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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

The Slippery Slope of the Duma Case

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Eight months ago, when I was in court for the trial of one of my clients, I ran into the murderer of the late Shalom Sharki, who was all smiles, conferring with his attorney. It was very shortly after the murder, and when I asked police why they were so quick to allow the meeting between the terrorist and his lawyer—who advised him to claim that he committed the crime was by accident—the police responded, “What can you do, we live in a democracy.”

I recalled that event in recent days, while running from one judge to another, demanding to meet with my client, a young man who had been kept in the Shabak’s cellars for many days—and who, according to his wife, was injured during his arrest. The courts cooperated with the Shabak, extending my client’s detention and, time and again, imposing the ban on letting him meet an attorney. No one mentioned the word Democracy.

Each week when we deal with Arab terrorism and the conflict of security needs versus civil rights, we inevitably hear the media, human rights organizations and “sensitive” politicians protesting that a youth who chased Jews with a knife didn’t get a decent meal; or demand that a policeman who made a racist remark while guarding a terrorist be prosecuted, and if he isn’t, they demand to know why.

The same standards aren’t being applied in the Duma investigation.

Over the past weeks we have not heard even one politician crying out in protest against the violations of the suspects’ human rights, and no right wing organization, other than the legal aid society Honenu, has gone public with a demand to stop the abuse.

Despite the fact that investigation of the arson in Duma is important, I believe the interrogators have crossed boundaries and red lines. Unfortunately, I can’t expand on this issue because of the gag order imposed on the case—in the future we will reveal the truth about these dark days for civil rights in Israel.

The problem is not only the severe harm to the detainees’ civil rights, but most importantly it is the fact that any such interrogations are contrary to the purpose of finding the truth, and may cause a terrible miscarriage of justice. When interrogators abuse, threaten and harass a suspect—all for the sake of forcing him to admit his guilt—it is possible that an innocent person would confess to crimes he did not commit. Such things have happened.

In dozens of decisions on Arab terrorist cases, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak ruled that while investigations of security issues are important, at the same time there is a duty to set limits the actions of Shabak interrogators: “This is the plight of a democracy, that not all the means are acceptable in it, and not all the practices which are employed by its enemies are available to it. A democracy must sometimes fight with one hand tied behind its back,” Barak stressed. But regarding the hilltop youths, it appears that those statements of the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have been forgotten by today’s Israeli judges.

Another problem, perhaps the central one here, concerns the conduct of our own camp: rabbis, municipal heads and public leaders in the settlements do not go out of their way to help the incarcerated hilltop youths.

It’s easy to understand the settlement leaders’ behavior: why should they go out of their way to help those kids who often come across as insolent, anti-Zionist and rebellious.

But such a view is fundamentally mistaken. Even those who disagree with the hilltop youths, should learn from our experience that the persecution of the hilltop youths will then continue on to the physical abuse of settlers in Amona and Efrat, and eventually reach even to the “good children” of Givat Shmuel and Ra’anana; the abuse of a 16-year-old boy with giant side curls will soon spread to impact the settlement’s rabbi and the settlement’s security chief, and so on.

This slippery slope is visible before our eyes: the Jewish Department of the Shabak, the police nationalistic crime unit in the Judea and Samaria district, and elements in the prosecutor’s office see the hilltop youths as “the enemy, terrorists, attackers,” the way Shabak agents have put it. If the hilltop youths are the enemy, then their parents from the previous generation of settlers are “parents of terrorists,” their neighbors from the community are “supporters of terrorism” (“If you give them water, it means you support terrorism” goes the Shabak’s rationale), and we’ll all soon discover that the boundary line between terrorists and supporters of terrorism is very thin.

Make no mistake about it: despite the fact that the heads of major security forces—Roni Alsheikh, Yoram Cohen and Yossi Cohen—are observant Jews, or perhaps because of it, many in their organizations view all settlers as the enemy.

Itamar Ben-Gvir

Ban Ki-moon Warns: Respect Human Rights when Fighting ISIS

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

The United Nations is once again trying to lead the world to surrender to evil, this time in the form of the Islamic State (ISIS).

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned the world on Sunday that violating human rights when fighting the barbarian army may make the radical Islamists angry and provoke them

He stated:

At this time of heightened tension, I caution against action that would only perpetuate the cycle of hatred and violence.

He has a better idea. Rather than fight the enemy, talk with the beheaders.

The secretary-general said the world has a “rare moment” to engage in diplomacy to end the violence, just like diplomacy was supposed to spread the wings of peace over the regime of Basher al-Assad when he brutally tried to snuff out peaceful protests against his autocratic regime nearly five years ago; and just like the wolves and lambs would lie down together in Israel with the creation of another Arab Muslim country within Israel’s borders.

Europe, already overrun by Islamic radical, now is trying to lock the barn door following Friday’s ISIS massacres in Paris. Locking the door keeps the wolves inside, but Ban Ki-moon is not worried.

