Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports Gaza/ US Aid to Israel

January 29, 2009
By Kourosh Ziabari

Adam Shapiro, the symbol of a courageous, pure peace advocate, has long been under fire for his unconditional and categorical criticism of Israeli occupying state.

Photo from Palestine Think Tank

Photo from Palestine Think Tank

Born in 1972, the perseverant and steadfast anti-Zionist campaigner and co-founder of International Solidarity Movement vigorously makes efforts to broadcast the voice of subjugated and downtrodden nation of Palestine.

Following his meeting with Yasser Arafat in his Mukataa (government center) in Ramallah while it was besieged during the March 2002 Israeli military operation in the West Bank and Gaza, Adam Shapiro attained an international popularity and was put under the spotlight of Zionist media thereafter.

Despite enduring a stack of insults and invectives from the side of Zionist campaign in the past years, Adam Shapiro neither has relinquished nor alleviated his stance so far; rather intensified his anti-Zionist statements in the particular situations such as the horrendous 22 days of Israeli incursion into Gaza.

This interview has been done in the midst of Israeli genocide in Gaza as it’s apparent in some points of the conversation; nevertheless, it contains some informative and revealing information which are prone to be read and reflected thoughtfully.

Would you please elucidate about the salient and prominent activities which you usually carry out in the International Solidarity Movement? What are your agenda, modus operandi and plans to help the survivors of recent offensive in Gaza?

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) started off in 2001 as an effort to join international solidarity to the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation and oppression. This was through the joining of foreign activists with Palestinian activists in civilian-based non-violent active resistance in the west bank and Gaza. this kind of popular resistance has always been part of the Palestinian movement, and we felt that adding the international component would force the world to recognize that the conflict was not about Jew vs. Arab or Jew vs. Muslim, but rather a situation of oppression and discrimination based on ethnicity and religion in a sense similar to the anti-apartheid movement in south Africa.

Nowadays, the ISM role continues in this way, but is also more and more involved with being an eyewitness and reporting on the atrocities of what is happening to the Palestinian people. ISM volunteers spend longer periods of time in the territories and get to know the situation in depth.

Currently ISM has 5 volunteers in the Gaza Strip, who are responding during this assault on the people of Gaza – they are escorting ambulances and medical personnel who are responding to emergency calls; they are documenting what is happening and reporting out to the world, even as the Zionist government bars foreign journalists; they are assisting in the distribution of food and water as they can and to areas that are under major threat; and they are documenting evidence of war crimes, such as the use of white phosphorous artillery shells.

According to what you said, one effective and impressive choice that could help the progressive flow of Palestinians’ extrication and release from the harsh situation is to promote the notion of imposing sanctions, embargo on Israel. How is it possible to boycott and isolate the terrorist regime in the international stage?

There is a call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel, and it is for this reason that we are compelled to adhere to this call. That said, sanctions will most likely be symbolic at best, given the penetration of businesses in Israel and the difficulty to render such an impact. Symbolically, however the boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) campaign is very useful, particularly in the west, where it enables us to alter the debate away from spurious charges of anti-Semitism towards pointing out specifically why such measures are necessary. Additionally, the academic and cultural boycott can have tangible results, forcing Israeli academics, artists and intellectuals to confront the reality of their own position and force them to take a stand. There are very credible and valuable efforts in this regard, including a recent determination by a UK-based teachers union. However, in a sense, we need to remember that far more dramatic action is required, given that this situation for the Palestinians has been going on for 60 years, and the scale of the devastation and oppression of the entire Palestinian people is at such a level that symbolic actions – while good – do not meet the urgency of the situation.

Nevertheless, US and its European allies flagrantly veto any anti-Israeli resolution which comes on the top of UNSC agenda and don’t allow the international community to express its unequivocal and clear condemnation of Israeli massacre freely. What’s the reason, in your view, and how can that be opposed?

The reason has to do with domestic factors for the US more than anything else. I think for the European nations it is connected to the lingering guilt over the holocaust, a situation that is exploited by Israel and some of the Jewish organizations in those countries to maintain a code of silence when it comes to clearly calling out Israel for what has been a 60-year effort of crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. For the US, there really is no organized constituency willing to vote or donate to politicians campaigns based on this issue. Those who would are small in number and largely ineffective. the pro-Israel lobby in the US is not only among the organized Jewish community, but includes Christian Zionists, the military-industrial complex in the US, the information technology industry, the biotech industry, the medical community and others, all of which have significant relationships with Israel from a business perspective. This all has repercussions in the US political system and set the parameters of the debate in the US around us support for Israel.

That said, I also think the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities over the years, but most importantly it accepted the framework of peace as a means of addressing the conflict, which helped set up a false sense of parity between the two parties. Instead of maintaining a position of national liberation, or creating a movement based on equal rights or ending oppression/discrimination, the choice for 2 states in the framework of peacemaking has helped allow the us and others to ‘blame both sides’.

All of these inconsistencies aside, neither the American double standards about the Israel’s nuclear case are bearable. They are folding their arms and sitting back relaxed while everybody, even ex-President Carter has confessed that Israel deposits 200 nuclear warheads!

Indeed, on this point in particular the hypocrisy reaches the level of absurd. Add to the points you raise in the question to the fact that Israel has been at war more than any other state in the region and almost always as the initiator and aggressor; not only in the formal wars, but also in the cross-border skirmishes, as occurred with Egypt and Lebanon in the past. If any regime in the region was volatile and prone to use military force it is Israel. A s such, there should be great world concern about its weapons of mass destruction, also since we have seen that Israel is willing to use dubious weapons and disproportionate force such as we witnessed in Lebanon in 2006 (cluster bombs) and Gaza today (white phosphorous artillery).

Accordingly, it seems that the mainstream media are pusillanimously afraid of the Israeli tyrannical lobby which rules the global corporate media. They censor any kind of news reflecting demonstrations, condemnations and anti-Israeli remarks by the world’s statesmen. How can they justify this unilateral and hostile approach in conveying the information?

I think many of the same factors that influence how the US and European governments act also influence the media’s role. But there is also an element of having a media strategy that requires examination. Israel and its allies around the world have a clear, organized and effective media strategy to promote the messaging and images that they want. Sure, there is media bias, but it would be false to think that that bias is the beginning and the end. After all, I know many journalists who cover the conflict and who seek to promote different perspectives in their newspapers and broadcasts. On the Palestinian side, there really is not an effective media strategy, and certainly not one that is organized. Some of these very practical details can make a very big difference in the coverage of the issue. While I don’t think this can fully overcome the bias that does exist, it can start making changes in the overall system.

I also think with the advent of new media, including Al-Jazeera and Press TV in particular, mainstream western media outlets are being challenged and being forced to change. Even the BBC’s own Arabic service has forced a certain change in BBC’s English service, which while subtle, nonetheless has important consequences.

Finally, I think it is also somewhat easy to overcount the media, in that worldwide, the Palestinian position of justice and ending occupation and oppression is the majority opinion, despite the media coverage. It is not world opinion that necessarily needs to change; it is the actions of governments.

So what actions are needed to administer justice about Israel? How could the world’s countries prevent it from committing further, predictable atrocities and seeking adventurous war-games in the region?

There needs to be unequivocal action in the international community to force Israel to end is aggression in Gaza. This should entail full suspension of diplomatic relations (as we have seen in Venezuela and Bolivia); full arms embargo on Israel; and the establishment of a criminal court under the ICC (mandated by the Security Council) to bring forward war crimes charges. while these maybe long-shots, we have to remember that the Palestinian people, unlike virtually any other people in the world, are wholly dependent on the international community to act to help, both because it is the international community that is responsible for the original partitioning and displacement of the Palestinians and because Palestinians do not have a state, an army or any means of self-defense. The UN General Assembly can also act and take dramatic action, and it should – and this would be a way to overcome a us veto.

And what about an international investigation on the illegal employment of unconventional weapons, mass killing of women and children, beleaguering the densely-populated strip for a long time and killing journalists, media correspondents and representatives of international communities?

There needs to be a tribunal established to try these crimes committed in Gaza. But this is truly not sufficient. The crimes of 60 years need to be addressed. Because of the impunity Israel has enjoyed since 1948, the lesson it learned is that there are no consequences for its actions and no limits. The Palestinians have borne the brunt of that ‘freedom to act’ for 60 years. It is not enough to say what Israel is doing in Gaza today is too much. What was done in Deir Yassin, in Tantoura, in Lid, in the Jenin refugee camp, in Israeli prisons, and hundreds of other places and over the course of years, has been beyond the limit of international law and human rights. Of course, I would welcome justice for the crimes committed in Gaza, but this should just be the beginning.

Source

Roughly every second Palestinian in the world is a recipient of UNRWA services.

Around 47% of Palestine refugees are under 20 years of age, and 64% of Palestine refugees are under 30 years of age.

In 1948

British Mandate ends on  May 15. Israel proclaims independence one day before.

Between April and August, more than 700,000 people flee their homes in Palestine and become refugees.

By 1966

Registered refugee population surpasses 1.3 million. UNRWA schools accommodate 175,900 pupils and health centres register 4.5 million patient visits during the year.

By 1981

Registered refugee population reaches 1.9 million, with 321,000 pupils enrolled in UNRWA schools and 4.5 million patient visits at UNRWA clinics.

By 1986

Heavy fighting in and around Beirut camps. Israeli air raids on camps in south Lebanon.

Refugee population surpasses 2 million, enrolment at UNRWA’s 635 schools reaches 349,200 pupils, training centres accommodate 4,808 students, and clinics handle over 4 million patient visits during the year.

By 1992

Refugee population reaches 2.7 million with UNRWA providing education to 392,000 pupils and vocational and technical training to 5,100 students; Agency health centres handle 6.1 million patient visits.

By 1995

UNRWA marks 45 years of service to Palestine refugees. Number of Palestine refugees reaches 3.2 million.
As of June 30 2008 Total number of Refugees 4,618,141
As Israel Bulldozes and takes their homes the numbers grow. . Every Red Dot is an Israeli Settlement.

israeli-settlements-ocupation-1967-on

west-bank-fragmentation-checkpoints-etc

International Humanitarian Law requires all medical personnel and facilities be protected at all times, even during armed conflict. Attacks on them are grave violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights laws. Access to heath is a fundamental human right.

CASUALTIES and AFFECTED
According to the MoH on 19 January at 16:00, the number of people killed in the Gaza Strip since 27 December was approximately 1300, including 410 children and 104 women. Approximately 5300 people have been injured, including 1855 children and 795 women*.
(*The reason for the high increase in the death count is the identification of many bodies that were previously not identified or found under the rubble or in areas previously not accessible.)

UNRWA reports that 44 out of the 50 emergency shelters established to accommodate the displaced people are still in place for 46 000 displaced people.
HEALTH PERSONNEL
Since 27 December 2008, 16 health personnel have been killed and 22 injured while on duty, according to the MoH health information centre in Gaza.

Since the cease-fire, most health personnel have been reporting to work regularly and working for one ore two continuous shifts, each shift for 12 hours.
DAMAGE TO HEALTH FACILITIES
Since 27 December, 34 health facilities (8 hospitals and 26 PHC clinics) have been damaged or destroyed in direct or indirect shelling.

Of the 8 damaged hospitals, two were not functioning as of January 20. The 8 are:

  • Al Dorah Hospital – damaged on 3 occasions – 3, 12, 13 January (functioning only for emergency cases)
  • Gaza Pediatrics Hospital – damaged 3 January
  • Al Awda Hospital – damaged 5 January
  • Gaza European Hospital – damaged 10 January
  • El Nasser Pediatrics Hospital – damaged 10 January
  • Al-Quds PRCS Hospital – damaged twice 4, 15 January (not functioning)
  • Al Wafa Hospital – damaged 15 January
  • Al-Fata Hospital – damaged 15 January (not functioning)
  • Of the damaged PHC clinics, 20 were identified between 17 and 19 January after staff were able to inspect areas previously inaccessible due to insecurity. The number may increase as all sites are visited.

    WHO is investigating the extent of damages to these health facilities.

    Map of Damages to Gaza Jan 2009

    The Terror that begot Israel

    By Khalid Amayreh

    “We committed Nazi acts.” Aharon Zisling, Israel’s first Agriculture Minister


    “There is no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking Jews. Many young (Arab) girls were raped and later slaughtered. Old women were also molested.”
    General Richard Catling, British Army Assistant Inspector after interrogating several female survivors (The Palestinian Catastrophe, Michael Palumbo, 1987)

    As the state of Israel is celebrating sixty years of ethnic cleansing and atrocities against the native Palestinians, many people around the world, especially  young generations,  will not be fully aware of the manner in which Israel came into existence. Similarly,  the younger Zionist generations who don’t stop calling their Palestinian victims “terrorists” should have a clearer idea about Israel’s manifestly criminal past which Zionist school textbooks  shamelessly glamorize and glorify

    Prior to “Jewish” statehood, three main Jewish terror organizations operated in Palestine, primarily against Palestinian civilians and British mandate targets. The three were: The Haganah, the Zvei Leumi or Irgun and the Stern Gang. The Haganah (Defence) had a field army of up to 160,000 well-trained and well-armed men and a unit called the Palmach, with more than 6,000 terrorists. The Irgun included as many as 5,000 terrorists, while the Stern Gang included 200-300 dangerous terrorists.

    The following are merely some  examples of Zionist terrorism prior to the creation of the Zionist state in 1948:  The list doesn’t include the bigger massacres such as Dir Yasin, Dawaymeh, Tantura and others.

    1937-1939

    During this period, Zionist terrorists carried out a series of terror attacks against Palestinian buses resulting in the death of 24 persons and the wounding of 25 others.

    1939

    Haganah blew up the Iraqi oil pipeline near Haifa/Palestine. Moshe Dayan was one of the participants in this act. The technique was used in 1947 at least four times.

    1940

    On 6 November, 1940 , Zionist terrorists of the Stern Gang assassinated the British Minister resident in the Middle East , Lord Moyne, in Cairo .

    1940

    On  25 November, S.S. Patria was blown up by Jewish terrorists in Haifa harbour, killing 268 illegal Jewish immigrants. The explosion, carried out by the Haganah terrorist group, was only meant to prevent the ship from sailing. However, it seemed that the terrorists had miscalculated the amount of explosives needed to disable the vessel.  Other sources reported that this was no miscalculation and was a deliberate  mass murder of Jews by Jews aimed at drawing sympathy and influencing British immigration policy to Palestine .

    1946

    Zionist terrorists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which housed the civilian administration of the government of Palestine, killing and injuring more than 200 persons. The Irgun gang claimed responsibility for this criminal act, but subsequent evidence indicated that both the Haganah and the Jewish Agency were involved.

    1946

    On 1 October, the British Embassy in Rome was badly damaged by a bomb explosion for which Irgun claimed responsibility.

    1947

    In June 1947, a postal bomb addressed to the British war office exploded in the post office sorting room in London, injuring 2 persons. It was attributed to Irgun or Stern Gangs (The Sunday Times, Sept. 24, 1972), p. 8.

    1947

    In December 1947, six Palestinians were killed and 30 wounded when bombs were thrown from Jewish trucks at Arab houses in Haifa; 12 Palestinians were killed and another injured in an attack by armed Zionists at an Arab coastal village near Haifa.

    1947

    On 13 December 1947 , Zionist terrorists believed to be members of Irgun Zevi Leumi murdered 18 Palestinian civilians and wounded 60 others in Jerusalem , Jaffa and Lud areas. In Jerusalem , bombs were thrown in an Arab market-place near the Damascus Gate; in Jaffa bombs were thrown into an Arab café; and in the Arab village near Lud, 12 Arabs were killed in an attack with mortars and automatic weapons.

    1947

    On 9 December, Haganah terrorists attacked an Arab village near Safad, blowing up two houses, in the ruins of which were found the bodies of 10 Arabs, including 5 children. Haganah admitted responsibility for the attack.

    December 13, 1947- February 10, 1948

    Seven bombing attacks by Jewish terrorists took place and the targets were innocent Arab civilians in cafés and markets, killing 138 and wounding 271 others. During this period, there were 9 attacks on Arab buses. Moreover, Jewish terrorists attacked passenger trains on at least four occasions, killing 93 persons and wounding 161 others.

    1947

    On 29 December, two British constables and 11 Palestinians were killed and 32 others were injured at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem when Irgun terrorists threw a bomb from a taxi.

    1948

    On 1 January,  Haganah terrorists attacked a village on the slope of Mount Carmel , killing 17 Palestinian civilians and wounding 33 others.

    1948

    On 4 January, Haganah terrorists wearing British Army uniforms penetrated into the centre of Jaffa and blew up the Sarai, which was used as headquarters of the Arab National Committee, killing more than 40 persons and wounding 98 others.

    1948

    On 5 January, the Arab-owned Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem was blown up, killing 20 civilians, among them Viscount De Tapia, the Spanish Consul. Haganah admitted responsibility for this outrage.

    1948

    On 7 January , seventeen Arab civilians were killed by a bomb at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem , 3 of them while trying to escape. Further casualties, including the murder of a British officer near Hebron, were reported from different parts of the country.
    1948

    On 16 January, Jewish terrorists blew up three Arab buildings, killing 8 children between the age of 18 months and 12 years.

    1948

    On 15 February , Haganah terrorists attacked an Arab village near Safad and blew up several houses, killing 11 civilians, including four children.

    1948

    On  3 March, heavy damage was done to the Arab-owned Salam building in Haifa (a seven-story block of flats and shops) by Jewish terrorists who drove an army truck to the building and escaped before detonation of 400 pounds of explosives, killing 11 Arab civilians and 3 Americans. The Stern Gang claimed responsibility.

    1948

    On 22 March, Jewish terrorists from the Stern Gang blew up a housing block in Iraq Street in Haifa , killing 17 and injuring 100 others. Four members of the Stern Gang drove two truckloads of explosives into the street and abandoned the vehicles before the explosives went off.

    1948

    On 31 March, Jewish terrorists mined the Cairo-Haifa Express, killing 40 people and wounding 60 others.

    1948

    On 16 April, Jewish terrorists attacked the former British army camp at Tel Litvvinsky, killing 90 Palestinians.

    1948

    On 19 April, fourteen Palestinian civilians were killed in a house in Tiberias, which was blown up by Zionist terrorists.

    April 25, 1948- May 13, 1948

    Wholesale looting of Jaffa was carried out following armed attacks by Irgun and Haganah terrorists. They plundered and carried away everything they could, destroying what they could not take with them.

    1948

    On  11 May, a letter bomb addressed to Evelyn Baker, former commanding officer in Palestine , was detected in the nick of time by his wife.

    1948

    On 17 September, Count Folke Berndadotte, UN Mediator in Palestine was assassinated by members of the Stern Gang in the Zionist-controlled sector of Jerusalem . Bernadotte’s aide Col. Serot was also killed and murdered by Jewish terrorists.

    1948

    In November, the Christian Arab villages of Igrit and Birim were attacked and destroyed, killing and injuring many unarmed civilians, including women and children. All the Christian Arab inhabitants were forcibly expelled from their homes. The State of Israel still refuses to allow them to return to their villages despite several court orders.

    1948-1949

    The greatest acts of Jewish terror took place when Jewish terrorists, now called Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), uprooted 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homeland in Palestine . Since then the refugees have consistently been denied the right to return home. After the expulsion, the Zionist terrorist army razed to the ground hundreds of Arab towns, villages and hamlets and obliterated their remains. Eventually, Israeli villages, Kibbutzim and towns were built on the remaining rubble.

    Source

    1945 Land ownership

    land-ownership-1945

    The question of Palestine was brought before the United Nations shortly after the end of the Second World War.

    The origins of the Palestine problem as an international issue, however, lie in events occurring towards the end of the First World War. These events led to a League of Nations decision to place Palestine under the administration of Great Britain as the Mandatory Power under the Mandates System adopted by the League. In principle, the Mandate was meant to be in the nature of a transitory phase until Palestine attained the status of a fully independent nation, a status provisionally recognized in the League’s Covenant, but in fact the Mandate’s historical evolution did not result in the emergence of Palestine as an independent nation.

    The decision on the Mandate did not take into account the wishes of the people of Palestine, despite the Covenant’s requirements that “the wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory”. This assumed special significance because, almost five years before receiving the mandate from the League of Nations, the British Government had given commitments to the Zionist Organization regarding the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, for which Zionist leaders had pressed a claim of “historical connection” since their ancestors had lived in Palestine two thousand years earlier before dispersing in the “Diaspora”.

    During the period of the Mandate, the Zionist Organization worked to secure the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The indigenous people of Palestine, whose forefathers had inhabited the land for virtually the two preceding millennia felt this design to be a violation of their natural and inalienable rights. They also viewed it as an infringement of assurances of independence given by the Allied Powers to Arab leaders in return for their support during the war. The result was mounting resistance to the Mandate by Palestinian Arabs, followed by resort to violence by the Jewish community as the Second World War drew to a close.

    After a quarter of a century of the Mandate, Great Britain submitted what had become “the Palestine problem” to the United Nations on the ground that the Mandatory Power was faced with conflicting obligations that had proved irreconcilable. At this point, when the United Nations itself was hardly two years old, violence ravaged Palestine. After investigating various alternatives the United Nations proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized. The partition plan did not bring peace to Palestine, and the prevailing violence spread into a Middle East war halted only by United Nations action. One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and, in a series of successive wars, its territorial control expanded to occupy all of Palestine. The Palestinian Arab State envisaged in the partition plan never appeared on the world’s map and, over the following 30 years, the Palestinian people have struggled for their lost rights.

    The Palestine problem quickly widened into the Middle East dispute between the Arab States and Israel. From 1948 there have been wars and destruction, forcing millions of Palestinians into exile, and engaging the United Nations in a continuing search for a solution to a problem which came to possess the potential of a major source of danger for world peace.

    In the course of this search, a large majority of States Members of the United Nations have recognized that the Palestine issue continues to lie at the heart of the Middle East problem, the most serious threat to peace with which the United Nations must contend. Recognition is spreading in world opinion that the Palestinian people must be assured its inherent inalienable right of national self-determination for peace to be restored.

    In 1947 the United Nations accepted the responsibility of finding a just solution for the Palestine issue, and still grapples with this task today. Decades of strife and politico-legal arguments have clouded the basic issues and have obscured the origins and evolution of the Palestine problem, which this study attempts to clarify.

    The US took over by providing Israel, with billions in Aid.

    A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: Almost $114 Billion

    By Shirl McArthur

    November 2008

    TABLE 1: Direct U.S. Aid to Israel (millions of dollars)

    Year
    (Total
    (Military
    Grant
    (Economic
    Grant
    (Immigrant
    (ASHA
    (All Other
    1949-1996
    ***
    (68,030.9
    (29,014.9
    (23,122.4
    (868.9
    (121.4
    (14,903.3
    1997
    (3,132.1
    (1,800.0
    (1,200.0
    (80.0
    (2.1
    (50.0
    1998
    (3,080.0
    (1,800.0
    (1,200.0
    (80.0
    (?
    (?
    1999
    (3,010.0
    (1,860.0
    (1,080.0
    (70.0
    (?
    (?
    2000
    (4,131.85
    (3,120.0
    (949.1
    (60.0
    (2.75
    (?
    2001
    (2,876.05
    (1,975.6
    (838.2
    (60.0
    (2.25
    (?
    2002
    (2,850.65
    (2,040.0
    (720.0
    (60.0
    (2.65
    (28.0
    2003
    (3,745.15
    (3,086.4
    (596.1
    (59.6
    (3.05
    (?
    2004
    (2,687.25
    (2,147.3
    (477.2
    (49.7
    (3.15
    (9.9
    2005
    (2,612.15
    (2,202.2
    (357.0
    (50.0
    (2.95
    (?
    2006
    (2,534.53
    (2,257.0
    (237.0
    (40.0
    (?
    (.53
    2007
    (2,500.24
    (2,340.0
    (120.0
    (40.0
    (?
    (.24
    2008
    (2,423.8
    (2,380.6
    (0.0
    (39.7
    (3.0
    (.5
    Total
    (103,614.67
    (56,024.0
    (30,897.0
    (1,557.9
    (143.3
    (14,992.47
    Notes: FY 2000 military grants include $1.2 billion for the Wye agreement and $1.92 billion in annual military aid. FY 2003 military aid included $1 billion from the supplemental appropriations bill. The economic grant was earmarked for $960 million for FY 2000 but was reduced to meet the 0.38% rescission. Final amounts for FY 2003 are reduced by 0.65% mandated rescission, the amounts for FY 2004 are reduced by 0.59%, and the amounts for FY 2008 are reduced by .81%.
    Sources: CRS Report RL33222: U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, updated Jan. 2, 2008, plus the FY ’08 omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2764.

    Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, is a consultant based in the Washington, DC area.

    This estimate of total U.S. direct aid to Israel updates the estimate given in the July 2006 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. It is an estimate because arriving at an exact figure is not possible, since parts of U.S. aid to Israel are a) buried in the budgets of various U.S. agencies, mostly that of the Defense Department (DOD), or b) in a form not easily quantifiable, such as the early disbursement of aid, giving Israel a direct benefit in interest income and the U.S. Treasury a corresponding loss. Given these caveats, our current estimate of cumulative total direct aid to Israel is $113.8554 billion.

    It must be emphasized that this analysis is a conservative, defensible accounting of U.S. direct aid to Israel, NOT of Israel’s cost to the U.S. or the American taxpayer, nor of the benefits to Israel of U.S. aid. The distinction is important, because the indirect or consequential costs suffered by the U.S. as a result of its blind support for Israel exceed by many times the substantial amount of direct aid to Israel. (See, for example, the late Thomas R. Stauffer’s article in the June 2003 Washington Report, “The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion.”)

    Especially, this computation does not include the costs resulting from the invasion and occupation of Iraq—hundreds of billions of dollars, 4,000-plus U.S. and allied fatalities, untold tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and many thousands of other U.S., allied, and Iraqi casualties—which is almost universally believed in the Arab world to have been undertaken for the benefit of Israel. Among other “indirect or consequential” costs would be the costs of U.S. unilateral economic sanctions on Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the costs to U.S. manufacturers of the Arab boycott, and the costs to U.S. companies and consumers of the 1973 Arab oil embargo and consequent and subsequent soaring oil prices partially as a result of U.S. support for Israel.

    Among the real benefits to Israel that are not direct costs to the U.S. taxpayer are the early cash transfer of economic and military aid, in-country spending of a portion of military aid, and loan guarantees. The U.S. gives Israel all of its economic and military aid directly in cash during the first month of the fiscal year, with no accounting required of how the funds are used. Also, in contrast with other countries receiving military aid, who must purchase through the DOD, Israel deals directly with the U.S. companies, with no DOD review. Furthermore, Israel is allowed to spend 26.3 percent of each year’s military aid in Israel (no other recipient of U.S. military aid gets this benefit), which has resulted in an increasingly sophisticated Israeli defense industry. As a result, Israel has become a major world arms exporter; the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that in 2006 Israel was the world’s ninth leading supplier of arms worldwide, earning $4.4 billion from defense sales.

    Another benefit to Israel are U.S. government loan guarantees. The major loan guarantees have been $600 million for housing between 1972 and 1990; $9.2 billion for Soviet Jewish resettlement between 1992 and 1997; about $5 billion for refinancing military loans commercially; and $9 billion in loan guarantees authorized in FY ’03 and extended to FY ’10. Of that $9 billion, CRS reports that Israel has drawn $4.1 billion through FY ’07. These loans have not—yet—cost the U.S. any money; they are listed on the Treasury Department’s books as “contingent liabilities,” which would be liabilities to the U.S. should Israel default. However, they have been of substantial, tangible benefit to Israel, because they enable Israel to borrow commercially at special terms and favorable interest rates.
    Components of Israel Aid

    Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II (not counting the huge sums being spent in Iraq). The $3 billion or so per year that Israel receives from the U.S. amounts to about $500 per Israeli. Most of this money is earmarked in the annual Foreign Operations (foreign aid) appropriations bills, with the three major items being military grants (Foreign Military Financing, or FMF), economic grants (Economic Support Funds, or ESF), and “migration and refugee assistance.” (Refugee assistance originally was intended to help Israel absorb Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union, but this was expanded in 1985 to include all refugees resettling in Israel. In fact, Israel doesn’t differentiate between refugees and other immigrants, so this money is used for all immigrants to Israel.)

    Not earmarked but also included in congressional appropriations bills is Israel’s portion of grants for American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) and monies buried in the appropriations for other departments or agencies. These are mostly for so-called “U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs” in defense, agriculture, science, and hi-tech industries.

    Before 1998, Israel received annually $1.8 billion in military grants and $1.2 billion in economic grants. Then, beginning in FY ‘99, the two countries agreed to reduce economic grants to Israel by $120 million and increase military grants by $60 million annually over 10 years. FY ’08 is the last year of that agreement, with military grants reaching $2.4 billion (reduced by an across-the-board rescission), and zero economic grants. Then, in August 2007, U.S. and Israeli officials signed a memorandum of understanding for a new 10-year, $30 billion aid package whereby FMF will gradually increase, beginning with $2.55 billion in FY ’09, and average $3 billion per year over the 10-year period.
    Methodology
    TABLE 2: Foreign Aid and DOD Appropriations
    Legislation Since FY 2004

    Basic Documents Conference Report Public Law
    FY ’04 Defense H.R. 2658 H.Rept. 108-283 P.L. 108-87
    Omnibus H.R. 2673 H.Rept. 108-401 P.L. 108-199
    FY ’05 Defense H.R. 4613 H.Rept. 108-662 P.L. 108-287
    Omnibus H.R. 4818 H.Rept. 108-792 P.L. 108-447
    FY ’06 Defense H.R. 2863 H.Rept. 109-359 P.L. 109-148
    Foreign Aid H.R. 3057 H.Rept. 109-265 P.L. 109-102
    FY ’07 Defense H.R. 5631 H.Rept. 109-676 P.L. 109-289
    Foreign Aid H.J.Res. 20 P.L. 110-5
    FY ’08 Defense H.R. 3222 H.Rept. 110-434 P.L. 110-116
    Omnibus H.R. 2764 H.Rept. 110-497 P.L. 110-161
    Notes: H.R.=House Resolution; S.=Senate Resolution; H.Rept.=House Report; the “public law” is the final, binding version, as signed by the president. In FY ’04, ’05, and ’08 defense was passed separately and foreign aid was included in the consolidated or “omnibus” bill. In FY ’07 defense was passed separately and foreign aid was included in the continuing resolution, H.J. Res. 20, which continued ’07 appropriations at the ’06 level with some exceptions—including, of course, for Israel.

    As with previous Washington Report estimates of U.S. aid to Israel, this analysis is based on the annual CRS report, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, which uses available and verifiable numbers, primarily from the foreign operations appropriations bills. Although the CRS report does include such things as the old food for peace program, the $1.2 billion from the Wye agreement, the $1 billion in FMF included in the FY ’03 Emergency Supplemental appropriations bill, the subsidy for “refugee resettlement,” and money from the ASHA account, it does not include money from the DOD and other agencies. Nor does it include estimated interest on the early disbursement of aid.

    The January 2008 CRS report on aid to Israel shows a total of $101.1908 billion through FY ’07. Table 1, on the previous page, is drawn from the summary table of that report, plus $2.4238 billion from the FY ’08 omnibus appropriations bill and estimates for ASHA and “other” amounts in FY ’08, for a total of $103.6147 billion through FY ’08.

    To that has been added $10.2407 billion, as detailed below, for a grand total of $113.8554 billion.

    Estimated Amounts Not Included in Table 1:
    $10.2407 Billion

    Defense Department Funds: $7.694 Billion. For previous estimates, a search going back several years was able to identify $6.794 billion from the DOD to Israel through FY ‘06. Adding $450 million from the FY ’07 DOD appropriations and $450 million from the ’08 appropriations gives a total of $7.694 billion. (The FY ’08 appropriations bill earmarks $155.6 million for Israel. However, AIPAC’s Web site reported that the total for earmarked and non-earmarked programs was $450 million—and who would know better than the Israel lobby itself?)

    The military aid from the DOD budget is mostly for specific projects. The largest items have been the canceled Lavi attack fighter project, the completed Merkava tank, the ongoing Arrow anti-missile missile project, and several other anti-missile systems, most recently the “David’s Sling” short-range missile defense system. Haaretz reported in June that a senior U.S. defense official has said the U.S. will support and help Israel’s development of the advanced Arrow 3 designed to intercept advanced ballistic missiles. The fact that the U.S. military was not interested in the Lavi or the Merkava for its own use and has said the same thing about the Arrow and the other anti-missile projects would seem to jettison the argument that these are “joint defense projects.” The FY ‘01 appropriations bill also gave Israel a grant of $700 million worth of military equipment, to be drawn down from stocks in Western Europe, and the FY ’05 defense appropriations bill includes a provision authorizing the DOD to transfer an unspecified amount of “surplus” military items from inventory to Israel. In addition, since 1988 Israel has been designated a “major non-NATO ally,” giving it access to U.S. weapons systems at lower prices, and preferential treatment in bidding for U.S. defense contracts.

    Interest: $2.089 Billion. Israel receives its U.S. economic and military aid in a lump sum within one month of the new fiscal year or the passage of the appropriations act. Applying one-half of the prevailing interest rate to the aid for each year (on the assumption that the aid monies are drawn down over the course of the year), the July 2006 estimate arrived at a total of $1.991 billion through FY ’06. To that, using an interest rate of 4 percent, is added $50 million for FY ’07 and $48 million for FY ’08, for a cumulative total of $2.089 billion through FY ’08.

    Other Grants and Endowments: $457.7 Million. The July 2006 report included $456.7 million in U.S. grants and endowments to U.S.-Israeli scientific and business cooperation organizations. The two largest are the BIRD (Israel-U.S. Binational Research & Development) Foundation and the BARD (Binational Agriculture and Research and Development) Fund. While these are mostly self-sustaining, the BARD Fund gets about $500,000 a year from the Agriculture Department. Adding $0.5 million for each of FY ’07 and ‘08 to the ’06 total gives a new total of $0.457.7 billion.

    For the convenience of those who wish to look up more details, citations for the foreign aid and DOD appropriations bills for the past five years are given in Table 2 above.

    Source

    On average Israel got or gets about “6.5 million dollars a day” from the US. The tax payers are however the ones who pay for it.

    US puts up $20 million for Gaza relief. Now isn’t that just so generous. Like WOW

    Spain: Judicial probe looks at 2002 Gaza War Crimes Claims

    Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

    Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between Israel and Palestinians

    Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

    Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    Illegal Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008

    Aid Workers Protest Restricted Access to Gaza

    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    The making of Israel’s Apartheid in Palestine

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives


    Spain: Judicial probe looks at 2002 Gaza War Crimes Claims

    Spain: Judicial probe looks at 2002 Gaza war crime claims

    Spain’s Audiencia Nacional, or National Audience, is a senior court which considers charges related to terrorism and organised crime.

    January 29 2009

    Madrid,

    A Spanish judge on Thursday began an official inquiry into seven former and current Israeli officials alleged to have committed war crimes after a 2002 attack in the Gaza Strip. A top Hamas militant and 14 civilians including nine children were killed in an Israeli airstrike.

    A court document released by the judge, Fernando Andreu Merelles, outlined the charges to be considered by the Madrid court.

    “As a consequence of the explosion caused by the bomb, 15 people died, mostly children and babies, 150 people were injured – some of them severely – with permanent after affects, eight houses were completely destroyed, nine houses were partially destroyed and 21 others had moderate damage,” said the document issued by the Audiencia Nacional court.

    The Spanish lawsuit was brought by members of the families who lost relatives in the attack – the Mattar, al-Seadi, el-Houweit and al-Sahhwa families.

    Merelles is expected to investigate former Israeli minister of defence and current minister of infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, former Israel Defence Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz, Likud politician and former IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon, as well as Doron Almog, Giora Eiland and Michael Herzog.

    In the attack, Hamas militant Salah Shehadeh was killed by an air strike in an extrajudicial assassination by Israeli forces.

    “The day of 22 July 2002, between 23:30 and 24:00, an Israeli F16 warplane dropped a one-tonne bomb on the neighbourhood of al-Daraj in Gaza City,” said the report by the specialised court.

    “The main target of the attack was the house of Salah Shehadeh, who was suspected to be a Hamas commander, thus the aim of the mission was to assassinate him. Shehadeh’s house was located in a residential area with one of the highest population densities in the world.”

    “Near the house of Salah Shehadeh there was a house which belonged and was occupied by the Mattar family. There was less than two metres of distance between both houses. As a result of the bombing, his house was completely destroyed and seven members of his family were killed.”

    Andreu is acting under a doctrine that allows prosecution in Spain of such an offence or crimes like terrorism or genocide even if they were allegedly committed in another country.

    Referring to the fourth Geneva convention of 1949, the court said the accused could face from 10 to 15 years in jail.

    Recently Israeli ministers publicly expressed concerns about the possibility of a wave of war crime lawsuits against Israeli military commanders and soldiers after the three-week long Operation Cast Lead which ended with separate ceasefires on 18 January.

    Israel’s offensive against the coastal territory resulted in the death of 1,330 Palestinians, 400 of those were women and children. At least 5,400 others were injured, according to Palestinian medical sources and rights groups.

    Source

    Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

    Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between Israel and Palestinians

    Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

    Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Letting AP in on the Secret: Israeli Strip Searches are Torture

    European Diplomats thought they had a problem at the border? They only got a couple of warning shots. They should have had to go through this like others had too. Then they would really  have something to whine about.

    Seems they got off rather easy.

    They should take a look at what was done to this young photojournalist. and others. Things that never made it to the mainstream media.

    Letting AP in on the Secret:
    Israeli Strip Searches

    By Alison Weir

    July 29, 2008

    On June 26th a young Palestinian photojournalist named Mohammed Omer was returning home from a triumphant European tour.

