Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Guterres: Hamas attacks did not occur in a vacuum and do not justify Israel's mass killing in Gaza

    1:54 PM   No comments

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called - today, Tuesday - for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip, and said that the attacks of the Palestinian resistance do not justify Israel’s mass killing taking place in Gaza, while Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki considered that the Council’s failure to act to save the residents Gaza is “unforgivable.”

This came in an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian issue, after the escalation of confrontations between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel.

"It is important to realize that Hamas's attacks did not occur in a vacuum, and that these attacks do not justify for Israel the mass killing taking place in Gaza." Guterres said.

He added, "In order to alleviate this enormous suffering, facilitate the guaranteed distribution of aid, and facilitate the release of hostages, I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire."

He expressed "deep concern about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we see in Gaza," adding, "Let us be clear: every party to any armed conflict is not above international humanitarian law."

Guterres stressed that the aid that has entered Gaza so far "is just a drop in the ocean of needs. In addition, the United Nations fuel stocks in Gaza will run out within days. This will be another disaster."

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

UN's OCHA: Israel commits widespread war crimes in Gaza, humanitarian catastrophe is imminent

    8:30 AM   No comments

Palestinian Territory - The Israeli forces destroyed at least 70 industrial facilities and 970 residential units in the Gaza Strip, documented Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

Israel is committing widespread crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, Euro-Med Monitor said; amidst four consecutive days of its escalating war, Israel has cut off Gaza’s electricity, water, food, and fuel supplies, creating a threat of imminent humanitarian catastrophe.

Euro-Med Monitor stated that the Israeli attack has resulted in the deaths of 880 Palestinians, with approximately 59% of them being civilians, including 185 children and 120 women. Around 5,000 others have been injured, with hundreds remaining trapped under rubble and along border areas.

Euro-Med Monitor added that Israel’s army is expanding its military operations in Gaza, targeting residential buildings without prior warning and causing the deaths of entire families.

“What is happening in Gaza represents a comprehensive humanitarian disaster, especially with the lack of electricity and water affecting more than 90% of residents, and the disruption of various essential supplies,” the organisation said in a statement. The group documented the killing of seven journalists, injury of at least 10 more, and loss of contact with two.

About 40 media and press institutions have been damaged or completely destroyed due to Israel’s targeting of residential and commercial buildings, including the Palestine and Watan towers; 56 schools and roughly 30 kindergartens have been affected.

Euro-Med Monitor has recorded the destruction of at least 70 industrial facilities and 970 residential units, plus significant damage to approximately 7,920 residential units. Fourteen water and sanitation stations have been severely damaged, the statement said, affecting services for nearly half a million people.

Israeli warplanes bombed a house belonging to the Za’anin family in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, without prior warning, destroying the four-storey building where four families lived. The bombing resulted in the deaths of all 20 civilians inside, including 11 children and five women.

In a similar incident, an Israeli aircraft, without prior warning, targeted a house belonging to the Nabahin family, east of the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. Directly hitting residents, the attack led to the deaths of 13 people, including 10 children and two women. Additionally, another four-storey house and neighbouring house were completely destroyed.

Euro-Med Monitor’s statement highlighted the events of Monday, 9 October, pointing to the Israeli army’s targeting of a residential building beside one of the main markets in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza and an area near shelters provided for the displaced. The assault resulted in the simultaneous killing of over 40 people, exposing the severity of Israeli retaliatory crimes and collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.

Significantly, teams from the Palestinian Civil Defence in Gaza have lost much of their ability to retrieve the bodies of victims from under the rubble due to Israeli attacks in various areas of the Strip, given the shortage of necessary logistical supplies for such tasks.

The Israeli bombing has resulted in the deaths of five healthcare workers and the injury of 10 more, stated the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. According to the ministry, Israel’s attacks have targeted seven hospitals and health centres, causing direct damage to large parts of the facilities, and have forced the evacuation of Beit Hanoun Hospital—the only hospital in the city of Beit Hanoun—following repeated targeting of the building’s vicinity, which made it impossible for medical staff to enter or leave safely and damaged various sections within.

Officials from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza informed the Euro-Med Monitor team that Israeli authorities refused a request that was transmitted from the International Committee of the Red Cross to evacuate seriously injured individuals for treatment outside of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Security Cabinet approved a declaration of war on Gaza on Saturday evening, allowing for extensive military operations in response to the armed attack by Hamas on Israel, referred to as (Operation Iron Swords-Israel) (The Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood-Hamas), which resulted in the deaths of approximately 900 Israelis and the capture of dozens more. Since then, the Israeli army has carried out thousands of airstrikes targeting residential neighbourhoods and multi-storey buildings inhabited by civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Monday night and Tuesday morning witnessed intensive Israeli attacks by air and sea, with limited ground actions. Shocking scenes of extensive destruction have been observed, including the erasure of entire neighbourhoods, including many central and densely populated areas.

