PPS expresses concern over treatment of Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody


RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The health of a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel has recently severely deteriorated, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement on Sunday, expressing concern over the treatment of the detainee.Iyas Rifai, 32, has suffered dizziness, fainting, bleeding, vomiting, and low body temperature, a PPS lawyer who visited him in Nafha prison in southern Israel said.Rifai told the lawyer that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) sent him urgently to the prison clinic, where the doctor in charge “only gave me a strong painkiller,” the PPS statement added.Rifai was later transferred to the Eshel prison facility to be examined by a doctor there, in what he called an “agonizing” three-day trip during which he was diagnosed with a virus weakening his immune system and making him vulnerable to diseases such as tuberculosis.Rifai, a resident of the village of Kafr Ein in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, has been imprisoned by Israel since August 2006 and is currently serving an 11-year sentence.He underwent surgery in 2015 to remove a tumor in his intestine.Palestinian officials and rights groups have long accused the IPS of medical negligence towards injured Palestinian prisoners.In December, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) reported that 32 disabled Palestinians were being held in Israeli custody without receiving suitable medical care.In November, Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs director Issa Qaraqe said that IPS did not properly treat injured Palestinians when they were in Israeli custody, and that there was “a deliberate policy of medical negligence against injured and sick Palestinian prisoners.”Prisoners rights group Addameer said in a January 2016 report that the policy of medical neglect in Israeli manifested in IPS “denying their responsibility in providing appropriate health care and periodic medical checkups for prisoners and detainees.”According to the group, since the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000 until 2008, 17 Palestinian prisoners died in Israeli prisons and detention centers as a result of medical negligence.

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Israeli forces deliver demolition orders to Palestinian homeowners in Salfit


SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israeli forces delivered stop-work orders and demolition orders to Palestinian owners of three homes in the town of Burqin west of Salfit in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday, under the pretext that the structures did not have Israeli-issued building permits.Local sources told Ma’an that the homes were located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control — along an Israeli bypass road connecting illegal Israelis settlements located just west of Burqin: Peduel, Ale Zahav, and Leshem, which was recently recognized by the Israeli government as a settlement unto itself after first being established as a “neighborhood” of the Ariel settlement block.

Salfit-area researcher Khalid Maali told Ma’an that as of Sunday, some 22 demolition orders had been delivered to Palestinian homes in the Salfit area over the past five days alone. He did not specify how many of the three warrants delivered on Sunday were for demolitions, and how many were stop-work orders.
A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, was unavailable for immediate comment on the incident.
Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally, and placing them under the constant risk of demolitions at the hands of Israeli forces.
Meanwhile. the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.
Demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem saw an unprecedented surge in 2016, as Israeli authorities had demolished 1,081 Palestinian structures as of Dec. 26 according to UN documentation, more than doubling the number of demolitions since 2015, when 531 Palestinian structures were demolished.
Last month, the extreme right-wing Regavim movement reportedly filed a petition to the Israel’s Supreme Court against the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration for “neglecting for a decade to demolish an illegal Arab building which is on state land within the administrative borders of the town of Leshem.”
In May 2016, after repeated instances of settlers leveling Palestinian lands in the area to prepare for infrastructure to build hundreds of settlement units in Leshem, a COGAT spokesperson told Ma’an the leveling activities were part of “a master plan in effect on state lands and the work there is legal.”
At the time, Maali told Ma’an that such leveling works were being carried on a near-daily basis in order to expand 24 settlements in the area.
A recent report by Israeli rights group B’Tselem argued that under the guise of a “temporary military occupation,” Israel has been “using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements,” estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.
B’Tselem highlighted the “key role” of Israeli settlers in further isolating Palestinians from their lands, either through the establishment of outposts officially unrecognized by the Israeli government, or through the regular use of violence or threats of violence against Palestinians.
The movement of Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian land, and further displacing the local Palestinian population has been a “stable” Israeli policy since the takeover of the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967, B’Tselem said, underscoring that all “Israeli legislative, legal, planning, funding, and defense bodies” have played an active role in the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands, despite the international community pinpointing settlements as one of the major obstacles to peace.
(Source / 08.01.2017)

Mansour calls on PA to release political detainees in its jails


Palestinian lawmaker Mona Mansour has condemned the Palestinian Authority (PA) for persisting in carrying out political arrests in the West Bank, calling for necessarily releasing all political detainees in its jails.

