Archive | January 2nd, 2012

IsraHell Turning Into Theocracy

NOVANEWS

It’s Drifting Away From the Liberal Ethos of World Jewry

By Eric Alterman

It is becoming increasingly obvious that a break between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, particularly its American variety, is fast approaching. The reason for this is that Israel is slowly but inexorably turning into a conservative theocracy while the Diaspora is largely dedicated to liberal democracy.

The strategy of the “pro-Israel” camp among American Jewish organizations and neoconservative pundits has been, so far, one of avoidance of unpleasant facts coupled with unpleasant insinuations about the loyalties of those who insist on taking them seriously. But denial can work in only the short term, and only with an American Jewish population that identifies closely with Israel and relates all threats back to the Holocaust. These conditions, like the generation that sustained them, are not long for this world. Once this aging constituency is gone, the truth will prove unavoidable and it will be too late to deny it any longer.

For another point of view, read Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s ‘Arabs Should Take Cue From Israel’

Israel is no democracy, and it never has been with regard to the 4 million Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza. It has always been a decidedly imperfect democracy concerning its own Arab citizens.

Lately, however, it has become less and less democratic with regard to the rights of its Jewish population. For reasons of demography, the Israeli body politic is increasingly dominated by Haredi Jews on the one hand, and secular nationalists, many of whose families emigrated from Russia, on the other. Neither group demonstrates any intrinsic interest in liberal political niceties like free speech, minority political rights or civil liberties.

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The trend was already evident when the government passed a bill that makes any initiator of a boycott, whether consumer, academic or cultural, liable to be sued in civil court for damages by anyone who feels impacted by the boycott. A boycott is a fundamental right of free speech. Personally, I make it a point to boycott any Jewish philanthropy that contributes to the continued occupation of the West Bank. I do this for what I understand to be Israel’s well-being more than for that of the Palestinians, but if I were to say so aloud in Israel, I could be sued.

American organizations objected to the bill, but Israeli politicians, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, did not care. Now we see it was just a precursor to a whole host of anti-democratic legislation and regulation.

Among the bills that either have already become law or may be about to are:

A law, proposed by Likud party Knesset member Ofir Akunisthat would prevent political nongovernmental organizations from accepting more than NIS 20,000 from foreign governments or international organizations.

A law, authored by Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset member Faina Kirshenbaum, that will demand that all organizations not funded by the Israeli government pay a 45% tax on all donations from foreign states.

A law that regards film production and asks that cast and crew swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

A law that increases the fine for slander, NIS 50,000, to NIS 300,000.

Some of these proposed laws may not come to pass, but the intent of all of them is the same, and this is, sadly, the definite direction of Israeli politics. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman attacked those groups that seek to uphold civil liberties in Israel, for Jews as well as for Arabs, as “collaborators in terror.” Netanyahu has recently announced that not only will Israel begin expanding Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, but it will also confiscate Palestinian land for the purpose of retroactively legalizing illegal settlements, in direct contravention of the promises of both of Netanyahu’s previous predecessors, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.

The thrust of these actions is consistent with the political forces driving them — for instance, the dozens of municipal rabbis who not long ago issued an edict against renting or selling real estate to non-Jews (meaning Arabs), and the group of rabbis’ wives who wrote a collective letter suggesting that Jewish women avoid all contact with Arab men.

It’s true that Israel is home to many liberal Jews who would prefer to live in a secular democracy governed by the civil laws based on the precepts of the Enlightenment. But they are clearly a minority and getting smaller with the birth of every Haredi’s sixth or seventh child. What’s more, the American Jewish community does not intervene politically on behalf of, nor identify psychologically, culturally and religiously with, the Israeli minority.

So better to face the facts today, when the situation remains at least partially in flux. Kiddushin 39b in the Babylonian Talmud tells us, ”And wherever the potential for harm is ever present we do not rely on miracles.” Yet those who refuse to recognize the coming conflict between Israeli theocracy and Diaspora democracy are doing just that.

Eric Alterman is a CUNY Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism at Brooklyn College and also writes a column for The Nation.

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/147521/#ixzz1iKwUVmb1

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Files ‘demolish’ claim IRA spurned hunger strike deal

NOVANEWS


Belfast Telegraph 31/12/11

By Brian Rowan

Some of the secret Government papers published yesterday under the 30-year rule appear to demolish claims that the lives of six of the 1981 hunger strikers could have been saved if the IRA had accepted a British ‘deal’.

For years the republican leadership has been locked in a war of words with former prisoner Richard O’Rawe, author of the controversial book Blanketmen.

In it he claims that in July 1981 the jail leadership, of which he was a part, accepted a British deal to end the hunger strike, but were overruled by the IRA ‘army council’ on the outside.

Four men, including Bobby Sands, had already died.

Six more would follow.

The secret British Cabinet papers dating back to the period shine a light on important telephone contacts over the weekend of July 4-6.

Businessman and former Policing Board member Brendan Duddy, who had the codename ‘Soon’, was the key contact in a chain linking the Government and the republican leadership.

His identity and role were not publicly known at the time.

The papers reveal negotiations to get the Belfast republican Danny Morrison into the Maze Prison.

“The foundation of his (O’Rawe’s) allegation, upon which his book stands or falls, is what exactly happened on Sunday, July 5 when I visited the hunger strikers in the prison hospital and, separately, ‘Bik’ McFarlane,” Morrison said.

“In his book he claims that I brought a message in from the British Government, a message that amounted to a ‘deal’, that I confided the details of this ‘deal’ to Bik McFarlane, who upon his return to his cell that Sunday night wrote down the details and sent it to O’Rawe,” Morrison continued.

“However, with the publication of British papers from 1981 the British position which emerges is the position which I and Sinn Fein have been stating all along.

“At the time of my visit to the prison on the afternoon of Sunday July 5, 1981, the British Government had yet to even formulate its position, never mind proposing a ‘deal’.”

Morrison – a senior figure in the republican leadership at the time – points to a paragraph in the just-published Government papers.

Brendan Duddy is speaking to a British contact, and advises that Martin McGuinness has just arrived.

The papers read: “He (Duddy) said that time was of the essence and asked what the current HMG position was. We explained that it was important before drafting any document for consideration by ministers that we should possess the Provisionals’ view.

“‘Soon’ (Duddy’s codename) then undertook to seek clear views on their position, which would be relayed to us later after discussion in the light of Morrison’s visit.”

The paragraph seems to suggest that whatever possibilities there were, there was no formal British position when Morrison visited the jail.

“This statement demolishes Richard O’Rawe’s claims of a deal, claims that have caused unnecessary suffering to the families of the last six hunger strikers to die,” the veteran Belfast republican told this newspaper.

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Infiltrating Congress

NOVANEWS

by David Swanson

 

I cannot stress sufficiently that we will best move Congress toward peace and justice by keeping it at arm’s length and pressuring it without self-censorship, compromise, or entanglement with one or the other of its two branches: the Democratic or Republican. We are engaged in a long-term campaign to undo a plutocratic war state. Moving that campaign forward in the general culture is more important than which criminal enterprise has a majority of seats: the Democratic or Republican.

But it will be advantageous to us to have as many individuals with some nerve and a core of human decency occupying seats in Congress — perhaps as many as three or four of them if we are lucky. While only a mass movement will move the mass of corporate shills on Capitol Hill, it cannot hurt to have a few people there who are seriously on our side, people who understand where we are coming from without being taught, people who can communicate in front of a camera, people who are willing to step out alone and lead, and people capable of organizing others to join them.

Most elections pair up lesser and greater evils, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. But some handful of elections, especially primaries, include actually good candidates. I understand the presidential obsession. We’ve given presidents royal powers, so it matters that we show resistance to each would-be king by backing someone who would conceivably give those powers back, such as Rocky Anderson or Jill Stein. And I understand local action. But most localities don’t offer anything, and most general elections have already been decided by the gerrymanderers. If you must focus on elections, why not look to the few places that could make a real difference?

The best voice the peace movement has had in elected Washington in recent years has been Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He’s pushed the rest of the House of Misrepresentatives to places it had no desire to go. If we lose his voice in Washington, we will be taking a serious step backward. The point is not that we need elected officials to tell us what we want. The point is that only the very rarest of elected officials ever listen to what we want. Kucinich is one of them. The Ohio legislature has combined Kucinich’s district with Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s. These two Democratic incumbents will compete in one primary. That Kaptur is not the worst member of Congress we’ve ever seen, that she has in fact been remarkably good on occasion, does not alter the pressing need to keep a voice for peace in official Washington. (Full disclosure: I worked for Kucinich in 2004 and briefly in 2008.) Go here: http://kucinich.us

We have the possibility of putting another extremely powerful voice for peace into our government this year in the form of Norman Solomon. Solomon is the author of a dozen books on media, political discourse, and public policy, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” which he also made into a film. From 1997 to 2010, Solomon was the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He was one of the few strong voices on national television against invading Iraq before the start of the Iraq War in early 2003, appearing on CNN and other major TV networks more than a dozen times to argue for diplomacy instead of a U.S. attack.

