Israel will pull out all the stops to avoid facing war crimes charges

An ICC ruling has panicked Israeli officials who can now be investigated, but they will likely respond with intensified threats 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gaza%20rubble%202014%20afp.jpg
A Palestinian girl walks on the rubble around her family’s home in Gaza in 2014 (AFP)
Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

11 February 2021 11:04 UTC 

Israel has been sent into a tailspin by a ruling last week from the war crimes court in The Hague. Senior Israeli officials, including possibly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, can now be held accountable for violations of the laws of war in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The decision by judges at the International Criminal Court  (ICC) does not ensure Israelis will be put on trial for war crimes – not yet, at least. But after years of delay, it does settle the question of whether the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza fall under the court’s jurisdiction. They do, say the judges. 

While Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one

Perhaps the most preposterous – if entirely predictable – of the reactions to the ICC’s decision came from Netanyahu himself. 

That the door is now open for Israelis to be investigated for war crimes is the reason Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum responded so angrily to the ruling. The court’s chief prosecutor has already completed a preliminary inquiry, in which she concluded there was a legal basis for a full investigation.

At the weekend, he falsely declared in a video in English, intended for foreign audiences, that the ICC was investigating Israel for what he called “fake war crimes” – and then attributed its imagined actions to “pure antisemitism”. He also threw in a reference to the Nazi Holocaust for good measure.

There was no little irony to his claims. On Friday, Netanyahu denounced the judges’ ruling as proving that the ICC was “a political body and not a judicial institution”. In fact, it is Netanyahu who is playing politics, by character-assassinating the court in what should be a purely legal and judicial matter. He hopes to use antisemitism smears, Israel’s favoured tactic, to keep the ICC’s investigators at bay. 

Court officials have already shown an interest in pursuing three separate lines of inquiry: Israel’s attacks on Gaza that have left large numbers of Palestinian civilians dead; the repeated lethal shooting of Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s perimeter fence; and decades of illegal Israeli settlement-building on occupied land, which has often entailed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Attack on aid boat

Whatever Netanyahu’s current protestations, the truth is that Israel’s own legal teams have long advised that its military commanders, government ministers and senior administrators are vulnerable to prosecution. That is why they have travelled for many years with a special “panic button” on their phones to alert local diplomatic staff of the threat of arrest at a foreign airport. 

Just such an incident occurred in 2013, when former navy commander Eli Marom hit the button after he wrongly suspected border officials at London’s Heathrow airport were preparing to arrest him under so-called “universal jurisdiction” laws.

Three years earlier, Marom had approved a lethal attack in international waters by navy commandos on an aid convoy of ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)
Demonstrators chant slogans during a 2016 rally in Istanbul, Turkey, marking the sixth anniversary of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident (AFP)

Marom had reason to be nervous. Earlier, in 2005, a retired general, Doron Almog, hid on an El Al plane for two hours after landing at Heathrow before quickly taking off again, to avoid a UK arrest warrant over the demolition of 59 Palestinian homes. Scotland Yard reportedly allowed Almog to escape rather than engage in a gun battle trying to arrest him.

In fact, Israel knows enough about which of its senior officials have broken international law – and how – that last summer it compiled a secret list of hundreds who were most likely to be investigated for war crimes.  

Bid to terrorise court

But while Israel is only too aware of what its top war crimes suspects have been up to, Netanyahu is right to observe that last week’s ruling by the ICC is a political one. 

In fact, the court’s treatment of Israel has been deeply mired in politics ever since the Palestinian Authority acceded to the ICC in 2015. Western allies have sought repeatedly to intimidate and strong-arm the court to ensure Israeli officials are not tried for war crimes.The PA, the ICC and Israel

It is no coincidence that ICC judges found the backbone to assert jurisdiction over the occupied territories immediately after Donald Trump stepped down as US president. His administration had waged a campaign to intimidate the court, which included a ban on ICC staff entering the US and threats to freeze their assets.

The timing of the ICC’s ruling may also be related to the fact that its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is due to quit her post in a few months. She is unlikely to launch any investigations of Israelis before then, leaving the task to her successor.

Such a delay will buy Israel more time. And under an onslaught of pressure, the new chief prosecutor may be persuaded that Israel – despite decades of law-breaking – is not a high enough priority to justify the court’s limited resources. 

Campaigning begins 

Just such a campaign has already begun. On Sunday, the Israeli foreign ministry sent an urgent, classified cable to dozens of its ambassadors, urging them to recruit their respective capitals to a campaign to put pressure on the ICC.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi – a former military chief of staff who is almost certainly on Israel’s secret list of war crimes suspects – rang his counterparts in foreign capitals, urging them to help. That will likely include lobbying for a more sympathetic chief prosecutor to replace Bensouda.

There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague

Israeli media reported security sources as saying that several ICC member states had already agreed to tip Israel off should they learn that any arrest warrants have been issued against Israelis.

Already, the Biden administration in the US, Germany and the Australian government, stalwart defenders of Israel, have issued denunciations of the ICC decision – and implicitly the international norms of war the court is supposed to uphold. 

Responding to Germany’s attack on the court, Hanan Ashrawi, a former senior Palestinian official, tweeted on Tuesday: “So your ‘legal view’ supersedes the ruling of the ICC judges and the resolutions of the UN [General Assembly]? No self-respecting state should accept instructions from (or intimidation by) Israel.”

Other states, with their own self-interested calculations, may soon follow suit. Those that have allied themselves most closely with the US-led “war on terror”, including the UK, have every reason to ensure that Israel – a state very much in the “western diplomatic club” – is not held to account for war crimes of the kind they too have committed. They prefer that the ICC continues to limit its indictments to African leaders. 

Behind-the-scenes lobbying and intimidation may explain the seemingly perverse reasoning of the ICC in December to close its investigation of UK officials without issuing any indictments. It did so even while accepting that British forces had likely committed war crimes in Iraq. Israel may hope for a similar, fudged reprieve.

Shielding Israel

The reality is that the case against Israel was always going to depend on political factors far more than legal ones once it became vulnerable to investigation. But the shielding of Israel over war crimes was evident long before Palestine’s ratification of the Rome Statute in 2015.

Six years earlier, for example, Israel orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against a celebrated South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, over the report of his UN committee into Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza. The report found Israel and Hamas responsible for committing war crimes, and possibly even graver crimes against humanity.

Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)
Richard Goldstone, the UN investigator who probed the 2009 Gaza conflict, attends a media conference in Geneva in July 2009 (AFP)

Goldstone repudiated his strongest findings months later after the personal campaign against him culminated in the South African Zionist Federation barring him from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

Similarly, “universal jurisdiction” rules, which allow foreign citizens to seek the arrest of an official suspected of violating international law if his or her state refuses to adjudicate, have never been enforced in practice against Israelis. 

Foot-dragging by ICC

The ICC had an opportunity to investigate Israeli officials over the attack in international waters on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010. Ten Turkish civilians, one of whom was also an American citizen, were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded the ships. Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Instead, Bensouda chose in 2014 not to proceed with the case initiated by the Comoros, the flag under which the boat was sailing. In an appeal last year, ICC judges criticised her for a series of “errors” in reaching that decision, in refusing to reconsider after they mandated she do so, and in failing to investigate the incident again in 2019.

But the judges concluded it was “unclear” what power they themselves had to rectify these failings and so did not ask for a further review.

Delays and buck-passing have also plagued the ICC’s latest ruling. The court has been foot-dragging on jurisdiction issues ever since 2015. There will continue to be many large obstacles – few of them related to law – that need to be dealt with before any Israelis end up in the dock at The Hague.

Slivers of hope

Nonetheless, last week’s ruling offers Palestinians a few slivers of hope. It confirms that Israel’s battle to deny the Palestinian fight for statehood is not entirely going its way. And it suggests that the post-Trump political climate may turn out to be more stormy for Israel than expected. Its leaders may have to be slightly more cautious about the scale and visibility of the war crimes they approve. 

The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians

The court may settle to leave the sword of a possible investigation hanging over Israel, hoping that alone will be enough to curb Israel’s worst excesses, such as plans to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

Or the ICC may trust that its jurisdiction ruling will serve as a wake-up call to the Israeli Supreme Court, whose failures to enforce international law in the occupied territories paved the way to The Hague. But settling for any of these outcomes will be more evasion by the court, more playing politics. 

The test of whether the ICC is a judicial body rather than a political one is not, as Netanyahu demands, that it refuse to investigate Israel. The real test is whether it can rise above the name-calling and gaslighting to apply international law in a way that truly protects Palestinians. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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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).

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!

    Whitewashing Mass Murder

    by Stephen Lendman


    My PhotoIsrael’s 2008-09 Gaza war was one of history’s great crimes. Missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons were used against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction followed.

    Brazen crimes of war and against humanity were committed. International protection wasn’t afforded. Responsible officials remain unaccountable.

    Before his fall from grace, Richard Goldstone said:

    “(T)here is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”

    Over 1,400 Gazans were killed. Around 80% or more were civilians. Thousands of others were injured, many seriously. Extensive civilian infrastructure and private property were destroyed or damaged, including homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, and businesses.

    Killing 29 members of one family perhaps was Cast Lead’s greatest crime. Bombing their home killed 21. The previous day, IDF soldiers gathered 100 members there. Surviving ones and human rights activists demanded justice. They still do. They were denied.
    On May 1, Israel said those responsible won’t be prosecuted. The case was closed. Major Dorit Tuval, Deputy Military Advocate for Operational Matters, said civilians “who did not take part in the fighting” weren’t killed “in a manner that would indicate criminal responsibility.”

    He lied! They were willfully targeted and murdered. All Israeli investigations are whitewashed. Justice is denied. It never has a chance. International law prohibits targeting civilians. Doing so is official Israeli policy.

    B’Tselem attorney Yael Stein said:

    “It cannot be that in a well-managed system no person will be found guilty of the army operation that led to the killing of 21 people who were not involved in combat, and resided in a structure on the instructions of the army – even if the attack was not done purposefully.”

    “The manner in which the army rids itself of responsibility in this case… again illustrates the need for an investigatory body outside of the army.”

    On January 4, soldiers ordered Salah Samouni and those with him from their home. They took it for a command post. Those inside moved next door to family member Wael’s house.

    Concentrating unarmed men, women, children, infants, and the elderly in one building made them feel safe. So did having soldiers close by who knew they were there, even though war raged around them.

    On January 4, they used six or more Samouni compound houses as military posts. Earlier fighting killed family members. Some were shot in cold blood at close range. The atmosphere was trigger-happy. Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians for target practice.

    They also fired at anyone who moved. They willfully targeted civilians. Wounded victims bled to death. Commanders kept ambulances away from target sites. Even unarmed civilians trying to walk away were shot. Bombing and shelling killed others.

    On January 5, Salah thought family members still remained in another house. He wanted them safer with him. IDF shells and rockets struck the building. He said:

    “My daughter Azza, my only daughter, two and a half years old, was injured in the first hit on the house. She managed to say, ‘Daddy, it hurts.’ And then, in the second hit, she died.”

    “And I’m praying. Everything is dust and I can’t see anything. I thought I was dead. I found myself getting up, all bloody, and I found my mother sitting by the hall with her head tilted downward.”

    “I moved her face a little, and I found that the right half of her face was gone. I looked at my father, whose eye was gone. He was still breathing a little, and then he stopped.”

    Under dust and rubble in one large room, nine family members remained alive. They included the elderly matriarch, five grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The youngest was three.

    The previous day, nine-year old Amal saw soldiers burst into her home. They killed her father, Atiyeh. She took shelter in Uncle Tallal’s home. Together with other family members, they moved to Wael’s house. She didn’t know her brother Ahmad was bleeding to death in his mother’s arms in another neighborhood home.

    Surviving children found food scraps to eat. They went from corpse to corpse shaking them, hitting them, telling them to get up. Amal regained consciousness. Her head was bloody. Her eyes rolled in their sockets. She cried out for water. She wanted her mother and father. She beat her head on the floor.

    Doctors called removing shrapnel from her head too dangerous. No one’s sure how events unfolded after Wael’s house was struck. Survivors were dazed and injured.

    After Cast Lead ended, rescue teams returned to the neighborhood. Wael’s house lay in ruins. IDF bulldozers demolished what remained. Corpses were still inside.

    Saleh wanted to know why soldiers attacked them. “Why did they take us out of the house one at a time, and the officer who spoke Hebrew with my father verified that we were all civilians. So why did they they shell us, kill us? This is what we want to know.”

    He feels exiled on his own land in his own country. “We sit and envy the dead. They are the ones who are at rest.”

    Masouda Samouni said:

    “I have no hope, no future, I lost everything in the offensive. I was in the corner with my children just watching. I was screaming and crying, I saw everything, the blood and the brains.”

