THE NABLUS RIOTS AND THE FUTURE OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2022

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

The arrest of a prominent Palestinian activist, Musab Shtayyeh, and another Palestinian activist, by Palestinian Authority police on September 20 was not the first time that the notorious PA’s Preventive Security Service (PSS) has arrested a Palestinian who is wanted by Israel.

PSS is largely linked to the routine arrests and torture of anti-Israeli occupation activists. Several Palestinians have died in the past as a result of PSS violence, the latest being Nizar Banat who was tortured to death on June 24, 2021. The killing of Banat ignited a popular revolt against the PA throughout Palestine.

For years, various Palestinian and international human rights groups have criticized the PA’s violent practices against dissenting Palestinian voices, quite often within the same human rights reports critical of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. The Hamas government in Gaza, too, has its fair share of blame.

In its January 2022 World Report, Human Rights Watch said that “the Palestinian Authority (PA) manages affairs in parts of the West Bank, where it systematically arrests arbitrarily and tortures dissidents.” This was neither the first nor the last time that a human rights group made such an accusation.

The link between Israeli and Palestinian violence targeting political dissidents and activists is equally clear to most Palestinians.

Some Palestinians may have believed, at one point, that the PA’s role is to serve as a transition between their national liberation project and full independence and sovereignty on the ground. Nearly thirty years after the formation of the PA, such a notion has proved to be wishful thinking. Not only did the PA fail at achieving the coveted Palestinian State, but it has morphed into a massively corrupt apparatus whose existence largely serves a small class of Palestinian politicians and business people – and, in the case of Palestine, it is always the same group.

PA corruption and subsequent violence aside, what continues to irk most Palestinians is that the PA, with time, became another manifestation of the Israeli occupation, curtailing Palestinian freedom of expression and carrying out arrests on behalf of the Israeli army. Sadly, many of those arrested by the Israeli military in the West Bank have experienced arrest by PA goons, too.

Scenes of violent riots in the city of Nablus following Shtayyeh’s arrest were reminiscent of the riots against Israeli occupation forces in the northern West Bank city or elsewhere in occupied Palestine. Unlike previous confrontations between Palestinians and PA police – for example, following the killing of Banat – this time, the violence was widespread, and involved protesters from all Palestinian political groups, including the ruling Fatah faction.

Perhaps unaware of the massive collective psychological shift that took place in Palestine in recent years, the PA government was desperate to contain the violence.

Subsequently, a committee that represents united Palestinian factions in Nablus declared on September 21 that it has reached a ‘truce’ with PA security forces in the city. The committee, which includes prominent Palestinian figures, told the Associated Press and other media that the agreement restricts any future arrests of Palestinians in Nablus to the condition that the individual must be implicated in breaking Palestinian, not Israeli, law. That provision alone implies a tacit admission by the PA that the arrest of Shtayyeh and Ameed Tbaileh was motivated by an Israeli, not a Palestinian agenda.

But why would the PA quickly concede to pressure coming from the Palestinian street?

The answer lies in the changing political mood in Palestine.

First, it must be stated that resentment of the PA has been brewing for years. One opinion poll after another has indicated the low regard that most Palestinians have of their leadership, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and particularly of the ‘security coordination’ with Israel.

Second, the torture and death of political dissident Banat, last year, has erased whatever patience Palestinians had towards their leadership, demonstrating to them that the PA is not an ally but a threat.

Third, the Unity Intifada of May 2021 has emboldened many segments of Palestinian society throughout occupied Palestine. For the first time in years, Palestinians have felt united around a single slogan and are no longer hostage to the geography of politics and factions. A new generation of young Palestinians has advanced the conversation beyond Abbas, the PA and their endless and ineffectual political rhetoric.

Fourth, armed struggle in the West Bank has been growing so rapidly that the Israeli army Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, claimed on September 6 that, since March, around 1,500 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank and that, allegedly, hundreds of attacks against the Israeli military have been thwarted.

In fact, evidence of an armed Intifada is growing in the Jenin and Nablus regions. What is particularly interesting, and alarming, from the Israeli and PA viewpoint, about the nature of the budding armed struggle phenomenon, is that it is largely led by the military wing of the ruling Fatah party, in direct cooperation with Hamas and other Islamic and national military wings.

For example, on August 9, the Israeli army assassinated Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a prominent Fatah military commander, along with two others. Not only, did the PA do little to stop the Israeli military machine from conducting more such assassinations, six weeks later, it arrested Shtayyeh, a close comrade of Nabulsi.

Interestingly, Shtayyeh is not a member of Fatah, but a commander within the Hamas military wing, Al-Qassam. Though Fatah and Hamas are meant to be intense political rivals, their political tussle seems to be of no relevance to military groups in the West Bank.

Unfortunately, more violence is likely to follow, for several reasons: Israel’s determination to crush any armed Intifada in the West Bank before it is widespread across the occupied territories, the looming leadership transition within the PA due to Abbas’s old age, and the growing unity among Palestinians around the issue of resistance.

While the Israeli response to all of this can easily be gleaned from its legacy of violence, the PA’s future course of action will likely determine its relationship with Israel and its western supporters, on the one hand, and with the Palestinian people, on the other. Which side will the PA choose?

DELIBERATE MISREPRESENTATION: WESTERN MEDIA BIAS MAKES ISRAELI WAR ON PALESTINIANS POSSIBLE

AUGUST 26TH, 2022

Children and relatives of the five Palestinian children from Najm family who were killed in the last conflict between Palestine and Israel, hold placards during a rally in Jabalia, northern of Gaza strip. (Photo by Nidal Alwaheidi / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)


RAMZY BAROUD

While US and western mainstream and corporate media remain biased in favor of Israel, they often behave as if they are a third, neutral party. This is simply not the case.

Take the New York Times coverage of the latest Israeli war on Gaza as an example. Its article on August 6, “Israel-Gaza Fighting Flares for a Second Day” is the typical mainstream western reporting on Israel and Palestine, but with a distinct NYT flavor.

For the uninformed reader, the article succeeds in finding a balanced language between two equal sides. This misleading moral equivalence is one of the biggest intellectual blind spots for western journalists. If they do not outwardly champion Israel’s discourse on ‘security’ and ‘right to defend itself’, they create false parallels between Palestinians and Israelis, as if a military occupier and an occupied nation have comparable rights and responsibilities.

