Monday 30 March 2020

Solidarity for Sikhs after Afghanistan massacre

Sutaka described the chain of events on Wednesday for Al Jazeera.

"I was here at the Karte Parwan Gurudrawa when we heard about the attack at Shor Bazaar around 7:30am. The morning prayers had just gotten over and prasad was being distributed. There were also snacks for the gathering and many were waiting to be served when two gunmen stormed inside," he said, sharing a story pieced together from those who survived.

"They first threw bombs and then started firing bullets at the people. The massacre went on for six hours," he said.

While the armed group ISIL (ISIS) claimed responsibility of the attack, government sources said it was conducted by the Haqqani Network, and could have been in retaliation for recent violence against Muslims in India.

"The Taliban and other terrorist groups sponsored by the governments in our region have in the past also attacked our society and tried create divisions among people," alleged Javid Faisal, spokesperson at the Afghan National Security Council.

"Such past events instill fear and insecurity within the community and can affect the unity of the nation, too," he said.

On Wednesday evening, Hamdullah Mohib, the national security advisor, visited survivors and their families to offer his condolences and promised to investigate the attacks, Sutaka said.

Despite the grim situation, the community is not alone in their grief, and messages of solidarity have poured in from every corner of Afghanistan.

"They are more Afghan than a lot of other Afghans," said Sahira Sharif, a member of parliament from Khost Province, which was once home to hundreds of Sikh families.

While only a handful of Sikhs remain, Sharif said she has fond memories of growing up in a multicultural society.

"There was a lot of bonhomie and cordiality between the Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus in Khost. We socialised with each other and, growing up, they would come to our houses and we would go to theirs," she recalled to Al Jazeera, adding that the Sikh community was so trusted that other Afghans would save their money with them, in the absence of a bank.

Later, when Sharif was campaigning for a parliamentary seat, many Sikhs backed her. "When I was running for the 15th round of elections, I went to their neighbourhood and met with the women of the community. They campaigned for me, they hosted me for lunch and I could see their cultures and practices remained very close to that of other Khostis," she said.

Samira Hamidi, an Afghan activist and regional campaigner at Amnesty International, said: "The Sikh community of Afghanistan are among the most resilient, peaceful and country-loving citizens. There are so many of them who have preferred living in Afghanistan despite all the threats against them."

This deep social connection has elevated a collective grief among Afghans, irrespective of their faith and beliefs.

"Yesterday's attack on our Sikh brothers and sisters is inhumane and cowardice. It is painful to hear the father whose three-year-old daughter was shot in front of him," she added, visibly disturbed at the tragedy of Harinder Singh Khalsa, who lost seven members of his family, including his wife, mother and daughter.

Hamidi, like many Afghan Muslims, extended her solidarity to the Sikhs.

"At this painful time, all I can say is we need to stand with them, share their grievances and comfort them. I have huge respect for each of them for the love and compassion they have for Afghanistan, and I wish no one, including them, to have to face the tragedies like yesterday anymore," she said.


Monday 23 March 2020

When acid became a weapon: Delhi violence

“It was as if someone threw boiling hot water on me,” said the 23-year-old. He removed his shirt to reveal flesh-coloured scabs that stretched from the right side of his upper back to his right ear and down his right arm. He could not stop himself from scratching the wounds, which itched madly as they healed.

Nearly 20 days after rioting mobs in North East Delhi’s Khajuri Khas area flung acid on him, the pain is still fresh in his mind. “I cried so much,” he said “I do not know what they would have done to me if they caught me.” He is still so fearful he does not want to reveal his name.

From February 23 to 26, violence engulfed neighbourhoods in North East Delhi. What started as a clash between groups protesting against the new Citizenship Amendment Act and those supporting it turned into communal violence, much of it directed against Muslims. At least 53 were killed in the violence and hundreds injured.

