Adonis Diaries

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How the half million Palestinian refugees disappeared in Lebanon since 1948?

Note: The survey sheds light on the living conditions of the latest count of 174,422 Palestinian refugees, as well as another 18,601 Palestinians who fled the neighboring conflict in Syria to camps in Lebanon. Instead of the official count of over 460,000 since 1948 and the successive Israel preemptive wars in Palestine and Lebanon.

The painstakingly conducted count found the Palestinians evenly divided between men and women with half of the total 24 years or younger. While 7.2 percent are illiterate, 93.6% of children aged between three to 13 were enrolled in schools.

Also documented is the well-known fact that Lebanon’s Palestinian camps suffer serious problems, with varying degrees of poverty, diseases, overcrowding, unemployment, poor housing and lack of any functioning infrastructure.

The census found that the rate of unemployment among young Palestinians aged 20 to 29 is 28.5% whereas for Lebanese it is currently 6.8 percent (If this percentage of unemployed Lebanese is correct, it certainly Not taking account of the thousands who immigrate every year for no return and those living in remote areas, barely surviving).

By Franklin Lamb [First Published by Counter Punch, January 5, 2018]

Rashidieh Palestinian camp, on the border of Occupied Palestine, by Franklin P. Lamb The first ever official census of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was finally released on 12/21/2017 in Beirut. The village by village and camp by camp survey by 500 specialists found that only 174,422 Palestinian refugees are living these days in the country.

Counted were all Palestinians living in the 12 official camps and 156 informal settlements known as ‘gatherings’ and those living outside these areas across Lebanon. This figure is shockingly lower than the previous estimate of 469,331 Palestinians by UNRWA and as many as 600,00 by others for political purposes. (Trump has started to drop funding of UNRWA

Lebanon is a country where demographics have long been a politically sensitive subject to be approached with extreme caution. For the past nearly 85 years (since 1932) Lebanon’s leaders have refused to allow a count of the population out of feelings of terror that a rival sect, among the 17 other rival sects, might gain power at their expense were there to be an honest count. Consequently, plenty of political lords have used fake population figures, without fear of contradiction by a forbidden official government count, to secure benefits-political and financial- for their own sect.

With respect to Lebanon and regional endemic tribalism, one is reminded of the words of Hannah Arendt from her volume, “The Origins of Totalitarianism:”

“Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by “a world of enemies”, “one against all”, that a fundamental difference exists between these people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man”.

The reason for UNWRA’s own higher figures since it was created by General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) 69 years ago this month to help feed and care for refugees forced out of their homes in Palestine, its mandate has always been to register all Palestinians who, since the 1948 Nakba, apply for its help.

This UNWRA has faithfully done to the best of its ability while facing many obstacles-political and financial-over the decades.

Affecting its record keeping, starting in 1950s, scores of thousands of Palestinian refugees left Lebanon for a better life abroad. Just as more than 1,780,000 Lebanese have done since the onslaught of Lebanon’s civil war in 1975. Hence the larger number of UNRWA recorded registrants. UNRWA does not have a headcount of every Palestinian refugee who currently resides in Lebanon.

What they do have are official registration records for the number of registered Palestine refugees in Lebanon. If a Palestinian registered with UNRWA in Lebanon should decide to live outside Lebanon, as countless thousands have, they don’t normally advise UNRWA that they are moving.

As a gentleman this observer admires, Hassan Mneimneh, chairman of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee, which coordinated the census, told the media a couple of weeks ago, “tens of thousands of Palestinians left Lebanon when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) withdrew from the country in 1982. This observer knows something about this firsthand as he was on one of the August 1982 boats than left Beirut harbor by boat for Tunis courtesy of an invitation from Yasser Arafat along with the American journalist, Janet Lee Stevens.

Unfortunately, Janet missed the boat as she was assuring a group of Palestinian women in Burj al Barajneh camp in South Beirut that all would be OK as they worried about losing their PLO protection. The next month was the Sabra-Shatila massacre and seven months later April 18, 1983 Janet and our unborn child, Clyde Chester Lamb III were killed in the bombing at the American Embassy.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians left Lebanon when the PLO withdrew from the country in 1982.