Obviously, this logic does not apply to the Russia-Ukraine war. For NYT and all mainstream western media, there is no question regarding who the good guys and the bad guys are in that bloody fight.

‘Palestinian militants’ and ‘terrorists’ have always been the West’s bad guys.  Per the logic of their media coverage, Israel does not launch unprovoked wars on Palestinians and is not an unrepentant military occupier or a racist apartheid regime. This language can only be used by marginal ‘radical’ and ‘leftist’ media, never the mainstream.

The brief introduction of the NYT article spoke about the rising death toll, but did not initially mention that the 20 killed Palestinians include children, emphasizing, instead, that Israeli attacks have killed a ‘militant leader’.

When the six children killed by Israel are revealed in the second paragraph, the article immediately, and without starting a new sentence, clarifies that “Israel said some civilian deaths were the result of militants stashing weapons in residential areas”, and that others were killed by “misfired’ Palestinian rockets.

On August 16, the Israeli military finally admitted that it was behind the strikes that killed the 5 young Palestinian boys of Jabaliya. Whether the NYT reported on that or not matters little. The damage has been done, and that was Israel’s plan from the start.

The title of the BBC story of August 16, ‘Gaza’s children are used to the death and bombing’, does not immediately name those responsible for the ‘death and bombing’. Even Israeli military spokesmen, as we will discover later, would agree to such a statement, though they will always lay the blame squarely on the ‘Palestinian terrorists’.

When the story finally reveals that a little girl, Layan, was killed in an Israeli strike, the language was carefully crafted to lessen the blame on her Israeli murderers. The girl, we are told, was on her way to the beach with her family, when their tuk-tuk “passed by a military camp run by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad”, which, “at the exact moment, (…) was targeted by Israeli fire”. The author says nothing of how she reached the conclusion that the family was not the target.

One can easily glean from the story that Israel’s intention was not to kill Layan – and logically, none of the 17 other children murdered during the three-day war on Gaza. Besides, Israel has, according to the BBC, tried to save the little girl; alas, “a week of treatment in an Israeli hospital couldn’t save her life”.

Though Israeli politicians have spoken blatantly about killing Palestinian children – and, in the case of former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, “the Palestinian mothers who give birth to ‘little snakes’” – the BBC report, and other reports on the latest war, have failed to mention this. Instead, it quoted Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who reportedly said that “the death of innocent civilians, especially children is heartbreaking.” Incidentally, Lapid ordered the latest war on Gaza, which killed a total of 49 Palestinians.

Even a human-interest story about a murdered Palestinian child somehow avoided the language that could fault Israel for the gruesome killing of a little girl. Furthermore, the BBC also labored to present Israel in a positive light, resorting to quoting the occupation army’s statement that it was “devastated by (Layan’s) death and that of any civilians.”

The NYT and BBC have been selected here not because they are the worst examples of western media bias, but because they are often cited as ‘liberal’, if not ‘progressive’, media. Their reporting, however, represents an ongoing crisis in western journalism, especially relating to Palestine.

Books have been written about this subject, civil society organizations were formed to hold western media accountable and numerous editorial board meetings were organized to put some pressure on western editors, to no avail.

Desperate by the unchanging pro-Israel narratives in western media, some pro-Palestine human rights advocates often argue that there are greater margins within Israel’s own mainstream media than in the US, for example. This, too, is inaccurate.

The misnomer of the supposedly more balanced Israeli media is a direct outcome of the failure to influence western media coverage on Palestine and Israel. The erroneous notion is often buoyed by the fact that an Israeli newspaper, like Haaretz, gives marginal spaces to critical voices, like those of Israeli journalists Gideon Levy and Amira Hass.

Israeli propaganda, one of the most powerful and sophisticated in the world, however, can hardly be balanced by occasional columns written by a few dissenting journalists.

Additionally, Haaretz is often cited as an example of relatively fair journalism, simply because the alternatives – Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post and other rightwing Israeli media – are exemplary in their callousness, biased language and misconstruing of facts.

The pro-Israel prejudices in western media often spill over to Palestine sympathetic media throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world, especially those reporting on the news in English and French.

Since many newspapers and online platforms utilize western news agencies, they, often inadvertently, adopt the same language used in western news sources, thus depicting Palestinian resisters or fighters, as ‘militants’, the Israeli occupation army as “Israeli Defense Forces” and Israeli war on Gaza as ‘flare ups’ of violence.

In its totality, this language misinterprets the Palestinian struggle for freedom as random acts of violence within a protracted ‘conflict’ where innocent civilians, like Layan, are ‘caught in the crossfire.’

The deadly Israeli wars on Gaza are made possible, not only by western weapons and political support, but through an endless stream of media misinformation and misrepresentation. Though Israel has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians in recent years, western media remains as committed to defending Israel as if nothing has changed.

Feature photo | Children and relatives of the five Palestinian children from the Najm family who were killed by Israel in its latest military assault on Gaza, hold placards during a rally in Jabalia, Gaza. Nidal Alwaheidi | Sipa via AP Images

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out’. His other books include ‘My Father was a Freedom Fighter’ and ‘The Last Earth’. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News

Dozens of Palestinians Injured as IOF Attack Anti-Settlement Protesters

August 27, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

“Israeli” Occupation Force [IOF] troops have attacked anti-settlement protesters in several areas of the occupied West Bank, injuring dozens of Palestinians.

The troops attacked protesters in several towns and villages near Qalqilia and Nablus. During anti-regime protests in the town of Kafr Qaddum, the Israeli forces fired rubber bullets at demonstrators, injuring dozens of Palestinians, including Palestine TV journalist Anal al-Jadaa.

Local sources said the Israeli troops also fired tear gas at anti-settlement protesters.

Residents of Kafr Qaddum and neighboring villages have been staging weekly marches since 2011 to protest against “Israeli” expansionism and illegal “Israeli” settlement activities.

In a separate attack against anti-settlement protesters in the village of Beit Dajan, in the east of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, several Palestinians were tear-gassed, sources confirmed.

Ahmad Jibril, director of the ambulance service with the Red Crescent in Nablus, told WAFA news agency on Friday that at least 18 Palestinians suffered from suffocation due to inhaling tear gas bombs.

The town of Beita in southeast of Nablus was also the scene of “Israeli” violence against Palestinian protesters.

Also, in the city of Deir al-Balah in the besieged Gaza Strip, the IOF opened fire at Palestinian shepherds from military towers, forcing them to leave the area, WAFA reported.

