Archive | August 1st, 2014

The Hypocrisy of I$raHell stooges in Britain

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr
PSC parliament protest

Some not amused by Palestinian flag projected onto Parliament building

Sanctions, arms embargo and end to massacre demanded in lights

By Stuart Littlewood

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has projected an image of the Palestinian flag onto the Houses of Parliament in London. The image includes calls for sanctions against Israel and an end to the massacre in Gaza.

Hugh Lanning, Chair of PSC, criticized the British government for standing by while Israel slaughters Palestinians.

The prime minister, David Cameron, has failed to listen to the voices of hundreds and thousands of British people who have taken to the streets. He has failed to stand up for an occupied people being ruthlessly murdered by an occupying power. The prime minister has weakly accepted the US’s political position, which is totally out-of-step with the mood of this country. It is time for firm action consistent with international law.

He said Cameron must demand an end the massacre in Gaza, implement an immediate and total arms embargo on Israel and impose sanctions until Israel ends its illegal occupation.”

Israel’s stooges spring to action

Of course, a splendid idea like this is not without risk of flak from the usual suspects. Jonathan Arkush, the vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said:

Projecting the flag of Palestine onto the Houses of Parliament is a stunt that will be offensive to the British public. We don’t need to import conflicts in the Middle East to this country. We should instead be exporting values and efforts designed to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The PSC has once again shown itself to be an irrelevant and extremist pressure group. It appears to be motivated by nothing more than a hatred of Israel, the only democracy and true ally of the West in the Middle East.

“The PSC is silent on the rockets and tunnels of Hamas, an internationally proscribed terrorist organisation, but extremely vocal against Prime Minister David Cameron whose statements on the Gaza conflict have been measured, and constructive.

“Offensive to the British public”? Is Arkush now speaking for all of us? The Palestinian flag projected onto the Houses of Parliament is absolute fine with me. What I find “offensive” is the large number of Israel flag-wavers that stalk the corridors inside.

The frequent claim that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is wearing thin,considering the raft of discriminatory laws against non-Jews. Arkush forgets that Pales-tine is a democracy that’s not allowed by Israel and its sponsors to function properly. How many Palestinian parliamentarians are languishing in Israeli jails, Arkush?  Thirty four is it?

And if Israel ended its illegal occupation and siege there would be no need for tunnels.

I imagine we all feel sympathy for the young man [the Israeli soldier allegedly taken prisoner in Gaza] and his family, if he has been captured (as I write there’s no proof). But is he not a member of an invading army that has been slaughtering civilians for the last three weeks and a legitimate target?

As for the PSC’s silence on rockets, Arkush is himself silent about the continuing occupation and blockade, the vast amount of state-of-the-art ordnance fired by Israel into the tightly-packed humanity of Gaza and the need for Israel’s military to rearm from America’s stockpile in order to carry on the slaughter.

Hamas’s political wing is not a proscribed terror organization in the UK. And since Cameron repeatedly pledges his unwavering support for Israel come what may, who can expect any sense from him?

In another statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews expresses “dismay and revulsion” at what it described as “the kidnapping” of Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin. “The kidnapping,” it said, “took place as part of a violent ambush by Hamas, within hours of the UN, US and Egypt back[ing] ‘72-hour ceasefire’ taking effect.”

I imagine we all feel sympathy for the young man and his family, if he has been captured (as I write there’s no proof). But is he not a member of an invading army that has been slaughtering civilians for the last three weeks and a legitimate target? Which side breached the ceasefire has not yet been clearly established. But if it was Hamas they should, in my opinion, hand him back none the worse for his experience and a little wiser. That would play well on both sides and, importantly, with the outside world. Even if the Israelis broke the ceasefire they should do it.

By the way, does the Board of Deputies ever express similar revulsion whenever Palestinian youngsters in the West Bank (where there are no rockets, no tunnels) are abducted from their homes in the middle of the night by Israel’s armed snatch squads?

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on The Hypocrisy of I$raHell stooges in Britain

Every Nazi missile strike is a war crime…

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Every Israeli missile strike is a war crime…

Palestinian woman carrying child in Khan Younis

that is the experts’ verdict

By Jonathan Cook 

Today’s Guardian newspaper includes an article that appears to be excusing Israel of responsibility for the massive death tolll it has inflicted on Palestinian civilians. But, more significantly, it includes a lot of useful – and damning – information about just how “indiscriminate” Israel’s weapons really are.

This interests me a great deal because I have been warning about problems with the interpretation of international law used by leading human rights groups on this very point since the 2006 Lebanon War.

At that time I got into a dispute with Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Middle East policy director, Sarah Leah Whitson. Her organization argued that Hizbullah was committing war crimes by definition whenever it fired rockets at Israel, even if it hit military targets, because those rockets were primitive and inherently inaccurate.

By contrast, HRW claimed, Israel’s missiles were precise and therefore their use was not inherently inadmissible. Its view was that Israel did not commit war crimes by firing its missiles; the obligation was on observers to show that they had not been used within the rules of war – which is a much harder standard of proof. For more on this debate, see my articles here and here.

Only the rich “have a right to defend themselves against high-tech aerial assaults”

In practice, HRW’s argument was nonsense, as was clear even in 2006. During that war Israel dropped millions of cluster munitions – little bomblets that serve effectively as land mines – all over southern Lebanon, endangering the whole civilian population of the area.

But Norman Finkelstein recently pointed out the more general problem with HRW’s argument:

By this standard, only rich countries, or countries rich enough to purchase high-tech weapons, have a right to defend themselves against high-tech aerial assaults. It is a curious law that would negate the raison d’être of law: the substitution of might by right.

It may not be entirely surprising that HRW and others interpret international law in a way that serves rich and powerful Western states, however many civilians they kill, and criminalises developing states, however few civilians they kill.

The current fighting in Gaza illustrates this point in dramatic fashion. Some 95 per cent of the 64 Israelis who have been killed during the current fighting are soldiers; some 75 per cent of the nearly 1,500 Palestinians who have been killed are civilian.

Some 95 per cent of the 64 Israelis who have been killed during the current fighting are soldiers; some 75 per cent of the nearly 1,500 Palestinians who have been killed are civilian.

But comments from experts in the Guardianarticle add another layer of insight into HRW’s dubious distinctions.

One should ignore the irritating framing used in the article, which seems to suggest that the high Palestinian death toll may be down to human or systems errors. Experts discount this theory in the article and also point out that Israel is often not checking whether its shooting is accurate. In other words, it gives every indication of not taking any precautions to ensure it is hitting only military targets (or rather targets it claims are military in nature). That recklessness makes it fully culpable.

But we also have experts cited here who make the point that much of Israel’s precise weaponry is not accurate at all.

Andrew Exum, a former US army officer and defence department special adviser on the Middle East, who has studied Israel’s military operations, says this:

There are good strategic reasons to avoid using air power and artillery in these conflicts: they tend to be pretty indiscriminate in their effects and make it difficult for the population under fire to figure out what they’re supposed to do to be safe.

Air-to-surface war crimes

“Pretty indiscriminate”! So doesn’t that mean Israel was committing war crimes by definition every time it made one of those thousands of air strikes that marked the start of Operation Protective Edge, and that continue to this day?

But it is not just strikes from the air that are the problem. There is more:

However, military analysts and human rights observers say the IDF [“Israel Defence Forces” – the Wehrmach] is still using unguided, indirect fire with high-explosive shells, which they argue is inappropriate for a densely populated area like Gaza …

[Israel’s 155m howitzer] shells have a lethal radius of 50 to 150 metres and causes injury up to 300 metres from its point of impact. Furthermore, such indirect-fire artillery (meaning it is fired out of direct sight of the target) has a margin of error of 200 to 300 metres.

Surface-to-surface war crimes

Read that again: a margin of error of up to 300 metres, plus a lethal radius of up to 150 metres and an injury radius of 300 metres. So that’s a killing and injury zone of close to half a kilometre from the intended “precise” site of impact – in a territory that is only a few kilometres wide and long. In short, one of the main shells Israel is using in Gaza is completely imprecise.

Set aside what Israel is trying to do in Gaza. Let us assume it is actually trying to hit military targets rather than being either reckless about hitting civilian targets or deliberately trying to hit civilians, as much of the evidence might suggest.