In press remarks to Quds Press on Saturday, MP Mansour stressed the need to honor the signed reconciliation agreements and put a real end to the arrest of citizens because of their political affiliation.

“The general situation in the West Bank has not changed and every time there is a talk about the reconciliation and efforts to end the internal division, arbitrary arrest campaigns are carried out against citizens,” the lawmaker said.

She said that the PA political arrest policy did a disservice to the Palestinian people who suffer from occupation and contributed to the disintegration of their social fabric.

Mansour pointed out that her son has been detained by the PA preventive security for about 11 days in al-Junaid prison, without being able to see his family.

(Source / 08.01.2017)

German minister calls for total ban on Salafi Islam

German minister calls for total ban on Salafi Islam

Sigmar Gabriel, who has previously linked the rise of terrorism to Saudi Arabia, said Germany needed to conduct a ‘cultural struggle’ against the growth of fundamentalist Islam.
Germany’s Vice Chancellor called for a blanket closure of Salafi mosques on Friday, linking the ultra-conservative school of Islam to Islamic State’s attack on Berlin’s Christmas market.

Sigmar Gabriel called for a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards combating Islamist terrorism, adding that those who preach violence should forgo protections created under religious freedom laws.

“Salafist mosques must be banned, the communities dissolved and the preachers should be expelled, as soon as possible,” he said in an interview with German weekly, Der Spiegel.

Calling for a “cultural struggle” against Islamist violence, the leader of the Social Democrat Party argued for increased expenditure on social programmes.

This includes ensuring that “urban areas are not neglected, villages do not fall into disrepair and people do not become more and more radicalised.”

The chief suspect in the Berlin truck attack massacre, Anis Amri, who killed 12 people on 19 December, has been linked to Salafi preacher Abu Walaa.

Walaa was arrested in November along with a number of other Salafis for attempting to recruit German Muslims to join Islamic State.

Gabriel previously called on Saudi Arabia to stop financing fundamentalist mosques in 2015, linking them to a rise in terrorism.

“From Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world,” he said in an interview with the newspaper, Bild am Sonntag.

“In Germany many Islamists considered dangerous persons emerge from these communities.”

Gabriel also touched on the issue of austerity, pointing out that Germany’s insistence had created fundamental divisions in Europe, meaning that a collapse of the European Union was now a possibility.

According to national statistics, there are around 9700 people who identify as Salafi Muslims in Germany.

The Salafist movement is a fundamentalist branch of Islam that promotes a return to the early ways of Islam.

Gabriel’s comments come as the country prepares for a parliamentary election some time between August and October.

The political mood in Germany has changed in recent months, with anti-immigration parties such as Alternative for Germany (AfD) polling well.

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Saudi royal family betraying Islam, Muslims: Commentator


Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman recently caused a stir by making inflammatory remarks against Iran. Reacting to the statements, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has blamed Saudi Arabia for plunging the Middle East into chaos by sponsoring Takfiri terrorism. He said the remarks were just a blame game to downplay the crimes committed against civilians in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Qassemi  added that Saudi Arabia has betrayed Muslims and the cause of Palestine by being in league with the Israeli regime. He urged Saudi officials to correct their behavior and ponder on the repercussions of their destructive acts.

Talking to Press TV, Tony Gosling, an investigative journalist, praised Qassemi for his wise and restrained reaction to the recent comments by the Saudi deputy crown prince, warning that Saudi Arabia’s continuation of such incendiary policies would cause grave troubles inside the country.

“I think it is a very mature approach from Tehran, from Bahram Qassemi from Foreign Ministry that he is not judging them. This is a mature spiritual attitude. He is saying ‘Look! Correct your behavior and reflect on what you are doing.’ Because everybody knows around the world that Saudis have been lured into these relationships with the Americans and the Israelis,” Gosling said, adding that unless Saudi officials mend their ways, they will have to encounter more problems at home.

