Putin’s move Against NATO, Checkmate

After the no-fly zone mission over Libya to remove Qaddafi, we quickly determined the weaknesses of the member nations in NATO. The United States worked in concert with a few NATO countries to fly the sorties and it was rapidly determined that we had to loan ordnance and assume full control due in part to lack of partnered countries readiness, willingness and longevity in the mission.

Since that time, NATO leadership is attempting to re-gain strength and resolve yet that is proving to be an epic challenge.

The matter of Russia annexing Crimea and then moving into East Ukraine by Putin has put additional pressure on NATO. Success of offensive measures by NATO is fleeting and Vladimir Putin is ready for his checkmate on Ukraine while eyeing other territories.

Diplomatic efforts have failed so far and Ukraine is feeling alone and isolated while other Baltic States are in much the same condition.

This puts larger pressure on the United States and that is only IF the United States is interested in aiding Ukraine and other Baltic countries, which to date is questionable at best.

Video here.

The full report is here published by the British Parliament on NATO’s lacking preparation.

British Defense Committee Finds NATO ‘Poorly Prepared’ to Defend Members From Russian Threat

Our conclusion is that NATO is currently not well-prepared for a Russian threat against a NATO Member State. A Russian unconventional attack, using asymmetric tactics (the latest term for this is “ambiguous warfare”), designed to slip below NATO’s response threshold, would be particularly difficult to counter. And the challenges, which NATO faces in deterring, or mounting an adequate response to, such an attack poses a fundamental risk to NATO’s credibility.

This Report focuses narrowly on NATO, Article 4 and 5 obligations, Ukraine, and the Baltic States, rather than the more general debate about Russia and global security threats. We have chosen this focus because the NATO conference will be hosted by the UK in September; because this is of central concern to Eastern European NATO members; because the attack on Ukraine has raised the possibility — however currently unlikely — of an attack, conventional or unconventional, on a NATO Member State in the Baltics, potentially requiring an Article 5 response; and because such a response would be challenging and requires significant adaption from the UK and NATO.

The report begins with an analysis of Russia: its conventional forces, its new approach to asymmetric warfare, and its apparent intentions. It then considers NATO’s preparedness to respond, first to the less likely scenario of a conventional Russian attack, then to the scenario of an asymmetric attack. It concludes that NATO is poorly prepared for either scenario, and suggests urgent steps that would need to be taken to meet these challenges.

Our specific concerns about NATO’s deficiencies in its ability to respond to a conventional attack include:

• Shortcomings in NATO’s ability to foresee and to give adequate warning of such an attack;
• Shortcomings in NATO’s command and control structures; and
• Questions about the public’s readiness to honour the Article 5 commitment.

Russia’s use of “next generation warfare” tactics also poses a range of questions for NATO, including:
• Whether Article 5 is sufficient to ensure that the collective defence guarantee will come into effect in the face of asymmetric attacks;
• Whether NATO has the right tools to address the full breadth of threats, including information warfare, psychological operations and, in concert with the EU, exertion of influence through energy and trade policy; and,
• Whether NATO has the ability to effectively counter the threat of cyber attack from Russia and to mount its own offensive cyber operations.

We are also concerned that even ts in Ukraine seem to have taken the UK Government by surprise, that the capacity for analysis and assessment of developments in Russia and for understanding and responding to the current Russian way of warfare appears to have been seriously degraded in recent years.

Recommendations

The NATO alliance has not considered Russia as an adversary or a potential territorial threat to its Member States for twenty years. It is now forced to do so as a result of Russia’s recent actions. Events in Ukraine this year, following on from the cyber attack on Estonia in 2007 and the invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008, are a “wake – up call” for NATO. They have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of NATO preparedness, which will be tough to fix. The UK Government should take the lead in ensuring that the NATO Summit addresses these threats in the most concrete and systematic fashion.

We recommend that the NATO Summit sets plans to ensure:
• dramatic improvements to the existing NATO rapid reaction force;
• the pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States;
• a continuous (if not technically ‘permanent’) presence of NATO troops, on training and exercise in the Baltic;
• the re-establishment of large-scale military exercises including representatives from all NATO Member States. These exercises must involve both military and political decision-makers;
• the establishment of headquarters structures, at divisional and corps level, to focus on Eastern Europe and the Baltic;
• consideration of the re-establishment of a NATO standing reserve force along the lines of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force–Land, involving all Member States; and,
• re-examination of the criteria, doctrine and responses to calls under Article 4 for ‘collective security’ support against asymmetric attacks, especially, but not limited to, cyber attacks where attribution is difficult.

We recommend that the NATO Summit also addresses the Alliance’s vulnerabilities in the face of asymmetric (ambiguous warfare) attacks. In particular it should consider:
• How to establish the intelligence processes and an “Indicators and Warning” mechanism to alert Allies to the danger or imminence of such an attack;
• What steps it needs to take to deter asymmetric threats;
• How it should respond in the face of an imminent or actual such attack;
• The circumstances in which the Article 5 mutual defence guarantee will be invoked in the face of asymmetric attack;
• How it can, as a matter of urgency, create an Alliance doctrine for “ambiguous warfare” and make the case for investment in an Alliance asymmetric or “ambiguous warfare” capability.

We recommend that the Ministry of Defence address, also as a matter of urgency, its capacity to understand the nature of the current security threat from Russia and its motivations. Ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of Defence Attachés to provide the analysis and expertise required is one measure which would help to address this issue. In particular we recommend the appointment of additional Defence Attachés to cover the Baltic States and in Central and Eastern Europe and reverse the cutbacks in Russia and Ukraine. We further recommend that the Government ensure that there is adequate representation in Poland which may be of critical importance in the future. We also recommend the creation of a “red team” in the Ministry of Defence to provide a challenge to existing orthodoxy from a specifically Russian perspective.

We recommend that, in opening the NATO Summit, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State should make a commitment to the UK maintaining defence spending at or above 2% of GDP. Increasing levels of spending amongst European NATO Member States and the collective efficiency of such spending must be made a priority of the Summit as a demonstration of NATO’s political will and its commitment to collective defence.

 

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John Kerry Ignores Atrocities

After 4 years of Hillary and now with John Kerry at the helm, we are seeing that any diplomatic efforts have failed for the past 6 years.

There are conflicts globally where Islam is at the core of each, when it comes to Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and now Syria has fallen off the billboards of news.

Syria has been the foundation of much of the recent hostilities in the Middle East and yet John Kerry is in India re-establishing relationships. The solution to the matter of Russia and Ukraine is more sanctions on Putin, Argentina has defaulted on an epic loan to the United States, Central America is a failed region as witnessed by the population insurgency into America.

Now, where is the talk of Iran? There is none, why? Because of the delicate talks that continue with pushing back deadlines on a constant basis over their nuclear program, John Kerry does not want to rattle the Ayatollahs there.

But Iran and Russia are at the core of all the mess and John Kerry along with the White House ignoring the basis of pocket wars across the globe. The biggest winner so far is Iran and Syria.

So let us look again at Syria….but it is graphic. We cannot ignore a repeat in history so you must not shy away. Bashir al Assad is guilty of crimes against humanity and the UN ignores as does the West. The photo below is not about the civil war in Syria, this is about how Assad has been torturing people outside the scope of the war and an estimated 10,000 have been in his prisons now dead by starvation and torture.

Assad has his own killing fields and they were hidden until now.

Syrian Army Defector, “Caesar,” Briefs Committee, Shows Photographs Documenting Atrocities by Assad Regime — Chairman Royce Opening Statement

Briefer smuggled 50,000 photos out of Syria, shares story, photos in public for first time

Washington, D.C. – Today at 9:30 a.m., U.S. Rep.  Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, convened a briefing entitled, “Assad’s Killing Machine Exposed: Implications for U.S. Policy.”  The Committee is being briefed by “Caesar,” a Syrian Army defector who was witness to and a documenter of Bashar al-Assad’s lethal brutality.  This briefing is the first public setting in which “Caesar” has shared his story.

“Caesar,” who is appearing in disguise at the briefing, has smuggled out of Syria more than 50,000 photographs that document the torture and execution of more than 10,000 dissidents.

During the briefing “Caesar” is showing Committee Members a number of those photographs, some of which are available HERE.

***Please note these are VERY GRAPHIC images.

Below is Chairman Royce’s statement as prepared for delivery at the briefing:

Today, we examine evidence of horrific atrocities committed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad against the Syrian people.

The Syria crisis is now in its fourth year.  This is a crisis created and sustained by Bashar al-Assad, who responded to peaceful demands by Syrians for their universal rights with unspeakable violence – even against children.  In doing so, he has placed his own grip on power above the very survival of millions.

The conflict has created unimaginable human suffering.  According to international statistics, 11 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid – which Assad has blocked in many areas.  His “Kneel or Starve” campaigns are just one example of his brutality. 

