UN Report Accuses Israel of “War Crimes” While Hamas-led Attacks on Border Intensify

“The cry “Violence!” Shall no more be heard in your land, Nor “Wrack and ruin!” Within your borders. And you shall name your walls “Victory” And your gates “Renown.” Isaiah 60:18 (The Israel Bible™)

A United Nations report released on Thursday claimed Israeli soldiers were guilty of “war crimes” when firing at Hamas-led rioters rushing the security fence separating Israel from Gaza.

“The commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Argentinian legal expert Santiago Canton, who chaired the UNHRC’s commission of inquiry into the protests. “Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel.”

The 22-page report comes after 11 months of Hamas-led March of Return riots. The three-person independent Commission of Inquiry issued by the UN Human Rights Council said more than 6,000 people were shot by IDF snipers using live ammunition, 189 of them fatally.

“The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such,” the report claimed. The report noted significant violence by the rioters but claimed they did not pose an “imminent threat,” concluding that the protests were peaceful.

“The demonstrations were civilian in nature, with clearly stated political aims,” the statement said. “Despite some acts of significant violence, the Commission found that the demonstrations did not constitute combat or military campaigns.”

The report did blame Hamas for using aerial incendiary devices against southern Israel. The report was based on 325 interviews including 15 from the Israeli side. The Israeli government refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the report reflected the council’s “obsessive hatred” of Israel.“The UN Human Rights Council is setting new records of hypocrisy and lies stemming from its obsessive hatred toward Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Hamas is the one firing missiles at Israeli civilians, throwing explosive devices and carrying terrorist activity during demonstrations on the Gaza border,” Netanyahu said. Israel won’t allow Hamas to violate its sovereignty and hurt its citizens and will preserve its right to defend itself. IDF soldiers will continue defending with determination Israeli communities and civilians from Hamas and other terror organizations funded by Iran, which declares its intention to annihilate Israel,” the prime minister added.

Senate may reprimand Trump in addition to revoking his border emergency

breaking us news

Senate Republicans are holding active discussions about whether to amend a resolution revoking President Trump’s border emergency in a way that scolds Trump for the way he asserted authority over the federal budget to fund his border wall.

Senators made it clear Monday that Republicans are still debating whether they have the authority to add any language to the House-passed resolution, and if so, what they might add. But some confirmed that there is talk about hammering home in the resolution that the Senate is not happy with Trump’s move.

“There is a lot being talked about,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., told the Washington Examiner. “I have heard discussion about trying to express concern about separations of powers issues and maybe reining some of the powers back. It’s been all over the map. My sense is it won’t come together.” [ Source: Washington Examiner (Read More…) ]

US deploys THAAD missile defense system to Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu hails Terminal High Altitude Area Defense as a sign of U.S. commitment to Israeli security • “Together with our defense systems, we are stronger is dealing with threats emanating from all areas of the Middle East,” he says

The deployment, which began in March, was intended to test the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy such weapons around the world, said a spokeswoman for U.S. European Command.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the arrival of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system as a sign of the U.S. commitment to Israeli security.

“The American THAAD system is considered among the most advanced systems in the world, and together with our defense systems, we are stronger in dealing with threats, close or distant, emanating from all areas of the Middle East,” he said.

The move comes amid increased tensions between Israel and Iran over Israel’s bombing campaign in Syria and comments in which Iran’s foreign minister said he could not rule out the possibility of military conflict between the two countries.

The U.S. military said the decision to rapidly move the THAAD system to Israel was intended “as a demonstration of the United States’ continued commitment to Israel’s regional security.”

“THAAD is the most advanced integrated air and missile defense system in the world, and this deployment readiness exercise demonstrates that U.S. forces are agile and can respond quickly and unpredictably to any threat, anywhere, at any time,” U.S. European Command said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin, the biggest U.S. arms maker, builds and integrates the THAAD system, which is designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Raytheon, another U.S. firm, builds its advanced radar.

As part of the deployment, U.S. forces will work at various locations in Europe, the United States and in Israel to operate the system in close cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces, it said. U.S. officials declined to say how quickly the system was moved to Israel from its home base at Fort Bliss, Texas.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the deployment differed from previous simulated U.S.-Israel joint military exercises and involved tactical coordination on the ground.

