2018 Gaza Corner Archive
Heard live Saturday nights 11pm on Tangents 91.7 FM KALW San Francisco
This weekly feature includes news and opinion from the Middle East (and beyond) often ignored by the mainstream media followed by music from the relevant country or culture.
Gaza Corner was originally conceived to focus attention on relieving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza which has been under a severe blockade imposed by Israel since 2007. Gaza Corner has evolved to include the Middle East, Magreb, Kurdistan and Turkey.
February 17, 2018
Gender crimes against women are a problem that exist within all societies. In a two part series on femicide, Gaza Corner focuses on the deepening tragedy of murdered women in Turkey. In Part 2 next week we’ll examine domestic violence and female killings in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.
Nearly 2,000 women killed in eight years in Turkey
One out of every two women killed since 2010 was murdered either by their husbands or boyfriends, with at least 396 taking place at the stage of breaking up or divorce.
Most shocking is the fact that at least 237 murders were committed despite the victimized women having applied to the state for protection.
Among the main causes of the failure to prevent murders of women is the common reduction of sentences for convicts due to “good conduct” during their trial.
Turkey's deepening tragedy of murdered women
Gulsum Kav, a founding member of We Will Stop Femicide, says there are Turkish laws to protect women and punish perpetrators of assault...however officials were not putting the law into practice.
"The law is there giving women the right to be protected," she said, "but when women go to police or the prosecutor for protection, they are either sent back home, they try to reconcile (couples) or they receive a protection order only on paper."
Women wave posters as they march in protest against domestic abuse, in Istanbul, July 20, 2014. (credit: Reuters / Can Erok)
Turkey's rate of murdered women skyrockets
From 2003 till 2010, there has been a 1,400% increase in the number of slain women.
Domestic violence is considered a personal, not a public, matter...A pregnant woman was brutally beaten on a busy Istanbul street and no one intervened.
One of the female witnesses, Nazen, 64, told Al-Monitor, “We do not want to be involved in a private family matter. It is between a man and a woman. A woman is like a fig tree. If a branch is infested with worms, you must cut the tree or your entire orchard will be lost.” Nazen’s view of women’s purity is widely accepted in Turkey.
No one can argue violence against women has become a norm in contemporary Turkey. These women are murdered by their male relatives, about 50% of the time by their husbands; the rest could be a former boyfriend, brother, father-in-law, father, son or even grandson.
Advocates for victims of domestic abuse protest in Chicago in 2015. (credit: Sophia Tareen / AP)
Nearly Half of All Murdered Women Are Killed by Intimate Partners
Over half of the killings of American women are related to intimate partner violence, with the vast majority of the victims dying at the hands of a current or former romantic partner, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today.
The CDC analyzed the murders of women in 18 states from 2003 to 2014, finding a total of 10,018 deaths. Of those, 55 percent were intimate partner violence-related, meaning they occurred at the hands of a former or current partner or the partner’s family or friends. In 93 percent of those cases, the culprit was a current or former romantic partner...Strangers perpetrated just 16 percent of all female homicides.
The Three Places With the Highest Rate of Female Homicides on Earth Are All in Northeast Asia
Overall homicide rates are among the lowest in the world — below 1 per 100,000 people...but despite the veneer of safety the three jurisdictions actually have the highest rate of female homicide victims in the world. According to a report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), published in 2014, Hong Kong and Japan top the ranking...followed by South Korea.
On Feb. 14, (2017) women’s-rights activists around the world are commemorating Valentines Day, hoping to raise awareness of violence against women worldwide. The campaign, One Billion Rising, refers to the U.N. projections that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, or 1 billion in the world.
February 10, 2018
Tonight’s Gaza Corner focuses on the breaking news that Israel conducted its largest attack inside Syria since the start of the Syrian war. Israel claims it was a response to an Iranian drone (apparently unarmed) violating Israeli airspace. Israel's air assault directly targeted Iranian military assets in Syria for the first time. This aggression could set the stage for yet a new wider front in the Syrian war.
