Resources updated between Monday, May 19, 2014 and Sunday, May 25, 2014
May 25, 2014
May 23, 2014
According to the top UN human rights official Israel is guilty until proven innocent...or just guilty despite all the evidence to the contrary.
On May 23, 2014, UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay accused Israel of "extrajudicial executions ... as well as willful killings" of two Palestinians who came into contact with Israeli security forces during a Palestinian riot on so-called "Nakba Day" May 15, 2014.
To support Pillay's charge the OHCHR spokesperson also said that "the killing comes amid a series of incidents involving the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces" which was "reported in the High Commissioner's last report to the Human Rights Council."
Except that in her "last report" - dated January 13, 2014 and released in February 2014 - Pillay resorted to falsifying evidence.
In the January 2014 report the High Commissioner lists alleged "incidents" on which she based her conclusion of "excessive use of force". Two incidents described in the report illustrate well her animosity against Israel.
First, the January 2014 report alleges that Jihad Aslan and Younis Jahjouh "were shot and killed as they threw stones at the [IDF] soldiers" and that UNRWA employee Ruben Zayed, "was shot and killed on his way to work by the Israeli security forces as they were leaving the [Qalandia refugee] camp." It concludes that "In all of these cases, those killed or injured presented no threat to the lives of the soldiers." In fact, while apprehending an arms dealer in the Qalandia refugee camp, the IDF was "confronted by scores of young Palestinian men who attacked them with Molotov cocktails, stones, cinder blocks and various other objects and shot at them." In response the soldiers fired shots at the rioters. After the investigation the IDF concluded that there was no excessive use of force because the violence the soldiers encountered was "extreme and unusual". In addition, the funeral of the three Palestinians was attended by Hamas leader Jamal al-Tawil. Also present was a member of Fatah's Central Committee, who called on the Palestinians to set up "human shields" to "protect the members of the resistance [i.e., terrorist organizations] and guard the homeland".
An objective report would at least have included both accounts of this event.
And the High Commissioner didn't stop there. The second incident described in the January 2014 report leaves readers with the impression that a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli soldiers. The January 2014 report alleges that "The Israeli security forces seemed to have made the decision to use force that was not proportionate to the seriousness of the offence." It further alleges that "the IDF soldiers responded to stones thrown at their convoy as it passed through a crowded market near Qabatiya on 31 October 2013 with tear gas, sound grenades and live ammunition, which resulted in the death of an unarmed 21-year-old man, Ahmad Tazaz'a." But in fact, IDF forces were attacked with "IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and stones" while trying to detain terrorist operatives in Qabatiya. And Ahmed Tazaz'a was not killed by IDF fire. He was actually injured in an "internal conflict" among Palestinian factions and was already hospitalized at the time of the confrontation between Israeli troops and a group of Palestinians. A detailed IDF investigation found that "official Palestinian reports said Tazaza arrived at hospital between 03:00 and 04:00, at least more than an hour before shots in the air were fired by the IDF."
So it should come as no surprise that Pillay has jumped the gun in the case of the May 15, 2014 "Nakba" riot incident.
What we do know about the events of May 15, 2014 (and ignored by Pillay) is that the rioters hurled "Molotov cocktails, burning tires and rocks at soldiers and Border Police officers" near the Ofer jail. An army source described the rioting as "very serious" and "very aggressive attack on security personnel." The military also said that "an initial check of the incident and interviews of security personnel who dealt with it found that "no live fire" was used", only rubber bullets. Also, according to the Al-Aqsa TV one of the Palestinians killed was a Hamas member. Hamas and Fatah activists, participated in the funeral for the two, and one of the dead Palestinians was wrapped in a Hamas flag.
The IDF has ordered an investigation of the event. Because that is what democracies and countries which honor the rule of law do. Notwithstanding the UN's proclivity to demonize Israel whatever the facts or the law.
Day two of the "The UN International Meeting on the Question of Jerusalem" in Ankara, Turkey turned into an anti-Israel frenzy.
May 13, 2014 was the final day of a 2-day event organized by the UN "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People." The meeting was in "observance of the international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people" whose primary purpose is the unmitigated demonization of the UN member state of Israel.
The discussion included the following:
May 22, 2014
Russia and China have vetoed a French-led UN Security Council draft resolution which would have referred the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court.