    “There was smoke everywhere. I saw my brother-in-law falling down, and my mother-in-law. I realized that my three brothers-in-law and my mother-in-law were dead….I was injured in the chest and couldn’t move….I was bleeding and five months pregnant.”

    Soldiers stormed Ateya Samouni’s home. He identified himself as the owner. Soldiers shot him while he was still holding his ID and an Israeli driver’s license.

    They opened fire inside the room where 20 family members were sheltered. Deaths and injuries resulted. Other abuses followed. Mona Samouni saw her parents shot to death.

    Almaza Samouni lost her mother and six siblings. Survivors suffer from depression and nightmares. Like most Gazans, they manage as best they can. Trauma still affects many. Children are harmed most. How can any family recover from 29 members lost? They want answers but never got them.

    Brigade commander Colonel Ilan Malka ordered an air strike on their house. Militants were inside, he claimed. He ignored junior officers saying civilians were there or close by.

    Twenty-one inside were killed, including women and children. Another 19 were wounded.

    When is a crime not one? When Israel says so. When is denied justice gotten? Maybe next time.

    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

    His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”


    Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

    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!

    Inquiry Defends Israeli Fatal Airstrike in Gaza

    Local Editor

    Little Ahmed, shot twice in the chest, died after days without medical care as the Israeli’s would not allow it.
    A probe into the ‘Israeli’ Occupation Forces (IOF) airstrike that killed 21 members of a family in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead claimed on Tuesday that the bombing was not intentional and that civilians were not targeted during the operation.

    Samouni Family Responds to Goldstone Backtrack on Israeli War Crimes

    The inquiry into whether the Zionist IOF committed criminal negligence and intentional targeting of civilians during the bombing that destructed the building in which the Samouri (Samouni) family lived in January 2009, resulted in the acquittance of those involved, according to a press release from the ‘Israeli’ rights group B’ Tselem.

    Military prosecutors responded in a letter to claims made by B’ Tselem, saying that, during the probe, they had not found any evidence of negligence on the IOF’s part.

    “It is unacceptable that no one is found responsible for an action of the army that led to the killing of 21 uninvolved civilians, inside the building they were in under soldiers’ orders, even if not deliberately,” B’Tselem’s head of research, attorney Yael Stein said.

    Source: Websites
    02-05-2012 – 12:23 Last updated 02-05-2012 – 12:23

    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!

    Kristoffer Larsson: Disengaging from Zionism


    Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 8:42PM AuthorGilad Atzmon

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/12/disengaging-from-zionism/

    In 2009 the UN Human Rights Council appointed the South African Judge Richard Goldstone to head the fact-finding mission investigating possible Israeli war crimes committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Aside from being a well-respected judge, Richard Goldstone could not easily be dismissed as anti-Semitic given his Jewish origin.

    Goldstone probably had no idea what awaited him. After the Mission published its findings and conclusions, the judge quickly became the victim of a vicious slander campaign. Israel’s Information Minister said that the Goldstone Report was “anti-Semitic.” Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz informed the listeners of Israel Army Radio that Goldstone was “an evil, evil man” and “an absolute traitor,” a “man who uses his language and words against the Jewish people.” Dershowitz later apologised for calling Goldstone a traitor, saying he thought the term moser (Hebrew for informer, delator) meant “monster” (as if that was any less harsh).

    “I wrote to the broadcaster, retracting my word ‘traitor,’” Dershowitz told the Forward. “But if you’re asking me deep in my heart and soul do I believe that the word fairly characterizes him, in light of the way he’s used his Jewishness, both as a shield and a sword? You know, if the shoe fits.”

    In the end, it all became too much for the South African judge. He’s tried to retract parts of the report he co-authored, along with publicly defending Israel against ‘the Apartheid Slander’. And if the truth be told it seems that has never disengaged himself from Zionism. However, the damage has already been done and the greater part of the Jewish community simply has no trust in him anymore.

    I came to think of Goldstone’s destiny as I was reading Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists.The book is an anthology with contributions from 25 Jewish activists living in different parts of the world who have come to see the conflict from the Palestinian point of view. For most Jews, criticising Israel comes at a price – relatives and Jewish friends regard it as treason, they are accused of being self-hating, and in some cases even of paving the way for another Holocaust. But these stories are not mainly about the price they have to pay for their activism; it’s about their personal journeys that led them from being (in many cases) completely uncritical supporters of Israel and Zionism into defenders of Palestinian rights.

    The book is edited by Avigail Abarbanel, a psychotherapist residing in the United Kingdom. Born in Israel in 1964, Abarbanel grew up in an abusive family and was—just like most other Israelis—completely blind to Palestinians and their suffering. Instead, Jewish suffering was the ubiquitous issue. During her school years the fear of another Holocaust was “repeatedly raised and debated” and she “was taught that everyone in the world, including Arabs, hated us just because we were Jews.” Even though Palestinians make up a fifth of Israel’s population she never understood who they were. She recalls:

    ‌“I resented the Arab countries around us and our “enemy from within”—or the “fifth column” as the Palestinian citizens of Israel were sometimes called—that I thought wanted to “throw us into the sea”. I resented the world that didn’t seem to understand us and was against us all the time, for what I thought was no reason except our Jewishness. I didn’t understand why “they” couldn’t just leave us in peace. I thought the reason for our suffering, anxiety and insecurity was out there. Together with everyone else I felt hard done by, hassled and unsafe.”

    Abarbanel later left Israel for Australia, where she earned a degree in psychotherapy. As a student she was forced to scrutinise her past. This, along with reading The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim, led her to renounce her Israeli citizenship and eventually reject Zionism altogether.

    Ronit Yarosky was also unaware of who the Palestinians were. Her family left Montreal for Israel when she was 14 years old. She did her military service and was stationed in the West Bank. The Palestinian residents served as background actor – they were there, yet unimportant. West Bank cities and towns she stayed in as a soldier “were nameless to me because they were “only” Arab towns, and therefore of no significance in my life,” she remembers. Yarosky’s conversion began as she was working on her MA thesis back in Canada. It wasn’t until she read Benny Morris’s The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem that she realised that Jewish settlements were established on the ruins of Arab villages, and that her uncle was even living in a Palestinian house. When she brought this up with her mother, the latter replied: “Well, obviously.” But to Ronit the newly discovered facts was life-changing, and after she could no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening to the Palestinians.

    For others like Peter Slezak, Zionism as such doesn’t appear to have been important in his childhood. As a Jew in Australia he felt as an outsider already in primary school. And with most of his relatives being Holocaust survivors, the Haggadah’s warning that “in every generation they [i.e. non-Jews] rise against us to destroy us….” can easily feel validated. Slezak, like many other Jews, used to worry that all non-Jews inevitably harbored anti-Semitic feelings, a worry that took many years to finally overcome. Instead of regarding the Holocaust as a crime against Jews and a proof of why a Jewish state is needed, he sees a universalistic message in Never again. Some Jewish friends have even cut all ties with Selzak, and he has in his own words ended up “becoming a pariah in my own community” because of his pro-Palestinian activism.

    This culture of intolerance is well captured by American musician Rich Siegel when he describes himself as “a cult survivor.” There is something “very seriously wrong with Israel, and with the culture that supports it,” he writes. Siegel should know. He was an ardent Zionist as a teenager, even to the degree that he was out in the streets protesting Arafat’s appearance at the UN in 1974, this while singing along to lyrics such as “We’ll kill those Syrians.” For Siegel, the image of an innocent Israel threatened by Jew-hating Arabs first started to crack while waiting for his wife outside a train station in Rhode Island in 2004. A few activists had a book stand outside the train station and he perused Phyllis Bennis’s Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. He was left shocked after reading about Jews massacring Arabs at Deir Yassin, something he had never heard of. He kept on reading books about the conflict and came to understood what Zionism represented. Some of his friends and relatives are no longer part of his life, but he has no regrets.

    I have here only presented glimpses from some of the 25 contributions, but they all deserve to be read in full. As a non-Jew it is difficult too fully relate to the sacredness of the Jewish state. However, all people and cultures have their taboos that cannot be disrespected without running the risk of being questioned, persecuted or excommunicated. On a personal level, we all have inner demons holding us back until we have the courage to face them.

    Hardly surprising, fear is a reoccurring theme in the stories. Zionism thrives on fears – fear of the Arabs who want to kill the Jews just because of who they are; fear of the non-Jewish world that doesn’t understand Jews because there’s an anti-Semite living in every Gentile. It is only by challenging and facing their fears that Jews can detach themselves from Zionism.

    In the afterword Abarbanel writes that she struggled with finding a common denominator for all 25 contributors. But eventually she did find one thing they all share, which she terms “emotional resilience.” She defines it as “the ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings without avoiding them or trying to make them go away,” and adds that it includes “the ability to tolerate the experience of being disapproved of, disliked and rejected by others, sometimes even by relatives and close friends.” In plain English: to have the courage to stand up for what you believe in no matter the cost.

    This is what makes the book so inspiring. 25 stories written by people who struggle because they feel what they are not supposed to feel, because they do things they are not supposed to do. They have the emotional resilience and sense of justice that Richard Goldstone lacks.

    Kristoffer Larsson studies Economics at a Swedish university. He holds a BA in Theology and is on the Board of Directors of Deir Yassin Remembered. He can be reached at: krislarsson@comhem.se. Read other articles by Kristoffer.

    ARTHUR BILLY: REQUIEM FOR THE DEAD OF GAZA

    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2011 AT 6:19PM GILAD ATZMON

    Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: This is a pretty extensive and devastating presentation of the Israeli crime in Gaza. I met Arthur Billy last month in San Francisco. Billy, born in pre 1948 Palestine is a nuclear scientist and an incredibly kind human being.
    The combination of the music and the images is very powerful, yet, bear in mind that Billy is not a film maker. As far as I am aware he assembled this presentation using Power Point. He had a very limited editing capacity. Yet, the spirit is there, the aesthetic is there and the impact of Israeli barbarism is there all the way through.
    Thanks Arthur for your time, effort and care.
    Arthur Billy & William A.Cook: This presentation is a Memorial and a Requiem for the Dead of Gaza, Honouring the Valiant Palestinian People and a Monument to the People of Gaza.
    May this requiem force the Israelis and all who view this testament to share the suffering and the pain of the Palestinian people with all the compassion the souls of humans everywhere should feel for one another.

    Should the United States of America House of Representatives, and the Senate care to spend two hours in rapt meditation witnessing the reality of the slaughter they supported in Israel’s invasion of Gaza, even their gold plated hearts would melt at the brutality, the ruthlessness, the absolute mercilessness of the state they support with such sanctimonious sentiments when they slither up the AIPAC carpet to seek their favor and forget the consequences to their immortal souls.http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/tel-aviv-on-the-potomac

    May they and all Americans who view this memorial to the dead of Gaza, give serious thought to what we have wrought in our undeviating support for the Zionist mind, because that mind suffers from no remorse, bears no responsibility for its acts, and willfully uses even our representatives as fools to gain their ends.

    There is no monument like it anywhere; it is the victims’ tale of fear and suffering caught in the act of betrayal by those who have renounced their humanness. It is, therefore, a cry to all peoples everywhere that our civilized world of the 21st century has accomplished what no other barbaric horde of times past could achieve…a requiem for those who died conveyed through the weeping eyes and torn faces of those who witnessed this testament to inhumanity delivered by a nation that reverted back to tribal indifference of others and hate for others and vengeance to others.

    I thoroughly researched the available many documents, pictures, slideshows and videos on Operation Cast Lead. It was a very time consuming endeavour to say the least. One thing glaringly stood out like a sore thumb. The truth about Operation Cast Lead was missing from the information presented by the Israelis and their supporters including the United States Administration and especially most members of the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States of America who are lackeys of Israel and AIPAC.

    One and one half million Palestinian refugees are living in the Gaza Strip since 1948, if one can call that living. They are penned in, within the worlds largest open air Israeli controlled concentration-camp-prison completely sealed off from the outside world by the Israeli military. And the World has done nothing positive nor productive to solve this travesty and human tragedy for over 62 years.

    It is impossible to show and tell about all that happened before, during and after the Operation Cast Lead massacre. This presentation presents the TRUTH.

    This Israeli Operation Cast Lead slideshow “video” shows only a minuscule portion of the unprovoked and totally unnecessary Barbarous Israeli attack. 0r more aptly put, the Israeli massacre of the Palestinian people, by the Israeli armed forces from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009.

