In this photograph, taken on October 21, 2016, Myanmar troops patrol a village in Rakhine State
Dozens of Rohingya Muslim women in Myanmar’s Rakhine state say government forces have committed acts of rape or sexual assault against them.
Eight Rohingya women, all from the remote U Shey Kya village, described in detail how soldiers last week raped them at gun point, while raiding their homes and looting property, according to Reuters news agency on Friday.
Myanmar deployed troops to Rakhine earlier this month following alleged attacks on police posts along the border with Bangladesh, which authorities blamed on Rohingya Muslims.
One 40-year-old woman said four soldiers raped her and assaulted her 15-year-old daughter, while stealing jewelry and cash from the family.
“They took me inside the house. They tore my clothes and they took my headscarf off…,” she said.
Another woman, 32, described being knocked off her feet by soldiers and repeatedly raped. “They told me, ‘We will kill you. We will not allow you to live in this country,’” she said.
The women said the soldiers took gold, money and anything that was valuable from their bamboo huts and burned down village homes and spoiled rice stores by pouring sand on them.
This file image shows Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman Sea, May 14, 2015
One 30-year-old woman said he did not have clothes or food to eat after everything was destroyed. “I’m feeling ashamed and scared,” Reuters quoted the unnamed woman as saying.
Five more women from U Shey Kya also detailed how soldiers had raped them. The accounts were confirmed by at least three male residents of the village and a Rohingya community leader.
U Shey Kya village’s official administrator, Armah Harkim, said he was verifying the accounts which most residents believed to be true. The residents said about 150 soldiers attacked U Shey Kya on October 19.
A presidential spokesman accused the villagers of fabricating the news while confirming that government troops had conducted a sweep of the village on October 19.
Most male residents have reportedly left the village as they believed they would be suspected as militants. The women said they stayed behind fearing that the military would burn down empty homes.
Residents said the soldiers dismantled the fences around the houses after the military declared northern Rakhine State an “operation zone.”
The UN has called on Myanmar to investigate new reports of human rights violations, including the killing of unarmed people and torching of rural settlements in Rakhine state.
Rights groups say troops have gone on a rampage, which has forced terrified civilians to flee their homes.
Rakhine, where Rohingya Muslims form the majority population, has been the scene of communal violence at the hands of Buddhist extremists since 2012.
Hundreds of people have been killed, while tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes and live in squalid camps in dire situations in Myanmar and other countries in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
According to the UN, Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The government denies full citizenship to Rohingya population, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even as many trace their lineage in Myanmar back generations.
(Source / 28.10.2016)
The family of hunger-striking prisoner Majd Abu Shamla said that its son was transferred from his isolation cell in the Negev to another one in Ashkelon jail, expressing deep concern over his life.
The prisoner’s father, Husni Abu Shamla, stated on Thursday that his son suffers from pains all over his body in addition to extreme fatigue and weakness.
The father accused Israeli jailers of pressuring his son to end his hunger strike.
Abu Shamla’s lawyer went to Negev jail to visit him on Wednesday, but he was told that the prisoner had been transferred to an unknown place before he found out that the prisoner was taken to an isolation cell in Ashkelon jail.
(Source / 28.10.2016)
Cables reveal that before the beginning of the Syrian revolt and civil war, the United States hoped to overthrow Assad and create strife between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
Speaking from Ecuador’s embassy in London, Julian Assange revealed that the United States planned to overthrow the Syrian government as far back as 2006, several years before the start of the current crisis.
The founder of WikiLeaks took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in 2012. The premises remain under siege 24 hours a day by a large team of police to prevent Assange from ever stepping foot outside, at a cost to taxpayers that now exceeds £12 million.
The ongoing threat to his freedom hasn’t kept Assange from continuing his work revealing the dirty secrets of world governments. His latest revelations come in an interview with RT in support of his new book, “The WikiLeaks Files,” published late last month.
