Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Iran's Jewish Community Largest In the Middle East Outside Israel

Iran, a country with a population of 70 million, enjoys various ethnicities and religions. In this episode of Iran, Pedram Khodadadi will tell you about Iranian Jews and their life in this cradle of civilization. 

Israeli's Cheer No School Tommorrow Gaza Is A Cemetery ........

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Are You On A Government Watchlist?

New details on government watchlists and the no-fly list are cause for concern.
The prospect of being on a government watchlist is one that both tantalizes and strikes fear into the minds of most Americans. Sure, you may read articles on websites that are critical of U.S. policy, participate in protests with community members, post rants on social media, and have an extreme dislike for politicians – but is that really enough to warrant being placed on a list of potential threats?
More Americans may find themselves asking this question now that new details on the government’s terrorism watchlists and no-fly list have emerged.
Last Wednesday The Intercept released a 2013 document from the National Counterterrorism Center which details the rules for placing individuals on terrorism watchlists, including the no fly list. The 166-page document details what the government defines as terrorism, which includes everything from assassination and hostage-taking to destruction of government property or computers, and any act that is “dangerous” to property or intended to influence government through intimidation.
The document covers two lists: the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), and the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). Chapters of the document include information on what triggers placement on the lists, and what type of information officials are to collect when encountering suspected individuals. Placement on the TIDE or TSDB must be based on “articulable intelligence or information”. The document also says “single source information” such as posts on social media sites “should not automatically be discounted”. Under the guidelines if you are suspected of terrorism ties your family and “associates” can also be placed on the list.
Another worrisome detail of the document is known as “threat-based expedited upgrade.” This upgrade is unilaterally initiated by the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and allows for whole “categories of people” to be placed on the list based on intelligence that a certain type of person may commit terrorism. If the upgrade is approved by senior officials it could potentially last until “until the threat no longer exists.”  The lack of oversight creates a situation where individuals could be placed on the list and left on indefinitely.
The guidelines also state that after a suspect has been acquitted of terrorism-related crimes they can remain on the list, even after death. The authorities state that it is common practice for terrorists to use names of the deceased as aliases in an attempt to go unnoticed. For this reason you may find yourself on a watchlist in the afterlife.
Up until now little has been known about the procedures behind the No-Fly list and Watchlists. As the Intercept notes, Attorney General Eric Holder has previously invoked state secrets privilege to keep the details of the lists hidden, stating, “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”
Despite the governments best efforts, victories in court have affirmed the rights of Americans. Earlier this year Rahinah Ibrahim became the first person to successfully have their name removed from the no-fly list. Ibrahim had been detained and questioned at San Franciso International Airport in 2005, after being accused of having ties to a Malaysian terror group. Even with a victory in court however, only scant details were allowed to be released by the judge.
In early June another blow was dealt to the governments no-fly list when a federal judge in Oregon ruled that the process citizens must undergo to attempt to remove themselves was unconstitutional. The court ruled the process for removing oneself “falls far short of satisfying the requirements of due process.” The American Civil Liberties Union represented 13 American citizens who had been barred from flying. In August 2013 the same court ruled the listsviolated an individuals constitutionally protected right to travel. Previously the U.S. government has claimed that flying was not a right. The judge also stated that placement on the lists smeared the individuals as potential terrorists thus violating their constitutional right to be free from reputational harm.
The government must now draft new rules for including individuals on the no-fly list, including alerting individuals as to whether or not they are on such a list. Currently the government neither confirms nor denies placement on the list.  Equally disturbing is the fact that the FBI (and presumably other branches of the government) seem to be interested in coercing those on the lists into being informants. The ACLU documents several cases where the FBI told individuals they could fly home if they would tell the government where the bad guys were. The agency has even offered payment and removal from the list in exchange for informing.
Since 9/11 the no-fly list has grown to include tens of thousands of names. As recent court battles and the leaked document highlight, government agencies are operating with little oversight, using vague, and broad terminology to designate Americans as “known or suspected terrorists.” These designations can have disastrous affects on an individuals life. Despite the recent rulings and a renewed public debate on the lists, it is likely the U.S. government will continue to fight for the right to place Americans on the list and deny them their right to travel.
The ACLU has created a “Know Your Rights” guide in the event you ever find yourself being denied the right to fly.

