Most Jerusalem Palestinians Live in Poverty

Most Jerusalem Palestinians Live in Poverty: Israeli Study
May 10 2010

Jerusalem.
Most Palestinians in east Jerusalem, including three out of four children, live below the poverty line, an Israeli rights group said on Monday, accusing Israel of neglect and discrimination.

“A unified Jerusalem does not exist,” the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in a report released as the Jewish state begins celebrations to mark the 43rd anniversary of its 1967 capture of Arab east Jerusalem.

“The truth is, two cities exist side by side,” the report said, challenging Israel’s claim that it unified the Holy City after annexing the Arab sector in a move not recognized by the international community.

Seventy-five percent of Palestinian children in east Jerusalem live in poverty compared with 45 percent of the city’s Jewish children, the report said.

“Over 95,000 children in east Jerusalem live in a perpetual state of poverty,” ACRI said.

Despite the rampant poverty, only 10 percent of east Jerusalem’s 300,000 Palestinians have access to social services, it added.

The neglect extends to just about every sector of life in the Arab sector, and ACRI blamed this on the authorities.

“Israel’s policy for the past four decades has taken concrete form as discrimination in planning and construction, expropriation of land, and minimal investment in physical infrastructure and government and municipal services,” the report said.

The office of Nir Barkat, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, told AFP it had no immediate comment on the report.

Israel has expropriated more than one-third of east Jerusalem land which was privately owned by Palestinians, on which it has built more than 50,000 homes for the Jewish population.

Virtually no permits for Palestinian housing construction have been issued for decades, there is a shortage of about 1,000 classrooms and rubbish collection is sporadic at best, as are postal services, the report said.

The annual budget allocation per elementary school child in east Jerusalem was 577 shekels (152 dollars) compared with 2,372 shekels (627 dollars) in west Jerusalem.

About 160,000 Palestinian residents have no suitable and legal connection to the water network and 50 kilometres (30 miles) of main sewage lines are lacking, the report said.

At the end of 2009 approximately 303,429 Palestinians lived in east Jerusalem, which equals around 36 percent of the city’s total population of some 835,450.

Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its “eternal” capital, while Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The status of the Holy City, as well as that of Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian land, have long been among the thorniest issues in Palestinian-Israeli efforts to reach a peace deal.  Source

Israel building 14 units in al-Quds

May 10 2010

Settler groups have started building 14 new units in the Palestinian neighborhood near an old police station in Ras al-Amoud, in al-Quds (East Jerusalem).

The Israeli far-left Peace Now organization revealed on Sunday that 1,900 settlers already live in 119 units in that area and own them.

It added that since elected as the mayor of East al-Quds in 2008, Nir Barkat has remained “faithful” to the settlers in al-Quds. It warned that the increasing number of settlers in occupied al-Quds would lead to a future of no political deal with the Palestinians.

It is not known if the settlers have obtained permits for the new construction. As per reports, the settlers have received 1,213 permits, while only 136 permits have been issued to the Palestinians in the same neighborhoods.

An expert on the settlement and maps, Khalil al-Tufkaji, said: “The construction in Ras al-Amoud settlement is one of the most dangerous plans in al-Quds, especially when the Israeli occupation seeks to establish a large settlement there.”

The Israelis have plans to build more units in the area and to integrate the settlements of Ma’aleh Oztenem consisting of 200 units, and the settlement of Givat David with 104 units, al-Tufkaji pointed out.

This plan obstructs any possibility of a Palestinian capital in the holy city, he added.

As the proximity talks began on Sunday, this is a clear message to the Palestinians that al-Quds is outside the framework of any negotiations, and construction in the city is “just like the construction in Tel Aviv,” as Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.  Source

Settlers can get permits but Palestinians cannot. Bigotry/Discrimination at it’s finest.

The whole idea is to make the lives of Palestinians as horrid as possible. Israel wants all their land.  Seems they don’t care who or how many live in poverty or are removed from their land and homes.

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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

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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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American Civil Rights Org Fights Against Israeli Desecration of Ancient Cemetery

March 23, 2010

By Michael Leon

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is fighting to preserve the sanctity of the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem.

Synopsis
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other groups have filed a petition on behalf of the Palestinian descendants of those buried in an ancient Muslim cemetery, the Mamilla Cemetery, in Jerusalem. The petition, which was filed with several international bodies, urges Israel to: halt construction of the museum; investigate human rights violations; rebury human remains; and declare the Mamilla Cemetery a protected antiquities site.