Like the Lebanese over the past 3 decades, many Palestinians try to leave Lebanon at the first opportunity. And why wouldn’t they?

Lebanese seemingly leave their birth country any chance they get these days and during Lebanon’s civil war more than one million left and hundreds of thousands have until today.

There are fewer than 3.5 million Lebanese remaining with many of them searching for the first opportunity to begin a new life elsewhere because they realize that there is little future here for their children given the deep prevailing corruption of the former ‘warlords’ who appointed themselves ‘political lords. Other reasons include the growing Iranian occupation of Lebanon and the failure of the Sunni and Christians to counter the takeover of their country.

According to this seminal study, undertaken by both Lebanese and Palestinian statistics bureaus and the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, 45.1 percent of the 174,000 Palestinians in Lebanon live in refugee camps, while the remaining 54.9 percent live in “other gatherings.”

According to the census taking teams spokesperson: “We would see huge numbers used, 500, or 600 thousand, and these would be used in politics. But this demographic project was able to define things, and thank God today we have results,”

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in an address at the event where the figures were released. The survey sheds much needed light on the living conditions of 174,422 Palestinian refugees, as well as another 18,601 Palestinians who fled the neighboring conflict in Syria to camps in Lebanon. The survey found that the number of Palestinian in Lebanon were split essentially evenly between men and women, with half of the total being 24 years or younger. The percentage of Palestinian youth is nearly identical to the numbers of youth across the Middle East.

Dear reader can imagine what these demographics and living conditions portend for this region as the bright, energetic and acutely aware youth seek justice and empowerment from dictatorships who have cynically denied them empowerment for countless decades. Revolution is in the air across in Lebanon’s Palestinian camps and across this region.

Announcing the population survey results, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Lebanon had a “duty” towards Palestinians. He pointed to “exaggerations” as for the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon which estimated the count at 600,000. He said the “actual number is 174,422,” assuring “that the State will adhere to its responsibilities.”

Hariri lamented how “some parties in the international community wish to offer no help to UNRWA but instead want to disrupt UNRWA.”

Pointing to the UNRWA’s financial crisis, he said: “It directly affects the basic requirements of refugees in Lebanon. We call upon donor countries to increase their contributions and support to enable UNRWA fulfill its financial obligations to meet the needs of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”

With a total of $644,701,999 in contributions, the US, EU, UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan pay 71% of the annual UNRWA budget. Mr. Hariri omitted mention of the fact that Lebanon, like Israel, donates zero dollars to UNRWA’s budget.

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Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in Syria.

Like Iraq, Syria is the cradle of civilization, and as such it has been a rich source of our shared global culture and historic heritage. Already endangered from illegal excavation, looting, international trafficking and iconoclasm; the theft and destruction of these sites has greatly increased as a result of the conflict in the Middle East.

Many of the endangered archeological sites and artifacts are over 7,000 years old. The oldest remains found in Syria are from the Paleolithic era (c. 800,000 BCE). The most endangered artifacts and archaeological sites currently are in Tell Halaf, the north of Syria near the Turkish border with Syria. These archaeological sites date as far back as 5,500 BCE. They include archeological sites and artifacts of the Babylonian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Aramaic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, Ayyubid and Ottoman civilizations and empires.

Professor Franklin Lamb has also been working, sometimes under dangerous circumstances, to record and photograph the war damage done to religious icons, images, monuments, and ancient structures that span pre-Roman civilizations, and structures such as Islamic mosques, Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.

Professor Lamb is working tirelessly to record and photograph these sites and artifacts because they are in danger of complete destruction for religious, political and illegal trafficking reasons, especially due to the ongoing wars in the Middle East.

Professor Franklin Lamb’s website and his latest book, “Syria’s Endangered Heritage, an International Responsibility to Preserve and Protect” presents exclusive and never published before photographs, records, data, articles, and interviews from across the whole of Syria. His book can be purchased at his website http://www.syrian-heritage.com/.

