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Archive for the ‘Gaza massacre’ Category

UN war crimes in Gaza Report: Balderdash!

Posted by terres on September 16, 2009

submitted by a reader

Ethnic cleansing in Gaza, NOT war

To call the ongoing genocide in Gaza ‘war Crimes,’ serves to hide the truth about ethnic cleansing and lend legitimacy to Israeli atrocities

When UN calls the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza ‘war crimes,’ it subliminally establishes the falsity that what happened in Gaza was a “war” [sic.]

The audiences are left to conclude naturally [sic] that awful things can and do occur in wars. Further, it treats the Israeli military operations between December 27 and January 18, 2009 as one isolated incident, a make-believe that Israel committed no other atrocities, before or after the Gaza ‘war.’

Don’t let the UN report and its author fool you, despite its strong language! The Gaza massacre wasn’t just an isolated ‘war’; it was another shameful chapter in Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

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Gaza Holocaust Continues …

Posted by terres on March 16, 2009

submitted by a reader

Israel is committing  genocide with impunity


Members of the Palestinian Nabhan family live in the remains of their house in eastern Jabalya refugee camp March 14, 2009. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis. Image may be subject to copyright.

A group of leading judges and international prosecutors today called  for a “prompt, independent and impartial” investigation into alleged war crimes that are being committed by Israel  in Gaza since Dec. 27, 2008.

The 16 signatories, led by Richard Goldstone, a former chief prosecutor for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  submitted a letter to the secretary general of the United Nations demanding an investigation, Reuters reported.

“Allegations of serious violations of the laws of war have emerged throughout the latest Gaza conflict, relating to conduct and actions by both the Israeli military and by the Palestinian armed groups,” the letter said.

“Without setting the record straight in a credible and impartial manner, it will be difficult for those communities that have borne the heavy cost of violence to move beyond the terrible aftermath of conflict.

“A prompt, independent and impartial investigation would provide a public record of gross violations of international humanitarian law committed and provide recommendations on how those responsible for crimes should be held to account.”

A Palestinian human rights group said last week reported that 1,434 Gazans were killed during the conflict, including 960 civilians, 239 police officers and 235 fighters. Among the civilians were 288 children and 121 women. Reuters said

Israeli military spokesman said the army had “made every effort to minimise harm to the civilian population”. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the Gaza massacre, mostly by friendly fire, 3 people were allegedly hit by rockets fired from Gaza.

The authors of the letter said they were  “shocked to the core” by the Gaza episode adding that an independent investigation was necessary in compliance with the Geneva Conventions rules concerning conflict.

“The world must vigilantly demand respect for these standards and investigate and condemn their violations,” said the letter,  which was published by Amnesty International.

“It said the commission of enquiry should be established by the United Nations, but not be limited to investigating attacks on U.N. facilities and have the ‘greatest possible’ expertise.” Reuters reported.

The following Editorial was published by the Guardian UK on March 3, 2009

Failed siege

Pledging aid for Gaza is the easy bit. Getting it delivered to Gazans living in tents after Israel’s three-week bombardment is another matter. The $3bn that donors promised in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday will have to penetrate a labyrinth of barriers and conditions, the complexity of which King Minos of Crete would have been proud. The money will be given to the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, even though the PA’s writ does not run in Gaza. The aid will pass through crossings currently closed by Israel. It will be distributed in such a manner as to avoid ending up in the hands of its governors. But how? This is like trying to spoon a thin gruel into a dying man, without letting it touch any part of his throat.

Forget the difficulty of getting macaroni or paper into Gaza, neither of which fell into Israel’s definition of humanitarian aid. How can the 14,000 homes, 219 factories, 240 schools, which Israel destroyed, or damaged, be repaired without cement? Cement, Israel argues, has a dual use. It can be used to build Hamas’s bunkers and tunnels, although the dual use of macaroni and paper is harder to fathom. But why repair Gaza’s infrastructure, if Israeli warplanes could return at any moment to destroy it again? Operation Cast Lead did not re-establish Israeli deterrence over Hamas and Gaza’s other rejectionist groups. About 120 rockets and mortars have been fired into southern Israel since the army withdrew. Which means, short of re-occupation and putting the leadership of Hamas on a boat to Tripoli, the only way to stop the rockets is political, not military.

There was scant recognition of that yesterday. In her first sally into the region as US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had strong words for Hamas. She said it was time “to cut the strings pulled by those who exploit the sufferings of innocent people”. Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which the Quartet supported, is now universally acknowledged to have failed. It has not dislodged Hamas from Gaza. Tony Blair admitted as much on his first visit to the enclave. But no one, as yet, is prepared to contemplate a way around the conditions which Israel and the Quartet attached to ending Hamas’s isolation.

