Resources updated between Monday, October 31, 2016 and Sunday, November 06, 2016
November 6, 2016
November 4, 2016
November 3, 2016
At the UN on November 1, 2016, Iran – the world's most prolific executioner of children and sponsor of terror – accused Israel of being "child-killers" and the "prime source" of terror. The statement was made at the General Assembly's Fourth Committee (comprised of all 193 UN member states) following Israel's criticism of another grossly one-sided UN report on the "human rights of the Palestinian people."
Iran, which has executed dozens of children over the last decade and tortured confessions out of minors for crimes such as "enmity against God," labeled Israel as an "occupying, child-killer illegal regime." Moreover, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism accused Israel of being the main source of terror.
In its words:
"[T]he Israeli regime... resorted to all kinds of atrocities... [W]ar crimes and crimes against humanity have indeed been committed by this occupying child-killer illegal regime...which is the prime source of threat, terror, and administration in the whole world..."
Country Reports on Terrorism Development
Women and girls who survived Boko Haram violence were raped by government officials at camps in northern Nigeria where they sought safety, according to a new rights group report.
Dozens of victims who stayed at camps for the displaced in Borno State's capital Maiduguri told Human Rights Watch they were sexually abused or coerced into sex by camp leaders, vigilante group members, policemen and soldiers. Many of the women were abandoned after becoming pregnant.
"It is bad enough that these women and girls are not getting much-needed support for the horrific trauma they suffered at the hands of Boko Haram," said Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at HRW.
"It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them."
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is "worried and shocked" by the allegations, his office said in a statement. "Nigerians and the international community can rest assured" that the claims raised in the report "are not being taken lightly," the statement reads.
President Buhari has instructed the Inspector General of Police and other top officials "to immediately commence investigations into the issue," according to the statement.
In its report published Monday, HRW documented the accounts of 43 women and girls, who had been displaced from several towns and villages in Borno State.
Eight women were previously abducted by Boko Haram fighters and forced into marriage before escaping to Maiduguri. Four victims told Human Rights Watch they were first drugged before they were raped at the camps. The rights groups said 37 of the victims were coerced into sex through false marriage promises, material and financial help, even food.
A 16-year-old girl from Baga said she was drugged and raped by a vigilante group member, who was in charge of distributing aid at one of the camps.
"I always told him I was too small [young]," she said. "The day he raped me, he offered me a drink in a cup. As soon as I drank it, I slept off."
A 30-year-old woman from Walassa fled to a camp with her remaining children, after Boko Haram fighters killed her husband and abducted her young daughters. She said one of the soldiers at the camp approached her for marriage.
"When he was pretending to woo me he used to provide for me, but as soon as I agreed and we began having sex, his gifts began to reduce until he abandoned me," she said. "Now my situation is worse as the pregnancy makes me sick, and I have no one to help me care for my children."
HRW says irregular supplies of food, clothes, medicine and other essentials for the displaced, along with restricted movement are factors contributing to the vulnerability of the victims, who are often widowed women and unaccompanied orphaned girls.
"I knew something was wrong when I woke up. I was in pain, and blood was coming out of my private part," said the girl. "I did not tell anyone, because I was afraid."
Rape and sexual abuse victims are less likely to seek health care, including psychological counseling, because of the shame they feel, the rights group said. Fewer than a handful of the 43 interviewed women and girls said they had received counseling. Many other victims are suspected to be infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases but are ashamed to seek treatment.
"Failure to respond to these widely reported abuses amounts to severe negligence or worse by Nigerian authorities," said Segun. "Authorities should provide adequate aid in the camps, ensure freedom of movement for all displaced people, safe and confidential health care for survivors, and punish the abusers."
Years of Boko Haram violence in northern Nigeria have taken a heavy toll on the region and its residents. Efforts by the government and aid groups to alleviate the humanitarian crisis have shown slow progress.
Boko Haram aims to institute Sharia law across the country and is fighting with government forces who are trying to put down its deadly insurgency.
More than 20,000 people have been killed in the violence, thousands abducted and nearly 2.5 million displaced.
In 2014, Boko Haram fighters abducted nearly 300 girls from a school in Chibok, prompting a global campaign for their release. While some of the girls have escaped or have been rescued, many of the remaining girls are believed to be still held by the terror group.