Others include – targeted killings, mass graves, ethnic cleansing, sexual violence, widespread torture, aerial bombardment of residential areas with conventional and chemical weapons, and the extermination of entire families.

Assad’s brutality, as we know, is underwritten by robust military and other support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.  Syria is a humanitarian crisis, but a strategic challenge too, as Assad has pulled the entire region into violent chaos. 

Today, the Committee will view images of horrendous violence, carried out on an industrial scale.  It is no coincidence that these photos were shown at the Holocaust Museum earlier this week.  We will see evidence of the Assad regime’s killing of at least 10,000 political dissidents between 2011 and 2013.  The killing continues today.

In April, this Committee unanimously condemned Assad’s atrocities, passing H. Res. 520.  We also passed a resolution authored by Mr. Smith, which called for the establishment of a tribunal to hold accountable the perpetrators of war crimes in Syria.  Pure and simple, these photos cry out for justice. 

We are honored to be joined by four excellent witnesses, including “Caesar,” a defector from the Syrian army, who risked his life to collect and smuggle out of Syria over 50,000 photos of political dissidents tortured and killed by the regime after the protests began.  I offer you a special thank you for speaking to our Committee today.

One cannot see images like these and not ask, “what can be done?”  Answering that isn’t easy.    Mr. Engel was an early supporter of more aggressive action on Syria, when it wasn’t popular.  I’m not sure that’s changed much, but as Committee Members, we are charged with confronting these difficult issues, which are moral issues too. I appreciate our Members attending this briefing, a vivid and depressing reminder that while action can be costly, so too can inaction. 

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War, the Contradictions and the Propaganda

There is supposed to be a war between the Sunni and the Shiites, that is the plan. There is supposed to be a war between the Islamists and the Jews, that is the plan. There is supposed to be a war between Socialists and the Capitalists, that is the plan.

There is money in all of these forced wars and it is a lucrative cottage industry just like that of the war on stopping climate change.

But back to the matter of Israel, Hamas and Gaza. There are many players in this conflict including Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the United States and with the hostilities comes billions, even trillions. Everyone has a hand out including journalists, humanitarian organizations and government factions. It is the money and propaganda successfully encourages the signing of checks and pledges.

We have been told in recent weeks about the tunnels in Gaza but not all of the facts regarding the tunnels. These tunnels are essentially toll roads underground that are by themselves huge payday makers requiring toll fees to be paid to smuggle everything from food, weapons, narcotics and medicine. Israel knows these tunnels well and is not sharing all their knowledge with good reason. Never give up your sources, methods or operational plans.

 

There will be no peace at the other end of the destruction of Hamas and the tunnels but eliminating rockets, some smuggling and terror leaders will give way to future conditions of which is still unknown given all the Middle East players.

A secret tunnel and terror headquarters is well known but by whom is the question and who is keeping the secret and why remains to be answered.

 

Top Secret Hamas Command Bunker in Gaza Revealed

And why reporters won’t talk about it

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Globally, Forcing a Single Faith

Often we question the protections religion not only in America but worldwide and with good reason. We have witnessed the slow death of many faiths most especially Christianity in the Middle East while in other regions of the globe there is simply apathy to any faith.

Just this week,  Barack Obama put on a public statement on the White House website, another profound gesture to Islam. Any similar gesture towards the Christian community or to the Jewish community is fleeting at best.

Below is Barack Obama’s statement but we should also go deeper to what is happening in Iraq, the cradle of civilization and one historical Biblical location. Here is your chance to understand more.

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families.  This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate.  While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.  That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration.  Eid Mubarak.

Where is the Barack Obama administration on the destruction of churches, synagogues, and even mosques?

 

Why Did ISIS Destroy the Tomb of Jonah?

by Mark Movsesian

On Friday, the media reported that ISIS, the Islamist group that has established a “caliphate” in parts of Syria and Iraq, had destroyed the centuries-old Tomb of Jonah in Mosul, Iraq. Present-day Mosul encompasses the site of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, where, the Bible teaches, the Prophet Jonah preached. Although this is disputed, a tradition holds that Jonah was buried within the city, on Tell Nebi Yunus, or Hill of the Prophet Jonah.

An Assyrian church stood over the tomb for centuries. After the Muslim conquest, the church became a mosque; the structure that ISIS destroyed last week dated to the 14th century. In addition to the tomb, the mosque once held the supposed remains of the whale that had swallowed Jonah, including one of its teeth. At some point, the tooth disappeared. In 2008, the U.S. Army presented the mosque with a replica.

Last week, ISIS closed the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering. Then it wired the structure with explosives and reduced it to rubble. You can see a video of the explosion here, taken by a Mosul resident, who mutters, in Arabic, “No, no, no. Prophet Jonah is gone. God, these scoundrels.”

Some commentators have explained the destruction of the tomb as part of ISIS’s anti-Christian campaign. Scholars Joel Baden and Candida Moss point out that, in Christian interpretation, the Old Testament story of Jonah prefigures the death and resurrection of Christ. “The destruction of his tomb in Mosul is therefore a direct assault on Christian faith, and on one of the few physical traces of that faith remaining in Iraq.” Another scholar, Sam Hardy, told the Washington Post that the destruction of the tomb shows that ISIS is willing to destroy “pretty much anything in the Bible.”

On this analysis, ISIS destroyed the tomb because of its Christian associations. But that mistakes ISIS’s motives in this case. True, ISIS has no respect for Christians or their sites of worship and, in fact, has driven Mosul’s Christians from the city. The fact that the tomb was sacred for Christians as well as Muslims—and contained a present from the US Army—cannot have endeared it to ISIS. But something else is going on here. The shrine was, after all, a mosque, and Jonah figures in the Quran as well as the Bible. To understand why ISIS destroyed the tomb, one has to appreciate something about the version of Islam the group espouses.

ISIS is part of the Salafi movement, a branch of Sunni Islam that seeks to return to the practices of the earliest Muslims – the salaf— who lived at the time of the Prophet Mohammed and just after. The movement rejects the centuries of subsequent developments in Islam as unjustified innovations–pagan accretions that adulterated the faith. In particular, the movement opposes the veneration of the graves of Islamic prophets and holy men. Salafis see this practice, which is associated most frequently with Sufi Islam, as a kind of idolatry, or shirk, that detracts from the absolute transcendence of God.

Salafi Islam prevails in Saudi Arabia, where it enjoys the patronage of the royal family. On the Arabian Peninsula, as now in Iraq, Salafis have destroyed the tombs of Islamic holy men. Indeed, when the Saudi royal family captured the city of Medina in the 19th century, Salafis systematically destroyed the tombs of several of the Prophet Mohammed’s companions and family members, leaving only the Prophet’s tomb itself unmolested. There is some thought that the Saudi government plans on dismantling even that tomb, but hesitates to do so because of the uproar that would result in other Muslim communities.

In short, one should see ISIS’s destruction of the tomb of Jonah as an act principally directed at other Muslims, not Christians. That doesn’t make it any better, of course. Will the outside world do anything in response? Unlikely. Besides, as Professor Hardy told the Post, “If we didn’t intervene when they were killing people, it would be kind of grotesque to intervene over a building.”

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The World is not Messy it is Evil

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay is in charge of global investigations. She is a thug herself as she is more concerned with charging Edward Snowden or Israel for their defense mission against the terror organization, Hamas.

So then why would al Assad of Syria get a pass on torture? Evil IS the United Nations.

10,000 Bodies: Inside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Crackdown

Photographs of Corpses Offer Evidence of Industrial-Scale Campaign Against Political Opponents by Assad Regime, U.S. Investigators Say

At Hospital 601, not far from the presidential palace in Damascus, Syrian guards ran out of space to store the dead and had to use an adjoining warehouse where military vehicles were repaired.

A forensic photographer working for Syria’s military police walked the rows and took pictures of the emaciated and disfigured corpses, most believed to be anti-Assad activists. Numbers written on the bodies and on white cards, the photographer said, told regime bureaucrats the identities of the deceased, when they died and which branch of the Syrian security services had held them. (Graphic image follows.)

U.S. investigators who have reviewed many of the photos say they believe at least 10,000 corpses were cataloged this way between 2011 and mid-2013. Investigators believe they weren’t victims of regular warfare but of torture, and that the bodies were brought to the hospital from the Assad regime’s sprawling network of prisons. They were told some appeared to have died on site.

Last year, the Syrian military-police photographer defected to the West. Investigators later gave him the code name Caesar to disguise his identity. He turned over to U.S. law-enforcement agencies earlier this year a vast trove of postmortem photographs from Hospital 601 that he and other military photographers took over the two-year period, which he helped smuggle out of the country on digital thumb drives.

