Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

International

03/28/2016

Almost 50,000 Sign Petition Calling For Israeli Executioner Of Injured Palestinian To Receive Medal

Intl1

 A new video shows an Israeli soldier shaking hands with a settler leader just after the soldier was filmed apparently executing an injured Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

The video has emerged as Israelis, including top leaders, are rallying around the accused killer.

Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif was shot dead along with Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, both of them 21 years old, after allegedly stabbing and moderately wounding a soldier in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron’s Old City on Thursday.

The slaying of al-Sharif, who was lying on the ground incapacitated but moving his head before he was shot, was caught on video.

The new video shows the shooter “shaking hands with far-right activist Baruch Marzel” while al-Sharif’s body is removed from the scene, according to Haaretz.

The US-born Marzel, a former leader of the violent group Kach, is notorious for fomenting attacks on Palestinians.

Kach was outlawed by Israel after one of its members, the US-born medical doctor Baruch Goldstein, gunned down 29 Palestinians at Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994.

The video provides visible evidence of the close relationship between the Israeli army and the violent settlers it supports and protects.

Elor Azarya, seen in an image posted on his Facebook page, has been named as the suspect in the apparent extrajudicial execution of Yusri al-Sharif in Hebron on 24 March.

Haaretz says the new video, published on its YouTube account with the face of the gunman blurred, was filmed by a Palestinian fieldworker with B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group which released the video showing the execution on Thursday.

The blurring of the faces in the new video is in apparent deference to a gag order that prevents Israeli media from revealing the suspect’s identity.

However, blogger Richard Silverstein, who has frequently published information censored by Israeli authorities, has named the suspect as Elor Azarya, citing independent Israeli websites.

Israel’s Ynet news website effectively confirmed the identification by publishing an image of the suspect with his face blurred.

The same image, without the blurring, appears on Azarya’s Facebook page.

“He is a devoted follower of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club,” noted Silverstein, based on analysis of Azarya’s social media accounts. Azarya has also written...


Unrepentant Israel slams criticism of military

Intl2

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister is defending the military after footage emerged of a soldier lethally shooting a Palestinian who had already been shot and subdued.

Benjamin Netanyahu has previously said the incident in question does not reflect the military’s conduct, and on Sunday said criticism of the armed forces as a whole over the incident is “outrageous and unacceptable.”

The military has arrested the soldier and opened an investigation into what it said appeared to be a “grave breach” of its values.

Several right-wing lawmakers have come to the soldier’s defense, accusing detractors of abandoning him before he was given a fair hearing.

Hundreds protested outside the prison in which he is being held, and posters have surfaced denouncing the defense minister and military chief.

The United Nations condemned on Friday the “gruesome” killing of the wounded Palestinian after a video of the shooting spread widely online.

“I strongly condemn yesterday’s apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian in Hebron in the occupied West Bank,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement.

“This was a gruesome, immoral and unjust act that can only fuel more violence and escalate an already volatile situation.”

He welcomed, however, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s condemnation of the incident and called on the Israeli authorities to “swiftly bring to justice” the alleged perpetrator.

The Israeli army on Thursday arrested a soldier caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head as he lay on the ground after stabbing another soldier, his knife lying beyond his reach.

The clip, which was widely shared online and shown by state-owned and commercial Israeli TV channels, shows what appears to be one of the most flagrant cases of Israeli forces’ alleged use of excessive force so far in the wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence that erupted in October.

The incident was immediately condemned as an “execution” by Israeli rights group B’Tselem and as a “war crime” by Palestinians.

A military spokesman said the soldier was being “detained on suspicion of murder,” with his remand extended to Tuesday.

The soldier had not been at the actual site of stabbing attack, but arrived some six minutes later, according to a...



11/11/2015

EU labels for Israeli settlement goods

Intl1

In a move that has infuriated Israel, the EU on Wednesday approved guidelines for member states on the the labelling of goods from Jewish settlements.

Here is a look at the key issues:

- WHY HAS THE EU DECIDED THIS? -

A Palestinian labourer works at the Israeli Lipski plastic factory at the Barkan Industrial Park near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank on November 3, 2015 ©Menahem Kahana (AFP/File)

The European Commission, the EU's powerful executive arm which is responsible for the guidelines, says the labelling decision is not a new law but clarifies existing rules on the place of origin that will be sold in the 28-nation EU.

It said it was responding to demands from member states for advice on how to label the origin of goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, the territories that Israel seized at the end of the 1967 Six Day War.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law

Three EU member states -- Britain in 2009, Denmark in 2013 and Belgium in 2014 -- have already produced their own national guidelines which apply on a voluntary basis.

- WHAT WILL THE LABELS SAY? -

The EU guidelines do not give precise wording for the labels for settlement-produced goods but make firm suggestions for language.

