• Ces jeunes français qui partent en vacances dans l’armée israélienne
    Christophe-Cécil Garnier, Streetpress, le 3 mars 2020
    https://www.streetpress.com/sujet/1583232148-jeunes-francais-qui-partent-vacances-dans-armee-israelienne-

    Les jeunes de 16 à 18 ans constituent les deux tiers des 1.000 volontaires français annuels. Les retraités forment le reste du contingent. Si ces derniers y vont toute l’année, les ados partent eux deux à trois semaines durant l’été et sont une trentaine par base militaire.

    Pour éviter de convoquer leurs troupes afin qu’ils fassent les corvées quotidiennes de l’armée, le gouvernement israélien a trouvé une main-d’oeuvre de remplacement : les volontaires. Ils permettraient à Israël d’économiser 1.600 euros par réserviste épargné. Ces civils n’ont pas besoin d’être de confession juive, même si les trois-quarts le sont, selon nos informations. Pour partir, ils doivent juste payer une centaine d’euros de frais d’enregistrement et leurs billets d’avions.

    Plus qu’apporter un soutien, il reste surtout un relais de propagande par les réseaux sociaux mais aussi le bouche-à-oreille. « C’est un objectif d’Israël qu’à minima ils rentrent avec une image positive de l’État », appuie Iris, une ancienne volontaire.

    #France #israel #armée #complicité #mercenaires #criminels #propagande

  • Trump annonce un « accord de paix historique » entre Israël et les Émirats arabes unis
    Par Le Figaro avec AFP - 13 août 2020
    https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/trump-annonce-un-accord-de-paix-historique-entre-israel-et-les-emirats-arab

    Israël et les Emirats arabes unis ont signé sous l’égide des Etats-Unis un « accord de paix historique », a tweeté jeudi 13 août Donald Trump, permettant à ces deux pays de normaliser leurs relations.

    #Israel-EAU

    • Entre les Émirats arabes unis et Israël, il y a plus qu’un mariage de raison
      Andreas Krieg - Lundi 27 juillet 2020
      https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/opinion-fr/emirats-israel-mbz-annexion-cisjordanie-iran

      Le réchauffement des relations entre les deux pays repose en grande partie sur une vision commune de l’islam politique en tant qu’enjeu sécuritaire

      Alors que le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou fait – progressivement avancer son plan d’annexion de la Cisjordanie occupée –, l’attention s’est portée ces dernières années sur le réchauffement des relations entre les Émirats arabes unis (EAU) et Israël.

      Même si l’ambassadeur émirati à Washington Yousef al-Otaiba a adopté une position ferme contre le projet d’annexion, dans une tribune publiée en hébreu, la normalisation des liens entre Abou Dabi et Tel Aviv ne sera probablement pas conditionnée par la politique palestinienne d’Israël.

      Au-delà des liens géostratégiques, commerciaux et sécuritaires profonds, la relation entre Abou Dabi et Israël repose sur des synergies idéologiques solides. (...)

    • L’Autorité palestinienne rejette l’accord entre Israël et les Emirats, et le qualifie de « trahison »
      franceinfo avec AFP - France Télévisions - Mis à jour le 14/08/2020
      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/proche-orient/israel-palestine/l-autorite-palestinienne-rejette-l-accord-entre-israel-et-les-emirats-e

      Cette dernière a également appelé à une « réunion d’urgence » de la Ligue arabe pour dénoncer le projet soutenu par les Etats-Unis.

      L’Autorité palestinienne de Mahmoud Abbas a qualifié jeudi 13 août au soir de « trahison » de la cause palestinienne l’accord de normalisation des relations entre Israël et les Emirats arabes unis. « Les dirigeants palestiniens rejettent ce que les Emirats arabes unis ont fait. Il s’agit d’une trahison de Jérusalem et de la cause palestinienne », a indiqué dans un communiqué la direction palestinienne. Cette dernière a également appelé à une « réunion d’urgence » de la Ligue arabe pour dénoncer le projet soutenu par les Etats-Unis.

      Le Hamas a également condamné et rejeté cet accord qui « ne sert pas la cause palestinienne mais est considéré comme une continuation du déni des droits du peuple palestinien », selon Hazem Qassem, porte-parole du mouvement islamiste palestinien au pouvoir dans la bande de Gaza. « Cet accord est rejeté et condamné », a-t-il ajouté.

    • Accord avec Israël : la Turquie accuse les Emirats de « trahir la cause palestinienne »
      14 août 2020 Par Agence France-Presse
      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/140820/accord-avec-israel-la-turquie-accuse-les-emirats-de-trahir-la-cause-palest

      La Turquie a accusé vendredi les Emirats arabes unis de « trahir la cause palestinienne » en acceptant de signer un accord de normalisation des relations avec Israël soutenu par les Etats-Unis.
      (...)
      Selon les Emirats, en échange de cet accord, Israël a accepté de « mettre fin à la poursuite de l’annexion des territoires palestiniens ». Mais le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu n’a pas confirmé, évoquant un simple « report ».

      « Les Emirats arabes unis s’efforcent de présenter cela comme une sorte de sacrifice pour la Palestine, alors qu’ils trahissent la cause palestinienne pour servir leurs petits intérêts », a réagi dans un communiqué le ministère turc des Affaires étrangères.

      « L’Histoire et la conscience des peuples de la région n’oublieront pas cette hypocrisie et ne la pardonneront jamais », a-t-il ajouté.

      Ardent défenseur de la cause palestinienne, le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan critique régulièrement les pays arabes qu’il accuse de ne pas adopter une attitude suffisamment ferme face à Israël.

      La vive réaction d’Ankara intervient aussi au moment où les relations entre la Turquie et les Emirats arabes unis, deux rivaux régionaux, sont tendues.

      Les deux pays s’opposent notamment en Libye, où ils soutiennent des camps opposés.

    • L’Iran condamne l’accord Israël/Emirats, une « stupidité stratégique »
      14 août 2020 Par Agence France-Presse
      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/140820/l-iran-condamne-l-accord-israelemirats-une-stupidite-strategique?userid=f9

      L’accord de normalisation des relations entre Israël et les Emirats arabes unis conclu sous l’égide des Etats-Unis est une « stupidité stratégique », a réagi vendredi le ministère iranien des Affaires étrangères.
      (...)
      L’établissement de relations diplomatiques entre Israël et les alliés des Etats-Unis au Moyen-Orient, y compris les riches monarchies du Golfe, est un objectif clé de la stratégie régionale de M. Trump pour contenir la République islamique d’Iran, ennemi intime de Washington et de l’Etat hébreu.

      Ces dernières années, Israël a développé une coopération officieuse avec des économies régionales comme Bahreïn, les Emirats et l’Arabie saoudite.

      Qualifiant « l’action honteuse des Emirats » de dangereuse, l’Iran a mis en garde contre toute ingérence d’Israël dans le Golfe et affirmé que « le gouvernement émirati et les autres Etats à ses côtés seront responsables des conséquences » de cet accord.

      Dans une allusion indirecte à son grand rival régional, l’Arabie saoudite, Téhéran a aussi appelé les dirigeants « dans leur tour d’ivoire » qui s’opposent aux peuples palestinien et yéménite à ne pas faire l’erreur de « confondre leurs ennemis et leurs amis ».

      L’Arabie saoudite intervient dans la guerre au Yémen depuis 2015 en soutien aux forces du gouvernement face aux rebelles Houthis, soutenus par l’Iran.

    • « Un coup de poignard dans le dos » : les Palestiniens dénoncent l’accord de normalisation entre les Émirats et Israël Par MEE et agences - Vendredi 14 août 2020
      https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/actu-et-enquetes/palestine-israel-emirats-arabes-unis-accord-normalisation-annexion

      Les Palestiniens et leurs soutiens ont fustigé l’accord conclu par Abou Dabi avec Israël, qui a par ailleurs annoncé par la voix de son Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou que l’annulation du projet d’annexion censée être prévue par le pacte n’était pas garantie
      (...)
      La France a ainsi jugé que « la décision, prise dans ce cadre par les autorités israéliennes, de suspendre l’annexion de territoires palestiniens [était] une étape positive, qui [devait] devenir une mesure définitive », selon le chef de la diplomatie française Jean-Yves Le Drian.

      Pour les Nations unies, cet accord pourrait créer « une occasion pour les dirigeants israéliens et palestiniens de reprendre des négociations substantielles, débouchant sur une solution à deux États conformément aux résolutions onusiennes en la matière », a déclaré le secrétaire général de l’organisation, António Guterres.

    • Israël et les Emirats arabes unis annoncent une normalisation de leurs relations diplomatiques
      Le Monde avec AFP Publié hier à 18h01, mis à jour à 13h34
      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/08/13/israel-et-les-emirats-arabes-unis-annoncent-une-normalisation-de-leurs-relat

      (...)Le président égyptien, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, a, lui aussi, salué dans un Tweet « une étape [vers la] réalisation de la paix au Moyen-Orient ». Le sultanat d’Oman, lui, a exprimé vendredi son « soutien » à l’accord « historique », a annoncé un porte-parole du ministère des affaires étrangères. « Nous espérons que cette décision contribuera à établir une paix complète, juste et durable au Proche-Orient », a ajouté le responsable, cité par l’agence de presse officielle Oman News Agency (ONA). (...)

  • On Israel, Kamala Harris breaks with liberal 2020 pack | McClatchy Washington Bureau
    https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article229180844.html

    Soutenir sans la moindre question Israël, c’est donc, à en croire cet article, adopter une approche « modérée », ou encore « centriste », vis-à-vis de la question palestinienne ! Pour le reste, c’est sans surprise... #usa #israël

    California Sen. Kamala Harris is resisting pressure from the left flank of her Democratic party to take a more critical stance on the Israeli government and its policies towards Palestinians, holding firmly to her moderate approach to U.S.-Israel relations in her 2020 run for president.

    In the Senate and on the campaign trail, Harris is opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel, foreign aid cuts to the state, condemnatory votes on Israel at the United Nations and public criticism of its leadership — all tactics increasingly popular with the Democratic base and adopted by several of her Democratic presidential rivals.

    Unlike those rivals, Harris is standing by her association with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as the advocacy organization becomes a lightning rod within the Democratic Party.

    “Her support for Israel is central to who she is,” Harris’ campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. “She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza.”

    Harris’ embrace of Israel — one of her first foreign travel destinations as senator — and her diplomatic response to some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most controversial policies are consistent with Democrats’ traditional support for the Jewish state.

    Her centrist positions on Israel could help her hit back against inevitable attacks from the Trump campaign, which has signaled that it plans to play up Democratic divisions on the issue in the general election.

    • How Biden VP Kamala Harris could tip U.S.
      Allison Kaplan Sommer, Amir Tibon | Aug. 12, 2020 | 12:13 PM - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-biden-harris-vp-israel-foreign-policy-1.9060875

      UPDATE: Biden announces Kamala Harris as running mate for 2020 election

      Many of the eulogies for Senator Kamala Harris’ promising but unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination blamed her campaign’s failure on the fact that she was seen as too progressive for the centrists who favored Biden – but not progressive enough for those who rallied around Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

      Harris certainly walked the tightrope on the issue of Israel: She is strongly in the moderate Biden column but has had to adjust her optics, if not the content of her stands to avoid alienating more progressive supporters.

      This process can be measured in her relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Not long after her election as California senator, but well before her presidential bid, Harris was the star performer at the powerful pro-Israel lobby’s 2017 Policy Conference, in a much-quoted appearance: “Having grown up in the Bay Area, I fondly remember those Jewish National Fund boxes that we would use to collect donations to plant trees for Israel,” she said at that conference, followed by a rapturous travelogue of a recent tour of Israel and the West Bank, which she visited with her Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff, whom she married in an interfaith ceremony in 2014.

      She also co-sponsored a Senate resolution in January 2017 criticizing President Barack Obama – in his last week in office – for abstaining in a vote on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policies.

      The following year, as she began to eye the 2020 presidential nomination, Harris did not appear publicly, but quietly attended an off-the-record session at AIPAC that was later revealed in social media posts by attendees. Then, in 2019, after the Democratic hopefuls came under pressure to boycott the confab, she stayed away – but made a point of releasing photos with AIPAC leaders in her Capitol Hill office, facing subsequent criticism from the left wing of the party.

      Like Biden, Harris strongly supports a two-state solution, and she has pleased AIPAC and other “pro-Israel” circles by speaking out in favor of Israel’s “right to defend itself” from Hamas attacks from the Gaza Strip, and saying that she didn’t think the United States should pressure Israel on peace with the Palestinians because a resolution “cannot be imposed by outside parties.” Those circles are surely less excited by her statements during the primary race endorsing the idea of the United States rejoining the Iran nuclear agreement under a new administration, but “look toward expanding it.”

      Following Biden’s announcement of his running mate, Halie Soifer, Harris’s former national security adviser and current executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said the senator “strongly aligns with the values of American Jews, including her support of the U.S.-Israel relationship, her commitment to ensuring access to affordable healthcare and education, her intolerance for hatred and bigotry, and her unwavering efforts to protect our country’s most vulnerable communities.”

      #Kamala_Harris #USA

    • Biden-Harris ticket a blow to Palestinian hopes
      Michael F. Brown Power Suits 12 August 2020 | The Electronic Intifada
      https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/biden-harris-ticket-blow-palestinian-hopes

      US Senator Kamala Harris of California is Joe Biden’s choice to be the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

      Palestine solidarity activists feared this moment. So, too, did a wide range of progressives.

      The worst possible candidate for the top of the ticket will now be joined by perhaps the most anti-Palestinian of the vice presidential candidates.

      In a year of protest against racist police violence, it is also noteworthy that Harris upheld convictions secured through official misconduct and was often not the “progressive prosecutor” she claims to be.

      Harris twice received financial support from Donald Trump when running for state attorney general. (...)

  • Noga Tarnopolsky
    @NTarnopolsky
    8:08 PM · 8 août 2020

    at The Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem
    https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1292160704540278787/pu/vid/848x480/0v7fIOVX9oglbv7I.mp4?tag=10

    Noga Tarnopolsky
    @NTarnopolsky
    8:32 PM · 8 août 2020
    Noga Tarnopolsky
    @NTarnopolsky
    « Justice for Salomon, justice for Iyad ! »

    15,000 Black Flag protesters surrounding Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem

    Charles Enderlin
    @Charles1045
    9:27 PM · 8 août 2020
    https://twitter.com/Charles1045/status/1292180614091857920

    Deux militants.. 2... scandent à l’entrée de la manif : gauchistes traîtres Ils sont gardés par quelques policiers et des responsables de la manif pour que personne ne réagisse à la provocation

    Noga Tarnopolsky
    @NTarnopolsky
    9:55 PM · 8 août 2020

    „Justice for Salomon, justice for Iyad!”
    https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1292187417923981313/pu/vid/1280x720/XAgJcHGPvPl-UNc-.mp4?tag=10

    #Jerusalem #Israelmanif

    • More than 10,000 join peaceful anti-Netanyahu protest in Jerusalem, for fourth week in a row - Israel News - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-thousands-in-jerusalem-for-anti-netanyahu-demo-protesters-allegedl

      Haaretz photographer detained, protesters in Eilat say they were pepper sprayed ■ Near the prime minister’s official residence, one says ’The next political murder is written on the wall’
      Josh Breiner, Noa Shpigel | Aug. 9, 2020 | 4:55 AM | 1

      More than 10,000 protesters gathered on Saturday outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence, and thousands more across the country in demonstrations against the government for the fourth week in a row.

      Police in Jerusalem attempted to bring the demonstration to an end shortly after midnight by airing an announcement over loudspeakers. Police started evacuating protesters from the area around the residence around half an hour later.

      Calls to leave the protest zone after midnight often preceded more severe clashes between protesters and law enforcement at previous demonstrations, and some feared violence before the protest started – but the demonstration ended quickly, after an apparently firm police operation. Three were arrested for “disturbing the peace,” the police later said in a statement.

      Haaretz photographer Ohad Zwigenberg was briefly detained. He was released after being confined for 20 minutes to a bus rented to carry away detained protesters.

      In the southern city of Eilat, protesters said they were pepper sprayed, while a police unit in the area said it noticed “something in the air” that soon subsided. Protesters said about 10 of them felt their eyes burn after being sprayed from inside a car and did not see the perpetrator.

      The protests demanding that Netanyahu resign over his corruption charges have been notable for their relative intensity and allegations of police misconduct, as well as violent assaults on protesters who say their aggressors were right-wing extremists.

      One protester in Jerusalem on Saturday, Liat Levy, told Haaretz: “The next political murder is written on the wall.” Referring to an interview with the murderer of a left-wing activist, she said, “We all heard Yona Avrushmi calling us ‘germs’ yesterday, and that’s the message Netanyahu signaled, and there are those who may get ideas. ... It’s only a matter of time until a protester is hurt.”

      Netanyahu’s Likud party on Saturday called the protests “left-wing riots” and accused Israel’s Channel 12 News of “doing everything it can to encourage the far-left demonstrations” of the premier’s opponents, after it aired an interview with Benny Gantz.

      Some 10,000 people participated in last Saturday’s protest at the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, with 12 protesters being arrested. Earlier that week, five protesters were injured after being attacked, allegedly by far-right counter demonstrators, including with broken glass bottles.

      Netanyahu said this week that the ongoing protests “are being organized at luxury hotels towers” and doubled down on his claims that they are being led by “anarchists.” The prime minister further alleged that the protests “are funded by left-wing foundations and receive disproportionate support from the media.” He has also continuously complained of uncontrolled incitement against him, including what he has said are daily death threats against him and his family and that the media are supportive of the protests “at North Korean” levels. He has also accused protesters of being “coronavirus incubators.”

      Meanwhile, this week Facebook removed three fake accounts that were pretending to be anti-government protest activists and uploaded content inciting against Netanyahu.

      Bar Peleg, Almog Ben Zikri and Reuters contributed to this report.

      #Jerusalem #Israelmanif

    • Thousands throng central Jerusalem in anti-Netanyahu protest
      By ARIEL SCHALIT August 8, 2020
      https://apnews.com/c39038c040683d2faaf39bd6a036613e

      JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets near the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, in a renewed show of strength as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader showed no signs of slowing.

      Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to call on Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges. Self-employed workers whose businesses have been hurt by the economic crisis also joined Saturday’s march.

