Following Stabbing and Shooting Attack in Occupied Jerusalem, Israeli Forces Impose Collective Punishment Measures Against the City and Deir Abu Mash’al Village

June 18, 2017 3:44 PM

18 JUN  3:44 PM

Following a stabbing and shooting attack in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, 16 June 2017, that resulted in the killing of three Palestinian youngsters and an Israeli female soldier, the Israeli forces imposed additional collective punishment measures against the Palestinian civilians in occupied Jerusalem and later in Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, from which the three youngsters come.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these measures and stresses they fall within the collective punishment policy which is prohibited

he Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these measures and stresses they fall within the collective punishment policy which is prohibited in the international human rights law. PCHR further calls upon the international community to work on protecting the Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and ensure its application.

According to PCHR’s investigations, after the abovementioned attack, the Israeli forces completely closed Bab al-Amoud (Damascus Gate) area, Sultan Suleiman Street and all gates of Jerusalem, excluding Bab al-Asbat (Lions Gate).

They banned the Palestinians from entering and exiting the Old City and obliged the commercial stores’ owners to shut down otherwise they would pay a fine of over NIS 40,000.

The Israeli forces also erupted metal barriers in the streets leading to Bab al-Amoud and prevented vehicles from using these streets. The Israeli officers chased the civilians who were at Bab al-

The Israeli officers chased the civilians who were at Bab al-Sahera (Herod’s Gate), al-Mesrara and Nablus Street and fired sound bombs at them. Moreover, they assaulted some civilians and pushed the journalists away from the scene.

The Israeli forces mobilized all over Jerusalem, mainly the streets of Nablus, Bab al-Sahera, Sultan Suleiman and al-Mesrara. Israeli forces stopped the by-passers and checked their IDs and then deported the West Bank residents by buses distributed throughout the city. The Israeli police declared they “Deported over 350 Palestinians, who entered Jerusalem without permits, and returned them to the Palestinian territories”.

In the same context, after the identities of the three Palestinian youngsters, who carried out the stabbing and shooting attack, were disclosed, Israeli forces moved into Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, from which the youngster come. They closed the main entrance by establishing an iron gate and closed the roads with sand and rocks, isolating the village from the world.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 05:30 on Saturday, 17 June 2017, Israeli forces moved into the said village and imposed a curfew.

The Israeli soldiers accompanied by an engineering team raided the houses belonging to the families of the three attackers and surveyed them. Before

The Israeli soldiers accompanied by an engineering team raided the houses belonging to the families of the three attackers and surveyed them. Before withdrawal, the Israeli forces handed over the owners of the houses decisions to demolish the houses without mentioning the date. The killed youngsters, whose family houses were raided, were identified as:

  1. Osama Ahmed Dahdouh ‘Ata (18). The area of his family house is 150 square meters and his family members are 6;
  2. ‘Adel Hassan ‘Ankoush (19). The area of his family house is 110 square meters and his family members are 10; and
  3. Bara’ Ibrahim Saleh Ata (18). The area of his family house is 140 square meters and his family members are 6.

Furthermore, Israeli forces raided, searched and damaged the contents of dozens of houses belonging to relatives of the attackers and confiscated permits they had to Israel.

In the meanwhile, a number of youngsters gathered in the center of the village and threw stones and empty bottles at the Israeli soldiers, who immediately opened fire in response.

As a result, two Palestinian civilians were wounded. The first sustained a live bullet wound to the right leg and the other sustained a rubber-coated metal bullet wound to the right hand. They were both taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah to receive the necessary medical treatment.

PCHR condemns the Israeli government’s measures against the Palestinian civilians in occupied East Jerusalem and Deir Abu Mash’al village, northwest of Ramallah, which fall within the collective punishment policy that is internationally prohibited, especially under article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and:

  1. Demands the United Nations to work on protecting the civilians in the oPt;
  2. Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure Israel’s commitment as a State Party to the Conventions to apply them in the oPt; and
  3. Demands States Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under these Conventions by exercising their Universal Jurisdiction to hold the war criminals accountable regardless of the criminals’ nationalities and the place where the crimes were committed and put an end to the impunity they enjoy for decades.

Related Videos

Palestine news

Palestinian Christians Send Open Letter to World Council of Churches

Posted on June 16, 2017

Palestinian Christians have published an open letter to the World Council of Churches asking that the international ecumenical body recognize Israel as an apartheid state.