He said all of the components of the THAAD system were at an air force base in the Negev desert, in southern Israel, and would soon be moved to an undisclosed site in southern Israel.

“The advantage from the Israeli point of view is that we have an opportunity to integrate it into our systems and simulate different scenarios,” he said.

The IDF said the deployment was defensive in nature and not related to any specific current event.

Saudi Arabia agreed in November to buy 44 THAAD launchers, missiles and related equipment from the United States in a separate deal valued at $15 billion.

‘Israel will never withdraw from the Golan’

Senior Blue and White party officials Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon, Gabi Ashkenazi promise to act against any threat against Israel on tour of Golan Heights • At the same time, Blue and White says social, not security, issues to be top priority.

Speaking in the Golan, Gantz said, “We are now encountering here a terror network, an Iranian front that is sitting on the border with the State of Israel. We know how to handle any threat, in any one of the arenas, for as long as necessary. We will build a responsible and assertive cabinet. We will be unforgiving of any form of aggression against the State of Israel in any of the arenas.”

Lapid said they were there “to remind the entire world that we will never return the Golan Heights [to Syria]. Israel has sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and will always have sovereignty over the Golan Heights. We expect the European Union and the U.N. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

Ya’alon said the Israel-Syria border before them was more than just a border between countries, but a “border between civilizations: the green, blooming, flourishing and thriving on our side opposite the black, the burned, the bloody on the Syrian side. This is the border of hope against evil,” he said.

Ashkenazi had a message for all of Israel’s enemies inside Syria and the region, saying, “In the face of any existential threat to the State of Israel, we will act and we will not contain: action – not containment.”

Although much of it has already been made public, the Blue and White party will officially release its party platform, Wednesday.

In one of the clauses of the platform, the party says it will not act to repeal the nation-state law, but rather anchor it in legislation that ensures equality for Israel’s citizens.

The nation-state law was one of the main areas where there were disagreements among the parties that comprise Blue and White. Both Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party had said ahead of the merger that they would work to amend the controversial law.

Earlier, the heads of Blue and White clarified that “although this is a party of [former IDF] chiefs of staff, the subject of security is secondary. In a conversation with Israel Hayom, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said that “the ruling party needs to have a say on all aspects of life, and security is but one of them.” Noting Blue and White’s platform focus on health and transportation, he said that these days, the civilian aspect is “no less important for people” than security. “We have a plan to add 12.5 billion shekels [$3.45 billion] to the health system in the next five years.” Asked where the money would come from, Shelah replied. “There’s no need to worry. We’ll manage.”

The Blue and White party’s platform also includes plans for a regional conference aimed at forging a diplomatic process for Israel to separate from the Palestinians, a commitment not to carry out a unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria as well as a commitment not to withdraw from the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. The party platform makes no mention of terms such as a “Palestinian state” or “two-state solution,” but does commit to canceling the recommendations law, which prohibits police from making recommendations either for or against an indictment in high-profile investigations, and the supermarket law, which gives the interior minister the power to shutter convenience stores operating on Shabbat, as well as ensuring continuity of the draft law put in place by the current defense establishment.

Blue and White clarified that although differences remained among the various parties, they were largely in agreement on the platform and were committed to it in its entirety.

Canadian Supreme Court Rules 14-Year-Old Can Have Hormone Injections without Parental Permission

The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada ruled last week that a 14-year-old girl can receive testosterone injections without parental consent.

According to The Federalist, a school counselor encouraged the girl to consider a gender change, and Dr. Brenden Hursh at BC Children’s Hospital agreed to provide testosterone injections for the girl.

The girl’s mother was initially OK with the treatment, but her father expressed concerns and wanted to wait until the 14-year-old was older.

Hursh said he was able to complete the treatment with the girl’s consent only under the BC Infants Act, but the girl’s father sought an injunction.

The court ruled, however, that the girl is “exclusively entitled to consent to medical treatment for gender dysphoria.”