    Note the curious reality that Israeli forces were invading a land that had no military forces to oppose them. This invasion was a total military invasion with every conceivable state of the art weapon used against an imprisoned population WITH NO MEANS OF SELF DEFENSE. A MASSACRE BY ANY STANDARD

    It is over more than two years since the massacre and utter immense destruction of the Gaza infrastructure by the Israeli military. Nothing goes into or out of Gaza without Israel’s permission. All essential supplies for rebuilding Gaza, human survival and medical care are not allowed into Gaza. Because of this Gaza has not been rebuilt and the people of Gaza are suffering worse than ever. This is part of Israel’s plan of their genocide of the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip.

    Israel, supported by the United States continues to defy the United Nations and the rest of the world.

    Israel completely ignores the United Nations Goldstone Report by which the UN Mission on the Israeli Operation Cast Lead Gaza War documented its findings and declared that Israel committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel to date as usual denies all wrong doing and as usual continues unchecked to defy the World and is still committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people.

    Without personal or other bias, Judge for yourself.

    The International Criminal Court – Help or Hindrance?


    It is pledged to end impunity for the most evil criminals…

    There should be no hiding place. But international law never reaches into some corners because the levers that control the wheels of justice, we discover, are sometimes leaned on by the criminals themselves.

    by Stuart Littlewood

    Do you fume at the International Criminal Court (ICC) when you see all those obnoxious war criminals still walking free and still thumbing their noses at the civilised world while their gruesome crime sheet just gets longer?
    There should be no hiding place. But international law never reaches into some corners because the levers that control the wheels of justice, we discover, are sometimes leaned on by the criminals themselves.
    The International Criminal Court was supposed to change all that. It is governed by the Rome Statute http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm and is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”.
    The ICC says it is independent and not part of the United Nations system… but that is not strictly true, as we’ll see.
    115 states have signed up to the Rome Statute. The UK is one of them, I’m pleased to say. And so too is Afghanistan. But rogue states like the US and Israel rank alongside Saudi and Libya and skulk beyond the perimeter.
    A further 34 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified. These states are obliged, under the law of treaties, to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the Rome Statute. Three of these states—Israel, Sudan and the United States—signed and then, presumably realising their conduct was not up to the standards expected and wishing to undermine the Statute whenever it suited them, “unsigned”.
    The Court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by nationals of a State Party or on the territory of a State Party since 1 July 2002, the date the Rome Statute came into effect.

    The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) lists some pretty woolly objectives which nevertheless include these two:

    • To maximize the Office of the Prosecutor’s contribution to the fight against impunity and the prevention of crimes.
    • To enhance cooperation with States and relevant actors, in particular for the execution of arrest warrants issued by the Court.

    Does any of this help Palestine? The ICC’s website reports that on 22 January 2009, the Palestinian National Authority lodged a declaration with the Registrar under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute which allows States not party to the Statute to accept the Court’s jurisdiction. “The OTP will examine issues related to its jurisdiction: first whether the declaration accepting the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court meets statutory requirements; and second whether crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction have been committed. The Office will also consider whether there are national proceedings in relation to alleged crimes.”
    In October 2009 a delegation from the PNA and the Arab League presented the Court with a report in support of the PNA’s ability to delegate its jurisdiction to the ICC. In January 2010, the OTP sent a letter summarizing its activities to the United Nations then, in May, published a “Summary of submissions on whether the declaration lodged by the Palestinian National Authority meets statutory requirements.”
    But in 28 long months the Prosecutor has made no determination on the issue.
    After wading through Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute describing the numerous crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocides the ICC is supposed to deal with – the sort of horrors Palestinians have to face every day – I found that Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute refers to Article 12(2) which refers to Article 13 (a) and (c)… which is enough to make one want to lie down in a darkened room and lose the will to live.

    So I was very pleased to hear from Dr David Morrison in Dublin who periodically sends me excellent briefings and carefully researched articles from his organization, Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance. One of his latest pieces looked at the hypocrisy of referring Libya to the ICC.

    US wants impunity for itself (and Israel) while prosecuting others

    Libya is not a party to the International Criminal Court and is among many states that do not accept its jurisdiction. Yet three months ago the UN Security Council voted unanimously, in Resolution 1970, to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Five of the states that voted for this referral – China, India, Lebanon, Russia and the US – are not parties to the ICC and don’t accept its jurisdiction. So here we see the US among those forcing Libya to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, when it refuses to do so itself.
    Dr Morrison points also to the case of Sudan in 2005 when the Security Council decided to refer the situation in Darfur to the ICC Prosecutor. Sudan isn’t a party to the ICC either. On that occasion the US and China abstained, but 3 states – Philippines, Russia and Tanzania – which don’t accept the jurisdiction of the ICC voted for Sudan to be subjected to it.
    The ICC charged the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, with genocide and two other Sudanese nationals with lesser charges.
    How were these referrals possible, asks Morrison? The answer lies in Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute, under which the ICC may exercise jurisdiction if “a situation in which one or more crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations [action to maintain peace]”.
    So the ICC is not the independent judicial body it pretends to be. Its jurisdiction can be extended or re-directed on the say-so of the Security Council to apply to states that have refused its jurisdiction.
    Of course, says Dr Morrison, that can’t happen to non-Statute members of the Security Council who only have to wield their veto to block any attempt by UN colleagues to extend the ICC’s jurisdiction to their territory.
    In his view a Court with universal jurisdiction is fair. A Court whose jurisdiction you, as a state, can choose to accept or reject has some semblance of fairness. But a Court like the ICC, whose jurisdiction can be targeted, at the whim of the Security Council, on certain states that have chosen not to accept it, but not on others, is grossly unfair.
    Dr Morrison’s analysis reveals how evil this manipulation can be. The primary duty for prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity lies with the state in which they were committed and the ICC only acquires jurisdiction to prosecute if the state fails to do so. The Court can prosecute any individual responsible for these crimes regardless of civilian or military status or official position.
    “This means that, in theory, a national of a state that is not party to the Statute, for example a US national, may be tried by the ICC for crimes committed in a state that is a party to the Statute. The US is particularly opposed to this, since it has civilian and military personnel in lots of states around the world, many of which are party to the Statute. It is US policy to prevent the ICC trying any US nationals.
    “Because of this, Resolution 1970 [the Libya referral] includes a paragraph exempting nationals from states not party to the ICC, including US nationals, from the jurisdiction of the ICC for acts committed in Libya… The hypocrisy surrounding this is staggering…”

    Indeed.

    Dr Morrison also homes in on what are termed ‘Article 89 Agreements’. Under 89(1) of the Rome Statute, states that are party to the ICC are required to “comply with requests for arrest and surrender” by the Court. These could be for the arrest and surrender of US nationals. To prevent this, the US has taken advantage of Article 98(2), which says: “The Court may not proceed with a request for surrender which would require the requested State to act inconsistently with its obligations under international agreements pursuant to which the consent of a sending State is required to surrender a person of that State to the Court, unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of the sending State for the giving of consent for the surrender.” The US has negotiated agreements with more than a hundred states to block surrender of US nationals to the Court.
    To ensure obedience, if states are party to the ICC they cannot receive military aid from the US without signing such an agreement. The American Service-Members’ Protection Act stipulates that “no United States military assistance may be provided to the government of a country that is a party to the International Criminal Court”, although NATO members and certain non-NATO allies (including Israel of course) are exempted, as are those who signed an Article 89 agreement.
    “Such are the lengths that the US is prepared to go,” says Morrison, “in order to exclude its own nationals from the jurisdiction of the ICC, while voting in the Security Council to extend the jurisdiction of the ICC for others.”

    Will the Court ‘bottle out’ over Goldstone?

    In another article, ‘The Goldstone Report does not need correction’, Dr Morrison wonders if the ICC will be allowed to do its job as recommended by Goldstone.
    The Israeli Government and others claim that Goldstone, in his recent Washington Post article, retracted completely all the Mission’s findings that Israeli forces had deliberately targeted civilians.
    But he did no such thing, says Morrison. “The Mission came to the conclusion that in 11 incidents Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians. He made a case, based on information of uncertain reliability, that this number should be reduced to 10. The Mission recommended that these matters end up at the International Criminal Court, with individuals being indicted for war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, if the evidence warrants…
    “The ICC hasn’t got jurisdiction over these matters at the moment, since neither Israel nor Palestine are parties to the ICC. How can it acquire jurisdiction?”
    In theory, he says, there are two ways. First, as mentioned at the start, the Palestinian National Authority has made its submissions and informed the ICC that “the Government of Palestine hereby recognizes the jurisdiction of the Court for the purposes of identifying, prosecuting and judging the authors and accomplices of acts committed in the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002”.
    But it all depends on whether Palestine is a state within the meaning of Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute. If the ICC were to accept jurisdiction, it would not only allow for the indictment of Israelis for offences committed during Operation Cast Lead, but also for other crimes such as settlement building.
    Article 8.2(b)(viii) makes it clear that “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a war crime.
    The second possibility is for the Security Council to refer Operation Cast Lead to the ICC, just as it did the Libyan unpleasantness and Darfur, neither of those countries being party to the ICC.

    If, as Dr Morrison points out, the ICC did acquire jurisdiction, its investigations would encompass not only the damning material gathered by Goldstone but a whole host of evidence from other organisations such as Human Rights Watch (Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza; Precisely Wrong: Gaza Civilians Killed by Israeli Drone-Launched Missiles; White Flag Deaths: Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead; Turning a Blind Eye: Impunity for Laws-of-War Violations during the Gaza War; “I Lost Everything”: Israel’s Unlawful Destruction of Property during Operation Cast Lead), Amnesty International (Israel/Gaza: Operation “Cast Lead”: 22 days of death and destruction) and the Arab League Fact Finding Committee (No Safe Place).

    It is nearly two-and-a-half years since the Palestinians’ declaration and the Prosecutor, despite having access to the best legal brains, still hasn’t made a decision to proceed. Why the foot-dragging? What’s his game? Goldstone’s Fact-Finding Mission recommended a decision “should be made by the Prosecutor as expeditiously as possible”, another reason perhaps why the poor judge incurred such displeasure in certain quarters.

    So is the ICC ‘bottling out’?

    In Dr Morrison’s view it is unlikely to accept jurisdiction because of the enormous political implications. “However, one cannot but hope that the matter will be pressed in the Security Council to the point where the US is forced to wield its veto to protect Israel.”
    Presumably, the matter would then find its way to the General Assembly, which could urge the Security Council to take proper steps and refer the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the ICC, in accordance with article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.
    And what of America’s chicanery? This week in London we’ve had to endure President Obama on a state visit lecturing us with words like: “We fight an enemy that respects no law of war, we will continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard – by living up to the values and the rule of law that we so ardently defend… We will proceed with humility… Ultimately, freedom must be won by the people themselves… But we can and must stand with those who so struggle.”

    Only a few days earlier he’d said: “No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state,” and he made the outrageous stipulation that if it did come into being it should be de-militarised – i.e. the Palestinians must be deprived of a basic universal right and rendered incapable of defending themselves. Not only that, they should “negotiate” with their tormentor – the brutal occupying power – and bargain for their freedom like merchants in a bazaar and be prepared to see even more of their trashed and fragmented country lost to Zionist greed.

    After Obama’s address to both Houses of Parliament, which was received with rapturous applause, throngs of smitten MPs jockeyed for position to shake the fraud’s hand, a spectacle that must have turned the stomach of those with any inkling of what is actually happening.

    Note: My thanks to Sadaka, which supports a peaceful settlement in Israel/Palestine based on the principles of democracy and justice.
    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

    O’Keefe and survivors of Cast Lead "massacre" join forces in safe-trade project to rebuild Gaza

    By Stuart Littlewood
    9 May 2011

    Stuart Littlewood describes how Palestinian rights activist Ken O’Keefe and survivors of Gaza’s Samouni family, may of whom were murdered by Israeli troops in 2008-09, have pooled their efforts to launch a project designed to promote self-reliance among Gazans through trade.

    No fewer that 29 members of the Samouni family, including many of the women and children, were callously slaughtered by Israeli troops during their assault on the Gaza Strip, known as Operation Cast Lead, some two years ago.

    For the benefit of those who have not seen the  Goldstone Report, extracts describing events in considerable detail are included in an appendix below. After reading the report it is no surprise that the Israeli regime has pulled out all the stops to discredit Judge Goldstone and his colleagues for daring to reveal the true behaviour of “the most moral army in the world”.

    The dispassionate way Goldstone tells it is horrific enough. Other sources say the killing spree was actually much, much worse – nothing less than a cold-blooded massacre.

    Having assured us at the time that he “took every precaution to check and double-check” the facts, Goldstone has been under intense pressure to retract. In a bombshell article in the Washington Post last month he writes: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

    So what does he know now that he didn’t know then? Referring to the mass killing of members of the Samouni family, it seems the shelling “was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation”.

    And what are we supposed to draw from this? That it was all a pure accident, no war crime intended, just bad luck on the Samounis?