Over the ensuing months, U.S. investigators pored over the photos, which depicted the deaths and the elaborate counting system, and started to debrief Caesar and other activists involved in his defection. U.S. and European investigators have since concluded not only that the images were genuine, but that they offered the best evidence to date of an industrial-scale campaign by the government of Bashar al-Assad against its political opponents. U.S. Ambassador-at-large Stephen Rapp, head of the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, has compared the pattern to some of the most notorious acts of mass murder of the past century.

This account, based on interviews with war-crimes investigators in the U.S. and Europe, more than a dozen defectors, and opposition leaders working with Caesar, provides fresh details about Syria’s crackdown on its political opponents and the central role of Hospital 601 in processing bodies and documenting the deaths for the government.

Investigators haven’t finished analyzing the entire cache of photographs and are still trying to gather evidence to fully understand the regime’s role in the deaths. Prosecutors must be careful about jumping to conclusions before all the evidence is in, cautioned a senior U.S. official, who noted that investigators are far from finished debriefing Caesar.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation unit that investigates genocide and war crimes, and other agencies, hope to soon get a more detailed account of what happened at Hospital 601 from Caesar, officials said. Some U.S. officials want to use Caesar’s photographs, which show bodies that appear to have been strangled, beaten or disfigured, to build a case for a potential war-crimes prosecution of the Assad regime. It is unclear when, if ever, such a case might be brought.

When the issue was debated in the White House in 2012 and 2013, many administration officials argued that a concerted push for an international war-crimes prosecution would undermine any chance for pursuing a negotiated settlement to Syria’s civil war, according to participants. Bringing an indictment would give Mr. Assad and his backers little incentive to back down, they said.

“For the administration, it is a double-edged sword,” said Frederic Hof, who served as a top Obama administration adviser on Syria, of the photographic evidence. “On the one hand, it’s going to illustrate perhaps better than anything heretofore the absolute horror of what’s going on. On the other side, it raises the inevitable question: What are we actually doing about it?”

Numbers written on the bodies and on white cards told regime bureaucrats the identities of the deceased, when they died and which branch of Syrian authorities had held them, according to a Syrian military-police photographer now outside of Syria. Faces have been obscured at photo source’s request.

 

 

A White House official said the administration has long supported efforts to gather evidence of international crimes in Syria and earlier this year backed a United Nations Security Council resolution to refer war-crimes allegations to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. That resolution was vetoed by Russia and China.

Syria has dismissed Caesar’s photographs as fabrications. In January, before U.S. investigators judged the photos authentic, Syria’s Ministry of Justice said many of the dead shown in the photos were civilians and soldiers killed by “terrorist groups.” It branded Caesar a fugitive lacking credibility, and said the photo trove was part of a campaign instigated by enemies of the nation. Syrian officials at the U.N. didn’t respond to requests for further comment.

Caesar, a high-school dropout from Damascus who has told U.S. officials he is in his 40s, was conscripted into the Syrian military, where he specialized in crime-scene photography. He told investigators he eventually became head of the division that photographed bodies for government records. It was part of Syria’s system, similar to those run by governments around the world, to document civilian and military deaths.

Caesar and the other photographers on his team were stationed at the military-police headquarters in Damascus, he told investigators. In more peaceful times, he was accompanied by a doctor and by a member of the Syrian judiciary whenever he went to take pictures of crime scenes and accidents.

“We had this routine,” Caesar said, according to a person present at his questioning. “As the revolution started out, we continued that same routine.” It was the body count and the venues that changed.

Initially, the Syrian government took many of the bodies of activists to a military hospital in Damascus known as Tishreen, or 607, he told investigators. Tishreen also was the site of military funerals for top Syrian officers, according to activists working with Caesar. Because the military didn’t want the bodies of activists and officers taken to the same facility, it decided to make 601 the central collection point for activists’ bodies, according to investigators who debriefed Caesar.

As the government stepped up its crackdown, Caesar told investigators, he and his team snapped pictures of between 15 and 20 bodies a day. In those early months, bodies were identified by name, he said.

Bodies were brought to 601 from 24 Syrian prisons and laid out in what Caesar and activists described to investigators as the hospital’s auto-repair warehouse.

It isn’t clear from the photos where the people were killed. U.S. investigators believe most died at government detention facilities because they appeared to have been dead for hours or days. A series of photographs taken on Nov. 1, 2012, show a prisoner, apparently alive, grasping a gloved hand before later turning up dead, according to officials who reviewed Caesar’s archive.

Caesar told investigators he didn’t have political affiliations and that before the war he never thought much about his job snapping pictures of the dead. “It was his day job,” said an activist who helped him escape. “He did what he was ordered to do.”

But as the bodies piled up and evidence of torture became more pronounced, Caesar’s attitude began to change. He confided in a close relative who knew activists working with the opposition, and in the summer of 2011 Caesar agreed to start smuggling photographs out of the hospital.

Caesar downloaded the images onto a government computer at his office and stored them on thumb drives that he hid in his shoes and passed to the opposition, Caesar and defectors working with him told investigators.

In October 2011, with the death toll in the prison system rising, the Syrian government introduced a numerical system to track the dead, according to Caesar’s account. Earlier pictures showed bodies marked with names. New ones showed numbers.

The numbers—written on white cards and taped to the bodies, or written directly on foreheads, arms and chests—provided a running count of how many had been killed, U.S. investigators believe.

Cherif Bassiouni, who chaired several United Nations war-crimes investigation commissions and teaches at DePaul University, reviewed Caesar’s photographs on behalf of the Syrian opposition and studied Syria’s use of numbers to identify bodies. He said the record-keeping system bore similarities to the method used by Soviet intelligence services in the 1950s.

Mr. Bassiouni said the Syrian government, like the Soviets, assigned prisoners a unique number when they were alive and a separate one when they died. In Nazi Germany, prisoners received only one number, which stayed with them in life and in death, he said.

The system appeared designed to maintain internal military discipline and track which branch of the military did what, Mr. Bassiouni said.

Last year, Syrian officers added two Arabic letters into the numeric system to indicate when the body count had surpassed 5,000 and 10,000, investigators concluded based on Caesar’s account and an analysis of the photos. It may have been a way to disguise the scale of the killing to anyone who doesn’t know how the record-keeping works, Mr. Bassiouni said.

The State Department’s Mr. Rapp has said the Syrian system stood out from recent mass killings in Rwanda and Liberia because of the level of documentation.

Defectors, former patients and local residents said 601 also functioned as a hospital for sick prisoners. Before a prisoner would be sent to 601, guards would write a number on his or her forehead, according to two Hospital 601 detainees who were there at different times in 2013.

“Forget your name. You’re now this number,” one former prisoner now living in Europe recalled being told by a guard.

The former prisoner, Mazen Besais Hamada, said he was blindfolded and loaded onto an ambulance in January 2013 for the drive to the hospital from the detention center where he was held. Mr. Hamada said he was given the number 1,858.

Conditions inside the hospital were gruesome, according to survivor accounts and witness reports compiled by Syrian human-rights groups, including the Violations Documentation Center in Syria, which is now based in Turkey.

“If you were at a demonstration, you would prefer to be shot and killed instead of shot and injured and taken to 601,” said Qutaiba Idlbi, a 24-year-old Syrian activist who said he was twice arrested and tortured by the regime before fleeing to the U.S. and seeking asylum.

Both Mr. Hamada and another former patient at the hospital described beds containing as many as four prisoners. They said they had to step over dead bodies in the morning to use the bathroom, where guards temporarily stored the corpses. Mr. Hamada said he eventually was freed by a judge.

A former surgeon at the Tishreen military hospital, where activists’ bodies initially were sent, said in an interview that doctors weren’t allowed to know patients’ names—only the numbers they were assigned—because the regime was concerned doctors might recognize a family name and reach out to relatives. The doctor said when a patient died, the family name was disclosed so the doctor could prepare a death certificate. He said the doctors were required to cite “a heart attack, a stroke, a normal medical reason,” even if they knew the cause of death was torture.

The doctor’s account of preparing misleading death certificates is consistent with information collected by activists.

By 2013, Caesar’s team was photographing between 50 and 60 bodies a day at 601, he told investigators.

Caesar began to worry when his bosses at military-police headquarters told him they wanted him to start training another photographer to take over his slot, according to activists working with him. Caesar started to suspect that the regime was on to him.

Last summer, shortly before a chemical-weapons attack attributed by Western nations to the Assad regime killed upward of 1,400 Damascus residents, Caesar told opposition contacts he wanted to leave the country. Syria has denied responsibility for the chemical attack.

To throw off the regime while Caesar was smuggled out of the country, the opposition Free Syrian Army faked the photographer’s death, according to David Crane, a former war-crimes prosecutor who has interviewed Caesar, and activists who were involved.

All told, Caesar helped smuggle more than 50,000 pictures out of Syria—his own and many others he downloaded that were taken by other photographers, according to activists working with him.

Working through the images, some of which show the same bodies from different angles, activists have identified around 6,700 individual victims so far. A senior U.S. official said the numbering system shown in the photos “is consistent with there being more than 10,000 victims.”

