Ban Ki-Moon will be remembered for his total failure to enforce International Law against israel

Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine

He’s done nothing for Israel’s victims, says Ramzy Baroud

Ban Ki-Moon’s second term as the Secretary General of the United Nations is ending this December. He was the most ideal man for the job as far as the United States and its allies are concerned.

Of course, there will always be other Ban Ki-Moons. In fact, the man himself was a modified version of his predecessor, Kofi Annan.

The unspoken, but unmistakable rule about UN Secretary Generals is that they must come across as affable enough so as not to be the cause of international controversies, but also flexible enough to accommodate the US disproportionate influence over the United Nations, particularly the Security Council.

At the end of their terms, the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of these Secretaries has been largely determined by their willingness to play by the aforementioned rule: Boutros Boutros-Ghali had his fallout with the US, as Kurt Waldheim also did. But both Annan and Ban learned their lessons well and followed the script to the end of their terms.

It would be utterly unfair to pin the blame for the UN’s unmitigated failure to solve world conflicts or obtain any real global achievement on a single individual. But Ban was particularly ‘good’ at this job. It would be quite a challenge to produce another with his exact qualities.

His admonishment of Israel, for example, can come across as strong-worded and makes for a good media quote, yet his inaction to confront Israel’s illegal violations of numerous Resolutions passed by the very UN he headed, is unmatched.

Even his purportedly strong words of censure were often cleverly coded, which, ultimately, meant very little.

When Israel carried out its longest and most devastating war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, a large number of international law experts and civil society organizations signed a letter accusing the UN chief of failing to clearly condemn Israel’s unlawful action in the Occupied Territories, its targeting of civilian homes, and even the bombing of UN facilities, which killed and wounded hundreds.

The signatories included former UN Special Rapporteur, Richard Falk, who, along with the others, called on Ban to either stand for justice or resign. He did neither.

The signatories criticized him, specifically, about Israeli shelling of a school managed by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), in which ten civilians were killed.

In his ‘condemnation’ of the Israeli attack earlier, Ban even failed to mention Israel by name as the attacker, and called on ‘both parties’ to provide protection for Palestinian civilians and UN staff.

“Your statements have been either misleading, because they endorse and further Israeli false versions of facts, or contrary to the provisions established by international law and to the interests of its defenders, or because your words justify Israel’s violations and crimes,” they wrote.

And they were right. This is Ban Ki-Moon’s signature policy – his ability to sidestep having to criticize Israel so cleverly (and, of course, the US and others) when that criticism could have, when needed most, at least given a pause to those who violate international law at will.

Considering this, many have perceived Ban’s farewell speech at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on September 15 as a departure from his old reserved self. It was understood that it was the end of his term, and he was ready to show some backbone, however belatedly. Sadly, this was not the case.

“It pains me that this past decade has been lost to peace. Ten years lost to illegal settlement expansion. Ten years lost to intra-Palestinian divide, growing polarization and hopelessness,” he surmised, as if both parties – the occupied and the military occupier – were equally responsible for the bloodshed and that Palestinians are equally blamed for their own military Occupation by Israel.

“This is madness,” he exclaimed. “Replacing a two-state solution with a one-state construct would spell doom: denying Palestinians their freedom and rightful future, and pushing Israel further from its vision of a Jewish democracy towards greater global isolation.”

But again, no solid commitment either way. Who is ‘replacing a two-state solution?’ and why would a ‘one state reality’ – which incidentally happened to be the most humane and logical solution to the conflict – ‘spell doom’? And why is Ban so keen on the ethnic status of Israel’s ‘Jewish democracy’ vision, considering that it was Israel’s demographic obsession that pushed Palestinians to live under military Occupation or live under perpetual racial discrimination in Israel itself?

The fact is that there is more to Ban’s muddled language than a UN chief who is desperately trying to find the balance in his words, so that he may end his mission without registering any serious controversies, or raise the ire of Israel and the US.

(Incidentally, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, still ranted against the UN chief for calling Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements ‘illegal’ in his address. Other Israeli commentators raged against him for being a ‘liar’. Strange that even repeating old, irrefutable facts is still a cause of anger in Israel.)

Yet again, this is not the matter of the choice for words. A WikiLeaks document from August 2014 is an excellent case in point.

According to the document released by WikiLeaks, Ban collaborated secretly with the US to undermine a report issued by the UN’s own Board of Inquiry’s report on Israeli bombing of UN schools in Gaza during the war of December 2008-January 2009.

‘Collaborated’ is actually a soft reference to that event, where Susan Rice – then the White House National Security Adviser – called on him repeatedly to bury the report, not to bring it to the Council for discussion and, eventually, to remove the strongly-phrased recommendations of ‘deeper’ and ‘impartial’ investigations into the bombing of the UN facilities.

When Ban explained to Rice that he was constrained by the fact that the Board of Inquiry is an independent body, she told him to provide a cover letter that practically disowns the recommendations as ones that “exceeded the scope of the terms of reference and (that) no further action is needed.”