Hamas is not going to recognise Israel. If it did, another and more extreme group would take up the cudgels. But it is equally clear to everyone that Hamas will have to be included in a national unity government for peace to succeed. The only scant chance lies in the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, two groups who currently hate each more than they do their occupiers. Without a fundamental rethink about how to engage Hamas politically, the international community is willing the end while continuing to deny the means. (copyright the author or newspaper).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/03/gaza-israel-aid-hamas-cement

Posted in Gaza massacre, Geneva Conventions, Jabalya refugee camp, Occupied Palestine, United Nations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Israeli Landgrab in Gaza: A Definite Possibility

Posted by terres on February 19, 2009

Image of the Day: Preparing for Israeli land grab


Palestinians warm themselves by a fire, as others take cover from the rain, under the ruins of their destroyed house in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem. Image may be subject to copyright.

Posted in gaza holocaust, Gaza massacre, GENOCIDE, Israeli Occupation Forces, mass murder | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US academic and cultural boycott of Israel

Posted by terres on January 30, 2009

U.S. Academic Boycott of Israel

For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel

01.29.2009 | Haaretz
By Raphael Ahren

In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts, the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America. Israeli professors are not sure yet how big of an impact the one-week-old movement will have, but started discussing the significance of and possible counteractions against the campaign.

“As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel’s indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions,” the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel stated in its inaugural press release last Thursday. Speaking in its mission statement of the “censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in U.S. universities, as well as U.S. society at large,” the group follows the usual pattern of such boycotts, calling for “non-violent punitive measures” against Israel, such as the implementation of divestment initiatives, “similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”

The campaign was founded by a group of 15 academics, mostly from California, but is, “currently expanding to create a network that embraces the United States as a whole,” according to David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of Southern California who responded on behalf of the group to a Haaretz query. “The initiative was in the first place impelled by Israel’s latest brutal assault on Gaza and by our determination to say enough is enough.”

“The response has been remarkable given the extraordinary hold that lobbying organizations like AIPAC exert over  and over the U.S. media, and in particular given the campaign of intimidation that has been leveled at academics who dare to criticize Israel’s policies,” Lloyd wrote in an e-mail to Haaretz Monday. “Within a short weekend since the posting of the press release, more than 80 academics from all over the country have endorsed the action and the numbers continue to grow.”

Asked if the group would accept the endorsement of Hamas supporters, Lloyd said, “We have no a priori policy with regard to the membership or affiliation of supporters of the boycott so long as they are in accord with the main aims stated in the press release.”

He argued that, “on several occasions Hamas has sought direct negotiations with Israel, a pursuit that constitutes de facto recognition of Israel, and has openly discussed abandoning its call for the destruction of the state of Israel conditional on reciprocal guarantees from Israel.”

Lloyd wrote that to the best of his knowledge, all supporters of the anti-Israel boycott were also opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Asked if logic wouldn’t dictate that he and his colleagues boycott themselves, he responded, “Self-boycott is a difficult concept to realize. But speaking for myself, I would have supported and honored such a boycott had it been proposed by my colleagues overseas.”

Durban bred, British approved

The idea of an academic boycott against Israel originated in 2001 at the “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa. A first attempt to implement a boycott was undertaken by British professors in the wake of Israel’s 2002 Operation Defensive Shield and the Jenin massacre claim. Since then, British academics tried several times to establish boycotts, with the latest such effort failing because legal advisers a few months ago pointed out that academic boycotts are discriminatory and thus illegal. Yet, analysts say that another British boycott campaign is to be expected in the follow up of Cast Lead.

In the U.S., on the other hand, only a few professors have supported the idea of an academic boycott. In 2006, the American Association of University Professors declared its objection to the British boycott, saying members, “especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test.”

In 2007, nearly 300 university presidents across the United States signed a statement denouncing the boycott, under the motto “Boycott Israeli Universities? Boycott Ours, Too!”

First indications that the climate might change in light of the Gaza operation could be seen earlier this month when the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario proposed, “Israeli academics be barred from speaking, teaching or conducting research at the province’s universities unless they condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza,” as the Inside Higher Ed Web site reported.

Not a mass movement

Israeli academics are hesitant to sound the alarm bells in light of the recent development. “One has to look at this with some degree of caution,” said Gerald Steinberg, the American-educated chair of Bar Ilan University’s political studies department. “Yes, the organization’s declarations are coming from the United States, but this is not at all yet a mass movement.”