Solomon organized and went on three missions to Baghdad prior to the invasion of Iraq — including one led by Congressman Nick Rahall and former U.S. Senator James Abourezk — seeking alternatives to war. Solomon is one of us and would speak to us from within our government — as an infiltrator, as it were. He needs to win his primary! (Full disclosure: I work for an organization that Solomon was involved in starting at http://rootsaction.org .) Go here: http://solomonforcongress.com

We have the possibility as well of returning to Congress another uncompromising voice against war with the power to shift the corporate-approved public discourse in a wiser direction. Alan Grayson’s was a principled and fearless voice during his brief tenure in Washington, and we ought to bring him back: congressmanwithguts.com

Of course, I’m counting on Rep. Barbara Lee to remain in office. And there are young newcomers with the potential to become allies of the people in the halls of power. It would be crazy to predict such a thing, but it is possible. One of these potential leaders is Ilya Sheyman: ilyasheyman.com

The clearest congressional voice for peace at the moment, of course, is the voice of someone with a vision of domestic policy that many of us find dangerous if not delusional. Republican Congressman Ron Paul’s voice against wars, empire, militarism, and abuse of power is helpful to those causes. Any success he has in the presidential primaries that is credited to his foreign policy positions will be all to the good. In the absence of progressives with backbones, more Libertarians like Paul would be welcome additions, I think. Go here:ronpaul2012.com and here: ronpaulforcongress.com

That’s all I have to say about this election. I now return you to whatever dumbest thing Newt Gingrich said today.

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Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World

NOVANEWS

 

A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book by a preeminent reporter takes readers deep into the struggle within the Muslim world where a growing movement defies and challenges extremism and repudiates Osama bin Laden, his deviant doctrine, and his violent disciples.

Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has witnessed the angry birth, violent rise, and globalization of Islamic militancy for almost four decades. In her recent reporting, she discovers a stunning new trend spreading within the Muslim world—the rejection of Islamic extremists. This is a historic evolution, slow to take off but now reaching critical mass. This trend is increasingly visible as clerics publicly repudiate Osama bin Laden, Muslim comedians ridicule militancy altogether, young Muslims rap against guns and bombs, women scholars launch liberation movements using the Koran, Pakistani villagers resist Taliban intrusions, and former Egyptian jihadis debate and then denounce violence.

This new jihad, which Wright describes in its many manifestations, has various goals. For some Muslims, it’s about reforming the faith. For others, it’s about reforming political systems. For all, it is about achieving basic rights—on their own terms, not Western ones. What is at its heart is the rejection of venomous ideologies, suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence.

Muslims, Wright demonstrates, are doing what the West cannot—confronting extremism on its own terms and rescuing the faith from a virulent minority and changing history.

Praise for Rock the Casbah

“[Wright] provides invaluable context for what she rightly terms ‘the epic convulsion across the Islamic world’ by listening to voices we don’t usually hear….Anyone seeking deeper understanding of the Arab Spring needs to read Wright’s formidably well-informed book ….Wright’s richly textured portrait of ancient cultures in the throes of wrenching but liberating transformation makes it quite clear that Muslims themselves will decide their future.”
— Los Angeles Times

“…Wright is an expert on the subject and this book is an accessible and riveting account for readers looking to learn more about the post-9/11 Islamic world.”
—Publishers Weekly

“…Wright is one of the most capable observers of the Middle East….her chronicles of counter-jihad, anti-militancy, and women’s mobilization are a timely contribution.”
—Huffington Post

Purchase Book on Amazon.com

About the Author

Robin Wright has reported from more than a 140 countries on six continents for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, TIME magazine, The Sunday Times of London, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the International Herald Tribune and others. Her foreign tours include the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Wright has been a fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Yale, Duke, Stanford, University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Southern California.

Among many awards, she won the U.N. Correspondents Association Gold Medal for coverage of foreign affairs, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Award for “best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and initia­tive.” The American Academy of Diplomacy selected her as the journalist of the year in 2004. She is also the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. Foundation grant.

Her books include Rock the Casbah, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam, Flashpoints: Promise and Peril in a New World, and In the Name of God: The Khomeini Decade.

She is a frequent television commentator on foreign affairs. She has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation, Charlie Rose, Larry King, all the major morning and evening newscasts on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN and MSNBC.

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Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

Would have liked to have opened the new year with wonderful news, but have not, unfortunately, found any.

Tonight’s 8-item message begins with statistics on the occupation.  Not very pleasant, but that’s the way things are.

Item 2 is a reflection by a Palestinian on Cast Lead and Palestinian resilience.

Item 3 is a Haaretz editorial, whose title “In the West Bank, Israel’s rule is that of the jungle.  Indeed!

In item 4 Gideon Levy warns Israel’s leaders that Israel’s war drums should not ignore Hamas’ move for change.

In item 5 Uri Avnery says that the Palestinians have much to thank Israel for.

Item 6 is satirical, but all too true, particularly the final statement in ‘World Should be Happy that Steve Jobs was not an Israeli.’

Item 7 is Today in Palestine, with much news, most of it not happy.

The messages conclude with item 8, rather longish but worth reading—Ilan Pappe writes on Confronting intimidation, working for justice in Palestine

All the best, and with hopes (not very high, but hopes) for the coming year.

Dorothy

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1 Israel Killed 180 Palestinians, Including 21 Children, in 2011

http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/3228-israel-killed-180-palestinians-including-21-children-in-2011

By Middle East Monitor

30 December, 2011
Middleeastmonitor.org.uk

The State of Israel killed 180 Palestinians in 2011, including 21 children. These shocking figures were given in a report issued by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation entitled, “A People under Occupation”. The year also saw 3,300 Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem detained by the Israeli occupation authorities.

The PLO report noted that in 2011 alone the government of the Zionist state approved the construction of another 26,837 settlement units across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including 1,664 housing units in and around Occupied Jerusalem; almost 4,000 acres of land belonging to Palestinians have been confiscated by Israel; 495 houses have been demolished; and 18,764 olive and fruit trees have been uprooted.

With regards to Jerusalem, the report records that the establishment of the Shu’fat military checkpoint by the Israelis, which separates Jerusalem from the Shu’fat refugee camp, has resulted in the isolation of more than 60,000 Palestinians living in the camp and the areas around it. This is part of what the compilers of the report confirm is Israel’s Judaisation policy, as was the closure of the Magharba Gate Bridge which leads to Al Aqsa Mosque.

Illegal Jewish settlers, claims the PLO report, have committed a series of “terrorist” attacks on mosques throughout 2011, which escalated in December with arson attacks on the Okasha Mosque in West Jerusalem, the Nour Mosque in the village of Burqa in Ramallah, and the Ali Ibn Abi Talib Mosque in the village of Bruqin village in Salfit. Settlers also, the report notes, wrote racist slogans on the Sahaba Mosque in Bani Naim in Hebron and violated the sanctity of the St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church near the River Jordan.

Also in December, Jewish settlers set fire to at least 12 Palestinian vehicles across the occupied West Bank and confiscated around 500 acres of Palestinian land to expand their illegal settlements near Jenin and Bethlehem.

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2 Palestine Chronicle

December 29, 2011

 Gaza Lives: Reflecting on ‘Operation Cast Lead’

And the flag that refuses to lie down. (Julie Webb)

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/

By Mohammed AlNadi – Gaza

In Israel, nothing is more rewarding than committing systematic mass killings and war crimes against Palestinians. It seems, according to Israel’s moral system and code of conduct, nothing is more trivial than a Palestinian life. Inflicting death on Palestinians is not punishable in Israel but instead ornamented with decoration and job advancement. I reckon it’s the highest and most honorable accomplishment through which an Israeli soldier can achieve most prominent ranks in the military.

This has been evident throughout the Palestine-Israel conflict, as countless planned massacres were and are still being committed against Palestinians since Palestine was occupied in 1948, and typically, the perpetrators have always been leaders of sorts, either political or military figures.

For example, every year Palestinians widely remember Sabra and Shatila massacre, in which thousands of Palestinians were slaughtered in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982. An independent Israeli investigation followed at the time, and it held the then minister of defense Ariel Sharon responsible for allowing the massacre to take place. Not only that, Sharon was found guilty of committing several pogroms against Palestinians. However, he never stood a trial; but on the contrary, he kept ascending the highest rungs of power, where he eventually ended up being Israel’s prime minister in 2001.

Colonizers living on land illegally sequestrated from Palestinians in the West Bank are possibly most hostile to Palestinians, who are subject to constant humiliation and attacks. Every now and then, news is heard of separate incidents of settlers stabbing an unarmed Palestinian, running over a child, or committing mass murder, like the Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein did in 1994, when he opened fire inside the Ibrahimi Mosque at the Palestinian prayers performing the dawn prayer during the Holy Ramadan, killing 29 persons, and injuring another 125.

Israel’s 22 day invasion of the Gaza Strip three years ago was not an exception. Based on universally held moral values and international laws of war, a lot of neutral and fact-based reports conducted by human rights organizations, including the Goldstone report, and consistent documentations proved that Israel committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians. Israel particularly dismissed the Goldstone report as “biased and one-sided,” refused to cooperate and claimed it would launch its own investigations.

A year ago, the Guardian reported that: “The military’s Judge Advocate General, Maj. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit ordered almost 50 investigations arising from the operation.” Surely, one can’t help but burst into laughter at what some of these investigations were about. The report continues recounting three specific cases, one of which was “for stealing and using a Palestinian’s credit card”. Another Israeli soldier was convicted “for forcing an 11-year-old boy to open bags which could have contained explosives.” For Israeli judges, stealing one’s money—still immoral of the Israeli army–is by all means far more incriminatory than bombing his body. And did Israel really sanctify the Palestinian children’s lives? If so, what about the 352 children who were killed in cold blood? Were they all posing a threat to Israeli soldiers?