In addition to Dr. Lamb’s urgent archaeological work he is also deeply committed to rescuing and aiding refugee children in Syria. He is a volunteer with the Lebanon, France, and USA based “Meals for Syrian Refugee Children, Lebanon (MSRCL)”, which seeks to provide hot nutritional meals to Syrian and other refugee children.

Lamb says that the goal of MSRCL is to be able to provide one meal a day to 500 children. More donors are needed in order for him to reach that goal. At $2.25 per meal x 500 children per day ($1,225), the budget for a month (30 days) requires approximately $36,000. Over 95% of each donation goes directly towards the cost of each meal. The MSCRL volunteer teams give their time, energy and even their own money to help the refugee children so that they will not become part of the “lost generation” of Syria.

Lamb’s books and publications include “Pollution as a Problem of International Law”; “International Legal Responsibility for the Sabra Shatila Massacre”; “Israel’s 1982 War in Lebanon: Eyewitness Chronicles of the Invasion and Occupation”, “The Price We Pay: A Quarter Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons against Civilians in Lebanon in addition to the three volume set, “Palestine, Lebanon & Syria Palestine, Lebanon & Syria (Commentary and Analysis 2006-2016).” Due out during Fall 2016, in English and Arabic, is “The Case for Palestinian Civil Rights in Lebanon: Why the Resistance Sleeps.”

Dr. Lamb’s most recent book is “Syria’s Endangered Heritage: An International Responsibility to Preserve and Protect”. http://www.Syrian-heritage.com

Lamb’s Academic Credentials include: BA, and Law Degrees from Boston University, Master of Law (LLM) Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from the London School of Economics (LSE); Diploma in International Air & Space Law from the University College of London; Post-Doctoral Studies at Harvard University Law School of East Asian Legal Studies Center, specializing in Chinese Law; International Legal Studies at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Studied Public International Law at The Hague Academy of international Law, at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands.

Lamb’s Professional and Political Activities include Assistant Professor of International Law, Northwestern College of Law, Portland, Oregon and Assistant Counsel to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, During the Administration of President Jimmy Carter, Lamb was elected for a four year term to the Democratic National Committee, representing the state of Oregon. Lamb served on the Democratic National Committee Judicial Council with California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as well as the Platform Committee on East-West Relations. Professor Lamb served on the presidential campaign staff for Presidential Candidate Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

mealsforsyrianrefugeechildrenlebanon.com/

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It is a well known fact in Middle-East: Israel funded terrorist ISIS and Al Nusra for years

Report Confirms Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years

The revelation may also explain why ISIS has rarely if ever launched attacks against Israeli citizens or on Israel territory.

In this Thursday, April 6, 2017 photo made in Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Israeli military medics assist wounded Syrians. Seven wounded Syrians crossed into Israeli controlled Heights Thursday night have received immediate treatment and were hospitalized later on. They are the latest group of Syrian fighters receiving free medical care through an Israeli military program operating since 2013. (AP/Dusan Vranic)

Earlier, when discussing why the Syrian “rebels” fighting Assad are in “turmoil”, we said that as a result of the ongoing Qatar crisis the various Saudi and Qatari supply chains supporting the rebels, both in terms of weapons and funding, had dried up due to the diplomatic fallout involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria’s Iran-backed president.”

We concluded that “the rebellion against Assad now seems moot, which is why the most likely outcome is a continued phase-out of support for forces fighting the Syria government until eventually, the situation reverts back to its pre-2011 “status quo.”

That, however, may have been premature as it was missing a key piece of data, one which was just revealed by the WSJ and which many had suspected.

According to the Journal, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been aligned from the onset of the Syrian conflict, “with Israel supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”

The Israeli army is in regular communication with rebel groups and its assistance includes undisclosed payments to commanders that help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons, according to interviews with about half a dozen Syrian fighters.