Ban Ki-Moon obliged.

When the UN chief is gone, he will be missed – but certainly not by Palestinians in Gaza or refugees in Syria, or war victims in Afghanistan. But by the likes of Susan Rice, whose job was made very easy, when all she needed to do was merely instruct the chief of the largest international organization on earth to do exactly as she wished; and, for him, to gladly do so.

In his last visit to Palestine in June, Ban Ki-Moon told distraught Gazans that the “UN will always be with you.”

As tens of thousands there still stand on the rubble of their own homes, denied freedom to move or rebuild, Ban Ki-Moon’s statement is as forgettable as the man’s legacy at the United Nations.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).

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Why Is the U.S. Refusing an Independent Investigation If Its Hospital Airstrike Was an “Accident”?

The Intercept

In Geneva this morning, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded a formal, independent investigation into the U.S. airstrike on its hospital in Kunduz. The group’s international president, Dr. Joanne Liu , specified that the inquiry should be convened pursuant to war crime-investigating procedures established by the Geneva Conventions and conducted by The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. “Even war has rules,” Liu said. “This was just not an attack on our hospital. It was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated.”

Liu emphasized that the need for an “independent, impartial investigation is now particularly compelling given what she called “the inconsistency in the U.S. and Afghan accounts of what happened over the recent days.” On Monday, we documented the multiple conflicting accounts offered in the first three days by the U.S. military and its media allies, but the story continued to change even further after that. As The Guardian’s headline yesterday noted, the U.S. admission that its own personnel called in the airstrike — not Afghan forces as it claimed the day before — meant that “U.S. alters story for fourth time in four days.” All of this led Liu to state the obvious today: “We cannot rely on internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces.”

An independent, impartial investigation into what happened here should be something everyone can immediately agree is necessary. But at its daily press briefing on Monday, the U.S. State Department, through its spokesperson Mark Toner, insisted that no such independent investigation was needed on the ground that the U.S. government is already investigating itself and everyone knows how trustworthy and reliable this process is:

QUESTION: The — so MSF is calling for an independent investigation of this incident by a neutral international body. Is that something the administration would support?

MR TONER: Well, we’ve got three investigations underway. Certainly, we’ve got our own DOD-led investigation. We obviously strongly believe that can be a very transparent and accountable investigation. Let’s let these three investigations run their course and see what the results are.

I would say — and I know the White House spoke about this earlier — we have reached out to some of the leadership in Médecins Sans Frontières to express our condolences over this tragic incident. But as to whether there needs to be an independent fourth investigation, we’re satisfied, I think, at this point that enough investigations are underway that we’ll get to the truth.

QUESTION: You don’t think that with the U.S., which is — which has an interest in how this investigation proceeds and what the outcome is, and being involved in all three investigations somehow affects the legitimacy of it?

MR TONER: I mean, frankly, I think we’ve proven over time that we can investigate incidents like these — like this, and as I said, hold anyone accountable who needs to be held accountable, and do it in such a way that’s transparent and, I think, credible.

QUESTION: Just along those lines —

MR TONER: Please.

QUESTION: — MSF has said that this is a clear presumption of a war crime that’s been committed here. Some have suggested that the ICC take it up. Is it a safe bet that the U.S. would vote against/veto any attempt in the Security Council to bring this incident for — up for an ICC investigation?

MR TONER: I don’t want to answer a hypothetical. On the war crime question itself, we’re just not there yet, and I don’t want to prejudge any outcome of any investigation.

Please, sir.

QUESTION: What do you mean, “We’re just not there yet”?

MR TONER: I mean we’re conducting investigations, we’re looking at this very closely, and we’re going to, as multiple folks have said including the president over the weekend — that we’re going to hold those accountable and it’s going to be a credible investigation.

QUESTION: Does that mean —

QUESTION: So it’s conceivable to you that this could have been a war crime?

MR TONER: I said we’re not — we’re letting the investigations run their course.

QUESTION: Well, regardless of whether or not you —

MR TONER: I’m not going to — I’m not even — yeah, please, Matt.

QUESTION: No, but I want to —

MR TONER: Sure, go ahead. Sorry.

QUESTION: Is it not — I mean, it’s always been assumed, I think — and I just want to know if this assumption is still safe — that the U.S. would oppose an attempt to refer an incident involving U.S. troops to the International Criminal Court.

MR TONER: That’s —

QUESTION: I mean, as it’s — as it was being formed, you guys ran around signing these Article 98 —

MR TONER: That’s a perfectly sound assumption.

Can anyone justify that? So predictably, American journalists have announced without even waiting for any investigation that this was all a terrible accident, nothing intentional about it. Those U.S.-defending journalists should be the angriest about their government’s refusal to allow an independent, impartial investigation since that would be the most effective path for exonerating them and proving their innocent, noble intentions.

