Saturday, March 21, 2015

ما وراء الخبر- هل تصبح تعز بوابة الحوثيين للجنوب؟

DNA 20/03/2015: محور المقاومة..ومعركة تحرير تكريت

Report says nearly 650,000 besieged in Syria

Nearly three times as many Syrians are living in besieged communities as the UN’s official figures, according to report by the Syrian American Medical Society


Nearly 650,000 Syrians are living in besieged communities in the country’s civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, according to a new report that gives a graphic account of hundreds of deaths in areas the world has struggled for years to reach.
The report says Syria’s government is responsible for the siege tactics that have led to deaths by starvation, dehydration and the lack of medical care. The document does not look at what it calls the short-term siege tactics used by Islamic State, which has beheaded and massacred its opponents in the area straddling the Syria-Iraq border currently under its control.
The “Slow Death” report, obtained in advance by Associated Press, is by the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports medical workers in besieged areas. The organisation presented its findings on Thursday to UN officials and to a closed-door meeting sponsored by the United States, Britain, France and other states and organised by Qatar.
The UN estimates that 212,000 Syrians live in besieged areas beyond the reach of humanitarian aid. But the new report, to be released next week, says the UN is too narrowly defining “besieged” and is inadvertently underplaying the crisis. It says more than 640,200 people are besieged. It also echoes claims by an increasing number of aid groups that the international response to the overall conflict, particularly by the deeply divided UN Security Council, has failed.
We’re not talking about quote-unquote terrorists, we’re talking about families who have nothing to do with armed groups,” the president of the Syrian American Medical Society, Dr Zaher Sahloul, told AP. The group describes itself as being a neutral medical organisation.
More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, which began with protests against President Bashar Assad. The government has been repeatedly accused of using siege tactics against its own citizens. The new report says those tactics have had a devastating impact on dozens of communities trapped in the Syrian conflict, which this month enters its fifth year. It identifies 38 communities that it says should be considered besieged beyond the 11 areas that the United Nations recognises.
Syria’s government has denied using siege tactics. “If weapons and instruments of death are reaching those areas … how can they be said to be besieged?” Syria’s UN ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, wrote to the UN secretary-general in late February, asserting that the weapons went to “armed terrorist groups”.The report’s website,, lists 560 people who have died in besieged areas, and has posted photos of 345 of them. To emphasize the civilian impact of the deaths, the organisation says it did its best to keep out people with links to armed groups. The report says all the 560 deaths in that dataset “were in areas besieged by the Syrian government”.
Sahloul and others on Thursday presented diplomats, including US Ambassador Michele Sison, with some of the images of the dead that accompany the report. The website’s photos of victims include emaciated children. “A lot of people cried, it was kind of intense,” said Valerie Szybala, the author of the report, who attended the meeting. She said that Russia and China, who have vetoed resolutions attempting to take action on the Syrian crisis, did not attend.
Szybala said the medical organisation knows well the politics that have brought the council to a near-standstill on Syria. “But we’re trying to find creative ways to address this, because it’s not acceptable to just sit around. People are dying,” she said.
The report argues that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) should immediately reconsider the way it designates besieged areas and not be too quick to remove a community from its existing list, especially when the only access to a community is controlled by the “besieging party”. It also calls on the UN to arrange for international monitors to make sure all parties uphold the terms of local ceasefires, which at times are a trigger to remove a community from the list of besieged.
UN OCHA officials in their meeting on Thursday said they had no issues with the new report’s methodology or numbers and that they have had to rely on third-party estimates because they don’t have people on the ground in besieged areas, Sahloul and Szybala said. OCHA officials had no immediate comment on the new report.
Other international aid organisations have said that it is extremely difficult to get information from Syria’s besieged areas, just as it’s hard to get aid in. “My fear is to go for a battle of figures when the most important point is that there are a lot of people starving,” said Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator Pierre Boulet Desbareau. “Two hundred thousand or 600,000, the issue is the same.”