For days, hospitals in Delhi were flooded with the dead and the injured. Their injuries told the story of the violence: gunshot wounds, stabs and burns. Some also bore wounds that spoke of acid attacks. At Al Hind Hospital in North East Delhi’s Mustafabad, at least three cases are marked as “acid attack”. Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Dilshad Garden recorded four such cases, Newslaundry reported.

MA Anwar, founder of Al Hind Hospital, told that the chemical substance used was “strong acid”. He classified some of the injuries sustained by victims as second degree burns. “The body mass melted away and the injuries were very deep,” he said. “Most of these patients still come to change their dressing.”

‘Ammi, my eyes are burning’
At the relief camp set up in the Mustafabad Eidgah, 20-year-old Anam is recovering from her injuries. “It itches more than it hurts,” she said. The lower part of her face and her neck bear scars, acquired when marauding mobs allegedly attacked their house in Shiv Vihar on February 25.

They lived in Gali Number 13 in Shiv Vihar’s Phase 6, down the road from Medina Masjid, which was also desecrated in the violence. The family ran a grocery store from the ground floor of the two-storeyed house. Anam’s mother, 40-year-old Mumtaz Begum, recalls hearing gas cylinders bursting on the main road running through the neighbourhood on February 25. Around 8 pm, Mumtaz recounted, her husband, 52-year-old Mohammad Waqil, went up to the terrace to see if the violence had stopped.

“I told him we should leave but he said, ‘Are you mad? This is our house, we have our family and our goats here – where will we go?’” Mumtaz said. “He said we would leave only after we saw what was happening from the terrace.”

There was no electricity that night, Mumtaz said, so her daughter, her husband and she climbed to the terrace in darkness. As Waqil and Anam looked out from the terrace, she waited inside in the staircase.

Anam said she heard the mobs chanting “Jai Shri Ram!” and Mumtaz said she could see smoke billowing out from houses in the neighbourhood – “there was fire everywhere”. Within minutes, a glass bottle landed on Waqil’s face, spilling acid on his eyes and on Anam’s mouth, chin and neck, Mumtaz said.

“I could not see if the acid came from below or from the front but it was so quick,” Mumtaz said. “We had not even been up there for 10 minutes. It was very sudden.”

Once the acid touched her face, Anam ran towards her mother. “I thought dirt had got into my eye but it was acid,” she said. Her mother wiped the substance off Anam’s face with her scarf. “She kept saying ‘Ammi, my face is burning’,” recalled Mumtaz.

Waqil, however, was rooted to the spot. As Mumtaz went closer, she said, she saw blood oozing from his face. “I could not understand where the blood on his face came from,” she said.

That was when the family, including Anam’s brothers, 18-year-old Mohammad Wasim, 14-year-old Mohammad Naseem and their uncle, Shakeel, decided it was time to leave their home. The six of them and another neighbour began to walk towards Medina Masjid.

The mosque was deserted, save for another neighbour who said he was trapped there, Mumtaz recalled. The family hid in the mosque even as mobs bore down on it, setting gas cylinders alight. Till 2am that night, Mumtaz kept calling the police on 100 but no one answered her calls. Meanwhile, Waqil had fallen silent. In despair, Mumtaz said, she started to pray: “I was praying to Allah to get us out of there safely or bury us along with the debris of the mosque.”

Around 3am, the family decided to venture out of the mosque. A neighbour had called and asked them to reach the main road running through the neighbourhood and walk towards Chaman Park, a Muslim-majority locality nearby. “When we got out, we saw everything was vandalised and burning,” Mumtaz said.

At 5am on February 26, Mumtaz called an ambulance from Chaman Park. It was to take Waqil and Anam to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital at Delhi Gate. Anam was discharged on February 29. Waqil continues to receive treatment at the hospital.


Tuesday 17 March 2020

Israeli filmmaker uncovers horrific new evidence of the Deir Yassin Massacre

It has been almost 70 years since the Deir Yassin Massacre. On April 9, 1948, Zionist militias, Irgun and Lehi (a.k.a Stern Gang), attacked the village of Deir Yassin, killing over 100 people including women and children. Reports stated that the residents of the small village were mutilated, decapitated, disemboweled and raped.