Many Americans, and especially a large percentage of the nation’s journalists, need no investigation to know that this was nothing more than a terrible, tragic mistake. They believe that Americans, and especially their military, are so inherently good and noble and well-intentioned that none would ever knowingly damage a hospital. John McCain expressed this common American view and the primary excuse now accompanying it — stuff happens — on NPR this morning:

They’re certain of this despite how consistent MSF has been that this was a “war crime.” They’re certain of it despite how many times, and how recently, MSF notified the U.S. military of the exact GPS coordinates of this hospital. They’re certain of it even though bombing continued for 30 minutes after MSF pleaded with them to stop. They’re certain of it despite the substantial evidence that their Afghan allies long viewed this exact hospital with hostility because — true to its name and purpose — the group treated all wounded human beings, including Taliban. They’re certain of it even though Afghan officials have explicitly defended the airstrike against the hospital on the ground that Taliban were inside. They’re certain of it despite how many times the U.S. has radically changed its story about what happened as facts emerged that proved its latest claims false. They’re certain of it despite how many times the U.S. has attacked and destroyed civilian targets under extremely suspicious circumstances.

But they are not apparently so certain that they desire an independent, impartial investigation into what actually happened here. The facially ludicrous announcement by the State Department that the Pentagon will investigate itself produced almost no domestic outrage. A religious-like belief in American exceptionalism and tribal superiority is potent indeed, and easily overrides evidence or facts. It blissfully renders the need for investigations obsolete. In their minds, knowing that it was Americans who did this suffices to know what happened, at least on the level of motive: It could not possibly be the case that there was any intentionality here at all. As McCain said, it’s only the Bad People — not Americans — who do such things deliberately.

But those who already know that this was all a terrible mistake, that no U.S. personnel would ever purposely call for a strike on a hospital even if they thought there were Taliban inside, should be the ones most eager for the most credible investigation possible: namely, the one under the Geneva Conventions, which MSF this morning demanded, by the tribunal created exactly for such atrocities.

Abbas was working with Zionist terror state & USA to block Goldstone Report

Abbas and Israel Allied Against 2009 UN Probe

Analysis: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas colluded with Israel to prevent war crimes charges, according to new leaks.

Revelations about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ capitulation to Israel and the United States are nothing new.

The Palestine Papers published by Al Jazeera in 2011 included scores of internal memos that provided evidence of PA collusion with Israel. They revealed backing for Israeli policies that resulted in the jailing and deaths of Palestinians, and described PA’s complicity in efforts to help Israel dodge war crimes charges for its 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip.

It’s the latter that has resurfaced in the Spy Cables, which include an account of the head of Israeli intelligence, Meir Dagan, lobbying on behalf of President Abbas in an effort to suppress the Goldstone Report.

South African jurist Richard Goldstone had led a UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission that established war crimes were committed by both sides during Israel’s 2008-09 assault on Gaza – which killed around 1,400 Palestinians, many of them children, in addition to 13 Israelis.

The 47-member Human Rights Council, made up primarily of countries in the developing world, was poised to refer Judge Goldstone’s findings to the UN General Assembly. Such a referral at the time was widely hyped as a devastating threat to Israel. It could – at least in theory – have paved the way for a formal international war crimes investigation (even though that would have certainly been prevented by the a US veto at the UN Security Council).

But the Israelis and Americans preferred to nip a UN referral in the bud, launching an aggressive lobbying campaign to cajole allies and even adversaries to squelch the Goldstone Report.

They argued that if the Human Rights Council referred Goldstone to the Assembly, it would have a damaging effect on the (already moribund) peace process. At the time, South Africa was a voting member of the Council. And despite the longstanding support that South Africa’s ruling ANC gave to the Palestinian struggle for freedom – and Israel’s former alliance with the apartheid regime that was ousted in 1994 – the Israelis sought to persuade the South Africans to vote in their favour.

A secret intelligence report details an urgent call placed by the head of Mossad to his South African counterpart on the eve of the Human Rights Council vote. Much of the report expresses bureaucratic bewilderment over how Dagan had reached the South African spy boss on his personal mobile, as that number had never been given to anyone from Mossad.

More to the point are the State Security Agency contemporaneous records of the specific pleadings Mossad Chief Meir Dagan made during his October 15, 2009 call:

  • “Mossad fears that by acknowledging the report it could give the impression to other terror organisations that highly populated areas could be used as human shields during terror operations. By this a new form of terrorism and warfare could be implemented and could be seen as a victory for terrorism.”
     
  • “If the report is accepted it could be a blow to the peace process. Israel will feel that it will not be able to defend itself and will have much more reservations in the peace process.”
     
  • “President Abbas (ABU-MASEN) is also having reservations about the success for the Palestinian people, if the report is accepted by the international community. This will play into the hands of Hamas and weaken his position as well as that of the PLA. (Abbas) can however not take this stance in public and have to agree with the report in public. Mossad sees President Abbas as key to stabilising the situation in order for the peace process to continue.”

If the alleged claims made by Dagan about Abbas’ preferences prove true, they offer further evidence that the man claiming to lead the Palestinian national movement has also worked to shield his occupier from accountability for war crimes.

