“Expel Israel from the UN”

Expel Israel from the UN

UK activists’ clarion call to civil societies around the world

By Stuart Littlewood

At least some people are determined to kick off the New Year on a positive note. A motion to expel Israel from the United Nations is to be put to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s (PSC) Annual General Meeting (AGM). It reads as follows:

Motion, PSC AGM 23 January 2016 to expel Israel from the United Nations

Considering that Israel’s admission to the UN on 11 May 1949 by General Assembly Resolution 273 was conditional upon its (1) honouring the UN Charter and (2) implementing UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] Resolutions 181 of 29 November 1947 and 194 of 11 December 1948;

Noting that Israel has: (1) repeatedly acted inconsistently with the purposes of the UN expressed in Article 1.2 of the UN Charter and thus also with Article 2 (Introduction); (2) repeatedly violated the provisions and principles of the Charter as expressed in Articles 2.3, 2.4, 4, 55 and 56; (3) failed to implement [UN]GA Resolutions 181 and 194; (4) violated numerous other resolutions of the Security Council and [UN]GA; and (5) beginning in 1948 killed many Palestinian civilians and forcibly expelled many others from their homes and land;

Noting further that all attempts to ensure through negotiation Israel’s adherence to the Purposes and Principles contained in the Charter and to general principles of international law have failed;

Considering that effective measures should be taken to resolve the present situation arising out of Israel’s unlawful policies that violate the Charter and UNGA Res. 273;

Recalling that Article 6 of the Charter states,

“A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organisation by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council”;

This AGM resolves that the PSC Executive Committee shall

request the government of the United Kingdom, enforced by a petition and lobbying, to submit a motion to the Security Council recommending that the General Assembly expel Israel from the UN in compliance with the Charter, Article 6.

And many will be saying: “About time too”. Israel has enjoyed impunity for its criminal acts for 67 years. And each year the international community’s failure to take disciplinary action has made the Israeli regime more aggressive, more arrogant, more brutal and more loathsome.

Israel’s endless defiance of civilised rules of behaviour

When drafting the motion it would have done no harm, I think, to mention the important ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s separation wall is illegal and must come down, and the Palestinians affected properly compensated. The 400-miles-long barrier known to all as the Apartheid Wall bites deep into the Palestinian West Bank, dividing and isolating communities and stealing their lands and water.

If the wall was simply for security, as Israel claims, it would have been built along the 1949 Armistice “Green Line”. But the wall’s purpose is plainly to annex plum Palestinian land and water sources for illegal Israeli settlements, and to that end closely follows the line of the Western Aquifer. It is a crude attempt to change the “facts on the ground” in order to expand Israeli territory and greatly reduce the viability of a future Palestinian state.

While Israelis fill their swimming pools, wash their cars and sprinkle their golf courses the Palestinians, who would normally be self-sufficient, now have to pay Israel’s grossly inflated price for a mere trickle of their own water, or go without.

In 2004 the ICJ at The Hague ruled that construction of the wall was “contrary to international law” and Israel must dismantle it and make reparation. The ICJ also ruled that “all states are under an obligation not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situationcreated by such construction”.

Eleven years later Israel, contemptuous of international law, continues to build its hideous wall with American tax dollars and protected by America’s veto. While Israelis fill their swimming pools, wash their cars and sprinkle their golf courses the Palestinians, who would normally be self-sufficient, now have to pay Israel’s grossly inflated price for a mere trickle of their own water, or go without.

Perhaps the motion should also note how Israel continues to defy theInternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, an important set of undertakings to which Israel itself and 136 other states are signed up.

Article 1 states that “all peoples have the right of self-determination… In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.” Israel should not be interfering, for example, with fishing in Gaza’s territorial waters, Gaza’s off-shore gas resources or the West Bank’s water. Furthermore, “the states that are party to the covenant… shall promote the realisation of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations”.

Article 2 requires all states to guarantee that the rights enshrined in the covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind.

Article 6 says that states recognise the right of everyone to gain a living from work of their own choosing and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right. But for Palestinians it is impossible until the siege on Gaza is lifted and free, unfettered access to the outside world restored. The same goes for the West Bank and East Jerusalem which are also blockaded by Israel’s military and strangulated by Israel’s matrix of control.