A big question is how will Russia react? Russia has the most influence over Syria’s Assad and Iran. Russia can also deter Israel due to its missile defense system deployed on Syrian soil. The US has the power to rein in Israel. But it's questionable whether a Trump administration obssessed with Iran would act to bring Israel to its senses.
Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal), 2/10/18
"Having carried out over 100 attacks on Syria since 2011, Israel takes its control over its neighbors' airspace for granted. That ended today with the downing of one of its F-16s by Syrian air defenses."
Israel Strikes Iran in Syria, Losing Jet, as Conflict Moves Into Perilous Phase
The jet crash represented a severe blow to Israel’s prestige and could mark a major change after years in which it acted against targets in Syria with relative impunity.
“There is no incentive for the Iranians, Syrians or Russians to draw the Israelis into a military situation that has been moving in their favor for some time,” said Stephen B. Slick, a former C.I.A. station chief in Israel who now directs the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
Israel accuses Iran of ‘playing with fire’ as it launches multiple air raids on its forces in Syria
The joint operations room for the Syrian military and its allies said the drone was on a standard mission gathering intelligence on Isis militants and did not violate Israeli airspace.
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the first of two separate and successive waves of air strikes targeted the central desert area where Syrian troops and their Iranian-backed allies, including Hezbollah, are known to maintain bases.
Israeli Strikes in Syria Risk Forcing Russia to Adopt Pro-Iranian Stance
Iran is waiting anxiously for a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump, expected in May, about the future of the Iranian nuclear agreement and the option of new sanctions the administration wants to impose on Iran. A military clash between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria could play into Trump’s hands and those of the congressmen/women who would use such a conflict as proof that new sanctions need to be imposed on Tehran.
Iran doesn’t want to open another military front with Israel, which could lead Israel to start a war against Hezbollah.
February 3, 2018
Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, approximately 10,000 Palestinian women have been arrested and detained by Israeli forces.
Addameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, has documented the brutality of the arrest process as well as the unlawful and debilitating detention conditions for female Palestinians prisoners. This encompasses Israeli interrogation, detention and prison centers, and even hospitals while in custody. The abuse, ill-treatment, and torture, including sexual assault of Palestinian women and girls, is a practice used by the Israeli government to repress Palestinian women.
Palestinian women haunted by abuse in Israeli jails
While some Palestinian women have spoken up about being raped in Israeli custody, for many it is a difficult topic to address because of social taboos.
Sahar Francis, director of Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights group emphasised that these practices are not lone acts committed by individual members of the Israeli armed forces.
“It’s (sexual torture) not something that’s done by an individual soldier who decided to humiliate or mistreat [the prisoners],” she said. “It’s part of the process, part of the policy, in order to affect the entire society and put it under pressure... because they are aware that [gender] is a sensitive subject in Palestinian society.”
Addameer Report, Dec. 2017: Israeli Imprisonment of Palestinian Women and Girls
Over the last 45 years, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian women have been arrested and/or detained under Israeli military orders.
Among the set of needs specific to women prisoners, issues pertaining to health care require urgent attention, a right strategically denied by Israeli Prison Service (IPS).
The majority of Palestinian women prisoners are subjected to some form of psychological torture and ill-treatment throughout the process of their arrest and detention, including various forms of sexual violence.
These techniques of torture and ill-treatment are used...as tools to humiliate Palestinian women and coerce them into giving confessions.
Pregnant detainees who are transferred to hospitals to give birth are moved only under strict security supervision, with the woman’s hands and feet typically shackled with metal chains. The women are then chained to their beds until they enter the delivery room and are shackled once again only minutes after delivery.
Addameer Report, March 2016: Occupied Lives: Imprisonment of Palestinian Women and Girls
Marah Bakeer, a 16-year-old girl from Jerusalem, was arrested on 10 October 2015, after she was shot 10 times in her left arm by an Israeli soldier. Marah was not carrying anything, and when the soldier asked her to raise her hands, she did so, but...a police officer pushed her to the ground...causing her to hit her head with the ground. The police officer started searching her body with his hands, took her headscarf off and took her clothes off until he reached the underwear.
