Annual US report on human rights says nearly half of Palestinians killed by Israel were not carrying out attacks, and many times did not pose a threat to life
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration accused Israel of using excessive force against Palestinians during a wave of deadly violence, in an annual report that pointed to a global decline in human rights.
The annual report by the State Department into human rights abuses around the world accused Israeli forces of “excessive use of force” in the Palestinian territories, and “arbitrary arrest and associated torture and abuse, often with impunity,” by the IDF, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
According to numbers cited in the report, 149 Palestinians were killed in 2015 by Israeli security forces, but only 77 were in the course of attacking Israelis.
“There were numerous reports of the ISF (Israel security forces) killing Palestinians during riots, demonstrations, at checkpoints, and during routine operations; in some cases they did not pose a threat to life,” the report read.
The Israeli authorities must end their long-standing attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders (HRDs) and halt the climate of intimidation of HRDs in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Amnesty International said today. Israeli authorities must take immediate steps to provide protection necessary for HRDs in Israel/OPT to carry out their work freely and without fear of attacks and harassment. Attacks and threats against HRDs must be investigated and those responsible must be held to account.
Read Amnesty International's report here!
We, the undersigned organizations, commend Oregon’s U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer for asking House Speaker John Boehner to cancel an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Rep. Blumenauer has stated that if the speech is not cancelled, he will refuse to attend. We implore all the members of Congress from Oregon to follow his example.
Our objections to the Netanyahu invitation go beyond the fact that: a.) This invitation is a breach of protocol, b.) It is a stunt timed just prior to a very close Israeli election and c.) It is an attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to embarrass President Barack Obama.
The most serious objection to the invitation is that Netanyahu is attempting to scuttle negotiations between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program by urging Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran. As Rep. Blumenauer states, the only solution in the best interests of all countries is a negotiated settlement. Why would Mr. Netanyahu be invited to thwart that effort? World leaders also recognize the danger of his address as interference with the diplomatic process and are also imploring that he not interfere.
Additional sanctions risk an end to the diplomatic path and an increase in tensions between our country and Iran that may lead to war. As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is under routine inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has never documented any evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Iran has called for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapons-free zone. In contrast, Israel has never signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and is known to possess nuclear weapons.
Inviting Netanyahu to address Congress is also reprehensible in view of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza this past summer. Three respected human rights organizations—Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights—have issued reports finding Israel guilty of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians during its 51-day bombardment. Under Netanyahu’s government, Israel has continued unfettered settlement expansion and land confiscation, making a viable Palestinian state impossible. It continues to imprison Palestinians by using administrative detention laws that lack due process. It is unconscionable to invite a leader with such a dismal human rights record to address the U.S. Congress.
In short, Netanyahu’s speech is not in the best interests of the United States or of world peace. We, the undersigned, urge you to boycott the speech and speak out in opposition to any leader of a foreign nation seeking to intervene in the making of U.S. foreign policy.
Americans United for Palestinian
Human Rights, Corvallis/Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America, Individuals for Justice, Jewish
Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter, Lutherans
for Justice in the Holy Land, Mission of the Atonement Holy Land Ministry, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Tree of Life Educational Fund-
West Coast, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Corvallis chapter), Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and Linus Pauling Chapter.
We applaud the recent decision of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to divest from several companies complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar. The adoption of the UUA's Human Rights in Conflict Zones investment screen sends a powerful message promoting human rights to companies operating throughout the world. The implementation of the screen also provides an inspiring model for other faith-based communities in the United States. Not only do we thank you for this critical effort, we strongly support the passing of the Proposed Business Resolution: Divestment from Corporations Complicit in the Violation of Palestinian Rights at the Unitarian Universalists 2016 General Assembly
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) welcomes the recent decision of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to divest from several companies involved in human rights abuses and environmental degradation.
The UUA has adopted a human rights screen focusing on conflict zones that includes human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The UUA subsequently divested from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., and Motorola Solutions. The UUA has also divested from Caterpillar Inc., due to concerns over its environmental and social practices. These four companies have been the target of boycott and divestment campaigns due to their complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.
“We are pleased with this decision made by the UUA officials,” said Curtis Bell, a member of the UUJME Board of Directors. “As Unitarian Universalists we want to live by our principles, which include respect for the worth and dignity of every person, upholding justice, equity and compassion in human affairs, and seeking peace and world community. When we refuse to profit from human rights abuses and the suffering of fellow human beings, we are living our principles.”
By divesting from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar, the UUA is joining other religious denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, which have voted to divest from these and other companies profiting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights; and the United Methodist Church, which has voted to boycott goods produced in settlements and which recently divested from two Israeli banks and placed three others on a no investing list due to their complicity in the illegal construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
UUJME will be working to reinforce and solidify the UUA’s decisions with passage of a Business Resolution by delegates to the UUA General Assembly in Columbus Ohio this coming June. Adoption of this resolution will guide the UUA as it continues to include human rights concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories in its future investment decisions.
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