Iran complains to U.N. over U.S. nuclear “threat”

Iran complains to U.N. over U.S. nuclear “threat”

(Reuters) – Iran complained to the United Nations on Tuesday over what it called a U.S. threat to attack it with atomic weapons, accusing Washington of nuclear blackmail in violation of the U.N. charter.

President Barack Obama made clear last week that Iran and North Korea, both involved in nuclear disputes with the West, were excluded from new limits on the use of U.S. atomic weapons.

A letter from Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council and General Assembly presidents called on the United Nations to “strongly oppose the threat of use of nuclear weapons and to reject it.”

Statements by Obama and other U.S. officials were “tantamount to nuclear blackmail against a non-nuclear-weapon state” and breached U.S. obligations under the U.N. charter to refrain from the threat or use of force, Khazaee said.

“Such remarks by the U.S. officials display once again the reliance of the U.S. government on (a) militarized approach to various issues, to which the threats of use of nuclear weapons are not a solution at all,” he added.

They also posed “a real threat to international peace and security and undermine the credibility” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the envoy said.

Obama is urging other global powers to agree to a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Iran denies.

He pressed the case for sanctions at a 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington on Tuesday, at which he won pledges from world leaders to take joint action to prevent terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons.

But Khazaee said that Iran, as a victim of weapons of mass destruction — a reference to Iraq’s use of poison gas against it in a 1980-88 war — was firmly committed to a world free from such weapons.

The United States, the only country to have used nuclear weapons — against Japan in World War Two — “continues to illegitimately designate a non-nuclear weapon state as target of its nuclear weapons and contemplates military plans accordingly,” he said.

U.N. members “should not condone or tolerate such nuclear blackmail in (the) 21st century,” the Iranian envoy said.

(Editing by Vicki Allen) Source

Well since the brought up the subject of the Summit. Here is some information.

Factbox: China’s civilian and military nuclear activities

April  2010

(Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao is among the prominent leaders attending a two-day nuclear security summit opening on Monday in Washington D.C.

The meeting hosted by President Barack Obama will focus on making atomic facilities and materials safer from theft and terrorist attack, not broader questions about arms controls and cuts.

Here are some facts about China’s civilian and military nuclear activities:

GROWING NUCLEAR POWER SECTOR

China has 11 working nuclear reactors producing 9.1 gigawatts of power, but wants to raise capacity to 60 GW by 2020, over 5 percent of the total installed power generating capacity.

To reach that goal, China has 17 reactors under construction, and 124 more on the drawing boards, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) industry group.

The expansion will cause Chinese demand for uranium to rise ten fold by 2030, making it the world’s second biggest consumer after the United States, according the WNA forecasts.

MODEST BUT MODERNISING NUCLEAR ARSENAL

China staged its first nuclear test explosion in October 1964. It joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1992, and is one of the five powers under that treaty with the right to have nuclear weapons.

Like all the nuclear weapons states, China is secretive about its arsenal. Foreign intelligence and expert estimates of its total stockpile of nuclear warheads vary from about 200 to 240 warheads.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has estimated that by 2009 China had 186 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, compared to 2,202 for the United States and 2,787 for Russia.

The other Reuters story

Factbox: Who are the world’s nuclear powers? April 13 2010

says.

CHINA: China is estimated to have about 250 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and sufficient stocks of fissile material to produce a much larger arsenal. It acceded to the NPT in 1992 as a nuclear weapon state. China has pledged not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states.

According to the START counting rules, as of January 2009 the United States had an estimated 5,200 nuclear warheads and 2,700 operationally deployed warheads (2,200 strategic and 500 nonstrategic).

The 2002 Treaty of Moscow (the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT) between the United States and Russia, states that each country must reduce their deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads by 2012.

RUSSIA: Russia is estimated to have around 14,000 nuclear weapons, although the total is uncertain because there is no accurate count of tactical weapons. Under provisions of START I, the Russian nuclear arsenal has been reduced to around 3,909 strategic nuclear warheads as of January 2009. Source

Both stories are from Reuters but the numbers changed. So which is the truth your guess is as good as mine. It’s no wonder readers get confused. One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out the press isn’t always truthful.

There are 9 Nuclear powers in the world. US, Russia, China, Britain, Israel, France, India, Pakistan, and recently North Korea.

The United States has also provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey to deploy and store, that I know of, there may be more.

Japan just discovered recently.

Japan Report: Private Agreements Allowed US to Bring Nukes


“There are no indications that China is designing, testing, or producing new nuclear weapons designs,” according to Jeffrey Lewis of the New America Foundation, a thinktank in Washington D.C., in an overview of Chinese nuclear arms policy.

But China is modernizing the means to deliver its nuclear warheads. It is gradually replacing its older, liquid-fueled ballistic nuclear-capable missiles with solid-fuel missiles, which will make launching them faster and less cumbersome.

China is also building new “Jin-class” ballistic missile submarines, capable of launching nuclear warheads while at sea.

These will replace China’s one “Xia-class” ballistic missile submarine, which experts say is in mothballs.

(Sources: Reuters; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Jeffrey Lewis, “Chinese Nuclear Posture and Force Modernization”; Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, “Chinese nuclear forces, 2008,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist)

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by David Fox) Source

Obama hails progress at nuclear safety summit

April 13 2010

The steps taken at the nuclear safety summit in Washington D.C. will make the world a safer place, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday.

“Today’s progress was possible because these leaders came not simply to talk but to take action, not simply to make pledges of future action but to commit to meaningful steps that they are prepared to implement right now,” Obama said as he wrapped up the two-day conference.

Obama said the participants all agreed to the seriousness of the threat of nuclear attacks, a change from the beginning of the summit when there was a range of views on the issue.

“Today we are declaring that nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security,” Obama said.

He said all nations also endorsed the goal to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years time.

Obama said some important achievements were reached during the summit. Canada said it would return its stockpile of enriched uranium to the United States, while Ukraine announced it will give up its entire stockpile of weapons-grade uranium by 2012 — most of it this year.

He said Chile and Mexico also announced they would give up their entire stockpile of enriched uranium, and that nations such as Argentina and Pakistan had announced steps to strengthen port security and prevent nuclear smuggling.

Co-operation questioned

Obama was asked by a reporter how countries that have been at odds over different issues will co-operate since everything to be done is on a voluntary basis without any binding commitment.

“The point is that we’ve got world leaders who have just announced that, in fact, this is a commitment that they’re making. I believe they take their commitments very seriously,” Obama said. “If what you’re asking is, do we have a international one-world law-enforcement mechanism, we don’t. We never have.”

Shortly after the opening of the conference, Canada, the United States and Mexico announced a plan to convert Mexico’s research reactor to low-enriched uranium from highly enriched uranium. About 11 kilograms of highly enriched uranium will be shipped from the Mexican reactor to the U.S.

Canada will contribute about $5 million to the conversion project.

Obama also announced that the U.S. is joining with Canada in calling on nations to commit $10 billion to extend a global partnership that would strengthen nuclear security around the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was among 47 world leaders gathered at the meeting said that Canada has not made that request, but there have been discussions among G8 partners about the initiative.

“Canada is not the originator of the request but obviously we’re going to be looking at this request very seriously and I know all our G8 partners will do the same,” Harper said.

China may join Iran sanctions

The G8 signed on to the program at its 2002 summit in Kananaskis, Alta. Since then, the group has spent more than $600 million helping other countries decommission and secure their nuclear material.

Obama also said he is confident China will join other nations in pressing for tough new sanctions on Iran for continuing to seek nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.

“Words have to mean something,” Obama said. “There have to be some consequences.”

Hu and Obama met for 90 minutes on Monday after which U.S. officials said the two agreed to tell their aides to work on a tough new sanctions program. However, a Chinese spokesman did not mention sanctions in his description of the meeting. Source

So who is going to disarm the US, and why should they be in control of all Uranium? Seems they are the ones making more bombs then any one.

They above all cannot be trusted with it. They are threatening a Nuclear strike and also have in the past plus all the DU they have left in every country they have invaded in recent years. They leave a trail of cancer and other illness behind everywhere they go. To trust them is like letting the fox guard the hen house. Just a really stupid thing to do.

I for one do not trust the US as far as I could throw them. Even their own citizens do not trust them.

Obama said the participants all agreed to the seriousness of the threat of nuclear attacks, a change from the beginning of the summit when there was a range of views on the issue.

He is the one doing the threatening. DUHHHHHHHHHH

This summit was nothing more then a sham, to get more on side to go after Iran. It is also a way to suck money and Uranium out of other countries.

So what is this blackmail, give me all your Uranium or I will start Nuking countries?

The fall out from any Nuclear attack not only affects the country bombed, but all the neighboring countries.  It also affects the entire world. The wind blows it goes. So when the US threatens a Nuclear attack on any country in the world it is everyone’s business.

It would also affect those living in Israel. But I guess that is OK with the Israelis they have a death wish right?  Their government is all for Nuking Iran. All intelligent citizens should however be concerned. Will they do anything?  Probably not. They will sit idly by and get radiated instead.

It would also affect China who of course does not have a death wish and would be very displeased at the thought.

The rest of the Middle East will not be impressed either. It would also affect them as well.

Obama should stop threatening,  it is illegal under International Law, no exceptions.  The US has more weapons of mass destruction then any other country in the world. They really should be monitored. Sanctioned even.

Seems the US thinks it is OK to be above the Law, the rest of us must live by.

Will the UN do anything probably not, it is run by the US watch and see?

Point of Interest

Iran needs the 20 percent-enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces radio medicine for cancer patients.

The country has been promised nuclear fuel for over 30 years now. Despite being a 10-percent shareholder and hence entitled to the European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium (Eurodif)’s output, Iran has never received enriched uranium from France.

Tehran and Paris have also signed a deal, under which France is obliged to deliver 50 tons of uranium hexafluoride to Iran — another obligation France has failed to meet. Source

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US violates UN law by threatening Iran

Iran’s envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog says the US nuclear policy which allows the use of nuclear arms against Tehran is a clear violation of the UN Charter.

Speaking on Monday, Ali-Asghar Soltanieh called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to deal with the US violations.

The US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) purportedly restricts the use of its nuclear arms against most non-atomic states, except Iran and North Korea, which are accused by the US of seeking nuclear weapons.

Soltanieh also said the outcome of the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is not binding as only a limited number of countries have been invited.

Unlike North Korea, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Tehran has stressed that its nuclear program is only for the civilian applications of the technology.

The UN nuclear watchdog has, in many reports, declared that there is no evidence of military objectives in Iran’s nuclear program.

“According to international laws, any threat to use nuclear weapons against other countries … is against the UN Charter, the [International Atomic Energy] Agency’s regulations and international laws,” ISNA quoted Soltanieh as saying.

“The UN Security Council should act swiftly and deal with the US violations in this regard.”

Later on Monday, US President Barack Obama was to open the nuclear security summit which is being attended by the leaders of 46 other countries. Iran is not represented at the conference.

“The outcome of the Washington conference is already known. Any decision taken at the meeting is not binding on those countries which are not represented at the conference,” Soltanieh said.

The Iranian envoy said the NPR proves Washington’s unreliability on the nuclear arms issue, adding that the new US policy shows that the nuclear-armed power is in fact a big threat to international peace. Source

US says Iran is not ‘nuclear capable’

April 10 2010

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has accused Iran of moving toward the production of nuclear weapons but said that Iran is not “nuclear capable” yet.

“I’d just say, and it’s our judgment here, they are not nuclear capable,” Gates said in an interview. “Not yet.”

Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Gates said that Iran was “continuing to make progress” in its nuclear program, which Washington alleges also has a clandestine military component.

“It’s going slower… than they anticipated. But they are moving in that direction,” he claimed.

Gates denied that the US was resigned to Iran becoming a nuclear-armed power.

“We have not… drawn that conclusion at all. And in fact, we’re doing everything we can to try and keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” he said.

The Pentagon chief’s comments come despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never found a shred of evidence indicating that Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program.

Iran, which is an IAEA member and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has repeatedly declared that the only aim of its nuclear program is producing energy for peaceful purposes. Source

Iran has been promised nuclear fuel for over 30 years now. Despite being a 10-percent shareholder and hence entitled to the European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium (Eurodif)’s output, Iran has never received enriched uranium from France.

Tehran and Paris have also signed a deal, under which France is obliged to deliver 50 tons of uranium hexafluoride to Iran — another obligation France has failed to meet. Source

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A little history on the instigator of this threat of war on Iran.

Arab League Calls for Inspection of Israel’s Nuclear Installations (IsraelWire- July 22 1998

According to a Jordan Times newspaper report, the Arab League on Tuesday adopted a resolution urging the international community to stop providing Israel with material for its nuclear program until it allows inspection of its installations.

Nuclear Overview

Introduction

Israel is the sixth nation in the world, and the first in the Middle East, to develop and acquire a nuclear weapons capability. Israel initiated its nuclear program in earnest in the mid-to-late 1950s, and by late 1966, it had completed the R&D phase of its first nuclear weapon device. Since 1970, Israel’s status as a nuclear weapon state (NWS) has become an accepted international fact.

However, Israel’s behavior as a NWS has been distinctly different from the behavior of the five official members of the nuclear club that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—the United States, Russia, France, China, and the United Kingdom; and India and Pakistan, which have not signed the NPT. While these nations have publicly declared their nuclear status, Israel, to this day, has never confirmed or denied its nuclear status and remains outside the NPT. Since Prime Minister Levi Eshkol pledged in the mid-1960s that “Israel will not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East,” all his successors have adhered to this opaque declared policy, and this policy has become known as Israel’s policy of “nuclear opacity” or ambiguity.

Israel is now an advanced NWS, in both quality and quantity of its arsenal. Estimates as to the size of Israel’s nuclear arsenal vary and range from 100 to over 200 warheads.

History

The history of the Israeli nuclear project is still shrouded in a great deal of secrecy. As part of Israel’s policy of nuclear opacity (see below), Israel’s military censorship prohibits publication of any factual Israeli-based information on the nuclear project.[1] Consequently, only fragmentary bits and pieces of information on the topic have ever been published, and most commonly only in the form of unconfirmed press reports by the non-Israeli press. Thus, the historical narrative offered here is sketchy and incomplete. Its main source for the period up to 1970 is Avner Cohen’s book Israel and the Bomb, while for the more recent period, it is based on various non-Israeli reports and publications (all unconfirmed), including the so-called Vanunu testimony, the disclosure made on 5 October 1986 in the London Sunday Times, based on a testimony of Mordechai Vanunu, a technician who had worked at the Dimona nuclear facility and subsequently broke his oath of secrecy.[2]

The Initiation Phase

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was obsessed and driven by the vision that a nuclear capability would be the answer to Israel’s security predicament. He considered the Arab-Israeli conflict to be deep and enduring, and, consequently, he believed that the resolution of the conflict could come only after the Arabs were compelled to accept the existence of the state of Israel. Until that time, Israel would have to rely on its sword. Furthermore, only technology, he believed, could provide Israel the qualitative edge necessary to overcome its inferiority in population, resources, and size. As Shimon Peres (his aide at the time) once put it, “Ben-Gurion believed that science could compensate us for what Nature has denied us.”[3] This phrase is, in essence, the whole rationale for Israel’s nuclear project.

Two other men were instrumental in making Ben-Gurion’s nuclear vision a reality. The first was Professor Ernst David Bergmann, an organic chemist by training, who was Ben-Gurion’s close scientific advisor. In 1952, Bergmann founded the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) as the vehicle through which to realize this nuclear vision. The second was Shimon Peres, then young director-general of the Ministry of Defense, who was the administrator-politician who promoted that vision. As the architect of the “special relations” between Israel and France in the mid-to-late 1950s, Peres was the man behind the French-Israeli nuclear deal under which the nuclear complex in Dimona was built. For all practical purposes, Peres was the chief executive of the project during its initiation stage (a role he filled until he left the Ministry of Defense in 1965).

From early on, Peres recognized that it would be impossible for Israel to fulfill its nuclear dream on its own. He concluded that Israel needed a major foreign nuclear supplier. In 1955, Israel was the second nation in the world to sign an agreement under the Eisenhower administration’s “Atoms for Peace” program, but it soon recognized that this program could not be the prime vehicle for Israel through which to build an ambitious nuclear program aimed at military applications. France, on the other hand—which at the time was considering its own military nuclear program—seemed the most logical choice as the project’s primary foreign supplier. The nuclear issue was clearly one of the underlying motives behind Peres’ efforts to build the France-Israel alliance in the mid-to-late 1950s.

Israeli-French nuclear discussions about a major nuclear deal had been initiated prior to the 1956 Suez campaign—a brief armed conflict in which Israel, with the backing of Britain and France, attacked Egypt in response to the Arab nation’s blockading of the Suez Canal and its support of border-area attacks by Arab fighters. But it was that joint military campaign – and in particular the Soviet Union’s veiled nuclear threats against both countries during the campaign – that gave impetus to the sensitive talks between Israel and France. Still, it took Peres another year of on-and-off negotiations to produce the entire package, during which time a heated- but quiet – debate took place in Israel itself about the technological, financial, and political feasibility and desirability of the project. Ultimately, however, it was Prime Minister Ben-Gurion’s project, and he gave the necessary support to Peres to complete the deal.

In early 2007, a biography about Shimon Peres was published which revealed new information regarding the signing of the French-Israeli nuclear deal, indicating that the deal may have been signed a day earlier than previously thought. According to the author, Michael Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres persuaded French Prime Minister Maurice Bourges-Maunoury to backdate the deal by one day. This was done because of the fact that the government of Bourges-Maunoury had fallen the day before which would have annulled the deal had it become known at the time.[4] The French-Israeli nuclear deal was secretly signed in Paris on 3 October 1957. The details of the bilateral agreement are still unknown, but it is believed to have consisted of two sets of agreements. The first was a political agreement between the two governments; it was general and vague and dealt with the political and legal obligations of the two parties. The second was a technical agreement between the two nations’ nuclear commissions; it referred to the specifics of the scientific and technological cooperation between the two states. According to French author Pierre Pean, the most sensitive aspects of the package were not spelled out in any of the official documents but were left as verbal understandings. Pean suggests also that the governmental documents did not reflect the full scope of the Dimona deal. For example, the most sensitive and secret component of the entire package, the reprocessing plant, apparently has no explicit reference in the official documents.[5]

Sometime in early 1958, Israel started the excavation and construction work at the Dimona site. When French President de Gaulle learned soon after his election about the secret project, he acted to end French participation in it, but it took almost a year until his decision was translated into meaningful action. When de Gaulle informed Ben-Gurion in June 1960 about his decision, Israel decided to complete the project on its own.[6]

Not until December 1960, almost three years after the Dimona project had been initiated, did the United States learn about it. As the departing Eisenhower administration made its discovery public, it demanded an Israeli explanation as to the nature of the project. In response, the Israeli government told the U.S. government that the new project was for “peaceful purposes.” On 23 December 1960, Ben-Gurion informed the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) that the 24-megawatt (MW) research reactor under construction would be “peaceful,” designed for scientific, industrial, and medical applications. This was the first and last time that the Israeli government made a public statement about the Dimona project.[7]

In retrospect, this statement entailed the strategy that Israel would use to overcome U.S. opposition to the project in the early mid-1960s. From the outset, the Israeli nuclear case posed a great challenge to U.S. nonproliferation policy. President Kennedy was determined to thwart Israel’s efforts to acquire a nuclear capability, fearing that it could undermine his nonproliferation efforts. He firmly insisted that U.S. scientists be allowed to visit Dimona to verify Israel’s claims that the facility was not for producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. Such a visit took place in May 1961, setting the stage for a meeting between Ben-Gurion and President Kennedy. The meeting resulted in the nuclear issue being removed from the Israeli-U.S. agenda for two years.

Two years later, as construction at Dimona neared completion, Kennedy reapplied the pressure on Israel over Dimona. In a tough exchange of letters with Prime Ministers Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol (who replaced Ben-Gurion in July 1963), Kennedy demanded semi-annual U.S. inspection visits in Dimona, threatening that bilateral relations would be “seriously jeopardized” if Israel did not comply with his demands. By late August 1963, after weeks of intense consultations, Israel appeared to agree with Kennedy’s demands – or at least so Kennedy was led to believe.

