| Voices from East Jerusalem

New DCI report: Voices from East Jerusalem, The Situation facing Palestinian Children (2011)

[25 October 2011] – Today, DCI-Palestine released a new report: Voices from East Jerusalem, The Situation facing Palestinian Children. The report addresses the impact of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, through administrative and legal measures aimed at limiting the population growth and development of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, while actively encouraging the influx of Israeli settlers into the occupied territory.

Through the voices of 15 children and three mothers, the report sheds some light on the day to day hardships they face living under prolonged military occupation, focusing on three main issues:

House demolitions – This affects approximately 32 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem that do not comply with Israeli zoning requirements, exposing at least 86,500 Palestinian residents to the risk of having their homes demolished.

Settler violence – Between January 2010 and the end of May 2011, the UN recorded 24 cases in which Palestinian children have been injured by settlers in East Jerusalem, and one fatality.

According to the UN, these figures are ‘comprehensive but not exhaustive.’ The figures also do not include cases of harassment or intimidation which did not result in physical injury.

Arrest and detention – Between November 2009 and October 2010, 1,267 criminal files were opened against Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem who were accused of throwing stones. In a sample of 20 cases, 80 percent of the children reported being subjected to physical violence during their arrest, transfer or subsequent questioning.

PDF Report: “Voices from East Jerusalem, The Situation facing Palestinian Children”

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TamilNet 23 July 2010: Prof. Boyle urges divestment-disinvestment campaign against “apartheid” Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 July 2010, 00:07 GMT]

Speaking at the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) convention during the US Independence day weekend, Professor Boyle, an expert in International Law, said that Sri Lanka is a violator of the Apartheid Convention, and that Tamils across the world should, without delay, intensify a divestment and disinvestment campaign against Sri Lanka “in the same lines and for the same reason the world did this against the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa.” The July event held in Waterbury, Connecticut, is traditionally the largest event of the Tamil speaking people in the US every year, and the Connecticut event this year drew more than 2000 Tamils.

Prof. Boyle’s Talk on divestment (Part I)

Article I of the Apartheid Convention, more formally known as the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA), labels the crime of Apartheid as a “crime against humanity,” and declares that “inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination are crimes violating the principles or international law…”

Prof. Boyle said the long history of discriminatory policies instituted by successive governments of Sri Lanka against Tamils and the conduct of the Goverment of Mahinda Rajapakse on internment of Tamil civilians, continued colonization of Tamil lands, desecration of cemetries and cultural symbols of Tamils overwhelmingly qualify Sri Lanka as an apartheid regime, and therefore, Sri Lanka should be prosecuted as a violator of the Apartheid convention.

Prof. Boyle’s Talk on divestment (Part II)

Prof. Boyle added that with the exception of one category of crime listed in Article II of the Apartheid Convention, that is the prohibition of mixed marriages, Sri Lanka has violated almost all other categories of crimes that qualify as “crime of Apartheid.” Article II crimes include:

  • Denial of the right to life and property;
  • Deliberate imposition on a racial group of living conditions calculated to cause physical destruction of the group in whole or in part;
  • Denying to a group basic human rights and freedom, right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
  • Expropriation of land and property;
  • Exploitation of labor of the members of a racial group; and
  • Persecution of organizations or persons who oppose apartheid.

Prof. Boyle pointed out that there is some degree of overlap between Apartheid treaty and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He added that while Sri Lanka has avoided becoming signatory to the Rome Statute, the crimes against humanity fall into the category of peremptory norms, and the international laws are binding on Governments even when the countries are not signatories to the conventions.

IMEU: Eilat Attacks and Escalation in Gaza

FOREVER! Gaza in our hearts!

