BREAKING REPORT: ISRAELI MINISTRY FALSIFIED EVIDENCE TO WHITEWASH SETTLER CRIMES AND FRAME CHILD AHMAD MANASRAH ON FALSE CHARGES

ahmad mm

From Stones to Knives & Settler Crimes: The Innocence of Ahmad Manasrah

Investigative Report

By Ariyana Love

How Israel is framing Palestinian youth to suppress ongoing resistance to occupation, cover up settler crimes and continue the denial of Palestinian humanity

CCTV security footage indicating 13-year-old Ahmad Manasrah and 15-year-old Hassan Manasrah running with knives in Occupied East Jerusalem, has been confirmed by experts as doctored and fake, tampered with prior to release by the Israeli government, in an attempt to whitewash Hassan’s extrajudicial execution and the attempted execution of Ahmad by criminal, illegal settlers on October 12th 2015.

Below is our breaking 10-minute investigative report explaining where the security footage was doctored, concluding that there were no knives in either Ahmad or Hassan’s hands:

A private investigative firm in Canada analyzed the one and a half minute security footage frame by frame, in order to determine if it was authentic. It was a process that took over 10 hours.

In multiple places the footage was doctored and the investigator demonstrates how the two knives that were edited into the hands of Hassan and Ahmad, can be seen disappearing and reappearing repeatedly in what he told me was a “blotch job.”

The Israeli government of Tel Aviv, including Israeli border police and associated agencies along with the office for prosecution, Hadassah Hospital, Medics personnel, G4S Security and Israeli media are all complicit to crimes under miscarriage of justice in framing this child and whitewashing severe and unfathomable crimes against humanity.

Consequently the doctored video is being used to justify “attempted murder” charges against Ahmad who was lucky to survive the brutal settler attack that left his skull cracked and nearly killed him. Ahmad is being tortured in a G4S detention facility, where he is denied family visits and has endured solitary confinement and forced confessions under torture. Ahmad is now being tried as an adult by the Israeli military court in violation of international and Israeli law.

With this damning evidence against the Israeli Ministry, we can recognize the lengths to which the Ministry of Tel Aviv will go to protect the terrorist crimes of it’s illegal settlers and the lengths it will go to protect the image of “Israel” and the illegal occupation of Palestine to the eyes of the world.

The practice of incarcerating Palestinian children is an intolerable injustice and we mustput an end to it.

Doctoring of Video Evidence:

  • Multiple times the knives disappear and reappear in the video.
  • The insertions of knives do not align appropriately with the shadows or other elements in the video.
  • The video has been edited down.
  • The boys are in their early teens and therefore not of a size to properly hide such large knives.
  • The boys were wearing short sleeves making it impossible for them to carry knives in a hidden manner.
PIC 1First frame: Knives are seen here and in the next frame begin to disappear

PIC 2
Second frame: Knives are already disappearing

PIC 3
In this image, again the knife is gone from Ahmad's hand

Graph One

Expert Debunking of Israeli Ministry Interpretation

Time: Israeli Video Israeli Ministry Dissemination of Events Time:Expert Debunking Expert Debunking of Israeli Ministry Interpretation
00:03 to 00:07 Scene 1The terrorists look for a victim on the street while carrying knives. Scene 100:00 to 00:23 Two youths walking in short sleeves not holding or concealing knives. Building with curtains show editing and manipulation of the scene.
00:08 to 01:24 The terrorists chase a Jew who escaped after they stabbed and seriously wounded him. 00:24 Two youths running the opposite direction holding large knives as they approach the building with the curtains.
00:26 to 01:22 Knives disappear and reappear as the youth approach the building with the curtains in three places.
01:23 One youth appears to have a knife and the other youth closer to the camera does not appear to have a knife.
01:26 Knives disappear again.
01:27 to 03:06 No presence of knives at all.
02:09 Scene 2The terrorists abandon their chase after their first victim and look for a Jewish victim. Scene 203:26 Knife in first youth closest to the camera appears and disappears. Knife also does not appear contiguous to shadow and other elements in the video scene.

Black square appears drawn in to cover up the hand of the first boy and also cover over the strongest section of shadow casting that would indicate a knife presence were a knife present.

03:43

05:11

Scene 3A Jewish boy leaves a candy store and gets on his bicycle.

The terrorists see the boy, stab him in the neck and critically wound him.

Scene 304:42 Video indicates editing and missing information: at time 03:57 of the Israeli video, a man is seen standing looking at his hand. At 03:58 the man is on his bike leaving the store.

Bike with man leaves the scene at 04:46 according to the Israeli video and by 05:05 a dark shadow is highlighted as the attempted stabbing. However there is no evidence of the youth(s) being present or who was actually injured/stabbed.

