Category Archives: Religion

Israel’s West Bank settlements: 4 questions answered

A new housing project in the West Bank settlement of Naale, part of the Israeli government’s recent push to increase its presence in the disputed territory, Jan. 1, 2019.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Dov Waxman, Northeastern University

Editor’s note: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 18 said that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law. That pleased Israeli Jews who see the territory as rightfully theirs and infuriated the Palestinians who live there and claim it as their land.

Here, a professor of Israel studies and the author of a new primer on the Israeli-Palestinian confict explains the history of the West Bank settlements – and why they’re so controversial. Continue reading

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In WWII-Era Fashion, the Saudi-led Coalition is Weaponizing Disease in Yemen

What’s happening in Yemen may not be literal biological warfare, but it is certainly biological warfare by other means reports Ahmed AbdulKareem.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem.  Published 11-22-2019 by MintPress News

The WHO is carrying out a dengue vector control campaign in Aden, Lahj & Al Dhalea. Photo: WHO

 

Beyond the devastation it has caused on the back of tens of thousands of airstrikes, a crippling blockade and the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure, the Saudi-led coalition supported by the United States has sparked an outbreak of disease and epidemics in Yemen in a manner not seen since World War II.

Yemeni activist Aseel Sweid told MintPress News how a young boy, Abdulkarim al-Ma’amari, “died of dengue fever after it spread with alarming speed in Taiz, threatening many innocents.” Sweid added that three of his own brothers had been infected with dengue. “There are a huge amount of people with the fever in the same hospital [as my brothers].” Continue reading

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‘Naked Violation’ of Human Rights: Global Condemnation Over New US Position on Israeli Occupation

“The American government’s decision to jettison international law and to legitimise the illegal Israeli settlements is probably the very last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2019

International voices condemned the U.S. decision to no longer consider the Israeli settlements in Palestine a war crime. (Photo: rpb1001/flickr/cc)

A worldwide chorus of condemnation continued Tuesday over the U.S. decision to no longer ofiicially consider Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal.

Michael Lynk, U.N. Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory, said the decision was “not a step towards peace or justice in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Continue reading

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The So-Called War on Terror Has Killed Over 801,000 People and Cost $6.4 Trillion: New Analysis

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-13-2019

A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle during partnered live fire range training at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan on May 29, 2015. (Photo: Capt. Charlie Emmons/U.S. Army/Flickr/cc)

The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who co-authored the project’s report on deaths. Continue reading

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A Refrain of ‘Drop the Charges’ Rises as Scott Warren Faces Retrial for Giving Aid to Migrants in Need

“No one should die while attempting to migrate, and no one deserves to be punished for working to prevent those deaths.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2019

No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren faces up to 10 years behind bars for giving humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert. (Photo: Alli Jarrar/Amnesty International)

Human rights advocates and family members gathered outside a federal courthouse in Arizona on Tuesday as the retrial began for Scott Warren, who faces up to a decade behind bars for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

“We are here today standing together as rural border residents in the firm belief that every life is sacred, deserving of care and dignity,” Arivaca, Arizona resident Patty Miller said on behalf of the Rural Border Community Coalition. “For those of us living on the border, to deny care to those in need would be to deny our own humanity.” Continue reading

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How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Group

Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions. When one colleague lost her job, they said she had been “Penced.”

By Yeganeh Torbati Published 11-7-2019 by ProPublica

Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the Senate’s vote on Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. On Tuesday night, Pence returned to the chamber again to a break another tie. This time it was to make sure it’s easier in the future for financial service companies and other Wall Street darlies to make it easier to rip-off consumers. (Photo: Senate Television)

 

Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.” Continue reading

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‘Dystopian’: Reproductive Rights Advocates Decry California Woman’s Murder Charge Over Her Stillborn Baby

“Pregnant people being criminalized and thrown in jail because of their pregnancy outcomes is not just a warning for the future: It’s already here.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2019

A woman in California was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her stillborn baby, who had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Experts caution against the criminalization of women who use drugs during pregnancy. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive and human rights advocates on Thursday warned that first-degree murder charges against a woman in California for the death of her stillborn baby is “the direct result” of the anti-choice movement’s push for extreme laws pitting the rights of women against those of unborn children.

Chelsea Cheyenne Becker was arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder in Hanford, California and held on $5 million bail, several weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The baby was found to have toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system, suggesting to investigators that Becker had used the drug throughout her pregnancy. Continue reading

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‘Outrageous’ and ‘Reprehensible’: Trump Gives Taxpayer-Funded Groups Green Light to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

“This rule is an abuse of taxpayer dollars in the name of empowering hatred and bigotry towards society’s most vulnerable members.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-1-2019

The Trump administration continued its attack on LGBTQ rights Friday with a new rule that gives federally funded programs permission to discriminate against LGBTQ people. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

From taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to programs that serve individuals struggling with substance abuse and youth homelessness, grantees of the Department of Health and Human Services got a green light from the Trump administration Friday to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

HHS awards hundreds of billions of dollars in grants annually. The department claimed that the proposed rule (pdf), which took effect immediately, “would better align its grants regulations with federal statutes, eliminating regulatory burden, including burden on the free exercise of religion.” Continue reading

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As Trump Downplays Attack on Kurds, Amnesty Details Turkish War Crimes and ‘Utterly Callous Disregard for Civilian Life’

“Killing defenseless people in cold blood is utterly reprehensible and a blatant war crime,” said Amnesty International secretary general Kumi Naidoo

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2019

The Kurdish authorities have been accusing the Turkish Army of using chemical weapons against the YPG fighters and the civilian population. Photo: Yan Boechat/Twitter

Just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed Turkey’s assault on Kurds in Syria by likening it to a parking lot squabble, Amnesty International on Friday presented damning evidence that Turkish forces and their allies have committed war crimes and displayed a “shameful disregard for civilian life” in northeastern Syria.

Based on video footage, medical records, and witness testimony from journalists and aid workers, Amnesty’s new report details numerous appalling instances of Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies indiscriminately bombarding residential areas, abducting civilians, and committing murder in cold blood. Continue reading

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Report Exposes Right-Wing Effort to Ban Criticism of Israel in US Schools

“Fanatical Zionists are pushing U.S. state legislatures to pass sweeping new restrictions on free speech.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2019

Concerns about state-level legislation outlawing anti-Semitism in U.S. public schools relate to a wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. (Image: Shutterstock)

Human rights and free speech advocates responded with alarm Thursday to a Guardian report revealing that pro-Israel and right-wing lobbyists are encouraging Republican state lawmakers to pass legislation that could outlaw discussions about the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and occupation of Palestinian territory at all levels of the U.S. public education system under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.

Concerns about the legislation relate to its wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. According to The Guardian: Continue reading

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