They say that it would be misleading to put "product from Israel" on such goods because the settlements are not recognised internationally, while just putting "product from Golan Heights" or "product from West Bank" would mislead consumers.

"In such cases the expression 'Israeli settlement' or equivalent needs to be added, in brackets, for example. Therefore, expressions such as 'product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)' or 'product from the West Bank (Israeli settlement)' could be used," say the guidelines.

- WHAT PRODUCTS ARE AFFECTED AND IS LABELLING COMPULSORY? -

Under EU law, Indications of origin for products sold in the EU are mandatory for all fresh fruits and vegetables, wine, honey, olive oil, eggs, chicken, organic products and cosmetics. They are optional for pre-packaged food products and the majority of industrial products.

In cases where labelling is not obligatory, consumer protection laws in member states apply.

- WHY IS ISRAEL SO ANGRY? -

Israel says that the labels are "discriminatory", brands the decision political, and notes and that similar conditions are not applied to other conflicts around the globe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the EU should be "ashamed" and compared the decision to the...


Labeling Jewish goods: then and now

Intl2

The EU's decision to label Jewish goods from Judea and Samaria coincides almost to the day with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. What an unhappy, yet utterly appropriate coincidence.

Anti-Semitism is a curious thing. Unlike other forms of bigotry, which maintain the same tropes and characteristics throughout the ages, Jew-hatred has an uncanny ability to evolve over time to capitalize upon the prevailing popular discourse, both in its pretexts (from "Christ killers" and "racial impurity," to "Jewish bourgeois" and "Israeli occupation") and in its manifestations (Christian fanaticism, Nazism, Communism, radical Islam or anti-Zionism).

And yet, at the same time, anti-Semitism always follows the same basic patterns; beginning with systematic dehumanization of the Jews, intended to bring about their eventual isolation, and - if left unchallenged - ending in ethnic-cleansing or genocide.

Kristallnacht, the anniversary of which was marked just yesterday, is a graphic case in point. After years of escalating anti-Semitism - until then mostly non-violent in fact - Jewish businesses in Germany were marked out with Stars of David or the word "Jew," to "inform" others of the undesirable nature of those unwanted Jewish businesses and allow them to take action accordingly - be it via boycotts or through violence. 

The orgy of extreme violence which ensued marked the beginning of the genocide of the world's largest Jewish community - European Jewry -and saw previously respectable people, by then thoroughly infected by the contagion of anti-Semitism, commit ugly, unspeakable acts. Interestingly, in the initial stages it was only specifically German Jews who were allowed to be targeted, while Nazi regulations forbade harming those with foreign citizenship for political reasons until later on in the holocaust.

In those days "anti-Semitism" was worn as a badge of honor by the Nazis and their supporters. It was not a dirty word. The evening after the pogrom, Joseph Goebbels wrote an article in which he lauded the "healthy instincts" of his compatriots: "The German people is anti-Semitic. It has no desire to have its rights restricted or to be provoked in the future by parasites of the Jewish race," he wrote proudly. Language which today can be found only in the furthest, most insane political fringes was then a part of the mainstream. Some disagreed, others vehemently agreed, while the...



10/23/2015

US commando killed in raid to free hostages of ISIS in Iraq

Intl1

WASHINGTON/ERBIL: One member of a U.S. special operations force was killed during an overnight mission to rescue hostages held by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, the first American to die in ground combat with the militant group, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Sixty-nine hostages were rescued in the action, which targeted an Islamic State prison around 7 kilometers north of the town of Hawija, according to the security council of the Kurdistan region, whose counterterrorism forces took part.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said at a news briefing the operation did not mark a change in U.S. tactics in the war on Islamic State militants, who pose the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“I would not suggest that this is something that is now going to happen on a regular basis, but I do think it is symbolic of the kinds of efforts that we are taking on behalf of our partners,” he told reporters.

It was the most significant raid against Islamic State since May, when American special operations forces killed one of its senior leaders, Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia, in a raid in Syria.

The U.S. rescue mission unfolded amid mounting concerns in Washington over increasing Russian intervention in the Middle East.

The hostages rescued in the raid were all Arabs, including local residents and Islamic State fighters held as suspected spies, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

The official told Reuters that around 20 of the hostages were members of Iraqi security forces.

“Some of the remainder were Daesh (Islamic State) … fighters that Daesh thought were spies,” the official said. “The rest of them were citizens of the local town”.

More than 20 Islamic State militants were killed and six detained, the security council said.

Islamic State called the operation “unsuccessful” but acknowledged casualties among its fighters.

In a statement distributed online on Thursday by supporters, it said U.S. gunships had shelled areas around the prison to prevent the arrival of reinforcements, then clashed with militants for two hours.