At 04:26 on the Israeli video, a young child in a green shirt is beside the man who on the bike leaves the store, however around 05:41 on the same Israeli video, the young child in the green shirt walks out normally, but the Israeli Ministry is highlighting something else as going on – the stabbing.

06:36 the child suddenly runs back into the store.

08:23 Scene 4One of the terrorists sees police officers, and runs towards them with a knife, attempting to hurt them. Scene 405:48 to 07:48 From 08:22 to 08:35 of the Israeli video, Hassan is running forward. It’s is clear that there is nothing in his right hand, never mind a knife.

It is possible that he hears shouting as Hassan turns his head to the left and sees the Israeli border police who are outside of the video picture.

Hassan then turns his body to the left and motions to the boarder police to look in the direction he is pointing. The boarder police come into the picture. Hassan’s pointing action is not a knife.

Hassan walks briskly towards the officers with his arms moving up into the surrender position

The Israeli border police start shooting where shots are seen impacting the ground at 09:04-09:05.

At 9:07 Hassan falls to the pavement as he has been shot to the head.

Shots continue until 09:17 where it is observed that there is no knife on the ground or falling from Hassan’s hand during that period.

The Israeli border police are trained in these scenarios, where their first action after disabling a suspect with a weapon when approaching, would be to kick the weapon away. Clearly this does not happen.

Summary07:48 to 10:29

NB.

Black Square

08:03

Summary again of the video debunking and proof that the video is doctored.

Black square added to video that appears drawn in to cover up the hand of the first boy and also cover the strongest section of the shadow casting that would indicate a knife presence, if there were a knife.

 

It’s worth noting that Ahmad’s family requested to see the entire CCTV security footage uncut, however the Israeli court refused. Why would they refuse direct evidence to the Manasrah boys supposed crime, or their innocence?

At no point does the footage actually show a stabbing. But it does show an extrajudicial execution of Hassan, by Israeli boarder police. The entire Israeli occupation system misrepresented Hassan’s execution as a “terrorist attack” carried out by two children.

There were two Israeli’s supposedly stabbed that day, an Israeli child named Na’or and a man named Yousef Twaito. According to Ahmad’s lawyers, they have seen the medical reports of the supposed victims. Medical reports produced by an Israeli hospital thatmedically tortured Ahmad. Hadassah Hospital also gave Ahmad a potent drug that induces strong “memory loss,” according to Ahmad’s uncle. Yousef testified in court to being stabbed, but told he could not identify Ahmad as his attacker. Even according to Israeli law, if a victim cannot identify their attacker then that person’s testimony is not valid evidence to link the accused to the crime.

In this eyewitness video below, we see the first few moments after the near-fatal attack on Ahmad by the mob of armed settler men. At first, only settlers are gathered around Ahmad and many of them have weapons in their hands. While Ahmad was still unconscious, they are seen kicking the boy relentlessly. Boarder Police arrive in minutes and they started forcing the settlers to back away from the unconscious boy.

A woman is heard screaming, clearly traumatized by what she has witnessed. A settler exchanges words with a boarder police who arrives, then the two run quickly past the eyewitness who is filming. The eye witness follows them with his camera. The settler is pointing, indicating a direction to the police man who puts his hand on his gun and runs in that direction. He is seen turning the corner onto another street to the right.

Could that be the same boarder police who chased down and extra-judicially executed Hassan?

There is a second CCTV security camera footage of Hassan’s execution, which is 16 seconds long. I obtained that footage from Lea Tsemel, Ahmad’s Israeli lawyer. It is also being used as “evidence” against Ahmad. After analysis, the investigative firm informed me that footage is also doctored and fake. There is no knife in Hassan’s hand during the time of his execution.

Summary of Events

October 12th, 2015:

Ahmad and Hassan Manasrah were walking to take a bus in East Jerusalem. Soon after, a cell phone video emerged on social media, which shocked the world. A mob of criminal settlers who attacked Ahmad and filmed him, are heard repeatedly articulating in both Arabic and Hebrew for Ahmad to “die, die son of a whore” and “die son of 66 whores.”

After the boarder police arrived, the settlers continued to say even more chilling words in Hebrew that has not been translated prior to this report:

00:48                   “Give him a bullet in the head, the son of a whore!”

00:58.                  “They should be murdered!”

01:22 and 01:24 “Give him one in the head! Give it to him!” (Meaning bullet).

01:27                   “Did they shoot him, the son of a whore?” And the individual holding the camera reassures him “They shot him, they shot him.”

01:48                   “Give him one in the head! Give it to him.”