By the time U.S. scientists began the visits to Dimona in early 1964 according to the Kennedy-Eshkol deal, Kennedy had been assassinated, and President Johnson was less committed to nonproliferation in general and to the Israel case in particular. While Kennedy’s effort to halt the Israeli nuclear project failed, it shaped the very special mode under which Israel became a NWS. The United States was not in a position to stop the Israeli nuclear program – Israel, by that time, was already fully committed to creating a nuclear option – but U.S. policies determined the way in which Israel acquired the bomb. Israel developed the bomb opaquely, in a manner that avoided defying U.S. nonproliferation policies. A policy of ambiguity was born.

It was during the years of the Johnson administration that Israel crossed the technological nuclear threshold. While Israel completed the R&D work on its first nuclear device sometime in late 1966, it continued to pledge to the Johnson administration that “it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the region.” Clearly, Israel was committed to having a nuclear option, but this did not mean necessarily a commitment to becoming a NWS. In fact, Israeli hesitation as to the future of its nuclear program seemed to intensify in the wake of a major accident at the Dimona facility in December 1966, which caused the shutdown of the nuclear plant for three months.

Crossing the Nuclear Threshold

The 1967 Six-Day War was a turning point in Israel’s nuclear history. In Israel and the Bomb, author Avner Cohen revealed that on the eve of the Six-Day War, in late May 1967, Israeli engineers improvised rudimentary, but operational, nuclear weapons—the first time that Israel assembled nuclear devices.[8] The 1967 war brought about a new political and strategic reality, as well as domestic changes in Israel itself that significantly decreased Israel’s nuclear inhibition. The fear that Israeli nuclear development could bring about a Middle East war was moot now. With its victory in the 1967 war, Israel had passed the vulnerable transition period with little opportunity for an Arab reaction.

However, by 1968 a new factor came into the picture and started to play a significant role in Israel’s nuclear behavior. The advent of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), co-sponsored and signed by the United States in the summer of 1968, reshaped the U.S.-Israeli dialogue on the nuclear issue. By November 1968, against the background of strong U.S. pressure to join the NPT – a demand that was linked to the first sale of Phantom aircraft to Israel – Israel told the United States that, given its unique security needs, it could not sign the NPT at the present time. President Johnson ultimately approved the Phantom deal without linking it to Israeli concession on the NPT issue.

Less than one year later, in September 1969, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir reached a secret agreement with President Richard Nixon on the Israeli nuclear issue. Meir explained to Nixon why Israel had been compelled to develop a nuclear capability, why it could not sign the NPT, but also stated that Israel would not become a declared nuclear power. That meant, operationally, that Israel would not test nuclear devices, would not declare itself a NWS, and would not use its nuclear status capability for diplomatic gains, but keep its bomb “in the basement.” While Israel would not join the NPT, it would not defy it either.

In the wake of the Meir-Nixon agreement, the United States ended its annual visits in Dimona; in addition, the United States no longer pressured Israel to sign the NPT, adopting instead a de-facto policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” This policy was perceived by both Israeli and U.S. policymakers as the only possible policy, both for Israel and the United States, capable of addressing both the uniqueness of Israel’s nuclear case in tandem with the United State’s own commitment to the nonproliferation regime. To this day, all Israeli and U.S. governments have adhered to this policy, and likewise, all subsequent U.S. administrations have looked the other way on the Israeli nuclear case.

In July 1970, the New York Times disclosed that Israel was considered by the U.S. intelligence community to be a NWS.[9] Shortly after, Israel started to deploy its first nuclear-capable missiles, the Jericho-I, a delivery system that had been initially built by a French contractor but, due to the French embargo, was transferred to Israel and completed in one of the plants of the Israeli Aviation Industries. By the time of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel was already a small nuclear power.

The 1973 Yom Kippur War had a nuclear dimension even though the full drama has never been told (or even officially confirmed). It has been reported that during the early phase of the war, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan readied the nuclear weapons infrastructure, apparently even proposing to Prime Minister Golda Meir to arm the weapons in case Israel suddenly reached the point of “last resort.” It is believed that Prime Minister Meir refused to concede to Dayan’s “last resort” thinking, and did not authorize the arming of the weapons. U.S. intelligence picked up signs that Israel put its nuclear-capable Jericho missiles on high alert—apparently in a way that was designed to be noticed. In her decision not to follow Dayan’s advise, Meir raised the bar on the issue of “last resort”: situations of “last resort” that could invoke use of nuclear weapons would be the most extreme situations a nation like Israel could ever face, and should be limited only to situations in which Israel’s survival was at stake. Israel’s policy of nuclear opacity had survived.

Nuclear Opacity: From Improvisation to Semi-Permanent National Posture

Israel’s nuclear history in the period from 1973 until the first Gulf War in 1990-91 can be recounted along two distinct themes. First, it was the period in which Israel’s policy of nuclear opacity was transformed from a short-lived improvisation to a semi-permanent strategic posture. In retrospect, the period from 1974 to 1990 was the golden age of nuclear opacity. By the end of the period, Israelis came to view the policy as a great strategic success because it provided Israel the benefits of existential deterrence at a very low political cost. Nuclear opacity became an indispensable pillar in its national security doctrine. In particular, the policy of nuclear opacity seemed to have removed the nuclear issue from the U.S.-Israeli agenda, without restricting Israel’s freedom of action in this field. For Israeli strategists, opacity was the best of all possible worlds. Even Vanunu’s public disclosure of Dimona’s secrets in 1986 (see footnote 2 and below) was not politically sufficient to shake Israel’s posture of opacity.

Second, it was a period of rapid growth for Israel’s nuclear arsenal, with Israel taking advantage of its freedom of action under opacity. It is widely believed (and supported by Vanunu’s information) that during this period, Israel’s nuclear arsenal made a major transformation. Israel no longer possessed a dozen or so low-yield first-generation bombs; it expanded and modernized its arsenal, which became qualitatively advanced and quantitatively sizable.

It is important to look at the lessons of the 1973 war in order to understand these changes. In the eyes of most Israeli strategists and military historians, Israel almost reached the brink, the moment of “last resort.” Had the Syrians been able to cross the Jordan River, this could have called for “last resort” nuclear use. Yet, it appears that Israel’s dozen or so bombs did not fit such a use. To stop armor columns moving on the Golan Heights, in the proximity of Israeli troops, Israel needed low-yield weapons for tactical use. But, presumably, Israel lacked such weapons. Also, if some Israeli leaders (such as Dayan) had concerns about the Soviet Union, Israel had no weapons to constitute even a minimum deterrence vis-à-vis the Soviet Union.

According to Vanunu, since the mid-1970s, Israel had expanded and modernized its nuclear infrastructure in Dimona to be able to produce new types of advanced nuclear weaponry, small and large, and in greater quantities. Some sources believe that during that period Israel produced both larger advanced weapons (boosted, and possibly even thermonuclear) as well as advanced tactical weapons (possibly enhanced radiation weapons). In addition, by the mid-to-late 1970s, Israel started the development of the Jericho-II missile, a ballistic missile with an operational range of 1,500 kilometers or more. The Jericho-II was tested in the late 1980s, and it was deployed in 1989-90.

Israel significantly expanded its nuclear capability throughout that period, but it did not move to establish a secured second-strike capability. While apparently there were occasional discussions about this, operational and costly decisions were deferred. The underlying assumption that guided Israel’s strategic planning was that Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly was still holding, and if and when this situation changed, Israel would have ample time to adjust. This assessment was reinforced by the success of Israel’s attack on the Iraqi Osiraq reactor in 1981. Until the late 1980s, Israel assumed that Saddam’s nuclear vision was for all practical purposes dead. But this assumption came under scrutiny by the late 1980s. As the Iran-Iraq War came to a close, Iraq emerged as a regional Arab power with strong nuclear aspirations. In 1990, before Iraq invaded Kuwait, Israeli strategists believed that Israel and Iraq were on a path to conflict within a few years.

During the buildup of the first Gulf War, and as a reaction to Iraqi missile threats, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir issued an unveiled threat to Iraq without directly referring to the Israeli nuclear arsenal: “all those who threaten us should know that whoever dares strike Israel will be struck hard and in the most severe way,” adding that ”…Israel has a very strong deterrent capability.”[10] Defense Minister Moshe Ayan went even further by warning Saddam Hussein about Israeli weapons, “which the world does not yet know about.”[11] During an Arrow anti-missile test in August 1990, intended to underscore Israeli missile capabilities, military officials spoke of “other responses” to potential Iraqi chemical attacks on Israeli territory.[12]

The post-Gulf War nuclear developments, both in Iraq and Iran, compounded by the international community’s intelligence failure in detecting Iraq’s nuclear program, were critical in Israel’s strategic decision to establish its own sea-based strategic force. The Israeli Navy had been pushing for a small fleet of modern diesel submarines for “strategic purposes” since the early 1980s, and after long negotiations with Germany, the Thyssen-Nordseewerke shipyard in Emden, and the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG shipyard in Kiel were chosen as the contractors to build three modern diesel-electric 1900-ton Dolphin-class submarines, equipped with ten 21-inch multipurpose tubes capable of launching torpedoes, mines, and cruise missiles.[13][14] In June 2000, the Sunday Times broke a story about an alleged Israeli test-launch of a nuclear capable submarine-launched-cruise-missile (SLCM) in the Indian ocean, using the newly commissioned Dolphin submarines. According to unconfirmed reports the missile hit its target at a range of around 1500km.[15] It is believed that the alleged test missile was based on the Israeli Popeye, an ALCM with a range of 250-300kms.[16] Israel has categorically denied the allegations about the missile tests in the Indian Ocean.[17] In 2003, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Israeli and American officials announced that Israel had deployed U.S. supplied Harpoon ASCMs on its Dolphin submarines and modified the missiles to carry nuclear warheads.[19] Prominent missile experts believe this to be a real possibility, though the range of the Harpoon armed with an Israeli nuclear warhead would probably be decreased to around 90kms due to the added weight. In November 2005, Israel signed a contract worth $1.17 billion with Germany for the construction of two more attack submarines, the first of which is planned to be completed by 2012.[20] These factors underline that having secured a sea launch capability, Israel has, or is well on its way to having its own nuclear triad with sea, land, and air launched options.

On 21 April 2004, after 18 years in an Israeli prison, nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was released. However, in July 2007, Vanunu was sentenced to an additional six months in prison after violating a gag order that had been placed on him that forbade him from further disclosing details about the nuclear program.[21] The Israeli government also set severe restrictions on his movements and conduct after his initial release from prison in 2004. In July of the same year, the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission launched an official website providing only general details about Israel’s civilian nuclear program. Later that month International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohammed El-Baradei visited Israel to meet with government officials. Despite El-Baradei’s visit, Israel continues to assert that it will not discuss disarmament issues until after a comprehensive Middle Eastern peace agreement has been reached.

In an interesting development in early 2007, following the progress of the U.S.-India nuclear deal, Israeli officials lobbied their American counterparts to convince the NSG to allow Israel to conduct nuclear trade without being subjected to full-scope safeguards. Even though the U.S. declined this request,[22] Israel nonetheless presented a plan to the NSG suggesting an objective set of criteria to judge whether to allow nuclear trade with non-NPT states. The proposal was greeted unenthusiastically; and the Bush administration only reiterated its stance that the India deal could not be seen as a precedent for other non-NPT states.[23] These efforts by Israel to lobby the NSG have come at a time when the Israeli government has expressed an active interest in nuclear energy generation.[24] This has been confirmed by the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission in an official statement, citing an increasing shortage in indigenous electricity production capacity and the government’s wish to reduce dependency on imported energy sources.[25]

In August 2007, National Infrastructure Minister, Ben-Eliezer told a gathering of engineers of the Israel Electric Corporation (ICE), that he would soon submit a proposal to the government that suggests building a nuclear power plant at Shivta, on the border with Egypt in the South of Israel. According to Ben-Eliezer, the plan calls for the construction of a 1,200 to 1,500MW plant over nine years.[26] So far there have been no discussions with any foreign vendors about reactor exports, but it is understood that Israel will be looking to U.S. supplied reactor technology. Furthermore, it is believed that the plan would entail similar provisions as those in the U.S.-India nuclear deal, i.e., that the supplied reactor would be put under safeguards, with other Israeli nuclear facilities being exempt.[27] Presently, all cooperation with Israel in the nuclear field is limited to safety and it remains to be seen what steps Israel takes in moving forward on its plans for civilian nuclear power generation.

Key Sources and Notes:
[1]When Israeli researcher and author Avner Cohen published, without censorship approval, his book Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998)—a political history of the Israeli nuclear project until 1970 based on some exclusive Israeli sources—the Israeli authorities interrogated him at length and considered filing charges against him. This case highlighted the extreme sensitivity of the subject and the effort of the Israeli authorities to ban Israeli-based historical research on the subject.
[2] This was the first, and only, time in which an insider from the Israeli nuclear program divulged information on the program. Those revelations implied that Israel’s nuclear program is more sophisticated and advanced than it had been commonly estimated until then. Some analysts interpreted the information Vanunu provided and concluded that Israel’s nuclear arsenal may be at the level of 100 to 200 weapons, possibly even some thermonuclear weapons.
[3] Shimon Peres, Battling for Peace: A Memoir (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995), p. 132.
[4] Pierre Pean, Les Deux Bombes (Paris: Fayard, 1981), pp. 95-96, 110.
[5] “Author says Shimon Peres persuaded France to backdate nuclear deal with Israel in 1957,” International Herald Tribune, 20 March 2007.
[6] Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, pp. 73-75.
[7] Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, pp. 79-97.
[8] Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, pp. 273-276.
[9] Hedrick Smith, “U.S. Assumes the Israelis Have A-Bomb or its Parts,” New York Times, 18 July 1970.
[10] Bob Hepburn, “Israel on full alert after Iraqi threat,” The Toronto Star, 26 December, 1990.
[11] Andrew Meisels, “Israel vows it can defeat Iraq even without U.S. help,” The Washington Times, 24 September, 1990.
[12] Andrew Meisels, “Israeli missile test sends a message to Baghdad,” The Washington Times, 10 August, 1990.
[13] Joseph Cirincione, Jon Wolfsthal, and Miriam Rajkumar, “Deadly Arsenals,” 2nd edition, Carnegie Endownment for Peace: Washington D.C., 2005.
[14] Ed Blanche, “Israel denies sub-launched missile tests, Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, 1 August 2000.
[15] Uzi Mahnaimi and Matthew Campbell, “Israel makes nuclear waves with submarine missile test,” Sunday Times, 18 June 2000.
[16] “Popey Turbo,” Federation of American Scientists, http://www.fas.org/ nuke/ guide/ israel/ missile/ popeye-t.htm.
[17] Ed Blanche, “Israel denies sub-launched missile tests, Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, 1 August 2000.
[18] Peter Beaumont, Conel Urquhart, “Israel fits nuclear arms in submarines,” The Observer, 12 October 2003.
[19] Schechter, “Harpoon missile story politically motivated,” The Jerusalem Post, 13 October, 2003.
[20] Alon Ben-David, “Israel looks to acquire more German submarines,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 30 November 2005.
[21] Nir Hason, “Court Returns Israeli ‘Nuclear Whistleblower’ Vanunu to Jail for Violating Parole.” in OSC Document GMP20070702735002, 2 July 2007.
[22] Mark Hibbs, “US rebuffed Israeli request for exemption from NSG trade rule,” Nuclear Fuel, 1 January 2007.
[23] Glenn Kessler, “Israel submits nuclear trade plan, move may complicate efforts to win exemption for India,” The Washington Post, 30 September 2007.
[24] Neal Sandler, “Israel’s infrastructure minister hints at support of nuclear power,” Nucleonics Week, 25 January 2007.
[25] Neal Sandler, “Israel considering building nuclear plant, AEC confirms,” Nucleonics Week, 15 Fenruary 2007.
[26] Neal Sandler, Mark Hibbs, and Daniel Horner, “Israel counting on US-India deal to further power reactor project,” Nucleonics Week, 16 August 2007.
[27] Neal Sandler, Mark Hibbs, and Daniel Horner, “Israel counting on US-India deal to further power reactor project,” Nucleonics Week, 16 August 2007.

Source

Israel Chemical Chronology

1948-2003
This annotated chronology is based on the data sources that follow each entry. Public sources often provide conflicting information on classified military programs. In some cases we are unable to resolve these discrepancies, in others we have deliberately refrained from doing so to highlight the potential influence of false or misleading information as it appeared over time. In many cases, we are unable to independently verify claims. Hence in reviewing this chronology, readers should take into account the credibility of the sources employed here.

Inclusion in this chronology does not necessarily indicate that a particular development is of direct or indirect proliferation significance. Some entries provide international or domestic context for technological development and national policymaking. Moreover, some entries may refer to developments with positive consequences for nonproliferation.

April 1948
David Ben-Gurion writes a letter to Ehud Avriel, a Jewish Agency operative in Europe, telling him to seek out and recruit East European Jewish scientists who can “either increase the capacity to kill masses or to cure masses.”
–Avner Cohen, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 27.

1952
The Science Corps (HEMED) becomes part of a group of Ministry of Defense (MOD) sponsored civilian research centers that are known as “Machons.” Through this, Professor Ernst David Bergmann, a member of a group of scientists who pressured Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to establish a chemical and biological weapons program, establishes both the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and the Israeli Institute of Biological Research (IIBR).
–Avner Cohen, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 33.

1955
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion launches a project to develop a “cheap non-conventional capability.” Ben-Gurion orders that this capability be operational as soon as possible and before a war with Egypt.
–Aluf Benn, “The project that Preceded the Nuclear Option,” Ha’aretz, 2 March 1995.

Mid 1950’s
Israel initiates it chemical weapons program.
–Avner Cohen, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 38.

1960
Israel collaborates with France on upgrading its chemical weapons. Israeli scientists make visits to the French chemical weapons testing site located at Beni Ounif, which is located in the Algerian Sahara.
–Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option, (NY: Random House, 1991), p. 64.

Mid 1960’s
Israel upgrades its offensive chemical weapons capability in suspecting Egyptian chemical weapons advancements.
–Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option, (Random House, 1991), p. 63.
20 February 1969
Israel accedes to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which bans the use of chemical weapons in war.

1970’s
Production of indigenous mustard and nerve agents begins.
–“China and Israel,” Economist Foreign Report, 12 July 1984.

1974
U.S. Lieutenant General E.H. Almquist tells the Senate Armed Forces Committee that Israel’s chemical weapons program is operational.
–E.J. Hogendoorn, “A Chemical Weapons Atlas,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/October 1997, available online at <http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/1997/so97hogendoom.html&gt;, accessed on 10/11/03.

1 July 1982
A commentary by the Soviet newswire TASS, states that reports from Beirut have stated that Israel is using chemical weapons including BZ nerve gas [sic.] in its invasion of Lebanon.
–“Alleged use of Nerve Gas in Lebanon,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3 July 1982.

5 July 1982
The Soviet Union accuses the United States of providing Israel with ‘barbarous’ weapons. It states that these weapons, which include napalm, chemical weapons, and cluster and pellet bombs, are used in the Israel invasion of Lebanon.
–“Moscow Scores U.S. Role in Mideast,” United Press International, 5 July 1982.

30 August 1983
A commentary written by Viktor Vinogradov for the Soviet Defense Ministry daily ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’ states that Israel and South Africa are working together on chemical weapons at a research institute operated by the South African Air Force.
–“RSA-Israeli Research on Racially Selective Mass Destruction Weapons,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1 September 1983.

15 September 1988
The Korean Committee for Asian-African Cooperation in Pyongyang denounces Israel for allegedly using chemical weapons and “germ warfare” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, killing many residents in the area.
–“Pyongyang Denounces Israel for Massacre of Palestinians,” The Xinhua General Overseas News Service, 15 September 1988.

4 December 1988
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) accuses the Israeli Army of using a new chemical weapon against Palestinians living in the occupied territories. According to a statement released by the group, the new chemical weapon is causing various wounds and “organic complications.” The PFLP cites evidence presented by Arab doctors who have treated victims in the villages of Tobay and Tamoun, as proof the Israel is using such weapons and calls on UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar and international organizations that defend human rights, to investigate.
–“Israeli use of Chemical Weapons against Palestinians Denounced,” The Xinhua General Overseas News Service, 4 December 1988.

