September 5, 2018

Israeli Farmers Travel To The Hague, File War Crimes Complaints Against Hamas

A group of Israeli farmers traveled to The Hague on Monday (3rd) and filed a war crimes complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against top Hamas officials for what they called fire kite terror during the Gaza border crisis.

The complaint was drafted by Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center and co-signed along with the farmers by a much larger group of 50,000 concerned individuals worldwide to try to turn the tables on the Israel-critics who have accused the IDF of alleged war crimes at Israel’s southern border since March.

The farmers called on the ICC prosecutors to investigate “war crimes” committed by Hamas leaders Khaled Mashal, Saleh Arouri, and Zaher Jabarin.

More specifically, they requested a probe of their orders to use fire-kites and other terror to breach Israel’s border and murder civilians as well as torching thousands of acres of agricultural fields.

Along with the complaint, the group protested on Monday (3rd) outside the ICC office with farm tractors used to extinguish their burning fields and will display an exhibition of blow up photos of their fields destroyed by the kites.

Shurat Hadin wrote that since the Gaza border conflict, fire kites and other violence from Gaza that started on March 30, Israeli farmers have suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from residential property, farmland and crops destroyed by Hamas.

Alleging that Mashal, Arouri and Jabarin and Hamas’ military wing directed the terror campaign, Shurat Hadin said that an ICC probe would find “blatant violation of the Rome Statute (Articles 8 (2) © viii and 28), which prohibits the murder of non-combatants, the destruction of civilian property for unlawful purposes, and the use of civilians as human shields.”

It quoted a Hamas-affiliated group as saying: “Allah willing, the incendiary devices will light up and burn fields and houses – they will get to a place where they will burn a large area.”

“Israeli farmers have endured thousands of destructive arson attacks and rocket fire from Gaza, while the world stood by in silence,” said Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan- Leitner.

Meanwhile Monday (3rd), two incendiary kites caused fires at two Israeli kibbutzim: Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Mefalsim in the Gaza border region.



Reports: Israeli Strike Caused Five Explosions Near Syrian Capital

A series of five explosions that rocked the Mezzeh airbase southwest of Damascus late Saturday night (1st) was caused by an Israeli airstrike, Arab media reported on Sunday (2nd).

Several reports said the strike had caused a number of casualties, while others said Syrian air defenses countered the strike.

According to Arab social media, Maher Assad, the younger brother of Syrian President Bashar Assad was wounded in the strike and an unnamed Iranian general was killed.

Maher Assad, 50, is considered the second most powerful man in Syria.  He is the commander of the Republican Guard and the Syrian army’s elite 4th Armored Division.

The reports were not corroborated by an Israeli source.  A military spokesperson said the IDF does not comment on foreign media reports.

Syrian state media denied the explosions were caused by an Israeli raid, saying they were the result of an electrical failure in one of the base’s munitions dumps.

The Mezzeh airbase houses elite Syrian units, Iranian troops and Revolutionary Guards and is considered a strategic Syrian asset.



Defense Minister Indicates Israel Could Hit Iranian Targets In “Iraq”

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman appeared to imply Monday (3rd) that Israel could hit Iranian targets in Iraq, days after the Reuters News Agency reported that Tehran was providing ballistic missiles and training to loyalist militias there.

“As for the threat from Iran, we are not limiting ourselves to Syria.  That should be clear,” Liberman told a conference organized by Hadashot TV news.

Asked specifically if this included Iraq, the defense minister answered: “I’m saying we will handle any Iranian threat, no matter where it comes from.  We are maintaining the right to act…and any threat or anything else that comes up will be dealt with.”

The Friday report, (8/31) citing several unnamed Iranian, Iraqi and Western officials, stated that several dozen rockets capable of hitting Israel and Tehran’s Sunni rival Saudi Arabia had been deployed with Iran’s Shiite proxies in Iraq.

It added that Iran was working to provide its allies with missile manufacturing facilities, and has been training militia members in operating the new weapons.

Iran has long used its Shiite proxies and allies in Iraq to hit back at its opponents.  According to transcripts of interrogations in 2007 of a top Shiite military and religious figure in Iraq declassified earlier this year, Iran was heavily involved in Iraqi Shiite militias’ attacks on US troops in the years following the American invasion of the country in 2003.



Netanyahu: UNRWA Harms Palestinian Refugees, Should Close Down

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for the U.S. decision on Friday (8/31) to halt funding for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, saying that “the United States did a very important thing.”

Speaking during a visit to a school in the central Israeli community of Yad Binyamin Sunday, (2nd) Netanyahu said the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA, was actually harming the Palestinians by perpetuating their status as refugees.

“Have displaced people from all over the world not arrived in Israel?  Have we kept them as refugees? No, we absorbed them. That includes those who came from Arab countries.  Did we perpetuate their refugee status? No,” he said.

“But that is not what happens with the Palestinians.  They created a special institution, not to integrate the refugees and rehabilitate them, but to perpetuate refugee status.”

“UNRWA should close down and the refugees should be  rehabilitated.”

Netanyahu said the number of remaining Palestinian refugees who fled following the State of Israel’s establishment in 1948 is “much lower than the number reported by UNRWA.”

The Prime Minister’s Office also said in a statement:

“The perpetuation of Palestinian refugee-dom by UNRWA is one of the central problems that perpetuates the conflict.  The money should be directed toward other bodies that will make proper use of it for the benefit of the population and not the perpetuation of refugee-dom.”



Weekly Commentary: Liberating The Palestinians From Refugee Status – Dr. Aaron Lerner, August 31, 2018

The Protocol on the Treatment of Palestinian Refugees (“Casablanca Protocol”) adopted by the League of Arab States on September 10, 1965 provided for “retaining their Palestinian nationality” (Article (1) – thus barring them from citizenship.

There are 4th generation Lebanese denied Lebanese citizenship because their great grandfathers resided for some period of time within the boundaries of the British Mandate of Palestine.

I write “resided for some period of time” because the overwhelming majority are from families that, at this juncture, have logged more years as “refugees” from “Palestine” than their ancestors RESIDED in Palestine!

These 4th generation Lebanese are to this day prohibited from working in as many as 20 professions.  And because they are not formally citizens of another state, these 4th generation Lebanese are unable to even claim the same rights as foreigners living and working in Lebanon.

Syrians from families that can trace back their origin to ancestors who resided for some period of time within the boundaries of the British Mandate of Palestine are permanently denied citizenship – including the right to vote – and face certain restrictions on property ownership.

Housing initiatives for the benefit of Gazans whose lineage includes ancestors who lived for some period of time within what became Israel are hindered by the interest to maintain a “refugee problem.”

And while most 4th and 3rd generation Jordanians whose ancestors resided for some period of time within the boundaries of the British Mandate of Palestine do have Jordanian citizenship, 370,000 reside in UNRWA refugee camps because several generations ago their families succumbed to the temptation of UN financial incentives.

The time has come to end the exploitation of these Arabs simply because their family trees include someone who spent some time within the boundaries of the British Mandate of Palestine.