While it’s true that Abbas has now agreed to sign the Rome Statute and join the International Criminal Court, it remains unlikely to result in justice for war crimes committed in 2008-09 or 2014.

That’s because the ICC cannot launch its own probe if either of the parties is undertaking what is vaguely determined to be a “credible” investigation. The Israeli military is running 15 criminal investigations stemming from the 50-day war, and has expressed confidence that they would head off a parallel probe by the Hague-based court.

In 2009, as Israel tried yet again to weaken oversight of its actions by the United Nations, its spies should have known better than expect the South Africans to fall in line.

Pretoria was unmoved by Dagan’s brazen call, and voted at the Human Rights Council to refer Goldstone’s report to the General Assembly.

Given Abbas’ own track record, however, his failure to muster the fortitude to hold Israel accountable won’t have surprised anyone.

Ban Ki-Moon has a previous record of covering up israel’s crimes

Wikileaks: Ban Ki-Moon Worked with Israel to Undermine UN Report

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Wikileaks-Ban-Ki-Moon-Worked-with-Israel-to-Undermine-UN-Report-20140809-0020.html

The General Secretary of United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-Moon collaborated in secret with Israel and the United States to weaken the effects of a Board of Inquiry’s report accusing Israel of human rights violations in Gaza in Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009.

Wikileaks released documents on Friday that revealed that Ban wrote a letter to the UN Security Council asking its members not to take recommendations by the UN Board of Inquiry about Israeli bombings in Gaza into account.

The report demonstrated that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) had a direct role in seven of the nine attacks against buildings of the UN in Gaza strip, and accused Israel of having breached the inviolability and immunity of UN premises.

According to Wikileaks, Susan Rice, White House National Security Advisor, spoke at least four times with Ban Ki Moon “to discuss concerns over the Board of Inquiry’s report on incidents at UN sites in December 2008 and January 2009″.

The report’s recommendations included the need for a deeper and impartial investigation into the recent “incidents”, and into the bombings of UN facilities.

According to Wikileaks, Rice first asked Ban not to include the recommendations in the final report’s summary, supposed to be transmitted to the UN Security Council on May 5.

Ban responded that “he was constrained in what he could do since the Board of Inquiry is independent; it was their report and recommendations and he could not alter them”.

In the second conversation, “Rice urged the Secretary-General to make clear in his cover letter when he transmits the summary to the Security Council that those recommendations exceeded the scope of the terms of reference and no further action is needed.”

Ban then replied that “his staff was working with an Israeli delegation on the text of the cover letter”.

He confirmed in the last phone call that “a satisfactory cover letter” had been completed. In the letter,

Consequences of Israeli weapons testing on Gaza

Alethonews

Press TV on 4 March 2011 reported that cancer cases in Gaza had increased by 30 per cent, and that there was a link between the occurrence of the disease and residence in areas that had been badly hit by Israeli bombing. Zekra Ajour from the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights told the channel that Gaza had been a testing ground for illegal weapons.

Birth defects

On 20 December 2009 Al-Dameer had published another paper in Arabic on the increase in the number of babies born in Gaza with birth defects, thought to be the result of radioactive and toxic materials from Operation Cast Lead.1 The birth defects included incomplete hearts and malformations of the brain. During August, September and October 2008 the number of cases had been 27. In the comparable months in 2009 the numbers had risen to 47. There was a similar rise in aborted foetuses. Al-Dameer had called for scientific monitoring throughout the Gaza Strip to obtain statistics on deformed foetus cases relating to the intentional use of internationally banned weapons.

Similar dramatic increases in birth defects over a longer period have been recorded in Iraq and have been linked to widespread use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. (It is reported that local midwives no longer look forward to births as they don’t know what is going to come out.)

Depleted uranium

Although the epidemiologist Professor Alastair Hay told the BBC in March 2010 that it was difficult to suggest any particular cause for the trend,2 scientific data has been published which contradicts his opinion. A review in Environmental Health in 20053 concluded by saying:

Regarding the teratogenicity of parental prenatal exposure to DU aerosols, the evidence, albeit imperfect, indicates a high probability of substantial risk. Good science indicates that depleted uranium weapons should not be manufactured or exploded.

When later asked in the same interview about white phosphorus, Prof. Hay had replied;

…phosphorus is an essential element in our bodies and so you would I think have to ingest a huge amount to cause any particular problem. But there has been no investigation anywhere that I am aware of to link phosphorus with health problems…

Apparently the professor has not read the  Goldstone Report of the previous year which states in paragraph 896:

Medical staff reported to the mission how even working in the areas where the phosphorus had been used made them feel sick, their lips would swell and they would become extremely thirsty and nauseous.

