Tuesday, November 21, 2023

How Israel Treats Palestinian Children

While politicians and the mainstream media vilify and prosecute Hamas for its kidnapping of Israeli citizens, one examination of the treatment of human beings, particularly children, in Israel/Palestine sheds a different light on the actions of the "terrorists" who are currently the target of massive Israeli bombardments.


To set the stage for this posting, it is important to consider that of the 2.9 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, 45 percent are children under the age of 18.  These children are highly vulnerable to prosecution by Israel with between 500 and 700 Palestinian children being prosecuted annually.  According to a report by Save the Children, Palestinian children who find themselves in the unfortunate position of being detained by the Israeli military detention system are likely to face inhumane treatment, often for the "crime" of throwing stones at Israeli tanks and other heavily armed military vehicles.  Save the Children's consultation found the following:


1.) 47 percent were denied contact with a lawyer.


2.) 52 percent were threatened with harm to their families.


3.) 81 percent suffered physical beatings


4.) 86 percent were subjected to strip searches


5.) 88 percent did not receive adequate and timely healthcare even when it was clearly requested


6.) 89 percent suffered verbal abuse


Additionally, up to half of the children detained reported that they were held in isolation or solitary confinement for periods of up to several weeks during which they were not allowed to see their families. 


Another study by the Defense for Children International have found the following issues among arrested Palestinian children:


1.) 73 percent experienced physical violence following arrest

2.) 95 percent were hand-tied

3.) 86 percent were blindfolded

4.) 49 percent were detained from their homes in the middle of the night

5.) 64 percent faced verbal abuse, humiliation, or intimidation

6.) 74 percent of children were not properly informed of their rights

7.) 96 percent were interrogated without the presence of a family member

8.) 20 percent were subject to stress positions

9.) 49 percent signed documents in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children don’t understand

Palestinian children who are detained by Israel are not subject to the civilian justice system, rather, they are subject to military prosecution.  This is in clearly violation of international law and Israel finds itself standing out as the only nation in the world that prosecutes children in military courts automatically.  This, despite the fact that Israel actually ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991which, under Article 27, states that: 


"States Parties shall ensure that:


(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;


(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;


(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;


(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.


...and, under Article 40:


1. States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child's respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child's age and the desirability of promoting the child's reintegration and the child's assuming a constructive role in society.


Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees:


(i) To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;


(ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence;


(iii) To have the matter determined without delay by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body in a fair hearing according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate assistance and, unless it is considered not to be in the best interest of the child, in particular, taking into account his or her age or situation, his or her parents or legal guardians;


(iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality;


(v) If considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision and any measures imposed in consequence thereof reviewed by a higher competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body according to law;


(vi) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used;


(vii) To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.


It would appear that from Israel's perspective, the Convention on the Rights of the Child apply only to non-Palestinian children.


Since 2000, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and held in their military detention system.


Isnt' it funny how you won't see this reported on the Western mainstream media?  But then why would you expect Israel to treat the offspring of "human animals" with any sort of compassion?  If Israel is really trying to create the next generation of occupation resistance fighters, it would appear that their current treatment of Palestinian children will do and has done exactly that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Shattering Palestine - The Evolution of the West Bank and the Nakba Part II

While Gaza is bearing the brunt of Israel's military abuse, the West Bank has not been unscathed since the events of October 7, 2023.  According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between October 7th and November 10th 2023, 168 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, including 46 children.  In addition, 8 Palestinians, including 1 child, have been killed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.  This brings the total number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank to 416 in 2023.


The West Bank has long been the focus of Israel's attempts to further its agenda to isolate Palestinians from each other, in other words, to divide and conquer these "human animals".  Thanks to maps and information provided by B'tselem, a Jerusalem-based non-profit organization whose goal is to document human rights violations committed by Israel it the Occupied Territories, we can see the evolution of Israel's plans for the West Bank.


The West Bank's original boundaries were defined by the Green Line, the ceasefire line between Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan which were agreed upon in 1949 after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.  The Green Line essentially defined the boundaries of what was left of historical Palestine after the Nakba or displacement of the Palestinian people which was prescribed by the United Nations Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine.


