19.04.2022 Author: Valery Kulikov

Israel Demonstrates its Disregard for Human Rights

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Once again Israel demonstrates to the world its utter disregard for human rights.

And this is not only in the ongoing airstrikes on Syrian territory and the suburbs of Damascus from Lebanese territory or the Golan Heights, as a result of which Syrian civilians suffer. For example, this April alone, Israel’s F-16 fighter jets carried out another missile strike. On April 9, they struck the Al-Wusta area in Hama province in north-west Syria from Lebanese airspace. Late in the afternoon on April 14, as the Syrian state SANA news agency reported, Israel launched a new air attack from the Golan Heights on the outskirts of the Syrian capital at some points in the countryside to the west of the city.

Israeli air strikes on targets in Syria also took place in early February, when the Israeli Air Force launched two missile strikes on Syrian infrastructure. Firstly the Israeli Air Force struck targets near the town of Kiswah of Damascus province. The second strike was carried out by Israeli aircraft with ten surface-to-surface missiles against Syrian air defense units. One person was killed and five Syrian soldiers were wounded as a result. Syrian military and civilian infrastructure was also damaged.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said the Syrian side retains the legal right to respond to Israeli missile attacks at an appropriate time. As a result of such a disregard for international law, with the blatant connivance of Washington, Tel Aviv could provoke an armed conflict in the region, since not only Syria, but also Lebanon, Iran and several other regional powers have officially stated more than once that such actions are unacceptable.

In addition, Israel, in violation of religious freedom rights, allowed another inter-religious conflict to escalate on April 15 when Israeli security forces invaded the al-Aqsa mosque where, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 150 Palestinians were injured and another 300 detained. The incident occurred after the end of morning prayers, with Israeli security forces firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets directly at the al-Aqsa mosque, the Jerusalem Post admits. The Palestinians, for their part, tried to fight off the Israeli attack with stones. According to unconfirmed reports, some 12,000 Muslim worshippers were on and around the Temple Mount at the time, and there was a very strong reaction to the incident, not only among Muslim worshippers in Israel, but also in other countries in the region.

The said escalation occurred on April 15, when important religious holidays, celebrated with particular reverence by representatives of the three faiths: Catholic Good Friday, Ramadan and Passover, coincided. Nevertheless, the Israeli authorities and security forces failed to show due respect for religious customs, effectively provoking this latest incident at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The situation has been complicated by statements from the extremist Jewish group Returning to the Mount, which advocates building a third temple (according to Jewish tradition, it will be erected on the Temple Mount, where the other two temples stood and where the al-Aqsa mosque now stands). The group offered a cash prize to those who manage to sacrifice a lamb on the Temple Mount, as well as to those who are apprehended in the process. The group is considered odious in Israel, with over a thousand young Palestinians spending the night at the Al-Aqsa mosque to prevent the “sacrifice.” Palestinian groups have warned Israeli authorities that violating the sanctity of al-Aqsa is unacceptable.

That said, it should not be forgotten that a year ago similar events led to a war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

More than 340 Palestinians were injured in clashes with the Israeli military in Jerusalem as well as in the West Bank on April 15, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported.  The Palestinian authorities hold Israel fully responsible for these events. “The action of the Israeli police in invading the al-Aqsa mosque compound and the Al-Kibli inner prayer hall is tantamount to declaring war on the Palestinians,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the State of Palestine’s presidential representative in Ramallah.

Jordan also warned Israel of the dangerous consequences of the escalation and held the neighboring state responsible for security on the Temple Mount. Concerns have also been expressed in the EU and in the Gulf Arab countries, which have recently had close relations with Israel.

In particular, Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, said: “We strongly condemn the Israeli security forces’ crimes against Palestinians at the al-Aqsa mosque. Hundreds of people were injured and detained. This is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law.” He also demanded that Israel “immediately cease its illegal actions on Palestinian territory and respect Muslim holy sites.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement:

“Ankara strongly condemns the actions of Israeli security forces that have killed seven Palestinian civilians in recent days, including in the town of Jenin, and provoked a confrontation near the shrine of Islam, the al-Aqsa mosque.”

LAS Secretary General Ahmed Aboul al-Gheit accused Israeli security forces of “aggressive actions against the Palestinian people that violate their right to hold religious rituals in Al-Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan.” According to the LAS Secretary General, the global community must “take responsibility for the actions of the occupying government.” He stressed that freedom of religion is guaranteed by international law, which Israel is obliged to respect.

On April 17, footage of police violence in al-Aqsa resurfaced on Palestinian social media. Haaretz correspondent Nir Hasson published particularly egregious scenes of the beating of unarmed and non-aggressive people. The journalist reports that such violence has recently been used by the police against Palestinian journalists on the Temple Mount, beating totally innocent people – not one of these journalists has been detained on suspicion of committing any crime.

Palestinian news agency Wafa stressed that Israeli police were “clearing” the area to ensure the safe ascent of “Jewish fanatics” to the Temple Mount, and dozens of Palestinians were injured as a result. Prime Minister Bennett announced that he was giving the police “complete free hand” to ensure order, and the police, judging by the video, were making full use of it. According to B’Tselem, 16 Palestinians have already been killed and hundreds arrested in army raids in the Palestinian territories since the beginning of April alone.

Against this background, Israel’s comments on the April 15 events by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid are perceived in the region as an outright mockery of respect for human rights: “This morning’s riots on the Temple Mount are an unforgivable act that is contrary to the spirit of the religions in which we believe. […] Israel is committed to freedom of religion.”

Although what else could be expected from the current compromised Israeli government, which on March 2 this year stood up for the openly Nazi Kiev regime by supporting a Russophobic US resolution at the UN General Assembly condemning Russia for carrying out a special operation to denazify Ukraine. At the same time they forgot about the thousands of Jews martyred and murdered by the Banderites during World War II, who have become national heroes in today’s Ukraine.

The hypocrisy of the Israeli authorities towards the most important provisions of international law was also evident in another blatant anti-Russian outburst by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as part of his country’s vote on the UNGA resolution to suspend Russia’s membership in the UN HRC. According to a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website, the Israeli government, itself in contempt of universally recognized human rights, continues its “illegal occupation and creeping annexation of Palestinian territories” in violation of numerous UN decisions, resulting in over 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank living in “isolated, fragmented enclaves.” The Russian Foreign Ministry also called it remarkable that the Israeli authorities’ policy of “maintaining the longest occupation in post-war world history” is pursued with the tacit connivance of leading Western countries and the de facto support of the United States, just as Israel has been scornful of human rights.

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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