Due to Israel’s consecutive attacks on neighbourhoods, Euro-Med Monitor estimated that nearly 400,000 people, including more than 180,000 in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facilities, have been displaced.

Euro-Med Monitor documented damage to about 14 UN facilities as a result of Israeli airstrikes, including the direct targeting of a UNRWA school housing hundreds of displaced individuals. The organisation’s statement also documented direct and severe attacks on universities, mosques, markets, banks, telecommunications companies, residential towers, and other civilian infrastructure.

The statement emphasised that Israel’s army is violating the principles of international humanitarian law in its continuous attacks on the Gaza Strip, especially the principles of necessity and proportionality, given the absence of shelters or safe areas for Gazan civilians. It stressed that international humanitarian law requires the protection of civilians in all circumstances and under any conditions, and considers the killing of civilians to be a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts, which may rise to the level of a crime against humanity.

“Attacking or bombarding towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended” is prohibited under Article 25 of the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. Moreover, Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that, “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organisations, is prohibited, unless such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”

According to Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of property that is not justified by military necessity and is carried out on a large scale constitutes a grave breach that requires prosecution. Such practices are also considered to be war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Euro-Med Monitor further highlighted that, in parallel with systematic killings, Israel has imposed a complete closure on the Gaza Strip, which covers an area of approximately 365 square kilometres and is inhabited by around 2.3 million civilians. This closure has deprived them of water, food, fuel, electricity, and medical supplies.

Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon has referred to Palestinians as “human animals” and vowed to act accordingly, announcing a “complete siege” on Gaza, which has already been under intensely strict restrictions since 2007.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reiterated its call for the United Nations, countries, and relevant powers to exert pressure on Israel to immediately cease its unjustifiable attacks on civilians, refrain from military operations, and open all closed border crossings to ensure the flow of medical, food, and logistical supplies into the Gaza Strip.

UK special forces killed nine people "in their beds" during an Afghanistan night raid, an independent inquiry has heard

    8:15 AM   No comments

Family members say the victims were unarmed civilians. The SAS had claimed they acted in self-defence.

Senior officers suspected troops of carrying out a policy of executing "fighting age" men even if they posed no threat.

The government announced the inquiry after BBC Panorama revealed an SAS squadron killed 54 people in suspicious circumstances on one six-month tour.

As substantive hearings got under way at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday, UK special forces were accused of "abusing" night raids in order to commit "numerous" extra-judicial killings - which were allegedly later covered up.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

    7:28 AM   No comments

On September 16, 1982, the Lebanese Phalangist militia, backed by lsrael, perpetrated a massacre in the southern Beirut neighborhood of Sabra and Palestinian refugee camp Shatila that claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Lebanese citizens.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Caribbean countries announce their intention to demand compensation from European governments for crimes of slavery

    6:13 PM   No comments

The British newspaper "The Times" reported that "Caricom", a bloc of 15 Caribbean countries, will demand an official apology from European governments, and compensation worth $33 trillion, for their centuries-long enslavement.

In detail, these countries hope to begin negotiations with Britain, France, Spain, and Denmark on a 10-item plan, which includes an official apology for their role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In addition, Caribbean countries are seeking $33 trillion in compensation from European governments. The plan also includes that these former colonial powers finance health, education, debt cancellation, and direct payments to Caribbean governments, according to what the newspaper reported.

Britain owes $19.6 trillion, Spain must pay $6.3 trillion, while France owes $6.5 trillion, according to a report issued by an American consulting firm, which worked to calculate legal compensation for the enslavement of 19 million people, over 4 centuries.

Although it is impossible to calculate the true extent of the damage caused by the slave trade carried out by European powers, these numbers constituted a “starting point for negotiations,” according to Verene Shepherd, a Jamaican history professor and vice-chair of the Caribbean Reparations Commission.

Shepherd stressed the need for “a number to start with,” stressing that “the crime is huge, and the responsibility for what happened is great.”

In 2013, Caricom established a Compensation Committee. CARICOM, or the Caribbean Community, represents a political and economic union of 15 countries in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.

In subsequent years, the group reached out to former European colonial powers about reparations, but did not receive a “positive response” to its letters, Shepherd said.

According to The Times, some have suggested that Caribbean countries pursue reparations through the courts in the countries they target.

In turn, Peter Esbut, dean of studies at a theological college, said: “By granting slave owners compensation for the loss of their property, they are setting a precedent... If you compensate the owners for the loss of their property, you must also compensate the slaves for the loss of their freedom.”

Most European governments rejected the idea of reparations. In response to a question in the British House of Commons, last April, about whether he would offer an apology and “commit to reparative justice,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “No, I think that trying to dismantle our history is not the right way forward, and it is not something We focus our energies on it.”

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