Neither is Bernie Sanders, trying to become the Democratic party’s choice to be the first American Jewish president, following its first black president.

Sanders said in a debate Saturday that the United States should take in refugees from Syria and added that the ISIS threat to destroy the world never would have appeared if only the United States had not invaded Iraq and instead would have solved the problem of global warming.

He explained that the alleged climate change “is directly related to the growth of terrorism” because it is the reason for “limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to…grow crops.”


Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Pre-Occupied UN Human Rights Council Debates One Issue – Israel

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Iran and Syria headlined the wolf pack verbal assault on Israel at today’s 29th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s pre-occupation with the “occupation.”

This is the first time I ever have watched this much-talked about about circus, but none of the previous reports of the Council’s Israel bashing could have prepared anyone for what must be described as a humanitarian disaster.

Country after country attacked Israel for apartheid, occupation, violation of human rights and freedom, searches on the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, crimes and the violations of human rights. Morocco claimed that Israel is harming the “Islamic identity” of Jerusalem.

Qatar’s representative stated that Israel is not serious about peace, and charged that Israeli forces “have taken control of the third flotilla that was going to Gaza.”

Syria alleged that Israel is supporting terrorists in the Golan Heights, with the backing of the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s official noted that Israel ignores “any human rights norms” but that “many countries” do not condemn Israel, making the Council powerless to “give rights back to Palestinians under occupation.”

And the Palestinian Authority? It said that Israel is the biggest violator in the world of human rights.

China said the “Palestinian issue” is the “heart” of problems in the Middle East.

And in other news this week, Iran has passed a bill that allows men to marry their adopted children to protect their daughters from being married off.

According to Amnesty, Iran also made a retrogressive amendment in Iran’s new Code of Criminal Procedures, limiting the right to access an independent lawyer of one’s choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases.

In Syria, Assad’s forces killed 13 civilians and wounded dozens of others in a barrel bomb attack.

Christian Today reported Monday:

Things have taken a turn for the worse for Asia Bibi, 50, the falsely accused Christian woman who has been languishing in Pakistani prison for six years now despite her declining health.

Bibi was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan for sharing her faith in God to other women, according to Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International. She was then sentenced to death, although an appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court with no news yet on when her case will be heard.

And in Saudi Arabia, the ministry said it support internationally recognized human rights but not those that are specific to homosexuals.

As noted above, today is the first time I ever watched the live video of the United Nations so-called Human Rights Council.

God willing, this will be the last time, also.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel’s Latest ‘War Crime’ and Human Rights Violation: Uprooting Trees

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Israel uprooted approximately 1,000 almond and olive trees that were planted illegally in a land grab on the western edge of Gush Etzion on Thursday, an action that Arabs are calling a “war crime” and even a human rights violation.”

The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stated:

[We] carried out the eviction of an illegal invasion of around 1,000 olive trees planted illegally without permits on state land in Wadi Fukin.

The area is located between the security fence and the Hareidi city of Beitar Illit, west of Efrat.

The Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA website claimed that the land is owned by Arabs.

The London Independent reported:

Palestinians have accused Israel of a war crime after military tractors destroyed around a thousand olive and almond trees belonging to local farmers on the grounds that they were illegally planted on state land….. Three years ago, Israeli authorities posted signs saying that the land belongs to the state, farmers said.

Wasel Abu Yusuf, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told the newspaper: This is occupied territory and international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention apply. This is the land of the Palestinian state and any colonialist settler building or expropriation of land or cutting trees is a war crime against the Palestinian people.

If they are going to claim it is a “war came,” why not go even farther and charge Israel with violating human rights?

That may sound absurd, but read what an unidentified journalist, whom we can assume to be Al Quds correspondent Sayid Erikat, told the State Dept. at yesterday’s daily briefing:

Yesterday the Israelis pulled out something like 1,800 trees in the West Bank; they uprooted trees and so on. I mean, we talked about the commission of inquiry and human rights abuses and so on. Is that something that you would like to see the Israelis stop doing?

State Dept. spokesman John Kirby answered, “I haven’t seen the report on the trees being uprooted. You’re going to have to let me go back and look at that. I just don’t have anything on that.

What is amazing is that there was no laughter from Kirby or fellow journalists.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Supreme Court Rules on ‘Free Speech’ in Social Media

Monday, June 1st, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today (Monday, June 1) to affirm protection for “free speech” on social media and the internet – even if that speech is threatening or provocative.

The decision was handed down in the case of Anthony D. Elonis V. United States of America, affirming that threats made over the internet are protected, unless they are malevolent or reckless.

The case relates to Facebook posts by Elonis, who was convicted for making unlawful threats as he expressed anger about events in his life, basing the posts on rap lyrics of various artists.

In an amicus curiae brief (friend of the Court), The Rutherford Institute had argued the First Amendment protects even inflammatory statements that might give offense or cause concern to others unless the statements were a credible threat to engage in violence against another, and made by the defendant with the intent to cause fear in the alleged victim.