In an article published recently by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, hidden evidence and shocking new testimonies regarding the massacre have been released.

Neta Shoshani, an Israeli filmmaker who has been researching the history of the massacre, entitled her most recent film “Born in Deir Yassin”. Shoshani interviewed and gathered testimonies from people who were present during the massacre, and evidence from Israeli archives that are hidden from the public.

She showed the evidence to the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz. The film shows “A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in the back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun.”

Among those who testified was Yehuda Feder, former member of Lehi. “In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun.” He told Shoshani, adding “We confiscated a lot of money and silver and gold jewelry fell into our hands.”

Former Jerusalem commander of Lehi, Yehoshua Zettler, said “They took dead people, piled them up and burned them.”, and described the residents of the village saying “they ran like cats.” The attackers cut through the village using explosives, blowing up houses, and “within a few hours, half the village wasn’t there any more” said Zettler.

Mordechai Gichon, before he died last year was a lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army; a Haganah intelligence officer at the time. He was sent to Deir Yassin after the massacre. “When the Cossacks burst into Jewish neighborhoods, then that should have looked something like this,” he said - comparing Deir Yassin to Jewish pogroms. “My impression was more of a massacre than anything else. If it is a matter of killing innocent civilians, then it can be called a massacre.” He told Shoshani.

Yair Tsaban, a member of the Youth Brigades at the time, was sent to bury the corpses in fear of the Red Cross showing up “at any moment, and it was necessary to blur the traces [of the killings] because publication of pictures and testimonies about what had happened in the village would be very damaging to the image of our War of Independence.”

Tsaban stated that during that process, he did not at all encounter a corpse of an armed man but “mostly women and old men.” He also testified to seeing civilians shot in the back, “An old man and a woman, sitting in the corner of a room with their faces to the wall, and they are shot in the back.”

A member of the Information Service of the Haganah at the time, Shraga Peled, told his story Personally to Shoshani. “When I got to Deir Yassin, the first thing I saw was a big tree to which a young Arab fellow was tied. And this tree was burnt in a fire. They had tied him to it and burned him. I photographed that.” Peled was sent to document the events, and later gave the film to his superiors. He hasn’t seen it since then.

Also hidden in Israeli archives, and featured in Shoshani’s film, is a scene of orphaned children whose parents had been killed at Deir Yassin. This, along with a mammoth amount of looted and hidden history, remains in the Israeli military’s archives. Shoshani’s petition against hiding the archives, which was supported by Haaretz, was rejected by Israel’s High Court and finally by the Supreme Court in 2010. “The state explained that publication of the pictures was liable to damage the state’s foreign relations and the ‘respect for the dead,” stated Haaretz.

The Massacre of Deir Yassin is only a single incident. Seventy years of history remain censored by the state of Israel.


Saturday 14 March 2020

Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi on the Wisdoms behind Corona Virus (COVID-19)

A beautiful Khutbah by Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi on what this coronavirus teaches us according to Islam. The summary is as follows but you can also watch the complete video at the end:

1. To make us humble, no person has all the power, only Allah is all powerful as we see that the entire race is in terror because of microscopic virus, despite of all technology.

2. Appreciate life and death are real - Allah is the one who created life and death and only Allah knows when we will all die.

3. It shows the foolishness of people who somehow think they are better than others as virus attacks everyone equally. Remove racism, gender inequality, nationality, rich or poor, white or black, etc. from your heart.

4. This also shows us that this Duniya, the wealth and success, is not the end and does not indicate the position in the eyes of Allah - there is hereafter. Beware of the fitnah.

5. It makes selfish people realise that they need family and friends. This also indicates the need for law, civil society and humanity in general.

6. Iman in Qadr. There must be a higher power that determines everything - the randomness that it affects some and doesn't others. Taking precautions will not help against Qadr (pre-destination). Dua is your weapon. But you still need to take reasonable precautions. Say, nothing will happen to us unless Allah has decreed it upon us.