INSTITUTE FOR MIDDLE EAST UNDERSTANDING
IMEU ~ 21 August 2011

In Gaza City on August 20, 2011 ~ murdered by Israel

A deadly three-pronged attack by unidentified gunmen on Israeli soldiers and civilians near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat on Thursday triggered a serious escalation in violence, with Israel launching three nights of air raids on the Gaza Strip.Following the attacks, Israeli forces also pursued the attackers into Egypt, where Egyptian security officers were shot dead, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
Prior attacks
Even before Thursday’s attack, Israel carried out a series of deadly military actions in Gaza last week.Early on Tuesday 16 August, Israeli warplanes launched an airstrike that killed a 29-year-old Palestinian man. The Israeli military said the strike was in response to a rocket from Gaza that caused no damage or injuries.In a separate incident later on Tuesday, Israeli troops shot dead a teenager near Gaza’s boundary with Israel. Palestinian medical officials said the teen was shot more than 10 times.
Triple strike
According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, six Israeli civilians and one soldier were killed during Thursday’s triple attack.In the first incident, men following a public bus opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles. The attack took place on Israel’s Highway 12, about 12 miles north of the city of Eilat.

In the second incident, an Israeli military vehicle several miles away was hit by a roadside bomb, while mortars were fired at workers building a fence along Israel’s border with Egypt.

The third incident was a gun battle between Israeli forces and militants. According to the UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, Israeli forces pursued the gunmen across the Egyptian border, and an Israeli helicopter fired on Egyptian security officers, killing at least three of them.

Gaza blamed

Israeli officials immediately blamed the attacks on Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, claiming the gunmen crossed into the Sinai Peninsula through tunnels from Gaza, and then infiltrated Israel.

“This is not speculation, not conjecture, not joining the dots. They are sure these terrorists left Gaza,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

In the first Israeli airstrike following the Eilat attacks, Israel targeted the leadership of the Popular Resistance Committees, a secretive armed group in Gaza. According to the Palestinian news agency Maan, the strike hit the home of official Khaled Shaath, who was killed instantly. His two-year-old son Malek later died of injuries sustained in the strike.

The raid, in the city of Rafah, killed four other men reported to be senior members of the PRC.

Following the bombardment, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “We have killed the heads of the organization that sent the terrorists.”

Lack of evidence

Aside from the insistence of Israeli officials, no evidence has come to light clearly linking the Eilat incident to any group in Gaza. Indeed, Hamas and the PRC themselves denied responsibility for the attacks.

In addition, the governor of Egypt’s North Sinai region, Abdel Wahab Mabruk, denied militants had entered the territory from Gaza, citing his country’s heavy security presence in the area.

In a striking turnaround on Saturday, the Israeli military’s chief spokesperson, Lt. Colonel Avital Leibovitz, denied that Israel blamed the PRC for the Eilat attack.

In an interview with The Real News Network’s Lia Tarachansky, Leibovitz said, “We did not say that this group was responsible for the terror attack. We based this on intelligence information as well as some facts that [we] actually presented an hour ago to some wires and journalists.”

As evidence that the attackers came from Gaza, she said, “Some of the findings that were from the bodies of the terrorists, and they are using, for example, Kalashnikov bullets and Kalashnikov rifles [which] are very common in Gaza.”

Leibovitz’s claim makes little sense, however, since the Kalashnikov is the most popular gun on the planet, with more than 75 million produced since the Second World War. Paul Woodward, the author of the blog War in Context, responded to this assertion saying, “that’s about as logical as saying they know they came from Gaza because they appeared to be Arabs.”

Gaza under fire

Despite the apparent lack of concrete evidence linking the Eilat attackers to groups in Gaza, Israel pressed ahead with an air offensive on Gaza.

The first night of airstrikes left a total of seven Palestinians dead, including a 13-year-old boy named Mahmoud Abu Samra, who according to medics was killed when Israeli warplanes struck a Hamas intelligence compound in Gaza City.

After three nights of Israeli bombardment, the death toll in Gaza stood at 14 Palestinians dead and more than 40 wounded.

The bombing also damaged civilian infrastructure, including government and NGO offices, water and sewage pumps, and a psychotherapy clinic.

Lopsided response

Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including the PRC and the military wing of Hamas, responded to the Israeli strikes by launching rockets into Israeli territory.

Some of these rockets were homemade projectiles – so-called Qassam rockets – that ordinarily have a maximum range of five kilometers, although some have been recorded to fly up to 20 kilometers (12 miles). These crude rockets are completely unguided and rarely cause casualties.

Armed groups also fired Grad missiles, another primitive weapon, originally developed by the Soviet military in the 1960s. In contrast with the Qassam, however, the Grad is in fact a deadly weapon. One Israeli man was killed by a Grad fired from Gaza into the city of Beersheba on Friday.

