Israeli escalation in Gaza seeks to ‘change equation’ – but at what cost?

Posted on August 23, 2016

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By Ben White

Late on Sunday night, the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targetIsraeli military fighter jets in the Gaza Strip – as many as 50, according to an official source – after a single rocket had struck Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.

The airstrikes, which primarily struck sites used by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), constituted, in the words of one analyst, a “deliberate escalation” by Israeli authorities.

Since the August 2014 ceasefire that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’, Hamas has not fired a single rocket out of the Gaza Strip into Israel. In May, AQB fired mortar rounds in response to Israeli forces’ efforts to locate cross-border tunnels – but that’s it.

Smaller groups, however, have fired some 40 rockets over the last two years, according to Israelisources, including 14 in 2016. None have resulted in casualties. This latest rocket launch was reportedly claimed by ISIS-affiliated group Ahfad al-Sahaba.

Israel has typically responded to each rocket with limited strikes on AQB facilities, claiming that Hamas is responsible for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip. A deadly such airstrike in March, which killed two Palestinian children, highlighted the – at best – irresponsibility of Israel’s approach, which apart from the human cost, has always risked “paving the way towards a new escalation.”

So what is behind the new developments? Some Israeli commentators have suggested that Israel seized an opportunity presented by the rocket launch to “deprive Hamas of operational assets.” There has also been speculation that the influence of hawkish Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is behind the intensification in response.

One key question is whether this will now become the standard Israeli response to isolated projectile fire. Hamas spokesperson Ismail Ridwan said that the movement will not allow Israel to “impose new equations and change the rules of engagement” in the Gaza Strip, placing full responsibility for the “escalation and its repercussions” on the occupation.

Ridwan also called for Egypt to “rein in the Israeli occupation”, in Cairo’s capacity as the sponsor of the ceasefire agreement that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Other Palestinian factions slammed the airstrikes, which they admit took them by surprise.

Israel’s unprecedentedly intensive series of airstrikes came a few days after Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank arrested Hamas’s representative on the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, the body charged with organising October’s municipal elections.

Israeli officials are worried that the Palestinian local elections scheduled for October will see breakthroughs for Hamas in West Bank municipalities, and have warned their Palestinian Authority “counterparts” of the risks in allowing the elections to go ahead.

It is clear why Israel has an interest in thwarting or undermining elections in which Hamas is a participant, not least because successful polls with Hamas’s involvement are deemed a necessary prerequisite to progress on the stuttering national unity front.

Hamas, for its part, decided to head to elections partly as a result of the challenges the movement is facing – and Israel seems determined to heighten the pressure. Numbers released in the last fortnight confirmed that Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip actually tightened during July, data that Palestinians in Gaza say “refutes Israel’s claims that it has eased the closure of the Gaza Strip.”

The blockade persists in spite of warnings by Israeli military officials that Gaza’s economic recovery is essential from the point of view of maintaining ‘calm’. On Sunday, AQB spokesperson Abu Obeida told a rally in Rafah that “the enemy’s [Israel] leadership keeps committing mistakes and repeats the same stupidities by maintaining the siege imposed on our people.”

Today, meanwhile, following the recent indictments of Gaza-based World Vision and UNDP employees, Lieberman has sought to revive the idea of linking reconstruction to disarmament.

For Hamas, an unrelenting blockade, intensified periodic airstrikes, and an inability to meaningfully participate in local elections, may mean that the pressure on the movement proves too great.

Veteran Israeli defense analyst Yossi Melman, writing in The Jerusalem Post on what he called the “massive Israeli attack”, acknowledged that “Hamas’s argument that Israel intends to ‘change the equation’ is correct.” His conclusion was stark: “The seeds for another war were sowed this week.”

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THE DAY ISRAELI TERRORISM STOLE MY LIFE

Omar

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Omar Khader (center) with his brothers and cousin. Musab (left).

by Omar Khader

I was born in Gaza, Palestine. My whole life I have lived under illegal military occupation. I have seen many wars on my people, but the most difficult was the 2008/2009 war and the 2014 war.

My brother, Musab, was my best friend. We were two years apart in age. We grew up together. We went to the same school and we did everything together. We even slept in the same bed. We laughed ourselves to sleep. We were one soul in one body.