The toxicity of phosphorus is also recorded in a report by New York medical staff:4

Oral ingestion of white phosphorus in humans has been demonstrated to result in pathologic changes to the liver and kidneys. The ingestion of a small quantity of white phosphorus can cause gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. Individuals with a history of oral ingestion have been noted to pass phosphorus-laden stool (“smoking stool syndrome”). The accepted lethal dose is 1 mg/kg, although the ingestion of as little as 15 mg has resulted in death.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that breathing white phosphorus for long periods causes “phossy jaw”, a condition in which there is poor wound healing of the mouth and breakdown of the jawbone.5

Depleted uranium in US-supplied bunker-buster bombs

Evidence of the use of depleted uranium against Gaza is tenuous and Goldstone merely recorded in paragraph 907 that it had received allegations which it had not further investigated. Much of this evidence came from Action des citoyens pour le désarmement nucléaire (ACDN: Citizens Action for Nuclear Disarmament). Their report of July 2009 hypothesizes that the GBU-39 bunker-buster bomb is packed with 75 kilogram of depleted uranium. (A UNEP report also ambiguously refers to bunker-buster bombs containing depleted uranium.) The US delivery of 1,000 of these bombs to Israel arrived in early December 2008 shortly before the start of the war. The GBU-39 is considered one of the world’s most precise bombs and Boeing, the manufacturer, claims that the bomb will penetrate three feet of steel-reinforced concrete. (UNEP suggests that it can penetrate reinforced concrete to depths ranging from 1.8 to over 6 metres.) Boeing’s patent on the weapon mentions depleted uranium.6

It is not known how many bunker-buster bombs were used against Gaza but it seems reasonable to assume that the number could run into hundreds. It is thought that they were used mostly in the Philadelphia corridor against the tunnels. Desmond Travers, the former Irish army officer who was a member of the Goldstone Commission, would only say that depleted uranium may have been used during the war, although he did agree that it would have been well suited for attacking the tunnels where maximum penetration would have been desired.7 He was also in agreement with ACDN that the use of below-ground targets would have considerably reduced the levels of aerosol uranium that was dispersed into the air.

Col Raymond Lane, who is chief instructor of ordnance with the Irish armed forces, gave testimony to the Goldstone Commission on weapons used in the Gaza conflict. He told the commission that he had no expertise of depleted uranium and so had not investigated it. He gave no reason for his failure to bring in specialist expertise to investigate the subject.8

In April 2009 Jean-François Fechino from ACDN was part of a four-person team which went to Gaza for the Arab Commission for Human Rights. Samples that the team brought back were analysed by a specialist laboratory which identified carcinogens: depleted uranium, caesium, asbestos dust, tungsten and aluminium oxide. Thorium oxide was also found, which is radioactive, as are depleted uranium and caesium. The analysis also identified phosphates and copper, along with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are a health hazard, especially to children, asthmatics and elders.9

Depleted uranium burns at almost 1200 degrees Celsius. (TNT by comparison burns at 576 degrees Celsius.)10 At this temperature the fire vaporizes any metals in the target which in combination with uranium are released into the air in aerosol form. After deposition the aerosols have the potential to contaminate groundwater. (The Gaza aquifer, which is the Strip’s only water source, is also connected to ground water supplies in Egypt, although water only flows into Gaza from Israel.11)

There is empirical documentation that the aerosols can travel up to 42 Km and theoretical documentation that they can travel further. Sderot is about 43 kilometres from the Philadelphia corridor and less than five kilometres from Beit Hanoun. In consequence, it may be that the activities of Israel’s air force have created a greater threat to the Israeli city than all of the 8,000 well-publicized rockets from Gaza ever have.

Depleted uranium accumulation has been recorded in the bone, kidney, reproductive system, brain and lung. It is carcinogenic, toxic to the kidneys, damaging to cellular DNA and causes malformations to an embryo or foetus.

White phosphorus

Although an Israeli army spokesman told CNN on 7 January 2009, “I can tell you with certainty that white phosphorus is absolutely not being used.” the chemical had been used by Israeli forces since the beginning of the war.12 The Goldstone Report stated that Israeli sources later claimed their forces had stopped using white phosphorous on 7 January 2009 because of international concerns. This was also untrue as there is evidence that it had been used after that date. Goldstone declared the Israeli armed forces to have been “systematically reckless” in using white phosphorous in built-up areas (paragraphs 884, 886 and 890).

Difficulty in detecting the extent of damage to tissue and organs gave serious problems to medical staff trying to treat white phosphorus injuries. Several patients died as a result. Doctors found that when they removed bandages applied to a wound that still contained fragments of white phosphorous, smoke would come from the wound since the chemical continues to burn as long as it is in contact with oxygen. White phosphorous sticks to tissue so that all flesh and sometimes muscle around the burn would have to be cut out. The substance is also highly toxic (Goldstone paragraphs 892/4/5/6).

An article published in The Lancet included photographs of a young man who was admitted to hospital in Gaza with white phosphorous burns on 30 per cent of his body. The day after admission smoke was noticed coming from the wounds and the patient was rapidly transferred to the operating room for removal of dead tissue and removal of white phosphorus particles. During the operation a particle of the chemical was dislodged and caused a superficial burn on a nurse’s neck. The patient survived.13

Col Lane testified that although white phosphorus gave the best quality of smoke for military purposes it was “horrible stuff” and the Irish army had stopped using it 20 years previously. He recounted how the British army had sea-dumped quantities of the material off the coast of southwest Scotland in the 1950s, some of which had been washed up on the coast of Ireland by a storm in 2007. It had ignited on drying (the colonel had witnessed this himself) and in one instance a child had suffered burns as a result.