“Israeli” forces have recently stepped up deadly violence against Palestinians killing dozens of them over the past months.

The Tel Aviv regime faces growing resistance over its land grab policy and demolition drive as anti-settlement sentiments run high in the occupied territories.

Between 600,000 and 750,000 “Israelis” occupy over 250 illegal settlements that have been built across the West Bank since the 1967 occupation.

The settlements are all illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s illegal settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.

When ‘Israel’ is Pissed off All ‘Mistakes’ Are Made on Purpose!

August 26, 2022

By Zeinab Abdallah

‘Israel’ claims that the UNIFIL serves as Hezbollah ‘human shield’; but it is either a Hezbollah shield or a human shield given that the group is a military one.

A couple of days ago, the Jerusalem Post was campaigning “to prevent UNIFIL serving as Hezbollah’s “Human Shield” in a potential devastating conflict.”

Combining both terms either means that the Resistance group is measured by its people who embrace it as a choice, an ideology, and a defender, or means that those selecting the term are anxious and confused enough not to be able to differentiate between the shield regular people need in case of a war and the techniques a giant regional and skillful power like Hezbollah would deploy in any confrontation to protect its weapons and personnel alike.

In either option, Hezbollah remains weighty within its environment.

‘Israel’, however, would never be in a place to evaluate humanity. The child-killing regime that has been massacring families and wiping out entire households to avenge its consecutive defeats in the military confrontations against the resistance groups in Lebanon and Palestine is in no position to decide whether the UNIFIL is a ‘human’ or at least a ‘shield’ for Hezbollah and its people.

Amid the heightened tensions over the demarcation of the maritime border in the Qana and the disputed Karish gas fields, the scenario of an imminent military confrontation looms, bringing to one’s mind, before anything else, the numerous ‘Israeli’ massacres committed against civilians. Those massacres amount to war crimes, international crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Historical Flashback: April 1996, July 2006 and in Between

During the Zionist regime’s aggression on Lebanon in 1996, dubbed “Grapes of Wrath,” ‘Israeli’ warplanes fired artillery shells at a United Nations compound belonging to the Fiji force on April 18. More than 106 men, women, and children lost their lives in this ferocious attack. 116 others sustained critical injuries. All civilians who fell victim of this massacre sought refuge in the UNIFIL’s headquarters, but even the international mission wasn’t spared in this attack.

‘Israel’ claimed the attack was carried out ‘by mistake’, although everybody knows that it was on purpose.

The ‘Israeli’ massacres multiplied, and the snowball effect of the Tel Aviv regime’s criminality started enlarging. The sole difference was that it was not as white as snow, but as red as blood!

Days have passed until July the 30th, when 50 people were martyred and injured in the ‘Israeli’ bombardment of a three-story residential building in the same southern Lebanese village, Qana, where number of the displaced people sought refuge in. This was in the July 2006 war on Lebanon, which the ‘Israeli’ occupiers named as “Second Lebanon War.”

As this month marks the anniversary of the end of that war, it is good to mention that this war ended up with a humiliating defeat to the ‘Israeli’ occupiers. The 33-day war ended on August 14, imposing so far 16 years of deterrence on the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces.

Mistake Me ‘Not!’

For the time being, as everyone is anticipating a possible military confrontation, ‘Israel’ would never be mistaken… whatever ‘Israel’ does is what ‘Israel’ wanted to do!

Infuriated by the UNIFIL’s ‘inaction’ towards Hezbollah’s building up of its arsenal, the Zionist regime would never hesitate to target the organization’s sites in any future war. History is a good proof in this regard, no matter how many claims about ‘shelling by mistake’ are made. The military that boasts of its aerial superiority in comparison with Hezbollah’s at the time would never carry out such strike but on purpose.

Although it achieves no military goal, committing such massacres quenches the bloodthirst of the ‘Israeli’ occupiers, and fuels much hatred to this colonial regime among true humans.

The Zionist irritation has been conveyed in several opinion pieces published by ‘Israeli’ media outlets.

One of them lamented that “Unfortunately, the past few years have seen the force turn into a growing “white elephant.” It cannot prevent Blue Line violations, it is unable to deter clear Hezbollah infractions [such as Radwan light infantry activity], and is unable to rollback what is clearly a major Hezbollah intelligence collection effort.”

Meanwhile, in a piece entitled “Hezbollah Undermines ‘Israel’s’ Air Superiority in Lebanon,” Amos Harel wrote for Haaretz that “Hezbollah creates facts on the ground, provokes ‘Israel’ and collects tactical intelligence without UNIFIL being able to fulfill its mission.”

For his part, Yossi Mekelberg penned for Arab News that UNIFIL can only look on as ‘Israel’-Hezbollah tensions mount.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] is a UN peacekeeping mission established on 19 March 1978 by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 425 and 426, to confirm the withdrawal of the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces from Lebanon after invading it five days prior.

It is seriously alarming that the systematic propaganda against the UN mission would add fuel to the flames of hatred within the Zionist establishment. The fact rules out the possibility that in case of any military confrontation, civilians would be safe by taking refuge in UNIFIL bases if they had to. But in case they had to, the survivors among us will be certain that ‘Israel’ killed them on purpose…

‘Israel’ fears people way more than it fears Hezbollah’s arsenal. It is people that Hezbollah weighs on. They are the group’s most honorable, most valuable, and purest asset to which it sacrifices everything, and for whom it is present on the forefronts to preserve their dignity and their wealth equally.

At a Massive Rally, Islamic Jihad Leader Says Israel Reneged on Its Truce Committments (PHOTOS)

August 26, 2022

Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the first post-war rally organized by the Islamic Jihad Movement in Gaza. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Hundreds of Palestinians took part on Thursday in the first post-war rally organized by the Islamic Jihad Movement in the besieged Gaza Strip. 

A Palestine Chronicle correspondent in Gaza attended the rally, entitled ‘The Road to Jerusalem’.

During the rally, the leader of the group, Ziad Al-Nakhala, released pre-recorded remarks, accusing Israel of reneging on its commitments under a truce that ended a deadly three-day Israeli assault earlier this month.

“The enemy is still evading the commitments it made to our brothers in Egypt,” The New Arab reported al-Nakhala as saying.

“The enemy government must bear full responsibility for that,” al-Nakhala added. 

On August 5, Israel launched what it called a ‘preemptive’ military operation on the Gaza Strip. The three-day intense bombardment killed 49 Palestinians, including 17 children, and wounded over 350 more.