In January, a six-member international team of experts interviewed Caesar and examined the photos for any signs they were faked to discredit the Syrian regime. In a report presented to the U.N., the group concluded the photos were genuine.

The senior U.S. official said a separate American analysis of around 27,000 of the images turned up “no evidence of forgery or falsification in the pictures themselves.” The U.S. and other Western governments are expecting to see another 25,000 photos.

Mr. Crane, a member of the legal team that scrutinized the photos presented to the U.N., said “the last time we saw this kind of bureaucratic processing of humans was at Nuremberg.”

—Jess Bravin contributed to this article.

Write to Adam Entous at adam.entous@wsj.com and Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com

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Points of Light has Points to Hamas

President George H.W. Bush created a foundation called Points of Light Foundation designed as a charity to support volunteers in several countries. President #41 has very little to do with the foundation since its founding, but it is a non-partisan organization.

Then in 2007, the POL was headed by Michelle Nunn, a democrat who is running for U.S. Senate in Georgia. Michelle’s father, Sam Nunn has been very involved in another lobby group Globe Zero which has a charter to eliminate all global nuclear weapons. A factoid is that the present Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was also a board member of Globe Zero.

Back to Michelle Nunn, it seems a document was leaked somehow regarding her actions while the Chairman of Points of Light today. Why is this important? Well it seems POL under her chairmanship gave money to Islamic factions that moved money to Hamas.

COME GEORGIA, KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES AND TELL ANOTHER VOTER

Yes….wow is right. For a full summary of this matter of Michelle Nunn go here and the whole 144 page document is included.

Did Dem Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn Help Fund Hamas?

by Daniel Greenfield

‘In 2007 it was being run by Michelle Nunn, a political princess whose father was the Dem Senator from Georgia, and whose daughter now wants to inherit his seat.

Back at Points of Light, Michelle Nunn had transformed Points of Light into a generic social justice enterprise feeding money to a network of allied left-wing groups. Nunn got a $300,000 salary and even groups linked to terrorists got paid… as Eliana Johnson reports.

According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that says it strives to alleviate “hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide.” Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Islamic Relief USA says on its website that it is a legally separate entity from its parent organization, but that they share “a common vision, mission, and family identity.”

Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas. In 2006, Israelis arrested Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. They said he was working to “transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.” Ali admitted to cooperating with local Hamas operatives while working in Jordan and, on his computer, Israeli officials found photographs of “swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols,” and of Nazi officials, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Islamic Relief USA highlighted the work of Islamic Relief Worldwide in Palestine in its 2012 annual report, in which it talks generally about the work of Islamic Relief charities in the region without drawing a distinction between the branches. The organization has raised eyebrows before. According to a 2012 report, its bank account was closed by UBS and it was “under constant scrutiny by other banks due to nervousness about counterterrorist regulations.” The group’s terror ties extend beyond Hamas, according to a former Israeli intelligence official. He says that Islamic Relief Worldwide’s country director in Palestine, Muneed Abugazaleh, met in April 2012 with Dr. Omar Shalah, a leader of the terror group Islamic Jihad and of the Riyad al-Saleheen Charitable Society, which is affiliated with the group. He is also the brother of Ramadan Shalah, the leader of Islamic Jihad.

Aside from the terrorism issue, what does any of this have to do with POL’s original mission of volunteerism?

Islamic Relief USA is largely oriented toward Muslim conflict zones. It’s raising money currently for Syria and Gaza. Considering that Gaza is run by Hamas, some serious questions need to be asked.’

Ryan Mauro has some more details on the interconnections.

Although IRUSA says it is a “legally separate and independent” affiliate of IRW, the two share leadership and resources. IRUSA transferred $4.8 million, $5.9 million and $9.4 million to IRW in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively. IRUSA’s December 31, 2010 financial report states, “The majority of IRUSA’s programs are administered through grants with [IRW],” with a total of nearly $22 million that year alone.

Which essentially means that if you’re funding IRUSA, you’re funding a group linked extensively to terrorists. And not just Hamas.

Just in case you need more on Hamas, his is a video by the son of the founder of Hamas speaking out against Hamas, he is now a Christian. http://t.co/CzM7pHiAgD

Additionally in the document, Michelle Nunn also is coordinating activity to fight back against eh SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United, you know the case that Barack Obama pushed back hard on in his State of the Union Address. It is also at the core of the IRS targeting program.

 

 

 

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Smuggling, Surrender and Sovereignty

Where is the Federal Bureau of Investigation? The global smuggling network includes the U.S. southern border and then has many elements within cities throughout the America.

Under the Department of Homeland Security and with the wink of approval by the Department of Justice and the White House, surrender of security at the Southern border is real. Lines of sovereignty have disappeared.

The world is a very messy place especially when it comes to human rights, dignity and law enforcement. The question is why? Does it come down to resources, money and indifference?

The United States has a history of a forward-leaning country that puts emphasis on stopping festering criminal and terror networks but given failed policy domestically and internationally, America has fallen silent. There are good people that do good work within government and they earn our recognition and praise yet sadly that work and success is being lost due in part to the sheer volume of a hidden and robust war caused by people, money and greed. The notion of paying any consequence for criminal activity has fallen silent, there are few consequences.

 

If people can be successfully smuggled throughout a global network and reach our Southern border only to be moved again inside our cities then anything can be smuggled without notice and successful smuggling is winning over prosecution.

Human Smuggling Case Evokes South America’s Terror-Linked History

‘A Somali man used Brazil as a staging ground to smuggle people, including members of a terrorist group into the United States, witnesses are expected to testify during a sentencing hearing Thursday in San Antonio.

Ahmed Mohammed Dhakane pleaded guilty in November to two counts of making false statements on his 2008 asylum application. He failed to disclose his terrorist affiliations and that he had acted as an alien smuggler.

The U.S. didn’t charge Dhakane with smuggling or terrorism counts, but prosecutors are hoping that testimony will convince the court that a terrorism enhancement, combined with several others, should be applied to Dhakane’s sentence to give him the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.’ More here.

 

Armenians Smuggled Through U.S.-Mexico Border

‘This past Saturday, 44 year-old Grigor Chatalyan of North Hollywood was arrested for smuggling Armenians through the U.S.-Mexico border. The Armenians were reportedly first sent to Moscow to obtain fraudulent Russian passports. The next stop on the journey was Cancun, Mexico where they received permanent resident or passport cards in order to cross into the U.S., reported the Union-Tribune.

The costs paid by the Armenian nationals are reportedly up to $18,000 per person according to federal officials.

Overwhelmed agents trying to monitor and patrol America’s borders are constantly challenged with smugglers bringing unlawful travelers from many countries in addition to Armenia and Mexico. Breitbart’s Brandon Darby wrote about a UN report last July that “identifies both Mexican cartels and street gangs as conduits for individuals from Africa and Asia entering the U.S illegally.” More here.

EXCLUSIVE: Documents Detail Heinous Crimes Committed by Gang Members Being Housed in Nogales Processing Center

‘By U.S. legal standards many gang members operating in Central American countries and traveling north are classified as minors due to being under the age of 18. However, many young males are actively engaged in violent cartel and criminal activity, yet are treated as children when processed through the Department of Health and Human Services or Department of Homeland Security systems. Due to current policy, these “minor” gang members cannot be separated by Border Patrol agents from the rest of the general population of children. According to the FBI, MS-13 regularly targets middle and high school students for recruitment. The FBI also lists 18th Street as one of the most violent gangs in the country. Business Insider describes 18th Street as having special focus on document fraud and homicide.

According to sources inside the processing center, these unaccompanied MS-13 and 18th Street minors are being held for placement inside the United States.’ Read more here including documents.

MS-13 gang labeled transnational criminal group, a first for US street gang

MS-13 gang is a violent group engaged in the drug, sex, and human trafficking trades in the US. Designating MS-13 gang a transnational criminal organization helps US officials target it more aggressively.

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer

‘For the first time, a street gang operating in the United States has been officially designated a transnational criminal organization, empowering officials to more aggressively target the group, Mara Salvatrucha MS-13, which engages in the drug, sex, and human trafficking trades.

MS-13 is an El Salvador-based gang that over three decades has developed into a violent criminal force from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

But what countries are cooperating with the United States? Mexico is not cooperating and in fact is making conditions more severe and all their plans and operations are ill conceived.

FBI investigating gunfire on U.S. agents by Mexican authorities

A Mexican law enforcement helicopter crossed into U.S. airspace and fired two shots, just missing American Border Patrol agents and prompting a quick apology from Mexican authorities in what is the second incursion this year of Mexican forces into United States territory, U.S. law enforcement officials said Friday.

The incident, now the subject of an FBI criminal investigation, occurred about 5:45 a.m. Thursday in southern Arizona, about 100 yards north of the U.S.-Mexico border, as Mexican law enforcement officers were chasing kidnapping suspects trying to escape into the United States, U.S. officials said.