“Attempting to persuade [the girl, identified by a pseudonym, Maxine] to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria; addressing [Maxine] by his birth name; referring to [Maxine] as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties; shall be considered to be family violence under s. 38 of the Family Law Act.”

In response, however, the father said the government had “taken over” his parental rights.

“They’re using [Maxine] like she’s a guinea pig in an experiment … Is BC Children’s Hospital going to be there in 5 years when she rejects [her male identity]? No, they’re not. They don’t care. They want numbers.”

He said the family would be appealing the case.

“Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do,” he said. “We’re gonna fight this right up to the Supreme Court of Canada. We’re not quitting.”

Canadian Supreme Court Rules 14-Year-Old Can Have Hormone Injections without Parental Permission

Report Shows 57 Percent Jump in Aggression against Christians in India


NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Cases of hate and violence against Christians in India increased 57 percent the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year, an advocacy group reported.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Religious Liberty Commission (EFIRLC) documented 77 incidents of hate and targeted violence against Christians in January and February, up from 49 cases during the same period last year. The cases include the murders of one Christian in Odisha state and another in Chhattisgarh state, both in February.

“We have reasons to believe that both men, who were in their 40s, were killed because of their faith,” the Rev. Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the EFI, told Morning Star News. “We have recorded cases where Christians have been facing social boycott and have been excommunicated from their villages, and in a few instances have had to flee to save their lives.”

Of the 77 incidents, 16 took place in Tamil Nadu state, 12 in Uttar Pradesh, six in Maharashtra and five in Chhattisgarh, the report found. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and, surprisingly, Kerala each saw four cases, followed by other states, Lal said.

The 49 cases recorded in the first two months of 2018 followed the documenting of 50 cases during the same period the previous year.

In one of the incidents this year in Uttar Pradesh, female police officers on Jan. 13 disrupted a Sunday worship service and arrested four women and two men, including the female pastor leading worship. At the police station, a female police officer physically assaulted the woman pastor, Sindhu Bharti, who fell unconscious.

“Boiling tea was forcibly thrust in her mouth because the police thought that she was feigning her unconsciousness,” an eyewitness, Madhu Bharati, told Morning Star News. “When that did not work, they poured two jugs of cold water on her face, not caring that it was already severely cold due to winter.”

Those arrested were charged with intent to hurt religious feelings, defilement of a place of worship and rioting, among other charges. The intervention of Christian leaders resulted in police freeing the arrested female Christians, but the men were kept under judicial custody.

Pastor Bharti received medical treatment for her injuries.

In the murders, two Christians were killed by Maoists, known as Naxalites, after area tribal people influenced the rebels in Odisha and Chhattisgarh respectively.

“Munglu Ram Nureti from Kohkameta village in Chhattisgarh was killed because villagers who were opposed to his practicing the Christian faith falsely reported him as a police informer to the Maoists,” Lal said. “Anant Ram Gond, from Nabarangpur in Odisha was killed a day before Munglu Ram Nureti in a similar but more gruesome manner. He was already being persecuted for his faith for some time. It has been reported and verified by credible sources that he was reported to be a police informer by villagers [who were angry at him becoming Christian] to the Maoists, which led to his killing.”

Gond had been living outside the village for some time after facing social boycott because of his faith, Lal said.

“There have been occurrences where Christians have been taken to temples and made to chant Hindu verses and seek forgiveness for the ‘sin’ of conversion,” he told Morning Star News. “At least two instances have been recorded where public banners against Christians have been placed outside Navsari, Gujarat and in Alangulam village near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. The Navsari banners prohibit the entry of Christians in the town, while those in Tamil Nadu, apparently put up by the Hindu Munnani, reportedly ask the Hindus to awake against religious preaching in the village.”

Alliance Defending Freedom-India, which provides legal advocacy for Christians, reported on Feb. 19 that 29 incidents against Christians took place in January.

2018

Throughout 2018, the EFIRLC documented 325 incidents against Christians in India. The previous year, it recorded 351 such cases, up from 230 in 2016.

Its 2018 annual report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India,” released on Feb. 22, took note of the “sudden spurt of violence in a few districts of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous province, and in Tamil Nadu in the extreme south of the subcontinent.”