(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle) 

ISRAEL BLAMES ITS VICTIMS FOR THE VIOLENCE IT CAUSES

AUGUST 18TH, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

JERUSALEM, PALESTINE – The situation in Palestine can be summed up as follows: Rampant Settler violence and intimidation, state-sponsored racism and violence, modern, comfortable housing and living conditions for Jews only while Palestinians are denied basic services, killing of Palestinians across the board – activists, journalists, fighters, children and citizens of Israel. Palestinian organizations, even ones that are recognized internationally, have no protection and are subject to closure, arrests and confiscation of their property.

Nowhere in Palestine can Palestinians expect to be safe or to enjoy equality, justice or peace of mind. Be they citizens in El-Lyd or the Naqab, residents with limited rights in Jerusalem, or residents with no rights in ghettos across what used to be the West Bank. People living in Gaza, be they active or not, militant or not, men, women or children, Palestinian lives are expendable.

SERVICES DENIED

The misnamed and misunderstood phenomenon of murders within the Palestinian towns of 1948 – Palestinian citizens of Israel – is one example. The apartheid state and its media refer to it as “violence in the Arab society.” However, the violence is not initiated within the society but is skillfully directed and managed by the state and the various state agencies that are charged with overseeing Palestinian citizens. It should be referred to as “Violence directed at the Palestinian citizens of Israel,” but alas, that would recognize that they are Palestinians and that they are citizens who deserve to benefit from the services the state provides its Jewish citizens.

Services like trash collection, water supply, electricity, safe roads, general safety and policing are largely nonexistent in the Palestinian communities of 1948, communities made of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Furthermore, the phenomenon wrongly named “violence in the Arab community” lays the blame for the violence within these communities at the feet of the victims. The toll from this violence is enormous, with a higher rate of murder cases, the majority of which are never investigated, much less solved, is too high for any community.

Israel, of course, likes to place the blame for the violence on the victims themselves. As is well known by now, blaming the Palestinian victims is something that Israel does with great ability and success, thus absolving itself of any responsibility. However, the weapons, the criminals, and the lack of support for the community that is all but begging the authorities to collect the guns and arrest the criminals are all part of Israeli’s reckless disregard for Palestinian lives. All of this is now documented in an outstanding film called “Life in the shadow of Death,” made by Palestinian filmmaker and producer Bilal Yousef.

DAILY TOLL

Palestinians pay an almost daily toll of blood and pain demanded of them by Israel. “Clashes” is the word that the media likes to use when describing this levy, something that is always the result of Israeli forces attacking Palestinians. Perhaps those who publish in the corporate media are comforted by the thought that it was not a massive, immoral army blinded by hatred of Palestinians and love of killing that attacked civilians in their sleep. Perhaps they would rather think it was an actual clash in which Palestinian blood was spilled.

However, regardless of what the media and politicians decide to call it, Israel mobilizes numerically superior forces that are equipped with state-of-the-art weapons systems in order to engage in heavy shelling of residential areas and targeted killing of individuals, mostly remarkable young men. The purpose of the attacks is usually achieved and includes death and injuries to people who at most, were armed with a single semi-automatic rifle.

A Protester stones at Israeli military vehicles during a raid by the Israeli army in occupied Nablus. 3 Palestinians were killed during the raid. Nasser Ishtayeh | Sipa via AP

“Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in overnight Nablus raid.” Headlines like this can be seen almost daily, the name of the city may be Nablus or Jenin or Aida camp near Bethlehem, and the number of young men killed and injured changes. But the deadly spilling of young Palestinian blood is ongoing as the apartheid state tries to satisfy its unquenchable thirst for blood. On top of that, the new prime minister thinks he needs to spill Palestinian blood to boost his own political career so that we may expect more of the same.

The raids are always shown the following day on Israeli news channels. The so-called operations are described as “complex” and “heroic.” One of the recent raids resulted in the killing of an IDF-trained canine, and it too was mourned. According to The Jerusalem Post, when Israel went into Nablus to capture or kill Ibrahim Nabulsi, they surrounded his home, meaning that hundreds of special forces armed and paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars were utilized to conduct raids and intimidation.

The toll paid by Palestinians this year alone is unthinkable. The latest assault on Nablus brings the casualty figures for the West Bank and Gaza close to 150 killed. Inside 1948 Palestine, the number of deaths is between 70-80 killed so far. The year is not yet over. And neither is the Israeli thirst for violence, which means more and more Palestinian mothers can expect to lose their children to Israeli bullets.

PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS RAIDED

As these words are being written, Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq reported that Israeli soldiers stormed its offices in Ramallah, confiscating items, and shutting down the main entrance with an iron plate. The army declared the organization unlawful.

Other groups that were raided this morning are Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committee and the Union of Health Workers Committees.

Palestinians are at a point where they can find no support anywhere, regardless of the severity of their conditions. Be they simply people who want to live their lives, fighters, activists or organizations dedicated to human rights, they will be killed and harassed.

Why is Amnesty apologising for telling the truth about Ukrainian war crimes?

16 August 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Allowing only one side to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the loaded western political narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel war rather than resolve it

Middle East Eye – 16 August 2022

Should a human rights organisation apologise for publishing important evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses?

If it does apologise, what does that suggest about its commitment to dispassionately uncovering the truth about the actions of both parties to war? And equally, what message does it send to those who claim to be “distressed” by the publication of such evidence?

Those are questions Amnesty International should have pondered far more carefully than it obviously did before issuing an apology last week over its latest report on the war in Ukraine.

In that report, Amnesty accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by stationing troops and artillery in or near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, thereby using civilians effectively as human shields. Such practices by Ukrainian soldiers were identified in 19 different towns and villages.

These incidents did not just theoretically endanger civilians. There is evidence, according to Amnesty, that return fire by Russian troops on these Ukrainian positions led to non-combatants being killed.

The Israeli army regularly accuses Palestinian factions like Hamas of hiding among civilians in Gaza, while obscuring its own, long-documented practice of using Palestinians as human shields.

But whatever the truth of Israel’s claims, unlike the tiny and massively overcrowded Gaza, which offers few or no hiding places outside of built-up areas for Palestinian fighters to resist Israeli aggression, Amnesty concluded of the situation in Ukraine: “Viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians – such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas.”

In other words, it was a choice made by the Ukrainian army to put its own civilians in harm’s way.