The United States and its allies in the Middle East, including Turkey and Israel, have been frequently accused of contributing to the ongoing destabilization of Syria in the wake of the uprising and subsequent civil war which began in 2011. But according to cables from the WikiLeaks archive, discussed in the Syria chapter of Assange’s book, plans to deliberately destabilize the region go back at least five years further.
“In that chapter is a cable from US Ambassador William Roebuck, who was stationed in Damascus, which apparently discusses a plan for the overthrow of the Assad government in Syria,” RT reported.
In his appearance on the RT program “Going Underground,” Assange elaborated on the cable’s contents:
“… That plan was to use a number of different factors to create paranoia within the Syrian government; to push it to overreact, to make it fear there’s a coup …”
Assange continued, explaining that the U.S. government sought to make the Syrian government appear weak by causing Assad to overreact to the threat of Islamic extremists crossing into his country.
The cable also details plans to foster sectarian strife in the region and make Iran appear like a larger threat to Assad than it really was, Assange continued:
“In particular, to take rumors that are known to be false … or exaggerations and promote them – that Iran is trying to convert poor Sunnis, and to work with Saudi and Egypt to foster that perception in order to make it harder for Iran to have influence, and also harder for the government to have influence in the population.”
WikiLeaks cables reveal that these plans came from the Israeli government, and show that the U.S. government intended to work with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt to encourage the breakdown of the Assad regime as a way of also weakening Iran and Hezbollah.
“[I]f Syria sufficiently destabilized, it might be in a position where it can keep the Golan Heights forever, or even advance that territory,” Assange said.
According to Assange, the cable illuminates how the current Syrian crisis reflects U.S. influence on the Middle East, particularly the ways it has used its allies to put pressure on the country. “Part of the problem in Syria is that you have a number of US allies surrounding it, principally Saudi and Qatar, that are funneling in weapons,” Assange noted, adding that it shows how the U.S. uses its over 100 army bases and network of embassies to further its imperialist interests.
The mainstream media often presents a simplistic view of the Syrian crisis, especially when the U.S. government is using it as support for war, ignoring the history of the region and the many conflicting alliances it holds.
MintPress News founder Mnar Muhawesh published her analysis of the current refugee crisis, which also blames Western allies like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia for seeking to destabilize Syria in their quest to control the region’s energy resources.
“Today, the Middle East is being torn to shreds by manipulative plans to gain oil and gas access by pitting people against one another based on religion,” Muhawesh wrote. “And in this push for energy, it’s the people who suffer most.”
(Source / 28.10.2016)
The Israeli school system, as it currently exists, clearly caters to the best interests of the state rather than Arab Palestinian students
The education system in Israel is one of the many areas where Arab Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel are segregated from each other as the schools are strictly divided into different sectors, based on both religion and ethnicity.
The system in its current form was established in 1953 with the State Education Law which provides the legal framework for the establishment of two sectors: a Jewish secular and a Jewish religious one. While the Palestinian minority is not mentioned in this law, the establishment of an Arab school sector that is separate from the two Jewish ones followed rather inevitably from it.
The Israeli education system can be seen as a political tool used by the government to advance its goals of furthering the Jewish character of the state rather than to provide the best possible education for all citizens
Despite an amendment of the law in 2000, the Arab sector has no official legal standing, but exists alongside the two ‘official and recognised’ Jewish sectors as an ‘unofficial but recognised’ one. Thus, from the inception of the state school system in 1953, Arab Palestinians and Jewish Israelis were generally prevented from attending school together.
Recent efforts of singling out the Arab Christian population in Israel regarding conscription and education suggest that the education system in its current form is more than just a provider of knowledge for the citizens of the state. The Ministry of Education has complete control over the school curricula of all types of schools – Jewish, Druze and Arab public and private, from kindergarten to high school.
There are two main ways the state education system promotes divisions among the Palestinian citizens in Israel: directly through the separation of different religious communities into separate schools, the determination of the curriculum and the appointment of teachers and principals; and indirectly through issues regarding funding, infrastructure, private schools and access to higher education.