Israel has established a military unit that oversees the support in Syria—a country that it has been in a state of war with for decades—and set aside a specific budget for the aid, said one person familiar with the Israeli operation. (Actually, Syria never engaged Israel in a war since 1973. Israel tried several pre-emptive wars on Lebanon since then)

This news comes as a major surprise because while it was well known that Israel has provided medical help for Syrian civilians and fighters inside its own borders in the past, with the IDF retaliating to occasional stray rockets in the restive border region with reprisals, it was previously thought that the Israeli authorities largely stay out of the complicated six-year-old conflict next door. (Israel launched many attacks on Syrian targets, on account of destroying weapon warehouses)

That now appears to have been dead wrong.

“Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” said Moatasem al-Golani, spokesman for the rebel group Fursan al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

Al-Joulan is the main rebel group coordinating with Israel, according to fighters.

It told the WSJ that Israel’s support began as early as 2013 under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, with the goal of creating a ‘buffer zone’ free of radical militants such as Isis and Iranian-allied forces along Israel’s border.

A special Israeli army unit was created to oversee the costly aid operation, the WSJ reported, which gives Fursan al-Joulan – Knights of the Golan – an estimated $5,000 (£3,900) a month. The group of around 400 fighters receives no direct support from Western rebel backers and is not affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the official rebel umbrella organisation.

The Journal also reports that Israel may be funding up to 4 other rebel groups which have Western backing. The groups use the cash to pay fighters and buy ammunition.

In total, there are roughly 800 rebel fighters across more than a dozen villages in this area, where thousands of civilians live, fighters said. Many of the rebels and civilians in this area rely on some level of support from Israel, they added.

“Most people want to cooperate with Israel,” said a fighter with rebel group Liwaa Ousoud al-Rahman, also fighting on the Golan.

The alliance reportedly began after wounded Fursan al-Joulan fighters made their way to the border and begged Israeli soldiers for medical assistance.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment, the Israel Defence Forces said in a statement that it is “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces… in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”

Israel and Syria have technically been in a state of warfare for decades. Syria controls around one-third of the Golan Heights border, and Israel occupies the rest.

Israel has been providing Syrian rebels with cash and supplies in a secret engagement to carve out a friendly buffer zone.

Israel has been providing Syrian rebels with cash and supplies in a secret engagement to carve out a friendly buffer zone.

In recent years, Israeli air strikes in Syrian territory have aimed to prevent weapons smuggling to Iranian-allied Hezbollah, which fights alongside the Assad government. Hezbollah, like Iran, is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Ironically, while Assad has in the past claimed – correctly it now turns out – that Israel supports rebel groups which his government refers to as terrorists, elements of the opposition have accused Israel of helping to keep the regime in power.

The biggest irony, of course, is that virtually for the entire duration of the Syrian conflict, Israel and Saudi Arabia were aligned on the same side against the Assad regime; it also means that one can add Israel to the ungodly proxy war in Syria alongside Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, Europe and most Arab states across from Iran, Turkey, Russia and, increasingly, China.

Today’s revelation may also explain why ISIS has rarely if ever launched attacks against Israeli citizens or on Israel territory.

Courtesy of the WSJ, here is a chronology of Israeli involvement in the Syrian proxy war:

  • 2011: Syrian uprising against Iran-backed President Bashar al-Assad begins.
  • 2012: Syrian rebel group the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which has a presence in the divided Golan Heights near Israel’s border, forms and later declares allegiance to Islamic State. It then joins with other groups to form the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, an offshoot of Islamic State.
  • 2013: Israel acknowledges it is treating Syrians wounded in the war in hospitals near the border. Secretly, the military begins to build a relationship with rebel commanders on the Syrian side of the Golan and starts sending aid.
  • January 2015: An alleged Israeli airstrike kills Hezbollah militants and a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps near Quneitra province in the Golan Heights. Israel later says the militants were planning to attack Israelis.
  • June 2015: Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon says Israel is helping Syrian rebels with medical treatment in return for assurances they won’t attack the Druse—a religious minority group that straddles the Israeli and Syrian sides of the Golan.
  • September 2015: Russia enters the war on the side of the Assad regime, tipping the balance of power in favor of the Iran-backed President.
  • December 2015: Lebanese Hezbollah militant Samir Kuntar dies in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus suburb. Israeli officials later said he was planning attacks against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan.
  • 2016: Israel secretly sets up an army unit and budget to manage the relationship with rebels and civilians on the Golan Heights, say people familiar with the policy.
  • November 2016: An Israeli airstrike kills 4 Khalid ibn al-Walid militants in Syrian Golan after Israeli soldiers come under fire.
  • March 2017: Israeli warplanes carry out airstrikes inside Syria, drawing fire from antiaircraft missiles in the most intense military exchange between the two countries since the start of the Syrian conflict.
  • June 2017: Syrian rebels say they have been receiving cash from Israel for the past four years that they use to help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons.