02:04                   “Give him one in the head. Do me a favor, give it to him.”

The Israeli police executed Hassan at relatively the same time and near the same location as Ahmad’s attack and later fabricated the story that Hassan was running at the police with a knife, but video footage proves otherwise. The Israeli Ministry claims to have found knives at the scene of both Hassan’s execution and Ahmad’s brutal attack, knives that had the DNA of the supposed victims and the boy’s fingerprints on them. But again, video evidence proves there were no knives at the scene. This puts into question the motives of the Israeli Ministry for sending 50 fully suited and armed Israeli “Special Forces” to torture Ahmad’s family October 14th.

Ahmad was medically tortured and denied immediate medical attention for 25 minutes; although footage proves trained medics and an Israeli ambulance were at the scene within minutes after the attack. Finally, when it was clear that Ahmad was not going to bleed to death, the boy was taken to Rothschild-Hadassah University Hospital, across the green line and border into West Jerusalem. Other than attempted murder and medical torture, taking Ahmad across the Green Line is an illegal act under the Geneva Conventions and constitutes a war crime as specified in Graph One below.

Palestinians (also children) are treated with disdain by the Israeli society and there are many documented cases proving that it’s a common practice in the Israeli society, to leave a Palestinian child or adult to bleed to death. That is also extrajudicial execution.

October 13th, 2015:

Israel initiates a new “shoot to kill” policy that Eran Efrati, former IDF soldier and founder of Breaking the Silence is able to leak from an inside contact. This policy allows Israeli police to intervene and kill Palestinians who are being chased by armed settlers before the settlers can kill the Palestinians so as the kill “looks more official if a soldier in uniform kills a Palestinian” rather than a criminal settler ‘civilian.’

This policy was enforced, to further protect the image of Israeli settlers and keep their crimes out of the media. Also, to hide the fact that many illegal settlers are from Western countries. 15% of the 650,000 illegal settlers are American. Their willful presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories violates international law, making them absolutecriminals. Furthermore, their deliberate targeting of native Palestinians is encouraged through the Ministry’s public incitement and government policy such as the “shoot to kill” policy. Settler crimes are never investigated, except in the case of the Dawabshe arson attack last year, where settlers burned an entire family alive while they slept. The investigation was closed and the terrorists released without charges.

October 14th, 2015:

50 fully armed Israeli Special Forces violently stormed the home of Ahmed Manasrah in Beit Hanina. They gathered the families from the six-story building into one room, while they searched all six floors, brutally attacking Ahmad’s 17-year-old brother, Ibrahim Manasrah. Ibrahim was beaten with rifle butts to the face, chest and hands; fracturing his bones in many places and bruising him all over his body. He was then abducted and taken through the Israeli military court system, despite his age. Ibrahim’s lawyer affirmed that no one could believe that a 17-year-old boy could attack 50 members of the Israeli Special Forces, as they claimed he did.

October 14th, 2015:

President Abbas mistakes the execution of Hassan and publicly accuses Israel of executing Ahmad. The Israeli media ridiculed Abbas for his mistake, in an effort to deflect the horrific extrajudicial execution of Hassan, which was no less barbaric than had Ahmad been killed. 

October 14th, 2015:

The Israeli Ministry released doctored footage that showed Ahmad and Hassan running with knives which has now been proven as fake. 

More evidence of violations to Ahmad and his family members:

October 15th, 2015:

An agent of the Israeli Ministry visited Ahmad at Hadassah Hospital in Occupied Jerusalem secretly filming him, without permission. The Ministry then uploaded the video on theirgovernment press office YouTube channel to dispute Palestinian president Abbas’s claim that Ahmad was executed and to furthermore show that Ahmad is being treated “well”. Up to this point, the Israeli government was psychologically torturing Ahmad’s parents by refusing to tell them if he was alive or dead. 

October 15th, 2015:

Ahmad’s Palestinian lawyer, Tariq Barghouth, released a recorded statement on video,revealing that the Ministry had lied and in fact Ahmad was enduring medical torture by the Hadassah hospital staff. Bargouth also announced that Ahmad was threatened by the Ministry’s agent who told Ahmad they would demolish his family’s home. We believe that was the first instance whereby the Israeli “authorities” tried to force a confession from the child. 