One morning, during the terrifying 2008 war on Gaza, Musab woke me up and said he will go with Father to our house. Yes, it was the 2008 war which was one of the vilest and ugliest wars endured by the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation used internationally banned weapons on defenceless civilians, such as White Phosphorous.

My family moved out into my grandparents house when the war began. Many refugee’s were created and people were forced to leave their homes because of the war.

That day was like the past days where we were forced to listen to the sounds of explosions.

After we had our breakfast, Musab, came near me and said, “I will go with my father to our home, to bring some things from there.” When we left our home, we did not take anything with us from the house. Also, Musab wanted to feed his chickens. I tried to stop him but he said, “there is a cease-fire and every thing will be ok. “ So I said “ok,” but inside I felt fear.

I went to the youth to ask them if there really is a cease-fire or not. They told me “yes there is.” Then I said every thing will be ok and Musab left.

After one hour, while I was talking to my cousin, Musab called me to ask me to help him transfer the municipal water from a water car, into the my grandparents tanks. We help him, but he was the active one of us. Musab was the most loved member of our family because he was always busy helping everyone.

At 3pm, while I sat with my cousin, Musab called me once again. He looked at me and said, “I want to go with Father as you know and Mother wants me to go with her to our sister’s house.”

He then suggested I go with Mother. I looked at him and said “ok, but take care yourself.” He said, “everything will be ok,” then he left. While he was leaving, I said to him, “Don’t forget to bring me my clothes!” He smiled and said, “I will not forget that.”

Then he was gone. I did not know that would be the last time I would see him.

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Musab Khader

As we arranged, he went with Father and I went with Mother to our sister’s house. While I was walking with Mother in the street, I was looking into her face and I was seeing something strange. She did not talk to me on the road. She was quiet the entire way to my sister’s home. Mother stayed there just 5 minutes, then she decided to leave. My sister and I were surprised by our Mother’s behaviour. I said “ok, let’s go back home.”

Walking back at home, I could see my mother was feeling something terribly wrong. I began thinking of Father and Musab. When we got to my grandparent’s house, she did not enter the house. She stopped and was thinking. I went directly to her and took hold of her hand. We entered the house together. We were there a few minutes and then we heard a big explosion in the street.

On my way to see what happened outside, my cousin Ahmed rushed to me crying and said, “your brother Musab was murderd!”

OMG! When I heard those words, I fell to the ground. After 2 minutes, I gathered my strength and went out to see what was there. I saw a lot of people crowded around my Father, who was drowned in Musab’s blood.

I saw my most beloved brother laying down on the ground, his body mutilated. I went straight to Father, looked into his eyes and asked, “did my brother Musab, die?” He pulled me to him, hugging me so hard and said, “yes, he in heaven now.”

I fell to the ground crying. When Father and Musab got to our home, Musab wanted to feed the chickens, which were in a small room near the house. While he was opening the door, the Israeli occupation targeted him with a rocket, killing him.

Father was near Musab when the rocket struck him. Father was not hurt. He stood up and screamed for Musab, but he did not answer. Then, Father came close to my brother and found him dead, near the chickens he had been feeding.

Father carried Musab’s body back home to us. It was the most difficult moment for him, seeing his son killed in front of his own eyes.

20160207_153524 (1)My relatives began preparing for the funeral. They wrapped Musab’s body in white cloth. After 30 minutes, we carried his body to the mosque.

All our relatives prayed together for Musab’s soul. I was crying while I prayed. I could think only of my father in that moment. Our relatives prayed for our protection and asked Allah to bless us with patience.

When my relatives began to place Musab’s body in the grave and I watched them putting my brother in the ground, I could not see that. I fell, fainting. When I woke up, I sat up, next to Musab’s grave and cried and cried. I did not want to leave him, but my family forced me to. They carried me home.

When I got to my grandparent’s house, I saw my sisters and Mother crying. When they saw me, they hugged me hard and kissed me.

I could not sleep that night. I was sitting near my father, who was crying and thanking Allah for taking Musab to a better place.

I got hurt when I lost my brother, deep inside my soul. Even until these days. He was everything to me. We could not believe he was gone.