NY Police Harvest Innocent Cell Users’ Data to Track Flag Vandals

NY Police Harvest Innocent Cell Users’ Data to Track Flag Vandals
The New York Police Department is scanning through thousands of innocent cell users’ data in order to find evidence related to the mysterious appearance of two white flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge last week.
Law enforcement sources speaking with the New York Daily News confirmed the use of the controversial technique, known as a “tower dump,” which allows officers to obtain all call, text and data transmissions through cell towers during any specific time period.
“Investigators could find names through cell phones if those involved made calls while near the Brooklyn Bridge in the wee hours Tuesday,” the article briefly mentions. “Cops are analyzing data from the two nearest cell phone towers…”
Although some law enforcement groups claim they request a warrant beforehand, a New York magistrate judge ruled last month that government agencies are not required to do so, even though the technique seizes vast amounts of personal information.
Even with a warrant, countless Constitutional lawyers have called the practice outright illegal.
“To turn over everybody’s telephone data to the police unrelated to any suspicion of crime, I think that’s an unreasonable search and seizure,” First Amendment attorney Jay Bender noted last year. “I don’t think that’s permitted by the Constitution.”
The federal government’s refusal to reveal what is done with all the collected cellular data prompted a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU earlier this year.
“This entire phenomenon is shrouded in secrecy,” said Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU. “The vast majority of people whose information is being collected are innocent of any crime. They’re never told their information was requested and they’re never told their information ended up in a government database.”
A 2013 investigation in South Carolina uncovered that law enforcement agencies throughout the state are permitted to hold onto all information for up to seven years.
Democratic Senator Edward Markey received a staggering glimpse of just how often the technique is used in 2012 after requesting the data from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
In 2012 alone, more than 9,000 cell tower dumps were carried out for an assortment of crimes. For their compliance, the cellular companies received more than $26 million in tax payer money from law enforcement groups.
While supporters of the dragnet surveillance tactic will undoubtedly argue that the event on the Brooklyn Bridge is a matter of “national security,” other investigations have found that tower dumps are most often used for petty crimes such as breaking and entering a motor vehicle and larceny.

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Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab physically affected by the recitation of the Quran!!

Look what happens to the Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab when the verse about fighting ‪#‎Allah‬ and His Messenger is being recited...
watch how the prayer directly affects him, as the Almighty warns him. 

"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should b is e cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement." - Surah Ma'idah, Verse 33

Monday, July 28, 2014

MH-17 Eyewitnesses This Video Report was Deleted by the BBC - (ENG SUBS)

DJ SCANDALES-TAble mannerz 7-18-2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Mystery Machine Friction prod. Dj Scandales

                                                               The Preserved Tablet 
                                                                     6th Letter 2.0 

80Acres And A Porsche Production (BMI)
BlackOut Ink Records

14-year-old Thessalonika Arzu-Embry will graduate from Chicago State University with a 3.9 GPA.


While other teenage girls are enjoying their last weeks of summer getting tans, giggling over their crushes and preparing to enter high school, Thessalonika Arzu-Embry will be graduating from college. The 14-year-old Illinois resident receives her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Chicago State University in August, and while we’re sure you’re just as in awe of this child prodigy as we are, Thessalonika says her college experience has been quite normal despite her young age.
She told The Daily Herald:
“My college experience is a traditional college experience for me — it is just that I have completed it faster, I am very excited about joining others in having the opportunity to contribute to society in a significant way”
Arzu-Embry currently has a 3.9 GPA, is a member of CSU’s honor college, and serves as a student senator. She gives props to her mom, who home-schooled her and pushed her not to have a mediocre education, for her impressive academic career she’s had thus far, saying she’s been  able to achieve such success because of the discipline her mother instilled in her.
Thessalonika’s routine consists of rising early, praying, and working out. She then reviews her homework during her hour-long commute to her college campus, and then goes on about her day as any other undergrad would.  After she graduates next month,, Thessalonika plans on pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science or Stanford University before opening a clinic with her mother
Check out the video below as Thessalonika gives us insight on how she navigated college.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix


Goldman Sachs director found dead after kiteboarding accident

Goldman Sachs director found dead after kiteboarding accident
Nicholas Valtz was found floating in Napeague Harbor.Photo: Shutterstock ; St Baldrick's Charity Fundraiser page

Banker Deaths Climb to 15, as Goldman Sachs Managing Director Found Dead

A managing director at Goldman Sachs was found dead Sunday after an apparent kiteboarding accident on Long Island, cops said.
The body of Nicholas Valtz, 39, was found floating in Napeague Harbor, according to East Hampton police.
The Brooklyn resident was an amateur kiteboarder — a growing sport that combines windsurfing and paragliding. Relatives went to look for him after he did not return from the harbor, and made the tragic discovery, cops said. Valtz’s family was staying at a summer home in Bridgehampton.
Goldman Sachs promoted Valtz to managing director in 2010, according to Bloomberg.
Nicholas Valtz, a managing director in cross-asset sales at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) in New York, was found dead yesterday by family members who went searching for him after he didn’t return from a kiteboarding outing.
banker deaths
Valtz, 39, was found in Napeague Harbor near the eastern end of Long Island, according to theEast Hampton, New York, police. He was a “novice kiteboarder” and was found floating in the water secured to his kite, police said in a statement released yesterday. Other kite gear was found in a grassy area of the harbor, police said.
“We’re deeply saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts are with Nick’s family,” Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Manhattan-based Goldman Sachs, said in an e-mailed statement.
Valtz, who joined the firm in 2000, was promoted to managing director in 2010. As a cross-asset sales executive, he helped manage orders for trading clients and pitch them products and ideas among different types of securities. His wife, Sashi Valtz, also works at Goldman Sachs as head of global third-party research sales, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Nicholas Andrew Valtz was born in September 1974 and received a bachelor’s degree fromHarvard University in 1996, according to New York voting records and Harvard’s website. The school lists him as earning letters in fencing for three years.
Police are still investigating the death, according to the statement.
*Note: The count is not actually 16, as #2 on the list Karl Slym was not actually a banker but the managing director of a major car company.
1 – William Broeksmit, 58-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London, on January 26th.
*2 – Karl Slym, 51 year old Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27th.
3 – Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London on January 27th.
4 – Mike Dueker, 50-year-old chief economist of a US investment bank was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.
5 – Richard Talley, the 57-year-old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.
6 – Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, however the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.
7 – Ryan Henry Crane, a 37-year-old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago.  No details have been released about his death aside from this small obituary announcement at the Stamford Daily Voice.
8 – Li Junjie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ there.
9 – James Stuart Jr, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO, was found dead in Scottsdale, Arizona, the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say what caused the death.
10 – Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, committed suicide by jumping in front of LIRR train.
11 – Kenneth Bellando, 28, a trader at Levy Capital, formerly investment banking analyst at JPMorgan, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apartment.
12 – Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro found dead at home near Amsterdam with wife and daughter.
13 – Li Jianhua, 49, the director of China’s Banking Regulatory Commission died of a sudden heart attack.
14 – Lydia _____, 52 – jumped to her suicide from the 14th floor of Bred-Banque Populaire in Paris.
 In other news, billionaire Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of a Boston-based firm with $117 billion in assets under management, says he is positive another horrific stock market crash is coming and will be “unlike any other” the modern world has seen…
Newsmax Money News reported yesterday:
“We have no right to be surprised by a severe and imminent stock market crash,” explains Mark Spitznagel, a hedge fund manager who is notorious for his hugely profitable billion-dollar bet on the 2008 crisis. “In fact, we must absolutely expect it.”
Billion-dollar investor Warren Buffett is rumored to be preparing for a crash as well. The “Warren Buffett Indicator,” also known as the “Total-Market-Cap to GDP Ratio,” is breaching sell-alert status and a collapse may happen at any moment.