For additional information, please visit the Mamilla Campaign website at  www.mamillacampaign.org.
Status
On February 10, 2010, the Petition was filed with the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Religion and Belief and on Contemporary Forms of Racism; the Independent Expert in the Field of Cultural Rights; the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the Director General of UNESCO.
Description
The Petitioners are individuals whose human rights have been violated by the destruction and desecration of an ancient Muslim cemetery, the Ma’man Allah (Mamilla) cemetery in Jerusalem, by the government of Israel working in conjunction with the Simon Wiesenthal Center (“SWC”) of Los Angeles, California. Petitioners also include human rights non-governmental organizations concerned about this desecration.  A significant portion of the cemetery is being destroyed and hundreds of human remains are being desecrated so that SWC can build a facility to be called the “Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance” on this sacred Muslim site.

The Mamilla Cemetery is an ancient Muslim burial ground and holy site believed to date back to the 7th century, when companions of the Prophet Muhammad were reputedly buried there. Numerous saints of the Sufi faith and thousands of other officials, scholars, notables and Jerusalemite families have been buried in the cemetery over the last 1000 years. The Muslim Supreme Council declared the cemetery an historical site in 1927, and the British Mandate authorities pronounced it an antiquities site in 1944. It was an active burial ground until 1948. After the new State of Israel seized the western part of Jerusalem in 1948, the cemetery fell under Israeli control, and like other Islamic endowment properties, or waqf, the Mamilla Cemetery was taken over by the Custodian for Absentee Property. Since then, Muslim authorities have not been allowed to maintain the cemetery.

The Israeli government and the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) are currently building the “Center for Human Dignity–Museum of Tolerance” on a portion of the Mamilla Cemetery. This construction project has resulted in the disinterment of hundreds of graves, and the whereabouts of the countless human remains that have been disposed of are unknown. Israel and the SWC plan to continue the erection of the museum atop thousands of more graves.

The importance of the Mamilla cemetery to Muslims is well-known to Israel. In 1948, the year control of the cemetery was taken over by Israel, the Israeli Religious Affairs Ministry recognized Mamilla “to be one of the most prominent Muslim cemeteries, where seventy thousand Muslim warriors of [Saladin’s] armies are interred along with many Muslim scholars. Israel will always know to protect and respect this site.” As recently as 1986, in response to an investigation by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding Israel’s development projects on Mamilla, the Israeli government stated that “no project exists for the deconsecration of the site and that on the contrary the site and its tombs are to be safeguarded.” Despite these reassurances and the cemetery’s inclusion in a Israeli Antiquities Authority list of “Special Antiquities Sites,” Israel in fact destroyed a large section of the cemetery during the period in which the statement was made.

Despite officially recognizing its importance, Israel has steadily encroached on the Mamilla Cemetery with the erection of buildings, parks and even parking lots. The construction of the “Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance” is only the latest such development project. Israel and the SWC have attempted to justify this development by claiming that the cemetery is no longer sanctified, based on a 1964 proclamation by a Shari’a or Islamic law judge who lacked legitimacy in the Muslim community. The President of the Shari’a Court of Appeals in Israel has since deemed this ruling to be void, and affirmed that the sanctity of cemeteries is eternal in Islam.

Israel has an obligation to respect and protect the holy sites of its minority religious and ethnic populations, including Mamilla cemetery, under international law, United Nations resolutions and under its own domestic law. Despite Israel’s legal obligations, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of construction of the museum and the government has refused to halt the disinterment of bodies and the destruction of the ancient cemetery. For this reason, the petitioners have decided to bring this issue to the international community with the aid of human rights organizations such as CCR.

Source

Israel cannot even let the dead rest in peace.

This is beyond Shameful.. This is something that should be preserved for all generations of the future.

When you think Israel can’t go any lower they do. Destroying a cemetery that has been there for over a 1000 years should tell us Israels true intentions.

It is no wonder why Muslims are angry.

There may even have been a few Jewish people Buried there.

Israel cannot be trusted with anything now can they?