The statement confirmed U.S. claims that some guards had been killed and others detained in the operation.

“Dozens” of U.S. troops were involved in the mission, a U.S. defense official said, declining to be more specific about the number.

“It was a deliberately planned operation, but it was also done with the knowledge that imminent...


US man killed rescuing hostages in Iraq

Intl2


Published: Oct. 23, 2015, 10:52 a.m. by AFP - 

An official says a United States serviceman has been killed in an operation to rescue hostages from Islamic State militants in Iraq.

"It was an Iraqi operation with the US military in an advise and assist role," he said.

The official adds that the aim was to free hostages.

CNN reports that the operation, which took place in Hawija in northern Iraq's Kirkuk province, freed 70 hostages.

Other US media outlets also reported on an operation in Hawija without giving any numbers on US military casualties. 

According to The New York Times, the operation saw the mobilization of US helicopters, as well as Kurdish and US Special Operations forces.

The United States has deployed 3,500 troops in Iraq in the context of an operation targeting the Islamic State group.

These troops are meant to train, advise and assist Iraqi forces. 



09/15/2015

Riots breaks out on Jerusalem's Temple Mount for third straight day

Intl1

Temple Mount opens to Jewish visitors for Rosh Hashana after police quell riot
US calls for Israeli, Palestinian restraint in Jerusalem after clashes

Rioting broke out Tuesday for a third straight day at the Temple Mount as police came to secure the contested Jerusalem holy site for Jewish visitors on the second day of Rosh Hashana.

When Israeli security forces entered the plaza of the site dozens of  masked Palestinian youth met them with a barrage of stones, blocks, and firecrackers, police said.  

The youth tried to block off the door to the al-Aksa Mosque but the security forces managed to push them inside the building, Israel Radio reported. 

The police said it had secured the site to receive visitors after an unspecified number of suspects were arrested and five police officers were lightly injured.

Twenty-six Palestinians were injured on Tuesday, none of them seriously, the director of the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency unit, Amin Abu Ghazaleh, said.

The rioting over the last days garnered expressions of concern from both the United States and Jordan. 

"The United States is deeply concerned by the increase in violence and escalating tensions surrounding the (al-)Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount," US State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday, referring to the contested holy site.

"We strongly condemn all acts of violence. It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."  

Jordan's King Abdullah warned Israel on Monday that any further "provocation" in Jerusalem  would damage ties between the two countries, AFP reported. 

"Any more provocation in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel," Abdullah said. Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994. 

"Jordan will not have a choice but to take actions, unfortunately," he said at a press conference in Amman with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.   

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called to convene an emergency ministerial meeting after the end of the Rosh Hashana holiday on Tuesday evening in light of the violence in Jerusalem. 

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said the premier, "sees the severity of the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli citizens, and plans to fight the phenomenon by all means, including making punishments more severe and enforcement." 

In...


Israeli forces destroy main gate of Al Haram Al Sharif

Intl2

Third day of clashes leave 35 Palestinians injured as politicians warn Israel over escalation

Ramallah: Palestinians defending Al Haram Al Sharif clashed with Israeli occupation forces for a third consecutive day on Tuesday, as Jewish colonists continued to conduct daily raids on the Muslim holy site.

Israeli forces destroyed a huge and irreplaceable main gate of Al Aqsa Mosque and also several ancient windows that are believed to be more than a 1,000 years old.

The more than 500-year-old gate, from the Othmans era was the last gate to be added to Al Haram Al Sharif compound, and sits on the eastern side.

It took more than 30 men to remove the remains of the gate. Palestinians pleaded with Unesco to speak out about the egregious attack on human heritage.

Palestinian sources said the Israeli occupation soldiers forced all Muslims inside Al Haram Al Sharif into Al Qibli mosque and sealed the area with steel chains and iron rods, so they could not interrupt the Israeli colonists as they perform their Talmud rituals to mark the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashana.

At least 30 to 35 Palestinians were hospitalised and at least 10 were arrested by occupation forces.

Witness accounts say the occupation soldiers used sound bombs, tear gas and pepper spray to create a state of panic inside the holy compound.

The carpet of Al Qibli mosque caught fire amid the chaos. Another fire gutted a private house and four vehicles near Al Majlis gate.

Palestinians do not believe the situation will calm down anytime soon as Jews commemorate Rosh Hashana until October 6 with several feasts and ceremonies.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday night to consider a fast-track legislation that could introduce minimum sentences for Palestinians who throw stones.

Hamas issued a statement saying Israeli actions in Al Haram Al Sharif to be a “declaration of war”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir released a statement saying “actions will be taken to confront any act of aggression carried out by the Israeli occupation forces or Israeli colonists against Al Aqsa Mosque”.

Jordan’s King Abdullah warned Israel that any more provocations would “affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel”.



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