A kiss they shared on a Marrekesh rooftop may result in three years in prison for two teenage Moroccan girls, charged with having committed a "lewd and unnatural act" under the Muslim nation's criminal code, CNN Arabic reported Thursday.
The girls, ages 16 and 17, are being represented in court by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, an official with that organization told CNN Arabic.
While in recent years Moroccan authorities have put the north African nation as a successful model of a moderate Muslim regime, in October the Party of Justice and Development (PJD), an Islamist group, secured the largest share of seats in the 395-seat parliament and with it the right to assemble a governing coalition.
"For their part, the Islamists have chosen to play by the rules set by the King and they do not seek to impose an Islamist ideology on the country nor challenge the monarch's religious and temporal authority," the Financial Times reported on Oct. 8, adding that "[m]any of the party's supporters cite its anti-corruption drive as the main reason they vote for it rather than its Islamist credentials."
On November 1, 2016, the UN General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee adopted a resolution on nuclear weapons in the Middle East which singled out Israel as a threat to the region. The draft resolution passed by a vote of 147 "yes" votes, 6 "no" votes (Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Namibia, Palau, United States) and 21 abstentions on November 1, 2016. (Namibia later clarified it had not intended to vote "no."). The resolution, entitled "The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East," referring to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, includes:
The General Assembly...
Recalling that Israel remains the only State in the Middle East that has not yet become a party to the Treaty...
5. Reaffirms the importance of Israel's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, in realizing the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East;
6. Calls upon that State to accede to the Treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full scope Agency safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security;...
During discussions prior to the vote, the representative of Iran accused Israel of being the "source of serious threats" in the Middle East - notwithstanding Iran's nuclear weapons program or its direct support of terrorist organizations throughout the world
In Iran's words:
"It is crystal clear that the aggressive and expansionist policies of the Israeli regime ... its large arsenal of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction... are the sources of serious threats posed to regional and international peace and security. Indeed, the Israeli regime is the only obstacle to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East."
Syria, which has used chemical weapons on its own people, followed suit, claiming Israel posed a "unique threat." In its words:
"[T]here is a worldwide consensus about the unique threat in the Middle East, which lies in the fact that Israel is a possessor of nuclear weapons, and that it can use these weapons to many regions, and it has also biological weapons..."
November 2, 2016
Lessons of the UNESCO Vote Article
November 1, 2016
Will Obama Betray Israel? Article
Speaking at the UN on October 31, 2016, human rights aficionado Syria lectured Israel about protecting human rights. Despite bombing hospitals, using chemical weapons on its own people, and using conventional weapons to kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, Syria accused Israel of the "worst violations."
Their examples? Arabs in the Golan are "unable to go to Damascus to receive medical treatment," and "prevented from selling" agricultural products to the Syrian government.
And nobody laughed.
Speaking at the UN on October 31, 2016, Jordan made the astonishing suggestion that Palestinian terrorism was an "unfounded pretext" for Israeli self-defense. The comment took place at the General Assembly's Fourth Committee (a committee of the whole comprised of all 193 UN member states) during consideration of a report of the so-called "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories."
In the Jordanian representative's words:
"It is no longer acceptable to launch these unfounded pretexts and say that the violence by the Palestinians is undermining the peace process."
Israeli security forces thwarted a potential stabbing by a female Palestinian planning an attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs on Tuesday morning.
Security forces at the revered West Bank site found two knives in the woman's possession during searches after she aroused their suspicion.
The Palestinian woman was transferred to security services for further investigation.
October 31, 2016
A terrorist attempted to run over and stab soldiers near a checkpoint in the settlement of Ofra near Ramallah early Saturday morning. No IDF forces were injured in the attack.
Following the attempted vehicular assault, soldiers opened fire at the terrorist's vehicle, prompting him to exit the vehicle with a knife and attempt to stab the soldiers. IDF forces opened fire severely wounding the terrorist. The terrorist, 30, was evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center in Mt. Scopus.
Soldiers from the Kfir Brigade, who are responsible for the sector, set up the checkpoint in response to an attempted attack that occurred Friday in which a terrorist opened fire in the direction of Ofra causing no damage and wounding no one. Security forces found shell casings and the IDF and Shin Bet are investigating if there is a connection between the two attacks.