PUBLIC PETITION TO STOP DESECRATION OF MAMILLA MUSLIM CEMETERY IN JERUSALEM BY
ISRAELI AUTHORITIES AND THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER

We demand that the competent Israeli authorities act:

  1. To immediately halt further construction of the Simon Wiesenthal Center “Museum of Tolerance” on part of the Mamilla Cemetery site in Jerusalem;
  2. To declare the entire historic site of the Mamilla Cemetery an antiquity, to be preserved and protected henceforth by its rightful and appropriate custodians, the Muslim Waqf (public endowment) authorities in Jerusalem;
  3. To restitute and rebury where they were originally found all human remains removed from Mamilla Cemetery, in coordination with the competent Muslim authorities in Jerusalem; and,
  4. To document and reveal to families who claim their ancestors are buried in Mamilla, or to their representatives, the whereabouts of human remains and artifacts, exhumed in the construction.

If you wish to support these demands as a co-petitioner, please sign

Sign the Petition

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Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm  Comments Off on American Civil Rights Org Fights Against Israeli Desecration of Ancient Cemetery  
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Report: U.S. vows to halt Israeli building in East Jerusalem

March 13 2010

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell promised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the U.S. will bring a halt to Israeli building in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official told the newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Saturday.

“In a telephone conversation, Mitchell said the U.S. would make sure Israel stops building in the area,” the Palestinian official told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper.

The U.S. has recently expressed frustration over Israel’s announcement on Tuesday of new settlement construction, a move that deeply embarrassed visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and imperiled U.S. plans to launch indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

In an interview with CNN aired Friday night, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israel’s announcement of new construction of homes in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem was “insulting” to the United States.

“I mean, it was just really a very unfortunate and difficult moment for everyone – the United States, our vice president who had gone to reassert our strong support for Israeli security – and I regret deeply that that occurred and made that known,” Clinton said during the CNN interview.

While Clinton did not blame Netanyahu personally for the announcement, she said, “He is the prime minister. Like the president or secretary of state…ultimately, you are responsible.”

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton spoke with Netanyahu on the phone and told him the announcement was a “deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship…and had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process.”

“The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security,” Crowley said.

“She made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process,” he said.

Clinton’s rebuke of Netanyahu capped a week of tense exchanges between the United States and Israel, which on Tuesday announced it was building 1,600 new settler homes in an area of the occupied West Bank it annexed to Jerusalem.

The announcement infuriated the West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, which threatened to pull out of U.S.-brokered indirect “proximity” talks with Israel that Washington hoped would be the first step toward relaunching full peace negotiations after more than a year.

Another senior U.S. official said Friday that Netanyahu’s political standing is “perilous” because of divisions within his coalition over efforts to pursue peace with the Palestinians.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, predicted “a dicey period here in the next couple days to a couple of weeks” as Washington tries to get the indirect talks launched.

Quartet condemns Israel: Unilateral action cannot prejudge talks’ outcome

In addition to the U.S. condemnation of Israel’s announcement, the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers also condemned on Friday Israel’s announcement approving new construction in east Jerusalem.

“The Quartet condemns Israel’s decision to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem,” the statement said. “The Quartet has agreed to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground.”

“Unilateral action by the Israelis or Palestinians cannot prejudge the outcome of (peace) negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community,” the statement said.

“The Quartet will take full stock of the situation at its meeting in Moscow on March 19,” the statement said.

The Quartet called on all concerned to support the urgent resumption of
dialogue between the parties and to promote an atmosphere that is conducive to successful negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues of the conflict.

The group reiterated that Arab-Israeli peace and the establishment of an
independent, contiguous and viable state of Palestine is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of all states in the region, and of the international community.

ADL ‘stunned’ by U.S. condemnation of Israel

The U.S. based Anti-Defamation League said late Friday that it was “stunned” by Clinton’s “dressing down” of Israel.

“We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States,” said Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a statement.

The ADL called Clinton’s remarks a “gross overreaction” to a “policy difference among friends.”

“One can only wonder how far the U.S. is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table,” Foxman said.

Source

Ya Right? I will believe it when I see it and not before. Sounds like a fantasy to me.

Meanwhile the reality.  Nothing will change. The US is just posturing to appeases voters or make themselves look better in the eyes of the world at large.

Settlers are still stealing land. Just another everyday occurrence.

Settlers torch olive orchard in Hebron
March 12, 2010

A group of fundamentalist Jewish settlers burnt on Thursday at night an olive orchard in Safa village, north west of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank.