Note: Syria has started to shoot down Israel warplanes. Any warplane crossing the Lebanese airspace is considered to be targeting Syria.

The master artist preserving Jerusalem’s history

Jerusalem, occupied West Bank – In his small and cramped studio, Shehab Kawasmi moves carefully around piles of centuries-old photographs, stacks of drawings and thick books.

by 3 Jan 2018
The master artist preserving Jerusalem's history
A realist painter, Kawasmi uses his brush to draw hundreds of historic and religious landmarks in Jerusalem’s Old City, the place where he was born and raised.

“I feel it is my duty as an artist to preserve the history of our city for future generations,” said the Palestinian aritis, who has dedicated his life’s work to depict the rich history of his city.

Born in 1959 in the holy city’s Chain Gate neighbourhood, just a few steps away from al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian painter grew up surrounded by Jerusalem’s numerous monuments.

For him and his friends growing up in the 1960s, these iconic landmarks were their playground, a place of affinity and inspiration.

Drawings of Old Jerusalem from the artist’s book [Al Jazeera]

Ever since his teenage years, the Old City, with its ancient landscape, interlinked souqs and Roman, Christian and Islamic architecture, has always lured Kawasmi to recreate it on canvas.

“I used to draw Jerusalem landmarks for friends and family as gifts, but later on they encouraged me to do it professionally and full time, and this is how I started my Jerusalem collections,” he said.

Kawasmi has so far published a number of books with his creations and has exhibited both at home and abroad.

His vast collection includes drawings of intricate artwork from inside al-Aqsa Mosque, Ottoman architecture, Christian landmarks, churches and ancient archaeological sites.

They are all based on his own observation of the famous landmarks, as well as photographs he has taken of them.

Kawasmi has also assembled a vast collection of old photographs of many of Jerusalem’s historical and religious places dating back to the previous centuries.

His latest book, Kan Yama Kan, or One upon a Time: Jerusalem before a 100 years, has more than 70 black and white realistic drawings depicting the Old City’s history and religious significance.

Drawings of Old Jerusalem from the artist’s book  [Al Jazeera]

Every time the topic turns to Jerusalem, Kawasmi’s face lights up as he describes the Old City’s ancient passageways, many of which outsiders would find puzzling and confusing.

He and other local Palestinians know almost every corner of the city’s narrow lanes, its secret alleys, its Roman caverns, its Christian monasteries and numerous Ottoman and other Islamic landmarks.

“I can never get lost here,” said Kawasmi.

Like every Palestinian from Jerusalem, every corner of it is practically imprinted in my memory since childhood.

“This place represents my entire life – as a child, an adult and as an artist.”

Shehab Kawasmi in his studio [Ali Younes / Al Jazeera]

Kawasmi said the publication of his latest book hit a snag due to the high cost of printing its glossy cover-to-cover content.

But things took a turn for the better when King Abdullah II of Jordan, who is the custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, decided to sponsor Kawasmi’s effort after coming to know about it.

“King Abdullah saved this project with his generous donation, and I am so grateful for that,” he said.

Abdullah also purchased 100 copies which he gifted to participating delegations during the Arab League summit held in Jordan’s capital, Amman, in March.

Currently, Kawasmi is working on another book of drawings dedicated specifically to al-Aqsa Mosque and its ancient artwork.