Other toxic materials

Mass spectrometry analysis conducted by the New Weapons Research Group (NWRG) found aluminium, titanium, strontium, barium, cobalt and mercury in biopsies taken from white phosphorus wounds at Shifaa Hospital, Gaza. (Aluminium, barium and mercury have potential for lethal and intoxicating effects; aluminium and mercury can cause chronic pathologies over time; mercury is carcinogenic for humans; cobalt can cause mutations; and aluminium is fetotoxic, i.e. injurious to foetuses.)14

White phosphorus bombs are built with alternating sectors of white phosphorus and aluminium. Analysis by NWRC of the powder from a shell near Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza also found high levels of molybdenum, tungsten and mercury. Tungsten and mercury are carcinogenic, while molybdenum is toxic to sperms.

In a report appropriately entitled “Gaza Strip, soil has been contaminated due to bombings: population in danger”, NWRG also conducted analyses of two craters caused by bombs in 2006 and two others by bombs in 2009. In the 2006 craters they identified tungsten, mercury and molybdenum, while in the 2009 craters at Tufah they discovered molybdenum, cadmium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper and zinc. Cadmium and some nickel and manganese compounds are carcinogenic.15

NWRG has further conducted research of hair samples from 95 children resident in heavily bombed areas of Gaza. Again using mass spectrometry the study identified the carcinogenic or toxic metals chromium, cadmium, cobalt, tungsten and uranium. One wounded individual also had unusually high levels of lead. The study found the results alarming and considered the levels could be pathogenic in situations of chronic exposure. Thirty-nine of the examinees were recommended for further checks.16

DIME weapons, soil contamination and cancer

It has been reported that soil in the area of a DIME (dense inert metal explosive) bomb blast may remain barren for an indefinite period of time because of contamination from heavy metal tungsten alloy.17 The same material in trial rapidly caused tumours in 100 per cent of rats when used at both low and high doses, with the tumours spreading to the lungs, necessitating euthanasia.18

DIME weapons were first used against Gaza by Israeli drones in the summer of 2006, when Palestinian medical personnel reported that it significantly increased the fatality rate among victims.19 Shortly after the DIME weapons were also trialled during the first week of the war in Lebanon in July 2006.

The Goldstone Commission was unable to confirm that DIME munitions were used by Israeli forces during Operation Cast Lead. Col Lane had told the commission in testimony that there was no actual proof. He then went on to testify that he had been given samples in Gaza which analysis in Dublin had shown to contain DIME materials consisting mostly of tungsten with traces of iron and sulphur. He was of the opinion that ordnance had been used that had some sort of DIME component. He also mentioned that he had read of unusual amputations, and that tungsten and cobalt would have this effect. Weaponry had been found with DIME components which was capable of amputation and there are Palestinian amputees, yet neither Col Lane nor the commission was prepared to say that DIME weapons had been used by Israeli forces.

DIME bombs cause a high proportion of amputations particularly of legs, while patients often suffered internal burns as well. The bombs consist of powdered tungsten alloy mixed with an explosive material inside a casing which disintegrates on explosion. The tungsten powder tears apart anything it hits including soft tissue and bone, causing very severe injuries. Tungsten alloy particles, described as “finely powdered micro-shrapnel”, are too small to be extracted from the victim’s body and are highly carcinogenic. (Goldstone, paragraphs 902-4)

No weapons fragments can be found from DIME bombs with standard diagnostic resources, despite the indication of heavy metals from this type of injuries. Mass spectrometry analyses by NWRG of biopsies from amputation injuries revealed aluminium, titanium, copper, strontium, barium, cobalt, mercury, vanadium, caesium, tin, arsenic, manganese, rubidium, cadmium, chromium, zinc and nickel. Doctors reported that it was difficult to determine the extent of dead tissue (which it is vital to remove). This resulted in higher rates of deep infection, subsequent amputation and higher mortality.20

The wide range of heavy metals discovered by analysis in casualties, residents and soil in Gaza suggests that other unidentified weapons may have also been trialled. (The  Sensor Fuzed Weapon has been suggested as one such technological perversion that the Israeli forces may have used.21)

The whole Gaza population and their environment, including generations yet to be conceived, have been put at risk of serious long-term injury from heavy metal pollution of the air, soil and groundwater (and possibly the seawater too), while the causal pollution is likely to cross state borders into Egypt and even into Israel. Reassurances of the legitimate and responsible use and the reduced lethality of weapons (an opinion in part shared by Col Lane) are callous and inadequate in the context of the dangerous reality that has resulted. Meanwhile, the impacts of Israel’s illegal assaults on Gaza remain ignored and its deeds uncensored by the wider international community.