22 December 1988
The Arab League issues a statement that Israel was the first country to introduce chemical weapons to the Middle East.
–“Libya Denies U.S. Accusation of Chemical Arms Production,” The Xinhua General Overseas News Service, 22 December 1988.

January-February 1989
Under increasing public pressure to respond to regional chemical weapons proliferation, Israeli officials including Binyamin Netanyahu partially admit possession of a chemical weapons program.
–Mortimer, E., “Israel Hints It Keeps Chemical Weapons as Defensive Measure,” Financial Times, 10 January 1989; Arms Control Reporter, February 1989, p. 704.

6 February 1989
The League of Arab States’ Committee of Seven releases a statement that criticizes Israel’s repressive actions against the Palestinian uprising. It condemns among other things, Israel’s use of chemical weapons against the local Palestinian population.
–“Arab League’s Committee of Seven-Statement,” TASS, 7 February 1989.

1990
A report by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) entitled “Offensive Chemical Warfare Programs in the Middle East,” states that Israel maintains a chemical testing facility possibly in the Negev desert.
–“Chemical and Biological Weapons in the Middle East,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 16 April 2002; Hogendoorn, E.J., “A Chemical Weapons Atlas,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/October 1997, <:http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/1997/so97hogendoom.html&gt;, accessed on 10/11/03.

July 1990
Israeli Minister of Science, Yuval Ne’eman states that if Iraq uses chemical weapons Israel will retaliate “with the same merchandise.” Ne’eman also proposes to the Israeli Cabinet that Israel should issue a credible chemical weapon threat in the face of the threat from Iraq’s chemical weapons.
–“Israelis See Chemical Option Against Iraq,” New York Times, 28 July 1990.

4 October 1992
A Boeing 747 cargo plane operated by the Israeli airline El Al crashes into the Bijlmer neighborhood in Amsterdam, Holland. It is later learned that the plane was carrying a shipment of dimethylmethylphosphonate (DMMP),a chemical used to make sarin, to Israel.
–Christopher Walker “Dutch Link Poor Health to Jet Crash,” The Times, 23 April 1999; Janet McBride “El Al Crash Report Said to be Critical of Dutch PM,” The Jerusalem Post, 22 April 1999, News p. 3.

November 1992
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres states that Israel will sign the Chemical Weapons Convention.
–“Lebanon Refuses to Sign Chemical Weapons Treaty in Paris,” Agence France Presse, 15 December 1992.

13 January 1993
Israel signs the Chemical Weapons Convention.

20 February 1993
The Libyan Foreign Ministry releases a statement in which it criticizes the West because “Israel’s development of chemical and biological weapons is overlooked.”
–“Libya Accuses West of ‘Psychological Terrorism,'” The Xinhua General Overseas News Service, 20 February 1993.

8 March 1993
The Arab League again rejects the Chemical Weapons Convention because it states that it cannot accept such a treaty as long as Israel still possesses chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
–“Arab League Reiterates Rejection of Chemical Arms Ban Treaty,” The Xinhua General Overseas News Service, 8 March 1993.

8 November 1993
An article in the U.S. magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology, states that Russia believes that Israel possesses chemical weapons. According to the article, a Russian intelligence report states that it believes that Israel possesses indigenous chemical weapons.
–“Israeli Missile Base Hidden near Jerusalem, report,” Agence France Presse, 8 November 1993.

28 January 1994
According to the book Critical Mass, authored by Williams Burrows and Robert Windrem, Israel maintains a chemical weapons factory five floors below ground at Dimona.
–George, Alan “Israel has Arsenal of 200 N-bombs,” Evening Standard, 28 January 1994, p. 7.

17 April 1996
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a speech states that Libya has the right to possess chemical weapons because Israel possesses nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. He also states that the U.S. should attack Israel because it possesses these weapons.
–“Libya is Entitled to Have Chemical Weapons, Gaddafi,” Deutsche Presse Agentur, 17 April 1996; “Libya Again Denies US Allegation on Nuclear Weapon Plant,” Xinhua News Agency, 17 April 1996.

6 June 1996
Egypt’s state run press issues an article in which it states that “if the United States is really concerned about the issue of armament in the region, then it will have to start first with the nuclear and chemical weapons of Israel.”
–“Egypt’s State-run Press Accuses US of Interfering in Internal Affairs,” Xinhua News Agency, 29 June 1996.

9 August 1996
The Libyan news agency JANA reports that Libya has called for an urgent meeting of the Arab League in the midst of allegations that Israel was developing chemical and biological weapons. According to the report, Libya has conducted extensive consultations with Arab League members “following information that the Israeli enemy possesses chemical and bacteriological weapons, including toxic gases, developed in a factory in the Negev desert.” Libya reportedly has called the meeting because of the danger these developments pose.
–“Libya Calls Arab League Talks over Israel’s Weapons Arsenal,” Agence France Presse, 9 August 1996.

13 August 1996
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi sends a telegraph to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat calling for Arabs to take measures to confront Israel’s possession of chemical and biological weapons. The telegraph states that international institutions must disarm Israel of such weapons.
–“Gaddafi Calls for Measure to Face up to Israel’s Chemical Weapons,” Xinhua News Agency, 13 August 1996.

30 October 1996
The Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), a rebel group located on the Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville, accuses Israel of providing the Papua New Guinea Defense Forces (PNGDF) with “chemical bombs.” According to a statement released by the group, the PNGDF is dropping the bombs by helicopters and the bombs are causing skin irritation and burning. The Israeli Embassy in Wellington denies the allegations.
–“Israel Denies Supplying ‘Chemical Bombs’ for use on Bougainville,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1 November 1996.

14 November 1996
Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Dr. Hassan Rohani, states during his visit to Ireland that Israel and not Iran possesses nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
–MacConnell, Sean “Iranian Outlines Difficulties with Beef Trade,” The Irish Times, 15 November 1996, p. 8.

1997
Israel’s position on the Chemical Weapons Convention is reviewed by a committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The committee decides not to submit the convention for ratification to the Israeli parliament.
–Avner Cohen “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001, Vol. 8., No. 3, pp. 46-47.

1 August 1997
Israeli officials approve a plan to assassinate Hamas operative Khamel Meshaal using a chemical weapon.
–Blanche, Ed, “Israeli Intelligence Agencies Under Fire,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1 January 1998, p. 18.

3 September 1997
Israel Army Radio reports that Israel is to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention.
–“News at a Glance 1600 GMT,” Deutsche Presse Agentur, 3 September 1997.

Early September 1997
Agents from Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, practice using a fake chemical weapon against unknowing civilians. The exercise is used as a trial run for an operation in which Mossad agents plan to assassinate a Hamas operative named Khaled Meshaal.
–Blanche, Ed, “Israeli Intelligence Agencies Under Fire,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 10, No.1, 1 January 1998, p. 18.

4 September 1997
Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Eytan Bentsur tells the Conference on Disarmament that Israel will not ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. Bentsur states that Israel cannot ratify the convention because no Arab state has signed it.
–“Israel Won’t Ratify Chemical Weapons Pact,” Jerusalem Post, 5 September 1997, p. 24.

25 September 1997
Two Israeli Mossad agents attempt to poison Hamas operative Khaled Meshaal with a “high tech” chemical weapon in Amman, Jordan. Meshaal is targeted because of his alleged involvement in two suicide attacks in Jerusalem on 30 July 1998 and 4 September 1998. It is believed that the chemical used in the attack is synthetic opiate called Fentanyl. The chemical can be absorbed through the skin and can kill a person in 48 hours. The chemical was reportedly manufactured at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR). Israeli officials also claim that Meshaal arranged for the shipping of the explosives used to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Argentina. They claim he also hired the operatives to carry out the operation. Two Mossad agents are captured in the operation by Jordanian officials.
–King, Peter “A Year After Mossad Attack, Jordan Wants to Forget, HAMAS to Fight on,” Agence France Presse, 24 September 1998; Blanche, Ed, “Israeli Intelligence Agencies Under Fire,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1 January 1998, p. 18; Mahnaimi, Uzi, “Israeli Jets Equipped for Chemical Warfare,” Sunday Times, 4 October 1998.

27 September 1997
Hamas operative Khaled Meshaal is administered an antidote given to Jordanian officials by Israel. Israel gives the antidote as part of an agreement in which two Mossad agents who attempted to assassinate Meshaal, are released into Israeli custody.
–Blanche, Ed, “Israeli Intelligence Agencies Under Fire,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1 January 1998, p. 18.

6 October 1997
Two Israeli Mossad agents are released after being captured for the attempted assassination of Hamas operative Khaled Meshaal.
–Blanche, Ed, “Israeli Intelligence Agencies Under Fire,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1 January 1998, p. 18.

1998
The IIBR drops plans to expand its facilities in Ness Ziona due to local pressure exerted by the major and concerned citizens over the environmental and safety hazards associated with the suspected biological activities of the complex.
–Lavie, Mark, “Rumors Abound About Israeli Center,” Associated Press, 24 October 1998; Walker, Christopher “Israeli Court Blow to Germ War Plant,” The Times, 25 September 1998.

17 May 1998
Jose Mauricio Bustani, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) states that Israel is likely to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) sooner rather than later.
–“OPCW Inspects Sites in 30 Nations Under Chemical Weapons Treaty,” JiJi Press Ticker Service, 18 March 1998.

May 1998
A statement released by the official JANA news agency in Libya states that Libya is “‘surprised by the United States’ rush to impose sanctions on Pakistan when (Washington) won’t even lift the smallest finger against the nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons which Israel has.”
–Rechnagel, Charles “Middle East Ponders Consequences of first ‘Islamic Bomb,'” Agence France Presse, 29 May 1998.

10-15 May 1998
The Israeli company Kinetics Ltd. participates in the 6th international conference for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The conference talks about ways of detecting chemical agents and ways of protecting medical personnel in the events that such an agent is used. Companies involved in the conference display their new equipment that addresses these issues.
–“NBC Proliferation-6th International Symposium,” Intelligence Newsletter, 5 March 1998, No. 330.

14 May 1998
A report by the Libyan news agency JANA criticizes U.S. sanctions against Pakistan for its nuclear program because the U.S. does not sanction Israel which according to the report maintains “vast quantities of biological and chemical weapons.”
–“India: Libyan Agency Criticizes U.S. Sanctions,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 14 May 1998.

7 July 1998
In a visit to Pakistan, the speaker of the Iranian Majlis, Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nuri states that “Israel serves as a nuclear and chemical weapons depot and poses a big threat to Muslims.”
–“Iranian Speaker Warns Visiting Pakistani’s of Plot to fan Muslim Rivalries,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 9 July 1998.

August 1998
The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, publishes a long expose in which is calls the Israeli Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) “metropolitan Tel Aviv’s most severe environmental hazard” and also raises questions regarding the secrecy surrounding institute’s activities.
–Avner Cohen “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 36.

19 August 1998
The British magazine Foreign Report reports four workers have been killed and 25 injured at the IIBR in recent years due to separate accidents. It also reports the authorities also ordered the evacuation of the surrounding area following one of the accidents.
–Davis, Douglas “Report: 4 Killed, 25 Hurt, at Secret Institute,” Jerusalem Post, 20 August 1998, p. 2.

23 September 1998
Israeli citizens living near the Israel Institute of Biological Research file an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to prevent the expansion of the institute.
–“Israelis File to Suit to Block Chemical Weapons Plant Expansion,” Agence France Presse, 23 September 1998.

24 September 1998
The Israeli Supreme Court accepts a complaint filed by the mayor of Ness Ziona, Yossi Shvo, calling for a halt in the expansion of the Israel Institute of Biological Research based on environmental concerns.
–“Crashed jet Held Nerve-gas Chemical Dutch in Uproar Over Israeli Cargo.” The Toronto Star, 2 October 1998, P A12; Walker, Christopher “Israeli Court Blow to Germ War Plant,” The Times, 25 September 1998.

27 September 1998
In an interview with reporters at the United Nations, Iranian president Mohammad Khatami states that Iran has in that past expressed concern that “Israel has become an arsenal of nuclear atomic weapons, chemical weapons, and weapons of mass destruction.”
–“Iran: Khatami Addresses News Conference During Visit to the UN,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 27 September 1998.

1 October 1998
Israel confirms that an El Al Boeing 747 cargo aircraft which crashed near Amsterdam in 1992 was carrying a shipment of 190 liters of DMMP, a chemical that can be used in the production sarin. Israeli authorities however, contend that the shipment was for legitimate purposes and that the chemicals were approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce and were to be used to test filters. They also order an investigation into allegations that the DMMP was for its chemical weapons program. The shipment was destined for the IIBR.
–“Crashed jet Held Nerve-gas Chemical Dutch in Uproar Over Israeli Cargo.” The Toronto Star, 2 October 1998, P A12; “El Al Confirms Crashed Plane Carried Substance for Nerve Gas,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 1 October 1998.

4 October 1998
A report published in the Sunday Times of London states that Israeli F-16’s have the capability to perform missions with chemical and biological weapons that were produced at the IIBR. According to the report, crews have been trained to load such munitions onto the planes within a matter of minutes. The article cites “military sources” as the sources for the report.
–Cordesman, Anthony H., “Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 15 April 2003; Mahnaimi, Uzi, “Israeli Jets Equipped for Chemical Warfare,” Sunday Times, 4 October 1998.

6 October 1998
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak states that the Israelis are “in the process of arming themselves with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.”
–“Egypt Concerned by Israeli Arsenal, Wants Balance of Forces,” Agence France Presse, 6 October 1998.

13 March 1999
At a conference on security and cooperation in the Mediterranean, Palestine National Council member Abdullah Abdullah accused Israel of manufacturing chemical weapons at the IIBR.
–“PNC Member Accuses Israel of Making Non-conventional Arms,” Jerusalem Post, 14 March 1999, p. 3.

2 April 1999
The United Kingdom partially lifts a ban that did not allow Israeli nuclear scientists and those associated with the development of chemical and biological weapons to enter the U.K. for professional conferences or to visit research institutes.
–“Britain Suspends ban on Israeli Nuclear Scientists,” Xinhua News Agency, 2 April 1999.

6 April 1999
Ali Kazak, the head of The General Palestinian Delegation to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, writes an Op-ed article in the Sydney Morning Herald. In the article he asserts that Israel “possesses nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them not only to every city and village in the entire Arab world but as far as Central Asia and to every city in Europe.”
–“There is Only One Peaceful Option,” Sydney Morning Herald, 6 April 1999.

27 April 1999
The Dutch government confirms that it sent 20 milligrams of soman nerve agent to the IIBR in 1996. According to shipping documents, the gas was intended for medical research within Israel.
–“Holland Confirms it Gave Israel Nerve Gas Samples,” Jerusalem Post, 28 April 1999. News p. 9.

2 February 2000
During a Knesset debate about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, Arab legislator Issam Makhul states that Israel’s “stockpile of atomic, chemical, and biological weapons jeopardize the country’s security.”
–“”Debate about Israel’s Nuclear Weapons,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 4 February 2000, available online at http://www.thebulletin.org, accessed on 10/11/03.

September 2000
Israeli call for a review of the 1997 government decision not to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention.
–Avner Cohen “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control,” The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 47.

15 February 2001
Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat accuses Israel of using poison gas against Palestinians.  His accusation is based on reports that approximately 80 Palestinians, suffering from poison gas effects, were recently admitted to a Gaza hospital. The Israelis deny using poison gas; however, the Palestinians intend to send a sample of the gas to an international lab for independent analysis.
–“Arafat accuses Israel of using poison gas,” CNN, 15 February 2001, <http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/02/15/arafat.gas/&gt;.

28 November 2001
According to the Egyptian state-run MENA news agency, President Hosni Mubarak in answering allegations that Egypt signed an arms deal with North Korea, states that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country to possess both nuclear and chemical weapons.
–“Mubarak Rejects Israel Reports on Egypt’s Arms Deal with North Korea,” Xinhua, 28 November 2001.

16 May 2001
In a speech at the sixth conference for the Chemical Weapons Convention in the Hague, the head of the Saudi delegation, Dr. Sulman Bin Hammad Al-Khuweiter calls on Israel and other countries who posses chemical weapons to place these weapons under the auspice of the international treaty. Saudi Arabia also wants other countries to exert their influence to insure that these countries comply.
–“Kingdom Concerned at Stockpiling of Chemical Arms by Some Nations; Israel, Other Urged to Allow Scrutiny of Banned Weapons,” Middle East Newsfile, 16 May 2001.

9 June 2002
A report in the English newspaper The Herald accuses the British government of selling chemical weapon technology to Israel.
–“Meanwhile the UK Quietly Continues to Profit from War,” The Sunday Herald, 9 June 2002, p. 10.

10 September 2002
An Israeli man who gave his name only as Avi states that he got cancer from working at a secret chemical warfare laboratory. According to the man, he worked at the lab as a technician during the 1980’s and worked on such things are developing methods for decontamination, detecting poison gas, and testing the effectiveness of protective equipment. Avi also states that when working at the lab, workers were not given protective clothing and this exposed them to many harmful chemicals. The Israeli military censor does not permit the publishing of the chemicals used at the laboratory.
–Katzenall, Jack “Israeli Blames his Service in Army Chemical Warfare Research Unit for his Cancer,” Associated Press, 10 September 2002, International News.

7 to 11 October 2002
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) holds the Seventh Session of the Conference of the States Parties. Israel attends and participates as an observer.
Report of the Seventh Session of the Conference of the States Parties, 7 – 11 October 2003, C-7/5, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 11 October 2002, <http://www.opcw.org/docs/c_7_5.pdf&gt;.

25 October 2002
Arab Justice Ministers release the Beirut Declaration in which they denounce the threat of using force against an Arab country, especially when Israel possesses nuclear and chemical weapons.
–“Arab Justice Ministers Condemn ‘All’ Terrorism, Use of Force Against Countries,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 25 October 2002.

6 December 2002
German Defense Minister Peter Struck decides not to deliver six Fuch vehicles to Israel for fear that the vehicles could be used for offensive purposes. The Fuch is a vehicle designed to survey areas hit by a nuclear, chemical, or biological explosion and determines whether or not it is safe for humans.
–“Israeli President: We Won’t Accept Condition on Fuch Vehicles,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 7 December 2002.

December 2002
The Israel Defense Forces conduct live-condition exercises that test protection equipment in the event of a chemical weapons attack.
–“Israeli Army Successfully Tests Chemical Warfare Equipment-TV,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 22 December 2002.

16 March 2003
A documentary produced by the BBC accuses Israel of hiding nuclear bomb factories and developing chemical weapons.
–“Israel Protest,” Daily Mail, 15 March 2003.

14 April 2003
The Press Secretary for the Syrian Foreign Ministry states that Syria does not possess chemical weapons and that Israel is the only country in the region which does.
–“Syrian Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Denies Having Chemical Weapons,” Asahi Shimbun, 15 April 2003, available online at http://www.asahi.com/international/update/0415/004.html, accessed on 4/15/03.

17 May 2003
Iran accuses Israel of possessing the largest arsenal of chemical weapons in the Middle East.
–“Tehran Times Accuses Israel, USA of Violating Chemical Weapons Convention,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 17 May 2003.

22 May 2003
Egyptian biologist, Dr. Wajdi Abd-al-Fattah Sawahil, claims that Israel uses chemical drugs to torture and elicit information from Palestinian detainees and is using gases on Palestinians that lead to infertility.
–Jamal al-Majaydah, “Egyptian Scientist: Israel produces viruses that attack Palestinians only,” FBIS GMP20030522000144, 22 May 2003.

28 June 2003
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) broadcasts a documentary entitled “Israel’s Secret Weapons.” The documentary states that Israel has used chemical weapons in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
–“Quote Unquote,” The Jerusalem Report, 28 July 2003.

3 August 2003
The U.S. company Sundstran agrees to pay a $171,500 civil penalty because it sold centrifugal pumps to Israel. The pumps can be used to help create chemical weapons.
–“US Company Fined for Exporting Chemical Weapon Components to Israel and Saudi Arabia,” MENA Business Reports, 3 August 2003.