Even if we assume total good faith on Israel’s part that it is trying to hit only Hamas and other military sites, it is clear it cannot do so even with the advanced weaponry it has. The inherent imprecision of its arsenal is compounded many fold by the fact that it is using these weapons in densely built-up areas.

So when are going to hear HRW or the United Nation’s Navi Pillay stop talking about proportionality or Israel’s potential war crimes, and admit Israel is committing war crimes by definition – right now, as you read this.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Every Nazi missile strike is a war crime…

I$raHell Gaza backlash targets Arab minority

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Arab member of parliament, Hanin Zuabi of the National Democratic Party, laughs during an interview in her home town of Nazareth on 12 February, 2009 (AFP)

Record levels of incitement, street violence and harassment at places of work and universities has Israel’s Palestinian citizens feeling the heat

Israel’s large Palestinian minority is facing an unprecedented backlash of incitement and violent reprisals as Israeli Jews rally behind the current military operations in Gaza, human rights groups and political activists have warned.

They say recent statements from public figures urging war crimes and genocidal actions in Gaza have helped to stoke an especially dangerous atmosphere for Israel’s 1.6 million Palestinian citizens, who comprise a fifth of the population.

Palestinian citizens have been accused of being “traitors” and a “fifth column” for criticising Israeli operations in Gaza, in a surge of ethnic hatred by the Jewish majority not seen since the outbreak of the second intifada 14 years ago.

“There has been an explosion of incitement against the Palestinian minority on Facebook and other social media in the past few weeks,” said Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament. “Pages calling for violence get tens of thousands of likes overnight.”

Jewish mobs have also started patrolling Jerusalem, Haifa and other cities with mixed populations looking for Palestinians to attack, and beating those participating in anti-war demonstrations, said Jafar Farah, director of Mossawa, an advocacy group for Arab citizens.

“These are no longer spontaneous or isolated attacks. The gangs of Jewish extremists are organised, well-funded and backed by a campaign of incitement from government officials.”

At the weekend, two Palestinian youths were seriously injured after they were beaten by a gang in Jerusalem.

BBC reporter attacked

In another incident, shown live on BBC Arabic TV, reporter Firas Khatib was assaulted by an Israeli man as he reported from Israel, close to the Gaza border.

Last week, the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for a boycott of Arab businesses after Palestinian communities staged a one-day general strike in protest of the mounting Palestinian death toll in Gaza, which on Tuesday topped 1,200, most of them civilians.

Reprisals by companies followed, with reports of Arab workers sacked or disciplined for posting comments on social media against the Gaza operation, dubbed Protective Edge. Several universities have also punished students for making critical comments or celebrating the deaths of Israeli soldiers.

Tal Hassin, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights In Israel (Acri), said there were numerous reports of sanctions being imposed. “Only Arab students have been punished, even though the social forums are simmering with racist comments by Jewish students.”

She said university staff appeared to be acting like a “thought police.”

On Tuesday, in a sign of the growing intolerance, the Israeli parliament for the first time in its history suspended a legislator for six months.

Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian MP, had refused during a TV interview to label as “terrorists” Palestinians behind the abduction last month of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. The youngsters were later found dead.

She is also being investigated for incitement. The public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, has called for Zoabi to be stripped of her parliamentary immunity.

Dangerous new phase

The ugly mood prompted Sayed Kashua, a Palestinian writer whose TV comedy show Arab Labour became a huge hit with Jews, to declare that he was leaving Israel for good.

Kashua wrote: “Last week something inside of me broke. When Jewish youth parade through the city shouting ‘Death to the Arabs’, and attack Arabs only because they are Arabs, I understood that I had lost my little war.”

Ron Gerlitz, co-director of Sikkuy, a Jewish-Arab organisation promoting equality, said Israel was entering a new and dangerous period. “The level of verbal and physical violence [from Israeli Jews] is on a scale we have never seen before.”

He called Lieberman’s comments “unbelievable.” “How does he think such a boycott should be implemented? Should Arab shops be specially marked so Jews know how to avoid them? This kind of incitement gives legitimacy to ordinary people to go out on the streets and take the law into their own hands.”

Gerlitz said Palestinians were used to discriminatory and violent treatment by police, as occurred at the start of the second intifada, 14 year ago. On that occasion police shot dead 13 Palestinian citizens and wounded hundreds more in a few days of clashes.

“It was bad enough when the violence came from the police, but it is more dangerous when, as now, we see Jewish extremists taking to the streets to attack Arab citizens. This could quickly get out of control.”

Farah accused the authorities of mothballing a Jewish anti-terror unit in the police. “We’ve heard it’s no longer functioning. It seems they are waiting for someone to be killed, to make us afraid to demonstrate on the streets. They want us silenced.”

Incitement hotline

Zoabi’s suspension on Tuesday came as the parliament held a special meeting on incitement.

A hotline established four weeks ago by the justice ministry to report incidents of incitement had received more than 1,100 calls, Moshe Cohen, a ministry spokesman, told Middle East Eye. He said: “There has been a big rise in racist material published on sites like Facebook and WhatsApp.”

But the committee hearing, led by Miri Regev, a hawkish member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, mostly focused on what it considered “incitement” by Palestinian citizens.

Much of the hearing was dedicated to Zoabi, who has faced a series of police investigations in recent weeks over comments critical of Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank. A recent poll of Israeli Jews found 89 percent thought Zoabi’s citizenship should be revoked.

However, Tamar Zandberg, of the leftist Meretz party, asked whether the police had launched an investigation against any Jewish politicians for incitement, adding: “What is being done to defend Israeli citizens from pogroms?” [http://www.jpost.com/National-News/MKs-call-on-police-Attorney-General-t…

When questioned by Middle East Eye, the justice ministry’s Moshe Cohen said no public figure apart from Zoabi was being investigated.

Zandberg noted in particular Lieberman’s boycott comment and remarks by Ayelet Shaked, a rising star in the Jewish Home party of economics minister Naftali Bennett.

This month Shaked quoted approvingly from an unpublished article urging the slaughter of relatives of Palestinian “terrorists,” including their mothers, to stop them raising another generation of “little snakes.”

Calls for destruction of Gaza

Other prominent public figures have also called for war crimes in Gaza.

Moshe Feiglin, a deputy Speaker of the parliament from Netanyahu’s Likud party, called for massive destruction of Gaza, with inhabitants to be starved of supplies and then expelled to Sinai.

Danny Danon, until recently the deputy defence minister, has demanded that Israel “stop providing fuel and electricity”, while Miri Regev herself said action should be taken to “prevent the people of Gaza from receiving basic goods.”

In another incident, Mordechai Kedar, a Middle East expert at Bar Ilan university, told a radio programme that nothing could deter Palestinian terrorists except “the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.”

A feminist group wrote to Bar Ilan’s president, Daniel Hershkowitz, decrying comments that “grant legitimacy” to Israeli soldiers using rape as a weapon of war. The university backed Kedar, saying he had simply described “the bitter reality of the Middle East.”

Rabbis have also joined the fray. Dov Lior, influential among extremist settlers, issued a religious edit last week permitting soldiers to kill Palestinian civilians and for the defence minister to “order the destruction of Gaza.”

That followed a pronouncement from Noam Perel, head of the world’s largest religious Jewish youth movement, for an “army of avengers.”

Netanyahu silent

Notably, Netanyahu has not spoken out against such comments. He himself questioned the future of Palestinians inside Israel after widespread protests erupted earlier this month over the grisly murder in Jerusalem of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian, by a Jewish group.

Netanyahu said: “There’s no place in the State of Israel for those who throw rocks at police. … You can’t enjoy social security payments and child subsidies on one hand and on the other hand violate the most basic laws of the State of Israel.”

A columnist with the liberal daily Haaretz accused Netanyahu of being “the king of inciters.” “His whole government, his entire success at the polls, is based on the surefire recipe of incitement, hatred and fear-mongering,” wrote Nehemia Shtrasler.

Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with Adalah, a legal group for the Arab minority, said the Israeli attorney general was not being consistent. “There have been a lot more inciteful comments than what Haneen Zoabi said, but they are not being investigated.”

Zoabi is under two investigations: for an interview with al-Jazeera TV, in which she is reported to have said the “Palestinian resistance will not surrender”; and for allegedly calling an Arab policeman a “traitor.”