It is time to admit failure, it is time to challenge our State Department, it is time to confront the Department of Justice it is time that we force protections for our own safety and national security. It is a matter of time before something much more tragic is in our future.

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ISIS, Genital Mutilation and Kerry Cool

Yesterday, the United Nations ordered a full investigation into Israel for war crimes as defined by the International Criminal Court. Yet, where is the United Nations or any nation calling out Islam for beheadings, theft, extortion, genocide or even female genital mutilation? The United Nations is a twisted organization and our own U.S. Ambassador, Samantha Power ignores it as did the previous ambassador Susan Rice.

 

Isis ‘orders female genital mutilation’ for women in Mosul

UN official Jacqueline Badcock said the fatwa, or religious edict, applied to females between the ages of 11 and 46.

She said the unprecedented decree issued by the Islamists in control of the city was of grave concern. Iraq is facing a radical Isis-led Sunni insurgency, with cities in the north-west under militant control.

The ritual cutting of girls’ genitals is practised by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities in the belief it prepares them for adulthood or marriage. FGM poses many health risks to women, including severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth.

‘Four million’

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for all member states to ban the practice. The Isis edict could affect nearly four million women and girls in and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the UN warns.   Read more here.

In Jordan, there another militia group that is allying with ISIS where others already have.

Local jihadist group pledges allegiance to Islamic State

A local jihadist group on Wednesday denounced Al Qaeda leaders as illegitimate and pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).

In a statement, the Sons of the Call for Tawhid and Jihad, the youth wing of Jordan’s hard-line Salafist movement, denounced leading Al Qaeda clerics Abu Mohammad Al Maqdissi and Abu Qatada as “illegitimate”, pledging heir full support for the Islamic State and its recently announced caliphate.

In the statement, the jihadists rebuked Maqdissi and Abu Qatada for their criticism of the IS and refusal to recognise their Islamic caliphate. The group went on to threaten Maqdissi — former head of the Jordanian Salafist movement and vocal critic of IS — urging him to “return to righteousness”. The statement, posted on jihadist web sites and forums, stressed “the right and duty of all to support IS”. The Sons of the Call for Tawhid and Jihad coalition of young jihadists reportedly represent over 70 per cent of Jordan’s 6,000-strong Jihadi Salafist movement.   More here.

While war crimes are escalating in Iraq, we cannot forget Bashir al Assad in Syria whose name and civil war has left the world stage. But he still has his own playbook and it appears it may soon fit nicely with ISIS.

Inside Assad’s Playbook: Time and Terror

By Bassam Barabandi and Tyler Jess Thompson

The announcement of ISIS’s caliphate is most helpful in draining time and distracting the world from Assad’s destruction of Syrian society. Now that ISIS has fully matured, the Assad regime and Iran offer themselves as partners to the United States. For the first time, Assad is striking ISIS in Raqqa and locations inside Iraq, in a perverse harvest of the terrorist seeds he planted to quash the civilian-led reform movement. Assad will continue to make himself appear helpful by offering intermittent air strikes, details of fighters released from prison, and intelligence.

The rise of ISIS in Iraq and events in Gaza and Ukraine have placed Assad’s war safely outside the headlines. Once again, the world is convinced it has higher priorities and may again conclude that Assad is a problematic, yet stabilizing dictator in a troubled region. Safe from public scrutiny, he can go back to his hidden room, manipulating various players. US coordination with Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, or the Assad government in the fight against ISIS will play directly into the Assad plan. It will prove to Assad that his manipulation of time and terror has once again worked.

In summary, it is important to know that the intelligence officials knew 3 days ahead of time that ISIS was taking on Mosul, what is worse however, al Maliki also knew and begged Barack Obama for air-strikes countless times as a pro-active measure and each time Barack Obama refused each request.

It is stunning what Obama’s administration is keeping from Congress who under the War Powers Act must approved any intervention in a war zone. Not until there have been a few Congressional hearings is the truth being revealed on the dismissal by Barack Obama of Iraq calling for help which could have saved Iraq from ISIS.

Obama refused ‘repeated requests’ since August 2013 for drone strikes against ISIS

“Breaking on Capitol Hill is the news that Iraqi officials began requesting almost a year ago for the US to carry out drone strikes against ISIS – but the requests were shot down by the White House. That stunning revelation came during a hearing on the situation in Iraq this morning.”  More here.

The failures of Barack Obama’s National Security Council, his Joint Chiefs and most especially his State Department under John Kerry mount exponentially while he himself continues to fund-raise across the country as an implied Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Wonder what Debbie Wasserman Schultz is really thinking.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Citizens Duty, DOJ, DC and inside the Beltway, History, Insurgency, Middle East, Terror | Leave a comment  

U.S. Blacklist and NSA model Used by Putin

Databases abound in the United States and they are all inter-connected where they are sold for countless purposes. Social media is the first location where user information is gathered without your knowledge or approval. Your information is scored and profiled. This same model has been included in a law that Vladimir Putin signed into a law in Russia. So Putin is doing the same thing that the Barack Obama has been doing. But for America, it is actually worse from what we know so far.

 

 

Vladimir Putin signs law requiring mass storage of Russians’ personal Internet data

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law requiring Internet companies to store all personal data of Russian users at data centres in Russia, a move which could chill criticism on foreign social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

These companies, which do not have offices in Russia, have become a vital resource for opposition groups and refuse to hand over user data to governments. The use of Russian data centres would make them and other Internet companies subject to Russian laws on government access to information.

The Kremlin said the law was aimed at “improving the management of personal data of Russian citizens on computer networks” and that companies which do not comply with the legislation would be blocked.

Lawmakers who introduced the bill had complained that data stored abroad was at risk of being hacked and stolen by criminals.

The law could also cause problems for Russian companies such as tourism websites and airlines that rely on foreign-based online booking services.

Russia’s Association of Electronic Communication (RAEC), a group that lobbies on behalf of Internet companies, warned earlier this month that “many global Internet services would be impossible” under the new law. Internet companies have also warned that the two years before the measures come into force is not sufficient time for them to find or build data centres on which to store the data.

The Internet data law comes amid a number of measures cracking down on public dissent in Russia, including introducing jail terms of up to five years for repeated participation in unsanctioned protests and restrictions on the activities of non-governmental organisations.

It is also in line with other recent Internet restrictions, including a requirement for bloggers to register as media if they have more than 3,000 followers and a law directed against “extremist” language that could see Russians go to jail for up to five years for retweeting “offensive” information.

 

__________

The use of your information in the United States each day is becoming more disturbing. The White House has established a Blacklist and you could be on it again without your knowledge or approval. The criteria to get on the list is chilling such even taking your pet to the vet can add your name. Even if you die you may not be removed. The White House authorized this Blacklist and appears to be one of many entities in full authority of the Blacklist.

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

By and

The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Read more here.

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The United Nations is a Marxist SpyHive

DISGUSTING, UNITED STATES MUST SUSPEND DUES IMMEDIATELY
http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpPages)/3A2E7F28C6F779E7C1257D1E005C8F02?OpenDocument
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ESTABLISHES INDEPENDENT, INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY FOR THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
23 July 2014

The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, after adopting a resolution in which it decided to establish an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 29 States in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions, the Council strongly condemned the failure of Israel, the occupying Power, to end its prolonged occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and condemned in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes, directly resulting in the killing of more than 650 Palestinians, most of them civilians and more than 170 of whom were children, the injury of more than 4,000 people and the wanton destruction of homes, vital infrastructure and public properties.

The Council further condemned all violence against civilians wherever it occurred, including the killing of two Israeli civilians as a result of rocket fire.  It called for an immediate cessation of Israeli military assaults throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and an end to attacks against all civilians, including Israeli civilians.  The Council demanded that Israel immediately and fully end its illegal closure of the occupied Gaza Strip and called upon the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance and services to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

In the resolution, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, and to report to the Council at its twenty-eighth session.
It also recommended that the Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the Fourth Geneva Convention, promptly reconvene the conference of High Contracting Parties to the Convention.

In the general debate, speakers continued to call for the immediate halt of Israeli operations against civilians and civilian targets in Gaza. Some spoke in support of Israel’s right to defend its population against terrorist attacks, and condemned reprehensible acts, including indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and other armed groups.  Others called attention to the fact that children were bearing the brunt of the escalating violence.  Israel’s attempts to warn Palestinian civilians to flee areas where terrorist military installations were noted by some speakers, while others said this meant nothing as the inhabitants of Gaza had no place to flee.  Many speakers supported the establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry, and some called for a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Speaking during this afternoon’s debate were representatives of Syria, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Malaysia, Canada, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Iceland  Holy See, Sudan, Thailand, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Bahrain, Uruguay, Iran, Switzerland, Malta, Australia, United Nations Children’s Fund, New Zealand, Spain, Niger, Bolivia, Oman, Sri Lanka, African Union, Denmark, Lebanon, Mauritius, Portugal, Norway, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chad, Iraq, Guinea, Djibouti and Angola.