By Eric Margolis


March 21 2015
The US media is full of stories about how the Obama administration  is going to punish Israel for re-electing Bibi Netanyahu in an election marked by demagoguery and arrant racism.   
The New York Times EVEN warns President Barack Obama may back a series of  UN resolutions demanding that Israel withdraw to its narrow 1967 borders and there create a viable Palestinian state. 
Hardly.  “King Bibi’s” re-election makes Israel virtually unassailable and master of all its surveys.
Who is going to force Israel to follow this sensible, two-state solution to the misery of the Palestinian people?  Obama could not even stop Netanyahu from coming to Washington and humiliating him before Congress.    Is Obama going to force Israel and its 650,000 armed settlers out of the West Bank? 
Not so long as Israel and its American advocates control both the Congress, the Republican and Democratic parties – and Hillary Clinton. The late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon reportedly said to an aide concerned about a negative US response,  “don’t worry about the US, I control the US.”
Israel’s partisans hold important influence over France’s  government and ruling Socialist Party.  France secretly supplied Israel with nuclear weapons capability in the 1950’s.  
Both Britain’s parties are similarly beholden to pro-Israel donors.  Germany remains very timid in foreign policy and does pretty much what Israel demands, even supplying Israel with submarines to carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
Russia’s Vlad Putin is quite pro-Israel and never forgets there are one million former Russians now living in Israel.   China has wisely stayed out of the Arab-Israeli dispute.  So short of the US, no power can force Israel out of its annexed lands.
Most Israelis will be happy with the electoral outcome.  Poll show some 75% of Israelis oppose creation of a Palestinian state and don’t want to live near Arabs, whom many calls “Wild animals.” Their mood is somewhere to the right of white South Africans during the apartheid era.  Israel’s center-left, led by Ashkenazi European Jews has been shattered.   Mideastern Jews and Russian emigrants now call the shots.
Israelis moan and groan a lot about their economic woes but in fact their per capita income, boosted by over $3 billion in annual US aid, is higher than Italy’s and close to that of Western Europe.   Israel’s military and high tech industries are by now world leaders. 
Israel’s mighty military could conquer the central Mideast, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia,  in a week.  With over 200 nuclear weapons – why so many one wonders – Israel is unassailable.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco,  Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are tacit allies.  Israel controls the flow of the US aid that keeps Egypt from starving thanks to its hammerlock on Congress.
So who will push Israel back to its 1967 borders? Not al-Qaida which has only a few hundred active members. Not the Islamic State gang of thugs which excels at online PR and fighting inept Arab forces.  Not an EU boycott: Israel values the conquered West Bank – and don’t forget strategic Golan – more than shipping tomatoes to Europe. Not Iran, which is militarily decrepit and unable to project power – and which has no nuclear weapons or the means to deliver them.
The Arab world had only three significant military powers: Egypt, Syria and Iraq.  Egypt has been bought off and has become the first real Arab neo-fascist state.   Syria and Iraq lie in ruins thanks to US intervention.
The dream of the 1920’s Zionist theoretician Vladimir Jabotinsky – the guiding light of the Netanyahu family –  is coming true:  a few heavy blows to the brittle mosaic of the  Arab world will bring down its regimes and open the way to Greater Israel.   
No wonder Israel’s founding father, David Ben Gurion, refused to define his new nation’s eastern borders.  War hero Moshe Dayan asserted it was not his generation’s right to define these borders – but up to future generations.  
The recent discovery of huge underwater gas and oil fields  between Israel/Palestine and Cyprus are a bonanza for Israel, which will shortly become a net energy exporter.  Secret deals between Israel and the Kurds are bringing more oil to the Mediterranean coast through Turkey.
As for the Palestinians, they don’t seem to have much hope.  Chances for even a rickety, feeble Bantustan state on the West Bank are gone.  Netanyahu declared no Palestinian state at the end of the elections race.  He will, of course, continue flirting with the US and EU over this worn-out question,  making small tactical concessions to allow his western allies to continue going along with the charade that “peace talks” are still alive. They are not and have not been for a decade.  It just suits the western powers to continue this deceitful game while Israel relentlessly annexes the Occupied Territories.
Palestinians will do well to be rid of their aged, useless puppet leader, Mahmoud Abbas.  Hamas, locked up in Gaza  by Israel and Egypt, will be the real Palestinian voice.   Many of them will think of emigrating from Palestine, which is just what Israel wants as it continues to bulldoze and cement over the West Bank.  Occupied Golan, from which 230,000 Syrians were ethnically cleansed after 1967, will be forgotten, becoming part of Greater Israel.  
Israelis have shown they don’t want to be part of the neighboring Arab world, any more than many white South Africans wanted to join black Africa.   They want to stand alone behind their high walls, their restive Arab populations locked away in tribal reservations.  Israel has the land, the water and now the energy, and intends to keep them all.
And why not. Israel and King Bibi now hold all the high cards.