By any measure, however, the armaments of the Palestinian guerilla fighters are no match for those of the Israeli armed forces. In three days of strikes on Gaza, the Israeli military has already used American-made F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, along with unmanned aerial drones.

Israel is one of the best-armed states in the region, possessing more than 500 combat aircraft, more than 3,300 tanks, nuclear weapons, and its own communications and surveillance satellites.

End of the ceasefire

After 24 hours of strikes, the military wing of Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades, announced on Friday that it no longer considers itself bound by a unilateral ceasefire that had been in place since the end of Israel’s winter offensive in Gaza in 2009.

The truce was agreed upon by all of the armed factions in Gaza, and was periodically reaffirmed in consultations among the groups. However, a handful of small, radical Salafist groups refused to abide by the ceasefire.

In spite of intermittent confrontations, the ceasefire had produced relative calm in Gaza and its surroundings. The Hamas government took pains to enforce the truce, frequently jailing members of splinter groups who violated the agreement.

Hamas and the rival Fatah movement reaffirmed the ceasefire when they signed a reconciliation agreement in April 2011.

Although some Palestinian individuals and groups violated the ceasefire over the course of two and a half years, Israel has violated it with far more deadly consequences.

According to data compiled by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, from the end of the 2009 offensive until 28 July 2011, Israeli military action killed 202 Palestinians in Gaza.

By contrast, during the same period, according to the UN database, Palestinian armed groups killed only three Israeli soldiers. Israeli government data show that Palestinian shelling from Gaza during this time killed another two people.

FOREVER! Gaza in our hearts!

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa’s Apartheid Didactic Agenda

by HWB ~ 20 August 2011

Human Rights ~ THE POWER OF EDUCATION

“The textbooks encourage children to develop ‘apartheid attitudes’” toward Tamils. Sri Lanka’s future Sinhalese generations must learn “Tolerance” – Respect and Accept!

Extermination of “The Last Surviving Classical Civilization on Earth”

Not only has the Sinhalese-run government of Sri Lanka conducted systematic genocide of Tamils for decades, but they are, and have been, carrying out educational genocide against Tamils by planting and nurturing seeds of apartheid and intolerance in the young impressionable minds of Sinhalese schoolchildren through their educational system. Specifically in the subject of “Social Studies”.

Regi Siriwardene, a well-respected Sinhalese writer, in an analysis of the effects of school textbooks on ethnic relations in Sri Lanka (1984): “Millions of school children are taught, in the name of social studies, through text-books published by the state, the myths of divergent racial origins which will help to divide the Sinhalese and Tamils for more generations to come….”

The Tamils who settled in Sri Lanka around the 2nd century BC, according to archaeological findings, are descendants of the Dravidian language-speaking tribal people of South India. The Sri Lankan Tamils, or Ceylon Tamils, are descendants of the Tamils of the old Jaffna Kingdom. Their history is rich, diverse and invaluable, contributing immensely to the growth and advancement of Sri Lanka over a period of thousands of years. Tamils have been referred to as the last surviving classical civilization on earth.

“Quality of Life” for Tamils, Immorally Unjustifiably Stigmatized “TERRORISTS”

The international community may ignore facts and turn the other cheek, but facts do not lie, and they do not go away without intervention. The fact is that there are still hundreds of thousands of Tamils living in IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps or with host families; because they have nowhere to go, nor do they have the means to support and feed themselves and their families. Their homes have either been brutally and illegally confiscated by the Sri Lankan government, or their homes were destroyed during the war. The government is not making any effort, much less do they care, to help Tamils who survived the merciless civil war to make a fresh start.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (iDMC), as of 01 July 2011, over two years since the war ended in May 2009, almost 210,000 “new” IDPs have returned to camps, and among the more than 157,000 “old” IDP returnees are people displaced from High Security Zones (HSZ), including the Walikamam North HSZ in Jaffna, where the return process began in May. The government claims that IDPs, i.e. Tamils, would be able to return to their homes, provided they have one, by the end of 2011. This remains to be seen, since the SL government has been ruthlessly robbing Tamils of their lands and their homes.