Zoabi herself has complained of being abused and assaulted by police at recent anti-war demonstrations, including an incident when she was arrested and handcuffed by police in Haifa for half an hour.

She told Middle East Eye: “They want an example – an easy victim, a Palestinian woman – to deter others from speaking out. They are afraid of anyone holding up a mirror to them so they can see what they are really doing in Gaza.”

Backlash at universities

Human rights groups have been alarmed by the rapidly growing trend of Israeli firms and universities punishing workers and students for expressing political views on social media.

A nurse at a medical clinic near Tel Aviv was suspended last week for posting on Facebook that Israeli soldiers were war criminals, and a doctor in Jerusalem suspended for calling them “murderers”.

Hadassah college in Jerusalem revoked an Arab woman’s scholarship and banned her from campus over a Facebook post.

Bishara said: “This has become a serious attack on freedom of expression. But it reflects a general atmosphere of zero tolerance of dissent.”

On Tuesday, Bar Ilan university reprimanded a law professor, Hanoch Sheinman, after a flood of complaints from students who received an email from him in which he hoped they were safe and “not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed.”

The dean of the faculty, Shahar Lifshitz, said he was “shocked” by the “hurtful” email, which “contravened the values of the university.”

Gerlitz, of Sikkuy, said the outburst of violence and incitement was not only provoked by events in Gaza, but reflected deeper trends in Israeli society. There was, he said, growing resentment and fear among Jews at the Palestinian minority’s greater success in integrating into the Israeli economy over the past decade.

“Jews think of Arabs as street cleaners or taxi drivers. Now they see they are doctors, pharmacists, teaching in the universities or working in hi-tech. The right wing wants them back in their place, where they were before.”

– See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-s-gaza-backlash-targets-arab-minority-483153084#sthash.ZFg24qHc.dpuf

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on I$raHell Gaza backlash targets Arab minority

Stop the violence and end the blockade of Gaza

NOVANEWS

Red rose

Swedish Social Democratic Party

The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden welcomes the UN decision to investigate war crimes committed during the Israeli military offensive “Protective edge” in Gaza. We ask for an

increased presence of the United Nations and the support of its Security Council in order to protect civilians.

We demand an immediate cease-fire – from both parties – and that the army of Israel leaves Gaza. We also demand that Israel stops the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and ends

the blockade of Gaza. Also Israel must abandon its politics of settlements and wall-building. Instead it should use its military and economic capacity to bring peace rather than conflict with their neighbouring people, with whom they share their future.

What we are witnessing is a flagrant crime against international law and it is correct when the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “condemn these heinous acts.” Israel’s on-going massacre in Gaza is not part of it’s right to self-defence. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is

asymmetric: One is militarily strong and the other weak. For every Israeli victim in this conflict there are 20 Palestinian victims.

Gaza will remember Sunday, 20 July as Bloody Sunday. It is the worst day since the Israeli invasion five years ago. More than 100 were reported dead in a single day.  In the last two weeks

of escalating violence, about 650 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, many of them children. The number of injured is many times more. In Israel, the losses have already exceeded

those who were killed during the entire operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. So far during“Protective edge” a total of about 30 Israeli soldiers and two civilians have been killed.

What we are witnessing today is a greater threat to Israel’s future than it is to Palestine’s future. Israel does not exist with any historical, biblical or military right. Israel as a Jewish state is the

result of a decision by the UN to give the Jewish people a homeland, following the horrible treatment that Jews suffered in Europe during World War II.

The fact that the UN decision took land from Palestinians to make the Jewish state possible, make us all co-responsible in the present conflict. A united world community has accepted that

Israel in the 1948 war took more land than what was intended in the UN partition plan from 1947, but the world does not accept Israel’s occupation after the Six Day War in 1967.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Europe, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Stop the violence and end the blockade of Gaza

Daring and lethal Palestinian raids from Gaza sap I$raHell morale

NOVANEWS

Submitted by Ali Abunimah

The Israeli army is reeling from two attacks behind its lines by fighters of the Qassam Brigades, the military resistance wing of Hamas.

The attacks are feeding a sense in Israel that its ground assault on Gaza is turning into a disaster and there are indications that Israeli anger and frustration are being taken out with even more deliberate killings of Palestinian civilians.

On Monday, four Israeli soldiers were killed and ten injured when Palestinian resistance fighters fired mortars across the boundary from Gaza.

But the most dramatic incident was a commando raid in which seven Qassam fighters emerged from a tunnel, raided a fortified Israeli army outpost at Nahal Oz inside Israel, killed five soldiers according to the Israeli count, and returned safely to Gaza through the tunnel.

Qassam said its fighters killed ten Israeli combatants in the attack.

Multiplying the psychological impact is the fact that Qassam released a video of the incident on Tuesday (above), which the military correspondent of Israel’s Channel 10 television acknowledged appears to be authentic.”

No ceasefire without end of siege

Along with the video of the raid, Qassam’s commander Muhammad Deif released an audio recording saying that his group would not accept a ceasefire which did not end the siege of Gaza. Deif said that his fighters were prepared for a long battle and were working according to a plan rather than “reacting” to events like Israel.

Deif said that the “enemy” had been “defeated” in its ground war and would continue to pay a heavy price as long as its army was in Gaza.

The latest resistance attacks across Israeli lines have rattled frontline Israeli soldiers, one of whom grumbled to Ynet that “I’m not sure where is safer, inside or outside” Gaza.

“We have been to a number of rallying points, and were amazed to discover that the lessons of the Second Lebanon War and Pillar of Defense had not been implemented,” the soldier added, referring respectively to Israel’s failed 2006 invasion of Lebanon and its November 2012 bombardment of Gaza.

“Yesterday we were punched hard in the gut, because the feeling was that outside the Strip was much safer – but it’s not true,” another soldier said after Monday’s attack.

The attacks have yet to dent the support for the massacre among the Israeli Jewish public,90 percent of whom still back the assault, according to a recent poll.

Israeli exhaustion

While Palestinian civilians have been the main targets of Israeli attacks – the number of fatalities from Israel’s 23-day assault has now surpassed 1,200 persons, 80 percent of them civilians – Israel’s losses are overwhelmingly military.

With more than fifty soldiers dead, a price no one in Israel expected to pay for attacking Gaza, even the country’s top leaders appear weary.

After visiting wounded soldiers today, Israeli former president Shimon Peres said the assault on Gaza had “exhausted itself … and now we have to find a way to stop it,” Ynetreported.

Peres said he hoped the war would end with Israeli-backed Palestinian Authority de factoleader Mahmoud Abbas resuming control of Gaza with the support of Israel and Israeli-allied Arab dictatorships.

Abbas “has the support of Egypt and the Arab world more than anyone else today,” Peres said. He appeared to be reflecting broader thinking among Israel’s elites who now see Abbas as their savior.”

Israel “dragged”

The raids from Gaza have heightened the sense among establishment commentators that Israel has lost – or never had – the initiative in the ground assault that it launched on Gaza.

“From the first day of the operation, we have been dragged and we are still being dragged,” wrote Nahum Barnea, Israel’s leading columnist, in Ynet. “Hamas is dictating the extent and length of the conflict, and our forces have not found a move, an initiative or a patent to break this dictation.”

Commenting specifically on the Nahal Oz video, Ynet’s Yossi Yoshua wrote that the Israeli soldiers who were targeted appeared “unprepared and off guard, even in broad daylight.”

In a sign of the potential impact of the video in Israel, Yoshua wrote that Ynet “has chosen not to post” the video “because of its graphic nature and from the desire not to aid Hamas in its propaganda.”

But he acknowledged that the Israeli army “has some tough questions to answer regarding what went down in the pillbox next to Nahal Oz.”

“Massive attack” in Shujaiya routs Golani Brigade

It is well established that the Israeli army deliberately targets civilians, civilian homes and other civilian objects.

Unable to break the resistance on the ground, Israel is going after the civilian population to “terrorize” them into submission, dozens of international law experts and human rights experts said in a recent statement. This is a reprise of Israel’s so-called “Dahiya Doctrine” used against civilians in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008-2009.

In the latest horrifying massacre today, Israeli shells reportedly slammed into a UN school in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing sixteen people.