Dozens of settlers torched the grove while the Israeli army did not attempt to intervene or stop them.

The residents called the local civil defense and firefighters but the army prevented them from reaching the grove.

Soldiers also attacked an international peace activist and confiscated his camera for taking pictures of the assault and the soldiers.

The land in question is 25 Dunams (6.17 Acres) planted with Olives and some evergreens.

Source

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Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 1:17 am  Comments Off on Report: U.S. vows to halt Israeli building in East Jerusalem  
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Israeli Occupation Authorities Deny Gaza Christians Permission to Travel to Bethlehem at Christmas

December 27 2009

Israeli occupation forces prevented young Christians from the Gaza Strip from traveling to the West Bank to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. These restrictions were imposed in the context of Israel’s illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has now been in place for 928 consecutive days. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this form of collective punishment, and calls upon the international community to exert pressure on Israeli occupation authorities to cancel their decision and immediately allow all Christians to move freely, to grant access to the Church of the Nativity and Church of the Resurrection, and to respect the right to freedom of religion.

According to Palestinian sources, Israeli occupation authorities prevented Christians from the Gaza Strip aged 16-35 from traveling from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to participate in the celebration of Christmas and the New Year in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.  They refused to consider any application for permits for those aged between 16 and 35 from both sexes for no apparent reason. This policy contradicts Israeli claims that it allowed all Gazan Christians to participate in the celebrations of Christmas in the West Bank.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at least 550 Christians applied for permits to travel to the West Bank, and Israeli occupation authorities refused to accept applications from 450 others aged 16-35.  Israeli occupation forces allowed only 450 applicants, 70% of whom were children, to travel to the West Bank.  PCHR note that most rejected applications were of parents, which in effect deprived children who obtained permits of traveling as their parents were not able to accompany them.

Such measures have been in place for the last number of years.  Last year, the Palestinian Civil Affairs Commission submitted at least 1,000 applications to obtain permits for Christians to travel from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, but Israeli occupation authorities approved only 271, mostly of children and the eldery.  Those who were allowed to travel were subjected to humiliating prolonged checking at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing before being allowed to pass through the crossing.

PCHR is deeply concerned over the policy of collective punishment adopted by Israeli occupation authorities, which constitutes a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.  PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately act to allow Palestinian civilians to enjoy their rights to freedom of movement and worship.  PCHR stresses that everyone has the right to freedom of faith and religion, including the right to conduct religious rituals, and the right to freedom of movement and/or having access to sacred religious sites, which are fundamental rights that must be respected, protected and upheld.

Source

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Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 5:32 am  Comments Off on Israeli Occupation Authorities Deny Gaza Christians Permission to Travel to Bethlehem at Christmas  
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Saudi Arabia has condemned the Israeli plan to evict 1,500 Palestinians

Saudi Arabia Flays Israel’s Plan to Evict 1,500 Palestinians

March 4 2009

JEDDAH

Saudi Arabia has condemned the Israeli plan to evict 1,500 Palestinians from Jerusalem’s Al-Bustan neighbourhood.

The Council of Ministers, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, on Monday, said the continuing construction of Jewish settlements by Israel in the occupied territories represented a major obstacle to realising peace in the Middle East.

The Cabinet statement comes after Jerusalem municipality served notices to the residents of Al-Bustan to vacate their homes within 72 hours.

The municipality claimed the houses in the area were built without permits, ignoring the fact that most of them were constructed before 1967.

Referring to the international conference in Cairo to mobilise funds for the reconstruction of Gaza, the Cabinet said, “Saudi Arabia hopes the conference will realise its objectives.”

Source

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 6:37 am  Comments Off on Saudi Arabia has condemned the Israeli plan to evict 1,500 Palestinians  
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Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

rabbi-avi-ronzki_

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

January 27  2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

Israeli Professor: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’

January 26 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

A few Testimonies From Soldiers:

Rank: first sergeant

Unit: Golani

Description:

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

Interviewer: Regular blue cards?

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

Interviewer: He has an old ID

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

Interviewer: That someone is trying to get around you?

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

Interviewer: What did you do?

What?

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

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

Interviewer: Completely?  Naked naked?

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

Interviewer: Was there also physical violence there?

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

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

Two hours, an hour and a half.

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

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

Interviewer: The police took them?