18-19 September 2003
At the Moscow International Proliferation Conference, Iran’s Deputy Director General of International Political Affairs Ali Asghar Soltanieh states that Israel has developed chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them.
–“The Proliferation Problem According to Iran,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 7 October 2003, available at <http://www.ceip.org&gt;, accessed on 10/11/03.

20 to 24 October 2003
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) holds the Eighth Session of the Conference of the States Parties. Israel attends and participates as an observer.
–Report of the Eighth Session of the Conference of the States Parties, 20 – 24 October 2003, C-8/7, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 24 October 2003, p. 1, <http://www.opcw.org/docs/c807.pdf&gt;.

20 December 2003
Ahmad Abu-Zayd, Chairman of Egypt’s People’s Assembly Arab Affairs Committee,  urges Israel and all Mideast countries to follow Libya’s example and dismantle their WMD programs.
–“Egyptian official urges Israel to dismantle nuclear, chemical Weapons,” BBC Monitoring, 20 December 2003. Source

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel’s westernmost settlement is not located in Palestine-Israel, but is 6000 miles away on the high ground overlooking Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.

This Capital Hill settlement of pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks strategically controls the high ground overlooking the United States’ Middle East policy landscape by having made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government — including President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden (a wannabe Zionist), and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a born Zionist).

While Israel’s hilltop settlements in the occupied territories –violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions since 1968 — are “”facts on the ground”” that make the two state peace solution unlikely, their hilltop settlement in the center of the world’s only superpower makes it equally unlikely that Israel’s right-wing government will feel compelled to end their “”self defensive”” brutalization of the Palestinian people, which has been condemned by the international community (UN, EU) as crimes against humanity. Source

Iran needs the 20 percent-enriched uranium to fuel The Tehran Research Reactor, which produces radio medicine for cancer patients.

The country has been promised nuclear fuel for over 30 years now. Despite being a 10-percent shareholder and hence entitled to the European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium (Eurodif)’s output, Iran has never received enriched uranium from France.

Tehran and Paris have also signed a deal, under which France is obliged to deliver 50 tons of uranium hexafluoride to Iran — another obligation France has failed to meet. Source

Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats

UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection/September 2009

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human Experiments  and WMD

What the World Needs to know about Mordechai Vanunu

Israel and US were behind the Georgian Attacks on South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Weird isn’t it the country that lets inspectors in and Iran lets them in all the time is guilty and the two countries who refuse inspections are the ones threatening and accusing.

The US and Israel both should allow inspectors in and both should stop breaking the law.

This US/Israeli rhetoric has been going on for a few decades now.

Recent

Thailand: Over 800 injured and 21 deaths during protests

IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank

Poland mourns dead president

Thailand protests claim first lives

Russian urges adoption freeze after boy age 7 returned alone

Kyrgyzstan: The nepotism that sparked a revolution

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, rules sheriff

Thailand protesters defy government decree

Australia: Locals do their block as big gas moves into Queensland

Kyrgyzstan: Thousands of protesters furious over corruption 40 deaths over 400 injured

Iran: International Nuclear disarmament summit widely welcomed

Rachel Corrie Civil Lawsuit: Bulldozer operator told not to cooperate with investigation

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid

Israel Gags News on Extra-Judicial Killings

April 3 2010

Written by Mel Frykberg

Anat Kam, 23, who used to work for the Israeli news site ‘Walla’, was arrested last December for allegedly copying secret Israeli Defence Force (IDF) documents during her compulsory military service.

These documents outlined how Israeli assassination squads would plan the killing of Palestinian political leaders and fighters months beforehand and then pass their deaths off as ”mishaps” during ”failed” attempts to arrest them.

Uri Blau, a reporter from the daily ‘Haaretz’, then wrote a piece on the copied documents and is refusing to return to Israel from Britain fearing that Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, will arrest him if he does.

Due to a military gag order the news has remained suppressed even as Israeli journalists fight the suppression order in court.

The news was broken several days ago by Donald McIntyre from Britain’s ‘Independent’.

The controversy has highlighted Israel’s extra-judicial killings which violate international law and have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilian bystanders despite the country having no death penalty.

Israel’s judiciary has approved ”targeted killings” but only of militants who were allegedly involved in carrying out or planning armed attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians both within the Palestinian occupied territories and in Israel proper.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza says that during the period September 2000 to March 2008, 500 Palestinians suspected of being involved in military resistance to the Israeli occupation were executed.

However, the ”collateral damage” during the assassinations included another 228 civilian bystanders – 77 of them children. Eleven Palestinians have been assassinated in the last two years.

”Israel is using disproportionate force. Civilians are paying the price. In the overwhelming majority of cases the targeted individuals could have been arrested and brought to trial without being killed. Many of them have been killed in cold blood,” Jaber Wishah from PCHR told IPS.

”International law’s right to life says that state authorities are obliged to follow due process when they are in a position to arrest individuals,” says Michael Kerney from the Ramallah-based rights organisation Al Haq which researched and documented many of the killings.

”Everybody is entitled to a fair trial and no state can dismiss this,” Kerney told IPS.

Some of those targeted have included individuals who were ”pardoned” by the Israelis after having agreed to give up armed resistance to the occupation.

Last December three pardoned members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a military offshoot of the Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated Fatah movement, were shot dead in Nablus in the northern West Bank following the death of an Israeli settler.

According to their families and the subsequent investigations of human rights organisations they had already surrendered and were unarmed despite Israeli claims that they had refused to surrender.

”By failing to produce any evidence linking the targeted individuals to attacks allegedly committed by members of the Palestinian resistance, as well as failing to utilise peaceful means in order to arrest and detain suspects, the soldiers assumed the role of both judge and executioner,” reported Al Haq.

Furthermore, unarmed Palestinians, who have not been involved either politically or militarily in resisting the occupation, also continue to die in what some have called deliberate premeditated murder.

Several weeks ago four Palestinian teenagers were shot dead amidst dubious circumstances in two separate incidents in the villages of Awarta and Iraq Burin near Nablus.

According to medical reports they were shot at close range with live ammunition after clashes between Palestinian youngsters and Israeli soldiers had broken out.

However, the individuals concerned had not been involved in the clashes according to several investigations carried out by Al Haq, PCHR and Israeli rights group B’tselem.

One was shot in the back and another had a bullet lodged in the back of his skull despite Israeli soldiers saying they had only used non-lethal ammunition.

The Israeli military police declared they would investigate the incidents following contradictory testimony given by the soldiers involved.

However, when IPS visited one of the sites a week later with family members, approximately 20 spent cartridge cases, bloodied gloves, a saline solution kit and other bits of evidence lay on the ground undisturbed.

None of this is new. Israel has a history of assassinating political opponents predating its official establishment.

In 1944, the Israeli terrorist group, the Stern gang, assassinated Britain’s Lord Moyne, the military governor of Egypt, accusing him of interfering with Jewish migration to Palestine.

In 1948, Count Folke Bernadotte – a Swedish diplomat who had secured the release of 15,000 inmates from Nazi concentration camps while he was vice-president of the Swedish Red Cross  was also murdered by the Stern gang.

Stern gang members believed Bernadotte, as the U.N.’s Palestine mediator, to be too sympathetic to the Arabs. Yitzhak Shamir, later to become an Israeli prime minister, was one of the Stern gang’s leaders.

”Since the outbreak of the second Intifada, Israel has increasingly avoided accountability for the serious violations of the human rights of residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for which it is responsible,” says B’tselem.

”This avoidance is seen, in part, in its policy not to open criminal investigations in cases of killing or wounding of Palestinians who were not taking part in the hostilities, except in exceptional cases, and in its enactment of legislation denying, almost completely, the right of Palestinians who were harmed as a result of illegal acts by Israeli security forces to sue for compensation for the damages they suffered.”

Source

Journalist on the run from Israel is hiding in Britain

‘Haaretz’ writer fled to London fearing charges over exposé on Palestinian’s killing

April 2 2010

By Kim Sengupta

An Israeli journalist is in hiding in Britain, The Independent can reveal, over fears that he may face charges in the Jewish state in connection with his investigation into the killing of a Palestinian in the West Bank.

Uri Blau, a reporter at Israel’s liberal newspaper, Haaretz, left town three months ago for Asia and is now in London. Haaretz is understood to be negotiating the terms of his return to Israel with prosecutors, according to an Israeli source, who declined to be identified, because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The news of Mr Blau’s extended absence comes just days after it emerged that another Israeli journalist, Anat Kam, has been held under house arrest for the last three months on charges that she leaked classified documents to the press while completing her military service.

Although no media outlet or journalist has been specifically named as the recipient of the classified information, there is speculation on Israeli blogs that Ms Kam gave documents to Mr Blau that formed the basis of a story he wrote in November 2008.

In his article for Haaretz, Mr Blau reported that one of two Islamic Jihad militants killed in Jenin in June 2007 had been targeted for assassination in apparent violation of a ruling issued six months earlier by Israel’s supreme court. While not outlawing assassinations in the West Bank altogether, the ruling heavily restricted the circumstances in which they were permissible, effectively saying that they should not take place if arrest was possible.

In an unusual move, Israel has placed a gagging order on national media, preventing them from reporting any aspect of the Kam case. Israel’s Channel Ten and Haaretz are expected to challenge this order on 12 April.

According to the court order, Ms Kam, 23, is being held on “espionage” charges. It alleges that she passed classified documents to a male journalist while working as a clerk in the Israel Defence Forces Central Command during her military service.

She was arrested more than a year after Mr Blau’s report, which was cleared by military censors at the time of publication, when she was working for the news service Walla, until recently owned by Haaretz.

Ms Kam denies all the charges. Her trial has reportedly been set for 14 April and she could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Mr Blau did not respond to requests for comment; his friends and colleagues refused to discuss the case in detail.

Dov Alfon, Haaretz’s editor-in-chief, said in an emailed statement: “Haaretz has a 90-year-long tradition of protecting its reporters from government pressures, and Uri Blau is getting all the help we can provide him with.”

The move to gag Israel-based media has sparked fevered debate on Jewish blogs, which have freely reported the story. Bloggers have railed against the blackout, saying it represents a critical challenge to the freedom of the press.

“I do not believe that a citizen can be arrested and tried for suspected security offences right under our noses without anyone knowing anything about it,” wrote former Haaretz editor Hanoch Marmari in an eloquent cri de coeur on the Seventh Eye website.

“Trials do not take place here in darkened dungeons, nor do we have show trials behind glass or chicken wire. I have no doubt that such a strange, terrible and baseless scenario cannot take place in such a sophisticated democracy as our own.” Source

Well Israel never really does an investigation even when settlers kill a Palestinian.  They say they do, but in actuality they do not. That is not new at all. That is standard proceedure.

Israel kills anyone they feel like killing anyone no matter if it is a child or and adult. They kill people quit often.

As a matter of fact they have been killing for years so again this is not new. It is old hat.

As we well know they even go to other countries and kill people. They as we all know use fake passports. That to is standard procedure.

There is no real justice for Palestinians under Israeli law.

Even reporters or others who have been killed in Gaza or the West Bank, do not get a real investigation into their deaths by Israel.  They never have.

Deaths of Palestinians or outsiders are usually swept under the carpet.

Some Democracy. More like no Democracy.

Related

License to kill

By Uri Blau

December 4 2008
The announcement made by the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesman on June 20, 2007 was standard: “Two armed terrorists belonging to the Islamic Jihad terror organization were killed last night during the course of a joint activity of the IDF and a special force of the Border Police in Kafr Dan, northwest of Jenin. The two terrorists, Ziad Subahi Mahmad Malaisha and Ibrahim Ahmed Abd al-Latif Abed, opened fire at the force during its activity. In response the force fired at them, killing the terrorists. On their bodies two M-16 rifles, a pistol and ammunition were found. It was also discovered that the terrorists were involved in planning suicide attacks against the Israeli home front, including the attempt in Rishon Letzion last February.”

The laconic announcement ignores one important detail: Malaisha was a target for assassination. His fate had been decided several months earlier, in the office of then head of Central Command, Yair Naveh. As far as the public was concerned, on the other hand, the last declared assassination carried out by the IDF in the West Bank took place in August 2006; at the end of that year the High Court of Justice set strict criteria regarding the policy of assassinations in the territories.

A Haaretz Magazine investigation reveals for the first time operational discussions in which the fate of wanted men and innocent people was decided, in apparent disregard of the High Court decision. Thus it was revealed that the IDF approved assassination plans in the West Bank even when it would probably have been possible to arrest the wanted men – in contradiction to the State’s statement to the High Court – and that in cold military terminology the most senior IDF echelons approve, in advance and in writing, the harming of innocent Palestinians during the course of assassination operations. Moreover, it turns out that the assassination of a target the defense establishment called part of a “ticking infrastructure” was postponed, because it had been scheduled to take place during the visit of a senior U.S. official.

Leading legal experts who were asked to react to the documents say that the IDF is operating in contradiction to a High Court ruling. “Morality is a very difficult issue,” Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer of Hebrew Univeristy said. “The thought that there are people who sit behind a desk and determine that someone is fated to die is a frightening thought.”

Another two killings

(at most)

The IDF spokesman refuses to provide precise figures about the number of targeted assassinations carried out since the start of the intifada in 2000: “The subject of preventive strikes is concentrated in the hands of the Shin Bet [security service].” A spokesman for the Shin Bet stated that the organization “does not publish data of this kind.” According to the human-rights organization B’Tselem, the IDF assassinated 232 Palestinians between the start of the intifada and the end of October 2008, in operations that also killed 154 non-targeted civilians.

The most common code names for assassination operations are the acronyms Pa’amon (peula mona’at – preventive action) and Sakum (sikul mimukad – targeted assassination). During the past two and a half years the IDF has not announced the carrying out of assassinations in the West Bank, and when wanted men were killed there, the official reports stated that these were “arrest operations” or “exchanges of fire.” This was also reported in regard to the killing of Abed and Malaisha – who has now been revealed as a previous target for assassination.

On March 28, 2007 a representative of the Shin Bet, a representative of the Special Police Unit Yamam and several officers from Central Command convened in Naveh’s office. On the agenda was the Two Towers operation (the strike at Malaisha). “The mission” said the head of the command, “is arrest,” but “in case identification is made of one of the leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Walid Obeidi, Ziad Malaisha, Adham Yunis, there is permission for the force to intercept them, and that is according to the situation assessment in the course of carrying out the mission.” Naveh did not allow an assassination if there were women or children near the wanted man, and explained that, “in the event that there are women and children in the vehicle, the method is arrest.”

On April 12 Naveh convened another meeting about Malaisha. This time he decided that permission would be granted to carry out the assassination of the target and “another two people at most.” On the day of the meeting in Naveh’s office another discussion took place, chaired by the head of the Operations Directorate, Brig. Gen. Sami Turjeman. At the meeting, the plans for a preventive operation against Malaisha were presented, and the head of the Operations Directorate explained that “a preventive strike in Ayush [Judea and Samaria] is an exceptional sight … It could be seen as an attempt to damage the attempts to stabilize, which means that it requires sensitivity to causing a minimum of collateral damage. Everything possible must be done to prevent harm to those who are uninvolved.” The target of the operation, he added “leads a ‘ticking’ infrastructure and meets the required criteria for a preventive strike.”

At this point Turjeman spelled out the conditions of Malaisha’s incrimination, and ruled that only if they existed would the targeted assassination get a green light. He added that no more than five people (including the driver) should be assassinated in the operation. Turjeman approved the operation even if there should be one unidentified person in the car. Regarding the matter of timing, he said that “in light of the anticipated diplomatic events, the prime minister’s meeting with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and the visit of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, I recommend … implementation afterward.” In the discussion Turjeman also referred to the High Court ruling about appointing a committee whose job would be to examine targeted assassinations after the fact, and said that in light of the High Court instructions on the matter, the operation should be documented.

The next day the operation was brought up for the approval of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. A limited number of senior officers convened in his office, including his deputy, the head of the Operations Directorate, the head of the Operations Brigade, the chief military prosecutor, a representative of Central Command and a representative of the Shin Bet. The paper summing up the meeting says that Ashkenazi “emphasized that due to the High Court orders regarding the establishment of a professional committee on targeted assassinations, the composition of the committee should be agreed on with the Shin Bet as soon as possible.”

Although Malaisha was defined as part of a “ticking infrastructure,” Ashkenazi too was disturbed by the timing of the action and said that “in light of the diplomatic meetings anticipated during the course of the week, the date of implementation should be reconsidered.” Ashkenazi prohibited attacking the vehicle in which Malaisha was traveling if it was discovered that there was “more than one unidentified passenger” in it.

Two months after the Two Towers plan was approved, and long after the diplomatic visits and meetings that took place in the second week of April 2007, came the operation in which Malaisha was killed in the Jenin area.

Legal approval

At the beginning of 2002, attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard petitioned the High Court of Justice against the policy of targeted assassinations on behalf of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel and the Al-Haq organization. Almost five years later, on December 14, 2006, the president of the Supreme Court at the time, Justice Aharon Barak, issued his decision. Barak, with the concurrence of Justices Dorit Beinisch (now the president of the Supreme Court) and Eliezer Rivlin, rejected the petition and did not rule out the legality of targeted assassinations in the territories.

“We cannot determine that every targeted preemption strike is forbidden under international law, just as we cannot determine that every targeted preemption is permissible under international law,” Barak wrote in the last judgment he published in his 28 years on the Supreme Court.

According to the High Court ruling, well-founded and convincing information is necessary in order to classify a civilian as being part of a group of civilians who are carrying out hostile acts; a person should not be assassinated if it is possible to use less damaging methods against him; and he should not be harmed more than necessary for security needs. In other words, a person should not be assassinated if it is possible to arrest him, interrogate him and indict him. However, if the arrest involves serious danger to the lives of the soldiers, there is no need to use this means; after every assassination a thorough and independent examination must be conducted regarding the degree of precision, the identity of the man as a terror activist, and in the case of mistaken identity, the payment of compensation should be considered; harm to innocent civilians should be avoided as much as possible during an assassination, and “harm to innocent civilians will be legal only if it meets the demands of proportionality,” ruled Barak.

In this context, Barak gave an example according to which “it is possible to fire at a terrorist who is firing from the balcony of his home at soldiers or civilians, even if as a result an innocent bystander is liable to be hit. Such a strike at an innocent civilian will meet the demands of proportionality. That is not the case if the house is bombed from the air and dozens of its residents and bystanders are hit.”

Barak stated that, “The struggle against terror has turned our democracy into a ‘defensive democracy’ or a ‘fighting democracy.’ However, this struggle must not overturn the democratic nature of our regime.”

According to B’Tselem, since the ruling regarding targeted assassinations was handed down, 19 Palestinians who were targets of assassination have been killed in the territories, and 36 Palestinians who were close to the targets were hit in the course of IDF operations, all of them in the Gaza Strip.

“It turns out that in total contradiction to the High Court ruling, there are cases in which there is an order to assassinate someone when it is possible to arrest him,” says David Kretchmer, a professor of international law. “Advance approval to kill civilians who do not take part in hostile activities makes things even worse. The principle of proportionality, to the effect that if one strikes at a military target an accompanying strike against civilians will not be illegal, does not apply in a case when the attack itself is illegal – for example, in a case where there is an obligation, according to the High Court ruling, to arrest the suspect.”

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer: “According to the High Court ruling it is clear that where it is possible to carry out an arrest, we must carry out an arrest and avoid what is called a ‘targeted assassination’ and which I call ‘preventive killing.’ A substantial part of Judea and Samaria is under the effective rule of the IDF, and in my opinion, in such an area preventive killing must be ruled out. The limited interpretation that I am suggesting for the international law is that an attack must take place in the course of that person’s participation in a dangerous action, because then you are in effect acting in self-defense based on the situation taking place.”