She was later transferred in an unprofessional manner by an ambulance to Hadassah Ein Karem, while she was left naked despite her requests to cover her body. Later, an investigator from the police attended the hospital, while she was naked and her body bleeding, and asked her if she tried to stab a soldier, which she denied. Later she was forced to enter the operating room without being informed of the nature of the operation or her medical status. She was then put in a room, with her hand and leg tied to the bed all the time, with the presence of two male guards, who cursed her and her mother repeatedly. One of the guards told her to die, and another guard took a ‘selfie’ with her against her will.
Ahed Tamimi in custody (credit: Getty images)
Amnesty International Israel: release Ahed Tamimil
16-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi could face up to ten years in prison over an altercation with Israeli soldiers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The incident involving Ahed took place on the same day that her 15-year-old cousin, Mohammad, was hit in the head at close range by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier. His family told us that he needed surgery to remove part of his skull.
Nothing the teen has done can justify her continued detention. The Israeli authorities must acknowledge this and release her immediately.
There are currently around 350 Palestinian children detained in Israel, according to local human rights organisations.
Over 50 years of occupation, more than 10,000 Palestinian women have been detained by Israeli forces. (credit: Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills)
Dozens of Palestinian women and girls remain in Israel’s prisons
“Testimonies by Palestinian women and girls highlight the brutality of the arrest process as well as conditions inside Israeli interrogation, detention and prison centers and even hospitals while in custody,” prisoners’ rights group Addameer and antiwar group CodePink said in a statement released this week detailing Israel’s violations of the rights of female detainees.
Israeli interrogators use the same torture methods on women as they do on men, including sleep deprivation, denial of food and water, basic hygiene and access to toilets. They are also subjected to sexual harassment and painful stress positions.
Documenting the Plight of Palestinian Female Prisoners
Former prisoner Aisha Awdat cannot forget the night of March 10, 1969, when she was raped with a stick by her Israeli investigator...She has documented that night and her experiences in prison in her book, titled “Dreams of Freedom,” which was published in 2004. Awdat is now the head of the association “Women Imprisoned for Freedom,” dubbed “Masira” and is keen on documenting the experiences of female prisoners.
January 27, 2018
January 26, 2018 is the 3 year anniversary of the Syrian Kurds transformative victory over the Islamic State In Kobane. Fast forward to January 20, 2018 and the fate of Syria's Kurds has taken an uncertain turn with the January 20 Turkish invasion of Afrin. It had been a magnet for internally displaced Syrians because it was a relative safe haven. That has changed with Turkey's indiscriminate air bombarments that has resulted in many civilians dead and wounded. Turkey's Erdogan boasts its goal is to ethnically cleanse Afrin of Kurds. Erdogan says Turkey's next target is Manbij where American troops are stationed. The Pentagon recently announced intentions to remain in northern Syria. The US could draw the proverbial red line in Manbij setting up a conceivable conflict between NATO allies.
Meanwhile a more stealth invasion is occurring in southwestern Syria where Israel is expanding a buffer zone well beyond the illegally occupied Golan Heights, signaling a deeper and more long term investment in the Syrian war.
(credit: The Intercept)
Israel’s “Safe Zone” Is Creeping Farther Into Syria
Israel is pushing to implement the second phase of its “safe-zone” project — an attempt to expand a buffer ranging out from the occupied Golan Heights.
The buffer zone — and its expansion — stand as a deeper and more long-term investment in the Syrian war...The expansion of the project also involves military aid to a wider array of opposition factions.
Israel seized the Golan from Syria in 1967’s Six-Day War. Expanding a buffer zone would likely make any negotiations over the return of the Syrian territory more difficult in the future.
The family’s plastic shoes remain after four members of the al-Khater family died when a Turkish shell hit their home in Maabatli, Kurdish Syria (credit: Robert Fisk)
Inside Afrin, the true victims of Turkey's invasion of northern Syria are revealed - refugees, babies, women and children
This article was added subsequent to Gaza Corner broadcast.
The Independent was the first Western news organisation to visit Afrin since the Turkish invasion. (Turkey is blocking media access.)
