Image of Israeli forces arresting a Palestinian child on 22 November 2012 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]
Israel has killed more than 3,000 children since 28 September 2000 when the Second Intifada began until the end of April 2017, a new report has found.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information said in a report released ahead of Children’s Day that the Israeli forces have injured more than 13,000 children and arrested more than 12,000 others, and continues to hold 300 children in its prisons.
The report published yesterday said that 95 per cent of children were tortured and assaulted during their detention.
On average, the report said, Israeli forces arrest nearly 700 children annually, but this has increased since the start of the Jerusalem Intifada in October 2015. Nearly 2,000 children were arrested between October 2015 and November 2016.
The report noted that school students are subjected to violations at the Israeli military checkpoints at the entrances to Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps, warning that the Israeli policies establish a dangerous economic situation in the northern Jordan Valley and force Palestinian children to drop out of school.
The children face the problem of widespread poverty because of the deteriorating economic situation and the ongoing blockade, especially in the Gaza Strip, forcing many of them to leave their schools and move to the labour market.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Labour’s latest report, there are 102,000 Palestinian children under the age of 18 currently in the labour market compared with 65,000 in 2011.
Up to 20,000 Palestinian workers are employed in Israeli agricultural settlements, including 5.5 per cent of children aged 13-16 years old who earn a wage equivalent to one-third of the Israeli minimum wage.
#JerusalemIntifada: How many #Palestinians have been killed by #Israeli forces?
MEMO infographic by The White Canvas
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Image of UK soldiers [Mashleymorgan/Flickr]
The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in Britain (AOHR) has called on the UK government to stop exporting arms to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of its role in fuelling armed conflicts in the Middle East.
The organisation said the British government granted 509 arms licenses to the UAE worth £182 million ($233.3 million) in 2016 including defensive and offensive weapons with most of these weapons being transported to conflict zones in Yemen and Libya.
The organisation warned that the UAE government does not abide by the last user condition stipulated in the arms licenses which is documented in UN and international reports and therefore it is imperative for the UK government stops the export of arms to Abu Dhabi and investigate the fate of arms deals which were concluded previously.
The UAE not only provided the parties to the conflict with weapons, AOHR explained, but carried out military operations in the field like the continued bombing against the Darna region in Libya in cooperation with Egypt which resulted in civilian deaths and the destruction of many civilian facilities.
Using the pretext of fighting terrorism, the UAE and its allies are committing gross violations of the rules of international humanitarian law, AOHR added.
It went on to express deep concern that the UAE is expanding its military activity in Africa, where it has built military bases in Eritrea and Somalia.
Photo: Zack Baddorf, A family uses tarps taken from a refugee camp to get shelter from the sun, with bricks for rebuilding their homes all around them in the PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.
The conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) is the world’s most neglected displacement crisis, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Unveiling its annual index, the aid agency said on Thursday that the world pays the least attention to humanitarian crises when they force Africans from their homes, dashing hopes of peace and raising the risk of escalated conflict.
In the NRC’s list of the world’s 10 most neglected displacement crises, CAR was followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Palestine, Ukraine, Myanmar and Somalia.
“The fact that most of these people do not turn up at our doorsteps gives us no right to close our eyes to their suffering, and does not remove our responsibility to assist,” Jan Egeland, the NRC’s secretary general, said in a statement.
The NRC analysed all countries worldwide in which more than 100,000 people are displaced.
The countries topping the list are characterised by insufficient economic support to meet the most basic humanitarian needs, limited media attention and lack of political will to solve the crises.
“The international community has not only forgotten these crises, but has never really shown sufficient willingness to contribute to a solution,” Egeland said.
“Economic support to alleviate humanitarian crises must be given based on needs, and not be subject to geopolitical interests.”
Chronic conflict involving militias in countries such as CAR and the DRC could drive more and more people into armed groups, said Richard Skretteberg, a senior NRC adviser.
In 2016, the United Nations only received 38 per cent of the money it needed to distribute humanitarian aid in CAR.
Almost half of the population faces food insecurity, eating only one meal per day, according to the NRC report, while only 35 per cent of people in CAR have access to clean water.
“When you combine limited state presence in much of these countries, mass displacement, and a lack of protection and aid for civilians, this creates a fertile breeding ground for radicalisation,” Skretteberg told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Rebuilding and working towards peace are difficult when so many people are displaced,” he added.
One in five Central Africans – about one million people – is displaced, and at least 100,000 were newly uprooted last month in some of the worst violence between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian militias since conflict began in 2013.