The Independent Human Rights Commission of Palestine spoke and the following non-governmental organizations took the floor: Independent Human Rights Commission of Palestine, Action Contre la Faim International, Norwegian Refugee Council, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugees Rights, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights,
Union of Arab Jurists, World Jewish Congress, Defence for Children International,
Human Rights Watch, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations B’nai B’rith, Save the Children International, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, UN Watch,
Caritas International, International Commission of Jurists, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, European Union of Jewish Students, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, General Arab Women Federation, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Amnesty International, Amuta for NGO Responsibility and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.

Pakistan introduced the resolution on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Israel and Palestine took the floor as concerned countries.  The United States, Italy on behalf of the European Union, Brazil and Peru spoke in explanations of the vote before the vote.  Gabon, Chile and Japan spoke in explanation of the vote after the vote.

This was the twenty-first Special Session of the Human Rights Council. A summary of the first part of the meeting can be found here.  Documentation relating to the Special Session, including the resolution, is available on the Human Rights Council webpage.  The twenty-seventh regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 8 to 26 September 2014.

General Debate

Syria said that extremist gangs of settlers had been allowed to abduct a Palestinian child and burn him alive, which had led to further massacres of the innocent, particularly women and children.  Israel had continuously shown utter disregard for international law. The international community had to ensure that such crimes did not go unpunished.  Syria supported the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian people.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation stated that the murderous and blind attacks of the Israeli army had led to hundreds of civilian deaths, flouting international law and gravely violating human rights.  The Council should set up an independent investigative commission to look into those severe breaches of international law.  No country, no matter how powerful it was, should be allowed to massacre civilians with impunity.

Malaysia condemned in the strongest terms the ongoing barbaric and military aggression by Israel on Gaza.  Israel’s so-called self-defence had in fact killed thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians over the years.  Israel had to be held fully accountable, and no room should be left for its disrespect of the United Nations Charter.   Israel should fully halt its military assault on Gaza and end its illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip.

Canada said the Council should call for calm and an end to the hostilities, not establish a new mechanism.  Canada supported Israel’s right to defend its population against terrorist attacks, and condemned reprehensible acts by Hamas and other armed groups.  The Council should not embolden them by agreeing a resolution that did not even condemn such acts.

Tunisia condemned in the strongest possible terms the barbaric terrorist attacks by Israel in Gaza, and asked the Council to demand that the Israelis responsible were brought before the International Criminal Court.  Tunisia quoted testimonies from various world leaders that Israel was a terrorist State acting like the Nazis, committing war crimes and establishing apartheid.

Jordan said Israel was acting in blatant violation of international human rights law.  Some 100,000 Palestinians had been internally displaced.  The targeting of civilians, no matter which side they were on, forced the Council to fulfil its reason for existence.  The Council should establish a commission of inquiry and call for a meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Libya strongly condemned the barbaric invasion by the Israeli occupying power, which had led to the deaths of more than 600 Palestinians, many of them children.  The disastrous situation could not be justified by self-defence, but was rather a collective punishment of the Palestinian people, in contravention of international law.  An independent commission of inquiry ought to be sent to Palestine as soon as possible.

Mauritania condemned in the strongest terms the Israeli aggression, which was an affront to human conscience and constituted collective punishment and genocide.  Israel’s actions would have negative repercussions on the situation in the entire region.  Israel, as the occupying power, was blatantly responsible for the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied territories.

Iceland said that, once again, it was Palestinian civilians, innocent women and children, who suffered most.  Iceland strongly condemned the violations of international humanitarian law by both sides, and called on Israel to cease all military operations in Gaza without delay.  Attacks on Israel also had to stop without delay.  Iceland commended the Secretary-General for going to the region and providing his good offices.

Holy See said the voice of reason seemed submerged by the blast of arms.  The perpetration of injustices and the violation of human rights, especially the right to life and to live in peace and security, sowed fresh seeds of hatred and resentment.  In his pilgrimage to the Holy Land Pope Francois demanded that the present unacceptable situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be brought to an end.

Sudan said with 650 dead, thousands wounded and many thousands more displaced, the violations committed by Israel represented a policy of racial and ethnic cleansing, a massacre and genocide at a time when mankind had rejected the racist law of the jungle and moved into a time of human dignity.  The Council must recognize that Israel was an occupying power supported by a superpower that could do whatever it wanted.

Thailand said the right to life should be protected at all times and in all circumstances, even in the course of hostilities.  Thailand supported the Security Council call for the immediate cessation of hostilities, including allowing unfettered access to provide humanitarian access to innocent civilians in a timely and sustained manner.  Violence only perpetuated a vicious cycle of violence and greater insecurity in the region.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea condemned, in the strongest terms, Israel’s reckless military actions, which had caused bloodshed again in Palestine.  Israel’s brutal killings of over 600 defenceless Palestinians through indiscriminate military attacks on peaceful residential areas were particularly denounced.  Israel should immediately stop all illegal military actions against Palestine.

Ecuador believed in peaceful coexistence of peoples, and recognized the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to enjoy security and well-being.  Unlimited humanitarian and medical aid to the Gaza Strip had to be guaranteed.  Israel, as the occupying power, had to respect the human rights of the Palestinians, and to abide by its human rights obligations, in accordance with the treaties it had ratified.

Bahrain stated that the barbaric aggression by the Israeli occupying forces was a blatant violation of all international laws and customs.  Israel’s aggression was completely unacceptable, as it completely disregarded the 2012 ceasefire agreement.  Palestinian territories should be placed under international protection until Israel evacuated all the occupied lands.  Israel was called upon to comply with international law.

Uruguay said the political issues underlying the conflict did not fall strictly within the remit of the Council, as other areas of the United Nations dealt with them, but it was clear that the Council could not remain silent given the escalating violence and loss of life in Gaza.  Uruguay condemned any hostilities against civilians, and said the violence must end and international humanitarian law must prevail.

Iran said the brutal use of force by Israel against the Palestinian people, including in residential areas, hospitals and schools, added to the long list of violations by Israel over the past 60 years, in systematic and flagrant breach of international law.  The international community must not repeat previous mistakes; it must take some responsibly for the situation.  The Council must also identify the Israeli officials who had perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Switzerland recalled that reprisals against civilians and indiscriminate attacks were prohibited by international law, and said it supported the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights allegations.  It called on all parties concerned to agree to a ceasefire, paving the way to the lifting of the blockade and lasting improvement to the security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Malta said that there had been international calls to end attacks by Hamas and retaliatory actions by Israel.  Schools and hospitals in Gaza had been targeted, which meant that children bore the brunt of the ongoing hostilities.  Israeli children were also living in the shadow of rockets, while far too many Palestinian children had died or lost family members.  There were clear European Union parameters for future negotiations, which Malta supported.

Australia was deeply concerned about the growing number of casualties on both sides, including many Palestinian civilians.  The draft resolution was unbalanced, did not mention Hamas’ role in the current situation, and Australia could not support it in its current form.  Australia supported Israel’s right to defend itself, but, in doing so, it should take all necessary steps to prevent civilian casualties.

United Nations Children’s Fund called attention to the fact that children were bearing the brunt of the escalating violence.  As of 22 July, 146 children had been killed.  Protection was needed to ensure the safety of shelters and refuges, and for families trying to relocate to safer areas.   Eighty-five schools had been damaged since the beginning of the emergency.  More than 72,000 were currently in need of emergency psycho-social support, and the number was expected to rise.

New Zealand called for an end to a conflict that could and should have been avoided, saying the tragic events of the past two weeks had led to an appalling degree of human suffering and its ongoing repercussions.  Parties on both sides continued to fall short of their obligations to protect civilians.  It was vital that a meaningful and permanent two-State solution be found, including a sustainable end to the blockade of Gaza.  The pattern of conflict had gone on too long and the cost to innocent civilians was too high.

Spain said while Israel had the right to protect its population it also had a duty to protect civilians and respect the principles of proportionality and international law.  The main priority was to achieve a ceasefire, said Spain, but the need to achieve a negotiated two-State solution – a stable Palestine and a secure Israel – could only be achieved through talking, and Spain urged both sides to return to the negotiating table.

Niger said the seriousness of the events in Gaza had left the international community indifferent, although Israel was responsible for huge violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.  The United Nations Secretary-General was urged to continue his efforts to achieve a ceasefire and bring the parties back to the negotiating table, in recognition of the Palestinians’ right to live in their own land.

Bolivia said that hundreds of Palestinian civilians were victims of the Israeli aggression.  The international community should provide for the urgent convening of a dialogue between Palestine and Israel.  Israel’s violations of human rights were grave and systematic, and should be investigated in the context of international law.  Palestine could count on the support of Bolivia.