Yet the sheer unpreparedness of the Israeli army for military resistance may be causing it to take its rage out in even more vengeful attacks on Palestinian civilians.

In a revealing account of Israel’s 20 July attack on the Shujaiya neighborhood east of Gaza City, The Jerusalem Post revealed that the army’s elite Golani Brigade suffered a thrashing at the hands of well-prepared resistance fighters who launched a “massive attack.”

“The Golani Brigade in [Shujaiya] sustained heavy casualties,” the newspaper reported citing an army source, “after Hamas intelligence units mapped out its location.”

Fearing they “would be getting 600 body bags back” containing dead Israeli soldiers, commanders withdrew the Israeli infantry and simply shelled Shujaiya, causing mass destruction and the deaths of dozens of civilians.

Shoot to kill

In a Facebook posting, Eran Efrati, a former Israeli army combat soldier turned dissident researcher and activist, claimed that Israeli soldiers serving in Gaza had leaked information to him in recent days that soldiers were “murdering … Palestinians by sniper fire in [Shujaiya] neighborhood as punishment for the deaths of soldiers in their units.”

Efrati claimed that commanding officers had given shoot-to-kill orders ostensibly meant to protect Israeli forces, but whose real purpose was to “enable soldiers to take out their frustrations and pain at losing their fellow soldiers (something that for years the IDF [Israeli army] has not faced during its operations in Gaza and the West Bank)” by killing Palestinian civilians.

Efrati cited the cold-blood sniper shooting, caught on video, of Palestinian youth Salem Shamaly in Shujaiya on 20 July, as a likely example of this phenomenon.

Efrati spent years working with Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that collects and publishes testimonies of abuses from Israeli soldiers but also protects them from consequences by concealing their identities.

Since Efrati’s posting, a copy of which was captured by The Electronic Intifada, Efrati’s entire Facebook page is no longer available.

Looming political disaster for Netanyahu

Nahum Barnea points to the political crisis the heavy losses of Israeli soldiers is causing to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing pressure to expand a ground attack in Gaza which Barnea and other commentators say is falling far short of the stated aim of destroying the resistance’s system of tunnels.

There are signs of internal disarray as senior Israeli army officers leak to the media about disagreements with the country’s political leadership. One “senior officer” disputed Netanyahu’s claim that the army had not made him fully aware of the “threat” from Gaza tunnels.

“Our responsibility is to lead the offensive to where it needs to go, not to where the public wants. This is not reality TV and rating is not a factor,” the senior officer told Ynet.

If Netanyahu presses on, Barnea writes, “he will have to deal with the [rising Israeli] death toll. He probably remembers what happened to former Prime Minister Menachem Begin in similar circumstances; if he stops, he will have to deal with disappointment and internal criticism.”

Barnea is referring to Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon which killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese.

It was seen as a catastrophe in Israel, which lost almost seven hundred soldiers. Begin, once the revered leader of the Irgun Zionist terrorist group in the 1940s, left office in disgrace and died soon afterwards.

Israel looking for a way out

In an astonishing sign of Israel’s eagerness to end the Gaza assault on less than humiliating terms, the foreign ministry advised Netanyahu to initiate a UN Security Council resolution that would set favorable terms for Israel. Israel normally seeks to avoid any action by the UN.

The resolution would call for Gaza to be “disarmed,” Haaretz reported, and for Abbas to return to Gaza. It would be modeled on resolution 1701, which allowed Israel to retreat from Lebanon in 2006.

But despite the face-saving 2006 resolution, no one in Israel doubts that Lebanese resistance forces are likely to be fiercer than ever should Israel ever plan a return. No matter what the Security Council says, Palestinian resistance groups are not going to unilaterally disarm, giving Israel the victory it could not achieve in battle.

The 1982 and 2006 Lebanon wars, like so many of Israel’s aggressions, showed that if “winning” is measured in slaughtering civilians, Israel, like the United States in Vietnam, remains the champion.

But politically and strategically, Israel and its leaders may be realizing that they are facing another defeat in Gaza.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Daring and lethal Palestinian raids from Gaza sap I$raHell morale

Joint Declaration by International Law Experts on I$raHell Gaza Offensive

NOVANEWS

By: Richard Falk

(Prefatory Note: Posted here is a Joint Declaration of international law experts from around the world who are listed below as endorsers. I am among the endorsers, and the text was initially drafted by several international law scholars. We welcome additional signatures that can be sent to me in the comments section, with affiliation noted for identification, and names will be periodically added to the text. I view this as an important expression of professional judgment and individual conscience relating to Israeli behavior in Gaza commencing on 8 July that has already taken so many innocent lives and caused such widespread devastation. Please join us and spread the word!)  

The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. We also condemn the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip, as every indiscriminate attack against civilians, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, is not only illegal under international law but also morally intolerable. However, as also implicitly noted by the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution of the 23th July 2014, the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude.

Once again it is the unarmed civilian population, the ‘protected persons’ under International humanitarian law (IHL), who is in the eye of the storm. Gaza’s civilian population has been victimized in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defence, in the midst of an escalation of violence provoked in the face of the entire international community. The so-called Operation Protective Edge erupted during an ongoing armed conflict, in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967. In the course of this ongoing conflict thousands of Palestinians have been killed and injured in the Gaza Strip during recurrent and ostensible ‘ceasefire’ periods since 2005, after Israel’s unilateral ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip. The deaths caused by Israel’s provocative actions in the Gaza Strip prior to the latest escalation of hostilities must not be ignored as well.

According to UN sources, over the last two weeks, nearly 800 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and more than 4,000 injured, of whom the vast majority were civilians. Several independent sources indicate that only 15 per cent of the casualties were combatants. Entire families have been murdered. Hospitals, clinics, as well as a rehabilitation centre for disabled persons have been targeted and severely damaged. During one single day, on Sunday 20th July, more than 100 Palestinian civilians were killed in Shuga’iya, a residential neighbourhood of Gaza City. This was one of the bloodiest and most aggressive operations ever conducted by Israel in the Gaza Strip, a form of urban violence constituting a total disrespect of civilian innocence. Sadly, this was followed only a couple of days later by an equally destructive attack on Khuza’a, East of Khan Younis.

Additionally, the offensive has already caused widespread destruction of buildings and infrastructure: according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 3,300 houses have been targeted resulting in their destruction or severe damage.

As denounced by the UN Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on the Gaza conflict in the aftermath of Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008-2009: “While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: The people of Gaza as a whole” (A/HRC/12/48, par. 1680). The same can be said for the current Israeli offensive.

The civilian population in the Gaza Strip is under direct attack and many are forced to leave their homes. What was already a refugee and humanitarian crisis has worsened with a new wave of mass displacement of civilians: the number of IDPs has reached nearly 150,000, many of whom have obtained shelter in overcrowded UNRWA schools, which unfortunately are no safe areas as demonstrated by the repeated attacks on the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun. Everyone in Gaza is traumatized and living in a state of constant terror. This result is intentional, as Israel is again relying on the Dahiya doctrine, which deliberately has recourse to disproportionate force to inflict suffering on the civilian population in order to achieve political (to exert pressure on the Hamas Government) rather than military goals.

In so doing, Israel is repeatedly and flagrantly violating the law of armed conflict, which establishes that combatants and military objectives may be targeted, i.e. ‘those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.’ Most of the recent heavy bombings in Gaza lack an acceptable military justification and, instead, appear to be designed to terrorize the civilian population. As the ICRC clarifies, deliberately causing terror is unequivocally illegal under customary international law.

In its Advisory Opinion in the Nuclear Weapons case, the ICJ stated that the principle of distinction, which requires belligerent States to distinguish between civilian and combatants, is one of the “cardinal principles” of international humanitarian law and one of the “intransgressible principles of international customary law”.

The principle of distinction is codified in Articles 48, 51(2) and 52(2) of the Additional Protocol I of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to which no reservations have been made. According to Additional Protocol I, “attacks” refer to “acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or in defence” (Article 49). Under both customary international law and treaty law, the prohibition on directing attacks against the civilian population or civilian objects is absolute. There is no discretion available to invoke military necessity as a justification.