Some of the alleged Israeli investigations were reportedly said to be covering—as Col. Tamir Yadi put it—”claims regarding incidents in which many uninvolved civilians were harmed,” but not mentioning a single word about Al Samouni massacre, the single most atrocious incident in the entire assault, where Israeli forces had ordered the entire Al Samouni family to gather in one house—of course, to ensure the highest ratio of casualties–before they premeditatedly bombed it, killing 21 persons and injuring 19 others.

The incident, however, grabbed the world’s attention as hundreds of media reports and firsthand witnesses amassed. Israel immediately pretended an investigation was under way. Despite the overwhelming evidence, including a bunch of air force officers’ compatible testimony, that Ilan Malka, a senior brigade commander, was responsible for authorizing the strike while being aware of a civilian presence in the area. Later on, exactly three years after the massacre, Israel deliberately buried the case and didn’t take any legal actions against him, but instead decided to promote him to the position of brigadier general.

This was quite shocking to me, but later I couldn’t think of any “state” other than Israel capable of doing this. And in retrospect, I was able to grasp the horridness of this racist, inhumane behavior of Israel.

December 27, 2011 marks the third anniversary of Israel’s war–or “Operation Cast Lead,” as Israel sinisterly put it– on the Gaza Strip in late 2008. What can’t be coincidental is the day on which Israel initiated its intensive airstrikes before it proceeded with a 22-day operation from land and sea; it was few days before 2008 drew to a close.

The end of every year is and will always be totally different for the people of Gaza, for it evokes all the painful memories of bodies torn asunder, of houses, mosques and schools destroyed. The timing of the strike was absolutely right, that Israel purposely intended to make the grievance of the people of Gaza recurrent.

Even the Gaza youth, instead of celebrating the heraldry of the new year by congratulating each other and posting hopeful wishes on all social networking sites like the people in the rest of the world do, you see most of them posting statuses of reverential sorrow and lamentation, and make the famous corner-taped black background picture indicating mourning for Gaza their profile pictures. Some others post pictures of burnt children or their beloved relatives Israel killed during the 22 days.

The same is true for Christians in Gaza. They suffered just as equally. When they were supposed to celebrate their Holy Christmas peacefully in 2008, Israel rained on their parade and turned it into an absolute nightmare, which is going to be remembered yearly.

The irony seems beyond imagination; while the entire world was preparing to welcome 2009’s beginning with celebrations and fireworks, Palestinians in Gaza were made to have their own special rituals and extraordinary fireworks too, but ones that rained downwards and made flesh sizzle and bones melt.

This, however, didn’t work completely. It is true Palestinians lost their sons and houses, but one thing they can’t lose for sure is their resilient spirit and ability to heal. In Gaza, meanwhile, Christians are going to churches, decorating their Xmas trees and having lively celebrations. Also, Muslims are going to celebrate on the eve of the New Year and hang out with family and friends. My friends and I have plans too.

– Mohammed AlNadi is Gaza-based English literature graduate. He works as a translator. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

If you like this article, please consider making a contribution to the Palestine Chronicle.

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3.  Haaretz Editorial

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In West Bank, Israel’s rule is that of the jungle

In the hands of this government, which mainly involve moving buildings built on private lands to ‘state lands’, have become instruments to deepen the occupation and obstruct the two-state solution.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/in-west-bank-israel-s-rule-is-that-of-the-jungle-1.404821

Haaretz Editorial

Tags: Israel settlements Ehud Barak Israel occupation Palestinians West Bank

In the diplomatic arena, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has excelled mainly at stagnation; in contrast, he has shown excessive creativity when it comes to nurturing the settlements. Every time the judicial system has ordered the removal of an illegal outpost, including those erected on private Palestinian lands, a magical solution has been found to breach the court order.

Over the years, successive Israeli governments have retroactively approved dozens of illegal settlements, many of which were established with its blessing and public money. In cases where the High Court of Justice ordered the evacuation of an outpost built on stolen land, the State Prosecutor’s Office pledged to carry out the order. But at the end of last week, the government took another step down the slippery slope of the rule of law related to the land of settlements: Minister Benny Begin pledged to retroactively authorize the outpost of Ramat Gilad, which was established without official approval or involvement of the government.

According to the agreement, which was struck in the shadow of threats by the settlers and their representatives in the Knesset and the government, nine prefabricated buildings built on private land will be moved a few dozen meters, from the hill on which the outpost now stands to “state lands.” The legal status of two other structures is to be looked into. As a reward for agreeing not to attack soldiers who were to have evacuated the residents of Ramat Gilad, the state will legalize the rest of the buildings in the outpost, which was established without the approval of the defense minister and without building permits.

In the hands of this government, solutions in the same vein as that offered to Ramat Gilad, which mainly involve moving buildings built on private lands to “state lands,” have become instruments to deepen the occupation and obstruct the two-state solution.

Israel is the only country in the world that recognizes the right of its citizens to settle over the Green Line. Based on Ottoman law, Israel has over the years expropriated about a million dunams (250,000 acres) by defining them as “state lands,” in order to establish Jewish settlements on them. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has likened Israel to a “villa in the jungle.” Nothing is closer to the law of the jungle than a system of distorted laws and procedures that make it possible to build villa neighborhoods in the settlements and legalize wildcat outposts like Ramat Gilad.

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4. Haaretz

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Israeli war drums ignore Hamas move for change

Instead of encouraging moderation, whether genuine or imaginary, whether strategic or tactical, Israel is rushing to nip it in the bud.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israeli-war-drums-ignore-hamas-move-for-change-1.404822

By Gideon Levy

Tags: Gaza Hamas Palestinian Authority Israel occupation West Bank

The writing is clearly on the wall. The head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshal, has ordered his group’s military wing to stop terrorist attacks against Israel, saying his organization will make do with popular protest. Hamas is declaring that it supports a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, and the Palestinian Authority has expressed a willingness, in exchange for 100 prisoners, to give up its demand for a freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank as a condition for the resumption of peace talks. What more will we ask for?

On our side, too, the writing is clearly on the wall. Israel is ignoring the changes in the Palestinian positions. Most of the media is systematically obscuring the situation. Security sources are saying in response that they know nothing about the shift, or that it is only tactical. Israel is also rejecting the Palestinian Authority’s negligible conditions with repeated “nos” in the finest of Israeli rejectionism.

This time, however, Israel isn’t just making do with that. All of a sudden, on the third anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, there is a chorus of threats being heard from the military brass of another assault on Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, along with the former head of the IDF Southern Command and the southern brigade commander, are all saying there is no alternative to a Cast Lead II. The brigade commander even promised it would be more “painful” and “forceful” than the first Cast Lead. More painful than that first, shocking Operation Cast Lead, Mr. Commander?

Never mind the constant Israeli rejectionism on the peace process, since we only ever take the Palestinians seriously when they talk war and terrorism. When they talk peace and negotiations, we discount what they have to say, but what’s this about an attack on Gaza? Why? What has happened? Can someone explain this discordant, nasty beating of the war drums apart from Israel’s inherent need to threaten again and again? Experience teaches, however, that Israel is not just making noise. Its threats have a dynamic of their own.

The IDF chief of staff should be reminded that the first Operation Cast Lead inflicted huge damage on Israel. Maybe it’s not visible from the army bases, but world opinion has subsequently been dramatically transformed in how it relates to Israel, which has become an object of denunciation as never before. The pictures from Gaza have been indelibly etched in the world’s consciousness.

And here’s another reminder to the military brass: A new Egypt is taking shape before our eyes, a country that probably would not stand by in the face of another brutal assault on Gaza, which has again taken its place in Egypt’s backyard. The members of the Muslim Brotherhood currently rising to the fore in Egypt are brothers to Hamas, and it would be best not to unnecessarily arouse them.

Over the weekend, the IDF took pride in the fact that its troops killed 100 Palestinians in Gaza over the past year, a year in which barely a single Israeli was killed, thank God. So we have “improved” upon the horrifying fatality ratio from Operation Cast Lead. It was 1:100 in that operation but it was virtually 0:100 in the second year after the operation; a real bargain price.

The volleys of rockets on the south of Israel, which are indeed intolerable, almost all came in response to IDF assassination operations in Gaza. So why do we need a war now? If Israel was more intent on seeking peace, it would make haste to welcome the changes in the Palestinian positions. It wouldn’t harm Israel’s real interests one bit. If it had been a little more reasonable, it would have at least posed a challenge: Let’s release 100 Fatah prisoners, this time without the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, and, as we have been preaching, return to the negotiating table.

Instead of encouraging moderation, whether genuine or imaginary, whether strategic or tactical, Israel is rushing to nip it in the bud. And why should Hamas become more moderate if the Israeli response is to threaten Gaza? And why should the Palestinian Authority show flexibility if the response is rejectionism?

Are we preoccupied with confronting ultra-Orthodox extremism in Beit Shemesh, with no interest in solving our other problems, which are the most crucial of all? On the other hand, we have no reason whatsoever at the moment to carry out another assault on Gaza. We’ve already seen what the last one did. It’s already a little boring to write about it (and surely also to read about it). There is nothing that endangers Israel more than that absence of a settlement of our dispute with the Palestinians.