“As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration,” the letter begins.

The document makes no specific reference to Christian Zionism, but it does assert that Palestinians are suffering “because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise,” and calls upon the WCC to “take the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant.”

The phrase “twisted theological premise” is a pretty good way of characterizing Christian Zionism, and I probably couldn’t have come up with a better descriptor myself.

Additionally, the letter makes reference to two other documents, one of them being the Amaan Call, issued by the WCC ten years ago following a meeting held in Amaan, Jordan. The other document mentioned is the Kairos Palestine document, a letter signed by Palestinian Christians and published in 2009.

This latest letter urges Christians of conscience not to “hide behind the cover of political neutrality,” and also calls upon the WCC support the BDS movement.

The WCC is scheduled to hold a meeting next week in Bethlehem.

The Friends of Sabeel of North America is calling upon members of the public to sign onto the letter. I reproduce the letter in full below. You can go here to sign onto it.

***

 

Letter from Palestinian Christians to the World Council of Churches

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

Background

As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration. The injustice was intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza, the fragmentation of our people and land through policies of isolation and confiscation of property, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the apartheid wall.

We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored—even dehumanized—the nation, our people who had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

Hundred years later, with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth (though not our memory), millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished, and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba continues.

A hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leaders’ callings, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking, we have reached the “moment of impossible,” as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently.

Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning—a hundred years ago—on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?

Today is also an opportunity to remember the 10-year-old Amman Call. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity—those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that 10 years later the situation is still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace. We must ask ourselves today why that is.

We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort toward peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem, the city of Emmanuel!

While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last 10 years as a result of Israeli pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their partners in religious dialogue.

Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a painful price. We thank you for your efforts toward the refugees and toward ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

Our Call

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

As we stand in front of this “impossible moment,” it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.. We are disturbed by the fact that states and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination, and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!

2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians support the Palestinians in their request for justice.

3. That you take the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness toward this end.

4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.

5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed, if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.

6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.

7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and non-violently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support atheltic, cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, apartheid, and discrimination, and accepts refugees to return to their homeland. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure.

8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.

9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate, and develop active programs toward justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and maintain the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work, and peaceful efforts.

As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm, and continue the long-standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin brought to us and to all humanity, new life.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)

12 June 2017

Signed By:

Jerusalem
Arab Catholic Scouts Group
Arab Orthodox Society, Jerusalem
Caritas, Jerusalem
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees—Middle East Council of Churches
Greek Catholic Sayedat AlBishara Association
International Christian Committee
Laity Committee in the Holy Land
National Christian Association
Pontifical Mission Palestine
Sabeel—Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
Seeds of Better life
Union of Arab Orthodox Club, Jerusalem
Young Men’s Christian Association—YMCA
Young Women’s Christian Association—YWCA

 

Gaza
NECC office

 

Bethlehem (NCOB) Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem
The East Jerusalem YMCA—Beit Sahour Branch
The Arab Educational Institute
Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
Wi’am Center, Bethlehem
Saint Afram Assyrian Society
Holy Land Christians Ecumenical Foundation, Bethlehem
Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Jala
Arab Orthodox Club, Bethlehem
The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
Bethlehem Bible College
Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies
Alternative Tourism Group, ATG, Beit Sahour
Senior Citizen Charitable Society
Environmental educational Center, Beit Jala
Saint Vincent Charitable Society, Beit Jala
Shepherds’ Children Society, Beit Sahour
Kairos Palestine

 

Click here to add your signature to the letter

Israel do not want  the world to see the old Pictures about Palestine  هذه الصور عن فلسطين لا تريد إسرائيل أن يراها العالم

31 Unbelievable Photographs Israel Doesn’t Want You To See!

Images of Palestinians being all Palestinian, doing Palestinian things and wearing Palestinian clothing in a ‘land without a people for a people without a land’. Or as the people who lived there liked to call it before being displaced and occupied: Palestine.