The commentator also described Saudi Arabia as “a dictatorship” which has truly betrayed Islam and Muslims in recent years through its alliance with the Israeli regime.

“It is quite right that Saudi Arabia has betrayed Islam. It is in cahoots with the Israelis and the British and the Americans and of course there is a big connection there and a lot of embarrassment over the 9/11 attacks in connection with the Bin Laden family,” he noted.

Gosling finally reiterated that the British empire has created Saudi Arabia and, hence, it has to bear the responsibility for its crimes.

“We all know here in Britain and in London that there were many Saudi princes, people from the royal family, coming over in the 1970s and 80s with high-class prostitutes in London. So, they have basically been lured in through this source of intelligence tactics to betray what Islam is really about.”

In an interview with the American magazine Foreign Affairs published on Thursday, Prince Salman, whose country is widely believed to be among the major sponsors of terrorism, accused Iran of creating instability, encouraging terrorism and violating the sovereignty of other nations in the region.

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Video: PA officers push back Israeli army jeep from entering Qalqiliya


QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — For the second time in recent weeks, Palestinian security forces early Sunday morning blocked Israeli troops from entering a city in the occupied West Bank and forced them to leave.

In a video obtained by Ma’an, several Palestinian national security service and police officers can be seen standing in the middle of the road a few meters away from an Israeli military jeep that is attempting to enter the city of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank.
A Palestinian officer is heard telling another officer to signal to the Israeli military jeep to retreat. “Tell him ‘lekh’,” he says, using the Hebrew word for “leave.”
Another Palestinian officer is heard asking his commander, “These are our borders, right?” to which the commander answers, “Yes, these are our borders. Let him go back.” The Israeli jeep eventually moves back.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they would look into the case.
Last month, Palestinian forces blocked Israeli troops from entering the city of Jenin in a similar incident, with both cases representing a rare standoff between Palestinian and Israeli forces, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) regularly allows Israeli forces to enter PA-controlled areas in the West Bank to conduct daily detention raids and other military operations, in contravention of the Oslo accords.
As Palestinian forces pushed back the Israeli jeep in Qalqilya, Israeli forces were entering other towns in the occupied West Bank carrying out predawn raids Sunday, when they detained at least five Palestinians, according to local sources and the Israeli army.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, which documents overnight raids by Israeli forces, said in a statement on Thursday that it had recorded the detention of 100 Palestinians, including 18 minors, since the beginning of 2017.
(Source / 08.01.2017)

Turkish Army, FSA suffer heavy losses in failed offensive in east Aleppo

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 P.M.) – The Turkish Army, alongside their allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched a new offensive in the eastern countryside of Al-Bab on Sunday, targeting the Islamic State’s positions in Umm Adaseh, Qabr Maqri, and Al-Saghlaniyeh.

Beginning the offensive with nonstop airstrikes, the Turkish Army hoped that this assault would weaken the Islamic State’s resolve and allow their forces to enter Al-Bab with relative ease.

This calculation would prove entirely wrong, as the Islamic State not only beat back the assault, but they also inflicted heavy casualties on the encroaching soldiers from the Turkish Army and FSA.

In a matter of hours, the Turkish Army and FSA could be seen frantically retreating from the eastern outskirts of Al-Bab in order to avoid anymore casualties and losses to their arsenal.

ISIS released a statement confirming the Turkish Army and FSA defeat, while also posting images of the latter retreating across the eastern countryside of Al-Bab; thus, corroborating their statement

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Aleppo: How The US Manipulates Humanitarianism For Imperialism

Syrian army soldiers march through the streets in the Ansari neighborhood, east Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Dec 23, 2016. (SANA via AP)

Syrian army soldiers march through the streets in the Ansari neighborhood, east Aleppo, Syria, Friday, Dec 23, 2016

The United States is manipulating humanitarian concern in an effort to protect its proxy militias and its imperial regime-change project in Syria.