    In London he had been awarded the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for journalism – the youngest recipient ever and one of the few non-Britons ever to receive the prestigious prize.

    In Greece he had been given the 2008 journalism award for courage by the Union of Greek Journalists and had been invited to speak before the Greek parliament.

    In Britain, the Netherlands, Greece, and Sweden he had met with Parliament Members and been interviewed on major radio and TV stations.

    In the US several years before, he had been named the first recipient of the New America Media’s Best Youth Voice award.

    In an Israeli border facility he was violently strip-searched at gunpoint, forced to do a grotesque sort of dance while completely naked, assaulted, taunted about his awards and his ethnicity, and finally, when Israeli officials feared he might have been fatally injured, taken by ambulance to a Palestinian hospital; if he died, it would not be while in Israeli custody.

    As readers may have already guessed, Israel was not part of Omer’s speaking tour.

    AP, in its over 60 reports from the region in the following week never mentioned any of this.

    The reason Omer was even in ‘Israel’ (actually, an “immigration terminal” controlled by Israel on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank) is a simple one: He was simply trying to go from Jordan to his home in the Gaza Strip. Gaza is basically a large concentration camp to which Israel holds the keys. It is extremely difficult for Palestinians to get out. It is just as difficult to get back in.

    Despite Omer’s journalism credentials (Gaza correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and IPS, stringer for AFP, occasionally appears on BBC, etc.) and despite being invited to receive an international award, Omer was only able to exit Gaza through the considerable efforts of Dutch diplomats.

    When the 24-year-old journalist tried to return to Gaza, it again required intercession by the Dutch Embassy. After being forced by Israel to wait in Jordan for five days (and therefore missing his brother’s wedding), Omer finally received word that he would be allowed to go home.

    However, when he arrived at the Israeli immigration terminal, an Israel official told him that there was no entry permit for him in the computer and he was told to wait. Three hours later an official came out and took Omer’s cell phone away from him. While Omer’s Dutch Embassy escort waited outside, unaware of what was going on, Omer’s ordeal began.

    “He then asked me to leave my belongings and follow him. I recognized we were entering the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security service] offices at Allenby. Upon entering, he motioned for me to sit in a chair within a closed corridor…

    “After what seemed to be one hour and thirty minutes, both doors at the end of the corridor opened. I watched as one of the Palestinian passengers exited securing his belt to his trousers. A second man followed behind and was struggling to put on his T-shirt. Immediately I realized I was not in a good place. The rooms from which they exited must be used for strip searching…

    A uniformed intelligence officer and two others began rifling through all of Omer’s possessions.

    “They were looking for something specific but I wouldn’t know what until green eyes demanded, ‘Where is the money, Mohammed?’

    “What money I thought. Of course I had money on me. I was traveling… For a moment I was relieved, thinking this was just a typical shakedown. I’d lose the cash with me, but that would be about it…

    “However, my traveling money failed to suffice. Dissatisfied, he pressed, ‘Where is the money from the prize?’

    “I realized he was after the award stipend for the Martha Gellhorn Prize from the UK and I told him I did not have it with me. I’d arranged for a bank transfer rather than carry it with me. Visibly irritated the intelligence agent continued to press for money.

    “The room filled with more intelligence officers, bringing the total Israeli personnel, most well armed, in the room to eight: eight Israelis and me…

    “Dissatisfied that larger sums of money failed to materialize, green eyes accused me of lying. I again repeated the prize money went to bank draft and I already had shown him all the cash I had on me. Avi interjected, ordering me to empty my pockets, which I already had. Seeing they had tapped out, he escorted me into another room, this one empty.

    “’OK take off your clothes’ Avi the intelligence officer ordered.

    “I asked why. A simple pat-down would have disclosed any money belts or weapons; besides, I had already gone through an x-ray machine before entering the passport holding area.

    “He repeated the order.

    “Removing all but my underwear, I stood before Avi. In an increasingly belligerent tone he ordered, ‘take off everything’.

    “’I am not taking off my underwear,’ I stated. Again he ordered me to remove my underwear.

    “At this point I informed him that an escort from the Dutch embassy was currently waiting for me on the other side of the interrogation center and that I was under diplomatic transit.

    “He replied he knew that, thus indicating he didn’t care, and again insisted I strip. Again I refused. There was no reason for me to do so.

    Omer asked:  ‘Why are you treating me this way? I am human being.’

    “For a moment I flashed on the scene in the Oscar winning film, The Pianist where the Jewish man, being humiliated by a Nazi quoted Shakespeare, invoking his faith in place of written words, ‘Doth a Jew not have eyes?’ the old man queried, attempting to appeal to the humanity buried somewhere in the soul of his oppressor. Finding myself confronting the same racism and disdain I wanted to ask Avi, ‘Doth a Palestinian not have eyes?’

    Would his indoctrination inoculate him from empathy as well? Likely, I reasoned, it would.

    “Avi smirked, half chuckling as he informed me, ‘This is nothing compared to what you will see now.’

    “With that the intelligence officer unholstered his weapon, pressing it to my head and with his full body weight pinning me on my side, he forcibly removed my underwear. Completely naked, I stood before him as he proceeded to feel me up one side and down the other…

    “Avi then proceeded to demand I do a concocted sort of dance, ordering me to move to the right and the side. When I refused, he forced me under his own power to move side to side…”

    After awhile Omer was allowed to put his clothes back on, but the interrogation continued. His eight, mostly armed interrogators taunted him over his awards, his appearance on BBC, and the misery he was returning to in what they termed “dirty” Gaza. Finally, after hours in Israeli custody and a total of 12 hours without food or water, Omer collapsed.

    “….without warning I began to vomit all over the room. At the same time I felt my legs buckled from the strain of standing and I passed out… I awoke on the floor to someone screaming, repeating my name over and over…

    “As he screamed in my ears I felt his fingernails puncturing my skin, gouging, scraping and clawing at the tender flesh beneath my eyes. This was the intelligence officer’s method for gauging my level of consciousness. No smelling salts as is the civilized manner for reviving a person. Clawing at my eyes and tearing the skin on my face proved his manner of rendering aid.

    “Realizing I was again conscious, though barely, the Israeli broadened his assault, scooping my head and digging his nails in near the auditory nerves between my head and ear drum. Rather then render first aid, which is the protocol and international law in instances whether prisoners of war or civilians, the soldier broadened his assault. The pain became sharper as he dug his nails, two fingers at a time into my neck, grazing my carotid artery and again challenging my consciousness before pummeling my chest with his full weight and strength.

    “I estimate I lay on the floor approximately one hour and twenty minutes and I continued to vomit for what seemed like a half hour. Severely dehydrated, focusing took flight and the room became a menagerie of pain, sound and terror. The stench further exasperated and seemed to inflame my captors further…

    “All around me I heard Israeli voices and then one placed his combat boot on my neck pressing into the hard floor. I remember choking, feeling the outline of his shoe and in my increasing delirium thought for a moment perhaps someone was rendering aid. Reality destroyed that hope. Around me, like men watching a sporting match I heard laughing and goading, a gang rape of verbal and physical violence meted by men entrenched in hatred and rage… I again lost consciousness and awoke to find myself being dragged by my feet on my back through my vomit on the floor, my head bouncing on the pavement and body sweeping to-and-fro like a mop…

    Eventually, Omer was transferred to a Palestinian hospital, but only after Israeli officials tried to force him to sign a paper absolving them from responsibility.

    “In other words, if I died or was permanently disabled as a result of Israel’s actions, Israel could not be held accountable. One would think I was in a third world dictatorship rather than the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’. One would think.”

    Where is AP?

    One would also think that such treatment of a journalist by America’s “special ally” would be news.

    Since journalists tend to be particularly concerned when fellow journalists are victimized, it would be expected that Omer’s abuse would receive considerable press attention – especially since he had just received international recognition from the journalism community. One can only imagine the multitude of headlines that would result if an Israeli journalist, perhaps even one who had not just been feted internationally, had been similarly treated by the Palestinian Authority.

    Oddly, however, despite the fact that Reuters, BBC, the UK Guardian, Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, and others issued news reports, the Associated Press, which serves virtually every daily newspaper in the U.S., sent out nothing on it.

    Astounded, I finally phoned AP headquarters in New York to find out how they had missed it.

    I asked for the international desk, told them I had a news tip, and briefly described the incident. I was told, “Oh yes, we know about it.”

    I asked them when they were going to report it and was told: “The Jerusalem bureau is looking into it.” The Jerusalem bureau is located in Israel; many of its editors and their wives/husbands/children have Israeli citizenship. It is not the most unbiased of bureaus. Yet, it is the control bureau for the region – the filter through which virtually all AP reports, photos, video footage from Palestine and Israel must pass.

    A day or two later there was still no story. I phoned the international desk in New York again and was told that the Jerusalem bureau had decided not to cover the incident. There was no explanation.

    I tried phoning higher-ups, including CEO Tom Curley, who goes about the country lecturing about the “public’s right to know” and Kathleen Carroll, Executive Editor, to learn on what basis AP had determined this incident was not newsworthy. Neither returned my call. I kept trying, hoping to find somewhere in the AP hierarchy at least a semblance of a journalist committed to AP’s alleged mission of reporting the news “accurately and honestly.”

    Finally, I found one. I reached the managing editor in charge of international reporting, and asked him why AP was refusing to cover the case of a prize-winning journalist being strip-searched at gunpoint and physically abused by Israeli officials when he returned to Gaza from receiving the Martha Gellhorn award in London.

    The editor admitted that he hadn’t heard of the incident and was interested in the details. I told him what I knew, referred him to the UK Guardian article and others, and he said he’d look into it.

    As a result, two weeks after Omer’s ordeal, and after Israel had solidified its denial narrative, AP finally sent out a report.

    The belated story, datelined Jerusalem and carrying a byline by Karin Laub, left a great deal to be desired.

    It depicted the incident as a “he said/she said” dispute, in which it termed Omer’s statements as “claims,” while never using this verb for Israeli statements. In every case Israeli statements are placed in the rebuttal position.

    The lengthy article places Omer’s strongest descriptions in the second half of the story, where they would typically be cut by the averaged-sized print newspaper, and leaves out a great deal of important information.

    For example, while AP reports that Omer was discharged from one hospital, it neglects to report that Omer was admitted to a second one where he was hospitalized for four or five days. It does not name the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, neglects any mention of other awards, and omits entirely Omer’s meetings with Parliament Members in multiple countries. It fails to report the statement by the former ambassador from The Netherlands:

    “This is by no means an isolated incident, but part of a long-term strategy to demolish Palestinian social, economic and cultural life … I am aware of the possibility that Mohammed Omer might be murdered by Israeli snipers or bomb attack in the near future.”

    The international organization Reporters Without Borders reported issued a condemnation of the attack, stating that in the ten days preceding Omer’s incident alone, it had recorded five incidents of “wrongful arrest” of journalists by Israel, and that one journalist was still being held. None of this was in Laub’s article.

    All of the missing material, of course, would serve to add credibility to Omer’s statements. Perhaps this pattern of omission was a coincidence.

    Early in the story, while admitting that Palestinians complain about “rough” treatment at the border (a considerable understatement), Laub seems to go out of her way to discredit Omer’s description of being forcibly strip-searched, by writing: “However, Omer’s allegation of being forced to strip naked appeared unusual.”

    The Strip-Searching “Secret”

    This is a bizarre statement.

    As Dion Nissenbaum, Jerusalem bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers,  wrote last year, “While Israeli security won’t admit it, it is a widely accepted secret that Palestinians and Arabs…are routinely subjected to intense, hours-long questioning that can include strip searches.”

    Is it possible that AP is not in on this secret?

    The reality is that frequent, random humiliation by Israeli soldiers and officials is part of the Palestinian experience. Numerous degrading strip searches – some of them particularly grotesque – have been forced on Palestinian men, women, and children of all ages for decades.

    In addition, Israeli officials periodically strip search others whenever, it appears, they wish, including:
    The British Consul General  (Israeli media reported that her search was “prolonged, needless and humiliating” and that she was “visibly upset)

    An American holocaust survivor (she was treated to a “cavity search”)

    Sixteen Christian evangelicals rounded up at gunpoint;

    Journalists from around the world (an Argentinian journalist wrote: “… they made me go to another office and strip naked. An official came in stands next to me, while I’m naked, with a machine gun in his hand…” A Swiss reporter was forced to remove her pants in public and stand in her underwear, hands raised, in front of an x-ray machine);

    A wheel-chair bound New Jersey woman with cerebral palsy whose sanitary pad was confiscated, humiliating her publicly;

    An American doctoral student, who was also subjected to a cavity search…  and the list goes on and on.

    Yet, somehow, AP missed all of these. In fact, amazingly, a LexisNexis search of Associated Press stories over the past 10 years, using the search terms “Israel” and “strip search,” turns up only one result – a few stories on a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners protesting against, among other things, their daily strip searches by Israeli guards.

    Since we think it’s unfair for AP to be excluded from what others in the region know, we compiled a very partial list of reports about Israeli strip-searches, with excerpts from each, and emailed AP the 25-page document. We asked for a correction and received the following response: “This acknowledges receipt of your e-mail. We have no further comment at this time.” Our request for an interview was “respectfully declined.”

    Following are just a few of the stories on this topic that AP never reported to the thousands of newspapers, radio and television stations that rely on it for their foreign news.  The entire document is available on the If Americans Knew website.

    * In 2007 the Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs issued a statement protesting the policy of Israeli soldiers taking Palestinian women “to separate rooms in the checkpoint and being forced to remove all clothes, to become fully naked.” The minister demanded that the UN and the international community provide security for Palestinian women.

    * Even the New York Times (which justified it) reported about the Allenby border in 1987: “Before any visitor gets in, however, he must go through a stringent security check at the Israeli terminal. Besides being examined by metal detectors, each visitor must undergo a private strip search…”

    * A University of Utah law student describes a PhD student conducting research in the region who was detained at the border crossing for six hours, “Then a female guard conducted a strip/cavity search while two male guards observed.”

    * A British researcher reports: “While men have also reported forms of sexual torture in jail, women prisoners are particularly vulnerable to this as a form of humiliation by their captors. Women are forced to strip naked in front of guards, many of whom are male, and subjected to brutal body searches. Many women prisoners have detailed sexual assault by Israeli military and prison staff. On some occasions women are detained as a way of threatening or putting pressure on a male member of the family.

    * A woman trying to reach a hospital reports: “…the labour pains grew stronger. I saw a lot of soldiers in front of me. I called out at them using the word “baby” which I think some understood. They started to talk to me in Hebrew as they pointed the guns towards me. They used signs and gestures. I understood that they wanted me to show them how pregnant I was which I did. One soldier asked me to take off my robe, which I did. But it was not sufficient and he asked me to remove the T-shirt and the trousers. I had no choice and I was ready to go as far as that in order to get to the hospital before it was late. He asked me to take off my underwear which I did. After this humiliation, they fetched a stretcher from one of the tanks. I was naked. I was carried to a tank and was given intravenous glucose into my arm. A few minutes later, they brought my father-in-law inside the tank. They drove for almost half an hour. I was thinking they were taking me to a nearby hospital but it turns out they were taking us back to the Huwwara checkpoint. We were taken out of the tank and were laid nude on the stretchers for almost one hour…”

    * Reuters reported: “Three Israeli soldiers forced a Palestinian man to strip naked at gunpoint and walk like a dog in a West Bank city under curfew…A Reuters photographer snapped Yasser Sharaf, 25, standing naked in a cold, muddy street in Nablus on Sunday as two men were handing him clothes to put on and two Israeli armoured vehicles were pulling away from the scene.”

    * Reporters who entered Nablus after the Israeli invasion of 2002 quoted from an interview with one of the inhabitants: “The men were then driven to a nearby yard, ordered to strip naked, and made to lie face down in the dirt. While my neighbor Jamal Sabar was taking off his pants, they shot him dead…”

    *  “A soldier inside the jeep ordered me to raise my hands and get out of the car and said, ‘take off your shirt.’ I did; then he said, ‘and the pants.’ I did; then he said, ‘the undershirt and underwear.’ I begged him not to force me; and he said, ‘I’ll shoot you.’ And all the soldiers pointed their guns at me. I took off my underclothes and stood naked in front of everybody. He ordered, ‘proceed with your hands up.’ I came up to him and he gave me a transparent plastic bag to cover myself. He blindfolded me and made me sit 20 meters away. Then the soldier shouted at a passenger called Islam ‘Abed al-Sheikh Ibrahim, 18, who was sitting in the front seat, and ordered him to get out of the car. He told the soldier that his leg was broken, but the soldier insisted. He Islam got out and stood on his crutches. The soldier ordered him to take off his clothes. He tried by failed. The soldier came to me and removed the binding off my eyes and told me at gunpoint to go and help him take off his clothes. I went and helped the passenger take off all his clothes. The soldier told me to help him walk to the soldier. We walked up and he gave me another nylon bag for Islam. Then, he told us to sit on the ground. Soon after, the soldier ordered another passenger, Yasser Rasheed al-Sheikh Ibrahim,60, to get out of the car and take off his clothes like us…”

    * The Guardian described an incident in which a commander was “awaiting a court martial on several charges, including ordering the boy to strip naked, holding a burning paper under his testicles, threatening to ram a bottle into his anus and threatening to shoot him…”

    * “We were mostly older people, sick and wounded. We had nine handicapped people with us, three were from the same family, sons of Abu Ibrahim. Some of us were too old, they were senile. When they told them ‘go left’ they would go right, but they stripped them naked anyway. I tried to help them as much as I could. I was the only one who spoke Hebrew…Close to us was a group of young men. They were handcuffed, naked and lying on their stomachs. The Israeli tanks would pass by them so fast, only forty centimeters away from their heads.”

    *  “Other residents described how young men were stripped naked and then shot. Yusuf Shalabi, a young man from the camp explained how the Israeli soldiers denied medical treatment to the wounded, ‘…I remember this nightmare very well. It is very difficult to talk about it. I remember them stripping the people naked, they would handcuff them and blindfold them. I remember seeing two wounded men, one was wounded in the shoulder and the other in the leg. They were screaming in pain and the soldiers would not allow them to be treated.’”

    Incredibly, AP seems to have missed all of these, and more. As a result, Americans have little idea of the life is like for Paleestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Moreover, strip searches are just the tip of the iceberg. According to an Israeli government report released in 2000 (five years after it had been written) Shin Bet “used systematic torture against Palestinians and regularly lied about it.” An Israeli human rights organization estimated that 85 percent of Palestinian detainees had been subjected to torture.  In 2002 Foreign Service Journal carried a major expose on Israel torturing American citizens.  AP missed this Foreign Service Journal expose – as did, therefore, every newspaper in the country.

    AP’s Ownership

    AP is a cooperative. That means that every single newspaper, radio station, and television station that uses AP news stories is an owner of AP. This includes Democracy Now, which apart from a report on Mohammed Omer also seems to have covered this subject minimally, if at all.

    It is time for all these news media, and for their readers, listeners, and viewers, to demand that AP provide the full story.

    Americans have long given Israel, the size of New Jersey, far more of our tax money than to any other nation on earth. It is time to end the cover up. Americans need to know how Israel is using our money.

    Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew (which found in a statistical study that in 2004 AP had covered Israeli children’s deaths at rates 7 times greater than they had reported Palestinian deaths). The full document listing Israeli strip searches can be viewed at http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/strip-searches.htmlDVDs containing a short video about Israeli strip searching of women and children are available for readers wishing to educate their local media and community on the information that AP is choosing not to report. The Washington Report has created a petition on the incident for people to sign.
    Omer’s complete statement can be read at:

    “British consul strip searched at Israeli PM’s office,” Rory, The Guardian, March 28, 2007

    “Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Checkpoints: Strip-Searching Children,” Alison Weir, CounterPunch, March 15, 2007; Video interview: The Easiest Targets: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/easiesttargets.html

    “Israelis arrest 16 from US in roundup of Christians,” Charles M. Sennott, The Boston Globe, October 26, 1999, Pg. A2

    http://peoplesgeography.com/

    http://www.fpa.org.il/?categoryId=422

    “Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Checkpoints: Strip-Searching Children,” Alison Weir, CounterPunch, March 15, 2007; Video interview: The Easiest Targets: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/easiesttargets.html

    http://www.law.utah.edu/blogs/show-entry.asp?EntryID=252

    http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=23480

    “ALLENBY BRIDGE JOURNAL; A 15-Yard Span Over a Great Divide,” Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, July 18, 1987

    http://www.law.utah.edu/blogs/show-entry.asp?EntryID=252

    “Israel’s Palestinian Prisoners: The Forgotten Facts,” Isabelle Humphries, Researcher – Nazareth http://www.islamonline.net/

    “Israel’s Implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), May, 2005, Al-Haq: Law in the Service of Man, the Palestinian Centre for Human rights (PCHR), and the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
    http://www.pchrgaza.org/special/OPT%20CEDAW%20Main%20Review.pdf

    “Israelis Make Palestinian Strip Naked,” Reuters, Nov. 25, 2002

    “Jenin: Lying Down On Broken Glass, Crushing Bones,” April 16, 2002 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) http://www.islamonline.net/english/News/2002-04/16/article40.shtml

    “Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian    Territory,” 01 – 07 September 2005, http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/2005/08-09-2005.htm

    “Commander charged with torturing Palestinian boy,” Chris McGreal, The Guardian, October 22, 2002

    “Stripping Palestinians has Become Common Practice: Eyewitness Accounts,” Suzanne Russ, Palestine Chronicle, November 26, 2002, http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/strippingcommon.html

    “Stripping Palestinians has Become Common Practice: Eyewitness Accounts,” By Suzanne Russ, Palestine Chronicle, November 26, 2002, http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/strippingcommon.html

    “Report: Palestinian suspects mistreated by Israeli captors,” Joel Greenberg, Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2007

    “Arab-Americans in Israel: What ‘Special Relationship’?” Jerri Bird, Foreign Service Journal, June, 2002

    Source

    In case you don’t get it Mohammed Omer was “tortured” just trying to go home.

    Also see:

    Israeli Strip Searches: A Partial List

    Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between Israel and Palestinians

    Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

    Israeli troops fire warning shots at European Diplomats

    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between Israel and Palestinians

    This is quite interesting. Seems they were less then honest.

    Imagine how distorted the conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan must be.

    I just happened upon this and thought it needed to be shared.

    Accuracy in Reporting of Israel/Palestine

    ABC World News Tonight
    CBS Evening News
    NBC Nightly News

    Study Periods:
    September 29, 2000 – September 28, 2001
    January 1, 2004 – December 31, 2004

    Figure 16
    In 2004, ABC, CBS, and NBC news reporting on Palestinian children’s deaths followed virtually the same line as Israeli children’s deaths, in stark contradiction to the reality, in which Palestinian children were being killed at a rate 22 times greater than Israeli children.

    Download Report
    Press Release

    Abstract

    This study consists of a statistical examination of ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News coverage of the first year of the current Palestinian uprising, and of their coverage of that uprising in 2004. The categories examined are coverage of conflict deaths and, as a subcategory, children’s deaths. Our findings indicate significantly distorted coverage by all of these network news shows. In the first study period ABC, CBS, and NBC reported Israeli deaths at rates 3.1, 3.8, and 4.0 times higher than Palestinian deaths, respectively. In 2004 these rates increased or stayed constant, to 4.0, 3.8, and 4.4, widening still further, in the case of ABC and NBC, the disparity in coverage. An additional sub-study of deaths reported in introductions revealed a similar but even larger disparity. The networks’ coverage of children’s deaths was even more skewed. In the first year of the current uprising, ABC, CBS, and NBC reported Israeli children’s deaths at 13.8, 6.4, and 12.4 times the rate of Palestinian children’s deaths. In 2004 these large differentials were also present, although they decreased in two cases, with deaths of Israeli children covered at rates 9.0, 12.8, and 9.9 times greater than the deaths of Palestinian children by ABC, CBS, and NBC, respectively. Given that in 2004 22 times more Palestinian children were killed than Israeli children, this category holds particular importance. We could find no basis on which to justify this inequality in coverage.

    Introduction

    Beginning in 2003, If Americans Knew1 began issuing report cards to media across the country on their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This study of ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News (we will call them, collectively, the networks) covers the first year of the current uprising (September 29, 2000 through September 28, 2001). This period was selected for study because it set the context within which all subsequent reporting on the conflict is viewed. We also studied these networks’ coverage for 2004 to discover whether the patterns we found for the first year had continued, diminished, or increased.

    Given that the media have a desire and a responsibility to cover this topic accurately, we provide these reports in the hope that our analyses can assist them in achieving this goal.

    In addition, we are making these reports public, as a way to help viewers evaluate for themselves the reliability of their sources of information on this issue.

    The goal of this report is to

    • Establish clear standards for assessing accuracy in reporting.
    • Provide, in a consistent format, an assessment of the media’s accuracy in reporting on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

    Methodology

    We recognize that reporting on Israel/Palestine has been an exceptionally controversial topic. Therefore, while there are many potential yardsticks for measuring accuracy, we chose criteria that would be widely acknowledged as significant, conducive to statistical analysis, and immune to subjective interpretation.

    We chose to focus on the reporting of deaths, because this allows meaningful statistical analysis that would be impossible in a qualitative study. This unambiguous yardstick allows us to determine whether media demonstrate even-handed respect for human life, regardless of ethnic or religious background. Fortunately, accurate data for both populations is available from the widely respected Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem2. We only included Israeli deaths directly caused by the actions of Palestinians, and vice versa. In addition, we did not examine the coverage of killings that took place outside Israel and Palestine.

    As a subcategory, we investigated the coverage of children’s deaths, since children are illegitimate targets of violence. Each such death represents a universally recognized human tragedy, and we felt it would be important to study how the media are covering these events among both populations.

    Another sub-category examined was deaths reported in introductions, since these bring added attention and emphasis to such reports.

    Finally, we gathered data on the networks’ reporting of cumulative death counts. While such cumulative statistics are not equivalent to individual reports on the deaths, they can provide useful contextual information, particularly when appended to high-quality daily reporting.

    For this study we used the LexisNexis database to access transcripts of all of the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news programs broadcast during our study periods.

    Findings:

    I. Coverage of All Deaths: First Year of the Uprising

    During the first year of the current uprising, 165 Israelis were killed by Palestinians and at least 549 Palestinians were killed by Israelis.3 The majority of those killed among both populations were civilians.

    165 Israelis and 549 Palestinians were killed during the first year of the current uprising.

    Examining this first year of news coverage, we found a significant disparity in the likelihood of a death being reported based on the ethnicity of the person killed.

    This disparity was compounded by the fact that while the networks periodically reported on deaths more than once, through follow-up stories and mentions in later news reports, such repetitions were found to be more frequent in reporting on Israeli deaths than in reporting on Palestinian deaths. In fact, such repetitions caused the networks in some cases to report on Israeli deaths in greater rates than they had actually occurred. Palestinian deaths, on the other hand, were significantly under-reported by all three networks.

    In its first year of coverage, we found that ABC reported on 305 Israeli deaths and 327 Palestinian deaths – 185% of Israeli deaths and 60% of Palestinian deaths.

    CBS reported on 334 Israeli deaths and 296 Palestinian deaths – 202% of Israeli deaths and 54% of Palestinian deaths.

    NBC reported on 227 Israeli deaths and 190 Palestinian deaths – 138% of Israeli deaths and 35% of Palestinian deaths.

    Figure 2

    In other words, ABC reported Israeli deaths at a rate 3.1 times greater than Palestinian deaths, CBS reported Israeli deaths at a rate 3.8 times greater than Palestinian deaths, and NBC reported Israeli deaths at a rate 4.0 times greater than Palestinian deaths.

    On average, the networks reported Israeli deaths at a rate 3.5 times greater than Palestinian deaths (175% of Israeli deaths and 49% of Palestinian deaths).

    II. Coverage of Children’s Deaths: First Year of the Uprising

    In the first year of the current uprising, 28 Israeli children and at least 131 Palestinian children were killed.4 (Children are defined by international law as those who are 17 and younger.)

    Thus, Palestinian children were killed at a rate 4.7 times greater than Israeli children. 825 of these Palestinian children were killed in the first three-and-a-half months of the conflict, before any Israeli children had been killed.

    Figure 3

    During the conflict Palestinian children have consistently made up a disproportionately large number of Palestinian deaths. In this first year children’s deaths accounted for 24% of the Palestinians killed, while children’s deaths accounted for 17% of Israelis killed.

    During this time, ABC reported on 56 Israeli children’s deaths (including repetitions in later newscasts) and 19 Palestinian children’s deaths – 200% of Israeli children and 15% of Palestinian children, a ratio of 13.8 to 1.

    CBS reported on 37 Israeli children’s deaths (including repetitions) and 27 Palestinian children’s deaths – 132% of Israeli children’s deaths and 21% of Palestinian children’s deaths, a ratio of 6.4 to 1.

    NBC reported on 45 Israeli children’s deaths (including repetitions) and 17 Palestinian children’s deaths – 161% of Israeli children and 13% of Palestinian children’s deaths, a ratio of 12.4 to 1.

    Figure 4

    Collectively, the networks reported on an average of 46 Israeli children’s deaths – 164% of the Israeli children killed – and 21 Palestinian children’s deaths – 16% of the Palestinian children killed. In other words, the networks reported on Israeli children’s deaths at a rate 10.2 times greater than Palestinian children’s deaths.

    To understand the pattern of network news coverage of children’s deaths, it is useful to compare the number of deaths reported to the actual number that took place. While repeated coverage of Israeli children’s deaths creates an impression of a higher number of Israeli victims than there actually were, omissions of the majority of Palestinian children’s deaths considerably under-represents the number of Palestinian child victims.

    Figure 5

    Comparing the day-by-day reporting of children’s deaths to the actual daily death toll reveals an additional dimension of the distortion. In this comparison, we discover that the reports on Palestinian children’s deaths followed the curve for Israeli children’s deaths, rather than the much steeper curve of their actual death count.

    This finding underscores the tendency by all three networks to report a fictional situation in which Israeli and Palestinian deaths occur at more or less the same rate, and illustrates the substantial gap between the reality of Palestinian fatalities and the coverage of them. It suggests that the desire to appear ‘balanced’ is too often prioritized above the need for accuracy.

    Chronological Running Totals of Children’s Deaths – Reported and Actual
    First Year of Uprising (9/29/2000 – 9/28/2001)

    Figure 6 Figure 7
    Figure 8

    III. Coverage of Deaths in Introductions: First Year of the Uprising

    As another sub-category, we looked at the networks’ reports of deaths in introductions to newscasts, since such anchor lead-ins tend to lend additional emphasis to a report. Interestingly, for all three networks the disparity in coverage found in full newscasts grew even larger in this category.

    ABC reported on 99% of Israeli deaths and 25% of Palestinian deaths in introductions. Hence, an Israeli death was 4.0 times more likely to receive coverage than a Palestinian death in the introduction, an even larger disparity than the ratio of 3.1 found in ABC’s coverage in full newscasts.

    CBS reported Israeli deaths at a rate 5.8 times greater than Palestinian deaths in introductions. (128% of Israeli deaths and 22% of Palestinian deaths were reported.) This is up from the ratio of 3.8 to 1 present in coverage throughout full newscasts.

    NBC’s rate of covering Israeli deaths over Palestinian deaths, 4.0 to 1 in full newscasts, grew to 5.9 to 1 when only introductions were studied. NBC covered 72% of Israelis killed compared to 12% of Palestinians killed in introductions.

    Figure 9

    IV. Coverage of All Deaths: 2004

    In studying the networks’ 2004 coverage, we found that these patterns continued and, in many cases, increased.

    During 2004 violence against Israelis had significantly decreased relative to the first year of the uprising. At the same time, violence against Palestinians was much higher than it had been in the first year.

    In 2004, 107 Israelis were killed by Palestinians and at least 821 Palestinians were killed by Israelis.6 Thus the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths was 7.7 to 1, more than double the first year’s ratio of 3.3 Palestinian deaths for each Israeli death.

    Figure 10

    During this period, ABC reported on 168 Israeli deaths and 322 Palestinian deaths – 157% of Israeli deaths and 39% of Palestinian deaths, a ratio of 4 .0 to 1, up from 3.1 in its first year’s reporting.

    CBS reported on 112 Israeli deaths and 227 Palestinian deaths – 105% of Israeli deaths and 28% of Palestinian deaths – a ratio of 3.8 to 1, the same ratio as its first year reporting.

    NBC reported on 165 Israeli deaths and 287 Palestinian deaths – 154% of Israeli deaths and 35% of Palestinian deaths – a ratio of 4.4 to 1, up from 4.0 in the first year.

    Figure 11

    Taken together, then, the three networks reported on Israeli deaths, on average, at a rate 4.1 times greater than on Palestinian deaths, an increase over the 3.5 to 1 average ratio during the first year of the uprising.

    V. Coverage of Children’s Deaths: 2004

    In 2004, as with adults, fewer Israeli children and more Palestinian children were killed than in the first year of the conflict.

    Eight Israeli children and 179 Palestinian children were killed in 2004. This ratio of 22 times more Palestinian children killed than Israeli children was nearly a five-fold increase over the first year’s ratio of 4.7 to one.

    Again, Palestinian children were making up a much greater part of the total number of Palestinians killed than Israeli children were of Israeli conflict casualties. Children’s deaths accounted for 22% of the Palestinians killed, while Israeli children’s deaths had decreased to only 7% of Israelis killed during this period.

    Figure 12

    ABC reported on 8 Israeli children’s deaths and 20 Palestinian children’s deaths – 100% of Israeli children and 11% of Palestinian children, 9.0 to 1, down from 13.8 in the first year.

    CBS reported on 4 Israeli children and 7 Palestinian children – 50% of Israeli children’s deaths and 4% of Palestinian, a ratio of 12.8 to 1, up from 6.4 in the first year.

    NBC reported on 8 Israeli children’s deaths and 18 Palestinian children’s deaths – 100% of Israeli children and 10% of Palestinian killed during 2004, a ratio of 9.9, down from 12.4.

    Figure 13

    On average, the networks reported 83% of Israeli children’s deaths and 8% of Palestinian children’s deaths. That is, an Israeli death was 9.9 times more likely to be reported than a Palestinian death (compared to the first year’s ratio of 10.2 to one).

    Visual representation of this pattern of omission gives a sense of the size of the disparity.

    Figure 14

    Comparing running totals for actual deaths and reported deaths once again reveals that television reporting on Palestinian children’s deaths followed virtually the same line as Israeli children’s deaths, in stark contradiction to the reality, in which Palestinian children were being killed at a rate 22 times greater than Israeli children. Again, all three networks revealed similar patterns of reporting.

    Chronological Running Totals of Children’s Deaths – Reported and Actual
    2004

    Figure 15 Figure 16
    Figure 17

    VI. Coverage of Deaths in Introductions: 2004

    In 2004 the trend of emphasizing Israeli deaths over Palestinian deaths, by reporting them at a higher rate in the introductions, continued.

    ABC included mentions of 92% of Israeli deaths in introductions and only 10% of Palestinian deaths. That is, ABC covered Israeli deaths at a rate 9.68 times higher than Palestinian deaths, much higher than the ratio of 4.0 found in their coverage in full newscasts.

    CBS’s rate of covering killings of Israelis over those of Palestinians was also greater in introductions: 4.7 to 1, up from 3.8 in full newscasts.

    Only NBC’s ratio of coverage of Israeli deaths to Palestinian deaths dropped when we examined introductions in 2004: NBC covered Israeli deaths at a rate 3.6 times higher than Palestinian deaths in introductions, as opposed to the ratio of 4.4 in their full newscasts.

    Figure 18

    VII. Coverage of Cumulative Totals

    In addition to counting daily reports of deaths, we examined the networks’ mentions of cumulative deaths: reports summarizing the number of deaths that had occurred over an extended period of time (longer than one week), rather than reports on specific incidents.

    The most complete (and therefore most informative) type of cumulative report is what we call a full two-sided cumulative – a report of the total number of conflict deaths for both populations as of the date of the news report. Also useful in analysis are partial two-sided cumulatives: reports of the total number of conflict deaths for both populations over a period of time longer than one week, but shorter than the duration of the conflict or with some other limiting parameter.

    Unfortunately, we found that full two-sided cumulative reports were almost never given, and partial two-sided cumulatives were only rarely given. Instead, we found that it was far more common for the networks to report one-sided cumulatives. These, whether full or partial, make it more difficult for the viewer to make a comparison and draw conclusions on the relative levels of violence. In fact, such one-sided cumulatives may at times do more to obscure understanding of the conflict than to enhance it.

    In May of the first year ABC gave one full two-sided cumulative report on children’s deaths. CBS gave three full two-sided cumulatives, one of which included numbers of children killed. NBC also gave three full two-sided cumulative reports, although they were all in the first two months of the uprising. Additionally during this time, partial two-sided cumulatives were reported, twice by CBS and once by NBC.

    In 2004, none of the networks reported a single full two-sided cumulative, and only CBS reported a partial two-sided cumulative, with the following remark on March 7: “Over the last year … nearly 200 Israelis have been killed, more than 600 Palestinians as this conflict grinds on.”

    The networks’ full one-sided cumulative reports display an interesting pattern.

    All three networks reported full cumulatives of Palestinian deaths without corresponding numbers for Israelis in the first few months of the uprising, but quickly discontinued this practice: In the first two weeks of the uprising ABC twice reported the total number of Palestinians killed. CBS reported the total numbers of Palestinians killed once in the first month. NBC reported full cumulative numbers of Palestinian deaths five times, all in the first five months of the uprising, and once reported the full number of Palestinian children killed, in May of 2001. (Again, not counting the two-sided reports discussed above). The only full one-sided cumulative for Israelis during the study periods was reported by CBS in February, 2004; this was also the only full one-sided cumulative reported in 2004 by any of the networks.