 

1. BEDOUIN WOMAN  1 – امرأة بدوية

2. WOMEN FROM NAZARETH 2 – امرأة من الناصرة

3. RAMALLAH FATHER AND SONS  3 – أب وأطفاله في رام الله

4. RAMALLAH WOMAN 4 – امرأة من رام الله

5. JAFFA WOMAN, 1889  5 – صورة من عام 1889 لامرأة من يافا

 

 


6. BETHLEHEM GIRL  6 – فتاة من بيت لحم



7. BETHLEHEM WOMAN  7 – امرأة بزي تقليدي من بيت لحم


8. BETHLEHEM WOMEN  8 – نساء من أجيال مختلفة في بيت لحم


9. BETHLEHEM SISTERS  9 – شقيقتان من بيت لحم


10. BETHLEHEM WOMAN 10 – فلسطينية من بيت لحم تحمل جرة الماء


11. JERUSALEM MAN  11 – شيخ مقدسي 

12. GAZAN MEN 12 – رجال من غزة (كتب أسفلها سكان غزة الأصليين – فلسطين)

 

13. RAMALLAH WOMAN

 


14. RAMALLAH FAMILY 14 – عائلة من رام الله


15. RAMALLAH WOMAN 15 – امرأة من رام الله


16. BEERSHEBA BEDOUIN 16 – بدو من بئر سبع


17. WOMAN & CHILD FLEEING PALESTINE DURING THE NAKBA 17 – نساء وأطفال فلسطين يهربون خلال النكبة – 1948

 


18. 100 YEAR OLD MAN 18 – فلسطيني يبلغ 100 عام

 19. BETHLEHEM WOMAN, 1940 19 – امرأة من بيت لحم عام 1940 تنظر لأرضها

 

20. JERUSALEM  20 – القدس 

21. DEMONSTRATION AGAINST ZIONIST COLONIZATION/BRITISH RULE, 1920  21 – مظاهرات ضد الاستيطان الإسرائيلي خلال الاحتلال البريطاني عام 1920

22. DOME OF THE ROCK, JERUSALEM  22 – قبة الصخرة في القدس

23. SEA OF GALILEE FISHERMAN, 1930  23 – صيادون في بحر الجليل عام 1930

 

24. EARLY 1900 DEMONSTRATION IN JAFFA 24 – احتجاجات في 1900 في يافا


 25. JERUSALEM BETWEEN 1898 AND 1914  25 – القدس بين 1898 و 1914

 


26. JERUSALEM 26 – القدس

 


27. JERUSALEM GRAIN MARKET  27– سوق القدس للحبوب


28. NABLUS 28 – نابلس

 

29. BETHLEHEM 29 – بيت لحم

 


30. THE GREEK PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM, 1940 30 – البطريرك اليوناني في القدس عام 1940

 


31. JERUSALEM POTTER, 1934  31 – صانع فخار مقدسي عام 1934

 


Thomas Surez’s State of Terror reviewed by Eve Mykytyn

June 16, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Thomas Surez’s “State of Terror” is a meticulously documented history of Zionism from its early stages in Israel until 1956.  It is the story ofhow a number of secular Jews successfully installed a religious state located on the land of another nation.

The established myth is that after centuries of antisemitism culminating in the Holocaust, the Jews ‘deserved’ Israel, the ‘land without a people for people without a land.’  Historical accounts often deepen and are refined with time and study. Suarez’s book (along with a few others such as Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgement”) convincingly refutes the generally accepted history entirely.

Suarez points out that in 1897 an early Zionist cabled the news to his coconspirators that Palestine was already densely populated. What followed was a terrorist conspiracy to take that land that is shocking in its scope and violence.

Starting around 1918, in what is now Israel, the Irgun, the Lehi (Stern Gang) the Hagana and the Jewish Agency operated at various times as competing and cooperating gangs of thugs. They raised money by robbery and extortion, extracting ‘tributes’ from local businesses, bombing those who failed to pay. The Zionist gangs assassinated Palestinians, police, the British, and Jews whose opinions diverged from theirs.

The war did not temper their violence. When the British consolidated three boats of refugees onto the ship Patria in Haifa with the intention of taking them to a displaced persons camp in Mauritus, the Hagana bombed the ship of refugees.  Over 267 people died, among them 200 Jews. Zionists spun the story as a reenactment of the biblical story of Masada, claiming that the passengers of the Patria heroically committed mass suicide by bombing their own ship when they failed to reach Israel.