Sri Lanka’s civil war, which officially began on July 23, 1983 and ended on May 18, 2009, lasting 26-years, may be “officially” over as far as that there are no longer aerial attacks and bombings, though heavy military presence via armed-to-the-teeth Sinhalese soldiers and constant various checkpoints are extremely prominent to this day throughout the country. Disappearances and murders of Tamils and journalists advocating Human Rights are still rampant.

TamilNet’s article from 13 January 2011 bluntly reported that “an esoteric team of military intelligence led by Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is directly involved in the killings and abductions in the North”. Needless to say, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, signifying the Sri Lankan government is not a transparent democracy, controlled and ruled by the immediate family of and with the “Great King, Mahinda Rajapaksa”, Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese iron fist of tyranny.

Referring to these points is essential in the sense that they are not only ambiguously volatile, but they ascertain that the quality of life has far from improved for Tamils since the war ended, and their hopes and aspirations for equality and freedom in their own country are non-existent. Tamils continue to live in trepidation and hopelessness.

 

Tamils, Born “Terrorists” by Default

Whether openly suggestive or cunningly subtle, the Sri Lankan government infers all Tamils as ‘guilty by association’ to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), as supporters or ‘terrorists’, for being Tamil.

SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated: “The elder generation is entrusted with the responsibility of creating a younger generation that will *NOT BETRAY* the country at any cost.”

UPDATE, 24 August 2011: PLEASE NOTE! ~ Sometime between 20 Aug 2011 and 24 Aug 2011, someone REVISED Rajapaksa’s words above to the following:

“President Rajapaksa said the elder generation is entrusted with the responsibility of creating a younger generation that will *LOVE* the country at any cost.” 

Conclusive to the state of affairs in Sri Lanka, one must presume that by “the elder generation”, Mr. Rajapaksa clearly implies the Sinhalese peoples.

Given the president’s remark, there can be no doubt that the indigenous Tamil peoples have not only been forsaken by the international community, but they are discarded and abandoned by their own government, operated on apartheid policy.

Of course, Rajapaksa endorses education, as any president worth his salt should…for Sinhalese children:

Mahinda Rajapaksa – Education for Children (Video: 39 sec)

Mahinda Rajapaksa – Education for Children (Video: 39 sec)

Mahinda Rajapaksa for children (Video: 2 min 59 sec)

Mahinda Rajapaksa for children (Video: 2 min 59 sec)

 

Simple: “Education ~ The Building Block for Our Children’s Future”

Why education matters for global security”, by Irina Bokova (Director General, UNESCO), 01 March 2011:

“Education must rise on the agenda of peace building. We know the wrong type of education can fuel conflict. The use of education systems to foster hatred has contributed to the underlying causes of conflicts, from Rwanda to Sri Lanka, but also in Guatemala and Sudan.”

Sri Lanka has been a member state of the United Nations since 14 December 1955:

“Protocol, relating to the entry into force of an agreement bringing the UNESCO into official relationship with the United Nations which was approved by the General Assembly, was signed February 3, 1947.”

The official Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of 16 November 1945 implicitly declares the following:

“The Governments of the States parties to this Constitution on behalf of their peoples declare

that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed;

that ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war;

that the great and terrible war which has now ended was a war made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men, and by the propagation, in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races;

that the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfill in a spirit of mutual assistance and concern;

that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.

For these reasons, the States parties to this Constitution, believing in full and equal opportunities for education for all, in the unrestricted pursuit of objective truth, and in the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, are agreed and determined to develop and to increase the means of communication between their peoples and to employ these means for the purposes of mutual understanding and a truer and more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives;

In consequence whereof they do hereby create the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation for the purpose of advancing, through the educational and scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of international peace and of the common welfare of mankind for which the United Nations Organisation was established and which its Charter proclaims.”

Human Rights Activists fight for the voiceless and discarded. They are ONE VOICE for freedom, justice, equality and peace. What they accomplish today in the name of Humanity and Human Rights for All must not only be taught to our children, but it must be protected, appreciated and respected for all future generations.

Discrimination and intolerance based on history, color, culture, religion and traditions are never requisites of and for Human Rights and Democracy.

“We cannot choose our families or our ethnicity, but we have absolute power of whom we choose to be.” ~ H.W.