Mounting pressure

Notably, this is the first time a major western human rights organisation has publicly scrutinised the behaviour of Ukraine’s soldiers. Until now, these watchdog bodies have focused exclusively on reports of crimes committed by Russian forces – a position entirely in line with the priorities of their own governments. By its own admission, Amnesty has published dozens of reports condemning Russia.

The pushback against the latest report was relentless, coming even from Amnesty’s own Ukrainian team. Oksana Pokalchuk, its head, quit, explaining that her team “did everything they could to prevent this material from being published”.

Under mounting pressure, Amnesty made a statement last week in which it said it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” caused by its report, while at the same time stating: “We fully stand by our findings.”

The idea that only one side has been committing war crimes in Ukraine was always implausible. In wars, all sides commit crimes. It is in the nature of wars.

Faulty lines of communication mean orders are misunderstood or only partially relayed to those on the front lines. Inevitably, soldiers prioritise their own lives over those of the enemy, including civilians. Terrorising the other side – through human rights violations – can be an effective way to avoid combat, by sending a warning to enemy soldiers to desert their posts and civilians to flee. Sadists and psychopaths, meanwhile, find themselves with plenty of opportunities to exploit during the fighting.

But conversely, parties to wars invariably struggle to acknowledge their own abuses. They prefer simple-minded, self-serving narratives of good and evil: our soldiers are heroes, morally spotless, while their soldiers are barbarians, indifferent to the value of human life.

Western governments and establishment media outlets have readily peddled this foolish line in Ukraine, too, even though neither Europe nor the United States are supposed to be directly involved in the war. They have reflexively amplified Ukrainian claims of Russian war crimes, even when the evidence is lacking or the picture murky, and they have resolutely ignored any evidence of Ukrainian crimes, such as evidence that Russian prisoners of war have been executed or that Ukraine has been using petal cluster bombs in civilian areas.

More self-censorship

In such circumstances, only the human rights community is in a position to provide a more faithful picture of how events are unfolding, and hold to account both sides for their crimes. But until Amnesty stepped out of line, western human rights groups had moved in lockstep with western governments, the same governments that appear to want endless war in Ukraine, to “weaken Russia”, rather than a quick resolution.

Even the author of Amnesty’s new report, Donatella Rovera, has conceded: “I think the level of self-censorship on this issue [Ukrainian war crimes] has been pretty extraordinary.”

Amnesty should not be apologising for providing a rare window on such crimes. It should be emphasising the importance of monitoring both sides for serious breaches of international law. And for very good reason.

Amnesty’s apology sends a message to those partisans trying to shut down scrutiny of Ukrainian crimes of just how easy it is to put the human rights community on the defensive. Efforts to deter reporting of a similar nature in the future will intensify.

Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was among those who lost no time vilifying Amnesty by characterising its report as “Russian disinformation”.

Amnesty’s apology suggests such pressure campaigns have an effect and will lead to increased self-censorship – in a situation where the evidence already indicates that there is a great deal of self-censorship, as Rovera pointed out.

The apology betrays the civilians who have been, and will be, used as human shields – putting them in lethal danger – over the coming months and potentially years of fighting. It means Ukrainian forces will feel even less pressure to rein in behaviour that amounts to a war crime. 

Amnesty would never apologise to Russian partisans offended by a report on Russian war crimes. Its current apology indicates to the victims of Ukrainian human rights abuses that they are less worthy than the victims of Russian abuses.

Flooding the battlefield

Turning a blind eye to Ukrainian crimes also lifts the pressure on western governments. They have been recklessly channelling arms worth many billions of dollars to Ukraine, even though they have little idea where most end up. (In a further worrying sign of self-censorship in the west, CBS recently postponed the broadcast of an investigation suggesting as little as a third of western weapons reach their intended destination in Ukraine.)

That is all the more dangerous because, even before Russia’s invasion in late February, Ukrainian forces – including the neo-Nazi elements now glossed over in western narratives – were engaged in a vicious civil war with ethnic Russian communities in Ukraine’s east. That region, the Donbas, is where Moscow has been focusing its military advances.

Human rights violations by Ukrainians against other Ukrainians were regularly committed during the eight-year civil war, as western monitors documented at the time. Such crimes are almost certainly continuing under cover of the war against Russia, but with the aid now of western arms shipments.

Ignoring abuses by Ukrainian forces gives them a free hand to commit crimes not only against Russian soldiers but also against the large number of Ukrainians who are not seen as loyal to Kyiv.

A failure to closely scrutinise how and where western artillery is being used is almost certain to result in more, not less, of the kind of Ukrainian crimes Amnesty has just highlighted.

Western governments, and publics, need to be confronted with the likely consequences of flooding the battlefield with weapons before they prefer such a policy over pursuing diplomatic solutions.

Ultimately, allowing one side only to be criticised for its crimes – reinforcing the simple-minded narrative of good guys versus bad guys – is likely to fuel the war rather than resolve it.

War-mongering

Amnesty’s conduct over this latest report is not exceptional. It is part of a pattern of behaviour by a western human rights community vulnerable to political and financial pressures that detract from its ostensible mission. 

As the near-exclusive focus on Russian crimes in Ukraine illustrates, international humanitarian law is all too often interpreted through the prism of western political priorities.

There has long been a revolving door between the staff of prominent human rights groups and the US government. And pressure from elite donors – who are invested in these dominant narratives – doubtless plays a part, too.

Anyone departing from the narrow political consensus imposed by western political and media elites is defamed as spreading Russian “disinformation”, or for being apologists for dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or Libya’s late ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Criticisms of Israel, meanwhile, are demonised as proof of antisemitism. 

Certainly, Russian, Syrian and Libyan leaders have committed war crimes. But the focus on their crimes is all too often an excuse to avoid addressing western war crimes, and thereby enable agendas that advance the interests of the West’s war industries.

I experienced this first hand during the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. Israel accused Hezbollah of using its own population as “human shields” – framed by the Norwegian politician and United Nations official Jan Egeland as “cowardly blending” – an allegation lapped up by the western media.

Whatever the truth of that claim, it presented a very one-sided picture of what took place during that summer’s fighting. Though no one was allowed to mention it at the time because of Israel’s strict military censorship laws, it was common knowledge among Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens that many of their own communities in northern Israel were being used as locations for Israeli tanks and artillery to fire into Lebanon.