7. People rediscover their faith in these times. People who are not religious become one and this is one of the most important lesson. In Qur'an, there are multiple instances of Allah talking about the servants who only remember Allah in trouble. Allah never criticizes these people but the criticism comes after these people are saved and they go back to old ways, neglecting Allah.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

'We are not safe': India's Muslims tell of wave of police brutality

“The maulana told the policemen gently that none from the seminary took part in any protest rally and pleaded for them not to vandalise the Qur’an centre in the madrasa,” said a neighbour who witnessed the police attack but did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal. “It was then that the policemen and Rapid Action Force personnel [a branch of the police that deals with crowd control] pounced on him.”

The police then rounded up Hussaini and 35 of his students, 15 of whom were under 18 and mostly orphans, and took them to a nearby police barracks. Here the cleric was, witnesses allege, stripped of his clothes, beaten and a rod shoved up his anus, causing rectal bleeding, while the students were allegedly tortured with bamboo rods and made to shout Hindu nationalist slogans Jai Shri Ram” [Hail Lord Ram] and “Har Har Mahadev” [Save us Lord Shiva].

“The maulana had been beaten up very badly and was left without a single cloth on his body and when he was released we found him in very bad shape,” said Salman Saeed, a local Congress leader who came to pick up Hussaini and several students from Civil Lines Barracks. “He was badly wounded and bloodied, with many bruises across his body. He could not stand up on his legs and was bare-bodied. We were shocked to see the maulana in that condition. He is bed-ridden now.”

While Hussaini and all his underage students were released at 2am that night, 12 adults students and the madrasa cook remain behind bars and have been charged with taking part in violence, despite never partaking in a protest.

The young students were not the only underage Muslim prisoners in Muzaffarnagar police barracks that night. Upon seeing the commotion in the streets, 14-year-old Mohammad Sadiq, who worked as a mason’s assistant, set out to find his 11-year-old brother. Cars and motorcycles had been set alight and as protesters were fleeing around him, he too began to run. It was then that a dozen police pounced on him, hitting his legs with batons to make him fall to the ground and then unleashing a torrent of blows, he said.

“The police said to me, ‘if you tell us the names of 100 Muslims involved in the riots we will stop beating you’,” recounted Sadiq, as he lay bed-bound and weak from his injuries in his one-room family shack. “I kept telling them I had nothing to do with the riots, that I did not know anything but they kept beating me. The policemen told me to shout ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and I told them I would not so they put an iron rod into the flames of the car that was on fire and then held it against my hands to burn me.”

“Then some of the police officers tried to pick me up and put me in the flames of the car on fire,” Sadiq said, “but two of them said ‘no, let’s just take him to the police station’.”

Sadiq was kept in police detention for the next four days. Stripped to his underwear, he said he was tortured. For two days he was given no food or water and no medical treatment for his badly bleeding wounds. When he was finally released his condition was so bad his mother, Rehana Begum, fainted when she came to collect him.

“His father is dead so he was the only earning member of this house but he has been beaten so badly across the knees he can not walk and can not work now so what will happen to us?” she said, her head in her hands.


Monday 9 March 2020

Why India’s Muslims Are in Grave Danger

India has been jolted by the deadliest communal violence in New Delhi in decades. The fighting began on Sunday, Feb. 23—just before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the country for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi—and quickly escalated into mass riots, with Hindu mobs targeting Muslim homes in the city’s northeast. At least 45 people were killed—mostly Muslims.

Ashutosh Varshney, a Brown University professor and author of the prize-winning Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India, believes last week’s riots in Delhi bear some of the hallmarks of an organized pogrom. India has been there before: In 2002, in Gujarat, when Modi was the state’s chief minister, more than 1,000 people were killed in religious riots. Most were Muslims. While Modi was later cleared of wrongdoing by the country’s judiciary, critics say that he could have done much more to prevent the attacks. And in 1984, again in Delhi, an estimated 3,000 Sikhs were targeted and killed after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. In both cases, experts say, riots could not have been conducted without some complicity on the part of the police.