      Though Netanyahu has tried to downplay the protests, the gatherings only appear to be getting stronger.

      In Jerusalem on Saturday, protesters held Israeli flags, blew horns and chanted slogans against Netanyahu. Some held posters that said “Crime Minister” or called him “out of touch.” A large banner projected onto a nearby building said “Balfour is in our hands,” a reference to the street where Netanyahu lives.

      The demonstrators accuse Netanyahu of corruption and say that he and the country’s bloated coalition government have failed to recognize the suffering of its citizens.

      Israeli media estimated some 15,000 people at the Jerusalem demonstration. An estimated 1,000 also protested at an intersection near Netanyahu’s beach house in the upscale coastal town of Caesaria, and smaller gatherings took place on bridges and at intersections across the country.

      There was a heavy police presence at the demonstrations but no reports of violence in the loud but orderly protests.

      The rallies against Netanyahu are the largest Israel has seen since 2011 protests over the country’s high cost of living.

      After moving quickly to contain the virus last spring, many believe Israel reopened its economy too quickly, leading to a surge in cases. The country is now coping with record levels of coronavirus, while unemployment has surged to over 20%.

      Many of the demonstrators, including many young unemployed Israelis, accuse Netanyau of mishandling the coronavirus crisis and the economic damage it has caused.

      Netanyahu’s Likud Party announced that Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting had been called off because of disagreements with the chief coalition partner, the rival Blue and White Party. The sides have been feuding over the country’s national budget, and if they cannot reach a deal by late this month, Israel would be plunged into an early election.

      Likud and Blue and White have repeatedly squabbled since forming a coalition government in May. While Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has defended the protesters, Netanyahu has dismissed them as “leftists” and “anarchists” and inciting violence against him. He also accuses the local media of strengthening the demonstrations by giving them heavy coverage.

      Netanyahu’s son, Yair, this week caused a public uproar when he described the protesters as “aliens.” Many protesters Saturday dressed up as visitors from outer space to mock the comments.

      While the demonstrations have largely been peaceful, there have been signs of violence in previous weeks. Some protesters have clashed with police, accusing them of using excessive force, while small gangs of Netanyahu supporters affiliated with a far-right group have assaulted demonstrators. But recent gatherings have taken place without incident.

      The demonstrations, taking place several times a week at locations around the country, are organized by a loose-knit network of activist groups. Some object to Netanyahu remaining in office while he is on trial. He has been charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of scandals. Many carry black flags, the name of one of the grassroots movements.

    • Des milliers de personnes aux dernières manifestations anti-Netanyahu
      Des rassemblements ont eu lieu aux abords des habitations du Premier ministre et sur les ponts, dans tout Israël, pour dénoncer la corruption et sa gestion de la pandémie
      Par Aaron Boxerman et Times of Israel Staff 9 août 2020, 12:35
      https://fr.timesofisrael.com/des-milliers-de-personnes-aux-dernieres-manifestations-anti-netany

      Des milliers d’Israéliens se sont réunis samedi soir pour protester contre le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu dans le cadre d’un mouvement plus large dénonçant ses accusations de corruption et sa gestion de la pandémie de coronavirus.

      La principale manifestation a été organisée aux abords de la résidence du Premier ministre à Jérusalem, où des rassemblements anti-Netanyahu ont eu régulièrement lieu ces derniers mois. Selon les médias, environ 15 000 personnes ont pris part au rassemblement, contre 32 000 personnes selon les organisateurs, se basant sur le nombre de brassards distribués aux participants à l’entrée de la place.
      (...)
      De nombreux manifestants ont brandi des panneaux conçus à la main dénonçant un gouvernement déconnecté. Un groupe de protestataires a fabriqué un sous-marin en papier mâché – une allusion à l’affaire de corruption impliquant l’achat de navires qui a éclaboussé des proches de Netanyahu, mais épargné le chef du gouvernement – le promenant à travers la foule. (...)

  • Coronavirus not stopping flow of Israeli tourists to Turkey- Al Monitor

    “Turkey is the ultimate destination for the Israeli tourist who seeks a close and inexpensive vacation without the requirement to quarantine on arrival,” Germon said. “This is one of the only destinations that allows Israelis to enter and travel in the country after a sample coronavirus test at the airport. The relative proximity — only a two-hour flight — and the cheap hotel prices attract Israelis, who can now stay at a five-star hotel for $80 a night in August. For such a price, many Israelis are willing to quarantine for 14 days when they return to Israel.”

    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/08/israel-turkey-donald-trump-mavi-marmara-flotilla-tourism.html

    #Covid-19#turquie#frontière#Israel#Tourisme#migrant#migration

  • Très très très étonnant : Richard Silverstein prétend avoir une source selon laquelle Israël a provoqué l’explosion du stock de nitrate d’ammonium en faisant exploser un stock d’armes du Hezbollah.

    À cet stade, évidemment, beaucoup beaucoup de pincettes. Mais le blog Tikun Olam n’est généralement pas considéré comme fantaisiste.

    BREAKING : Israel Bombed Beirut
    https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2020/08/04/breaking-israel-bombed-beirut

    A confidential highly-informed Israeli source has told me that Israel caused the massive explosion at the Beirut port earlier today which killed over 100 and injured thousands. The bombing also virtually leveled the port itself and caused massive damage throughout the city.

    Israel targeted a Hezbollah weapons depot at the port and planned to destroy it with an explosive device. Tragically, Israeli intelligence did not perform due diligence on their target. Thus they did not know (or if they did know, they didn’t care) that there were 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a next door warehouse. The explosion at the arms depot ignited the next door warehouse, causing the catastrophe that resulted.

    À propos de Richard Silverstein :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikun_Olam_(blog)

  • Israël, Etat d’apartheid ?
    1 AOÛT 2020 PAR RENÉ BACKMANN

    L’organisation israélienne de défense des droits humains Yesh Din a analysé le régime d’occupation imposé par #Israël en #Cisjordanie à la lumière des définitions de l’#apartheid fournies par les Nations unies et la Cour pénale internationale. Conclusion : le crime contre l’humanité d’apartheid est perpétré en Cisjordanie. Les auteurs du crime sont israéliens et les victimes sont les #Palestiniens.

    L’État d’Israël est-il un régime d’apartheid ? Depuis des décennies l’accusation a été portée, avec une intensité et une fréquence croissantes, contre le pouvoir israélien en raison de la forme d’administration arbitraire et brutale imposée à la Cisjordanie et à ses habitants, du traitement discriminatoire réservé à ses citoyens palestiniens, du contrôle total exercé sur Jérusalem-Est, de son comportement avec les Bédouins du Negev, ou de la nature même du sionisme, comme concept et mouvement.

    La construction, à partir du début des années 2000, du mur et du grillage baptisés « barrière de sécurité » par le gouvernement israélien, mais instaurant une véritable séparation de fait entre colons israéliens et Palestiniens, a été, dans la construction de ce réquisitoire, une étape majeure. Car elle a fourni des arguments de poids à ceux – militants des droits humains, juristes, journalistes, politiciens israéliens et palestiniens – qui dénonçaient, derrière le renforcement continu de la colonisation, la dérive incontrôlable vers une politique d’apartheid. Un apartheid à double effet, pourrait-on même dire car le mur et la barrière séparent globalement les Israéliens des Palestiniens, mais aussi, en plusieurs points, comme à l’est de Jérusalem par exemple, des Palestiniens d’autres Palestiniens, otages des méandres coloniaux du mur/barrière.

    Et la promesse récente d’annexion d’une partie au moins de la Cisjordanie, avancée par Benjamin Netanyahou avec le soutien de Donald Trump – même si elle est, pour le moment, en panne – a provoqué une nouvelle salve de soupçons et d’accusations. Zulat, un nouveau groupe de recherches qui milite pour « l’égalité et les droits de l’homme », vient de publier un rapport de 34 pages affirmant qu’il ne s’agirait pas seulement, dans ce cas, d’annexion mais d’apartheid. Le document, fruit des réflexions d’une demi-douzaine de juristes, universitaires et diplomates, démontre notamment comment, en sept étapes, le premier ministre israélien entend « mettre en œuvre un plan qui transformera l’État d’Israël démocratique en État d’apartheid ».

    Caricature rhétorique ? Anticipation polémique ? Hallucination idéologique ? Pour tenter d’en finir avec le procès en radicalisme subjectif fait aux dénonciateurs de la dérive « sud-africaine » du gouvernement israélien, l’ONG israélienne Yesh Din (« Il y a une justice ») a confié à un groupe d’experts – avocats, politologues, magistrats –, comprenant notamment un ancien procureur général de l’État, la mission de vérifier si le crime d’apartheid, tel qu’il est désormais défini par le droit international, est perpétré par Israël.

    Yesh Din était on ne peut mieux armée pour entreprendre cette étude. Depuis 2005, cette discrète ONG, patronnée par des personnalités aussi éminentes et respectables que le dramaturge Joshua Sobol, le sculpteur Dani Karavan ou l’universitaire récemment décédé Zeev Sternhell, fournit une assistance juridique aux Palestiniens, dont les droits sont violés par les autorités israéliennes ou des citoyens israéliens. Le résultat des recherches de Yesh Din, un rapport de 58 pages, a été publié en juin sous le titre : « L’occupation israélienne de la Cisjordanie et le crime d’apartheid : avis juridique. » 

    Riches des enseignements rassemblés en 15 ans sur le terrain par les volontaires, juristes et chercheurs de Yesh Din, les experts ont analysé la nature du régime militaire en Cisjordanie, ainsi que les lois, pratiques et politiques mises en œuvre dans les territoires occupés par l’armée.

    Ils ont ainsi examiné en détail l’entreprise de colonisation, les expropriations massives – souvent sous des prétextes de sécurité –, le détournement des ressources au bénéfice des colons et au détriment des résidents palestiniens, et l’existence du système juridique dual instauré dans le territoire – une loi s’appliquant aux Israéliens, une autre aux Palestiniens. Avec, en tête deux questions majeures : 1) l’occupation explique-t-elle, à elle seule, ce qui se passe en Cisjordanie et ce qu’Israël y a créé, ou une autre construction légale s’y ajoute-t-elle ? 2) L’État d’Israël a-t-il institué un régime d’apartheid en Cisjordanie et si c’est le cas, le crime d’apartheid y est-il commis ?

    Car, rappellent les auteurs du document, l’apartheid, après avoir été l’idéologie d’un régime mis en place en un lieu précis – l’Afrique du Sud – à un moment précis du XXe siècle, « est aujourd’hui une forme particulière de crime contre l’humanité, qui correspond à une définition précise. Et bien que son origine soit historiquement liée au régime raciste d’Afrique du Sud, c’est désormais un concept juridique indépendant qui peut exister sans être fondé sur une idéologie raciste ».

    Pour le droit international, il existe aujourd’hui, en fait, deux définitions de l’apartheid. Celle de la Convention internationale des Nations unies adoptée en novembre 1973 et entrée en vigueur en juillet 1976 ; et celle du Statut de Rome, entré en vigueur en juillet 2002, qui crée la Cour pénale internationale et considère l’apartheid comme l’un des dix crimes contre l’humanité relevant de sa compétence. Les deux textes diffèrent sur certains points mais s’accordent sur une base commune, selon laquelle on entend par crime d’apartheid « des actes inhumains commis dans le cadre d’un régime institutionnalisé d’oppression systématique et de domination d’un groupe racial sur tout autre groupe racial ou tous les groupes raciaux et dans l’intention de maintenir ce régime ».

    Plus détaillée que le Statut de Rome, la Convention de l’ONU énumère ensuite neuf « actes inhumains » qui caractérisent le crime d’apartheid. Parmi ces « actes inhumains » figure notamment le fait de « prendre des mesures, législatives ou autres, destinées à empêcher un groupe racial ou plusieurs groupes raciaux de participer à la vie politique, sociale, économique et culturelle du pays et créer délibérément des conditions faisant obstacle au plein développement du groupe ou des groupes considérés, en particulier en privant les membres d’un groupe racial ou de plusieurs groupes raciaux des libertés et droits fondamentaux de l’homme, notamment le droit au travail, le droit de former des syndicats reconnus, le droit à l’éducation, le droit de quitter son pays et d’y revenir, le droit à une nationalité, le droit de circuler librement et de choisir sa résidence, le droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression et le droit à la liberté de réunion et d’association pacifiques ».

    Compte tenu des définitions de l’apartheid admises par le droit international, et des « actes inhumains » qui le caractérisent, le crime d’apartheid est-il commis en Cisjordanie, au regard des institutions, règlementations, législations et pratiques instaurées par Israël dans les territoires qu’il occupe et colonise ?

    Pour répondre à cette interrogation centrale, l’auteur du rapport, l’avocat Michael Sfard, et les cinq experts qui ont contribué à cette étude juridique ont d’abord longuement analysé l’histoire de l’apartheid et les éléments qui caractérisent ce crime, avant de passer au crible du droit international la vie quotidienne des Palestiniens telle qu’elle a été observée, au fil du temps, par les volontaires de Yesh Din. Rigoureuse et documentée, cette enquête occupe plus de la moitié du document.

    Le crime d’apartheid est perpétré en Cisjordanie

    Composante majeure de la situation d’apartheid, la présence, dans le même espace géographique, de deux groupes nationaux est évidente en Cisjordanie, où coexistent des Juifs israéliens et des Palestiniens, les seconds constituant 86 % de la population totale. Mais la situation locale est particulière, notent les auteurs du rapport, car, à « la domination et l’oppression » de l’occupation militaire, s’ajoute la présence d’une importante population de colons. Ce qui, indiscutablement, constitue « un élément du crime d’apartheid ». D’autant que l’inégalité des statuts civiques et politiques des uns et des autres est patente.

    « L’une des communautés, soulignent les auteurs du document, est constituée de civils vivant sous occupation, sous l’autorité de militaires et soumis à des lois dont ils ne peuvent en rien influencer la création. L’autre est constituée de citoyens du pays occupant. La première n’a aucun droit civique, la seconde a tous ses droits civiques et dispose de toute l’influence politique dont bénéficient les citoyens d’une démocratie. L’une est politiquement invisible tandis que l’autre jouit d’un grand pouvoir politique. »

    Le statut des Palestiniens, dans ce système, est d’autant plus pesant qu’ils sont gouvernés par des militaires en vertu d’un régime juridique qui cumule la réglementation militaire israélienne et les législations jordanienne, britannique et ottomane, le tout subordonné, au moins en théorie, à la législation internationale régissant l’occupation militaire. Le régime des colons israéliens qui vivent parmi eux est en revanche totalement civil, fondé sur les lois adoptées par le Parlement israélien qu’ils élisent et où ils peuvent se faire élire.

    Autre trait caractéristique de la « séparation » entre Israéliens et Palestiniens en Cisjordanie : elle est fondée sur un régime de permis qui ne s’applique qu’aux Palestiniens. Aucun Palestinien ne peut entrer dans une zone où existe une présence israélienne – civile ou militaire – sans raison précise et, surtout, sans disposer d’un permis spécial délivré – ou non – par « l’administration civile » israélienne, c’est-à-dire par la branche de l’armée qui gère l’occupation.

    A l’origine, il s’agissait d’interdire l’entrée des Palestiniens dans les colonies, puis dans l’espace qui les entoure, appelé « zone de sécurité spéciale ». Par la suite, après la construction du mur/barrière, lorsque des centaines de kilomètres carrés de terres palestiniennes se sont retrouvés isolés entre le mur et la « Ligne verte », qui définit le contour de la Cisjordanie, le régime des permis a été étendu à cette « zone de jonction ».

    Et les Palestiniens qui se sont retrouvés séparés de leurs terres agricoles par le mur doivent disposer d’un permis pour entretenir leurs terres ou veiller sur leurs vergers, alors que n’importe quel israélien juif ou touriste étranger peut y accéder librement. Selon une étude conduite par le Bureau de coordination des affaires humanitaires de l’ONU (OCHA), auprès de 67 communautés palestiniennes, 18 % seulement des agriculteurs qui cultivent des terres dans la « zone de jonction » ont obtenu le permis nécessaire pour continuer leur travail.

    À ce régime de permis s’ajoute, pour souligner encore la séparation entre Israéliens et Palestiniens, un réseau compliqué de routes spécifiques, baptisé par les militaires israéliens « dérivations » ou « routes de contournement ». Assigné aux seuls véhicules palestiniens et beaucoup moins bien entretenu que le réseau réservé aux colons, cet enchevêtrement de routes secondaires tortueuses oblige les Palestiniens à de longs détours jalonnés de tunnels – lorsqu’ils croisent une route principale réservée aux Israéliens –, mais il permet aux colons de circuler sans jamais rencontrer les véhicules portant les plaques blanches et vertes délivrées par l’Autorité palestinienne.

    Peinture murale reprenant le cri d’Edvard Munch sur le mur séparant la Cisjordanie © Artur Widak / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP
    Comme le statut civique, la forme de citoyenneté, le régime des permis ou la séparation des réseaux routiers, la disposition de la terre, la pratique des expropriations et l’accès comparé des deux groupes nationaux aux « terres d’État » constituent, aux yeux des experts de Yesh Din, des marqueurs caractéristiques de la discrimination dont l’examen s’avère éloquent. Car « l’administration civile » en fait, depuis des décennies, un usage aussi arbitraire que récurrent.
    Invoquant une interprétation controversée de la « loi de la terre » ottomane de 1858, qui déclare « terres d’État » les terres agricoles qui n’ont pas été cultivées de manière continue, « l’administration civile » a déclaré entre 1978 et 1992 « terres d’État » près de 30 % de la superficie de la Cisjordanie – hors Jérusalem-Est. La majeure partie de ces terres, utilisées à l’origine par les Palestiniens pour y élever leur cheptel et développer leurs villages, ont été – et sont encore – affectées à la construction et à l’extension continue des colonies.

    Les auteurs du rapport de Yesh Din constatent que d’après les documents qu’ils ont consultés, seulement 0,24 % des « terres d’État » ont été allouées depuis 1967 à des « entités palestiniennes », alors que plus de 99,26 % ont été attribuées à l’Organisation sioniste mondiale qui développe des colonies, à des colonies déjà existantes, à des ministères israéliens ou à de grandes entreprises israéliennes.