The two attacks come during a particularly eventful weekend which saw two other attempted attacks thwarted by security forces.
A 23 year-old Palestinian from Hebron was arrested following the discovery of a knife after a body search was conducted. Border Police became suspicious of the man's behavior and conducted the search after the man refused to stop. Following his arrest and questioning, it was revealed that he planned to carry out a stabbing attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs.
In addition to the attempted attack in Hebron, two eight year-old Palestinian children from Beit Fajjar carrying knives were detained by IDF forces by the border fence near the settlement of Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion. During questioning, the children said an adult man gave them the knives and told them to carry out an attack. They were transferred to Palestinian police.
"Since the U.S. in 2011 withdrew its funding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after it granted the Palestinian Authority full membership, little has changed within the so-called cultural arm of Turtle Bay. Witness its latest resolution:
In further appeasement to Palestinians, UNESCO dismissed the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem to Israel, which it refers to as the 'occupying power,' The Daily Signal reports. And while UNESCO notes the significance of Jerusalem's holy sites to Christianity, Islam and Judaism, it specifies only Muslim holy sites, according to The Daily Signal.
'To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China,' said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Subsequently Israel has suspended its cooperation with UNESCO.
Rightfully so, the U.S. has suspended its UNESCO funding - U.S. laws prohibit funding any U.N. agency that grants membership to the Palestine Liberation Organization - but America remains an agency member. The Obama administration has tried repeatedly to change the law to allow U.S. funding. In effect, that would reward Palestinian efforts to avoid a negotiated peace or even recognizing Israel.
UNESCO has made clear its anti-Israel bias. The U.S. should make equally clear its objection by fully withdrawing from UNESCO."
UNESCO's insult Article
Kneeling on the ground, facing the floor as she prepares for her punishment, this woman is the latest victim of Indonesia's strict Islamic rules.
The 20-year-old was forced to undergo a public caning today after being caught standing too close to her boyfriend in Banda Aceh province.
Under Islamic Sharia law, unmarried couples are forbidden from becoming too intimate.
And after being accused of breaking the rules, she was brought to a stage outside a mosque after being escorted by two women and forced to kneel on the ground.
She was then given her punishment of being lashed across the back with a cane.
"In a secret ballot Wednesday, the United Nations cultural body, UNESCO, voted to retain Jerusalem's walled Old City area on the list of endangered world heritage sites.
Benign on its face, the resolution's wording nonetheless betrays the underlying bias against Israel that pervades many UN entities. It identifies Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount - Har HaBayit in Hebrew, site of the twice-destroyed Temple - only by its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif, the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. The resolution also refers to Bethlehem's Tomb of Rachel and Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs - burial site of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (about as Jewishly 'heritage' as it gets) - as 'two Palestinian sites.'
Israel has understandably suspended cooperation with UNESCO - which claims its mission is to promote 'intercultural understanding' and 'build peace in the minds of men and women.' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the resolution as an 'absurdity, (which) harms not only the historical truth and the truth of the present, but also harms ... the UN itself.'
The language of the resolution was drafted by the Palestinians who, since joining UNESCO in 2010, have put great energy into demonizing and delegitimizing Israel. Given the UN's usual indifference to Israel's moral claims, it is commendable that members of UNESCO and the UN leadership sought to distance themselves from the resolution. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon firmly upheld the Temple Mount's status as 'the holiest place in Judaism.' And in response to a denunciatory letter from Zionist Union lawmaker Tzipi Livni, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova protested that, 'such decisions are discussed and taken by the member states' and had nothing to do with her.
As we know from the phenomenon of Holocaust denial, in an increasingly relativistic, 'post-fact' era, it has become possible for ideologues to seize on a strategy of emotive 'narratives' that favour feelings - or, in this case, mass delusion - over objective truths. The film Denial, which recreates American historian Deborah Lipstadt's ordeal in a British court facing notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, reminds us that even the most well-documented genocide in human history is not an impenetrable archival fortress; determined anti-Semites neither slumber nor sleep in their obsession to justify their hatred. Constant vigilance is called for - and, as the film also shows, appeasement of haters is never the right option.