Contrary to Israel’s claims, mistakes resulting in civilian casualties cannot be justified: in case of doubt as to the nature of the target, the law clearly establishes that an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes (such as schools, houses, places of worship and medical facilities), are presumed as not being used for military purposes. During these past weeks, UN officials and representatives have repeatedly called on Israel to strictly abide by the principle of precaution in carrying out attacks in the Gaza Strip, where risks are greatly aggravated by the very high population density, and maximum restraint must be exercised to avoid civilian casualties. HRW has noted that these rules exist to minimize mistakes “when such mistakes are repeated, it raises the concern of whether the rules are being disregarded.”

Moreover, even when targeting clear military objectives, Israel consistently violates the principle of proportionality: this is particularly evident with regard to the hundreds of civilian houses destroyed by the Israeli army during the current military operation in Gaza. With the declared intention to target a single member of Hamas, Israeli forces have bombed and destroyed houses although occupied as residencies by dozens of civilians, including women, children, and entire families.

It is inherently illegal under customary international law to intentionally target civilian objects, and the violation of such a fundamental tenet of law can amount to a war crime. Issuing a ‘warning’ – such as Israel’s so-called roof knocking technique, or sending an SMS five minutes before the attack – does not mitigate this: it remains illegal to wilfully attack a civilian home without a demonstration of military necessity as it amounts to a violation of the principle of proportionality. Moreover, not only are these ‘warnings’ generally ineffective, and can even result in further fatalities, they appear to be a pre-fabricated excuse by Israel to portray people who remain in their homes as ‘human shields’.

The indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the targeting of objectives providing no effective military advantage, and the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian houses have been persistent features of Israel’s long-standing policy of punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip, which, for over seven years, has been virtually imprisoned by Israeli imposed closure. Such a regime amounts to a form of collective punishment, which violates the unconditional prohibition set forth in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has been internationally condemned for its illegality. However, far from being effectively opposed international actors, Israel’s illegal policy of absolute closure imposed on the Gaza Strip has relentlessly continued, under the complicit gaze of the international community of States.

***

As affirmed in 2009 by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict: “Justice and respect for the rule of law are the indispensable basis for peace. The prolonged situation has created a justice crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action” (A/HRC/12/48, para. 1958) Indeed: “long-standing impunity has been a key factor in the perpetuation of violence in the region and in the reoccurrence of violations, as well as in the erosion of confidence among Palestinians and many Israelis concerning prospects for justice and a peaceful solution to the conflict”. (A/HRC/12/48, para. 1964)

Therefore,

  • We welcome the Resolution adopted on 23 July 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council, in which an independent, international commission of inquiry was established to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
  • We call upon the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union, individual States, in particular the United States of America, and the international community in its entirety and with its collective power to take action in the spirit of the utmost urgency to put an end to the escalation of violence against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, and to activate procedures to hold accountable all those responsible for violations of international law, including political leaders and military commanders. In particular:
  • All regional and international actors should support the immediate conclusion of a durable, comprehensive, and mutually agreed ceasefire agreement, which must secure the rapid facilitation and access of humanitarian aid and the opening of borders to and from Gaza;
  • All High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions must be urgently and unconditionally called upon to comply with their fundamental obligations, binding at all times, and to act under common Article 1, to take all measures necessary for the suppression of grave breaches, as clearly imposed by Article 146 and Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; these rules are applicable by all interested parties as well;
  • Moreover, we denounce the shameful political pressures exerted by several UN Member States and the UN on President Mahmoud Abbas, to discourage recourse to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and we urge the Governmental leaders of Palestine to invoke the jurisdiction of the ICC, by ratifying the ICC treaty and in the interim by resubmitting the declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, in order to investigate and prosecute the serious international crimes committed on the Palestinian territory by all parties to the conflict; and
  • The UN Security Council must finally exercise its responsibilities in relation to peace and justice by referring the situation in Palestine to the Prosecutor of the ICC.

Please note that institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only.