October 16th, 2015:

Israeli Physicians for Human Rights slammed the Hadassah Hospital for releasing a photo of Ahmad, a minor, which appeared in Israeli press, stating: “The fact that it is a photo of a minor in custody who was photographed without his parents’ permission” is a violation of juvenile law and privacy laws” 

October 16th, 2015:

Euro-Med Monitor releases an investigative report they presented at Geneva on the innocence of Ahmad. Their statement read:

“Thirteen-year-old Ahmed Manasrah, who was run over by a car (by who?) and beaten with sticks and metal pipes, then deprived of any medical care for 25 minutes. The Israelis claimed he tried to attack their soldiers, but video recordings show otherwise. Instead, he is seen lying on the ground, bleeding and calling for help.” 

October 18th, 2015:

Still denied visitation from parents, Ahmad was released from Hadassah Hospital and taken to a detention facility, across the Green Line (war crime).

November 9th, 2015:

Video footage of an illegal interrogation of Ahmad was leaked by Israel. The interrogation with translation begins at 0:15 of the video. An Israeli police officer is seen trying to force a confession from Ahmad by intimidation, threats, and escalating abusive language that define torture of a minor. Ahmad insists he is innocent and repeatedly says, “I don’t remember” when confronted with false allegations. Shown the doctored footage of himself and Hassan running with knives in their hands, he says, “Wallahi (I swear by God), it’s all fabricated.” 

November to December to January 2016:

Israel manages to push Ahmad’s trial back, waiting for him to turn 14-years-old so they could put him on trial as an adult, which they did. Even Israeli law states thataminor child age 13 years cannot be tried as an adult, but more importantly, Ahmad is a resident of East Jerusalem and therefore not subject to Israeli law. Furthermore the UN Covenant of the Rights of the Child states anyone under 18 years of age is a child and cannot be triedas an adult. International law, including laws under armed conflict clearly define further violations of Ahmad’s rights and supports a miscarriage of justice by the Israeli authorities.

November 11th, 2015:

The Palestinian Authority announces they will give the leaked interrogation video of Ahmad to the ICC, as part of systematic torture of Palestinian prisoners including children, youth and young people.

March 11th, 2016:

US VP Joe Biden releases statement: Israel Cannot Stop Violence through Physical Force Alone

Meanwhile Israel asks US for an increase to $5 billion a year in military aid before and during Biden’s visit.

March 17th, 2016:

Video evidence against Ahmad and his cousin Hassan is revealed as doctored.

Graph Two

A Complete List of the Human Rights Violations Against Ahmad Manasrah and International Law

October 12, 2015: Ahmad Manasarah with his cousin Hassan, while walking to a bus stop in East Jerusalem were shot and chased by a gang of criminal Israeli settlers resulting in Hassan’s execution, and near-fatal injuries to Ahmad. Hassan was shot in the head with kill shots. Ahmad ‘s wounds were inflicted by settlers, who beat him with a metal rod, wooden sticks and ran him over with a vehicle. Medics and police denied medical assistance and also threatened him with execution.
Ahmad

13 years

Hassan

15 years

Rights Violations
As a child As a child UN-Covenant of the Rights of the Child

Articles 1 through 54

Obligations of States failing to protect Palestinian children from Israel

·  Article 2: Non-discrimination

·  Article 3: Best interests

·  Article 6: Right to life and optimum development

·  Article 12: Participation

As an occupied citizen As an occupied citizen 4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Part I –     General Provisions

Part II –    General Protection of Populations against Certain Consequences of War

Part III –   Status and Treatment of Protected Persons

Sections 1, II, and III

Articles 1 through 78

Laws of Armed Conflict (LAOC), 4 Basic Principles

Article 1, Distinction: “In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.”

4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.

Article 48: The only legitimate object of attack in an armed conflict is military personnel or property. This does not mean that civilians cannot be legally harmed or killed under the law only that civilians and civilian property should not be the object or the purpose of the attack.

Right to not be executed as a protected person Right to not be executed as a protected person 4th Geneva Conventions

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Laws of Armed Conflict

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The Rome Statute

Right to medical care Right to medical care 4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field

Chapter II: Wounded and the Sick

Article 13

Right to be respected as a child Right to be respected as a child UN-Covenant of the Rights of the Child

Articles 1 through 54

4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Part III – Status and Treatment of Protected Persons

Sections III: Article 50

Rule 47. Attacks against Persons Hors de Combat

Rule 47. Attacking persons who are recognized as hors de combat is prohibited. A person hors de combat is:
(a) anyone who is in the power of an adverse party;
(b) anyone who is defenceless because of unconsciousness, shipwreck, wounds or sickness; or
(c) anyone who clearly expresses an intention to surrender;
provided he or she abstains from any hostile act and does not attempt to escape.

Laws of Armed Conflict (LAOC), 4 Basic Principles

Article 3. Military Necessity:“…[E]very injury done to the enemy, even though permitted by the rules, is excusable only so far as it is absolutely necessary; everything beyond that is criminal.”