    Yes. Bin the report, the pro-Israel lobby tells the United Nations.

    How does that slap in the face play with the family? Showing typical Palestinian resilience, the traumatized survivors are picking themselves up by their own bootstraps. Helped by their friend Ken O’Keefe, they are busy gearing up for the switch Gaza must soon make from aid dependency to paying its way through trade.

    While the Gaza government announces that funds are at last available or pledged to commence public works projects such as housing, infrastructure and sanitation, the Samounis’ private venture – if successful – might provide a helpful blueprint for others in rebuilding trade links as the prison door to the outside world is gradually forced open.

    ”Social enterprise” is one way to go

    O’Keefe served as a US marine. Now a peace activist, he is remembered especially for his part in resisting the Israelis’ murderous assault in international waters on the Mavi Marmara, the lead vessel in the Free Gaza flotilla last year.

    The economic strangulation of the tiny coastal enclave by Israel’s five-year blockade and the devastation to homes, factories, infrastructure and livelihoods caused by the blitzkrieg of 2008-09 (Operation Cast Lead) and the daily air-strikes ever since, not to mention US and EU sanctions, have caused chronic suffering and despair.

    As O’Keefe puts it:

    Parents are not only unable to protect their children from Israeli aggression but also incapable of providing even the bare essentials without the aid. Children become both witness and victim of this reality. Many begin to lose respect for their parents, and that in turn causes parents to suffer from diminishing self-respect and depression.

    Aid has become institutionalized, he says, and people in Gaza see it as their only means to live. Their dignity has been stolen. Long-term aid is an insidiously destructive weapon, destroying society from within.

    At the root of all this is the blockade and the inability to conduct trade.

    In an effort to make a worthwhile contribution, O’Keefe and the family have launched a joint “social enterprise” initiative comprising Aloha Palestine CIC (Community Interest Company) and the Samouni Project. Both are EU-registered non-profit companies.

    Aloha Palestine is a community interest trading company, while the Samouni Project Mission plans to provide long-term quality education along with community services to over 200 members of the Samouni family as well as residents of surrounding Zeitoun in Gaza. To date the Samouni Project has planted an olive tree orchard, built a playground, procured a classroom/community centre and recruited teaching staff who are now developing the curriculum. Textbooks, computers, art and craft materials, school supplies, science equipment, teaching aids and musical instruments have been collected and are waiting in London. The next task is to deliver all this to Gaza then provide for the running costs of teaching staff and administration amounting to around GBP 2,400 a month.

    Aloha Palestine’s function is to transport and deliver these items so that the classroom can be completed and classes begin.

    “Doctors and engineers are picking up trash in Gaza today because it is the only job they can find”

    Aloha Palestine is assembling an international trade convoy which plans to leave London early in July arriving Gaza three weeks later. Among the drivers are members of the Samouni family. Any attempt to block it, says O’Keefe, will be seen as denying the Samouni community and its children the education they are entitled to.

    Besides school equipment, I’m told the cargo will include textiles and building materials, industrial machinery and equipment geared towards economic development and the rebuilding of Gaza. After offloading in Gaza the vehicles will be reloaded with made-in-Palestine products for export.

    “Palestinians are more than capable of standing on their own two feet,” says O’Keefe, “but our collective failure to direct our energy at the root of the problem has relegated them to the status of beggars. Doctors and engineers are picking up trash in Gaza today because it is the only job they can find. And they are the lucky ones who at least have a job.

    Samouni InterTrade Palestine (SIP) intends to confront the problem head-on and eliminate this injustice by proactive, as opposed to reactive, means. It is a social enterprise collaboration. The nature of a social enterprise is to tackle social problems within business models. Between us we have the wisdom of Palestinian culture, the understanding of the Western market and mindset, we are young and old, we are internet and social media savvy, and we have significant backing from around the globe. Success will create jobs in Egypt, Europe and Palestine.

    On 28 April Egypt announced an end to the Egyptian blockade. “We shall cooperate with the post-Mubarak government so as to ensure the economic and human rights of the people of Palestine are finally respected.” Their objective, O’Keefe explains, is to transport people and cargo through the Rafah Crossing to Egypt continuously and without obstruction, as viable trade requires.

    They aim to play their part in the rebuilding of Gaza and to see an egalitarian economy develop, turning despair eventually into prosperity. “The stage is set for SIP’s historic mission. The timing couldn’t be better.”

    O’Keefe intends to take full advantage of the EU’s 44-member Euro-Mediterranean Partnership which is heavily committed – so it says – to peace, stability and shared prosperity. Israel has benefited handsomely by being rewarded with around 25bn euros of trade a year while maintaining its brutal blockade on Gaza and keeping its occupation jackboot on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestine has barely had a look-in. “As an EU-based company, Aloha Palestine will demand the right to trade with Palestine just as EU companies trade with Israel… We’ll have top attorneys on retainer, prepared to take legal action if necessary,” says O’Keefe.

    He is at pains to stress that his venture is all about “Safe Trade”, defined as the commercial exchange of non-hazardous items – in other words, trade that’s transparent and stimulates economic growth while posing no danger to society. “Unlike the free trade that is conducted between Israel, the EU and the United States, there will be no trading of weapons,” he says emphatically.


    Appendix

    Noting that there was almost no indication of armed resistance by Palestinians in the area at the time, the Goldstone Report observes: “Among the issues of particular concern to the Mission in Zeytoun are the killings of the Samouni family, the mass destruction in the area…”

    Here is a flavour of the  Goldstone Mission’s findings:

    To investigate the attacks on the houses of Ateya and Wa’el al-Samouni, which killed 23 members of the extended al-Samouni family, the Mission visited the site of the incidents. It interviewed five members of the al-Samouni family and several of their neighbours on site. Two members of the extended al-Samouni family, who were eyewitnesses to the incident, Messrs. Wa’el and Saleh al-Samouni, testified at the public hearing in Gaza. The Mission also interviewed PRCS [Palestinian Red Crescent Society] ambulance drivers who went to the area on 4, 7 and 18 January 2009, and obtained copies of PRCS records. The Mission finally reviewed material on this incident submitted to it by TAWTHEQ [Central Commission for Documentation and Pursuit of Israeli War Criminals] as well as by NGOs.

    The so-called al-Samouni area is part of Zeytoun, south of Gaza City… It is inhabited by members of the extended al-Samouni family, which gives its name to the area…

    Graffiti left by Israeli soldiers in the house of Talal al-Samouni, which were photographed by the Mission, included (a) in Hebrew, under the Star of David: “The Jewish people are alive” and, above a capital “T” [referring to
    the army (Tsahal)], “This [the letter T] was written with blood”; (b) on a drawing of a grave, in English and Arabic,
    “Arabs 1948-2008 ”; and (c) in English: “You can run but you can not hide”, “Die you all”, “ 1 is down, 999,999 to go”, “Arabs need to die” and “Make war not peace”.

    During the morning of 4 January 2009, Israeli soldiers entered many of the houses in
    al-Samouni area. One of the first, around 5 a.m., was the house of Ateya Helmi al-Samouni, a 45-year-old man… The soldiers entered Ateya al-Samouni’s house by force, throwing some explosive device, possibly a grenade. In the midst of the smoke, fire and loud noise, Ateya al-Samouni stepped forward, his arms raised, and declared that he was the owner of the house. The soldiers shot him while he was still holding his ID and an Israeli driving licence in his hands. The soldiers then opened gunfire inside the room in which all the approximately 20 family members were gathered. Several were injured, Ahmad, a boy of four, particularly seriously. Soldiers with night vision equipment entered the room and closely inspected each of those present. The soldiers then moved to the next room and set fire to it. The smoke from that room soon started to suffocate the family…

    At about 6.30 a.m. the soldiers ordered the family to leave the house. They had to leave Ateya’s body behind but were carrying Ahmad, who was still breathing. The family tried to enter the house of an uncle next door, but were not allowed to do so by the soldiers. The soldiers told them to take the road and leave the area, but a few metres further a different group of soldiers stopped them and ordered the men to undress completely. Faraj al-Samouni, who was carrying the severely injured Ahmad, pleaded with them to be allowed to take the injured to Gaza. The soldiers allegedly replied using abusive language.

    [Four year-old Ahmad had been shot twice in the chest.]

    At the house of Saleh al-Samouni, the Israeli soldiers knocked on the door and ordered those inside to open it. All the persons inside the house stepped out one by one and Saleh’s father identified each of the family members in Hebrew for the soldiers. According to Saleh al-Samouni, they asked to be allowed to go to Gaza City, but the soldiers refused and instead ordered them to go to Wa’el al-Samouni’s house across the street. The Israeli soldiers also ordered those in other houses to move to Wa’el al-Samouni’s house. As a result, around 100 members of the extended al-Samouni family, the majority women and children, were assembled in that house by noon on 4 January. There was hardly any water and no milk for the babies. Around 5 p.m. on 4 January, one of the women went outside to fetch firewood. There was some flour in the house and she made bread, one piece for each of those present.

    In the morning of 5 January, around 6.30 – 7 a.m., Wa’el al-Samouni, Saleh al-Samouni, Hamdi Maher al-Samouni, Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni and Iyad al-Samouni, stepped outside the house to collect firewood. Rashad Helmi al-Samouni remained standing next to the door of the house. Saleh al-Samouni has pointed out to the Mission that from where the Israeli soldiers were positioned on the roofs of the houses they could see the men clearly. Suddenly, a projectile struck next to the five men, close to the door of Wa’el’s house and killed Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni and, probably, Hamdi Maher al-Samouni. The other men managed to retreat to the house. Within about five minutes, two or three more projectiles had struck the house directly. Saleh and Wa’el al-Samouni stated at the public hearing that these were missiles launched from Apache helicopters… Saleh al-Samouni stated that overall 21 family members were killed and 19 injured in the attack on Wa’el al-Samouni’s house. The dead include Saleh al-Samouni’s father, Talal Helmi al-Samouni, his mother, Rahma Muhammad al-Samouni, and his two-year-old daughter Azza. Three of his sons, aged five, three and less than one year (Mahmoud, Omar and Ahmad), were injured, but survived. Of Wa’el’s immediate family, a daughter and a son (Rezqa, 14, and Fares, 12) were killed, while two smaller children (Abdullah and Muhammad) were injured. The photographs of all the dead victims were shown to the Mission… and displayed at the public hearing in Gaza.

    After the shelling of Wa’el al-Samouni’s house, most of those inside decided to leave immediately and walk to Gaza City, leaving behind the dead and some of the wounded. The women waved their scarves. Soldiers, however, ordered the al-Samounis to return to the house. When family members replied that there were many injured among them, the soldiers’ reaction was, according to Saleh al-Samouni, “go back to death”. They decided not to follow this injunction and walked in the direction of Gaza City.

    PRCS had made its first attempt to evacuate the injured from the al-Samouni area on 4 January around 4 p.m. after receiving a call from the family of Ateya al-Samouni. PRCS had called ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross], asking it to coordinate its entry into the area with the Israeli armed forces. A PRCS ambulance from al-Quds hospital managed to reach the al-Samouni area… Israeli soldiers on the ground and on the roof of one of the houses directed their guns at it and ordered it to stop. The driver and the nurse were ordered to get out of the vehicle, raise their hands, take off their clothes and lie on the ground. Israeli soldiers then searched them and the vehicle for 5 to 10 minutes. Having found nothing, the soldiers ordered the ambulance team to return to Gaza City, in spite of their pleas to be allowed to pick up some wounded. In his statement to the Mission, the ambulance driver recalled seeing women and children huddling under the staircase in a house, but not being allowed to take them with him

    On 7 January, the Israeli armed forces finally authorized ICRC and PRCS to go to the al-Samouni area during the “temporary ceasefire” declared from 1 to 4 p.m. on that day. Three PRCS ambulances, an ICRC car and another car used to transport bodies drove down Salah ad-Din Street from Gaza City until, 1.5 km north of the al-Samouni area, they found it closed by sand mounds. ICRC tried to coordinate with the Israeli armed forces to have the road opened, but they refused and asked the ambulance staff to walk the remaining 1.5 km. Once in the al-Samouni neighbourhood, PRCS looked for survivors in the houses.. in Wa’el al-Samouni’s house they found 15 dead bodies and two seriously injured children. One of the children had a deep wound in the shoulder, which was infected and giving off a foul odour. The children were dehydrated and scared of the PRCS staff member. In a house close by, they found 11 persons in one room, including a dead woman.