    Finally, one-sided cumulative reports fall into the following groupings:

    1. Numbers of Israelis killed by specific Palestinian organizations, people, or tactics (e.g. suicide bombings). Of this type, ABC reported four cumulatives (all in 2004), CBS reported two, and NBC reported ten.
    2. Numbers of Palestinians killed by specific Israeli tactics, e.g. the campaign of “targeted assassinations.” ABC provided such reports five times, CBS three, and NBC four. Notably, this type of report carries the suggestion that the victims are legitimate targets of military action.
    3. The remainder of cumulatives were simply reports of numbers of people killed in some extended period of time, possibly also in a limited area. ABC reported six of this third type (number of Palestinians killed along a specific road, number of Palestinians killed in Bethlehem, number of Israelis killed since Arial Sharon was elected Prime Minister of Israel, and three other Palestinian cumulatives). CBS reported this type once (Palestinian). NBC gave four reports of this kind (three Palestinian, one Israeli).

    In examining these cumulative reports, a consistent pattern emerges in which cumulative reports of Israeli fatalities provide information on extensive periods of time – most often back to the beginning of the uprising, while cumulative reports of Palestinian deaths cover far shorter periods of time – often only weeks. Thus, similar numbers of deaths are reported in these cumulatives, despite the fact that throughout the conflict Palestinians have been killed in substantially larger numbers than Israelis.

    Additional Notes

    While gathering our data, we came across a number of additional patterns of distortion that merit further examination.

    Most significantly, it appeared that context was largely missing from this reporting. While we realize that the exigencies of network news programming decree that reports be relatively short, there is an obligation, nevertheless, to ensure that brevity does not create inaccuracy. In particular, there seemed insufficient information on the unusual historic and geographic dimensions of this conflict. Many viewers, given the nature of the reporting, may not realize that in the multitude of fatal incidents Israeli armed combatants were invading and occupying Palestinian territories, not vice versa.

    A few patterns of omission were particularly startling. The Israeli press, international human rights organizations, and medical relief agencies have all reported on the targeting of Palestinian children by Israeli forces. In the first year of the conflict, for example, at least 45 Palestinian children were confirmed to have been killed by Israeli gunfire to the head.9 Yet, two of the networks carried no reports on this disturbing phenomenon, and one network, CBS, reported on it only once (“…a 12-year-old boy shot in the head by an Israeli soldier…” 10/10/00).

    Finally, while reports of deaths were repeated on both sides, we found a significant difference in the types of deaths repeated. Follow-up stories on Israeli deaths often focused on civilians. By contrast, repetitions of Palestinian deaths were primarily devoted to the deaths of combatants, particularly members of militant groups.

    Such reporting significantly distorts the reality of the conflict, in which civilians are being killed in great numbers on both sides, and the number of Palestinian civilian deaths is considerably greater than the number of Israeli ones.10

    Conclusions

    It is sometimes said that the only uncontroversial aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that it is controversial. Indeed, many news sources are simultaneously accused of displaying diametrically opposed biases. If Americans Knew has undertaken this study with the aim of providing objective, verifiable analysis of coverage.

    The Middle East is currently among the most volatile regions in the world. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the central issues of this region, and intimately related to the escalating regional violence we see today. American forces are presently deployed in one country in the region, and it is uncertain when they will be withdrawn. More US tax money goes to Israel than to any other nation; and more American money is sent to the Middle East than to the rest of the world combined. For all these reasons and more, it is essential that Americans receive full and accurate news coverage on Israel/Palestine.

    Unfortunately, our findings indicate that this is not occurring. Our analysis reveals troubling patterns of omission and disparities in emphasis that, we feel, profoundly hamper the ability of viewers to understand this conflict.

    In the first year of the current uprising, when there were four times more Palestinians being killed than Israelis, two out of three networks reported on more Israeli deaths than Palestinian deaths. This gives the viewer an essentially inverted view of the violence, which persists in following years. Such distortion also creates a chronological reversal, in which Israeli forces are seen as retaliating, when in reality many Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and Gaza before any Jewish Israelis were killed inside Israel.

    Reporting on children’s deaths was even more flawed.

    In 2004, when 22 times more Palestinian children were being killed than Israeli children, we found that ABC, CBS, and NBC were reporting Israeli children’s deaths at rates 9 to 12.8 times higher than Palestinian children’s deaths. By omitting the killings of a great number of Palestinian children, ABC, CBS, and NBC were failing to perform their function as new agencies – the reporting of the news. In the course of completing this study we found that there was no lack of newscasts on the subject – during many periods there were daily reports from the area – there was simply a pattern of omitting violence against Palestinians while emphasizing violence against Israelis.

    Finally, we found that the networks virtually never reported the total number of deaths among both populations in this conflict. This is a bizarre and highly perplexing omission. Such numbers are easily available and immensely significant. At the same time, we found the networks’ tendency in 2004 to report on the fact that “hundreds of Israelis have been killed” without at the same time mentioning the number of Palestinians killed (several times greater) inexplicable. Such reporting can only mislead. We hope that by alerting the networks to this lapse, they will correct it.

    We are deeply disturbed at the findings contained in this report. We hope that ABC, CBS, and NBC will be as concerned about these patterns as we are, and will undertake whatever actions are necessary to rectify the flaws in their coverage.

    Summary of Data

    Reporting of All Deaths – First Year of Uprising (9/29/2000 – 9/28/2001)

    Israeli

    Palestinian

    Actual Number of Deaths

    165

    549

    ABC

    Deaths Reported

    305

    327

    Percentage of Deaths Reported

    184.8%

    59.6%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    3.1 : 1

    CBS

    Deaths Reported

    334

    296

    Percentage of Deaths Reported

    202.4%

    53.9%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    3.8 : 1

    NBC

    Deaths Reported

    227

    190

    Percentage of Deaths Reported

    137.6%

    34.6%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    4.0 : 1

    Reporting of Children’s Deaths – First Year of Uprising (9/29/2000 – 9/28/2001)

    Israeli

    Palestinian

    Actual Number of Children’s Deaths

    28

    131

    ABC

    Children’s Deaths Reported

    56

    19

    Percentage of Children’s Deaths Reported

    200.0%

    14.5%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    13.8 : 1

    CBS

    Children’s Deaths Reported

    37

    27

    Percentage of Children’s Deaths Reported

    132.1%

    20.6%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    6.4 : 1

    NBC

    Children’s Deaths Reported

    45

    17

    Percentage of Children’s Deaths Reported

    160.7%

    13.0%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    12.4 : 1

    Reporting of All Deaths in Introductions – First Year of Uprising (9/29/2000 – 9/28/2001)

    Israeli

    Palestinian

    Actual Number of Deaths

    165

    549

    ABC

    Deaths Reported in Introduction

    164

    137

    Percentage of Deaths Reported in Introduction

    99.4%

    25.0%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    4.0 : 1

    CBS

    Deaths Reported in Introduction

    212

    122

    Percentage of Deaths Reported in Introduction

    128.5%

    22.2%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    5.8 : 1

    NBC

    Deaths Reported in Introduction

    119

    67

    Percentage of Deaths Reported in Introduction

    72.1%

    12.2%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    5.9 : 1

    Reporting of All Deaths – 2004

    Israeli

    Palestinian

    Actual Number of Deaths

    107

    821

    ABC

    Deaths Reported

    168

    322

    Percentage of Deaths Reported

    157.0%

    39.2%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    4.0 : 1

    CBS

    Deaths Reported

    112

    227

    Percentage of Deaths Reported

    104.7%

    27.6%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    3.8 : 1

    NBC

    Deaths Reported

    165

    287

    Percentage of Deaths Reported

    154.2%

    35.0%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    4.4 : 1

    Reporting of Children’s Deaths – 2004

    Israeli

    Palestinian

    Actual Number of Children’s Deaths

    8

    179

    ABC

    Children’s Deaths Reported

    8

    20

    Percentage of Children’s Deaths Reported

    100.0%

    11.2%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    9.0 : 1

    CBS

    Children’s Deaths Reported

    4

    7

    Percentage of Children’s Deaths Reported

    50.0%

    3.9%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    12.8 : 1

    NBC

    Children’s Deaths Reported

    8

    18

    Percentage of Children’s Deaths Reported

    100.0%

    10.1%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    9.9 : 1

    Reporting of All Deaths in Introductions – 2004

    Israeli

    Palestinian

    Actual Number of Deaths

    107

    821

    ABC

    Deaths Reported in Introduction

    98

    78

    Percentage of Deaths Reported in Introduction

    91.6%

    9.5%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    9.6 : 1

    CBS

    Deaths Reported in Introduction

    59

    96

    Percentage of Deaths Reported in Introduction

    55.1%

    11.7%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    4.7 : 1

    NBC

    Deaths Reported in Introduction

    77

    165

    Percentage of Deaths Reported in Introduction

    72.0%

    20.1%

    Ratio (Israeli % : Palestinian %)

    3.6 : 1

    Source

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on January 30, 2009 at 4:54 am  Comments Off  
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

    Gaza detainee treatment ‘inhuman’

    Israeli reservists enter Gaza, 12 Jan 2008

    It is not known how many Palestinians were detained during the operation

    Palestinians seized during Israel’s operation in Gaza faced “appalling” conditions and “inhuman” treatment, Israeli human rights groups have said.

    The seven groups say they have gathered 20 testimonies which indicate detainees were kept in pits without shelter, toilets or adequate food and water.

    Some detainees also said they had been held “near tanks” and in combat areas, the groups said.

    The Israeli military says it is investigating the allegations.

    The accounts were gathered by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Hamoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual, from Palestinians now being held in Israel.

    ‘Gross violation’

    “The reports indicate that… many detainees – minors as well as adults – were held for many hours – sometimes for days – in pits dug in the ground, exposed to bitter cold and harsh weather, handcuffed and blindfolded,” the groups said in a statement.

    “These pits lacked basic sanitary facilities… while food and shelter, when provided, were limited, and the detainees went hungry,” it said.

    The groups accused the military of “gross violation of international humanitarian law” by holding some of the detainees close to tanks.

    Incidents involving “extreme violence and humiliation by soldiers and interrogators” were also reported, the statement said, without giving details.

    “We were handcuffed and blindfolded. They put us in a three-meter deep ditch with some 70 other people,” Majdi Muhammad Ayid al-Atar, 43, from northern Gaza described, in one of the testimonies.

    “We spent two days there without any food, water or blankets. They also didn’t let us go to the toilet. Afterwards they moved us to another ditch. The soldiers kept beating anyone who dared ask for anything,” he was quoted as saying.

    Lengthy preparation

    The groups have addressed a written complaint to the Military Judge Advocate General, and Israel’s Attorney General, Meni Mazuz.

    Attorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne, Legal Director of PCATI, said the findings were “particularly objectionable” as the Israeli military had repeatedly stressed that it “prepared at length for the Gaza operation”.

    “It seems that, during these lengthy preparations, the basic rights of the detainees and captives were completely forgotten,” she said.

    She said the groups had the names of 29 people who had been detained, 25 of whom were still being held.

    The other groups were the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Adalah.

    Source

    They were using the detainees as “Human Shields”. This of course is what they said Hamas was doing, but of course Israel itself was doing it.

    Seems Israel does everything, it says Hamas is doing.

    One has to wonder how many detainees they have in their prisons?

    Considering many people have been kidnapped from Gaza in the past, the number may be very high. One can bet they are being tortured as well.

    I wonder how many “Guantanamo prisons”  there are in Israel?

    Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    Illegal Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008

    Aid Workers Protest Restricted Access to Gaza

    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

    Israeli troops fire warning shots at European diplomats

    France summons Israeli envoy over Gaza shots

    January 28 2009

    PARIS

    France has summoned Israel’s ambassador to protest as French and other European diplomats were blocked for hours on the Jewish state’s border with the Gaza Strip and Israeli soldiers fired warning shots at their convoy.

    A diplomatic convoy carrying France’s consul general was halted by Israeli troops at the Erez border crossing on Tuesday and held for six hours as it tried to leave the Gaza Strip and return to Jerusalem, a spokesman said.

    “The convoy, which included other European diplomats, was subject to two warning shots from Israeli soldiers,” French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier told reporters during a briefing.

    Chevallier said France’s consul general based in Jerusalem and several of his colleagues travelled to Gaza to assess the reopening of border crossings and to inspect projects funded by France.

    He said the Foreign Ministry summoned Ambassador Daniel Shek “to protest against this unacceptable incident and demand explanations from him”.

    For three weeks until Jan. 18, Gaza saw fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas, the Palestinian group which controls the territory that left 1,300 Palestinians dead, according to Gaza medics.

    Both sides have declared ceasefires but tensions remain, and international diplomats are attempting to broker a lasting peace.

    An Israeli soldier was killed by a bomb at a different location on the border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and troops then killed a Palestinian, violence that strained the ceasefire and left people in Gaza fearing further Israeli attacks.

    Source

    They are lucky the Israelis didn’t shoot them like they shoot the Palestinians continually. They should try being a Palestinian for a few years and take in the starvation and blockade. To live it is to understand it. They have no idea whatsoever what it is like to be a prisoner in Gaza.

    France to send frigate to patrol waters off Gaza

    Says in full cooperation with Egypt and Israel

    Sarkozy went on two Mideast tours during the Israeli offensive in Gaza

    January 23 2009

    PARIS

    France will deploy a frigate carrying helicopters to international waters off the coast of Gaza to participate in a mission against arms trafficking in the territory, the presidency said Friday.

    A statement from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said the surveillance, aimed at preventing arms trafficking by sea to Hamas-ruled Gaza, would be carried out in full cooperation with Egypt and Israel.

    “What is urgent now is to consolidate the ceasefire, and that requires humanitarian action, a total halt on arms trafficking to Gaza, the durable reopening of the border crossings, reconstruction and inter-Palestinian reconciliation,” the statement said.

    Sarkozy went on two diplomatic tours of the Middle East during the Israeli offensive in Gaza to try and obtain a ceasefire. He said that France was ready to help bring back peace in whatever way it could.

    Israel’s 22-day offensive, launched to stop Hamas fighters from firing rockets at southern Israel, killed 1,300 Palestinians and injured more than 5,000 others. Thirteen Israelis were killed: 10 soldiers and three civilians hit by Hamas rocket fire.

    The statement from Sarkozy’s office called for close coordination as quickly as possible between the new U.S. administration and European partners to propose complementary actions to combat arms trafficking by land and by sea.

    “These actions must be matched by a total and permanent reopening of the border crossings to Gaza. That is why the president reiterated his call for a rapid re-activation of the Rafah checkpoint, under European control in which France will take part fully,” the statement said.

    Israel on Friday dismissed a number of other international calls for a full reopening of border crossings with Gaza.

    Source

    President Nicolas Sarkozy should be sending the damb frigate to protect the Fishermen and those in Gaza if anything.  But NO.

    He must make sure Israel is protected.  Like they need protection.  They are the problem. They do not want Peace and never have. They only want to keep killing.

    Their leaders are are Criminals.

    Why is France protecting war criminals?

    Seems the innocent die and the criminals get protection.

    So how about we let all the murderers in the world our of  prison  and put all the innocent civilians in jail. That is exactly what has been done to the Palestinians, they are the innocent in the “Concentration Camp” and the criminals are the ones getting help to make damb sure they stay their totally defenseless.

    How bloody stupid are people? Assisting Israel on any count, is assisting bloodthirsty, power hungry, lieing,  murderers.

    So “Who” will protect the Palestinians?

    “Who” is going to stop Israel from killing even more of them?

    Seems no one has the intelligence, to realize the Palestinians are the ones, who need the protection.

    The evidence is right in front of them and they are too blind to see who the real victims are.

    Well Israel needs to be disarmed the sooner the better. Before they blow up all of the Middle East and Europe. And they would mark my words they most certainly would.

    Hamas has wanted Peace for some time. Israel is the one, who does not now, or ever wanted Peace.

    The blockade is illegal and inhumane.

    Israel is the abusive parent beating the crap out of a baby. There is  no difference.  Apparently the parent who murders their children goes to jail. That is the only difference.

    Israels behavior is pure insanity. Seems the West and Europe suffer from the same insanity. Nothing like a bunch of bloodthirsty power hungry lunatics sticking together.

    Goes to show what kind of leadership there is in the world and they have the nerve to call themselves Civilized.

    Well if nothing else, we can take notes on who supports Israel in their bloodthirsty rampage and not vote for them, because it is obvious they are as corrupted as the leaders in Israel itself.

    When is the US going to stop supporting the “Welfare Bums”? That is what Israel is, a bloody welfare bum. A welfare bum, that murders innocent people no less. Pre-meditated murder at that.

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    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    Illegal Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008

    Aid Workers Protest Restricted Access to Gaza

    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Israel Broke Ceasefire From Day One

    Ceasefire Broken From Day One

    Sunday, Jan 18

    After a 22-day assault on Gaza in which  1314 Palestinians were killed and 13 Israelis were killed, Israel and Hamas each declared a ceasefire. Within several hours, the first breach took place, when Israel killed a Palestinian civilian:

    The UN reports: “One Palestinian farmer was killed on the morning of 18 January in Khuza’a east of Khan Yunis following the Israeli-declared cease-fire.”

    Monday, Jan 19

    Once again the ceasefire was breached when Israel killed another Palestinian civilian. Palestinian militants did respond, but caused no damage or injuries:

    The UN reports: “On 19 January, a Palestinian farmer was killed by Israeli gunfire east of Jabalia. The same day, Palestinian militants fired a number of mortars towards Israel and also shot at Israeli troops still inside the Gaza Strip. No injuries or damage were reported.”

    Wednesday, Jan 21

    Israeli naval boats fired at the Gaza coastline, causing some damage.

    IMEMC reports: “On Wednesday, the boats fired shells at the coast line, causing damage but no injuries.”

    Thursday, Jan 22

    A Palestinian child was wounded by gunfire from Israeli troops, between 4 and 7 Palestinian civilians (fishermen) were injured when they were fired upon by Israel’s navy, and a home was set fire by shells from the Israeli navy:

    The UN reports: “Four Palestinians were injured on 22 January by a shell fired from an Israeli gunboat off the Gaza coast. The same day, a house was set on fire by a shell fired from an Israeli gunboat. No injuries were reported. Also on 22 January, IDF troops shot and injured a child east of Gaza City near the border.”

    IMEMC reports: “On Thursday of last week, Israeli Navy forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen just off the shore of Gaza City, injuring seven civilians.”

    Saturday, Jan 24

    Israeli tanks fired on the border town of Al Faraheen, causing damage to homes and farms. Also, Aid agencies call on Israel to finally open all crossings into Gaza:

    IMEMC reports: “On Saturday, the Israeli army opened fire at residents homes and farmlands located in Al Faraheen village located in the southern part of the Gaza strip. Local residents said that Israeli tanks stationed at the borders opened fire at their homes and farms; damage was reported but no injuries.”

    Maan News reports: “A coalition of international aid agencies urged the Israeli government on Saturday to open the Gaza Strip’s border to allow vital goods into the territory… The agencies, including Oxfam, Save the Children, and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) held a news conference on Saturday at the intensive care unit of Gaza’s Ash-Shifa Hospital to point up an ongoing humanitarian crisis stemming from Israel’s blockade.”

    Sunday, Jan 25

    Israeli F-16s flew over Gaza, causing schools, government offices, and banks to close and causing Egypt to rapidly evacuate all of its personnel from the Rafah crossing in fear that an attack was imminent.

    Haaretz reports: “On Sunday Israeli F-16s flew over Gaza, terrifying people who thought Israel was launching a new offensive. A number of banks, government offices and schools were closed, occupants running to their homes as the Israeli warplanes flew overhead.”

    Maan News reports: “Egypt suddenly and rapidly evacuated its personnel from the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on Sunday fearing a possible Israeli airstrike on the Palestinian side of the crossing, Egyptian security sources said.” 

    Source

    By Eva Bartlett

    January 26 2009

    GAZA CITY

    At 7.30 am Jan. 22, five days after Israeli authorities declared a ‘ceasefire’ following their 22-day air, land and sea bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Israeli gunboats renewed shelling off the Gaza city coast, injuring at least six, including four children.

    Mu’awiyah Hassanain, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services, reported more shelling in the north-western coastal area As Sudaniya the same morning. Five fishermen were injured in the attacks, he said.

    About 9.45 am that morning in Sheyjaiee district to the east of Gaza city, seven-year-old Ahmed Hassanian was outside his house with friends when Israeli soldiers fired from the eastern border. A bullet lodged in his brain, causing brain haemorrhage. Dr. Fawzi Nablusi, director of the ICU at Shifa hospital, says the boy is not expected to survive.

    Three Palestinians have been killed since the ceasefire and 15 injured, including the ten injured Jan. 22, according to both Mu’awiyah Hassanain and Dr. Hassan Khalaf.

    Hours after the ceasefire was said to have come into effect Jan. 18, Israeli warplanes flew extremely low over areas of Gaza. Drones capable both of photographing and of dropping targeted missiles continued to circle overhead. At 8.30 am Jan. 18, one of these drones dropped two missiles in the Amal area east of Beit Hanoun, killing 11-year-old Angham Ra’fat al-Masri and injuring her mother.

    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reports further violations of the ceasefire, including the killing of Maher abu Rjaila, 23, shot in the chest by Israeli troops at 10.40 am Jan. 18 as he walked on his land east of Khan Younis city.

    Israeli soldiers fired on residents of Al-Qarara, near Khan Younis, at 1 pm Jan. 20, shooting Waleed Al-Astal, 42, in his right foot.

    In Shifa hospital, Yasser Abed, 15, from Gaza’s Beach camp, explained how he received a shard of shrapnel in his forehead. “I went out of my house to see what was happening,” he said. “I didn’t see the gunboat, didn’t see anything.” His father explains that Yasser was rushed to Shifa after the shrapnel hit him, and that there was a girl nearby aged about four who was also hit by a piece of shrapnel.

    In another room at Shifa, 11-year-old Nisreen Al-Quqa tells how she was out walking on the beach with her brother when the Israeli navy began to fire upon Palestinian fishermen. A piece of shrapnel from the shelling got lodged in her right calf muscle. “What ceasefire?” the girl’s mother said, looking down at her daughter. But she knows Nisreen is lucky to have only a minor leg injury; it could have been much worse.

    Others injured after the ceasefire include a 14-year-old boy hit in the thigh by shrapnel fragments, and a 35-year-old man also with shrapnel injury.

    Israel‘s assault on Gaza killed at least 1,330 people, with as many as 200 more bodies expected to be recovered from under the rubble of more than 4,000 destroyed houses and 20,000 buildings.

    Ninety percent of the cases in Shifa’s ICU are civilian, and of these half are women and children, says Dr. Fawzi.

    Ceasefire violations are not new. During the six-month ceasefire that began Jun. 19, Israeli forces killed 22 Palestinians, many of them members of resistance groups. Thirty-eight fishermen and farmers were abducted.

    Israeli soldiers routinely fired upon fishermen and farmers along Gaza’s eastern and northern borders, injuring 62, according to Palestinian sources.

    Source

    Dr. Norman Finkelstein speaking on Gaza Massacre Video

    Illegal Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008

    Aid Workers Protest Restricted Access to Gaza

    Israeli aircraft strike Gaza Tunnels-Residents Again

    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Enough evidence to prosecute Rumsfeld for war crimes/UK ‘must release’ Iraq war files

    UN official: Enough evidence to prosecute Rumsfeld for war crimes

    David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
    January 26, 2009

    Monday, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak told CNN’s Rick Sanchez that the US has an “obligation” to investigate whether Bush administration officials ordered torture, adding that he believes that there is already enough evidence to prosecute former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    “We have clear evidence,” he said. “In our report that we sent to the United Nations, we made it clear that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld clearly authorized torture methods and he was told at that time by Alberto Mora, the legal council of the Navy, ‘Mr. Secretary, what you are actual ordering here amounts to torture.’ So, there we have the clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but, nevertheless, he ordered torture.”

    Asked during an interview with Germany’s ZDF television on Jan. 20, Nowak said: “I think the evidence is on the table.”

    At issue, however, is whether “American law will recognize these forms of torture.”

    A bipartisan Senate report released last month found Rumsfeld and other top administration officials responsible for abuse of Guantanamo detainees in US custody.

    It said Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation techniques on December 2, 2002 at the Guantanamo prison, although he ruled them out a month later.

    The coercive measures were based on a document signed by Bush in February, 2002.

    There is a video at the source as well.

    Source

    UK ‘must release’ Iraq war files

    January 28, 2009

    The British government has been ordered to release the minutes of crucial ministerial meetings from 2003 at which the United States-led invasion of Iraq was discussed.

    The information tribunal, which hears appeals under Britain’s data protection act, backed a decision to disclose minutes of cabinet meetings from March 13 and 17, where ministers held talks about whether the decision to go to war was allowed under international law.

    The tribunal said: “We have decided that the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the formal minutes of two cabinet meetings at which ministers decided to commit forces to military action in Iraq did not… outweigh the public interest in disclosure.

    The cabinet office has 28 days to decide whether to appeal against the ruling.

    Announcing its decision on Tuesday, the tribunal said: “The decision to commit the nation’s armed forces to the invasion of another country is momentous in its own right, and… its seriousness is increased by the criticisms that have been made  of the general decision-making processes in the cabinet at the time.”

    A spokesman for Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, said: “We are considering our response”.

    Blair criticised

    Tony Blair, prime minister at the time of the invasion, was widely criticised for backing George Bush, the then US president, in invading Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein despite failing to secure a second United Nations resolution on the matter.

    Ministerial discussions focused notably on Peter Goldsmith’s, the then attorney general, advice on the legality of war.

    Blair’s government strongly resisted demands for the advice of its most senior legal adviser to be made public, until a large section was leaked during the 2005 general election campaign.

    Goldsmith then denied ministers pressured him into changing his mind to rule that invading Iraq would be legal in international law even without a second UN security council resolution.

    The information tribunal said that “there has… been criticism of the attorney general’s legal advice and of the particular way in which the March 17 opinion was made available to the cabinet only at the last moment and the March 7 opinion was not disclosed to it at all.”

    The tribunal ruling backed up an earlier decision by Richard Thomas, the information commissioner.

    Thomas said: “I am pleased that the tribunal has upheld my decision that the public interest in disclosing the official cabinet minutes in this particular case outweighs the public interest in withholding the information.

    “Disclosing the minutes will allow the public to more fully understand this particular decision.”

    Source

    Blair and his cohorts  should be tried for war crimes as well.

    Others in the Bush Administration as well as Bush, should also be charged with war crimes and crimes against Humanity.

    The weapons alone that were used, are one good place to start.

    The war was based on fabricated information and lies.

    Torture was condoned. Killing over a million people is Genocide.

    Also there are the deaths an injuries suffered by the soldiers who were sent to the illegal war.

    The list of crimes is quite extensive.

    There is also the abuse of power. I would even call it treason.

    No one should ever again, be allowed to commit these types of crimes and those who did, certainly should not go free. They are criminals.

    Obama Revokes Bush Executive Order on Presidential Archives

    Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Bolivia Limits Size of Estates in Land Reform Struggle

    Franz Chávez interviews JUAN DE DIOS FERNÁNDEZ, head of Land Reform Programme

    January 27 2009
    LA PAZ
    Voters in Bolivia, one of the countries with the highest concentration of land in the world, decided in Sunday’s referendum to limit the size of large landed estates, or “latifundia”, to 5,000 hectares.

    In Bolivia, South America’s poorest country, just 100 families own 25 million hectares, while two million campesinos (peasants) have access to only five million hectares, according to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    This extreme level of inequality in a country that is highly polarised between the western highlands, home to the indigenous majority, and the more ethnically mixed eastern lowlands, which account for most of the country’s natural gas production, industry, agribusiness and GDP, makes for an explosive cocktail when it comes to the government’s land reform plan.

    In Sunday’s referendum, an estimated 60 percent of voters approved a new constitution rewritten under the left-wing government of Evo Morales. Simultaneously, 70 percent voted in favour of a 5,000-hectare limit on privately-owned rural estates. (The other option was 10,000 hectares.)

    Under the agrarian reform programme and the new constitution, the authorities have the right to determine whether rural property is serving an economic and social function, or is unproductive and thus subject to expropriation – with fair compensation – and redistribution to poor families.

    Land reform authorities have verified and legalised land ownership over more than 30 million hectares, and have 52 million to go, the secretary general of the National Agrarian Reform Institute (INRA), Juan de Dios Fernández, told IPS in this interview.

    The mission is not an easy one, as demonstrated by the clash that occurred on the property owned by a U.S. rancher, Ronald Larsen from the state of Montana, who has lived in Bolivia for four decades and owns 6,777 hectares in the eastern province of Santa Cruz.

    When INRA officials attempted to carry out an inspection of his land in November, Larsen’s employees tried to keep them off the property, even engaging in skirmishes in which shots were allegedly fired at the government vehicle.

    Analysts say the land question is at the centre of the country’s political confrontation.

    Fernández explained why the government is closely studying the ownership of the immense ranches in the hands of private owners.

    IPS: What is leading the government to reform the country’s land laws?

    JUAN DE DIOS FERNÁNDEZ: This is a social demand that has been loudly voiced for the past 50 years but has never been given a definitive, structural response. What happened between 1953 and 1996 is that the state distributed 60 million hectares of land, less than 20 million of which actually went to campesinos and indigenous communities, while the rest was distributed to large landholders and agribusiness interests in the eastern part of the country.

    Eighty percent of the productive land was concentrated in the hands of a small group of landowners and the rest was worked by a very large group of campesinos and indigenous communities.

    For instance, we have the businessman (Osvaldo) Monasterios, who owns more than 100,000 hectares, while there are plots of 24 square metres in the province of Chuquisaca. How is that situation fixed? Rural farmers with the least land are the poorest people in the country.

    IPS: What are the technical and legal mechanisms involved in achieving a fair distribution of land?

    JDF: By modifying the structure of rural property, by cleaning up the land register and regularising and legalising property ownership, identifying public land, expropriating land that serves no economic or social function, in the case of medium and large ranchers, and the distribution of land to landless campesinos.

    IPS: Tell me about the new size definition of “latifundium” (a large landed estate with absentee ownership and labour often in a state of partial servitude), under this new system of redistributing land.

    JDF: I believe we are carrying out this reform with a clear vision. In the old constitution, anything over 50,000 hectares was considered a “latifundium”, although it was not clearly defined. Now, by contrast, by defining a size limit of 5,000 hectares we are marking a reference point for a specific policy.

    This government’s policies respect individual, community-owned and collective property, while generating a sense of certainty and security in a scenario where the opposition has been challenging the process. They have said we are going to take away their land and distribute it to campesinos from the highlands, without leaving any land to the agribusiness sector.

    IPS: What practical experience and results has INRA obtained?

    JDF: In August, landholdings in the northern province of Pando were inspected, and 98 percent of the land was claimed as privately owned. But when we completed the process, only 25 percent was legally recognised as such, and another 25 percent had been distributed earlier to campesinos and indigenous people. The other half was actually publicly owned nature reserves and parks.

    IPS: Is there a link between inadequate distribution of land and a political elite that this government is fighting?

    JDF: A large part of the 40 million hectares (that went to large landholders and agribusiness interests in the eastern part of the country) was handed out in payment for political favours. By law no one could receive more than one plot of land, but there were people who received two and even three.

    IPS: How long do you think it will take to reduce poverty by means of the redistribution of land?

    JDF: We have four more years to complete the process of clarifying land ownership. Land titles generate a sense of legal security which, in the case of community-owned property, allows access to credit, and to participating in productive processes.

    You have to understand the political context in Bolivia. One thing was the (1959) Cuban revolution or the Bolivian revolution of 1952, where the structure of the state was changed by force and new institutions were built.

    In that context, land can be seized because there is no Congress and (the revolutionaries) have the strength and the power. But in the scenario of a democratic revolution like the one being carried out by this government, we can’t do that.

    A central pillar of a country’s institutionality is guaranteeing legal security. If you have a property that was acquired either rightfully or wrongly, and which is larger than 5,000 hectares, I can’t take it from you retroactively. That would be an attack on the owner and we would be breaking the property rules of this society.

    This government is not going to do that. But the most important issue is this: the new constitution explicitly states that every two years, we are going to verify that land fulfils an economic and social function. Through this process, we will be able to recover public lands and limit unproductive latifundia.

    Source

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Illegal Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008

    By Daniel Luban
    January 28 2009
    WASHINGTON
    Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008, despite Israel’s pledge at the beginning of the year to freeze all construction, according to a new report by an Israeli non-governmental organisation.

    The report, released Wednesday by the group Peace Now, found that settlement construction in 2008 increased by almost 60 percent, including new construction both inside and outside of the security barrier and within illegal settlement outposts.

    The Peace Now study was released on the same day that newly appointed U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell – a longtime critic of settlement construction – arrived in Israel. The increase in construction is expected to be a source of friction in Mitchell’s negotiations with Israeli leaders.

    Critics warned that the increase in construction is likely to damage the already fragile prospects for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine.

    “Every structure built in a settlement makes the two-state solution more difficult to achieve and further jeopardises Israel’s future as a Jewish democratic country,” said Debra DeLee, president of Peace Now’s sister organisation Americans for Peace Now.

    The report found that at least 1,257 new structures were built in West Bank settlements in 2008, up sharply from 800 in 2007. This figure did not include the 261 new structures built in illegal outposts in the West Bank.

    Nearly 40 percent of the new structures were built east of the security barrier, many of them extending deep into the West Bank.

    And despite the Israeli government’s pledge to crack down on the illegal outposts, the study found that “not a single real outpost was evacuated”.

    Additionally, the report found evidence that land confiscations were continuing to take place, contradicting the government’s stated policy.

    Following the Annapolis peace conference in late 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to freeze settlement construction and remove some existing settlements.

    In November 2008, he announced that the government would cut off funding for illegal outposts – thereby admitting that it had continued to fund them up to that point.

    The Peace Now report found that the Israeli government had encouraged the increase in settlement construction both through active aid and through non-enforcement of its stated policies.

    Also on Wednesday, U.S. envoy Mitchell arrived in Jerusalem and met with leaders including Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defence Minister Ehud Barak. He is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayad in Ramallah, and Likud party chief Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.

    Although preliminary reports indicated that the aftermath of the war in Gaza was the primary topic under discussion at Wednesday’s meetings, the settlements are expected to be a continued sticking point going forward.

    Mitchell served an earlier stint as Middle East peace envoy in 2001, after which his committee released a report that was harshly critical of Israeli settlement policies.

    The 2001 Mitchell report called on Israel to “freeze all settlement activity, including the ‘natural growth’ of existing settlements”. This call was taken up in the George W. Bush administration’s “road map” for the peace process, which formed the basis of the 2007 Annapolis conference.

    Mitchell’s insistence on a settlement freeze as a precondition for the peace process led many right-leaning pro-Israel groups in the U.S. to oppose his recent selection as peace envoy. Abraham Foxman, the influential head of the Anti-Defamation League, stated that he was “concerned” about Mitchell’s “meticulously even-handed” approach to the region.

    Nevertheless, in the eight years since Mitchell’s initial report, his calls for a halt to the settlement project have become a mainstream consensus view.

    Olmert and his predecessor Ariel Sharon – who had been an original architect of the settlement project – both came to believe that it was likely to doom Israel if left unchecked.

    Given the basic demographic trends, an Israeli state encompassing the West Bank and Gaza would soon have an Arab majority. This would force Israel to choose between becoming a secular and binational state with full political rights for all citizens, or an undemocratic state that denied full political rights to Arab residents.

    It was partially this logic led Sharon to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and remove Israeli settlements there in 2005.

    However, the challenge in the West Bank is much greater. There are now estimated to be over 285,000 settlers in the West Bank, many of them militantly opposed to a two-state solution. The Israeli government has generally paid lip service to the goal of curbing the West Bank settlers, but has been reluctant to crack down on them.

    If Netanyahu becomes the next Israeli prime minister, as currently seems likely, he and Mitchell could be set to clash on the settlements issue.

    Netanyahu has recently tacked to the centre on the issue, telling Quartet envoy Tony Blair on Sunday that a Likud-led government would build no new settlements.

    However, Netanyahu said that he would continue to permit “natural growth” of existing settlements – a qualification that strips his promise of much of its meaning.

    Israel has not officially created any new settlements in over a decade, instead ascribing all settlement construction to “natural growth”. It was this consideration that led both Mitchell’s 2001 report and Bush’s road map to explicitly forbid construction under the auspices of “natural growth”.

    Gershom Gorenberg, author of “The Accidental Empire”, a 2007 history of the settlements, urged Mitchell to stand firm against Netanyahu in an open letter published Wednesday in The American Prospect.

    Netanyahu’s position is a “con”, Gorenberg wrote. “You need to insist on [a full settlement freeze] publicly in the months ahead”.

    At the moment, however, none of the leading candidates for prime minister appears to have much appetite to confront the settlers. How much pressure Mitchell and the Obama administration are willing to exert on the Israeli government to do so will be one of the first tests of the U.S.-Israel relationship in the months ahead.

    Source

    Israel will never keep it’s word. They just keep lieing or coming up with scams to steal land that is not theirs.

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Aid Workers Protest Restricted Access to Gaza

    January 27 2009

    Aid agencies have been protesting about their restricted access to Gaza since the 18 January ceasefire, stressing that the full opening of crossing points is crucial for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

    “It is unacceptable that staff of international aid agencies with expertise in emergency response are still not given full access into Gaza, and that the crossings are not fully operational for humanitarian and commercial goods,” said Charles Clayton, chair of the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), which includes 75 agencies.

    A recent CARE survey found that 89 percent of Gazans had not received humanitarian assistance since 27 December, underscoring the clear need, according to CARE, for more aid and humanitarian workers in Gaza.

    CARE officer Juliette Seibold in Jerusalem told IRIN by phone on 26 January that eight of their staff members were still waiting for permits to enter to Gaza.

    “If the ceasefire is holding, then any blockage of humanitarian access is unacceptable,” said Clayton.

    The Israeli authorities are permitting 100-120 trucks to enter Gaza per day, according to the head of UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees) in Gaza, John Ging.

    However, “to meet the daily needs, hundreds of trucks are required,” he said, adding: “This is the same approach that led to this conflict. We need a change of policy regarding the crossing points. If they remain closed it will lead to more violence.”

    Construction materials and spare parts are vital to repair damaged schools, hospitals, water and sewage systems, and power lines, but “these commodities are not available on Gaza’s market,” Oxfam spokesperson Sara-Eve Hammond, based in Jerusalem, told IRIN by phone, “and the Israeli authorities are waiting for specific donor requests to allow their entry.”

    Source

    Hamas has wanted the blockade  ended a long, long, time ago. Maybe the Aid Agency’s will now understand their frustration and anger with Israel. Seems they have the same problems with Israel.  Palestinians deserve better treatment then Israel imposes on them.. No one should have to live the way they have been forced to live.

    Israeli aircraft strike Gaza Tunnels-Residents Again on Jan 28

    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    Public gives £600,000 to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired/Information, If you want to Donate

    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Israeli aircraft strike Gaza Tunnels-Residents Again

    January 28 2009

    GAZA

    Israeli aircraft struck at tunnels used for smuggling goods and weapons on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday, residents of the Gaza town of Rafah and Hamas security officials said.

    Rafah residents began to flee their homes in panic as the aircraft struck three times before dawn, Hamas officials said. There was no initial word of any casualties.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was checking the report.

    The strike came as an apparent response to Tuesday’s attack by Gaza militants on an Israeli military vehicle that was hit by a roadside bomb while patrolling the Gaza border, killing one soldier and wounding three others.

    An air strike shortly afterwards killed one Palestinian on a motorcycle but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said late on Tuesday that it was only an initial reaction and that Israel’s full response was still to come, Israeli media websites reported.

    The Israeli military said its aircraft hit a large number of tunnels during their 22-day campaign in the coastal enclave which ended earlier this month in which some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

    Israel began its attack on Gaza, ruled by the Islamist group Hamas, on Dec. 27 saying it wanted to stop militant rocket fire into nearby Israeli towns.

    Hamas and Israel declared separate ceasefires and are negotiating through Egyptian mediators on a longer-term truce. Hamas wants Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel wants guarantees that Hamas will not again fire rockets at Israeli towns. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Giles Elgood)

    Source

    datafiles_cache_tempimgs_2009_1_images_news_2009_01_27_gaza-casualty_300_0Israeli aerial bombardment of a motor bicycle in Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday Jan 27  wounded three Palestinian citizens including two children.

    Seems Israel just can’t wait to to kill. Like just after the Ceasefire they shot two people a father and daughter walking on the shore line. They said they were shooting at a Fishing Boat which was just totally uncalled for.  No one on the boat was shooting at them however.

    Well I hate to say it but I was right. Israel  has no intention of stopping their bombardments in Gaza. I guess those weapons from the US must have arrived.  Now they can go back to bombing the hell out of innocent people.  They want all Palestinians dead or out of Gaza. The Rabbi says it all.

    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals also Testimonies from ex soldiers’

    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 4:30 am  Comments Off  
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    Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    rabbi-avi-ronzki_

    By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

    January 27  2009

    The Israeli army’s chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a “good attribute”.

    The booklet, entitled Go Fight My Fight: A Daily Study Table for the Soldier and Commander in a Time of War, was published especially for Operation Cast Lead, the devastating three-week campaign launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire against southern Israel. The publication draws on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Jewish fundamentalist Ateret Cohanim seminary in Jerusalem.

    In one section, Rabbi Aviner compares Palestinians to the Philistines, a people depicted in the Bible as a war-like menace and existential threat to Israel.

    In another, the army rabbinate appears to be encouraging soldiers to disregard the international laws of war aimed at protecting civilians, according to Breaking the Silence, the group of Israeli ex-soldiers who disclosed its existence. The booklet cites the renowned medieval Jewish sage Maimonides as saying that “one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel”.

    Breaking the Silence is calling for the firing of the chief military rabbi, Brigadier-General Avi Ronzki, over the booklet. The army had no comment on the matter yesterday.

    Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the executive director of the Rabbis for Human Rights group, called the booklet “very worrisome”, adding “[this is] a minority position in Judaism that doesn’t understand the … necessity of distinguishing between combatants and civilians.”

    Source

    Israeli Professor: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

    January 26 2009

    An Israeli professor and military historian hinted that Israel could avenge the holocaust by annihilating millions of Germans and other Europeans.

    Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Friday, Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.

    “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force.”

    Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s only meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.

    “The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this (the Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now, according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent.”

    Creveld said he was sure that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to deport the Palestinians.

    “I think it’s quite possible that he wants to do that. He wants to escalate the conflict. He knows that nothing else we do will succeed.”

    Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rogue state if it carried out a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Creveld quoted former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”

    Creveld argued that Israel wouldn’t care much about becoming a rogue state.

    “Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that this will happen before Israel goes under.”

    Source

    Israel must be disarmed. They are a threat to all of Europe. Would they do it of course they would why wouldn’t they?

    A few Testimonies From Soldiers:

    Rank: first sergeant

    Unit: Golani

    Description:

    I remember instances– an instance where Israeli Arabs who came out from Jenin at night at a late enough hour and it was very suspicious… Israeli Arabs who came out from Jenin– I checked– I checked their ID cards– in our post there was a placard about how forged ID cards look– their ID cards were simply a little old.

    Interviewer: Regular blue cards?

    Regular blue cards– the picture was cut with straight corners rather than rounded corners and that was one of the elements– it seems that that was one of the elements of the new ID cards– someone who got his ID in the 1970s which would be very logical for someone who is thirty.

    Interviewer: He has an old ID

    He has an old ID, not forged, we thought that we were talking here about…

    Interviewer: That someone is trying to get around you?

    Exactly, to get around, someone who looks like an Israeli is trying to pass into Israel– it was very worrying … they were taken but there was no proportionality– we took them and tied them up and did a kind of Shabaq investigation we crosschecked them we talked with them we yelled at them we blindfolded them we didn’t urinate on them or do anything horrible but we scared them a lot we used psychological intimidation on these two it cam–

    Interviewer: What did you do?

    What?

    Interviewer: How do you psychologically intimidate– how did you do that?

    We tied them up, blindfolded them, stripped them completely, put them into the posts…

    Interviewer: Completely?  Naked naked?

    No, underwear, underwear, we put them in one of the posts, anti-fire posts, fire-resistant posts– that way it’s claustrophobic– you feel these four people yelling at him you liar you terrorist

    Interviewer: Was there also physical violence there?

    I, I’m sure, look, I’m sure that there were also those things, I already don’t remember.  Little by little it sunk in that they were Israelis, their Hebrew was good enough, their stories matched, the police came and we gave them to the officers.

    Interviewer: How much time were they with you in the “investigation”?

    Two hours, an hour and a half.

    Interviewer: And after how much time did you call the police?

    No, at the beginning we notified the brigade– I don’t think– we didn’t want to do– that is to say

    Interviewer: The police took them?

    Yes– I don’t know if I…

    Rank: Sergeant

    Unit: Nahal brigade

    Place of incident: Atarot-Kalandia

    Description:

    10/2000

    There wasn’t really a checkpoint in Kalandia [at that time]. We would stand there at the fence of the airport, as if this was aiding the guys who were guarding the airport. There were riots and we would shoot… how do you call it -

    Rubber [rubber coated metal bullets].

    Rubber, stun grenades. And all the time we were playing ‘Catch’ with the kids throwing stones. We would set traps for them there.

    What do you mean by traps?

    Traps, let me give you a somewhat funny example. We would put a can with a stun grenade inside, take out the safety pin, and place on it sweets, desserts that we would take from the kitchen. Then the kids would come, look at them and when they picked it up, the grenade would explode in their face. That’s one. I’ll give you another example. There was a couch that they would move all day, so we would booby trap the couch with stun grenades.

    Where was this couch placed?

    It was placed in the middle of where we were… there was a certain place where they would throw stones. And we were sick of them, like, taking the couch. So we (grinning)… and my platoon commander were wounded during this. He tried to set a trap and a stun grenade blew up in his hand, such things, it was a period then… And let me tell you, it was a crazy time.

    Rank: Staff sergeant

    Unit: Armored forces

    Place of incident: Daharia junction

    Description: Daharia junction. South Daharia. Palestinians pass through that roadblock on their way to work in Be’er-Sheva. They have to pass; some on foot. Tens of Palestinians a day. One of the officers wanted to keep the order, wanted them to stand in a straight line – like a ruler. He ran beside them and made them straighten up. They didn’t do it well enough, so the first person he saw at the beginning – about 50 years old with an 8-year-old kid or something similar, a little boy – the officer shot in the air and they straightened up. And on another occasion…

    To straighten up the line?

    To straighten up the line. And on another occasion he just beat the hell out of a person… He hit the man’s face with the handle of his rifle, kicked him in the groins, spat on him, cursed him – simply went berserk. In front of the man’s little boy. He just humiliated him.

    Rank: Staff Sergeant

    Unit: Paratroops

    Place of incident: South Mount Hebron

    Description:

    Late 2001

    Beside ordinary roadblocks, we would also block the main access roads. What does ‘block the main access roads’ mean? They give you an enormous Volvo mechanical shovel, they say: drive along Road no.60, and block any side-road that goes into it. OK, cool. It doesn’t matter that on some of these roads there’s somebody’s home and that he has a dirt-road leading to the main road, because the Palestinian Authority’s Public Works Division doesn’t function too well. So they didn’t pave a road to the house, just a dirt road. A command is a command, and so we would block the roads… Pretty soon we’d become bored, and of course there wasn’t an officer present, and the mechanical shovel’s driver is a bored reservist, so we started doing “Monster Truck Rally” [English in the original] – in the U.S you have these trucks with enormous wheels, we started playing this “Monster Truck Rally” game: to check what the shovel can cross and what it can lift. We would approach a house: ‘c’mon, can you hoist his car up in the air?’ – ‘Look at that, I can hoist the car, I believe I can.’ Boom! He would lift it up in the air and put it down on the path, blocking his path with his own car.

    And presumably leave it like that …

    Yes, leave it like that. ‘Can you…’ whatever… ‘Can you hoist his terrace?’ – ‘I don’t know, it’s heavy stone.’ – ‘C’mon, Shimon, what do you mean you can’t?’ – ‘I’ll try.’ ‘C’mon.’ Boom! Lifts up his terrace. Out of boredom you overturn peoples’ terraces, their cars. You trash them. No reason, it’s just a game. You see, I was 19-20 at the time. You give a child this enormous shovel – he can do anything… He can run wild. We did run wild. We moved boulders, blocked entrances to houses, uprooted gates. Just like that, we played with the shovel. And, of course, wherever you put up barriers, they’re open again the next day. They too have shovels. So I remember how me and my friend were pissed off that they should open these barriers. I go and put up these barriers, and fuck it the next day… It took me hours to put them up. What we did was – one time we were on a patrol, and we saw this JCB shovel and stopped and said to the guy “OK now you come with us to do a job”. I don’t know where he was going, but we appropriated his JCB for a couple of hours and used it to put up barriers.

    You appropriated a Palestinian shovel …

    Complete with the Palestinian guy inside. We said, ‘now you block all these roads.’ We did it all over again, put all the barriers up again. We detained him for maybe 2-3 hours. I don’t know for how long. Just out of boredom. No other reason.

    Rank: First Sergeant

    Place of incident: Nablus

    Description:

    End of 2003

    There was an operation where we were supposed to enter the city. We called it “Yossi Bachar’s Horror Show”. Aviv Kohavi was replaced by Yossi Bachar. You know, every new brigade commander wants to leave an impression, wants to make a big entrance. He got us into this completely useless operation… and in the end of this operation there was this part when we put ‘New-Jerseys’ roadblocks, those plastic roadblocks. So we were putting these New-Jersey’s roadblocks, and the battalion commander gave an order… because we put these New Jerseys to block the traffic… in Nablus… Getting to the point, we put these New Jerseys and the kids there, those who throw stones all the time, would come and move them away. There was a mess. We couldn’t… In the beginning we would put the New Jerseys and the local residents would move them away, so we put it again, and then there were riots and stown throwing and it became a complete mess. Then the battalion commander gave the order: “Whoever touches the roadblock, the New Jerseys, must be shot in the legs.” Live ammunition. Shoot his legs. We were, I was, supposed to do it. In my Army vehicle there was talk, and we asked whether he was out of his mind; a person touches the roadblock – are we to shoot him in the legs? [We thought] he was just making noise.

    Apparently this specific battalion commander. thought very highly of setting personal example. In a roadblock he came to – I was not personally there, but the guys from the commanding crew [soldiers who join the commander on operations]… And actually this was a known case: the man drove his jeep next to some New Jersey, and saw this kid touching it – apparently at some distance – and aimed at the kid’s leg. But, you know, instead of hitting the kid in the legs he hit him in the chest, and killed him. For touching a New Jersey. If you’ll excuse me, I do not think of touching a New Jersey as a reason for death.

    How do you know the kid is dead?

    Hear say. But the kid is dead. This is a well-known story. We got back to base from this operation, we talked, and then the guys who were with the commanding crew say: “Hey guys, *** killed a kid, a kid murderer, kid murderer, he killed a kid.” They told us the story. People who saw it happen. I’m pretty sure. I cannot think that someone went and checked his pulse, but not many kids survive a bullet in the chest.

    There are many more.

    Breaking the Silence- Soldiers’ Testimonies From Hebron 2005-2007,

    Break the Silence 2

    Break the Silence 3

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives


    Public gives £600,000 to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired/Information, If you want to Donate

    This is the best news I have heard in a long time.

    Yesterday, the DEC described the £600,000 pledged through the website prior to the broadcasts as an “unprecedented” response.

    They need much more then that to rebuild.

    Iran has also said they are willing to help rebuild 1000 homes.

    By Jerome Taylor
    January 27 2009

    The Gaza appeal which the BBC is refusing to broadcast raised £600,000 before it was shown. Donations flooded in to the Disasters Emergency Committee website before the initial transmission of the two-minute appeal on ITV1 last night.

    On previous occasions the DEC has not accepted donations until an appeal has gone out live but members of the public have been able to donate to the Gaza appeal since Thursday. Charity chiefs will be hoping that the controversy over the broadcast has increased public awareness that a way of donating to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is available.

    Yesterday, Sky News sided with its main newsgathering rival in refusing to broadcast the appeal for aid for Gaza as the head of the BBC ruled out any last-minute policy change over its own decision.

    The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, said the public broadcaster had a duty to cover the Middle East in a “balanced, objective way” and reiterated the corporation’s belief that broadcasting the appeal could undermine its journalistic impartiality. The BBC has received more than 15,000 complaints since the weekend and has been publicly criticised by more than 50 MPs and two archbishops.

    Dame Suzi Leather, head of the Charity Commission, adding her voice to the criticism yesterday, said she was “disappointed” that Sky had joined the BBC in not broadcasting the appeal. Along with ITV, Channel 4 and Five also agreed to show the two-minute appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of 13 charities including the Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children and Islamic Relief, before their main evening news bulletins.

    Yesterday, the DEC described the £600,000 pledged through the website prior to the broadcasts as an “unprecedented” response.

    Ian Bray, a senior officer at Oxfam, said the media coverage had generated a huge amount of interest among the general public and added: “We hope that level of interest continues.”

    Previous appeals to aid victims of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and cyclone victims in Burma raised £9.7m and £18m respectively.

    Source

    The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Member Agencies
    The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is made up of 13 member agencies which provide humanitarian aid in times of disaster.

    The 13 member agencies are:

    • ActionAid
    • British Red Cross
    • CAFOD
    • Care International
    • Christian Aid
    • Concern
    • Help the Aged
    • Islamic Relief
    • Merlin
    • Oxfam
    • Save the Children
    • Tearfund
    • World Vision

    To Donate to those in need in Gaza

    Be part of the Solution.

    Donations to Doctors without Boarders are also needed. Just add a notation, you wish the donation to go to Gaza victims.

    Gaza Report: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

    Doctors without Boarders/MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF) Canada

    Lets help those, who are helping victims in Gaza.

    “Save the Children Canada” has also been helping those in Gaza.

    Reports from: “Save the Children Canada” Charity in Gaza


    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

    Ehud Barak

    In June 2007, the suspect imposed a siege on 1.5 million residents of Gaza. The siege, which is ongoing in 2009, is collective punishment according to International Law. The year and a half long siege caused severe food and fuel shortages, intermittent drinking water and electricity supply, disruption to sewage treatment plants and shortages of medicine and essential medical equipment, affecting the lives of 1.5 million people – a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Rome Statute.

    On 27 December 2008, the suspect ordered the aerial bombardment of Gazan population centers. The attacks involved hundreds of fighter jet sorties, dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gazan neighborhoods. At least 1,300 people – men, women and children were killed and 5,300 were injured. Schools, hospitals and UN facilities were targeted, medical crews shot at and prevented from evacuating the wounded.

    On 10 December 2008, a formal complaint was submitted by Lebanese lawyers to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, against Ehud Barak and four other Israelis: Ehud Olmert, Matan Vilnai, Avi Dichter and Gabi Ashkenazi on the suspicion that they had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by ordering and maintaining a siege on Gaza.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 65 years old, lower than average height, graying hair, brown eyes, with glasses.




    Photo courtesy of the New Histadrut

    Amir Peretz

    On 12 July 2006, the suspect ordered the aerial bombardment of villages and cities in Lebanon, targeting essential infrastructure, such as water, food, fuel and electricity supplies. The bombing also damaged hospitals, clinics and schools – all places expressly prohibited from attack under international law. As a result of the bombing, ground assault and artillery fire, more than 1,200 people were killed including hundreds of children and elderly people.

    On 8th November 2006, the suspect ordered the shelling of Beit Hanoun, a neighborhood in Gaza, in response to rockets fired toward Israel. For 15 minutes, residential neighborhoods were shelled, resulting in the deaths of 19 people, including 9 children. At least 40 people were injured. Firing shells deliberately and indiscriminately into civilian areas constitutes a war crime.

    In August 2006, an official complaint was filed to the High Court in Morocco on the suspicion Peretz had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The suspect holds Moroccan citizenship. The complaint was filed by 3 Moroccan Jews, all renowned for their human rights work.

    Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man, about 60 years old, black hair, brown eyes, with a moustache.


    Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

    Binyamin Ben Eliezer

    At the end of the ’67 war, the suspect was the head of the Sayeret Shaked IDF Unit. According to testimonies by Israeli and Egyptian soldiers, the suspect ordered the killing of 250 Egyptian or Palestinian fighters (exact nationality unclear) shortly after the war ended. Evidence indicates that the killings were carried out using helicopters flying low above the Sinai desert, hunting the retreating soldiers, some of whom were unarmed.

    Further eye-witness testimonies state that the suspect personally executed prisoners of war who did not obey instructions. The killing of soldiers after hostilities have ended, and the execution of prisoners of war are all expressly prohibited under international law and are classed as war crimes.

    Between March 2001 and November 2002 the suspect, acting as Minister of Defense, led a policy of extra judicial killings, collective punishment and the shelling of residential areas in the West Bank and Gaza. All of these actions are prohibited under international law and constitute war crimes and crime against humanity, and since July 2002 are prosecutable in the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

    In March 2007 the suspect, whilst still a government minister, canceled a trip to Egypt due to fear of arrest for his activities in the ’67 war.

    Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man, about 70, black hair, larger than average build.


    Photo courtesy of the Government Information Office

    Avi Dichter

    From July 1, 2002, on the day the International Criminal Court was established, until May 2005, the suspect was head of the Shabak, the Israeli intelligence service (GSS). As head of the Shabak, the suspect ordered the tortures of detained Palestinians – an activity explicitly prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute and the International Convention against Torture. Torture is a crime against humanity.

    In July 2002, the suspect was part of a group, which ordered the assassination of Salah Shehadeh, the commander of the Hamas military wing. The assassination was carried out by dropping a one-ton bomb on Shehadeh’s house, causing the deaths of 15 people, including 9 children, and injuring dozens more. Extra-judicial executions are war crimes under international law. The bombing of residential neighborhoods is collective punishment.

    On 10 December 2008, a complaint was submitted to the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, against the suspect and 4 other people – on the suspicion he had committed war crimes for ordering the siege of Gaza. The suspect was acting as Minister for Public Security at the time. Prior to this, in July 2008, a complaint was filed in the High Court of Spain on the suspicion he had committed a war crime for ordering the execution of Salah Shehadeh. The Spanish court has issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

    Description of the suspect: a white man about 55 years old, taller than average height, white hair. The suspect speaks Hebrew, English and Arabic.


    Photo courtesy of the Danish Embassy

    Carmi Gilon

    From 1995-1996, the suspect was head of the Israeli Internal Security services, also known as the Shabak (GSS). In this capacity, he ordered the torture of Palestinian detainees – an activity prohibited under international law and classed as a crime against humanity.

    Torture usually included: tying a person in painful positions continuously for hours, sometimes days; tying a noxious smelling hood over the person’s head, “shaking” the person; depriving the person of sleep and food; exposing him or her to freezing or high temperatures, chaining him or her to a small chair in a way designed to induce pain, playing loud music for hours, and isolating the person from the outside world, sometimes for months.

    According to interviews the suspect gave to various media after the end of his service, the suspect was personally involved in about 100 cases of torture of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were released without any trial. In those interviews, the suspect said he supported torture and even called on the Israeli government and Supreme Court to continue the policy of torture. This is forbidden.

    Several human rights organizations in Israel and abroad, including Amnesty International, hold testimonies given by hundreds of Palestinians who were severely torture (out of thousand who were tortured but have not given testimonies). The tortures were carried out during the time that the suspect was head of the Shabak.

    In August 2001, a complaint about the suspect’s involvement in torture was made in Denmark by a group of lawyers for human rights and a group of Palestinians who had received asylum there. The complaint was rejected because the suspect had diplomatic immunity at the time since he was acting as the ambassador for Israel in Denmark.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 60 years old, wearing glasses.


    Photo courtesy of the office of the chief of staff

    Dan Halutz

    On 12 July 2006, the suspect, as Chief of Staff, ordered air strikes on villages and cities in Lebanon, causing destruction and killing for 34 days. This is prohibited under international law.

    Following the air strikes, which destroyed infrastructure and necessities for human life, nearly 900,000 people were forced to leave their homes or remain without shelter for weeks. Despite this, the suspect continued to order his pilots to bombard Lebanon repeatedly, wiping out entire neighborhoods.

    4 years earlier, in July 2002, the suspect ordered a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Rafah, Gaza, causing the deaths of 15 people including 9 children, and injuring dozens more.

    In July 2008, after collecting evidence, testimony and documents, a complaint was submitted to the High Court of Spain on suspicion that Halutz had committed a war crime by ordering a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Gaza. The court  has issued a warrant for his arrest.

    Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man about 60 years old, of average height, graying hair, wearing glasses.


    Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

    Doron Almog

    On 10 January 2002, as head of the Southern Command, the suspect ordered the demolition of 59 houses in Rafah, occupied Gaza, an act that is considered to be collective punishment under international law and therefore prohibited.

    On 22 July 2002, the suspect was part of a group which ordered a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Gaza to eliminate the Palestinian Salah Shehadeh. The explosion killed 15 people, including 9 children. Dozens of people were injured.

    The demolition of homes, the expulsion of residents, the bombing of residential areas, the killing of innocent civilians as a policy of occupation are considered violations of International law and classed as war crimes.

    In 2005, a British court issued a warrant to arrest the suspect, however he evaded capture. In July 2008, the High Court of Spain issued a second warrant to arrest the suspect for his part in bombing the house in Gaza. Spain has extradition treaties with  other EU countries.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 65 years old, above average height, short graying hair, blue eyes. Also goes by his previous name Doron Avrutzki. Was seen recently in a company which invests money in the Israeli weapons industry – Athlone Global Security.

    Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office

    Ehud Olmert

    On 12 July 2006, the suspect ordered the bombing of cities and villages in Lebanon. The 34-day bombing of residential areas broke international law. The aerial bombing and land assault ordered by the suspect, killed approximately 1,200 people and injured about 4,400. During the attack, the suspect ordered several thousand cluster bombs to be dropped near residential areas in Lebanon, something forbidden under international conventions. In total, about a million small bombs were dropped, which led to the post war deaths of 30 people and the injury of 215, including 90 children.

    In the summer of 2007, the suspect ordered the blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza, preventing them from receiving adequate food, water and electricity supplies and medication – all explicitly prohibited under international law. In December 2008, the suspect ordered an air, land and sea attack on the residents of Gaza, causing the rapid destruction of residential areas and the deaths of 1,300 people – hundreds of them children.

    On 10 December 2008, Lebanese lawyers submitted a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, against the suspect and others, on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his part in the siege of Gaza. In March 2009, the suspect will lose his diplomatic immunity.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 60 years old, above average height, balding, with blue eyes and a taste for cigars.


    Photo courtesy of the IAF Spokesperson

    Eliezer Shkedy

    The facts: On 12th July 2006, the suspect was head of the Israeli Air Force and therefore responsible for thousands of fighter jet sorties, which bombed residential areas in Lebanon. The bombings, using hundreds of tons of explosives, damaged more than 100,000 homes. The Air Force, under his command, deliberately targeted water sources and electrical power stations, and wrecked schools, hospitals and clinics. The air strikes killed hundreds of people and caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, becoming refugees without shelter.

    The deliberate bombing of residential neighborhoods, as well as the deliberate destruction of houses, water and electricity plants, and essential civilian infrastructure is strictly prohibited under international law. Whoever violates these laws is considered to be a war criminal and guilty of crimes against humanity.

    Collective punishment and extra judicial executions are all forbidden under the Fourth Geneva Convention and violations can be heard before the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 50 years old, above average height, ginger hair, wearing glasses.


    Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

    Gabi Ashkenazi

    On 27th December 2008, the suspect, as Chief of Staff, ordered the Israeli army to attack densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. For three weeks, 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped from the air on residential neighborhoods in Gaza and tens of thousands of artillery shells were fired from tanks. For 3 weeks, the army damaged and destroyed houses, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, water and electrical plants, killed more than 1,300 people, hundreds of them children, and injured about 5,300 people. Thousands of houses were bombed or shelled and 50,000 residents were made homeless,  without shelter.

    Prior to this, the suspect was part of a group, which implemented a siege on 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, denying them a regular supply of food, water, medicine, fuel and electricity for 18 months.

    According to international law, it is absolutely prohibited to bomb residential areas in a way that interrupts the lives of civilians; to carry out executions without trial, to collectively punish; to destroy or damage hospitals, schools and homes. The prohibitions against collective punishment were enshrined in the Geneva Conventions after the behavior of the Nazis in Europe during World War II when they destroyed entire villages to punish residents for sheltering the resistance. 194 countries agree with the prohibitions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    In December 2008, a complaint was filed in the Hague against the suspect, on suspicion that he had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity for ordering the siege of Gaza.

    Description of the suspect: male, about 55 years old, black hair, olive skin above average height. The suspect is armed and could be dangerous.


    Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

    Giora Eiland

    In July 2008, a claim was filed against the suspect in the High Court in Spain on suspicion that he was involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity for ordering a one ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Gaza, which caused the deaths of 15 people including 9 children (July 2002). Bombing residential areas is collective punishment and constitutes a war crime. Extra judicial executions are prohibited under international law and since July 2002 are prosecutable in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, 55 years of age, of average height, white hair.

    Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson

    Matan Vilnai

    In July 2007, the suspect along with his accomplices ordered a siege on 1.5 million people in Gaza. The siege caused severe deprivation by preventing the regular supply of food, water, gas, electricity, and medication to the residents living there. The siege lasted for 18 months, is still ongoing, and included a naval, air and land blockade.

    In February 2008, the suspect said on Israeli army radio “the more the Qassam rocket fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a holocaust.”

    Indeed on 27th December 2008, the suspect as Deputy Defense Minister, was part of a cabinet decision which ordered air, naval and ground attacks on densely populated areas in Gaza – attacks that lasted for about 3 weeks. As a result of the attacks, entire buildings collapsed on residents and infants were found starving next to their dead parents. Wounded people were buried under rubble for many days because IDF soldiers prevented medics from reaching them. (According to reports by the Red Cross.)

    Some 1,300 people were killed, hundreds of them children. 5,300 were wounded. The air force bombs and tank shells hit hospitals, clinics, schools, infrastructure, UN buildings, electricity and water sources – leaving hundreds of thousands without the necessities for life.

    In December 2008, a lawsuit was filed against the suspect in the International Criminal Court, The Hague on suspicion that the siege of Gaza breached international law and was thus a war crime and crime against humanity.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 65 years old, shaven head, above average height.


    Photo courtesy of the Israeli Embassy

    Moshe Bogie Yaalon

    On 18th April 1996, IDF troops fired 38 artillery shells measuring 155 mm at the UN compound in the village of Qana, Lebanon where 800 refugees were sheltering. They had fled their homes due to Operation Grapes of Wrath. The IDF attack was in response to Hezbollah fighters launching rockets at IDF forces from a place a few hundred meters from the compound. The IDF shelling killed 106 people and left dozens of survivors injured. During this time, the suspect was head of Israeli army intelligence, and together with others, was responsible for the shelling. Firing at a compound where civilians are sheltering from fighting is considered a war crime under international law.

    On 22 July 2002, as head of the Israeli army, the suspect ordered a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a house in Rafah, Gaza, in order to assassinate Salah Shehadeh. The bomb caused the deaths of 15 people including 9 children, and injured dozens more. Bombing neighborhoods where civilians live is forbidden under international law and is considered to be a war crime.

    In November 2005, relatives of those killed in Kafr Qana filed a civil law suit against the suspect in a Washington DC court. The suspect was handed a subpoena whilst he was visiting Washington, but he refused to take it and left quickly after.

    In December 2006, while the suspect was making a private visit to New Zealand, a  lawsuit was submitted to a New Zealand court, regarding the suspect’s part in the assassination of Shehadeh. An Aukland district judge ordered his arrest. Pressure was however placed on the Attorney General by the Ministry of Justice to cancel the warrant.

    In July 2008, the suspect’s name was included in a list submitted to a Spanish court for investigations into war crimes. The court has issued a  warrant for his arrest. Spain has an extradition agreement with all the countries in the European Union.

    Description of the suspect: a white man, about 60, large build, above average height, brown hair, wearing glasses.


    Photo courtesy of the Israeli Government Spokesperson

    Shaul Mofaz

    Between, October 2000 and June 2002 the suspect ordered a serious of actions against the Palestinian people, which included assassinations, torture, house demolitions and the deportation of civilians. In early 2001, the suspect, as Chief of Staff ordered the Israeli army to kill 70 armed Palestinians per day.

    On 29th March 2002 and for 6 weeks after, the suspect was in charge of a military operation called “Operation Defensive Shield” in which, according to the Red Crescent, the army killed 216 Palestinians and wounded 416. The operation involved the widespread destruction of homes, the denial of medical treatment for the wounded, especially in two Palestinian cities, Jenin and Nablus. These actions are classifiable as war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    The suspect continued these activities even after being appointed Israeli Defense Minister up to 2006. In 2002, a British lawyer presented a file to the UK Director of Public Prosecutions asking for the suspect to be investigated for war crimes such as targeted assassinations and the demolition of Palestinian homes. The suspect left the UK quickly upon hearing a file had been presented.

    Description of the suspect: an olive-skinned man, about 60 years old, of below average height, clean-shaven. The suspect is armed and may be dangerous.


    Photo courtesy of the Israeli Foreign Office

    Tzipi Livni

    On the 12th of July 2006, the suspect along with her accomplices ordered the aerial bombardment and artillery assault on residential areas in Lebanon. For 34 days she authorized troops to make 12,000 aerial sorties, to fire 100,000 artillery shells, damaging 350 schools and destroying 15,000 houses in Lebanon. 130,000 homes were partially damaged. The attacks destroyed water sources, hospitals, power stations and other infrastructure essential to life. 900,000 people were forced to leave their homes and remain without shelter for many days. Some 1,200 people were killed, and 4,400 were wounded: approximately 30% of the dead, about 360, were children under the age of 13.

    On 27th December 2008, the suspect and her accomplices ordered an aerial, ground and naval attack on densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. The attacks again damaged houses, hospitals, schools and infrastructure, and killed more than 1,300 people, including hundreds of children.  20,000 houses were partially destroyed and 50,000 people were made homeless as a result of the suspects orders.

    Attacking innocent people, shooting indiscriminately into residential areas, causing injuries, destroying essential infrastructure such as water, electrical plants and hospitals are all prohibited under International law and are war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Description of the suspect: a white woman, 50 years old, above average height, blonde hair.


    Anyone who has information about the suspects when he is outside of the Israeli borders, report immediately to:

    The Prosecutor
    POBox 19519
    2500 Hague
    Netherlands
    Fax +31 70 515 8 555
    otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int


    * All information will be treated in confidence

    Source

    Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    January 22, 2009

    There is more than enough evidence that Israel committed war crimes in its three week-long offensive into Gaza, says a UN investigator.

    UN special rapporteur Richard Falk called for an independent inquiry into Israel’s violation of international humanitarian law.

    Falk said Israel’s actions against the besieged Gazans are reminiscent of “the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto” which included the starvation and murder of Polish Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

    “There could have been temporary provision at least made for children, disabled, sick civilians to leave, even if where they left to was southern Israel,” said the Jewish American academic on Thursday.

    Falk, who was denied entry to Israel in December, said Gazans may have been mentally scarred for life because Israel made no effort to allow civilians to escape.

    Israeli officials moved closer to being prosecuted for war crimes after Norwegian medics in Gaza found traces of depleted uranium on Gaza victims, suggesting that Israel used the illegal weapons in its war on the impoverished territory, which houses some 1.5 million Palestinians.

    According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there is a “high risk of developing cancer from exposure to radiation emitted by … depleted uranium weapons. This risk is assumed to be proportional to the dose received.”

    The Geneva Convention has classified depleted uranium ammunitions as ‘illegal weapons of mass destruction’ due to their high radioactivity and toxicity.

    Israel faces potential war crimes charges over its excessive use of other controversial weapons on the densely-populated coastal strip.

    Human rights group Amnesty International has also touched on the issue, saying that Tel Aviv used white phosphorus munitions “indiscriminately and illegally” in overcrowded areas of Gaza.

    “The repeated use [of White Phosphorus] in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime,” said Donatella Rovera of the Amnesty International.

    White phosphorus is a high-incendiary substance that bursts into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, burning flesh to the bone and often leading to death.

    Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to allegedly defend its territories from Hamas rockets, which were fired in retaliation for Israel’s violation of a ceasefire that had then been in place.

    Falk, dismissed Israel’s argument that the assault was for self-defense, saying that “the UN charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defense.”

    Source

    I have information on White Phosphorus,  DU and Cluster Bombs in the Archives. There is also evidence of their use in the Photos if you know what to look for. They did use illegal weapons on the people of Gaza and they did starve them using the blockade, among other horrendous crimes.

    War Crimes have no Statute of Limitation.

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’/Israels Latin America “Trail of Terror”

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Obama Revokes Bush Executive Order on Presidential Archives

    Forces release of Bush Records!

    By Hal Turner
    January 21, 2009

    Washington, DC
    Barack Obama today revoked President George W. Bush’s Executive Order which makes presidential records secret for up to 12 years after leaving office!

    This would be the first logical step for his Administration to take if they were/are considering going after Bush for criminal prosecution over. . . . . the fraud he perpetrated against the nation by lying to take us to war in Iraq.

    The very last section of Obama’s Executive Order issued today (Here) states “Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.” This puts up for public consumption, most of the records from the Bush administration and I suspect those records will provide the legal basis for criminal prosecution of Bush and Cheney.

    George W. may want to jump on a plane and head to his family’s 100,000 acre refuge in Paraguay so he can be safe from extradition!

    Personally, I would LOVE to see Bush criminally prosecuted and, if found guilty, hung by his neck just like Saddam Hussein.

    Executive Order 13233 limited access to the records of former United States Presidents.

    It was drafted by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001.

    Section 13 of Order 13233 revoked Executive Order 12667 of January 18, 1989. Ronald Regan.

    The Order was partially struck down in October 2007, and President Barack Obama completely revoked it by executive order on January 21, 2009.

    Source

    Well that is a step in the right direction.

    When you hide what you have done, then you must have done something wrong.

    Maybe now they can find out how much more money, was “funneled” through Israel, to fund even more wars to prop up Dictators and cruel brutal Regimes. Bush and a few of his predecessors, were anything but wonderful people. As I read through the history of what was done in South America, by the US and Israel it was enough to make a person sick.

    All the wars just to oppress people. All the wars just to keep cruel leaders in power. Africa is suffering the same fate because of the US and Israeli policies. How many millions have died,  is beyond imagination.

    Any leader in any country who perpetrate such crimes against humanity and war crimes or even be aparty to such crimes, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    There is no statute of limitation on “war crimes”.  If a President or any leader is allowed to go free after killing millions of people, then there certainly is something wrong with the laws of the country they lead or the laws governing the world.

    As they search through the archives they will find there was interference in European countries as well. Hopefully now they can find the evidence of it all or at leas a small part of it.  If you know what they do and have been doing for years,  it is very easy to conclude the pattern of terror, they both have rained on the entire world.

    If there were ever two Rogue states,  it would be Israel and the US.

    And for what , money, power, greed. and to rape the land and people of their natural resources. To use them as cheap slave labour.

    How “Superior Race” is that?  Murder millions to for your own,  self interest.

    When Chevez talks about the US or Israel he knows full well what they did. He is always demonized by the US and their media. The media that lies.

    He knows full well what both countries have done,  as I do.

    If you don’t know, I think you should find out. There is enough information out there on these subjects, so there is no excuse for Ignorance on these issues.