Therefore, the education system can be seen as a political tool used by the government to advance its goals of furthering the Jewish character of the state rather than to provide the best possible education for all citizens.
The divisions created among the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship will also have consequences for the wider Palestinian quest for statehood and self-determination. Therefore, dividing the Palestinian communities into one inside and one outside of Israel, as I have done for this piece, is purely for the purpose of analysis and does not intend to undermine the concept of a collective Palestinian nation.
Steering Druze away
The main and most apparent active interventions by Israel in the education system in order to divide its Palestinian population are the attempts to separate the community based on their religion.
Divide-and-rule as a practice within the education system dates back to 1956 when a separate school system for the Druze in Israel was established. This development has to be seen in the broader context of Israel trying to single out the Druze community as ‘a people apart’, not belonging to the Palestinian community in any way.
Instead, the Druze’s loyalty to the state was emphasised and ensured by conscribing all male Druze to the Israeli army and promoting it in Druze schools. Therefore, as Ra’afat Harb, a Druze political activist told me this past summer, both atmosphere and curriculum in Druze schools differ from the one in other Arab Palestinian schools.
The result of the segregated, limited and biased education in Druze schools is that Druze identity is being remodeled in a way that suits the goals of the state and the Jewish majority. Of course, identity is always a shifting concept that differs individually and collectively and that can manifest itself in various ways. Again, according to Harb, there are Druze who identify as Palestinians, as Arabs, as Israelis or even as Zionists.
However, through the education system, the state actively suppresses the development of the Druze’s Arab and Palestinian identity and instead imposes a separate uniquely Druze/Israeli identity on them. In doing so, the state clearly follows an agenda of steering the Druze away from the Arab Palestinian community.
Challenges for Bedouin Arabs
Another major division that is created within the Palestinian community in Israel is between Christian/Muslim Arabs on the one side and Bedouin Arabs on the other side.
Most Bedouins in Israel live in the Naqab (Negev) in the south of the country where they face abject living conditions as a result of Israel’s attempt to uproot them from their land and to relocate them in a few concentrated villages and towns.
As inhabitants of the unrecognised villages, the Bedouins suffer from the poorest living conditions in the country, according to Noga Dagan-Buzaglo, a researcher at Adva Center – Information on Equality and Social Justice in Israel.
While the state is obligated to provide education for all its citizens starting at age 3 or 4, schools in the Naqab can only be found in the recognised villages and towns. This makes it difficult for parents in the unrecognised villages to send their children to school on a regular basis.
Because parents can face legal prosecution if they fail to send their children to school, some families have moved from the unrecognised to the recognised villages in order to facilitate school attendance and to avoid criminal charges, according to Muhammad Zidani, a researcher, and Muna Haddad, a lawyer, both with Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
Here again, education is used as a political tool to force the will of the state unto its Arab citizens, in this case by removing parts of the population from its ancestral land.
Singling out Christian Arabs
A third, fairly recent development is the attempt of Israel to single out the Christian Arabs as they have done with the Druze for the past 60 years.
In 2013, state efforts increased to encourage Christian Arabs to join the Israeli military, taking advantage of the fact that they are numerically inferior to the Muslim Arabs and trying to create fear of a “growing ‘Muslim threat’ in the region.” Related is the current effort by the state to ascribe the Christian Arabs a new Aramaic ethnicity.
“They say that we are a group of different religions and have nothing in common,” she said. “When I speak with somebody else who is Arab, it will never occur to me to actually ask him about his religion because culturally, it is not polite for Arabs to ask somebody about that.”
The attempt of the state to single out Christians and make them adopt a new Aramaic identity has not yet taken hold among the people. On the contrary, many Arab Palestinians like Copty mock these efforts as being unnatural and bound to fail.