Varshney believes last week’s deadly clashes could be repeated in other parts of the country—and that Muslims are particularly vulnerable. Here is a transcript of Foreign Policy’s interview with Varshney, lightly edited for clarity.

Ravi Agrawal: There’s been a bit of debate about whether the violence in Delhi last week should be defined as a riot or as something more serious—a pogrom. Can you explain the difference?

Ashutosh Varshney: Pogroms are a special class of riots when it’s no longer simply a clash between two mobs or groups. Instead, the police are siding with one group either by looking away or by abetting and sometimes even directly participating in the violence. The key difference between riots and pogroms lies in the behavior of the state—through its police. The term was born in tsarist Russia when pogroms were launched against Jews.

RA: Given what we know now, how would you classify the violence in Delhi?

AV: On the first day and night—Sunday, Feb. 23—we saw two mobs going at each other. There were deaths on both sides. But on the second and third day, the partisanship of the police became clear. A mosque, a Muslim shrine, and Muslim homes and shops were attacked. The police did not respond to calls for help. Logs suggest a high volume of those calls came from predominantly Muslim parts of northeast Delhi. But the police failed to show up. Hindu mobs then attacked with abandon.

The second part is more direct participation. There are videos, in particular one which shows young Muslim men being hit by a Hindu mob. And the cops are asking the fallen and beaten Muslim men to sing the national anthem—as they’re being hit. That is quite egregious.

But the more significant evidence thus far is of the police simply looking away and not responding to Muslim pleas for help as homes, places of worship, and commercial enterprises were attacked with impunity.

RA: The fact that all of this happened in New Delhi, the capital city of India, is significant.

AV: Delhi has a unique structure for police operations. In every other part of India, the police report to the state government, and not to the central government, because law and order is defined as a state subject by India’s constitution. But Delhi’s police reports to the central government, not to the state government—technically, Delhi is not a full-fledged state. The fact that the central government is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would therefore make Modi’s government responsible for law and order in Delhi. And the minister of home affairs, Amit Shah, would be the final authority to which Delhi’s police force would report. So the responsibility for the failure to maintain law and order also lies at his door.

RA: Some of the perpetrators of the attacks were heard shouting “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to Lord Ram.” Can you explain the significance of that chant?

AV: “Jai Shri Ram,” theologically speaking, is a celebration of Lord Ram, the Hindu deity known for compassion and considered to be the embodiment of the highest morality and ethics. But in recent Hindu nationalist ideological campaigns, Jai Shri Ram has been weaponized to express muscularity, masculinity, and coercion—as opposed to kindness and compassion. So, the meaning of Jai Shri Ram has been transformed into a battle cry for the establishment of a Hindu nationalist polity, presided over by a Hindu nationalist state.

RA: Given that you describe last week’s events in Delhi as bearing the hallmarks of the beginning of a pogrom, how severe is the danger of other, similar outbreaks of violence across the country?

AV: The most vulnerable Muslim populations are in BJP-ruled states, because the role of the police is critical—and the police comes under the state government. If BJP governments in various states of India push the police against the Muslims, then only the bravest police officers would resist, because the authority structure is very clear. The danger to Muslim minorities in BJP-ruled states is grave. Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state with a population of 200 million, seems particularly vulnerable. Muslims comprise about 18 percent of the population there, and they are spread out all over the state. There was a big riot in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, for example, and the police were nowhere to be seen. UP is also ruled by a politician, Yogi Adityanath, whose anti-Muslim prejudice and fervor is well-known and has been openly displayed.

RA: What can civil society and the media do to prevent outbreaks of violence?

AV: Civil society can be quite important in creating bulwarks of resistance and peace, but that is not something it can do instantly. The creation of inter-religious networks between Hindus and Muslims takes a few years, if not more. The probability of integrated communities coming apart is much lower than the probability of segregated communities coming apart.