Jérusalem, ville siamoise

Divisée en deux parties à la suite des accords d’armistice de 1949, intégralement sous administration israélienne depuis 1967, la ville sainte cultive une identité complexe et multiple, à l’équilibre précaire.

LE MONDE |  • Mis à jour le  | Par Piotr Smolar (Jérusalem, correspondant)

image: http://img.lemde.fr/2017/12/07/0/0/5760/3840/534/0/60/0/bdc65ef_566e5dc572834ab7aba14dbdaf274d8a-566e5dc572834ab7aba14dbdaf274d8a-0.jpgVue du dôme de la mosquée d’Omar, dans la vieille villede Jérusalem,  depuis un cimetière où prient des juifs orthodoxes,le 7 décembre.

Heureux sont les touristes à Jérusalem. A leurs yeux, tout brille.

Ils marchent sur les pas du Christ, s’extasient devant la beauté de l’esplanade des Mosquées, glissent un petit papier dans les fentes encombrées du mur des Lamentations.

La vieille ville est un extraordinaire entrelacs cosmopolite, comme le Moyen-Orient n’en connaît plus. (Beg to differ)

Les touristes saisissent sur leurs téléphones les nuances du soleil tombant sur les remparts couleur crème. Les livres d’histoire et les trois grandes religions monothéistes prennent corps devant eux.

Puis la plupart s’en vont, après avoir manqué la cité, la vraie. Celle où des gens vivent, où des “tribus” se côtoient et s’ignorent, se frottent et se repoussent.

Pour le monde, Jérusalem est un fantasme, un écrin doré, et aussi un motif de conflits sans fin, religieux et politique.

Les fondateurs de l’Etat d’Israël, après la seconde guerre mondiale, étaient essentiellement des immigrés d’Europe orientale, laïcs et socialistes. Leur sionisme n’érigeait pas Jérusalem en obsession.

Mais la victoire israélienne écrasante lors de la guerre de 1967 contre les pays arabes – avec la prise de la vieille ville, les prières des soldats au Mur – créa les conditions d’un culte messianique à droite.

Pour ses adeptes, l’errance du peuple juif prenait fin avec son retour à l’endroit même où s’était dressé le premier temple, celui du roi Salomon, jusqu’à sa destruction en – 586 avant J.-C.

Lorsqu’on enjambe les siècles, on pense différemment. La reconnaissance unilatérale de la cité comme capitale d’Israël par les Etats-Unis, le 6 décembre 2017, n’est alors qu’un foyer d’incendie de plus.

Jérusalem rend fous ceux qui la vénèrent trop. Elle pousse aussi au déni de l’autre. (Les fous sont les Evangeliques Zionists de USA, de l’Angleterre et de la France)

Juifs et musulmans se disputent l’ancienneté et la pureté de leurs liens millénaires avec ces lieux, comme si le talisman ne pouvait tolérer plusieurs maîtres. Les chrétiens, qui ne sont plus que 12 000 à Jérusalem, se tiennent à l’écart de cet…

En savoir plus sur http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2018/01/02/jerusalem-ville-siamoise_5236806_3218.html#SW3IercbmaLpm6f7.99

 

Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts
Flechette shell darts
 An image provided by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights of darts from a flechette shell it says the Israeli military fired in Gaza last week.

The Israeli military is using flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza.

Six flechette shells were fired towards the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on 17 July, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Nahla Khalil Najjar, 37, suffered injuries to her chest, it said. PCHR provided a picture of flechettes taken by a fieldworker last week.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict. “As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict,” a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, describes a flechette shell as “an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank. The shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 37.5mm in length, which disperse in a conical arch 300 metres long and about 90 metres wide”.

The munitions are Not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

Flechette shell darts embedded in a wall in Gaza
 A image taken in 2009 of darts from a flechette shell embedded in a wall in Gaza. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

The legality of flechette munitions was upheld by the Israeli supreme court in 2002, and according to an Israeli military source, they are particularly effective against enemy fighters operating in areas covered by vegetation.