    À ces expropriations ordonnées et exécutées par l’État israélien s’ajoutent, soulignent les auteurs du rapport, les « appropriations violentes » pratiquées par les colons. « Même si cette violence n’est pas perpétrée par le régime, notent les experts, l’aveuglement volontaire des autorités, l’absence de toute volonté de faire respecter la loi et la légitimation rétroactive par les autorités de la présence des colons sur les terres qu’ils viennent de s’approprier illégalement ne laissent pas d’autre choix que de tenir le régime pour responsable. » Selon une étude de Yesh Din réalisée en janvier 2019, près de 30 « avant-postes » investis par des colons avaient été rétroactivement autorisés et 70 autres étaient en voie de « régularisation ».
    « En plus de ces discriminations en matière de droits et d’usage des ressources, le régime d’occupation utilise diverses mesures, dont certaines sont draconiennes, pour éliminer toute forme de résistance, même lorsqu’elle est non violente, constate le rapport. Des ordres militaires limitent les protestations non violentes et interdisent manifestations, réunions publiques et cortèges. Le régime militaire s’appuie systématiquement sur la détention administrative et la criminalisation des associations politiques pour empêcher toute opposition. Toutes les principales organisations politiques palestiniennes, y compris le Fatah et l’OLP avec lesquels le gouvernement israélien a conclu des accords, ont été déclarées associations interdites ou organisations terroristes, et des milliers de Palestiniens ont été emprisonnés pour leur appartenance à ces organisations, même s’ils n’ont participé à aucune action violente. »

    Ajoutée au déni de toute expression et représentation démocratique lié au statut spécifique des Palestiniens de Cisjordanie, et à la négation de toute liberté de résidence et de mouvement, cette criminalisation de toute opposition, même non violente, confirme que la préservation, la protection du régime imposé par l’occupant est l’une des caractéristiques majeures des institutions mises en place et consolidées par Israël. « Les changements que les gouvernements israéliens ont infligés à la Cisjordanie ont été si profonds, les efforts accomplis pour renforcer l’emprise israélienne sur la région et affaiblir les Palestiniens si intenses, constatent les experts de Yesh Dini, que l’évidence, accumulée au fil des ans, de l’intention israélienne de maintenir son contrôle permanent sur la région est solide, au point d’être sans équivoque, manifeste et probante. » Or, cette « intention de maintenir le régime institutionnalisé d’oppression » est l’un des critères qui définissent le crime d’apartheid pour le Statut de Rome.

    « Oui, nous » : le titre choisi par les auteurs du rapport pour leur conclusion répond clairement à la double question, teintée d’incrédulité, qui ouvrait leur document : « Apartheid ? Nous ? » « C’est une constatation difficile à faire, écrit le rédacteur du rapport, mais la conclusion de cet avis est que le crime contre l’humanité d’apartheid est perpétré en Cisjordanie. Les auteurs du crime sont israéliens et les victimes sont les Palestiniens. L’annexion rampante qui se poursuit, sans parler de l’annexion officielle d’une partie de la Cisjordanie, par une législation qui y appliquerait la loi et l’administration d’Israël, est un amalgame des deux régimes. Ce qui pourrait renforcer l’accusation, déjà entendue, selon laquelle le crime d’apartheid n’est pas commis seulement en Cisjordanie. Et que le régime israélien, dans sa totalité, est un régime d’apartheid. Qu’Israël est un État d’apartheid. C’est lamentable et honteux. Et même si tous les Israéliens ne sont pas coupables de ce crime, nous en sommes tous responsables. C’est le devoir de tous et de chacun d’agir résolument pour mettre un terme à la perpétration de ce crime. »

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/010820/israel-etat-d-apartheid?onglet=full

    • EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment (19.06.2020)

      The approval of the new #Frontex_Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU’s border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.

      In 2020 Frontex’s #budget grew to €420.6 million, an increase of over 34% compared to 2019. The European Commission has proposed that in the next EU budget (formally known as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF, covering 2021-27) €11 billion will be made available to the agency, although legal negotiations are ongoing and have hit significant stumbling blocks due to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and political disagreements.

      Nevertheless, the increase for this year has clearly provided a number of opportunities for Frontex. For instance, it has already agreed contracts worth €28 million for the acquisition of dozens of vehicles equipped with thermal and day cameras, surveillance radar and sensors.

      According to the contract for the provision of Mobile Surveillance Systems, these new tools will be used “for detection, identification and recognising of objects of interest e.g. human beings and/or groups of people, vehicles moving across the border (land and sea), as well as vessels sailing within the coastal areas, and other objects identified as objects of interest”. [1]

      Frontex has also published a call for tenders for Maritime Analysis Tools, worth a total of up to €2.6 million. With this, Frontex seeks to improve access to “big data” for maritime analysis. [2] The objective of deploying these tools is to enhance Frontex’s operational support to EU border, coast guard and law enforcement authorities in “suppressing and preventing, among others, illegal migration and cross-border crime in the maritime domain”.

      Moreover, the system should be capable of delivering analysis and identification of high-risk threats following the collection and storage of “big data”. It is not clear how much human input and monitoring there will be of the identification of risks. The call for tenders says the winning bidder should have been announced in May, but there is no public information on the chosen company so far.

      As part of a 12-month pilot project to examine how maritime analysis tools could “support multipurpose operational response,” Frontex previously engaged the services of the Tel Aviv-based company Windward Ltd, which claims to fuse “maritime data and artificial intelligence… to provide the right insights, with the right context, at the right time.” [3] Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. [4]

      As the agency’s gathering and processing of data increases, it also aims to improve and develop its own internal IT systems, through a two-year project worth €34 million. This will establish a set of “framework contracts”. Through these, each time the agency seeks a new IT service or system, companies selected to participate in the framework contracts will submit bids for the work. [5]

      The agency is also seeking a ’Software Solution for EBCG [European Border and Coast Guard] Team Members to Access to Schengen Information System’, through a contract worth up to €5 million. [6] The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the EU’s largest database, enabling cooperation between authorities working in the fields of police, border control and customs of all the Schengen states (26 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and its legal bases were recently reformed to include new types of alert and categories of data. [7]

      This software will give Frontex officials direct access to certain data within the SIS. Currently, they have to request access via national border guards in the country in which they are operating. This would give complete autonomy to Frontex officials to consult the SIS whilst undertaking operations, shortening the length of the procedure. [8]

      With the legal basis for increasing Frontex’s powers in place, the process to build up its personnel, material and surveillance capacities continues, with significant financial implications.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/june/eu-frontex-splashes-out-millions-of-euros-for-new-technology-and-equipme

      #technologie #équipement #Multiannual_Financial_Framework #MFF #surveillance #Mobile_Surveillance_Systems #Maritime_Analysis_Tools #données #big_data #mer #Windward_Ltd #Israël #John_Browne #BP #complexe_militaro-industriel #Software_Solution_for_EBCG_Team_Members_to_Access_to_Schengen_Information_System #SIS #Schengen_Information_System

    • EU : Guns, guards and guidelines : reinforcement of Frontex runs into problems (26.05.2020)

      An internal report circulated by Frontex to EU government delegations highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency is urging swift action to implement the mandate and is pressing ahead with the recruitment of its new ‘standing corps’. However, there are legal problems with the acquisition, registration, storage and transport of weapons. The agency is also calling for derogations from EU rules on staff disciplinary measures in relation to the use of force; and wants an extended set of privileges and immunities. Furthermore, it is assisting with “voluntary return” despite this activity appearing to fall outside of its legal mandate.

      State-of-play report

      At the end of April 2020, Frontex circulated a report to EU government delegations in the Council outlining the state of play of the implementation of its new Regulation (“EBCG 2.0 Regulation”, in the agency and Commission’s words), especially relating to “current challenges”.[1] Presumably, this refers to the outbreak of a pandemic, though the report also acknowledges challenges created by the legal ambiguities contained in the Regulation itself, in particular with regard to the acquisition of weapons, supervisory and disciplinary mechanisms, legal privileges and immunities and involvement in “voluntary return” operations.

      The path set out in the report is that the “operational autonomy of the agency will gradually increase towards 2027” until it is a “fully-fledged and reliable partner” to EU and Schengen states. It acknowledges the impacts of unforeseen world events on the EU’s forthcoming budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework, MFF) for 2021-27, and hints at the impact this will have on Frontex’s own budget and objectives. Nevertheless, the agency is still determined to “continue increasing the capabilities” of the agency, including its acquisition of new equipment and employment of new staff for its standing corps.

      The main issues covered by the report are: Frontex’s new standing corps of staff, executive powers and the use of force, fundamental rights and data protection, and the integration into Frontex of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System.

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

      A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”.[2] The report notes that the establishment of the standing corps has been heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. According to the report, 7,238 individuals had applied to join the standing corps before the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,482 of these – over 75% – were assessed by the agency as eligible, with a final 304 passing the entire selection process to be on the “reserve lists”.[3]

      Despite interruptions to the recruitment procedure following worldwide lockdown measures, interviews for Category 1 staff – permanent Frontex staff members to be deployed on operations – were resumed via video by the end of April. 80 candidates were shortlisted for the first week, and Frontex aims to interview 1,000 people in total. Despite this adaptation, successful candidates will have to wait for Frontex’s contractor to re-open in order to carry out medical tests, an obligatory requirement for the standing corps.[4]

      In 2020, Frontex joined the European Defence Agency’s Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Communications and Information System (CIS) services in order to ensure ICT support for the standing corps in operation as of 2021.[5] The EDA describes SatCom and CIS as “fundamental for Communication, Command and Control in military operations… [enabling] EU Commanders to connect forces in remote areas with HQs and capitals and to manage the forces missions and tasks”.[6]

      Training

      The basic training programme, endorsed by the management board in October 2019, is designed for Category 1 staff. It includes specific training in interoperability and “harmonisation with member states”. The actual syllabus, content and materials for this basic training were developed by March 2020; Statewatch has made a request for access to these documents, which is currently pending with the Frontex Transparency Office. This process has also been affected by the novel coronavirus, though the report insists that “no delay is foreseen in the availability of the specialised profile related training of the standing corps”.

      Use of force

      The state-of-play-report acknowledges a number of legal ambiguities surrounding some of the more controversial powers outlined in Frontex’s 2019 Regulation, highlighting perhaps that political ambition, rather than serious consideration and assessment, propelled the legislation, overtaking adequate procedure and oversight. The incentive to enact the legislation within a short timeframe is cited as a reason that no impact assessment was carried out on the proposed recast to the agency’s mandate. This draft was rushed through negotiations and approved in an unprecedented six-month period, and the details lost in its wake are now coming to light.

      Article 82 of the 2019 Regulation refers to the use of force and carriage of weapons by Frontex staff, while a supervisory mechanism for the use of force by statutory staff is established by Article 55. This says:

      “On the basis of a proposal from the executive director, the management board shall: (a) establish an appropriate supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on use of force by statutory staff, including rules on reporting and specific measures, such as those of a disciplinary nature, with regard to the use of force during deployments”[7]

      The agency’s management board is expected to make a decision about this supervisory mechanism, including specific measures and reporting, by the end of June 2020.

      The state-of-play report posits that the legal terms of Article 55 are inconsistent with the standard rules on administrative enquiries and disciplinary measures concerning EU staff.[8] These outline, inter alia, that a dedicated disciplinary board will be established in each institution including at least one member from outside the institution, that this board must be independent and its proceedings secret. Frontex insists that its staff will be a special case as the “first uniformed service of the EU”, and will therefore require “special arrangements or derogations to the Staff Regulations” to comply with the “totally different nature of tasks and risks associated with their deployments”.[9]

      What is particularly astounding about Frontex demanding special treatment for oversight, particularly on use of force and weapons is that, as the report acknowledges, the agency cannot yet legally store or transport any weapons it acquires.

      Regarding service weapons and “non-lethal equipment”,[10] legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland, where the agency’s headquarters is located. Frontex has applied to the Commission for clarity on how to proceed, says the report. Frontex declined to comment on the status of this consultation and any indications of the next steps the agency will take. A Commission spokesperson stated only that it had recently received the agency’s enquiry and “is analysing the request and the applicable legal framework in the view of replying to the EBCGA”, without expanding further.

      Until Frontex has the legal basis to do so, it cannot launch a tender for firearms and “non-lethal equipment” (which includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs). However, the report implies the agency is ready to do so as soon as it receives the green light. Technical specifications are currently being finalised for “non-lethal equipment” and Frontex still plans to complete acquisition by the end of the year.

      Privileges and immunities

      The agency is also seeking special treatment with regard to the legal privileges and immunities it and its officials enjoy. Article 96 of the 2019 Regulation outlines the privileges and immunities of Frontex officers, stating:

      “Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU shall apply to the Agency and its statutory staff.” [11]

      However, Frontex notes that the Protocol does not apply to non-EU states, nor does it “offer a full protection, or take into account a need for the inviolability of assets owned by Frontex (service vehicles, vessels, aircraft)”.[12] Frontex is increasingly involved in operations taking place on non-EU territory. For instance, the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states, primarily in the Western Balkans, concerning Frontex activities in those countries. To launch operations under these agreements, Frontex will (or, in the case of Albania, already has) agree on operational plans with each state, under which Frontex staff can use executive powers.[13] The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.

      Law enforcement

      To implement its enhanced functions regarding cross-border crime, Frontex will continue to participate in Europol’s four-year policy cycle addressing “serious international and organised crime”.[14] The agency is also developing a pilot project, “Investigation Support Activities- Cross Border Crime” (ISA-CBC), addressing drug trafficking and terrorism.

      Fundamental rights and data protection

      The ‘EBCG 2.0 Regulation’ requires several changes to fundamental rights measures by the agency, which, aside from some vague “legal analyses” seem to be undergoing development with only internal oversight.

      Firstly, to facilitate adequate independence of the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO), special rules have to be established. The FRO was introduced under Frontex’s 2016 Regulation, but has since then been understaffed and underfunded by the agency.[15] The 2019 Regulation obliges the agency to ensure “sufficient and adequate human and financial resources” for the office, as well as 40 fundamental rights monitors.[16] These standing corps staff members will be responsible for monitoring compliance with fundamental rights standards, providing advice and assistance on the agency’s plans and activities, and will visit and evaluate operations, including acting as forced return monitors.[17]

      During negotiations over the proposed Regulation 2.0, MEPs introduced extended powers for the Fundamental Rights Officer themselves. The FRO was previously responsible for contributing to Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy and monitoring its compliance with and promotion of fundamental rights. Now, they will be able to monitor compliance by conducting investigations; offering advice where deemed necessary or upon request of the agency; providing opinions on operational plans, pilot projects and technical assistance; and carrying out on-the-spot visits. The executive director is now obliged to respond “as to how concerns regarding possible violations of fundamental rights… have been addressed,” and the management board “shall ensure that action is taken with regard to recommendations of the fundamental rights officer.” [18] The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation.

      The state-of-play report says that “legal analyses and exchanges” are ongoing, and will inform an eventual management board decision, but no timeline for this is offered. [19] The agency will also need to adapt its much criticised individual complaints mechanism to fit the requirements of the 2019 Regulation; executive director Fabrice Leggeri’s first-draft decision on this process is currently undergoing internal consultations. Even the explicit requirement set out in the 2019 Regulation for an “independent and effective” complaints mechanism,[20] does not meet minimum standards to qualify as an effective remedy, which include institutional independence, accessibility in practice, and capacity to carry out thorough and prompt investigations.[21]

      Frontex has entered into a service level agreement (SLA) with the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) for support in establishing and training the team of fundamental rights monitors introduced by the 2019 Regulation. These monitors are to be statutory staff of the agency and will assess fundamental rights compliance of operational activities, advising, assisting and contributing to “the promotion of fundamental rights”.[22] The scope and objectives for this team were finalised at the end of March this year, and the agency will establish the team by the end of the year. Statewatch has requested clarification as to what is to be included in the team’s scope and objectives, pending with the Frontex Transparency Office.

      Regarding data protection, the agency plans a package of implementing rules (covering issues ranging from the position of data protection officer to the restriction of rights for returnees and restrictions under administrative data processing) to be implemented throughout 2020.[23] The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.

      Returns

      The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) – a network of 15 European states and the Commission facilitating cooperation over return operations “as part of the EU efforts to manage migration” – is to be handed over to Frontex. [24] A handover plan is currently under the final stage of review; it reportedly outlines the scoping of activities and details of “which groups of returnees will be eligible for Frontex assistance in the future”.[25] A request from Statewatch to Frontex for comment on what assistance will be provided by the agency to such returnees was unanswered at the time of publication.

      Since the entry into force of its new mandate, Frontex has also been providing technical assistance for so-called voluntary returns, with the first two such operations carried out on scheduled flights (as opposed to charter flights) in February 2020. A total of 28 people were returned by mid-April, despite the fact that there is no legal clarity over what the definition “voluntary return” actually refers to, as the state-of-play report also explains:

      “The terminology of voluntary return was introduced in the Regulation without providing any definition thereof. This terminology (voluntary departure vs voluntary return) is moreover not in line with the terminology used in the Return Directive (EBCG 2.0 refers to the definition of returns provided for in the Return Directive. The Return Directive, however, does not cover voluntary returns; a voluntary return is not a return within the meaning of the Return Directive). Further elaboration is needed.”[26]

      On top of requiring “further clarification”, if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate. Statewatch has launched an investigation into the agency’s activities relating to voluntary returns, to outline the number of such operations to date, their country of return and country of destination.

      Frontex is currently developing a module dedicated to voluntary returns by charter flight for its FAR (Frontex Application for Returns) platform (part of its return case management system). On top of the technical support delivered by the agency, Frontex also foresees the provision of on-the-ground support from Frontex representatives or a “return counsellor”, who will form part of the dedicated return teams planned for the standing corps from 2021.[27]

      Frontex has updated its return case management system (RECAMAS), an online platform for member state authorities and Frontex to communicate and plan return operations, to manage an increased scope. The state-of-play report implies that this includes detail on post-return activities in a new “post-return module”, indicating that Frontex is acting on commitments to expand its activity in this area. According to the agency’s roadmap on implementing the 2019 Regulation, an action plan on how the agency will provide post-return support to people (Article 48(1), 2019 Regulation) will be written by the third quarter of 2020.[28]

      In its closing paragraph, related to the budgetary impact of COVID-19 regarding return operations, the agency notes that although activities will resume once aerial transportation restrictions are eased, “the agency will not be able to provide what has been initially intended, undermining the concept of the EBCG as a whole”.[29]

      EUROSUR

      The Commission is leading progress on adopting the implementing act for the integration of EUROSUR into Frontex, which will define the implementation of new aerial surveillance,[30] expected by the end of the year.[31] Frontex is discussing new working arrangements with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). The development by Frontex of the surveillance project’s communications network will require significant budgetary investment, as the agency plans to maintain the current system ahead of its planned replacement in 2025.[32] This investment is projected despite the agency’s recognition of the economic impact of Covid-19 on member states, and the consequent adjustments to the MFF 2021-27.