During and after World War II, the Zionists demanded with remarkable if not complete success that Jews be segregated from other soldiers and then segregated within displaced persons camps. Suarez cites pro-Zionist Churchill’s discomfort with such segregation, Churchill wrote that nearly every race in Europe had been shipped to concentration camps and “there appears to be very little difference in the amount of torture they endured.” (page 120).  Jews who wanted to stay in their home lands or who successfully negotiated the resettlement of European Jews anywhere but Israel were denounced and thwarted.

How did the Zionists succeed in insisting that they spoke for all Jews when it is clear that they did not? What gave them the right, as murderers of Jewish refugees, to speak for displaced Jews after the war?

Zionists consistently claimed to speak for all Jews. No wonder the Zionists insisted on the use of Hebrew (a number of early German and Yiddish language newspapers were bombed). Suarez points out that the settlers spoke the language of the biblical era because they claimed to be its people (page 25).  Ben Gurian claimed that the “Bible is our mandate.”

Israeli’s official birth in 1948 purged a million Palestinians and destroyed 400 of their villages. The UN had established Israel’s borders, but Israel already stretched beyond the borders and claimed sovereignty over all the land it held. Both England and the United States knew that Israel would not give back any land.  Reuven Shiloah, thefirst director of the Mossad, not only told them so but declared Israel’s right to take more land as necessary (page 277).

Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and assets was not simply a result of claiming land Israel was granted by the UN.  Suarez makes the point that:  “economic analysis… illustrates that the Israeli state owes its very existence to its wholesale theft of Palestinians’ worldly possessions… Despite the massive infusion of foreign capital into Israel and its claims of modern efficiency, it was the end of the Palestinians [assets] that saved the Israeli state from stillbirth” (page 288).

Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian benefactors after 1948 was atrocious. It is painful to read through Suarez’s partial listing of atrocities: rape, torture, murder and robbery. Arab villages, Christian and Muslim, friendly and not, were destroyed.  In one instance, Arab villagers were murdered by being forced to stay in their homes as they were bombed. (page 309).

At the time, Israel itself was the site of “alarming proportions” of murder, rape and robbery within its own citizenship. One Israeli speculated that this arose from a   “general and contemptuous disregard for law” (page 298).  A British report stated: “intolerance explodes into violence with appalling ease in Israel.”

Israel reached into Iraq (with false flag operations against Iraqi Jews to prompt immigration) and into North Africa to obtain citizens for its new settler state. The Iraqi and North African Jews were kept in miserable conditions until they were deployed as place holders to live on newly acquired land.

In 1954 Israelis planted bombs in Egypt in a false flag operation intended to convey that Egypt was unstable. When the plan was exposed in 1955, the United States and the United Kingdom considered military action against Israel to stop its murderous seizure of land. In a cold war series of events detailed by Suarez, France and England ended up siding with Israel againstEgypt in the Suez Crisis, ending any chance that England and the United States wouldconduct any action against Israel.

So far in his book Suarez has delivered a careful, albeit painful, history.

And then Suarez delivers his indictment, “with the conclusion of Suez,… Israel had fully established its techniques of expansion and racial cleansing that continue to serve it today: its maintenance of an existential threat, both as a natural consequence of its aggression and of provocation for the purpose; its expropriation and squandering of the moral weight of historic anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; its dehumanization of the Palestinians; its presence as the prophet-state of the Jews; and its seduction of its Jewish population with the perks of blood privilege.”

Israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies: IOF Fire On Palestinian Fishermen And Farmers In Gaza

Israeli Navy Opens Fire On Palestinian Fishermen And Farmers In Gaza

June 11, 2017 11:35 AM IMEMC News

Israeli navy ships attacked, Sunday, many Palestinian fishing boats, and farmers, in the northern and southern parts of the besieged Gaza Strip, causing damage.

Media sources in Gaza said the navy fired dozens of live rounds at the fishing boats, close to the shore in northern Gaza, forcing the fishermen back to the shore in fear of further Israeli assaults and escalation.

In addition, the soldiers, stationed in military towers across the border fence, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, fired many live rounds at Palestinian farmers, working on their own lands, close to the border fence.

The attacks are part of constant Israeli violations against the Palestinians in the improvised coastal region.

On Monday, May 15 2017, the navy fired many live rounds at Palestinian fishing boats, less than four nautical miles from the Gaza shore, killing a fisherman, identified as Mohammad Majed Bakr, 25.