The source said a number of armies around the world deploy flechette shells, and that they were intended solely for use against legitimate military targets in accordance with international law.

The IDF has deployed flechette shells in Gaza and Lebanon before. B’Tselem has documented the deaths of nine Palestinians in Gaza from flechettes in 2001 and 2002. Flechettes have also killed and wounded dozens of civilians, including women and children, in conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israeli military deployed artillery shells containing white phosphorous in densely populated areas of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009, causing scores of deaths and extensive burns.

It initially issued a categorical denial of reports of the use of white phosphorous, but later admitted it, saying the weapon was only used to create smokescreens.

Human Rights Watch said its use of the munitions in Operation Cast Lead was indiscriminate and evidence of war crimes.

In response to a legal challenge, the IDF said last year it would “avoid the use in built-up areas of artillery shells containing white phosphorus, with two narrow exceptions.” The exceptions were not disclosed.

Is Israel deliberately killing Gaza protesters?

Note: Israel announced it has shot in the legs 7,200 Palestinians marching for a homeland: this violent tactics is to prevent the injured Palestinians from demonstrating again within a month. Israel plans to shoot in the legs 25,000 Palestinians, excluding those shot in the head and the abdomen.

Mahmoud al-Masri,, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Photo shows crying women waving their hands at shrouded body of young man being carried on stretcher
Mahmoud al-Masri, killed the previous day in confrontations with Israeli troops, is mourned during his funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 9 December. Mohammed Dahman APA images

Sometimes you have to put horrific images at the back of your mind.

During Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, I saw tens of dead bodies. The worst thing I witnessed was the targeting of a car about 10 meters from where I was standing. I could see its driver take his last breath before he died.

At that moment, my whole body went cold. For several days, I could not think of anything but that appalling scene. I was unable to sleep for about a week.

Events moved fast that summer. I tried my best to forget about the incident and to get on with my life.

More than three years have passed. And despite my efforts to put that experience behind me, I know that the mental scars it left have not healed. Like so many other people in Gaza, I am vulnerable.

That was proven on 8 December last, when protesters in Gaza expressed their rage at Donald Trump’s announcement two days earlier that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mahmoud al-Masri was among the protesters killed by Israeli troops that day.

I had looked on as Mahmoud ran towards the fence separating the Khan Younis area of Gaza from Israel. Mahmoud was brave and defiant. He kept running despite that Israeli forces were firing tear gas canisters in his direction.

Mahmoud climbed the fence, waving a Palestinian flag. He was shot in the back by Israeli soldiers.

When Mahmoud fell down, the Israeli soldiers kept on firing. He lay on the ground, bleeding for around an hour before the shooting had stopped. By the time anyone could offer him assistance, Mahmoud had lost consciousness.

“We reached Mahmoud when he was taking his last breaths,” Musab Abu Shawish, a paramedic, told me. “We were not able to do anything for him, except give him some oxygen.”

Helpless

Photo shows young man sitting on chair looking out onto sunny street
Mahmoud al-Masri (via Facebook)

The killing of Mahmoud left me feeling helpless. But it was not the sight of his dead body that upset me most – I was not standing close enough to Mahmoud to see his face.

Instead, it was a video that showed his father, Abd al-Majeed, saying goodbye to Mahmoud in a mortuary.

“Please leave me with my son,” Abd al-Majeed told the people around him. Observing his pain, my whole body shook and I started to weep uncontrollably.

I did not know Mahmoud personally but I have learned about him from his father.

Mahmoud, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Mahmoud “always hated injustice,” his father told me. “He was very kind and helpful.”

There are strong indications that Mahmoud knew he would be killed on 8 December.

The previous evening, he wrote on Facebook: “If we die seeking martyrdom, we die standing like trees.”

The banner image on his Facebook page featured a photograph of Yasser Arafat and a quotation attributed to the late leader on how Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle.

Mahmoud was in many respects typical of the young people who have protested against Trump’s announcement.

Nayif al-Salibi is another young man with dreams and ambitions. He is now studying civil engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza. Once he graduates, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Germany.