The media and intellectual classes are dutifully falling in line, promoting a narrative of military aggression under the cover of “protecting civilians.” These same “responsibility to protect” arguments led to the invasions of Iraq and Libya, exponentially increasing the massacres, chaos, and proliferation of violent extremism within those countries. They are hypocritical, designed to further interests of conquest and domination, and will lead to more death and destruction in Syria as well.

The United States has no stake in the wellbeing of Syrian civilians, despite their condemnations of Russia’s offensive in Aleppo. This is clearly shown in the fact that the people they are supporting are guilty of the same crimes they accuse Russia and Syria of: indiscriminate attacks, targeting of civilians, destruction of schools, hospitals, etc. Furthermore, the offensive in Aleppo is really no different from what the U.S. did in Manbij, where they are said to have incorporated a “scorched earth policy” while they liberated the city from ISIS, whereby the civilian population was treated “as if they were terrorists or ISIS supporters.”

Arguably their conduct was even worse, as they there earned the distinction of launching the deadliest single airstrike on civilians out of the entire 5-year conflict, massacring at least 73 where no ISIS fighters were present. The Manbij operation elicited no moral outcry from the media and punditry, understandably since these were “unworthy victims” given that they were our victims and not those of our enemies. The same can be said about the U.S. operations in Kobani and Fallujah, whereby the entire towns were essentially reduced to rubble without any uproar.

Saudi Arabia as well has no concern for Syrian civilians, as they have been ruthlessly besieging and bombing Yemen, with the support and help of the United States, for two years without any concern for civilian lives. Their assault has led to a humanitarian situation even more dire than in Syria, leaving at least 19 million in need of humanitarian assistance; in Syria it is estimated that a total of 18 million are in need of aid.

Turkey as well is not concerned, as is evidenced by their conduct towards their Kurdish population, yet the recent quiet by Erdogan over the fate of Aleppo is indicative of an understanding reached between him with President Putin, whereby Turkey establishes a presence in northern Syria and blocks the advance of the Kurds, and in return limits its support to the rebels and the insurgents in Aleppo.

The real reason the U.S. is decrying the Russian operation is the fact that they are staring aghast at the near-term possibility that their proxy insurgency in Aleppo will be defeated. Not only will this mark the decisive turning point in the war, the rebels all-but being fully overcome with the Syrian government in control of all the populated city centers except Idlib, but others have argued that it could as well mark the end of U.S. hegemony over the entire Middle Eastern region in general. In other words, the U.S. is trying to turn global public opinion against the Russian effort in an attempt to halt the advance and protect their rebel proxies trapped in Aleppo.

File: A Syrian rebel sniper looks at the rubble in the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab. on Jan. 30, 2015.

File: A Syrian rebel sniper looks at the rubble in the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab. on Jan. 30, 2015

So, who are these rebels?

In short, they are an array of U.S.-supported groups in alliance with and dominated by al-Qaida. During the past ceasefire agreement these rebels refused to break ties with al-Qaida and instead reasserted their commitment to their alliances with the group. The U.N.’s special envoy for Syria recently explained that over half of the fighters in eastern Aleppo are al-Nusra (al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate), while, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, it was “primarily Nusra who holds Aleppo.”

Expert analysis concurs, as Fabrice Balanche of the Washington Institute details how these rebel alliances indicate “that the al-Nusra Front dominates more different rebel factions, including those considered ‘moderate.’”

He explains that al-Qaida’s “grip on East Aleppo has only increased since the spring of 2016.”

It is these fighters, al-Qaida and their affiliates, that the U.S. is trying to protect from the Russians, and as well other U.S. intelligence operatives that are likely embedded with them. The narrative that Russia is committing a humanitarian catastrophe is intended to hide this fact, as well as to shift the blame for the suffering in Aleppo off of the United States’ shoulders. Yet it was the U.S. support to the rebels that is primarily responsible for the suffering.