      Summary

      Drafted and published as the world responds to an unprecedented pandemic, the “current challenges” referred to in the report appear, on first read, to refer to the budgetary and staffing implications of global shut down. However, the report maintains throughout that the agency’s determination to expand, in terms of powers as well as staffing, will not be stalled despite delays and budgeting adjustments. Indeed, it is implied more than once that the “current challenges” necessitate more than ever that these powers be assumed. The true challenges, from the agency’s point of view, stem from the fact that its current mandate was rushed through negotiations in six months, leading to legal ambiguities that leave it unable to acquire or transport weapons and in a tricky relationship with the EU protocol on privileges and immunities when operating in third countries. Given the violence that so frequently accompanies border control operations in the EU, it will come as a relief to many that Frontex is having difficulties acquiring its own weaponry. However, it is far from reassuring that the introduction of new measures on fundamental rights and accountability are being carried out internally and remain unavailable for public scrutiny.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Note: this article was updated on 26 May 2020 to include the European Commission’s response to Statewatch’s enquiries.

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

      “the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states... under which” replaces “the agency has entered into working agreements with Balkan states, under which”
      “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in any detail in the Regulation beyond monitoring the agency’s ’compliance with fundamental rights, including by conducting investigations’” replaces “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation”
      “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it further exposes the haste with which legislation written to deny entry into the EU and facilitate expulsions was drafted” replaces “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate”

      Endnotes

      [1] Frontex, ‘State of play of the implementation of the EBCG 2.0 Regulation in view of current challenges’, 27 April 2020, contained in Council document 7607/20, LIMITE, 20 April 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/may/eu-council-frontex-ECBG-state-of-play-7607-20.pdf

      [2] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

      [4] Jane Kilpatrick, ‘Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards’, Statewatch Analysis, March 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-355-frontex-recruitment-standing-corps.pdf

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

      [6] EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market

      [7] Article 55(5)(a), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex 2019 Regulation), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [8] Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

      [11] Protocol (No 7), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.202.01.0001.01.ENG#d1e3363-201-1

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

      [13] ‘Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval’, Statewatch News, 11 March 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/frontex-status-agreements.htm

      [14] Europol, ‘EU policy cycle – EMPACT’, https://www.europol.europa.eu/empact

      [15] ‘NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex’s respect for fundamental rights’, Statewatch News, 5 March 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/fx-consultative-forum-rep.htm; ‘Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations’, Statewatch News, 21 May 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      [16] Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

      [21] Sergio Carrera and Marco Stefan, ‘Complaint Mechanisms in Border Management and Expulsion Operations in Europe: Effective Remedies for Victims of Human Rights Violations?’, CEPS, 2018, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/Complaint%20Mechanisms_A4.pdf

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

      [24] ERRIN, https://returnnetwork.eu

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [28] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

      [30] Matthias Monroy, ‘Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders’, Statewatch Analysis, February 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-354-frontex-drones.pdf

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

      [32] Section 7.2, state of play report
      Next article >

      Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/eu-guns-guards-and-guidelines-reinforcement-of-frontex-runs-into-problem

      #EBCG_2.0_Regulation #European_Defence_Agency’s_Satellite_Communications (#SatCom) #Communications_and_Information_System (#CIS) #immunité #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #Fundamental_Rights_Officer (#FRO) #European_Return_and_Reintegration_Network (#ERRIN) #renvois #expulsions #réintégration #Directive_Retour #FAR (#Frontex_Application_for_Returns) #RECAMAS #EUROSUR #European_Aviation_Safety_Agency (#EASA) #European_Organisation_for_the_Safety_of_Air_Navigation (#EUROCONTROL)

    • Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards

      On 4 January 2020 the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted a decision on the profiles of the staff required for the new “standing corps”, which is ultimately supposed to be staffed by 10,000 officials. [1] The decision ushers in a new wave of recruitment for the agency. Applicants will be put through six months of training before deployment, after rigorous medical testing.

      What is the standing corps?

      The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps is the new, and according to Frontex, first ever, EU uniformed service, available “at any time…to support Member States facing challenges at their external borders”.[2] Frontex’s Programming Document for the 2018-2020 period describes the standing corps as the agency’s “biggest game changer”, requiring “an unprecedented scale of staff recruitment”.[3]

      The standing corps will be made up of four categories of Frontex operational staff:

      Frontex statutory staff deployed in operational areas and staff responsible for the functioning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit[4];
      Long-term staff seconded from member states;
      Staff from member states who can be immediately deployed on short-term secondment to Frontex; and

      A reserve of staff from member states for rapid border interventions.

      These border guards will be “trained by the best and equipped with the latest technology has to offer”.[5] As well as wearing EU uniforms, they will be authorised to carry weapons and will have executive powers: they will be able to verify individuals’ identity and nationality and permit or refuse entry into the EU.

      The decision made this January is limited to the definition of profiles and requirements for the operational staff that are to be recruited. The Management Board (MB) will have to adopt a new decision by March this year to set out the numbers of staff needed per profile, the requirements for individuals holding those positions, and the number of staff needed for the following year based on expected operational needs. This process will be repeated annually.[6] The MB can then further specify how many staff each member state should contribute to these profiles, and establish multi-annual plans for member state contributions and recruitment for Frontex statutory staff. Projections for these contributions are made in Annexes II – IV of the 2019 Regulation, though a September Mission Statement by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urges the recruitment of 10,000 border guards by 2024, indicating that member states might be meeting their contribution commitments much sooner than 2027.[7]

      The standing corps of Frontex staff will have an array of executive powers and responsibilities. As well as being able to verify identity and nationality and refuse or permit entry into the EU, they will be able to consult various EU databases to fulfil operational aims, and may also be authorised by host states to consult national databases. According to the MB Decision, “all members of the Standing Corps are to be able to identify persons in need of international protection and persons in a vulnerable situation, including unaccompanied minors, and refer them to the competent authorities”. Training on international and EU law on fundamental rights and international protection, as well as guidelines on the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection, will be mandatory for all standing corps staff members.

      The size of the standing corps

      The following table, taken from the 2019 Regulation, outlines the ambitions for growth of Frontex’s standing corps. However, as noted, the political ambition is to reach the 10,000 total by 2024.

      –-> voir le tableau sur le site de statewatch!

      Category 2 staff – those on long term secondment from member states – will join Frontex from 2021, according to the 2019 Regulation.[8] It is foreseen that Germany will contribute the most staff, with 61 expected in 2021, increasing year-by-year to 225 by 2027. Other high contributors are France and Italy (170 and 125 by 2027, respectively).

      The lowest contributors will be Iceland (expected to contribute between one and two people a year from 2021 to 2027), Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Liechtenstein is not contributing personnel but will contribute “through proportional financial support”.

      For short-term secondments from member states, projections follow a very similar pattern. Germany will contribute 540 staff in 2021, increasing to 827 in 2027; Italy’s contribution will increase from 300 in 2021 to 458 in 2027; and France’s from 408 in 2021 to 624 in 2027. Most states will be making less than 100 staff available for short-term secondment in 2021.

      What are the profiles?

      The MB Decision outlines 12 profiles to be made available to Frontex, ranging from Border Guard Officer and Crew Member, to Cross Border Crime Detection Officer and Return Specialist. A full list is contained in the Decision.[9] All profiles will be fulfilled by an official of the competent authority of a member state (MS) or Schengen Associated Country (SAC), or by a member of Frontex’s own statutory staff.

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

      border checks and surveillance;
      interviewing, debriefing* and screening arrivals and registering fingerprints;
      supporting the collection, assessment, analysis and distribution of information with EU member and non-member states;
      verifying travel documents;
      escorting individuals being deported on Frontex return operations;
      operating data systems and platforms; and
      offering cultural mediation

      *Debriefing consists of informal interviews with migrants to collect information for risk analyses on irregular migration and other cross-border crime and the profiling of irregular migrants to identify “modus operandi and migration trends used by irregular migrants and facilitators/criminal networks”. Guidelines written by Frontex in 2012 instructed border guards to target vulnerable individuals for “debriefing”, not in order to streamline safeguarding or protection measures, but for intelligence-gathering - “such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences,” said an internal document.[10] It is unknown whether those instructions are still in place.

      Recruitment for the profiles

      Certain profiles are expected to “apply self-safety and security practice”, and to have “the capacity to work under pressure and face emotional events with composure”. Relevant profiles (e.g. crew member) are required to be able to perform search and rescue activities in distress situations at sea borders.

      Frontex published a call for tender on 27 December for the provision of medical services for pre-recruitment examinations, in line with the plan to start recruiting operational staff in early 2020. The documents accompanying the tender reveal additional criteria for officials that will be granted executive powers (Frontex category “A2”) compared to those staff stationed primarily at the agency’s Warsaw headquarters (“A1”). Those criteria come in the form of more stringent medical testing.

      The differences in medical screening for category A1 and A2 staff lie primarily in additional toxicology screening and psychiatric and psychological consultations. [11] The additional psychiatric attention allotted for operational staff “is performed to check the predisposition for people to work in arduous, hazardous conditions, exposed to stress, conflict situations, changing rapidly environment, coping with people being in dramatic, injure or death exposed situations”.[12]

      Both A1 and A2 category provisional recruits will be asked to disclose if they have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease or “genital organ disease”, as well as depression, nervous or mental disorders, among a long list of other ailments. As well as disclosing any medication they take, recruits must also state if they are taking oral contraceptives (though there is no question about hormonal contraceptives that are not taken orally). Women are also asked to give the date of their last period on the pre-appointment questionnaire.

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

      Frontex training materials on forced return operations obtained by Statewatch in 2019 acknowledge the likelihood of psychological stress among staff, among other health risks. (One recommendation contained in the documents is to “never touch yourself with gloves”). Citing “dissonance within the team, long hours with no rest, group dynamic, improvisation and different languages” among factors behind psychological stress, the training materials on medical precautionary measures for deportation escort officers also refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the lack of an area to retreat to and body clock disruption as exacerbating risks. The document suggests a high likelihood that Frontex return escorts will witness poverty, “agony”, “chaos”, violence, boredom, and will have to deal with vulnerable persons.[13]

      For fundamental rights monitors (officials deployed to monitor fundamental rights compliance during deportations, who can be either Frontex staff or national officials), the training materials obtained by Statewatch focus on the self-control of emotions, rather than emotional care. Strategies recommended include talking to somebody, seeking professional help, and “informing yourself of any other option offered”. The documents suggest that it is an individual’s responsibility to prevent emotional responses to stressful situations having an impact on operations, and to organise their own supervision and professional help. There is no obvious focus on how traumatic responses of Frontex staff could affect those coming into contact with them at an external border or during a deportation. [14]

      The materials obtained by Statewatch also give some indication of the fundamental rights training imparted to those acting as deportation ‘escorts’ and fundamental rights monitors. The intended outcomes for a training session in Athens that took place in March 2019 included “adapt FR [fundamental rights] in a readmission operation (explain it with examples)” and “should be able to describe Non Refoulement principle” (in the document, ‘Session Fundamental rights’ is followed by ‘Session Velcro handcuffs’).[15] The content of the fundamental rights training that will be offered to Frontex’s new recruits is currently unknown.

      Fit for service?

      The agency anticipates that most staff will be recruited from March to June 2020, involving the medical examination of up to 700 applicants in this period. According to Frontex’s website, the agency has already received over 7,000 applications for the 700 new European Border Guard Officer positions.[16] Successful candidates will undergo six months of training before deployment in 2021. Apparently then, the posts are a popular career option, despite the seemingly invasive medical tests (especially for sexually active women). Why, for instance, is it important to Frontex to know about oral hormonal contraception, or about sexually transmitted infections?

      When asked by Statewatch if Frontex provides in-house psychological and emotional support, an agency press officer stated: “When it comes to psychological and emotional support, Frontex is increasing awareness and personal resilience of the officers taking part in our operations through education and training activities.” A ‘Frontex Mental Health Strategy’ from 2018 proposed the establishment of “a network of experts-psychologists” to act as an advisory body, as well as creating “online self-care tools”, a “psychological hot-line”, and a space for peer support with participation of psychologists (according to risk assessment) during operations.[17]

      One year later, Frontex, EASO and Europol jointly produced a brochure for staff deployed on operations, entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety – Deployment Information’, which offers a series of recommendations to staff, placing the responsibility to “come to the deployment in good mental shape” and “learn how to manage stress and how to deal with anger” more firmly on the individual than the agency.[18] According to this document, officers who need additional support must disclose this by requesting it from their supervisor, while “a helpline or psychologist on-site may be available, depending on location”.

      Frontex anticipates this recruitment drive to be “game changing”. Indeed, the Commission is relying upon it to reach its ambitions for the agency’s independence and efficiency. The inclusion of mandatory training in fundamental rights in the six-month introductory education is obviously a welcome step. Whether lessons learned in a classroom will be the first thing that comes to the minds of officials deployed on border control or deportation operations remains to be seen.

      Unmanaged responses to emotional stress can include burnout, compassion-fatigue and indirect trauma, which can in turn decrease a person’s ability to cope with adverse circumstance, and increase the risk of violence.[19] Therefore, aside from the agency’s responsibility as an employer to safeguard the health of its staff, its approach to internal psychological care will affect not only the border guards themselves, but the people that they routinely come into contact with at borders and during return operations, many of whom themselves will have experienced trauma.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

      [1] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [2] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [3] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [4] The ETIAS Central Unit will be responsible for processing the majority of applications for ‘travel authorisations’ received when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System comes into use, in theory in late 2022. Citizens who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation to travel to the Schengen area.

      [5] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [6] Article 54(4), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [7] ‘European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more’, 29 January 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_124; “Mission letter” from Ursula von der Leyen to Ylva Johnsson, 10 September 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/mission-letter-ylva-johansson_en.pdf

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

      [9] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [10] ‘Press release: EU border agency targeted “isolated or mistreated” individuals for questioning’, Statewatch News, 16 February 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm

      [11] ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841

      [12] ‘Provision of medical services – pre-recruitment examination, Terms of Reference - Annex II to invitation to tender no Frontex/OP/1491/2019/KM’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=65398

      [13] Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor

      [14] Ibid.

      [15] Frontex, document listing course learning outcomes from deportation escorts’ training, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-deportation-escorts-training-course-learning-outcomes.pdf

      [16] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [17] Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

      [18] EASO, Europol and Frontex, ‘Occupational health and safety’, 12 August 2019, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/17cc07e0-bd88-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-103142015

      [19] Trauma Treatment International, ‘A different approach for victims of trauma’, https://www.tt-intl.org/#our-work-section

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/frontex-launches-game-changing-recruitment-drive-for-standing-corps-of-b
      #gardes_frontières #staff #corps_des_gardes-frontières

    • Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders (27.02.2020)

      Instead of providing sea rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean, the EU is expanding air surveillance. Refugees are observed with drones developed for the military. In addition to numerous EU states, countries such as Libya could also use the information obtained.

      It is not easy to obtain majorities for legislation in the European Union in the area of migration - unless it is a matter of upgrading the EU’s external borders. While the reform of a common EU asylum system has been on hold for years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed to reshape the border agency Frontex with unusual haste shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. A new Regulation has been in force since December 2019,[1] under which Frontex intends to build up a “standing corps” of 10,000 uniformed officials by 2027. They can be deployed not just at the EU’s external borders, but in ‘third countries’ as well.

      In this way, Frontex will become a “European border police force” with powers that were previously reserved for the member states alone. The core of the new Regulation includes the procurement of the agency’s own equipment. The Multiannual Financial Framework, in which the EU determines the distribution of its financial resources from 2021 until 2027, has not yet been decided. According to current plans, however, at least €6 billion are reserved for Frontex in the seven-year budget. The intention is for Frontex to spend a large part of the money, over €2 billion, on aircraft, ships and vehicles.[2]

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

      The upgrade plans include the stationing of large drones in the central and eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, Frontex is looking for a private partner to operate flights off Malta, Italy or Greece. A corresponding tender ended in December[3] and the selection process is currently underway. The unmanned missions could then begin already in spring. Frontex estimates the total cost of these missions at €50 million. The contract has a term of two years and can be extended twice for one year at a time.

      Frontex wants drones of the so-called MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class. Their flight duration should be at least 20 hours. The requirements include the ability to fly in all weather conditions and at day and night. It is also planned to operate in airspace where civil aircraft are in service. For surveillance missions, the drones should carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called “daylight spotter” systems that independently detect moving targets and keep them in focus. Other equipment includes systems for locating mobile and satellite telephones. The drones will also be able to receive signals from emergency call transmitters sewn into modern life jackets.

      However, the Frontex drones will not be used primarily for sea rescue operations, but to improve capacities against unwanted migration. This assumption is also confirmed by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Watch, which has been providing assistance in the central Mediterranean with various ships since 2015. “Frontex is not concerned with saving lives,” says Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch. “While air surveillance is being expanded with aircraft and drones, ships urgently needed for rescue operations have been withdrawn”. Sea-Watch demands that situation pictures of EU drones are also made available to private organisations for sea rescue.

      Aircraft from arms companies

      Frontex has very specific ideas for its own drones, which is why there are only a few suppliers worldwide that can be called into question. The Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which Frontex tested for several months on the Greek island of Crete[4] and which is also flown by the German Bundeswehr, is one of them. As set out by Frontex in its invitation to tender, the Heron 1, with a payload of around 250 kilograms, can carry all the surveillance equipment that the agency intends to deploy over the Mediterranean. Also amongst those likely to be interested in the Frontex contract is the US company General Atomics, which has been building drones of the Predator series for 20 years. Recently, it presented a new Predator model in Greece under the name SeaGuardian, for maritime observation.[5] It is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and a system for receiving position data from larger ships, thus fulfilling one of Frontex’s essential requirements.