Here is a map showing the Green Line as it stood at its inception:

In June 1967, after the Six-Day War, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and, at the time, an Israeli-conducted census of the Occupied Territories showed that there were 660,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank (excluding Palestinian refugees who Feld or were deported by Israel.  At the same time, Israel annexed 7000 acres of West Bank land to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem which is now known as East Jerusalem as shown on this map:

From August 1967 to May 1975, Israel declared 150,000 hectares or 26.6 percent of West Bank land as "closed military zones" which were off-limits to Palestinians who did not have a special permit.  Here is a map showing the original closed military zones:


Additionally, between 1967 and 1977, Israel established nearly 30 settlements in the West Bank with an overall population of 4,500 Israelis as shown on this map:


Many of these settlements were built on privately owned Palestinian lands which were seized because it was determined that the lands were needed for "military purposes" and were declared as "state lands".  From 1979 to 1992, over 90,000 hectares of Palestinian lands were seized by Israel as "state lands".  As it stands today, 120,000 hectares or 22 percent of the West Bank is no longer under the control of Palestinians as shown on this map:


Between 1979 and 1993, Israeli settlements on the West Bank continued to develop:



In January 1991, the Israeli government implemented a requirement that any Palestinian that wished to enter Israel or East Jerusalem must obtain a permit from Israel's Civil Administration to do so; this policy was expanded until the West Bank was fully closed and isolated by the use of permanent Israeli checkpoints, apart from the areas annexed by Israel.  This policy split Palestine into three parts; the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem with transit between the three parts requiring permits for Palestinians. 


In 1994, under the Oslo I Accord, Israel withdrew its military personnel from Palestinian towns and refugee camps in Gaza and Jericho which were returned to the control of the newly created Palestinian Authority.  In 1995, under the Oslo II Accord, the West Bank was divided into three areas based on demographics as shown on this map:


Areas A and B are the most densely populated by Palestinians and control of these areas was handed over to the Palestinian Authority.  These 165 "islands" are non-contiguous and consist of 40 percent of the West Bank's total land area.  The remaining Area C fully contiguous lands which consist of 60 percent of the West Bank are still under full control of Israel and include all of Israel's West Bank settlements.  Israel has complete control over construction project permits in Area C meaning that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to build homes in this area.  As well, Israel still controls all crossings from the West Bank into Israel and Jordan, further isolating Palestinian West Bank residents.


In 1997, Israel declared an additional 54,000 acres of West Bank land to be closed military zones that are off-limits to Palestinians; at this point, access to 176,500 hectares or nearly one-third of the West Bank is now forbidden to Palestinians as shown on this map:



In June 2002, the Knesset decided to construct the Separation Barrier around the West Bank as shown on this map:


You may notice that the Separation Barrier is constructed well inside of the so-called boundaries of the West Bank, further dividing it as shown here:


So, let's summarize.  While, to much of the world, a map of the West Bank looks like this:


...in reality, here's what the West Bank really looks like from the perspective of Palestinians:



Is it any wonder that there is anger in the streets of West Bank Palestinian villages, towns and cities?  All that Israel's actions in the West Bank have done is create the next generation of so-called anti-Israel "terrorists".  But, for some reason, Western leaders have chosen to completely ignore the shattering of the West Bank, preferring to accept Israel's version of the Nakba Part II.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

The United States - A Nation Built on a Foundation of Conflict

While Washington loves to point the finger at Russia for its current military operations in Ukraine, the United States itself is on the sending end of munitions to a wide variety of nations around the world.  Let's look at America's military activities around the world since its inception followed by a list of American-led wars since World War II followed by atally of bombs that it has dropped since military activities began in Afghanistan in 2001 at the beginning of the endless and unresolved War on Terror.


Here is a complete list of United States military and clandestine operations in foreign countries from 1798 to 2004 as compiled by Global Policy:



In an April 2021 paper entitled "Severe Humanitarian Disasters Caused by US Aggressive Wars against Foreign Countries", the China Society for Human Rights provides a list of wars that have been waged by the United States after World War II.  Here is a list of all wars and interventions in foreign nations (often touted as being humanitarian interventions or operations necessary to protect local civilians from brutal regimes) waged by the United States since the end of World War II:

Here is a complete list of the major wars and the cost in human terms:


Now, let's look at some detailed information from the conflicts since 2007 in the early stages of the War on Terror.  Thanks to the U.S. Air Force's Central more-or-less monthly Airpower Summary data releases, the latest of which looks like this:


...we have a complete count of how many bombs the United States military and its allies have dropped as shown on this table from Progressive with other nations including Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia:



Over the period between 2001 and 2021, a total of 377,055 bombs and missiles have been dropped for an average of 46 strikes per day.  Note that this count does not include drones which have killed thousands of civilians under strikes authorized by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.


The United States has increasingly become a warrior nation since the end of World War II as Washington fought what it determined was an existential conventional war against the spread of Soviet-style communism followed by a war against a foe, a decentralized and diverse group of what the American ruling class determined were terrorists, that didn't play the war game using traditional rules of combat.  With the current threat of a multipolar world and the unceasing efforts to convince us all that everything that Russia or China does is a threat to "our way of life" and the influence of the American military-intelligence-industrial complex on the government, it looks like the United States will continue to build on its foundation of conflict for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Volodymr Zelensky - From Hero to Zero

Do you remember this from 2022?