To illustrate this, the people of eastern Aleppo never supported the rebels nor welcomed them. The rebels nonetheless “brought the revolution to them” and conquered the people against their will all the same. Of the few reporters who actually went to the city, they describe how Aleppo has been overrun by violent militants through a wave of repression, and that the people only “saw glimmers of hope” as the Syrian army was driving them from the area. The people decried this “malicious revolution” and characterized the rebel’s rule as a “scourge of terrorism.” This, of course, was of no concern to the U.S. at the time, who now proclaims the rebels to be the “protectors” of the civilians in Aleppo.

Prior to the Russian-led evacuation, around 200,000 – 600,000 of the original population fled and relocated in the government-held western part of the city. Of the civilians who remained, they were primarily the families of the fighters, who themselves are paid to stay and fight. The official numbers for those remaining were 200,000, yet the actual number was likely much lower, around 40-50,000.

Nonetheless, the remaining civilians who were trapped within this warzone were prevented from leaving.

During the first ceasefire, humanitarian corridors were opened and the civilians were encouraged by the Syrian army to leave, yet the rebels stopped them, with reports saying they went as far as to shoot at those who tried. The attempt to evacuate the civilians was condemned by the US, who argued that the innocent people “should be able to stay in their homes.” During the recent rescue, Nusra Front burned buses intended to evacuate civilians.

The radical groups were using the civilian population as human shields in order to protect themselves, and the U.S. was supporting it. Further corroborating this is the special U.N. envoy Steffan de Mistura, who quotes reports indicating that the rebels have been utilizing “intentional placement of firing positions close to social infrastructure, aside and inside civilian quarters.”

This is because it has always been the policy of the Syrian government to separate civilians from insurgents, as it is simply much more militarily effective to fight against an enemy that is not ensconced within a civilian population. Likewise, it has always been U.S. and rebel policy to prevent this separation.

According to a knowledgeable individual with contacts with high level Syrian officials, the U.S. and EU always rejected the Syrian governments proposals to separate civilians from the fighters, as they explained, “because doing so will be helping you win.”

This makes sense, given that if all of the civilians from eastern Aleppo were evacuated there would then be nothing stopping the Syrian army from crushing the remaining fighters, and there as well would be no international outcry over them doing so.

The source explains: “Syria’s war is an urban war theater. [The] only way for insurgents to compete is to use residential areas to hide and operate out of. This is in direct contrast to [the] Syrian army who would like to fight a theater totally void of civilians.”

Those claiming to be protecting Aleppo’s civilians from the Russian and Syrian onslaught are in actuality using them as a means to protect their success on the battlefield.

Given this, the strategy of the Syrian government has been to bomb sporadically in order to scare the civilians and force them to flee from areas controlled by the militants.  This is also why the Syrian army just recently halted their advance in order to allow civilians to evacuate; they wanted the civilians out of the picture so they could militarily defeat the rebels more quickly and easily.

If one actually were concerned about saving the civilians in eastern Aleppo it is pretty straight forward that one would try to evacuate the civilians from the area, and that the backers of the rebel groups would put pressure on them to allow this to happen. From there it would follow that all sides abide by the U.N. Security Council resolutions of which they agreed to, which call for the suppression of financing, fighters, and support to al-Qaida, for the suppression of al-Qaida “and all other entities associated” with them, and “to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria,” of which Aleppo is one of the largest.

Unfortunately, it is only Syria and Russia who followed through on these commitments, while the U.S. and its allies consciously blocked them. The media and intellectual opinion are as well fell in line, obscuring from the narrative all of these inconvenient truths that do not support the interests of the policy planners in Washington.

In this way, the media were shown to be completely subservient to state power, drumming up support for another aggressive war based on falsities and half-truths in the exact same way that led to the continuing catastrophes in Libya and Iraq. When the U.S. was driving ISIS from Manbij, just as Syria is now driving al-Qaida from Aleppo, killing hundreds of civilians at a time, there was not so much as a debate about it, much less an international outcry.