Despite many calls to suspend the [Israel-EU Association ]Agreement, the EU has instead upgraded the relationship and enhanced the benefits.

What about the threat Israel poses not just to the region but to the rest of the world? According to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, Israel has a nuclear arsenal numbering in the hundreds and is the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nor has it signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, similarly the Chemical Weapons Convention. Perhaps the facts about Israel being a lethal misfit ought to have been noted in the PSC motion.

Also worth adding, as justification for launching the motion, is how the Israeli regime enjoys preferential treatment under the European Union-Israel Association Agreement of 1995 but fails to observe its terms. These require adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, and Article 2 says that “respect for human rights and democratic principle constitute an essential element of this agreement”. Israel has never complied but continues to enjoy association benefits. Despite many calls to suspend the Agreement, the EU has instead upgraded the relationship and enhanced the benefits. In Israel’s breaches of legal and human rights obligations are rewarded not punished.

Will the whole world take up the call to expel?

The PSC motion’s originator, Blake Alcott, provides a useful “Long Dossier” on the need for Israel’s expulsion. He writes:

I’m anticipating that, like last January, the PSC Executive Committee will oppose it – not its substance, but because the time isn’t yet ripe for it. Ben-Gurion always said that time is on Israel’s side, and I fear he was right. So I say, let’s throw the book at them…

The time not ripe after more than six decades of Palestinian suffering during which the situation has gone from disgraceful to intolerable? Baroness Morris, President of Medical Aid for Palestinians, reminds us in her Christmas message:

In Gaza, 95,000 Palestinians remain homeless following the last conflict [the 2014 Israeli blitzkrieg, “Protective Edge”, and ongoing eight-year blockade], forcing many to face the winter cold in tents, shipping containers, or among the ruins of their former houses.

Such inhumanity defies all understanding and reason. And still the international community turns a blind eye to the evil of a small Zionist gang who have somehow managed to grab the Western political élite by the balls.

The patience of decent folk is finally exhausted. Civil society now must set the pace, make the running and oust their compromised leaders. In the coming weeks the PSC has an opportunity to strike a spark that starts a worldwide civil society eruption, with the aim of amplifying the expulsion message, overriding current political inertia and speaking firmly from the grassroots to governments across the globe.

It would help too if the churches in the West found the backbone to take an orchestrated stand against Israel’s seizure of the Holy Land and the threat posed to the very wellspring of the Christian faith. They should be outraged by the regime’s persecution of Christian communities – as well as their Muslim brothers and sisters – residing in the place where Christianity was born.

Perhaps then the UN will sit up, take notice and make amends for its lamentable record.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

Baraka: Israel to outlaw Arab parties, groups

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Head of Israel’s Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Ahmed Baraka said that the Israeli government seeks to outlaw all Arab political parties and groups after banning the northern branch of Islamic Movement last month.

The recent Israeli decision to outlaw the Islamic Movement does not only target the Islamic group but all the Arab movements and political parties in Israel, he said.

He expressed the Committee’s rejection of the Israeli decision, considering it illegal and targeting all Arabs.

It was an Israeli political measure par excellence, he stressed.

Protests against Israel’s illegal decision against the Islamic Movement and its restrictions on Arab movements and groups will continue, Baraka pointed out.

Earlier last month, the Israeli security cabinet outlawed the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raed Salah, accusing it of inciting violence. The Islamic Movement rejected the claim and challenged the government to prove it.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

Statement on the freedom fighter and liberated prisoner Omar Nayef Zayed

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The following statement (in English and Arabic, below) by the Campaign in Solidarity with the Struggler Omar Nayef Zayed, was issued by Palestinian organizers inside and outside occupied Palestine, demanding the freedom of, and an end to extradition proceedings against, Omar Nayef Zayed, a Palestinian community leader and former prisoner who is now facing threats of arrest by the Bulgarian state due to the pursuit of the Israeli occupation. Click here to take action to defend Omar.