The messages from Israel’s election

By Ilan Pappe


Jewish Israeli voters have steadily turned away from liberal Zionism, preferring the “real thing.” (Matan Portnoy/Flickr)
Those of us who know the nature of the beast could not have been surprised by the results of the Israeli election.
Like many of my friends, I was also relieved that a liberal Zionist government was not elected. It would have allowed the charade of the “peace process” and the illusion of the two-state solution to linger on while the suffering of the Palestinians continues.
As always, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself provided the inevitable conclusion when he declared the end of the two-state solution — inviting us all to the long overdue funeral of an ill-conceived idea that provided Israel with international immunity for its colonialist project in Palestine.
The power of the charade was on show when the world and local pundits unrealistically predicted a victory for liberal Zionism, an Israeli ideological trend that is near extinction — embodied by the Zionist Union list headed by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.
The exit polls compiled by Israel’s finest statisticians reinforced the wishful thinking, leading to a huge media fiasco as expectations of the “liberal” camp’s victory turned into shock and dismay over Netanyahu’s triumph.


It is worthwhile to begin an initial analysis of the Israeli elections with closer attention to this debacle.
An important segment of those who vote for Netanyahu’s Likud Party belong to the second generation of Jews who came from Arab and Muslim countries.
They were joined this time by settler communities in the occupied West Bank who voted as a bloc for Netanyahu. The Arab Jews voted for Likud much more then they voted for Netanyahu. The settlers did so at the expense of their new political base — Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party that promises outright annexation of the West Bank — so as to ensure that Likud would be the largest party in the next parliament.
Neither group was entirely happy with their choice and were not so proud to wear on their sleeves their decision to vote yet again for Netanyahu. That is perhaps why many of them did not admit to the exit polls who they really voted for.
The result was quite catastrophic for all the renowned pollsters. They missed the headline that should have been announced when the exit polls were done — a smashing victory for the Likud in 2015 and a disappointing result for the liberal Zionist camp. The more exciting news was the success of the Palestinian citizens of Israel who united to form the Joint List and won the third largest bloc of seats after the Likud and the Zionist Union.

Likud’s victory

The three outcomes — an invigorated Likud, a defeated Labor Party (the Zionist Union is a partnership of Labor and Livni’s “Initiative” list) and a united Palestinian representation — can either be ignored by the international community or serve as a catalyst for new thinking on the evergreen question of Palestine.
The victory of Likud, despite the social unrest in Israel over growing economic hardships, and the unprecedented low standing of the Jewish state in the international community, indicate clearly that there will be no change from within Israel in the near future.
Labor, meanwhile, has maximized its potential: it is not likely to do better and hence it does not offer an alternative. The main reason for this is that it is not an alternative. Israel in 2015 is still a settler-colonialist state and a liberal version of this ideology cannot offer a genuine reconciliation to the indigenous people of Palestine.
Ever since Likud took power for the first time after its historic 1977 victory, Jewish voters have preferred the real thing, so to speak, steadily turning away from the paler, liberal version of Zionism.
Labor was in power long enough for us to know that it could not offer even the most moderate Palestinian leaders any deal that would have granted them genuine sovereignty — not even in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which form only a fifth of historic Palestine.
The reason is very simple: the raison d’etre of a settler-colonialist society is displacement of the natives and their replacement by settlers. At best natives can be confined in gated enclaves, at worst they are doomed to be expelled or destroyed.


