“Over the past 50 years, the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian territory has become more and more entrenched, making the daily existence of Palestinians harder and harder”

IDF dismantles anti-occupation encampment set up by activists in West Bank

IDF dismantles anti-occupation encampment set up by activists in West Bank
IDF soldiers have removed the last remaining tent at a West Bank encampment set up by Jewish activists from the US and Canada. The camp was erected to mark the 50th anniversary of Israeli occupation.

Soldiers embarked on the encampment, referred to by activists as the Sumud Freedom Camp, early on Thursday, Haaretz reported.

According to activists at the site, the soldiers did not present any written teardown orders for the camp, which was located in the South Hebron Hills.

READ MORE: Palestinians injured in clashes with IDF on 1st day of Trump’s visit to Israel (VIDEO)

A Canadian-born organizer for the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, 25-year-old Isaac Kates Rose, was detained after trying to stop the soldiers from tearing down the encampment.

An ambulance was also called during the confrontation on Thursday morning, to provide medical treatment to Fadel Amer, a local Palestinian who has been hosting the activists. It was not clear why he needed treatment.

The Thursday raid came after the army tore down three of the encampment’s four tents on Saturday.

The camp was set up on the site of the hamlet of Sarura, which was evacuated 20 years ago due to settler violence and a crackdown by the IDF. It was erected to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The most recent raid comes just one day after Israeli police broke the arm of 25-year-old American Jewish activist Sarah Brammer-Shlay and injured several other anti-occupation demonstrators during a Jerusalem Day protest.

Brammer-Shlay told Haaretz that about 20 protesters were linking arms to try to block those taking part in the Flag March, a Jerusalem Day event, from reaching the Old City on Wednesday.

Police then started pushing the demonstrators to the ground, where they linked arms once again. Officers then dragged them off, some of them being choked while they were dragged.

She said police then threw protesters on top of one another within a small area fenced off by metal barricades. Officers then tried to remove her from that area.

“They pulled my left arm; I heard and felt my arm pop and I knew something horrible had happened,” she said. “I was screaming ‘my arm, my arm,’” she said.

Doctors have reportedly told Brammer Shlay that she faces a 50 percent chance of needing surgery.

Meanwhile, activists from groups including IfNotNow, Free Jerusalem, and All That’s Left said they took part in the Jerusalem Day protest on Wednesday to highlight “the way the Israeli state uses violence on Palestinians and to protest right-wing extremists.”

In a statement on its website, IfNotNow said this year’s March of the Flags event was particularly symbolic, as it marked 50 years after the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began, and just one day after US President Donald Trump left the region.

The demonstrators held a banner which read “End the Occupation” in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. They also sang songs in Hebrew and chanted slogans, including “Now, now is the time; Jews must stand with Palestine,” according to a statement on IfNotNow’s website.

“Over the past 50 years, the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian territory has become more and more entrenched, making the daily existence of Palestinians harder and harder. Today we acted to urge our community back home to shake off its complacency and join Jews around the world calling for an end to the Occupation,” said Talia Kravitz, an IfNotNow member who lives in New York.

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Pentagon shifts blame to ISIS for 100+ civilians killed during US airstrike in Mosul

More than 100 civilians were killed when a US airstrike in Iraq triggered secondary explosions in March, according to a Pentagon investigation. Washington says Iraq requested the strike after Islamic State fighters began shooting at Iraqi forces.

The probe found that the March 17 airstrike on a building in Mosul’s al-Jadida neighborhood triggered secondary explosions from devices planted by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters.

Those secondary blasts, according to the military, caused the concrete building to collapse, leading to more than 100 civilian casualties, which likely represents the largest single incident of civilian deaths since the US air campaign against IS began in 2014.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler, the lead investigator of the probe, said 101 civilians in the building were killed and that another four died in a nearby building. He says 36 civilians remain unaccounted for.

READ MORE: #MosulSOS: Civilians become collateral damage in US coalition anti-ISIS strikes

Although the investigation acknowledges the civilian deaths caused, it appears to assign blame to Islamic State, with the probe noting that the episode began when two IS snipers began firing at troops from Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service.

The Pentagon said military investigators led by Isler visited the site of the deadly airstrike twice, spoke to witnesses, and combed through more than 700 videos taken from coalition warplanes over a 10-day period before, during, and after the strike.

Civilian death toll from coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria rises to 352 – Pentagon https://on.rt.com/8adb 

This investigation reads more like an attempt to shift the blame on ISIS, [with the US saying], ‘It’s not our fault all these people died when our bomb hit the house, it’s ISIS’ fault for having all these people there as a human shield in the first place’,” RT war correspondent Murad Gazdiev, who was in Mosul at the time of the airstrike, said.

In the aftermath of the attack, the Iraqi military set up an “information blockade” of the incident, he said, adding that no journalists were allowed “anywhere near the area.” A video of the aftermath of the attack was released by AP almost a week later.

READ MORE: Media coverage of Iraqi Mosul op ‘censored & suppressed’ – RT reporter in embattled city

The airstrike on the house in Mosul’s al-Jadida neighborhood on March 17 became one of the deadliest incidents of the Mosul siege – an operation carried out by the Iraqi Army with the support of the US-led coalition. There have been conflicting casualty reports, with the city’s municipality chief, Abdul Sattar al-Habbo, putting the death toll of the attack as high as 240.

The US-led coalition has been using utterly disproportionate force in the battle for Mosul, with little regard for civilians, an international affairs commentator has told RT.

“The main point is that the Iraqi government and the Americans have been urging civilians not to flee but to remain in their homes where it’ll be safer,” John Steele said. “It’s disproportionate to use a huge bomb on two snipers on the roof of the building, when there’s a chance there could be civilians inside.”

To counter such a threat as “two snipers,” the coalition should have used infantry instead of an aerial bomb, Steele added.

Accidents do happen, but we also have to bear in mind that this is not the first time the Americans have committed such acts,” Middle East affairs expert Ali Rizk told RT.

We always hear the Americans speak about ‘collateral damage.’ There is a complete disregard for human life in the way the Americans carry out war,” he said, adding that a similar incident recently occurred with a US strike in Afghanistan. “You can’t repeat these mistakes,” he said.

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