My brother was not a terrorist as the Israeli occupation said he was. He was murdered at 14-years-old. He did not have any weapons in his hands when he was killed. Musab had a very kind heart. He was feeding chickens when the occupation murdered him. They killed him because he is Palestinian. Yes, they killed him because they love to killchildren.

Yes, they killed him because they fear Palestinian children! Because they know we grow up under occupation and one day we will reject it. One day we may leave Palestine, to follow our dreams, but the desire to return to our homeland is always too strong.

Our pure desire’s can never be defeated. We always return. And our children are born with and carry the desire within them, to return to our blessed homeland. We will never give up the hope that we can one day return to Palestine.

Yes, they killed my brother but they cannot kill our hope. Yes, we will never give up and we will never give in to our genocide.

We will continue in this way to defend our lands and our traditions. Yes we will send our message to the world, that we are not numbers! We are human beings, just like you and we have the right to live in peace.

I hate the wars that I have endured. I love peace and I will do everything for my country and for my people to live in peace.

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Omar Khader is a student of English Literature at Alazhar University in Gaza, Occupied Palestine. He is a Middle East Rising contributor.

Gaza in Context… Watch it!!!

July 27, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

Downing Street Protest Against Israel, Held Saturday, July 8

Londoners refusing to remain quiet in the face of Israeli war crimes and occupation. The protest is taking place on the second anniversary of the Israeli assault upon Gaza known as “Operation Protective Edge.” The 51-day attack, which began on July 8, 2014, resulted in the deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians, including 448 children.

In the next video Chris Gunness, of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, discusses the Gaza blockade and its impact on the local population. Why, if Israel’s only concern is security, is the Jewish state imposing a blockade on Gaza exports?

Wounded, killed or left homeless–children of the 2014 conflict:

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RT report from August 1, 2014–“It’s not a war, it’s a massacre”

Bernie Sanders Has Qualified As A Rabbi

April 21, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

image by jpupdates.com

By Gilad Atzmon

The Times of Israel  explained earlier this week “How Bernie Sanders just became the rabbi of the Jewish left.”

For most of his campaign, “Sanders had seemed to avoid talking about his Jewishness.” This changed radically last week ahead of the April 19 primary in his native New York, the most Jewish city in America.  In New York, the Israeli outlet reports, Sanders presented a “principled” stand “as a Jew” on anti-Semitism and his relationship with the Jewish community and Israel.  In the early stages of his campaign Bernie seemed to oppose identiterian politics. But last week in outreaching to NY Jews, Bernie employed the usual ID political maneuvers and Zionist tricks from the Hasbara book. The Times Of Israel and the Jewish press see a “Rabbi” in Bernie for good reason.

At a rally in Harlem on April 9, Sanders faced down what the Jewish press described as an “anti-Semitic questioner.” The so called ‘anti Semite’ asked Bernie,  “As you know, the Zionist Jews, they run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street….What is your affiliation to the Jewish community?”

I fail to see the anti Semitism. The question states established facts about powerful Jewish elites and raises a legitimate query regarding Bernie’s political and tribal affiliation.  Far more concerning was Bernie’s answer.

“That’s not what you’re asking,” Sanders retorted to applause. “I am proud to be Jewish.”

I wonder, is this really the case?  Do you follow Torah and Mitzvoth Mr. Sanders? What are you proud of exactly? Is it a set of ‘Jewish values,’ Jewish blood or is it your chicken soup recipe you are proud of?

Bernie provided his answer. By ‘Jewish pride’ he meant to say that he is “a strong defender of Israel” but he also “believes that we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinian people.” This is apparently the sense of justice and impartiality conveyed by the new American socialist messiah: ’strong defense of the oppressor’ vs. ‘paying attention to the needs of the victim.’ Sadly, the position Sanders presented in Harlem is typical of the Jewish progressive approach to the Middle East. Total commitment to Israel peppered with some non-committal diluted verbal empathy towards the true people of the land i.e., the Palestinians.

“Jews are the 99 percent,” Bernie said to cheers from Harlem’s supportive crowd. Bernie cleverly failed to mention 99% of what. Did he mean 99% of the neocon club?  Because, truth better be said,  Jews are not well represented within America’s rapidly growing under class. Quite the opposite. Jews make up about 2% of the American population and they are among the most privileged ethnic groups in the US.