  1. John Dugard, Former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
  2. Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
  3. Alain Pellet, Professor of Public International Law, University Paris Ouest, former Member of the United Nations International Law Commission, France
  4. Georges Abi-Saab, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Former Judge on the ICTY
  5. Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland
  6. Chantal Meloni, Adjunct Professor of International Criminal Law, University of Milan, Italy (Rapporteur, Joint Declaration)
  1. Roy Abbott, Consultant in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, Australia
  2. Lama Abu-Odeh, Law Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, USA
  3. Susan M. Akram, Clinical Professor and supervising attorney, International Human rights Program, Boston University School of Law, USA
  4. Taris Ahmad, Solicitor at Jones Day, London, UK
  5. Maria Anagnostaki, PhD candidate, Law School University of Athens, Greece
  6. Antony Anghie, Professor of Law, University of Utah, USA
  7. Nizar Ayoub, Director, Al-Marsad, Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights
  8. Valentina Azarov, Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law, Al Quds Bard College, Palestine
  9. Ammar Bajboj, Lecturer in Law, University of Damascus, Syria
  10. Samia Bano, SOAS School of Law, London, UK
  11. Asli Ü Bali, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, USA
  12. Jakub Michał Baranowski, Phd Candidate, Universita’ degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy
  13. Frank Barat, Russell Tribunal on Palestine
  14. Emma Bell, Coordinator of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, Université de Savoie, France
  15. Barbara Giovanna Bello, Post-doc Fellow, University of Milan, Italy
  16. Brenna Bhandar, Senior lecturer in Law, SOAS School of Law, London, UK
  17. George Bisharat, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of Law, USA
  18. Barbara Blok, LLM Candidate, University of Essex, UK
  19. John Braithwaite, Professor of Criminology, Australian National University, Australia
  20. Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, lecturer in international law, University of Edinburgh, UK
  21. Eddie Bruce-Jones, Lecturer in Law, University of London, Birkbeck College, UK
  22. Sandy Camlann, LLM Candidate, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France
  23. Grazia Careccia, Human Rights Advocate, London, UK
  24. Baris Cayli, Impact Fellow, University of Stirling, UK
  25. Antonio Cavaliere, Professor of Criminal Law, University Federico II, Naples, Italy
  26. Kathleen Cavanaugh, Senior Lecturer, Irish Center for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  27. Elizabeth Chadwick, Reader in International Law, Nottingham, UK
  28. Donna R. Cline, Attorney at Law, USA
  29. Karen Corteen, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Chester, UK
  30. Andrew Dahdal, Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
  31. Teresa Dagenhardt, Reader in Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  32. Luigi Daniele, PhD candidate in Law, Italy
  33. Alessandro De Giorgi, Professor of Justice Studies, San Josè State University, USA
  34. Paul de Waart, Professor Emeritus of International Law, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  35. Gabriele della Morte, Senior Lecturer in International Law, University Cattolica, Milan, Italy
  36. Max du Plessis, Professor of Law, University of Kwazulu-Natal, and Barrister, South Africa and London, UK
  37. Noura Erakat, Georgetown University, USA
  38. Mohammad Fadel, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Canada
  39. Mireille Fanon-Mendés France, Independent Expert UNO, Frantz Fanon Foundation, France
  40. Michelle Farrell, lecturer in law, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool, UK
  41. Daniel Feierstein, Professor and President International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), Argentina
  42. Eleonor Fernández Muñoz, Costa Rica
  43. Tenny Fernando, Attorney at Law, Sri Lanka
  44. Amelia Festa, LLM Candidate, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  45. Katherine Franke, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, USA
  46. Jacques Gaillot, Bishop in partibus of Patenia
  47. Katherine Gallagher, Vice President FIDH, senior attorney, Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York, USA
  48. Avo Sevag Garabet, LLM, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  49. Jose Garcia Anon, Professor of Law, Human Rights Institute, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  50. Irene Gasparini, PhD candidate, Universitá Cattolica, Milan, Italy
  51. Stratos Georgoulas, Assistant Professor, University of the Aegean, Greece
  52. Haluk Gerger, Professor, Turkey
  53. Hedda Giersten, Professor, Universitet I Oslo, Norway
  54. Javier Giraldo, Director Banco de Datos CINEP, Colombia
  55. Carmen G. Gonzales, Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law, USA
  56. Penny Green, Professor of Law and Criminology, Director of the State Crime Initiative, King’s College London, UK
  57. Katy Hayward, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  58. Andrew Henley, PhD candidate, Keele University, UK
  59. Christiane Hessel, Paris, France
  60. Paddy Hillyard, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  61. Ata Hindi, Institute of Law, Birzeit University, Palestine
  62. Francois Houtart, Professor, National Institute of Higher Studies, Quito, Ecuador
  63. Deena R. Hurwitz, Professor, General Faculty, Director International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law, USA
  64. Perfecto Andrés Ibánes, Magistrado Tribunal Supremo de Espagna, Spain
  65. Franco Ippolito, President of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, Italy
  66. Ruth Jamieson, Honorary Lecturer, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  67. Helen Jarvis, former member Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), member of IAGS, Cambodia
  68. Ioannis Kalpouzos, Lecturer in Law, City Law School, London, UK
  69. Victor Kattan, post-doctoral fellow, Law Faculty, National University of Singapore
  70. Michael Kearney, PhD, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex, UK
  71. Yousuf Syed Khan, USA
  72. Tarik Kochi, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, UK
  73. Anna Koppel, MSt Candidate in International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford, UK
  74. Karim Lahidji, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and lawyer
  75. Giulia Lanza, PhD Candidate, Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy
  76. Daniel Machover, solicitor, Hickman & Rose, London, UK
  77. Tayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law, Director of the Centre for Global Justice, Seattle University School of Law, USA
  78. Maria C. LaHood, Senior Staff Attorney, CCR, New York, USA
  79. Louise Mallinder, Reader in Human Rights and International Law, University of Ulster, UK
  80. Triestino Mariniello, Lecturer in International Criminal Law, Edge Hill University, UK
  81. Mazen Masri, Lecturer in Law, The City Law School, City University, London, UK
  82. Siobhan McAlister, School of Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  83. Liam McCann, Principal Lecturer in Criminology, University of Lincoln, UK
  84. Jude McCulloch, Professor of Criminology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  85. Yvonne McDermott Rees, Lecturer in Law, University of Bangor, UK
  86. Cahal McLaughlin, Professor, School of Creative Arts, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  87. Araks Melkonyan, LLM Candidate, University of Essex, UK
  88. Antonio Menna, PhD Candidate, Second University of Naples, Caserta, Italy
  89. Naomi Mezey, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, USA
  90. Michele Miravalle, PhD candidate, University of Torino, Italy
  91. Sergio Moccia, Professor of Criminal Law, University Federico II, Naples, Italy
  92. Kerry Moore, Lecturer, Cardiff University
  93. Giuseppe Mosconi, Professor of Sociology, University of Padova, Italy
  94. Usha Natarajan, Assistant Professor, Department of Law & Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies, The American University in Cairo, Egypt
  95. Miren Odriozola Gurrutxaga, PhD Candidate, University of the Basque Country, Donostia – San Sebastián, Spain
  96. Georgios Papanicolaou, Reader in Criminology, Teesside University, UK
  97. Marco Pertile, Senior Lecturer in International Law,
    Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy
  98. Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Professor of Law and Theory, LLM, The Westminster Law and Theory Centre, UK
  99. Antoni Pigrau Solé, Universitat Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona, Spain
  100. Joseph Powderly, Assistant Professor of Public International Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  101. Tony Platt, Visiting Professor of Justice Studies, San Jose State University, USA
  102. Scott Poynting, Professor in Criminology, University of Auckland, New Zeeland
  103. Chris Powell, Professor of Criminology, University S.Maine, USA
  104. Bill Quigley, Professor, Loyola University, New Orleans College of Law, USA
  105. John Quigley, Professor of Law, Ohio State University
  106. Zouhair Racheha, PhD Candidate, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3, France
  107. Laura Raymond, International Human Rights Advocacy Program Manager, CCR, New York, USA
  108. Véronique Rocheleau-Brosseau, LLM candidate, Laval University, Canada
  109. David Rodríguez Goyes, Lecturer, Antonio Nariño and Santo Tomás Universities, Colombia
  110. Alessandro Rosanò, PhD Candidate, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy
  111. Jamil Salem, Director Institute of Law, Birzeit University, Palestine
  112. Mahmood Salimi, LLM Candidate, Moofid University, Iran
  113. Nahed Samour, doctoral fellow, Humboldt University, Faculty of Law, Berlin, Germany
  114. Iain GM Scobbie, Professor of Public International Law, University of Manchester, UK
  115. David Scott, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  116. Phil Scraton, Professor of Criminology, Belfast, Ireland
  117. Rachel Seoighe, PhD Candidate, Legal Consultant, King’s College London, UK
  118. Tanya Serisier, School of Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  119. Mohammad Shahabuddin, PdD, Visiting researcher, Graduate School of International Social Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan
  120. Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law, USA
  121. Per Stadig, lawyer, Sweden
  122. Chantal Thomas, Professor of Law, Cornell University, USA
  123. Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia University, USA
  124. Gianni Tognoni, Lelio Basso Foundation, Rome, Italy
  125. Steve Tombs, Professor of Criminology, The Open University, UK
  126. Paul Troop, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers, UK
  127. Valeria Verdolini, Reader in Sociology, University of Milan, Italy
  128. Francesca Vianello, University of Padova, Italy
  129. Aimilia Voulvouli, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Fatih University, Turkey
  130. Namita Wahi, Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, India
  131. Sharon Weill, PhD, Science Po, Paris/ CERAH, Geneva, Switzerland
  132. Peter Weiss, Vice President of Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York, USA
  133. David Whyte, Reader in Sociology, University of Liverpool, UK
  134. Jeanne M. Woods, Henry F. Bonura, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University College of Law, New Orleans, USA
  135. William Thomas Worster, Lecturer, International Law, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
  136. Maung Zarni, Judge, PPT on Sri Lanka and Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science
  137. Sammi Ibrahem, E xective Director of Shoah www.shoah.org.uk

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Joint Declaration by International Law Experts on I$raHell Gaza Offensive

When Will American Rabbis Go Beyond “Feeling Sympathy” for the Gazans?

NOVANEWS

As the extent of the brutal and inhuman bombing of Gaza becomes known, it is hard for Jews who consider themselves relatively decent not to speak out.  Some American rabbis are beginning to express sympathy with the innocent victims of the IDF onslaught and to imply, ever so gingerly, that Israel should reconsider what it is doing, from a “Jewish” standpoint.

These expressions of sympathy are inevitably accompanied by expressions of support of Israel, unquestioned faith in the purity of its motives, blind acceptance of the morality of the Israel Defense Forces and the truth of the IDF spokespeople, as well as ritual  condemnation of Hamas.  Even as  we slaughter Gazans and bomb refugee camps into the stone age in ways that the Palestinians never did, and never could do, it is important for our own self-image to imply that we are, deep down,  more moral than they are.  After all, we deliberately and openly arrest Palestinian civilians in reprisals for the murder of our civilians,  whereas the terroristskidnap soldiers.  We kill civilians and express (occasionally) regret; but when  they fight and kill our soldiers, they aren’t legal combatants of an occupied population under attack but terrorists. We invade; they infiltrate.

I gave up on orthodox rabbis years ago.Their morality is entirely tribal, with the added moral smugness about how we Jews are different from them.  The dean of American modern orthodoxy, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, was simply incapable of understanding why Arabs would oppose Zionism,  and he actually raised the halakhic question of whether those who oppose the Jewish state (“the mobs of Nassar and the Mufti”) should have the law of Amalek applied to them, i.e., to wipe out their men, women, and children. And he was considered one of the more liberal of the modern orthodox rabbis!   One can pity and excuse the Rav for these sentiments – I really like to believe that in cooler moments he would have rejected his own inference — but no decent human being cannot be revulsed by them.  In Israel, the religious Zionist rabbis range from the enlightened colonialists to the Judaeo-fascists. Moral chauvinism is almost part of the “DNA” of modern orthodoxy; expecting orthodox rabbis to rise above it would be like expecting the Pope to endorse abortion.

So when I read a piece by a well-intended conservative rabbi who believes “that our hearts should grieve, that we should not be able to sleep at night, for the hundreds of Gazan non-combatants who died horrible deaths this week, yesterday, today, and are dying right this minute,” I asked myself: Should I be happy, or at least relieved, that finally, American rabbis have broken their silence? After all, unlike Rabbi David Seth-Kirshner, this rabbi doesn’t adopt the terrorist reasoning behind the Hamas suicide bombers and Osama Bin Laden that makes  civilians into combatants if they elect a government hostile to one’s interests.