    The rescue teams had only three hours for the entire operation and the evacuees were physically weak and emotionally very unstable… The rescuers put all the elderly on a cart and pulled it themselves for 1.5 kilometres to the place where they had been forced to leave the ambulances. The dead bodies lying in the street or under the rubble, among them women and children, as well as the dead they had found in the houses had to be left behind. On the way back to the cars, PRCS staff entered one house where they found a man with two broken legs. While they were carrying the man out of the house, the Israeli armed forces started firing at the house… PRCS was not able to return to the area until 18 January.

    On 18 January 2009, members of the al-Samouni family were finally able to return to their neighbourhood. They found that Wa’el al-Samouni’s house, as most other houses in the neighbourhood and the small mosque, had been demolished. The Israeli armed forces had destroyed the building on top of the bodies of those who died in the attack. Pictures taken on 18 January show feet and legs sticking out from under the rubble and sand, and rescuers pulling out the bodies of women, men and children. A witness described to the Mission family members taking away the corpses on horse carts, a young man sitting in shock beside the ruins of his house and, above all, the extremely strong smell of death.

    The Mission found the foregoing witnesses to be credible and reliable. It has no reason to doubt their testimony.

    The Mission received testimony on the death of Iyad al-Samouni from Muhammad Asaad al-Samouni and Fawzi Arafat, as well as from a PRCS staff member. In the night of 3 to 4 January, Iyad al-Samouni, his wife and five children were, together with about 40 other members of their extended family in Asaad al-Samouni’s house, very close to the houses of Wa’el al-Samouni and Ateya al-Samouni (the scenes of the incidents described above). At 1 a.m. on 4 January 2009 they heard noise on the roof. At around 5 a.m. Israeli soldiers walked down the stairs from the roof, knocked on the door and entered the house. They asked for Hamas fighters. The residents replied that there were none. The soldiers then separated women, children and the elderly from the men. The men were forced into a separate room, blindfolded and handcuffed with plastic handcuffs. They were allowed to go to the toilet only after one of the men urinated on himself. The soldiers stationed themselves in the house.

    In the morning of 5 January, after the shelling of Wa’el al-Samouni’s house, two of the survivors took refuge in Asaad al-Samouni’s house… The persons assembled in Asaad al-Samouni’s house walked out of the house and down al-Samouni Street to take Salah ad-Din Street in the direction of Gaza City. They had been instructed by the soldiers to walk directly to Gaza City without stopping or diverting from the direct route. The men were still handcuffed and the soldiers had told them that they would be shot if they attempted to remove the handcuffs. On Salah ad-Din Street, just a few metres north of al-Samouni Street and in front of the Juha family house, a single or several of the Israeli soldiers positioned on the roofs of the houses opened fire. Iyad was struck in the leg and fell to the ground. Muhammad Asaad al-Samouni, who was walking immediately behind him, moved to help him, but an Israeli soldier on a rooftop ordered him to walk on. When he saw the red point of a laser beam on his body and understood that an Israeli soldier had taken aim at him, he desisted.

    The Israeli soldiers also fired warning shots at Muhammad Asaad al-Samouni’s father to prevent him from assisting Iyad to get back on his feet. Iyad al-Samouni’s wife and children were prevented from helping him by further warning shots. Fawzi Arafat, who was part of another group walking from the al-Samouni neighbourhood to Gaza, told the Mission that he saw Iyad al-Samouni lying on the ground, his hands shackled with white plastic handcuffs, blood pouring from the wounds in his legs, begging for help. Fawzi Arafat stated that he yelled at an Israeli soldier “we want to evacuate the wounded man”. The soldier, however, pointed his gun at Iyad’s wife and children and ordered them to move on without him. Iyad al-Samouni’s family and relatives were forced to abandon him and continue to walk towards Gaza City. At al-Shifa hospital they reported his case and those of the other dead and wounded left behind. Representatives of PRCS told them that the Israeli armed forces were not permitting them to access the area.

    PRCS staff member told the Mission that three days later, on 8 January, PRCS was granted permission by the Israeli armed forces through ICRC to evacuate Iyad al-Samouni. The PRCS staff member found him on the ground in Salah ad-Din Street in the place described by his relatives. He was still handcuffed. He had been shot in both legs and had bled to death.

    The particular manner in which the conflict affected women was dramatically illustrated for the Mission by the testimony of a woman of the al-Samouni family (see chap. XI). She had three children and was pregnant when her family and her house came under attack. She commented on how the children were scared and crying. She was distressed when recounting how her 10-month-old baby, whom she was carrying in her arms, was hungry but she did not have anything to give him to eat, and how she tried to feed him by chewing on a piece of bread, the only food available, and giving it to him. She also managed to get half a cup of water from an ill functioning tap. There were other babies and older children. She and her sister exposed themselves to danger by going out to search for food for them. Her husband, mother and sister were killed but she managed to survive. Her other son was wounded in the back, and she carried both out of the house.

    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

    Gilad Atzmon: What Are They Afraid of?

    UK Zionist network, together with half a dozen Sayanim* within the Jewish Palestinian solidarity network, seem to be strongly united this week.
    Acting as a joint effort, they are trying to stifle freedom of speech: they seem to be horrified by the idea that a panel of intellectuals, journalists and an artist plan to explore the intriguing bond between Israel, Zionism and ‘Jewishness’, and thus far they have harassed panelists, threatened an academic institute and have spread lies, smears and defamation.

    And yet in doing so they have unwittingly provided us with a tremendous glimpse into a contemporary Jewish secular tribal operation.

    And what is at the root of their hysteria? For some peculiar reason, both Zionists and UK Jewish so-called ‘anti Zionists’, insist that discussing ‘Jewishness’ is a taboo which should never be explored, certainly not in public, and definitely never outside of the ghetto.

    But isn’t it all just more than a little suspicious? After all, please consider that the Jewish ‘anti Zionists’ operate politically under a Jewish banner; they also clearly carry their Jewish identity with pride; and, like the ‘Jews only state’, they also run a ‘Jews only club’yet they want to try to stop us from questioning what this club actually stands for. They want to take it further and even try to stop us from discussing and grasping what the Jewishness of Israel is all about.

    Why are they so concerned about others questioning their ideology, an identity which they themselves are clearly and openly so proud of?

    Is it that we are not allowed to question ideologies and political precepts? Should we, then, also have stopped Max Weber from looking into the role of Protestantism in the context of the rise of capitalism? And if Israel proudly defines itself as the Jewish State, then are we not entitled to also wonder what its Jewishness actually means?

    And shouldn’t we also be entitled to refer the exact same questions to the UK Jewish ‘anti Zionists’?
    It seems clear to me that we do have that right to know.

    A few years ago I invented a spoof character. His name was Artie Fishel. Artie was a satirical, fictional Jewish American musician, a rabid Zionist, convinced that jazz was Jewish. He believed that jazz music also had nothing to do with America or Africa. He wanted it back, and thus founded ‘Artie Fishel & The Promised Band’.
    Artie Fishel was obviously a parody of the Zionist enterprise: if we can take Palestine from the Arabs, then surely we can take jazz from the Americans.
    To listen to Artie click here
    The Jewish ‘anti Zionists’ here in the UK were the first to oppose the project. The first night on the road, we played in Nottingham. As the gig finished, a ‘Jewish progressive’ promoter (who was and still is a friend of mine) approached us. She stood there with tears in her eyes : “Everything you say is so true; but why do you have to share it with the Goyim,” she said, in a broken voice.
    She wasn’t amused by the satirical Artie.
    We realised that we must have touched a sensitive nerve.
    **.
    I also fail to see what is so charming about relentless Jewish lobbying. And when I look at the reality of Jewish political dissidence here in the UK; and when I read about Jewish campaigners harassing a fellow Palestinian academic or solidarity activists ( in the ‘name of Palestine’ no less ) it really begins to make me feel sick.
    I often ask myself : what is it that they are so afraid of ? Why are they so desperate to stop us from looking into the meaning of their flag?
    I can think of two possible answers:
    1. It could be that they may not even know themselves what their ‘Jewishness’ stands for — but they are certainly clever enough to grasp that they had better not find out: they clearly realise that the concept may turn out to be a ‘Pandora box’. Such an answer is consistent with Judaic teaching, for in Judaism, observance is primary; comprehension is secondary. In other words, Judaism demands blind acceptance.
    2. It could also be that they know very well what ‘Jewishness’ means, yet they know how sinister it may look for the outsider. Hence they use different tactics, just to stop the rest of us from looking into it. If that is the case, such an answer might mean that their apparent attempt to stifle a debate may be inherent to their conception of ‘Jewishness’.
    Yet, considering the crimes that are committed by the Jewish state, and considering the measures that are taken by some elements within the Jewish ‘anti Zionist’ network, the time is clearly overdue for us to look into the true meaning of Jewish ideology — what does it stand for; what does it preach; what does it promise, and essentially, what does it insist to take away from us (namely, freedom of speech and expression)?
    But here is the good news : it is apparent that many Jews, and even Jewish spiritual leaders are now breaking away from the Jewish ‘left’ in order to find a meaningful path into true universal empathy as equal and ordinary human beings. I know that is the case, because they ask to meet me. I know, because they talk to me. I know, because they ask questions, rather than repeating ready-made answers.
    And most of all I know because I myself left the ghetto many years ago and I see them trying to do the same.
    Panel Event: Zionism, Jewishness and Israel
    Time: Tuesday, May 3 · 6:30pm – 8:30pm
    Location: University Of Westminster – Cavendish Campus
    A panel discussion examining Israeli Criminality in the wake of the Goldstone Retract.
    Alan Hart, Gilad Atzmon and others
    * Sayanim- Diaspora Jews subservient to Israeli interests. Ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky describes how Sayanim function in “By Way Of Deception”. ‘They are usually reached through relatives in Israel… They perform many different roles. A car Sayan, for example, running a rental car agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without having to complete the usual documentation. An apartment Sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank Sayan could fund someone in the middle of the night if needs be, a doctor Sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to the police.’

    ** At the time of Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Israeli polls showed that 94 per cent of Israel’s Jewish population backed the war and IDF tactics.

    What’s In It for Us, Mr. Obama?

    Via MCS

    – 29. Apr, 2011

    It is difficult to see what the American interest is in offering a congressional bully pulpit to a man like Netanyahu who has clearly condoned war crimes and it would seem pointless to listen to yet another Israeli attempt to prevaricate and, let’s face it, lie.

    By Philip Giraldi / Antiwar.com

    Apologists for Israel sometimes argue that critics of that nation hold the government in Tel Aviv up to an impossibly high standard, that many condemn Israelis for doing things that other countries in the world also do routinely.  That argument has a certain persuasiveness in that Bahrain’s Sunni rulers treat the country’s Shi’a majority just as badly as Israeli Jews treat Palestinian Arabs, but it misses the point.  How Israel treats its own minority citizens, Gazans, and residents of the West Bank, and its neighbors might be significant from a humanitarian point of view, but it is not a vital interest of the United States.  That Washington has become a victim of the internal politics of the Middle East is largely due to manipulation by Israel and its lobby, which has turned all Americans into enablers of Israeli policies, no matter how short-sighted or ill-conceived.  It is the US national interest that has been sacrificed in the process.  That is the point.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky
    For those who would argue that such a view of the US interest versus that of Israel is simplistic, I would point out three developments over the past several weeks that together make the case that Israel has extraordinary ability to manipulate Washington.  First would be the budget debate, in which Republicans united to call for deep cuts in the proposed federal budget before settling for less than one tenth of one percent.  Senator Rand Paul had courageously raised the possibility of ending all foreign aid, including to Israel, but generally speaking any reduction in assistance at the current $3 billion plus level was off the table.  Several congressmen, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor explicitly stated their opposition to any reduction in aid to Israel.  But the real surprise came in the final spending bill.  Israel not only was not cut in its assistance level, it received $205 million in additional funding for its Iron Dome defensive missile development, which competes with US defense firm Raytheon’s Patriot system.

    That billions of US taxpayer dollars are going to Israel at a time when programs like Medicare and Social Security are facing cuts is absolutely indefensible.  That Congress would be so tone deaf as to vote more money for Israel when domestic programs are being slashed is symptomatic of the hold that the Lobby has over the US government.  Israel does not need money from the United States.  It has a strong economy and in per capita income it ranks at the same level as Great Britain.  Its citizens receive free medical care and education through university level.  It has received generous trade and co-production concessions from Congress that some claim amount to $10 billion a year in aggregate national income while its own markets are difficult for US companies to penetrate.  The only explanation for Israel’s being showered with American taxpayer largesse is that the Lobby wants it to be so, to provide a tangible sign of America’s unflinching support.