Legal commentator Moshe Negbi: “‘Unidentified people’ can also be totally innocent and you are ostensibly giving a license to kill here. The problem is previous knowledge, because usually when we refer to collateral damage we are referring to ‘after the fact,’ but here this is almost certain foreknowledge. It is very problematic that permission is given to execute an innocent man deliberately. The question is whether it is proportional. I think that the High Court was referring to a situation where perhaps among a mass of people there is one who is innocent, but here it is one on one. It is very grave to grant permission when you know ahead of time that 50 percent of those you are hitting are innocent. Such a thing must certainly be discussed at the level of the attorney general and it certainly must be known to the public and undergo public criticism, if only so that anyone who thinks it is patently illegal can turn to the High Court.”

Regarding the fact that assassinations can wait until the conclusion of diplomatic meetings, Kretchmer says: “Postponing an operation for diplomatic reasons is unequivocal proof of the fact that this is not a ‘ticking bomb’ situation.” Kremnitzer adds: “According to my legal understanding, these cases [targeted assassinations] must be cases in which you must act immediately, and if it is not a matter of an immediate need, in my opinion it is against the law.”

Although almost two years have passed since the High Court ruling, a committee to examine the assassinations after the fact has yet to be appointed. Last week Aviad Glickman published on Ynet (the website of the mass circulation paper Yedioth Ahronoth) that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz had turned to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanding the establishment of such a committee as soon as possible. “This step must be completed without further delay,” wrote Mazuz, “for fear that a continued delay is liable to constitute contempt of court.”

The bad guys

Yair Naveh, who served as head of Central Command from 2005 to 2007, confirms that occasionally, there is no genuine attempt to arrest wanted men. “If the guy doesn’t put his hands up we don’t get into stories, we immediately establish contact. I don’t want to have people hurt for no reason. If I know that the guy is armed and is a ticking bomb, then I want him to be hit immediately without fooling around. It’s not the preventive action procedure, it’s an entirely different story.

“In my time there were no targeted assassinations. Not a single one, as far as I recall. In principle, there were no targeted assassinations in Central Command and none were approved. What I did have was an ability to reach all of [the wanted men]; therefore there is no reason for a targeted assassination. It is relevant only when you can’t reach someone, but if you can reach him and arrest him at night or have an exchange of fire with him, then it is not a targeted assassination.”

Is it possible that programs were approved and in the end were not carried out?

“No. In principle there was no such thing during my time, because in every operation there were special forces that had to arrive and arrest the guy. To tell the truth, in some places we knew a priori that there would be firing. If you know that you are operating against Islamic Jihad or against Hamasniks or even against some of the jokers who were in the Casbah, then it was clear to me that there would be engagement.”

In the approval of the March 2007 plan regarding Ziad Malaisha you said the mission was arrest, but if one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad was identified, the force had permission to carry out interception. What is that if not targeted assassination?

“Those are guys for whom we received basic confirmation that they are ticking bombs. Those are guys that if we had contact with them, because we knew in advance that they were armed, the default choice was not to start calling on them to halt and then to see whether or not they fled, but right from the start, if they didn’t put up their hands and throw away their weapons, then we engaged with them. That’s not because they had to be killed. It’s also because they are both ticking bombs and armed. That’s the assumption.”

That is semantics. You gave permission to fire at them from the moment they were identified.

“If they don’t put up their hands right at the start. You arrive, shout ‘IDF, hands up!’ You surround them. If the guys don’t put up their hands, then you don’t wait to close in on them, to make a declaration. If you receive confirmation that the guys have received all the relevant approvals, then we say, ‘Friends, I don’t want you to get into a pressure cooker here’ [methods used by the IDF to make someone give himself up]. If they don’t surrender immediately then you immediately engage them, so that you won’t be hurt. That’s the story. It’s not a targeted assassination, where you are approving their execution even if they put up their hands.”

The approval you gave the forces states that if there are women and children, there is to be an arrest. In other words, it would have been possible to arrest them.

“That means that if there are women and children we assume another risk and tell the guys that if they fire at you and begin to flee you don’t begin to exchange fire, but you try to stop the vehicle by shooting at the tires.”

The Operations Directorate approval in the case of Malaisha states that this is a preventive action operation.

“If it was approved as preventive action, that is, as a target for assassination, it’s a different story.”

But then it contradicts the High Court orders to the effect that Israel controls the area and approval of the plan includes the option of arrest.

“Don’t bother me with the High Court orders, I don’t know when there were High Court orders and when there weren’t. I know that a targeted assassination is approved and there is a preventive action procedure and I receive instructions from the Operations Directorate.”

What is the difference between the preventive action procedure and people that you give permission to fire at if they are identified?

“The difference is language. You say ‘Hands up. If not, I’m opening fire,’ and here I don’t say anything and drop a bomb from a plane.”

In the instructions there is no mention of the arrest option, and permission is given to fire if there is identification of a wanted man.

“I’m not familiar with such a document.”

Why in the approvals for targeted assassination is permission given in advance to harm unidentified people?

“Weren’t there people in the Shahadeh case? [Fatah leader Mohammed Shahadeh was assassinated by Hamas in October 2006]. But those aren’t questions that you should ask me. What is approved as preventive action goes through approvals all the way to the prime minister, and what is decided is decided. Usually these guys hung around with bad guys, not good guys.”

Linguistic innovations

In the State’s reply to the High Court, prior to its ruling, it was claimed that carrying out a targeted assassination is “an exceptional step” that is taken “only when there is no other, less severe way of implementing it … In the context of these strict instructions it was decided that when there are realistic alternatives to the action, such as arrest, these alternatives should be used.”

But the most noticeable thing the High Court ruling changed regarding the assassinations is the language used by the IDF in planning them. On December 13, 2006, a day before the High Court ruling was handed down, wanted man Muhammed Ramaha was killed in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp in the Nablus area. According to the IDF spokesman’s report to the media at the time, Ramaha was killed in the course of a joint “arrest operation” of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Yamam police unit.

Now it turns out that Ramaha’s fate had been sealed a month earlier, when the Central Command conducted a discussion on an operation planned by the IDF’s Maglan special operations unit in the Nablus area. Those in attendance were presented with orders from Maj. Gen. Naveh, who ruled that the armed men walking around the area were connected to Mohammed Ramaha’s unit and “should be attacked.” There was no option offered of trying to arrest the members of the squad, and conditions for opening fire were the identification of two armed men, “conspiratorial” activity involving at least one armed man, or “when an indication is given” of the presence of Ramaha in the squad. As mentioned, a month after the discussion Ramaha was killed.

The Maglan soldiers were also the ones who carried out an operation on November 8, 2006 that ended in the killing of five Palestinians, two of them unarmed. The IDF, as usual, did not present it as an assassination mission, but it turns out that the force’s assignment was “to sneak into the center of the village, up to the observation point overlooking the killing area that had been designated in advance, to lie in ambush for armed terrorists and to hit them at short range.”

Another example: At the end of September 2006 the then head of the Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (today GOC Northern Command), conducted a discussion in which approval was given to assassinate a Fatah member – an expert on the production of explosives belts – in the Nablus area. “The Time For Chaos Has Arrived” was the name of this operation, in which the major general approved attacking the man “in the context of the procedure of targeted assassination of important figures in light of the fact that he is a ‘ticking bomb.'” As opposed to operations planned after the High Court ruling, where there are specific instructions regarding conditions in which the action should not be carried out, in this case the only instructions were “to try to refrain insofar as possible from harming innocent people.”

“Apparently what happened in the wake of the High Court ruling is mainly ‘word laundering,'” says Kretchmer. “In other words, the use of words referring to arrest when in fact there is no real intention of carrying out an arrest, but the reference is to assassination.” Sfard says that, “whoever gave the IDF a permit to execute civilians without trial should not be surprised when the death squads it has created do not adhere to the few restrictions imposed on this policy. It’s a natural, logical and inevitable process of moral deterioration involved in assassinations.”

A military source said that the first years of the intifada were “a period lacking order. They fired at just about anything that moved.” He says that in recent years, especially after the High Court ruling, the procedure in Central Command and the Operations Directorate is somewhat different, one reason being that representatives of the Military Prosecutor’s Office “are breathing down their necks.” As for the importance attributed by the army to the country’s image and to the timing of its activity, the source said, not without a degree of cynicism, that “the criteria for a ‘ticking bomb’ change if Condoleezza Rice is in the country.”

An investigation by Haaretz indicates that IDF operations that are defined in advance as arrest operations rather than assassination operations do for the most part end in arrest. However, there is something disturbing about the fact that when it comes to the plan to arrest a Palestinian, the commander in charge of the operation sometimes feels a need to explain that this is not an assassination assignment and that the wanted man should be brought back alive. For example, in an operation planned last May for the arrest of a Fatah activist in Bethlehem, the GOC Central Command explained to the commander of the Duvdevan undercover commando unit that “the mission is arrest rather than killing.” And in fact, that activist was arrested alive. In the same operation, incidentally, it was explained to the forces that “there is no permission to behave aggressively toward foreign media crews.”

When Naveh was asked why he occasionally told the forces that the wanted men be brought back alive, which should ostensibly be obvious, he explained: “That means that I am exposing our forces to additional risk, and even if he opens fire, they do not kill him immediately but try nevertheless to arrest him.” It also turns out that the presence of children is not always an excuse to cancel military operations. At the end of March 2007, the chief of staff allowed Duvdevan to carry out the arrest of a wanted man during the birthday party of one of his children. The name chosen by the IDF for this action was Kindergarten Party.

Source

Israeli journalists on ice for report on Israeli assassinations

Other Israeli crimes . There are many.

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes

Dubai police chief to seek Netanyahu arrest as well as the Mossad agents

Recent

Israel bombards Gaza – and threatens worse

Update April 2 2010: Disease Threatens Haitian Children

Canada and the European Union: Advancing theTransatlantic Agenda

Foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula obtained through fraud and Israeli involvement

Mossad using Spanish passport Arrested in Algeria

British MPs call for review of arms export to Israel

Australia: Fraser calls for expulsion of Israeli diplomats

Israel to Allow Shoes into Gaza Strip After Three Year Ban

UK warns of Israel travel amid passport scandal

Tony Blair’s attempt to keep his Iraqi Oil Profits a secret

Women in Iraq Miss Saddam

Israel condemned at Arab summit over Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land

Israel condemned at Arab summit over Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land

A video briefing explaining Israel’s continued and expanding grip on Jerusalem since the occupation began in 1967.

March 26 2010

Israel condemned at Arab summit

Regional leaders meeting in Libya have been united in their condemnation of Israel’s settlement activity in occupied Palestinian land.

The Arab League summit began on Saturday in the Libyan city of Sirte, with Amr Moussa, the Arab League chief, warning that continued Israeli settlement building would end efforts to revive the Middle East peace process.

“We have to study the possibility that the peace process will be a complete failure,” Moussa said in his opening speech to the two-day annual summit.

“It’s time to face Israel … We have accepted an open-ended peace process but that resulted in a loss of time and we did not achieve anything and allowed Israel to practise its policy for 20 years.”

Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as a joint capital for a future state, has been a particular point of focus for delegates.

Jerusalem’s significance

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, reiterated that Israel’s settlements were illegal under international law, and called for Jerusalem to be part of peace negotiations.

“Jerusalem’s significance to all must be respected, and it should emerge from negotiations as the capital of two states,” he said at the meeting’s opening session.

Ban also called for Arab leaders to support US-led efforts to facilitate indirect “proximity” talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinians pulled out of the talks in reaction to Israel’s announcement it would build 1,600 settlements on occupied land.

The Israeli move has also caused a rift between Israel and Washington as it came during a visit to Israel by Joe Biden, the US vice-president.

“I urge you to support efforts to start proximity talks and direct negotiations. Our common goal should be to resolve all final status issues within 24 months,” Ban said.

But Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, ruled out taking part in the talks unless Israel stops building settlements.

“We cannot resume indirect negotiations as long as Israel maintains its settlement policy and the status quo,” he said in his speech.

The warnings over Jerusalem were echoed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, who called Israel’s policy of considering Jerusalem as its united capital “madness”.

“Jerusalem is the apple of the eye of each and every Muslim … and we cannot at all accept any Israeli violation in Jerusalem or in Muslim sites,” he said.

‘Playing with fire’

Many Arab leaders have also been angered by the opening of a restored 17th century synagogue near the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, home to Islam’s third holiest site.

They see such acts as a clear intention by Israel to “Judaise” Jerusalem and undermine chances for a peace agreement with the Palestinians who consider East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.

Jordan’s King Abdullah warned that Israel was “playing with fire” and trying to alter the identity of Jerusalem.

Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, described tensions with Israel as a “state of no-war, no-peace”, and said his country was ready if “war is imposed” by Israel.

Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, opened the summit with an unusually short speech in which he said that Arabs were “waiting for actions, not words and speeches”.

The Libyan leader, whose country is hosting this year’s summit, has said he wants the meeting to be one of unity and the issue of Jerusalem has proved a unifying factor.

“The whole issue of Israeli actions has been under intense discussions, particularly in light of what has happened in that region in recent days,” Mike Hanna, Al Jazeera’s correspondent reporting from Sirte, said.

“Very clearly the issue of Jerusalem has been brought up and focused on because it is the one issue that would be very difficult for the international community as a whole to ignore.

“If, for example, resolutions would go to the UN General Assembly or the Security Council … on the question of East Jerusalem and Israeli occupation, it is very difficult for international bodies – or countries such as the US – to veto or abstain over something they’ve already condemned.”

Arab leaders are expected to ratify an agreement drafted by their foreign ministers to raise $500m in aid to improve the living conditions for Palestinians in Jerusalem as part of a “rescue” plan for the city.

A senior Palestinian official said the money would go towards improving infrastructure, building hospitals, schools, water wells and providing financial support to those whose houses have been demolished by Israeli authorities.

The leaders are also due to discuss a number of strategies, including keeping a record of what they consider to be Israeli “violations” in Jerusalem to refer them to higher bodies such as the International Criminal Court, based in the Hague in the Netherlands.

The last Arab League summit, held two years ago, was hosted by Qatar.

Source

Israel has been expanding illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land for decade, and it is now emerging just how far-reaching this policy is.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Jerusalem housing committee is planning to build another 50,000 Jewish homes in occupied East Jerusalem to join the hundreds of thousands already there or in progress.

That includes 3,000 housing units in Gilo, 1,500 apartments in Har Homa and another 1,500 in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev.

Thousands more have been planned at Givat Hamatos, and the settlement of Ramot, while hundreds more are in the works in Armon Hanetziv, as well as Neveh Yaakov.
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports.

Israel is destroying a 1000 year old Muslim Cemetery. Anything that is that old should be preserved, not destroyed.

American Civil Rights Org Fights Against Israeli Desecration of Ancient Cemetery

Recent

Women in Iraq Miss Saddam

NATO Smears a Truth-Teller in Afghanistan

Soldiers, Mental illness, Drugs and Suicide

Destroying Educational Institutions or Using Them For Military Purposes Is A War Crime

Cheap Food Imports destroyed Haitian agriculture

Warning Facebook Strikes again, this time a Virus

Britain expelled Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in Dubai

Canada: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Democracy

Attempted Citizen’s Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in a Canadian Court

Obama blocks delivery of bunker-busters to Israel

Farm Groups Want Action On Monsanto

Netanyahu Takes His Siege Against Human Rights NGOs to the US

March 11-17 2010 Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Published in: on March 28, 2010 at 4:27 am  Comments Off on Israel condemned at Arab summit over Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land  
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Netanyahu Takes His Siege Against Human Rights NGOs to the US

Day-long conference apparently encouraged by the Israeli government labels Israeli human rights workers as traitors.

By Max Blumenthal

March 17 2010

As the anti-Goldstone, human rights-bashing Lawfare Project’s opening event on March 11 wrapped up, I asked its chairman, Columbia University Law School Dean David Schizer, for an interview. Schizer, who had just attacked the Goldstone Report from the podium, pointedly refused to speak to me and looked for the exit. As Schizer was leaving, he was politely confronted by Columbia Law School Professor Katherine Franke, who heads the school’s Program in Gender and Sexuality Law.

“Why didn’t you invite any speakers with an alternative perspective?” Franke asked Schizer.

His reply was curt. “We invited one or two but they couldn’t make it,” Schizer claimed before hurrying away.

Schizer was understandably nervous about his exposure. After all, he had just presided over a day-long conference during which Israeli human rights workers were labeled as traitors while Judge Richard Goldstone and human rights groups were compared to “anti-Semitic street gangs.” After several speakers had harshly condemned legal efforts against the construction of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Schizer appeared beside them to lend his credibility to their views.

Columbia Law Dean David Schizer Attacks Goldstone, Human Rights NGO’s @Lawfare Conference

Schizer attacks Goldstone

Held in the ornate NY County Lawyers Association meeting room in downtown Manhattan, where the walls were adorned with portraits of the pioneers of international jurisprudence, the Lawfare Project’s conference had the look of a non-partisan academic conference. However, the event was organized by a network of American Zionist groups and conservative operatives with apparent encouragement from the Israeli government.

As Scott Horton noticed at Harper’s, the Lawfare Project’s rollout event followed a remarkably similar conference in Jerusalem two weeks earlier. Both conferences followed legislation in the Knesset designed to force NGO’s to disclose their foreign donors so they can be more easily branded as a fifth column and to strangle human rights groups in Israel and occupied Palestine.

The presence of high-level Israeli officials like UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev at the Lawfare Project conference suggested that the Netanyahu administration was the hidden hand behind the event. If so, the Israeli government has deployed its American Jewish allies to take the fight across the Atlantic to groups like Human Rights Watch and the Center for Constitutional Rights. Both groups were attacked at the event as anti-Israeli and anti-American.

I arrived late in the day but just in time for a panel moderated by Pat Robertson’s longtime legal counsel, Jay Sekulow. Sekulow, a convert from Judaism to evangelical Christianity who has spent his career representing anti-gay and anti-abortion clients, appears to be playing a key role in the Lawfare Project.

Through his American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Sekulow reaps millions of dollars each year from Christian conservative donors. He uses that money to pay himself upwards of $600,000, provide a lavish lifestyle for his family, and procure the services of the PR firm, 5WPR, which represents other upstanding clients like Girls Gone Wild and the pro-settler Hebron Fund.

5WPR was handling the press list for the Lawfare Project and shuttling its speakers to and from media appearances. 5W Senior Account Executive Maggie Davis told me that through the firm’s relationship with Sekulow, she was arranging media appearances for Brooke Goldstein, founder of the Children’s Rights Institute, which happens to share a domain address with the Lawfare Project. Both websites were registered by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which played a direct role in planning the conference. Goldstein is now the lead spokesperson for the Lawfare Project, according to 5W’s Davis.

NGO Monitor legal advisor Anne Herzberg was featured prominently at the conference. During a panel discussion, she accused the European Union of “pouring hundreds of millions into these NGO’s…that are actually in favor of a one-state solution.” Without naming those NGO’s or explaining why accepting foreign money was such a crime, Herzberg boasted of suing human rights groups to force them disclose their donors. She accused Israeli NGO’s like B’tselem of causing “a breach of sovereignty” against Israel by contributing data to the Goldstone Report — an insinuation that Israeli human rights workers were traitors.

An NGO Monitor report was distributed to conference attendees identifying groups supposedly promoting “post-colonial ideology” as “anti-state,” “anti-democracy” and “anti-American.” The report identified NGO Monitor’s top targets: the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Al-Haq. Al-Haq was singled out because, along with a staffer from the Israeli group B’Tselem, it filed an expert opinion in the case to move a section of the separation wall annexing thousands of acres of farmland from the Palestinian town of Bil’in to a nearby Jewish settlement.

The attack on Al Haq highlights part of NGO’s Monitor’s not-so-hidden agenda: to allow the settler movement to usurp land in the West Bank without limitations. As Didi Remez reported, NGO Monitor has partnered with the Institute for Zionist Strategies, led by Yisrael Harel, who helped to found the Gush Emunim settler movement and lives in the religious nationalist settlement of Ofra. Remez also pointed out that NGO Monitor has made no demand for financial transparency from pro-settler organizations which are also engaged in what it would call “lawfare.”

NGO Monitor has also targeted US-based human rights group. It has gone after Human Rights Watch on the basis of the group’s contribution of reporting to the Goldstone Report and because Goldstone was at one point a HRW board member. The Center for Constitutional Rights was singled out because its founder, Michael Ratner, went on the recent Viva Palestina mission with Code Pink. None of the factual documentation these groups released was challenged by the NGO Monitor report or in Herzberg’s presentation. Instead, the groups and their leadership are being targeted with a scattershot of accusations that recall McCarthyism in its crudest form.