Yes– I don’t know if I…

Rank: Sergeant

Unit: Nahal brigade

Place of incident: Atarot-Kalandia

Description:

10/2000

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

Rubber [rubber coated metal bullets].

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

What do you mean by traps?

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

Where was this couch placed?

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

Rank: Staff sergeant

Unit: Armored forces

Place of incident: Daharia junction

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

To straighten up the line?

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

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Unit: Paratroops

Place of incident: South Mount Hebron

Description:

Late 2001

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

And presumably leave it like that …

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

You appropriated a Palestinian shovel …

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

Rank: First Sergeant

Place of incident: Nablus

Description:

End of 2003

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

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

How do you know the kid is dead?

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

There are many more.

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

Break the Silence 2

Break the Silence 3

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives


Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 4:01 am  Comments Off on Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’,Israel: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’  
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If Hamas Did Not Exist

‘This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace.’

By Jennifer Loewenstein
December 31 2008

Let us get one thing perfectly straight. If the wholesale mutilation and degradation of the Gaza Strip is going to continue; if Israel’s will is at one with that of the United States; if the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and all the international legal agencies and organizations spread across the globe are going to continue to sit by like hollow mannequins doing nothing but making repeated “calls” for a “ceasefire” on “both sides”; if the cowardly, obsequious and supine Arab States are going to stand by watching their brethren get slaughtered by the hour while the world’s bullying Superpower eyes them threateningly from Washington lest they say something a little to their disliking; then let us at least tell the truth why this hell on earth is taking place.

The state terror unleashed from the skies and on the ground against the Gaza Strip as we speak has nothing to do with Hamas. It has nothing to do with “Terror”. It has nothing to do with the long-term “security” of the Jewish State or with Hizbullah or Syria or Iran except insofar as it is aggravating the conditions that have led up to this crisis today. It has nothing to do with some conjured up “war” – a cynical and overused euphemism that amounts to little more the wholesale enslavement of any nation that dares claim its sovereign rights; that dares assert that its resources are its own; that doesn’t want one of the Empire’s obscene military bases sitting on its cherished land.

This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace. It is not about Mahmoud Zahhar or Khalid Mash’al or Ismail Haniyeh. It is not about Hassan Nasrallah or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are all circumstantial players who have gained a role in the current tempest only now that the situation has been allowed for 61 years to develop into the catastrophe that it is today. The Islamist factor has colored and will continue to color the atmosphere of the crisis; it has enlisted the current leaders and mobilized wide sectors of the world’s population. The primary symbols today are Islamic – the mosques, the Qur’an, the references to the Prophet Muhammad and to Jihad. But these symbols could disappear and the impasse would continue.

There was a time when Fatah and the PFLP held the day; when few Palestinians wanted anything to do with Islamist policies and politics. Such politics have nothing to do with primitive rockets being fired over the border, or smuggling tunnels and black-market weapons; just as Arafat’s Fatah had little to do with stones and suicide bombings. The associations are coincidental; the creations of a given political environment. They are the result of something entirely different than what the lying politicians and their analysts are telling you. They have become part of the landscape of human events in the modern Middle East today; but incidentals wholly as lethal, or as recalcitrant, deadly, angry or incorrigible could just as soon have been in their places.

Strip away the clichés and the vacuous newspeak blaring out across the servile media and its pathetic corps of voluntary state servants in the Western world and what you will find is the naked desire for hegemony; for power over the weak and dominion over the world’s wealth. Worse yet you will find that the selfishness, the hatred and indifference, the racism and bigotry, the egotism and hedonism that we try so hard to cover up with our sophisticated jargon, our refined academic theories and models actually help to guide our basest and ugliest desires. The callousness with which we in indulge in them all are endemic to our very culture; thriving here like flies on a corpse.

Strip away the current symbols and language of the victims of our selfish and devastating whims and you will find the simple, impassioned and unaffected cries of the downtrodden; of the ‘wretched of the earth’ begging you to cease your cold aggression against their children and their homes; their families and their villages; begging you to leave them alone to have their fish and their bread, their oranges, their olives and their thyme; asking you first politely and then with increasing disbelief why you cannot let them live undisturbed on the land of their ancestors; unexploited, free of the fear of expulsion; of ravishment and devastation; free of permits and roadblocks and checkpoints and crossings; of monstrous concrete walls, guard towers, concrete bunkers, and barbed wire; of tanks and prisons and torture and death. Why is life without these policies and instruments of hell impossible?

