Occupation by Israel ‘is root cause of violence,’ says new UN report

Special Israel’s occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are the main causes of the endless cycles of violence, UN investigators have said. (AP/File Photo)
Israel’s occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are the main causes of the endless cycles of violence, UN investigators have said. (AP/File Photo)
Short Url
Updated 08 June 2022

Occupation by Israel ‘is root cause of violence,’ says new UN report

Occupation by Israel ‘is root cause of violence,’ says new UN report
  • New UN rights report condemns discrimination against Palestinians
  • PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said that any international investigation and report that condemned Israel was “welcome”

RAMALLAH: Israel’s occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are the main causes of “persistent cycles of violence,” a UN report said on Tuesday.

A team of investigators appointed last year by the UN Human Rights Council to examine “all underlying root causes” of the Israel-Palestine conflict said Israel clearly had “no intention” of ending its occupation of Palestinian land.

Previous UN recommendations had been “overwhelmingly directed toward Israel,” which was “an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one state occupying the other,” said lead investigator Navi Pillay, a former UN rights chief from South Africa.

These recommendations “have overwhelmingly not been implemented,” she said. “It is this lack of implementation coupled with a sense of impunity, clear evidence that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, and the persistent discrimination against Palestinians that lies at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.”

However, the 18-page report concluded that “ending the occupation alone will not be sufficient,” and urgedadditional action to ensure that human rights are equally applied. An Israeli law that denied naturalization to Palestinians married to Israelis was an example of Israel giving “different civil status, rights and legal protection” to Arab minorities, the report said.

The UN created the Commission of Inquiry last year after Israel’s 11-day war on Gaza in May 2021, which killed 260 Palestinians. Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, and on Tuesday its foreign ministry said it was “a witch hunt” and the report was “one sided.”

However, Palestinian Authority spokesman Ibrahim Melhem told Arab News any international investigation and report that condemned Israel and demanded punishment was “welcome.”

He said: “We call on the UN to move from blame and hold Israel accountable, to impose sanctions on Israel, and not allow it to go unpunished for the crimes it has committed against the Palestinians. Israel feels impunity, and lack of prosecution and accountability and not imposing sanctions on it means that other crimes will be committed.”

Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestinian National Initiative Party said: “This report means the beginning of the end of the Israeli apartheid regime, because it is no longer possible for any supporter of Israel to be able to defend it.”

Ammar Hijazi, a diplomat at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Reports and statements are no longer sufficient in the face of the massive crimes of Israeli racial discrimination committed against the Palestinians, and effective practical steps must be taken to end the injustice that befalls the Palestinian people. I do not want a thousand reports, but one step in the direction of stopping the repression and ending the occupation.”

The UN investigators obtained some information for their report from thye Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq. “The mandate given to them by the Human Rights Council to be a permanent committee searching for the roots of the problem and not for a specific period is unparalleled,” Al-Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin told Arab News.

“For the first time, a committee has been formed whose mission is to research the violations and racial discrimination that occur inside Israel. The three members of the committee have long experience in researching violations of human rights and international law at the international level.

“This is an important international report … and it represents and constitutes a moral victory for the Palestinians. It focused on the absence of accountability of Israel for the crimes it committed against the Palestinians. The report is not the end of the road, and the committee will have a major role in transferring its reports to the ICC.”


Iran summons Danish ambassador over Copenhagen embassy attack

Iran summons Danish ambassador over Copenhagen embassy attack
Updated 7 min 46 sec ago

Iran summons Danish ambassador over Copenhagen embassy attack

Iran summons Danish ambassador over Copenhagen embassy attack
  • Iran’s foreign ministry said the ambassador, Afsaneh Nadipour, had been threatened

COPENHAGEN: Iran summoned the Danish ambassador on Friday to protest an incident at its embassy in Copenhagen in which its ambassador was threatened, Iran’s foreign ministry said in state media.

Danish police said they had arrested a 32-year old man earlier on Friday after he had entered the grounds of the embassy carrying a knife.

The man, an Iranian citizen, was stopped by an employee before entering the embassy building, the police said in a statement.

Iran’s foreign ministry said the ambassador, Afsaneh Nadipour, had been threatened, a local employee injured, and embassy vehicles damaged.

The man will have a court hearing on Saturday and will be charged with two counts of vandalism, for violence, and for breaching a section of the penal code that deals with crimes against people with diplomatic status, the Danish police said.