On Friday, June 9 2017, the soldiers killed one Palestinian, identified as Aa’ed Khamis Jom’a, 35, and injured at ten others, after the army attacked dozens of protesters, in Palestinian lands, near the border fence east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Palestine news

Palestinian Girl Sought Martyrdom on Her Last Day of School

Imagine being a young girl living under a brutal occupation. You’re in the eighth grade. You work hard at your lessons, but then on your last day of school before summer break you go out and seek martyrdom by stabbing an occupation soldier.

Earlier this month I put up a post about Nouf Infiaat, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot by Israeli forces after stabbing, and lightly wounding, an Israeli soldier. This happened on June 1 at a checkpoint at the entrance to an Israeli settlement known as Mevo Dotan–located in the northern West Bank not far from the Palestinian village of Yabad, where Nouf lived.

Nouf was shot several times in the midsection and taken to a hospital, where she died the following day. What is perhaps most memorable about it all is that a video surfaced, one filmed shortly after the shooting, which showed the young girl writhing in pain on the ground as Israeli settlers gathered around her calling her a “bitch” and telling her to die.

A Palestinian girl was shot by Israeli soldiers. And while she was bleeding, settlers insulted her and told her to die.

Since posting that article, I’ve come across a few items of interest I thought I would pass along. According to a report here, June 1 was the last day of school in Yabad before recessing for summer break. Just a short while before showing up at Mevo Dotan with a knife, Nouf had received her certificate for passing the eighth grade.

“She told me she was going to pick up her school certificate and I was waiting for her return. But she was planning to get another type of certificate: martyrdom,” says Nouf’s mother, who is quoted in the story.

I’m guessing that Nouf, though she was only 16, knew fully well that carrying out a stabbing attack at a checkpoint manned by heavily armed soldiers would almost certainly result in her death. I would also guess that this is not something she decided to do suddenly on the spur of the moment. Most likely she thought about it for a long time. So why did she decide to carry out the attack on the last day of school? We can only surmise that for some reason completing the eighth grade before laying down her life was important to her.

Nouf died on June 2. Two days later, on June 4, the city of New York held a “Celebrate Israel” parade that was attended by thousands. The parade is an annual event in New York (which kind of makes me glad I don’t live there):

You’ll notice that one of the “dignitaries” marching in the procession was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I put up a post about Cuomo last year after he signed an executive order terminating all state contracts with businesses or organizations supporting a boycott of Israel. In that post I noted the hypocrisy of the governor, who, while taking a slash and burn approach to the BDS movement, was at the time lending support to a boycott of North Carolina over that state’s law prohibiting transgender bathrooms. In other words, don’t boycott Israel, but heck, go ahead and boycott a US state if you want to. That’s okay.

On June 5–one day after the parade and three days after Nouf’s death from gunshot wounds–the US Congress and the Israeli Knesset marked the 50th anniversary of the “reunification” of Jerusalem by holding a “joint session” that was broadcast simultaneously to both legislative bodies.

 photo jointsession_zpsv4ld9pyn.jpg

“After thousands of years in exile, the Jewish people are finally back home,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Home in the land of their ancestors. Home in the land that so many have died to defend. And home in their city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital never to be divided again.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuri Edelstein also spoke, both calling for the continued Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, both claiming that only Israel can guarantee free access to the city’s holy sites, while, hypocritically, in their remarks, wholly ignoring the fact that most Palestinians are denied entry to Jerusalem without Israeli-issued permits and thus making a mockery of the claim of free access.

On the same day, June 5, three days after Nouf’s death, the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution saying that “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.”

What kind of people would hold a parade to “celebrate” a country  like Israel? What kind of people view themselves as righteous victims of eternal persecution while laying entitlement to what some have referred to as a 3000-year-old land claim? How is it that this oh-so-very-esteemed and lionized country could create the conditions that would drive a 16-year-old girl to seek martyrdom on the day of her her graduation from eighth grade while leaders of the Western world do nothing but applaud, celebrate, and give their blessings? What does it say about the world we live in?

Will Donald Trump Say Anything About the Attack on the USS Liberty?

By Richard Edmondson

This Thursday, June 8, will mark the 50th anniversary of the Israeli attack upon the USS Liberty. Will President Trump bother to pay tribute to the 34 US sailors who lost their lives that day? Will he express any sort of condolences to their families? Will he take the time to at least maybe post a tweet acknowledging his awareness of what happened 50 years ago?