Spreading ethnic violence in the DRC has also forced more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes within the country this year – more than triple the number uprooted within Syria and five times the number within Iraq, according to the NRC.
The UN has received just one-fifth of the $812.5m sought in the humanitarian appeal for DRC this year, and 25 percent of the $400m requested for Central African Republic, the UN’s Financial Tracking Service shows.
Africa’s arid Sahel belt, which stretches from Senegal to Eritrea and lies south of the Sahara desert, topped the NRC’s index last year, followed by Yemen and Libya.
Nairobi – South Sudan’s government says 15 young children have died in a botched measles vaccination campaign that saw people as young as 12 years old administering the vaccines.
The health ministry on Friday blamed the deaths on human error. One syringe was used for all the children, and the vaccine was not stored properly.
The government says all of the children who died were under the age of 5. It is setting up a commission to determine who is responsible and whether victims’ families will be compensated.
The measles vaccination campaign is targeting more than 2 million children across the country.
The World Health Organisation provides some training to South Sudan’s health officials and the UN children’s agency provides the vaccines to the government.
I keep saying it: German Supreme Court Rules Measles Does Not Exist
Will you use the ‘period emoji’ during your menstrual cycle?
By Ismail Akwei
The taboo topic – menstruation – is rearing its head deeper into the social setting with the introduction of an emoji to demystify and normalize the natural cycle in women popular referred to as – period.
This regular discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina is experienced by at least 800 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 at any given time.
Periods have over 5,000 euphemisms worldwide including: Crimson Wave, Mother Nature, Lady Time, Aunt Flow, Time of the Month, On the Rag, Shark Week, Red Tide, Code Red, Monthly Friend, Having the Painters In and Bloody Mary, according to a 2016 survey.
Child development NGO Plan International launched some emojis – electronic message icons or smileys used to express emotions – to represent menstruation on mobile devices.
They aim to break the taboo associated with menstruation that affects girls and women especially in many societies where it is consider “dirty” thereby forcing many girls to remain quiet about reproduction and sexual health.
“Girls and women have told us about the embarrassment and shame they suffer when it’s their period. We need to make it easier to talk about something that is part of everyday life,” Plan International’s campaigns manager, Danny Vannucchi, told Reuters.
“We’re not saying that an emoji would solve all of these problems, but it will start a conversation, and raise awareness of the challenges women and girls face worldwide – and that can only be a good thing,” Vannucchi added.
They launched five emoji designs last week for the public to make a choice which will be distributed across mobile devices. In a matter of days, over 15,000 people have voted for their preferred “period emoji”, Plan International said.
The emoji designs include a sanitary towel, a diagram of a uterus, a pair of period pants, a calendar and blood droplets.
Plan International Australia
To challenge the stigma associated with menstruation that affects girls and women around the globe, we’re inviting you to vote on a design for a period emoji.
The winning design will be presented to Unicode Consortium (the body that manages all emojis), asking them to add it to keyboards worldwide.
To cast your vote, hover over the ‘Like’ option and click the reaction that corresponds with the emoji you want to win! Voting closes June 2nd, 2017.
The question remains, will you use these period emojis?
By Pepe Escobar
You are about to enter the ultimate minefield.
Let’s start with 28 EU leaders discussing the Western Balkans at a recent summit and blaming – what else – “Russian aggression” in the EU’s backyard.
Cue to a Montenegro prosecutor raging that “Russian state bodies” staged a coup attempt during the October 2016 elections to stop the country from joining NATO.
And cue to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker warning that Donald Trump’s anti-EU rhetoric could lead to war in the Balkans. Juncker, condescending as ever, maintains that,
“If we leave them to themselves — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, Albania, all of these countries — we will have a war again.”
The Balkans may be about to explode – all over again. Yet with a twist; unlike 1999, NATO won’t get away with bombing a defenseless Belgrade for 78 days. A new generation of Russian missiles would easily prevent it.
The 1999 tragedy in the Balkans was essentially stirred up by fake massacres in Kosovo set up by the BND – German intelligence — using local Albanians and BND agent provocateurs, who shot both sides to stir up a war and break up Yugoslavia.
All Eyes on Albania
What’s evolving at the current geopolitical juncture is even murkier.
The usual suspects do what they usually do; blame Russia, and damn any evidence.
So let a knowledgeable insider, Dr. Olsi Jazexhi (image above), director of the Free Media Institute in Tirana, Albania, be our guide.