    They want to rule the planet. At the expense of the innocent people who were massacred, at the expense of the soldier who served, at the expense of peace on the planet and at the expense of our environment. The war on terror was just a fabrication of an enemy so both countries, could rain down their terror on the entire world. Just as they had in Latin America and Africa.

    Israel now wants to still go to war with Iran. Iran may or may not be a perfect place. But then again neither is Israel or the US. Even Canada is planning on selling India Nuclear Reactors. So if Indian can have a Nuclear Reactors they why is wrong for Iran? Oh they might build a bomb. Well India did just that back in 1974. India has not signed the treaty and yet Canada is still willing to sell them Reactors. Oh because the US said it was a good thing to do.

    Iran at least signed the treated and the war Israel wants in Iran has everything to do with oil and gas pipelines and Oil and Gas itself and nothing to do with the fact they may build a bomb.

    Does every country on the planet need the good old US approval. The country that has rained down a trail of absolute terror on innocent people. Well lets wake up Adolph Hitler and get his bloody permission, to piss in the pot next to your chair.

    What the US and Israel have done together is no less criminal, then anything Hitler ever dreamed of doing and between the both of them have murdered far more innocent people.

    Oh and the the best yet this week was the story on how Evil Iran is because it wants to help rebuild homes etc in Gaza. Well there are one hell of a lot of Evil people out there if that be the case, myself included.

    God damb I just became Iranian. I guess every person on the planet is now Iranian, that wants to help the people in Gaza. Well there’s a few billion of us. Israel can kiss my ass. They are just like any common murdering criminal. I am so fed up with their propaganda. Of course the more they talk, the more obvious it is that they are lieing.

    The history Israel has left behind and is till perusing is a bloodbath of  horrifying, dead, rotting, corpses.  Million and millions have died because of their rein of terror in co-operation  the US.

    The more Israel sprew’s it’s lies and propaganda, the more obvious it is they are full of BS right up to their pretty little ears. Their history of terror is enough to make one sick.  They have no qualms about killing innocent people or helping any other horrifying regimes,  to do so, as well.  If anyone is fool enough to believe their lies then I pity you. Your country could be next.

    Hopefully the trail of leaders that were assassinated or they tried to assassinate, will catch up with them as well.  Seems anyone who gets in their road they will have assassinated.  They even assassinate,  Peace and Human Rights activists. The US had done this type of thing for years.

    Israel had a great teacher to help them. The CIA is just one of the most disgusting, agencies ever created.  Who knows Bush may have had people assassinated, while in power. Wouldn’t put it past him. He was a very cruel and bloodthirsty leader. But as they say if he couldn’t do it he could get Israel to do it for him.  Partners in crime.

    Both counties harbour “war criminals”.

    Their history is an extremely, bloodthirsty, genocidal, one I must say.

    The media in Israel even had the majority of people believing that Hamas broke the Ceasefire, but then again the media in the US convinced people that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 ,both are “blatant lies” of course, so needless to say the media contributed to the “war crimes” as did both countries leaders. All are guilty of “war crimes” media included. Anyone who gave anyone “false information” through the media is just as guilty as the leader’s. The owners who forced their journalists to do so are guilty. They are just as responsible.

    Journalists and media are not there to promote and lie about a war or how it began they are suppose to dig out the “truth” and inform the people. That is their job. Of course as well all well know, both countries would think nothing of either putting a journalist in jail or having them assassinated.

    Thank our lucky stars we have a few good honest journalists out there, or we all would be brainwashed robots.

    Canada signs Nuclear deal with India

    Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm  Comments Off  
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children

    Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children in Gaza

    Israel has refuted allegations of war atrocities in Gaza after Palestinian children described how their parents had been “executed” by Israeli troops.

    By Murray Wardrop

    January 21, 2009

    One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air.

    Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled.

    He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days.

    A psychiatrist treating children in the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City, where the alleged incidents took place, described the deaths as a “massacre”.

    Rawya Borno, a Jordanian doctor, said civilians, including children, were rounded up and killed by Israeli troops.

    Israel has denied the claims, dismissing them as Hamas propaganda, but said that an investigation is being conducted into soldiers’ conduct in the area.

    In interviews with ITV News, Palestinians claimed that Israeli forces knowingly killed civilians in Zeitoun on the morning of Jan 14.

    Abdullah Samouni, nine, described the moment his father was allegedly “executed” by Israeli soldiers.

    Holding his arms in the air, he said: “He was surrendering like this. My father came out and they shot him right away.”

    A boy named Ahmed said he was trapped for days in the wreckage of the shelled Samouni family’s house.

    He said: “My mother was dead beside me, she was clutching my brother Nasser and they were dead. My brother Itzaq was bleeding for two days and then he died. My brother Izmael bled to death in one day. My uncle Talal was bleeding for two hours and he died. God bless them.”

    Dr Borno said: “It’s a massacre. They collected them from their houses. They knew that they were civilians. They were children.”

    When asked if Hamas had been in Zeitoun, Dr Borno replied: “Suppose that there is one of the fighters around, what is it to do with all these? Is the price to kill the family as a whole? Is this baby carrying a machine gun?”

    Israeli spokesman Mark Regev suggested the claims could be Hamas propaganda and said an investigation was under way. However, he said that Israeli troops had reported that Zeitoun was “full of Hamas” militants and that soldiers encountered booby traps in “every house” in the village.

    He said: “When people live in an authoritarian regime, when it’s clear there is an official message and the message is to give out atrocity propaganda, [then] at least I think we should ask questions.

    “Hamas has an interest in sending out this sort of atrocity propaganda.

    “What happened in that village is under investigation. I know from speaking to IDF officers that there was very serious combat in that village, that every house was booby-trapped, there were guns. Very difficult military operation.

    “If there is any Israeli soldier that has done something inappropriate of course that will be discovered and there will be law, but I am very concerned about a situation where children are manipulated, where everyone is on the same message.

    “We know that village was full of Hamas fighters. It’s against the rules of engagement of the Israeli army to shoot innocent civilians.”

    Source

    Would an Israeli soldier execute a civilian?  The answer to that is, yes.

    They have done it before many times. They have also done this in other conflicts they had with Palestinians and those in Lebanon.

    Even Israeli soldiers have reported watching, other Soldiers doing it.

    They have had to do a lot of Amputations. as Doctors without Boarder reported.

    Israeli soldiers are told to do it. The Government is lieng as usual.

    Gaza Report: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

    UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed plus a couple of other stories yes they would exacute people

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes plus another bit of information’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 10:25 am  Comments Off  
    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Bombs found under US embassy in Philippines

    January 24 2009

    About 60 mortar rounds from the Second World War have been discovered under the American embassy in the Philippines
    American diplomats are usually among the best protected people on the planet, living behind bullet-proof glass, concrete blast barriers and cordons of armed marines.

    The last thing workers digging in the grounds expected to discover, therefore, was a huge cache of bombs buried in the embassy’s grounds.

    The Philippine capital, Manila, was the scene of terrible fighting at the end of the Second World War, when American forces tried to liberate the country from Japanese occupation.

    Parts of the city were carpet bombed by American planes before the eruption of fierce ground fighting after troops were landed.

    The rusted, mud-covered rounds were removed by explosives experts on Saturday after the embassy was evacuated, and were transported to a police base.

    “They got everything that was found there,” said Rebecca Thompson, a spokeswoman for the embassy.

    The compound had been used during the war as a Japanese military headquarters, overlooking Manila bay.

    “Those bombs could still kill and create massive destruction,” said Leopoldo Bataoil, the city police chief.

    “There are sets of standard operating procedures we follow in properly disposing of these materials. We will examine these and take them to an area north of Manila where these will be properly detonated.”

    Source

    Leave it to the US to leave munitions in the yard. How irresponsible. Why keep them at the Embassy?

    900 people killed in Philippines by ‘mysterious death squads’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 10:04 am  Comments Off  
    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Gaza Report: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

    January 20, 2009
    Gaza Medical Activities Increasing in Wake of Ceasefire

    Medical activities carried out by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) inside the Gaza Strip have increased over the last 48 hours, in the wake of the Israeli and Hamas ceasefires.

    On January 17, a six-person international medical team-composed of a vascular surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, an anesthetist, an operating room nurse, a logistician, and a field coordinator-entered Gaza.  On January 18, the medical staff carried out two surgical procedures in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where MSF has been providing medical supplies and personnel support.  Hospital staff had carried out close to 500 interventions during the three weeks of fighting, with at least 40 percent of the injured requiring amputations.  With an already large presence of international medical staff at Al Shifa, MSF is exploring additional ways to assist the affected population.
    Inflatable Hospitals Going Up in Gaza City
    A cargo freight of 21 tons of medical materials flown by MSF from Europe on January 15 finally arrived in Gaza City on January 19 after clearing security and customs procedures.  Among the items delivered are drugs, surgical kits for 300 procedures, and 100 hospitalization kits.

    Logistics staff are constructing two inflatable hospital tents that were also included in the cargo load.  They will contain two operating rooms and a ten-bed intensive care unit for the MSF surgical team to work in.  The tents are being placed close to MSF’s post-op clinic in Gaza City and will be operational shortly.
    Resuming Full Medical Activities; Cases Expected to Increase
    The MSF team in Gaza, made up of 70 Palestinian staff and currently 12 international staff, has resumed its full range of activities, which were suspended during the fighting.  At the MSF post-operative clinic in Gaza City, medical staff treated 30 people on January 19.  Four people were treated at the MSF clinic in the southern Gazan town of Khan Younis, and four consultations were carried out at the MSF pediatric clinic in the northern town of Beit Lahia.

    Patient numbers are expected to increase as people slowly begin to move more freely in their neighborhoods and seek out medical assistance.  MSF teams are carrying out assessments in various locations in Gaza to determine overall levels of medical needs, including at gathering points of internally displaced persons.  Nine more international staff are scheduled to arrive in Gaza tomorrow. Additional MSF staff and materials will be positioned inside Gaza if necessary.

    Past coverage:

    Field News: January 17, 2009
    MSF Medical Team Enters Gaza to Reinforce Aid Operations; Surgical Team Was Delayed 10 Days Waiting for Israeli Authorization

    Press Release: January 16, 2009
    “This Slaughter of Civilians Must End:” Excerpts From MSF’s Gaza Press Conferences

    Alarm Spreads Over Use of Lethal New Weapons

    By Erin Cunningham

    January 22, 2009
    GAZA CITY,
    Eighteen-year-old Mona Al-Ashkar says she did not immediately know the first explosion at the United Nations (UN) school in Beit Lahiya had blown her left leg off. There was smoke, then chaos, then the pain and disbelief set in once she realised it was gone – completely severed by the weapon that hit her.

    Mona is one of the many patients among the 5,500 injured that have international and Palestinian doctors baffled by the type of weaponry used in the Israeli operation. High-profile human rights organisations like Amnesty International are accusing Israel of war crimes.

    Mona’s doctors at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital found no shrapnel in her leg, and it looked as though it had been “sliced right off with a knife.”

    “We are not sure exactly what type of weapon can manage to do that immediately and so cleanly,” said Dr. Sobhi Skaik, consultant surgeon general at Al-Shifa hospital. “What is happening is frightening. It’s possible the Israeli army was using Gaza to experiment militarily.”

    Both international organisations and human rights groups, including the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have condemned Israel’s use of unconventional weapons in civilian areas of the Gaza Strip.

    Amnesty International’s chief researcher for Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Donatella Rovera, told IPS in Beit Lahiya that Israel’s use of white phosphorus and other “area weapons” on civilian populations amounted to war crimes.

    “The kind of weapons used and the manner in which they were used indicates prima facie evidence of war crimes,” she said.

    Israel announced Wednesday it would be launching its own probe into reported use of white phosphorus, but has so far refused to comment further.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, said it would look into a claim made by the ambassadors of a number of Arab nations that Israel used depleted uranium in its recent attacks on Gaza.

    Local doctors say a number of both widespread and unusual injuries may indicate that new types of weapons were used on the Gaza population during the war. Health officials are seeing wounds they have never seen before, or at least not on such a massive scale.

    “There has been a significant loss of life here in Gaza for reasons that are unexplainable medically,” said Dr. Skaik.

    Mona’s injury is characteristic of Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME). DIMEs are munitions that, packed with tungsten powder, produce an intense explosion at about the level of the knee, with signs of severe heat at the point of amputation.

    “If you ask a patient how it happened, how their leg was removed, they won’t know,” Dr. Skaik said. “They’ll say that a rocket or missile exploded and took only their lower limbs off.”

    Once in the body, tungsten is both difficult to detect and extremely carcinogenic, and can produce an aggressive form of cancer, according to both military experts.

    Dr. Skaik says the Al-Shifa hospital alone has seen between 100 to 150 patients with this type of injury. Over 50 patients at Al-Shifa had two or more limbs severed, he says.

    But because Gaza’s hospitals are so poorly equipped, it has been nearly impossible so far to test properly for the substances and count accurately how many wounded Palestinians may have been hit with this weapon.

    The Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert who worked at Al-Shifa hospital during the siege confirmed to journalists that the injuries were aligned with those produced by DIME explosives.

    Human rights groups say Israel used the weapon for the first time in Lebanon in 2006.

    What is worrying health officials even more, however, is that some of the patients’ organs are being ruptured with little or no sign of a shrapnel entry point.

    This is something they have never seen before, they say, and also something they do not know how to treat.

    “Normal shrapnel has a clear path, with both an entry and an exit point,” said Dr. Mohamed Al-Ron, another surgeon at Al-Shifa hospital.

    “But someone’s entire abdomen will be ripped open, and only after searching will we find a miniscule hole in the skin. Then we will find small black dots all over the organ, but we don’t know what they are.”

    It is an indication, he continued, that whatever is entering the body is exploding and doing the damage once it is inside. Multiple organs will fail, and will continue to fail even after surgery removes any shrapnel.

    “We are consulting with international colleagues, and they are confirming that there is something unusual going on with these cases,” said Dr. Skaik.

    “We have seen plenty of nails, of metal shrapnel and foreign metallic parts, but there was never violence of this character or something that continued to damage even after the parts of the weapon were removed. What is being intentionally created is a population of handicapped people.”

    Some of the injuries, including multiple organ failure, mutilation and severed limbs, are so debilitating that Dr. Karim Hosni, an Egyptian doctor volunteering at the Al-Naser hospital in Khan Younis, says he wishes he could just end his patients’ misery.

    “Sometimes I wish my patients would just die,” he said. “Their injuries are so horrifying, that I know they will now have to lead terrible and painful lives.”

    Source

    Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children

    White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes and another bit of information’

    UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed plus a couple of other stories

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic could top 60,000 cases

    Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic could top 60,000 cases next week, UN figures showed on Friday, putting pressure on rival parties to form a government to tackle the humanitarian crisis.
    January 24 2009

    Robert Mugabe's denial of Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic was sarcasm

    A young cholera patient is wheeled in a wheelbarrow to clinic in Harare’s suburb of Budiriro Photo: EPA

    Zimbabwe has little hope of easing the cholera epidemic, which has killed nearly 2,800 people, and averting economic collapse without a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition.

    Both Mr Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have shown no sign of compromise ahead of next week’s regional summit aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations.

    Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic is “far from under control” and could exceed 60,000 cases over next week, the Red Cross said in Geneva on Friday.

    Mr Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has come under pressure from Western powers, who want him to step down and are pushing for a democratic government to embrace economic reforms before millions of pounds in aid is offered.

    The European Union announced on Friday that it is broadening its sanctions against supporters of Mr Mugabe by adding over 25 individuals and 36 companies with suspected links to human rights abuses to a list of those banned from the 27-member bloc.

    The sanctions list will for the first time include companies registered in the bloc, including in Britain, two EU diplomats said, without naming the firms.

    The move, due to be finalised at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, will add new government members and relatives of Mugabe allies to an existing list of around 170 individuals banned from travelling in the bloc.

    Source

    Sanctions will not help the situation, it will only make it worse. That has been proven time and time again. All sanctions do is cripple the country starve the people and does little, if anything else.

    If the west and European countries care so much about the people they would help the people. They are not doing that of course.

    Maybe they should Sanction Israel as well.

    Zimbabwe: MSF Sees Spike in Cholera Cases in Kadoma

    Report: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

    Epidemic continues to spread in rural areas and remains serious in Harare

    January 22, 2009

    Some 207 new admissions to a cholera treatment center (CTC) near the Zimbabwean capital Harare were received in a 24-hour period yesterday.

    A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team at the CTC in the urban area of Kadoma saw the number of patients increase to 368 by the end of the day, January 21.

    This number outstripped capacity and MSF is currently assessing new sites for an additional CTC.

    Earlier this week, MSF sent medical supplies for the treatment of 1,000 severe cholera cases, along with 50 cholera beds, 50 buckets, and 8,000 packets of oral rehydration salts from UNICEF. More MSF medical supplies for the treatment of 600 severe cases were sent on January 22. One medical team will be stationed permanently in Kadoma to support the cholera response.

    With the exception of the surge of cases in Kadoma, the cholera epidemic recently has been spreading mainly in rural areas of Zimbabwe. The numbers of new cases have been decreasing in Harare, although the numbers remain significant.

    The spread of the disease in rural areas is a serious concern because some of these places previously had very low or no cases of cholera. As is often seen in rural outbreaks, deaths occur before an intervention can start, and MSF is concerned that the peak has not yet been reached in many of these areas.

    In the suburbs, the lack of sanitation services continues to be a problem and could result in higher case numbers again, as was seen in November and December 2008.

    Cholera cases are also being found in neighboring countries and MSF is responding as needed. It is believed that these cases are the result of the normal cholera season and are not related to Zimbabwe.

    Source

    Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera

    Zimbabwe Appeal: First cholera. Now it’s malaria and anthrax

    Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

    Zimbabwe: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

    Save the Children Donates To Zimbabwe Crisis

    Zimbabwe runs out of water-Public desperation is increasing

    Now anthrax takes toll on the starving in Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic hits 10,000 to 11,000 and rising

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 9:49 am  Comments Off  
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Canada signs Nuclear deal with India

    January 22 2009

    Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has signed a memorandum of understanding on next-generation reactors for India as the Canadian government closes in on a nuclear co-operation deal with the South Asian nation.

    It’s a watershed moment for Canada, which angrily stopped nuclear co-operation with India in 1974 after the government used plutonium from a Canadian reactor to build an atomic bomb.

    International Trade Minister Stockwell Day made the announcement Thursday from Mumbai, where he was wrapping up a four-day trade mission with some of the top CEOs of Canada’s nuclear industry.

    At the urging of the United States, the international community agreed last September to lift the three-decade ban on nuclear trade with India — even though India still refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    The end of the moratorium has sparked a global sales rush to the rising economic power, which wants to build 25 to 30 new reactors in coming years. It has also left nuclear non-proliferation advocates deeply uneasy.

    “The signals we got very clearly from the government here is that there is room for Canada, there’s room for Canada’s industry and they want Canada involved,” Day said from Mumbai.

    Indian officials are very interested in buying Canadian components, uranium and hazardous waste treatment systems, Day said.

    AECL, the troubled Crown corporation that has recently undergone a privatization review by the Conservative government, signed a deal this week with a leading Indian engineering firm to start costing out Candu ACR-1000 reactors — the prelude to a possible sale.

    A formal government-to-government agreement permitting international nuclear inspections must be finalized before any commercial deals are sealed.

    “It represents a huge opportunity for Canada and for the Canadian nuclear industry as a whole, not just AECL,” said Dale Coffin, a spokesman for the corporation.

    Day said he expects uranium sales from Canadian giant Cameco Corp., whose senior executives accompanied Day on the trade mission, could “move ahead very quickly.”

    Source

    Just a couple of more reasons to remove the conservatives from power.

    That coalition Government is looking better all the time.

    Nuclear Reactors are not the way to go.

    They are dangerous.

    Wind energy or solar would be a better alternative.

    A safer  way to go as well.

    Radiation is anything but safe.

    Just because the US says it’s ok, does not mean it’s ok either.

    If the US tells Canada to go jump off a Bridge, will they do that too.

    Privatization I think not. This type of entity should never be in the hands of any private Company.  Just goes to show how stupid,  stupid really  is.

    India must also sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. I wouldn’t be to quick to give them anything until they do. They have already proven that they will not keep their word. Why would anyone give them a second chance considering they haven’t signed the Treaty and all.

    Even Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India should too. Especially if they want Nuclear Reactors. Otherwise the agreement should be scraped.

    Nuclear is not the way for any country to go. There are alternatives. Unless of course they want their cancer rates to increase.

    So one has to wonder, who is in charge of Canada?

    Canada or the US?

    White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

    Gaza phosphorus casualties relive Israel’s three-week war
    Special Report: By Tim Butcher in Gaza City argues why the true story about Israel’s use of phosphorus shells may never emerge.

    PD*26421157

    Sabbah Abu Halima, 45, suffered burns in the shelling of the village of Atatra on the northern edge of Gaza. She saw her husband and baby daughter killed. Photo: REUTERS

    January 23 2009

    John Stuart Mill described war as an ugly thing and it does not come much uglier than the digital photograph Mahmoud Abu Halima has on his mobile phone. It was taken this week and shows the body of his 15-month-old sister, Shahed, burned by white phosphorus, bloated through decomposition and without any feet or legs.

    Mr Halima explained what happened to the lower limbs.

    “There were about 12 bodies from the village that had to be left out in the open when the Israeli soldiers came. By the time we got back she had been partially eaten by wild dogs,” he said.

    After Israel ended its ban on foreign journalists in Gaza it was a week of piecing together such stories, trying to clarify exactly what happened during the three-week military assault by Israel’s armed forces.

    The Israeli government has accused people like the Halima family of being coached by Hamas to spout fiction.

    Investigation of the Halima family began in the burns unit at Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza. During its military operations Israel had denied using white phosphorus shells improperly, meaning it was not used against civilians or in civilian areas. But the case of Sabbah Abu Halima, 45, suggested otherwise.

    She had been brought into the hospital with what appeared to be mild burns to her right forearm, left lower leg and feet. Without experience of white phosphorus, the staff, led by the unit’s director, Nafiz Abu Shabaan, wiped the wounds, bound them and sent her on her way. “But two days later she came back, complaining of pain and when we opened the bandages we found her wounds still smoking and much, much bigger. Her arm was down to the bone and tendons, that is all that is left,” he said.

    Sitting on her hospital bed and wincing with pain when her bandages pinched, Mrs Halima gave an initial account of what happened. She described how her family had gathered to eat in a first-storey room at the family home in the village of Atatra. It lies on the northern edge of Gaza and while it was never likely to be a target during the air assault phase of Israel’s operation Cast Lead, its proximity to the fence with Israel meant it was in the front line for the ground offensive.

    “The first shells landed outside and we all stood up and went into the hall and a bedroom because we thought it was safe. That was when a shell came through the roof and exploded. My husband, Saadallah, was holding some of the children but his head was cut off. There was fire and smoke everywhere and the baby Shahed fell to the ground. I heard her cry ‘mama, mama, mama’, and then she stopped,” Mrs Halima said. The house should be a 20-minute drive from Shifa but the conflict has turned roads into slow obstacle courses with cars having to slalom round craters, heaps of rubble and bloated carcasses of livestock. The Halima house lies just off a main road in Atatra up a muddy alley leading to fields of hothouses.

    Outside the house lay evidence of the shelling Mrs Halima described. Two white phosphorus shell cases, originally painted light green but burnt by detonations with the metal bent back like tulip petals, were on the ground.

    One still had the four tell-tale angle-irons inside to indicate a 155mm white phosphorus shell and was packed with unburned chemical. A poke with a stick to expose the chemical to oxygen was enough to set it burning again, sending out white smoke.

    Mr Halima, 20, was next door in the house of his uncle, Hikmat, 42, when the barrage struck and he remembered the smell of the smoke as he rushed up the open stairwell at his home.

    “It was a bad smell, a smell that made you choke,” he said. “I came upstairs but there was smoke everywhere. I ran to get water from the bathroom but when I put the water on them the water did not stop the fire.”

    White phosphorus fires are resistant to water.

    As well as his infant sister and father, Mr Halima lost two brothers – Zaid, 10, and Hamza, eight – in the blast and subsequent fire.

    Mr Halima explained how the killing did not end there. As the wounded, including his mother, were dragged down the stairwell, his cousin, Mohammed, 16, the son of Hikmat, ran to the fields to fetch a tractor and trailer to take the injured to safety. According to witnesses, Mohammed was shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

    The Atatra case is one of many in Gaza for which human rights activists have demanded an investigation. Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, has suggested that there is at least one case with “the appearance of war crimes”. But Israel does not have a good record of co-operating with those investigating atrocities in Gaza. In 2006 after Israeli artillery killed 18 members of the Athamneh family in Gaza, Israel cleared itself of wrongdoing in an internal inquiry and blocked Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel peace prize laureate, from reaching Gaza to investigate the incident for the UN.

    This time round, after denying any improper use of white phosphorus, Israel has launched an internal inquiry. In some ways full-scale investigations of alleged atrocities by the Israeli army are academic.

    With the two sides in the conflict so far apart, Israeli hard-liners will not shift from their faith in the probity of its armed forces, nor will Palestinians budge from the view that their people were innocent victims. But unless they are dealt with, the cycle of enmity that has fueled this conflict for decades will continue and the loss of life – 13 Israelis and over 1,300 Palestinians – will have been for nothing.

    When Israel launched its attack its stated aim was to reduce Hamas rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At one level the mission has been successful: the militants’ rockets have all but stopped. But before the Israeli government unfurls a Mission Accomplished banner there remains one important point of business: the smuggling tunnels are open again.

    Much of the tunneling under the Egyptian border is surprisingly visible, taking place out in the open in the south Gazan town of Rafah clearly within sight of nearby Egyptian watchtowers. The area was pitted with craters from Israeli air strikes but during a visit I saw several of the tunnels open or being repaired.

    Further north in the town of Beit Hanoun was the house of Angham al Masri, a 10-year-old girl who was killed in an Israeli air strike after it began its ceasefire in the early hours last Sunday. Her father, Rafat, 44, explained how his daughter thought the ceasefire made it safe to venture out of the house for the first time in days to check on the family farm that had been evacuated during the fighting. “She had only gone a few hundred metres when the missile struck,” he said. “I ran to her and picked her up but she died in an hour.” Israel said it attacked a rocket firing position.

    Amid claim and counter-claim about Israel’s war aims and achievements, Mr Masri then indicated how operation Cast Lead has done nothing but harden Palestinian resolve against Israel.

    “Israel said this was a war on Hamas but when they kill people like my daughter it becomes clear it is a war on the Palestinian people,” he said. “Until they change this war will never end.”

    Source

    Israeli’s have committed many crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity, they have also broken International Laws.

    Those responsible, should be prosecuted. They should be charged with all crimes they have committed past and present.

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’/Israels Latin America “Trail of Terror”

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza ‘war crimes’
    Israel has warned military officers and senior officials that a threat of prosecution for alleged war crimes in Gaza could hinder future travel abroad.

    By Damien McElroy in Jerusalem
    January 24 2009

    Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza 'war crimes'
    Daniel Friedman, Israel’s justice minister, was appointed to head a special task force to defend individuals detained abroad and the military censor declared that names of officers from lieutenant to colonel must not be published Photo: AFP

    At least four human rights groups are believed to be compiling suits alleging that Israelis perpetrated war crimes in planning or carrying out the three-week operation Cast Lead.

    Daniel Friedman, Israel’s justice minister, was appointed to head a special task force to defend individuals detained abroad and the military censor declared that names of officers from lieutenant to colonel must not be published.

    More than 1,300 Palestinian deaths were reported during the offensive in Gaza and the United Nations has led demands that Israel investigate high-profile incidents including the shelling of its facilities.

    Private prosecutions are already being prepared. “We are building files on war crimes throughout the chain of command from the top to the local level,” said Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “We are convinced these have been the most bloody days for Gaza since the occupation and that war crimes were perpetrated against Palestinian civilians.”

    Courts in six countries, including Britain, have accepted petitions to prosecute alleged war crimes in previous wars. Most notoriously, activists in Belgium used a clause, since removed from the statute, to target the former prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

    Accusations of war crimes strike an especially sensitive chord in Israel, a nation founded in the wake of the Holocaust. Comparisons between the long siege of Gaza and the Jewish ghettoes of central Europe draw a vociferous denunciation from the government. Israel insists troops did their best to limit civilian casualties in heavily populated areas where Hamas gunmen were attacking from tunnels and had booby-trapped civilian homes.

    While senior politicians travel with diplomatic immunity, retired officials have already faced problems travelling abroad.

    A retired major general, Doron Almog, was forced to remain on an El Al plane at Heathrow in 2005 after the Israeli military attaché warned he would be arrested if he disembarked. Gen Almog commanded Israeli forces in Gaza when a bombing raid on an apartment block that killed a Hamas commander, Salah Shehadeh, resulted in the deaths of 14 others. The magistrates’ warrant was later quashed.

    An unknown number of officials have been notified that they should submit future travel plans to the military for review. Avigdor Feldman, an Israeli lawyer, said that thousands of serving officers could be affected. “I would highly recommend any soldier or officer contemplating going to the UK to reconsider,” he told an Israeli newspaper.

    According to Lt Col David Benjamin of the Military Advocate Corps, lawyers were deployed at divisional commands in operation Cast Lead. He said: “Approval of targets which can be attacked, methods of warfare – it all has gone through us.”

    But ensuring that those involved in the Gaza Campaign are never sentenced is set to be a long-term challenge for Israel. “The government will stand like a fortified wall to protect each and every one of you from allegations,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, at a military gathering after a ceasefire was called last week.

    Source

    How dare they scream  Holocaust, when in fact they have helped in the murder of millions.

    Screaming Holocaust is there favorite pass time, but it doens’t cut it,  when you look at their history.

    Israel was on the road, long before the Holocaust transpired at any rate anyway. Anyone who knows the history of the Jewish Community would know that.

    Seems they always use that as a tactic. The rest of the world is suppose to feel guilty and forgive them for their terrorizing innocent people.

    Well there have been numerous Holocausts. Like all the Aboriginal Indians in North and South America. In Africa  and other countries. There has even been a Holocaust in Palestine.  Perpetrated by the Israelis them selves. That being said lets move on.

    Here are a few Facts about Israel, I had tucked away for prosperity.

    They are not the sweet wonderful country, they pretend to be.

    Israel’s Latin American trail of terror
    By Jeremy Bigwood
    June 5, 2003

    “I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements” said Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao in his ghostwritten autobiography, Mi Confesin.

    Castao, who leads the Colombian paramilitaries, known by their Spanish acronym AUC, the largest right-wing paramilitary force to ever exist in the western hemisphere reveals that he was trained in the arts of war in Israel as a young man of 18 in the 1980s.

    He glowingly adds: “I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis,” in his chapter-long account of his Israel experiences.

    Castao’s right-wing Phalange-like AUC force is now by far the worst human rights violator in all of the Americas, and ties between that organisation and Israel are continually surfacing in the press.

    Outside the law

    The AUC paramilitaries are a fighting force that originally grew out of killers hired to protect drug-running operations and large landowners. They were organised into a cohesive force by Castao in 1997. It exists outside the law but often coordinates its actions with the Colombian military, in a way similar to the relationship of the Lebanese Phalange to the Israeli army throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

    According to a 1989 Colombian Secret Police intelligence report, apart from training Carlos Castao in 1983, Israeli trainers arrived in Colombia in 1987 to train him and other paramilitaries who would later make up the AUC.

    Fifty of the paramilitaries’ “best” students were then sent on scholarships to Israel for further training according to a Colombian police intelligence report, and the AUC became the most prominent paramilitary force in the hemisphere, with some 10,000-12,000 men in arms.

    The Colombian AUC paramilitaries are always in need of arms, and it should come as no surprise that some of their major suppliers are Israeli. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala.

    In May of last year, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the Israeli Defence Forces and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to AUC paramilitaries in Colombia.

    Links with the continent

    Israel’s military relations with right-wing groups and regimes spans Latin America from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile, starting just a few years after the Israeli state came into existence.

    Since then, the list of countries Israel has supplied, trained and advised includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
    But it isn’t only the sales of planes, guns and weapons system deals that characterises the Israeli presence in Latin America.
    Where Israel has excelled is in advising, training and running intelligence and counter-insurgency operations in the Latin American “dirty war” civil conflicts of Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and now Colombia.

    In the case of the Salvadoran conflict – a civil war between the right-wing landowning class supported by a particularly violent military pitted against left-wing popular organisations – the Israelis were present from the beginning. Besides arms sales, they helped train ANSESAL, the secret police who were later to form the framework of the infamous death squads that would kill tens of thousands of mostly civilian activists.

    From 1975 to 1979, 83% of El Salvador’s military imports came from Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. By 1981, many of those in the civilian popular political movements who had survived the death squads headed for the hills to become guerrillas.

    By 1981 there was an open civil war in El Salvador which took over a decade to resolve through negotiations.

    Even though the US was openly backing the Salvadoran Army by 1981, as late as November 1983 it was asking for more Israeli “practical assistance” there, according to a declassified secret document obtained recently by Aljazeera.

    Among the assistance asked for were helicopters, trucks, rifles, ammunition, and combat infantry advisors to work at both the “company and battalion level of the Salvadoran Army”.

    One notable Salvadoran officer trained by the Israelis was Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who always held a high opinion of the Israelis. It was Major D’Aubuisson who ordered the assassination of El Salvador’s archbishop amongst thousands of other murders.
    Later he would organise the right-wing National Republican Alliance Party (ARENA) and send his son to study abroad in the relative safety of Israel.

    Dirty war

    Amazingly, while the Israelis were training the El Salvadoran “death squads” they were also supporting the anti-semitic Argentine military government of the late 1970s and early 1980s – at a time when that government was involved_in another “dirty war” of death squads and disappearances.

    In 1978, Nicaragua’s dictator Somoza was making his last stand against a general uprising of the Sandinista-led population who were sick of his family’s dynasty which had ruled and monopolised the county for half a century. The Israelis and the US had been supplying Somoza with weapons for years. But when President Jimmy Carter came into office in 1976 he ordered a cessation of all US military assistance to Nicaragua.
    Filling the void, the Israelis immediately increased their weapons supplies to Somoza until he fled the country when the Sandinistas took power.

    Israeli operatives then helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras in Honduran and Costa Rican camps to fight the Sandinista government, according to Colombian police intelligence reports Aljazeera_has obtained.

    At least some of the same Israeli operatives had also previously trained the nucleus of the paramilitary organisations that would become the AUC in Colombia.

    But by far the bloodiest case of Israeli involvement in Latin America was its involvement in Guatemala from the 1970s to the 1990s. As in El Salvador, a civil war pitted a populist but, in this case, mainly Indian left against a mainly European oligarchy protected by a brutal Mestizo Army.

    As Guatemalan President Carlos Arana said in 1971, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.”

    Active involvement

    The Israelis supplied Guatemala with Galil rifles, and built an ammunition factory for them, as well as supplying armoured personnel carriers and Arava planes. Behind the scenes, they were actively involved in the bloodiest counter-insurgency campaign the hemisphere has known since the European conquest, in which at least 200,000 (mostly Indians) were killed.
    Like Israel’s original occupation of Palestine, several entire Guatemalan Indian villages were razed and a million people displaced. “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea,” said Guatemalan President Rios Montt in 1982.

    Guatemalan army officers credit Israeli support with turning the tide against the uprising, not only in the countryside where Israeli counter-insurgency techniques and assistance set up strategic-hamlet-like “development poles” along the lines of the Israeli kibbutz, but also in the cities where “Israeli communication technicians and instructors” working through then-sophisticated computers were able to locate and then decimate guerrillas and their supporters in Guatemala City in 1981.

    From the late 1970s until the 1990s, the US could not overtly support the Guatemalan army because of its horrendous human rights record (although there was some covert support), but many in the US government, especially in the CIA, supported Israel in taking up the slack.

    Wrong

    But the US grew to regret its actions. On 10 March 1999, US President Bill Clinton issued an apology for US involvement in the war: The “United States… support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression…was wrong.” No similar statement has ever been forthcoming from the Israelis.

    At the present time, the only major insurgency war in Latin America is in Colombia, where Israel has an overt involvement.
    Besides the dozen or so Kfir IAI C-7 jet fighters they have sold the Colombian government, and the Galil rifles produced in Bogota under licence, most of the Israeli ties to the government’s counter-insurgency war are closely-guarded secrets.

    Aljazeera’s attempts to obtain clarification on these and other issues for this story were stonewalled by the Israeli embassy in Washington.

    Why does Israel continue to provide arms and expertise to the pariahs of the world? Clearly, part of the reason is the revenues produced by arms sales, and part of it has do with keeping up with trends in counter-insurgent war across the globe.
    But another factor is what is demanded of Israel by the world’s only superpower, the US, in partial exchange for the superpower’s continued support for Israeli dominance in the Middle East.

    Assistance

    This relationship can be best illustrated by recently declassified 1983 US government documents obtained by the Washington, DC-based National Security Archives through the Freedom of Information Act.

    One such declassified document is a 1983 memo from the notorious Colonel Oliver North of the Reagan Administration’s National Security Council and reads: “As discussed with you yesterday, I asked CIA, Defense, and State to suggest practical assistance which the Israelis might offer in Guatemala and El Salvador.”

    Another document, this time a 1983 cable from the US Ambassador in Guatemala to Washington Frederic Chapin shows the money trail.

    He says that at a time when the US did not want to be seen directly assisting Guatemala, “we have reason to believe that our good friends the Israelis are prepared, or already have, offered substantial amounts of military equipment to the GOG (Government of Guatemala) on credit terms up to 20 years…(I pass over the importance of making huge concessionary loans to Israel so that it can make term loans in our own backyard).”
    In other words, during civil wars in which the US does not want to be seen getting its hands dirty in Latin America, the superpower loans Israel money at a very good rate, and then Israel uses these funds to do the “dirty work”. In this regard, in Latin America at least, Israel has become the “hit-man” for the US.