It may be no less boring to again ask: if the answer is “no” and again “no,” what do we say “yes” to? If it’s “no” to the Palestinian Authority and “no” to Hamas, “no” to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and “no” to Khaled Meshal, “no” to Europe and also “no” to the United States, who are we saying “yes” to? And above all, where are we headed? The writing is clearly on the wall, and it is a matter of great concern.

++++++

5.  Hi,

A Happy New Year to all of you!

Shalom, Salamaat,

uri

——————————-

[

Other articles by Uri Avnery:

http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery

]

Uri Avnery

December 31, 2011

                  Shukran, Israel [shukran = thanks in Arabic]

IF ISLAMIST movements come to power all over the region, they should express their debt of gratitude to their bete noire, Israel.

Without the active or passive help of successive Israeli governments, they may not have been able to realize their dreams.

That is true in Gaza, in Beirut, in Cairo and even in Tehran.

LET’S TAKE the example of Hamas.

All over the Arab lands, dictators have been faced with a

dilemma. They

could easily close down all political and civic activities,

but they could not close the mosques. In the mosques people

could congregate in order to pray, organize charities and,

secretly, set up political organizations. Before the days

of Twitter and Facebook, that was the only way to reach

masses of people.

One of the dictators faced with this dilemma was the Israel

military governor in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Right from the beginning, he forbade any political

activity. Even peace activists went to prison. Advocates of

non-violence were deported. Civic centers were closed down.

Only the mosques remained open. There people could meet.

But this went beyond tolerance. The General Security

Service (known as Shin Bet or Shabak) had an active

interest in the flourishing of the mosques. People who pray

five times a day, they thought, have no time to build

bombs.

The main enemy, as laid down by Shabak, was the dreadful

PLO, led by that monster, Yasser Arafat. The PLO was a

secular organization, with many prominent Christian

members, aiming at a “nonsectarian” Palestinian state. They

were the enemies of the Islamists, who were talking about a

pan-Islamic Caliphate.

Turning the Palestinians towards Islam, it was thought,

would weaken the PLO and its main faction, Fatah. So

everything was done to help the Islamic movement

discreetly.

It was a very successful policy, and the Security people

congratulated themselves on their cleverness, when

something untoward happened. In December 1987, the first

intifada broke out. The mainstream Islamists had to compete

with more radical groupings. Within days, they transformed

themselves into the Islamic Resistance Movement (acronym

Hamas) and became the most dangerous foes of Israel. Yet it

took Shabak more than a year before they arrested Sheik

Ahmad Yassin, the Hamas leader.  In order to fight this new

menace, Israel came to an agreement with the PLO in Oslo.

And now, irony of ironies, Hamas is about to join the PLO

and take part in a Palestinian National Unity government.

They really should send us a message of Shukran (“thanks”).

OUR PART in the rise of Hizbollah is less direct, but no

less effective.

When Ariel Sharon rolled into Lebanon in 1982, his troops

had to cross the mainly Shiite South. The Israeli soldiers

were received as liberators. Liberators from the PLO, which

had turned this area into a state within a state.

Following the troops in my private car, trying to reach the

front, I had to traverse about a dozen Shiite villages. In

each one I was detained by the villagers, who insisted that

I have coffee in their homes.

Neither Sharon nor anyone else paid much attention to the

Shiites. In the federation of autonomous ethnic-religious

communities that is called Lebanon, the Shiites were the

most downtrodden and powerless.

However, the Israelis outstayed their welcome. It took the

Shiites just a few weeks to realize that they had no

intention of leaving. So, for the first time in their

history, they rebelled. The main political group, Amal

(“hope”), started small armed actions. When the Israelis

did not take the hint, operations multiplied and turned

into a full-fledged guerrilla war.

To outflank Amal, Israel encouraged a small, more radical,

rival: God’s Party, Hizbollah.

If Israel had got out then (as Haolam Hazeh demanded), not

much harm would have been done. But they remained for a

full 18 years, ample time for Hizbollah to turn into an

efficient fighting machine, earn the admiration of the Arab

masses everywhere, take over the leadership of the Shiite

community and become the most powerful force in Lebanese

politics.

They, too, owe us a big Shukran.

THE CASE of the Muslim Brotherhood is even more complex.

The organization was founded in 1928, twenty years before

the State of Israel. Its members volunteered to fight us in

1948. They are passionately pan-Islamic, and the

Palestinian plight is close to their hearts.

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict worsened, the

popularity of the Brothers grew. Since the 1967 war, in

which Egypt lost Sinai, and even more after the separate

peace agreement with Israel, they stoked the deep-seated

resentment of the masses in Egypt and all over the Arab

world. The assassination of Anwar al-Sadat was not of their

doing, but they rejoiced.

Their opposition to the peace agreement with Israel was not

only an Islamist, but also an authentic Egyptian reaction.

Most Egyptians felt cheated and betrayed by Israel. The

Camp David agreement had an important Palestinian

component, without which the agreement would have been

impossible for Egypt. Sadat, a visionary, looked at the big

picture and believed that the agreement would quickly lead

to a Palestinian state. Menachem Begin, a lawyer, saw to

the fine print. Generations of Jews have been brought up on

the Talmud, which is mainly a compilation of legal

precedents, and their mind has been honed by legalistic

arguments. Not for nothing are Jewish lawyers in demand the

world over.

Actually, the agreement made no mention of a Palestinian

state, only of autonomy, phrased in a way that allowed

Israel to continue the occupation. That was not what the

Egyptians had been led to believe, and their resentment was

palpable. Egyptians are convinced that their country is the

leader of the Arab world, and bears a special

responsibility for every part of it. They cannot bear to be

seen as the betrayers of their poor, helpless Palestinian

cousins.

Long before he was overthrown, Hosni Mubarak was despised

as an Israeli lackey, paid by the US. For Egyptians, his

despicable role in the Israeli blockade of a million and a

half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was particularly

shameful.

Since their beginnings in the 1920s, Brotherhood leaders

and activists have been hanged, imprisoned, tortured and

otherwise persecuted. Their anti-regime credentials are

impeccable. Their stand for the Palestinians contributed a

lot to this image.

Had Israel made peace with the Palestinian people somewhere

along the line, the Brotherhood would have lost much of its

luster. As it is, they are emerging from the present

democratic elections as the central force in Egyptian

politics.

Shukran, Israel.

LET’S NOT forget the Islamic Republic of Iran.

They owe us something, too. Quite a lot, actually.

In 1951, in the first democratic elections in an Islamic

country in the region, Muhammad Mossadeq was elected Prime

Minister. The Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had been

installed by the British during World War II, was thrown

out, and Mossadeq nationalized the country’s vital oil

industry. Until then, the British had robbed the Iranian

people, paying a pittance for the Black Gold.

Two years later, in a coup organized by the British MI6 and

the American CIA, the Shah was brought back and returned

the oil to the hated British and their partners. Israel had

probably no part in the coup, but under the restored regime

of the Shah, Israel prospered. Israelis made fortunes

selling weapons to the Iranian army. Israeli Shabak agents

trained the Shah’s dreaded secret police, Savak. It was

widely believed that they also taught them torture

techniques. The Shah helped to build and pay for a pipeline

for Iranian oil from Eilat to Ashkelon. Israeli generals

traveled through Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they helped

the rebellion against Baghdad.

At the time, the Israeli leadership was cooperating with

the South African apartheid regime in developing nuclear

arms. The two offered the Shah partnership in the effort,

so that Iran, too, would become a nuclear power.

Before that partnership became effective, the detested

ruler was overthrown by the Islamic revolution of February

1979. Since then, the hatred of the Great Satan (the US)

and the Little Satan (us) has played a major role in the

propaganda of the Islamic regime. It has helped to keep the

loyalty of the masses, and now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is using

it to bolster his rule.

It seems that all Iranian factions – including the

opposition – now support the Iranian effort to obtain a

nuclear bomb of their own, ostensibly to deter an Israeli

nuclear attack. (This week, the chief of the Mossad

pronounced that an Iranian nuclear bomb would not

constitute an “existential danger” to Israel.)

Where would the Islamic Republic be without Israel? So they

owe us a big  “Thank you”, too.

HOWEVER,  LET us not be too megalomaniac. Israel has

contributed a lot to the Islamist awakening. But it is not

the only – or even the main – contributor.

Strange as it may appear, obscurantist religious

fundamentalism seems to express the Zeitgeist. An American

nun-turned-historian, Karen Armstrong, has written an

interesting book following the three fundamentalist

movements in the Muslim world, in the US and in Israel. It

shows a clear pattern: all these divergent movements –

Muslim, Christian and Jewish – have passed through almost

identical and simultaneous stages.

At present, all Israel is in turmoil because the powerful

Orthodox  community is compelling women in many parts of

the country to sit separately in the back of buses, like

blacks in the good old days in Alabama, and use separate

sidewalks on one side of the streets. Male religious

soldiers are forbidden by their rabbis to listen to women

soldiers singing. In orthodox neighborhoods, women are

compelled to swathe their bodies in garments that reveal

nothing but their faces and hands, even in temperatures of

30 degrees Celsius and above. An 8-year old girl from a

religious family was spat upon in the street because her

clothes were not “modest” enough.  In counter-

demonstrations, secular women waved posters saying “Tehran

is Here!”

Perhaps some day a fundamentalist Israel will make peace

with a fundamentalist Muslim world, under the auspices of a

fundamentalist American president.

Unless we do something to stop the process before it is too

late.