Notes

1. Kawther Salam, 29 December 2009; Abortions, Cancer, Diseases and… in Gaza; Intifada-Palestine. www.intifada-palestine.com/2009/12/abortions-cancer-diseases-and-in-gaza/

2. BBCNews, 4 March 2010; Falluja Doctors Report Rise in Birth Defects. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8548707.stm

3. Rita Hindin, Doug Brugge and Bindu Panikkar; Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from an epidemiological perspective; Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2005, 4:17 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-4-17. www.ehjournal.net/content/4/1/17

4. Lisandro Irizarry, Mollie V Williams, Geri M Williams and José Eric Díaz-Alcalá, 21 October 2009; CBRNE – Incendiary Agents, White Phosphorus. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/833585-overview

5. UNEP, 2007; Lebanon Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, p 149.

6. ACDN, 4 July 2009; Report on the Use of Radioactive Weapons in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.  www.newweapons.org/files/ACDN%20Gaza%20report%20updated%204Jul2009%201.pdf

7. Dr Hana Chehata, 9 March 2010; Disturbing Findings of Toxic Uranium Levels in Gaza; Middle East Monitor. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6cdf55k

8. Video accessed from http://blog.unwatch.org/?p=413

9. Palestinian Telegraph, 24 May 2009; Israel Used Depleted Uranium in Offensive on Gaza. www.paltelegraph.com/opinions/editorials/935-israel-used-depleted-uranium-in-offensive-on-gaza.html

10. Sister Rosalie Bertell; Depleted Uranium in the Human Body: Sr Rosalie Bertell, PhD.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgQ79-oDX2o

11.  www.standwithus.com/FLYERS/WaterFlyer.pdf

12. Human Rights Watch, 10 January 2009; Q & A on Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza. www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/01/10/q-israel-s-use-white-phosphorus-gaza

13. http://tinyurl.com/287wxo9

14. Sobhi Skaik, Nafiz Abu-Shaban, Nasser Abu-Shaban, Mario Barbieri, Maurizio Barbieri, Umberto Giani, Paola Manduca, 31 July 2010; Metals Detected by ICP/MS in Wound Tissue of War Injuries Without Fragments in Gaza.  www.newweapons.org/files/1860524319368107_article.pdf

15. NWRC, 17 December 2009; Gaza Strip, soil has been contaminated due to bombings: population in danger.  www.newweapons.org/files/pressrelease_nwrc_20091216_eng.pdf

16. NWRC, 17 March 2010; Metals Detected in Palestinian Children’s Hair Suggest Environmental Contamination. http://www.newweapons.org/?q=node/112

17. James Brooks, 6 December 2006; US and Israel Targeting DNA in Gaza? The DIME Bomb: Yet Another Genotoxic Weapon, Part II. Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding. http://tinyurl.com/6kq6sd9

18. John F. Kalinich, et al, 15 February 2005; Embedded Weapons-Grade Tungsten Alloy Shrapnel Rapidly Induces Metastatic High-Grade Rhabdomysoarcomas in F344 Rats; ehponline.org  www.afrri.usuhs.mil/www/outreach/pdf/tungsten_cancer.pdf

19. James Brooks, 5 December 2006; The DIME Bomb: Yet Another Genotoxic weapon, Part 1; Al-Jazeera. www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/27a/308.html

20. David Halpin, 14 August 2006; Are New weapons Being Used in Gaza and Lebanon; Electronic Intifada. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article5528.shtml

21. James Brooks, 5 December 2006; The DIME Bomb: Yet Another Genotoxic weapon, Part III; Al-Jazeera. www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/oldsite/article.asp?ID=5648

Related article

The Proper Procedure for Killing Unarmed Civilians

by Barb Weir
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

An Israeli military spokesperson announced Sunday that an Israeli soldier referenced only as Staff Sergeant “S” would serve 45 days in prison for killing Ria Abu Hajaj and her daughter Majda during the January, 2009 invasion of Gaza code-named “Cast Lead”. The sentence was the result of a plea agreement.

I was able to locate “S’s” Commanding Officer, who was willing to be interviewed, but he asked me not to use his real name, so I am giving him the pseudonym Anders Breivik for the sake of this report.
BW: Can you tell me why Staff Sergeant “S” received only 45 days for killing a 64-year-old Palestinian woman and her 35-year-old daughter while they were carrying white flags?

AB: I’m sorry, but your information is incorrect. Neither of the women was carrying a white flag. At best, these were pieces of white cloth on a stick. To qualify as a flag it would have had to be of the proper dimensions and material, which these were not.

BW: But why only 45 days for killing two unarmed women?

AB: There are lots of reasons. He is Jewish. They are Palestinian. They are women. He is a man. Besides, they were not unarmed and Staff Sergeant “S” found himself in a threatening situation endangering the lives of the soldiers.

BW: What arms were they carrying?

AB: Sticks with white cloth on them.

BW: Do we at least agree that he killed them?

AB: Actually, the court found this to be unproven. “S” admitted firing his weapon at the women and we have determined that the women were killed by gunfire. However, we cannot be sure that the two are related in any way.

BW: What other kind of proof do you need?