No, I should not. For if is the best our rabbinate can do, I can only grieve for American Jewry,  whose hearts have become so hardened that only when there is mass slaughter of innocents and wanton destruction is their sleep disturbed. Where was the rabbi when the people of Gaza were put under a long and callous siege, the calories of their food counted, their movements restricted, solely because they had democratically elected representatives that were not to Israel’s liking? Where was the rabbi when the Israeli government rounded up released Hamas prisoners and government officials on the West Bank who had nothing to do with the murder of the three Jewish students? Where was the rabbi when the ongoing occupation led to the deaths of many Palestinians, at a time when Hamas was “relatively quiet”? My God, the rabbi throws in suicide bombing into the mix? How many thousands of Palestinians civilians have been killed by Israelis, since the last suicide bomb went off, well before Hamas became the recognized government in Gaza?

It seems to me that the good rabbi, like many other good American Jews sleep peacefully through the moral nightmare of Palestinian existence – in refugee camps, the diaspora, under occupation, and even within Israel. It takes the noise of 120 one-tonne bombs to disturb their sleep.

How have we Jews gotten to a situation where we can “sleep” so soundly? How have we excused ourselves by saying that Israel is existentially threatened, when, on the contrary,  the only existential threat is Israel for the Palestinian people?

I have yet to read a piece written by a rabbi of any denomination that achieves the moral clarity of Haaretz’s Gideon Levy , Amira Hass, former  M.K. Avraham Burg, and others. These are the Jews  that keep me Jewish during this long, long night of hardened hearts —  along with the rabbinical council of Jewish Voice for Peace, God bless them, and the many Jews and non-Jews fighting for justice and human rights.

In the honor/shame culture that is contemporary Judaism, expressing sympathy for the most egregious victims of our post-Holocaust neuroses, ultra-nationalism, moral chauvinism, and lethal weapons, is apparently the best our rabbinical leadership can come up with.

How moral we Jews are for unanimously condemning the pouring of kerosene down the throat of an innocent Arab youth and burning him alive!

And that is one of the most depressing lessons of these terrible times

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on When Will American Rabbis Go Beyond “Feeling Sympathy” for the Gazans?

Anti-Zionist protesters storm Rep. Crowley’s office in Queens

NOVANEWS

Protesters in New York City target the office of Congressman Joseph Crowley for lending his unconditional support to Israel in its current onslaught on the Gaza Strip, Press TV reports.

Rep. Crowley, the chair of the Queens Democratic Party and a high-ranking Democrat in Washington, is a staunch ally of Israel and his views appear increasingly at odds with his constituents.

Public opinion in New York’s 14th Congressional District which is represented by Crowley is highly critical of Israel, local residents told Press TV’s correspondent Caleb Maupin.

Hundreds of protesters, waving Palestinian flags, gathered outside Crowley’s office on Wednesday to express their anger at their representative in US Congress.

Queens resident Naeem Eslam slammed Washington’s military aid to Israel which is used to fund the war in Gaza. “Just this past year they increased the funds to $3.2 billion” a year.

“That is money that could be used in this country to create jobs and help schools but instead it is being used by Israel to kill innocent Palestinians,” he added.

Ron Duncan, another local resident, criticized Rep. Crowley for putting Israel’s interests ahead of his district’s. “He wasn’t elected to support Israel. He was elected to do a job for the people in Queens.”

On Tuesday, police officers arrested 50 people in New York City who were protesting against Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. The protesters had gathered in front of the Israeli mission to the United Nations.

At least 1,360 Palestinians have been killed and over 7,600 others wounded in the 24 days of relentless Israeli aerial and ground attacks against the besieged Gaza Strip.

The onslaught has outraged much of the international community but many US officials and members of Congress continue to support Israel’s actions as “self-defense.”

On Monday, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers gathered at an event hosted by the National Leadership Assembly for Israel and expressed their opposition to any kind of criticism of Israel’s offensive against Palestinians.

“We’re here today to stand with Israel,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the event. “As long as I’m Speaker of the House, this will be our cause.”

Meanwhile, a US military official said on Thursday that the United States has allowed an American-owned munitions stockpile– comprising of missiles, armored vehicles and artillery ammunition– to be used by Israel as it pounds Gaza.

The emergency arms depot is located at a classified site inside Israel.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Anti-Zionist protesters storm Rep. Crowley’s office in Queens

Gaza myths and facts: what American Jewish leaders won’t tell you

NOVANEWS

Haaretz Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Myth: Gaza is free. Fact: it has been under Israeli occupation since 1967 to this very day.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.608008

By Peter Beinart

If you’ve been anywhere near the American Jewish community over the past few weeks, you’ve heard the following morality tale: Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, hoping the newly independent country would become the Singapore of the Middle East. Instead, Hamas seized power, ransacked greenhouses, threw its opponents off rooftops and began launching thousands of rockets at Israel.

American Jewish leaders use this narrative to justify their skepticism of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. But in crucial ways, it’s wrong. And without understanding why it’s wrong, you can’t understand why this war is wrong too.

Let’s take the claims in turn.

Israel Left Gaza

It’s true that in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israel’s more than 8,000 settlers from Gaza. (At America’s urging, he also dismantled four small settlements in the West Bank). But at no point did Gaza become its own country. Had Gaza become its own country, it would have gained control over its borders. It never did. As the Israeli human rights group Gisha has detailed, even before the election of Hamas, Israel controlled whether Gazans could enter or exit the Strip (In conjunction with Egypt, which controlled the Rafah checkpoint in Gaza’s south). Israel controlled the population registry through which Gazans were issued identification cards. Upon evacuating its settlers and soldiers from Gaza, Israel even created a security perimeter inside the Strip from which Gazans were barred from entry. (Unfortunately for Gazans, this perimeter included some of the Strip’s best farmland

“Pro-Israel” commentators claim Israel had legitimate security reasons for all this. But that concedes the point. A necessary occupation is still an occupation. That’s why it’s silly to analogize Hamas’ rockets—repugnant as they are—to Mexico or Canada attacking the United States. The United States is not occupying Mexico or Canada. Israel — according to the United States government —  has been occupying Gaza without interruption since 1967.

To grasp the perversity of using Gaza as an explanation for why Israel can’t risk a Palestinian state, it helps to realize that Sharon withdrew Gaza’s settlers in large measure because he didn’t want a Palestinian state. By 2004, when Sharon announced the Gaza withdrawal, the Road Map for Peace that he had signed with Mahmoud Abbas was going nowhere. Into the void came two international proposals for a two state solution. The first was the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which every member of the Arab League offered to recognize Israel if it returned to the 1967 lines and found a “just” and “agreed upon” solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees. The second was the 2003 Geneva Initiative, in which former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators publicly agreed upon the details of a two state plan. As the political scientists Jonathan Rynhold and Dov Waxman have detailed, Sharon feared the United States would get behind one or both plans, and pressure Israel to accept a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines. “Only an Israeli initiative,” Sharon argued, “will keep us from being dragged into dangerous initiatives like the Geneva and Saudi initiatives.”

Sharon saw several advantages to withdrawing settlers from Gaza. First, it would save money, since in Gaza Israel was deploying a disproportionately high number of soldiers to protect a relatively small number of settlers. Second, by (supposedly) ridding Israel of its responsibility for millions of Palestinians, the withdrawal would leave Israel and the West Bank with a larger Jewish majority. Third, the withdrawal would prevent the administration of George W. Bush from embracing the Saudi or Geneva plans, and pushing hard—as Bill Clinton had done—for a Palestinian state. Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, put it bluntly: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Gaza withdrawal did not meet minimal Palestinian demands. Not even the most moderate Palestinian leader would have accepted a long-term arrangement in which Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza while maintaining control of the Strip’s borders and deepening Israeli control of the West Bank. (Even in the 2005, the year Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the overall settler population rose, in part because some Gazan settlers relocated to the West Bank).