Right not to be targeted with a kill shot Right not to be targeted with a kill shot Laws of Armed Conflict (LAOC), 4 Basic Principles

Article 4, Unnecessary Suffering: “It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and materials and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.”

Additional Protocol I, Article 35.2

Right to an investigation Right to an investigation Laws of Compliance

Article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions, i.e. states’ obligation to “ensure respect” for international humanitarian law and Article 89 of Additional Protocol I

Obligation to investigate

Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes

Rule 158. States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects.

UN Convention Against Torture, 1984

Article 7

Right not to be medically tortured through refusal to administer or delay immediate first aid Hippocratic Oath to do no harm:

“I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment” and “to never deliberately do harm to anyone, for anyone else’s interest.”

Ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence.

UN Convention Against Torture

Applies to medical personnel, in addition to law enforcement officers, military personnel, politicians, and other persons acting in an official capacity; also prohibits the use of torture under any circumstance.

Under Article 2(2): No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

The UN Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN.1982) applies specifically to medical and other health workers but it has no implementation mechanism to ensure enforcement. It is up to state, provincial, and national bodies to enforce the standards in the document.

Right to not be:

·   Verbally abused

·   Threatened with violence

·   Threatened with death

·   Physically abused

UN-Covenant of the Rights of the Child

UN Convention Against Torture

4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Right to remain in East Jerusalem 4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Convention (IV): Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Section II: Final Provisions

Annex I. Draft Agreement Relating to Hospital and Safety Zones and Localities

Chapter II: Places of Internment

Chapter IX: Penal and Disciplinary Sanctions

Right to not be medically tortured:

·   Handcuffed 24/7

·   Denied food

·   Washroom facilities

Convention on Torture

The UN Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN.1982) applies specifically to medical and other health workers but it has no implementation mechanism to ensure enforcement. It is up to state, provincial, and national bodies to enforce the standards in the document.

Right to not be subjected to:

·   Abusive language

·   Threats

·   Physical assault including spitting

Right to not be subjected to:

·   Abusive language

·   Threats

Physical assault including spitting

4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Children: Article 50

The Occupying Power shall not hinder the application of any preferential measures in regard to food, medical care and protection against the effects of war, which may have been adopted prior to the occupation in favour of children under fifteen years, expectant mothers, and mothers of children under seven years.

Right to:

·   Instruction on rights UN-CRC

·   Access to family

·   Access to lawyer

·   To stay in EJ

UN-Covenant of the Rights of the Child

Articles 1 through 54

UN Convention Against Torture

4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Right to not be detained

Rights as an [illegal] detainee

4th Geneva Conventions, August 1949

Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Section IV –   Regulations for the Treatment of Internees

Chapters 1 through 12

Right to not be forced to sign confession or testify against oneself Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees

Section J. Compelling accused persons to testify against themselves or to confess guilt

Geneva Convention III

Article 99: No moral or physical coercion may be exerted on a prisoner of war in order to induce him to admit himself guilty of the act of which he is accused.

Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4)(f): No one shall be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.

Additional Protocol II, Article 6(2)(f): [N]o one shall be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1969

Article 14(3)(g): Everyone is entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality: … not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 40(2)(b)(iv): Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees: … not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt.

ICC Statute

Article 55(1)(a): In respect of an investigation under this Statute, a person … shall not be compelled to incriminate himself or herself or to confess guilt.

Article 67(1): In the determination of any charge, the accused shall be entitled … to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

… (g) Not to be compelled to testify or to confess guilt and to remain silent, without such silence being a consideration in the determination of guilt or innocence.

Body of Principles:

Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment

Principle 21: It shall be prohibited to take undue advantage of the situation of a detained or imprisoned person for the purpose of compelling him to confess, to incriminate himself otherwise or to testify against any other person.

ILC Draft Code:

Crimes against the Peace &Z Security of Mankind, 1991

Article 8(h) provides that an individual charged with a crime against the peace and security of mankind has the right “not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt”.

Right to not be subjected to miscarriage of justice Right to not be subjected to miscarriage of justice Fabricated evidence submitted to media

Translation fabricated to mislead public

Prosecutorial, Police misconduct

Selective, Malicious prosecution

Selective enforcement

Abuse of process

Spoliations of evidence

Geneva Conventions (1949)

Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I

Article 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II

Article 129 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III and

Article 146 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV

Additional Protocol I: Article 85(1)

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Editors Note:

Middle East Rising would like to thank the Jordan advocacy groupwho ran the #FreeAhmadManasrah campaign, for their joint effort to assist us in this investigation.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

EU blasts Israel’s planned land seizure in occupied West Bank

A general view shows buildings under construction in the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) on March 7, 2016. ©AFP

A general view shows buildings under construction in the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) on March 7, 2016

The European Union has censured the Israeli regime for its plans to expropriate Palestinian lands in the West Bank, saying the decision risks threatening the chances of ending the conflict in the occupied territories and  creation of a future independent Palestinian state.