AB: Eyewitness corroboration would be helpful, but in fact the eyewitnesses all said the opposite. One said that the bullets that “S” fired actually ended up killing another Palestinian a few days later in a different place. “S” also said that he was aiming at their feet, and the witnesses corroborated that statement.

BW: So who were the witnesses?

AB: The other soldiers in his unit. Perhaps they didn’t want to embarrass him by saying that he’s a lousy marksman.

BW: What about the Palestinians who were at the scene?

AB: Their testimony is biased and unreliable. Only Israeli soldiers can be trusted to give accurate information, and only if the members of the court, including the judges are also military personnel. Besides, “S” was convicted of a much more serious charge than killing two Palestinian women.
BW: What could be more serious?

AB: Firing his weapon when I had not ordered him to do so. If we’re going to kill Palestinian women, we have to follow proper procedure, and “B” failed to wait for my order.

BW: I thought his name was “S”.

AB: Sorry. I’m used to calling him by his first name.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

The United States of Israel and the 2012 Election

by Eileen Fleming

ACCORDING to the website: ivoteisrael.com

iVoteIsrael is a diverse group of Americans who currently reside in Israel. We come from all over Israel, and all over the US. We are deeply concerned about the safety, security and future of Israel. Most importantly, we want to see a President in the White House who will support and stand by Israel in absolute commitment to its safety, security and right to defend itself.

“Americans for Jerusalem” is a registered 501(c)4 and will run the iVoteIsrael Campaign – with the “desire to see a Congress and Administration who will support and stand by Israel in absolute commitment to its safety, security and right to self-defense.”
From a 25 June 2012 Press Release:
On June 5, sixteen year Jewish, Democratic incumbent, Rep. Steve Rothman was defeated in the Democratic primary by Rep. Bill Pascrell. The Arab American Forum, an anti-Israel organization with a goal of de-legitimizing Israel actively campaigned on behalf of Rep Pascrell and claimed to have registered more than 1,000 voters, mobilized another 10,000 and raised $100,000 for Rep. Pascrell. The AAF claimed record breaking voter registrations of Muslims and Arabs in NJ and that interest in this election has been record setting on many fronts.
The President of the AAF, Aref Assaf accused Rep. Rothman of putting the concerns of his NJ constituents second to the concerns of the Israeli government with his accusation of, “Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America.”
Among Rothman’s ‘crimes’ was that he signed J-Street’s ‘Gaza 54 letter‘ which included condemnation of Israel with regard to Operation Defensive Shield.
A Little History of Operation Defensive Shield Every American Needs To Know:
On April 3, 2009 the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council commissioned a fact-finding mission “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”
The Council appointed the Jewish Justice Richard Goldstone, a South African Constitutional Court judge and the former chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
Justice Goldstone issued the 575-page report on September 29, 2009 and the Goldstone Report accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza which began two days after last Christmas day, when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead; a full-scale attack on Gaza that killed 13 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians.
Over 5,000 Palestinians were injured, 400,000 were left without running water, 4,000 homes were destroyed, rendering tens of thousands who are still homeless because of Israel’s targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings.
The 22 days of Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza was enabled by US-supplied weapons and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America’s Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.
America is the worlds largest arms supplier to Israel and under a Bush negotiated deal with Israel which Obama signed onto; we the people who pay taxes in America are to provide another $30 billion in military aid to Israel over the next decade.

During the 22 days of Israeli assault on Gaza, “Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. [1]
In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.
“Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.
“Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January.
“Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime.
“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.” [Ibid]
During the 22 days of attack on Gaza, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called “self defense.”

In November 2006, Father Manuel, the parish priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza warned the world:
“Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water. Children and babies are hungry…people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation. We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic.  

People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.
“Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles…Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate…Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.
“Gaza cannot sleep…the cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, no love. These actions are War Crimes!”

Most noteworthy for American Patriots to comprehend are iVoteIsrael’s following bullet points

Children of American citizens born abroad (even if they have never resided in the U.S.) are eligible to vote in all federal elections in 22 States (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. Even if your state does not appear on this list you are still encouraged to send in an application.
As an American citizen you have a legal right to vote in all elections. As an Israeli-American, the next President and Congress will probably have a significantly more profound impact on your life and security than the average American.
Whether we like it or not who wins the US presidential election has a big influence on the State of Israel. As Israel’s best ally and biggest supporter, we need to make sure that the United States has someone running the country that has the best interest of Israel in mind.
You vote in the state and county of your last residence. Children of American citizens who have never lived in the U.S. vote in the State and County of their parents’ last residence.

When I wrote:
As I read “IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN IT LOOKS: How The American Constitutional System Collided With The New Politics of Extremism” co-authored by political science scholars, Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, I imagined our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves over today’s lack of vision, dual citizenship’s and corporations who have become people under the god of rigid conservatism.
I really had no clue that it is even worse than it already looked- Please READ MORE

Why It’s Worse Than It Looks and Why We The People Are The Only Ones Who Can Fix It

    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
    The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

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