    A second indication of Israel’s control over Congress even when it is not in the US national interest is the issuance of frequent resolutions by both the House and Senate in support of every move taken by Israel.  Ever since the United Nations’ Goldstone Report was released, detailing Israeli war crimes in its Cast Lead invasion of Gaza in January 2009, there have been efforts to delegitimize the report’s findings.  Normally, the US is able to block any investigation into Israeli missteps, as it successfully did when Lebanon was bombed and invaded in 2006, an event that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described as “birth pangs of a new Middle East,” but the devastation of UN sponsored relief facilities and schools resulting from Cast Lead was such that an international investigation could not be avoided.

    The Obama Administration has persistently questioned the Goldstone Report’s conclusions, the media has largely ignored the crimes against civilians that it describes, and Congress has been working hard to put pressure on the United Nations to rescind the report in its entirety.  The objective of Israel’s friends is to protect its government and defense forces from any accountability for the deaths of 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians and many of whom were children.  Israel’s independent investigation into possible war crimes committed by its soldiers has been essentially bogus, with only one soldier receiving seven months in jail for fraudulently using a stolen credit card.

    US SENATE TO UN RECIND GOLDSTONE REPORT
    The strenuous efforts by the United States government to shield Israel make all Americans complicit in a cover-up of war crimes, which is precisely how the rest of the world sees it.  Senate Resolution 138, which passed by a unanimous consent vote on April 14th, called on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone Report, demanded that the UN Human Rights Council be reformed so that it will stop criticizing Israel, and urged the White House to take the lead to “limit the damage that this libelous report has caused to our close ally Israel…”  But it did not have any teeth in terms of compelling a UN response.

    That failure has been addressed by the House of Representatives.  The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House is currently considering a bill, HR 1501, “To withhold United States contributions to the United Nations until the United Nations formally retracts” the Goldstone Report.  As the committee is headed by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a passionate supporter of Israel, it is certain that the bill will go to the full House for approval, where it will likely pass overwhelmingly.  However one feels about the United Nations in general, it is difficult to understate what this bill will do to America’s standing vis-à-vis a number of international bodies.  There is no possible explanation for this bill but to protect Israel from any and all legitimate criticism.  As is frequently the case, the United States and its citizens will pay the price in terms of America’s approval rating sinking even lower worldwide.  Defending Israel from criticism does not appear either in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights and sacrificing American interests for those of a foreign power is just not acceptable, but Congress has long since abandoned any attempt to mandate minimal standards of accountability, either for itself or for the state of Israel.

    Binyamin Netanyahu invited
    to address a joint meeting of Congress in May
    Finally, there is the invitation by Congress to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session.  Netanyahu will do so during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual convention at the end of May.  The speech is at the invitation of the new Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, but it is sure to have bipartisan support.  In a widely reported meeting with Netanyahu in November 2010, Eric Cantor, House majority leader, met privately with Bibi Netanyahu and said the Republican Party would serve “as a check on” the Obama Administration over its policies in the Middle East. Then “He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.” In other words, Cantor was meeting with the leader of a foreign country and promising to do whatever he could to influence and even subvert the foreign policy of his own country.  Cantor apparently is delivering on his pledge because the timing of the Netanyahu visit and speech is clearly designed to preempt any peace plan offered by the White House that Israel might object to, meaning that Congress is again undercutting on behalf of Israel the prerogative of the president to conduct foreign policy.

    It has already leaked that Netanyahu will likely reveal what he calls a new peace plan asserting forcefully that Israel’s security must be guaranteed.  Which means a Palestinian state with no authority to do anything that states normally do, disarmed and not even controlling its own borders or airspace.  It would essentially be the status quo wrapped up as a totally bogus peace agreement and there is no sign that Netanyahu might be willing to abandon his most ardent supporters, 500,000 strong in the settlements built on Palestinian land.

    It is difficult to see what the American interest is in offering a congressional bully pulpit to a man like Netanyahu who has clearly condoned war crimes and it would seem pointless to listen to yet another Israeli attempt to prevaricate and, let’s face it, lie.  Conservative columnist Joe Sobran once commented on an earlier Netanyahu speech before Congress back in 1996.  He likened the response to that given to Josef Stalin when addressing the Supreme Soviet, with everyone standing up and applauding wildly because no one dared to be seen as the first to stop clapping.  Hopefully both Ron and Rand Paul and Dennis Kucinich will not bother to applaud at all.

    And looking ahead there will be congressional and White House moves to stop the Palestinians from attempting to declare statehood when the UN General Assembly reopens in September, a move that Israel and AIPAC condemn.  Stay tuned.  If there is a genuine American national interest in any of these shenanigans, it completely escapes me as to what it might be, but one has to conclude that there is nothing good for the United States and its citizens in any of this.

    Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. His “Deep Background” column appears every month exclusively in The American Conservative.

     

    Event: Zionism, Jewishness and Israel

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 9:51PM Gilad Atzmon
    A panel discussion examining Israeli Criminality in the wake of the Goldstone Retract.
    Tuesday, May 3 · 6:30pm – 8:00pm
    Location:  University Of Westminster – Cavendish Campus
    115 New Cavendish Street
    London
    W1W 6UW
    Speakers include:
    Ghada Karmi
    John Rose
    Gilad Atzmon
    Alan Hart
    Enquiries Contact:  07934 263 023

    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

    BBC governing body hails “pretentious propaganda” documentary on Gaza aid ship massacre

    Via Redress
    By Richard Lightbown

    21 April 2011
    Richard Lightbown is surprised to learn from the BBC Trust – the governing body of Britain’s state broadcaster – that it considered Panorama’s “Death in the Med” documentary to have “performed a valuable public service”.

    ”Nothing of value will ever be served by distorting reality and no credit will come to the BBC for promoting or excusing such a travesty of the truth.” (Richard Lightbown)

    The BBC Panorama programme, “Death in the Med” took as its subject the Israeli commando raid on the Mavi Marmara. Broadcast on 16 August 2010, the programme received both accolades and brickbats.

    Pro-Zionist blogs expressed delight that the BBC had finally produced a “balanced” documentary, while Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs downloaded the whole programme onto its website. (The Goldstone Report was denied the same distinction.)

    On the other hand, of the more than 2,000 respondents to the programme who expressed an opinion, 72 per cent were negatively inclined. The BBC considered about one quarter of these were more or less identical with the wording recommended by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. It is possible then that the programme generated about 1,000 original complaints.

    Selective background

    Because the programme length was limited to 29 minutes the subject had been confined to the raid on the Mavi Marmara. The report tells us on page 88 that the “story of the film was the organized resistance to Israeli commandos and the shocking consequences of the decisions taken by each side”. Interestingly, the programme itself had not made this claim, but had stated that it would “piece together the real story – for the first time” – of the raid on the Turkish ship.

    As part of the background to these events, the firing of rockets from Gaza and the allegation of racist abuse over the marine radio band had been mentioned. Yet years of violent occupation, military attacks on the Gazan population, often with illegal weapons, and the condemnation of the blockade by the United Nations were all considered irrelevant to the story by first the programme makers and now the BBC Trust.

    Complainants were first dealt with by the programme’s deputy editor, Daniel Pearl, and then passed on to the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) if they remained dissatisfied (or had the stamina to continue). The ECU rejected all of the complaints. The final stage of the process was handled by a committee of the BBC Trust, which met to consider the 19 remaining complaints in a consolidated appeal on 17 March. Its findings were published on 19 April, nine months after the programme was broadcast. This in part upheld three of the 51 points of complaint. Lest anyone should think this to be some kind of rebuke, the committee was at pains to commend the BBC for tackling this “most controversial of issues” and declared that the programme was “an original, illuminating and well-researched piece of journalism”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no doubt appreciate this extra copy.

    Breaches of BBC guidelines on accuracy and impartiality

    The points of complaint upheld were:

    1. Material from the Turkish preliminary autopsy reports would have given some indication of the level of force employed by the commandos. (Viewers were given no indication that the nine dead had been shot 30 times in total. This included the fatal injury to Cevdet Kiliclar who was shot once in the centre of the forehead; the ECU had told one respondent: “No one except those directly involved is in a position to state as a fact that the victims were deliberately killed.” Instead viewers heard a commando tell the reporter that he had aimed at the legs.) This was considered to have breached Editorial Guidelines on accuracy, but not those on impartiality.

    2. By mentioning that the Israelis evacuated the badly wounded to hospital without mentioning widespread allegations of mistreatment of some of the casualties, the programme makers were considered by the committee to have breached the guidelines on impartiality. Despite omitting all mention of claims that wounded passengers had died following denial of medical attention, the committee considered that there had been no breach of guidelines on accuracy.

    3. The programme was also considered to have breached the guidelines on accuracy by mentioning (in a deprecating fashion) only a small part of the aid cargoes carried by the flotilla. However, the committee agreed with the programme that the purpose of the flotilla was not really about taking aid to Gaza.

    (This curious opinion was also shared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees mission. The flotilla had been carrying 10,000 tons of aid, the majority of which was construction materials and other items not allowed into Gaza. Just how much aid do private citizens have to organize for the beleaguered population in defiance of their indolent governments before the BBC and other spectators deign to take them seriously?)

    The BBC’s perverse reasoning

    Among the points of complaint that were rejected were:

    The programme did not mention that the blockade and siege are widely considered to be illegal.

    Despite being condemned as collective punishment (and therefore illegal) by the UN, the BBC committee decided the information was not essential to understanding the story. Yet perversely the committee had endorsed the programme’s claim that the attempt to breach the blockade was political, i.e. it was defying the illegal imprisonment of a whole population.

    2. The legality of the boarding and takeover did not need to be explored because the committee considered (without justification) the viewers’ perception of the issue was not altered by its exclusion.

    3. Israeli attacks on Gaza were never referred to because they were not essential to understanding the situation whereas the rockets from Gaza were considered central to the circumstances of the conflict.

    4. The reporter’s statement “Here in Gaza the problem’s not so much a lack of food or medicine” was described as correct even though it contradicted the statement by Dr Ahmed Yousef that “Many people have died because [of] the lack of medical supplies, or because there is no chance for having surgery here.”

    5. Having observed that allegations of links to terrorism by the Turkish charity IHH needed to be well sourced and based on sound evidence, the BBC committee accepted that links to Hamas, which runs the government in Gaza constituted links with terrorism, along with totally unsubstantiated assertions from Judge Bruguiere made in 2010.

    6. The allegations of the use of live fire by activists were not sufficiently tested for veracity.

    The committee had noted that proving a negative – that the activists did not use live fire and did not possess live weapons – was not a reasonable expectation. However, it did not consider that proving a positive – that Israel had made allegations that it has never produced evidence to substantiate – is a very reasonable expectation that the programme and the BBC Trust should both have insisted on.

    7. That live fire had commenced from the helicopters, before the commandos boarded.

    The BBC committee ignored the fact that Israeli aerial infrared film of the raid has been withheld for the crucial period when this allegation is most likely to have occurred. They also ignored the fact that laser sights from a helicopter was shown scanning the deck in the Cultures of Resistance film thus disproving the assertion of the Israeli Turkel Commission, which the committee used here in assessing the evidence, that this equipment was not carried in the helicopters. And they have overlooked the fact that at least one of the activists who was shot from above was on the navigation deck at which location only a helicopter can fire from above. It is fair to say therefore that the BBC committee exhibited wilful ignorance on this point.

    8. The commandos repeated use of the word terrorist was never countered.

    The BBC committee apparently failed to understand that terrorism involves attacks on civilian targets, and that in describing the defence of a ship against armed military aggression this is not an accurate word to use. The committee should also not have naively regurgitated Israeli propaganda that 50 individuals on the ship had connections with “global jihad-affiliated terrorist organizations”. This is nothing less than a McCarthy-type slur intended for the gullible. The committee might also have recognized that the definition of a terrorist that they quote from the Turkel Commission – “…terrorists are an armed group dressed for battle – protective vests, masks and facial covers” – most accurately (and appropriately) describes the Israeli commandos.

    9. The programme had not mentioned the abuse and humiliation of passengers when detained on the ship. While accepting that there were detailed allegations of ill-treatment, the BBC committee decided that the exclusion of this information was a legitimate editorial decision. Thus, having allowed the Israelis to call the passengers terrorists the programme then excluded any mention of the Israeli behaviour that the UNHRC has described as tantamount to torture. We are then told by the committee that this version of events is impartial.

    It is unsurprising then that in its final paragraph the BBC committee should conclude: “…’Death in the Med’ was an original, illuminating and well researched piece of journalism. It had achieved exceptional access to key players from both the Israeli and the activists’ side. Voices were heard that had not previously spoken and in presenting their story Panorama performed a valuable public service.”

    In truth the only public that was well served by this pretentious propaganda were the Israeli bigots who lined the hill overlooking Ashdod in order to jeer at the activists illegally abducted into the port. Nothing of value will ever be served by distorting reality and no credit will come to the BBC for promoting or excusing such a travesty of the truth.