Israel’s decision to seize 234 hectares (579 acres) of land near the eastern city of Ariha (Jericho) in the occupied West Bank “is a further step that risks undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and therefore calls into question Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution,” the 28-member bloc said in a statement released on Thursday.

It added, “Any decision that could enable further settlement expansion, which is illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace, will only drive the parties to the conflict even further apart.”

“The European Union remains firmly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, including demolitions and confiscations, evictions, forced transfers or restrictions on movement and access,” the statement pointed out.

On Wednesday, Britain slammed Israel’s decision to further expand settlements in the West Bank, calling the move “an obstacle to peace.”

A general view shows buildings under construction in the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) on March 7, 2016

The Israeli NGO Peace Now, which tracks and opposes the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, announced on Tuesday that the Israeli regime has already devised plans for expanding nearby settlements in the area.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

Palestinian ex-prisoner dies few days after his release

NABLUS, (PIC)– The Palestinian ex-prisoner Sheikh Baker Bilal, 51, died at dawn Thursday only few days after his release from Israeli jails. Sheikh Bilal was arrested more than once in Israeli jails and spent a year and a half in administrative detention before being released earlier last month. His three brothers were also held in Israeli jails and one of them is still held behind Israeli bars. His mother, son, and brother’s wife were also detained in Israeli jails. Sheikh Bilal died after suffering a heart attack while praying, his family said, pointing out that he will be buried today in Nablus.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

Israeli court indicts 7 Pal minors bet 12 and 39 months

More than 420 Palestinian minors are currently held inside Israeli prisons

An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced on Wednesday seven Palestinian children to different terms in prison, rights group and families said.

All seven minors spent eight months under house-arrest before they were sentenced. They were originally arrested in June, before they were released on bail under house-arrest.

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem -An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced on Wednesday seven Palestinian minors to different terms in prison, rights group and families said.

The seven children were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 39 months for alleged charges of throwing stones at illegal Israeli settlers.

Lawyer Mohamed Mahmoud said the Israeli court in Jerusalem had convicted the children of throwing stones at Israeli cars in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

Mahmoud said that the children included three boys aged 14 years old, two aged 16, one aged 17, and another whose age was not specified.

Saleh Ishtayya, 16, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison, while Mohamed Jaber and Murad Alqam, both 14, were sentenced to three years.

Mohamed Tayeh, 17, and Zaid Ayed al-Taweel, 16, were both sentenced to two years and four months in prison, Omar Yaseen, 14, received a one-year sentence and Yazan Ayoub was sentenced to one year and two months in prison.

All seven minors spent eight months under house-arrest before they were sentenced, the lawyer Mahmoud said.

They were originally arrested in June, before they were released on bail under house-arrest after spending two weeks at Israeli Russian Compound Detention Centre.

It is worth mentioning that more than 420 Palestinian children are currently held in Israeli occupation prisons. Defence of the Children said that the Israeli occupation arrests at least 700 Palestinian minors every year.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

Mladenov meets Palestinian factions in Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– UN Special Envoy for the peace process in the Middle East, Nikolai Mladenov, met Thursday with Palestinian leaders from Jihad Movement and leftist factions at the UN office in Gaza Strip. The meeting dealt with different issues mainly the UN role in lifting Gaza siege and opening of Rafah crossing, in addition to the national reconciliation and the ceasefire agreement with Israel. Gaza’s reconstruction, water, power and employees’ crisis were also discussed during the meeting.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

‘Israel’ threatens to kill prisoner’s wife, children

Israeli kidnapped Abu-Sisi from Ukraine, put him in solitary confinement and prevented him from family visits

Israeli occupation has threatened Palestinian prisoner to kill his wife and children, wife told Days of Palestine on Thursday.

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip -Israeli occupation has threatened Palestinian prisoner to kill his wife and children, wife told Days of Palestine on Thursday.

Victoria abu-Sisi, 34, the wife of the Palestinian prisoner Dirar abu-Sisi, 42, from Gaza, said that the Israeli occupation had threatened to kill her and his children.

“The Israeli occupation attempted to carry out its threat when it targeted our house during the massive Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2014,” the Victoria, originally Ukrainian citizen, said.

She also said: “My husband, who was kidnapped from Ukraine and transferred by Israeli intelligence to Israeli in a coffin three and half a year ago, has been in solitary confinement.”