The Israeli army had forcibly recruited these third-class citizens as human shields, just as the Ukrainian army is now accused by Amnesty of doing to civilians.

I saw for myself a number of the locations where Israel had installed batteries in or next to the minority’s communities. There were later Israeli court cases that confirmed this widespread practice; Palestinian politicians in Israel raised the matter in the Israeli parliament; and a local human rights group later issued a report documenting examples of these war crimes.

But these revelations never gained any traction with either the western media or human rights groups. Western publics were left with an entirely false impression: that Hezbollah alone had endangered its own civilians, even though Israel had undoubtedly done the same or worse.

The reality could not be acknowledged because it conflicted with western political priorities that treat Israel as a valued ally with a moral army and Hezbollah as a depraved, bloodthirsty terrorist organisation.

Saints and sinners

Human rights groups reporting on the 2006 Lebanon war actively echoed these self-serving western narratives that unfairly differentiated between Hezbollah and Israel, as I highlighted at the time.

I found myself in a very public row with Human Rights Watch over comments made by one of its researchers to the New York Times claiming that Hezbollah had intentionally targeted Israeli civilians whereas Israel had avoided targeting Lebanese civilians.

First, it completely failed to fit the known facts of the war. Israel’s strikes on Lebanon had caused a disproportionately large number of civilian deaths, despite the use of precision weapons. Hezbollah, using far more primitive rockets, meanwhile, had killed mostly soldiers, not civilians. 

But more problematic still, HRW had ascribed intentions to each side – good and bad – when it could not possibly know what those intentions were. As I wrote at the time of its researcher’s comments:

Was he or another HRW researcher sitting in one of the military bunkers in northern Israel when army planners pressed the button to unleash the missiles from their spy drones? Was he sitting alongside the air force pilots as they circled over Lebanon dropping their US-made bombs or tens of thousands of ‘cluster munitions’, tiny land mines that are now sprinkled over a vast area of south Lebanon? Did he have intimate conversations with the Israeli chiefs of staff about their war strategy? Of course not. He has no more idea than you or I what Israel’s military planners and its politicians decided was necessary to achieve their war goals.

HRW’s comments made sense only in a political context: that the group faced enormous pressure from US politicians and funders to focus on Hezbollah’s crimes. It also faced a damaging vilification campaign led by Israel lobbyists who wished to shield Israel from scrutiny. They accused the group’s senior staff of antisemitism and spreading a blood libel.

It looked very much like HRW caved into that pressure, just as Amnesty is now effectively doing in apologising for upsetting Ukrainian partisans and those emotionally invested in the one-sided narrative they hear constantly from their politicians and media.

Neither Amnesty nor Human Rights Watch responded to a request for comment. 

The reality is that western publics need more, not less, scrutiny of the crimes committed in wars, if only to tear the facade off narratives designed to paint a picture of saints and sinners – narratives that dehumanise official enemies and fuel more war.

The minimum needed to achieve that is an independent, fearless, vigorous human rights community, not an apologetic one. 

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WHO IS BIDEN WORKING FOR? ON ISRAEL VISIT, “ZIONIST” BIDEN WHITEWASHES ISRAEL’S CRIMES

JULY 15TH, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

Upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, which sits on the lands of the occupied Palestinian city of El-Lyd, President Joe Biden repeated his age-old mantra, “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Indeed you do not. To be a Zionist, you only need to be a racist, a supporter of the hate-filled, violent, intolerant apartheid regime that has been occupying Palestine since 1948. You need to believe that people who are not Palestinians have a right to Palestine and to its resources. To be a Zionist, you don’t need to be Jewish, you just need to repeat the absurd claim that the Bible gives all Jewish people around the world the right to kill people because they are Palestinians who want to return to their homes and their land.

In a nauseating show of hypocrisy, President Biden, Israeli President Yitzhak Hertzog, and Prime Minister Lapid spoke of peace, justice, and human rights as the shared values of the United States and the State of Israel. This was less than twenty-four hours after John Bolton admitted to orchestrating coup d’états in countries around the world. This is also after Israeli military, and political figures openly talked about assassinating Iranian scientists and officials.

The values shared by Israel and the United States are clearly represented in the fact that President Biden is visiting a country that only recently assassinated the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh and is keeping silent about it. The president of the United States is in Israel, meeting with heads of the Israeli state, and yet rather than using the full force of his position – which is considerable – to demand accountability, he says and does nothing.

American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The murders of Khashoggi and that of Shireen Abu Akleh are not the only crimes committed by the two regimes for which Biden is showing love, but these two were well publicized and involve U.S. nationals, so one would think he would act or at least speak out.

A BAD DEAL

U.S. support for Israel is a bad deal for the American taxpayers. $3.8 billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money gets sent to Israel at the beginning of each year. And with the exception of the military-industrial complex, Americans get little out of this.

American citizens who wish to travel to Palestine, particularly if they have an Arab name or family there, are subjected to harassment by the Israeli authorities. This harassment takes place at Tel-Aviv airport, where the authorities are notoriously racist, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim. The harassment can last for many hours and often results in refusal of entry into the country. U.S. citizens are not protected from the inhumane interrogation process that takes place at the airport on the way in, and they are not protected by their U.S. citizenship when they leave the country.

A U.S. passport does not even protect Americans from being shot and killed by Israeli forces. Rachel Corrie and Shireen Abu-Akleh, both citizens of the United States, were killed in broad daylight. They were wearing safety equipment, they were well identified as non-combatant civilians, and they were both butchered in plain sight. Washington made no effort to bring the criminals to justice.

Joe Biden in Israel

Another U.S. citizen who died at the hand of IDF soldiers is Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad. He died on January 12 after he was arrested by IDF troops. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the seventy-eight-year-old As’ad “was arrested, handcuffed, blindfolded and gagged,” after which the soldiers left. Also, according to the Post report, “the soldiers did not call for medical assistance and left him there believing that he had fallen asleep.” Although several members of congress did issue statements, no real action was taken to hold Israel accountable.

Where was the U.S. government to protect him? Where was the demand to investigate and bring the culprits to justice? and where are the sanctions against the State of Israel, which shows no regard for the lives of Palestinians?

The Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem commented that: “The army’s announcement regarding the death of Omar Assad is adorned with empty words about ‘moral failure’ – concluding, as expected, with the faintest of rebukes…In fact, the fundamental moral failure is that of Israel’s senior echelons, leading a regime of Jewish supremacy, one in which the human life of Palestinians has no value.”

