‘Extrajudicial execution’: UN slams 1.5yr sentence for manslaughter of wounded Palestinian

The 18-month sentence handed down by a military court to an Israeli soldier who shot a wounded Palestinian man dead last year was “unacceptable” and “excessively lenient,” the UN human rights office has said.

“We are deeply disturbed at the lenient sentence given by the Tel Aviv Military Court earlier this week to an Israeli soldier convicted of unlawfully killing a wounded Palestinian,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said. 

IDF Sergeant Elor Azaria’s act was “an apparent extrajudicial execution of an unarmed man, who clearly posed no imminent threat,” Shamdasani added, as cited by Reuters.

In March of 2016, the soldier shot Abdel Fattah al-Sharif Elor, a Palestinian knife attacker, in the head after he had already been incapacitated.

Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 1.5 years behind bars on Tuesday, despite the prosecutors asking the judge for a three- to five-year punishment.

READ MORE: 'Constant fear': Activist who filmed Israeli soldier shooting Palestinian tells RT of death threats

The verdict caused outrage in Palestine, with government spokesman Tarek Rishmawi telling AFP that the “light ruling… is a green light to the occupation army to continue its crimes.”

According to the UN human rights spokeswoman, there’s a “chronic culture of impunity” for military crimes against Palestinians in Israel.

“This case risks undermining confidence in the justice system and reinforcing the culture of impunity,” Shamdasani said, adding that, under Israeli law, manslaughter can carry a maximum punishment of 20 years.

She also pointed out that, so far, Azaria is the only member of Israel’s security forces to have been brought to trial for this type of killing, while over 200 Palestinians were gunned down by Israeli troops since the new spike in violence began in the West Bank in September of 2015.

READ MORE: "You protect us, we protect you': Israel mulls legal immunity extension for IDF soldiers

The 18-month verdict “also stands in contrast to the sentences handed down by other Israeli courts for other less serious offenses, notably the sentencing of Palestinian children to more than three years’ imprisonment for throwing stones at cars,” the spokeswoman stressed.

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Iran Encourages Palestinians Resistance against Israel

Tehran, Feb 22 (Prensa Latina) Presidents and members of parliaments from Arab and Islamic countries showed a strong solidarity with the Palestinian people that resists the occupation of Israel, after two days of debates in a conference that concludes today.


Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat (the lower house of the Parliament of Malaysia) Amin Mulia, said that Muslim states should set aside sectarian differences and 'return to Islam,' and that intolerance must leave Islamic society to create stability in this community.

Malaysia has tried several times to pass a resolution against Israel on the UN Security Council, 'but China, the United States, Russia and France vetoed our draft resolutions,' he said at the 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada (Uprising).

The chairman of the Oman Consultative Assembly, Khalid bin Hilal bin Nasser Al-Mawali, affirmed that to continue the Palestinian ideology all Muslims need to remain united.

The sufferings of the Palestinians are increasing because their holy places are being disrespected by extremist Jewish settlers, he said, adding that the political and media manipulation that calls terrorists those who defend their territories from Zionist encroachment is wrong.

Al-Mawali added that states should think about current developments in the Islamic world while Israelis continue to build homes in occupied land settlements.

Syrian parliament speaker Hadiya Khalaf Abbas stressed the importance of organizing a meeting of this nature and Iran's support for the Palestinians and the fight against terrorism in their country and the region.

He commented that political and military successes of Bashar Al-Assad's government are, to a large extent, due to the contribution of the Persian republic and the Resistance of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

In that sense, Deputy Secretary-General of that Shiite group, Sheikh Naim Qassem, denounced that the new president of the United States, Donald Trump, 'is doing everything possible to unravel the Muslims' and Israel seeks to take advantage of that reality.

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Mahmoud Abbas Rejects Israeli Colonization in Palestinian Territories

Paris, Feb 8 (Prensa Latina) Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has reaffirmed in France today the rejection of Israel's colonization process, which he considered a threat for the bilateral understanding.

In a statement at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, the president stated that 'we are committed to peace and security, but there are some limits.'

He referred to the acceleration of the colonization process of the Palestinian territories in recent weeks, including legal provisions adopted in the Parliament to endorse those actions contrary to international law, as Abas has repeatedly recalled.

The president is visiting Paris and held a meeting yesterday with President, François Hollande, after which they issued statements to the press.

Both sides considered that the new law aimed at endorsing thousands of settlements built in the West Bank is a threat to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since it directly infringes the two-state solution.

Abbas called for Israel to stop the colonization process and end the occupation of the Palestinian territories, which is essential to move towards the solution of the two states.

The visitor was received today by Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and both talked on the international conference held on January 15th in Paris to promote peace between Israel and Palestine, with the participation of 75 countries and organizations.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they also analyzed the bilateral Franco-Palestinian relations in areas such as culture, economy and education.

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Paris Condemns Israeli Decision to Legalize Housing in West Bank

Paris, Feb 7 (Prensa Latina) French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault condemned today the adoption of a law in the Israeli Parliament aimed at endorsing thousands of houses built on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

In a statement, the minister questioned that the legislation contributes to perpetuating 'the existence of dozens of colonies and settlements by giving them a legal basis for their future development.'

That fact, he added, could aggravate tensions in the region, so 'I call on Israel to respect its international obligations and to reconsider this law.'

Ayrault recalled the resolution adopted at the United Nations on December 23, 2016 declaring colonization an illegal act under international law.

He also pointed out that the law passed by Israel undermines the two-state solution, endorsed by much of the international community as the only way to resolve the conflict peacefully.