      General Atomics may have a competitive advantage, as its Predator drones have several years’ operational experience in the Mediterranean. In addition to Frontex, the European Union has been active in the central Mediterranean with EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In March 2019, Italy’s then-interior minister Matteo Salvini pushed through the decision to operate the EU mission from the air alone. Since then, two unarmed Predator drones operated by the Italian military have been flying for EUNAVFOR MED for 60 hours per month. Officially, the drones are to observe from the air whether the training of the Libyan coast guard has been successful and whether these navy personnel use their knowledge accordingly. Presumably, however, the Predators are primarily pursuing the mission’s goal to “combat human smuggling” by spying on the Libyan coast. It is likely that the new Operation EU Active Surveillance, which will use military assets from EU member states to try to enforce the UN arms embargo placed on Libya,[6] will continue to patrol with Italian drones off the coast in North Africa.

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

      In addition to Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) are also investing in maritime surveillance using drones. Together, the three agencies coordinate some 300 civil and military authorities in EU member states.[7] Their tasks include border, fisheries and customs control, law enforcement and environmental protection.

      In 2017, Frontex and EMSA signed an agreement to benefit from joint reconnaissance capabilities, with EFCA also involved.[8] At the time, EMSA conducted tests with drones of various sizes, but now the drones’ flights are part of its regular services. The offer is not only open to EU Member States, as Iceland was the first to take advantage of it. Since summer 2019, a long-range Hermes 900 drone built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems has been flying from Iceland’s Egilsstaðir airport. The flights are intended to cover more than half of the island state’s exclusive economic zone and to detect “suspicious activities and potential hazards”.[9]

      The Hermes 900 was also developed for the military; the Israeli army first deployed it in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The Times of Israel puts the cost of the operating contract with EMSA at €59 million,[10] with a term of two years, which can be extended for another two years. The agency did not conclude the contract directly with the Israeli arms company, but through the Portuguese firm CeiiA. The contract covers the stationing, control and mission control of the drones.

      New interested parties for drone flights

      At the request of the German MEP Özlem Demirel (from the party Die Linke), the European Commission has published a list of countries that also want to use EMSA drones.[11] According to this list, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and also Greece have requested unmanned flights for pollution monitoring this year, while Bulgaria and Spain want to use them for general maritime surveillance. Until Frontex has its own drones, EMSA is flying its drones for the border agency on Crete. As in Iceland, this is the long-range drone Hermes 900, but according to Greek media reports it crashed on 8 January during take-off.[12] Possible causes are a malfunction of the propulsion system or human error. The aircraft is said to have been considerably damaged.

      Authorities from France and Great Britain have also ordered unmanned maritime surveillance from EMSA. Nothing is yet known about the exact intended location, but it is presumably the English Channel. There, the British coast guard is already observing border traffic with larger drones built by the Tekever arms company from Portugal.[13] The government in London wants to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. The drones take off from the airport in the small town of Lydd and monitor the approximately 50-kilometre-long and 30-kilometre-wide Strait of Dover. Great Britain has also delivered several quadcopters to France to try to detect potential migrants in French territorial waters. According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, eight gendarmes have been trained to control the small drones[14].

      Information to non-EU countries

      The images taken by EMSA drones are evaluated by the competent national coastguards. A livestream also sends them to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.[15] There they are fed into the EUROSUR border surveillance system. This is operated by Frontex and networks the surveillance installations of all EU member states that have an external border. The data from EUROSUR and the national border control centres form the ‘Common Pre-frontier Intelligence Picture’,[16] referring to the area of interest of Frontex, which extends far into the African continent. Surveillance data is used to detect and prevent migration movements at an early stage.

      Once the providing company has been selected, the new Frontex drones are also to fly for EUROSUR. According to the invitation to tender, they are to operate in the eastern and central Mediterranean within a radius of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). This would enable them to carry out reconnaissance in the “pre-frontier” area off Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Within the framework of EUROSUR, Frontex shares the recorded data with other European users via a ‘Remote Information Portal’, as the call for tender explains. The border agency has long been able to cooperate with third countries and the information collected can therefore also be made available to authorities in North Africa. However, in order to share general information on surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea with a non-EU state, Frontex must first conclude a working agreement with the corresponding government.[17]

      It is already possible, however, to provide countries such as Libya with the coordinates of refugee boats. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) must be informed of actual or suspected emergencies. With EU funding, Italy has been building such a centre in Tripoli for the last two years.[18] It is operated by the military coast guard, but so far has no significant equipment of its own.

      The EU military mission “EUNAVFOR MED” was cooperating more extensively with the Libyan coast guard. For communication with European naval authorities, Libya is the first third country to be connected to European surveillance systems via the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network[19]. Information handed over to the Libyan authorities might also include information that was collected with the Italian military ‘Predator’ drones.

      Reconnaissance generated with unmanned aerial surveillance is also given to the MRCC in Turkey. This was seen in a pilot project last summer, when the border agency tested an unmanned aerostat with the Greek coast guard off the island of Samos.[20] Attached to a 1,000 metre-long cable, the airship was used in the Frontex operation ‘Poseidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean. The 35-meter-long zeppelin comes from the French manufacturer A-NSE.[21] The company specializes in civil and military aerial observation. According to the Greek Marine Ministry, the equipment included a radar, a thermal imaging camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the tracking of larger ships. The recorded videos were received and evaluated by a situation centre supplied by the Portuguese National Guard. If a detected refugee boat was still in Turkish territorial waters, the Greek coast guard informed the Turkish authorities. This pilot project in the Aegean Sea was the first use of an airship by Frontex. The participants deployed comparatively large numbers of personnel for the short mission. Pictures taken by the Greek coastguard show more than 40 people.

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

      Human rights organisations accuse EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex of passing on information to neighbouring countries leading to rejections (so-called ‘push-backs’) in violation of international law. People must not be returned to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Frontex does not itself return refugees in distress who were discovered at sea via aerial surveillance, but leaves the task to the Libyan or Turkish authorities. Regarding Libya, the Agency since 2017 provided notice of at least 42 vessels in distress to Libyan authorities.[22]

      Private rescue organisations therefore speak of so-called ‘pull-backs’, but these are also prohibited, as the Israeli human rights lawyer Omer Shatz argues: “Communicating the location of civilians fleeing war to a consortium of militias and instructing them to intercept and forcibly transfer them back to the place they fled from, trigger both state responsibility of all EU members and individual criminal liability of hundreds involved.” Together with his colleague Juan Branco, Shatz is suing those responsible for the European Union and its agencies before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Soon they intend to publish individual cases and the names of the people accused.

      Matthias Monroy

      An earlier version of this article first appeared in the German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique: ‘Drohnen für Frontex Statt sich auf die Rettung von Bootsflüchtlingen im Mittelmeer zu konzentrieren, baut die EU die Luftüberwachung’.

      Note: this article was corrected on 6 March to clarify a point regarding cooperation between Frontex and non-EU states.

      Endnotes

      [1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-33-2019-INIT/en/pdf

      [2] European Commission, ‘A strengthened and fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard’, 12 September 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

      [3] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Medium Altitude Long Endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance’, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:490010-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1

      [4] IAI, ‘IAI AND AIRBUS MARITIME HERON UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED 200 FLIGHT HOURS IN CIVILIAN EUROPEAN AIRSPACE FOR FRONTEX’, 24 October 2018, https://www.iai.co.il/iai-and-airbus-maritime-heron-unmanned-aerial-system-uas-successfully-complet

      [5] ‘ European Maritime Flight Demonstrations’, General Atomics, http://www.ga-asi.com/european-maritime-demo

      [6] ‘EU agrees to deploy warships to enforce Libya arms embargo’, The Guardian, 17 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/eu-agrees-deploy-warships-enforce-libya-arms-embargo

      [7] EMSA, ‘Heads of EMSA and Frontex meet to discuss cooperation on European coast guard functions’, 3 April 2019, http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-a-press-centre/external-news/item/3499-heads-of-emsa-and-frontex-meet-to-discuss-cooperation-on-european-c

      [8] Frontex, ‘Frontex, EMSA and EFCA strengthen cooperation on coast guard functions’, 23 March 2017, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-emsa-and-efca-strengthen-cooperation-on-coast-guard-functions

      [9] Elbit Systems, ‘Elbit Systems Commenced the Operation of the Maritime UAS Patrol Service to European Union Countries’, 18 June 2019, https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/elbit-systems-commenced-the-operation-of-the-maritime-uas-patrol-servi

      [10] ‘Elbit wins drone contract for up to $68m to help monitor Europe coast’, The Times of Israel, 1 November 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast

      [11] ‘Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission’, https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

      [12] ‘Το drone της FRONTEX έπεσε, οι μετανάστες έρχονται’, Proto Thema, 27 January 2020, https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/968869/to-drone-tis-frontex-epese-oi-metanastes-erhodai

      [13] Morgan Meaker, ‘Here’s proof the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel’, Wired, 10 January 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-drones-migrants-english-channel

      [14] ‘Littoral: Les drones pour lutter contre les traversées de migrants sont opérationnels’, La Voix du Nord, 26 March 2019, https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/557951/article/2019-03-26/les-drones-pour-lutter-contre-les-traversees-de-migrants-sont-operation

      [15] ‘Frontex report on the functioning of Eurosur – Part I’, Council document 6215/18, 15 February 2018, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6215-2018-INIT/en/pdf

      [16] European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en

      [17] Legal reforms have also given Frontex the power to operate on the territory of non-EU states, subject to the conclusion of a status agreement between the EU and the country in question. The 2016 Frontex Regulation allowed such cooperation with states that share a border with the EU; the 2019 Frontex Regulation extends this to any non-EU state.

      [18] ‘Helping the Libyan Coast Guard to establish a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-000547_EN.html

      [19] Matthias Monroy, ‘EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean’, 7 July 2018, https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/03/eu-funds-the-sacking-of-rescue-ships-in-the-mediterranean

      [20] Frontex, ‘Frontex begins testing use of aerostat for border surveillance’, 31 July 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-begins-testing-use-of-aerostat-for-border-surveillance-ur33N8

      [21] ‘Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission’, 7 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002529-ASW_EN.html

      [22] ‘Answer given by Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission’, 8 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002654-ASW_EN.html

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/drones-for-frontex-unmanned-migration-control-at-europe-s-borders

      #drones

    • Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency (16.12.2019)

      The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

      The establishment of a new ’standing corps’ of 10,000 border guards to be commanded by EU border agency Frontex has generated significant public and press attention in recent months. However, the new rules governing Frontex[1] include a number of other significant developments - including a mandate for the surveillance of migratory movements and migration “hotspots” within the EU.

      Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”[2] New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU. While this is only supposed to deal with “trends, volumes and routes,” rather than personal data, it is intended to inform operational activity within the EU.

      This may mean an increase in operations against ‘unauthorised’ migrants, bringing with it risks for fundamental rights such as the possibility of racial profiling, detention, violence and the denial of access to asylum procedures. At the same time, in a context where internal borders have been reintroduced by numerous Schengen states over the last five years due to increased migration, it may be that he agency’s new role contributes to a further prolongation of internal border controls.

      From external to internal surveillance

      Frontex was initially established with the primary goals of assisting in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. Over the years it has obtained increasing powers to conduct surveillance of those borders in order to identify potential ’threats’.

      The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has a key role in this task, taking data from a variety of sources, including satellites, sensors, drones, ships, vehicles and other means operated both by national authorities and the agency itself. EUROSUR was formally established by legislation approved in 2013, although the system was developed and in use long before it was subject to a legal framework.[3]

      The new Frontex Regulation incorporates and updates the provisions of the 2013 EUROSUR Regulation. It maintains existing requirements for the agency to establish a “situational picture” of the EU’s external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or the ports of non-EU states – which is then distributed to the EU’s member states in order to inform operational activities.[4]

      The new rules also provide a mandate for reporting on “unauthorised secondary movements” and goings-on in the “hotspots”. The Commission’s proposal for the new Frontex Regulation was not accompanied by an impact assessment, which would have set out the reasoning and justifications for these new powers. The proposal merely pointed out that the new rules would “evolve” the scope of EUROSUR, to make it possible to “prevent secondary movements”.[5] As the European Data Protection Supervisor remarked, the lack of an impact assessment made it impossible: “to fully assess and verify its attended benefits and impact, notably on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”[6]

      The term “secondary movements” is not defined in the Regulation, but is generally used to refer to journeys between EU member states undertaken without permission, in particular by undocumented migrants and applicants for internal protection. Regarding the “hotspots” – established and operated by EU and national authorities in Italy and Greece – the Regulation provides a definition,[7] but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.

      Legal provisions

      A quick glance at Section 3 of the new Regulation, dealing with EUROSUR, gives little indication that the system will now be used for internal surveillance. The formal scope of EUROSUR is concerned with the external borders and border crossing points:

      “EUROSUR shall be used for border checks at authorised border crossing points and for external land, sea and air border surveillance, including the monitoring, detection, identification, tracking, prevention and interception of unauthorised border crossings for the purpose of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.”

      However, the subsequent section of the Regulation (on ‘situational awareness’) makes clear the agency’s new internal role. Article 24 sets out the components of the “situational pictures” that will be visible in EUROSUR. There are three types – national situational pictures, the European situational picture and specific situational pictures. All of these should consist of an events layer, an operational layer and an analysis layer. The first of these layers should contain (emphasis added in all quotes):

      “…events and incidents related to unauthorised border crossings and cross-border crime and, where available, information on unauthorised secondary movements, for the purpose of understanding migratory trends, volume and routes.”

      Article 26, dealing with the European situational picture, states:

      “The Agency shall establish and maintain a European situational picture in order to provide the national coordination centres and the Commission with effective, accurate and timely information and analysis, covering the external borders, the pre-frontier area and unauthorised secondary movements.”

      The events layer of that picture should include “information relating to… incidents in the operational area of a joint operation or rapid intervention coordinated by the Agency, or in a hotspot.”[8] In a similar vein:

      “The operational layer of the European situational picture shall contain information on the joint operations and rapid interventions coordinated by the Agency and on hotspots, and shall include the mission statements, locations, status, duration, information on the Member States and other actors involved, daily and weekly situational reports, statistical data and information packages for the media.”[9]

      Article 28, dealing with ‘EUROSUR Fusion Services’, says that Frontex will provide national authorities with information on the external borders and pre-frontier area that may be derived from, amongst other things, the monitoring of “migratory flows towards and within the Union in terms of trends, volume and routes.”

      Sources of data

      The “situational pictures” compiled by Frontex and distributed via EUROSUR are made up of data gathered from a host of different sources. For the national situational picture, these are:

      national border surveillance systems;
      stationary and mobile sensors operated by national border agencies;
      border surveillance patrols and “other monitoring missions”;
      local, regional and other coordination centres;
      other national authorities and systems, such as immigration liaison officers, operational centres and contact points;
      border checks;
      Frontex;
      other member states’ national coordination centres;
      third countries’ authorities;
      ship reporting systems;
      other relevant European and international organisations; and
      other sources.[10]

      For the European situational picture, the sources of data are:

      national coordination centres;
      national situational pictures;
      immigration liaison officers;
      Frontex, including reports form its liaison officers;
      Union delegations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions;
      other relevant Union bodies, offices and agencies and international organisations; and
      third countries’ authorities.[11]

      The EUROSUR handbook – which will presumably be redrafted to take into account the new legislation – provides more detail about what each of these categories may include.[12]

      Exactly how this melange of different data will be used to report on secondary movements is currently unknown. However, in accordance with Article 24 of the new Regulation:

      “The Commission shall adopt an implementing act laying down the details of the information layers of the situational pictures and the rules for the establishment of specific situational pictures. The implementing act shall specify the type of information to be provided, the entities responsible for collecting, processing, archiving and transmitting specific information, the maximum time limits for reporting, the data security and data protection rules and related quality control mechanisms.” [13]

      This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”.[14] According to a ‘roadmap’ setting out plans for the implementation of the new Regulation, this implementing act should have been drawn up in the last quarter of 2020 by a newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Committee sitting within the Commission. However, that Committee does not yet appear to have held any meetings.[15]

      Operational activities at the internal borders

      Boosting Frontex’s operational role is one of the major purposes of the new Regulation, although it makes clear that the internal surveillance role “should not lead to operational activities of the Agency at the internal borders of the Member States.” Rather, internal surveillance should “contribute to the monitoring by the Agency of migratory flows towards and within the Union for the purpose of risk analysis and situational awareness.” The purpose is to inform operational activity by national authorities.

      In recent years Schengen member states have reintroduced border controls for significant periods in the name of ensuring internal security and combating irregular migration. An article in Deutsche Welle recently highlighted:

      “When increasing numbers of refugees started arriving in the European Union in 2015, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary quickly reintroduced controls, citing a “continuous big influx of persons seeking international protection.” This was the first time that migration had been mentioned as a reason for reintroducing border controls.

      Soon after, six Schengen members reintroduced controls for extended periods. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway cited migration as a reason. France, as the sixth country, first introduced border checks after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, citing terrorist threats. Now, four years later, all six countries still have controls in place. On November 12, they are scheduled to extend them for another six months.”[16]

      These long-term extensions of internal border controls are illegal (the upper limit is supposed to be two years; discussions on changes to the rules governing the reintroduction of internal border controls in the Schengen area are ongoing).[17] A European Parliament resolution from May 2018 stated that “many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful.”[18] Yves Pascou, a researcher for the European Policy Centre, told Deutsche Welle that: “"We are in an entirely political situation now, not a legal one, and not one grounded in facts.”

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

      “there has been a noticeable lack of detail and evidence given by the concerned EU Member States [those which reintroduced internal border controls]. For example, there have been no statistics on the numbers of people crossing borders and seeking asylum, or assessment of the extent to which reintroducing border checks complies with the principles of proportionality and necessity.”[19]

      One purpose of Frontex’s new internal surveillance powers is to provide such evidence (albeit in the ideologically-skewed form of ‘risk analysis’) on the situation within the EU. Whether the information provided will be of interest to national authorities is another question. Nevertheless, it would be a significant irony if the provision of that information were to contribute to the further maintenance of internal borders in the Schengen area.