++++++

6.  Haaretz

Sunday, January 1, 2012

World should be happy that Steve Jobs wasn’t Israeli

Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, Apple’s slogan would not have been “Think Different.” It would have been “Think Like Everyone Else.”

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/world-should-be-happy-that-steve-jobs-wasn-t-israeli-1.404823

By Boaz Gaon

 (Inspired by the bestseller “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson )

1. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, his father – who was of Syrian extraction – would have been hunted by the Oz immigration police. Instead of completing a doctorate in international relations at the University of Michigan, Abdulfattah “John” Jandali would have been shoved into some prison truck in the middle of the night and from there thrown into the “prison facility” near Hadera. Jobs wouldn’t have been born at all and, even if he had, he would quickly have been spotted in the gunsight of Interior Minister Eli Yishai and kicked out of here, the sooner and the further the better.

2. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, it is doubtful whether his fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Hill, would have noticed his exceptional talents. It is also doubtful whether his literature teacher would have taken him, in his senior year, on an “inspiring snow hike in Yosemite National Park.” Instead, Jobs would have been required to memorize the difference between “chalky soil” and “clay soil”; to swallow, every year, the pornography of violence toward children called “Holocaust studies in school”; and, in his last year in high school, to be preoccupied with only one question – whether to enlist in the elite Maglan unit or the elite Duvdevan unit in the Israel Defense Forces.

3. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, instead of walking around undisturbed on the paths of Reed College dressed as a Buddhist monk, one of his fellow students would have taken him into some corner and broken his bones for being a “no-good freak.” Right-wing Zionist organization Im Tirtzu would have leaked to one of the journalists from the daily Maariv that the “son of a Syrian” was hanging around the campus.

4. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, it is doubtful whether he would have considered computers “a symbol of self-expression and liberation,” just like LSD and Bob Dylan albums. He would have been drawn into IDF unit 8200, which specializes in cyber warfare, or Mamram, the IDF computer unit, and there he would have learned that computers are a tool for surveillance, a tool for eavesdropping, an electronic fishnet that can and must be used in order to catch people like barbounias.

5. Had Steve Jobs been Israeli, he would have worked less on designing Apple products and more on maximizing their cost and lowering production costs. Instead of “shooting for Museum of Modern Art quality,” as he put it, he would have been shooting for the quality of the Everything for a Shekel chain. Instead of investing hundreds of millions of dollars from his own pocket to improve Apple and its products, he would have distributed mega-dividends to himself, leveraged himself to death and dated models.

6. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, he would not have been able to develop the revolutionary animation mammoth Pixar, and he certainly would not have been able to sell it to Disney for $7.4 billion. Instead, Jobs would have been appointed the chairman of the Rabinowitz Foundation for the Arts, written a report commissioned by the Ministry of Culture on “Reform in the Film Industry” (which would quickly have been rejected ), and handed out the prize for “Zionist creativity” together with actor Haim Topol, at an impressive ceremony in the new cultural center in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

7. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, he would have refused the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama to come and help get him elected in order to defeat the extreme right. Instead, he would have been a member of the Trajtenberg Committee for social and economic change, as an expert.

8. Had Steve Jobs been an Israeli, Apple’s slogan would not have been “Think Different.” It would have been “Think Like Everyone Else.”

+++++++++++++

6.  Today in Palestine

http://theheadlines.org/11/30-12-11.shtml

++++++++++++

7.  Ilan Pappe

Electronic Intifada

December 27, 2011

Confronting intimidation, working for justice in Palestine

http://electronicintifada.net/content/confronting-intimidation-working-justice-palestine/10746

Ilan Pappe

If we had a wish list for 2012 as Palestinians and friends of Palestine, one of the top items ought to be our hope that we can translate the dramatic shift in recent years in world public opinion into political action against Israeli policies on the ground.

We know why this has not yet materialized: the political, intellectual and cultural elites of the West cower whenever they even contemplate acting according to their own consciences as well as the wishes of their societies.

This last year was particularly illuminating for me in that respect. I encountered that timidity at every station in the many trips I took for the cause I believe in. And these personal experiences were accentuated by the more general examples of how governments and institutions caved in under intimidation from Israel and pro-Zionist Jewish organizations.

A catalogue of complicity

Of course there were US President Barack Obama’s pandering appearances in front of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, and his administration’s continued silence and inaction in face of Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, siege and killings in Gaza, ethnic cleansing of the Bedouins in the Naqab and new legislation discriminating against Palestinians in Israel.

The complicity continued with the shameful retreat of Judge Richard Goldstone from his rather tame report on the Gaza massacre — which began three years ago today. And then there was the decision of European governments, especially Greece, to disallow campaigns of human aid and solidarity from reaching Gaza by sea.

On the margins of all of this were prosecutions in France against activists calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and a few u-turns by some groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe caving in under pressure and retracting an earlier decision to cede connections with Israel.

Learning firsthand how pro-Israel intimidation works

In recent years, I have learned firsthand how intimidation of this kind works. In November 2009 the mayor of Munich was scared to death by a Zionist lobby group and cancelled my lecture there. More recently, the Austrian foreign ministry withdrew its funding for an event in which I participated, and finally it was my own university, the University of Exeter, once a haven of security in my eyes, becoming frigid when a bunch of Zionist hooligans claimed I was a fabricator and a self-hating Jew.

Every year since I moved there, Zionist organizations in the UK and the US have asked the university to investigate my work and were brushed aside. This year a similar appeal was taken, momentarily one should say, seriously. One hopes this was just a temporary lapse; but you never know with an academic institution (bravery is not one of their hallmarks).

Standing up to pressure

But there were examples of courage — local and global — as well: the student union of the University of Surrey under heavy pressure to cancel my talk did not give in and allowed the event to take place.

The Episcopal Bishops Committee on Israel/Palestine in Seattle faced the wrath of many of the city’s synagogues and the Israeli Consul General in San Francisco, Akiva Tor, for arranging an event with me in September 2011 in Seattle’s Town Hall, but bravely brushed aside this campaign of intimidation. The usual charges of “anti-Semitism” did not work there — they never do where people refuse to be intimidated.

The outgoing year was also the one in which Turkey imposed military and diplomatic sanctions on Israel in response to the latter’s refusal to take responsibility for the attack on the Mavi Marmara. Turkey’s action was in marked contrast to the European and international habit of sufficing with toothless statements at best, and never imposing a real price on Israel for its actions.

Do not cave in to intimidation

I do not wish to underestimate the task ahead of us. Only recently did we learn how much money is channeled to this machinery of intimidation whose sole purpose is to silence criticism on Israel. Last year, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs — leading pro-Israel lobby groups — allocated $6 million to be spent over three years to fight BDS campaigns and smear the Palestine solidarity movement. This is not the only such initiative under way.

But are these forces as powerful as they seem to be in the eyes of very respectable institutions such as universities, community centers, churches, media outlets and, of course, politicians?

What you learn is that once you cower, you become prey to continued and relentless bashing until you sing the Israeli national anthem. If once you do not cave in, you discover that as time goes by, the ability of Zionist lobbies of intimidation around the world to affect you gradually diminishes.

Reducing the influence of the United States

Undoubtedly the centers of power that fuel this culture of intimidation lie to a great extent in the United States, which brings me to the second item on my 2012 wish list: an end to the American dominance in the affairs of Israelis and Palestinians. I know this influence cannot be easily curbed.

But the issue of timidity and intimidation belong to an American sphere of activity where things can, and should be, different. There will be no peace process or even Pax Americana in Palestine if the Palestinians, under whatever leadership, would agree to allow Washington to play such a central role. It is not as if US policy-makers can threaten the Palestinians that without their involvement there will be no peace process.

In fact history has proved that there was no peace process — in the sense of a genuine movement toward the restoration of Palestinian rights — precisely because of American involvement. Outside mediation may be necessary for the cause of reconciliation in Palestine. But does it have to be American?

If elite politics are needed — along with other forces and movements — to facilitate a change on the ground, such a role should come from other places in the world and not just from the United States.

One would hope that the recent rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah — and the new attempt to base the issue of Palestinian representation on a wider and more just basis — will lead to a clear Palestinian position that would expose the fallacy that peace can only be achieved with the Americans as its brokers.

Dwarfing the US role will disarm American Zionist bodies and those who emulate them in Europe and Israel of their power of intimidation.

Letting the other America play a role

This will also enable the other America, that of the civil society, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the progressive campuses, the courageous churches, African-Americans marginalized by mainstream politics, Native Americans and millions of other decent Americans who never fell captive to elite propaganda about Israel and Palestine, to take a far more central role in “American involvement” in Palestine.

That would benefit America as much as it will benefit justice and peace in Palestine. But this long road to redeeming all of us who want to see justice begins by asking academics, journalists and politicians in the West to show a modicum of steadfastness and courage in the face of those who want to intimidate us. Their bark is far fiercer than their bite.

++++++++

7.  Today in Palestine

http://theheadlines.org/11/30-12-11.shtml

+++++++++++

8.  Electronic Intifada

December 27, 2011

Confronting intimidation, working for justice in Palestine

http://electronicintifada.net/content/confronting-intimidation-working-justice-palestine/10746

Ilan Pappe

If we had a wish list for 2012 as Palestinians and friends of Palestine, one of the top items ought to be our hope that we can translate the dramatic shift in recent years in world public opinion into political action against Israeli policies on the ground.

