Canadian Human Rights Activist Arrested and Deported in Hebron

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A human rights activist was recently assaulted and arrested in occupied Hebron Wednesday, July 20th.

Canadian activist Sarah Ali is said to have been monitoring human rights abuses near the Ibrahimi Mosque when she was confronted by 5 Israeli military police, who proceeded to force her to the ground and bind her hands and feet before carrying her away like a captive animal.

Featured below is video footage of the arrest.

Sarah Ali was later deported by the Israeli Border Police the following Friday.

Sarah is a member of the Hebron-based activist group known as Youth Against Settlements (YAS) who have been the target of numerous acts of harassment, intimidation and abuse by Israeli authorities and settlers alike.

This includes the various death threats that have been sent to the group by Israeli settlers, who have gone so far as to fire upon activists near the Youth Against Settlements Centre building a day after it was raided by armed Israeli soldiers. This also includes the continued discrimination against activist Issa Amro who has been detained and arrested by the Israeli military over 20 times for political dissidence.

Amro was reportedly arrested near the  very same Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron on July 8th, 2013 when Israeli soldiers took him to a police station where he was handcuffed and beaten until he collapsed and was left lying on a stretcher. Israeli Security Forces proceeded to laugh at him, take pictures and threaten to shoot him before he was finally hospitalized five hours later.

Youth Against Settlements is recognized as an NGO in the United Nations Human Rights Council. UN Human Rights Expert Richard Falk has stated the following,

“Mr. Amro appears to be the victim of a pattern of harassment that includes an effort to intimidate him prior to his participation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2013 as NGO representative where he delivered two statements.”

“I am very concerned for Mr. Amro’s life, physical integrity and the psychological toll that this is having on his health and family,” stated UN Special Reporter Juan E. Mendez,
“It is beyond comprehension that the police summoned him the following morning to the same police station where he was abused.”

Multiple YAS activists are currently awaiting trial by Israeli military courts for unspecified non-violent offenses including Issa Amro, Farid Alatbash and Sohaib Aaz.

 

Brian Hazel

Canadian Human Rights Activist Arrested and Deported in Hebron

At least 85 Civilians Killed after U.S. Airstrike in Syria

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At least 85 civilians were killed Tuesday after an airstrike near the ISIL-controlled city of Manbij, Syria in what may have been the deadliest airstrike since the beginning of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State.

The Pentagon has confirmed reports of civilian casualties around Manbij. “We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties in the area,” U.S. Marine Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesperson, stated in an e-mail. “As with any allegation we receive, we will review any information we have about the incident, including information provided by third parties, such as the proximity of the location to CJTF [Combined Joint Task Force] airstrikes, and any other relevant information presented.”

“If the information supporting the allegation is determined to be credible, we will then determine the next appropriate step,” he added. “We take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict.”

According to The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (or SDF) the airstrike appears to have occurred after U.S. coalition forces “mistook them for ISIL.” At least 8 families were indiscriminately hit as they were attempting to flee the war zone.

The non-profit organization known as Airwars , which tracks claims of civilian casualties resulting from the international air campaign against ISIS, states that as investigations continue the death toll may prove to be well over 100 civilians.

This incident reportedly followed a separate airstrike which occurred on Sunday that killed at least 6 civilians in Manbij, “including a woman with four of her children and an old man.” These airstrike are among  the 450 airstrikes in the area executed by U.S.-led coalition forces during the latest military campaign.

Airwars has estimated that at least 190 civilians have been killed in coalition strikes since the beginning of the operation, including at least 39 children and 23 women. However, revelations of this most recent bombing are still coming to light, and an account from the non-profit organization known as Syria Direct claim the strike may have killed anywhere from 65 to 160 civilians.

The United Nations estimates that at least 400,000 people in total have died since the international bombing campaign against ISIS began.

Brian Hazel

At least 85 Civilians Killed after U.S. Airstrike in Syria

Turkey Declares ‘State of Emergency’ Following Failed Coup Attempt

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Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently announced that Turkey is now officially under a ‘State of Emergency’ in light of the country’s recent failed military coup attempt, which resulted in the death of at least 294 people.

President Erdogan claims that this declaration was necessary “in order to remove swiftly all the elements of the terrorist organization involved in the coup attempt.”

“I would like to underline that the declaration of the state of emergency has the sole purpose of taking the necessary measures, in the face of the terrorist threat that our country is facing,” said Erdogan, promising that the “virus in the military will be cleansed”.

The current constitution of Turkey allows for a state of emergency to be declared for up to six months. According to Erdogan, his intention is for the state of emergency to endure for at least 3 months.

Evidently, a state of emergency in Turkey allows the president to rule largely by his own decree, giving him power akin to that of a dictator’s.

Under this declaration, curfews can be enforced, media can be censored, and it is permitted for gatherings and large protests to be forcefully disbanded without consent.

This declaration also allows citizens to be subject to random searches and seizures without consent or any due process of the law.

Over 6,000 people have been arrested since the beginning of the immediate crackdown after the coup. 2,839 soldiers are currently being held in prison, along with 2,745 judges facing arrest.

President Erdogan has accused Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, founder of the Gulen movement, of being behind the coup. Gulen has denied any ties to the events that took place, but regardless, Erdogan continues to arrest any and all citizens suspected to be political dissidents and/or supporters of the Gulen movement.

The last state of emergency in Turkey was lifted in the year 2002, which was imposed during the fight against Kurdish armed groups, which began in 1987.

In a recent televised address, President Erdogan attempted to reassure the public that the power of the military will “not be expanded,” and that Turkey will emerge from this time of distress as a “stronger nation.”

