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Resources updated between Monday, May 11, 2020 and Sunday, May 17, 2020

May 17, 2020

A rally in France after the murder of Mireille Knoll (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Paris prosecutors say Holocaust survivor's slaying was antisemitic murder Document

May 15, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The International Criminal Court's Illegitimate Prosecutions Document

Flag of the World Health Organization (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Whither the W.H.O.? Article

Site of the attack, May 14, 2020 (Photo courtesy IDF)

Israeli hurt in car-ramming attack in southern West Bank Document

May 14, 2020

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"International organizations partnering with the Syrian regime are cutting off aid to the poorest and most vulnerable people in Syria during the global pandemic.

A recent report at Foreign Policy noted that the 'United Nations informed its relief agencies several weeks ago that they were permitted to fund private charities operating in northeastern Syria only if they were registered in Damascus and authorized to work there by the Syrian government, which has proved unwilling, or unable, to meet the region's health needs.'

This gives the Syrian regime a veto over aid to eastern Syria and a way to use it as a weapon. Turkey and Russia collaborated in the effort, as Turkey turns off water to 460,000 people in eastern Syria, and Russia supports the Syrian regime. The report indicates how dictatorships and regimes that abuse human rights come first at controlling UN and international aid, enabling them to use it only for charities linked to them and using it to empower loyalists and sideline others.

The World Health Organization has also stopped supporting eastern Syria, an area of millions of people who are recovering from ISIS atrocities, as the WHO also works through the Syrian regime rather than providing equal access to people on the ground in a Syria divided by conflict. It now turns out that people of eastern Syria are being increasingly isolated by great powers who want them to stop working with the US and either be controlled by Turkey or by the Russian-backed Assad regime.

The report notes that the UN Security Council, 'acting under pressure from Russia, shut down a UN-sanctioned humanitarian aid hub on January 10 at the Yaroubia crossing on the Iraqi-Syrian border. That deprived the UN of an explicit legal mandate to serve in the region.' The crossing was used by the WHO and private groups, 'delivering medical assistance into northeastern Syria.'
...
The pandemic has made matters worse. Desperate for medical support, the local authorities have complained that the WHO didn't even inform them that a man who became sick in March in Qamishli had COVID-19. The organization reportedly informed the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), but it took another week to even tell the local authorities, because the UN only speaks to the Syrian regime in Damascus. Local authorities in Qamishli and Hasakah complained in a Voice of America report that the regime is concealing the number of coronavirus cases in eastern Syria and also allowing travel, despite attempts at lockdowns. On May 7, Turkey and the extremists it backs in northern Syria cut off water to 460,000 people in eastern Syria. Turkey and the Syrian regime agree on trying to impose suffering on locals, isolate them and make sure they receive no aid..."

U.N., W.H.O. work with Assad to starve eastern Syria of aid during pandemic Article

May 13, 2020

The United States Capitol (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"Dear Mr. Secretary:

We urge you to continue your vigorous support of Israel as it faces the growing possibility of investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Neither the United States nor Israel are members of the ICC. ICC actions currently underway could lead to the prosecution of Israeli nationals despite the fact the ICC does not enjoy legitimate jurisdiction in this case. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have refused to join the Court in part because they feared its politicization and misuse.

While we support the ICC's stated goal of ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes of concern to the international community, we are concerned that the Court's recent actions regarding the "Situation in Palestine" have infused politics into the judicial process. Specifically,

we are troubled by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's December 20, 2019 announcement that, following a five-year preliminary examination of the situation, she established "a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation" into crimes by Israelis and Palestinians. Prosecutor Bensouda also seeks a ruling by the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber to confirm whether the Court has jurisdiction over territories such as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

We believe the Prosecutor's decision to investigate the Israeli-Palestinian situation and request to the Pre-Trial Chamber to determine the Court's jurisdiction over disputed territories constitutes a dangerous politicization of the Court and distorts the purposes for which the court was established. As the world's only permanent international court, the ICC is intended as a court of last resort for the prosecution of the most serious international crimes. The ICC can only consider allegations brought to it by states, yet "Palestine" does not meet the criteria to qualify for that designation. The ICC has never formally investigated any accusations within disputed territories; doing so now unfairly targets Israel. Additionally, ICC rules prohibit it from prosecuting cases against a country that has a robust judicial system willing and able to prosecute war crimes of its personnel. Therefore, the ICC's mandate should not supersede Israel's robust judicial system, including its military justice system.