Yet now there are countless calling to “save” Syrians by bombing them and flooding the warzone with more weapons and fighters, ironically using “humanitarian” concern to call for policies that will lead to even more death and misery. The rebels are dominated by jihadi extremists, and any further support to them will further strengthen the radicals engaged in a project of ethnic cleansing, conquest, and reactionary theocratic governance. Bombing would only help to further descend Syria into chaos and death, just as it did in Iraq and Libya.

This is an international proxy war and humanitarian concerns are being manipulated unscrupulously in support of interests having nothing to do with concern for innocent lives. Don’t fall for this faux humanitarianism from which more war, imperialism, and thus more death and destruction will result.

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Israeli settlers grab hold of Palestinian home near Aqsa Mosque


Israeli settlers at dawn Sunday seized a Palestinian home in Jerusalem’s town of Silwan, to the south of the holy al-Aqsa Mosque.

Settlers from the extremist Elad settler organization, accompanied by police forces, reportedly grabbed hold of a Palestinian building in Silwan at the crack of dawn.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center refused to release further details as regards the seized building, saying data has to be checked out meticulously so as to allow the house owners to successfully appeal to Israeli courts.

The Israeli Elad settlement organization has been notorious for its land and home grab in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly in East Jerusalem and its Old City

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Harassment and attacks against activist who filmed Hebron shooting continue


HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers attempted to break into the Hebron home of activist Imad Abu Shamsiyya and threw stones at the house Saturday evening, as he has continued to be the target of death threats and harassment after he filmed an Israeli soldier shoot a Palestinian to death last year.

In a rare move move, the soldier was convicted of manslaughter earlier this week, in large part due to the damning footage captured by Abu Shamsiyya, amid a backdrop of what critics have called a culture of impunity for Israeli soldiers who are not held accountable for similar cases of apparent “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.
On Wednesday, the day of conviction, Abu Shamsiyya said he “feared for his life.”
Since his footage went viral the day of the shooting back in March 2015, Abu Shamsiyya has been the target of violent settler incursions on his home and has received hundreds of death threats online.
Leading up to the announcement of the verdict, Abu Shamsiyya said that members of Elor Azarya’s family — the soldier who was ultimately convicted for the shooting — broke into his home and “asked me to go to court and change my testimony.” He said he had video footage proving the incursion took place.
Israel settlers returned to his home Saturday evening, he told Ma’an, and attempted to break into his home.
Abu Shamsiya told Ma’an that settlers gathered around his house, and when they failed to break in, they hurled stones, causing minor damages.
He highlighted that large numbers of Israeli forces were present when the settlers attacked the house and soldiers intervened and drove away the attackers.
Abu Shamsiyya added that in March he had asked the Israeli army to provide him protection from settlers, as death threats began pouring in on Facebook while others attempted to bribe him to change his witness testimony.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports of Saturday nights attack.
The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last month condemned the “daily violations” of human rights and international law faced by activists and human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory.
A “worrying number of complaints” have been filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which have highlighted in particular the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists “as a direct result of their important work in their communities.”
“The right of all those who are seeking hope and participation in concrete, nonviolent action must be protected, particularly as we are seeing the deepening entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the accompanying human rights violations,” the report said.
Amnesty International released a statement Wednesday saying that the conviction of Elor Azarya “must pave the way for justice for unlawful killings.”

“Today’s conviction of a member of the Israeli forces is a rare occurrence in a country with a long record of using excessive and unwarranted force, and where soldiers who may have committed crimes under international law very seldom face prosecution. The verdict is a small step in the right direction and offers a glimmer of hope that soldiers who commit unlawful killings may no longer go unpunished,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.“Sadly, this case is just the tip of the iceberg. Time and again we have witnessed cases where Israeli forces appear to have carried out unlawful killings, displaying an appalling disregard for human life. The authorities’ repeated failure to hold anyone accountable for flagrant violations has fostered a culture in which unlawful killings have become acceptable,” said Philip Luther.Amnesty international said that they sent a memorandum to Israeli authorities in Sep. 2016, citing at least 20 cases of apparently unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces, of which at least 15 of those killed were deliberately shot dead, despite posing no imminent threat to life.

(Source / 08.01.2017)