The following is a transcript of the prepared remarks B'Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad delivered to UN Security Council members during a special 'Arria-formula' session on 'Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution' in New York on October 14, 2016. By Hagai El-Ad Members of the Security Council, Ladies and Gentlemen, Before I begin, I would like to express my deep thanks for this unique opportunity of speaking at this distinguished forum and engaging with the members of the UN Security Council. What I’m about to say is not meant to shock you. It is, however, meant to move you. For…Read More... | 5 Comments
By Marian Houk and John Brown* It didn’t take more than a few hours before the United Nations found out Israeli intelligence agents had arrested one of its Palestinian engineers as he was returning to the Gaza Strip through the Erez military checkpoint. The very next morning, on July 4, a senior UNDP official in Jerusalem fired off a “Note Verbale” to Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu, that expressed anxiety. “At around 1730 hours while at Erez, Mr. [Waheed] al-Bursh was taken by two security officers, and since then we know nothing about him." The UN official, Roberto Valent, asked that…Read More... | 3 Comments
An anti-torture law currently being drafted by the Justice Ministry is not enough to fix an entire legal system that allows the practice to be used against an occupied population. During its review session at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva on Wednesday, Israel’s representatives informed the committee that the Justice Ministry is drafting a bill that, for the first time, would explicitly enshrine torture as a crime under Israeli law. This appears to be a very positive development in a years-long battle to end Israel’s use of torture, championed by torture victims, human rights groups, and UN bodies.…Read More... | 2 Comments
He may be serving five consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison but Marwan Barghouti is the only leader who has a chance to succeed Mahmoud Abbas and unite the Palestinian people. This is how he plans on doing it. By Menachem Klein Until recently Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was considered only a lame duck. Long ago he had promised not to run for president in the next elections. Not a single politician threatened him, he did not appoint a vice president, and elections never took place. But over the past two weeks Abbas has gone from lame duck to…Read More... | 2 Comments
Only 16 percent of destroyed or severely damaged households have been made habitable, a new UN survey finds. Some 75,000 Palestinians, including an estimated 44,000 children, remain internally displaced in the Gaza Strip almost two years after the devastating war with Israel that killed over 2,000 people, according to a United Nations survey of the situation published Tuesday. An estimated 18,000 housing units (16,965 households) in Gaza were either destroyed or severely damaged during the war. Only 3,000 of those housing units, or 16 percent, have since been rebuilt or otherwise rendered habitable, according to the UN’s Office for the…Read More...
Israeli politicians endlessly chastise the Supreme Court for doubting the use of punitive home demolitions. So what do the politicians do? Blame the judges for defending terrorists. By Frances Raday The spate of stabbing and vehicular attacks by Palestinian youths over the past couple of months has brought along with it a spate of punitive home demolitions targeting the attackers' family members. Both political leaders and Israeli Supreme Court justices have had something to say about the practice. The justices have expressed some doubt about the practice, and in some cases even issued injunctions delaying the demolitions. In response, politicians…Read More...
Our hearts are desensitized by horror fatigue, convinced that nothing can change. But we must still try, if not for the dead then for the living. A lifetime of sorrow lies before four children who became orphans last night when their parents were killed in a hailstorm of bullets on a West Bank road. The children were in the car when it happened, including a four-month-old infant. The oldest was nine. They were unharmed physically, but their suffering is indescribable. But it’s time to admit that aside from their circle of family and friends, no one else really cares. If we did,…Read More...
The Israeli prime minister digs deeper into his bag of UN shtick. (Updated below with even better versions.) Israeli Prime Minister is known for his antics and shtick at the United Nations. In the past he has flaunted cartoon drawings of bombs, waved blueprints of Auschwitz and now he used a new prop — deafening silence. Deriding the entire world for ignoring threats to Israel by Iran, Netanyahu accused the representatives present in the UNGA chamber: “the response from every one of you here, utter silence. Deafening silence.” And then he went silent. With the most terrifying evil stare, or perhaps…Read More... | 4 Comments
Dozens of Palestinians and several Border Police officers wounded in third day of clashes over restrictions to Jerusalem's holiest site. Tensions erupted in East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday, as dozens of Palestinians and three Border Police officers were wounded in the third day of clashes over restrictions on Muslim worship in one of Jerusalem's holiest sites. [tmwinpost] According to Ma'an News Agency, dozens Palestinians were wounded during clashes with Israeli security forces throughout the West Bank. Eighteen of them were lightly wounded near the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum, while protesting in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid…Read More... | 1 Comment
The UN's Commission of Inquiry report on the 2014 Gaza war has been able to achieve what the Goldstone report could not in 2009: a new gateway for confronting the EU to demand accountability for the devastation of the war. Two weeks ago the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to adopt the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, calling for the implementation of the report’s recommendations. In a move that some observers described as “unprecedented,” all eight EU member states on the Council – the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland,…Read More... | 2 Comments
Instead of earnestly pursuing peace, consecutive Israeli governments have attempted three policies: separating the Palestinians, erasing borders and boundaries, and attempting to change the world's perception of reality. All three have failed. Since Benjamin Netanyahu began his second term as prime minister in 2009, he has resisted reaching a two-state solution but he also claims not to want a single state, with or without a Jewish hegemony. Nobody seems to be willing to simply ask the prime minister: what do you intend for Israel and the Palestinians in five or 10 years from now? In lieu of a vision, Netanyahu…Read More... | 8 Comments
The number of Palestinian children killed in 2014 was the third-highest of all situations the UN monitored — after Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel and Hamas are left off a list of rights-violating states and groups, allegedly as a result of political pressure. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a last-minute decision to leave Israel off the UN's annual list of states and groups that gravely violate children’s rights this week. Ban reportedly removed Israel from the list, which forms an annex to the Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), as a result of diplomatic pressure from the U.S., including…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israel's two biggest newspapers didn't hesitate to copy-paste a press release from the Foreign Ministry, turning a small London organization into 'Hamas in Europe.' By Yoni Mendel I often hear Israeli friends and co-workers belittle the Arab-speaking media in Israel. Especially due to the fact that many Arab media outlets in Israel don't actually employ journalists, and that any piece written in good Arabic for one of the more popular Arab news sites will likely be published without any changes. [tmwinpost] I thought about it yesterday as I took the train from Tel Aviv to Haifa, while leafing through Yedioth…Read More... | 1 Comment
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