      At the same time, there is a more pressing concern related to these new powers. Many discussions on the reintroduction of internal borders revolve around the fact that it is contrary to the idea, spirit (and in these cases, the law) of the Schengen area. What appears to have been totally overlooked is the effect the reintroduction of internal borders may have on non-EU nationals or ethnic minority citizens of the EU. One does not have to cross an internal Schengen frontier too many times to notice patterns in the appearance of the people who are hauled off trains and buses by border guards, but personal anecdotes are not the same thing as empirical investigation. If Frontex’s new powers are intended to inform operational activity by the member states at the internal borders of the EU, then the potential effects on fundamental rights must be taken into consideration and should be the subject of investigation by journalists, officials, politicians and researchers.

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

      [1] The new Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU in mid-November: Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [2] Article 12, ‘Common application of surveillance tools’, Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013R1052

      [3] According to Frontex, the Eurosur Network first came into use in December 2011 and in March 2012 was first used to “exchange operational information”. The Regulation governing the system came into force in October 2013 (see footnote 2). See: Charles Heller and Chris Jones, ‘Eurosur: saving lives or reinforcing deadly borders?’, Statewatch Journal, vol. 23 no. 3/4, February 2014, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=33156

      [4] Recital 34, 2019 Regulation: “EUROSUR should provide an exhaustive situational picture not only at the external borders but also within the Schengen area and in the pre-frontier area. It should cover land, sea and air border surveillance and border checks.”

      [5] European Commission, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action no 98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) no 1052/2013 and Regulation (EU) no 2016/1624’, COM(2018) 631 final, 12 September 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-com-frontex-proposal-regulation-com-18-631.pdf

      [6] EDPS, ‘Formal comments on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard’, 30 November 2018, p. p.2, https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-11-30_comments_proposal_regulation_european_border_coast_guard_en.pdf

      [7] Article 2(23): “‘hotspot area’ means an area created at the request of the host Member State in which the host Member State, the Commission, relevant Union agencies and participating Member States cooperate, with the aim of managing an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders”

      [8] Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

      [12] European Commission, ‘Commission Recommendation adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’, C(2015) 9206 final, 15 December 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/legal-documents/docs/eurosur_handbook_annex_en.pdf

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

      [14] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [15] Documents related to meetings of committees operating under the auspices of the European Commission can be found in the Comitology Register: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=Search.Search&NewSearch=1

      [16] Kira Schacht, ‘Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement’, DW, 12 November 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/border-checks-in-eu-countries-challenge-schengen-agreement/a-51033603

      [17] European Parliament, ‘Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders’, https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2017/0245(COD)&l=en

      [18] ‘Report on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area’, 3 May 2018, para.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0160_EN.html

      [19] Elpseth Guild et al, ‘Internal border controls in the Schengen area: is Schengen crisis-proof?’, European Parliament, June 2016, p.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571356/IPOL_STU(2016)571356_EN.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2019/monitoring-secondary-movements-and-hotspots-frontex-is-now-an-internal-s

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Greece’s refugees face healthcare crisis as Lesbos Covid-19 centre closes

    Patients on island camps face long wait for specialist help and mental health services, while in Athens others are left destitute
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/3d2772106771ac41a4424c0fc1c52f61d01c40b2/0_363_5472_3283/master/5472.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=df484692f169d84d0d8e17

    In a fresh blow to refugees and migrants experiencing dire conditions in Greece, frontline medical charity Médecins San Frontières (MSF) on Thursday announced it has been forced to closed its Covid-19 isolation centre on Lesbos after authorities imposed fines and potential charges.

    From the island of Lesbos to the Greek capital of Athens, asylum seekers and recognised refugees, some with serious medical conditions, are unable to access healthcare or see a doctor as treatments are disrupted by new regulations.

    Asmaan* from Afghanistan is 10. For eight months she has lived in a makeshift tent with her family on the outskirts of the olive grove surrounding the Moria camp on Lesbos. She is one of more than 17,000 asylum seekers and refugees who have been living under lockdown here since 23 March.

    Asmaan is a familiar face at the paediatric clinic run by MSF just outside the main gate. “She was vomiting, shivering through the nights and became apathetic,” said her mother Sharif*. “We really became alarmed when she was bleeding going to the toilet.” Diagnosed with an acute inflammation of her kidney, Asmaan was transferred to the island’s hospital. Sharif said staff wanted to send her daughter to the mainland for treatment. But the family cannot leave Lesbos until their asylum procedure is completed.

    “Only highly severe cases can be transferred to the mainland,” Babis Anitsakis, director of infectious diseases at the hospital in Mytilene, told the Guardian. “This is also the case for the local population.” Such cases often involve a wait of two to three months in the camp before a transfer can be arranged, he said.

    “We are confronted with patients from Moria daily who have sicknesses like tuberculosis or HIV. We are simply not equipped for these treatments. On top of it, we face tremendous translation difficulties. At night the medical staff work with a phone translation app to communicate with the patients, which can be disastrous in an emergency situation.”

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1875a0bb75e484383197257df58241d8922139b0/58_42_1885_1074/master/1885.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=c80ba861e2d27d0dfcc973

    For Giovanna Scaccabarozzi, a doctor with MSF on Lesbos, Asmaan’s case is typical of a system where refugees and asylum seekers find it increasingly difficult to access proper healthcare, often despite being in desperate need.

    “Even survivors of torture and sexual violence are now left to themselves with no one to talk to and with no possibility to escape the highly re-traumatising space of Moria,” she said. The camp’s lockdown has meant fewer people have been able to attend MSF’s mental health clinic in Mytilene.

    “From five to 10 appointments a day, we are now down to two to three a week in the torture clinic in town,” Scaccabarozzi said. Even when people reach the clinic, “it feels like treating someone with a burn while the person is still standing in the fire”.

    The closure of the Covid-19 isolation unit on Thursday is down to the island’s authorities enforcing planning regulations, MSF said. “We are deeply disappointed that local authorities could not quash these fines and potential charges in the light of the global pandemic, despite some efforts from relevant stakeholders,” said Stephan Oberreit, MSF’s head of mission in Greece. “The public health system on Lesbos would simply be unable to handle the devastation caused by an outbreak in Moria – which is why we stepped in. Today we had to unwillingly close a crucial component of the Covid-19 response for Moria.”

    Athens has become a beacon of hope for those living in the island’s overcrowded camps, but a recent policy change has seen people who arrive in Athens with refugee status left virtually destitute, many with ongoing healthcare issues.

    The changes, which mean cash assistance and accommodation support end a month after refugee status is granted, affect around 11,000 refugees in Greece. MSF told the Guardian it is concerned that a number of patients face eviction and many refugees in Athens are sleeping on the streets as a result.

    Hadla, a 59-year-old from Aleppo who had had multiple heart attacks, died within days of leaving the apartment she shared with her daughter Dalal in Athens. She had been asked to leave repeatedly. “I told them that my mother is terribly ill and showed them the medical files but they told us that they cannot do anything about it and that the decision had come from the ministry,” said Dalal.

    Fearing eviction, Dalal took her mother to Schisto refugee camp on the outskirts of Athens, where her brother was staying. Two days later Hadla had another cardiac arrest and died. Dalal is still in the apartment with the rest of her family but continues to face eviction. “We have nothing and nowhere to go,” she said.

    Kelly Moraiti, a nurse at the MSF daycare centre in Athens, said evictions put patients’ health at risk, particularly those living with diseases such as diabetes. “Someone who is facing a lifelong disease should have uninterrupted permanent access to treatment. They need to have access to a proper diet and a space to store medications, which should not be exposed to the sun; to be homeless with these conditions is extremely dangerous.”

    MSF urgently called on the Greek government and the EU to help house refugees sleeping rough in Athens and to halt evictions of vulnerable people.

    Some of the refugees on the streets of Athens are heavily pregnant women and new mothers as well as survivors of torture and sexual violence. Many have significant health conditions often complicated from their time in camps such as Moria.

    The Greek migration ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

    * Names changed or shortened for privacy reasons

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jul/31/greece-refugee-healthcare-crisis-island-camps-lesbos-moria-coronavirus

    #Lesbos #migrations #covid #coronavirus #centre_covid #asile #réfugiés #Grèce #fermeture #Moria #camps_de_réfugiés #santé_mentale #confinement

    ping @thomas_lacroix

  • Twelve anti-Netanyahu protesters arrested at thousands-strong rally outside PM’s residence
    Nir Hasson, Josh Breiner, Bar Peleg, Noa Shpigel, Hagar Shezaf | Aug. 2, 2020 | 8:15 AM | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-thousands-of-anti-netanyahu-protesters-to-rally-in-jerusalem-junct

    Police arrested 12 people as thousands gathered Saturday evening outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, his private home in Caesarea and junctions throughout the country in the latest wave of protests calling for his resignation.

    Some 10,000 people protested near the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem and began marching toward the city center.

    The protest and march were approved by the Israel Police, saying they will not tolerate any disturbances of the public order. Last week, five protesters were injured after being attacked by far-right counter demonstrators.

    The police have also been accused of using excessive force against peaceful protesters, deploying riot control units in large numbers, as well as undercover officers, mounted units and water cannons.

    The protest went on until after midnight, with several clashes erupting at around 1:30 A.M. after police forcibly removed protesters who remained in the area. A group of anti-government protesters refused to clear the area, chanting “An entire generation demands a future,” while sitting on the ground.

    Hundreds also gathered outside Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea, under heavy police presence. One protester, a resident of the luxurious suburban town, called on Netanyahu to “Stay in Caesarea, we’d love to have you here. But you must vacate the official residence in Balfour.”

    Former Knesset member for the Zionist Union Yael Cohen Paran was present at the protest in Caesarea. “This week we have seen incitement, incitement against organizers of the Crime Minister movement ... This, of all things, has brought everyone out of their houses, out of their indifference.” Paran added, “The people sitting in the Knesset don’t care. I was there. This is a disconnected government, they care only about themselves and need to go home. Our camp needs to renew itself, elections are coming soon.”

    Across the country, thousands of activists representing the anti-corruption “Black Flag” movement congregated on some 260 of the country’s largest bridges and junctions for the sixth consecutive Saturday. Large police forces were deployed at all protest sites. Four men were detained near the southern towns of Ashkelon and Sderot for harassing and spitting on demonstrators. One was detained after throwing a stone at protesters in Haifa. Protesters in Tel Aviv said they were pepper sprayed by two people on a motorcycle.

    Police have opened an investigation into reports of a car attempting to ram into protesters at a junction in Rehovot. According to two eyewitnesses, two women with a child in the back seat drove up on the sidewalk, turned around and attempted to ram into people again. “She cursed us, calling us loser leftists and threw bottles at as. She had a look of hatred in her eyes,” Ehud Geiger, who was protesting at the intersection said. “She can’t say she just drifted out of her lane, she had two tires up on the sidewalk."

    Dana Miles, an activist for the the left-wing NGO Peace Now, said that Israelis must stand up against incitement. “This government-endorsed incitement terrifies me as someone who grew up here and knows exactly what it could lead to. It is our responsibility to stop a leadership that defends violence on the streets.”

    Gali Shorer from Kibbutz Shefayim told Haaretz that this is her first time attending an anti-Netanyahu protest. “Suddenly it hit me in the gut: Where are we going? What kind of reality are my kids growing up to? I don’t know where this will lead, but I’m hoping that something different can happen here.”

    Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered at Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv to protest the government’s failure to manage the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis. Despite the police having only permitted a protest at the park, several dozens began marching through the city.

    Yafa Ben Porat, 83, said this was her first time protesting "because all week I’ve been hurting over what the Knesset and lawmakers were doing. They’re liars, they’re frauds, Bibi [Netanyahu] has an empire in Caesarea, everyone needs to get up and join the protest ... We should be getting the money, not the parasites.”

    Ronit, who lives in central Israel, brought her daughter and other relatives with her to the protest. She said: “I’ve brought the next generation with me to make sure that our rights are preserved also for the next generation. They should have a government that serves them and not the other way around.”

    Dozens of people associated with Sheffi Paz, a far-right, anti-asylum seekers activist, arrived at the private residence of Supreme Court President Esther Hayut. They protested the High Court’s refusal to forbid the protests surrounding Netanyahu’s official residence following a petition by some the area’s residents.

    Sheffi Paz was later arrested for allegedly spray-painting graffiti on near Hayut’s house.

    Police Jerusalem District commander Doron Yedid left the protest after it became known that Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz tested positive for the coronaviorus. The two had met last week.

    The Jerusalem protests have been taking place regularly for over a month near the prime minister’s residence, which has become the epicenter of the protest movement.

    On Thursday, 14 members of the so-called La Familia, an extremist organization of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, were arrested at an anti-Netanyahu protest on suspicion of attacking demonstrators. The detainees were released on Friday morning.

    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““"
    nir hasson
    @nirhasson
    מאות על קינג ג’ורג’. "צדק לסלומון, צדק לאיאד". בכיכר עדיין אלפים רבים.
    https://twitter.com/nirhasson/status/1289656967993028608
    (Des centaines sur le roi George. « Justice pour Salomon, justice pour Iyad ». Il y en a encore plusieurs milliers sur la place.)

    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
    Guy Ben-Aharon
    @gbenaharon
    "Iyad is everyone’s child" #BibiGoHome #jerusalem #ביביתתפטר #protest #justiceforiyad
    https://twitter.com/gbenaharon/status/1289616880378888192
    "Iyad est l’enfant de tous" #BibiGoHome#jerusalem#ביביתתפטר#protest#justiceforiyad
    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““""
    Ayman Odeh
    @AyOdeh
    לקחתי הפסקה של שעה מחגיגות חג הקורבן כדי להפגין בבלפור. להעיף את נתניהו ואת הדרך הגזענית ומושחתת שהוא מייצג זה הצעד הראשון בתיקון העמוק שנדרש פה.
    https://twitter.com/AyOdeh/status/1289622786814513152
    (J’ai pris une heure sur les célébrations de la Fête de l’Aïd pour manifester à Balfour. Renverser Netanyahu et la voie raciste et corrompue qu’il représente est la première étape du profond changement requis ici.)

    #Israelmanif

  • New COVID-19 Wave Fuels Fears of Surge in Palestinian Refugee Camps - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

    A second wave of the new coronavirus infections sweeping the Israeli-occupied West Bank is raising concerns over a surge in overcrowded Palestinian refugee camps where social distancing is next to impossible.

    At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the Palestinian Authority quickly imposed a lockdown as it sought to contain infections. However, as the Israeli government and later the PA eased restrictions in late April and May, the number of infections rose again, exacerbated by breaches of limits on public assembly and movement.

    One major driver has been Palestinian workers going to and from jobs in neighboring Israel, according to the PA, AFP reported.

    #Covid-19#Israel#Palestine#camps#migrant#migration#seconde_vague#travailleursmigrants#politique#économie#santé#pandémie

    https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2419986/new-covid-19-wave-fuels-fears-surge-palestinian-refugee-camps

  • « Nous ne sommes plus parias » : Les militants anti-occupation trouvent leur place dans les manifestations israéliennes
    Par Oren Ziv, le 30 juillet 2020 | Traduction : GD pour l’Agence Média Palestine

    Source : +972 Magazine | Agence Media Palestine
    https://agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2020/07/31/nous-ne-sommes-plus-parias-les-militants-anti-occupation-trouve

    Pendant des années, la gauche a essayé d’insérer ses messages dans les principales manifestations israéliennes, mais elle a été rejetée. Aujourd’hui, les manifestations anti-Nétanyahou sont très différentes.

    La présence croissante de manifestants israéliens contre l’occupation a été l’un des aspects les plus notables de la vague de manifestations qui a débuté le 14 juillet devant la résidence du Premier ministre, rue Balfour, à Jérusalem. Ce bloc de manifestants a notamment réclamé justice pour Iyad al-Hallaq, un Palestinien autiste que la police israélienne a abattu dans la vieille ville de Jérusalem à la fin du mois de mai.

    Le bloc anti-occupation, composé de plusieurs centaines de manifestants, n’est pas en marge des manifestations. Samedi soir dernier, par exemple, il a été possible de les entendre chanter « Justice pour Iyad » à la résidence du Premier ministre, alors même que la police anti-émeute israélienne dispersait la foule avec force.

    Contrairement aux innombrables cas de ces dix dernières années, où les manifestants de gauche ont tenté d’insérer des messages radicaux dans les principales manifestations et ont été confrontés au rejet ou à la violence, cette fois-ci, la réaction a été très différente. (...)

    #Israelmanif

  • ’No longer outcasts’: Anti-occupation activists find their place in Israeli protests
    Left-wingers tried to insert their messages into mainstream Israeli protests for years, only to be rejected. Today’s anti-Netanyahu protests are very different.
    Oren Ziv | July 30, 2020 - +972 Magazine
    https://www.972mag.com/anti-occupation-netanyahu-protests

    The growing presence of Israeli anti-occupation protesters has been one of the most notable aspects of the wave of demonstrations that started on July 14 outside the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street, Jerusalem. Among other things, this bloc of protesters have demanded justice for Iyad al-Hallaq, a Palestinian with autism whom Israeli police shot dead in the Old City of Jerusalem in late May.

    The anti-occupation bloc, comprising several hundred protesters, are not on the margins of the demonstrations. Last Saturday night, for example, it was possible to hear them chanting “Justice for Iyad” at the Prime Minister’s residence, even as Israeli riot police were forcefully dispersing the crowd.

    In contrast to countless instances over the past decade, in which left-wing protesters have tried to insert radical messaging into mainstream demonstrations and been met with rejection or violence, this time, the response was very different. (...)

    #Israelmanif

  • Une entreprise émiratie conclut un marché avec les géants israéliens de l’armement
    Tamara Nassar, Electronic Intifada, le 22 juillet 2020
    https://agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2020/07/24/une-entreprise-emiratie-conclut-un-marche-avec-les-geants-israe

    L’enquête de Marczak a découvert que Group 42 était impliqué dans la création de l’appli de messagerie ToTok.

    Google et Apple ont retiré ToTok de leurs réserves en décembre dernier craignant entre autres que les utilisateurs de l’appli soient susceptibles de voir leurs messages et leurs conversations contrôlés par le gouvernement des EAU.

    ToTok était très populaire dans les Emirats parce qu’il servait d’alternative gratuite aux applis de messagerie mondiales, FaceTime, WhatsApp et Skype, parce qu’elles sont restreintes par le gouvernement et ne permettent pas les appels.