One would certainly hope so, but I find myself doubtful. Thirty-four dead Americans. One hundred seventy-four wounded. This was the result of the attack upon the USS Liberty, an attack which lasted for more than two hours, an attack upon a flagged US vessel that was carried out by an erstwhile putative “ally.” But because the “ally” was Israel, I have a strong feeling the president will shy away from saying much if anything at all about it. For the likely result, as we well know, would be a tempest. It would be the top story on CNN. More pilloring. More talk of impeachment. More comedians doing jokes about beheading the president.

Yes. If Trump wanted to be gutsy, he could post a tweet–oh…just saying that the attack occurred, that it was carried out by Israel, and that US servicemen died. And if he really wanted to be bold, he could call into question Israel’s claim that it was an accident. He could do this by simply mentioning, without giving his own personal yea or nay, what the survivors have contended–that the attack was not an accident, that the Israelis fully knew they were attacking an American ship.

And if Donald Trump wanted to be, dared to be, fearlessly audacious about all this, if he wanted to engage in a stalwart pursuit of the truth, he could call for a reopening of the official investigation–and if he wanted to be smart and cagey about issuing such a call, he could couch it in terms of paying honor and respect to the men who gave their lives that day. He could say we owe it to their memories. We also owe it to their families, to their descendants. He could additionally point out that the survivors of the attack are elderly now, and that time for conducting a formal investigation in which they could give testimonies under oath is running out. If we wait another ten years many of them will have passed away.

All this he could do. But will he?

One of the Liberty survivors is Ron Grantski, now 70 years old. Grantski lives in Modesto, California, and recently he gave an interview to his hometown newspaper, the Modesto Bee:

The Bee’s print version of the story can be found here. The article, by reporter Jeff Jardine, includes the information that someone once left an threatening message on Grantski’s voice mail telling him to “stop talking about the USS Liberty and Israel” or “something will happen to you.”

It also mentions that Grantski’s job on board the USS Liberty was ship communications. Specifically he was a cryotographer, and one of his duties was to copy the messages that were transmitted. The Liberty was a spy ship. It eavesdropped on radio communications, including communications transmitted by Israelis.

“I had top-secret crypto clearance – the highest you could get,” he told the paper. “They [the Israelis] would change the station in the middle of a message and someone else would say, ‘Ski, he’s on .. ’ whatever station, and I’d switch to that one.’ They were using lots of Morse Code, and sending at 50 to 70 words per minute, which is pretty darned fast to be copying in code.”

One message in particular he remembers–a message in which the Israelis talked about attacking a US target and blaming it on the Arabs. “Unbeknownst to us, it was our ship that was going to be attacked,” Grantski told the Bee.

The story also mentions that Grantski currently is in poor health, and that he is unable to attend a meeting of the USS Liberty Association in Norfolk, VA in observance of the anniversary. “But he will be with them in spirit,” Jardine writes.

And the article closes with a quote from the US veteran: “It’s important that the true story comes out,” he said.

Suppose Trump were to open a new inquiry into the attack upon the USS Liberty. Suppose, for instance, he appointed a commission specifically for this purpose. If the commission’s investigation were to be conducted in a transparent manner–if its proceedings, for instance…including testimonies from the Liberty survivors…were carried out in public–it would go a long way toward fulfilling Trump’s promise to make America great again.

But of course this would require bucking the Israeli lobby. Trump would find himself in almost open combat with AIPAC. Does he have the courage or the will to carry out such an enterprise? I seriously doubt it, although of course I would love to be proven wrong.

At any rate, below is an article about the attack on the USS Liberty written by Jeffrey St. Clair and published several days ago at Counterpunch. It provides an excellent account of the events of June 8, 1967, as well as the aftermath and the coverup waged by US officials. Some of it you may have heard before; other parts may be new to you. But the article, drawing in large part from the book, Assault on the Liberty, by James Ennes Jr., provides a comprehensive overview of the train of events, and when you put the information related here together with that in the Modesto Bee article, it leaves little room for doubt that Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty could have been anything other than intentional.

***

Infamy at Sea: Israel’s Attack on the US Liberty 50 Years Later

By Jeffrey St. Clair

In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel’s attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship.

Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel.

Soon more planes came. These were Israeli Mirage III fighters, armed with rockets and machine guns. As off-duty officers sunbathed on the deck, the fighters opened fire on the defenseless ship with rockets and machine guns.

A few minutes later a second wave of planes streaked overhead, French-built Mystere jets, which not only pelted the ship with gunfire but also with napalm bomblets, coating the deck with the flaming jelly. By now, the Liberty was on fire and dozens were wounded and killed, excluding several of the ship’s top officers.

The Liberty’s radio team tried to issue a distress call, but discovered the frequencies had been jammed by the Israeli planes with what one communications specialist called “a buzzsaw sound.” Finally, an open channel was found and the Liberty got out a message it was under attack to the USS America, the Sixth Fleet’s large aircraft carrier.

Two F-4s left the carrier to come to the Liberty’s aid. Apparently, the jets were armed only with nuclear weapons. When word reached the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara became irate and ordered the jets to return. “Tell the Sixth Fleet to get those aircraft back immediately,” he barked. McNamara’s injunction was reiterated in saltier terms by Admiral David L. McDonald, the chief of Naval Operations: “You get those fucking airplanes back on deck, and you get them back down.” The planes turned around. And the attack on the Liberty continued.

After the Israeli fighter jets had emptied their arsenal of rockets, three Israeli attack boats approached the Liberty. Two torpedoes were launched at the crippled ship, one tore a 40-foot wide hole in the hull, flooding the lower compartments, and killing more than a dozen American sailors.

As the Liberty listed in the choppy seas, its deck aflame, crew members dropped life rafts into the water and prepared to scuttle the ship. Given the number of wounded, this was going to be a dangerous operation. But it soon proved impossible, as the Israeli attack boats strafed the rafts with machine gun fire. No body was going to get out alive that way.

After more than two hours of unremitting assault, the Israelis finally halted their attack. One of the torpedo boats approached the Liberty. An officer asked in English over a bullhorn: “Do you need any help?”

The wounded commander of the Liberty, Lt. William McGonagle, instructed the quartermaster to respond emphatically: “Fuck you.”

The Israeli boat turned and left.

A Soviet destroyer responded before the US Navy, even though a US submarine, on a covert mission, was apparently in the area and had monitored the attack. The Soviet ship reached the Liberty six hours before the USS Davis. The captain of the Soviet ship offered his aid, but the Liberty’s conning officer refused.

Finally, 16 hours after the attack two US destroyers reached the Liberty. By that time, 34 US sailors were dead and 174 injured, many seriously. As the wounded were being evacuated, an officer with the Office of Naval Intelligence instructed the men not to talk about their ordeal with the press.

The following morning Israel launched a surprise invasion of Syria, breaching the new cease-fire agreement and seizing control of the Golan Heights.

Within three weeks, the Navy put out a 700-page report, exonerating the Israelis, claiming the attack had been accidental and that the Israelis had pulled back as soon as they realized their mistake. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara suggested the whole affair should be forgotten. “These errors do occur,” McNamara concluded.

***

In Assault on the Liberty, a harrowing first-hand account by James Ennes Jr., McNamara’s version of events is proven to be as big a sham as his concurrent lies about Vietnam. Ennes’s book created a media storm when it was first published by Random House in 1980, including (predictably) charges that Ennes was a liar and an anti-Semite. Still, the book sold more than 40,000 copies, but was eventually allowed to go out of print. Now Ennes has published an updated version, which incorporates much new evidence that the Israeli attack was deliberate and that the US government went to extraordinary lengths to disguise the truth.

It’s a story of Israel aggression, Pentagon incompetence, official lies, and a cover-up that persists to this day. The book gains much of its power from the immediacy of Ennes’s first-hand account of the attack and the lies that followed.

Now, decades later, Ennes warns that the bloodbath on board the Liberty and its aftermath should serve as a tragic cautionary tale about the continuing ties between the US government and the government of Israel.

The Attack on the Liberty is the kind of book that makes your blood seethe. Ennes skillfully documents the life of the average sailor on one of the more peculiar vessels in the US Navy, with an attention for detail that reminds one of Dana or O’Brien. After all, the year was 1967 and most of the men on the Liberty were certainly glad to be on a non-combat ship in the middle of the Mediterranean, rather than in the Gulf of Tonkin or Mekong Delta.