As a consequence of his zeal, NGO Monitor director Gerald Steinberg was hauled into an Israeli court this month and forced to apologize for claiming a Palestinian human rights group “justified violence.” Yossi Alpher, a former advisor to Ehud Barak, has condemned Steinberg’s activities, writing that NGO Monitor “seems dead set on eliminating human rights monitoring of Israel entirely and smearing anyone who supports this vital activity.”

The NGO Monitor report and the speakers at the Lawfare Project event expressed alarm about the effectiveness of the global BDS movement and its success in exposing apartheid practices in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Speaker Richard Heidemann, the Honorary Chairman of B’nai Brith, said that the fight against BDS was essential to the Lawfare Project. “We have to stand up against slander, we have to stand up against boycott,” he proclaimed. “If you were accused of apartheid, wouldn’t you consider taking action?” However, he proposed no specific measures or tactics other than making vehement statements.

Francois-Henri Briard, a conservative French attorney, voiced his outrage that the BDS movement had successfully pressured the French company Veolia to pull out of an Israeli light rail project that would have connected illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem. He called the initiative against the rail line “an attack on Israeli sovereignty” even though it specifically targeted the settlement enterprise across the Green Line.

Jeremy Rabkin, an outspoken neoconservative law professor, echoed Herzberg’s smearing of human rights groups as treasonous. “These human rights groups we keep hearing about are not loyal to their country or to democracy, but to some strange world order,” he declared.

Not to be outdone, David Matas, the senior legal counsel to B’nai Brith Canada, maintained that because the International Criminal Court represented the legacy of the Holocaust, it should always side with Israel. He went on to compare the Goldstone Report and efforts to invoke international law to prosecute Israeli officials to “anti-Semitism by gangs in the street.”

Matas’s invective against international law was ironic in light of the fact that his most notable court case called upon international legal bodies to prosecute China for supposedly harvesting the organs of Falun Gong practitioners. In September 2009, Matas hailed a Spanish court (the concept of “forum shopping” in Spanish courts was attacked repeatedly during the conference) for indicting former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Chinese officials for what he called “genocide and torture.”

Matas has defined genocide as merely stating “the intent to kill” a group of people. What’s more, he has justified prosecuting Jiang by invoking International Criminal Court statutes governing the prosecution of high government officials who did not directly commit crimes against humanity but may have allowed them to occur through specific administrative measures. Couldn’t these statutes also be applied against the Israeli government officials who oversaw the assault on Gaza?

Matas’s invocation of international law to prosecute Chinese officials while attacking it to protect Israeli officials highlighted the underlying cynicism of the Lawfare Project. Indeed, the project has nothing to do with combating the abuse of international law per se; it is an ideologically-driven effort to intimidate anyone who stands in the way of Israel’s human rights abuses.

According to 5W’s Davis, the Lawfare Project’s opening event was a strategy session designed to “raise awareness.” Though it is still unclear what actions the project will take, the demonization that human rights groups and other democratic elements in Israel have weathered foreshadows the attacks their American allies may soon face.

Source

The Lawfare Project was promoting hate against Human Rights organizations no less.  Really have to wonder about them as well NGO Monitor, which is nothing more then an organization to destroy Freedom of Speech.

Say anything about Israel and you are demonized.

With Israels Human Rights record, we should never loose our freedom to tell the world.  Hiding the truth is not to be tolerated.

March 11-17 2010 Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Israeli Military Investigator Admits Failures in the Military Investigation of Rachel Corrie’s Killing

Egypt : 42 electoral candidates and 145 protestors arrested in one day

Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped

Report: U.S. vows to halt Israeli building in East Jerusalem

Amir, ten years old, abducted by Israeli soldiers from his bed

“This Time We Went Too Far” Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion

E-book on Jewish National Fund’s role in colonization of Palestine

Israel on Trial – The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

China renews call for diplomacy on Iran

Food industry probe reveals abuse of foreign workers

Japan Report: Private Agreements Allowed US to Bring Nukes

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 5:10 am  Comments Off on Netanyahu Takes His Siege Against Human Rights NGOs to the US  
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Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the US?



By Paul Craig Roberts

August 31, 2009
In Israel, a country stolen from the Palestinians, fanatics control the government. One of the fanatics is the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week Netanyahu called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran.

The kind of blockade that Netanyahu wants qualifies as an act of war. Israel has long threatened to attack Iran on its own but prefers to draw in the US and NATO.

Why does Israel want to initiate a war between the United States and Iran?

Is Iran attacking other countries, bombing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure?

No. These are crimes committed by Israel and the US.

Is Iran evicting peoples from lands they have occupied for centuries and herding them into ghettoes?

No, that’s what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for 60 years.

What is Iran doing?

Iran is developing nuclear energy, which is its right as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran’s nuclear energy program is subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which consistently reports that its inspections find no diversion of enriched uranium to a weapons program.

The position taken by Israel, and by Israel’s puppet in Washington, is that Iran must not be allowed to have the rights as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that every other signatory has, because Iran might divert enriched uranium to a weapons program.

In other words, Israel and the US claim the right to abrogate Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy. The Israeli/US position has no basis in international law or in anything other than the arrogance of Israel and the United States.

The hypocrisy is extreme. Israel is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and developed its nuclear weapons illegally on the sly, with, as far as we know, US help.

As Israel is an illegal possessor of nuclear weapons and has a fanatical government that is capable of using them, crippling sanctions should be applied to Israel to force it to disarm.

Israel qualifies for crippling sanctions for another reason. It is an apartheid state, as former US President Jimmy Carter demonstrated in his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The US led the imposition of sanctions against South Africa because of South Africa’s apartheid practices. The sanctions forced the white government to hand over political power to the black population. Israel practices a worse form of apartheid than did the white South African government. Yet, Israel maintains that it is “anti-semitic” to criticize Israel for a practice that the world regards as abhorrent.

What remains of the Palestinian West Bank that has not been stolen by Israel consists of isolated ghettoes. Palestinians are cut off from hospitals, schools, their farms, and from one another. They cannot travel from one ghetto to another without Israeli permission enforced at checkpoints.

The Israeli government’s explanation for its gross violation of human rights comprises the greatest collection of lies in world history. No one, with the exception of American “christian zionists,” believes one word of it.

The United States also qualifies for crippling sanctions. Indeed, the US is over-qualified. On the basis of lies and intentional deception of the US Congress, the US public, the UN and NATO, the US government invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and used the “war on terror” that Washington orchestrated to overturn US civil liberties enshrined in the US Constitution. One million Iraqis have paid with their lives for America’s crimes and four million are displaced. Iraq and its infrastructure are in ruins, and Iraq’s professional elites, necessary to a modern organized society, are dead or dispersed. The US government has committed a war crime on a grand scale. If Iran qualifies for sanctions, the US qualifies a thousand times over.

No one knows how many women, children, and village elders have been murdered by the US in Afghanistan. However, the American war of aggression against the Afghan people is now in its ninth year. According to the US military, an American victory is still a long ways away. Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in August that the military situation in Afghanistan is “serious and deteriorating.”

Older Americans can look forward to the continuation of this war for the rest of their lives, while their Social Security and Medicare rights are reduced in order to free up funds for the US armaments industry. Bush/Cheney and Obama/Biden have made munitions the only safe stock investment in the United States.

What is the purpose of the war of aggression against Afghanistan? Soon after his inauguration, President Obama promised to provide an answer but did not. Instead, Obama quickly escalated the war in Afghanistan and launched a new one in Pakistan that has already displaced 2 million Pakistanis. Obama has sent 21,000 more US troops into Afghanistan and already the US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is requesting 20,000 more.

Obama is escalating America’s war of aggression against the Afghanistan people despite three high profile opinion polls that show that the American public is firmly opposed to the continuation of the war against Afghanistan.

Sadly, the ironclad agreement between Israel and Washington to war against Muslim peoples is far stronger than the connection between the American public and the American government. At a farewell dinner party last Thursday for Israel’s military attache in Washington, who is returning to Israel to become deputy chief of staff of the Israeli military, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, and and Dan Shapiro, who is in charge of Middle East affairs on the National Security Council, were present to pay their respects. Admiral Mullen declared that the US will always stand with Israel. No matter how many war crimes Israel commits. No matter how many women and children Israel murders. No many how many Palestinians Israel drives from their homes, villages, and lands. If truth could be told, the true axis-of-evil is the United States and Israel.

Millions of Americans are now homeless because of foreclosures. Millions more have lost their jobs, and even more millions have no access to health care. Yet, the US government continues to squander hundreds of billions of dollars on wars that serve no US purpose. President Obama and General McChrystal have taken the position that they know best, the American public be damned.

It could not be made any clearer that the President of the United States and the US military have no regard whatsoever for democracy, human rights, and international law. This is yet another reason to apply crippling sanctions against Washington, a government that has emerged under Bush/Obama as a brownshirt state that deals in lies, torture, murder, war crimes, and deception.

Many governments are complicit in America’s war crimes. With Obama’s budget deep in the red, Washington’s wars of naked aggression are dependent on financing by the Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Saudis, South Koreans, Indians, Canadians and Europeans. The second this foreign financing of American war crimes stops, America’s wars of aggression against Muslims stop.

The US is not a forever “superpower” that can indefinitely ignore its own laws and international law. The US will eventually fall as a result of its hubris, arrogance, and imperial overreach. When the American Empire collapses, will its enablers also be held accountable in the war crimes court?

Source

NATO: the Imperial Pitbull

Mass demonstration planned outside Israel’s Ofer prison holding 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners

The youngest prisoner held in Israeli prisons is about a year and half old.

Israeli navy fires on Gaza fisherman/UN report on Gaza Crisis

Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has been indicted on three counts of corruption

Israel wants boycotts for everything, but no one dare boycott them

Israel declares the shooting of American activist, Tristan Anderson to be an “act of war”

Testimony from Israeli soldiers/ Gaza

Israel targets Sweden over newspaper claim

Butchers: The hidden truth about Israel’s kidney theft ring

Swedish PM: No apology to Israel in regards to article Swedish newspaper reveals Israeli army murders Palestinians for their organs

U.S. group invests tax-free millions in East Jerusalem land

Gaza cancer patients have only painkillers, due to Israeli Blockade

Swedish newspaper reveals Israeli army murders Palestinians for their organs

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 12:37 am  Comments Off on Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the US?  
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Interview with Franklin Lamb: Israel Self Defense or War Crime?

Lawyers Without Borders

Feb 7, 2009

Part I: What Law Applies?
Interviewer’s Note: On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a devastating 22 day and night bombardment of the Gaza strip. The assault left, amidst an estimated 600,000 tons of concrete rubble, some 1,740 dead (this figure includes more than 350 ‘forgotten’ stillbirths and trauma-caused abortions in Gaza during the 22 days of terror), a figure that increases as the severely injured continue to die. A majority of the victims were civilians, including nearly 900 (again including the stillborn) children, approximately 5,500 severely wounded, and more than one third of the 1.5 million population was displaced while more than 14,000 homes were completely destroyed. Approximately 92,000 Palestinians are still homeless with more than 16,000 living as many as 20 to a small tent without latrines, as supplies remain blocked at the borders.

Single-limb fractures and the walking wounded are not included in the above figures, according to renowned British surgeon Dr. Swee Ang, currently conducting an on-the-ground medical investigation in Gaza. Dr. Swee and her medical colleagues estimate that of the severely injured, 1,600 will suffer permanent disabilities. These include amputations, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and large burns with crippling contractures.

Also bombed were 68 government buildings and 31 NGO complexes, buildings all of which were completely or partially destroyed. Property damage and loss of livelihood has been estimated at close to 2 billion dollars.

On February 4, 2009, the Government of France strongly protested Israel’s refusal to allow in donated filtration equipment for drinking water, given that much of Gaza’s population have not had clean drinking water for weeks. As the massive human and material destruction continues to be documented by journalists, investigators and relief workers, the international pressure for accountability increases.

Faced with nearly unprecedented international outrage and condemnation, due to massive civilian casualties, the government of Israel continues to claim that its actions constituted self defense and that its attack on Gaza fully comply with the requirements of International law. To defend its actions, which it insists were “totally legal under international law” Israel has organized a bevy of international lawyers and ‘experts’ to support its claims, including Alan Derchowitz, Justus Reid Weiner, Avi Bell as well as others working from, or in cooperation with, Israeli government funded outlets such as the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs or the Israeli Defense, Foreign Affairs and Information Ministries.

International Lawyers without Borders and Hokok, the International Coalition against Impunity, asked American international lawyer and researcher, Dr. Franklin Lamb, of the Sabra-Shatila Foundation, currently based in Beirut, to comment on Israeli claims. In the following interview Lamb offers his brief analysis of the conduct of Israel and Hamas, against a backdrop of continuing on-the-ground investigations in Gaza. Dr. Lamb was interviewed at UNESCO Palace in Beirut. A transcript follows.
International Lawyers without Borders (ILWOB): Good morning Dr. Lamb. Before we begin could you clarify one matter for us? You drafted the December 10, 2008 Hokok filing against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. What is the status of that Case and what is going on at the ICC? One hears conflicting reports.

Franklin Lamb: Thank you and it’s my pleasure to join you. Yes, you are quite correct in thinking some Court staff has sent conflicting signals recently. But that is ok because all of us, the whole international community, are learning about this new court and its very important potential. It is a much needed and long overdue judicial institution seeking to limit State impunity for humanitarian crimes while broaden universal jurisdiction so that no one is above the law.

The HOKOK submission was made under Article 15 of the Rome Statute which allows Non Governmental Organizations and individuals to bring to the Office of the Prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) information of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also permits these groups to petition for an investigation which could lead to the Court initiating a case, issuing arrest warrants and conducting a trial. It is encouraging to note that according to the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC dozens of Submissions and Communications have been submitted to the Court with respect to Gaza. I believe this is an important recognition by individuals and organizations around the World that justice must be pursued for the Palestinians slaughtered in Gaza.

Current developments with the December 2008 filing include this week’s submission from the HOKOK and Sabra-Shatila Foundation’s just completed compilation of some 800 documents relating to Israeli violations of International Humanitarian Law in Gaza. The case Appendix includes evidence not just since December 27, 2008, but going back 18 months since Israeli began its blockade and siege of Gaza. We view the recent violence as a continuation of the assault of Gaza which began shortly after Hamas won the 2006 elections.

With respect to the recent 22-day and night bombardment of Gaza we, along with journalists, NGO’s and independent researchers, continue to gather and document evidence of serial war crimes allegedly committed by Israeli troops and the Israeli command structure including some fifteen political leaders.

We have submitted detailed evidence, including European laboratory analyses, that Israel has used white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas. This accusation, which comes from many sources, has been widely supported by NGO’S and journalists on the ground. The media and NGO role is critical with respect to documentation of the actual events on the ground as it was in Lebanon, 2006. The fact that the media was barred from performing its role in Gaza has aided Israeli efforts to hide war crimes.

Who can bring a case to the International Criminal Court?

The first barrier to be cleared before the ICC Office of the Prosecutor launches an official investigation is the matter of the Courts Jurisdiction. When we petitioned the ICC we were cautioned by the ICC chief prosecutor Mr Moreno-Ocampo, that his office was unsure how far it would be able to take the case on the path through Investigation to Trial because the ICC perhaps had no res (subject matter) or impersonum (personal) jurisdiction over Israel, a non-signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court.

States that are party to the treaty recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court can refer cases of crimes committed by their citizens or on their territory and it is clear that the International Criminal Court can investigate if asked by the U.N. Security Council as in the case of Darfur. We calculated that our American administration would veto such a Security Council request as a gift to Israel. Israel has never recognized ICC jurisdiction, withdrawing its signature to the Rome Statute in 2003, and because only states can recognize the court, it was unclear if the Palestinians can do so.

Our jurisdictional reply to the ICC is that yes, they will have jurisdiction because Palestine, through its government, the Palestinian Authority would shortly formally accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court as 108 countries have done. Indeed, this occurred on Jan. 21 when Ali Khashan, the Palestinian Authority’s justice minister submitted a Declaration of Acceptance of Jurisdiction letter to the Court stating that his government recognized the court’s jurisdiction for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting acts committed in the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.

Lawyers for Israel have objected, but tellingly, Israel is preparing for potential legal action, barring the media from publishing pictures of officers’ faces and their names for fear of investigations. Last week, Israel’s Cabinet promised legal and financial support for any officers facing trial, despite the difficulty of prosecuting Israelis.

One avenue would be for Israel to agree to investigate its commanders and prosecute any crimes discovered. That would remove any case from the orbit of the international court. So far that appears unlikely, given Israel’s repeated denials of war crimes in Gaza but on the other hand they may indeed use this approach as a hoped for shield to the ICC taking the case.

Israeli governmental lawyers are concerned that a Palestinian state that ratified the Rome treaty would then be able to refer alleged Israeli war crimes to the court without the current legal wrangling. The case could also lead to snowballing international recognition of a Palestinian state by countries eager to see Israel prosecuted.

A coalition of Israeli human rights groups has urged the country’s attorney-general to open an independent investigation into allegations of war crimes by troops, advising their government that to do so could head off international court cases. These groups, including the anti-settlement organization B’Tselem, has advised the Israeli authorities that the list of Israeli war crimes is very long and Israel is much better off conducting its own trials. B’Tselem showed Israeli authorities evidence of dozens of cases of Israeli forces firing into civilian areas, denying medical aid to the wounded and preventing Palestinian ambulances from reaching them and they have documented more than 20 cases of Israeli soldiers firing at women and children carrying white flags or with their arms raised.

We and others are arguing the International Criminal Court can take jurisdiction because the government of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority is the de facto state in the area where the crimes were committed and Hamas is the local branch, as it were, of that Sovereign. It is also instructive to bear in mind that the overwhelming number of members of the United Nations recognizes the state of Palestine with 97 granting full diplomatic recognition and 13 countries granting something less.

Consequently we advised the ICC that the de facto and de jure government of Palestine is the Palestinian National Authority for purposes of the Rome Statute. There is some precedent for the Palestinian jurisdictional initiative with the case of the Ivory Coast, the first non-state party to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction over alleged war crimes on its territory. In 2005 it lodged a declaration with the court accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed there since September 2002. We think Palestine can do the same thing.

We also believe that Israel is esstopped from denying the sovereignty of Palestine for this purpose given that they have consistently claimed since its ‘withdrawal’ from Gaza in 2005, that they have no international legal responsibility for Gaza or any of its residents.

The jurisdictional issue has ramifications for the Palestinian case for statehood. If the court rejects the case, it may deepen the legal black abyss that Palestinians find themselves in while they remain ’stateless’. The Palestinian Justice Ministry argues that the Palestinian Authority possesses the fundamentals of a state and has met all conditions required to be considered as a sovereign State. This compelling argument underlines some of Israel’s worst fears about a Palestinian state on its borders. A Palestinian state that ratified the Rome treaty would then be able to refer alleged Israeli war crimes to the court without the current legal wrangling. The case could also lead to near universal international recognition of a Palestinian state by countries eager to see Israel held to account for its crimes.

ILWOB: Thank you. With respect to applying International Law in the Gaza conflict, exactly what international law applies to the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza?

FL: The armed conflict between Hamas and Israel is governed by international treaty law as well as the rules of international customary law, the latter being that body of law which is so widely applied by States that is rises to the level of universally binding norms.

The treaty law is Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to which Israel is a party. Article 3 sets forth minimum standards for all parties to a conflict between a state party such as Israel and a non-state party such as Hamas. The customary rules are based on established state practice, which has the imprimatur of the United Nations, and is binding on all parties to an armed conflict, whether they are state actors such as Israel or non-state actors such as Hamas, or in the case of the July 2006 war in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

All feasible precautions must be taken

International humanitarian law, as it is sometimes called, is designed specifically to protect civilians and other noncombatants from the hazards of armed conflict. The key customary rules require that parties that engage in hostilities must at all times distinguish between combatants and noncombatants. Civilians may never be the object of attacks; rather warring parties are required to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects. All parties must absolutely refrain from attacks that would disproportionately harm the civilian population or that fail to discriminate between combatants and civilians.