Brian Hazel

Turkey Declares ‘State of Emergency’ Following Failed Coup Attempt

Military Coup Attempt in Turkey

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Recently, there was an attempted military coup d’état in Turkey, which occurred late on Friday. Rebel military factions tried to seize control of the Turkish government in an attempt overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. What resulted was a battle between Turkey’s two major cities, Istanbul and Ankara. The conflict is said to have left at least 44 dead.

The following is an official statement made by the army group on live television:

“Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged. All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.”

President Erdoğan has stated that the military coup has been flanked and that he still has control over the country. However, some have doubts about this considering the continued violence and instability following the coup attempt.

Early Saturday morning, Erdoğan arrive at the Atatürk International Airport. He was greeted by thousands of citizens who had defied the rebel troops, swarming their tanks. NTV, a private television channel, showed him meeting with supporters and stating the following,

“A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity,” he told them, “What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason. They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.” President Erdoğan claims the rebel army is affiliated with the Gulen movement , however this has not yet been confirmed.

The White House made a statement that US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry believe that “all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed”.

Iran’s foriegn minister, Javed Zarif stated that he is “Deeply concerned about the crisis in Turkey. Stability, democracy & safety of Turkish people are paramount. Unity & prudence are imperative.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials have called on their countrymen in Turkey to stay indoors during this time of conflict.

Al Jazeera provides us with the following timeline showing the history of coups that have occurred in Turkey:

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Brian Hazel

 

 

 

Military Coup Attempt in Turkey

Obama to Increase the Largest Military Aid Package in U.S. History

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The $30 billion military aid package to Israel which Obama signed in 2007 is due to expire soon, therefore the administration has been working out a new deal which is rumored to be around $37.5 billion.

Presidential candidate and Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s top Israel advisor has encouraged Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to resist signing any deal with president Obama, promising a much better deal if Trump is elected.

In light of this, the Obama administration has sent out a letter to congress informing them of their intention to further increase the offer in order to persuade Netanyahu to agree to the deal. There is talk that the offer may go as high as $40 billion.

The administration has ensured that Israel will spend the majority of the AID on U.S. military weapons. Under the current deal, only 25% of the funds were used for non-military pursuits such as fuel and other programs.

The U.S. relationship with Israel has been a long-standing one. Since 1967 the U.S. has provided Israel with a total of over $121,000,000,000 and counting.

This money flows into Israel in various ways. One way Israel receives US taxpayer money is through military research programs. $504,000,000 was allotted to military research programs in Israel in 2014, as well as the development of anti-rocket missile systems. One of these system in particular, known as the “Iron Dome” has cost US taxpayers over $720,000,000 and counting. Additionally, congress annually votes to give Israel an average of $3,000,000,000 every year. And then, of course, there are the annual multi-million dollar military weapons deals. As previously mentioned, the last military aid package promised the Israeli military $30,000,000,000.

The U.S. continues to foster this close relationship with Israel unconditionally, despite multiple allegation raised at Israel of war crimes. During Israel’s last bombardment of Gaza, a 51-day operation which the Israeli military called “Operation Protective Edge” over 2,250 Palestinians were killed, 513 of them being children. Whereas on the Israeli side, the death toll  totaled at 73, the majority of them soldiers.

According to the UN, Israel regularly targets schools and hospitals during its bombing campaigns, an action which is recognized as a blatant war crime by the international community. Regardless, the US continues to fund Israel’s military pursuits with no intention of stopping. This causes the effort to restore basic human rights for Palestinians seem all but hopeless.

Brian Hazel

Obama to Increase the Largest Military Aid Package in U.S. History

Israel demolishes Palestinian school in Abu Nuwar built by France

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Palestinian teacher teaches outdoor class of students in Abu Nawar just after having their school demolished.

 

Recently, Israeli forces demolished a Bedouin school in the crippled community of Abu Nuwar. This community has been particularly devastated by the ever-increasing expansion of illegal Israeli settlements which continues to ravage the region. Formerly, they did not have any means of educating their children, and so the government of France decided to help by constructing a school for their children to learn in. However, the Israeli government claims that this building was constructed “without a permit” and therefore they were compelled to destroy it. Palestinians often express how it is extremely difficult to obtain a permit from Israeli authorities especially in areas of the West Bank which are under full Israeli control, otherwise known as Area C, which includes over 60% of the territory.

“The occupiers came at night and they destroyed the school. And us, where can we study? In al-Eizariya? Or in the air? Tell me. Where are we going to study?”

said one little girl who was to be a student at the school,

“We were glad. We came and saw it. And we came in the morning to see it, and to study in it, and we found it gone. The occupiers took it from us.”

said another.

 

“We set up tents for children so the march for education can continue. Of course, this reality was hard on children and painful for them.”

stated one of the volunteer teachers of the Bedouin community.

The twenty-five students, aged 7 – 8, continue to attend their classes out in the open air, extremely limited in resources and lacking basic standards for education.

“During the past few weeks alone, Israeli authorities in Area C and east Jerusalem demolished 201 Palestinian-owned structures, including 79 which were donor-funded,”

stated Nickolay Mladenov, special coordinator for the Middle East peace process,

“As a result, 320 people were displaced. Since the beginning of 2016, Israel has demolished, on average, 29 Palestinian-owned structures per week, three times the weekly average for 2015. These actions run directly counter to the idea of peace.”

Israeli authorities are continuing to increase pressure on the residence of Abu Nawar to relocate. The reason being that they intend to expand the nearby Israeli settlement of  Maale Adumim. So not only have these children lost their school, but they may very well soon lose their homes.

Israel demolishes Palestinian school in Abu Nuwar built by France