Sanders’ Middle East terminology could easily have been copied from a Likud pamphlet. In Sanders’ universe, freedom fighters are terrorists; the invaders and illegal setters are ‘peace seeking victims.’ “Of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack.” Sanders said in the last debate.

Sanders seems to be genuinely troubled by the massacre in Gaza where “some 10,000 civilians [who] were wounded and some 1,500 [who] were killed.” This is more critical of Israel than Mrs. Clinton is willing to be, but for those who may have forgotten, Bernie is parroting the Israeli Hsbara line. Israel, they always report, doesn’t want to kill women and children but is left with no other option. Sanders like Bibi, Regev and Lieberman basically blames the victims.

Unlike Clinton and Trump, Bernie didn’t join the groveling march to AIPAC’s recent gathering. Clinton and Trump had to compete for the attention of the Lobby that dominates American Foreign Policy so that it will crown one of them as its favourite Sabbos Goy. Bernie is no Sabbos Goy. Bernie is a ‘proud Jew’ by admission and a “Rabbi” according to The Times of Israel. The Times reports that he’s been “defending Israel to left-wing audiences, in his strident way. His closest friends in Vermont are Jewish. He’s handy with a Hebrew blessing.”

Bernie is apparently good for the Jews. But what about America? I guess we can hope for divine intervention.

Bernie Sanders’ Lackluster Speech on Middle East Issues

Bernie Sanders’ recent speech in Utah, in which he outlined his views on the Middle East in particular, and foreign affairs in general, was little short of delusional. Certainly it was lackluster. Sanders labeled ISIS as the ultimate evil in the world today, but regrettably he gave no indication of recognizing that ISIS has been backed by our putative allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and probably even by the Mossad and the CIA as well.

Instead, Sanders took his playbook from the mainstream media, calling Syrian President Bashar Assad “a brutal, brutal dictator” and advocating a political settlement “to get Assad out of power.” He also mistakenly referred to the Syrian conflict as a “civil war.” It is not. It is an invasion by foreign powers using terrorist mercenaries as proxies.

In 2014, the people of Syria voted overwhelmingly for Assad in the country’s presidential election. As I have said numerous times, the moderates in Syria are the people who support their government. This is not hard to understand, given the choices before them. But it is something US presidential candidates, including Sanders, either cannot or will not recognize. Assad is a capable leader who has exhibited considerable wisdom and insight in a number of his public comments. For instance, he once observed, “The West calls it ‘terrorism’ when it hits them, and ‘revolution, democracy, freedom, and human rights’ when it hits us.” He  alsostated that:

Western officials have lost their credibility. They no longer have double standards; they have triple and quadruple standards. They have all kinds of standards for every political situation. They have lost their credibility; they have sold their principles in return for interests, and therefore it is impossible to build a consistent policy with them. Tomorrow, they might do the exact opposite of what they are doing today.

Assad is correct. Western officials have lost their credibility. But all Sanders can do is parrot the US State Department line that Assad’s a dictator! Assad’s a dictator! Polly wanna cracker, ack! And of course we get no acknowledgement that the Syrian leader has afforded protection to his country’s Christian population.

Ironically, Sanders’ position on Syria doesn’t seem to be distinctly different from Hillary Clinton’s:

Sanders also asserted that, “Preventing Iran from getting the bomb will make the world a safe place,” but naturally he made no mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. I guess that’s something you simply don’t talk about on the US campaign trail, regardless of whether you’re Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Trump soiled himself in his speech before AIPAC on Monday night, but Sanders really hasn’t done much better here.

I have been saying recently that we need a new political party in America, a party that will go by the name of the End Aid to Israel Party, or EAIP. There are crowdfunding sites out there where startup funding for such a party conceivably could be raised–enough money at least to fund a candidate for a congressional election somewhere in the country. Maybe in 2018. It’s something to be hoped for, at any rate, and it would be understood, of course, that candidates on the EAIP ticket would not be afraid to talk about Israel’s nuclear weapons and the huge, huge problem they pose for the world.