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Iran Confirms Recent Missile Test, but Says It Was Lawful

TEHRAN — Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it recently conducted a missile test, but it rejected accusations from the United States that the launch had violated a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The confirmation by the defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, was the first by an Iranian official since the country was accused of violating the 2015 resolution because the test involved a ballistic missile that could theoretically carry a nuclear warhead.

The remarks came a day after President Hassan Rouhani disparaged President Trump for his immigration order barring refugees, as well as citizens of seven predominantly-Muslim countries including Iran.

“Banning visas for other nations is the act of newcomers to the political scene,” Mr. Rouhani said.

Mr. Dehghan emphasized that the missile test did not, in Iran’s view, violate the terms of the resolution, nor those of the 2015 nuclear agreement that preceded it.

No country will be allowed to interfere in Iranian domestic affairs, he said, adding that tests would definitely continue.

“Our nation has tested itself in this path,” Mr. Dehghan said, adding that the world had “tested us” and that “these statements and measures cannot affect the will of our nation.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly described the 2015 nuclear agreement, reached with the United States and other countries, as “a very bad deal,” and many of his advisers have argued in speeches and books that Iran is the biggest threat to American interests.

“You’re going to see us call them out as we said we would, and you are also going to see us act accordingly,” Nikki R. Haley, the new United States ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday.

The United States called an urgent meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

Iran does not have a modern fleet of fighter jets, but it has tried to compensate in recent decades by building an extensive defense program, with missiles able to strike Israel and Southern and Eastern Europe.

It has denied that its missiles can carry nuclear warheads, a view that has been supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors parts of the execution of the nuclear agreement.

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‘Systematic unlawful killings’: European group slams Israel for Gaza deaths

Israel has come under fire for carrying out “systematic unlawful killings” of Palestinian civilians in a buffer zone near Gaza, and causing over 17,000 to flee the area due to the dire plight, in the resolution adopted by a European inter-governmental group.

The Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACE) voted in favor of the proposal based on the group’s internal report providing harrowing details on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The report was initially presented to the 324 parliamentarians from 47 countries by the document’s author, Swedish politician Eva-Lena Jansson, on January 4.

The document cites the death toll since 2014, saying “Over 2,200 people have died, of whom most were civilians, including 551 children,” adding that more than 11,000 people have been injured in the conflict.

The report accuses Israel of “excessive and intentional force without justification against Palestinian civilians in the buffer zone, including against farmers, journalists, medical crews and peaceful protesters, [which] runs blatantly counter to human rights principles and the international law-enforcement standards.”

Since the summer of 2014, the document says, a “huge number of people [have been] killed”, with the destruction of civil infrastructure “enormous”, and the locals’ plight became so dire that they chose to escape from Gaza and “join the masses of refugees going to Europe.”

“It is estimated that over 12,620 houses were totally destroyed [in Gaza] and 6,455 severely damaged. 17,650 families or about 100,000 persons were displaced,” the report said.

The resolution is non-binding and non-enforceable, with 46 having voted in favor and 12 against, with two abstentions.

Israeli representatives branded the resolution a “distorted and a selective representation of reality”, and said that the document was founded “on rumors, not on facts”, as cited by the Times of Israel.

“We withdrew our citizens and even our dead from Gaza in 2005, in exchange we got rocket attacks,” the representative Aliza Lavie said, adding that Israel gives a third of Gaza’s power “at a cost of a billion dollars,” and claiming that more than 130,000 Palestinians got free medical care in Israel last year.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said he doesn’t rule out occupying Gaza in the next conflict.

“If a quarter of the Strip is needed, then we occupy a quarter of the Strip. If more, then more,” he said, as cited by Haaretz.

He also suggested that outside powers shouldn’t “touch the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” saying these attempts are “mostly disruptive.”

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Israel approves 2,500 new West Bank housing units

Israel will build 2,500 additional homes in the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank territories, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced. Most of them will expand the existing settlement areas.

The plans have been authorized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and are intended to allow the settlements “to maintain regular daily life,” the ministry said in a statement.

“It will be one of the largest industrial zones in the West Bank, in which we are planning to set up warehouse and fuel storage infrastructure, along with other elements,” the statement reads.

The news comes days after Israel announced a similar expansion of housing units in East Jerusalem.

READ MORE Israel approves 560 new illegal homes in E. Jerusalem as Trump takes office

The Israeli settlement policy goes against international law and has been the subject of much criticism from other nations, including the US under the Obama administration. Observers believe that the announcements, made in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration last Friday, are intended to signal Israel’s expectation of support from the new US president.

The ministry said that 100 of the homes would be built in the town of Beit El, Reuters reported. This settlement has received funding from the family of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to Israeli media.

On Monday, Netanyahu reportedly told members of his security cabinet that he had decided to lift all restrictions on Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, which were put in place under diplomatic pressure, Haaretz newspaper wrote, citing senior officials briefed on the situation. The PM also announced his plans for moving forward with settlement expansion in the West Bank, according to the paper.

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Syria Denounces Israeli Air Raid on Damascus Military Airport

Damascus, Jan 13 (Prensa Latina) Israeli war planes reportedly attacked last night a military airport in the outskirt of Damascus, the Syrian capital.

A report by the local Sama TV channel shows an intense fire in the area following several explosions caused by rockets, while ambulances and rescue vehicles were arriving at the site.

There've been reports on human loss, and the General Command of the Syrian Forces warned the Zionist regime of likely consequences for its actions.

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