In addition, she said that he has been suffering from different diseases due to the dire conditions inside the Israeli prisons.

Abu-Sisi is spending a 21-year prison sentence over claims he developed Palestinian homemade rockets. “He was kidnapped and accused of making rockets because of his creative solutions to the electricity problems in Gaza,” Victoria said.

The Israeli occupation has been preventing Abu-Sisi’s wife, children and all relatives from visiting him inside his isolated cell.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

Erdogan: Democracy, Freedom Have ‘Absolutely No Value Any Longer’

Erdogan has increasingly sought to charge political opponents as terrorists

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Press Servic)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Concerns about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian leanings have been at the fore in the nation’s political dialogue since he assumed the presidency, and appear to have been well founded, as in a televised speech today he declared “democracy,, freedom, and the rule of law have absolutely no value any longer.”

Rather, Turkey is about one thing in 2016, and that’s wars, with Erdogan insisting anyone who supports his wars is a friend and anyone “on the opposite side are our enemy,” insisting the nation will treat them all with an iron fist.

Erdogan also vowed to turn the nation’s military against the opposition HDP, which opposes the war against the Kurds, saying that “wherever you run, our soldiers, police, and village guards will find you there and do what is necessary.” Erdogan had previously pushed for the HDP’s parliamentarians to lose their legal immunity so they could be charged as terrorists.

“I no longer see as legitimate political actors the members of a party which is operating as a branch of the terrorist organization,” Erdogan reiterated today, demanding parliament take quick action against opposition MPs from the Kurdish-dominated southeast.

Erdogan has increasingly sought to charge political opponents as terrorists, and has in the past few weeks not only arrested academics as “terrorists” for their positions on his government, but nationalized the nation’s largest newspaper for publishing articles critical of his ruling party.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

Israel prepares evacuation plan for Golan Heights, Galilee settlements

illegal Israeli settlements

File photo of illegal Israeli settlements

Israeli authorities had prepared comprehensive evacuation plan for the Israeli settlements in the occupied Golan Heights and Galilee in case a new war erupts on the northern border, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported yesterday.

According to the website, settlers from 15 border settlements would be moved to settlements in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. The evacuation would be organised by the army and the local authorities.

The plan, Maariv said, is part of the Israel’s preparations for a potential eruption of military confrontation or a war with Hezbollah.

According to the plan, the settlers would be hosted in government institutions such as schools, and they would be official guests of the government. Settlers in the host settlements would also be given the choice to host fellow settlers if they would like to do so.

Maariv reported that the regional settlement council in Jabal Al-Sheikh (Mount Hermon) also prepared a similar plan that included the relocation of its settlers to settlements in the Negev.

In a confrontation with Hezbollah, Israel expects the group to carry out operations within its borders and use new equipment.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

Walking a tightrope: To be Yemeni, a journalist and objective

It is good to maintain a professional distance in journalism, but sometimes it’s impossible to ignore the personal dimensions

As a journalist and analyst, one of the cardinal rules of my work is to distance myself from the story – to not let it affect me. Initially, this was quite difficult. Over time, though, training yourself not to get too close to your subject becomes an almost reflexive instinct.

Over the past few months, my reporting has principally focused on the ongoing civil war in Yemen – my home country.

This has been exceptionally difficult.

While I’ve been keen to maintain the necessary professional distance in my journalistic reporting, it has been impossible to ignore the personal dimension the war represents for me. As the conflict grew in scale and intensity, my own personal involvement in it gradually widened too; expanding from mere journalistic reporting, to political analysis, to full-on campaigning and advocacy, in a desperate attempt to do all I can to help put a stop to the suffering of my people, suffering I’ve been a firsthand witness to for the past weeks and months.

When I was invited to represent Control Arms at the ATT meeting in February, I could not possibly decline. I considered the impact I could have in helping bring the scale of the plight of my fellow Yemenis to the attention of powerful politicians.

Little did I know, however, that my pleas would fall on deaf ears! At the conference, our request to debate the Yemen case was refused. Instead, the ATT president suggested we discuss in a few months, at the annual meeting in August! I watched incredulously as attendees spent the entire meeting debating mundane procedural points, having deemed the plight of an entire people unworthy of consideration. It was a sobering realization though, sadly, not a surprising one.

Today, as Yemenis starve in their millions, the world continues to look away in silence.

Amidst the indifference, I have not stopped writing about the ravaged, bombed-out neighbourhoods in my hometown and other cities. Some of the displaced families I’ve visited and interviewed have included my own.