Sanders also got into the subject of the Israel-Palestine conflict–in fact it was probably the main point of his speech. And on this issue, just as with regard to Iran and Syria, he is equally lackluster and delusional. This is the point made by Steve Lendman in the article below. As Lendman puts it, Sanders’ “formula for peace isn’t reality based,” and he is absolutely correct in that assessment.

Given the deficiencies in all the major presidential contenders, it seems that sadly we are left, as usual, with “no one to vote for.” It’s down once again to a “lesser of two evils” election. This is why a new political party in America is so direly needed.

***

Sanders’ Written Remarks to AIPAC

By Steve Lendman

AIPAC is a rogue lobbying group with enormous influence in Washington, one-sidedly supporting Israel at the expense of regional peace and Palestinian rights.

Sanders addressed its annual conference in spirit, not in person, delivering his remarks in written form – expressing longstanding support for a ruthless apartheid state run by hate-mongering Zionist zealots.

“Israel is one of America’s closest allies,” he said, “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing (its survival), but also to its people’s right to live in peace and security.”

Fact: Both countries partner in each other’s high crimes, Sanders failed to explain.

Fact: Israel’s survival isn’t threatened. Its only threats are ones it creates. Sanders paid no heed to its longstanding reign of terror on defenseless Palestinians.

Fact: Calling their freedom fighters “terrorists” mocks their dignity, humanity, and “right to live in peace and security” Israel systematically denies them.

Claiming as president he’ll “work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel” belies reality.

No peace process exists, not now or earlier going back decades. Israel rejects it out-of-hand, pretending otherwise, wanting historic Palestine for Jews only, its people denied their fundamental rights.

Sanders knows what he won’t explain, one-sidedly supporting Israel while pretending otherwise. His voting record belies his claim about being “a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people.” When did he ever introduce legislation supporting their rights? Never!

He backs naked Israeli aggression on the phony pretext of responding to Hamas rocket attacks, used only in self-defense.

Saying he “believe(s) that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace” ignores what never happened before and won’t now.

Again, Sanders knows what he won’t say, maintaining the fiction of efforts for regional peace when none exist. Washington and Israel systematically undermine them.

His formula for peace isn’t reality based. After decades of Israeli state terror, slow-motion genocide affecting an entire population, punctuated by intermittent premeditated wars, apartheid worse than South Africa’s, and governance of, by and for hate-mongering Zionist zealots, how can anyone believe  it wants peace and stability.

Sanders is like all the rest, demanding “Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel…Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.”

Saying “attacks of all kinds against Israel” must end is code language for wanting Palestinians denied their international law guaranteed right of self-defense.

Adding “peace also means security (and well-being) for every Palestinian,” their right to “self-determination, (and) ending ‘what amounts’ (sic) to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank (like earlier) in Gaza” ignores no possibility of achieving any of the above.

Sanders failed to explain Ariel Sharon’s so-called disengagement from Gaza transferred its settlers to stolen Palestinian West Bank land, displacing Palestinians from what’s rightfully theirs.

It put Jews out of harm’s way ahead of three Israeli wars of aggression on Gaza – in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, along with frequent aerial and ground assaults, an entire population terrorized and besieged for nearly a decade with no prospect for relief.

Sanders saying “economic blockade of Gaza” must end ignores its political imposition, unrelated to security concerns.

Expressing rhetorical support for “a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so (both sides) can thrive as neighbors” ignores his one-sided support for Israel for 30 years.

He willfully lied, claiming Israel’s 2014 Gaza war followed “weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory and the kidnapping of (its) citizens.”

Operation Protective Edge was planned months in advance, naked Israeli aggression unrelated to Hamas rockets (launched only in self-defense after repeated Israeli provocations) and nonsensical kidnapping claims.

Sanders can’t get his facts straight, including false claims about Hamas “construct(ing) a network of tunnels for military purposes.”

They’re built as a vital lifeline, supplying goods essential to survive, restricted or prohibited by Israel’s suffocating blockade, one of many examples of its genocidal policy – what Sanders never explains.

His address featured numerous examples of misinformation and one-sided support for Israel. Rhetorically expressing concern for Palestinian rights rang hollow.

Throughout his political career, he never cared. Why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf.