In fact, Sharon’s advisors did not expect withdrawing Gaza’s settlers to satisfy the Palestinians. Nor did not they expect it to end Palestinian terrorism. Ehud Olmert, a key figure in the disengagement plan (and someone who himself later embraced Palestinian statehood), acknowledged that “terror will continue” after the removal of Gaza’s settlers. The key word is “continue.” Contrary to the American Jewish narrative, militants in Gaza didn’t start launching rockets at Israel after the settlers left. They began a half-decade earlier, at the start of the second intifada. The Gaza disengagement did not stop this rocket fire. But it did not cause it either.

Hamas Seized Power

I can already hear the objections. Even if withdrawing settlers from Gaza didn’t give the Palestinians a state, it might have made Israelis more willing to support one in the future – if only Hamas had not seized power and turned Gaza into a citadel of terror.

But Hamas didn’t seize power. It won an election. In January 2006, four months after the last settlers left, Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem chose representatives to the Palestinian Authority’s parliament. (The previous year, they had separately elected Abbas to be the Palestinian Authority’s President). Hamas won a plurality of the vote – forty-five percent – but because of the PA’s voting system, and Fatah’s idiotic decision to run more than one candidate in several districts, Hamas garnered 58 percent of the seats in parliament.

To the extent American Jewish leaders acknowledge that Hamas won an election (as opposed to taking power by force), they usually chalk its victory up to Palestinian enthusiasm for the organization’s 1988 charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction (The president of the New York board of rabbis said recently that anyone who voted for Hamas should be considered a combatant, not a civilian). But that’s almost certainly not the reason Hamas won. For starters, Hamas didn’t make Israel’s destruction a major theme of its election campaign. In its 2006 campaign manifesto, the group actually fudged the question by saying only that it wanted an “independent state whose capital is Jerusalem” plus fulfillment of the right of return.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that by 2006 Hamas had embraced the two state solution. Only that Hamas recognized that running against the two state solution was not the best way to win Palestinian votes. The polling bears this out. According to exit polls conducted by the prominent Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, 75 percent of Palestinian voters—and a remarkable 60 percent of Hamas voters—said they supported a Palestinian unity government dedicated to achieving a two state solution.

So why did Hamas win? Because, according to Shikaki, only fifteen percent of voters called the peace process their most important issue. A full two-thirds cited either corruption or law and order. It’s vital to remember that 2006 was the first Palestinian election in more than ten years. During the previous decade, Palestinians had grown increasingly frustrated by Fatah’s unaccountable, lawless and incompetent rule. According to exit polls, 85 percent of voters called Fatah corrupt. Hamas, by contrast, because it had never wielded power and because its charitable arm effectively delivered social services, enjoyed a reputation for competence and honesty.

Hamas won, in other words, for the same reason voters all across the world boot out parties that have grown unresponsive and self-interested after years in power. That’s not just Shikaki’s judgment. It’s also Bill Clinton’s. As Clinton explained in 2009, “a lot of Palestinians were upset that they [Fatah] were not delivering the services. They didn’t think it [Fatah] was an entirely honest operation and a lot of people were going to vote for Hamas not because they wanted terrorist tactics…but because they thought they might get better service, better government…They [also] won because Fatah carelessly and foolishly ran both its slates in too many parliamentary seats.”

This doesn’t change the fact that Hamas’ election confronted Israel and the United States with a serious problem. After its victory, Hamas called for a national unity government with Fatah “for the purpose of ending the occupation and settlements and achieving a complete withdrawal from the lands occupied [by Israel] in 1967, including Jerusalem, so that the region enjoys calm and stability during this phase.” But those final words—“this phase”—made Israelis understandably skeptical that Hamas had changed its long-term goals. The organization still refused to recognize Israel, and given that Israel had refused to talk to the PLO until it formally accepted Israel’s right to exist in 1993, it’s not surprising that Israel demanded Hamas meet the same standard.

Still, Israel and the U.S. would have been wiser to follow the counsel of former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, who called for Sharon to try to forge a long-term truce with Hamas. Israel could also have pushed Hamas to pledge that if Abbas—who remained PA president—negotiated a deal with Israel, Hamas would accept the will of the Palestinian people as expressed in a referendum, something the group’s leaders have subsequently promised to do.

Instead, the Bush administration—suddenly less enamored of Middle Eastern democracy–pressured Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian parliament and rule by emergency decree. Israel, which also wanted Abbas to defy the election results, withheld the tax and customs revenue it had collected on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf. Knowing Hamas would resist Abbas’ efforts to annul the election, especially in Gaza, where it was strong on the ground, the Bushies also began urging Abbas’ former national security advisor, a Gazan named Mohammed Dahlan, to seize power in the Strip by force. As David Rose later detailed in an extraordinary article in Vanity Fair, Condoleezza Rice pushed Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to buy weapons for Dahlan, and for Israel to allow them to enter Gaza. As General Mark Dayton, US security coordinator for the Palestinians, told Dahlan in November 2006, “We also need you to build up your forces in order to take on Hamas.”

Unfortunately for the Bush administration, Dahlan’s forces were weaker than they looked. And when the battle for Gaza began, Hamas won it easily, and brutally. In response, Abbas declared emergency rule in the West Bank.

So yes, members of Hamas did throw their Fatah opponents off rooftops. Some of that may have been payback because Dahlan was widely believed to have overseen the torture of Hamas members in the 1990s. Regardless, in winning the battle for Gaza, Hamas—which had already shed much Israeli blood – shed Palestinian blood too.

But to suggest that Hamas “seized power” – as American Jewish leaders often do – ignores the fact that Hamas’ brutal takeover occurred in response to an attempted Fatah coup backed by the United States and Israel. In the words of David Wurmser, who resigned as Dick Cheney’s Middle East advisor a month after Hamas’ takeover, “what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen.”

 

The Greenhouses

Israel responded to Hamas’ election victory by further restricting access in and out of Gaza. As it happens, these restrictions played a key role in explaining why Gaza’s greenhouses did not help it become Singapore. American Jewish leaders usually tell the story this way: When the settlers left, Israel handed over their greenhouses to the Palestinians, hoping they would use them to create jobs. Instead, Palestinians tore them down in an anti-Jewish rage.

But one person who does not endorse that narrative is the prime mover behind the greenhouse deal, Australian-Jewish businessman James Wolfensohn, who served as the Quartet’s Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. In his memoir, Wolfensohn notes that “some damage was done to the greenhouses [as the result of post-disengagement looting] but they came through essentially intact” and were subsequently guarded by Palestinian Authority police. What really doomed the greenhouse initiative, Wolfensohn argues, were Israeli restrictions on Gazan exports. “In early December [2005], he writes, “the much-awaited first harvest of quality cash crops—strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and flowers—began. These crops were intended for export via Israel for Europe. But their success relied upon the Karni crossing [between Gaza and Israel], which, beginning in mid-January 2006, was closed more than not. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation, which was managing the greenhouses taken over from the settlers, said that it was experiencing losses in excess of $120,000 per day…It was excruciating. This lost harvest was the most recognizable sign of Gaza’s declining fortunes and the biggest personal disappointment during my mandate.”

The point of dredging up this history is not to suggest that Israel deserves all the blame for its long and bitter conflict with Hamas. It does not. Hamas bears the blame for every rocket it fires, and those rockets have not only left Israelis scarred and disillusioned. They have also badly undermined the Palestinian cause.

The point is to show—contrary to the establishment American Jewish narrative—that Israel has repeatedly played into Hamas’ hands by not strengthening those Palestinians willing to pursue statehood through nonviolence and mutual recognition. Israel played into Hamas’ hands when Sharon refused to seriously entertain the Arab and Geneva peace plans. Israel played into Hamas’ hands when it refused to support a Palestinian unity government that could have given Abbas the democratic legitimacy that would have strengthened his ability to cut a two state deal. And Israel played into Hamas’ hands when it responded to the group’s takeover of Gaza with a blockade that—although it has some legitimate security features—has destroyed Gaza’s economy, breeding the hatred and despair on which Hamas thrives.

In the ten years since Jewish settlers left, Israeli policy toward Gaza has been as militarily resourceful as it has been politically blind. Tragically, that remains the case during this war. Yet tragically, the American Jewish establishment keeps cheering Israel on.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Gaza myths and facts: what American Jewish leaders won’t tell you

Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl on Shelling of UNRWA Shelter in Jabalia ” Video ”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl on Shelling of UNRWA Shelter in Jabalia ” Video ”

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