- Top UN human rights’ official calls Aleppo onslaught “crime of historic proportions”; UNHRC calls for war crimes inquiry
“I think this is a mistaken, inconceivable resolution,” Renzi said during an interview with Italian radio while on a trip to Brussels. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel. It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position (i.e, the abstention) even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe. I have asked diplomats handling these issues to cease doing so.”He said that upon his return, he will summon Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to find out why Italy abstained from the vote instead of voting against the resolution.
Italy is the third country to announce a change in position since the vote, following Mexico and Brazil. Since the vote last week, Italy’s Jewish community has demonstrated against its country’s position, and senior members of the community have published articles and public letters in the press.
The United Nations’ top human rights official called Aleppo a “slaughterhouse” and the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHCR) passed a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of bombing of Aleppo and a war crimes inquiry on Friday. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said at an emergency session of the UNHRC in Geneva, “The violations and abuses suffered by people across the country, including the siege and bombardment of eastern Aleppo, are simply not tragedies; they also constitute crimes of historic proportions.” He continued, “The ancient city of Aleppo, a place of millennial civility and beauty, is today a slaughterhouse – a gruesome locus of pain and fear, where the lifeless bodies of small children are trapped under streets of rubble and pregnant women deliberately bombed.” Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry similarly called for a war crimes investigation into the Syrian government and Russia’s bombing of Aleppo.
While Russia has instituted a “humanitarian pause” in eastern Aleppo, Britain’s junior Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said it was “being used simply for them to regroup and further their own stranglehold over Aleppo.” The United Nations General Assembly discussed on Thursday ways to override the Security Council on the issue of Syria, where Russia is the chief obstructionist. Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said, “The perpetrators have names. When we don’t say ‘the Syrian regime’ or ‘Russia,’ we obscure their responsibility.”
The Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad, bolstered on the ground by Iran, the terrorist group Hezbollah, and Shiite militiamen and from the air by Russia, have besieged the eastern half of Aleppo since July, which is home to some 300,000 civilians. They have carried out human rights atrocities such as the barrel bombing of civilians and the systematic targeting of aid convoys and hospitals. The regime has launched chlorine gas attacks on the people of Aleppo, and its Russian allies have purposely targeted first responders arriving on the scene to help those trapped in rubble.
Argentina has requested the extradition of Iran’s former foreign minister due to his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aries, Agence France-Presse reported Friday.
The extradition of Ali Akbar Velayati, currently a close advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was sent by Investigating Judge Rodolfo Canicoba to the government of Iraq, where Velayati is currently visiting. Canicoba made similar requests to Singapore and Malaysia when Velayati visited those nations in July.
Argentinian authorities suspect five senior Iranian officials, including Velayati and former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of being involved in the bombing, which killed 85 people and is the deadliest-ever terror attack on Argentinian soil.
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was charged with investigating the AMIA bombing, died of a gunshot wound to the head in January 2015 under mysterious circumstances. In March, a three-judge panel unanimously referred the inquiry into Nisman’s death to a federal court to be investigated as a political murder.
Nisman was also investigating a pact made by then-Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to jointly investigate the bombing with Iranian authorities. Nisman alleged that Kircher and other senior Argentinian authorities were engaged in a quid pro quo to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing in exchange for favorable trade deals. He died shortly before he was due to present his proof to the national congress.
A court later declared that the joint investigation was unconstitutional. New president Mauricio Macri, who was elected last December, said that he would not renew the agreement to jointly investigate the bombing.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot may be Wonder Woman on the big screen but Keren Herscovici, Noya Lempert and Efrat Dayagi – the initiators of a program for advancing women in prominent positions in their careers – are the true wonder women of Israel. They started Woman2Woman to help young women in top decision-making positions advance in their careers (in all fields) with some guidance from mentors who have already been there and succeeded. “A number of times in my life, I’ve felt that I’m really in need of a mentor. And that’s what our initiative is geared toward, answering this need,” Dayagi, a lawyer, tells ISRAEL21c. “You can’t just cold-call someone and say, ‘So and so told me to call you for advice.’ I’ve sought something like this program and I would have loved a connection like this with a mentor.” Herscovici, Lempert and Dayagi say they are different from other female empowerment initiatives because they don’t see women as underdogs. (via ISRAEL21c)