Omar Nayef Zayed, a Palestinian Arab citizen, was born in Jenin, Palestine in 1963; liberated from the prisons of the occupation in 1990; living in Bulgaria for over 21 years; has been seeking refuge in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia for approximately one week. He has been forced to seek refuge, to protect himself and his family, because the Bulgarian authorities are attempting to arrest and extradite him to the occupation state, under the pretext of the criminal extradition agreement of the Council of Europe, to which the Zionist state is a party.

Omar Zayed, the struggler, refuses to surrender to the Bulgarian authorities for the following reasons:

First, because he refuses to deal with his case as a criminal or civil matter or an individual issue; it is a national and collective concern, and first and foremost a political matter and a political issue. He was arrested in 1986 and charged with legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation, which is a natural right guaranteed under international law.

Second, because the sentence issued against him by the Israeli occupation military court is no longer valid, due to various bilateral agreements between the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli state, beginning with the Oslo accords in 1993 and subsequent agreements; his sentence is obsolete and no longer valid for extradition.

Third, the struggler Zayed spent over three years in Israeli jails, from 1986 to 1990, and was subject upon his capture by the Israeli military to torture, oppression and deprivation. He conducted an open hunger strike for 40 days in the occupation prisons, which caused him to be transferred to hospital for treatment, and he suffers the physical effects of his experience to the present day.

Fourth, since his arrival in Bulgaria 21 years ago, Omar Zayed has built a life: married, with two sons and a daughter, respected Bulgarian laws, and never faced any criminal or other issues in Bulgaria.

The liberated prisoner Omar Zayed has repeatedly and consistently declared that he is a struggler for the freedom of the Palestinian people and their national and human cause. His decision to refuse to surrender himself to the local authorities is undertaken as part of his responsibility and national duty to reject the Zionist occupation and its racist and unjust laws, and to confront all attacks against the Palestinian people, its liberated prisoners, and its strugglers, whether in occupied Palestine, in Europe, or anywhere in the world.

Campaign of Solidarity with Omar Nayef Zayed
26 December 2015

Click here to take action to defend Omar.

بيان حول المناضل والاسير المحرر عمر نايف زايد

المواطن العربي الفلسطيني، عمر نايف زايد، مواليد مدينة جنين الفلسطينية المحتلة عام 1963  والأسير المُحرر من سجون الاحتلال عام 1990، المقيم في بلغاريا منذ ما يزيد عن 21 عاماً، لجأ إلى السفارة الفلسطينية في صوفيا قبل نحو اسبوع ، بسبب ما يتعرض له من تضييق وملاحقة أمنية غير مبررة على يد السلطات البلغارية وذلك بهدف اعتقاله وتسليمه إلى دولة الاحتلال، و بذريعة الاتفاقيات الجنائية الموقعة بين الاتحاد الأوروبي والكيان الصهيوني.

يرفض المناضل زايد تسليم نفسه للسلطات البلغارية للأسباب التالية:

أولاً: لأنه يرفض التعامل مع قضيته على أساس جنائي، أو فردي، أو مدني، بل هي قضية وطنية وسياسية أولاً وأخيراً. لقد جرى اعتقاله في العام 1986 بسبب مقاومته المشروعة للاحتلال الاسرائيلي، وهذا حق طبيعي، كفلته كل الشرائع الانسانية والقوانين الدولية.

ثانياً: لقد سقطت الأحكام الصادرة بحقه، من قبل الاحتلال والمحاكم الاسرائيلية التي اتخذتها، خاصة مع بدء تنفيذ الاتفاقيات الثنائية بين قيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية ودولة الاحتلال الاسرائيلي في العام 1993 وبالتالي، فإن هذه الأحكام أصبحت لاغية وقد تقادمت.

ثالثاً: لقد قضى المناضل زايد في سجون الاحتلال أكثر من 3 سنوات.  تعرض خلالها إلى أبشع انواع التعذيب والقهر والحرمان. منذ العام 1986 وحتى العام 1990، كما أنه خاض إضراباً مفتوحاً عن الطعام لمدة 40 يوماً في سجون الاحتلال، نقل على أثره إلى مستشفى للعلاج وخرج بأمراض مزمنة يعاني منها حتى هذا اليوم.