    #israel #Emirats_Arabes_Unis #Group_42 #DarkMatter_Group #Unit_8200 #Pegasus_LLC #PAX_AI #NSO #ToTok #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Rafael_Advanced_Defense_Systems #complicité #boycott #BDS

  • Israël. Le régime autoritaire de Netanyahou contesté. Quelle dynamique ?
    Par Meron Rapoport (Article publié sur le site israélien +972, le 23 juillet 2020 https://www.972mag.com/netanyahu-authoritarian-protests-corruption ; traduction rédaction A l’Encontre)
    http://alencontre.org/moyenorient/israel/israel-le-regime-autoritaire-de-netanyahou-conteste-quelle-dynamique.htm

    Les chemins des avocats israéliens Lea Tsemel et Gonen Ben Yitzhak se sont croisés dans le passé, même si ce n’est pas directement. Lea Tsemel a défendu des générations de Palestiniens devant les tribunaux militaires israéliens, qui ont très souvent fondé leurs décisions sur des informations classifiées fournies par le Shin Bet (Service de sécurité intérieure israélien). Ben Yitzhak a représenté des agents du Shin Bet, qui ont fourni ces informations sous un régime antidémocratique dans les territoires occupés.

    Mercredi dernier, Tsemel et Ben Yitzhak se sont à nouveau rencontrés. Cette fois, Ben Yitzhak, qui est l’une des figures de proue des manifestations du nom « le ministre du crime » contre la corruption de Benyamin Netanyahou, a été amené menotté au poste de police du Russian Compound de Jérusalem [un des plus vieux quartiers au centre Jérusalem où se trouve l’église orthodoxe] pour que sa détention préventive soit prolongée, un jour après avoir été arrêté lors des manifestations du « Jour de la Bastille » devant la résidence du Premier ministre.

    Lea Tsemel est également arrivée au poste du Russian Compound ce jour-là, tout comme elle l’avait fait d’innombrables fois lorsqu’elle représentait des détenus palestiniens ; cette fois pour représenter Ben Yitzhak et sept autres personnes qui ont été arrêtées. Mais la police a décidé de maintenir Lea Tsemel en dehors du poste du Russian Compound, affirmant qu’elle était censée être en quarantaine à cause d’un supposé contact avec quelqu’un qui avait contracté le Covid-19.

    Lors d’une petite conférence de presse le lendemain, Ben Yitzhak a affirmé que la police ne disposait d’« aucune preuve » que Lea Tsemel devait être isolée. Les détenus, a déclaré Ben Yitzhak, n’ont pas pu bénéficier d’une représentation juridique. Ceci, a-t-il conclu, « ne peut pas avoir lieu dans une démocratie ». L’ironie de la situation le dépasse.

    Ce petit incident montre à quel point les dirigeants des manifestations anti-corruption sont des membres privilégiés de l’establishment lui-même. Mais il montre aussi la situation complexe créée par les manifestations anti-Netanyahou – qui ont pris une ampleur considérable en raison de la mauvaise gestion de la pandémie et de l’économie par le gouvernement. Ces mêmes personnalités de l’establishment se considèrent désormais comme des « dissidents ». Les protestations, qui ont été menées par les « privilégiés », ont conduit à la remise en cause la plus directe du pouvoir de la droite de la dernière décennie.(...)

    #Israelmanif

  • Broken bottles, fists and pepper spray: Protesters against Netanyahu gov’t recount assault
    In fourth time within a week, protesters injured at anti-gov’t demonstration. One eye witness said: ’They came to murder us’
    Bar Peleg | Jul. 29, 2020 | 8:48 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-broken-bottles-and-pepper-spray-protesters-against-netanyahu-gov-t

    Five demonstrators were attacked Tuesday night by an unidentified group as hundreds protested near the home of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana in Tel Aviv against police brutality and what they view as attempts to subdue the growing protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks.

    Protesters recount being assaulted by a group of people who infiltrated the protest. The attackers stabbed protesters with broken glass bottles, punched them, beat them with chairs and sprayed them with pepper spray. Two of the demonstrators were cut on their necks, one requiring stitches.

    According to the demonstrators, police ignored their calls for help and, only later arriving at the scene to break up the clashes. The attackers, whose identity is unknown and who pretended they are part of the anti-government protest, managed to escape the scene.

    One demonstrator who received medical attention while sprawled on the ground said: “They came to murder us. Where are the cops? My friend was attacked with a bottle to his head and they sprayed mace in my face."

    Omer Cohen, another protester who was attacked said, “They came in a big group and beat me while throwing broken glass bottles at me.”

    The attackers, dressed in black, threw stones, glass bottles and sprayed mace at some of the protesters who had walked from Ohana’s home to the Ayalon Highway, briefly blocking parts of it. The group began beating the demonstrators suddenly and without any provocation on their part. Some eyewitnesses said the attackers were right-wing activists who sneaked into the protests, while other say they belonged to the so-called La Familia, an extremist organization of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team.

    Another anti-government protester, Yakir Ben Maor, said that one of the attackers punched a demonstrator for no apparent reason. They then fled the protest, spraying pepper spray at the demonstrators.

    Dor Segal, an eyewitness, told Haaretz that the group was full with hatred. “People are scared coming to protesters because of this. It’s frightening to think that next time the attackers will use a knife.”

    Itamar Katzir, a Haaretz reporter who was at the scene and followed the unknown individuals said, “just several meters before the Cinematheque, I saw a protester who got punched in the face with at least 10 people surrounding him.” Katzir added that two of them held black flags, so I didn’t know if they were pretending to be protesters belonging to the anti-corruption Black Flags movement, but it seemed they were looking for trouble. When I reached the Cinematheque, they started randomly beating people with chairs, bottles and flags, and I tried to catch them. It took the police to arrive a long time, they didn’t realized that group of people was going around attacking people."

    Responding to the violence, Defense Minister and Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz said that “gratuitous hatred has ruined and keeps on ruining the people of Israel, whose true resilience emanates from its unity. Those who attacked the protesters must be apprehended and brought to justice. No one will silence protests in Israel while we are here.”

    Police Commissioner Moti Cohen said that “Our duty is to allow the freedom of protest for every citizen in accordance with the law. Our duty is to work for the implementation of civil rights for all of Israel’s citizens, as we have been doing every day.

    “The wellbeing of the public and its safety are our first priority, and therefore we will act with determination against any kind of violence, vandalism or inflicting harm to civilians and police officers. I call on the demonstrators to keep the protest free of violence, follow police orders and not allow protests to escalate to violence and breaking the law,” Cohen added.

    #Israelmanif

    • Tel Aviv : Des manifestants agressés par des activistes d’extrême droite présumés
      Les victimes manifestaient aux abords du domicile du ministre de la Police ; 5 personnes ont été hospitalisées dont deux blessées au couteau, il y a eu 4 arrestations
      Par Times of Israel Staff 29 juillet 2020, 10:54
      https://fr.timesofisrael.com/tel-aviv-des-manifestants-agresses-par-des-activistes-dextreme-dro

      Plusieurs activistes d’extrême-droite présumés ont attaqué mardi soir des manifestants rassemblés près du domicile du ministre de la Sécurité intérieure, Amir Ohana, après la diffusion d’un enregistrement dans lequel ce dernier donnait pour instruction aux hauts-responsables de la police d’intensifier la répression à l’encontre des Israéliens lors des mouvements de protestation contre le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu.

      Les attaquants ont été vus en train de frapper les manifestants avec des bouteilles de verre et des chaises, et les asperger de gaz lacrymogène.

      Les organisateurs du mouvement ont fait savoir que cinq personnes avaient été hospitalisées, deux d’entre elles blessées au dos par une arme blanche.

      « Ils nous ont frappés avec des chaises, ils nous ont attaqués à coup de bouteilles de verre. Il y a eu du sang », a commenté un participant au rassemblement, s’adressant au site d’information Walla.

      La radio militaire a fait savoir que les agresseurs appartenaient au club de hooligans du Beitar Jérusalem, la Familia. Le groupe est connu pour ses éléments d’extrême-droite et racistes, et il aurait été responsable d’agressions similaires commises contre des manifestants à Jérusalem, la semaine dernière.

      La police a annoncé avoir procédé à quatre arrestations pour troubles à l’ordre public et agression, sans donner d’autres détails.

      Des centaines de personnes se sont réunies, mardi soir, aux abords du domicile d’Ohana.

      Certains ont ensuite bloqué l’autoroute Ayalon, obligeant la police à dévier la circulation routière.

      Au domicile du ministre du Likud, les protestataires se sont tenus derrière une barrière, scandant des slogans dénonçant Ohana, le gouvernement et la police, à grand renfort de vuvuzelas. Parmi les slogans : « Police, qui protèges-tu ? », « C’est la honte », « Qui nous protégera de la police ? » et autres accroches contre les policiers.

      Un voisin d’Ohana qui s’est confié au Times of Israel a déclaré que le rassemblement avait été plus dense que d’autres qui avaient eu lieu, dans le passé, aux abords de son domicile, dans une tour de Tel Aviv. Il a également noté qu’il avait été toutefois moins important que les autres mouvements de protestation anti-gouvernementaux récents.

      Pour leur part, ce sont des centaines de personnes qui se sont réunies près de la résidence officielle de Netanyahu à Jérusalem, amplifiant la pression dans le cadre d’une campagne qui appelle le chef de gouvernement de longue date à démissionner.

      Les participants ont scandé le slogan devenu le cri de ralliement dans les manifestations contre Netanyahu, accusé de corruption et dont le procès a lieu actuellement : « Capital ! Régime ! Pègre ! »

      Netanyahu est traduit devant la justice pour une série de dossiers dans lesquels il est mis en cause. Il aurait ainsi reçu des cadeaux luxueux de la part de ses amis milliardaires et il aurait fait des faveurs en termes de réglementations à des magnats des médias en échange d’une couverture plus favorable de ses actions et de celles de sa famille dans leurs journaux.

      Le Premier ministre, pour sa part, n’a cessé de clamer son innocence, accusant les médias et le système judiciaire de « chasse aux sorcières » visant à lui faire quitter sa fonction, et il a refusé d’abandonner son poste.

      Les manifestants ont également tourné leur attention vers Ohana qui aurait encouragé la police à réprimer les rassemblements organisés à la résidence du Premier ministre à Jérusalem.

      Selon des enregistrements qui ont fuité et qui ont été diffusés, dimanche, par la chaîne publique Kan, Ohana tenterait de mettre au défi un jugement émis par la Haute-cour de justice qui avait autorisé les manifestations continues à Jérusalem contre Netanyahu. Il exercerait de fortes pressions sur les forces de l’ordre en faveur de répressions plus sévères.

      Répondant à cette fuite d’information, le procureur-général Avichai Mandelblit a envoyé une lettre au commissaire de police Motti Cohen, mardi, lui disant de ne prendre des décisions que sur la base de considérations professionnelles.

      « La pouvoir décisionnaire, en ce qui concerne la prise en charge de ces manifestations, a été accordé à la police qui est placée sous votre autorité ; il ne doit dépendre que de votre jugement professionnel et sans autre considération indépendante », a écrit Mandelblit.

      Des mouvements de protestation ont été organisés de manière répétée aux abords de la résidence officielle du Premier ministre. Ils ont attiré des milliers d’Israéliens furieux contre la corruption gouvernementale, la gestion de la crise du coronavirus et autres maux. Des scènes occasionnelles de violences ont pu avoir lieu, souvent de la part des agents de police qui tentaient de disperser la foule.

      Netanyahu et certains de ses partisans ont condamné les manifestants, les qualifiant « d’anarchistes ».

      Ohana aurait demandé, dans le passé, que les rassemblements à Jérusalem soient interdits ou organisés ailleurs que devant l’habitation du Premier ministre.

      La Haute-cour a approuvé les manifestations actuelles près de la résidence de Netanyahu, qui habite dans le quartier Rehavia de Jérusalem, entraînant la colère de résidents locaux qui ont porté plainte devant le tribunal pour les faire interdire, évoquant des perturbations de leur vie quotidienne.

      Michael Bachner a contribué à cet article.

  • Israel tells Hezbollah it didn’t intend to kill militant in airstrike, report says
    Jack Khoury | Jul. 25, 2020 | 7:41 PM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-tells-hezbollah-it-didn-t-intend-to-kill-one-of-their-fight

    Israel sent a message to Hezbollah saying that it did not intend to kill one of the organization’s fighters in an airstrike in Syria last week, the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen channel reported Saturday night.

    In the message, reportedly sent to the Lebanese Shi’ite militant group through the United Nations, Israel told Hezbollah that it was unaware that its fighters were in the area.

    The report also said that Israel sent a warning against any military response from Hezbollah over the strike. The organization confirmed that it had received the messages but denied any Israeli threats, the report said.

    Israel’s military has taken a number of steps to increase preparedness after Hezbollah said in a statement this week that one of its fighters was killed in a Monday night strike blamed on Israel near Damascus International Airport, south of the Syrian capital.

    In several towns in Israel’s north, roads that pass through exposed areas will be closed and alternate routes will be made available. The military has also decided to reduce the number of troops and equipment at the front lines and erect more effective defenses in case of an attack.

    Israeli airstrikes that hit military posts south of Damascus on Monday killed five foreign fighters and wounded several others, a Syrian war monitor reported. The airstrikes came in response to an earlier attack on the Golan Heights which it attributed to Syrian forces.

    Hezbollah said the fighter’s family, who is from Aaitit in southern Lebanon, will not be receiving condolences due to the coronavirus, adding that a date will be set later for the funeral.

    #IsraelLiban

    • As tensions soar in north, Netanyahu warns Syria and Lebanon against attacks
      Amid friction with Hezbollah, PM says neighboring countries will bear responsibility for any assault; ministers instructed to make no comments on situation
      By TOI staff 26 juillet 2020 , 5:44 pm
      https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-tensions-soar-in-north-netanyahu-warns-syria-and-lebanon-against-a

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that Syria and Lebanon would bear responsibility for any attack against Israel emanating from their territories, amid heightened tensions between the Jewish state and the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group along the northern border.

      Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel had a “consistent policy to not allow Iran to entrench militarily on our northern border.

      “Lebanon and Syria bear responsibility for any attack from their territory against Israel,” he said. “We will not allow anyone to upend our security or threaten our citizens; we won’t tolerate an attack on our forces… The IDF is prepared to respond to any threat.” (...)

  • Several arrested for attacking demonstrators at anti-Netanyahu protests across Israel
    Josh Breiner, Noa Shpigel, Bar Peleg, Nir Hasson, Almog Ben Zikri | Jul. 26, 2020 | 8:26 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-thousands-expected-in-anti-government-protests-across-israel-1.902

    Israel Police said on Sunday morning that they had arrested at least three people for assaulting anti-government protesters as thousands demonstrated in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence, calling for his resignation over his corruption charges and what they call a faulty handling of the coronavirus crisis.

    On Saturday, over five thousand protesters massed in front of Netanyahu’s official residence on Balfour Street, which has become the epicenter of the protest movement. They were forcefully dispersed by police in the early hours of Sunday, using water cannons and mounted units.

    Police said that a Netanyahu supporter was detained for spraying mace at a protester in central Israel. The 34-year-old man from the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan remained in custody overnight and police said they will be asking to extend his detention on Sunday.

    During the police interrogation, the man confessed and regretted the act, although he said he actually used window cleaning liquid rather than pepper spray. His motivation was anger about the damage to the country’s symbols, he said, adding that he had been influenced by the incitement that exists on social networks

    Another counter-protester was arrested on suspicion of stabbing an anti-government demonstrator in the neck at the Sha’ar HaNegev junction in southern Israel. The police said they would ask that he remain in custody, adding that they are working to bring to justice those who were also involved in the incident.

    A third person was also arrested in Jerusalem, and five others detained on suspicion of attacking a demonstrator on Lincoln Street, near the prime minister’s official residence. According to eyewitnesses, the attack was carried out by five men with a helmet and a glass bottle.

    In addition, police said that 12 anti-Netanyahu protesters had been arrested overnight for “various offences related to disturbing the peace.” Protests were also held in Caesarea in front of Netanyahu’s private home, and at some 250 intersections throughout the country. One man was also detained for tearing up protesters’ signs in Caesarea.

    A group of some 20 right-wing activists participated in a counter-protest nearby, raising concerns of further clashes between anti- and pro-Netanyahu groups. On Thursday, a counter-protest by Netanyahu supporters drew some 200 Likud activists nearby, joined by a few dozen members of La Familia, an extremist organization of fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team. Six ant-Netanyahu demonstrators said they were violently assaulted by members of La Familia.

    According to eyewitnesses, a demonstrator wearing a pink bandana was attacked by five men dressed in black on Lincoln Street, Jerusalem. The witnesses reported that the five beat him with a helmet and smashed a glass bottle on his body. An eyewitness at the scene called the police.

    Meanwhile, two other anti-Netanyahu protesters testified that they were attacked by three right-wing activists after they left the demonstration. According to one of them, “Three young men asked my friend: ’Are you [with] Bibi or against Bibi?’ He didn’t answer, and then one of them started beating him. Then he came in front of me and punched me in the face and threw my glasses down the road.”

    ’It’s important for him to be there’

    The protesters that were attacked in junctions in central and southern Israel both recount being there with children, and being attacked without provocation.

    at the Sha’ar HaNegev junction in Nir Am, in southern Israel said they were attacked by at least ten people

    Nir Sa’ar, the man who was stabbed in the neck, said he was participating in a peaceful demonstration with several friends and their families, including children, when five vehicles arrived. Sa’ar said that about 15 men disembarked and began to encircle them.

    They arrived “to make chaos, they came down and started to tear posters,” and beat and spit at protesters, says fellow protester Ishai Loz. “They took out some sort of sharp object. We tried to just get the kids out of there. My friend was stabbed in the neck. I took a blow to my chest, a little cut, and I’m getting an X-ray now.” According to Loz, the same group threw punches as well.

    K. was protesting with his son and a few friends at the Aluf Sadeh interchange in central Israel. “My son asked to stay and stand close to the road with his friends and their parents,” he told Haaretz. “All of a sudden, a car passed and sprayed gas towards him and his group of kids,” he said.

    “[The car] slowed down, opened the window, sprayed, and hurried away. There were police, but they didn’t manage to catch the car... The brave kid, he understands what happened there. This is his second protest there, it’s important to him to go,” he added.

    Netanyahu blasts ’anarchist’ and ’Bolshevik’ media

    In a Facebook post, Netanyahu accused Channel 12 News of inflating the number of attendees of the protests against him in its reporting, calling it a “Shameless propaganda arm of the anarchist left to bring down the right-wing government and its leader.”