We know why this has not yet materialized: the political, intellectual and cultural elites of the West cower whenever they even contemplate acting according to their own consciences as well as the wishes of their societies.

This last year was particularly illuminating for me in that respect. I encountered that timidity at every station in the many trips I took for the cause I believe in. And these personal experiences were accentuated by the more general examples of how governments and institutions caved in under intimidation from Israel and pro-Zionist Jewish organizations.

A catalogue of complicity

Of course there were US President Barack Obama’s pandering appearances in front of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, and his administration’s continued silence and inaction in face of Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, siege and killings in Gaza, ethnic cleansing of the Bedouins in the Naqab and new legislation discriminating against Palestinians in Israel.

The complicity continued with the shameful retreat of Judge Richard Goldstone from his rather tame report on the Gaza massacre — which began three years ago today. And then there was the decision of European governments, especially Greece, to disallow campaigns of human aid and solidarity from reaching Gaza by sea.

On the margins of all of this were prosecutions in France against activists calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and a few u-turns by some groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe caving in under pressure and retracting an earlier decision to cede connections with Israel.

Learning firsthand how pro-Israel intimidation works

In recent years, I have learned firsthand how intimidation of this kind works. In November 2009 the mayor of Munich was scared to death by a Zionist lobby group and cancelled my lecture there. More recently, the Austrian foreign ministry withdrew its funding for an event in which I participated, and finally it was my own university, the University of Exeter, once a haven of security in my eyes, becoming frigid when a bunch of Zionist hooligans claimed I was a fabricator and a self-hating Jew.

Every year since I moved there, Zionist organizations in the UK and the US have asked the university to investigate my work and were brushed aside. This year a similar appeal was taken, momentarily one should say, seriously. One hopes this was just a temporary lapse; but you never know with an academic institution (bravery is not one of their hallmarks).

Standing up to pressure

But there were examples of courage — local and global — as well: the student union of the University of Surrey under heavy pressure to cancel my talk did not give in and allowed the event to take place.

The Episcopal Bishops Committee on Israel/Palestine in Seattle faced the wrath of many of the city’s synagogues and the Israeli Consul General in San Francisco, Akiva Tor, for arranging an event with me in September 2011 in Seattle’s Town Hall, but bravely brushed aside this campaign of intimidation. The usual charges of “anti-Semitism” did not work there — they never do where people refuse to be intimidated.

The outgoing year was also the one in which Turkey imposed military and diplomatic sanctions on Israel in response to the latter’s refusal to take responsibility for the attack on the Mavi Marmara. Turkey’s action was in marked contrast to the European and international habit of sufficing with toothless statements at best, and never imposing a real price on Israel for its actions.

Do not cave in to intimidation

I do not wish to underestimate the task ahead of us. Only recently did we learn how much money is channeled to this machinery of intimidation whose sole purpose is to silence criticism on Israel. Last year, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs — leading pro-Israel lobby groups — allocated $6 million to be spent over three years to fight BDS campaigns and smear the Palestine solidarity movement. This is not the only such initiative under way.

But are these forces as powerful as they seem to be in the eyes of very respectable institutions such as universities, community centers, churches, media outlets and, of course, politicians?

What you learn is that once you cower, you become prey to continued and relentless bashing until you sing the Israeli national anthem. If once you do not cave in, you discover that as time goes by, the ability of Zionist lobbies of intimidation around the world to affect you gradually diminishes.

Reducing the influence of the United States

Undoubtedly the centers of power that fuel this culture of intimidation lie to a great extent in the United States, which brings me to the second item on my 2012 wish list: an end to the American dominance in the affairs of Israelis and Palestinians. I know this influence cannot be easily curbed.

But the issue of timidity and intimidation belong to an American sphere of activity where things can, and should be, different. There will be no peace process or even Pax Americana in Palestine if the Palestinians, under whatever leadership, would agree to allow Washington to play such a central role. It is not as if US policy-makers can threaten the Palestinians that without their involvement there will be no peace process.

In fact history has proved that there was no peace process — in the sense of a genuine movement toward the restoration of Palestinian rights — precisely because of American involvement. Outside mediation may be necessary for the cause of reconciliation in Palestine. But does it have to be American?

If elite politics are needed — along with other forces and movements — to facilitate a change on the ground, such a role should come from other places in the world and not just from the United States.

One would hope that the recent rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah — and the new attempt to base the issue of Palestinian representation on a wider and more just basis — will lead to a clear Palestinian position that would expose the fallacy that peace can only be achieved with the Americans as its brokers.

Dwarfing the US role will disarm American Zionist bodies and those who emulate them in Europe and Israel of their power of intimidation.

Letting the other America play a role

This will also enable the other America, that of the civil society, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the progressive campuses, the courageous churches, African-Americans marginalized by mainstream politics, Native Americans and millions of other decent Americans who never fell captive to elite propaganda about Israel and Palestine, to take a far more central role in “American involvement” in Palestine.

That would benefit America as much as it will benefit justice and peace in Palestine. But this long road to redeeming all of us who want to see justice begins by asking academics, journalists and politicians in the West to show a modicum of steadfastness and courage in the face of those who want to intimidate us. Their bark is far fiercer than their bite.

 

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

The Special Relationship and the Arms Race

NOVANEWS

 

Several days ago the Obama administration and Congress sealed a deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to export $29.4 billion dollars worth of enhanced F-15 fighter jets, alongside the retrofitting of 70 older F-15s. Manufactured by Boeing, the F-15SA is “the most sophisticated and capable aircraft in the world,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said. “The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed a government-to-government agreement under the Foreign Military Sales program to provide advanced F-15SA combat aircraft to the Royal Saudi Air Force,” he added.

The F-15 sale is part of a far larger defense package that had been slowly working its way through legislative bottlenecks to secure Congressional approval. Last year it passed Congress and since then the details have been finalized.

Apparently it was somewhat “controversial” in Congress, because of concerns that it would erode Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, the government euphemism which, when translated into English, means that when Boeing and Lockheed Martin sell the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia 30 billion dollars worth of advanced technology, they also sell Israel 30 billion dollars worth of even more advanced technology.

Then they tack on an $11 billion dollar package to Iraq, and a $3.5 billion dollar “missile defense” system to the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, from January 2 2007 through the end of 2010, signed agreements for arms sales from the US to Saudi Arabia totaled $13.8 billion dollars, followed by $10.4 billion to the UAE.

Incidentally, Phil Weiss wrote several weeks ago that Egyptian analyst Issandr el-Amrani had suggested to him that if the arms companies were by and large calling the shots in the Middle East, they would lubricate and promote a regional arms race. Over $100 billion dollars in arms sales looks like an arms race to me. The weapons don’t go to Iran as el-Amrani suggests because we don’t trust the Iranian people with sophisticated weapons, and much the same goes for Egypt. Better to let the weapons flow to the Gulf monarchies that are even more scared of their people than are the men in charge of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Of course a deliberately fomented arms race has to be orchestrated out in a very precise manner if it is to continue. First, make sure Israel always gets better weapons. That’s because to keep the arms race going, you have to make sure there’s always another war, and a better armed Israel makes conventional military defeat difficult, always laying the ground for the next conflict.

And then ensure that it doesn’t look like taxpayer money is flowing directly to the tyrants in the Middle East. Instead, launder it. In the case of the UAE or Saudi Arabia, money from oil sales pays for the weapons which the American military-industrial complex sells them. In the case of Israel, American tax dollars pay for the weapons. And the money from the oil sales comes from…the American consumer.

Don’t let that fact get in the way of the nativist online organizers and pamphleteers who will be resentfully murmuring over the next week, month, year, and decade about how the Arabs “pay for their weapons,” whereas the Jews do not. The Arabs do indeed pay for their weapons, but as usual the question is where they get the money with which to do so. The arms companies are not picky as to whose pocket they pick.

That would be ours, unless you thought that the price of gas at the pump was dictated by “market forces” like supply and demand, or the almost non-existent cost of extraction. Supply has about as much to do with “market forces” as the dollar under your pillow does with the tooth fairy. As one petroleum economist comments, “Prices at the Persian Gulf,” and even more so at the pump, “have only an arbitrary relationship to production costs…They contain a substantial element of what may be called monopoly profits.” Petroleum firms are price makers, not price takers.

And the F-15s? The war planes that go to the KSA, according to Andrew Shapiro, the assistant US secretary of state for political-military affairs, are there to deal with “a number of threats…Clearly one of the threats that [the KSA] face[s], as well as other countries in the region, is Iran,” he said.

Aggression towards Iran has two purposes. First is Iran’s destruction. Iran carries out an independent foreign policy and has a functional welfare state. This is not to America’s liking. Second, the Iranian “threat” is a convenient bogeyman for the military-industrial complex, one reason that earnest efforts to counsel the White House to adopt a peaceful orientation to the IRI, as in the desperate realist pushfor reconciliation, won’t work under present circumstances: brinksmanship is too profitable for the arms firms, and they have a lot of money to make sure that brinksmanship is the preferred political tool for policymakers.

A detour concerning that realist push: the Leveretts argue that the drive to attack Iran is “not about American security or the defense of real interests.  It’s about the preservation of imperial prerogatives in the Middle East.” Yet aren’t “imperial prerogatives” precisely the neo-con conceptualizations of “real interests”? Haven’t the weapons firms profited for decades exactly from defining the “real” or “national” interests of the United States as exactly the same as their own?