رابعاً: منذ وصوله إلى بلغاريا قبل 21 سنة، بنى المناضل عمر زايد حياة جديدة وتزوج وأنجب ولدين وبنتاً، وهو يحترم القوانين البلغارية، ولا يوجد لديه أية قضايا جنائية أو غيرها في هذا البلد.

إن الأسير المُحرر عمر زايد أعلن مراراً أنه يعتبر نفسه واحداً من بين أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني يعتز ويفخر بانتمائه الوطني والانساني إلى هذا الشعب المناضل. لقد اتخذ قراره برفض تسليم نفسه إلى السلطات المحلية ليس لإثارة مسألة شخصية بقدر ما هي مسؤوليته التي يفرضها الواجب الوطني في رفض الاحتلال الصهيوني وقوانينه العنصرية الجائرة، ومن أجل مواجهة كل سياسة تستهدف شعبنا وأسراه المُحررين ومناضليه، سواء في فلسطين المحتلة أو في اوروبا وحول العالم.

 

حملة التضامن مع المناضل عمر نايف زايد  

26- 12- 2015justice-for-omar

(Source / 26.12.2015)

Thousands bid last farewell to slain Palestinians in Gaza, Ramallah

GAZA, (PIC)– Thousands of Palestinians marched in the funerals on Saturday of two civilians killed by Israeli bullet fire on Friday.

A funeral was held in Gaza for 22-year-old Hani Rafiq Wahden, shot dead by the occupation army while participating in a demonstration in Gaza’s eastern borders.

Palestinians in Ramallah also joined the funeral of 38-year-old Mahdiya Hammad, fatally shot by the Israeli occupation soldiers on Friday.

Hammad, a mother of four kids, was killed on allegations of ramming her car into Israeli soldiers in Ramallah’s eastern town of Silwad, in the central occupied West Bank.

The marchers raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans calling for prosecuting Israeli criminals for cold-bloodedly killing Palestinian protesters.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

ISIS leader threatens Israel, calls for revolt in Saudi Arabia

© Stringer

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State terrorist group, allegedly issued an audio recording, threatening to turn Palestine into a “graveyard” for Israelis, and urged an insurgency against Saudi Arabia rulers he called “apostates” perverting Islam.

In the audio statement distributed via ISIS-affiliated social media accounts on Saturday, al-Baghdadi said the terrorist group has not forgotten Palestine“for a moment” claiming that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is getting closer to Israel “every day”. He claimed that the extremists would surround Israelis one day, which “is close” according to the terrorist group leader, Israeli media reported.

The IS leader also claimed that Palestine would become “a graveyard” for Israelis and stated that since all “the Jews of the world” had gathered in Israel, war against them would be “easy.”

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In his audio message, al-Baghdadi also slammed Saudi Arabia’s initiative to create an Islamic coalition against the terrorist group. The self-proclaimed Islamic State leader said that the new coalition was “falsely” called Islamic. He added that a “truly Islamic coalition” would be aimed at freeing Palestine and fighting Israel.

He also urged Saudi citizens to turn against the country’s rulers, which he called “apostate tyrants,” AFP reported.

The terrorist group leader also used the opportunity to threaten Russia and the US and claim that the air strikes conducted by the coalitions allegedly did not weaken the jihadists. He declared that the group gets only “tougher” as the world intensifies its efforts to defeat it.

Isis2.JPG

The 20-minute-long audio recording is the first statement attributed to al-Baghdadi in the last seven months as the last recording featuring his voice was published in May. The authenticity of the latest statement has not yet been verified, although the voice in the recording matched al-Baghdadi’s previous audio statements, AFP reported.

The whereabouts of al-Baghdadi still remain unknown, although it was previously reported that he was severely injured in one of the US-led coalition airstrikes. He made his only public appearance in summer 2014 in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is held by IS.

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Although al-Baghdadi mentioned Israel in his statement for the first time, this audio message was not the first one, in which IS threatened Israelis.

In October, militants claimed they would enter Al-Aqsa mosque in Palestine “as conquerors” in a Hebrew-language video attributed to ISIS. On December 4, the terrorist group released another video beginning with the images of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the militants threaten to kill “all Jews,” the Algemeiner reports.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

Activists: Israel executing Palestinians, harvesting their organs

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Palestinian activists and families of slain anti-occupation protesters slammed the Israeli occupation for executing their children and harvesting their organs after withholding their bodies for weeks.