However, the past shows that similar efforts have been successful in the Druze context. Therefore, this new divide-and-rule strategy should be taken seriously instead of being dismissed out of hand as absurd.
Someone else’s history
The second important area in which the state directly implements its divide-and-rule policy is the content pupils learn in schools. The whole education system is based “on the values of Jewish culture and the achievements of science, on love of the homeland and loyalty to the State and the Jewish people (…)” as laid out in the 1953 State Education Law.
Bedouin schools are considered to be well-equipped if they consist of buildings made of brick with running water and electricity.
In practice, this means that the curricula designed for the Jewish secular and religious sectors aim at teaching pupils the Jewish Zionist values and point of view. As a result, Arab Palestinian pupils do not learn anything about their own people’s history or culture during the 14 years that they attend school.
Furthermore, the image of Arab Palestinians that is portrayed to them in the school books is negative, if not outright racist one.
Differences among Arab Palestinians are highlighted in a new controversial civics textbook, introduced by the current Minister of Education Naftali Bennett in May.
Despite pronounced protest by the Arab Palestinian community, Bennett insisted on the publication of the book that, among others, “needlessly divid[es] between Israel’s Muslim, Christian, Aramean and Druze segments and focusing more attention on the latter’s army service than on the largest subgroup”, namely Muslim Arabs.
Connected to this issue is the appointment of teachers and principals in Arab schools. Among the Palestinian community in Israel, it is commonly known that the Ministry of Education does not appoint the individual most suited for the task but the one that cooperates with the state.
The fact that the Shabak (Shin Bet), Israel’s internal security service, is involved in the appointment – and the preceding screening – of the teachers and principals shows how crucial Israel considers the appointment of the ‘right’ people to be. By choosing loyal or at least not openly critical teachers and principals, the state makes sure that only the content provided for in the school curriculum will be taught. Even in private schools, that have a certain degree of freedom regarding the appointment of teachers and the content, the teachers are aware of their role within the system and mainly stick to the dominant narrative.
All these aspects taken together ensure that the state, by direct intervention in the education system, transmits only the dominant Zionist narrative that is supposed to protect the Jewish character of the state. This practice aims at sowing divisions among Arab Palestinian pupils because it denies the existence of a Palestinian nation and instead emphasises all aspects that separate the community on religious or other terms.
Nice education – if you can afford it
Israel also tries to undermine the cohesion among the Arab Palestinian community in a more indirect, subtle way. While the exact numbers vary, it is obvious that the Ministry of Education allocates much less funds to Arab schools than to Jewish ones, resulting in a severe lack of resources in all Arab public schools.
Bedouin schools are considered to be well-equipped if they consist of buildings made of brick with running water and electricity. As a result of the persistent work of FUCAE, the Ministry of Education is fully aware of the amount of money needed annually per student to close the gap between Jewish and Arab students.
According to FUCAE’s General Director Aatef Moadei, however, Israel is interested in managing the gaps rather than closing them. The indifference of the state is all the more remarkable when considering that it is directed against people who make up 20 percent of its own citizenry, all of whom pay taxes and expect to see meaningful investments in return.
The school system, as it currently exists, clearly caters to the best interests of the state rather than the students.
As a result of the lack of funding and the poor infrastructure in most public schools, Arab private schools have become the preferred alternative for parents who want their children to receive a better education. Most Arab private schools are run and partly funded by churches, which means that they have more funds to draw on and which gives them more freedom in handling the internal affairs of the school. Arab Church schools are open to all Arab pupils, not only Christians.
However, as parents pay tuition fees for these schools, poorer Arab families who are generally Muslim, are excluded from this alternative. As a result, by intentionally underfunding the public schools and forcing the Arab community to divert to private education that is partly self-paid, the state again enforces a separation of the community based on religion, in addition to highlighting the stratification along the lines of class.
Keeping students undereducated
The state’s strategy regarding the Arab education system seeks to ensure that the Palestinian citizens in Israel remain undereducated whilst providing enough education to mask the reality to both the international community and the Israeli public.