Judge him and other politicians only by their voting record. Rhetoric is meaningless.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Anti-BDS Motion in Canada: Why Does Govt. Sanction Other Countries for Human Rights Violations, but not Israel?

tnet

“It is now worth taking a look at the countries against which Canada has placed sanctions and why, since all of them, without exception,pale in comparison to Israel’s bloody record…”

Anti-BDS Motion – Why Does Canada Sanction Other Countries for Human Rights Violations but Not Israel?

Global Research, February 26, 2016
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The international community, speaking through the United Nations, has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights – colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation… Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem contains elements of all three of these regimes”. – John Dugard, UN’s former Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This week, the Canadian Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of a motion condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The motion, passed on February 22 by a 229-51 vote, states:

“That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

First, there is no such thing as “friendship” between states. States have no friends, they have interests and nothing else.

Second, the BDS movement does not promote “the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel,” as the motion puts it, in a very unfactual and questionable manner. The BDS movement promotes international law and Palestinian rights and condemns Israel’s total lack of respect for both.

Despite its emotional and propagandist wording, the motion completely fails to hide the fact that it condemns criticism of human rights violations by Israel. This calls for some explanations.

By condemning a peaceful movement that tries to bring Israel to account, Canada expresses its total disregard for human rights and international law and its sheer hypocrisy when faced with human rights violations.

There are currently 22 states targeted by Canadian sanctions, several of them for human rights violations. And Israel, being Canada’s “friend”, is not one of them, even if the sanctioned countries’ misdeeds pale in comparison to the death and destruction Israel has imposed on Palestinians for decades.

While not one sanction has been imposed on Israel for its war crimes and crimes against humanity, some countries have been sanctioned by Canada simply for “misappropriating state funds.”

There are no words to describe the scale of this hypocrisy, but, we don’t need any since the facts speak for themselves. Before looking at the list of sanctioned countries and the reasons behind their sanctions, it is worth mentioning only a few facts about Israel.

As mentioned in the quote above, Israel’s policies and practices violate the most fundamental human rights of the Palestinians. The Hebrew state has been the subject of at least 77 UN resolutions since 1955, and has been criticized in at least 26 resolutions for its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In July 2015, a report by Amnesty International found “compelling evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces” as well as “strong evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity” during Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.” Evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity were also found during Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Of course, most reports from the U.N. as well as the ones from human rights organizations mentioned below pretend to be “balanced” by equally blaming both sides, the Israeli army as well as Palestinian militias. If opinions can be “balanced”, facts, however, cannot, and the scale of death and destruction doesn’t lie. Most, if not all the damage and loss of life occurs on the Palestinian side. Every single time.

These few facts about Operations Cast Lead in 2008 and Protective Edge in 2014 prove it:

Cast Lead:

[B]etween 1,385 and 1,419 Palestinians were killed during Cast Lead, a majority of them civilians, including at least 308 minors under the age of 18. More than 5000 more were wounded. Thirteen Israelis were also killed, including 3 civilians.

According to the UN, 3,540 housing units were completely destroyed, with another 2,870 sustaining severe damage.

More than 20,000 people – many of them already refugees, some two or three times over – were made homeless.

Protective Edge:

At least 2,100 Palestinians were killed, of whom the United Nations identified more than 1,500 as civilians, and approximately 11,000 people, mostly civilians, were injured. The tens of thousands of Israeli attacks caused the vast majority of destruction during the fighting, which left uninhabitable 22,000 homes, displacing 108,000 people, and left hundreds of thousands without adequate water or electricity.

Attacks by Palestinian civilians injured 61 Israeli settlers in the West Bank as of October 31, the UN reported. In addition to the three Israeli teenagers who were killed in June, nine Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians.

How many dead Israeli civilians compared to Palestinian civilians? How many housing units destroyed in Israel? How many homeless Israelis? Let’s be honest. A truly balanced report would reflect the facts and not try to equally blame both sides. The forces in this conflict as well as the damage done are anything but equal. They are completely disproportionate.

That being said, Israel’s contempt for international law is legend and with this motion, Canadian Parliamentarians have just proven one more time they are bought and sold.