    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

    Sinning against Zionism: Traitor to Country

    Dr. William A. Cook Salem-News.com

    “Hell is where many false commitments must be unlearned.” Ricardo J. Quinones, Dante Alighieri

    (LAVERNE, Calif.) – Richard Goldstone’s journey from Justice to Sinner represents the spiritual act of dying in the Zionist world.
    By recanting his own report he has attempted to break the bonds that cast him into the sufferings in Caina, Antenora, and Judecca where, in Dante’s Inferno, those treacherous to their own, are removed from the light and warmth of their kin, their country, and their masters and suffer eternal damnation in the remorseless dead center of the ice in the most bottomless circle of Hell. Fortunately, Goldstone like Dante can learn that he has, in his journey, aligned himself with many false gods and many false attachments ignoring on the way the elementary truths that bind humankind ineluctably in one race in a bond of human grace.

    The Zionist world needs no Hell since it heeds no conscience. It exists on one foundation, a solid block of ice that freezes the soul of all who bear allegiance to its creed of absolute obedience, an ancient form of tribal slavery bound by fear that shackles the soul, by isolation that instills despair, by humiliation that corrodes self, and by victimhood that bonds the tribe in self-perpetuating agony. It is in this sense Medieval, a remnant of the inquisitorial mind that harbored no dissent, gave no credence to personal freedom, and obligated all to one monolithic understanding of commitment to the powers that control.

    Goldstone, nearing the end of his life’s journey, vested in the mantle of Jewishness with all the warmth of family and community, surrounded by companions from adolescence to manhood, imbued with curiosity and fervor for the history of his people, and sustained over the years by his commitment to justice for his people found himself confronted by a state that would not cooperate in the pursuit of that justice when he and his commission found it to be wanting.

    Thus did the Goldstone Report, executed on behalf of all nations united in pursuit of truth, become the lodestone that attracted the attention of the world and brought condemnation to the state of Israel. In retaliation for such an act, he suffered the consequences of those who act treacherously to their masters, the Zionist powers that used time-tested punishments of those who find fault with the tribe: damnation, isolation, coercion, rejection, humiliation, and expulsion from his own. Thus did the false gods expose themselves, forcing Richard Goldstone to retract his own words in a blind attempt to seek solace in the tribe that condemned him. But these false gods are “dead people” in Dante’s Inferno, they have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites for land and power through the use of violence, perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice.

    Had Goldstone paid heed to his history, he would have realized that his retraction would illicit exactly this behavior. Forgiveness does not exist in the tribal culture; it is a sign of weakness. If history had recorded the truth of the Jewish war against Britain during the Mandate period, the means by which they operated in coordinated violence and terrorism against the very nation that made possible the existence of a Jewish homeland, would be known.

    The existence of the Jewish Agency, formed initially in coordination with the British authorities, metamorphosed into a clandestine Jewish government that used that acceptance by the British to aid Jewish immigrants coming to Palestine, as a means of violating the civil rights of the very Jews they were purportedly aiding. The reality of this period, from 1939 to 1948 demonstrates conclusively that the Zionist rulers of the Jewish Agency, most especially the Consultancy as labeled by Dr. Ilan Pappe, declared a war against the Mandate Police and British forces operating in Palestine while they controlled the entering Jews with mandated taxes through a calculated process of extortion, coercion, and fear.

    In Top Secret documents collected by the British Mandate Police, specifically Head Deputy of the Criminal Investigation Division Richard C. Catling, filed in the archives of the Rhodes House library in Oxford, in Appendices used as evidence for a 48 page report on six areas of violations against the Mandate Authority, are details of an Emergency Fund under the control of the Consultancy that stipulates procedures for forced collection of illegal taxes from Jews providing specific actions to be taken against those who do not pay.
    Under item 4.a, page 3,

      “Measures of pressure against the stubborn are executed under the direct supervision of the Central Office in conjunction with the Department of collection or by the management of the local committee. No incidental pressure or assault or causing excitement to the person refusing before he is warned and declared as stubborn.

      A.b. In the second instance, it will be referred to the party or the organization, institute, economical society, manager of the synagogue, or friends of the person concerned so that they can influence him to pay.

      A.c. In cases where all these measures prove ineffective a decision is passed against the person to inflict on him the following measures. (1) To publish his name and the fact of his refusal and post it in the corridor of the house where he lives. (2) These facts are also circulated amongst his comrades in the party to which he belongs. (3) A demand is made to the party, organization or synagogue etc. to discharge him from membership. (4) Circulation of his name is made in a special notice to be posted in the zone where he lives. (5) Circulation of his name in the press. (6) A request is made to his party and clients to influence him. (7) A demand to the Rabbinate to inflict on him a boycott in case he belongs to the Orthodox Society. (8) To post a permanent picket of protest to accompany him on roads, to stand at the door of his house, office, shop etc., until he fulfills his obligations.”

      And indeed, the names are posted: “The following are the wealthy people of Tel Aviv who have not responded to the appeal of the Emergency Fund…Morris Gredinger, David Ilgovsky, Hillel Turkeldove, etc. etc….”(about 25 additional names followed by an amendment with more.)

      The Tel Aviv Municipal Council makes the following declaration: “The Municipal Council denounces their behavior and has decided to adopt all means of public pressure at its disposal in order to force those who would evade payment to carry out their civic and national duties.” Other documents in Catling’s file, all seized from the Jewish Agency and its affiliated organizations, testify to individuals who challenged the Emergency tax and also described some “disappearances” of individuals that could have resulted from a refusal to pay.

    It would appear that no Jew arrived in Palestine without having to commit himself/herself to the Zionist enterprise. Personal freedom appears to be non-existent. Those who arrived and had not yet reached the age of 18 would upon reaching that age be required to enter the Jewish military forces known then as gangs but which were in reality well trained troops. If they entered the Hagana forces they had to take the Hagana Oath which committed them for life to the wishes of the High Command even unto death. Commitment, obedience, total acquiescence to the Zionist Consultancy and its beliefs ruled in Mandate Palestine.

    Today we may not expect that kind of coercion over individuals to be a practice in a purported Democracy. Yet with the passage of recent McCarthy-like oaths that force commitment by citizens to the democratic and Jewish State, where total allegiance is required not only of Jews but of Israeli Arabs, Israel has virtually branded itself a racist, apartheid state. Even more alarming is the Lieberman designed act that declares remembrance of the Nakba to be illegal and punishable by fine or imprisonment.

    This is nothing short of a totalitarian imposed attempt to rob Israeli Palestinians of their memory of the catastrophe that left them aliens in their own land.

    Gilad Atzmon, perhaps the most incisive intellect investigating the Zionist mind today, offered these observations recently about the treatment Goldstone has endured from Zionist intolerance to anti-Zionism:
    “…for some time now, we have witnessed Goldstone being subjected to relentless measures of exclusion and abuse from his Zionist brethren. As a matter of fact, intolerance towards critical voices is inherent within Jewish culture, identity, and politics, for Zionism is clearly a demand for ideological collectivism.

    But interestingly enough, Jewish anti Zionism is also no different in its modus operandi : all too often
    we come across a Jewish ‘progressive’ poisonous smear campaign against one ‘Jewish self-hater’ or another.

    As tragic as it may sound, Jewish identity politics is an exercise in some different variations of collective hatred; hatred towards the Goyim, but also towards Jewish dissidence.

    Stranger than fiction Order Now

    The Goldstone saga is then, an opportunity to peep into contemporary Jewish political intolerance, and Goldstone emerges as a tragic figure: he sacrificed his professional name for the sake of just a little Jewish empathy.” (“On Jewish Intolerance”)
    What more can be said? Richard Goldstone stands as a tragic figure, a man that stood against forces he could not defeat, aware of the righteousness of his acts as an observant Judge, resilient in his desire to act in total truthfulness, a figure due great respect given his heritage, a man of unquestioned faith in the potential of law to serve the greater good, yet a victim of his own nature that was nurtured by his Jewishness which always taught equity to all, compassion for all, justice for all only to find that Zionism had destroyed that heritage and those principles and had the power to turn his own against him.

    He now wanders the stage a defeated man in the streets of Jerusalem where all turn from him regardless of his vain attempt to reconcile with his past. But his past is not the Zionists’ past; they have corrupted true Judaism. His future lies with those who seek truth, in the very garden that he so fruitfully watered with his report; it is the lesson of his journey through Hell, false gods have tried to kill his soul and, truth be told, he must abandon them. Those who know him well will come to him. He is like the protagonist of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor, but Richard Goldstone is his name, it is his identity in this life and forevermore; it alone will testify to the truth of his actions, not the veiled curse of those who would destroy his being and erase Richard Goldstone from memory.

    __________________________________________________________________

    William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California where he served for 13 years as Vice President for Academic Affairs before assuming his faculty position in 2001. Prior to coming to California, he served as a Dean of Faculty, Chair of Department of English and faculty member at institutions large and small, public and private in four eastern states. He is an activist and a writer for numerous Internet publications including Counterpunch, Salem-News.com, Pacific Free Press in British Columbia, Dissident Voice and Information Clearing House, serving as senior editor for MWC News out of Canada, and contributing editor at the Palestine Chronicle, the Atlantic Free Press in the Netherlands, and the World Prout Assembly, his polemics against the Bush administration and the atrocities caused by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert in Israel, now our 51st state, have been spread around the Internet world and translated into French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Italian. Cook also serves on the Board of the People’s Media Project, interviews on radio and TV in South Africa, Canada, Iran and the United States and contributed for five years yearly predictions to the Hong Kong Economic News. This volume follows his Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied: The Rape of Palestine and continues his scourge against the hypocrisy, deceit, and destructive policies that have characterized American mid-east policy and its destructive alliance with the Zionist forces that have turned Israel into an apartheid state determined to destroy the Palestinian people.

    In addition to his polemics, he writes plays (The Unreasoning Mask, co-authored with his wife, D’Arcy, and The Agony of Colin Powell), satires (see “Advancing the Civilized State: Inch by Bloody Inch” in The Rape), and poetry (Psalms for the 21st Century). His most recent fictional work creates a morality tale based upon real life figures that haunt our lives, The Chronicles of Nefaria He can be reached at wcook@laverne.edu or www.drwilliamacook.com..

    The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction is a collection of voices from around the world that establishes in both theoretical and graphic terms the slow, methodical genocide taking place in Palestine beginning in the 1940s, as revealed in the Introduction. From Dr. Francis A. Boyle’s detailed legal case against the state of Israel, to Uri Avnery’s “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” to Richard Falk’s “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” to Ilan Pappe’s “Genocide in Gaza,” these voices decry in startling, vivid, and forceful language the calculated atrocities taking place, the inhumane conditions inflicted on the people, and the silence that exists despite the crimes, nothing short of state-sponsored genocide against the Palestinians.
    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

    Now Israel Is Free to Declare Its Innocence before the International Court of Justice

    April 15, 2011 posted by Prof. William A. Cook

    WHITE PHOSPHOROUS RAINS DOWN ON GAZA CITY
    United States Congress has once again jumped to the fore as defender of the beleaguered state of Israel by writing a letter to the UNHRC

    Let us present this case as objectively as we can… A few photos of Israeli use of white phosphorus will accompany this article if possible.

    William A. Cook / STAFF WRITER

    Thank God Judge Goldstone recanted his judgment on Israel and its IDF forces in the slaughter inflicted on Gaza during its Christmas invasion in 2008-2009; both are now innocent of wrongful intent to kill Palestinian civilians since the Israeli military courts investigated Goldstone’s allegations and determined he was wrong. Now the good Judge has found, with the military court, that the Israeli government, that refused to cooperate with the United Nations investigation, did not intentionally send its forces to kill and destroy but only to kill and destroy Gaza; that the civilians were killed is simply a sad consequence of war. How astute, how learned, how compassionate; how absurd, how facetious, how despicable.

    Yet, good may come of this decision. Now Israel is free to declare its innocence before the International Court of Justice since it is Israel’s investigation that can be presented as its case, with the good Judge as co-defendant. After all, isn’t this exactly what the Israeli government has wanted from the start, a way to demonstrate to the world that its Army is the most moral on the planet, its government the most democratic, acting only to defend its people, its weaponry the most sophisticated state of the art precision ordinance available, and its actions always proportionate to the crimes it seeks to address? Knowing now what they did not know before Judge Goldstone recanted his report, the government of Israel has nothing to fear from the ICJ but the justice it so rightfully deserves. Certainly it makes no sense for Israel or the UN to do nothing now that the report has been brought into question. The world has castigated Israel because of the report, now it’s Israel’s turn to seek revenge and put before the world how righteous and how legal its actions have been. How fortunate this turn of events.