The severe deficits in the school system result in low participation of Arabs in higher education: only one in every four Arab pupils goes on to higher education, compared to one out of every two Jewish pupils. As a result, the direct and indirect measures sustained by the state do not only lead to the reinforcement of differences within the Arab Palestinian community.
On a greater scale, these measures also result in a system that produces a relatively low-skilled labor force, for example by producing badly trained Arab teachers that, in turn, will have an effect on the next generation of Arab Palestinian pupils – ensuring a continued marginalisation of the Palestinian minority within Israel.
Democracy in name only
The state thus interferes directly and indirectly with the Arab education sector and aims at enforcing separations among the Arab Palestinian citizens in Israel based on ethnicity, religion, geography and class. The school system, as it currently exists, clearly caters to the best interests of the state rather than the students.
it is of crucial importance that Israel starts treating all its citizens, Jews and non-Jews, equally if it wants to continue calling itself and being called a democracy
Palestinians in Israel are aware of their community’s diversity. However, they claim that the government uses the education system to reinforce the existing differences, which would not be so problematic if not stressed continuously by the state. The control of their schools by the Ministry of Education and especially the complete lack of freedom regarding the content that is being taught are two practices they widely rejected.
Therefore, the Arab Palestinian community in Israel demands complete autonomy for the Arab educational sector, by taking over full responsibility for the allocation of funds, the content of the curricula and the appointment of teachers in all Arab schools.
The autonomy of the Arab educational sector in Israel would be an important step towards the improvement of Arab education in general. Moreover, it would provide a chance for the Arab Palestinian citizens in Israel to halt the state’s attempts to divide them into ever smaller communities in order to jeopardise the Palestinian national movement.
While these goals might appear to be utopian, it is of crucial importance that Israel starts treating all its citizens, Jews and non-Jews, equally if it wants to continue calling itself and being called a democracy.
(Source / 28.10.2016)
“I like the ability to create characters, and put them in difficult situations then see what they do”
Tariq Nasir, award-winning Palestinian-American film director
Born to a Palestinian father and an American mother in New York, award-winning film director Tariq Nasir has spent much of his life exploring issues of equality.
As a child, Nasir was made a refugee during the 1967 war, when his family had to flee Jerusalem to live in Jordan. Even as a young person, Nasir wanted to be an artist. Because of his experience of being a refugee, however, and the pressure from his family to study something more “tangible” that would help him secure a living, he opted to study business in London and pursue a career in finance.
In 2005, however, the artist within Nasir decided to retire from his position at an investment firm and study film. “I love making movies, both fiction and documentary,” Nasir told MEMO. “I like the ability to create characters, and put them in difficult situations then see what they do.”
Nasir’s first film was a feature documentary called “Belonging” which followed the story of his family fleeing Palestine. “I wanted to make a film that was a little more gentle, telling the story about my family and what happened to them, without including a lot of the graphic violence.”
“My mother…grew up at the time of the [Great] Depression, and what I thought was interesting was that in some ways my mother was an economic refugee and my father was a refugee of war, so it was a very interesting story to be able to tell together.”
Let’s All Be Free
In 2012, he founded the “Let’s All Be Free” (LABF) Festival touching on what it means to be free.
Nasir was inspired to set up the festival after listening to an excerpt by Bill Clinton on the radio one day, talking about how we should all be free.
“I thought that there was some hypocrisy in that statement,” Nasir told MEMO, “because under the Clinton administration, certainly the Palestinians got even a more raw deal that they’d had in the past, and for me it just resonated…because of my background and knowing that people can talk and use words…and not necessarily mean them, or they don’t mean all people.”
Nasir thought it was a great opportunity to think about not just Palestinians but all people in the world. “I wanted to help create a forum where people can come together to learn about each other and to learn about what it means to be free to them as an individual.”