The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders. It had no intention of allowing it in 1948 when it grabbed 24% more land than what it was allotted legally, if unfairly, by UN Resolution 181. It had no intention of allowing it throughout the massacres and ploys of the 1950s. It had no intention of allowing two states when it conquered the remaining 22% of historic Palestine in 1967 and reinterpreted UN Security Council Resolution 248 to its own liking despite the overwhelming international consensus stating that Israel would receive full international recognition within secure and recognized borders if it withdrew from the lands it had only recently occupied.

It had no intention of acknowledging Palestinian national rights at the United Nations in 1974, when –alone with the United States—it voted against a two-state solution. It had no intention of allowing a comprehensive peace settlement when Egypt stood ready to deliver but received, and obediently accepted, a separate peace exclusive of the rights of Palestinians and the remaining peoples of the region. It had no intention of working toward a just two state solution in 1978 or 1982 when it invaded, fire-bombed, blasted and bulldozed Beirut so that it might annex the West Bank without hassle. It had no intention of granting a Palestinian state in 1987 when the first Intifada spread across occupied Palestine, into the Diaspora and the into the spirits of the global dispossessed, or when Israel deliberately aided the newly formed Hamas movement so that it might undermine the strength of the more secular-nationalist factions.

Israel had no intention of granting a Palestinian state at Madrid or at Oslo where the PLO was superseded by the quivering, quisling Palestinian Authority too many of whose cronies grasped at the wealth and prestige it gave them at the expense of their own kin. As Israel beamed into the world’s satellites and microphones its desire for peace and a two-state solution, it more than doubled the number of illegal Jewish settlements on the ground in the West Bank and around East Jerusalem, annexing them as it built and continues to build a superstructure of bypass roads and highways over the remaining, severed cities and villages of earthly Palestine. It has annexed the Jordan valley, the international border of Jordan, expelling any ‘locals’ inhabiting that land. It speaks with a viper’s tongue over the multiple amputee of Palestine whose head shall soon be severed from its body in the name of justice, peace and security.

Through the home demolitions, the assaults on civil society that attempted to cast Palestinian history and culture into a chasm of oblivion; through the unspeakable destruction of the refugee camp sieges and infrastructure bombardments of the second Intifada, through assassinations and summary executions, past the grandiose farce of disengagement and up to the nullification of free, fair and democratic Palestinian elections Israel has made its view known again and again in the strongest possible language, the language of military might, of threats, intimidation, harassment, defamation & degradation.

Israel, with the unconditional and approving support of the United States, has made it dramatically clear to the entire world over and over and over again, repeating in action after action that it will accept no viable Palestinian state next to its borders. What will it take for the rest of us to hear? What will it take to end the criminal silence of the ‘international community’? What will it take to see past the lies and indoctrination to what is taking place before us day after day in full view of the eyes of the world? The more horrific the actions on the ground, the more obscenely insistent are the words of peace. To listen and watch without hearing or seeing allows the indifference, the ignorance and complicity to continue and deepens with each grave our collective shame.

The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. Those dreaming of one state must be forced to ask themselves what Israel would do to a population of 4 million Palestinians within its borders when it commits on a daily, if not hourly basis, crimes against their collective humanity while they live alongside its borders? What will suddenly make the raison d’etre, the self-proclaimed purpose of Israel’s reason for being change if the Palestinian territories are annexed to it outright?

The lifeblood of the Palestinian National Movement flows through the streets of Gaza today. Every drop that falls waters the soil of vengeance, bitterness and hatred not only in Palestine but across the Middle East and much of the world. We do have a choice over whether or not this should continue. Now is the time to make it.

-Jennifer Loewenstein is the Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Source

If Hamas did not exist, Israel would find another scapegoat to blame. This is of course what they have always done.

The Holocaust

By Dahlia Wasfi
December 31, 2008

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic. But I’m not talking about World War II, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, or Ashkenazi Jews.  What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the last 60 years.  By definition, a holocaust is a mass slaughter of people or a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life, especially through fire.  There isn’t a more accurate description of the hell that US-armed and –funded Israeli Occupation Forces are unleashing on the people of Gaza at this moment.  Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-Semitic than this.