The conclusion for the international community should be clear now. Only decolonization of the settler state can lead to reconciliation. And the only way to kick off this decolonization is by employing the same means exercised against the other long-standing settler state of the twentieth century: apartheid South Africa.
The option of BDS — boycott, divestment and sanctions — has never looked more valid than it does today. Hopefully this, together with popular resistance on the ground, will entice at least some of the second and third generation of the Jewish settler-colonial society to help stop the Zionist colonization project.
Pressure from outside and from the resistance movement within are the only way to force Israelis to reframe their relationship with all the Palestinians, including the refugees, on the basis of democratic and egalitarian values. Otherwise, we can expect Likud to win forty seats in the next elections, perhaps on the back of the next outraged Palestinian uprising.
There are two reasons why this approach is still feasible. One is the Joint List. It will have no impact whatsoever on the Israeli political system. In fact, like the Palestinian Authority, the days of Palestinian representation in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are numbered. If a united list can have no impact, and if a disempowered PA does not satisfy even liberal Zionists, then the time has come to look for new forms of representation and action.
The Joint List’s importance lies elsewhere. It can ignite the imagination of other Palestinian communities about the possibilities of unity of purpose. That Islamists and secular leftists can work together for a better future is an example that can have far-reaching implications not only for Palestinians and Israelis, but for an increasingly polarized Europe. The Joint List represents a group of native Palestinians who know the Israelis well, are deeply committed to democratic values and have risen in importance among the rest of the Palestinians after years of being marginalized and almost forgotten.
The second reason for hoping that new alternatives will emerge is that despite all its nastiness and callousness, the Zionist settler-colonial project was not the worst in history.
With all the horrendous suffering it has caused, most recently during the summer massacre in Gaza, it did not exterminate the local population and its dispossession project remains incomplete. This does not mean that it will not get worse or that one should underestimate the suffering of the Palestinians.


What it means is that the main impulse among Palestinians is not for retribution but for restitution. Their wish is to live normal lives — something Zionism denied all the Palestinians ever since the ideology’s arrival in Palestine in the late nineteenth century.
Normal life means an end to the discriminatory apartheid policies against the Palestinians in Israel, the end of the military occupation and siege of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and recognition of the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.
The quid pro quo is accepting the Jewish ethnic group that emerged in Palestine as part of a new, decolonized and fully democratic political dispensation based on principles that would be agreed on by all concerned.
The international community can play a positive role in bringing this vision about if it adopts three basic assumptions. The first is that Zionism is still colonialism and hence anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism but anti-colonialism.
The second is that if it leaves behind the exceptionalism it granted Israel over the years, mainly in the realm of human rights, it has a better chance of playing a constructive role towards safeguarding these rights in the Middle East as a whole.
And finally, we should all be aware that the window of opportunity for saving innocent lives in historic Palestine is rapidly closing — if Israel’s power remains unchecked a repeat of the massacres of recent years is all but certain. It is urgent to forsake old formulas for “peace” that did not work and start looking for just and viable alternatives.
The author of numerous books, Ilan Pappe is professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fighting extremism with extremism

Saudi Arabia's ideological tangle

By Brian Whitaker

Saudi cleric Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari explains why the Earth doesn't rotate.