Between 12-16 October, film lovers, filmmakers, activists, and many others gathered in London to watch 37 short films from around the world as part of the fourth annual LABF Festival. The festival screened documentaries, expressions, and fiction films across many different genres and themes from around the world, all of them exploring what it means to be free.
“I find that people are very receptive to the topic and they like to discuss it and think about it,” Nasir told MEMO. “This year, we have one filmmaker who is blind and he actually made a film about disabilities, and that’s amazing given that film is such a visual medium,” he added.
Two Palestinian films were also showcased at the festival – “The Black Friday” and “Three Minute Warning.” The Palestinian films, Nasir says, are “focused on the occupation and the oppression that is going on in Gaza and the West Bank.”
Directed by Iqbal Mohammed, “Three Minute Warning” handles Israel’s so-called roof knocking policy, in which they bomb the roof of a building to inform the residents that they have three minutes to evacuate the building before it is bombed again. The film features a 14-year-old girl called Mariam who cares for her disabled mother. One night, Israelis “knock on the roof” of their building allowing them only three minutes to escape before it is demolished.
Lead Actress, Mimi Nali, playing the role of Mariam’s mother, said the film was a humanitarian one, not intended to be either pro or anti Palestinian or Israeli. “All what we see in [the] media is just numbers,” she told MEMO. “As a mother, it was really emotional.”
One state for all in Palestine
Nasir believes that a one-state solution with equal rights for all of its citizens is the way forward to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. “At this point, you have to be kind of pragmatic,” he stressed, “and my view is that having a one-state solution is what’s important because if you give everybody equal rights then I don’t think you have any problems.”
“If you look at the US, for example, when African-Americans did not have equal rights, they had problems,” he added, saying that all people want the same things; to have a safe and secure environment for them and their children, and the opportunity to be able to achieve things in their lives.
“I think it’s important for us to listen to each other’s stories,” he continued. “Listening to someone else’s story doesn’t mean you have to agree with their story, but listening to it allows them to then listen to your story, and I think when we do listen to each other then we’re in a much better place of feeling empathy and understanding and then being able to see each other as human beings…so I think film is a great way to actually achieve that.”
In the first year of the festival, an Israeli film about a father who retired was screened. “It was a great film and so I included it in the festival,” Nasir added, saying people often assume that Palestinians would not be open to hearing all kinds of stories.
“My hope is that by being able to raise awareness, tell people’s stories, we can do this in a very positive, constructive way of bringing people together to one day live together.”
(Source / 28.10.2016)
Aleppo has been a key battle ground between almost all the forces involved in the Syrian crisis [file photo]
For months, two Arab cities have been the focus of world attention. Aleppo in northern Syria and Mosul, northern Iraq, are two of the most important and most beautiful representatives of historic civilizations. They were once connected as part of the same nation before becoming separated by borders some 100 years ago.
No one could have imagined that circumstances would push them back to the darkest of days, outside of history and unrepresentative of civilization, that their noble peoples would be oppressed by some of the the most backward minds of the era.
Yet today Aleppo languishes under siege with its people are deprived of the basic needs for life. Meanwhile, Mosul is occupied, and its people are subject to intimidation and odious authoritarianism, by Daesh – a vile group who disguise their actions with the words of Islam yet everything they do is offensive to the true faith.
These cities have played the most prominent roles in civilization, as they contain diversity within them. They are where ideas and beliefs mingle, converge, and fuse, and cultures and coexistence is born within them.
There are very few cities that are similar to Aleppo and Mosul, but most of them are located in the Arab region. These cities contributed to creating the unique spirit of the Middle East, or what used to be unique through the coexistence of various religions and doctrines. Perhaps there in lies its impulsiveness and recklessness that has driven it towards its great demise Aleppo and Mosul were examples of such coexistence.