Oman stated that it did not seek confrontation, but instead condemned all kinds of violence, which had escalated to the degree that a child had been torched alive.  Practices described by the High Commissioner in the morning were tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.  An independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, along the 1967 borders, had to be established.

Sri Lanka was deeply concerned at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of civilian lives and extensive damage of property.  Sri Lanka was convinced that dialogue remained the only feasible option.  All parties were called upon to exercise the utmost restraint in a bid to halt the violence.  The Egyptian ceasefire initiative would be a meaningful starting point in that regard.

African Union said a recent declaration issued by the African Union, in a spirit of solidarity between Africa and Palestine, deplored the recent violence in the Gaza Strip.  Both parties were called upon to end the aggression with a view to removing all the blockades against Gaza and work on establishing a climate for negotiations.  Africa wanted peace, nothing less, for the people of the region.

Denmark regretted that once again the civilian populations were bearing the brunt of the hostilities during the confrontation between Hamas and Israel.  It strongly condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas and other militant groups, and condemned the loss of hundreds of civilian lives.  Denmark supported calls for a swift and impartial international investigation into the civilian deaths on both sides.

Lebanon asked why the Council had waited for yet more destruction and death in Gaza before convening this Special Session.  The media showed images of children dying indiscriminately in their beds, elderly people and women being killed for no other reason than being inhabitants of Gaza, and bombs raining down on the city.  If those were they not sufficient reasons to hold the session, when should the Council meet?

Mauritius expressed grave concern at the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and strongly condemned the killing of civilians, among them children and the elderly and the destruction of the civilian infrastructure.  Mauritius appealed to the international community to spare no effort in preventing the escalation of the conflict.  Mauritius also condemned Israel’s illegal colonial settlement campaign.

Portugal was appalled by the continuing escalation of violence in Gaza which had resulted in the loss of hundreds of civilian lives.  While Israel had the right to defend its civilian population from attacks from militant groups, the response had to be proportionate and respect international humanitarian law.  Portugal called for the full implementation of the Security Council resolution 1860 on opening the crossings.

Norway condemned the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, but being the stronger part and operating in very densely populated areas strengthened Israel’s responsibility.  Norway supported the efforts and leadership by Egypt to facilitate a ceasefire, which had to be followed up by measures that could substantially improve the living conditions in Gaza.

Afghanistan strongly condemned Israel’s assaults on Gaza and the rising numbers of civilian lives lost, and urged the occupying power, international community and United Nations to exert every possible effort to secure a ceasefire.  Afghanistan had announced an assistance package in humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and urged the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

Bangladesh said the massacres of civilians in Gaza, particularly of children and women, were appalling and had shocked the world’s conscience.  There was no legal, political or moral justification for such actions, which were illegal and in continuous breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Bangladesh supported Palestine’s call to establish a commission of inquiry.

Chad called upon Israel to immediately cease its air raids and land offensive which mainly targeted civilians, schools and hospitals.  Chad also called upon the Palestinians to end their attacks against Israel, including the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip.  Chad called on all parties to show restraint and achieve a ceasefire, as well as to lift the blockade on Gaza.

Iraq paid tribute to the proud Arab people of Palestine who remained steadfast in face of one of the most brutal attacks by Israel.  The Arab world would never fail to stand with the Palestinian people and would continue to support the two-State solution.  Israel continued to enjoy seeming immunity for its crimes; Palestinians had the right to defend themselves against such blatant aggression.

Guinea congratulated the High Commissioner for her powerful statement.  The indiscriminate use of force by Israel in one of the most populated areas in the world was unacceptable, and had further worsened the already dire situation in the Gaza Strip.  The blockade against Gaza had to come to an end.  Guinea totally supported the Palestinian people in their legitimate aspirations to have an independent State.

Djibouti was seriously concerned by the grave situation, which was, unfortunately, not a new scenario.  In violation of international human rights law, Israel had ignored the principles of proportionality and had targeted Palestinian civilians in Gaza.  Perpetrators of any such heinous crimes had to be held accountable.  Djibouti supported Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire and called upon parties to cooperate.

Angola said it was deeply outraged and appalled by the unacceptable situation prevailing in Gaza, which it considered to be excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate and in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.  Angola joined the calls of the international community for an immediate ceasefire in order to deliver assistance to the victims of the conflict.

Independent Human Rights Commission of Palestine said Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate actions had killed 650 Palestinians, injured more than 4,000 and displaced over 150,000 from their homes.  There was no safe haven in Gaza.  The bombardment came from land, air and sea.  An immediate investigation should be carried out by an independent and impartial fact-finding mission and impunity should be ended.

Action Contre la Faim International said in the past week it had successfully delivered aid to thousands of recipients in Gaza, but the intensity of hostilities had seriously impeded the provision of emergency humanitarian aid.  It was extremely concerned about the viability of helping people recover from yet another crisis amidst restrictions that drastically limited Gaza’s economic and social development.

Norwegian Refugee Council said that 44 per cent of the Gaza Strip had been declared a no-go area, making Gaza even more of an open-air prison than before.  In Gaza, the internally displaced persons could not find safety as they were not allowed to leave, and no place in Gaza was safe.  Returning to the status quo ante was not enough.

Al-Haq stated that what they were witnessing in the Gaza Strip was a manifestation of Israel’s prolonged and belligerent occupation of Palestine.  The current situation was an embodiment of the international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable for war crimes in the occupied territory.  The status quo was not sustainable.

BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugees Rights said that 76 per cent of the Palestinians killed by Israel were civilians.  Testimonies from the ground described attacks by Israel as indiscriminate and disproportionate and directly aimed at civilians.  In the past seven years, the Council had failed to act decisively to ensure that Israel abided by international law.

Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development said the Council was today considering a catastrophic situation which was a result of Israel’s reaction to the kidnapping of three Israeli citizens; this was collective punishment against the citizens of the Gaza Strip.  More than 83 per cent of victims were civilians, killed in an area where there was no option to flee death as the aggression of Israel was all encompassing.

International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights said the Special Session took place three weeks after the execution, torture and murder of a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem, and three weeks of Israeli aggression against Gaza.  The Institute condemned the attacks against the Palestinian people, their hospitals, and their schools, and made several recommendations for a fact-finding mission.

Union of Arab Jurists said despite calls from the United Nations and other international bodies, Israel’s aggression in the occupied Palestinian territories continued.  Israel considered itself to be above United Nations resolutions and above the law.  Those countries which supported Israel equated the victim and the aggressor, knowing full well of the inalienable right to self-determination and legitimate resistance.   

World Jewish Congress said that by firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians, Hamas had launched an armed attack against a United Nations Member State.  Hamas was the violator of human rights, as it used children as human shields and violated the sanctity of mosques, hospitals and schools.  The Council should reject the resolution and sanction Hamas for its wanton violation of human rights.

Defence for Children International said that thus far more children had been killed by Israeli fire than Palestinian militants.  Eighty-five schools had been damaged by shelling by Israeli forces.  International law was clear in stating that civilians, including children, should never be targeted.  An immediate ceasefire, which should also end the blockade on the Gaza Strip, was called for.

Human Rights Watch had documented eight airstrikes on civilian targets before the ground offensive had begun on 17 July.  Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian authorities had taken the necessary steps to prosecute violators, who existed on both sides.  The Council should mandate the Office of the High Commissioner to form a fact-finding mission, which should establish accountability and issue recommendations to the United Nations and the parties.

Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations; B’nai B’rith said Hamas had fired some 1,700 rockets at Israel, and it used its own people as human shields.  Israel made attempts to warn Palestinian civilians to flee areas where terrorist military installations were, by sending text and telephone messages.  The Coordinating Board said they were here today for peace.

Save the Children International said the number of casualties in the Gaza Strip was unprecedented.  One out of every five people killed by the recent strikes was a child.  Around 80,000 children had experienced death or injury in their families, or lost a home.  Children were being denied access to healthcare and schooling.  Save the Children International called for the protection of school facilities and respect for their integrity.

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues said since the launch of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on 7 July Israel had killed at least 650 people in the occupied Gaza Strip.  At the same time, thousands of rockets had been fired at Israel from within the Gaza Strip causing the death of two Israeli civilians.  The imbalance of power could not be overlooked.  Israel and Palestine should ratify the Rome Statute to help ensure accountability.

UN Watch said that the draft resolution denied Israel’s right to self-defence.  If in the past year, the Council had not cried out when thousands had been killed in street protests in Turkey, Egypt, Libya and Afghanistan, why did it hold a Special Session on Israel now?  The Assad regime in Syria had killed 1,800 Palestinians, yet the Council had remained silent over that.