If you think I’m being grandiose, let us look at the words of Matan Vilnai, Israel’s Deputy Defense [sic] Minister, from February of this year: “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” In Hebrew, “shoah” refers to the Jewish Holocaust of the 1940’s.  But massive airstrikes are not self-defense if you are the aggressor.  That goes for the whole stupid so-called “War on Terror,” in which not a single one of its victims had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.  That goes for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan; that goes for Israel in Palestine.

And that goes for Germany in Poland.  In 1940, the Germans began massing Polish Jews into ghettoes prior to their deportation to extermination camps.  The largest one was the Warsaw Ghetto, where an uprising—a Jewish insurgency—began in 1943.

Today, Gaza is essentially a large ghetto, with a population of around 1.5 million living on about 139 square miles.  Israel controls Gaza’s land border, airspace, water, maritime access, and the flow of goods including food and medical supplies.

Since June 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on the people of Gaza, slowly starving them to death, slowly killing them by denial of medical care amidst intermittent gunship airstrikes.

These crimes against humanity are, of course, in violation of the Geneva Conventions—international law established after World War II in the spirit of “never again.”  Unlike in Warsaw, Gaza is not the staging area for the extermination camps; Gaza IS the extermination camp.

Qassam rockets fired from Gaza as retaliation for Israeli F-16 airstrikes are the equivalent of the Molotov cocktails used by the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943.  Like the small arms of the Polish Jews, they are no match for the sophisticated weaponry of the invading army.  This is why the death toll is so high for the people on the ground in Gaza, and minimal for Israelis.

The mainstream media is depicting this as an “all-out war,” as it depicts the illegal occupation of Iraq.  But in both cases, you have a starving, essentially unarmed people being assaulted with F-15s/F-16s, cruise missiles, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, tanks, and artillery.  This is not war; this is mass murder; this is genocide.  And it is American military, financial, and political support that makes this bloodletting possible.

From North America to Germany to Cambodia to Rwanda to Palestine to Iraq, mass murder is wrong.  When Americans are looking for whom to blame, we cannot blame the victims.  Yes, there are many players involved and many governments turning a blind eye to genocide, but don’t we brag about how much better we are than that?  Shouldn’t we stop being complicit in these supreme crimes against humanity?  All we have to do is abide by our own laws, which include all signed international treaties and agreements.

We must end our illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and stop funding and providing armaments for the illegal occupation and stealth of Palestinian land.  In the words of Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old American college student who was murdered in Rafah by the Israeli Occupation Forces on March 16, 2003:

“…Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel.  Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world…So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.”

Let us heed her brave wisdom, and end illegal occupation.  If we fail to act, then the next time someone flies airplanes into American buildings, let us not ask ignorantly, “Why do they hate us?”

Source

Actions we can take to help Palestinians in Gaza

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians

A Palestinian woman walks past a destroyed Hamas police compound after an Israeli air strike

A Palestinian woman walks past a destroyed Hamas police

compound after an Israeli air strike

An Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

An Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

Palestinians carry the wounded to hospital, left, after Israel launched a second day of air strikes on the Gaza Strip

Palestinians carry the wounded to hospital, left, after Israel launched

a second day of air strikes on the Gaza Strip

An explosion is seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip

An explosion is seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern

Gaza Strip

Palestinians look at a destroyed Hamas police compound

Palestinians look at a destroyed Hamas police compound

A destroyed Hamas police compound

A destroyed Hamas police compound

Smoke rises over the main Hamas security complex

Smoke rises over the main Hamas security complex

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

Palestinian fire fighters extinguish a fire

Palestinian fire fighters extinguish a fire

A Palestinian boy walks past a destroyed al-Shifa mosque

A Palestinian boy walks past a destroyed al-Shifa mosque

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike

A Hamas policeman shouts in front of a burning building

A Hamas policeman shouts in front of a burning building

A Palestinian man inspects the destroyed house of the governor in Gaza City

A Palestinian man inspects the destroyed house of the

governor in Gaza City

A Palestinian man looks at a destroyed building of the Islamic University in Gaza City

A Palestinian man looks at a destroyed building of the Islamic

University in Gaza City

A Palestinian man smokes a cigarette in front of the rubble of a destroyed mosque following an Israeli air strike in the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip

A Palestinian man smokes a cigarette in front of the rubble

of a destroyed mosque following an Israeli air strike in

the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip

Palestinian firemen extinguish fire from a building following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