The resolution would have "condemned the 'widespread violation' of human rights and international humanitarian law by Syrian authorities and pro-government militias as well as abuses and violations by 'non-state armed groups' during the last three years."
The vetoes mark the fourth time in the past three years that Russia and China have used their powers as permanent council members to prevent any form of action against Bashar Assad's government.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin thought the event was something of a joke. As he smiled for reporters he said, "I'm going to be boringly predictable" - and then vetoed. He had "earlier had called the resolution a 'publicity stunt.'"
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power lamented: "Sadly, because of the decision of the Russian Federation to back the Syrian regime no matter what it does, the Syrian people will not see justice."
She might have added other reasons why the Syrian people have not seen justice, beginning with the decision by the Obama administration to embolden Assad in the first place by painting him as a "reformer" and reinstating a U.S. Ambassador to his regime. She could then have discussed the Obama administration's saving of Assad by narrowing its focus to chemical weapons, legitimizing Putin as a key player after the "red lines" debacle, prioritizing nuke talks with Iran over Iranian support for Assad, and so on. But she didn't.
In the meantime, the prospect the UN will come to the rescue of the Syrian people is currently zero.
58 countries urge UN to refer Syria to ICC
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is keeping a list of suspected criminals in Syrian war "under lock and key." It is unclear why keeping their identities secret actually helps the victims of their crimes or discourages them from creating new victims.
On May 22, 2014 the UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss a draft resolution circulated by France that would "refer the situation in Syria since March 2011" to the International Criminal Court.
Despite an appeal from 58 countries to all 193 U.N. member states for support, Russia and China are expected to veto the resolution.
May 21, 2014
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the death of 162,402 persons as of 18/03/2011, which witnessed the fall of the first martyr in Dera'a, and until 31/03/2014.
The casualties are as follows:
Civilians: 80,836 civilians including 8,607 children and 5,586 women
Rebel and islamic fighters: 26,858
Defected soldiers and officers: 2,314
Arab, European, Asian, American and Australian fighters from the ISIS, al-Nusra front, Junoud al-Sham battalion, Jund al-Aqsa battalion, Jund al-Sham movement and al-Khadra' battalion: 13,529
Regular soldiers and officers: 37,685
Combatants from popular defence committees, national defence forces, shabiha, pro-regime informers and the "Syrian resistance to liberate the Sanjak of Alexandretta": 23,485
Arab and Asian pro-regime militants: 1224
Fighters from Hezbollah : 438
Unidentified casualties (documented by pictures and footages): 2,891
It is worth noting that the numbers do not include more than 18,000 detainees in regime prisons and thousands of those who disappeared during regime raids and massacres. It also doesn't include more than 8,000 regular soldiers and pro-regime militants and hundreds of "regime supporters" captured by the ISIS, islam fighters, al-Nusra front and rebel fighters and hundreds of those kidnapped by pro-regime militants.
The numbers also do not include more than 1500 fighters from the YPG, ISIS, al-Nusra front, islamic battalions and rebel battalions who were kidnapped during clashes between the mentioned sides.
"[E]ven in African nations that have adopted policies and laws aimed at empowering and protecting women and girls, violence against them remains a major challenge...
Some women's rights activists say the culture of transactional underage sex is a sad legacy of Liberia's brutal 14-year civil war, which ended a decade ago, during which young girls became 'girlfriends' of men in various fighting factions to secure access to food and other material goods. Others argue the increasing number of girls hustling on the street is a result of growing economic hardship, combined with a culture that requires girls to do most of the domestic labor and support the household.
The small West African nation remains one of the poorest in the world with over 50 percent of the population living in extreme poverty on less than 50 cents a day, according to the European Commission. But this assumption that girls should use their bodies to provide for the family has its roots in Liberia's patriarchal culture, which has a long history of fetishizing and abusing young girls who were in the past often married off to older men when they reached puberty, according to Korto Williams, country director of ActionAid an organization that has focused on promoting women's rights in Liberia...
The punishment on the books [for sex with an underage prostitute] is life imprisonment, although this is rarely enforced...[T]he court has only completed 18 trials in the past four years, with just a handful of convictions. In 2012 only five trials were completed, and 93 percent of the cases were dismissed."