A number of families refused to succumb to Israeli conditions to bury their slain sons and daughters without carrying out postmortem autopsy.

Other families succumbed to Israeli terms due to the pressure exerted by the occupation authorities and their eagerness to bury their children and bid them last farewell at the soonest time possible.

Head of the Quds Center for Legal Assistance in Nablus, Saher Sarsour, held the Israeli occupation accountable for stealing Palestinians’ organs.

“Israel has a long history of harvesting the organs of detained Palestinian cadavers. There should be a mechanism of some sort or a third party to carry out the autopsy and prove whether certain organs were stolen and whether people were cold-bloodedly killed from a zero distance,” Sarsur said.

The families of the killed Palestinians face tough conditions set by Israel in return for the bodies of their dead children, which some have accepted while others have rejected, while the international community remains silent regarding this inhumane Israeli practice.

One condition set by Israeli authorities is that families receive the bodies and bury them during the night, which prevents the family from conducting an independent autopsy to figure out the cause of death.

In many cases, Palestinian families are also forced to sign a number of documents written in the Hebrew language, which they do not understand.

Sarsur added that the Israeli occupation turned Palestinian cadavers into bargaining chips, ordering families to shell out fines amounting to $14,000 in the event they violated conditions of the delivery of the bodies.

At least 315 Palestinians have been withheld by the Israeli occupation authorities, 50 among whom detained since the outbreak of the Jerusalem Intifada in early October.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

How the Media Ignores Israel’s Illegal Transfer of Palestinian Detainees

A lot of the current discourse around the Middle East is focused on war crimes committed by dictatorial Arab regimes and other non-state armed groups in the region. Dozens of op-eds and think pieces decrying these human rights violations are published each day around the world—often for good reason.

Yet, there is a noticeable lack of coverage in mainstream Western media on Israel’s crimes. While Israel is guilty of violating the rights of various populations, including non-Jewish African refugees, the scale and severity of Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians is particularly underrepresented.

Some might argue that the reality in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is difficult to know. But, this argument is misleading. Alternative news sources, Palestinian and otherwise, are providing regular coverage on the situation. Even heavy hitters, like AJ+, have provided extended coverage on events in the West Bank, including the on-going, nascent uprising there. There is also a well-documented history of abuse and violations by Israel, including but not limited to the extra-judicial killing of Palestinians.

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Yet, even where there is indisputable evidence of Israel’s violations of human rights and international law, the media regularly turns away and allows the Israeli government to remain unaccountable for its crimes.

Israel’s illegal policy of relocating Palestinian detainees is one example of a systematic rights violation that has received little if any coverage in the Western mainstream media. As Gerard Horton, a lawyer and co-founder of Military Court Watch, a group that monitors that treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, wrote for+972 Magazine, Israel has transferred eighty-eight percent of Palestinian detainees—including minors— out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and into Israel. This practice is a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and carries serious penalties. It also makes it difficult or impossible for family, lawyers, and other individuals to visit detainees.

According to Horton, there is no dispute about the facts, no confusion about Israel’s actions, and no plausible deniability. UNICEF compiled a detailed report in 2013 titledChildren in Israeli Military Detention, which documented these abuses with a focus on minors. In the report, UNICEF urged Israel to discontinue its practice of transferring minor detainees from the Occupied Palestinian Territories to Israel.

Israeli military officials have indicated they do not plan to address the problem. In fact, according to data from the Israeli Prison Services, the practice has only gotten worse.According to Horton, Israel has privileged its domestic policies over its binding international agreements, even though this is “unsustainable under international law by virtue of Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which states that a party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for a failure to perform a treaty obligation.”

While the illegal transfer of detainees is a serious problem, the fact Israel is permitted to carry out these violations with impunity points to a far greater problem. As Horton arguesin +972 magazine:

Putting aside the question of whether the policy makes it more difficult for Palestinian families from the West Bank to visit loved ones held in detention facilities inside Israel, the issue matters because a violation of the Convention of this magnitude and duration undermines the credibility of the international legal order and its institutions with adverse implications for the rule of law in the region and beyond.