Make no mistake, though – my family has had it easy compared to the more than 22 million Yemenis who have spent the past few months on the edge of famine, and who remain, as I write, in desperate need of the most basic forms of humanitarian aid.

Over the past twelve months, I have seen people in my home country lose everything as a result of a tragic, senseless war between their own government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi rebels, backed by Iran.

The figures have been harrowing: Since the conflict began in March 2015, more than 35,000 Yemenis have been killed or injured. According to the UN, civilians account for almost 3,000 of the fatalities and 5,600 of the injuries, including 700 child deaths. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that more than 2.5 million people have been internally displaced by the war.

Having witnessed the devastation firsthand, I have resigned myself to the most painful of conclusions: While houses and roads can be mended or rebuilt, and the dead can be mourned and honoured through monuments and memorials, the cost the current humanitarian catastrophe will inflict on future generations might leave our country beyond repair. Put simply, this war is tearing Yemen’s social fabric apart. Today’s children are putting down their school bags and picking up guns and rifles instead in alarming numbers. Faced with a future without prospects, many are opting to join extremist organisations such as Al Qaeda – or even ISIS.

While Yemen – a land seemingly forever at war with itself – is no stranger to internal strife, this latest round has taken on an international dimension that makes it different from those in the past. When President Abd Rabuh Mansour Hadi fled to Riyadh in March of last year, he requested support from his regional allies and sponsors. Within days, they obliged by launching ‘Operation Decisive Storm’, an aerial bombing campaign by a Saudi-led regional coalition.

However, what was meant to be a brief 10-day operation soon turned into a multi-pronged, multi-dimensional quagmire with no end in sight, despite thousands of deaths and the destruction of much of the country’s basic infrastructure. Predictably, heavy fighting on the ground has been accompanied by a full-blown political regional crisis.

In January of this year, Houthi forces seized control of the capital, Sana’a, triggering the full collapse of the internationally recognized government. Since then, civilians have been living under daily threat of attack. Coalition airstrikes have hit civilians and civilian infrastructure across the country, while Houthi forces and their allies have been shelling populated areas with regularity. The violence has not only degenerated into widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws – committed by all parties – but to a severe humanitarian crisis that continues to worsen by the day.

However, beyond the local and regional parties to the crisis – the Saudi-led coalition, the Houthis, former president Saleh’s loyalists – one must not overlook the absolutely central role played by other international powers in fuelling and exacerbating the conflict.

While it is said that the Houthi rebels are backed by Iran, the United Kingdom and United States have been the largest arms providers to Saudi Arabia and its allies on the coalition side. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has been one of the largest arms purchasers over the past decade. In 2014, the country became the world’s largest importer of defence equipment.

Although many of the countries exporting to Saudi Arabia are States Parties or Signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a number of organizations, notably Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have already produced strong evidence that US and UK munitions have been used in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes against several residential neighbourhoods in Yemen.

In fact, a recent Control Arms report has estimated the size of arms licenses and sales to Saudi Arabia by France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the US to have been in excess of $25bn in 2015 alone! These sales include drones, bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles; in other words, the very weaponry currently being used by Saudi Arabia and its allies in their aerial and ground attacks in Yemen to commit gross human rights violations – and possibly war crimes.

Having failed to convince some of these key actors at the recent ATT meeting in Geneva, I am hoping they will read my pleas here: I implore all ATT signatory States Parties to take action and lead by example. Considering the urgency of the situation on the ground, any delays will have catastrophic consequences for an entire population. It is imperative they do not wait for the CSP meeting in August to take action. Instead, all States should cease any ongoing arms transfers to the warring parties in Yemen with immediate effect!

The world’s indifference, and complicity, must come to an end. The people of Yemen have suffered enough.

(Source / 17.03.2016)

4 Palestinians tortured in Israeli Etzion lock-up

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Four Palestinian detainees held in the Israeli Etzion lock-up have been harshly tortured by the Israeli prison authorities, a rights group reported Thursday. Lawyer Jacqueline Fararjeh, from the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), said 21-year-old Abdul Rahman Alyan, from Ramallah, was heavily beaten after he had been kidnapped by the occupation troops from his own family home in the late evening hours on Wednesday. Prisoner Alyan had been detained in an Israeli military camp for 24 hours, during which he had been aggressively beaten in his head and feet. Lawyer Fararjeh further quoted prisoners Muhammad Yasser Jabarin, 21, Ahmad Amer Abu Jawdeh, 18, and Mousa Muhammad Jaafar, 35, as saying that they were aggressively beaten by soldiers’ boots and rifle butts. Bruises and injuries reportedly showed on Jaafar’s body.

(Source / 17.03.2016)