Yes, just ten short months ago, the staff at Time magazine voted Volodymr Zelensky, Ukraine's President and the leader of Washington's existential battle against all things Russian/evil, as Person of the Year with these words:


"In April, less than two months into the invasion, Zelensky told me he had aged and changed “from all this wisdom that I never wanted.” Now, half a year later, the transformation was starker. Aides who once saw him as a lightweight now praise his toughness. Slights that might once have upset him now elicit no more than a shrug. Some of his allies miss the old Zelensky, the practical joker with the boyish smile. But they realize he needs to be different now, much harder and deaf to distractions, or else his country might not survive."


Zelensky has dialed into the World Economic Forum in Davos and the NATO summit in Madrid. He has granted interviews to talk-show hosts and journalists and held live chats with students at Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. He has leveraged the fame of entertainment superstars to amplify his calls for international support. Jessica Chastain and Ben Stiller visited his fortified compound. Liev Schreiber agreed to become an ambassador for Ukraine’s official fundraising platform. Sean Penn brought an Oscar statuette to Kyiv and left it with Zelensky. Once, the President allowed a team of technicians to create a 3D hologram of his likeness, which was later projected at conferences around Europe. “Our principle is simple,” says Andriy Yermak, the President’s chief of staff. “If we fall out of focus, we are in danger.” The attention of the world serves as a shield.


Zelensky’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious. It spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion, as everyone realized the President had stuck around. If that seems like a natural thing for a leader to do in a crisis, consider historical precedent. Only six months earlier, the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani—a far more experienced leader than Zelensky—fled his capital as Taliban forces approached. In 2014, one of Zelensky’s predecessors, Viktor Yanukovych, ran away from Kyiv as protesters closed in on his residence; he still lives in Russia today. Early in the Second World War, the leaders of Albania, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Yugoslavia, among others, fled the advance of the German Wehrmacht and lived out the war in exile."


A year in a war can be an eternity.  Here's what Time has to say about Zelensky now:


And, some quotes:


"Volodymyr Zelensky was running late. 


That afternoon, Zelensky’s meetings at the White House and the Pentagon delayed him by more than an hour, and when he finally arrived to begin his speech at 6:41 p.m., he looked distant and agitated. He relied on his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, to carry his message of resilience on the stage beside him, while his own delivery felt stilted, as though he wanted to get it over with. At one point, while handing out medals after the speech, he urged the organizer to hurry things along. 

The reason, he later said, was the exhaustion he felt that night, not only from the demands of leadership during the war but also the persistent need to convince his allies that, with their help, Ukraine can win. “Nobody believes in our victory like I do. Nobody,” Zelensky told TIME in an interview after his trip. Instilling that belief in his allies, he said, “takes all your power, your energy. You understand? It takes so much of everything.”


Twenty months into the war, about a fifth of Ukraine’s territory remains under Russian occupation. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed, and Zelensky can feel during his travels that global interest in the war has slackened. So has the level of international support. “The scariest thing is that part of the world got used to the war in Ukraine,” he says. “Exhaustion with the war rolls along like a wave. You see it in the United States, in Europe. And we see that as soon as they start to get a little tired, it becomes like a show to them: ‘I can’t watch this rerun for the 10th time.’”

Despite the recent setbacks on the battlefield, he does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic. “He deludes himself,” one of his closest aides tells me in frustration. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”


Zelensky’s stubbornness, some of his aides say, has hurt their team’s efforts to come up with a new strategy, a new message."


The article in Time's November 20th, 2023 paints an entirely different picture of Zelensky from that painted less than a year earlier.  Zelensky who, according to the author, would seem to be living in a delusion where Ukraine can still defeat Russia and win the war.  He is no longer the man who got multiple standing ovations during his previous visit to Congress where he was branded a hero, rather, he comes across as a man who has lost control of his military, some of whom are now refusing orders to advance against their adversary, who is desperate for weapons that American taxpayers are increasingly reluctant to spend their hard-earned dollars on and who is heading a nation that is one of the most corrupt on earth despite his recent attempts to clean up his government.  


As I have noted in previous postings, with the crisis in the Middle East claiming the front pages of the mainstream media, particularly in the United States and Europe, Zelensky is increasingly looking like yesterday's man, going from hero to zero in less than 12 months in the eyes of elected decision makers who are always about chasing the latest thing that might garner them a few extra votes.  Given what happens to leaders who end up on the wrong side of America's largesse, I most certainly would not want to be in his shoes.