    Wars funded by American Tax Dollars.

    Wars and funding to prop up Brutal governments or regimes.

    Israel the, Money Laundering, “Funnel Tunnel” for the US.

    They love extermination pure and simple. They were more, then willing to help other regimes exterminate innocent people.

    Of course it doesn’t end there, they also supplied weapons etc to other countries as well. Africa is also on my list as well. It’s a pretty long list.

    What has changed over the years, not much.

    Why would anything change.

    We will in the future find out who and how many.

    The trail of cookie crumbs, is not all that hard to follow.

    Have a cruel bloodthirsty regime and you will find both the US or Israeli involvement.

    Most time they work together. All in the name of profit, power, control and death.

    They call it Self Defense or I am rescuing you.

    Iran is evil because thy want to help innocent victims rebuild.

    Hamas is pure evil are they?  The Hamas they helped create.

    Haitian’s are pure evil are they?

    Indians are pure evil are they?

    All the innocent people they had a hand, in murdering are all evil are they?

    Death Squads are a good thing are they?

    I can almost bet, the “Death Squads” in the Philippines, were trained by Israelis.

    The Israeli Gov. and the US Gov. should mind their own business and clean up their, own moral bankruptcy.

    They both should clean up their own Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    They are two the most corrupt, countries in the world.

    They blame everyone else of crimes, they themselves are actually committing.

    Well like all criminals they will plead not guilty. They are no different from any other criminal.

    Both countries lied to their people.

    Both oppressed their own people.

    Both are warmongering countries.

    They could pass as twins, in their sins against humanity.

    Those who are corrupt past and present should be rooted out and charged.

    There is no statute of limitation on murder or war crimes.

    They should be held responsible for the millions, they have murdered or helped murder. Directly or indirectly they are responsible.

    Can or will Obama be able to clean up the US.

    Maybe:  We will have to wait and see.

    Will the corruption in Israel, get cleaned up, not flippin likely.

    Will the corruption in the International Agency’s get cleaned up, we will have to wait and see.

    The less they do to stop those in the US Gov. and Israeli Gov. the more obvious it is, they are corrupted.

    Information Wanted by the International Criminal Court/ UN: Falk Likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

    Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children

    White Phosphorus Victims in Gaza

    What Types of Gruesome Weapons Did Israel Use in Lebanon?

    UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

    Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

    Israel Navy ships turn back “Spirit of Humanity” carrying Gaza humanitarian aid

    President of the United Nations General Assembly: Israel violating International Law

    Israel Hits another “United Nations” Building in Gaza

    Israel Violating Egyptian Airspace to attack Gaza

    Israel continues to attack Hospitals, Clinics and Public Buildings in Gaza

    Red Cross slams Israel over 4 day wait to access wounded

    The making of Israel’s Apartheid in Palestine

    Samouni family recounts Gaza horror

    79 % of the time: Israel caused conflicts not Hamas

    Gaza War Why?: Natural Gas valued at over $4 billion MAYBE?

    Israel ‘rammed’ medical aid boat headed to Gaza

    Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

    Shoot Then Ask, Israeli Soldiers Told

    Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

    Israel’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

    Gaza Families Eat Grass as Israel Blocks Food Aid

    Will the world do nothing to stop Genocide in Gaza?

    Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty

    Israel blocks foreign media from Gaza

    U.N.: Israel won’t allow food aid to enter Gaza

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’

    By Suzanne Goldenberg and Ewen MacAskill in Washington

    January 23 2009

    Barack Obama embarked on the wholesale deconstruction of George Bush’s war on terror, shutting down the CIA’s secret prison network, banning torture and rendition, and calling for a new set of rules for detainees. The repudiation of Bush’s thinking on national security yesterday also saw the appointment of a high-powered envoy to the Middle East.

    Obama’s decision to permanently shut down the CIA’s clandestine interrogation centres went far beyond the widely anticipated move to wind down the Guantánamo Bay detention centre within a year.

    He cast his scrapping of the legal apparatus set up by Bush as a way for America to reclaim the moral high ground in the fight against al-Qaida.

    “We are not, as I said during the inauguration, going to continue with the false choice between our safety and our ideals,” Obama said at the signing ceremony. “We intend to win this fight. We are going to win it on our own terms.”

    In a sign of the sweeping rejection of the legal standards set by Bush, officials briefing reporters at the CIA’s secret prison yesterday said the new administration would not be guided by any of the opinions on torture and detainees issued by the justice department after 11 September 2001.

    Instead, Obama, in three executive orders, renewed the US commitment to the Geneva convention on the treatment of detainees. All detainees will be registered by the International Committee for the Red Cross, in another departure of past practice under the Bush administration.

    A group of 16 retired admirals and generals, in a meeting organised by Human Rights First, said the move would restore America’s moral authority in the world, and strengthen its national security. “President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals,” they said.

    As expected, Obama made good on his campaign promise to shut down Guantánamo, issuing an executive order to close the camp within a year. He also ordered a taskforce, led by the attorney general and the secretaries of defence, state and homeland security, to review the intelligence and information on each detainee and to determine whether they can be released or put on trial.

    He called for a review on the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo to be completed within 30 days.

    Another order directs the CIA to follow the US army field manual on interrogations, which bars such techniques as waterboarding.

    Obama also directed a taskforce to study and report back within 180 days on whether new guidelines were required for intelligence officials, beyond those set down by the military. Administration officials were adamant that the review was not intended as a back door to reinstate torture. “There is not a secret annexe that allows us to bring enhanced interrogation techniques back,” said one.

    The final order mandates a review of the case of Ali Saleh Khalah al-Marri, a Qatari, the last enemy combatant on US soil, who is being held in a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Obama followed up the burst of activity on detention policy by announcing that his administration would put resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of his agenda, “actively and aggressively” seeking a comprehensive peace deal. As a sign of that intent, he confirmed that former senator George Mitchell, a veteran US mediator, would be his Middle East envoy.

    Obama, who had been criticised for his silence during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, set out a new position that, while still leaning towards Israel, was more even-handed than that under Bush. He called for Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel, but also said that Israel must “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza”.

    Souce

    These are not all  secret ones,  but there are quite a number of Detention Camps. There are a few I knew nothing about however.

    US Detention Camps around the World

    They Should Check in Israel there may some US prisoners there as well.  Since they are such good buddies and all.

    Gee I wonder if Israel has any secret Prisons around the world?  They do everything else the US did.


    UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed

    Haiti: War Crimes and Oil

    Israel ‘admits’ using white phosphorus munitions

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

    Shoot Then Ask, Israeli Soldiers Told

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    UN: Israel should pay for Humanitarian Aid they Destoyed/Israeli gunboat hits Father and Daughter on shore

    UN official calls Gaza devastation ‘shocking’
    January 22 2009

    The United Nations’ humanitarian chief suggested Thursday that Israel should pay for the hundreds of tonnes of food and other supplies destroyed when Israeli shells struck the main UN compound in Gaza.

    Touring Gaza to assess what is most urgently needed in the coastal strip, John Holmes called the steep Palestinian casualty toll from Israel’s offensive “extremely shocking” and suggested the UN might ask Israel to compensate it for wartime damage to UN compounds in Gaza.

    Hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid were destroyed by Israeli shelling that struck the main UN compound.

    “We want to make sure it is properly investigated and that we get proper accountability for it and proper compensation if it is needed and I think it will be needed,” Holmes told reporters.

    Israel waged a three-week war meant to end rocket fire on southern Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

    Nearly 1,300 Palestinians, a majority of them civilians, have died in the offensive, according to Gaza health officials. Thirteen Israelis were also killed, according to the government.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the war could help hasten the return of a captive soldier long held by Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli media said some cabinet ministers have softened their positions on releasing Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for the soldier, signalling the government is trying to work out a deal with Hamas ahead of Israeli elections next month.

    Violence on both sides has marred the ceasefire and on Thursday a Palestinian man and girl walking near the shore in Gaza City were wounded by a shell fired from an Israeli gunboat, a Gaza health official said.

    Another shell landed 100 metres away in an empty area near a UN aid distribution centre. And heavy-calibre bullet fire struck at least one house in the area, a witness said.

    The Israeli military said it was firing to deter a Palestinian fishing vessel that had strayed off-limits.

    On the first day of a five-day trip to the region, Holmes said he was looking at immediate humanitarian needs and thinking about longer-term reconstruction in Gaza. The biggest concerns, he said, are providing clean water, sanitation, electricity and shelter to people displaced by the fighting.

    Gaza’s blockaded border crossings will have to be opened to allow reconstruction to begin, he said.

    “Goods have to be able to get in freely and in the right quantities, including construction materials, so that reconstruction can start.”

    From 2002
    Journalist Chris Hedges, in his “Gaza Diary,” published in Harpers describes one incident that reveals the attitude Israeli soldiers have toward killing Palestinian children:
    It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.

    “Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”

    I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

    The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the “electric fence” that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

    A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

    Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered- death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo-but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.’

    The current Israeli offensive has involved indiscriminate killing of men, women and children; the systematic destruction of property; the cutting off of water supply; and the prevention of travel even for ambulances. It is a full-scale war against the entire population. Like the war in Vietnam, Israeli soldiers make war on the whole people, because the vast majority of the Palestinian people oppose Israel’s occupation. Thousands of Palestinian men have been rounded up, stripped, blindfolded, detained, and many tortured and beaten. Palestinians have routinely been used by Israeli soldiers as human shields to conduct house-to-house searches.

    In its attacks on Palestinian refugee camps and towns from March 1 to April 28, 2002, the Israeli military reportedly killed 345 Palestinians (35 of them under the age of 18 ) and wounded 1,346. (At least eight more were killed when Israel entered Hebron on April 29.) “The mismatch in force of arms was stark,” the New York Times was forced to admit:

    The Israeli Army used Vulcan antiaircraft guns, able to shoot 3,000 rounds a minute, inside the camp. It used Cobra helicopters with thermal detection capability to fire TOW missiles -intended for use against tanks on open battlefields- through the walls of houses, some with noncombatants inside. It deployed scores of Merkava tanks and armored vehicles equipped with machine guns. It used bulldozers to raze civilian homes, crushing more and more of them-but with less and less warning, Palestinians said.’

    Sharon launched a major offensive into Ramallah and ordered the army to target Arafat’s own headquarters, “smashing through walls and battling room to room,” cutting off electricity to the building, and firing on his office, leaving him sitting at his desk by candlelight.’ As the army went house to house and rounded up all men in Ramallah aged 15 to 45, Israel ordered out foreign reporters and also solidarity activists trying to disrupt the army’s operation. Reporters were shot at and tear gassed as they tried to report on Israel’s operations in the West Bank. ”Journalists are banned, and [Israeli] government officials have warned that those caught [in Ramallah] could have their press cards revoked. A new list today of dosed military zones includes every city and town the army has entered.” Conditions were so grim that even the World Bank protested that “the [Israeli] army had destroyed water and electricity facilities, homes, schools and public buildings” in the towns it had occupied.’

    ****************************************************

    Palestinians are routinely denied necessary health care, as this report from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, reported on this incident in Nablus:

    On April 29, 2002, at around 7:00 PM, 28-year-old Amal Afaneh who was seven months pregnant, began feeling extreme abdominal pain. ‘Afaneh’s relatives considered taking her to the hospital in Nablus by car, a distance of only 5 to 6 kilometers from their village of Azmut. They decided against it, as they feared being shot by Israeli soldiers who are positioned at the entrance to the village and along the road between Azmut and Nablus. The family called the Red Crescent and the Red Cross to request that they send an ambulance. The family was told that this could only be done following coordination with the Israeli military.

    While the Red Crescent and the Red Cross worked on obtaining the required Israeli approval, the family called a nurse who lives in the village. The nurse gave ‘Afaneh preliminary treatment, and herself called the Red Crescent to urge them to hurry, as ‘Afaneh needed treatment that she could not provide.

    At 9:00 PM, the family was told that approval had been received and an ambulance was on its way In fact, the Red Crescent ambulance had already arrived at the entrance to ‘Azmut, but was detained for thirty minutes by an Israeli tank crew. The soldiers ordered the ambulance driver, Samir Abu Seir, and the paramedic, Jamal Abu Hamdeh, to open the doors of the ambulance, and take off all their clothes. The soldiers then took away their identification papers, turned off their walkie-talkies, and made them sit on the ground. After searching the ambulance, the soldiers ordered the two men to return to Nablus. The ambulance was forced to leave without ‘Afaneh.

    When ‘Afaneh’s relatives heard that an ambulance had been seen leaving ‘Azmut, they called the Red Crescent again, and were told that the IDF denied the ambulance entry into the village, and nothing more could be done.

    At 9:30 PM, Amal ‘Afaneh gave birth. Her baby did not survive. She remains at home, still unable to reach the hospital for follow-up treatment.’

    The Red Cross protested Israel’s attacks on its ambulances, and facilities, which limited its ability to “feed and provide medical care to Palestinian civilians,” while the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem petitioned Israel’s High Court “after receiving reports of torture at the Of her detention center near Ramallah.”‘

    **********************************************

    Israeli troops moved into Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Salfit, Beit Jala, Nablus, and Tulkarm, and Qalqilya, conducting house-to-house searches. “In each city,” the New York Times reported, “the [Israeli] army was proving more intense, ruthless and thorough than in any prior incursion, including the raids month.” Israeli army Major General Yitzhak Eitan announced, “This operation will last as long as necessary, without a time limit,” as Israel called up 20,000 reservists for duty.

    Israel‘s destruction of the Jenin refugee camp in early April was the most horrific. Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nation’s special envoy to the Middle East, said the conditions in the Jenin refugee camp after Israel’s massive onslaught there were “horrific and shocking beyond belief . . . No objective can justify producing such suffering for the population.”

    “The devastation is worse than I expected,” said one aid worker who emerged from the camp this afternoon. “I couldn’t have imagined anything worse than this.” The aid workers see the camp as the equivalent of an earthquake zone, where hundreds of homes have been flattened and thousands are in need of immediate food and housing. An estimated 3,000 people re main in the camp and 10,000 are believed to be scattered across the area. The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg said Jenin “look[ed] more like the scene of an earthquake than combat zone after it was flattened by Israeli army bulldozers.”

    One eyewitness description of the Jenin “incursion” gives sense of the horror experienced by Jenin’s citizens:

    Khadra Samara, 33, the wife of the hospital cook [at Razi Hospital], said she was inside her home on Rawabi Street in the Jenin refugee camp about 11:30 Sunday night when an Israeli bulldozer approached and tore through the front gate and began slamming into the house.

    “We started screaming and lighting lamps and candles so they’d know someone was inside,” she said. “We were 15 women and children…. But as we screamed, a missile was fired at the house, destroying the second and third floors. The whole house shook, there was a flash of light, and all the windows were blown out.”

    In a panic, Samara called her husband at the hospital and pleaded for help. Inexplicably, the bulldozer backed off. But before dawn Monday it smashed into the house again, shaking the cinder-block walls of the bedroom where the children were sleeping.

    “The top of the wall started to give, and I started grabbing the kids and hauling them away from there,” she said. “They destroyed the house with everything in it. We didn’t even take one T-shirt for one child.”

    Samara tried to get out the front door, but found it was blocked by rubble. She handed the children through a side window into a neighbor’s house.

    “I was so furious I wanted to make a suicide bomb and use it on them,” she said. “I picked up a cylinder of cooking gas to carry with me so I could blow it up. I was so scared I was screaming. I thought I was going to die.

    “When I picked up the cylinder my daughter said, ‘Mom, don’t do it! For God’s sake don’t do it!”‘

    The second house provided little respite. An hour after they took refuge there, the bulldozer came again. They fled to a third house; it came under attack from missiles fired by helicopter gunships.

    “From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. we ran from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen, wherever we thought was safest to go. The children became sick from fear and started vomiting,” Samara said.

    They finally emerged waving white scarves. By that time, with residents of the two other houses having joined the group, they counted nearly 30 women and children. The soldiers held them for three hours, then let them go, Samara said.

    An untold number of people were buried by tanks and bulldozers under the rubble of their own homes in Jenin. Reporters and human rights workers reported seeing piles of rubble under which wafted the stench of rotting corpses. Given Israel’s closing off of Jenin after its assault and its rebuff, with U.S. acquiescence, of a UN inspection team, we will likely never know the full extent of Israel’s war crimes in Jenin.

    Defenders of George W. Bush like to talk about how “plain spoken,” “honest,” and “direct” he is. But apparently the terms “without delay,” “now,” and “immediately” have eluded the president and his good friend Ariel Sharon. But even when Colin Powell and George Bush were finally pressured on April 4 into calling for an end to Sharon’s brutal assault, “Israel’s West Bank offensive continued unabated . . . as the government of Ariel Sharon sought to beat what was seen as a warning,” the Financial Times reported. “I’m not sure that we have to be concerned,” one Israeli official said of the Bush call for Israel to pull back. Indeed, Israel escalated its attacks and entered new Palestinian population centers after Bush’s statement. When Bush sent Powell to meet with the Israeli government, Powell communicated the urgency of his visit by flying to Morocco, Egypt, Spain and Jordan, before eventually making his way to Israel on April 11. Israel moved into the largest town in the West Bank, Hebron, on April 29. As of this writing-early May-Israel has not fully withdrawn to its preMarch 2002 positions.

    The truth is that the Bush Administration has given the green light to Israel’s assault, calling it “self defense.” The Boston Globe quoted a defense department official saying that Powell delayed his arrival to Israel for several days in order to allow Israel to complete its offensive.

    [New York Times columnist] Thomas Friedman, a supporter of Israel and its current war, has no problem with the taking of a few thousand Palestinian lives by Israeli soldiers-in fact he calls for Israel to “deliver a military blow” to crush the Palestinian resistance. Friedman is attempting to paint the Palestinian people as less than fully human. Ran HaCohen dissects Freidman’s logic:

    Friedman’s focus on suicide bombers is intended to dehumanize the Palestinians. By blaming Palestinians of carelessness towards “the sacredness of every human life, starting with your own”, Friedman is claiming that they do not care about their own life. He is then patronizingly pretending that he does care about their life (more than they do!), and now, having assumed responsibility for the Palestinians, Friedman has a suggestion: “First, Israel needs to deliver a military blow”. Bravo. Look how easily the great moralist Friedman is translating the sacredness of every human life” into “a military blow”. All in the name of “the basic truth civilization is built on” – what else?

    The Palestinian struggle is morally justified, even though some of its manifestations are unjustifiable. Reducing this struggle to the issue of suicide bombing is just another way of dehumanizing and thus legitimizing the killing of Palestinians, instead of removing the reasons for their horrifying desperation (remember Epictetus). Dehumanizing an entire people in the name of the “sacredness of every human life”, as Thomas Friedman has done, is an especially repulsive example of demagoguery.

    One need not support the tactic of suicide bombing aimed at killing Israeli citizens-though it isn’t clear why it is more reprehensible than blowing up Palestinians with U.S.-made bombs and missiles-in order to make the important distinction between the violence of the oppressor (Israel) and the violence of the oppressed (Palestinians). In fact, Sharon, as argued above, has deliberately provoked the suicide bombings because he sees them as a good cover for Israel’s brutal invasion. But it is the purest hypocrisy to attack the Palestinians for using violent means to seek their freedom. If Israel uses tanks and bombs to invade Palestinian land and homes, bulldozing people alive, bombing and strafing their homes, do not Palestinians have a right to use violence in their defense?

    Washington is anything but an “honest broker.” Palestinian children’s lives have never meant anything beside Israeli ones. Regardless of who has been in power in Washington, Israel has been given a blank check by the U.S. government for decades. Every year, the U.S. sends billions of dollars to Israel in the form of grants, low-cost loans, and subsidies. No other country in the world has received as much aid or support. And U.S. manufacturers are always ready to supply Israel with more weapons. When Israel bought nine of Boeing’s deadly AH64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in February 2001, the Jerusalem Post noted that Israel “will be paying for the $500 million deal with U.S. military grant money.” As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in May 1999, “Israel has acquired 260 of Lockheed’s F-16s over the years, consisting of 210 new planes and 50 used ones from the U.S. armed forces. That’s the largest fleet of F-16s anywhere in the world outside the U.S. Air Force.” The Post-Dispatch’s calculation appeared two months before Israel purchased another 50 F-16s-in a $2.5 billion deal paid for with U.S. funds.

    The United States has long committed itself to Israel as a strategic asset in the oil-rich and geostrategically crucial Middle East. It gives more than $3 billion a year to Israel, and provides it with invaluable military, economic, and political backing. (In its fiscal year 2001 budget, the State Department explained “The United States has a significant interest in a stable, democratic, and economically and militarily strong Israel” and is committed to “Maintaining the qualitative edge of the Israeli Defense Forces in the regional balance of power.”) As Noam Chomsky has rightly pointed out, “It is highly misleading to use the phrase ‘Israel-Palestine conflict’… It should be termed the ‘U.S./Israel-Palestine’ conflict.” That description is not only a more accurate way of understanding the roots of the problem, but it points to the urgency that activists in the United States must have to organize a movement to cut off all support the United States gives to Israel.

    *************************************************************

    And What has changed? Other then not a bloody thing.  The UN was shocked then too. They are shocked now. The difference is nothing.  What will change “Nothing” so it seems.

    Well things had better change. The World is watching.  If this happens again it will be the fault of the US, Israel ,United Nations and the rest of the International bodies who are the do nothing, about everything crowd.  The great pretenders.

    They will all pretend they are concerned. They will pretend they are doing something.  Same as the last time and the time before etc etc etc.


    Fatah fears Gaza conflict has put Hamas in the ascendancy
    Palestinian party created by Yasser Arafat suffers sharp decline in support

    By Patrick Cockburn in Nablus
    Friday, 23 January 2009

    Mahmoud Abbas attempted to blame Hamas for Israel's attacks on GazaPhoto: AP

    Mahmoud Abbas attempted to blame Hamas for Israel’s attacks on Gaza

    The Islamic movement Hamas is taking over from Fatah, the party created by Yasser Arafat, as the main Palestinian national organisation as a result of the war in Gaza, says a leading Fatah militant. “We have moved into the era of Hamas which is now much stronger than it was,” said Husam Kadr, a veteran Fatah leader in the West Bank city of Nablus, recently released after five-and-a-half years in Israeli prisons.

    “Its era started when Israel attacked Gaza on 27 December.”

    The sharp decline in support for Fatah and the discrediting of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, because of his inertia during the 22-day Gaza war, will make it very difficult for the US and the EU to pretend that Fatah are the true representatives of the Palestinian community. The international community is likely to find it impossible to marginalise Hamas in reconstructing Gaza.

    “Hamas has been highly successful in portraying itself as the party of the resistance, and Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas as the opponents of resistance at a time [when] the public wants to resist,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian minister of planning. He adds that Mr Abbas was badly damaged in the eyes of Palestinians when he blamed Hamas for Israel’s assault on Gaza in the conflict’s first two days.

    Mr Kadr, who says he was tortured by Israeli interrogators during detention, does not welcome Hamas’s triumph. But he is convinced that, just as Fatah’s long reign was launched by the battle of Karamah in March 1968, when Fatah fighters aided by the Jordanian army, repelled an Israeli attack on their HQ in the Jordan valley, so Hamas will gain from the Gaza war. “The Hamas era comes 40 years after Karamah began the Fatah period,” he says.

    Hamas is conscious of its political success even if it was able to do little against the Israeli army. Mr Khatib, in his office in Ramallah, the Palestinian capital on the West Bank, says the first priority must be the formation of a Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah. But he adds gloomily that “the chances of this happening are slim” because the Gaza war has exacerbated hatred between the two sides as Fatah supporters are hunted down and sometimes executed in Gaza.

    Aside from Gaza there is another reason why President Abbas and Fatah are weak. Long years of negotiations with Israel have achieved nothing while red-roofed Israeli settlements have sprouted on every West Bank hilltop. Driving into Nablus, a city of 250,000 people that was once the bustling heart of the West Bank, the streets are empty and row after row of shops are shut.

    “We had eight years of complete closure when people could not get in or out of Nablus aside from the 3 per cent who had permits,” complains the city’s mayor Adly Yaish. “Most factories shut and 60 per cent of people live below the poverty line.” The closure became a little looser three months ago, but yesterday there were long lines of vehicles at the Israeli checkpoints around the city.

    The rise of Hamas and the demise of Fatah is best explained by the failure of President Abbas to achieve anything through negotiations for ordinary Palestinians. “We in Fatah have failed to remove a single Israeli checkpoint,” admits Mr Kadr. “It takes me as long to reach Ramallah 50 kilometres away as it would to fly from Jordan to Ankara.”

    He believes the Gaza war has spread the seeds for another Palestinian uprising. “The coming uprising will be very hard for both the Palestinians and the Israelis,” he warns, though he does not forecast when it will occur. He points to a television in his office on which a young Palestinian girl called Dalal is shown picking through the ruins of her house in Gaza where all her family had died and only her cat had survived. “Can you imagine how Palestinians feel when they see this?” he asks.

    Source

    Isn’t Torture Illegal?  Five years ago, 2004.

    I guess they never stopped torturing after all.

    I have to wonder how many other prisoners, Israel has in it’s jails?

    I wonder how many others have been tortured?

    I am relatively sure Israel will not stop killing until they have either removed the rest of the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank or have killed them all. Their goal is to take all of it and that has been their goal from the beginning.

    They just repeat the same cycle of violence against the Palestinians and if they dare to fight back they are deemed the evil ones.

    The Palestinians have a right to live and defend themselves, as much as Israel does. Equality you know. What is good for one country is good for all countries.

    Why is it that Israel, can have Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Palestinians cannot?

    I think Both sides should disarm.

    Israel has to many “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

    Israel should also respect Palestinian rights. Under International Law they have rights whether Israel likes it or not.

    It is time for the” Concentration Camp” to close.

    The systematic stealing of land and resources from the Palestinians must be put to a stop one and for all. Enough is Enough.

    Israel can by no means pretend it is a sweet, wonderful, country considering its history of torture, arms sales to some rather nasty recipients. They even funneled money(the Money Laundering “Funnel Tunnel” well at lest one of them) into Haiti for the US, hence saving  Washington, from having to answer embarrassing questions about supporting brutal governments.

    Their  constant killing and staving of Palestinians. Their starting of wars and they do make sure they start, they always use the self defense scam.  At this point in time that is what I see, it as. They create a reason for war. Just so they can destroy and kill. They have done this to often. It is becoming rather obvious what they do.

    Like shooting at the Fishing Boat and hitting a man and his daughter. There was no need  or acceptable excuse, to shoot at the boat.

    This is what they do to antagonize and anger people. If the Palestinians, complain well it’s their fault. It is always their fault, no matter what.

    People at checkpoints have died waiting to get to a hospital, because the Israelis wouldn’t let them through or make them wait until the sick person died. That has happened often. People are shot at going shopping. Those “prison towers” are where they are shot at from. They are “prison towers” just like any prison tower.

    This war is anything but over.

    Israel will attack again when it feels like it. They will continue to steal more Palestinian Land. They will never stop unless the world at large stops them. They will continue to bulldoze homes and take more land.

    They have been at it since 1948 and before. If they haven’t stopped by now, they never will. They have no respect for the UN or anyone else for that matter.  They don’t even respect themselves.

    Personally Israel should pay for all the damage done in Gaza.

    They should be made to pay for every building they destroyed or damaged,  they should be made to pay for it all.

    Israel creates the circumstances that leads to any war, because of their Concentration  Camp,  they expect Palestinians to live in.

    I know a “Concentration Camp” when I see one. Don’t you?

    No human being, should have to live under that type of oppression.

    Those responsible should be charged with “war crimes”.  Of course with all the other war crimes they have committed in the past I doubt whether it will ever happen. Of course that is because of corruption at the International level.

    Israel ‘admits’ using white phosphorus munitions

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    Outcry over weapons used in Gaza

    Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?

    The State of Israel: Since its Creation

    Outrage as Israel bombs UN and Hospital

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Haiti: War Crimes and Oil

    January 22 2009

    Little know fact

    Drill, and then pump the oil of Haiti!

    June 18, 2008

    The oil has reached the threshold of 140 U.S. dollars a barrel.

    Open oil crisis, Haiti, which is hundreds of millions of dollars in diesel, just to generate electricity seems to have a playing card.

    Its small deposits once despised are now of interest.”We have received four applications for oil exploration, said the engineer Dieuseul Anglade, General Director of the Bureau of Mines and Energy.

    The Haitian State to ensure that these companies have the expertise, “he added. . “We have been encouraging signs that warrant further exploration of the black gold that ended in 1979,” he said.

    Some 11 wells, some with a depth of 2944 meters were drilled in the Plaine du Cul-de-sac, the Central Plateau and the Ile de La Gonave.

    Surface clues were found in the peninsula’s south and the north coast, said the engineer who believes Anglade swear that the economic readiness of these explorations.

    According to a memo dated 16 August 1979 from the master driller Francois Lamothe, presented to Mr. Emmanuel Bouillon, five wells have been drilled in Porto Suel (Maissade) to a depth of 9,000 feet, Bebernal, 9000 feet, Wood – Carrade (West) at Dumornay on the road to Brother and near the railroad in St. Marc.

    One sample, a “carrot” (oil reservoir) up the wells of Saint-Marc in the Artibonite, underwent a chemical analysis in Munich, Germany, at the initiative of Mr. Bouillon. “The result of analysis obtained on 11 October 1979, revealed traces of oil,” said Willy Clémens engineer who went into the country Germains.

    “We need to drill and pump oil from Haiti, if we actually said, skeptical, a geologist a little annoyed by the statements without scientific evidence.

    If we have black gold, our dear friends in the international community and Hugo Chavez should help us to conduct studies.  Just to have the heart net, “he insisted.

    Oil reached taken 140 dollars a barrel last Monday.

    Despite promises from OPEC to increase production of oil to calm the fears of the market, large consumers rush to build strategic stocks in anticipation of winter. Although courses are ironed below $ 135, analysts agree that curves upward may reach 150 or even $ 200 by the end of the year.

    In Haiti, where the plane blur the real oil potential, some say: Drill, and then pump the oil from Haiti! If there is oil ..

    Des travailleurs sur le gîte pétrolifère de Morne Diamant en 1983 Workers to the oil house Morne Diamond in 1983 (Photo: Courtoisie Emmanuel Bouillon) (Photo: Courtesy Emmanuel Bouillon)

    Un tuyeau installé en 1983 par la North Altlantic Refining, une compagnie canadienne A pipe installed in 1983 by the North Altlantic Refining, a Canadian company (Photo: Courtoisie Emmanuel Bouillon) (Photo: Courtesy Emmanuel Bouillon)

    Des experts mesurent la profondeur d’un puit de pétrole Experts measure the depth of an oil well (Photo: Courtoisie Emmanuel Bouillon) (Photo: Courtesy Emmanuel Bouillon)

    Le couvercle scellé d’un puit de pétrole The lid of a sealed oil well (Photo: Courtoisie Emmanuel Bouillon) (Photo: Courtesy Emmanuel Bouillon)

    Source


    The signs, (indicators), justifying the explorations of oil (black gold) in Haiti are encouraging. In the middle of the oil shock, some 4 companies want official licenses from the Haitian State to drill for oil.

    So who want’s the licenses I wonder?

    Haiti’s other Natural Resources are,

    bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower

    Rumor has it Natural Gas as well.

    *****************************************************************


    Even the soldiers of MINUSTAH

    January 21 2009
    A student and a professor at the State University of Haiti (UEH) were battered on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 January 2009 by soldiers of the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

    These incidents occurred as a result of clashes between students and soldiers of MINUSTAH after passers had mimed the cry of the kid.

    It all started at the Ecole Nationale des Arts (ENARTS), one of 11 entities of the State University of Haiti (UEH) on Tuesday, where the student ending Plastic Art, known as Don Carmelo , was beaten by the soldiers of MINUSTAH within the Faculty.

    The student was arrested and taken to the Fort National, one of the bases of UN troops. . Questioned in a toilet of this base, weapons pointed at his head, Don Carmelo said that the soldiers have also introduced a false identity card in his bag.

    The student, who is also a musician of the Masters, which he said has been given to a national police officers and released after 2 hours, lack of complaint brought against him.

    As this was not enough, the same day, still under ENARTS, Mrs. Viviane Gauthier, a living heritage of dance in Haiti, was nearly attacked by the soldiers of the United Nations.

    One day later, Don Carmelo was the front gate of the Ecole Normale Superieure, another entity of the UEH, soldiers of MINUSTAH was flanked on the wall to the search.  Alerted, the students threw stones in retaliation. A wave of panic swept when the soldiers entered the premises of the institution.

    The Interim Chairman of the Board of Directors, Professor Hector Pierre Leconte, who hosted a working meeting, came down to inquire about the situation, and was at the heart of it.

    Thanks to the intervention of the head of the ENS, Professor Innocent, who teaches the departments of mathematics and physics, did escape the worst. To restore order, he asked the soldiers to clear the scene, but they have conditioned their departure by requiring that this person will ensure their exit peacefully. What the teacher got students and the soldiers then turned back.

    In addition, the rector of the State University of Haiti, Jean Henri Vernet, which should have a working meeting with the Council of the ENS, was blocked at the gate by students who demanded that it take a public position in favor of the departure of MINUSTAH in the country, which he did not do, refusing to respond to hot on the situation.

    Wanting to go still in the normal school attend to business of the day, the students were prevented. Powerless, he had to abandon his plans and return to his office. “It is necessary that MINUSTAH parte, in two days it has violated two speakers of the State University of Haiti,” the students shouted protesters.
    However, all students do not adhere to this movement. “You are nothing but bandits, you dare to throw stones against MINUSTAH for nothing, ENS is taken hostage by a small group of activists,” claimed a student outraged by this situation. “Some are eternal students, others are not of the Faculty” took another student at the ENS.

    We can not understand why officials of MINUSTAH target students for a trivial matter. What if all over the passage of the soldiers of MINUSTAH, it began to shout in unison: These soldiers do not feel they not boring by idleness, being on vacation in Haiti? When replacing there by engineers, agronomists and other specialists can help develop the country as requested by President ask other students from the University of State.

    Source

    *****************************************************************

    After Four Years, No Justice for Murdered Haitian Journalist

    Wednesday, 21 January 2009

    Source: Haiti Analysis
    Four years ago, the killing of Abdias Jean, a young Haitian journalist who reported from Haiti for WKAT radio in Florida, was immediately condemned by Amnesty International, the Director General of UNESCO and the Inter American Press Association.

    His murder was reported in both Reuters and the Associated Press wire services.

    Guyler Delva, the Secretary General of the Association of Haitian Journalists (and a Reuters correspondent), also condemned the murder and expressed dismay at the indifference of the Haitian commercial media to the death of a journalist.
    In 2004, following the coup that ousted the elected Aristide government, an interim government was put in its place with the support of the United States, Canada, and France. Abdias Jean was murdered on January 14, 2005 – nearly a year after the coup.

    According to US based researcher Tom Reeves, Reuters employees told him that the interim government complained to Reuters about an article Delva had written about the murder.
    Before the coup of 2004, Delva had often worked closely with Reporters Without Borders (RSF), harsh critics of Aristide.

    Following the coup, RSF ignored much of the interim government backed violence against the press. This wasn’t surprising considering that RSF has received support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a group funded almost entirely by the US congress and that played a major role in a destabilization campaign against the Aristide government.

    The US spent 70 million dollars between 1994 and 2002 directly on strengthening Aristide’s political opponents. (The US money, laundering, Funnel Tunnel. I am supposing they used “Israel” to funnel their money? They have done this in many other countries for years as well. Hence starting wars etc, etc, etc. When the US set up the Patriot Act etc, to stop so called  terrorists from funneling money, they knew exactly how it was done because they themselves, (The US that is) had been doing it for a very long time. All they had to do was stop the methods used by their own government, in order to get the so called terrorists money. You don’t have to be a genius to figure that one out. Repetition, misinformation, propaganda, exterminating,  genocidal, war machine, hard at work. All with the use of US tax dollars .The so called “Superior Race” at work as they like to think of themselves.)
    In August of 2006 RSF was questioned on its failure to denounce the murder of Abdias Jean.
    RSF’s Haiti expert responded “We asked the police about the killings of Abdias Jean and we were told by the police that it was an attack made by the police, but that they didn’t know he was a journalist. He was taking pictures.” The RSF representative admitted that it had not met with a single witness to the murder but that all the information they had on the case was based on the testimony of the police, known for their widespread killings and abuses. The damning police testimony was never published.
    Haitian police spokeswoman Gessy Coicou said of Abdias Jean: “I haven’t heard of him and I haven’t seen his name in any of the files I have.

    Many journalists have reported that there are many witnesses. I would advise them to file a complaint.”

    The victim’s mother filed numerous complaints but nothing has come of them.

    Brian Concannon, of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, scoffed at Gessy Coicou’s statement: “The police know very well who Abdias Jean was.

    His family filed complaints with the police, the Haitian justice system and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”

    The details of the Abdias Jean murder leave little room to doubt that he was murdered because of his work as a journalist.
    In the moments prior to his death, Abdias Jean was investigating murders carried out by the Haitian police, specifically the killing of two young boys. After taking photos of the victims, he hid in a friend’s house when he saw police approaching. But the police spotted him; ordered him out of the house, and shot him in front of several witnesses. Reed Lindsay, a US journalist based in Haiti, reported: “They tied his wrists with his own belt, dragged him a block away and put a bullet through his head” The police and other armed groups that backed the interim government were responsible for 4000 political killings in the greater Port-au-Prince area, according to a scientific study published in the Lancet Medial Journal in August 2006.
    Violence against poor journalists, often those with cameras, was widespread under the interim government which finally stepped aside for an elected government in April of 2006.

    A young Haitian photojournalist, Jean Ristil, who had photographed UN peacekeeper and Haitian police violence has been interrogated, tortured and had much of his equipment destroyed by police.