Jonathan Rynhold, who also teaches political science at Bar Ilan, explained that boycott movements are rare in America, “because the U.S. has much stronger political culture and laws about freedom of speech than the UK. In America, there is stronger sense that one should be able to think and say whatever one wants.”

“What they’re trying to do,” Rynhold continued in his analysis of anti-Israel boycotts, “is blurring the distinction between criticism of Israeli policies and criticism of Israel’s existence. Their game is to move the liberals, who accept Israel’s right to exist and don’t think Israel is wrong every time but criticize Israeli policies as and when they think it’s right, and turn them into radical left-wing critics [who believe] Israel is racist in its core and everything it does is wrong.”

Rynhold and Steinberg said that the new U.S. campaign is a clone of its British predecessors. The two professors, who were both born in England, speak out of experience. When the original boycott movement arose – initially attacking only Bar Ilan and Haifa University – they were among the co-founders of the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom, which was fighting the boycott but ultimately folded for lack of funding. Although none of the previous boycott efforts were successful, Steinberg is concerned about every new round. While he said that it’s too early to predict the impact of the U.S. boycott, he sharply criticized the Israeli government and local universities for their handling of the previous boycott.

“The government and the universities have completely neglected not just the academic boycott but in general this kind of soft war,” he said. “The military prepared to go into Gaza for two and half years. But in terms of the boycott movement, both the ministry of education and the foreign ministry – which had pledged support for the existing anti-boycott frameworks – completely failed to prepare their own portfolios for this.”

“The battle is just beginning now,” Steinberg added. “The main response will have to come from American academics who find this kind of bias to be unacceptable and will fight it. But for those of us in Israel who are interested in helping to be a catalyst in that process, the funding has been completely cut off. There was the naive view that having won a few battles in Britain meant the war had been won.” Yet, giving the boycotters too much attention might be counterproductive, Steinberg emphasized.

Effective counterattacks need to be prepared, he said, “but at the same time we must not overreact and provide stimulation and amplification to this process – that is precisely what they’re seeking.”

Other pro-Israel advocates are less hesitant and soft-spoken in their assessment of the U.S. boycott.

“The usual anti-Israel suspects in U.S. universities may sign on to the petition, but it won’t amount to much,” predicted Mitchell Bard, executive director at the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, which seeks to strengthen the pro-Israel camp at American colleges. “If it becomes a widespread effort, I’m sure some effort will be given to countering it, but it is out of touch with the mood in the country,” he said. “Israel has near record high support, [U.S. President Barack] Obama has just taken office with a positive message and the focus will be on moving the peace process forward, not sideshows by anti-Semites and cranks among American pseudo-academics.” Copyright the author or news agency.

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Posted in educators of conscience, Gaza massacre, Jenin massacre, Operation Defensive Shield, U.S. invasion of Iraq | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Day Israeli War Crimes Became Too Obvious!

Posted by terres on January 24, 2009

UN investigator sees evidence of war crimes in Gaza

Thu Jan 22, 2009

By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA, Jan 22 (Reuters) – There is evidence that Israel committed war crimes during its 22-day campaign in the Gaza Strip and there should be an independent inquiry, U.N. investigator Richard Falk said on Thursday.


Sabbah Abu Halima, who is suffering from very deep burns on her arm and leg, lies on a bed at Shifa hospital in Gaza January 22, 2009. The doctors treating Abu Halima at Gaza’s Shifa hospital said the burns were caused by white phosphorus incendiary shells used by the Israeli army. Shifa doctors said they received about 10 cases of severe phosphorus burns during Israel’s three-week assault on the Islamist Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Jerry Lampe. Image may be subject to copyright.

The mental anguish of the civilians who suffered the assault is so great that the entire population of Gaza could be seen as casualties, said Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Falk, speaking by phone from his home in California, said compelling evidence that Israel’s actions in Gaza violated international humanitarian law required an independent investigation into whether they amounted to war crimes.

“I believe that there is the prima facie case for reaching that conclusion,” he told a Geneva news conference.

Falk said Israel had made no effort to allow civilians to escape the fighting.

“To lock people into a war zone is something that evokes the worst kind of international memories of the Warsaw Ghetto, and sieges that occur unintentionally during a period of wartime,” Falk, who is Jewish, said, referring to the starvation and murder of Warsaw’s Jews by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

“There could have been temporary provision at least made for children, disabled, sick civilians to leave, even if where they left to was southern Israel,” the U.S. professor said.