No further details on the attacker or motive were provided. Iran’s government has faced more than two weeks of protests at home and overseas over the death of a young women while in detention by the country’s morality police.

Iran state media earlier quoted Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying: “It is unfortunate that, in the heart of Europe, such an attack takes place on a woman and an ambassador who has diplomatic immunity, and the police do not arrive in time.”


Libyan group: At least 15 dead after migrant shipwreck

Libyan group: At least 15 dead after migrant shipwreck
Updated 07 October 2022

Libyan group: At least 15 dead after migrant shipwreck

Libyan group: At least 15 dead after migrant shipwreck
  • Migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean from Libya in a desperate attempt to reach European shores
  • Local authorities had informed the aid group of bodies washing up onshore

BENGHAZI, Libya: A spokesman for Libya’s Red Crescent said Friday that at least 15 bodies have been recovered after a migrant shipwreck off the country’s western coast.
Migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean from Libya in a desperate attempt to reach European shores.
Tawfik Al Shukri said that local authorities had informed the aid group of bodies washing up onshore. He said they were retrieved and transported to a hospital, where the remains would be examined to determine the cause of death.
In a video circulated online, the burnt hull of the wrecked boat is seen lodged on coastal rocks with bodies strewn on it and nearby. The cause of the deaths was not immediately clear, nor was it apparent when the fire was started that burnt the vessel.
The shipwreck took place off the western Libyan city of Sabratha, a major launching point for the mainly African migrants making the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean.
The International Organization for Migration said in June that at least 150 migrants departing from Libya were feared to have drowned in the first sixth months of 2022. Crossings typically increase in the summer and early fall months.
Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East amid internal strife. Torn by civil war since 2011, the oil-rich country is divided between rival governments, each backed by international patrons and multiple armed militias on the ground.
Human traffickers in recent years have benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling in migrants across desert country’s lengthy borders with six nations. The migrants are then typically packed into ill-equipped rubber boats and set off on risky sea voyages.
Many of those who have been intercepted and returned to Libya — including women and children — are held in government-run detention centers where they suffer from abuse, including torture, rape and extortion, according to rights groups.


Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown

Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown
Updated 07 October 2022

Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown

Cholera, hepatitis hit Lebanon already grappling with financial meltdown
  • A Syrian in his 50s, who lives in a refugee camp, and a Lebanese woman caring for him were this week confirmed to have the disease in Akkar
  • The last cholera epidemic in Lebanon was recorded in 1993

BEIRUT: Lebanese health authorities fear that the country could be hit by its first cholera epidemic in nearly three decades after the confirmation of two cases close to the Syrian border.
A Syrian in his 50s, who lives in a refugee camp, and a Lebanese woman caring for him were this week confirmed to have the disease in Akkar. The Syrian, whose infection was recorded on Oct. 5, was said to be stable in hospital while the woman was with her family and stable.
Health Ministry officials said that they had also recorded multiple cases of diarrhea in Akkar, which has poor sanitation services and a population swelled by refugees, and tests are ongoing to check whether any of the sufferers have cholera.
Meanwhile, three to five daily cases of hepatitis are being recorded among villagers in the northern region of Danniyeh.
The last cholera epidemic in Lebanon was recorded in 1993 and led to several deaths. Its re-emergence comes amid an outbreak in Syria, with thousands of cases in the past month.
Firas Abiad, Lebanon’s caretaker health minister, said that he expected cases to rise due to the outbreak across the border.
However he noted that cases were “still limited,” and that medicine was available. He stressed that Lebanon was coordinating with the World Health Organization, while his ministry was examining sewage water and instructing hospitals to report any patient with symptoms.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Bizri, an MP and bacteriologist, told Arab News that Lebanon’s weakened state left it vulnerable to mass infection.
“Hepatitis and cholera will spread in Lebanon as a result of the collapse of state institutions, the lack of maintenance of sewage and sewers, and electricity and water cuts,” he said.
“The Syrian patient refrained from saying how he contracted the disease. We don’t know if he was in Syria illegally and returned to Lebanon. If this is the case, it is easy to contain the disease.
“But if the cause is contaminated water, many others could contract the disease, especially since state institutions and municipalities are not carrying out their duties in terms of ensuring water safety and isolating sewage.
“Hepatitis and cholera outbreaks are a symbol of the state’s failure and we are paying the price.”
The threat of disease adds to problems faced by a country already suffering financial collapse.
Lebanese banks on Friday closed after an unprecedented wave of holdups by savers trying to access their frozen accounts.
Branches had been open only a few days since the last closure two weeks ago, in response to armed intruders threatening employees to get their money.
Banks have now threatened to close their doors indefinitely and their services will be limited to ATMs. An appointment-only system failed to stop the holdups.
Lebanese are also worried about the security situation, as negotiations stall in a US-mediated maritime deal with Israel over the extraction of gas and oil from the disputed Karish field.
Israel Hayom, an Israeli newspaper, reported that authorities were preparing to begin tests “possibly early next week.”
Lebanon is opposed to drilling. During the Friday sermon, Hezbollah’s Shoura Council Sheikh, Mohammed Yazbek, said: “Our response is clear. Oil shall not be extracted from the Karish field before Lebanon’s demands are met. We don’t want war, but we will be ready for it should it happen.”
The US mediation has not ended despite the Israeli refusal to consider Lebanon’s proposed amendments to the deal.


Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology

Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology
Updated 07 October 2022

Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology

Palestinian shot by British forces as boy to petition UK government for atrocities apology
  • Munib Al-Masri will present his dossier to the British government later this year

LONDON: A petition for an apology from the UK government for atrocities committed in Palestine in the first half of the 20th century will be lodged by a Palestinian businessman and former politician, it was reported Friday.

A 300-page document outlining crimes and abuses committed by British forces in Palestine between 1917 and 1948 has been drafted by Munib Al-Masri, a close friend and ally of late Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat, according to the BBC.

The 88-year-old told the broadcaster he was shot as a young boy in 1944, an incident that affected him in his adult life, saying: “(Britain’s role) affected me a lot because I saw how people were harassed…We had no protection whatsoever and nobody to defend us.”

Al-Masri will present his dossier to the British government later this year.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, a former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, and British lawyer Ben Emmerson are reviewing the evidence.

Emmerson told the BBC that “shocking crimes committed by certain elements of the British mandatory forces” were carried out “systematically on the Palestinian population,” adding that even during the time the crimes were carried out, they would have been seen as breaches of international law.

According to the BBC, the British Defense Ministry said it was aware of “historical allegations” during the period outlined in the dossier and that any evidence would be “reviewed thoroughly.”


At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran

At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran
Updated 07 October 2022

At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran

At least 82 Balochi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown in Iran
  • Sept. 30 marked the deadliest day on record since protests spread across Iran
  • Amnesty International secretary-general said Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for human life

DUBAI: Many Iranians are widely referring to Friday, Sept. 30 as “Bloody Friday” following violent crackdowns by Iranian security forces that resulted in the unlawful killing of 66 Balochi protesters demonstrating Mahsa Amini’s death.

Following the death of 22-year-old Amini, who reportedly died in custody after her arrest by Iran’s “morality” police, Sept. 30 marked the deadliest day on record since protests began spreading across Iran last month, according to a report issued by Amnesty International on Friday.

The report said Iranian security forces unlawfully killed at least 66 people, including children, and injured hundreds of others after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers after Friday prayers.  

Since then, another 16 people were killed in separate incidents in Zahedan amid an ongoing clampdown on protests.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and will stop at nothing to preserve power.

“The callous violence being unleashed by Iran’s security forces is not occurring in a vacuum. It is the result of systematic impunity and a lacklustre response by the international community,” she added.

Evidence gathered by Amnesty International shows that the majority of victims were shot in the head, heart, neck and torso, revealing a clear intent to kill or seriously harm.

Consistent with their previous pattern of denial and cover-up, according to Amnesty’s report, the authorities have under-reported the number of fatalities, announcing that 19 people, including bystanders and several members of the security forces, were killed during the protests in Zahedan on Sept. 30.

In an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility for the deaths, the authorities have shared false narratives blaming the deaths on “terrorists,” “rioters” and “separatists,” whom they claim were acting for foreign governments.

Propaganda videos broadcast on state media after Sept. 30 have shown detainees, whom authorities allege were involved in armed attacks against security forces in Zahedan, with sacks over their heads.

The authorities have claimed that protesters had committed acts of looting and arson on public property.

Protests in Zahedan, Sistan and Balochistan province, populated by the long-oppressed Balochi ethnic minority, were scheduled to take place after Friday prayers on Sept. 30 as a show of solidarity with nationwide protests and to demand accountability for the reported rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander in the province.