The cases documented in the report are by no means exhaustive, as it was based on voluntary reporting and civil society investigations, it states. The EFIRLC said most cases go unreported, either because the victim and witnesses are terrified, or the police, especially in the northern states, turn a blind eye and refuse to record mandatory First Information Reports.

With general elections due in April-May, attempts at religious polarization were at an all-time high, the report noted. It added that the “small Christian community, 2.3 per cent of the 1.3 billion population, which seems to be targeted on issues of conversion, is also collateral victim of the hate crimes against the much larger Muslim community, which is about 15 percent.”

Over 40 percent, or 132, of the documented incidents in the 2018 report took place in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where Christians were targeted the most. This was followed by Tamil Nadu with 40 incidents, while Telangana came third with 24.

The increase of incidents in Uttar Pradesh can be attributed to the systematic campaign against Christians in the eastern part of the state, particularly Jaunpur District, where 45 incidents were documented, according to the report.

Churches in Jaunpur have been targeted through a systematic campaign involving Hindu extremist groups, media, local politicians and the state administration, according to the report. Arrests and detention of pastors and the stopping of church services have become commonplace.

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India, home to almost 17 percent of the country’s population. Christians make up only 0.18 percent of the state’s population.

The state is currently led by Yogi Adityanath, who along with being the chief minister is also the high priest of the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur. The chief minister is also founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a Hindu youth militia that has been involved in communal violence and in targeting religious minorities.

India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. India was ranked at 31st in 2013 but has been ranked worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

“We are still collecting and verifying information almost on a daily basis,” Lal said.

Muslim Mobs Attack 10 Church Buildings in Ethiopia

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Christians in a town in southern Ethiopia were stunned when local Muslims attacked 10 church buildings on Feb. 9, destroying one and burning the property inside all the structures, according to aid agencies.

Chanting the jihadist slogan, “Allahu akbar [God is greater],” Muslims in Halaba Kulito targeted worship buildings belonging to eight denominations, reported Scotland-based aid agency Steadfast Global and Voice of the Martyrs-Canada. Kale Hiwot Galeto church’s building was razed.

“The incensed crowds comprising Muslim residents of all ages from across the town made their way to the churches chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ after being given false information that a mosque in the surrounding countryside had been fire-bombed,” said a Steadfast Global representative who requested anonymity. “The contents of all the churches were removed from the buildings and set on fire on the street.”

Except for some minor vandalism, Christians in the town have not suffered such attacks to this extent, he said. But Halaba Kulito, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), is a predominantly Muslim town with nearly all Christians there having moved from surrounding villages for work reasons, creating an underlying tension, he added.

He learned from witnesses that an Islamic conference was held in Halaba Kulito about week before the trouble flared that included speakers suspected of holding extremist views, but he said he had no information on what was said at the conference.

Witnesses indicated that the assailants were clearly instructed to target only property and not Christians, he said.

One of the attacked churches, Meserete Kristos Church, has since been vandalized again, and area Christians have faced intimidation and threats, he added.

While Kale Hiwot Galeto church building was destroyed in the Feb. 9 attack, aid workers believe the other nine church buildings were not set ablaze only because of the risk to neighboring Muslim-owned properties.

Municipal police were present during almost every attack but took no action, the agencies reported.

The attacks lasted about five hours, with state police arriving in town in the early afternoon and restoring order. A number of the assailants were said to be arrested and placed in custody, and the aid agencies believe they will be charged and tried.

More than 9,900 worshippers are estimated to attend the 10 churches. A small number of Christians sustained minor injuries and returned home after receiving hospital treatment, including two that were more seriously injured, according to the aid agencies.

Huge amounts of property were destroyed, including Bibles, song books, instruments, benches and chairs.

Despite the destruction, all of the congregations managed to meet for worship the following Sunday, the agencies reported. At the same time, after the attack a significant number of Christians chose not to gather for worship out of fear, they learned. The local government has allocated a police guard to each of the attacked the churches.

Most of the churches are gathering contributions from their members to try to replace damaged items, but they will need help from the wider church, according to the aid agencies, which have distributed emergency funds and are studying ways for ministry partners to help restore and rebuild.