The decision is also particularly relevant to the brouhaha over the “Jihad Watch Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” held in Garland, Texas a few weeks ago. Sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) run by Pam Geller, the event attracted an attempted attack by two terrorists, who opened fire on a security guard but were both shot and killed by police.

The event was organized in response to the radical Islamist attack on the Paris offices of the “Charlie Hebdo” French satiric magazine in January of this year, Geller said. “We decided to have a cartoon contest to show we would not kowtow to violent intimidation and allow the freedom of speech to be overwhelmed by thugs and bullies,” she told The Washington Post in an email statement.

Hana Levi Julian

Sweden Rips Up Saudi Military Deal After Cairo Spat Over Human Rights

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Published on Jewish Business News

by Ilan Shavit

Sweden is canceling its military deal with Saudi Arabia one day after an open dispute between the two countries over human rights had led to the public humiliation of the Swedish foreign minister in Cairo.

According to Reuters, Swedish companies last year exported roughly $40 million in defense equipment to Saudi Arabia, and that the overall deal now killed has earned the Swedes in $560 million between 2011 and 2014.

The lucrative deal was cancelled after, on Monday, Saudi Arabia blocked Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallström from speaking to the League of Arab States assembled in Cairo.

Wallström was told that she could certainly speak to the Arab League about Sweden’s decision to become the first EU country to officially to recognize the State of Palestine—the reason she had been invited—but she shouldn’t bring up troubling issues such as human rights and democracy in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Swedish politicians have been attacking Riyadh’s preference for sharia law, complete with flogging and beheading, and how that relates to our common notion of human rights.

So Wallström was snubbed one more time by a Middle Eastern country unhappy with its approach to international diplomacy—the first one being Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who forced her to cancel her planned visit to Israel in January.

For their part, the Arab League ministers issued a statement saying “Sharia has guaranteed human rights and preserved people’s lives, possessions, honor and dignity. The ministers consider the comments as irresponsible and unacceptable.”

The deal was initially signed by the Social Democrats in 2005, and then renewed by the right wing government in 2010. But the current left-leaning government has the Green party as a coalition partner, and they refuse to arm a country with so many human rights violations like Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman for Saab told Reuters: “Saudi Arabia is a very important market for us and a good customer. How Sweden handles this can affect us.”

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who is visiting the Ukraine, confirmed the Saudi deal is dead.

The Financial Times pointed out that Sweden’s military industrial complex’s cozy relationship with the Saudi Crown was one of the reasons the Right was defeated last September. Back in 2012, defense minister Sten Tolgfors was forced to resign over his exposed plans to build a weapons factory in the Arabian desert.

An open fight with the Arabs does not bode well for Sweden’s chances to gain a seat on the UN Security Council, which is why, presumably, they recognized Palestine in the first place.

JBN / Jewish Business News

UN Security Council Considers North Korean Alleged Crimes Against Humanity

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

For the first time, North Korea’s record on human rights has been placed on the agenda for discussion at the United Nations Security Council. The nuclear-status nation is led by capricious 31-year-old Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, whose mood swings and rages are legend both in the country and abroad.

Until now, the Council has focused primarily on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear activities and the threat they pose. In response to its violations of UN mandates nixing nuclear and ballistic tests, the Council imposed sanctions on Pyongyang that have caused severe economic hardship, but as is the case with Iran have not persuaded the country’s regime to change course.

Ultimately, the Council may consider whether or not to hold the North Korean government responsible for its alleged crimes against humanity.

The United States called Pyongyang a “living nightmare” for North Korean citizens at the first meeting held by the Council, held Monday despite an initial attempt from China to block it. The meeting opened with a procedural raised-hand vote that showed 11 of the 15 Council members supported placing the issue of North Korea’s human rights record on the agenda. China and Russia voted against; Chad and Nigeria abstained.

Testimony was compiled from North Korean exiles by a UN commission of inquiry that left no doubt as to the brutality of the country’s regime, according to U.S. envoy Samantha Power. The unprecedented talks included review of testimony from a former prison camp survivor who told of picking kernels of corn from cattle dung to stave off starvation. A former guard testified about prison wardens who routinely raped their prisoners.

In February 2014, an investigation by the United Nations found that up to 120,000 people are being held in North Korean prison camps. The report also detailed numerous cases of summary executions, torture and rape, leading the inquiry to conclude that North Korea was committing human rights violations “without parallel in the contemporary world,” ordered at the highest level of the state.

No decision was taken on Monday in response to a call to refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. But three of the five permanent members of the Council – the U.S., Britain and France – as well as Australia and others, said the Council should consider action on the issue.

“Rarely has such an extensive charge sheet of international crimes been brought to the Council’s attention,” said UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/un-security-council-considers-north-korean-alleged-crimes-against-humanity/2014/12/23/

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