Palestinian firemen extinguish fire from a building following an

Israeli air strike in Gaza City

A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on the ground as other men look for survivors outside the Hamas police headquarters

A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on

the ground as other men look for survivors outside the

Hamas police headquarters

Palestinians inspect the rubble of the presidential building, the office of president Mahmoud Abbas which is now under Hamas control, after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

Palestinians inspect the rubble of the presidential building,

the office of president Mahmoud Abbas which is now

under Hamas control, after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

Palestinian inspect a building after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

Palestinian inspect a building after it was destroyed by an Israeli

air strike

Fire and smoke rise from a destroyed building as Palestinians carry a victim of an Israeli air strike that targeted Buriej refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip

Fire and smoke rise from a destroyed building as Palestinians

carry a victim of an Israeli air strike that targeted Buriej refugee

camp in the central Gaza Strip

Palestinian civil defence workers use a hose in an attempt to control a fire consuming a building following a fresh Israeli air strike in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip

Palestinian civil defence workers use a hose in an attempt to control

a fire consuming a building following a fresh Israeli air strike

in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History are Ignored

By Robert Fisk

December 29 2008

We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care any more – providing we don’t offend the Israelis. It’s not clear how many of the Gaza dead are civilians, but the response of the Bush administration, not to mention the pusillanimous reaction of Gordon Brown, reaffirm for Arabs what they have known for decades: however they struggle against their antagonists, the West will take Israel’s side. As usual, the bloodbath was the fault of the Arabs – who, as we all know, only understand force.

Ever since 1948, we’ve been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis – just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist “death wagon” will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be “liberated”. And always Mr Bush Snr or Mr Clinton or Mr Bush Jnr or Mr Blair or Mr Brown have called upon both sides to exercise “restraint” – as if the Palestinians and the Israelis both have F-18s and Merkava tanks and field artillery.

Hamas’s home-made rockets have killed just 20 Israelis in eight years, but a day-long blitz by Israeli aircraft that kills almost 300 Palestinians is just par for the course.

The blood-splattering has its own routine. Yes, Hamas provoked Israel’s anger, just as Israel provoked Hamas’s anger, which was provoked by Israel, which was provoked by Hamas, which … See what I mean? Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel bombs Hamas, Hamas fires more rockets and Israel bombs again and … Got it? And we demand security for Israel – rightly – but overlook this massive and utterly disproportionate slaughter by Israel. It was Madeleine Albright who once said that Israel was “under siege” – as if Palestinian tanks were in the streets of Tel Aviv.

By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli.

Back in 2006, it was 10 Lebanese dead for one Israeli dead. This weekend was the most inflationary exchange rate in a single day since – the 1973 Middle East War? The 1967 Six Day War? The 1956 Suez War? The 1948 Independence/Nakba War? It’s obscene, a gruesome game – which Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, unconsciously admitted when he spoke this weekend to Fox TV. “Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game,” Barak said.

Exactly. Only the “rules” of the game don’t change. This is a further slippage on the Arab-Israeli exchanges, a percentage slide more awesome than Wall Street’s crashing shares, though of not much interest in the US which – let us remember – made the F-18s and the Hellfire missiles which the Bush administration pleads with Israel to use sparingly.

Quite a lot of the dead this weekend appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve? Is Hamas going to say: “Wow, this blitz is awesome – we’d better recognise the state of Israel, fall in line with the Palestinian Authority, lay down our weapons and pray we are taken prisoner and locked up indefinitely and support a new American ‘peace process’ in the Middle East!” Is that what the Israelis and the Americans and Gordon Brown think Hamas is going to do?

Yes, let’s remember Hamas’s cynicism, the cynicism of all armed Islamist groups. Their need for Muslim martyrs is as crucial to them as Israel’s need to create them. The lesson Israel thinks it is teaching – come to heel or we will crush you – is not the lesson Hamas is learning. Hamas needs violence to emphasise the oppression of the Palestinians – and relies on Israel to provide it. A few rockets into Israel and Israel obliges.

Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who’s never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word.

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.

Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated “terrorism”. So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles.

Source

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution

Global protests against Israel

Israel Used Internationally Banned Weaponry in Massive Airstrikes Across Gaza Strip

Iran preps humanitarian aid ship to Gaza Strip

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 7:28 am  Comments Off on Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, Israelis-Palestinians  
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