That Aleppo, the one we know and remember, only exists in old books and pictures now; That Aleppo had highest number of documented churches located next to mosques; In that Aleppo, people of different faiths mingled and worshiped next to each other, on the same street. That Aleppo was home to second largest Christian community, comprising Syriacs, Latin Maronites, Catholics, and Orthodox, after Beirut, lived side by side with the Muslims, Kurds and Armenians lived amongst the Arab majority .
In Mosul, the Kurds, Turkmens, and Armenians lived side by side with the Arabs, and the historical city of Nineveh was the most important centre for the gathering of Syriacs and all of their churches. The Muslims share with the Christians, Mandaeans, Yazidis and Shabaks the legacies and the developments of time.
These nations and communities would not have been connected and continued to live together without societal safety and security. This was more so created by the efforts of the various factions than a fruit of internal or foreign will. What Aleppo and Mosul are experiencing today are the opposite of such efforts. The international and regional conflicts have utilised all they have in order to seize areas here and there from the figures who call on those from their own religions and races to stay in their lands despite the growing constraints.
If these two models were not the ultimate target, then the heart of the Iraqi and Syrian cities would not have been turned into hotspots for combative conflicts that have attracted two superpowers in order to try out the newest tools of murder and destruction in the American and Russian arsenals. It is no coincidence that two regional powers, Israel and Iran, are the only two benefitting from this in their quest for influence and dominance over the Arabs. It also isn’t a coincidence that ISIS, who was created by everyone’s contributed, is the only justification and excuse they are using to serve their interests.
Since Israel’s inception, it has considered the coexistence of nations and religions in the Middle East as the biggest threat to it, hence why it made penetrating this coexistence one of its strategic goals. It attempted to destabilise the Lebanese model, but was unable to destroy it, despite the fact that the model is no longer the way it was. Israel also supported the Iraqi Kurds’ separation project and encouraged the minority rule in Syria in order for both countries to remain in a state of ignited or hidden conflicts before exploding.
(Source / 28.10.2016)
In April 2016, a 16-year old boy and his 23-year old pregnant sister were shot and killed near the largest Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, Qalandia. The two Israeli border guards who killed the two family members have faced no charges or discipline, and now, Israeli prosecutors have officially closed the case, and determined that no charges were warranted against the guards.
A gag order was placed on the case by Israeli officials, and only after reporters from the Israeli paper Ha’aretz asked for the removal of the gag order was it discovered that no charges will be filed against the two guards.
According to Israeli prosecutors, there is no proof that the two guards acted improperly when they killed the unarmed child and his older sister.
Maram Taha, 23, and Ibrahim Taha, 16, her brother, were walking near Qalandia checkpoint on April 27th, and were around 65 feet away from the checkpoint when the guards claim that they seemed to be acting suspiciously, and shot them both.
Their bodies were held by Israeli officials for over a month, preventing the family from carrying out burial rites.
Maram was five months pregnant, and a mother of two children; Sarah, 6, and Remas, 4.
While Israeli prosecutors claimed that surveillance video footage at the checkpoint showed Maram attempting to throw a knife, they have refused to make the alleged video public.
Initially, on the day that she was killed, Israeli officials told the media that Maram was wearing an explosive belt. But when this was clearly not the case, when it was shown that she was pregnant, they simply stopped repeating the claim. They never officially retracted that claim, but it was not mentioned when the case was submitted to the military court system for review.
Over the past year, Israeli soldiers have been witnessed planting knives on or next to Palestinians that they have killed. This has led to suspicions among Palestinians in the case of Maram and Ibrahim Taha, particularly since Israeli officials have refused to release the surveillance video of this killing.
The case against the two Israeli border guards who shot the young mother and her little brother was submitted to prosecutors with a recommendation that no charges be brought against the guards.
Israeli prosecutors apparently agreed with this assessment, and decided not to prosecute the two unnamed Israelis who killed Maram and Ibrahim.
The Taha family has no legal recourse to appeal this decision by the Israeli military authorities, which govern the Palestinian Territories with martial law.
(Source / 28.10.2016)