It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All

Photo: Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region. 
But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all. 
Non-plagiarizing BuzzFeed writer Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be a foolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions: 
[Gershon Baskin] pointed out that Hamas has earlier this month signed an agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, bridging, for the first time in seven years, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.
“They will lose their reconciliation agreement with Abbas if they do take responsibility for [the kidnappings],” Baskin added.

 Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora. Writing for Al Jazeera, Musa al-Gharbi argued that Israel was deliberately provoking Hamas:
All the illegal and immoral actions related to Operation Brother’s Keeper were justified under the premise of finding and saving the missing teens whom the Israeli government knew to be dead — cynically exploiting the tragedy to whip up public outcry in order to provoke and then confront Hamas. This pattern of deception continues under the ongoing military offensive in Gaza. For example, last week in collaboration with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Abbas, in its efforts to alienate Hamas, Israel announced a bad-faith cease-fire proposal, which Hamas was not consulted on and never agreed to but whose violation supposedly justified Israel’s expansion and intensification of the military campaign into Gaza.
Despite continued negotiations, the violence shows no signs of letting up, and after Thursday night's massive protests in the West Bank, there is still no ceasefire agreement. On Friday, it became clear that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts to broker a seven-day truce were rejected by Israeli officials. Instead, Israel will apparently widen its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, despite international outcry about the civilian death toll. According to unnamed officials, the proposed truce was too generous to Hamas's demands. 
Hamas, meanwhile, still hasn't weighed in on the agreement, whose details are being kept secret, but continued to launch rockets into Israel. International peace talks are set to resume in France this weekend, and we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Britain Admits Selling $12 Billion in Weapons to Israel

              Journalists love rows. We love them so much that we often let them distract us.
Last week was no exception. Fascinated by an apparent bust-up between Israel and the European Union, most Middle East analysts (myself included) missed a very important story: Britain’s arms sales to Israel are far higher than David Cameron’s government has previously confessed.
Data published in a new report from the House of Commons in London states the value of all British military exports to Israel currently being processed comes to £7.9 billion ($12.1 billion).
This data was supplied by Vince Cable, Britain’s business secretary, who oversees the weapons trade.
I had to do a double-take when reading this information as until now Britain has indicated that the value of its arms sales to Israel are measured in millions, rather than billions.
Each year, the EU issues a report on weapons exports for the entire Union, based on information provided by its individual governments. These reports stated that Britain approved military export licenses for Israel worth €5.7 million in 2011 and €7.2 million in 2010.
Taken at face value, the annual reports suggest that Britain has reduced its weapons exports to Israel since Operation Cast Lead, the murderous three-week attack on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. During 2008, Britain authorized weapons sales of €31.5 million to Israel, according to its official data.
Because I was puzzled by the huge discrepancy between all these statistics, I asked Vince Cable’s department to help me out. I didn’t get a clear answer. But a spokesperson speculated that the gap could be explained by how the yearly figures may not cover equipment that “hasn’t been shipped out yet.”
The latest data, on the other hand, could relate to licenses that have been “granted but not fully executed,” the spokesperson added.
A more plausible explanation, in my view, is that the British government — both under Cameron and his Labour Party predecessors, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair — has been dishonest about the full scale of its weapons sales to Israel. Pressure from some diligent members of Parliament might have finally led Cable to provide them with more comprehensive figures.
The Commons’ report doesn’t go into much detail about the type of military equipment involved. It is telling, nonetheless, that the largest single deal itemized for Israel involved more than £7.7 billion worth of cryptographic technology.
As far as I can see, there is no accompanying information about this contract — not even a date for when it was rubber-stamped. But anyone familiar with the nature of the Israeli economy should be able to make an educated guess about what is going on.
Israel has exploited the opportunities afforded by occupying the land of another people in order to develop a world-class “homeland security” sector. Israel’s drones are the best-known example of innovations routinely “battle-tested” — a term favored by arms traders — on Palestinian civilians.
Britain, it seems, is providing cartloads of sophisticated material to Israeli entrepreneurs intent on perpetuating the crimes of apartheid and occupation. If I’m wide of the mark, then I challenge Cable to spell out what exactly he and his predecessors have approved.
Despite the large sums involved, this new data does not give the full picture about military cooperation with Israel. Exports of components from Britain to America’s weapons industry are excluded, as far as I can tell, even though there’s a strong chance they will end up in Israeli hands.
Nor does the new data deal with how Britain is an important customer for Israeli weapons. Elbit, a leading Israeli warplane manufacturer, is assembling a series of drones for use by the British Army under the £700 million Watchkeeper program. Elbit is among the Israeli companies scheduled to take part in the world’s largest weapons fair in London this September.
There can be no excuse for any military cooperation with Israel. An EU law on arms exports makes it clear that weapons should not be sold if they are likely to facilitate repression or aggravate tensions in a particular region.
Britain’s foreign ministry has named Israel as one of 27 “countries of concern” for human rights abuses. Of those 27, Israel is the largest destination for British arms exports. Saudi Arabia — long thought to be the biggest client for Britain’s weapons industry — is actually in second place.
The brazen effrontery of the British establishment was on display again today, when it convinced other EU governments to blacklist Hizballah as a “terrorist” organization. The move was taken at the behest of Israel, which alleges that Hizballah was behind a bombing in Bulgaria last year.
The EU has been willing to swallow Israel’s version of events — even though the Union’s own police agency Europol has acknowledged there is no proof of Hizballah’s involvement. Reports of a major rift between the EU and Israel — as many a headline indicated last week — are, therefore, exaggerated.
Without question, Hizballah has done things that can be considered criminal — especially in Syria. Yet there would be no Hizballah if it wasn’t for Israeli aggression towards Lebanon.
Hizballah is a symptom of the problems in the Middle East. Britain, on the other hand, is the cause.
It was Britain’s political establishment which “gifted” Palestine to the Zionist movement in 1917. All these years later, Britain is arming Israel to the teeth.