Liberia's Child Prostitutes Document
On May 21, 2014 the UN screened a film in which Israel is depicted as a green monster that attacks a kite created by hapless Palestinian children just yearning for freedom. As filmmaker Nitin Sawhney unabashedly explained to his UN audience: "the dragon was an Israeli gunship and the kite became the persona of the child trying to deal with that." The imagery of Jews as serpents was a frequent tool of Nazi propaganda.
The screening of "Flying Paper" was held at UN headquarters in New York City, and was advertised by the UN as "a documentary on Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip." The event was organized by the "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," created in 1975 to implement the notorious Zionism-is-racism General Assembly resolution.
The trailer for the documentary says "it's a story about Palestinian's creative resilience". More specifically, its creative antisemitism includes: a segment with "interviews with a fisherman from the Gaza seaport, who pleads with the Israeli navy to stop destroying his livelihood - the Israeli vessels are replaced with a giant, dragon-like sea monster which bites and lunges at the kite."
According to the film's promotional material, the film "tells the story...despite the blockade, of creative resistance and freedom."
Palestinian "resistance" in the form of kidnapping, mortar and rocket attacks against Israelis - as opposed to children flying kites - is never mentioned.
As is the usual fare of Palestinian propaganda, the film's directors talk about "the blockade" and the "siege" in a vacuum, with no references to the repeated and ongoing attempts to use Gazan waters, tunnels and all other access points, to provide lethal weapons to Palestinian terrorists.
The film also includes scenes of a kite "entangled in a barbed-wire fence," and a kite "homed in on by an Israeli drone, and caught up in its computerized crosshairs."
The co-directors have obligingly explained the film's agenda to anyone who might have thought it was about kites. "Nitin [Sawhney] co-founded a nonprofit initiative called Voices Beyond Walls to conduct digital video and storytelling workshops with children and youth in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. Flying Paper is his first feature-length documentary film. Speaking about the workshops, he said the children were trained to make films themselves. 'It gave them an opportunity to tell stories about their detention, prisons and what they went through during their war...Flying Paper catches the simple act of flying kites...and breaking out of the occupation...'"
Israel-bashing reviewers have got the message - as has the UN audience: "The idea of a kite is much more for children experiencing living in a big prison."
Actually, the real prison is Palestinian antisemitism, persistent rejection of a Jewish state, and self-declared war with their Jewish neighbors for the last 66 years.
The film's co-director Nitin Sawhney, has a long history of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism. For instance, he has been a member of the steering committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an organization that laments "Israeli-controlled media" that is allegedly standing in the way of access to information about "Israeli apartheid."
In 2008, Sawhney established the international Expressions of Nakba Exhibition. The Exhibition's web-site describes the creation of the State of Israel as follows:
"Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria's central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing at least 118 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria. The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke.
'It's horrifying, terrible,' said Mark Lipdo of the Stefanos Foundation, a Christian charity based in Jos, who described the sickening smell of burning human flesh. A woman's body, her legs blown off, lay on the edge of an inferno consuming other bodies. In the middle if the flames, an arm reached up. Another woman, unconscious and wrapped in a brightly colored cloth, was being carried away in a wheelbarrow on a road strewn with glass shards. Dozens of bodies and body parts were covered in grain that had been loaded in the second car bomb, witnesses said.
A Terminus Market official said he helped remove 50 casualties, most of them dead. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters. At least 118 people were killed and dozens wounded in the bombings, which ignited fires that were still burning eight hours later, according to Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency...
President Goodluck Jonathan indicated he blamed Boko Haram for Tuesday's bombings."
"Iranian authorities arrested on Monday at least six people who starred in a viral YouTube video that shows them dancing to Pharrell Williams' 'Happy,' according to multiple reports. In the video, three men and three women without hijabs are seen dancing to the hit song in an apartment and on a Tehran building rooftop. It went viral in the past few weeks, attracting nearly 200,000 views on YouTube, according to a Facebook post published by the video's art director, Reihane Taravati. No official explanation has been given for the arrests yet, though some believe the content runs afoul of Iranian law.
Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C., told Mashable that she wasn't surprised the six people were arrested. When Mortazavi first saw the video, she thought it was dangerous to upload it online, considering its content. 'Not wearing hijabs and dancing, boys and girls together - that's three big red flags,' she said."