It is now worth taking a look at the countries against which Canada has placed sanctions and why, since all of them, without exception, pale in comparison to Israel’s bloody record.

The list clearly shows how Canada has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to condemning states for their lack of respect for human rights or people who protest against criminal states, for that matter.

Here is the list of the countries sanctioned for human rights reasons. It should be noted that several, if not all, background explanations provided on the Canadian Government web site (in brackets) are totally biased and simplistic, when not pure propaganda.

Belarus: “[D]eteriorating human rights situation.”

This includes “widespread harassment and detention of opposition party campaign workers, the physical assault of senior opposition figures, arbitrary use of state powers to support the incumbent president, pressure on state workers and students to support the President, restrictions on the ability of opposition campaigns to communicate with the electorate, and control of the state media to severely restrict access by opposition candidates.”

What happens it the Occupied Territories is much worse, yet no sanctions against Israel.

Burma: “[G]ravity of the human rights and humanitarian situation…, which threatened peace and security in the entire region.”

Libya: “[V]iolence and the use of force against civilians.”

Day-to-day in the Occupied Territories.

Russia: “Activists were beaten, kidnapped and tortured [in Ukraine]. The Russian government encouraged, and supported, these measures.”

Meanwhile, more and more “Palestinian children [are] beaten and tortured by Israeli security forces while in detention.” Read also Israeli NGO B’Tselem’s report Backed by the System: Abuse and Torture at the Shikma Interrogation Facility.

Sudan: “[H]umanitarian crisis and widespread human rights violations resulting from the conflict in Darfur region”

Syria: “The Syrian Government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters led to many civilian deaths and injuries. Thousands of civilians were detained arbitrarily and there were credible reports of summary executions and torture.”

Israel arbitrarily detains Palestinians on a regular basis, including children, and summary executions and torture and common.

According to B’Tselem: At the end of Dec. 2015, 422 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 6 administrative detainees.”

According to Human Rights Watch:

Israeli security forces continued to arrest children suspected of criminal offenses, usually stone-throwing, in their homes at night, at gunpoint; question them without a family member or lawyer present; and coerce them to sign confessions in Hebrew, which they do not understand… As of October 31, Israel held 457 Palestinian administrative detainees without charge or trial, based on secret evidence. Israeli prison authorities shackled hospitalized Palestinians to their hospital beds after they went on long-term hunger strikes to protest their administrative detention.”

Last year, Amnesty International has condemned “what it called a ‘clear pattern’ of… summary killings… as the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this month [October 2015] rose to at least 61. )

Ukraine: “Activists were beaten, kidnapped and tortured.”

Zimbabwe: “marked escalation in human rights violations and violence directed at the political opposition, a stolen election, the denial of a peaceful democratic transition and a worsening humanitarian situation.”

Other reasons for which Canada has sanctioned countries include:

– “political crisis and conflict” (Yemen, Somalia);

– “violations of ceasefire and hostilities” (Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo);

– “misappropriated state funds” (Egypt, Tunisia);

– “heavy loss of human life and widespread material damage resulting from a conflict” (Eritrea, Somalia);

– “nuclear program” (Sanctions on Iran, which has a nonexistent nuclear program, but none on Israel, which is known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads.)

– “invasion” (Sanctions on Iraq for the invasion of Kuwait… but no sanctions for the U.S. which has illegally invaded Iraq, among other countries, and of course, no sanctions on Israel for decades of occupation);

– “continued escalation of hostilities” (Lebanon)

– “support for the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone” (Liberia)

– “violation of the constitution and international law” (Ukraine).

– “conducting a test of a nuclear weapon” (North Korea)

– “acts of violence and the increase in acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels” (Somalia)

– “engaging in violent conflict, much of it along ethnic lines” (South Sudan)

As you probably noticed, none of these countries has been accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Canada imposes sanctions on countries for misappropriated state funds, but regards war criminal state Israel as a “friend” which deserves that it condemns its own citizens for protesting against its supreme crime.

Parliamentarians need to explain this nonsense.

As a member of the United Nations, Canada should, as stated in the U.N. Preamble, “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and… establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”

By voting in favour of this motion, Canadian Parliamentarians have failed to honor their obligations.Miserably.

 

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