No negotiations on Jerusalem

He took part in the same demonstration as Mahmoud on 8 December. When I met Nayif, his eyes were stinging from the tear gas fired by Israel. Along with many others, he was picking up tear gas canisters fired by Israel’s military and throwing them back at the soldiers.

“I’m here to show the world that we refuse to put our holy city [Jerusalem] on the negotiating table,” he said. “No one but Palestinians can make decisions related to Jerusalem.”

Israel’s use of tear gas – a chemical weapon – was examined in a study recently published by the University of California, Berkeley. It found that the amount of tear gas to which Palestinians are exposed is “likely beyond the level that has been found elsewhere around the globe.”

Although the study focused on the Bethlehem area of the occupied West Bank, it is also relevant to the use of tear gas in Gaza. People exposed to tear gas here have suffered similar symptoms to those noted in the study.

Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said that around 60%of people injured during recent protests had symptoms related to tear gas inhalation. They included severe coughing, respiratory problems and accelerated heart rates.

Many people in Gaza also believe that Israel is deliberately shooting at protesters so that they will sustain major injuries or even die – eight Palestinians were killed during demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel boundary in December.

Life goes on

About 40% of injuries by live fire during the recent protests in Gaza were in the head and upper body, according to al-Qedra.

Sharif Shalash, 28, died on 23 December after being injured in protests a few days earlier. He had been shot in the stomach by the Israeli military.

Sharif had confronted the Israeli military directly on a number of occasions. He was “an expert on the border area [with Israel],” said his friend Ahmad Hassaballah. During protests, Sharif had organized young people into groups and advised them about how to throw burning tires and other objects towards Israeli troops. He had also tried to cut holes in the Israeli fence.

His final wish, according to Hassaballah, was that he be shrouded in a Palestinian flag when he was buried.

I sought to speak with Sharif’s wife Yasmin.

Yet when I arrived at her home, a woman came out and apologized on Yasmin’s behalf. “She is too tired,” the woman said. “She has just come back from the hospital and we have just learned that she is pregnant.”

It was a powerful reminder of how life continues despite all the pain caused by the Israeli occupiers and their supporters in Washington.

Hamza Abu Eltarabesh is a journalist from Gaza.

Note: Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using flechette shells in Gaza. Shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts

I am This Palestinian girl: #ahed_tamimi (3ahd)

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup
Niveen Abboushi. December 22, 2017 at 11:23am · 

Who am I?

I am a Palestinian girl.

Before I was born, the occupation took most of my village’s lands to build a new settlement called Halamish.

Then they arrested my father.

When my aunt went to visit him, one of the soldiers pushed her over the stairs of the court and she died.

Since I was little the settlers of Halamish keep stealing more and more of our lands to expand the settlement.

Our home has demolition order because it is in Area C. The settlers are allowed to build on our land, but not us.

In 2005, the settlers made the spring (water) of our village part of the settlement and prevent us from using it, even though many of us are farmers.

All these things happened with great support from the Occupation army and government. (Especially US financial aid and those Evangelical Zionists around the world)

When the people of the my village started to resist the injustices with protest marches, my father was arrested again.
My mother was arrested too. My uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins – all of them were arrested too.

My cousin Mustafa was killed by the Israeli army. My uncle Rushdi was killed by the army too!

An Israeli sniper shot my mom in the leg and she couldn’t move for long time.

Almost every week, the army breaks into our homes to arrest one of my family or to confiscate our laptops or phones.

During our marches, they shoot us with tear gas and rubber bullets – my cousin is in hospital badly injured because he was shot in the face the week before.

A few days ago, two soldiers came to our house to take positions to shoot at the demonstrators from my village. I stood with my family to prevent them, the soldier pushed me and I slapped him.

And now I am in jail!
My mother and my cousin are in jail too!
The occupation government and media call me a terrorist.
Do you know who I am?

And what would you do if that was your life? Or the life of your child?

#ahed_tamimi
#youth_activist
#100%Palestine


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