Where, I wondered as I walked through the wards of Afrin Hospital, had I heard all this stuff before? Was this not a replay of every Israeli air assault on “terrorists” in southern Lebanon, of every Nato air strike on “Serb forces” in ex-Yugoslavia, of every US attack on Iraqi “forces” in 1991 and 2003 and on Afghanistan and on Mosul last year? All were “surgical” operations – carried out with absolute precision to avoid “collateral damage”, of course – and all left a litter of tens or hundreds or thousands of dead and wounded. Our air assaults – Israeli, NATO, American, Turkish – feed off each other in lies and victims.
We’re trying to build democracy in Syria. So why is Turkey attacking us?
Our population includes Kurds, Arabs, Armenians, Yazidis and Alawites. All of these communities are working together to build a democratic alternative in Syria.
Erdogan allows al-Qaeda to grow along Turkey’s border... Erdogan doesn’t fight al-Qaeda — he works with them.
Erdogan wages war against us under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.” But today it is not only the Kurds who are being attacked by Erdogan. Turkish prisons are filled with peaceful political activists from a wide variety of backgrounds, yet all are accused of terrorism.
The United States needs to enforce a no-fly zone similar to agreements between the United States and Russia...and to establish closer cooperation with our security forces in the region. But Washington must act soon. Time is running out.
No Winners in Turkey’s New Offensive into Syria
Even if they seize the enclave, it remains unclear how Ankara hopes to secure an area inhabited by a hostile population and with a topography suitable for guerrilla warfare. More likely, Turkey will end up in a prolonged fight against a potent, deeply-motivated insurgency.
The offensive puts new stress on Turkey’s already strained relationship with its main strategic ally, the U.S.
“If this lasts for one more week, we’re all going to die of hunger,” Hussein Othman, who runs a pharmacy in Afrin, Syria, and has four children, said. (photograph by George Ourfalian / AFP / Getty)
A Kurdish Family in Syria, Feeling Betrayed by the U.S., Tries to Survive a Turkish Bombing
Hussein Othman, who has four children and runs a pharmacy in Afrin:
“Last night, at midnight, we were sleeping at our house and they started the bombardment again. The house next door... the older woman there got badly injured. The boy, Shiar, who was fourteen, died right away. And the ten-year-old-girl, Hanifa, her leg was chopped off, amputated. The bomb came through the roof when they were sleeping. Just thirty or forty metres from our home."
“Everyone is running out of food, out of medicine. I opened my pharmacy, in Rajo, for just an hour to give medicine to people—most of it for free—earlier today... But the jets started bombing next to the pharmacy, and we had to run for our lives.
“If the Americans told a NATO member, Turkey, not to bombard us, they would not have done it. Everyone in Afrin, we feel like this is the biggest betrayal of our lives.
Afrin's Kurds: 'We will never abandon our homes'
Hamrin Habash, a 22-year-old English literature graduate who lives in Afrin, told the BBC that she had noticed many displaced people arriving from border villages since the start of the Turkish offensive.
"Some of the people who I have met are already refugees from Arab towns controlled by the Turkish-backed groups and Isis. "They ran away from them and they came to Afrin because this was a safe place. Now they have had to run away again from Turkish-backed groups."Unfortunately, I know a family who was killed...They ran from [IS] only to die here in a Turkish air strike."
"I blame...NATO, Russia and the US. We have fought extremist groups in defence of the whole world. And now look what's happened? They let Turkey attack us for its delusional, expansionist dream."
"We will never abandon our homes. Turkey wants to ethnically cleanse the Kurds and we will not let them do that."
Mourners carry the coffins of civilians and military personnel killed in Afrin, Syria, during the Turkish offensive launched last weekend. (credit: George Ourfalian/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Allies or Terrorists: Who Are the Kurdish Fighters in Syria?
As it became the area’s dominant force, the Y.P.G. tried to implement its vision of a utopian society, inspired by Mr. Ocalan. Influenced by Murray Bookchin, an American anarchist, Mr. Ocalan has called for autonomous rule by local committees unbound by national borders. Proponents say they do not seek to break up Syria but are leading a long-term social revolution that will ensure gender and minority rights.