By accepting Palestinian territorial claims over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, the Prosecutor is making a political judgment that biases any subsequent investigation or trial. Contrary to Prosecutor Bensouda's request to the Pre-Trial Chamber, the ICC does not have a mandate to determine whether the relevant territories are part of the State of Israel or occupied Palestinian lands. Establishing the boundaries of any future Palestinian state is a political decision that must be determined through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Any ICC determination regarding its jurisdiction over the disputed territories or investigation of Israel would further hinder the path to peace. Moreover, politicizing the Court in this way could further weaken and undermine the ICC.

Accordingly, we believe that the United States should stand in full force against any biased investigation of Israel. We ask that you give this matter your full attention and offer the State Department's support for Israel."

69 U.S. Senators to Secretary Mike Pompeo: "stand in full force against any biased investigation of Israel" at the ICC Document

May 12, 2020

A knife used in a previous stabbing attack (File photo courtesy of Israel Police)

A Palestinian assailant attempted to stab security officers at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, police said Tuesday.

Border Police officers at the scene opened fire on the man after he attempted to stab them, police said.

The assailant was neutralized and no officers were hurt in the incident, they said.

Reports said the stabber was shot in the leg or stomach. His condition was not immediately known. He was taken to hospital to receive treatment.

The incident came hours after an Israeli soldier was killed in the predawn hours during an arrest operation near Jenin. Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, 21, was hit in the head with a rock thrown from a building in Yabed as forces were wrapping up the operation.

Recent weeks have seen several Palestinian attacks in the West Bank and in Israel.

On Monday a 20-year-old Palestinian man was indicted on terror charges for allegedly stabbing an Israeli woman in the central city of Kfar Saba on Memorial Day last month.

On April 30 a Palestinian crashed his car into a West Bank checkpoint near Jenin in a suspected attack attempt. The driver approached the Reihan checkpoint and security officials signaled he should slow for a check. Instead the man accelerated toward the checkpoint and drove his vehicle into a concrete block, officials said. There were no injuries. The man, from the village of Barta'a, was arrested by security officials on the scene and told investigators he wanted to die.

A week earlier a Border Police officer was moderately injured in a combined car-ramming and stabbing attack at a West Bank checkpoint east of Jerusalem.

According to police, the Palestinian assailant rammed his van into the border guard at the "Kiyosk" checkpoint near the Ma'ale Adumim settlement, then got out of the vehicle and attacked the officer with a pair of scissors before other troops at the scene shot him dead.

The border guard sustained moderate wounds in the attack.

Palestinian Attempts to Stab Border Policemen at Jerusalem Checkpoint Document

Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, the victim of the attack.

An Israeli soldier was killed in the northern West Bank in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, after being struck in the head by a large rock during an arrest raid, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The soldier, Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, was a member of the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion, which was carrying out a series of four arrests overnight in the West Bank village of Yabed, west of Jenin, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told reporters.

As the troops were making their way out of the village on foot following the arrests, a small group of roughly 10 Palestinian youths began throwing rocks at them.

Zilberman said the rock that killed Ben-Ygal appeared to have been thrown from the roof of one of the homes on the outskirts of the village, which has often seen clashes between residents and IDF troops.

"The rock hit the soldier directly in the head. The soldier was wearing a helmet. But it hit him at an angle," he said.

According to some media reports a preliminary army probe showed the assailant had waited for the soldier to lift his head to look up before hurling the rock at him.

Ben-Ygal received treatment from medics at the scene before being taken by helicopter to Haifa's Rambam Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

He was scheduled to be buried at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the military plot of the Be'er Yaakov cemetery in central Israel, the army said.

Ben-Ygal, from the central Israeli city of Ramat Gan, was the first IDF soldier to be killed in action in 2020. He was posthumously promoted from staff sergeant to sergeant first class.