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention provides a number of fundamental protections for noncombatants in Gaza, which include those who are no longer taking part in hostilities, such as captured combatants, and those who have surrendered or are unable to fight because of wounds for example.
It is prohibited for Israel or Hamas to use any type of violence against such persons including outrages against their personal dignity and degrading or humiliating treatment.

Contrary to what the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs have argued, the Commentary of the International Committee of the Red Cross notes that the determination of the existence of an armed conflict between states in which the Conventions apply does not depend on a formal declaration of war or recognition of a state of hostilities. Rather, the factual existence of armed conflict between two states party automatically brings the Conventions into operation. Thus virtually any hostilities between Israel and Palestinians would fall within the full Geneva Conventions. In any case, the standards of customary international law applicable to Israel and Hamas are similar in international and non-international conflicts.

ILWOB: Was Hamas’ capture of Israeli soldier Gilat in 2006 lawful?

FL: Yes it was. The targeting and capture of enemy soldiers is allowed under international humanitarian law and Gilat capture, like that of the two Israeli soldiers on July 12, 2006 in Lebanon near Aita Shaub was a legitimate military mission. To label these captures as ‘kidnappings’ as some in the main stream media have done, is a misuse of a term normally related to the unlawful abduction of children or sometimes even girlfriends. However, the subsequent use of captives who are no longer involved in the conflict, for example to work prisoner exchanges, constitutes hostage-taking and is forbidden under international law, by both Common Article 3 and customary international law, and this action becomes a war crime. We have seen this practice expanded widely since 1967 by Israel who in effect currently holds close to 10,000 Palestinians from various parts of Palestine and some still from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other Arab countries, with the de facto status being hostage and the Israeli advertised de jure status claiming they are legitimate prisoners.

ILWOB: Is Israel entitled to use military force against the population of Gaza in order to pressure Hamas to release a captured Israeli soldier?

FL: Absolutely not, contrary to the claims of the Military Law unit of the Israeli army, lawful attacks are only those where the targets by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers “a definite military advantage.” Israeli attacks directed at civilian morale in Gaza do not meet this test, since they are not contributing to military action and are thus war crimes.

Israeli lawyers are arguing that military attacks on Gazan civilian morale could exert pressure on Hamas to pursue a particular course of action but under international humanitarian law that is illegal. It is simply terrorism, i.e. the deliberate attacking of civilians. Moreover, international law explicitly prohibits attacks of which the primary purpose is to intimidate or instill terror in the civilian population whether the Israeli practice of retorsion or perfidy.

ILWOB: Is Israel’s intent, declared to US envoy George Mitchell to keep Gaza sealed until captured Israel soldier Gilad Shalit is returned, permitted by international humanitarian law?

FL: No. Israel has been closing Gaza Strip border crossings ever since Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections. It furthered tightened the blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007.

Because Israeli forces maintain a continuing presence and exercise control, Israel is effectively the occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. This convention sets out obligations of the occupying power regarding the protection of the civilian population from the consequences of war and from mistreatment by the occupying power. The occupying power must ensure particular protection for the humanitarian needs of the population, such as the functioning of civilian hospitals and the provision of food, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance.

Sealing, blockading, and holding Gaza hostage until a captured Israeli soldier is returned constitutes a war crime.

ILWOB: What is the international legal status of Hamas in relation to the conflict?

FL: Hamas is an organized political group based in Gaza, representing many of Gaza’s inhabitants. As you know it won the 2006 election which according to former President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center, monitored the campaign and balloting, was entirely fair and democratic. Hamas, again like Hezbollah, has a military and a civilian organization. Moreover, it actually constitutes the government by virtual of the 2006 election.

Accordingly, and as a party to the conflict with Israel, Hamas is bound to conduct hostilities in compliance with both international customary law and Common Article 3, which applies to conflicts that are not interstate but between a state and a non-state actor. As is explicitly stated in Common Article 3, and made clear by the commentaries of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the application of the provisions of Common Article 3, as well as international customary law, to Hamas does not affect its legal status.

ILWOB: What about Israel’s right of self-defense which it claims it is lawfully exercising through Article 52 of the UN Charter?

FL: I think you are referring to Article 51 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Article 51 provides for the right of countries to engage in military action in self-defense, including collective self-defense (i.e. under an alliance).

The Israeli government claims an inherent right to self-defense referenced by Article 51 of the UN Charter and it is true that Article 51 carves out an exception to the general UN Charter prohibition against the use of force by one Member State against another.

However, lawyers working for Israel tend to misapply Article 51 which states that:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security”.

Israel was obliged to take its problem with Hamas to the UN.

Moreover, hard liners in the Israeli government and their lawyers argue that Gaza is not an independent sovereign and therefore is owed no duty at all including immunity from armed attack from other states under the law of jus ad bellum. However, given that this primitive notion is ridiculed by the international legal community and is repugnant to most UN Member States, Israel has relied on the Article 51 right of self defense and its international lobby has pushed this argument effectively with the widely broadcast mantra “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

The problem with this Israeli argument is that the Article 51 right is qualified by the same rules of proportionality, target distinctions and discriminations discussed above so it does not excuse Israel’s frenzy of killing and destruction. In point of fact, many consider that the launching of rockets into Israel by Hamas, like the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, constitutes a legitimate response to impending extermination and are a desperate bid for survival.

Disproportionate ’Self Defense’

In any event, investigators are finding that there was a disproportionate response. Areas were attacked that have no military gain whatsoever–an area like the Islamic University or the U.N. school or the U.N. agency or numerous NGO offices.

These constitute disproportionate attacks, which are a very clear violation and constitute war crimes. The Israeli attacks are disproportionate on two levels: disproportionate in terms of the amount of response that we see from the Hamas rocket fire and disproportionate in terms of the number of causalities. But disproportionate actually also refers to the actual nature of the attack itself. These attacks are done with seemingly little military gain and often times when there is clear evidence that the stated target is a civilian site. An apartment building, for example; a mosque where there are children, a school yard and then the evidence that some civilians were simply lined up and shot—or killed when they were carrying white flags, dropping white phosphorus on civilians in densely populated neighborhoods. These, if proven, are war crimes and not UN Charter Article 51 self defense.

ILWOB: Genocide. An emotional term increasingly applied to Israel’s strategy against the Palestinians. Is what Israel is doing in Gaza Genocide?

FL: What Israel has been doing in Gaza and Palestine comes very close to genocide according to the provisions of the Genocide Convention (1948), reiterated in the Rome Charter of the International Criminal Court (2002), which includes: (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Article 2 of the genocide Convention stipulates that any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

An important aspect of genocide is that one has to talk about intent. So we must examine if a given government entity has an intent to completely eradicate a population. The litmus test is intent. If one considers the past six decades of racist statements and declarations coming from Israeli leaders, Zionist ideologues, members of the Knesset, the Grand Rabbi of Israel and the anti-Arab and Islamophobic brochures distributed to Israeli soldiers attacking Gaza by Religious leaders, and some IDF Commanders, the intent becomes fairly clear.

I personally agree with Professors Richard Falk, Francis Boyle, Noam Chomski, James Petras, and a growing number of others who have seriously examined the Question of Palestine and have concluded that a case is to be made for bringing Israel to account under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

ILWOB: Which targets could Israel and Hamas legally attack under international law?

FL: Two fundamental tenets of international law, directly applicable to targeting by both sides Gaza, are “civilian immunity” and the principle of “distinction.” Israel and Hamas have the duty to distinguish at all times between combatants and never to target the latter. To target civilians amounts to a war crime.

It is also forbidden for Israel or Hamas to direct attacks against “civilian objects,” such as homes and apartments, places of worship, hospitals, schools or cultural monuments, unless they are being used for military purposes and make an “effective” contribution to military action and whose destruction, capture or neutralization offers a “definite military advantage.” If there is doubt about the nature of a “civilian object” it must be presumed to be civilian. Those attacking “civilian objects” have a heavy burden of proof regarding establishing a “definite military advantage”. Even when a target is serving a military purpose, precautions must always be taken to protect civilians.

ILWOB: Did Israel and Hamas violate these laws?

FL: Yes, and in a very disparate fashion. The mere fact that an object has civilian uses does not necessarily render it immune from attack. It, too can be targeted if it makes an “effective” contribution to the enemy’s military activities and its destruction, capture or neutralization offers a “definite military advantage” to the attacking side in the prevailing circumstances at the time of attack. However, such “dual use” objects might also be protected by the principle of proportionality.

One example from the July 2006 war comes to mind. Israel accused Hezbollah of targeting civilians during its retaliatory firing of rockets into northern Israel and there may be some truth to this but it has still not been fully proved given that on-the-ground investigations by Human Rights watch and researcher like Jonathon Cook reveal that Hezbollah had in several locations what turned out to be accurate intelligence showing that Israeli military bases or installations were purposely placed near civilian neighborhoods and were used as ‘human shields’. Hamas has a similar burden depending on its ’self-defense’ or ‘retaliation’ defense. More study is required on this issue and one illegal act does not excuse another illegal act but early surveys from on-the-ground investigations show that Israel violated these rules something like 11,000 Israeli “civilian object” violations for each rocket Hamas fired whether or not in “self-defense” during the 22 days of around the clock bombardment.

Part II: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law: What Remedy?

Interviewer’s Note: On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a devastating 22 day and night bombardment of the Gaza strip. The assault left, amidst an estimated 600,000 tons of concrete rubble, some 1,740 dead (this figure includes more than 350 ‘forgotten’ stillbirths and trauma-caused abortions in Gaza during the 22 days of terror), a figure that increases as the severely injured continue to die. A majority of the victims were civilians, including nearly 900 (again including the stillborn) children, approximately 5,500 severely wounded, and more than one third of the 1.5 million population was displaced while more than 14,000 homes were completely destroyed. Approximately 92,000 Palestinians are still homeless with more than 16,000 living as many as 20 to a small tent without latrines, as supplies remain blocked at the borders.

International Lawyers without Borders and Hokok, the International Coalition against Impunity, asked American international lawyer and researcher, Dr. Franklin Lamb, of the Sabra-Shatila Foundation, currently based in Beirut, to comment on Israeli claims. In the following interview Lamb offers his brief analysis of the conduct of Israel and Hamas, against a backdrop of continuing on-the-ground investigations in Gaza. Dr. Lamb was interviewed at UNESCO Palace in Beirut. A transcript follows.

Part II: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law: What Remedy?

ILWOB: Is the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel lawful under international law?

FL: No. As a Palestinian Resistance force to Israel’s illegal occupation Hamas does have the right and responsibility to oppose it. In addition, as the legal sovereign power in Gaza and as a party to the armed conflict, Hamas has a legal duty to protect the life, health and safety of its civilians as well as the noncombatants of those placing its people under siege and blockade, essentially the same ’self defense’ argument Israel makes.

Hamas argues that it has a right of self defense and that firing rockets into south Israel is legitimate because they are firing soldiers not civilians and this is the area from which the Israeli tanks, planes and troops come from.

The targeting of military installations and other military objectives inside Israel is permitted as retaliation for Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza but not on civilians and Hamas must take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm. Launching indiscriminate attacks, or attacking military objects with indiscriminate weapons or if the anticipated harm to civilians and other noncombatants will be disproportionate to the expected military advantage this action constitutes a war crime. Hamas commanders must choose the means of attack that can be directed at military targets and will minimize incidental harm to civilians.

For example, if the weapons used are so inaccurate that they cannot be directed at Israeli military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm, then they cannot legally be deployed.

The use of such inaccurate weapons such as Qassim homemade rockets, white phosphorus artillery shells or cluster bombs as in Lebanon in 2006, is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law because their use in civilian areas violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks. International law prohibits such bombardment near or in any area containing a concentration of civilians, even if there are believed to be military objectives in the area.

Deliberately attacking civilians is in all circumstances prohibited and it constitutes a war crime, even if in retaliation for Israeli attacks, however unjust this may seem in the heat of battle. The presumption is that the targets were civilian and therefore criminal attacks. The burden is on Hamas and Israel to convince the fact trier that their targets were military targets.

ILWOB: In Gaza, was Israel entitled to target Gazan infrastructure such as roads, bridges and power stations?

FL: No, with very limited exceptions. Airports, roads, streets, and bridges may be dual-use targets if actually used for military purposes. However, even then, the International customary and treaty law require the parties to the conflict to weigh carefully the impact on civilians against the military advantage served. They must consider all ways of minimizing the impact on civilians and they cannot legally undertake attacks if the civilian harm outweighs the definite military advantage. Additionally, one has to consider whether the destruction of particular roads, streets or bridges impede military transport in light of readily alternative routes and whether the infrastructure attacked is making an “effective” contribution to Hamas’ military action and its destruction offers a “definite military advantage”.

If its destruction is aimed more at inconveniencing the civilian population and even preventing it from fleeing the fighting and seeking safety, as many have claimed during the Gaza war, including some Israeli military commanders, it’s a war crime.

With respect to electrical facilities supplying the civilian population of Gaza, they are almost never legitimate military targets. Professor Alan Derchowitz and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are currently arguing, as they did in 2006, that electricity is a dual-use target, given that both civilians and Hamas fighters use electricity. However the harm to civilians in Gaza was enormous, affecting refrigeration, sanitation, hospitals and other necessities of modern life and in a densely urban society, electricity is arguably “indispensable to the survival of the civilian population,” meaning that it can be attacked only in extremely narrow circumstances. Final judgment must await more detailed on-the-ground investigation, but Israel faces a very high burden to justify any of its thousands of infrastructure attacks on Gaza during its 22 days of bombing.

ILWOB: Was Israel entitled to bomb the home of Hamas leaders such as the Interior Minister, Nizar Rayan along with 10 of his children, four wives and two neighbors?

FL: No. International law allows only the targeting of military commanders actually in the course of armed conflict, provided that such attacks otherwise comply with the laws that protect civilians. Normally, political leaders, as civilians, would not be legitimate targets of attack. The only exception to this rule is if their role, as commander of troops, or their direct participation in military hostilities renders them effectively combatants. To date there is no evidence that this was the case with Gaza Interior Minister Rayan. Israel has a heavy burden of proving otherwise.
We should bear in mind that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) defines, direct participation in hostilities as acts of war which by their nature and purpose are likely to cause actual harm to the personnel and equipment of enemy armed forces, and includes acts of defense. Consequently, Hamas political leaders could only be targeted individually, not his family, if Israel could show that he was effectively commanding Hamas forces. This has not been shown to date.

In principle, it is permitted to target the location where a combatant resides or works. However, as with any attack on an otherwise legitimate military target, the attacking force must refrain from attack if it would disproportionately harm the civilian population or be launched in a way that fails to discriminate between combatants and civilians. Israel failed to do this in the ____ case.

ILWOB: Can Israel attack neighborhoods that house Hamas leaders or offices? And what are Hamas’ obligations regarding the use of civilian areas for military activities?

FL: Where the targeting of a combatant takes place in an urban area such as Gaza, one of the eight most densely populated areas on earth, the belligerent parties are under a strict legal duty to protect the civilian population, as the bombing of urban areas significantly increases the risks to the civilian population.

As of the December 27, 2008 commencement of Israel’s attack, the defending party in Gaza was Hamas. Israel thus had a legal duty to take all necessary precautions to protect civilians in Gaza against the dangers resulting from its bombardments.

This means that while Hamas must avoid locating military objectives, such weapons, ammunition and headquarters, within densely populated areas, Israel must avoid risks to civilians. It does not meet this obligation by claiming that it considers Hamas responsible for having located legitimate military targets within or near populated areas, or that Hamas may be using the civilian population as a shield.

The law is clear on this. Let us assume that Hamas placed weapons inside the basement of a civilian building, a clear violation. Israel is absolutely required to refrain from launching any attack that may be expected to cause excessive civilian loss when compared to the objective calculation of concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. In other words, a violation by Hamas does not give Israel the right to bomb civilians countless times in Gaza because of a suspected or even proved violation by Hamas. The reason is that the intentional launch of an attack in an area without regard to the civilian consequences or in the knowledge that the harm to civilians would be disproportionately high compared to any definite military benefit to be achieved would be a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime.

Even the presence of a Hamas fighters, commanders or military facility in a populated area never justifies attacking the area, but rather only the specific target can be individually targeted. It is a prohibited indiscriminate attack, and a war crime, to treat an entire area as a military target instead of attacking the particular military facilities or personnel within that area.

ILWOB: Did Israel and or Hamas use Human shields in Gaza?

FL: The evidence to date is overwhelming that Israel used human shields despite its consistent denials. It is less clear so far about Hamas and we await the results of on the ground investigations, and hopefully a United Nations Security Council investigation, which your organizations and other have called for.

More than 60 years of Israeli practice, going back to the ‘Iron Wall’ doctrine first enunciated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s which has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, shows that the Israeli military frequently shoots or rockets civilians whether or not they happen to be near military areas.

Israel is accused by many of frequently taking human shields in Gaza during the recent invasion. To date more than 90 cases have been documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, journalists and NGO’s currently working inside Gaza. According to a credible report by Donald Macintyre and Amnesty International, on January 5, 2009, at Jabalya Gaza, the second day of their ground offense, 40 old Majdi Abed Rabbo was forced by Israeli troops to protect themselves and to risk his life as a go-between in the hunt for three Hamas fighters. Abed Rabbo reported to Amnesty International that he was handcuffed for two days and abused by a unit of Israeli troops. The Israeli unit assigned him many tasks such as opening car doors, entering buildings ahead of Israeli troops as cover for them, first, being hit with rifle butts if he resisted their orders, forcing him to search houses and rooms and to enter a house where injured Hamas fighters were suspected in order to convey messages from the Israeli troops. Abed Rabbo witnessed other civilians being used as human shields and, as he reported, being forced to enter houses and take surveillance photos.

Astonishing numbers of verified accounts, more than 30 as of last week, gathered by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Hamoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual are emerging from Gaza. The gathered evidence indicates 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. According to Majdi Mohammed Ayid al-Atar, 43 of Northern Gaza, one of the individuals used by Israeli troops as human shields, the pits were without shelter, toilets or adequate food and water, with approximately 70 of his neighbors handcuffed and blindfolded and put in a ten foot deep ditch. Some detainees have testified that they had been held near tanks and in combat areas. While Israel says it will investigate scores of these claims, it faces a heavy burden of proof with respect to its use of human shields, as groups such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Adalah continue to document cases of Israeli forces using human shields.

Each use of a human shield is a war crime. The crime of “shielding” has been defined as intentionally using the presence of civilians to render certain points, areas, or military forces immune from military attack. Taking over a family’s house and not permitting the family to leave for safety so as to deter the enemy from attacking is a simple example of human shields. Evidence from victims, NGO’s, and hospital and rescue services strongly suggests that Israel made widespread use of this illegal practice in Gaza. While it may be unlawful, as noted above, to place forces, weapons and ammunition within or near densely populated areas, it is only shielding when there is a specific intent to use the civilians to deter an attack.

ILWOB: Was it lawful for Israel to attack Hamas radio and television stations?

FL: No. Military attacks on broadcast facilities used for military communications are legitimate under international humanitarian law. But such attacks on civilian television or radio stations are prohibited if they are designed primarily to undermine civilian morale or to psychologically harass the civilian population. Civilian television and radio stations are legitimate targets only if they are used in a way that makes an “effective contribution to military action” and their destruction at the time offers “a definite military advantage.” Specifically, Hamas-operated civilian broadcast facilities could become military targets if, for example, they are used to send military messages or otherwise concretely to advance Hamas’ armed campaign against Israel. However, civilian broadcasting facilities are not legitimate military targets simply because they broadcast pro-Hamas or anti-Israel propaganda. Neither contributes directly to military operations, it is unlawful to attack them merely because they may shape civilian opinion.

Israel’s remedy is to counter Hamas broadcasts with competing broadcast of its own, i.e. broadcasts for broadcasts, propaganda for propaganda, not bombing.

