TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A political commentator based in London slammed Israel’s recent killings of Palestinians during weekly protests along the Gaza border, describing the Tel Aviv regime’s occupation of Palestine as “the epicenter of global human rights abuses”.

“Let's get one thing very clear, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is the epicenter of global human rights abuses,” Riaz Karim said in an interview with the Press Shia News Agency.

“The deeper issue of injustices involved in the colonization and occupation of Palestine, and inhumane treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are the most important factors threatening world peace in general and they have been carefully kept ‘out of sight’ by creating smokescreens or subsequent wars as a way of diverting attention from the world's only surviving apartheid state,” he said.

Dr. Riaz Karim holds a PhD from Harvard University. He is also the Director of Veritas Centre for Strategic Studies in London. He is also an analyst and commentator for a number of media outlets around the world.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Press Shia: As you know, seven Palestinians died Friday after being shot by Israeli soldiers along the security fence between Gaza and the occupied territories during weekly protests, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. A total of 252 people were injured — 154 of them by live fire, the ministry said. Since March 30, Israeli forces have killed about 200 Palestinians during the demonstrations dubbed the “Great March of Return” along the Gaza border. Most of the dead and the thousands wounded were unarmed civilians against whom Israel was using excessive force. What is your opinion about the developments and the Israeli regime’s crimes?

Karim: According to a report published by the Abdullah Al-Hourani Centre for Studies, Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including seven children. Three were killed in the occupied West Bank, including 24-year-old Mohammad Al-Rimawi, who was beaten to death. The Israeli occupation forces also wounded 2,300 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Jerusalem, including 2,014 in the Gaza Strip alone.

Occupation forces also demolished 16 houses and 18 facilities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and handed over 27 demolition orders for Palestinian homes and facilities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

The Israeli Planning and Construction Committee has agreed to build 4,700 settlement units on 841 dunams (208 acres) of land belonging to the Palestinian village of Al-Walaja in the occupied northwest of Bethlehem. Meanwhile, the committee approved the construction of 75 new illegal settlement units in the occupied Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem.

These numbers reflect the atrocities that took place in September 2018 alone. It's not in recent times that Israel has started using excessive force, they have been doing it for the last 50 years. The difference is it has to come to light in recent times due to the explosion of social media and the speed at which information is being relayed around the world.

Having said that, Israel has been very successful in creating Hasbara  ("explaining" in Hebrew); Israel and its supporters must march forth to the TV studios, the newsrooms, on the blogosphere and in Twitterverse, spreading the good word, attacking those who write against Israel, rebutting and rooting out inaccuracies and calumnies according to Zionist scripts. Israel has an army of amateurs known as the Hasbara Warriors let loose on campuses, call centers, websites and blogs, and all the Israel projects in order to sway opinions towards Zionist ideology, failing which your social media accounts will be hacked, Now the Saudis are following suit and doing the same thing.

The idea of Israel killing and kidnapping children with impunity is to get rid of an entire generation which has never seen or tasted freedom from occupation and thus it is a generation which will not be very forgiving to the atrocities being committed on their people.

This is the very reason why people like Ayelet Shaked have gone on record saying "They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now, this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be juster. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there." Or Naftali Bennet who said "I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.” Or Michael Ben Ari who went on record saying "There are no innocents in Gaza, mow them down and kill the Gazans without thought or mercy" and the Palestinians are the bad people? The world needs to wake up to these atrocities that are abrogating an entire people of their freedom.

Press Shia: Israel has rejected international calls for probes into recent deaths and insisted that its open-fire rules for Gaza will not change. Some Western states, particularly the US and Britain, who call themselves champions of human rights, have supported the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes against Palestinians. The UN has also failed to restore the rights of the people. What is your assessment?

Karim: Israel knows very well that what it is doing is tantamount to more than human rights abuses, it amounts to "Murder" call it a pariah state or an apartheid state. Fifty years after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it controls these areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights. They have conducted unlawful killings; forced displacements; abusive detention; constant closures or movement restrictions; and the development of illegal settlements, along with the accompanying discriminatory policies that disadvantage Palestinians.

Many of Israel’s abusive practices were carried out in the name of security, whether it’s a child imprisoned by a military court or shot unjustifiably, or a house demolished for lack of an elusive permit, or checkpoints where only settlers are allowed to pass, few Palestinians have escaped serious rights abuses during this 50-year occupation, Israel today maintains an entrenched system of institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in the occupied territory this is repression that extends far beyond any security rationale.

What Israel is committing now are war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under the Geneva Convention, the definition of such crimes includes political, racist or religious persecution and/or other inhuman treatment. Under the Rome Statute, the basis for the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, “war crime” is a generic term that refers to those sorts of actions during an armed conflict. Crimes against humanity, the convention says, are events that constitute part of a government policy (although the perpetrators don’t necessarily have to identify with this policy), or involve a widespread practice of perpetrating atrocities by a government or an authority acting de facto on its behalf.