    He went on to write that the channel is pouring fire on the flames of the “Political protests that are organized and funded by leftist groups. [It’s] fake news on steroids.” He continued, “Almost all their programs, segments and analyses are used for unbridled Bolshevik propaganda against the prime minister.”

    “And of course, they don’t even say one word on the blatant threats to murder the prime minister and his family,” the prime minister added.

    Public Security Minister Amir Ohana said Saturday night that the protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be limited. “We need to restrict the number of people, the location, maybe in a more open space,” Ohana told Channel 12’s Meet the Press program.

    “The Health Ministry said that this is a coronavirus incubator. If all the experts are saying that this hurts our efforts against the coronavirus, then we must limit it,” he said.

    His remarks come after it was reported that Ohana asked the police to examine the possibility of requiring protests held outside Netanyahu’s official residence to move to another venue, arguing that these events are harming the neighbors.

    Police representatives cited a Supreme Court ruling and told Ohana it wasn’t possible to prevent a protest from taking place or to require a license for it.

    Protests gain pace

    This marks the fifth week of the “black flag” protests, which call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down in light of his criminal indictments for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. This particular wave of demonstrations began after the arrest of protest leader Amir Haskel.

    The protests were organized by multiple movements calling for economic relief and Netanyahu’s resignation: the Black Flags, Crime Minister, Culture Shock, Wake Up Israel and a number of new groups. These include the Women’s March, which was established over the past few years in Tel Aviv, and a number of LGBTQ activists, including the gay party line Cock Shock.

    Another central protest site is Tel Aviv’s Charles Clore Park, where a number of organizations are protesting the economic crisis. The protest is being held under the banner “Shaking them from their chairs,” and the organizers explained that they do not intend to take aim at the prime minister alone, and that they want the demonstration to remain apolitical.

    “The protest is socio-economic, where there will be shouts and roars to fix the conduct toward Israeli citizens. They will come to sound the cries of the nation,” the organizers said.

    Ahead of Saturday night’s protest, the organizers posted a call to police to behave with restraint. “We hope that contrary to previous demonstrations, in which the police did not allow protesters to disperse and exacted useless and unruly violence against them, which injured dozens of people, tonight the police will conduct itself responsibly.”

    The statement sought to remind the Israel Police that “it is your duty to defend your citizens, not to fill arrest quotas… We will on our part continue to fulfill our role: To throng the streets with beautiful, hopeful citizens who are unwilling to remain silent any longer.”

    Violence and arrests

    On Friday, a one thousand-strong demonstration took place in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence. Over the weekend, another group of protesters set up camp at the city’s Independence Park, which is located near Balfour Street. The group, which goes by the name FestiBalfour sought to establish a permanent camp that would support the protest and act as its cultural hub.

    Police sought to evacuate members of the group from the park following Thursday’s demonstration, but they later returned and remained there over the weekend.

    Some 4,000 people protested in Jerusalem on Thursday, calling on Netanyahu to resign over his corruption charges, handling of the coronavirus crisis and allegedly anti-democratic measures.

    This is the eighth protest in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence in two weeks. As of Saturday evening, 160 protesters were arrested during demonstrations, 55 of them on Thursday night. Thirty-five of them were released on the condition that they keep their distance from Jerusalem’s Paris Square and the residence, and 19 more were brought before a judge to be released with similar restraining orders.

    Two were released unconditionally, one of whom after he showed the judge a video of his arrest in which he did not resist, countering the police’s claims. Another protester was sentenced to house arrest until Sunday, on suspicion of attacking an officer.

    Fortifying Caesarea

    Also Thursday, Caesarea residents reported that security protocols around Netanyahu’s private house had changed: A fence was erected behind the homes on the street, and temporary barriers were put up that would allow security forces to close off the street.

    An activist who claimed he was walking on the house’s street was stopped by police Saturday afternoon. Police said he had entered “a sterile area” and that they had requested he leave a number of times, and only stopped him when he refused to do so.

    The activist, Gil Solomon of Caesarea, told Haaretz that he is still “trying to understand why they stopped me.” He added, “In the beginning, the security guard told me that these are the instructions of the government. After I began to question it a little bit, a police officer told me that it was the Shin Bet’s instructions.”

    He continued, “At the police station, when they questioned me, they told me that I was stopped on suspicion of bothering the police officer while he was fulfilling his duties. The officer wasn’t there when the argument happened. [The security guards] called for him. How did I get in the way of him carrying out his duty? He was literally carrying out his duty.”

    The Black Flags protest movement said: "This evening is a sharp and clear message to the convict Netanyahu that his time is up. This week, we received proof as to what the Netanyahu regime is: weakening the Knesset and democracy, suppressing the protest, incitement against broad segments of the nation, dealing with criminal matters and an endless campaign of lies.

    “The complete failure to deal with the coronavirus is on the convict alone. The citizens of the country deserve a prime minister who deals from morning until night with stopping the pandemic and rehabilitating the economy – not a convict who only looks out for himself.”

    #Israelmanif

  • « طهران » : آخر حيل اسرائيل « في حربها الناعمة » على ايران
    https://al-akhbar.com/Media_Tv/291913

    Tiens ! Encore un habile feuilleton de propagande israélienne !

    https://fr.timesofisrael.com/la-nouvelle-serie-israelienne-teheran-sera-diffusee-sur-apple-tv
    Apple TV+ a acheté les droits de « Téhéran », une série israélienne se déroulant dans la capitale iranienne, co-créé par Moshe Zonder, un scénariste de la série à succès de Netflix « Fauda ».

    La vente, qui se serait élevée à plusieurs millions de dollars, a été négociée par Cineflix Rights et Paperplane Productions, ainsi que par les producteurs de la série, Dana Eden et Shula Spiegel. Dana Eden, co-créatrice de la série, et Shula Spiegel ont déclaré qu’Apple avait déjà commandé trois saisons.

    « Téhéran » se concentre sur l’histoire de Tamar Rabinayan, incarnée par l’actrice israélienne Niv Sultan, une jeune hackeuse douée travaillant pour une unité de renseignement israélienne. Elle est appelée à rejoindre le Mossad et envoyée en mission périlleuse en Iran, où elle reçoit l’ordre de pirater un réacteur nucléaire.

    Lorsque sa mission ambitieuse échoue, Tamar Rabinayan est coincée sur la terre de son enfance, où elle découvre ses racines locales et se lie d’amitié avec les militants pro-démocratie locaux.

    « ‘Téhéran’ vise à jeter une nouvelle lumière sur le conflit israélo-iranien et à engager des luttes universelles autour de l’immigration, de l’identité et du patriotisme pour examiner s’il est possible de se libérer de ces contraintes », avait expliqué Moshe Zonder à Deadline l’année dernière.

    #israël #iran #feuilletons_poison

  • Who cares about explosions in Iran?
    Gideon Levy | Jul. 23, 2020 | 6:53 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-who-cares-about-explosions-in-iran-1.9014068

    In the last few months, a mysterious country whose identity is unclear has been provoking Iran more than it has ever been provoked before. This anonymous country is blowing up production plants, torching seaports, and sowing chaos along with humiliation. It is exploiting Iran’s weakness, as the country has been hard-hit by the coronavirus on top of the severe international economic sanctions. The rest of the world is also preoccupied with the pandemic, and the president in Washington is fighting for survival. The hidden country is exploiting this international weakness to carry out bold, provocative and dangerous attacks.

    This reckless behavior includes countless incidents that may have occurred because of “infrastructure problems,” as the official explanation goes, but may also have been deliberately caused with sophisticated tactics from afar. Incident after incident – and Iran is silent. Attack after attack, and Iran is humiliated. How long will it persist in this behavior? Hard to know.

    Just how dangerous is this continuous provocation? There are two possible answers: Either Iran is indeed the existential threat hovering over Israel, a strong and dangerous regional power about to arm itself with nuclear weapons – in which case provoking it is extremely perilous. Or Iran is not as powerful as described in the scare campaign in Israel, it’s another paper tiger, in which case provoking it is not so risky. But it’s impossible to argue both that Iran is dangerous and that provoking it is not dangerous.

    Perhaps Iran’s weakness actually offers an opening for other possibilities that don’t include bombing and arson. The effectiveness of the strikes isn’t clear either. Does setting fire to seven ships at the Bushehr port move Iran further away from nuclear capability? Maybe it moves it closer? But it does lend an aura of heroism to the supposed remote-control arsonists.

    Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said he is certain that Iran will respond against the attacking country, and mentioned Israel’s name for some reason. In Israel, his comments were met with a yawn. They’ll attack or they won’t, what difference does it make? There has yet to be an Israeli military operation that wasn’t greeted here with cheers or, unfortunately, with complacency, as long as it did not exact a price from Israelis themselves.

    Still, one can’t help but wonder: There is a country behind these attacks, first in Syria and then in Iran, and it appears to be intoxicated with its successes and encouraged by the lack of an Iranian response, to the point where it might be getting carried away, jabbing sword after sword into the body of the bleeding bull, all without any public debate about the potentially fateful dangers. Nor does anyone seem to care that Israel may be trying to drag Iran into war, as it did in the past with Arab states.

    Pyromania or a calculated policy? Teetering on the edge of disaster or playing a well-planned war game? Appalling recklessness or an incredible success story? In Israel, no one even asks.

    The usual suspicion, particularly salient these days, that all of this is meant for domestic purposes, isn’t raising questions either. Could it be an attempt to divert attention from other, less comfortable matters? Perhaps taking an opportunity to fulfill the Israeli dream of bombing Iran, without actually bombing it, when no one can say with certainty what benefit this will bring and for how long?

    Who knows? Everyone is mum, abandoning the arena to the few who decide. But these few may be the prime minister and his ministers in whom most Israelis have lost faith. Perhaps the few are the spy agencies that bought, or stole, unneeded ventilators and made sure to brag about it. But when it comes to Iran, everyone stands silent. Suddenly we trust them blindly. Suddenly they do know what’s good for Israel and we submit to them and salute them.

    There’s a chance it could work again. There’s also a chance it will end in blood and tears. Does anyone care?

    #IsraelIran

  • Antoine Mariotti
    @antoinemariotti
    11:19 PM · 21 juil. 2020
    https://twitter.com/antoinemariotti/status/1285685759073226759

    De nombreux Israéliens continuent de manifester ce soir à #Jérusalem devant la résidence de #Netanyahou pour réclamer sa démission. Moins de monde que samedi dernier à la même heure mais mobilisation toujours forte et surtout qui dure. #Israel #coronavirus #corruption

    Antoine Mariotti
    @antoinemariotti
    11:24 PM · 21 juil. 2020
    https://twitter.com/antoinemariotti/status/1285687038667350017

    « Justice pour Iyad » scandent les manifestants devant la résidence du Premier ministre israélien. Iyad Al Hallak, palestinien de 32 ans et autiste, a été tué par la police israélienne dans la vieille ville de Jérusalem le 30 mai dernier.

    Guilhem Delteil
    @GuilhemDelteil
    11:01 PM · 21 juil. 2020
    https://twitter.com/GuilhemDelteil/status/1285681226188234757

    Ce soir encore, la place de Paris près de la résidence du Premier ministre israélien est pleine de manifestants anti-Netanyahu. La foule est encore plus nombreuse que samedi dernier. Les protestataires promettent de rester sur place et appellent les Israéliens « à se réveiller »

    Guilhem Delteil
    @GuilhemDelteil
    11:18 PM · 21 juil. 2020
    https://twitter.com/GuilhemDelteil/status/1285685562574348295

    Dans la foule, les revendications se mêlent : « justice pour Eyad » (Eyad el Hallaq, un Palestinien autiste tué par la police en juin) dit la banderole. Mais une même demande : la démission de Netanyahu.

    Antoine Mariotti
    @antoinemariotti
    11:54 PM · 21 juil. 2020
    https://twitter.com/antoinemariotti/status/1285694654072094720

    Le correspondant de @rfi @GuilhemDelteil « gentiment » dégagé par la police israélienne pendant qu’il fait simplement son travail et a clairement un micro à la main..

    Noga Tarnopolsky
    @NTarnopolsky
    11:22 PM · 21 juil. 2020
    https://twitter.com/NTarnopolsky/status/1285686686916190210

    Justice for Iyad! Justice for Iyad! No protesters seem inclined to go anywhere were and the police has moved back significantly.

    #Israelmanif

    • Jerusalem police clash with anti-government protesters, detain 55 outside Netanyahu’s residence
      Nir Hasson, Bar Peleg | Jul. 24, 2020 | 10:47 AM - Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-jerusalem-bracing-for-another-night-of-anti-netanyahu-protests-1.9

      Police arrested 55 demonstrators Thursday night as thousands of anti-government protesters gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, calling for his resignation over his corruption charges and what they call a mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis and assault on democracy.

      This is the biggest number of protesters police have arrested since the anti-Netanyahu demonstrations kicked off several weeks ago. Most of the protesters were released on Friday morning with restrictions on movement, including a ban from entering Jerusalem for a period of up to 10 days.

      Nearly 20 other protesters will be brought before a Jerusalem judge on Friday after refusing to agree to limitations.

      Police said some 4,000 people took part in the protest, adding that about 1,000 demonstrators remained at Paris Square by the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street after the protest ended.

      The movement had called for Thursday’s protest in response to an emergency powers law that was passed in the Knesset on Wednesday and allows the government to take some executive decisions bypassing legislative oversight amid the coronavirus crisis.

      Police started to forcefully break up the protest at around 10:30 P.M. At midnight, violent clashes erupted between the police and hundreds of demonstrators who refused to leave the square. Those remaining planned to march toward the city center, but police officers used water cannons to prevent them from doing so, prompting the crowd to disperse.

      Police said in a statement that protesters were arrested on suspicion of causing public disturbance, as well as assaulting police officers and other demonstrators.

      “Police officers acted to protect the health of those taking part in the protest, and enforced the wearing of masks on those who failed to do so. After police declared several times that the protest was over, some refused to leave the area, therefore obligating officers to disperse them and restore public order,” the statement read.

      The police added they “will work to allow each and every person to exercise their right to protest, but at the same time won’t allow any violation of public order.”

      Gonen Ben Yitzhak, an attorney for some of those arrested, said an investigations officer for the Jerusalem police refused to allow him to enter the station where those arrested were being held, and was unable to represent them.

      Police set up a buffer zone to separate the anti and pro-Netanyahu protesters. Confrontations also developed between the police Netanyahu’s supporters, with mounted police officers pushing back demonstrators who tried to enter the buffer zone.

      One counter-protester, Likud activist Boris Aplichuk, said the anti-Netanyahu protesters were “the pereprators of chaos, the perpetrators of anarchy and the destroyers of the State of Israel” and said the protests were funded by “a pedophile named Epstein,” referring to Jeffrey Epstein, whose links with former prime minister and Netanyahu opponent Ehud Barak have been highlighted by supporters of the prime minister.

      Aplichuk added that Barak and opposition politicians Yair Lapid and Avigdor Lieberman were behind the protests and that “they serve the Israeli deep state that has taken over our law enforcement system.”

      Left-wing activists said they have been attacked throughout the protest by members of extremist right-wing La Familia soccer fan club at Paris Square and nearby streets. Some said they were attacked while sitting at a coffee shop, with one saying his hand was cut by a glass bottle a La Familia member smashed at his direction.

      Left-wing activist and media adviser Ahiya Shatz who attended the protest told Haaretz he was also attacked by La Familia members. “There were four people from La Familia who yelled ’It’s a shame that Hitler didn’t finish the job,’ and ’You don’t deserve someone like Bibi, you deserve someone like Hitler.’ Then a bigger group approached me and I started filming them, pushed me and knocked my phone out of my hand.”

      Thursday’s protest is the sixth such demonstration in the last ten days. Further demonstrations are expected on Friday and Saturday. The protests started last month and as they grew and turned into marches on the center of the city, the police response also became increasingly forceful, with law enforcement deploying riot control units, as well as mounted units and water cannons.

      More than 100 people were arrested in the last week and a half, most of them released with restraining orders preventing them from returning to the area.

      Residents of the Rehavia neighborhood, where Balfour Street is situated, filed a petition with the High Court asking to prevent the demonstrations, saying it affected their quality of life, as well as their safety. They report constant noise from almost permanent encampments of anti- and pro-Netanyahu supporters, who sometimes engage in shouting matches in the middle of the night.

      Some of the petitioners met with Public Security Minister Amir Ohana on Wednesday, who is known as a staunch Netanyahu ally. The minister suggested to ban the protests altogether, while other security officials floated the idea of moving them to another location – but police said this could not be done.

      On Thursday, Ohana asked protests representatives to meet with him and residents of the neighborhood, but they all, apart from one, refused. Organizer Amir Haskel said Ohana “has nothing to do with it. We’ve already reached agreements with the police… so as not to disturb the residents, but Ohana has his mind made up to block the protest.”

      The so-called Black Flag group said Ohana “puts Israeli democracy in danger,” adding: “We won’t agree to meet with him, but send him home, just like Netanyahu.”

      Several groups are organizing attendance for the protests, which are mirrored by smaller gatherings in other cities and on bridges and junctions over major highways throughout the country.

      But they are largely decentralized and have spontaneously combusted into a mass movement, which has made law enforcement increasingly brazen in its attempt to gather information. Several people attending protests reported attempts by police officers to recruit them as informant in the last week.

  • Israel thought to be behind another explosion in Iran
    July 20, 2020 – Middle East Monitor
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200720-israel-thought-to-be-behind-another-explosion-in-iran

    An explosion at a power station in Iran’s Isfahan Province yesterday has prompted speculation about its cause. There have been a number of mysterious blasts damaging Iranian infrastructure in recent weeks.

    The managing director of Isfahan’s electricity company, Said Mohseni, told state-run IRNA news agency that the blast was caused when a “worn out transformer… at Isfahan’s Islamabad thermal power plant exploded at around 5am” on Monday. There were no reported casualties.

    Two hours after the explosion, the facility returned to normal work, with Isfahan’s power supply continuing uninterrupted. “The damaged equipment is being repaired and replaced,” Mohseni added.

    Although the blast was dismissed by Iran as the result of faulty equipment and technical difficulties, that claim has been called into question, with speculation that Israel is behind this and earlier attacks.

    #IsraelIran