Israel Resumes Aerial Herbicide Spraying Along Gaza’s Perimeter Fence, Deliberate Destruction of Palestinian Farming – Global Research

israel-resumes-aerial-herbicide-spraying-along-gaza’s-perimeter-fence,-deliberate-destruction-of-palestinian-farming-–-global-research

27-01-20 03:22:00,

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Israeli crop-duster planes flew along the perimeter fence separating Gaza and Israel, spraying chemicals assumed to be herbicides into the Strip. Israel continued to conduct aerial herbicide spraying along additional sections of the perimeter fence on Wednesday, January 15, as well on the morning of January 16. Each morning, the spraying was conducted sporadically for about four hours, with the sprayed chemicals reaching Palestinian farmlands inside Gaza.

Palestinian farmers who were working the land west of the perimeter fence on Tuesday morning told Al Mezan that at about 7:20 am, they saw plumes of black smoke emanating from Israel’s side of the fence, a practice used in the past as a means to discern wind direction. A few minutes later, crop-duster planes flew along the perimeter fence spraying chemicals believed to be herbicides, carried by westward-blowing winds into the Strip. Over the course of the three days, aerial spraying was conducted in areas adjacent to the fence stretching from Beit Hanoun in the north of the Strip and all the way south to the section of the fence to the east of Khan Yunis. Samples from affected fields have been sent for lab testing, and the results are expected next week.

On Thursday, January 16, human rights organizations Gisha, Adalah and Al Mezan sent a letter (Hebrew) to Israel’s Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett, Military Advocate General Sharon Afek, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit with an urgent demand to refrain from conducting further aerial spraying of herbicides inside and near the Gaza Strip, due to the severe damage to crops and the health risks to Gaza residents.

The last time Israel conducted aerial herbicide spraying was in December 2018. No incidents of spraying were recorded in 2019, which was the first year without spraying since Israel first implemented the hazardous practice in 2014. In a clip produced by human rights organizations Gisha, Adalah and Al Mezan over the summer, farmers and shepherds whose livelihoods depend on access to the lands closest to the fence with Israel described the damage caused by spraying over the years and emphasized the potential of a season without spraying.

In response to Freedom of Information requests submitted by Gisha over the years,

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US Officially Resumes Funding For The White Helmets In Syria

US Officially Resumes Funding For The White Helmets In Syria

14-06-18 06:33:00,

In a somewhat surprising but not entirely unpredictable turn, President Trump has authorized new funding for the White Helmets which had previously been put on hold. 

A State Department press release puts the initial funding figure at $6.6 million to continue what it calls “the vital, life-saving operations of the Syrian Civil Defense, more commonly known as the White Helmets.” Elsewhere on the State Department’s website the group is referenced as “first responders” in Syria; however, it remains an indisputable fact that the group only operates in al-Qaeda and anti-Assad insurgent held territory.

The statement continues: “The United States Government strongly supports the White Helmets who have saved more than 100,000 lives since the conflict began including victims of Assad’s chemical weapons attacks.”

BREAKING: #Trump Authorizes funding for #Syria White Helmets @SyriaCivilDef . He had previously put on hold. Statement : pic.twitter.com/lVxkIECd9Q

— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 14, 2018

In early May the Trump State Department froze funding to the controversial aid group which had provided the sole evidence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly used chemical weapons on his own people in an April 7 attack on the city of Douma. 

The prior funding freeze dealt a huge blow to the group’s reputation, already long under fire after multiple videos emerged proving the White Helmets operate closely alongside know al-Qaeda terrorist groups, and have even participated in al-Qaeda execution videos typically in a support role of disposing the bodies. 

As CBS News reported at the time:

Having not received U.S. funding in recent weeks, White Helmets are questioning what this means for the future. They have received no formal declaration from the U.S. government that the monetary assistance has come to a full halt, but the group’s people on the ground in Syria report that their funds have been cut off. 

Much speculation abounded at the time over whether the freeze was a bureaucratic error in paperwork, or whether it was the result of the White House adopting a different view of the scandal-laden group.

Screenshots from a four-minute video documents that the US government has been lying about the White Helmets’  » Lees verder