As Tom Jones, the CEO of Northrop Grumman, wrote to Kim Roosevelt in September 1968, justifying arms sales to the Shah (a push that came from Washington, not from the Gulf States or Israel, which were slightly wary of such sales), in “any discussions with the Shah…it is important that they be kept on the basis of fundamental national objectives, rather than allow it to take the appearance of a sales plan.”

The euphemism, “national objectives,” is very useful in its plasticity, and particularly in that it can be used as  a nationalist binding to hold the lower classes to the agenda of the upper class. Also, something happened in the Persian Gulf between 1968 and now, which is that Iran had a revolution – which is what the Gulf States were concerned about. That, too, is a reason for the continual targeting of Iran, which started in 1979, with eight separate acts of sanctioning taking place between then and the 1996 Iran Libya Sanctions Act. Israel had next-to-nothing to do with most of them – although the Israel lobby does indeed have something to do with it the last set of sanctions as well as ratcheting up aggression against Iran.

The Project for a New American Century, for example, used to be helmed by Bruce Jackson, one of the “neocons,” and a former Vice President of Lockheed Martin. He also used to work at Lehmann Brothers, nicely illustrating the fluid movement between various high-level posts that creates a shared elite culture, one reason among many that no one in Washington is really willing to push Israel hard enough to force a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, even though perhaps some imagine it would be vaguely in their interest to do so.

The sale was “not solely directed,” toward Iran, Schapiro added.”This is directed toward meeting our partner Saudi Arabia’s defense needs.”

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney, added that “For Boeing, this agreement represents the continuation of an enduring partnership between the company and the Kingdom that dates back to 1945 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a DC-3 Dakota airplane to King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…We appreciate the efforts of the Obama Administration and the trust of King Abdullah’s government in finalizing the agreement, which will support tens of thousands of American jobs and help the Kingdom enhance its defense capabilities and diversify its workforce.”

When CEO and diplomat say “defense,” presumably they mean that if the protesters in Qatif and Bahrain keep on protesting the government will be able to defend itself by strafing them with F-15s. They will certainly try, but if things really shake loose, all the F-15s in the world won’t keep those populations under control. Something else the Iranian revolution showed.

McNerney added that “Boeing is privileged to support the important U.S./Saudi bi-lateral relationship, and we are pleased Saudi Arabia has chosen the proven, state of the art capabilities of our F-15 and rotorcraft platforms.” Of course this theme is omnipresent in the US/Saudi Special Relationship – the realSpecial Relationship. Likewise ARAMCO (The Arabian American Oil Company) and later Exxon and the other oil majors have packaged their pushes for profits as part of supporting the “important…relationship,” as though the relationship is not composed almost entirely of business arrangements for mutual benefit. As Robert Vitalis, the major historian of the Saudi-US relationship, writes,

The history of U.S. foreign policy that we write now and the idea of “the national interest” that actors constructed then are the result of a set of U.S. investors capturing the concession and then mounting a campaign to have the state underwrite the risk. Certainly, it is difficult to imagine an emerging American-Saudi Arabian special relationship in World War II in the absence of the oil companies’ investment there. We may well want to think about the limits on the ability of firms to secure their interests, but any notion of the oil multinationals fundamentally acting to advance (different and conflicting?) State Department objectives in Saudi Arabia defies all logic save that concocted by statesmen.

I recall also people having a bit of a hissy fit when some Saudi potentate wrote in the NYT about severe changes in the Saudi-US Special Relationship due to US support for Israeli irredentism.

The real world chimes in:

“When you look at the size of this package, what does it tell you about US-Saudi relations?” commented a senior Saudi official, who had to speak anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “It says it’s very strong and very solid. Any disagreements from time to time don’t affect the core relationship.” The core relationship is that we support their dictatorship, they buy our treasury bonds (the KSA currently holds a trillion or so dollars of US-dollar denominated securities of various kinds), they price their oil in dollars, and buy our weapons, while modifying supply so as to keep the price of oil low when we want it low – the Clinton years – and high when we want it high – the rest of the post-1973 period.

Pay attention to what happens between the Kingdom and the Empire, and most importantly, pay attention not to what they say, but what they do. The rest is for your mindless consumption. I recommend taking a pass.

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Posted in CampaignsComments Off on The Special Relationship and the Arms Race

ZIO-NAZI COOPER: THANK TO ZIONIST PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN PSC

A (small) Thank you to anti-Israel Jews

This  is a guest post by Anthony Cooper

 

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ80hvvgWf53D3g01tJOCMZXO_58gQuTJDAwC9YBdE2tf-Ol64Y6Q

 

KAMEL HAWWASH PSC VICE CHAIR

If for every two Jews there are three opinions, it is hardly surprising that there is a distinct lack of unanimous support for any policy decision from any Israeliadministration. But, while most British Jews prefer to leave the public criticism to Israel’s many willing opponents, some feel the need to state their disagreements loudly and “as Jews”. Their apparent willingness to lend support to the complete delegitimisation of the Jewish state leaves the rest of us unsure how to respond and it is tempting to simply label them “self-hating Jews”. However, the truth is never so straightforward.

In many, perhaps most, cases the motivation to publicly denounce Israel is the desire to fight antisemitism. As the CST has observed, the number of antisemitic attacks in the UK is directly related to tensions and actions in the Middle East. Some believe that the support Israel receives from Britain’s mainstream Jewish organisations is a cause of antisemitism and the only way to fight that is to create Jewish anti-Israel organisations.

The founding declaration of Independent Jewish Voices, for example, places the fight against antisemitism at the heart of the organisation. Likewise, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) state that they “extend support to Palestinians trapped in the spiral of violence and repression” because they “believe that such actions are important in countering antisemitism”.

Unfortunately, these campaigns are naïve and counter-productive. Racists are generally not entirely rational people. The egg-throwing thug is unlikely to weigh up the probability that the man walking home from synagogue might disapprove of settlements. Nor is the desecrater of cemeteries going to check first that his victims haven’t signed an anti-Israel letter to the Guardian.

More likely is the attitude shown in a comment allegedly left by a member of the Reading Palestine Solidarity Campaign on a website that “not all adherents to the Torah are enemies of humanity” because Neturei Karta are not. By opposing any and every action by Israel, the impression is given that anyone not joining the public denunciations is fully supportive of all these policies. Far from destroying the impression of Jewish support for Israeli actions, their opposition reinforces it. And all this is aside from the impact of delegitimisation on our fellow Jews in Israel.

Nevertheless, very few anti-Israel Jews are self-hating. We should recognise this and make sure to keep them within the big tent against antisemitism rather than making them pariahs. They may be opponents of Israel but they can be our allies in the struggle against antisemitism.

An example are the Jews of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). The PSC is a leading force in delegitimisation, using trade unions to advance its call to boycott all things related to Israel. Its public meetings are often attended by Labour MPs and it invited the banned Sheikh Raed Salah to speak at one such meeting to be held in the Houses of Parliament. Many believe the organisation is incapable of distinguishing between criticism of Israeli actions and antisemitism.

However, during 2011 there has been something of a mini-purge of the organisation with some previously important members forced to resign because of their antisemitism. Those effectively expelled include a former national chair, the chair of one branch, the secretary of another and the webmaster of a third. Behind all these resignations appear to be rank and file Jewish members with support from a Jewish member of the Executive Committee. While the PSC itself may be unable to work our what antisemitism looks like, its Jewish members certainly can.

We have enough enemies already that we shouldn’t be looking to create more.

So long as anti-Israel Jews retain their sensitivity to antisemitism we can be sure that they are neither self-hating nor hate us. They remain allies in our struggle against antisemitism and in some ways are capable of achieving results in it that the rest of us cannot. We should thank them for that. If we don’t make enemies of them, we may find that we have more friends than we thought. May 2012 be a year of reconciliation and greater unity in our small community. We will all be better off for it.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on ZIO-NAZI COOPER: THANK TO ZIONIST PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN PSC

Islamophobic Harry’s Place thanks its Jewish Anti Zionist Collaborators

NOVANEWS

 

In the last year we have seen some so called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists working hard to appease their Zionist brothers. Naomi Wimborne Idrissi attempted to run a clandestine operation within our movement.  Sarah Kershnar of the IJAN attempted tojeopardise a Palestinian Solidarity conference, we saw the relentless Tony Greenstein harassing Richard Falk, John Mearsheimer, Lauren Booth, Dr Samir Abed Rabo, Sameh Habeeb and myself amongst many others. But now they are all rewarded.

The ultra Zionist, pro war, Neocon Harry’s Place decided today to thank its Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist “allies”. In an astonishing piece named A (small) Thank You to Anti-Israel Jews, Zionist Mouthpiece Anthony Cooper thanks his collaborators within our midst.

Cooper’s article reaffirms what we know for more than a while-there is a clear ideological, political and ethical continuum between Israel and some of the so-called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists (AKA AZZ -Anti Zionist Zionists).

“In many, perhaps most, cases the motivation to publicly denounce Israel is the desire to fight antisemitism.” Cooper writes about his anti Zionist brothers, confirming  the theses I developed in The Wandering Who. In most cases, Jewish anti Zionists are mainly concerned with Jewish tribal interests. They aren’t exactly Palestinian solidarity activists or even ordinary humanists. They just want Jews to look slightly better. I guess that for them, the Shoa in Palestine is a secondary matter.