January 20, 2018
audio not yet available
Syrian Kurds rally on Thursday against the Turkish threats in Afrin [AP]
Just when it appeared the war in Syria may be winding down, Turkey unilaterally opened a new front earlier today by attacking the northwestern Syrian Kurdish enclave Afrin with airstrikes and heavy artillery shelling. Afrin had been viewed as a safe haven. Its population doubled to an estimated 800,000 civilians due to internally displaced Syrians fleeing for safety.
Russia controls the airspace over Afrin region. Turkey cannot attack from the sky without green light from Russia. The Turkish invasion ironially named "Operation Olive Branch" could have devastating consequences for peace prospects in Syria.
Cahida Dêrsim @dersi4m ; Jan 20, 2018 ; Turkish jets are also bombing refugees: 9-year-old Yahya Hemad who had fled with his family from Idlib to Afrin has been killed in today’s Turkish bombing (ANHA) #AfrinUnderAttack
Dore note: For up-to-date coverage on the unfolding bombardment of Afrin do not rely on conventional media sources. Avoid Turkish, Kurdish, Russian and US mainstream outlets. Twitter is the best source for quickest news. One person I discovered today is Cahida Dêrsim: @dersi4m. The hash tags #AfrinUnderAttack and #DefendAfrin are sympathetic to Afrin and worth following.
Terrified children, empty streets in Syria's Afrin as Turkey attacks
Heve Mustafa, who co-chairs Afrin's executive council: "The biggest fear we have is that international forces on the ground in Syria which claim they're here to fight terrorism and find a solution to the Syrian problem will turn a blind eye,"
Turkey’s Bluster on Afrin: More Than Meets the Eye
Turkey must solve...complicated dynamics before it invades, or risk unintended escalation and a much larger conflict than it is now planning for.
Turkey risks getting bogged down in an insurgent conflict it cannot win against a U.S.-backed group, while also assuming responsibility for administering and financing territory in a war-torn state for the foreseeable future.
Turkey Faces Balancing Act Amid Border Offensive in Syria
A Syrian Kurdish official, Ilham Ahmed, said the Russians were "bargaining" with Turkey over Afrin in exchange for allowing the government to take Idlib.
Experts examine Erdogan's continuing escalation in Syria
Several Kurdish politicians warn that Turkish military involvement in Afrin would wreak havoc in Turkey. For example, Ayhan Bilgen, spokesperson for pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) tweeted, “If there is a [Turkish] operation against Afrin without an attack from Afrin on Turkey, [it] would lead [Turkey] to civil war if it is successful. If it is unsuccessful, [it would] create grounds for a coup.”
US military: No 'support' for Kurdish YPG in Afrin
Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway stated "We don't consider them as part of our 'Defeat ISIS' operations, which is what we are doing there and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all."
US-led coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said "We are not operating in Afrin."
January 13, 2018
audio not yet available
There is a virtual media blackout on the world's worst man made humaitarian disater, the US sponsored Saudi war on Yemen.
How the U.S. Is Making the War in Yemen Worse
The conflict has killed at least ten thousand civilians, and the country faces famine. Why are we still involved?
MSNBC Ignores Catastrophic U.S.-Backed War in Yemen
For the popular US cable news network MSNBC, the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world is apparently not worth much attention—even as the US government has played a key role in creating and maintaining that unparalleled crisis.
An analysis by FAIR, (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) has found that the leading liberal cable network did not run a single segment devoted specifically to Yemen in the second half of 2017.
The message conveyed is clear: to the leading liberal US cable news network, Yemen is relevant when it is Americans who die—not when thousands of Yemenis are killed, bombed daily by Saudi Arabia, with US weapons, fuel and intelligence; not when millions of Yemenis are on the verge of starving to death while the US/Saudi coalition uses hunger as a weapon.