Denzel Curnell: SC Teen Killed During Encounter With Police Officer

Denzel “Jaba” Curnell, 19, died from a bullet wound to the head after an encounter with a South Carolina police officer on Friday night in, what authorities claim, was a suicide. But witnesses tell a different story, reports the Charleston City Paper.
Several witnesses, who refused to be named, say that Officer Jamal Medlin told Curnell to get down and put his hands behind his head as he walked through Charleston’s Bridgeview Village apartments. And once he did that, Medlin allegedly shot him in the back.
An autopsy, however, revealed that Curnell died from a bullet wound to the right side of his head—which still raises difficult questions, reports the Post and Courier.
Curnell, according to family, is left-handed and had everything to live for.
“He wanted to travel in the military. He wanted to get married and have children. His life was cut down at an early age,” said his aunt Sylvia Campbell.
Curnell, a recent graduate of Burke High School, was administratively discharged from basic training in Georgia.
When Curnell enlisted last fall, an Army officer saw a young man who could motivate himself and other recruits.
The recent Burke High School graduate was focused, confident and ready to take on rigorous training. A staff sergeant noted those qualities at a North Charleston recruiting substation, where prospective soldiers are evaluated.
“Future soldier has been outstanding,” the recruiter wrote in Curnell’s paperwork. He “would make a great addition to the U.S. Army.”
But during Curnell’s basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., officials noticed depression, hopelessness and separation anxiety. He had lost his mother to cancer earlier that year.
On the night of his death, Curnell’s step-father said that he had not noticed any “depressive behavior.”
Though family and friends say that Curnell did not have a weapon, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said in a press conference Monday afternoon that a firearm was recovered at the scene and there is “no evidence” that Medlin fired the shot that killed Curnell.
“A vacuum occurs, and rumors, speculation, and inaccurate information fuel a version of the event that can cause anger, distrust, disruption, and misinformation,” Mullen said. “It is especially disappointing when this misinformation creates a divide between the police and the community that we are working hard to foster positive relationships.”
Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. released the following statement:
My heart goes out to the family of Denzel Curnell. It is so very sad to have a young life ended. Denzel and his family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers … Because the City police officer was at the scene, normal protocol require that this matter be investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division. They are in control of the investigation. It is not appropriate for the City to present the complete details until SLED’s investigation is concluded. I am completely confident that the results of the sled investigation will conclude that the City of Charleston police officer’s actions were proper in all circumstances.
Though police have not been forthcoming with information, Dot Scott, president of the local NAACP chapter said that “in this case, silence is not golden but is confusing and infuriating”:
Why was a young man with a clean legal record and a bright future in the military stopped by a police officer for simply being on the street? Why did his encounter with that officer end in what’s alleged to be his suicide —and why would a left-handed young man in a stressful situation shoot himself in the right side of the head? Why would an officer trying to stop a suicide be seen by witnesses with his weapon in his hand?
Why did the agency with the officer involved process the crime scene before SLED’s arrival? Why was the involved officer given time off and an opportunity to gather himself before speaking with investigators — a procedure usually followed when law enforcement officers fire their weapons and injure or kill their targets?”
Medlin, who has been on the force since to 2011, has been placed on paid leave pending the completion of an investigation.
A petition has been started to prosecute Medlin and hold him accountable for Curnell’s death.