But this isn’t Two Years Before the Mast. In fact, Ennes’s tour on the Liberty last only a few short weeks. He had scarcely settled into a routine before his new ship was shattered before his eyes.

Ennes joined the Liberty in May of 1967, as an Electronics Material Officer. Serving on a “spook ship”, as the Liberty was known to Navy wives, was supposed to be a sure path to career enhancement. The Liberty’s normal routine was to ply the African coast, tuning in its eavesdropping equipment on the electronic traffic in the region.

The Liberty had barely reached Africa when it received a flash message from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to sail from the Ivory Coast to the Mediterranean, where it was to re-deploy off the coast of the Sinai to monitor the Israeli attack on Egypt and the allied Arab nations.

As the war intensified, the Liberty sent a request to the fleet headquarters requesting an escort. It was denied by Admiral William Martin. The Liberty moved alone to a position in international waters about 13 miles from the shore at El Arish, then under furious siege by the IDF.

On June 6, the Joint Chiefs sent Admiral McCain, father of the senator from Arizona, an urgent message instructing him to move the Liberty out of the war zone to a position at least 100 miles off the Gaza Coast. McCain never forwarded the message to the ship.

A little after seven in the morning on June 8, Ennes entered the bridge of the Liberty to take the morning watch. Ennes was told that an hour earlier a “flying boxcar” (later identified as a twin-engine Nord 2501 Noratlas) had flown over the ship at a low level.

Ennes says he noticed that the ship’s American flag had become stained with soot and ordered a new flag run up the mast. The morning was clear and calm, with a light breeze.

At 9 am, Ennes spotted another reconnaissance plane, which circled the Liberty. An hour later two Israeli fighter jets buzzed the ship. Over the next four hours, Israeli planes flew over the Liberty five more times.

When the first fighter jet struck, a little before two in the afternoon, Ennes was scanning the skies from the starboard side of the bridge, binoculars in his hands. A rocket hit the ship just below where Ennes was standing, the fragments shredded the men closest to him.

After the explosion, Ennes noticed that he was the only man left standing. But he also had been hit by more than 20 shards of shrapnel and the force of the blast had shattered his left leg. As he crawled into the pilothouse, a second fighter jet streaked above them and unleashed its payload on the hobbled Liberty.

At that point, Ennes says the crew of the Liberty had no idea who was attacking them or why. For a few moments, they suspected it might be the Soviets, after an officer mistakenly identified the fighters as MIG-15s. They knew that the Egyptian air force already had been decimated by the Israelis. The idea that the Israelis might be attacking them didn’t occur to them until one of the crew spotted a Star of David on the wing of one of the French-built Mystere jets.

Ennes was finally taken below deck to a makeshift dressing station, with other wounded men. It was hardly a safe harbor. As Ennes worried that his fractured leg might slice through his femoral artery leaving him to bleed to death, the Liberty was pummeled by rockets, machine-gun fire and an Italian-made torpedo packed with 1,000-pounds of explosive.

After the attack ended, Ennes was approached by his friend Pat O’Malley, a junior officer, who had just sent a list of killed and wounded to the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He got an immediate message back. “They said, ‘Wounded in what action? Killed in what action?’,” O’Malley told Ennes. “They said it wasn’t an ‘action,’ it was an accident. I’d like for them to come out here and see the difference between an action and an accident. Stupid bastards.”

The cover-up had begun.

***

The Pentagon lied to the public about the attack on the Liberty from the very beginning. In a decision personally approved by the loathsome McNamara, the Pentagon denied to the press that the Liberty was an intelligence ship, referring to it instead as a Technical Research ship, as if it were little more than a military version of Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso.

The military press corps on the USS America, where most of the wounded sailors had been taken, were placed under extreme restrictions. All of the stories filed from the carrier were first routed through the Pentagon for security clearance, objectionable material was removed with barely a bleat of protest from the reporters or their publications.

Predictably, Israel’s first response was to blame the victim, a tactic that has served them so well in the Palestinian situation. First, the IDF alleged that it had asked the State Department and the Pentagon to identify any US ships in the area and was told that there were none. Then the Israeli government charged that the Liberty failed to fly its flag and didn’t respond to calls for it to identify itself…

Continued here

%d bloggers like this: