 1970s (“3,800 wounded fighters went through our hands, mortality rates down from 35% to 13%”), and in cellars during the Israeli assault on Beirut in 1982 (“my operating theatre team was gang raped and killed inside our hospital by the Israelis. The murderers cut the breasts and ears off my scrub nurse and my patients were shot dead in their hospital beds”). He has headed up a remarkable Cambodian ngo called Trauma Care Foundation, helping landmine victims with resuscitation, surgery, prostheses and wider rehabilitation. And rather more besides……

This is a book not quite like other books. It is a dissection of global war, its patterns and direction of travel, and its connection to the ‘deep’ State that in, say, US or UK, has a life of its own and runs on whomever is the President or Prime Minister is at any one time. Read more »

Breaking News: Gaza under attack

Julie Webb-Pullman

Gaza was rocked by a series of Israeli airstrikes at dawn this morning.

Israeli F-16s fired rockets at sites in Beit Lahiya in the North governorate, Gaza City and environs including at least two bombings of the Zeitoun neighbourhood where a pregnant mother and a toddler were killed in their beds in similar strikes last October, and Middle Gaza.

Targets include a metal workshop owned by the Al Hasanen family, and training sites of two of Gaza’s resistance movements, Al Qassam (Hamas) and Soraya Al Quds (Islamic Jihad).

There are unconfirmed reports of at least three injuries.

According to reliable sources, an Israeli military spokesperson warned, “We are not finished with Gaza – this was just a warm up, and round 1 and round 2 will be harder.”

Unless the international community takes firm and immediate action, a replay of the brutal 2014 Israeli offensive seems imminent.

As in 2014, when events in the West Bank were used to justify the collective punishment of the two million innocent people trapped in the open-air prison of Gaza, both Palestinians and international law will be the victims.

The ‘European’ refugee crisis

Afro-Middle East Centre
Brief No. 12/2015

REfugees (400 x 216)

The refugee crisis currently affecting Europe has elicited comparisons to the refugee crisis resulting from the Second World War. This comparison, while worthwhile insofar as it has helped mobilise sections of the European community to assist the refugees, misses a key point: the Middle East and African regions are confronting the refugees crisis to a far greater extent than Europe. Europe is seeing merely a fallout of the crisis that is catastrophically affecting Lebanon, Turkey and certain other Middle East nations. Refugees making their way to Europe represent barely 0.068 per cent of the total European population, while over 25 per cent of the residents of Lebanon are refugees.

Refugees seeking rehabilitation in Europe are from many countries, with the largest group being from Syria. As Eurostat illustrates, the number of people seeking asylum in Europe from Syria numbered 130 000 in 2014, far more than the next largest group – from Afghanistan – numbering 40 000. The ‘refugee crisis’ is, then, primarily the result of four years of protracted war in Syria. 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.

No truce: Israel is the aggressor, they must stop says Hamas

Exclusive news report by Julie Webb-Pullman

Hamas spokesperson Fawzy Barhoum said today that the only way this “one-sided war” will end is when Israel stops bombing Gaza.

“We have sustained high numbers of casualties – over 100 civilians dead, 150 homes destroyed sometimes with families still inside them, we are the victims. We are defending our civilians from a massacre,” he said outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early this afternoon.

“We are being attacked from the sea, from the air, from the land – there is massive destruction, and we have the right to defend our people from these attacks. There will be no ceasefire until the occupation stops its shelling of Gaza.”

Noting that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza had been kept closed while the Taba crossing between Egypt and Israel had been kept open, Barhoum was adamant that the Egyptians must open Rafah to enable urgently-needed assistance to enter Gaza to prevent a complete humanitarian disaster.

Rafah opened this morning for one day to allow the exit for treatment of those injured over the past three days who cannot be treated in Gaza, but this is not enough.

“We need drugs, materials, medical assistance, fuel – we need everything.” Read more »

Letter to the free world parliamentarians from Gaza

Gaza, July 10,2014

Dear all,

Three days ago, Israel started a large-scale military aggression against Gaza and since then it destroyed nearly 70 homes that were inhabited, and killed nearly 80 people, and wounded approximately 450 Children and women.

This aggression comes within the context of the policies of occupation aimed at Judaizing Jerusalem and swallowing the largest possible area of land in the West Bank. Read more »

“Operation Protective Edge”

by Rana
Source: Rana “palestinian child”

Injured child arriving at hospital Tuesday night

Injured child arriving at hospital Tuesday night

“Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques and slums to attack a population that has no air force, air defense, navy, heavy weapons, no artillery units, mechanized armor, no command in control, no army at all and calls it a war. It is not war, it is murder.”

I would like to start my article with this quotation for the remarkable man Noam Chomsky. I am sick of everything that happened to my people. I collapsed witnessing two wars, martyrs, injuries, blood everywhere and being besieged over seven years. Everyday, every minute and moment just predicting who is the next victim. Where is the humanity again? where is the world who’s supporting us? where is the voice of truth? I am mad, helpless, angry towards the Israeli crimes and the silent world. Read more »

Euro-mid: Statistics on the second day of the Israeli attack on Gaza

Press Release
Euro-mid Observer for Human Rights

Journalist Hamed Shehab killed in airstrike on car marked "PRESS"

Journalist Hamed Shehab killed in airstrike on car marked “PRESS”

Geneva- July 9th, 2014

Euro-mid Observer for Human Rights, headquartered in Geneva, published preliminary statistics on the second day of the Israeli Occupation assault on the besieged Gaza.

The total number of Palestinian victims on the second day of the Israeli assault on Gaza rose to 58, and the total number of wounded to 450. Additionally, the total number of Israeli rockets fired on Gaza accumulates to 1033. The total number of demolished homes reaches 312 on the second day of the attack. Read more »

Israeli offensive backfires in Gaza

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Gaza tonight

Gaza tonight

The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that the toll from the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip is now 23 Palestinians dead and 150 wounded.

They are just the numbers – behind each one is a human tragedy. The neighbours who tried to form a human shield by gathering on the roof of the al-Kaware family home after a drone fired a warning flare, imagining that the presence of women and children would prevent the attack. It didn’t, and Abduallah Kaware, Mohammad Ashour, 13, Riyadh Kaware, Mahmoud Judeh, Bakir Mahmoud Judeh, 22, Ammar Mohammad Judeh, 22, and Hussein Mohammad Kaware, 14, were all killed. Read more »

PFLP salutes the heroic martyrs of al-Qassam Brigades

Press Release
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
July 7, 2014

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Rafah salutes the great martyrs of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, who fell as martyrs in the Zionist shelling of Rafah yesterday evening:

The heroic martyrs: Ibrahim al-Balaawi, Abdul-Rahman al-Zamili, Mustafa Abu Morr, Khaled Abu Morr,Yousef Sharaf Ghannam, Joma’a Abu Shallouf, and Ibrahim Abdeen.

The Front expresses its continued commitment to them, and to all of the martyrs of our people, to continue on the path of struggle and resistance until we achieve the goals of our people for return and liberation.

War will not be worse than the miserable life we live: Gazans

By Fedaa al-Qedra
Source: Alray

gaza (400 x 222)

There are different views and reactions of people in Gaza regarding the latest Israeli threats to launch a new war on Gaza and destroy Hamas institutions, which are located primarily in densely populated neighborhoods.

Most people in Gaza are taking these threats seriously and expect a catastrophic attack and war, while others consider these threats as a form of psychological warfare, aimed to raise civilian concerns and to create panic.

Although residents in the Gaza Strip are accustomed to repeated Israeli aggressions and violations of their human rights, the thought of a new war brings back memories of the horrors of prior Israeli operations that led to thousands of deaths and injuries. Read more »

Gordon Campbell on the selective morality towards Syria

Column – Gordon Campbell

As Prime Minister John Key said at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press conference, the briefings on Syria and the exchanges of views New Zealand has been engaged in with its allies has indicated to him that “regime change” (i.e., the toppling of the Assad regime) is not the purpose of the military action that is currently being contemplated – whether that be a multilateral military effort condoned by the UN Security Council or a unilateral strike led by the United States with the direct (or tacit) support of some of its allies. No, Key said, he did not think New Zealand could be counted among the list of such allies, at this stage.

Syria has never agreed to the main international treaty against chemical weapons. It happens to be one of the few countries (there are only five: Angola, North Korea, South Sudan and Egypt are the others) that have not signed and do not accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The reason for this is explained in this excellent and detailed history of how Syria came to develop chemical weapons in the first placeRead more »

Oslo Dead but Still Matters: Abbas’s Village Leagues and Palestinian Silence

Column – Ramzy Baroud

Suppose several armored vehicles belonging to a branch of the Palestinian Authority raided an Israeli border village at the eve of a new round of peace negotiations. One can picture PA President Mahmoud Abbas defending the killings, stating that the attack was made in the cause of protecting the security of the Palestinian public. Would the Israeli delegation return to the talks with handshakes and smiles?

The answer is an obvious no. Yet the Palestinian delegation did return to real recently renewed peace talks after Israeli forces’ raided a refugee camp in north Jerusalem on August 26, killing three. This was not the only lethal Israeli attack to take place during “peace talks”, and it will not likely be the last.  Read more »

“They Confiscated My Only Source of Livelihood”

Khader Merwan Al Seidi |(26)

Article – Palestinian Centre For Human Rights

Khader Merwan Al Seidi (26) is one of Gaza’s fishermen and a victim of the repeated military attacks carried out by Israeli forces against fishermen in the Gaza Sea. Khader is the breadwinner for a family of 14 members. He is married with a one-year-old child, and resides with his extended family in a house in Shati refugee camp. The camp, located along the Gaza shore, is home to most of Gaza’s fishermen, for whom the sea is their main source of livelihood. On 13 August 2013, Khader left his home early in the morning, and made his way to Gaza seaport. From there, he sailed west, remaining within the Israeli-imposed limit of 6 nautical miles offshore, to fish for the day. However, Khader was attacked by Israeli naval forces, arrested, and interrogated, and his boat and fishing tools were confiscated. Khader was released 15 hours later.  Read more »

“What Is a New Home Without the Sight of My Children?”

Article – Palestinian Centre For Human Rights

Amna Hijazi (46), mother of Mohammed and Suhaib Hijazi and wife of Fouad Hijazi, who were killed in the Israeli offensive in November 2012

At approximately 19:20 on Monday 19 November 2012, during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, an Israeli military plane fired a missile at the house of Fouad Khalil Hijazi (46) in the north of Jabalya. The house was destroyed, and Fouad and his two children, Mohammed (4) and Suhaib (2), were killed. 28 civilians, including 7 residents of the house, were also injured in the accident.

The house was reduced to rubble,  totally levelled by the Israeli airstrike. Amna Hijazi (46), Fouad’s wife and mother of the eight Hijazi children, was pulled from the rubble. Due to the severity of her injuries, she was transferred to a hospital in Al Arish in Egypt to receive medical treatment. A photograph of the Hijazi family funeral, taken by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen, became an iconic image of the November offensive and was named World Press Photo of the year for 2012. Amna was not present at the funeral. When she awoke in the hospital, a few days after the attack, she was told of the death of her husband and two of her children.  Read more »

Lebanon Turns Its Back On Palestinians Fleeing Syria War

Article – Franklin Lamb

The Syria/Lebanon Border Crossing At Masnaa

On 8/5/13 this observer decided, quite on the spur of the moment, to take a three day break from Damascus the next morning and make a quick trip to Beirut to do some errands because offices would be closed starting at dawn for Eid al Fitr celebrations (a day later for Shia Muslims). The annual Eid al-Fitr, being the festival of the breaking of the month long Ramadan fast, which observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. And by the way, this year has been undertaken, approximately 16 hours each day in inordinately hot weather in the Middle East.

Let me say from the start: I did not anticipate the delay into which I was about to run. In fact, I felt that with a little bit of luck—and by leaving Damascus by no later than six in the morning—I might even break my record of 205 minutes total from Sameriyeh bus station to my apartment in Dahiyeh, south Beirut.  Read more »

Next Page »