    On April 7, 2005, journalist Robenson Laraque died from injuries suffered while observing a clash between UN troops and members of the disbanded Haitian military in the city of Petit-Goâve.

    Later that year unknown assailants murdered another Haitian journalist, Jacques Roche. His killing was exploited by the interim government to imprison the prominent liberation theologian Father Gerard Jean-Juste who consequently became Haiti’s most prominent political prisoner.
    The failure to achieve justice for the victims of violence by the interim government and their armed supporters has been widely ignored by the corporate press and even by some press freedom groups like RSF which claim impartiality.

    The killers of Abdias Jean, much like the killers of thousands of Haitians after the coup of February 2004 remain at large.

    Although democracy was formally restored in 2006 with the election of Rene Preval, the impact of the interim government endures.

    The Haitian judiciary recently sentenced Guyler Delva to a month in prison for defaming elite businessman and interim government supporter Senator Rudolph Boulos. Delva remains free pending an appeal.

    RSF has protested the sentence.

    Concannon, a lead lawyer on the historic Raboteau massacre trial, observed, “Abdias Jean’s killing is yet one more example of the double standard, where the lives of poor black men in Haiti matter least. Had he been a journalist with a prominent Haitian or foreign outlet visiting Cite de Dieu, he would have been eulogized for his courage in going into that neighborhood. But he was a poor journalist covering his neighbors, so he has been forgotten.”

    RSF did not respond to requests for an updated comment on the Abdias Jean murder.

    Source

    Why does the US always topple Governments in other countries?

    Behind most Governments that are toppled you will usually find,  the US is somewhere in the shadows making sure one way or the other it is taken down.

    Like Hamas in Gaza.  Haiti is two. Iraq is three.  Afghanistan is four and the list goes on. Even Georgian is need to help Israel and the US  attack Iran. The Purpose of course is:

    According to an article in the American Chronicle, the Bush Administration has been looking for an excuse to attack the Islamic Republic, so that it can take possession of the country’s oil and give Israel a share in Iranian crude by transferring it through Georgia. Source

    There are many other Government they have one way or the other been involved in taking out legitimate elected leaders and having them replaced with someone who are friendly towards the US and their companies who want oil, gas, gold or other resources.

    There are a number of times those new leaders were Dictators.

    This has been going on for years.

    Many of the wars created, the US has been behind. Even in Africa and South America.

    If you connect all the dots they more times then not lead right back to the United States.

    Coincidentally the US didn’t like the election results in Vietnam either. Well we all know how that one went.

    What they say and what they do are two very different things.

    Are Nato Forces being use for the purpose, they should be used for?

    Or are they being used to help rich countries and cooperate profiteers succeed in taking over other countries?

    I smell corruption. Big time corruption. Genocidal Corruption.

    All it takes a a select few to corrupt an entire organization.  Sometimes only one or two. Haiti is their deep, dark, filthy, hidden, from the world secret. Reporters can’t report. They are jailed or killed.

    So what is so interesting, about Haiti?

    Haiti obviously has something some out there,  desperately want.

    There have been war crimes committed in Haiti, as well only no one seems to be doing anything about it.  Why because there is corruption in the UN and Nato.  The US being one of the main offenders. Everyone must do what they say or said or else.  Bush and company are war criminals on my fronts, not just in Iraq.

    A bit of history on Haiti:

    Haiti Hidden from the Headlines

    The Haiti Information Project Pictures etc.

    UN occupies Bel Air n Haiti Pictures and Story

    When All is Looted & Pillaged, Your Hunger Will Remain The Haiti Boomerang

    Operation Enduring Sweatshop Another Bush Brings Hell to Haiti

    Oh, Canada The Coup Coalition

    Filmmaker Kevin Pina challenges the contemporary view of Haiti, revealing the hidden role of the ‘international community’ in Haitian politics. This provocative and lively film takes the viewer into parts of Haiti where few Western journalists dare to tread, and includes shocking footage of unreported human rights abuses, some which have been astonishingly conducted by UN forces. Pina’s film stands out because it connects the tragic events in Haiti with what he assesses as foreign intervention designed to deter democracy. Learn the side of the Haiti coverage not seen in the corporate news media.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RSZI3zUqkM
    There are a number of Other Videos there about Haiti as well.
    The massacre of the poor that the world ignored

    When terror strikes western capitals, it doesn’t just blast bodies and buildings, it also blasts other sites of suffering off the media map. A massacre of Iraqi children, blown up while taking sweets from US soldiers, is banished deep into the inside pages of our newspapers. The outpouring of compassion for the daily deaths of thousands from Aids in Africa is suddenly treated as a frivolous distraction.

    In this context, a massacre in Haiti alleged to have taken place the day before the London bombings never stood a chance. Well before July 7, Haiti couldn’t compete in the suffering sweepstakes: the US-supported coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had the misfortune of taking place in late February 2004, just as the occupation of Iraq was reaching a new level of chaos and brutality. The crushing of Haiti’s constitutional democracy made headlines for only a couple of weeks. Source

    Haitian children died from severe malnutrition

    The Rebirth of Konbit in Haiti

    Haiti’s road to ruin

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Update February 26 2010

    Help Haiti Everybody Hurts Video

    Update on Haiti January 27 2010 and you will not get this in the main stream media. There is also a link about Cuban Doctors in Haiti as well.  They have done an incredible job. I don’t think you will hear about that in the main stream media either.

    Venezuela’s Chavez Forgives Haiti’s Debt


    More information on Haiti Some on oil, some on their past problems, some on recent events. More on oil in Jan. 20 update for example.

    Update April 2 2010: Disease Threatens Haitian Children

    Haiti: The Miracle and the Nightmare

    Could the Earthquake in Haiti be man made, the answer is Yes

    Update Haiti Earthquake January 20 2010

    Update on Haiti Earthquake January 19 2010

    Update on Haiti Earthquake January 18 2010

    Haiti’s dead are being buried in Mass Graves

    How Haiti’s Quarter Million Slaves Will Survive The Quake


    Israel ‘admits’ using white phosphorus munitions

    Children play with a flaming lump, allegedly containing white phosphorus, in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday

    Children play with a flaming lump, allegedly containing white phosphorus, in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday

    The Israeli military came close to acknowledging for the first time yesterday its use of white phosphorus munitions during the war in Gaza, but continued to insist that it did not breach international law.

    As fresh evidence emerged of Gazan civilians being burned by phosphorus, Avital Leibovich, the army spokeswoman, said its use was “legal according to international law…All the munitions we were using were legal, like the French, American and British armies. We used munitions according to international law.

    “They [Hamas] were committing war crimes by putting the civilians in the front line,” she said. “If Hamas chooses to locate training camps, command centres…in the middle of the [civilian population]…look how populated it is…naturally they are endangering the lives of civilians. Hamas is accountable for the loss of the civilians.”

    Major-General Amir Eshel, the army’s head of strategic planning, said that firing shells to provide a smoke screen was legal. “It is the most nonlethal kind of weapon we used. I don’t see any issue with that,” he said.

    The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had privately admitted using phosphorus bombs, and that the Judge Advocate General’s Office and Southern Command were investigating.

    The Times first accused Israeli forces of using white phosphorus on January 5, but the IDF has denied the charge repeatedly. Phosphorus bombs can be used to create smoke screens, but their use as weapons of war in civilian areas is banned by the Geneva Conventions.

    Yesterday reports emerged from Gaza about the killing of five members of the Halima family, when a single white phosphorus shell dropped on their house in the town of Atatra on January 3. Two others were in a coma and three were seriously wounded, according to doctors and survivors.

    Salima Halima, 44, who is in Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, said that the chemical burst in all directions after hitting her living room.

    Nafiz Abu Shahbah, a doctor who trained in Britain and America, said he was sure white phosphorus was responsible. Her wounds at first appeared superficial “but it eats at the flesh, it digs deeper and gets to the bone…The whole body becomes toxic,” he said.

    In the Jabaliya refugee camp, the Associated Press found a crater that was still producing acrid smoke days after the war ended, and in the town of Beit Lahiya a lump of white phosphorus burst into flames after some boys dug it up from beneath some sand.

    Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, expressed outrage at Israel’s destruction of Gaza yesterday, when he became the first world leader to visit the Palestinian territory since the end of the war. “This is shocking and alarming,” he declared while visiting a UN warehouse that was still smouldering after being hit on Thursday, allegedly by white phosphorus shells. “I’m just appalled.”

    Visibly angry, he condemned Israel’s “excessive” use of force, and demanded that those responsible for shelling schools and other facilities run by the UN Relief and Works Agency during the 22-day offensive should be held to account. “It is an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack on the United Nations,” he said.

    Israel has apologised for attacks on UN facilities but insisted in almost every case that Hamas fighters were using the buildings for cover.

    Source

    Repetition, misinformation and demonetization

    They [Hamas] were committing war crimes by putting the civilians in the front lines.

    All the munitions we were using were legal.

    Hamas fighters were using the buildings for cover.

    Or the infamous they were shooting at us
    There are numerous other lines they always use as well.

    The UN knows no one was  shooting at the Israelis from the UN buildings. Israel lied. Misinformation you see.

    I guess they figure if they repeat it, often enough others might actually believe it. Repetition, now that reminds me of something and somebody who also used the repetition tactic. Oh yes now I remember the Bush Administration. How could any of use forget that tactic. Bush beat that one to death. I guess Israel is doing the same thing.
    Just like telling a kid they are “stupid” repeatedly, after a while they believe it to be true.
    Abusive men also use the same tactic n their women. After a while they start to believe what they are told as well.
    Repetition, misinformation and demonetization is a “tactic” , duck before it gets you.
    It  also constitutes a form of brain washing.
    It can affect many people, or a few depending on your knowledge, of it’s use. Those on drugs pharmaceuticals, anti-depressants or anything else that may alter your through process, for example are more susceptible to repetition and misinformation tactics…..Children are very susceptible to it as well. They learn what they live. If they hear lies often enough they believe the lie to be true. Many carry the lies into their adult lives.  Such as “White Supremacy propaganda” taught by parents.
    Even schools who teach that Columbus was a hero, who founded America is a lie, as we all well know he was rather barbaric. He was anything but sweet and wonderful.
    These tactics were also used in schools for Aboriginal Indians. The school in many peoples minds, at the time were thought to OK but eventually, the truth did surface. Seems those churches were not the sweet wonderful, they were deemed either. People can be made to believe, abusive people, are wonderful and the victims are the evil demons. History tells use that.
    Just repeat the same thing over and over and over and many will start to believe it.
    • White House officials used repetition and misinformation – the “big lie” tactic – to create the false impression that Iraq was behind the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, especially in the case of the alleged meeting in Prague five months earlier between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence officials.
    • The “big lie” tactic was also employed in the first Iraq war when a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah told the horrific – but fabricated – story of Iraqi soldiers wrenching hundreds of premature Kuwaiti babies from their incubators and leaving them to die. Her testimony was printed in a press kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a PR front group created by Hill and Knowlton, then the world’s largest PR firm.
    • In order to achieve “third party authenticity” in the Muslim world, a group called the Council of American Muslims for Understanding launched its own web site, called OpenDialogue.com. However, its chairman admitted that the idea began with the State Department, and that the group was funded by the U.S. government.
    • Forged documents were used to “prove” that Iraq possessed huge stockpiles of banned weapons.
    • A secretive PR firm working for the Pentagon helped create the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which became one of the driving forces behind the decision to go to war.

    “We must never be hoodwinked again”.

    Repetition, misinformation and demonetization

    Say it often enough and people might believe it.

    They have even done “psychological studies” on the subject to perfect it.

    They even use the FEAR FACTOR.

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    Gordon Brown backs move to block full publication of MPs’ expenses

    January 21, 2009

    By Sam Coates and Francis Elliott

    Gordon Brown has imposed a three-line whip to force a move to block full publication of MPs’ expenses through the Commons, The Times has learned.

    Labour MPs could face sanctions if they rebel in tomorrow’s vote on an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act that would exempt MPs from disclosing exactly how they have been spending their annual £22,000 second-home allowance.

    Public opposition is growing against the move, with almost 5,000 people signing a Facebook campaign led by mySociety, who run the “theyworkfor-you” website, to urge MPs not to push through the change.

    Yet the amendment is almost certain to be passed. An early day motion tabled by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, opposing the change, has been supported by only 11 MPs.
    Related Links

    * MPs defy judges to keep expenses list secret

    * Why should they be spared the scrutiny?

    The Commons had been on the brink of publishing receipts for every claim made by an MP since 2005 after losing a High Court battle last year. Instead, Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, announced last week that expenses would be published under 26 general headings, an increase from the current 13. The information will be broken down into “fixtures, fittings and furnishings” and “other household costs”, with no specific detail about what has been bought.

    The process of scanning more than a million receipts for publication, which has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, will be abandoned.

    Both main opposition parties have said they oppose the move. The Tory front bench will vote against the change, with other MPs being urged to follow their lead. All Liberal Democrat MPs are under a three-line whip to vote against.

    One Labour MP considering rebelling said that doing so posed considerable risks. “Not only could you face sanctions from the whips, I would also face considerable sniping from colleagues if I tried to oppose this,” he said. “You have to watch for the blade between the shoulders.”

    Nick Clegg has been the only party leader to speak out against the change, with both Mr Brown and David Cameron more cautious.

    Mr Clegg said: “At a time when families are having to count every penny, it is outrageous that MPs are seeking to hide how they spend their money. The Liberal Democrats are totally opposed to any government move to allow MPs to avoid being subject to Freedom of Information requests.”

    Mr Brown’s spokesman referred all inquiries to Ms Harman. He added: “The aim was to finish up with a system that was more transparent.”

    MPs against the amendment

    Labour

    Frank Field

    Mark Fisher

    Kate Hoey

    David Winnick

    Conservative

    Richard Shepherd

    Peter Bottomley

    Lib Dem

    Adrian Sanders

    Jo Swinson

    Evan Harris

    Steve Webb

    Bob Russell

    Source

    So much for accountability.  A free for all,  for those who would spend Taxpayers money any way they want. The money they spend isn’t really theiris it is the taxpayers money and the tax payer, has ever right to now how it is spent.

    Some of these people forget they work for the people and must answer to the people.

    Seems like a  bunch of crooks, trying to hide their crimes.

    How sleazy can one get?  Obviously pretty bloody  sleazy.

    Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 5:56 am  Comments Off  
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    Father: ‘I watched an Israeli soldier shoot dead my two little girls’

    khaled-abed-rabbo1Khaled Abed Rabbo in the remains of his family house, destroyed during the three-week Israeli offensive

    Grieving Palestinian father says children were killed after family obeyed order from troops to leave Gaza home

    By Donald Macintyre in Gaza City
    January 21 2009

    A Palestinian father has claimed that he saw two of his young daughters shot dead and another critically injured by an Israeli soldier who emerged from a stationary tank and opened fire as the family obeyed an order from the Israeli forces to leave their home.

    Khaled Abed Rabbo said Amal, aged two and Suad, seven, were killed by fire from the soldier’s semi-automatic rifle. His third daughter, Samer, four, has been evacuated to intensive care in a Belgian hospital after suffering critical spinal injuries which he said were inflicted in the attack early in Israel’s ground offensive.

    Mr Abed Rabbo stood near the wreckage off his subsequently destroyed home on the eastern edge of the northern Gaza town of Jabalya yesterday and described how a tank had parked outside the building at 12.50pm on 7 January and ordered the family in Arabic through a megaphone to leave building. He said his 60-year-old mother had also been shot at as she left waving her white headscarf with her son, daughter in law and her three grandchildren.

    “Two soldiers were on the tank eating chips, then one man came out of the tank with a rifle and started shooting the kids,” Mr Abed Rabbo, who receives a salary as a policeman from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said. The family say they think the weapon used by the soldier was an M16 and that the first to be shot was Amal. Mr Abed Rabbo said that Suad was then shot with what he claimed were 12 bullets, and then Samer.

    The soldier who fired the rifle had what Mr Abed Rabbo thought were ringlets visible below his helmet, he said. The small minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews who serve in the army are in a unit which did not take part in the Gaza offensive and only a very small number of settlers who also favour that hairstyle serve in other units.

    It has so far been impossible independently to verify Mr Abed Rabbo’s claim and the military said last night Israeli Defence Forces “does not target civilians, only Hamas terrorists and infrastructure”. It added: “The IDF is investigating various claims made with regard to Operation Cast Lead and at the end of its investigation will respond accordingly.”

    The district is named Abed Rabbo after the clan who live in most of it. The dense concrete roof of the house now hangs at more at more than a 45-degree angle, and at least three other substantial buildings have been flattened in the agricultural, semi-rural immediate neighbourhood. Khaled Abed Rabbo said that there had been a delay before the ambulance could reach the building because the road from the west had been made impassable by the churning of the tanks.

    The soldiers had in the end let the family leave on foot, he said. He added that they walked two kilometres before finding a vehicle to take them to Kamal Adwan Hospital. He said: “I carried Suad, who was dead, my wife carried Amal and my brother Ibrahim carried Samer.”

    He added: “We are not Hamas. My children were not Hamas. And if they were going to shoot anyone it should have been me.” He added: “I want the international community and the International Red Cross to ask Israel why it has done this to us. They talk about democracy but is it democracy to kill children? What did the kids do to them? What did my house do to them? They destroyed my life?

    Gaza City is showing signs of returning to a form of normality as more shops reopen. The offices of the main Palestinian telephone company Jawwal reopened though this has not eased severe problems of connectivity on the Palestinian mobile network.

    Some Hamas policemen were back directing traffic, though in smaller numbers than before the offensive. Unconfirmed figures are that 270 Hamas policemen were killed, mainly in the air attacks during the first week. In a victory rally in Gaza city yesterday, Hamas supporters converged on a square near the remains of the bombed parliament building..

    ‘Heartbreaking': The ugly face of war

    The UN secretary general, looking distressed, described the devastation of Gaza as “heartbreaking” on a visit to the area yesterday after the 22-day Israeli assault.

    “I have seen only a fraction of the destruction,” said Ban Ki-moon, as he stood in front of a UN warehouse set on fire by Israeli shells last Thursday. “This is shocking and alarming. These are heartbreaking scenes I have seen and I am deeply grieved by what I have seen today.” he said.

    Mr Ban demanded a full investigation into the Israeli shelling of the UN Relief and Works Agency compound. UN officials say the compound, still smouldering yesterday, was targeted by white phosphorus munitions which are not supposed to be used in densely populated areas because of the harm to civilians. Mr Ban said the Israeli attacks on UNRWA headquarters and two UN schools in Gaza, one of which killed 40 sheltering Palestinians, were “outrageous”.

    Amnesty International said Israel’s repeated use of the munitions despite evidence of their indiscriminate effects and harm to civilians “is a war crime”. The Israeli army has launched an investigation but says Hamas fighters operate from densely populated areas, and used UN buildings as cover for attacks.

    Mr Ban said: “It has been especially troubling and heartbreaking for me as secretary general that I couldn’t end this faster,” he said. He urged Israel and Hamas to “exercise maximum restraint and nurture the ceasefire”.

    Source

    They should get statements from as many Palestinians as they can.

    They hold the truth. Their truth must be told and those responsible must be held responsible.

    UN wants all Gaza borders opened
    By EDITH M. LEDERER

    January 21 2009

    U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said Tuesday he’s heading to Gaza. A top priority will be to get all border crossings opened, he said, not only for food and medicine but for desperately needed construction materials which Israel has refused to allow in since Hamas seized power in June 2007.

    He said “it’s absolutely critical” that cement, pipes and other building materials are “unbanned” by Israel and allowed into Gaza to start rebuilding the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.
    “Otherwise, the reconstruction effort won’t get off first base,” Holmes said.

    Holmes, who expects to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, told a news conference he will also be pressing Israeli authorities to allow humanitarian staff from international organizations into Gaza.

    “In theory, they have permission,” he said. “In practice, it’s proving very difficult to get into Gaza.”

    Holmes said Monday that hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid will be needed immediately to help Gaza’s 1.4 million people and billions of dollars will be required to rebuild its shattered buildings and infrastructure.

    Israel launched the war on Dec. 27 in an effort to halt years of militant rocket fire by Hamas on its southern communities and arms smuggling into Gaza. The Israeli government declared a cease-fire that went into effect early Sunday, and hours later, Hamas agreed to silence its guns, too. Israel had withdrawn the bulk of its forces from Gaza by Tuesday evening, ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, but the temporary cease-fire remained shaky.

    Holmes said Tuesday the U.N. is “trying to ramp up the humanitarian efforts in Gaza,” and while some trucks and fuel are getting into Gaza, the number remains small and “very inadequate” compared to the number of trucks allowed in before Hamas seized power.

    “We need more food, wheat grain in particular both for the humanitarian food distribution and for local bakeries,” Holmes said.
    Gaza also needs continuing supplies of fuel for its power plant, for hospital generators and for bakeries to bake bread, he said.
    Holmes said a lasting and durable cease-fire and the reopening of all border crossings are essential to get humanitarian aid, commercial goods and construction materials into Gaza.

    The temporary cease-fire doesn’t include an agreement on the opening of border crossings, he noted.

    “There’s a lot of talk about it but it doesn’t exist yet. So that’s one of the points I’m very keen to pursue when I go there myself later this week,” Holmes said.

    Under an Egyptian-French initiative being discussed, the temporary cease-fire would be followed by separate talks with Israel and Hamas on a permanent cease-fire in which weapons smuggling routes into Gaza would shut down with international help. Discussions on opening Gaza’s blockaded border crossings would take place at a later date.

    Holmes said construction materials “were effectively to virtually 100 percent banned from entering into Gaza since the Hamas takeover in 2007, which meant even before these hostilities a lot of humanitarian projects which had been planned were not able to be completed.”

    He cited the repair of Gaza’s sewage system, which was further damaged in the latest conflict, as an example.

    “So it’s absolutely critical that these kind of materials now be allowed into Gaza on a regular … basis … without too much bureaucracy,” Holmes said. “That is something we need to pursue with the Israeli authorities to make sure they are doing that, and that’s one of the things we’ll be pursuing.”

    John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which helps Palestinian refugees, said that when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the seriously damaged UNRWA office in Gaza City on Tuesday, representatives of Gaza civic organizations told him the cycle of violence in the territory must end, “even in terms of building.”

    They want to make sure that “what is built now will remain standing because many of the buildings that have been destroyed _ the ministry buildings, other vital infrastructure here _ they were built with international money in the last 15 years, and now they’re piles of rubble,” he said.

    “What a waste of money,” Ging said. “We unfortunately now have to put money back into building that should be going into further development.”

    Source

    “Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009

    Gaza (6) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

    Just added January 22. More war crimes in Haiti compliments of  US funding. Haiti: War Crimes and Oil

    Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

    “Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009

    “Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009

    January 20, 2009
    By Noam Chomsky

    On Saturday December 27, the latest US-Israeli attack on helpless Palestinians was launched. The attack had been meticulously planned, for over 6 months according to the Israeli press. The planning had two components: military and propaganda. It was based on the lessons of Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, which was considered to be poorly planned and badly advertised. We may, therefore, be fairly confident that most of what has been done and said was pre-planned and intended.

    That surely includes the timing of the assault: shortly before noon, when children were returning from school and crowds were milling in the streets of densely populated Gaza City. It took only a few minutes to kill over 225 people and wound 700, an auspicious opening to the mass slaughter of defenseless civilians trapped in a tiny cage with nowhere to flee.

    In his retrospective “Parsing Gains of Gaza War,” New York Times correspondent Ethan Bronner cited this achievement as one of the most significant of the gains. Israel calculated that it would be advantageous to appear to “go crazy,” causing vastly disproportionate terror, a doctrine that traces back to the 1950s. “The Palestinians in Gaza got the message on the first day,” Bronner wrote, “when Israeli warplanes struck numerous targets simultaneously in the middle of a Saturday morning. Some 200 were killed instantly, shocking Hamas and indeed all of Gaza.” The tactic of “going crazy” appears to have been successful, Bronner concluded: there are “limited indications that the people of Gaza felt such pain from this war that they will seek to rein in Hamas,” the elected government. That is another long-standing doctrine of state terror. I don’t, incidentally, recall the Times retrospective “Parsing Gains of Chechnya War,” though the gains were great.

    The meticulous planning also presumably included the termination of the assault, carefully timed to be just before the inauguration, so as to minimize the (remote) threat that Obama might have to say some words critical of these vicious US-supported crimes.

    Two weeks after the Sabbath opening of the assault, with much of Gaza already pounded to rubble and the death toll approaching 1000, the UN Agency UNRWA, on which most Gazans depend for survival, announced that the Israeli military refused to allow aid shipments to Gaza, saying that the crossings were closed for the Sabbath. To honor the holy day, Palestinians at the edge of survival must be denied food and medicine, while hundreds can be slaughtered by US jet bombers and helicopters.

    The rigorous observance of the Sabbath in this dual fashion attracted little if any notice. That makes sense. In the annals of US-Israeli criminality, such cruelty and cynicism scarcely merit more than a footnote. They are too familiar. To cite one relevant parallel, in June 1982 the US-backed Israeli invasion of Lebanon opened with the bombing of the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, later to become famous as the site of terrible massacres supervised by the IDF (Israeli “Defense” Forces). The bombing hit the local hospital – the Gaza hospital — and killed over 200 people, according to the eyewitness account of an American Middle East academic specialist. The massacre was the opening act in an invasion that slaughtered some 15-20,000 people and destroyed much of southern Lebanon and Beirut, proceeding with crucial US military and diplomatic support. That included vetoes of Security Council resolutions seeking to halt the criminal aggression that was undertaken, as scarcely concealed, to defend Israel from the threat of peaceful political settlement, contrary to many convenient fabrications about Israelis suffering under intense rocketing, a fantasy of apologists.

    All of this is normal, and quite openly discussed by high Israeli officials. Thirty years ago Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur observed that since 1948, “we have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities.” As Israel’s most prominent military analyst, Zeev Schiff, summarized his remarks, “the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously…the Army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…[but] purposely attacked civilian targets.” The reasons were explained by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban: “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities.” The effect, as Eban well understood, would be to allow Israel to implement, undisturbed, its programs of illegal expansion and harsh repression. Eban was commenting on a review of Labor government attacks against civilians by Prime Minister Begin, presenting a picture, Eban said, “of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr.Begin nor I would dare to mention by name.” Eban did not contest the facts that Begin reviewed, but criticized him for stating them publicly. Nor did it concern Eban, or his admirers, that his advocacy of massive state terror is also reminiscent of regimes he would not dare to mention by name.

    Eban’s justification for state terror is regarded as persuasive by respected authorities. As the current US-Israel assault raged, Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained that Israel’s tactics both in the current attack and in its invasion of Lebanon in 2006 are based on the sound principle of “trying to `educate’ Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population.” That makes sense on pragmatic grounds, as it did in Lebanon, where “the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.” And by similar logic, bin Laden’s effort to “educate” Americans on 9/11 was highly praiseworthy, as were the Nazi attacks on Lidice and Oradour, Putin’s destruction of Grozny, and other notable attempts at “education.”

    Israel has taken pains to make clear its dedication to these guiding principles. NYT correspondent Stephen Erlanger reports that Israeli human rights groups are “troubled by Israel’s strikes on buildings they believe should be classified as civilian, like the parliament, police stations and the presidential palace” – and, we may add, villages, homes, densely populated refugee camps, water and sewage systems, hospitals, schools and universities, mosques, UN relief facilities, ambulances, and indeed anything that might relieve the pain of the unworthy victims. A senior Israeli intelligence officer explained that the IDF attacked “both aspects of Hamas — its resistance or military wing and its dawa, or social wing,” the latter a euphemism for the civilian society. “He argued that Hamas was all of a piece,” Erlanger continues, “and in a war, its instruments of political and social control were as legitimate a target as its rocket caches.” Erlanger and his editors add no comment about the open advocacy, and practice, of massive terrorism targeting civilians, though correspondents and columnists signal their tolerance or even explicit advocacy of war crimes, as noted. But keeping to the norm, Erlanger does not fail to stress that Hamas rocketing is “an obvious violation of the principle of discrimination and fits the classic definition of terrorism.”

    Like others familiar with the region, Middle East specialist Fawwaz Gerges observes that “What Israeli officials and their American allies do not appreciate is that Hamas is not merely an armed militia but a social movement with a large popular base that is deeply entrenched in society.” Hence when they carry out their plans to destroy Hamas’s “social wing,” they are aiming to destroy Palestinian society.

    Gerges may be too kind. It is highly unlikely that Israeli and American officials – or the media and other commentators – do not appreciate these facts. Rather, they implicitly adopt the traditional perspective of those who monopolize means of violence: our mailed fist can crush any opposition, and if our furious assault has a heavy civilian toll, that’s all to the good: perhaps the remnants will be properly educated.

    IDF officers clearly understand that they are crushing the civilian society. Ethan Bronner quotes an Israeli Colonel who says that he and his men are not much “impressed with the Hamas fighters.” “They are villagers with guns,” said a gunner on an armored personnel carrier. They resemble the victims of the murderous IDF “iron fist” operations in occupied southern Lebanon in 1985, directed by Shimon Peres, one of the great terrorist commanders of the era of Reagan’s “War on Terror.” During these operations, Israeli commanders and strategic analysts explained that the victims were “terrorist villagers,” difficult to eradicate because “these terrorists operate with the support of most of the local population.” An Israeli commander complained that “the terrorist…has many eyes here, because he lives here,” while the military correspondent of the Jerusalem Post described the problems Israeli forces faced in combating the “terrorist mercenary,” “fanatics, all of whom are sufficiently dedicated to their causes to go on running the risk of being killed while operating against the IDF,” which must “maintain order and security” in occupied southern Lebanon despite “the price the inhabitants will have to pay.” The problem has been familiar to Americans in South Vietnam, Russians in Afghanistan, Germans in occupied Europe, and other aggressors that find themselves implementing the Gur-Eban-Friedman doctrine.

    Gerges believes that US-Israeli state terror will fail: Hamas, he writes, “cannot be wiped out without massacring half a million Palestinians. If Israel succeeds in killing Hamas’s senior leaders, a new generation, more radical than the present, will swiftly replace them. Hamas is a fact of life. It is not going away, and it will not raise the white flag regardless of how many casualties it suffers.”

    Perhaps, but there is often a tendency to underestimate the efficacy of violence. It is particularly odd that such a belief should be held in the United States. Why are we here?

    Hamas is regularly described as “Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.” One will be hard put to find something like “democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus” — blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel, which flatly and explicitly reject the right of Palestinians to self-determination. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.

    Such details as those mentioned earlier, though minor, nevertheless teach us something about ourselves and our clients. So do others. To mention another one, as the latest US-Israeli assault on Gaza began, a small boat, the Dignity, was on its way from Cyprus to Gaza. The doctors and human rights activists aboard intended to violate Israel’s criminal blockade and to bring medical supplies to the trapped population. The ship was intercepted in international waters by Israeli naval vessels, which rammed it severely, almost sinking it, though it managed to limp to Lebanon. Israel issued the routine lies, refuted by the journalists and passengers aboard, including CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul and former US representative and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. That is a serious crime — much worse, for example, than hijacking boats off the coast of Somalia. It passed with little notice. The tacit acceptance of such crimes reflects the understanding that Gaza is occupied territory, and that Israel is entitled to maintain its siege, even authorized by the guardians of international order to carry out crimes on the high seas to implement its programs of punishing the civilian population for disobedience to its commands – under pretexts to which we return, almost universally accepted but clearly untenable.

    The lack of attention again makes sense. For decades, Israel had been hijacking boats in international waters between Cyprus and Lebanon, killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes bringing them to prisons in Israel, including secret prison/torture chambers, to hold as hostages for many years. Since the practices are routine, why treat the new crime with more than a yawn? Cyprus and Lebanon reacted quite differently, but who are they in the scheme of things?

    Who cares, for example, if the editors of Lebanon’s Daily Star, generally pro-Western, write that “Some 1.5 million people in Gaza are being subjected to the murderous ministrations of one of the world’s most technologically advanced but morally regressive military machines. It is often suggested that the Palestinians have become to the Arab world what the Jews were to pre-World War II Europe, and there is some truth to this interpretation. How sickeningly appropriate, then, that just as Europeans and North Americans looked the other way when the Nazis were perpetrating the Holocaust, the Arabs are finding a way to do nothing as the Israelis slaughter Palestinian children.” Perhaps the most shameful of the Arab regimes is the brutal Egyptian dictatorship, the beneficiary of most US military aid, apart from Israel.

    According to the Lebanese press, Israel still “routinely abducts Lebanese civilians from the Lebanese side of the Blue Line [the international border], most recently in December 2008.” And of course “Israeli planes violate Lebanese airspace on a daily basis in violation of UN Resolution 1701″ (Lebanese scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Daily Star, Jan. 13). That too has been happening for a long time. In condemning Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, the prominent Israeli strategic analyst Zeev Maoz wrote in the Israeli press that “Israel has violated Lebanese airspace by carrying out aerial reconnaissance missions virtually every day since its withdrawal from Southern Lebanon six years ago. True, these aerial overflights did not cause any Lebanese casualties, but a border violation is a border violation. Here too, Israel does not hold a higher moral ground.” And in general, there is no basis for the “wall-to-wall consensus in Israel that the war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon is a just and moral war,” a consensus “based on selective and short-term memory, on an introvert world view, and on double standards. This is not a just war, the use of force is excessive and indiscriminate, and its ultimate aim is extortion.”

    As Maoz also reminds his Israeli readers, overflights with sonic booms to terrorize Lebanese are the least of Israeli crimes in Lebanon, even apart from its five invasions since 1978: “On July 28, 1988 Israeli Special Forces abducted Sheikh Obeid, and on May 21, 1994 Israel abducted Mustafa Dirani, who was responsible for capturing the Israeli pilot Ron Arad [when he was bombing Lebanon in 1986]. Israel held these and other 20 Lebanese who were captured under undisclosed circumstances in prison for prolonged periods without trial. They were held as human `bargaining chips.’ Apparently, abduction of Israelis for the purpose of prisoners’ exchange is morally reprehensible, and militarily punishable when it is the Hezbollah who does the abducting, but not if Israel is doing the very same thing,” and on a far grander scale and over many years.

    Israel’s regular practices are significant even apart from what they reveal about Israeli criminality and Western support for it. As Maoz indicates, these practices underscore the utter hypocrisy of the standard claim that Israel had the right to invade Lebanon once again in 2006 when soldiers were captured at the border, the first cross-border action by Hezbollah in the six years since Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, which it occupied in violation of Security Council orders going back 22 years, while during these six years Israel violated the border almost daily with impunity, and silence here.

    The hypocrisy is, again, routine. Thus Thomas Friedman, while explaining how the lesser breeds are to be “educated” by terrorist violence, writes that Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, once again destroying much of southern Lebanon and Beirut while killing another 1000 civilians, was a just act of self-defense, responding to Hezbollah’s crime of “launching an unprovoked war across the U.N.-recognized Israel-Lebanon border, after Israel had unilaterally withdrawn from Lebanon.” Putting aside the deceit, by the same logic, terrorist attacks against Israelis that are far more destructive and murderous than any that have taken place would be fully justified in response to Israel’s criminal practices in Lebanon and on the high seas, which vastly exceed Hezbollah’s crime of capturing two soldiers at the border. The veteran Middle East specialist of the New York Times surely knows about these crimes, at least if he reads his own newspaper: for example, the 18th paragraph of a story on prisoner exchange in November 1983 which observes, casually, that 37 of the Arab prisoners “had been seized recently by the Israeli Navy as they tried to make their way from Cyprus to Tripoli,” north of Beirut.

    Of course all such conclusions about appropriate actions against the rich and powerful are based on a fundamental flaw: This is us, and that is them. This crucial principle, deeply embedded in Western culture, suffices to undermine even the most precise analogy and the most impeccable reasoning.

    As I write, another boat is on its way from Cyprus to Gaza, “carrying urgently needed medical supplies in sealed boxes, cleared by customs at the Larnaca International Airport and the Port of Larnaca,” the organizers report. Passengers include members of European Parliaments and physicians. Israel has been notified of their humanitarian intent. With sufficient popular pressure, they might achieve their mission in peace.

    The new crimes that the US and Israel have been committing in Gaza in the past weeks do not fit easily into any standard category – except for the category of familiarity; I’ve just given several examples, and will return to others. Literally, the crimes fall under the official US government definition of “terrorism,” but that designation does not capture their enormity. They cannot be called “aggression,” because they are being conducted in occupied territory, as the US tacitly concedes. In their comprehensive scholarly history of Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, Lords of the Land, Idit Zertal and Akiva Eldar point out that after Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in August 2005, the ruined territory was not released “for even a single day from Israel’s military grip or from the price of the occupation that the inhabitants pay every day… Israel left behind scorched earth, devastated services, and people with neither a present nor a future. The settlements were destroyed in an ungenerous move by an unenlightened occupier, which in fact continues to control the territory and kill and harass its inhabitants by means of its formidable military might” – exercised with extreme savagery, thanks to firm US support and participation.

    The US-Israeli assault on Gaza escalated in January 2006, a few months after the formal withdrawal, when Palestinians committed a truly heinous crime: they voted “the wrong way” in a free election. Like others, Palestinians learned that one does not disobey with impunity the commands of the Master, who continues to prate of his “yearning for democracy,” without eliciting ridicule from the educated classes, another impressive achievement.