Alleged war crimes should either be investigated without fear or favor wherever they occur, or we must accept the risk that inaction will eventually destroy the legal order established at the end of the Second World War, and abandon whatever lessons we may have learned from that conflict.

As I have written previously, Israel has some truly unconscionable double standards when it comes to Palestinian and Israeli children. Sadly, these double standards are being reproduced in media coverage of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people more broadly.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

IOF opens fire at bird hunters east of Gaza City

GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday morning opened fire at Palestinian bird hunters east of Gaza City, with no reported casualties.

Local sources that Israeli soldiers at a military watchtower near the border fence east of Gaza City opened machinegun fire at Palestinians working on hunting birds.

The Israeli occupation forces stationed behind the perimeter fence open fire at every Palestinian approaching or working in border areas, especially the farmers who own nearby plots of land.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

Yemeni Army Troops Surround Hundreds of Saudi-Led Forces in Eastern Yemen

Yemeni Army Troops Surround Hundreds of Saudi-Led Forces in Eastern Yemen

Yemeni Army Troops Surround Hundreds of Saudi-Led Forces in Eastern Yemen

The country’s defense ministry has announced on Saturday, the Yemeni army troops backed by popular forces have surrounded a large number of Saudi and UAE forces in Jawf province, Eastern Yemen.

Hundreds of Saudi and Emirati military men are now surrounded by the Yemeni forces in the town of al-Jabal al-Aswad in al-Jawf province.

The Yemeni forces captured 130 military troops from the Saudi-led coalition, including at least 39 Emirati soldiers and 9 officers during a series of clashes in Jawf province yesterday.

Several Yemeni civilians have lost their lives over the past three days as Saudi warplanes continue to pound areas across Yemen.

On Wednesday, leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement Abdul-Malik al-Houthi lashed out at Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom’s policies are the same as those of the US and Israel, “which seek to crush the Muslim Ummah without paying any price.”

On March 26, Saudi Arabia started deadly military aggression against Yemen in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since March. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

The UN has repeatedly voiced concern over the rising number of civilian casualties in the Saudi military aggression against Yemen, FNA reported.

(Source / 26.12.2015)

Russia’s Assassination of Rebel Commanders is Deliberate Targeting of the Syrian Revolution

Over the past 24 hours, the Russian enemy and its collaborators; Assad’s and the Iranian militias, have assassinated a number of rebel commanders who participated in the Riyadh conference where they made a commitment to a political solution in Syria, endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2254.

On Friday’s afternoon, the Russian air force assassinated Zahran Alloush, commander of Jaish al-Islam, and a group of rebel leaders in Rural Damascus. Earlier on the same day, the Russians also assassinated Hamdi Abu Zeid, head of the military council in Qudsaya and Abu Salmo, commander of the Unified Battalion in Shuhadaa’ al-Islam Brigade in the district of Darayya, along with three of his colleagues in the Islamic Union of Ajnad al-Sham.

Secretary of the political committee Anas al-Abdah said that Russia’s targeting of rebel leaders makes any talk about a political solution a mere “verbal hoax,” describing these assassinations as a heinous act that would thwart the negotiations and constitute a blow to the countries sponsoring a political solution.

Abdah pointed out that the liquidation of rebel leaders who made a commitment to a political solution would only play into the hands of terrorist organizations. It also contravenes the outcome of the Vienna talks, in which Russia participated, pushing the situation in Syria into further escalation.

Member of the Syrian Coalition Mohamed Khair Al-Wazir said that Russia is pursuing specific goals in Syria; namely preventing the downfall of Assad and helping him consolidate his grip on the areas under his control, especially in the capital Damascus. Russia’s assassination of rebel leaders coincides with an agreement between the Assad regime and ISIS to evacuate ISIS militants from the outskirts of Damascus Al-Raqqa province.

Al-Wazir urged all rebel groups in eastern Ghouta and its surroundings to close ranks and carry on with the task they set upon themselves until the Assad regime is overthrown and the Syrian people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity are achieved.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 26.12.2015)