The IDF is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and most of the perpetrators are never called to account. In the colonialist reality in which the army operates these are routine practices against a population that is subject to dehumanization. The IDF sees its soldiers as belonging to a different “level of civilization.” After all, the colonial officer cannot share the same universal moral values as the native who attacks him with a knife. Therefore, there is continued chatter here about “the most moral army in the world” – the product of a dichotomy that Israel makes between what the international community has determined is a war crime and its struggle against a people that it sees as not subject to the ethical rules shared by civilized nations. The sad part is countries such as the USA and UK side with the Zionist ideology and at the same time tout themselves as beacons of democracy and justice!

There are now 4.75 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip together with 1.75 in Israel itself i.e. a total population of 6.5m indigenous people. However, there are now also 600,000 Israeli settlers illegally living in the Occupied Territories in defiance of UN Resolution 2334 and in clear defiance of international law.

Astonishingly, both the US Trump administration and the UK Conservative government continue to arm and support the extremist Right-wing, Netanyahu Likud coalition that authorizes and subsidizes the illegal settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. This unholy alliance between Netanyahu, Donald Trump, and Theresa May flies in the face of international law, justice, human rights and the tenets of democracy, and in violation of the will of the United Nations General Assembly.

The question is,  why support an anti-democratic regime that has maintained a blockade of essential goods against civilian families in Gaza, and which continues its illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories in deliberate violation of the Geneva Conventions on Human Rights? South Africa, a country that has experienced apartheid first hand, has described Israel as the only apartheid state in the world, in remarks made at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva and they are not wrong in saying so!

Press Shia: In a recent speech to the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again accused Iran of developing a nuclear weapons program. He claimed he was revealing the existence of a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran but offered no proof of the claim or details. In response, Iranian officials dismissed the claim as a despicable lie and said such lies are aimed at covering up the Tel Aviv regime’s heinous crimes against the defenseless people of Palestine. This is while, Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny that it has atomic bombs. The Tel Aviv regime is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. What do you think about Netanyahu’s comments?

Karim: Israel wants the United States to fight a war with Iran on its behalf. That is what it all boils down to Bibi. Netanyahu has been absolutely obsessed with Iran from the get-go and his theatrics are getting worse as the days go by.

Netanyahu's statements clearly undermine the CIA and the IAEA, because both of them categorically state that there are no nuclear weapons in Iran's arsenal and the enrichment program has been suspended as per the terms of the JCPOA agreement. If what Netanyahu is saying was true, the CIA would have been all over it.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States is aware of the facility Netanyahu announced and described it as a “warehouse” used to store “records and archives” from Iran’s nuclear program.

A second US intelligence official called Netanyahu’s comments “somewhat misleading, we have known about this facility for some time, and it’s full of file cabinets and paper, not aluminum tubes for centrifuges.

Netanyahu’s false claim that the facility held “massive amounts of equipment and material” appears to be completely unfounded. The IAEA doesn’t need to inspect this site because there is no reason to think that there is anything there.

Netanyahu has made a habit of making preposterous claims about Iran’s nuclear program for decades. He has been consistently lying about Iran’s nuclear program, it is a real shame that his statements continue to be taken seriously in the West. He keeps trying to mislead the world into believing his alarm-ism about Iran’s nuclear program by prevarication and theatrics, but his warnings have been so wrong for so long that the west should stop listening to his song and dance about Iran.

We live in a world where surveillance has become such a powerful tool that they are able to count the hair on a grasshopper's legs and yet the surprising part is that Netanyahu sees what nobody else does whereas the same people had blinders on when it came to the surveillance of Daesh terrorist truck convoys wreaking havoc in the Middle East, yet another proof that wars are being engineered and manufactured for profits.

Let's get one thing very clear, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is the epicenter of global human rights abuses. The deeper issue of injustices involved in the colonization and occupation of Palestine, and inhumane treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are the most important factors threatening world peace in general and they have been carefully kept ‘out of sight’ by creating smokescreens or subsequent wars as a way of diverting attention from the world's only surviving apartheid state. So it comes as no surprise that Bibi Netanyahu's announcement about the grand discovery of a Secret Atomic Warehouse comes at a time when Israel's atrocities have increased ten-fold towards the people of Palestine.

There are a lot of mysteries surrounding Israel’s nuclear arsenal. That is partly due to the Israeli security establishment’s unwritten rule of never speaking about the country’s nuclear weapons program in public in order to preserve the principle of deterrence.  But there are indeed some basic elements of Israel’s nuclear program that are acknowledged by defense analysts around the world. In a fair world and a level playing field the state of Israel would have been forced to declare its nuclear arsenal and face the consequences of its human rights abuses and land grabbing but alas it is neither a fair world nor a level playing field.