There are 21 member countries on UNESCO's World Heritage Committee. Ten of them voted for the resolution, two voted against and eight abstained, with one absent. Although one of 195 UNESCO associates, Canada is not a member of this committee. Nor are Israel or the U.S.: they suspended funding to UNESCO when the Palestinians were admitted, anticipating that an extension of the continuing assault on Israel and its existence was inevitable.
The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared its determination to 're-engage' with the UN after a decade in which the Conservative government kept its distance. Trudeau insisted this would not involve dilution of Canada's firm support for Israel. 'Israel is a friend, Israel is an ally, Israel is a country that has values and an approach on many, many issues that are very much aligned with Canadian values,' he said, adding, 'at the same time ... we won't hesitate from talking about unhelpful steps like the continued illegal settlements. We will point that out. We will continue to engage in a forthright and open way because that's what people expect of Canada.'
Engaging in a 'forthright and open' discussion of 'unhelpful steps' would certainly include condemnation of a resolution as blatantly one-sided and biased as the one approved by UNESCO. Trudeau has recognized that 'the double standard that's often applied to Israel' does not help bring peace to the region, yet that very same double standard is what's on display here.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion responded on Twitter, by saying that 'Canada strongly rejects @UNESCO World Heritage Cmte for res. singling out #Israel & denying Judaism's link to Old City + Western Wall. Old City important to 3 faiths – to deny one undermines integrity of site for all and the purpose of UNESCO.'
Is that the best Canada can do? If so, it undermines Trudeau's claim that Israel will retain Canada's strong support. It will take more than a pair of tweets to root out the anti-Israel virus that pervades the UN. Canada should make clear its determination to take concrete steps to destroy the hatred that lies behind it. One hundred and 40 characters is simply not enough."
"Turkish police detained the editor and a dozen senior staff from the main secularist opposition newspaper on Monday, a day after 10,000 more civil servants were sacked over suspected links to a failed July coup.
Turkey's crackdown since rogue soldiers tried to seize power on July 15 has alarmed Western allies and rights groups, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup attempt to crush dissent. More than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 37,000 arrested over the past three and a half months.
The Istanbul prosecutor's office said the staff from the Cumhuriyet daily, one of few media outlets still critical of Erdogan, were suspected of committing crimes on behalf of Kurdish militants and the network of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric. Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating the coup attempt, in which he denies any involvement.
The prosecutor's office said the detentions followed an investigation into allegations that the newspaper had published material justifying the events of July 15.
Cumhuriyet said on its website that 12 of its staff had been detained and some had their laptops seized from their homes. Footage showed one writer, Aydin Engin, 75, being ushered by plain clothes police into a hospital for medical checks.
Asked by reporters to comment on his detention, Engin said: 'I work for Cumhuriyet, isn't that enough?'
A further 10,000 civil servants were dismissed and 15 more media outlets ordered closed on Sunday over suspected links to Gulen's network and militant groups. A court also jailed, pending trial, the co-mayors of the largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.
The government says the measures are justified by the threat posted to the state by the coup attempt, in which more than 240 people were killed. Erdogan says the crackdown is crucial for 'cleansing' the state apparatus of Gulenist influence.
'COUP AGAINST DEMOCRACY'
Cumhuriyet's previous editor Can Dundar was jailed for publishing state secrets involving Turkey's support for Syrian rebels. The case sparked censure from rights groups and Western governments worried about worsening human rights in Turkey under Erdogan.
Cumhuriyet said Dundar, who was freed in February and is now abroad, was one of those facing arrest.
Opposition groups say the purges are being used to silence all dissent against Erdogan and the governing AKP party in Turkey, a NATO member which aspires to membership of the European Union.
'The AKP's coup against democracy is continuing,' Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party, wrote on Twitter.
'This is an operation targeting the corporate identity of this paper. It is an effort to punish the critical publications of this paper, which is as old as the Republic itself and one of its biggest symbols,' he said.
The government this month extended a state of emergency imposed after the coup attempt for three months until mid-January. Erdogan said the authorities needed more time to wipe out the threat posed by Gulen's network as well as Kurdish PKK militants who have waged a 32-year insurgency.
Ankara wants the United States to detain and extradite Gulen so that he can be prosecuted in Turkey on a charge that he masterminded the attempt to overthrow the government. Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any part in it."