Gili Cohen / Haaretz & Michelle Nichols / Reuters – 2015-08-27 21:52:35
UN Report: Israeli Weapons Fueling South Sudan Civil War
The report, based on photos from the field,
documents use of upgraded version of Israeli-made assault rifle
Gili Cohen / Haaretz
(August 26, 2015) — Israeli weapons are being used in South Sudan by the local army and its senior officers, according to a recent UN report.
The report, issued by a panel of experts appointed by the UN Security Council to study the civil war in South Sudan, is based on photographs from the field showing weapons manufactured by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI).
According to the interim report, which summarizes the first 10 weeks of the panelâ€™s activities, the weapon in question is an Ace, an upgraded version of the Galil assault rifle, which was developed by Israel Military Industries (now the IWI).
South Sudan has been in the midst of a civil war for the past 18 months, and the United Nations has reported in the past on extensive human rights violations there during the fighting, including the drafting of child-soldiers and the burning of villages.
According to the current report, the Sudanese Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army has been implementing a scorched-earth policy, and has been involved in indiscriminate killing, rape, pillaging, destruction of infrastructure and uprooting of civilians from their homes.
The panel of experts noted that at least some of the weapons were given to the local national security service before the outbreak of the war, but now the Israeli weapons are in use by what are basically all the security bodies in the country â€“ the SPLA, the local police, the national security service and the bodyguards of senior officers. They are also carried by the officers themselves.
Israel doesnâ€™t say if sells arms to South Sudan, but officials from the African state have taken part in recent Israeli weapons shows.
UN Criticizes Israel’s Crackdown on Stone Throwers, Hunger Strikes
Michelle Nichols / Reuters
(August 19, 2015) — The United Nations said on Wednesday that Israel’s decisions to impose up to 20 years prison for people throwing stones and to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike threatened to worsen an “already-precarious human rights situation.”
UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman also told the UN Security Council he was concerned about Israel’s decision to extend the use of prolonged administrative detention and called for all detainees to be promptly charged or released.
Israel’s security cabinet on Aug. 2 extended to its own citizens’ so-called “administrative detention”, a practice commonly applied to Palestinian militant suspects and condemned internationally.
The change laid bare authorities’ frustration at failing to curb Jewish ultra-nationalist attacks and followed the lethal torching of a Palestinian home.
Feltman said that this attack and many others over the years, including against Israeli settlers, happened in the context of “a chronic lack of adequate law enforcement.”
“Such violence is possible because of the environment created as a result of Israel’s decades-long policy of illegal settlement activities,” he said.
Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. Settlements that Israel has built on territory captured in 1967 are considered illegal under international law.
Last month, Israel’s parliament imposed tougher penalties of up to 20 years prison for people throwing stones at vehicles and roads and authorized force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike.
“Careful consideration should be placed on addressing the underlying human rights concerns which lead prisoners to such extreme protests, including prolonged administrative detention,” Feltman said. He said that the law on stone-throwing was “likely to affect children disproportionately.”
With US-sponsored peace talks stalled since April 2014, violence has simmered in the region. A war in Gaza a year ago killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians were killed.
“The risk of escalation in Israel and Palestine is palpable,” Feltman said. “The past month has witnessed unconscionable crimes of hatred by extremist elements, reprehensible retaliatory violence, provocations at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and a worrying increase in rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel,” he said.
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