NO DEMOCRACY, NO STABILITY

Contrary to what is said about Israel, it is neither a democracy nor an island of stability. It has been several years since Israel has been able to function as a state. This is due to the fact that there has not been a government with a stable majority in place. Elections are held over and over again, and even though the results are predictably the same, no stable government is formed. The election results have been consistent, clearly showing what Israeli voters want, namely, they are in favor of a strong, ultra-right-wing government led by racists like Benjamin Netanyahu, who was indicted for corruption, and war criminal generals like Benny Gantz.

Neither the corruption nor the war crimes seem to have any impact on the voters, and these people are elected over and over again. The only thing that changes are the partnerships between the politicians who rarely last very long and the new generals that join the political arena. The one thing that remains constant in Israeli politics is Benjamin Netanyahu. He and his loyal Likud Party followers are the only stable, consistent element in Israeli politics.

WHO IS JOE BIDEN WORKING FOR?

Judging by his performance, Joe Biden is working for AIPAC and not for the American people. He hit every note, shook every hand and repeated his mantras, clearly trying to please his donors back home. According to reports, he even made sure to tell Benjamin Netanyahu that he likes him. His interview on Israeli television included a commitment to keep the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations and even to attack Iran if that was what it took to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. That is not what his constituents in the U.S. want, but it is what Israel and AIPAC expect of him.

Egypt demands ‘Israel’ to verify credibility of 1967 war reports

10 Jul 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Media outlets are circulating news about Egyptian graves west of Al-Quds, which date back to the 1967 war, and Egypt wants to know more.

Egypt demands ‘Israel’ to verify credibility of 1967 war reports

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry assigned the Egyptian Embassy in “Tel Aviv” to investigate the truth about the mass grave of Egyptian soldiers unraveled recently west of occupied Al-Quds.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Egyptian Embassy in “Tel Aviv” has been assigned to communicate with the Israeli occupation authorities to investigate the truth behind what is being circulated in the media regarding the discovery of a mass grave that holds the bodies of Egyptian soldiers killed in the October 1967 war and to keep the Ministry updated. 

The Ministry also demanded a prompt investigation to verify the credibility of what is being circulated. 

A statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry read that in response to a question about reports that came up in Israeli media in relation to historical facts that occurred in the 1967 war, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ahmed Hafez, stated that the Egyptian Embassy in “Tel Aviv” was assigned to communicate with the Israeli occupation authorities to investigate the truth.

In the past two days, the Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, an expert in security affairs, and who writes for the Israeli newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz, revealed that “Egyptian soldiers who were burned alive in the 1967 war were buried in mass graves that do not bear any signs, in a clear violation of the laws of war and with no mention of their killing,” with estimates pointing that the number could amount to tens of killed soldiers. 

Haaretz reported that there is a mass grave containing the bodies of 80 Egyptian soldiers, 20 of who were burnt alive, and whose killing was not announced during the 1967 war.

According to Melman, 25 Egyptian soldiers were burned alive after Israeli forces shelled them using phosphorous bombs, while other Egyptian soldiers were killed in the crossfire, bringing the total number of deaths to 80.

The 1967 war broke out between the Israeli occupation, on the one hand, and Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, on the other, on June 5, 1967. This war lasted for six days and ended with “Israel” occupying Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (Weekly Update 30 June- 06 July 2022)

07. 07. 2022

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity

Two Palestinians were killed and 34 others, including 5 children, were injured by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)’s fire, while dozens of others suffocated in IOF attacks in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Also, a Palestinian female detainee died in the Israeli jails due to medical negligence policy, while a patient, from the Gaza Strip, died after his health condition deteriorated and he was denied travel for treatment in the West Bank. Details are as follows:

On 02 July 2022, a Palestinian female detainee namely Sa’diyia Matar (64), from Hebron, died after losing consciousness in the Israeli ‘Damon’ prison, as she suffered from several diseases.  The death of Matar sheds the light on the medical negligence policy in the Israeli jails and detention facilities. More details available here

On 03 July 2022, Kamel ‘Alawna (18) succumbed to wounds he sustained a day before by IOF’s fire at Jaba’ village entrance, southern Jenin. More details available here.

On 06 July 2022, IOF killed in cold blood Rafeeq Riyad Ghannam (20) after shooting and wounding him near his house during their incursion into Jaba’ village in Jenin. IOF left him to bleed for at least 40 minutes before being transported by an Israeli ambulance. Ghannam’s death was later announced succumbing to his wounds, while his body is still under the Israeli custody.

Meanwhile, those injured were victims of excessive use of force during incursions into the Palestinian cities and villages and IOF suppression of peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians and they were as follows:

On 01 July 2022, 17 Palestinians, including 5 children, were injured with rubber bullets during clashes that followed IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in northern Qalqilya.

On 02 July 2022, 8 Palestinians, including 3 children, sustained rubber bullet wounds during clashes that followed IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in northern Qalqilya. On the same day, two Palestinians were shot with live bullets in their limbs and others, including journalists, suffocated in clashes with IOF near a military checkpoint in Bab al-Zawiyia area, central Hebron. Moreover, dozens of Palestinians suffocated during IOF’s suppression of a peaceful protest against settlement activity in ‘Ein al-Baida area, south of Hebron.

On 04 July 2022, a Palestinian was injured with a live bullet in his thigh during clashes that accompanied IOF’s incursion into Abu Dis village in occupied East Jerusalem. Also, a Palestinian was wounded with shrapnel of a live bullet fired by an Israeli undercover unit ““Mista’aravim” in Dura in Hebron, but he could escape. Afterwards, backups arrived in central Dura, where clashes broke out, resulting in the injury of 4 Palestinians with live bullets; one of them sustained critical wounds.

On 06 July 2022, a Palestinians was injured with a live bullet in his leg in clashes with IOF during their incursion into Jenin refugee camp. IOF also arrested a Palestinian from the same area and later withdrew.

Moreover, 9 IOF shootings were reported on fishing boats off the Gaza shores. Also, IOF opened fire 3 times at agricultural lands in western and eastern Gaza Strip.

So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 66 Palestinians, including 51 civilians: 14 children, 5 women (one was a journalist Shireen Abu ‘Aqlah), a Palestinian stabbed by an Israeli settler and the rest were activists; 6 of them were assassinated. Also, 950 others were wounded in these attacks, including 108 children, 5 women, and 19 journalists all in the West Bank, except 15 fishermen in the Gaza Strip. Also, a male and a female detainees died in the Israeli jails.