A more immediate issue always is how to minimize the extent or the intensity of violence. And that’s where the media plays a key role. By reporting courageously; by condemning what it finds unacceptable and sees as clear violations of norms, rules, and laws; and by creating a narrative of critique, the media can slow down or reduce the intensity of violence.

Sometimes the police intervene, too—even without political approval. Legally and constitutionally, the police can step in during moments of crisis. However, those police officers, administrators, and bureaucrats seem fewer in number today than was the case earlier. They are not entirely absent: I repeatedly came across in my research examples of police officers and administrators who would simply apply the law and not follow a political script. But a large number of police officers and bureaucrats do not have the courage to stand up to political authorities.

RA: Journalists in India are under threat, meanwhile. One photographer told the Washington Post a mob threatened to remove his pants to check whether he was circumcised—essentially to determine if he was Muslim. How much of this has to do with messaging from the government?

AV: The ideology of the government has created a ground-level situation where instructions do not have to come from the top. So-called agents devise their own strategies and think that by acting in a bigoted manner, by attacking Muslims, they could rise in the political hierarchy. So the incentive structure that gets created from the top begins to acquire a logic of its own and activates storm troopers and lower-level functionaries on the ground who try to interpret what the party bosses might appreciate or be pleased by.

RA: Prime Minister Modi’s second term began last May, after he won a landslide national election. While signs of the current muscular, chauvinistic brand of Hinduism were there in his first term as well—as we saw in several incidents of lynchings of Muslims, for example—there’s been a marked acceleration in the ruling BJP’s push for its social agenda. Why is that the case?

AV: Ahead of Modi’s first term in 2014, the political campaign had very few Hindu nationalist themes. I couldn’t count more than two speeches. You can say there were dog whistles and some displays of bigotry in the functioning of the midlevel politicians, but it wasn’t a dominant narrative.

In the campaign ahead of Modi’s second term, in 2019, the platform was more directly about the Hindu nationalist reconstruction of India. It can be claimed that given that the BJP’s vote share increased by 7 percentage points, India’s elections have authorized a more ideological and cultural push of the Hindu nationalist variety. But it’s also clear from the election data that the mandate was a complicated one. The vote in favor of Modi was not necessarily one of simply pushing a social and cultural agenda. National security was also an issue. Welfare programs had gained popularity: The BJP’s programs for sanitation and cooking gas were popular. To see the May 2019 election as a vote for an ideological restructuring of India would be to place an excessive interpretation on the wishes of the electorate. But that’s what happens in politics. The BJP seems sufficiently emboldened to use the legislative route to start restructuring the polity. And the Citizenship Amendment Act that passed on Dec. 11—leading to the current spate of protests—was the culmination of that.


Monday 2 March 2020

Supreme Court rules against exposing Israel’s role in Bosnian genocide

Israel’s Supreme Court last month rejected a petition to reveal details of Israeli defense exports to the former Yugoslavia during the genocide in Bosnia in the 1990s. The court ruled that exposing Israeli involvement in genocide would damage the country’s foreign relations to such an extent that it would outweigh the public interest in knowing that information, and the possible prosecution of those involved.

The petitioners, Attorney Itay Mack and Professor Yair Oron, presented the court with concrete evidence of Israeli defense exports to Serbian forces at the time, including training as well as ammunition and rifles. Among other things, they presented the personal journal of General Ratko Mladić, currently on trial at the International Court of Justice for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Mladić’s journal explicitly mentions Serbia’s ample arms ties with Israel at the time.

The exports took place long after the UN Security Council placed an arms embargo on various parts of the former Yugoslavia, and after the publication of a series of testimonies exposing genocide and the creation of concentration camps.

The Israeli State Attorney’s reply and the court’s rejection of the petition are a de facto admission by Israel that it cooperated with the Bosnian genocide: if the government had nothing to hide, the documents under discussion would not pose any threat to foreign relations.

Between 1991 and 1995 the former Yugoslavia shattered, going from a multi-national republic to an assemblage of nations fighting each other in a bloody civil war that included massacres and ultimately genocide.