Media Blackout in Yemen: Preventing the entry of foreign journalists to Yemen violates international conventions
The Journalists Support Committee in Yemen states the (Saudi led) coalition has prevented foreign journalists from entering Yemeni grounds, therefore, preventing media coverage of the dire and dangerous conditions in Yemen.
Hodeida, Yemen (Photo: Twitter)
How the Saudis are making it almost impossible to report on their war in Yemen
Ten thousand people have died. The world’s largest cholera epidemic is raging...Millions more people are starving. Yet the lack of press attention on Yemen’s conflict has led it to be described as the “forgotten war”.
Blocking media access was part of the Saudi-led coalition’s strategy to “bring [Yemen] to its knees in an atmosphere of silence and indifference” claimed a French documentary maker.
* This article was co-authored by Ahmed Baider, a fixer based in Yemen's capital Sana’a, and Lizzie Porter, a freelance journalist based in Beirut who is still waiting for a chance to report from Yemen.
UN OCHA / Philippe Kropf (via Flickr)
Why the War on Yemen Is Ignored
Our government makes the continuation of the Saudi-led campaign possible, and for that reason alone it ought to receive twenty times the coverage here in the U.S. that it gets now. The fact that the Saudi-led intervention is also creating a famine that threatens the lives of millions of people is another.
It’s hard not to conclude that the war on Yemen is mostly ignored because it is an embarrassment to the U.S. and its clients.
January 6, 2018
audio not yet available
Israel is engaging in yet another war. It’s a war that silences words. It’s an all out war on Palestinian freedom of expression and Israel’s coalition partners include social media giants Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments
Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials.
Needless to say, Israelis have virtually free rein to post whatever they want about Palestinians.
As Al Jazeera reported last year...one study found that “122,000 users directly called for violence with words like ‘murder,’ ‘kill,’ or ‘burn.’ Arabs were the No. 1 recipients of hateful comments.” Yet there appears to be little effort by Facebook to censor any of that.
Declared enemies of the U.S. and Israeli governments are vulnerable to censorship measures by Facebook, whereas U.S and Israeli officials (and their most tyrannical and repressive allies) are not.
Glenn Greenwald: Is Facebook Operating as an Arm of the Israeli State by Removing Palestinian Posts?
"To hear Facebook say it’s the U.S. government, the Trump administration, that has the power to tell us who will use Facebook and who can’t is extremely chilling, especially since already last year they proved that they were willing to do the same thing when it came to the Israeli government...who summoned Facebook executives in October of last year to a meeting and directed them to delete the accounts of a huge number of Palestinian activists, journalists, commentators. And Facebook obeyed in almost every one of the cases, even though...Israelis remain free to say the most heinous and awful things about Palestinians, including incitement."
Palestinian Center For Development and Media Freedoms ”MADA” Report: Social Media…A New venue to Censor and Prosecute Journalists (PDF)
Israel is breaching Palestinians basic right of freedom of expression and opinion, and violating media freedoms.
Image used by activists critical of recent blocks and restrictions placed on the Facebook accounts of Palestinian activists and journalists
Facebook ‘deliberately targeting’ Palestinian accounts after meeting with Israeli government, rights groups say
Mousa Rimawi, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) and author of "Social Media...A New Venue to Censor and Prosecute Journalists":“Social media sites are… an efficient window to empower journalists and Palestinians in general to express their opinions freely.[But] systematic surveillance and observation by Israeli Occupation Authorities [means they have become] an open platform for persecution and oppression relating to users’ opinions.”
Facebook 'blocks accounts' of Palestinian journalists
An Israeli legal advocacy group - connected to the Israeli army and intelligence agencies - filed a $1bn lawsuit against Facebook claiming the company was violating the US Anti-Terrorism Act by providing services that assist groups in "recruiting, radicalising and instructing terrorists".
But rights groups and monitors argue that activists and journalists, not "terrorists", are often the target of incitement charges.
Post, Share, Arrest Israel Targeting Palestinian Protesters on Facebook
The arrests of Palestinians for Facebook posts open a window into the practices of Israel’s surveillance state and reveal social media’s darker side. What was once seen as a weapon of the weak has turned into the perfect place to ferret out potential resistance.