His father Baruch told the Kan radio station that Amit was his only child, requiring him to receive special permission in order to serve in a combat unit. Ben-Ygal had two sisters on his mother's side.

"He came from a Zionist household. He loved the people of Israel, the land of Israel," he said.

"We don't have anything else. I am broken, I am broken, I am broken, I am crushed," he said. "I don't have words for it."

The spokesman said no suspects had yet been arrested but that the military had launched an investigation and that troops were operating inside Yabed to find the culprits. Palestinian media reported that Israeli troops arrested a number of suspects in the village throughout Tuesday morning.

"The IDF and security forces will get their hands on the degenerate terrorists who are responsible for this, we'll settle the score," Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement Tuesday.

As the Palestinian who threw the rock was apparently standing on a roof, the soldiers were not able to see him and were therefore also unable to open fire at him, Zilberman said.

President Reuven Rivlin sent condolences to Ben-Ygal's family. "Our hearts are broken from the splendor of youth that was cut down, from the terrible loss. I trust and am sure that our forces will catch the degenerate terrorists and bring them to justice," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offered condolences to the family and vowed that the country's security services would find those responsible.

"As has happened in every case in recent years, the long arm of Israel will reach the terrorist and settle the score," he said in a statement.

Ben-Ygal's death came two years after IDF soldier Ronen Lubarsky was killed when he too was struck on the head by a marble slab that was thrown at him from the third floor of a building in the al-Amari Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah.

On May 24, 2018, Lubarsky - a member of the elite Duvdevan commando unit - was taking part in an arrest raid when Islam Yousef Abu Hamid threw the large slab at him. The 20-year-old Israeli sergeant - promoted posthumously to staff sergeant - died of his injuries two days later.

Hamid was convicted of murder last April.

IDF soldier killed by rock thrown at his head during West Bank arrest raid Document

May 11, 2020

International Telecommunications Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"Chinese influence in the United Nations and its affiliated international organizations has been expanding significantly over the past decade.
...
The most glaring example is the obsequious treatment China received from the World Health Organization despite its lack of transparency and cooperation on COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. However, that is hardly the only example.

Another is the International Telecommunication Union, which has been led by China's Houlin Zhao as secretary-general since 2015 following his election at the organization's plenipotentiary conference. Founded in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, the global entity is responsible for issues related to information and communication technologies.

Even before he became secretary-general of the union, Zhao had sought to insulate China from agreed practices on internet governance. He actively attempted to undermine the role of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned of Names and Numbers), the private, nonprofit entity responsible for coordinating key processes and procedures necessary for the internet to operate smoothly and doing so through a governance structure with multiple stakeholders.
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Since becoming secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, Zhao has championed Beijing's priorities in violation of his obligation to be a neutral international civil servant..."

Chinese Leadership Corrupts Another UN Organization Article

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"China's President Xi Jinping reportedly pressured the director of the World Health Organization in January to hold off issuing a global warning about the coronavirus outbreak.

German media outlet Der Spiegel, citing intelligence from the country's intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), reported the pressure came in a Jan. 21 call to WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The BND estimated China's action to conceal information resulted in a loss of four to six weeks in the fight against COVID-19.
...
President Donald Trump has condemned China for holding back critical information about the virus to the world, including failing to accurately report on the number of cases - and called WHO a 'pipe organ' for China's communist party last month."

Report: China President Xi Pressured WHO Leader To Hold Back On Virus Warning Article

Chinese leader Xi Jinping speaking at the United Nations (File photo)

"Chinese President Xi Jinping pressured the director of the World Health Organization in January to hold off on issuing a global warning about the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report in a German newspaper.

The Jan. 21 conversation between Jinping and WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was reported in Der Spiegel, which cited intelligence from Germany's federal intelligence service, known as the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

The report published over the weekend said Xi urged the WHO chief to 'delay a global warning' about the pandemic and hold back information on human-to-human transmission of the virus.

The BND estimated that China's action to conceal information resulted in a loss of four to six weeks in the fight against COVID-19..."

China pressured WHO to delay global coronavirus warning: report Article