    And how opportune a moment since our United States Congress has once again jumped to the fore as defender of the beleaguered state of Israel by writing a letter to the UNHRC that it should expunge the report from history since it is biased against the Jewish state and this would help make amends. (“Congressional initiatives targeting Goldstone report” April 11, 2011 JTA) But why expunge it? Israel, after all, knows it did no wrong; it has done its own investigation and declared its innocence. What an opportunity to show the world that it has been maligned, that it has obeyed all international laws relative to individual rights, that as an occupying force under Geneva Conventions and the Charter of the UN it has observed all requisite responsibilities toward the people of Gaza, and finally that it had rights to invade that the international community must recognize since it was only defending itself.

    Let us present this case as objectively as we can by using the words in the Israeli Gaza Operation Investigations: the means used to investigate, the difficulties that impeded the investigation, their presentation of the investigation concerning white phosphorus, and the conclusions drawn by the Military Advocate General, oh, and the convictions leveled on those found guilty. We’ll follow that presentation with some eye witness accounts of the Gaza operation, the effect of white phosphorus and its legality, and the impact of DIME explosives on humans and the environment. A few photos of Israeli use of white phosphorus will accompany this article if possible.

    Consider the facts as articulated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it labeled Cast Lead as Hamas war against Israel.

    Israeli soldier looks impatient as he watches over a load of bombs destined to be fired at Gaza[My apologies; I’m interjecting a subjective comment on Israel’s calling Operation Cast Lead “Hamas’ war against Israel.” In the 8 years preceding Cast Lead, Hamas or other resistance groups in Gaza, fired 6000 home made rockets at Israel, roughly 750 a year, or 62.5 per month or 2 per day. Twenty three people were killed. In that same period Israel killed more than 1000 Palestinian children and in Cast Lead killed an additional 352. A total of 1084 Israelis were killed between 2000 and 2008, but 6430 Palestinians were killed. Yet it was Hamas’ war against Israel. One final observation: Israel’s launch of one of its American supplied missiles that cost $300,000, a fraction of the 8.2 million per day we supply to Israel’s military, a precision state of the art weapon that hit a home where the IDF ordered people to go, in less than one minute killed 21 members of the Samouni family, nine of them children.] (figures from ifamericansknew.org and see this author’s article “Consider the Realities of Gaza,” Counterpunch, Jan. 5, 2009). Back to our sources and let the reader be judge.


    Gaza Operation Investigations: An Update Jan 2010.

    Israeli Defence Forces fire massive weapons of destruction toward the population of Gaza

    1. Israel’s investigative system has multiple layers of review to ensure impartiality and independence. These include the Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG), which determines whether to initiate criminal investigations and file charges against IDF soldiers. The Military Advocate General is legally independent from the military chain of command. Israel’s Attorney General provides civilian oversight, as any decision of the Military Advocate General on whether or not to investigate or indict may be subject to his review.

    2. The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects, which addressed a range of factual and legal issues related to the Gaza Operation. The Operation in Gaza also set out the legal framework governing the use of force and the principles – including the principles of distinction and proportionality – that apply in such a conflict. It also described the IDF’s efforts to ensure compliance with these principles during the Gaza Operation and the modus operandi of Hamas, in particular its abuses of civilian protections that created such acute operational dilemmas.

    3. Describing the application of these mechanisms to the Gaza Operation, the Paper notes that the IDF to date has launched investigations of 150 separate incidents arising from the Gaza Operation. A number of these were opened at the IDF’s own initiative. Others were opened in response to complaints and reports from Palestinian civilians, local and international non-governmental organisations, and U.N. and media reports.


    Conclusions:

    183. The Gaza Operation presented complex challenges to Israel and the IDF. While the need and obligation to respond effectively to the thousands of Hamas rockets and mortars that had terrorized Israeli civilians for years was clear and acute, the strategies adopted by Hamas, and in particular its systematic entrenchment in the heart of civilian areas, created profound operational dilemmas. [A second interruption if I may: consider the reality of the Palestinians’ plight; they can go nowhere, they cannot escape through the Israeli gates, they can not flee by car, rail, air, boat or on foot, and they are caged in a steel enclosed land area blocked on the west by Israeli gunboats. They have no army, no air force, no navy; but they were training police to help provide order inside this cage of chaos, and Israel began its operation by killing 50 of the graduating class on December 27, 2008.]

    Palestinian doctors carry the bodies of children killed by an Israeli tank shell, to the morgue at Shifa hospital in Gaza (images: documents.blogspot.com)
    184. These challenges did not end with the close of operations. A key element of respecting the Law of Armed Conflict is a commitment genuinely to review military operations after the fact, and thoroughly investigate allegations of unlawful activity. Fulfilling this commitment in the context of Gaza is demanding, and requires serious efforts to obtain evidence from battleground situations and to make arrangements to enable residents of Gaza to give their accounts. It also requires an awareness that, in complex combat situations, errors of judgment, even with tragic results, do not necessarily mean that violations of the Law of Armed Conflict have occurred. [Note that Israel refused to cooperate with the UNHRC investigation that became the Goldstone Report.]

    187. Israel recognizes the importance of engaging in dialogue and sharing best practices on theconduct of investigative proceedings with other democratic states facingsimilar challenges and committed to upholding the rule of law.

    Obviously this article cannot provide a complete rendering of the Israeli investigation and its conclusions regarding proper conduct under international law. However, one of the more telling concerns raised about the IDF was its use of white phosphorus. Here is the comment from the Israeli operation cast lead investigation on that subject. Section IV contains others.

    IV. COMPLAINTS ALLEGING VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW
    OF ARMED CONFLICT DURING THE GAZA OPERATION

    89. Israel is aware of concerns raised regarding the Gaza Operation. As discussed in detail in The Operation in Gaza, and as outlined above, the deliberate strategy of Hamas to blend in with the civilian population made it difficult for the IDF to achieve the objective of the Gaza Operation – reducing the threat of deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians – while also avoiding harm to Palestinian civilians. To be sure, the IDF undertook strenuous efforts to minimise such harm. It intensively trained its personnel on the requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict. It delayed, diverted, or refrained from attacks to spare civilian life. It provided numerous and varied types of concrete warnings before launching attacks.

    88 Nevertheless, Israel’s efforts to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict do not lessen its regret for the loss of innocent lives and damage to civilian property.

    93. The unique difficulties involved in the investigation of alleged violations of the Law of Armed Conflict in the battlefield should not be ignored. They include: the inability to secure the scene for forensic and physical evidence, either during a battle or after, when the territory is under enemy control; the possible destruction of evidence during fighting and the possible  manipulation of the scene by the enemy; the need to recall reserve soldiers back for questioning; the difficulty of accurately identifying the location of an incident, when it is described in local and unofficial terms and slang; and the need to locate the adversary’s civilians as witnesses and overcome their natural suspicion and fear of reprisals by their authorities.

    90(v) The use of weaponry containing phosphorous

    117. This investigation dealt with the use of weapons containing phosphorous by IDF forces during the Gaza Operation. The investigation focused on the different types and number of weapons containing phosphorous used during the Operation, the purposes for which they were used, the applicable professional instructions and rules of engagement, and the extent of compliance with those instructions and rules. Some of the findings of the special command investigation are detailed in The Operation in Gaza.107

    118. The Military Advocate General reviewed the entire record of the special command investigation. With respect to exploding munitions containing white phosphorous, the Military Advocate General concluded that the use of this weapon in the operation was consistent with Israel’s obligations under international law.

    119. With respect to smoke projectiles, the Military Advocate General found that international law does not prohibit use of smoke projectiles containing phosphorous. Specifically, such projectiles are not “incendiary weapons,” within the meaning of the Protocol on 106 Id. ¶¶ 436-45. Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons,108 because they are not primarily designed to set fire or to burn. The Military Advocate General further determined that during the Gaza Operation, the IDF used such smoke projectiles for military purposes only, for instance to camouflage IDF armor forces from Hamas’s antitank units by creating smoke screens.

    120. The Military Advocate General found no grounds to take disciplinary or other measures for the IDF’s use of weapons containing phosphorous, which involved no violation of the Law of Armed Conflict. Nevertheless, the Military Advocate General’s opinion did not address a number of specific complaints that were received after the investigation concluded and which are being investigated separately.(vi)

    Palestinians were burned alive with illegal weapons during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

    Based on information from B’Tselem and Euromedrights.org, the determinations by the Israeli investigation resulted in the following charges: “In the over two years since Operation Cast Lead, Israel and the Palestinian side have failed to conduct genuine investigations, and where appropriate, prosecutions. To-date one Israeli soldier has served 7.5 months in jail for the theft of a credit card and two others have received three month suspended sentences for using a Palestinian child as a human shield. These three convictions, and the ongoing trial of a fourth soldier, have been the only concrete judicial outcomes of Israeli Operation Cast Lead investigations. It is noted that neither these indictments nor the sentences handed down for the human shield conviction reflect the gravity of the actual crimes committed. It appears that the majority of other investigative procedures have been closed without charge. All alleged international crimes must be subject to genuine investigation, and, if appropriate, those responsible must be prosecuted in accordance with the requirements of international law. In light of the domestic authorities’ failure to conduct such investigation, the International Criminal Court now constitutes the most appropriate forum, as recommended by the Human Rights Council on 25 March.(Euromedrights.org)

    To date, no independent investigation apparatus, empowered also to investigate the responsibility of the political and military decision-makers, has been established. According to the report that the Foreign Ministry provided to the UN in July 2010, the Judge Advocate General’s office ordered 47 Military Police investigations with respect to Operation Cast Lead. B’Tselem is aware of 20 Military Police investigations of incidents in which a suspicion arose that soldiers in the field violated army regulations. Four soldiers have been prosecuted for three incidents that occurred during the operation. In the first case, a soldier was convicted of stealing a credit card and sentenced to seven and a half months’ imprisonment, a conditional sentence of seven and a half months, and demotion from sergeant to private. In the second case, indictments were filed against two soldiers alleging they used a nine-year-old child as a human shield, ordering him to open suspected booby-trapped bags. The two soldiers were convicted and sentenced to a three-month suspended jail sentence and demotion in rank from staff sergeant to private. In the third case, an indictment was filed against a soldier for killing an anonymous person and conduct unbecoming a soldier. In three other cases, disciplinary proceedings were instituted against six officers. B’Tselem is aware of at least six cases in which the Attorney General decided not to indict the soldiers. (B’Tselem).

    Now let us return to the arguments for a UN investigation that can provide the people of the world with deliberations that place the Israeli Operation Cast Lead before an International Court of Justice.

    Hiyam Noir, in Palestine Free Voice, January 13, 2009, reporting from Gaza observed “Blankets of white clouds covered the skies over Gaza, including the refuge camps in Khan Younis, Beit Lahia and Gaza City.  On Saturday Israeli F16 warplanes launched attacks using phosphorus bombs on the Block 2 section inside the densely populated Jabalya Refuge Camp. Many residents of Jabalya escaped the area covering their faces, searching for a safe shelter in the home of relatives and friends in the neighboring Beit Lahia from the Israelis “Cast Lead Operation”. Gaza has always been the Israelis “testing ground” – from nerve agents used in Khan Younis in 2003, to Sonic Boom “phantom air raids”, and the use of DIME in the Israelis massacre called ” Operation Summer Rain” over Gaza year 2006.”

    In that same article, Noir notes, The Human Rights Watch senior analyst Marc Garlasco said in an interview on France Chanel 4 TV that ..”Israeli artillery bursted fire of white phosphorous shells over Gaza City.”Garlasco said ..”I have been standing at the border for the last few days ,watching Israeli artillery firing white phosphorus shells into refugee camps”.

    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.

    In a separate article, Richard Lightbown argues that Israel’s use of white phosphorus and other toxic metals, and its suspected use of depleted uranium, in the war against the people of the Gaza Strip has put the whole of the Strip’s population and its environment – air, soil, groundwater and possibly seawater – at risk of serious long-term injury and contamination. He also observes that The goldstone report mentions phosphorus 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.’

    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).
    Lightbown also discusses DIME: “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.

    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)

    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)

    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.”

    Certainly it makes good sense to have the Israeli investigation brought before the ICJ. What possible reason exists not to do this, from either the Israeli perspective or the UNHRC. The perspectives presented above demonstrate the necessity; truth requires it, justice demands it, and the dead cry out for it.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Prof. William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, Read Full Bio


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    NOTE: The footnotes below are from Lightbown’s article which can be accessed at
    www.redress.cc/palestine/lightbown200110314.

    I would also note that the pictures that accompany or may accompany this article are from Dr. Arthur Billy’s Memorial to the People of Gaza available at You tube or as contained in an article titled “What does it profit a congressman to retain his office but suffer the loss of his soul?” A google search will give you access.

    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

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