As if we ever suspected the true motivation behind the ‘Jews Only’ pro Palestinian cells, Cooper informs us that “the founding declaration of Independent Jewish Voices, for example, places the fight against antisemitism at the heart of the organisation. Likewise, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) state that they ‘extend support to Palestinians trapped in the spiral of violence and repression’ because they ‘believe that such actions are important in countering antisemitism’”. The two leading Jewish pro Palestinian organisations are clearly concerned  primarily with anti Semitism.

Cooper is far from being stupid.  He is correct when suggesting that “far from destroying the impression of Jewish support for Israeli actions, their (Jewish anti Zionists) opposition reinforces it.” Cooper is correct here-the opposition of half a dozen righteous Jews is not going to vindicate the Jewish people of crimes committed by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish people.

But the good news is not finished yet; hold your breath because Cooper has some clear plans for his bunch of ‘anti’ Zionist sayanim: “very few anti-Israel Jews are self-hating.” Says Cooper. “We (The Zionist) should recognise this and make sure to keep them within the big tent against antisemitism rather than making them pariahs. They may be opponents of Israel but they can be our allies in the struggle against antisemitism.”

The message for every Palestinian solidarity person is pretty clear-Beware!

If ultra Zionist Cooper is correct, we better, from now on, take with a pinch of salt the entire Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist political discourse. As you probably know, I am saying it for years, but now, for the first time,  you could hear it from the horse’s mouth.

 

Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish  ‘anti’ Zionist Zionists…  Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk. 

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on Islamophobic Harry’s Place thanks its Jewish Anti Zionist Collaborators

NAZI’S IN GAZA: IN GAZA MEMORIUM–BARAK: GAZA PROBE SHOWS IDF AMONG WORLD’S “MOST MORAL ARMIES”

NOVANEWS

http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com

Haaretz  

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Wednesday that an internal investigation has determined that no civilians were purposefully harmed by IDF troops during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

Following the release of the investigation results, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the army’s willingness to probe itself “once again proves that the IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world.

“The IDF is not afraid to investigate itself and in that, proves that its operations are ethical,” said Barak. The defense minister added that he has “complete faith in the IDF, from the chief of staff to the last of the combat soldiers.”   The inquiries were performed by five IDF colonels who were not involved in the fighting in Cast Lead, and examined reports of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, medical personnel and facilities, United Nations facilities, and also the use of white phosphorous.

The investigation, which was supervised by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, did find cases of civilians killed by mistaken fire on the part of IDF troops, but said the incidents were isolated.

Deputy IDF Chief of Staff General Dan Harel said that in the dozens of cases they examined, they found that throughout Cast Lead the IDF “adhered to international law and maintained a high level of professionalism and morality.”

The most glaring case of mistaken fire found by the inquiry was the attack on the Al-Dahiyeh family home in the Gaza City neighborhood of Zeitoun, in which 21 members of the same family were killed.

In the incident, the IDF called a household that was suspected of being a weapons storehouse and told the residents to evacuate, saying an attack was imminent.

The subsequent IAF strike, which was targeting a suspected weapons storehouse, landed dozens of meters from its target, slamming into the Al-Dahiyeh household.

The mistaken fire reportedly came as a result of a malfunction in the targeting system of the aircraft carrying out the mission.

The IDF has called the incident “regretful”, but said it resulted from “an operational mistake that is bound to happen during intensive fighting.”

Another incident reported in the probe’s findings was the case of an IAF attack on a truck that military intelligence had reported was carrying Grad rockets. After the attack, which killed 8 Palestinians, including 4 Hamas gunmen, it was determined that the truck was transporting gas canisters.

Tibi: No reason to acknowledge IDF inquiry

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) on Wednesday criticized the findings of the probe, saying “there’s no reason to acknowledge the IDF inquiry, which comes from a murderous, secretive, and moaning army known for being murderous and for complaints and cover-ups.”

Tibi said “if these hundreds of civilians were killed knowingly, that is a war crime, and under Israeli law, it is considered even more severe.”

Tibi added that he is “not surprised that the IDF has refused to cooperate with UN probes of mass killings in Gaza.”

Head of the Hadash party Mohammed Barakeh also blasted the report, saying those who performed the inquiry are obscuring the truth about “war crimes that Israel committed in Gaza. There is a price for committing war crimes, and also for mistakes that cause war crimes.”

Barakeh also criticized the source of the inquiry, saying “military officials are not commissions of inquiry, there are a part of the system that perpetrated these crimes, and is carrying out a cover-up.”

Barakeh added that eventually those responsible for the “war crimes” will be brought to trial “from those at the top of the pyramid, all the way down to rank-and-file soldiers.”

Human rights group B’Tselem IDF inquiry “flawed”

An Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, called the military’s investigation flawed. and said it “does not answer the need for an independent inquiry outside the army that would look at the whole range of violations the army is incapable of looking at.”

“It shows how important it is that Israel cooperate with the fact-finding mission of [Richard] Goldstone that would look at violations,” said spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli, speaking on behalf of a group of human rights groups that have made this demand in the past.

Goldstone, a former United Nations chief prosecutor for war crimes, was recently appointed to head a UN investigation into atrocities allegedly committed during Israel’s three-week war against Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers.

The investigation called by the UN’s Human Rights Council was only supposed to look at Israeli conduct. But Goldstone did not accept the assignment until the mandate was changed to also examine Palestinian actions.

Israel has not said whether it would cooperate with the Goldstone investigation. But it has rejected council investigations in the past, calling them biased.

Among questions being raised is whether Israel used disproportionate force and failed to protect civilians.

In one case, Israeli artillery fire reportedly hit near a UN school where hundreds of Gazans had sought refuge, killing an estimated 42 people. Israeli said its troops were responding to fire from militants near the school, and both the incident and number of casualties have been disputed.

In another instance, Gazans allege Israeli soldiers ordered 110 civilians into a warehouse, then shelled it the next day, killing 30. Israel denies the army targeted the warehouse.

Israel also has been criticized for using white phosphorus weapons, which can be legitimately used in war to create smoke screens or provide illumination.

But rights activists have said its use over populated areas can indiscriminately burn civilians and constitute a war crime.

Israel says its army took great care to avoid harming civilians in Gaza, preceding some airstrikes with leaflets or phone calls warning civilians to flee – a contention confirmed by Gaza residents.

Israel is preparing for potential legal action, barring the media from publishing pictures of officers’ faces and their names for fear of investigations. It has promised legal and financial support for any officers facing trial, despite the difficulty of prosecuting Israelis.

Posted in Gaza2 Comments

NAZI’S IN GAZA: IN GAZA MEMORIUM–ISRAELI SOLDIERS CONFESS TO MURDERS IN GAZA DURING OPERATION ‘CAST LEAD’

NOVANEWS

 http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com

idf 1 Israeli Soldiers Confess to Murders in Gaza during Operation ‘Cast Lead’

 

The IDF opened an investigation after Israeli soldiers confessed to the murders committed during Operation ‘Cast Lead,’ the 22-day military operation in the Gaza Strip. The testimonies of several Israeli soldiers who claim that they killed civilians and committed acts of vandalism in Gaza have given rise to a wave of criticism that forced the army to open an internal investigation.

Head of legal services, Brigadier General Avichai Mendelblit, has ordered the immediate commencement of the criminal investigation. The disputed testimony was released last February 13 by pilots and infantrymen who gave a talk at a preparatory course for military service at an academic institution.

Israeli soldiers gave the statement that during the last military offensive in the Gaza Strip from December 27-January 18, they fired at unarmed Palestinian women and children and damaged private property. It goes without saying that these soldiers committed murders and brutality during the Gaza offensive.

Operation ‘Cast Lead’ killed over 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians. In the editorial of the newspaper Haaretz, the ‘acts of disregard for human life and a tendency toward brutality’ were attributed to the ‘disconnection between the battalion commanders and their senior officers.’

After Operation ‘Cast Lead,’ the United Nations needed $613 million for the recovery and reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

At the academic conference, a squadron commander told how the company shot and killed an elderly Palestinian who was walking along a road about one hundred meters from a housing that the company had seized. He described the act as ‘cold-blooded murder.’

Another soldier said that during a discussion with his squadron commander on the permissiveness of the code of action and where other soldiers complained, the officer said, “We should kill everyone here [in central Gaza]. Everyone here is a terrorist.”

Another soldier testified, saying, “When entering a house we had to pull the door and start shooting inside, from floor to floor. I wondered how this can make sense.”

The dissemination of hard evidence by the military has caused a wave of protests after it was shown that war crimes were committed during Operation ‘Cast Lead.’ The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din has demanded that a military commission be formed to investigate the allegations. “If Israel does not investigate its crimes, others will have to do it,” said Yesh Din in a statement. The NGO Rabbis for Human Rights has declared that the turn of events is a moral tsunami that forces Israel to make a fast examination of conscience.

The Hamas-led government in Palestine planned to file a petition with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Israel over Gaza air strikes. There is sufficient evidence that Israel used white phosphorus, the chemical incendiary bomb, in crowded places in Gaza during the air strikes.

idf 3 Israeli Soldiers Confess to Murders in Gaza during Operation ‘Cast Lead’

Posted in GazaComments Off on NAZI’S IN GAZA: IN GAZA MEMORIUM–ISRAELI SOLDIERS CONFESS TO MURDERS IN GAZA DURING OPERATION ‘CAST LEAD’

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