Sweden's cancellation of its military cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia on human rights grounds has triggered a Saudi propaganda offensive which seems to rely more on its loudness than the strength of its arguments.
In the kingdom's response, three arguments in particular stand out:
1. Sweden abuses human rights; Saudi Arabia respects them because its system is based on sharia.
2. Criticism of Saudi Arabia is a symptom of growing Islamophobia in the west.
3. In any case, what happens in Saudi Arabia is no one else's business.
Without going into detail about what is wrong with these arguments it should be obvious that even in Saudi terms they are bad propaganda. They are unlikely to change anyone's opinion and – worse – they show that in order to defend itself the kingdom is scraping the barrel.
The idea that uttering the magic word "sharia" provides an unanswerable defence to accusations of human rights abuse is especially dangerous because al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, etc, make exactly the same claim. And it's not just in the Saudi media; at an official level the foreign ministry has used it too:
"The Kingdom does not accept at all any attack on her in the name of human rights, especially when its constitution is based on Islamic law, which guarantees the rights of [the] human and preserved his blood, money, honour and dignity."
This points to the ideological problem at the heart of the Saudi system which is slowly but inexorably building into an existential crisis: how can the kingdom differentiate itself from groups like ISIS, and combat them, when its policies are so similar?
The government seems to be aware of this contradiction but has no idea how to deal with it. In fact, there is no way of dealing with it short of a radical overhaul that could easily bring down the monarchy.
A conference on combating "extremism" held in Saudi Arabia last month attended by hundreds of Islamic scholars and researchers illustrates the ideological tangle – as does the discriminatory way the conference was organised. 
It was held under the auspices of the Muslim World League (established in the 1960s by the Saudi monarchy to combat leftism) and, as the New York Times noted, it took place in Mecca, where non-Muslims are excluded, and no women were present or, for that matter, any members of the Shia community who make up 15% of the Saudi population.
Although there was some talk of tackling poverty and reforming education, the main message from the conference was a call for more religion, according to the New York Times report: 
"Apply Islamic Shariah in all life's affairs," they recommended, referring to Islamic law, which they said had the capacity to "accomplish justice, maintain dignity, uphold rights and meet the aspirations of the people".
The NYT report continues:
"The conference itself highlighted the contradiction at the heart of the Saudi effort: Amid worthwhile talk of outreach to youth and fighting corruption, there was almost no mention of the Saudi monarchy’s decades-long role in aggressively spreading its strictly conservative religious ideology — a creed that itself has provided inspiration for leaders of the Islamic State ...
"Arab leaders have vigorously condemned the Islamic State and some, like Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, have reacted by vowing to restore moderation to religious discourse and thought. But the denunciations by the region’s autocrats and monarchs have rarely been accompanied by deeper self-criticism about the role played by state policies in fuelling radicalism, according to analysts.
"Saudi Arabia provided just one of the region’s discredited yet resilient models, 'a weird mix of authoritarian repression and religious legitimation that reinforces groups like the Islamic State,' said Omar Ashour, a senior lecturer in security studies at the University of Exeter and a fellow at Chatham House."
Posted by Brian Whitaker
Friday, 20 March 2015  

Jerusalem at boiling point of polarisation and violence – EU report

Exclusive: Leaked report says city more divided than at any time since 1967 and calls for consideration of tougher sanctions over settlement building 