Caritas International expressed deep concern about the renewed tension in the Holy Land and the grave violations reported in the Gaza Strip.  During the special prayers for peace in Israel and Palestine, convened in the Vatican on 8 June, Pope Francis had asked for courage, strength and tenacity to say no to conflict.  Caritas called on both parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate ceasefire to enable humanitarian relief.

International Commission of Jurists called for an immediate end to the Palestinian military operations in Gaza and the unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli military from Gaza.   All of Gaza’s crossings had to be opened to allow for unrestricted humanitarian access.  There had been attacks by both parties which constituted crimes under international law and their perpetrators had to be held criminally accountable.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said as an occupying power Israel had obligations under international humanitarian law, as compelled by the Fourth Geneva Convention, under which it was also bound to refrain from collective punishment.  The practice to warn civilians to leave their houses before the shelling starts should not be seen as an act of morality; with the current blockade on Gaza the civilians had nowhere to go.

CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation said it was appalled by the nightmare of rocket bombings of civilians, including children and soldiers alike, during the third war in Gaza in less than six years.  Above all, CIVICUS was appalled that Israel, after its Holocaust history, had turned from a victim into a victimizer.  Authorities in Gaza must recognize that they would lose support if they used Palestinians cynically as human shields.

European Union of Jewish Students said an entire nation, towns, villages and cities, was under brutal and relentless attack from over 2,000 rockets and long-range missiles fired from Gaza across the holy land.  Israelis were forced to run for shelter, day and night, when air-raid sirens went off.  The world should salute the terrorized and embattled nation of Israel which was showing such strength of spirit in resisting such massive aggression.

Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme was concerned by the systematic violations of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Israel, as the occupying power, had to protect civilians during its offensive security operations against Hamas.  Both parties were invited to declare an unconditional ceasefire in order to save human lives.

General Arab Women Federation said that it was the Israeli Prime Minister’s public call for revenge along with his openly declared goal to destroy the newly formed Palestinian unity Government that had set off the recent avalanche of violence.  Israel’s policy against the Palestinians in Gaza violated the fundamental rules of international law, and such atrocities had to be prosecuted as crimes against humanity.

International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists believed that the draft resolution was contrary to the Council’s mandate and did great injustice to Israel.  It made no reference to violations of humanitarian law perpetrated by terror organizations.  Hamas had declared on several occasions that any Israeli was a legitimate target to its attacks.  The Council should condemn Hamas and its terrorist methods.

Amnesty International regretted that once more the Council was intervening after the catastrophe, and said the United Nations must find ways to intervene in crises sooner.  The Council was recommended to build on the analysis and findings of the Goldstone report and back measures to find accountability for victims.

Amuta for NGO Responsibility regretted the rockets being fired at Israel’s main airport, an artery for the nation, which had led to its partial shut-down and many major airlines suspending their flights to Israel.  The representative said that cement given to Gaza to help Palestinians build hospitals and schools was instead used to build kilometres of ‘tunnels of terror’ to murder Israeli civilians.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights said the failure of the international community to ensure the protection of civilians had led them to this dark day, this Special Session.  It urged the Council to take swift action to protect the civilians and to prosecute actions that amounted to war crimes.  The international community’s disgrace was the result of world leaders putting political gain ahead of the responsibility laid out in the United Nations Charter.

Action on the Draft Resolution

In a resolution (A/HRC/S-21/L.1) on ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 29 States in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions, the Council strongly condemns the failure of Israel, the occupying Power, to end its prolonged occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and condemns in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes, directly resulting in the killing of more than 650 Palestinians, most of them civilians and more than 170 of whom are children, the injury of more than 4,000 people and the wanton destruction of homes, vital infrastructure and public properties.  The Council condemns all violence against civilians wherever it occurs, including the killing of two Israeli civilians as a result of rocket fire; calls for an immediate cessation of Israeli military assaults throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and an end to attacks against all civilians, including Israeli civilians; demands that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and fully end its illegal closure of the occupied Gaza Strip; calls upon the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance and services to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip; and expresses deep concern at the condition of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails and detention centres.  The Council also recommends that the Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the Fourth Geneva Convention, promptly reconvene the conference of High Contracting Parties to the Convention; and decides to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, and to report to the Council at its twenty-eighth session.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (29): Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (17): Austria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Romania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and United Kingdom.

Pakistan, speaking on the behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, presenting the draft resolution, said that barbaric acts of violence by Israel were deplorable and had led to the suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians.  The draft resolution underlined the importance of providing humanitarian assistance, and called for the immediate protection of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.  The draft resolution also asked for an immediate dispatch of an independent commission of inquiry into human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip.  Pakistan hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

The President said that there were six additional co-sponsors of the resolution.

Israel, speaking as a concerned country, asked again why the Council believed that naming and shaming of Israel would achieve anything.  Israel had shown its utmost restraint and agreed to a number of ceasefire arrangements, but then had no choice but to start the current operation.  Israel had no interest to be in Gaza, from which it had withdrawn in 2005.  Israel’s attacks in Gaza targeted exclusively Hamas military targets and did what it could to avoid any collateral damage.  A special commission of inquiry had been established by Israel to look into possible violations of human rights, well beyond the requirements of international law.  Hamas was the aggressor, the one committing war crimes – the Council should open its eyes to the truth.

Palestine thanked the States which had supported the convening of the current Special Session, and all those who had supported the draft resolution as presented.  There was a flagrant violation of human rights occurring in Palestine, which the occupying power seemed to have forgotten.  The current operation was the fifth such attack against Gaza.  Palestine was always prepared to find a solution, but the occupying power and those who supported it were asking Palestine to accept the occupation, which would never be accepted.  Palestine was hoping for minimal justice for killed civilians, including numerous exterminated families.  A commission of inquiry should identify those responsible so that they could be brought to justice.  Twenty five Palestinians had been killed for every Israeli.  The occupying power needed to protect civilians, which was not currently the case.  Palestine would like to see an end to the bloodletting immediately.  Palestine asked for all States to support the draft resolution and come to its aid.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it remained gravely concerned about the recent violence which had impacted Palestinian and Israeli civilians, and was working intensively to achieve an end to the hostilities.  The resolution today would not help achieve that goal.  It was destructive, not constructive.  The United States was deeply troubled by the resolution and would vote against it.  Once again the Council had failed to address the situation in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories with any semblance of balance.  The resolution did not mention rockets fired from Gaza, or the tunnels made by terrorists.  It would create another one-sided mechanism targeting Israel; the commission of inquiry it called for would be a needless, duplicative effort, the fourth such body established since 2006.  The resolution was a political and biased instrument.  The Council already had a standing agenda item focused solely on Israel, and a Special Rapporteur with a wide mandate.  Furthermore, the resolution took steps outside of Council’s mandate by attempting to convene a meeting of Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.  The United States called for a vote and urged States not to vote for the resolution.

Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, appreciated efforts by the sponsors of the draft resolution to consult with all members of the Council.  The European Union was convinced that the most effective way to react was to use the existing mechanisms, such as through a swift deployment of a mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  It was regrettable that the European Union’s suggestions had not been taken aboard by the resolution’s sponsors.  The final draft text continued to be unbalanced and prejudged the findings of the commission of inquiry even  before it was formed.  It also did not condemn the firing of rockets into Israel, which was why the European Union would abstain.  It would have been a far better outcome if there had been a united position of the Council on the issue.

Brazil, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote in favour of the draft resolution.  The gravity of the situation, in particular the alarming number of casualties, warranted a timely and strong response by the international community.  There were some elements in the draft which did not fully reflect Brazil’s position; Brazil would have preferred a resolution reflecting in a more balanced manner the developments on the ground.  The Council had an important role to play in investigating violations of the human rights and international humanitarian law.  Brazil stood ready to contribute to all international efforts to reach a peaceful solution.

Peru, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote,  said it energetically condemned Israel’s incursions into the Gaza Strip as well as the launching of rockets by Hamas into Israeli territory.  It would vote in favour of the resolution.

Gabon, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that it attached high importance to the resolution of disputes through dialogue and negotiations.  Gabon strongly urged all the parties to cease hostilities and commence talks as soon as possible.  An immediate ceasefire was needed to allow for the salvation of the civilians, especially children, the elderly and the disabled.

Chile, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that violence was causing suffering of civilians.  Chile supported the intervention of the good offices of Egypt.  Chile would have also liked to see inclusion of condemnation of Hamas rockets in the adopted resolution.

Japan, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, appreciated the readiness of Palestine and some co-sponsors to include some changes in the draft resolution.  The Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister was in the region at the moment, trying to help resolve the conflict.  The necessity of the establishment of a new commission of inquiry should have been further considered, and the approach which could lead to further prosecutions at the International Criminal Court was questionable.  That was why Japan had abstained in the vote.

For use of the information media; not an official record

This is what Israel had to say in Geneva. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kWwc-GgaiIk

Text of the Ambassador is here.

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