Thirteen-year-old Dalal Abu Aisha stands on the rubble of her destroyed house in Gaza January 22, 2009, after she was brought there by an uncle after reporters who had heard of her suffering asked to interview her. Tragedy saved the life of Abu Aisha. The Palestinian girl was not at home when an Israeli bomb destroyed her family’s apartment in Gaza’s Beach refugee camp, killing her father, mother, two brothers and a sister. Dalal had been at her aunt’s house, paying a condolence call. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen.

Falk said the entire Gaza population, which had been trapped in a war zone with no possibility to leave as refugees, may have been mentally scarred for life. If so, the definition of casualty could be extended to the entire civilian population.

Falk, who was denied entry to Israel two weeks before the assault started on Dec. 27, dismissed Israel’s argument that the assault was for self-defence in the light of rocket attacks aimed at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip.

“In my view the U.N. charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defence,” he said.

Israel had not restricted fighting to areas where the rockets came from and had refused to negotiate with Hamas, preventing a diplomatic solution, Falk said.

About 1,300 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed and 5,000 wounded in the assault. [Ten Israeli soldiers were killed mostly by friendly fire. Three ‘civilians,’ were allegedly hit by cross-border rocket fire and killed. RTSF]

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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Renewed claim to Gaza Strip, or pointless war?

Posted by terres on January 19, 2009

The following otherwise well-written Editorial by The Observer (UK), dated Sunday 18 January 2009 assumes that Israel previously had any space on high moral ground!

The world will know in the coming months whether a renewed claim to Gaza Strip is a proposition Israel cannot ignore!

A pointless war has led to a moral defeat for Israel

Editorial
The Observer, Sunday 18 January 2009

In historical terms, it is impossible to separate Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza from the long narrative of conflict and mutual grievance in the region.


A Palestinian touches the head of a teenager after he was shot by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun. Image may be subject to copyright.

In geographic terms, the war over a tiny plot of land cannot be detached from the wider involvement and strategic interests of other countries: Syria, Egypt, the US, Iran.

All of which makes it difficult to judge where – even if a unilateral Israeli ceasefire holds – the war really begins and ends.

That fact alone explains why the operation represents a defeat for Israel, as was always likely to be the outcome. The notion that the country’s security problems can be resolved by the unilateral use of extreme force is a persistent delusion among Israeli politicians. In this case, the problem was perceived to be Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel; the solution was judged to be a war against Hamas. That analysis did not allow for the vital, humane recognition that, in densely populated Gaza, an all-out war against Hamas is, by necessity, an attack on the civilian population.


[Deadly Israeli Assault.] An Israeli soldier covers his ears as a mobile artillery unit fires a shell towards Gaza in the early morning near the Gaza border during Israel’s offensive January 17, 2009. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis.
Image may be subject to copyright.

Even on its own terms, the campaign has failed. Israeli authorities will insist that they have limited the ability of Hamas to launch rocket attacks. But the ostensible war aim was destroying that capability completely.

Israel will also claim that its campaign has exposed a lack of support for Hamas in many Arab capitals; that Hamas’ position as the ruling authority in Gaza has been undermined; and that Hamas has been revealed as little more than a terrorist proxy acting on behalf of and armed by Syria and Iran.

But the reality is that the status of Hamas as the preferred vehicle for Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation has been enhanced by the indiscriminate brutality of the military assault.


[
Retaliatory Palestinian Fire Power!] A Palestinian stone-thrower uses a slingshot to throw a stone towards Israeli border police officers (not pictured) during scuffles at Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.  Image may be subject to copyright.

Meanwhile, that status guarantees the resurgence, in some form, of armed response, including rocket fire and terrorist attacks on Israeli soil. It is possible that Hamas’ military capability has been drastically reduced. But even when Israel had full command of Gaza’s external borders, it could not stop the trade in smuggled weapons. Sadly, Hamas will re-arm with or without a ceasefire agreement.

Meanwhile, any increased consideration of Iranian or Syrian sponsorship of terrorism will pale against global outrage at the extraordinary disregard shown by Israeli forces for the lives of Palestinian civilians. It is quite possible, as the Observer today reports, that an Israeli withdrawal will reveal evidence of actions deserving indictment as war crimes. Those allegations must be independently investigated.

Israel’s allies in the west, chiefly the US, have traditionally defended the country on the grounds that it is a democracy besieged by despotic regimes and terrorists. But while Israeli citizens do enjoy immense political and social freedom, those values do not automatically prevent the state from committing atrocities.

The fact of Israeli democracy is not a reason to resist negotiations with Hamas. That was true before this pointless, brutal war and will remain so afterwards.

Copyright: Guardian/Observer

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