In December 2016, the CIA’s John Brennan went to Albania and issued a fatwa for “war against Russia” – especially in Macedonia.
As Dr. Jazexhi explains,
“after Brennan left Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, a close friend of George Soros, gathered all Albanian political parties in Macedonia and ordered them to support Zoran Zaev against Nikola Gruevski. Gruevski is seen as filo-Russian and anti-NATO, while Zaev is a lapdog of Soros. As a result, Gruevski was boycotted by Albanians and Zaev had their support to form a government. The promise of Zaev to Albanians is that Macedonia will adapt Albanian as an official language and create a third (half) Albanian state in the Balkans. Macedonians are resisting, but Tirana and Edi Rama are orchestrating Albanian political parties against Gruevski. The end game is to make Macedonia a NATO member.”
Meanwhile, in Kosovo – essentially a nasty narco-Mafioso scam posing as a state and housing Camp Bondsteel, the largest overseas US military base on the planet — Hashim Thaci, the president and former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) goon, is “building an army for Kosovo. The final aim is to integrate Kosovo into NATO even though Serbia rejects this for its former autonomous province.”
Jazexhi also details how,
“in Albania, we have two major terrorist organizations being protected by the Americans and the Europeans.”
The first is what Ankara describes as the Fetullah Gulen Terror organization (FETO), allegedly instrumentalized by German intelligence;
“Turkey is protesting why Albania hosts the FETO group but the Americans host them against Erdogan.”
The second is Mojahedin-e Khalq (MKO), which fights against Tehran;
“Albania is being turned into the center of MKO. John Bolton was recently in Tirana, with other international supporters of MKO, and they are attacking Iran and calling for regime change.”
The MKO’s wacky Marjam Rajavi has also visited Tirana, developing plans to “topple the Ayatollahs” in Iran.
The key issue, as Jazexhi emphasizes, is that
“after turning the Balkans into a recruiting center for ISIS/Daesh during the Syria war, now the Americans are turning Albania into a jihad 2.0 state.”
So what is developing is “the same historical mistake as made by the Albanians of Kosovo, who have 100% linked their future with Camp Bondsteel and would will be instantly re-invaded by Serbia in case NATO or the US leave (which they will, sooner or later, inevitably).
Meanwhile, the European Union and the Americans, who want to de-radicalize the Wahhabi Muslims of Europe, keep mum about the Iranian jihadis.”
The “Invisible” Enemy
So the key piece of the puzzle is the configuration of Albania as the center of Jihad 2.0 — against the Slavs in Macedonia, against Tehran, and also against Ankara. No wonder the chief adviser of the Albanian government, until a few months ago, was a certain Tony Blair.
But then there is the “invisible” enemy that really matters.
In late March, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic went to Beijing in his last official visit before the April 2 elections. Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that economic cooperation with Serbia – and the Balkans at large – is a priority for China.
No question. In 2014, Beijing created a fund that will invest 10 billion euros in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year, China Everbright bought Tirana’s airport in Albania. China Exim Bank is financing highway construction in both Macedonia and Montenegro.
In Serbia, China Road and Bridge Corporation built the 170 million euro Pupin bridge over the Danube in Belgrade – a.k.a. the “Sino-Serbian Friendship Bridge”, inaugurated in 2014 and 85% financed by a China Exim Bank loan.
And the cherry in the (infrastructure development) cake is the 350 km, $2.89 billion high-speed rail line between Athens and Budapest, via Macedonia and Belgrade.
The EU has set off alarm bells on the flagship $1.8 billion Budapest-Belgrade stretch, investigating whether the Hungarian section violated strict EU laws according to which public tenders are a must for large transportation projects.
Inbuilt is the proverbial Western haughtiness, ruling that the Chinese could not possibly be capable of building high-speed rail infrastructure as well if not better – and for a lower cost – than in Europe.
Budapest-Belgrade happens to be the crucial stretch of the Land Sea Express Route that Beijing pledged to build, way back in 2014, with Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia. That’s the crux of the Southeastern Europe node of the New Silk Roads, now Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); a trade corridor between the container port of Pireus, in the Mediterranean – co-owned by China Ocean Shipping Company since 2010 – all the way to Central Europe.
NATO’s official spin is that it must be planted in the Balkans to fight the “threat of terrorism.” According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (image above, source: NATO),
“I recently visited Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, and I’m encouraged to see how focused they are on countering the threat of foreign fighters.”