The Serbs waged war against Croatia from 1991-1992, and against Bosnia from 1992-1995. In both wars the Serbs committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the areas they occupied, leading to the deaths of 250,000 people. Tens of thousands of others were wounded and starved, a multitude of women were raped, and many people were incarcerated in concentration camps. Other parties to the conflict also committed war crimes, but the petition focuses on Israel’s collaboration with the Serbian forces. The horrendously cruel acts in Yugoslavia were the worst Europe had seen since the Holocaust.

One of the most notorious massacres was perpetrated by soldiers serving under Serbian General Ratko Mladić around the city of Srebrenica in July 1995. Serbian forces commanded by the general murdered about 8,000 Bosnians and buried them in mass graves in the course of a campaign of ethnic cleansing they were waging against Muslims in the area. Although the city was supposed to be under UN protection, when the massacre began UN troops did not intervene. Mladić was extradited to the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2012, and is still on trial.

At the time, prominent Jewish organizations were calling for an immediate end to the genocide and shutting down the death camps. Not so the State of Israel. Outwardly it condemned the massacre, but behind the scenes was supplying weapons to the perpetrators and training their troops.

Attorney Mack and Professor Oron have gathered numerous testimonies about the Israeli arms supply to Serbia, which they presented in their petition. They provided evidence of such exports taking place long after the UN Security Council embargo went into effect in September 1991. The testimonies have been crossed-checked and are brought here as they were presented in the petition, with necessary abbreviations.

In 1992 a former senior official of the Serb Ministry of Defense published a book, The Serbian Army, in which she wrote about the arms deal between Israel and Serbia, signed about a month after the embargo: “One of the largest deals was made in October 1991. For obvious reasons, the deal with the Jews was not made public at the time.”

An Israeli who volunteered in a humanitarian organization in Bosnia at the time testified that in 1994 a UN officer asked him to look at the remains of 120 mm shell — with Hebrew writing on it — that exploded on the landing strip of the Sarajevo airfield. He also testified that he saw Serbs moving around in Bosnia carrying Uzi guns made in Israel.

In 1995 it was reported that Israeli arms dealers in collaboration with the French closed a deal to supply Serbia with LAW missiles. According to reports from 1992, a delegation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense came to Belgrade and signed an agreement to supply shells.

The same General Mladić who is now being prosecuted for war crimes and genocide, wrote in his journal that “from Israel — they proposed joint struggle against Islamist extremists. They offered to train our men in Greece and a free supply of sniper rifles.” A report prepared at the request of the Dutch government on the investigation of the Srebrenica events contains the following: “Belgrade considered Israel, Russia and Greece its best friends. In autumn 1991 Serbia closed a secret arms deal with Israel.”

In 1995 it was reported that Israeli arms dealers supplied weapons to VRS — the army of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb Army. This supply must have been made with the knowledge of the Israeli government.

The Serbs were not the only party in this war to which the Israeli arms dealers tried to sell weapons. According to reports, there was also an attempt to make a deal with the anti-Semitic Croatian regime, which eventually fell through. The petition also presented reports by human rights activists about Israelis training the Serb army, and that the arms deal with the Serbs enabled Jews to leave Sarajevo, which was under siege.

While all of this was taking place in relative secrecy, at the public level the government of Israel lamely expressed its misgivings about the situation, as if this were some force majeure and not a manmade slaughter. In July 1994, then-Chairman of the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Relations and Defense Committee MK Ori Or visited Belgrade and said: “Our memory is alive. We know what it means to live with boycotts. Every UN resolution against us has been taken with a two-thirds majority.” That year, Vice President of the US at the time, Al Gore, summoned the Israeli ambassador and warned Israel to desist from this cooperation.

Incidentally, in 2013 Israel had no problem extraditing to Bosnia-Herzegovina a citizen who immigrated to Israel seven years earlier and was wanted for suspicion of involvement in a massacre in Bosnia in 1995. In other words, at some point the state itself recognized the severity of the issue.