    Since the terms “aggression” and “terrorism” are inadequate, some new term is needed for the sadistic and cowardly torture of people caged with no possibility of escape, while they are being pounded to dust by the most sophisticated products of US military technology – used in violation of international and even US law, but for self-declared outlaw states that is just another minor technicality. Also a minor technicality is the fact that on December 31, while terrorized Gazans were desperately seeking shelter from the ruthless assault, Washington hired a German merchant ship to transport from Greece to Israel a huge shipment, 3000 tons, of unidentified “ammunition.” The new shipment “follows the hiring of a commercial ship to carry a much larger consignment of ordnance in December from the United States to Israel ahead of air strikes in the Gaza Strip,” Reuters reported. All of this is separate from the more than $21 billion in U.S. military aid provided by the Bush administration to Israel, almost all grants. “Israel’s intervention in the Gaza Strip has been fueled largely by U.S. supplied weapons paid for with U.S. tax dollars,” said a briefing by the New America Foundation, which monitors the arms trade. The new shipment was hampered by the decision of the Greek government to bar the use of any port in Greece “for the supplying of the Israeli army.”

    Greece’s response to US-backed Israeli crimes is rather different from the craven performance of the leaders of most of Europe. The distinction reveals that Washington may have been quite realistic in regarding Greece as part of the Near East, not Europe, until the overthrow of its US-backed fascist dictatorship in 1974. Perhaps Greece is just too civilized to be part of Europe.

    Were anyone to find the timing of the arms deliveries to Israel curious, and inquire further, the Pentagon has an answer: the shipment would arrive too late to escalate the Gaza attack, and the military equipment, whatever it may be, is to be pre-positioned in Israel for eventual use by the US military. That may be accurate. One of the many services that Israel performs for its patron is to provide it with a valuable military base at the periphery of the world’s major energy resources. It can therefore serve as a forward base for US aggression – or to use the technical terms, to “defend the Gulf” and “ensure stability.”

    The huge flow of arms to Israel serves many subsidiary purposes. Middle East policy analyst Mouin Rabbani observes that Israel can test newly developed weapons systems against defenseless targets. This is of value to Israel and the US “twice over, in fact, because less effective versions of these same weapons systems are subsequently sold at hugely inflated prices to Arab states, which effectively subsidizes the U.S. weapons industry and U.S. military grants to Israel.” These are additional functions of Israel in the US-dominated Middle East system, and among the reasons why Israel is so favored by the state authorities, along with a wide range of US high-tech corporations, and of course military industry and intelligence.

    Israel apart, the US is by far the world’s major arms supplier. The recent New America Foundation report concludes that “U.S. arms and military training played a role in 20 of the world’s 27 major wars in 2007,” earning the US $23 billion in receipts, increasing to $32 billion in 2008. Small wonder that among the numerous UN resolutions that the US opposed in the December 2008 UN session was one calling for regulation of the arms trade. In 2006, the US was alone in voting against the treaty, but in November 2008 it was joined by a partner: Zimbabwe.

    There were other notable votes at the December UN session. A resolution on “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” was adopted by 173 to 5 (US, Israel, Pacific island dependencies). The vote strongly reaffirms US-Israeli rejectionism, in international isolation. Similarly a resolution on “universal freedom of travel and the vital importance of family reunification” was adopted with US, Israel, and Pacific dependencies opposed, presumably with Palestinians in mind.

    In voting against the right to development the US lost Israel but gained Ukraine. In voting against the “right to food,” the US was alone, a particular striking fact in the face of the enormous global food crisis, dwarfing the financial crisis that threatens western economies.

    There are good reasons why the voting record is consistently unreported and dispatched deep into the memory hole by the media and conformist intellectuals. It would not be wise to reveal to the public what the record implies about their elected representatives. In the present case it would plainly be unhelpful to let the public know that US-Israeli rejectionism, barring the peaceful settlement long advocated by the world, reaches such an extreme as to deny Palestinians even the abstract right to self-determination.

    One of the heroic volunteers in Gaza, Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, described the scene of horror as an “All out war against the civilian population of Gaza.” He estimated that half the casualties are women and children. The men are almost all civilians as well, by civilized standards. Gilbert reports that he had scarcely seen a military casualty among the 100s of bodies. The IDF concurs. Hamas “made a point of fighting at a distance — or not at all,” Ethan Bronner reports while “parsing the gains” of the US-Israeli assault. So Hamas’s manpower remains intact, and it was mostly civilians who suffered pain: a positive outcome, according to widely-held doctrine.

    These estimates were confirmed by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes, who informed reporters that it is “a fair presumption” that most of the civilians killed were women and children in a humanitarian crisis that is “worsening day by day as the violence continues.” But we could be comforted by the words of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the leading dove in the current electoral campaign, who assured the world that there is no “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, thanks to Israeli benevolence.

    Like others who care about human beings and their fate, Gilbert and Holmes pleaded for a ceasefire. But not yet. “At the United Nations, the United States prevented the Security Council from issuing a formal statement on Saturday night calling for an immediate ceasefire,” the New York Times mentioned in passing. The official reason was that “there was no indication Hamas would abide by any agreement.” In the annals of justifications for delighting in slaughter, this must rank among the most cynical. That of course was Bush and Rice, soon to be displaced by Obama who compassionately repeats that “if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that.” He is referring to Israeli children, not the many hundreds being torn to shreds in Gaza by US arms. Beyond that Obama maintained his silence.

    A few days later, under intense international pressure, the US backed a Security Council resolution calling for a “durable ceasefire.” It passed 14-0, US abstaining. Israel and US hawks were angered that the US did not veto it, as usual. The abstention, however, sufficed to give Israel if not a green at least a yellow light to escalate the violence, as it did right up to virtually the moment of the inauguration, as had been predicted.

    As the ceasefire (theoretically) went into effect on January18, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights released its figures for the final day of the assault: 54 Palestinians killed including 43 unarmed civilians, 17 of them children, while the IDF continued to bombard civilian homes and UN schools. The death toll, they estimated, mounted to 1,184, including 844 civilians, 281 of them children. The IDF continued to use incendiary bombs across the Gaza Strip, and to destroy houses and agricultural land, forcing civilians to flee their homes. A few hours later, Reuters reported more than 1,300 killed. The staff of the Al Mezan Center, which also carefully monitors casualties and destruction, visited areas that had previously been inaccessible because of incessant heavy bombardment. They discovered dozens of civilian corpses decomposing under the rubble of destroyed houses or removed by Israeli bulldozers. Entire urban blocks had disappeared.

    The figures for killed and wounded are surely an underestimate. And it is unlikely that there will be any inquiry into these atrocities. Crimes of official enemies are subjected to rigorous investigation, but our own are systematically ignored. General practice, again, and understandable on the part of the masters.

    The Security Council Resolution called for stopping the flow of arms into Gaza. The US and Israel (Rice-Livni) soon reached an agreement on measures to ensure this result, concentrating on Iranian arms. There is no need to stop smuggling of US arms into Israel, because there is no smuggling: the huge flow of arms is quite public, even when not reported, as in the case of the arms shipment announced as the slaughter in Gaza was proceeding.

    The Resolution also called for “ensur[ing] the sustained re-opening of the crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel”; that Agreement determined that crossings to Gaza would be operated on a continuous basis and that Israel would also allow the crossing of goods and people between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    The Rice-Livni agreement had nothing to say about this aspect of the Security Council Resolution. The US and Israel had in fact already abandoned the 2005 Agreement as part of their punishment of Palestinians for voting the wrong way in a free election in January 2006. Rice’s press conference after the Rice-Livni agreement emphasized Washington’s continuing efforts to undermine the results of the one free election in the Arab world: “There is much that can be done,” she said, “to bring Gaza out of the dark of Hamas’s reign and into the light of the very good governance the Palestinian Authority can bring” – at least, can bring as long as it remains a loyal client, rife with corruption and willing to carry out harsh repression, but obedient.

    Returning from a visit to the Arab world, Fawwaz Gerges strongly affirmed what others on the scene have reported. The effect of the US-Israeli offensive in Gaza has been to infuriate the populations and to arouse bitter hatred of the aggressors and their collaborators. “Suffice it to say that the so-called moderate Arab states [that is, those that take their orders from Washington] are on the defensive, and that the resistance front led by Iran and Syria is the main beneficiary. Once again, Israel and the Bush administration have handed the Iranian leadership a sweet victory.” Furthermore, “Hamas will likely emerge as a more powerful political force than before and will likely top Fatah, the ruling apparatus of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority,” Rice’s favorites.

    It is worth bearing in mind that the Arab world is not scrupulously protected from the only regular live TV coverage of what is happening in Gaza, namely the “calm and balanced analysis of the chaos and destruction” provided by the outstanding correspondents of al-Jazeera, offering “a stark alternative to terrestrial channels,” as reported by the London Financial Times. In the 105 countries lacking our efficient modalities of self-censorship, people can see what is happening hourly, and the impact is said to be very great. In the US, the New York Times reports, “the near-total blackout…is no doubt related to the sharp criticism Al Jazeera received from the United States government during the initial stages of the war in Iraq for its coverage of the American invasion.” Cheney and Rumsfeld objected, so, obviously, the independent media could only obey.

    There is much sober debate about what the attackers hoped to achieve. Some of objectives are commonly discussed, among them, restoring what is called “the deterrent capacity” that Israel lost as a result of its failures in Lebanon in 2006 – that is, the capacity to terrorize any potential opponent into submission. There are, however, more fundamental objectives that tend be ignored, though they too seem fairly obvious when we take a look at recent history.

    Israel abandoned Gaza in September 2005. Rational Israeli hardliners, like Ariel Sharon, the patron saint of the settlers movement, understood that it was senseless to subsidize a few thousand illegal Israeli settlers in the ruins of Gaza, protected by the IDF while they used much of the land and scarce resources. It made more sense to turn Gaza into the world’s largest prison and to transfer settlers to the West Bank, much more valuable territory, where Israel is quite explicit about its intentions, in word and more importantly in deed. One goal is to annex the arable land, water supplies, and pleasant suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that lie within the separation wall, irrelevantly declared illegal by the World Court. That includes a vastly expanded Jerusalem, in violation of Security Council orders that go back 40 years, also irrelevant. Israel has also been taking over the Jordan Valley, about one-third of the West Bank. What remains is therefore imprisoned, and, furthermore, broken into fragments by salients of Jewish settlement that trisect the territory: one to the east of Greater Jerusalem through the town of Ma’aleh Adumim, developed through the Clinton years to split the West Bank; and two to the north, through the towns of Ariel and Kedumim. What remains to Palestinians is segregated by hundreds of mostly arbitrary checkpoints.

    The checkpoints have no relation to security of Israel, and if some are intended to safeguard settlers, they are flatly illegal, as the World Court ruled. In reality, their major goal is harass the Palestinian population and to fortify what Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper calls the “matrix of control,” designed to make life unbearable for the “two-legged beasts” who will be like “drugged roaches scurrying around in a bottle” if they seek to remain in their homes and land. All of that is fair enough, because they are “like grasshoppers compared to us” so that their heads can be “smashed against the boulders and walls.” The terminology is from the highest Israeli political and military leaders, in this case the revered “princes.” And the attitudes shape policies.

    The ravings of the political and military leaders are mild as compared to the preaching of rabbinical authorities. They are not marginal figures. On the contrary, they are highly influential in the army and in the settler movement, who Zertal and Eldar reveal to be “lords of the land,” with enormous impact on policy. Soldiers fighting in northern Gaza were afforded an “inspirational” visit from two leading rabbis, who explained to them that there are no “innocents” in Gaza, so everyone there is a legitimate target, quoting a famous passage from Psalms calling on the Lord to seize the infants of Israel’s oppressors and dash them against the rocks. The rabbis were breaking no new ground. A year earlier, the former chief Sephardic rabbi wrote to Prime Minister Olmert, informing him that all civilians in Gaza are collectively guilty for rocket attacks, so that there is “absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings,” as the Jerusalem Post reported his ruling. His son, chief rabbi of Safed, elaborated: “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand, and if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”

    Similar views are expressed by prominent American secular figures. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz explained in the liberal online journal Huffington Post that all Lebanese are legitimate targets of Israeli violence. Lebanon’s citizens are “paying the price” for supporting “terrorism” – that is, for supporting resistance to Israel’s invasion. Accordingly, Lebanese civilians are no more immune to attack than Austrians who supported the Nazis. The fatwa of the Sephardic rabbi applies to them. In a video on the Jerusalem Post website, Dershowitz went on to ridicule talk of excessive kill ratios of Palestinians to Israelis: it should be increased to 1000-to-one, he said, or even 1000-to-zero, meaning the brutes should be completely exterminated. Of course, he is referring to “terrorists,” a broad category that includes the victims of Israeli power, since “Israel never targets civilians,” he emphatically declared. It follows that Palestinians, Lebanese, Tunisians, in fact anyone who gets in the way of the ruthless armies of the Holy State is a terrorist, or an accidental victim of their just crimes.

    It is not easy to find historical counterparts to these performances. It is perhaps of some interest that they are considered entirely appropriate in the reigning intellectual and moral culture – when they are produced on “our side,” that is; from the mouths of official enemies such words would elicit righteous outrage and calls for massive preemptive violence in revenge.

    The claim that “our side” never targets civilians is familiar doctrine among those who monopolize the means of violence. And there is some truth to it. We do not generally try to kill particular civilians. Rather, we carry out murderous actions that we know will slaughter many civilians, but without specific intent to kill particular ones. In law, the routine practices might fall under the category of depraved indifference, but that is not an adequate designation for standard imperial practice and doctrine. It is more similar to walking down a street knowing that we might kill ants, but without intent to do so, because they rank so low that it just doesn’t matter. The same is true when Israel carries out actions that it knows will kill the “grasshoppers” and “two-legged beasts” who happen to infest the lands it “liberates.” There is no good term for this form of moral depravity, arguably worse than deliberate murder, and all too familiar.

    In the former Palestine, the rightful owners (by divine decree, according to the “lords of the land”) may decide to grant the drugged roaches a few scattered parcels. Not by right, however: “I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land,” Prime Minister Olmert informed a joint session of Congress in May 2006 to rousing applause. At the same time he announced his “convergence” program for taking over what is valuable in the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians to rot in isolated cantons. He was not specific about the borders of the “entire land,” but then, the Zionist enterprise never has been, for good reasons: permanent expansion is a very important internal dynamic. If Olmert is still faithful to his origins in Likud, he may have meant both sides of the Jordan, including the current state of Jordan, at least valuable parts of it.

    Our people’s “eternal and historic right to this entire land” contrasts dramatically with the lack of any right of self-determination for the temporary inhabitants, the Palestinians. As noted earlier, the latter stand was reiterated by Israel and its patron in Washington in December 2008, in their usual isolation and accompanied by resounding silence.

    The plans that Olmert sketched in 2006 have since been abandoned as not sufficiently extreme. But what replaces the convergence program, and the actions that proceed daily to implement it, are approximately the same in general conception. They trace back to the earliest days of the occupation, when Defense Minister Moshe Dayan explained poetically that “the situation today resembles the complex relationship between a Bedouin man and the girl he kidnaps against his will…You Palestinians, as a nation, don’t want us today, but we’ll change your attitude by forcing our presence on you.” You will “live like dogs, and whoever will leave, will leave,” while we take what we want.

    That these programs are criminal has never been in doubt. Immediately after the 1967 war, the Israeli government was informed by its highest legal authority, Teodor Meron, that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” the foundation of international humanitarian law. Israel’s Justice Minister concurred. The World Court unanimously endorsed the essential conclusion in 2004, and the Israeli High Court technically agreed while disagreeing in practice, in its usual style.

    In the West Bank, Israel can pursue its criminal programs with US support and no disturbance, thanks to its effective military control and by now the cooperation of the collaborationist Palestinian security forces armed and trained by the US and allied dictatorships. It can also carry out regular assassinations and other crimes, while settlers rampage under IDF protection. But while the West Bank has been effectively subdued by terror, there is still resistance in the other half of Palestine, the Gaza Strip. That too must be quelled for the US-Israeli programs of annexation and destruction of Palestine to proceed undisturbed.

    Hence the invasion of Gaza.

    The timing of the invasion was presumably influenced by the coming Israeli election. Ehud Barak, who was lagging badly in the polls, gained one parliamentary seat for every 40 Arabs killed in the early days of the slaughter, Israeli commentator Ran HaCohen calculated.

    That may change, however. As the crimes passed beyond what the carefully honed Israeli propaganda campaign was able to suppress, even confirmed Israeli hawks became concerned that the carnage is “Destroying [Israel's] soul and its image. Destroying it on world television screens, in the living rooms of the international community and most importantly, in Obama’s America” (Ari Shavit). Shavit was particularly concerned about Israel’s “shelling a United Nations facility…on the day when the UN secretary general is visiting Jerusalem,” an act that is “beyond lunacy,” he felt.

    Adding a few details, the “facility” was the UN compound in Gaza City, which contained the UNRWA warehouse. The shelling destroyed “hundreds of tons of emergency food and medicines set for distribution today to shelters, hospitals and feeding centres,” according to UNRWA director John Ging. Military strikes at the same time destroyed two floors of the al-Quds hospital, setting it ablaze, and also a second warehouse run by the Palestinian Red Crescent society. The hospital in the densely-populated Tal-Hawa neighbourhood was destroyed by Israeli tanks “after hundreds of frightened Gazans had taken shelter inside as Israeli ground forces pushed into the neighbourhood,” AP reported.

    There was nothing left to salvage inside the smoldering ruins of the hospital. “They shelled the building, the hospital building. It caught fire. We tried to evacuate the sick people and the injured and the people who were there. Firefighters arrived and put out the fire, which burst into flames again and they put it out again and it came back for the third time,” paramedic Ahmad Al-Haz told AP. It was suspected that the blaze might have been set by white phosphorous, also suspected in numerous other fires and serious burn injuries.

    The suspicions were confirmed by Amnesty International after the cessation of the intense bombardment made inquiry possible. Before, Israel had sensibly barred all journalists, even Israeli, while its crimes were proceeding in full fury. Israel’s use of white phosphorus against Gaza civilians is “clear and undeniable,” AI reported. Its repeated use in densely populated civilian areas “is a war crime,” AI concluded. They found white phosphorus edges scattered around residential buildings, still burning, “further endangering the residents and their property,” particularly children “drawn to the detritus of war and often unaware of the danger.” Primary targets, they report, were the UNRWA compound, where the Israeli “white phosphorus landed next to some fuel trucks and caused a large fire which destroyed tons of humanitarian aid” after Israeli authorities “had given assurance that no further strikes would be launched on the compound.” On the same day, “a white phosphorus shell landed in the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City also causing a fire which forced hospital staff to evacuate the patients… White phosphorus landing on skin can burn deep through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn unless deprived of oxygen.” Purposely intended or beyond depraved indifference, such crimes are inevitable when this weapon is used in attacks on civilians.

    It is, however, a mistake to concentrate too much on Israel’s gross violations of jus in bello, the laws designed to bar practices that are too savage. The invasion itself is a far more serious crime. And if Israel had inflicted the horrendous damage by bows and arrows, it would still be a criminal act of extreme depravity.

    Aggression always has a pretext: in this case, that Israel’s patience had “run out” in the face of Hamas rocket attacks, as Barak put it. The mantra that is endlessly repeated is that Israel has the right to use force to defend itself. The thesis is partially defensible. The rocketing is criminal, and it is true that a state has the right to defend itself against criminal attacks. But it does not follow that it has a right to defend itself by force. That goes far beyond any principle that we would or should accept. Nazi Germany had no right to use force to defend itself against the terrorism of the partisans. Kristallnacht is not justified by Herschel Grynszpan’s assassination of a German Embassy official in Paris. The British were not justified in using force to defend themselves against the (very real) terror of the American colonists seeking independence, or to terrorize Irish Catholics in response to IRA terror – and when they finally turned to the sensible policy of addressing legitimate grievances, the terror ended. It is not a matter of “proportionality,” but of choice of action in the first place: Is there an alternative to violence?

    Any resort to force carries a heavy burden of proof, and we have to ask whether it can be met in the case of Israel’s effort to quell any resistance to its daily criminal actions in Gaza and in the West Bank, where they still continue relentlessly after more than 40 years. Perhaps I may quote myself in an interview in the Israeli press on Olmert’s announced convergence plans for the West Bank: “The US and Israel do not tolerate any resistance to these plans, preferring to pretend – falsely of course – that `there is no partner,’ as they proceed with programs that go back a long way. We may recall that Gaza and the West Bank are recognized to be a unit, so if resistance to the US-Israeli annexation-cantonization programs is legitimate in the West Bank, it is in Gaza too.”

    Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah observed that “There are no rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel’s extrajudicial killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never stopped for a day during the truce. The western-backed Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has acceded to all Israel’s demands. Under the proud eye of United States military advisors, Abbas has assembled `security forces’ to fight the resistance on Israel’s behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian in the West Bank from Israel’s relentless colonization” – thanks to firm US backing. The respected Palestinian parliamentarian Dr. Mustapha Barghouti adds that after Bush’s Annapolis extravaganza in November 2007, with much uplifting rhetoric about dedication to peace and justice, Israeli attacks on Palestinians escalated sharply, with an almost 50% increase in the West Bank, along with a sharp increase in settlements and Israeli check points. Obviously these criminal actions are not a response to rockets from Gaza, though the converse may well be the case, Barghouti plausibly suggests.

    The reactions to crimes of an occupying power can be condemned as criminal and politically foolish, but those who offer no alternative have no moral grounds to issue such judgments. The conclusion holds with particular force for those in the US who choose to be directly implicated in Israel’s ongoing crimes — by their words, their actions, or their silence. All the more so because there are very clear non-violent alternatives – which, however, have the disadvantage that they bar the programs of illegal expansion.

    Israel has a straightforward means to defend itself: put an end to its criminal actions in occupied territories, and accept the long-standing international consensus on a two-state settlement that has been blocked by the US and Israel for over 30 years, since the US first vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for a political settlement in these terms in 1976. I will not once again run through the inglorious record, but it is important to be aware that US-Israeli rejectionism today is even more blatant than in the past. The Arab League has gone even beyond the consensus, calling for full normalization of relations with Israel. Hamas has repeatedly called for a two-state settlement in terms of the international consensus. Iran and Hezbollah have made it clear that they will abide by any agreement that Palestinians accept. That leaves the US-Israel in splendid isolation, not only in words.

    The more detailed record is informative. The Palestinian National Council formally accepted the international consensus in 1988. The response of the Shamir-Peres coalition government, affirmed by James Baker’s State Department, was that there cannot be an “additional Palestinian state” between Israel and Jordan – the latter already a Palestinian state by US-Israeli dictate. The Oslo accords that followed put to the side potential Palestinian national rights, and the threat that they might be realized in some meaningful form was systematically undermined through the Oslo years by Israel’s steady expansion of illegal settlements. Settlement accelerated in 2000, President Clinton’s and Prime Minister Barak’s last year, when negotiations took place at Camp David against that background.

    After blaming Yassir Arafat for the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton backtracked, and recognized that the US-Israeli proposals were too extremist to be acceptable to any Palestinian. In December 2000, he presented his “parameters,” vague but more forthcoming. He then announced that both sides had accepted the parameters, while both expressed reservations. The two sides met in Taba Egypt in January 2001 and came very close to an agreement, and would have been able to do so in a few more days, they said in their final press conference. But the negotiations were cancelled prematurely by Ehud Barak. That week in Taba is the one break in over 30 years of US-Israeli rejectionism. There is no reason why that one break in the record cannot be resumed.

    The preferred version, recently reiterated by Ethan Bronner, is that “Many abroad recall Mr. Barak as the prime minister who in 2000 went further than any Israeli leader in peace offers to the Palestinians, only to see the deal fail and explode in a violent Palestinian uprising that drove him from power.” It’s true that “many abroad” believe this deceitful fairy tale, thanks to what Bronner and too many of his colleagues call “journalism”.

    It is commonly claimed that a two-state solution is now unattainable because if the IDF tried to remove settlers, it would lead to a civil war. That may be true, but much more argument is needed. Without resorting to force to expel illegal settlers, the IDF could simply withdraw to whatever boundaries are established by negotiations. The settlers beyond those boundaries would have the choice of leaving their subsidized homes to return to Israel, or to remain under Palestinian authority. The same was true of the carefully staged “national trauma” in Gaza in 2005, so transparently fraudulent that it was ridiculed by Israeli commentators. It would have sufficed for Israel to announce that the IDF would withdraw, and the settlers who were subsidized to enjoy their life in Gaza would have quietly climbed into the lorries provided to them and travelled to their new subsidized residences in the West Bank. But that would not have produced tragic photos of agonized children and passionate calls of “never again.”

    To summarize, contrary to the claim that is constantly reiterated, Israel has no right to use force to defend itself against rockets from Gaza, even if they are regarded as terrorist crimes. Furthermore, the reasons are transparent. The pretext for launching the attack is without merit.

    There is also a narrower question. Does Israel have peaceful short-term alternatives to the use of force in response to rockets from Gaza. One short-term alternative would be to accept a ceasefire. Sometimes Israel has done so, while instantly violating it. The most recent and currently relevant case is June 2008. The ceasefire called for opening the border crossings to “allow the transfer of all goods that were banned and restricted to go into Gaza.” Israel formally agreed, but immediately announced that it would not abide by the agreement and open the borders until Hamas released Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in June 2006.

    The steady drumbeat of accusations about the capture of Shalit is, again, blatant hypocrisy, even putting aside Israel’s long history of kidnapping. In this case, the hypocrisy could not be more glaring. One day before Hamas captured Shalit, Israeli soldiers entered Gaza City and kidnapped two civilians, the Muammar brothers, bringing them to Israel to join the thousands of other prisoners held there, almost 1000 reportedly without charge. Kidnapping civilians is a far more serious crime than capturing a soldier of an attacking army, but it was barely reported in contrast to the furor over Shalit. And all that remains in memory, blocking peace, is the capture of Shalit, another reflection of the difference between humans and two-legged beasts. Shalit should be returned – in a fair prisoner exchange.

    It was after the capture of Shalit that Israel’s unrelenting military attack against Gaza passed from merely vicious to truly sadistic. But it is well to recall that even before his capture, Israel had fired more than 7,700 shells at northern Gaza after its September withdrawal, eliciting virtually no comment.

    After rejecting the June 2008 ceasefire it had formally accepted, Israel maintained its siege. We may recall that a siege is an act of war. In fact, Israel has always insisted on an even stronger principle: hampering access to the outside world, even well short of a siege, is an act of war, justifying massive violence in response. Interference with Israel’s passage through the Straits of Tiran was part of the pretext for Israel’s invasion of Egypt (with France and England) in 1956, and for its launching of the June 1967 war. The siege of Gaza is total, not partial, apart from occasional willingness of the occupiers to relax it slightly. And it is vastly more harmful to Gazans than closing the Straits of Tiran was to Israel. Supporters of Israeli doctrines and actions should therefore have no problem justifying rocket attacks on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.

    Of course, again we run into the nullifying principle: This is us, that is them.

    Israel not only maintained the siege after June 2008, but did so with extreme rigor. It even prevented UNRWA from replenishing its stores, “so when the ceasefire broke down, we ran out of food for the 750,000 who depend on us,” UNRWA director John Ging informed the BBC.

    Despite the Israeli siege, rocketing sharply reduced. The ceasefire broke down on November 4 with an Israeli raid into Gaza, leading to the death of 6 Palestinians, and a retaliatory barrage of rockets (with no injuries). The pretext for the raid was that Israel had detected a tunnel in Gaza that might have been intended for use to capture another Israeli soldier. The pretext is transparently absurd, as a number of commentators have noted. If such a tunnel existed, and reached the border, Israel could easily have barred it right there. But as usual, the ludicrous Israeli pretext was deemed credible.

    What was the reason for the Israeli raid? We have no internal evidence about Israeli planning, but we do know that the raid came shortly before scheduled Hamas-Fatah talks in Cairo aimed at “reconciling their differences and creating a single, unified government,” British correspondent Rory McCarthy reported. That was to be the first Fatah-Hamas meeting since the June 2007 civil war that left Hamas in control of Gaza, and would have been a significant step towards advancing diplomatic efforts. There is a long history of Israel provocations to deter the threat of diplomacy, some already mentioned. This may have been another one.

    The civil war that left Hamas in control of Gaza is commonly described as a Hamas military coup, demonstrating again their evil nature. The real world is a little different. The civil war was incited by the US and Israel, in a crude attempt at a military coup to overturn the free elections that brought Hamas to power. That has been public knowledge at least since April 2008, when David Rose published in Vanity Fair a detailed and documented account of how Bush, Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams “backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.” The account was recently corroborated once again in the Christian Science Monitor (Jan. 12, 2009) by Norman Olsen, who served for 26 years in the Foreign Service, including four years working in the Gaza Strip and four years at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, and then moved on to become associate coordinator for counterterrorism at the Department of State. Olson and his son detail the State Department shenanigans intended to ensure that their candidate, Abbas, would win in the January 2006 elections – in which case it would have been hailed as a triumph of democracy. After the election-fixing failed, they turned to punishment of the Palestinians and arming of a militia run by Fatah strong-man Muhammad Dahlan, but “Dahlan’s thugs moved too soon” and a Hamas pre-emptive strike undermined the coup attempt, leading to far harsher US-Israeli measures to punish the disobedient people of Gaza. The Party Line is more acceptable.

    After Israel broke the June 2008 ceasefire (such as it was) in November, the siege was tightened further, with even more disastrous consequences for the population. According to Sara Roy, the leading academic specialist on Gaza, “On Nov. 5, Israel sealed all crossing points into Gaza, vastly reducing and at times denying food supplies, medicines, fuel, cooking gas, and parts for water and sanitation systems…” During November, an average of 4.6 trucks of food per day entered Gaza from Israel compared with an average of 123 trucks per day in October. Spare parts for the repair and maintenance of water-related equipment have been denied entry for over a year. The World Health Organization just reported that half of Gaza’s ambulances are now out of order” – and the rest soon became targets for Israeli attack. Gaza’s only power station was forced to suspend operation for lack of fuel, and could not be started up again because they needed spare parts, which had been sitting in the Israeli port of Ashdod for 8 months. Shortage of electricity led to a 300% increase in burn cases at Shifaa’ hospital in the Gaza Strip, resulting from efforts to light wood fires. Israel barred shipment of Chlorine, so that by mid-December in Gaza City and the north access to water was limited to six hours every three days. The human consequences are not counted among Palestinian victims of Israeli terror.

    After the November 4 Israeli attack, both sides escalated violence (all deaths were Palestinian) until the ceasefire formally ended on Dec. 19, and Prime Minister Olmert authorized the full-scale invasion.

    A few days earlier Hamas had proposed to return to the original July ceasefire agreement, which Israel had not observed. Historian and former Carter administration high official Robert Pastor passed the proposal to a “senior official” in the IDF, but Israel did not respond. The head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, was quoted in Israeli sources on December 21 as saying that Hamas is interested in continuing the “calm” with Israel, while its military wing is continuing preparations for conflict.

    “There clearly was an alternative to the military approach to stopping the rockets,” Pastor said, keeping to the narrow issue of Gaza. There was also a more far-reaching alternative, which is rarely discussed: namely, accepting a political settlement including all of the occupied territories.

    Israel’s senior diplomatic correspondent Akiva Eldar reports that shortly before Israel launched its full-scale invasion on Saturday Dec. 27, “Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal announced on the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Web site that he was prepared not only for a `cessation of aggression’ – he proposed going back to the arrangement at the Rafah crossing as of 2005, before Hamas won the elections and later took over the region. That arrangement was for the crossing to be managed jointly by Egypt, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority presidency and Hamas,” and as noted earlier, called for opening of the crossings to desperately needed supplies.

    A standard claim of the more vulgar apologists for Israeli violence is that in the case of the current assault, “as in so many instances in the past half century – the Lebanon War of 1982, the `Iron Fist’ response to the 1988 intifada, the Lebanon War of 2006 – the Israelis have reacted to intolerable acts of terror with a determination to inflict terrible pain, to teach the enemy a lesson” (New Yorker editor David Remnick). The 2006 invasion can be justified only on the grounds of appalling cynicism, as already discussed. The reference to the vicious response to the 1988 intifada is too depraved even to discuss; a sympathetic interpretation might be that it reflects astonishing ignorance. But Remnick’s claim about the 1982 invasion is quite common, a remarkable feat of incessant propaganda, which merits a few reminders.

    Uncontroversially, the Israel-Lebanon border was quiet for a year before the Israeli invasion, at least from Lebanon to Israel, north to south. Through the year, the PLO scrupulously observed a US-initiated ceasefire, despite constant Israeli provocations, including bombing with many civilian casualties, presumably intended to elicit some reaction that could be used to justify Israel’s carefully planned invasion. The best Israel could achieve was two light symbolic responses. It then invaded with a pretext too absurd to be taken seriously.

    The invasion had precisely nothing to do with “intolerable acts of terror,” though it did have to do with intolerable acts: of diplomacy. That has never been obscure. Shortly after the US-backed invasion began, Israel’s leading academic specialist on the Palestinians, Yehoshua Porath – no dove — wrote that Arafat’s success in maintaining the ceasefire constituted “a veritable catastrophe in the eyes of the Israeli government,” since it opened the way to a political settlement. The government hoped that the PLO would resort to terrorism, undermining the threat that it would be “a legitimate negotiating partner for future political accommodations.”

    The facts were well-understood in Israel, and not concealed. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir stated that Israel went to war because there was “a terrible danger… Not so much a military one as a political one,” prompting the fine Israeli satirist B. Michael to write that “the lame excuse of a military danger or a danger to the Galilee is dead.” We “have removed the political danger” by striking first, in time; now, “Thank God, there is no one to talk to.” Historian Benny Morris recognized that the PLO had observed the ceasefire, and explained that “the war’s inevitability rested on the PLO as a political threat to Israel and to Israel’s hold on the occupied territories.” Others have frankly acknowledged the unchallenged facts.

    In a front-page think-piece on the latest Gaza invasion, NYT correspondent Steven Lee Meyers writes that “In some ways, the Gaza attacks were reminiscent of the gamble Israel took, and largely lost, in Lebanon in 1982 [when] it invaded to eliminate the threat of Yasir Arafat’s forces.” Correct, but not in the sense he has in mind. In 1982, as in 2008, it was necessary to eliminate the threat of political settlement.

    The hope of Israeli propagandists has been that Western intellectuals and media would buy the tale that Israel reacted to rockets raining on the Galilee, “intolerable acts of terror.” And they have not been disappointed.

    It is not that Israel does not want peace: everyone wants peace, even Hitler. The question is: on what terms? From its origins, the Zionist movement has understood that to achieve its goals, the best strategy would be to delay political settlement, meanwhile slowly building facts on the ground. Even the occasional agreements, as in 1947, were recognized by the leadership to be temporary steps towards further expansion. The 1982 Lebanon war was a dramatic example of the desperate fear of diplomacy. It was followed by Israeli support for Hamas so as to undermine the secular PLO and its irritating peace initiatives. Another case that should be familiar is Israeli provocations before the 1967 war designed to elicit a Syrian response that could be used as a pretext for violence and takeover of more land – at least 80% of the incidents, according to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.

    The story goes far back. The official history of the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish military force, describes the assassination of the religious Jewish poet Jacob de Haan in 1924, accused of conspiring with the traditional Jewish community (the Old Yishuv) and the Arab Higher Committee against the new immigrants and their settlement enterprise. And there have been numerous examples since.

    The effort to delay political accommodation has always made perfect sense, as do the accompanying lies about how “there is no partner for peace.” It is hard to think of another way to take over land where you are not wanted.

    Similar reasons underlie Israel’s preference for expansion over security. Its violation of the ceasefire on November 4 2009 is one of many recent examples.

    An Amnesty International chronology reports that the June 2008 ceasefire had “brought enormous improvements in the quality of life in Sderot and other Israeli villages near Gaza, where before the ceasefire residents lived in fear of the next Palestinian rocket strike. However, nearby in the Gaza Strip the Israeli blockade remains in place and the population has so far seen few dividends from the ceasefire.” But the gains in security for Israel towns near Gaza were evidently outweighed by the felt need to deter diplomatic moves that might impede West Bank expansion, and to crush any remaining resistance within Palestine.

    The preference for expansion over security has been particularly evident since Israel’s fateful decision in 1971, backed by Henry Kissinger, to reject the offer of a full peace treaty by President Sadat of Egypt, offering nothing to the Palestinians – an agreement that the US and Israel were compelled to accept at Camp David eight years later, after a major war that was a near disaster for Israel. A peace treaty with Egypt would have ended any significant security threat, but there was an unacceptable quid pro quo: Israel would have had to abandon its extensive settlement programs in the northeastern Sinai. Security was a lower priority than expansion, as it still is. Substantial evidence for this basic conclusion is provided in a magisterial study of Israel’s security and foreign policy by Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land.

    Today, Israel could have security, normalization of relations, and integration into the region. But it very clearly prefers illegal expansion, conflict, and repeated exercise of violence, actions that are not only criminal, murderous and destructive but are also eroding its own long-term security. US military and Middle East specialist Andrew Cordesman writes that while Israel military force can surely crush defenseless Gaza, “neither Israel nor the US can gain from a war that produces [a bitter] reaction from one of the wisest and most moderate voices in the Arab world, Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who said on January 6 that `The Bush administration has left [Obama] a disgusting legacy and a reckless position towards the massacres and bloodshed of innocents in Gaza…Enough is enough, today we are all Palestinians and we seek martyrdom for God and for Palestine, following those who died in Gaza’.”

    One of the wisest voices in Israel, Uri Avnery, writes that after an Israeli military victory, “What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. This will have severe consequences for our long-term future, our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet. In the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the State of Israel.”

    There is good reason to believe that he is right. Israel is deliberately turning itself into perhaps the most hated country in the world, and is also losing the allegiance of the population of the West, including younger American Jews, who are unlikely to tolerate its persistent shocking crimes for long. Decades ago, I wrote that those who call themselves “supporters of Israel” are in reality supporters of its moral degeneration and probable ultimate destruction. Regrettably, that judgment looks more and more plausible.

    Meanwhile we are quietly observing a rare event in history, what the late Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called “politicide,” the murder of a nation — at our hands.

    Source

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    There are more stories on Gaza in the Archives

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