in Jerusalem

A hard-hitting EU report on Jerusalem warns that the city has reached a dangerous boiling point of “polarisation and violence” not seen since the end of the second intifada in 2005.
Calling for tougher European sanctions against Israel over its continued settlement construction in the city – which it blames for exacerbating recent conflict – the leaked document paints a devastating picture of a city more divided than at any time since 1967, when Israeli forces occupied the east of the city.
The report has emerged amid strong indications that the Obama administration is also rethinking its approach to Israel and the Middle East peace process following the re-election of Binyamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister.
According to reports in several US papers, this may include allowing the passage of a UN security council resolution restating the principle of a two-state solution.
The leaked report describes the emergence of a “vicious cycle of violence … increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution”, which it says has been stoked by the continuation of “systematic” settlement building by Israel in “sensitive areas” of Jerusalem.
Palestinian youth throw stones at Israeli forces during a clash at the entrance to Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem in 2014. 2014, a year characterised by an EU report as the violent and polarised in the city in recent memory.
 Young Palestinians throw stones at Israeli security forces at Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem in 2014, a year characterised by an EU report as the most ‘violent and polarised’ in the city in recent memory. Photograph: Peter Beaumont for the Guardian
In addition, the report blames tension over the status of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount complex as well as heavy-handed policing and punitive measures – including evictions and home demolitions by Israeli forces – for the escalating confrontation.
The document is prepared jointly every year by the heads of mission of the European countries represented in Jerusalem. The group advises EU foreign policymakers on the situation in the city while making recommendations for action.
During the election campaign, Netanyahu vowed to continue settlement-building in occupied East Jerusalem in defiance of the international community, including the EU and Washington, which strongly oppose Jewish settlement construction in Jerusalem.The disclosure of the 2014 report – which suggests a series of potential punitive measures targeting extremist settlers and settlement products – comes days after Israeli elections which saw Netanyahu emerge as the decisive victor.
Netanyahu has also been criticised in parts of the international community for appearing to suggest his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state on the eve of the vote – comments he appeared to row back from after winning the election.
For its part, Israel rejects the charge of illegal settlement-building in Jerusalem, claiming the city as its “undivided capital”.
Among the recommendations in the report are:
  • Potential new restrictions against “known violent settlers and those calling for acts of violence as regards immigration regulations in EU member states”.
  • Further coordinated steps to ensure consumers in the EU are able to exercise their right to informed choice in respect of settlement products in line with existing EU rules.
  • New efforts to raise awareness among European businesses about the risks of working with settlements, and the advancement of voluntary guidelines for tourism operators to prevent support for settlement business.
Some of the recommendations in the EU report
 Some of the recommendations in the EU report
According to well-informed European sources, the report – now being discussed in Brussels – reflects a strong desire from European governments for additional measures against Israel over its continued settlement-building, and comes at a time when Europe is confronting “the new reality” of a new and potentially more rightwing Netanyahu government.
The report also follows a period of growing frustration within the EU over the moribund state of the peace process, which collapsed last year, and pressure to adopt a harder line over issues such as settlement-building.
Since Netanyahu’s victory on Tuesday, speculation has been mounting that both the US and the EU are looking for alternative and tougher strategies to push forward the stalled peace process.
The document paints a picture of a grim year of violence in Jerusalem that claimed the lives of 19 people, a total that includes a number of Palestinians involved in deadly attacks, the highest number of deaths in recent years.
Among the most high-profile incidents last year were the kidnap and murder of a young Palestinian from an East Jerusalem neighbourhood by Jewish extremists, a number of fatal attacks by Palestinians targeting Jews with cars, and a bloody attack on Jewish worshippers praying in a synagogue.
Israeli police at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque in 2014. Tension over access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound is highlighted in the report.
 Israeli police at the al-Aqsa mosque in 2014. Tension over access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound is highlighted in the report. Photograph: Peter Beaumont for the Guardian
Describing Jerusalem as “one of the most emotive and problematic issues” in the Middle East peace process, the report says: “The tensions, mistrust and violence which have accompanied developments in the city in the course of the year have reached extremely high levels.
“These developments are increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution and, in turn, risk precipitating further levels of polarisation and violence.” In a bleak warning, the report continues: “2014 has been distinguished by a number of specific, disturbing and often violent developments” – noting a cycle of stone-throwing, terror attacks and heavy-handed tactics by Israeli police, which, if the root causes were not addressed, were likely to lead to “further escalation and extreme polarisation”.
“These incidents have occurred against the background of the systematic increase in settlement activity, tensions over the Haram al-Sharif and rising levels of tensions and acts of violence on both sides.” Placing part of the blame on Israel’s “unabated” policy of continued settlement construction, it adds: “The expansion of settlements has continued, including in highly sensitive areas … and [has] been followed in force by waves of demolitions and evictions.”
A second key factor identified by the report for the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem is the continuing tensions over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount complex, which it blames on “serious radicalisation” on both sides.
The report notes: “Almost on a daily basis settlers and national religious activists have ascended on to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount under the protection of Israeli forces.”
Although the report concedes that Israel has reduced the size of these groups by two-thirds at the end of last year, and eased restrictions in place during parts of last year on Muslim worshippers, it warned that the perception still exists among Palestinians of a desire on Israel’s part to change the longstanding and sensitive status quo.
A third factor the report identifies as fuelling polarisation is the heavy-handed policing of Palestinian areas of east Jerusalem, where additional Israeli forces sent to quell disturbances “have been engaged in recurrent violent confrontations with Palestinian youth that led to more than 1,300 arrests (with 40% of the detainees being minors)”.
The disclosure of the EU report follows hard on the heels of a letter sent by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top representative on foreign policy, calling on the European Union to take a tougher stance against Israel.
In the letter, Erekat demanded: “We believe it is time to focus all our efforts in saving the two-state solution from its total disappearance through holding Israel accountable of its violations of international law.”