Israel, during the ongoing period of international investigations, can offer any evidence it has that Gaza stations became legitimate military objectives because of their use to transmit military communications. If it has any proof, the principle of proportionality in attack must still be respected. This means that Israeli military planners and commanders should verify at all times that the risks to the civilian population in undertaking any such attack do not outweigh the anticipated military benefit.

ILWOB: Lawyers defending Israel, specifically lawyers Justus Weiner and Avi Bell, of the Israeli government funded Jerusalem Center, as well as Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School are arguing that warnings given to Palestinians in Gaza in advance of Israeli attacks comply with international humanitarian law. What is your view?

FL: These claims are spurious. The IDF, through leaflets dropped by aircraft, and recorded messages to telephones, did in some cases call of Gazan civilians to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods.

International humanitarian law requires that warring parties give effective advance warning of attacks that may affect the civilian population if circumstances permit. What constitutes an effective warning depends on the circumstances such as the timing of the warning and the ability of the civilians to leave the area. In some cases the IDF are reported to have dropped leaflets in Gaza giving residents only two hours warning before a threatened attack. In other reports that gave 30 minutes or 5 minutes or “now!”

The required warning is made largely useless in cases as in Gaza, where bomb damage to roads and bridges, as well as air attacks on civilian vehicles, effectively prevented the ability of civilians to flee an expected attack. Virtually every Palestinian, inside or outside the Gaza refugee camps set up following their ethnic cleansing in the 6 months before and after Israel was created in May of 1948, believes from experience that they themselves are targets of Israel during hostilities.

In Gaza, evidence to date suggests that Israeli warnings we calculated to cause forced displacement, threatening civilians with deliberate harm if they did not heed them. Israel failed in its duty also because even after warnings have been given, its attacking forces were required to still take all feasible precautions to avoid loss of civilian life and property. This includes canceling an attack when it becomes apparent that the target is civilian or that the civilian loss would be disproportionate to the expected military gain. Israel appeared to use its warnings as acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population that is their statement calling for the evacuation of areas that are not genuine warnings, but are primarily intended to cause panic among residents or compel them to leave their homes for reasons other than their safety The Geneva Convention prohibits this practice and violating the prohibition is a war crime.

ILWOB: The same group of lawyers working with the government of Israel has published articles arguing that Israel’s land and sea blockade of Gaza is legal. What is your view?

FL: They have it backwards. Both are illegal. Under the provisions of the International Law of the Sea and the Laws of Armed Conflict, Israel has illegally targeted Gaza’s only international border crossings, imposed a naval blockade for the past 18 months, attacked ports, and bombed road escape routes out of the country. Blockades as a tool of war are sometimes legitimate under international humanitarian law; however, their imposition is subject to the principle of military necessity and proportionality.

As Hamas has no navy or shipping fleet, the Israeli blockade, which was set up long before the current attack, appears to have as its primary purpose the intimidation, harassment or starvation of Gaza’s civilian population. Several humanitarian aid boat crews have been threatened with death if they failed to desist in their mission to Gaza. In December one was actually attacked and severely damaged. These actions are forbidden by international humanitarian law, which prohibits armed forces from deliberately causing the civilian population to suffer hunger by depriving it of its sources of food or supplies.

As you mentioned, Israeli recruited lawyers, without offering any proof, have attempted to justify the blockade of Gaza, on the grounds that it restricts the re-supply of the military. Moreover, this purpose must be weighed against the costs to the civilian population. Those costs can also shift over time, as shortages of necessities intensify. Even if a blockade were assumed lawful at the outset, it could become unlawful if mounting civilian costs became too high and outweighed the direct military advantage. In those circumstances – for example, if food or medical supplies ran low – Israel would be obliged to permit free passage of material that is essential for civilians and to protect humanitarian personnel delivering those supplies. Numerous testimonies to from eye witnesses including aid workers, journalists, medical staff and local officials suggest that this was not the case.

ILWOB: If the targets are legitimate military objects, was Israel’s use of weapons like DIME, white phosphorus, and cluster bombs legal in Gaza?

FL: Under international law, none of these weapons can be used in or near civilian areas because the blast effects of these weapons cannot be directed at military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm and the weapons cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians. Many cases of Israel’s misuse of these weapons are being documented by an increasing number of on-the-ground investigations.

ILWOB: Israeli lawyers, again, specifically Justus Weiner, Avi Bell, and Alan Dershowitz have all argued that Israel has not engaged in “collective punishment” in Gaza. What is meant by collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza and what is your view?

FL: International law prohibits the punishment of any person for an offense other than one that he or she has personally committed. Collective punishment is a term used in international law to describe any form of punitive sanctions and harassment, not limited to judicial penalties, but including sanctions of any sort, administrative, by police action or otherwise, that are imposed on targeted groups of persons for actions that they themselves did not personally commit. The imposition of collective punishment is a war crime. Whether an Israeli attack or measure in Gaza amounted to collective punishment depends on the target of the measure and its punitive impact, but of particular relevance is the intent behind a particular measure. If the intention was to punish, purely or primarily as a result of an act committed by third parties, then the attack is collective punishment.

It is true that many have accused Israel of collective punishment in Gaza including UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, Amnesty International, Professor Richard Falk, Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International, and many others.

I have here a statement by Richard Falk on January 12, 2009 in which he correctly states the law in my view:

And still Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease. Such a policy of collective punishment.. Such a policy of collective punishment, initiated by Israel to punish Gazans for political developments within the Gaza Strip, constitutes a continuing flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

ILWOB: What were Israel’s and Hamas’ obligations to agencies seeking to provide humanitarian assistance?

FL: Israel’s military operations in Gaza displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and cut off many others from access to food, medical care and basic necessities. Humanitarian agencies had great difficulty reaching the populations in need because of the ongoing Israeli bombing campaigns, including air attacks targeting border passages, roadways, streets, UN buildings, schools and vehicles. For 22 days and nights Israel failed to secure safe passage for humanitarian convoys for basic necessities or for wounded persons or to evacuate civilians from areas of active conflict.

Under international humanitarian law, parties to a conflict must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of impartially distributed humanitarian aid to the population in need. The belligerent parties must consent to allowing relief operations to take place, and may not refuse such consent on arbitrary grounds. They can take steps to control the content and delivery of humanitarian aid, such as to ensure that consignments do not include weapons. However, deliberately impeding relief supplies is prohibited, and doing so as part of an effort to starve or pressure civilians is a war crime.

Additionally, international humanitarian law requires that belligerent parties ensure the freedom of movement of humanitarian relief personnel essential to the exercise of their functions. This can be restricted only temporarily for reasons of imperative military necessity. As on-the-ground investigations continue, much evidence is emerging that Israel interfered with humanitarian relief personnel, constituting war crimes.

Now that some journalists and NGO relief agencies are being allowed in, Amnesty International has documented the Israeli attack on19 medical workers within 20 days, or about one a day killed. They documented the shelling of ambulances that were clearly marked as such or NGO rescue vehicles that were marked, such as Save the Children. One woman testified about how she raised a Save the Children logo flag, and it was still attacked. Each such incident in a punishable war crime and that accountability runs up the chain of command of the Israeli military.

ILWOB: Finally Dr. Lamb, what can individuals do to help enforce the requirements of international law in order to help ensure the safety of the Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

FL: There are so many actions that individuals and human rights and grass root organizations can take that are calculated to support and uphold the Principles, Standards and Rules of International Humanitarian Law with respect to Palestine/Israel and specifically, Israel’s war against Gaza.

For many years going back to the 1970’s Israeli aggressions against Lebanon and Palestine have caused an increasing percentage of the international public to assert that “Israel has gone too far, something must be done”. The attacks from 1978 (Operation Litani), the July 1981 Bombardment of the Fakhani area of Beirut, the 1982 invasion and occupation of Beirut (Peace for Galilee) and the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, 1993 (Reverse Direction), 1996 (Grapes of Wrath) the West Bank including Jenin in 2002 (Operation Defensive Shield), and the July 2006 War on Lebanon, among others.

The carnage of Gaza 2009 has seen more individuals and organizations calling for measures to hold Israel accountable for its actions than ever before.

Individuals and organizations can encourage and support measures such as boycotts and divestitures within their countries and among their local governments as well as join the international efforts such as demanding international investigations like those currently being undertaken by the United Nations (concerning the shelling of a UN school in Jabaliya that killed 43 and wounded scores of others as well as other alleged Israeli attacks on civilians) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (investigating the use of depilated uranium) in Israel actions.

Among them I would suggest the following:

With respect to the more than 300 submissions to International Criminal Court regarding Israeli crimes in Gaza, individuals and organizations can submit evidence to the Office of the Prosecution under Article 15 of the Rome Statute and support the call for other tribunals to investigate and judge war crimes committed in Gaza perpetrated from all quarters. The Court staff is very helpful and Submissions can be emailed to: otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int or faxed to: +31 70 515 8555.

Local petitions, taking their governments to task for selling arms to Israel, demonstrations, briefings, teach-ins, op-ed pieces, letters to the editors of journals and newspapers, and talking about the issues involved will all help. This pattern of rejecting the norms of civilized conduct must not be allowed to continue and we as individuals are the ones, who can, by our persistence, bring it to an end as history rejects the injustice of the occupation of Palestine.

Individuals and organization can express solidarity with this week’s launch by the Turkish state prosecutor of an investigation into claims of Israeli crimes against humanity and genocide. The complaint is against those who the Turkish Petitioners claim they can prove were in some way responsible for giving orders for the attack on Gaza including 19 Israeli officials and makes use of Article 13 of the Turkish Penal Code, which allows Turkish courts to try those charged with committing genocide and torture, even if the crime was perpetrated in another country.

Similar initiatives are under way in France and more than 25 European Union countries. Each should be supported. Domestic laws in many countries allow for claims against international crimes and they should be researched and employed by citizens

Lobby for the suspension of Israel from the entire United Nations System, including the General Assembly and all U.N. subsidiary organs and bodies. What the U.N. General Assembly has done to genocidal Yugoslavia and to the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa is fully applicable to Israel. The legal basis for the de facto suspension of Israel at the U.N. was explained recently by Professor Francis Boyle and I would like to quote him:

As a condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally agreed to accept General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) (1947) (partition/Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (1948) (Palestinian right of return), inter alia. Nevertheless, the government of Israel has expressly repudiated both Resolution 181 (II) and Resolution 194 (III). Therefore, Israel has violated its conditions for admission to U.N. membership and thus must be suspended on a de facto basis from any participation throughout the entire United Nations System.

Second, any further negotiations with Israel must be conducted on the basis of Resolution 181 (II) and its borders; Resolution 194 (III); subsequent General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions; the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949; the 1907 Hague Regulations; and other relevant principles of public international law.

Individuals and organizations should encourage the Palestine National Authority, the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine to sue Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting acts of genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention;

The international community must work on the local level to have the U.N. General Assembly impose economic, diplomatic, and travel sanctions upon Israel pursuant to the terms of the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution.

Individuals and organizations should support Professor Francis Boyle’s call for an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI). This can be established by the UN General Assembly as a “subsidiary organ” under article 22 of the UN Charter. Article 22 of the UN Charter states the UN General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions. With this legal mechanism, the GA could convene legal, military and human rights experts to investigate the entire range of war crimes allegations made during the Gaza war, by Israel.  The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and Prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals for offenses against the Palestinian people including the recent aggression against Gaza.

Source

– Lawyers Without Borders is a non-profit, Hartford, Connecticut United States–based organization founded in 2000, whose goal it is to engage the legal profession on an international basis. They support the capacity of non-governmental organizations worldwide, advance the rule of law, protect the integrity of the legal process via neutral observation, offer support to lawyers in the field, and serve as a law-oriented clearinghouse, linking needs with legal resources to meet a need.

New additions on Legal issues

Lebanon: Monday night Explosion/ Israel in violation of Resolution 1701

UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection/2009

Legally Israel owes the US Billions/Fraudulently takes money for the US

Israel: True Cost to U.S. Taxpayers

Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats/Still Israel has not complied

Who Benefited the most by J.F. Kennedy’s Death?/List of Israel Terrorist activities over the years

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Declaration of the Rights of the Child

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Israeli military forces stage attacks on the various areas of the West Bank almost on a daily basis

Act of Piracy, Kidnapping, Illegal Confinement, Theft, Assault and Battery, committed by Israel

Boycotts on Israel are Growing/Unions, Academics

ICC starts analysis of Gaza war crimes allegations

Israel still Bombing Gaza/Petition To EU

What an Aid Worker Saw in Gaza, Then and Now

Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm  Comments Off on Interview with Franklin Lamb: Israel Self Defense or War Crime?  
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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


    Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 12:58 pm  Comments Off on Interview: Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the ISM/UN Reports Gaza/ US Aid to Israel  
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    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

    Will the world do nothing to stop Genocide in Gaza?

    Israel’s settlement on Capital Hill
    By Robert Weitzel

    December 3 2008

    Soon after the sand settled following the Six Day War in 1967, Jewish settlements began dotting the hills in the occupied territories. These settlements are typically located on the high ground to better control the surrounding landscape. Today there are 127 Jewish settlements with a population exceeding 468,000 in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and in the suburbs of East Jerusalem (Beit-ul-Moqaddas) — the last of nearly 8,000 settlers were removed from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

    According to a recent Amnesty International report, “”In the first six months of 2008 Israel has expanded settlements in the West Bank/East Jerusalem (Beit-ul-Moqaddas) at a faster rate than in the previous seven years.””

    Unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel’s westernmost settlement is not located in Palestine-Israel, but is 6000 miles away on the high ground overlooking Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.

    This Capital Hill settlement of pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks strategically controls the high ground overlooking the United States’ Middle East policy landscape by having made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government — including President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden (a wannabe Zionist), and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a born Zionist).

    While Israel’s hilltop settlements in the occupied territories –violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions since 1968 — are “”facts on the ground”” that make the two state peace solution unlikely, their hilltop settlement in the center of the world’s only superpower makes it equally unlikely that Israel’s right-wing government will feel compelled to end their “”self defensive”” brutalization of the Palestinian people, which has been condemned by the international community (UN, EU) as crimes against humanity.

    John Holmes, UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that Israel’s blockade of vital supplies to the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket attacks “”amounts to collective punishment and is contrary to international humanitarian law.””

    Collective punishment is forbidden by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states, “”No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.”” A “”protected person”” is someone who is under the control of an “”Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”” Only the most ideologically blinkered individual would fail to recognize the Gaza Strip as occupied territory.

    Israel’s current blockade of Gaza, which began on November 4, is resulting in what the UN Relief and Works Agency is calling a humanitarian catastrophe. Before the blockade, 1000 truckloads of food, fuel and essential supplies per day were necessary to sustain the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned behind the concrete and barbed wire of the 25-mile long border. Eighty percent of Gazans live on two dollars a day and depend on international aid to survive. Since the border crossings were sealed, less than 100 truckloads have been permitted through.

    The imprisoned Palestinians — 50 percent of whom are younger than 15 — are slowly starving. They lack the fuel to generate electricity for lighting, water purification, and sewage treatment. The erratic, intermittent electrical power puts the lives of patients in intensive care wards and those who are connected to live-sustaining equipment in grave peril. The lack of basic medicines such as antibiotics and insulin pose an equally fatal threat.

    Twenty human rights organizations and all Israeli and international journalists have been barred from entering the Gaza Strip since the blockade began. A letter of protest signed by most major news organizations was sent to Prime Minister Olmert. Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror responded to the letter by saying that Israel was afraid journalists would inflate the Palestinians’ suffering. No one is allow to speak out on behalf of this beleaguered population.

    President-elect Obama has been speaking out “”swiftly and boldly”” about the economic catastrophe threatening our 401Ks, but his silence regarding the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe threatening the lives of Palestinians is both deafening and telling of the price he’s willing to pay to maintain his status as kibbutznik-in-good-standing in Israel’s westernmost hilltop settlement.

    Obama’s unconditional support for Israel’s policy of “”self defense,”” preemptive attacks, and repressive occupations is not one iota different from that of George W. Bush, an internationally recognized war criminal. This is not an encouraging beginning for a man whose battle cry was “”change we can believe in.””

    By any rational, humanitarian standard, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amounts to collective punishment and crimes against humanity. Perpetrators of such crimes, whether they are individuals or governments or willing allies, are criminals who should one day sit in the dock of the International Court of Justice in The Hague — just as defendants sat in a Nuremberg court 60 years ago — and be held accountable for their crimes.

    Until Israel’s hilltop settlement in our nation’s capital is dismantled, allowing for the possibility of a just and lasting peace in Palestine-Israel, its influence on both branches of our government and its insidious affect on U.S. Middle East policy will continue to make willing — or unwitting — kibbutzniks of all Americans. We will be held as complicit, and as culpable, as the citizens of the country whose leaders sat in the dock at Nuremberg.

    The world will ask, “”Why didn’t you do something to stop it?”” The majority of us will reply, “”We didn’t know!””

    Source

    By Paul J. Balles

    30 November 2008

    Paul J. Balles considers the “irony of Jews … denying food to hundreds of thousands of children [in Gaza] in order, allegedly, to insure their own security”, with US and European connivance and Arab regime silence.

    While Americans concentrate on the cost of rescuing the US financial system, and Europeans worry about how the worldwide financial crisis will affect them, Israel blithely, with US government and European community approval, deprives Gaza’s entire civilian population of food, medicine and clean drinking water.

    When pushed to explain their behaviour, they claim self-defence. Defence against whom? More than 50 per cent of the population in Gaza is comprised of children under the age of 15. Few people outside of Gaza even notice this slow genocide.

    Israel always manages to commit its worst deeds when no one else is looking. If they happen to be caught, they blame it on the Palestinians – on a few resistance fighters lobbing rockets into Israel in retaliation for a broken cease-fire. To the Israeli, the actions of a few violent Palestinians are justifiable cause for genocide of the entire Palestinian population in Gaza. Joe Mowrey writes:

    As conditions in the Gaza Strip approach a catastrophic level of deprivation, the world media, and in particular the US media, remain largely silent. The United Nations, whose truckloads of food and medical supplies continue to be denied entry into Gaza by Israel, appears to be one of the few international voices of dissent concerning the collective punishment of 1.5 million human beings.

    As soon as someone takes notice of what Mowrey is talking about, the Israelis open the gates to allow a smattering of fuel or food into Gaza. Ironically, Khaled Meshaal has noted even Arab and Islamic regimes have remained silent about the tragedy resulting from the “criminal blockade” of Gaza. Andrea Becker, head of advocacy for Medical Aid for Palestinians, has written about how the blockade has affected the hospitals and medical facilities. These are hardly resistance fighters:

    …a child on life support doesn’t have the oxygen of a mechanical ventilator. A nurse on a neo-natal ward rushes between patients, battling the random schedule of power cuts. A hospital worker tries to keep a few kidney dialysis machines from breaking down, by farming spare parts from those that already have. The surgeon operates without a bulb in the surgery lamp, across from the anaesthetist who can no longer prevent patient pain. The hospital administrator updates lists of essential drugs and medical supplies that have run out, which vaccines from medical fridges are now unusable because they can’t be kept cold, and which procedures must be cancelled altogether. The ambulance driver decides whether to respond to an emergency call, based on dwindling petrol in the tank.

    Joe Mowrey reflects on the most bitter irony of all:

    Has the sense of exclusivity and entitlement created by the Zionist experiment in Israel become so great that people there no longer see themselves in the mirror of their own history? The irony of Jews … denying food to hundreds of thousands of children in order, allegedly, to insure their own security, is breathtaking. Who could ever have imagined such a thing?

    The Jewish Studies Global Directory of Holocaust Museums lists 61 memorial sites, including four in Israel and 24 in the United States. Reminders to the world? But not to Israelis? Not to Jews in America? Is it conceivable that Jews who remember the Holocaust only recognize genocide when they are the victims? Rabbi Meir Hirsh, Neturei Karta Palestine, provides an answer:

    How long will Jewish and non-Jewish leaders who claim the mantle of civilization and morality remain silent in the face of the ongoing state terrorism practised by the Zionist state against the Palestinian People, most visibly today in Gaza, where the Zionists believe they can starve the Palestinians into submission in violation of all tenets of international law, all religious values in general, including the values of the Jewish faith?

    Source

    Israel Responsible for Genocide by Starvation in Gaza