America Complicit in Israeli War Crimes: US Stands Alone in Vote Against United Nations Inquiry Into Gaza Assault

Inquiry into "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law"

Resolution passes, despite US opposition, as body approves official inquiry into “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law”
The United States was the only country in the world that voted Wednesday against the United Nations investigating human rights violations in Gaza unleashed by Israel’s military assault.
Of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council, 29 nations voted to set up a commission to launch an international, independent inquiry, effectively passing the resolution. Seventeen countries abstained, including Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
The inquiry will look at “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Gaza Strip in the context of military operations conducted since mid June,” according to a statement from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The council criticized Israeli military operations for unleashing “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
U.S. ambassador to the Council, Keith Harper, said he issued the “no” vote because the resolution is a “biased and political instrument” that “will not help” the “cessation of hostilities.”
But Josh Ruebner, policy director for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, toldCommon Dreams that the U.S. vote simply “shows the great extent to which the U.S. goes to protect Israel in international forums from any accountability for its actions, no matter how egregious.” Ruebner added that U.S. claims of imbalance are illegitimate, as the inquiry will investigate human rights violations perpetrated by Hamas as well as Israel.
Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow at Institute for Policy Studies, told Common Dreams that the U.S. “no” vote is part of a larger pattern. “The U.S. is the reason why the United Nations is not able to play the role its charter requires, which is to stop the scourge of war,” said Bennis. “The U.S. vetoes and threatens to veto in the Security Council, and in arenas like the General Assembly or Human Rights Council where there is no veto, they threaten other countries.”
The UN resolution comes amid an ever-rising Palestinian death toll, with Gaza Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Qudra reporting Thursday that so far 784 Palestinians have been killed and over 5,000 wounded in Israel’s “Protective Edge” operation. Kyung-Wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, estimates that 74 percent of the Palestinians killed are civilians and one-third are children. “One child has been killed each hour in Gaza over the past two days,” Kang said on Wednesday, according to the UN.
Israel launched air strikes on Palestinians seeking shelter in a UN school in Beit Hanoun in Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens. The attack marked at least the fourth time a UN facility in Gaza has been hit since July 8, according to the Guardian. Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency, said on Twitter that “Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army.”
Thirty-two Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians, and a Thai worker in Israel have died.
Rubner expressed concern that the U.S. is likely to obstruct any attempt on the part of the Council to hold Israel accountable for war crimes: “What’s likely to happen is same thing with the Goldstone Report and the Human Rights Council inquiry into the attack on the aid flotilla: reports will document the fact that Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the U.S. will use its veto power or threat thereof to prevent the international community from acting on recommendations for accountability.”