Land razing, demolitions, notices and settlement activity

IOF demolished 3 house, rendering 12 persons, including 7 children, homeless. Also, IOF demolished a commercial facility, agricultural rooms and a water network. Moreover, IOF handed cease-construction notices against 4 houses in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 30 June 2022, IOF handed cease-construction notices against 2 houses in Ma’in village, and a tinplate livestock barrack in al-Rabya village, south of Hebron. Moreover, IOF demolished a 50-square-meter agricultural room, east of Yatta city in Hebron.

On 03 July 2022, IOF notified to stop construction works in two houses in al-‘Abadiyia and al-Kharou’a areas, south of Hebron.

On 04 July 2022, IOF demolished two houses; one of them was underconstruction, in Tam Qissa area, south of Hebron, under the pretext of unlicensed construction, rendering a family of 12 persons, including 7 children, homeless. It should be noted that a family of 10 persons, including 6 children, was supposed to move to the under-construction house. On the same day, IOF demolished an under-construction building comprised of 3 floors built on an area of 400 square meters in As-Sawahira_ash-Sharqiya village in occupied East Jerusalem. During the demolition, IOF assaulted the building’s owner and his sons and arrested two of them. One of the arrestees is a high school student (Tawjihi), who was supposed to take his last exam in the morning.   Furthermore, IOF demolished a water well in eastern Yatta city in Hebron.

On 05 July 2022, Israeli bulldozers demolished retaining walls and a water network in Duma village, southeast of Nablus. On the same day, IOF demolished a 170-sqm tinplate-roofed facility used as an auto repair garage.

Since the beginning of 2022, Israeli occupation forces made 79 families homeless, a total of 448 persons, including 92 women and 217 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 81 houses and 40 residential tents. IOF also demolished 54 other civilian objects, leveled vacant areas of land and delivered dozens of notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties

On 03 July 2022, a Palestinian sustained bruises after Israeli settlers assaulted him when he was working in his land between Kafr al-Labad and Shufa  villages, south of Tulkarm.

So far this year, settlers carried out 155 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank; one f these attacks resulted in the murder of a Palestinian after being stabbed to death by an Israeli settler.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians

IOF carried out 178 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During those incursions, 91 Palestinians were arrested, including 4 children. On 06 July 2022, IOF moved into Silwad village in Ramallah and conducted a wide scale arrest campaign, as 27 Palestinians were arrested. In the Gaza Strip, on 05 July 2022, IOF conducted a limited incursion into eastern Maghazi Camp. Also, on 03 July 2022, IOF arrested two Palestinians, including a child, when they tried to infiltrate into eastern Rafah. The child was later released.

So far in 2022, IOF conducted 4490 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 2867 Palestinians were arrested, including 283 children and 25 women.  IOF also conducted 23 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 67 Palestinians, including 41 fishermen, 25 infiltrators, and 3 travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Israeli collective punishment and closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. For several months, no remarkable change has been noticed either to the movement of goods at the Karam Abu Salem crossing, southeast of Rafah, or to the movement of individuals at the Erez crossing, north of Beit Hanoun.

Due to the Israeli closure, on 04 July 2022, Jihad Mousa Humaidan Al-Qedra (55) died after the  Israeli authorities denied his travel for treatment abroad. More information available here.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada in 2000. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 90 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 3 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

On 30 June 2022, IOF closed the entrance to Jalazone camp, north of al-Bireh city, in front of vehicles’ movement, forcing Palestinians to use alternative dirt and longer roads.

On 03 July 2022, IOF closed a metal detector gate established at the entrance to Aboud village, northwest of Ramallah, for 5 consecutive hours. 

So far in 2022, IOF established 2188 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 112 Palestinians at those checkpoints

‘US-Backed ‘Israeli’ Whitewash’: US Probe into Abu Akleh Assassination Draws Wide Condemnation

July 5, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

A US probe into the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh that seeks to give the Zionist occupation forces a clean chit for the murder, unlike other independent investigations, has drawn wide condemnation from human rights advocates, including the Hebrew leading human rights group B’Tselem, as well as Palestinian officials.

Abu Akleh, a veteran reporter for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, was assassinated in cold blood by ‘Israeli’ occupation forces in May while covering their raid at the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Her tragic death sent shockwaves across the region, drawing widespread condemnation and outrage against the occupying regime.

The US State Department on Monday claimed that the US Security Coordinator [USSC] had concluded that Abu Akleh was likely killed by “unintentional” gunfire from ‘Israeli’ positions, but said the independent investigators could not make a “definitive conclusion” on the origin of the bullet that struck her.

B’Tselem denounced the US probe as a “US-backed ‘Israeli’ whitewash.”

“All investigations published so far conclude that ‘Israel’ is responsible for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” the group said in a tweet on Monday.

The previous findings by the Associated Press, CNN, New York Times, and Washington Post, as well as the office of the UN human rights chief, have established the fact that the veteran scribe was murdered by ‘Israeli’ troops.

Abu Akleh’s family has expressed its disappointment over the conclusions of the US investigation, but vowed to keep fighting for justice.

“With respect to today’s announcement by the State Department — on July 4, no less — that a test of the spent round that killed Shireen Abu Akleh, an American citizen, was inconclusive as to the origin of the gun that fired it, we are incredulous,” the family said in a statement on Monday.

“To say that this investigation, with its total lack of transparency, undefined goals, and support for ‘Israel’s’ overall position is a disappointment would be an understatement,” the statement read.

The findings of the US probe come as the Zionist military said that ‘Israeli’ experts rather than American ones examined the bullet extracted from Abu Akleh that was handed over by Palestinian officials to US officials.

US “representatives were present throughout the entire process,” the Zionist military claimed.

Palestinian officials maintain that the Zionist regime cannot be trusted to conduct a fair and transparent probe into the killing.

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Angry Palestinian responses to the US State Department’s statements regarding the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Medical neglect kills prisoner Saadia Matar in Israeli ‘Damon’ prison

July 03, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Local sources announce the martyrdom of female Palestinian prisoner Saadia Matar in the Israeli “Damon” prison due to medical neglect.

Palestinian prisoner Saadia Matar

Local sources on Saturday announced that the female Palestinian prisoner Saadia Matar died in the Israeli “Damon” prison.

Sources reported that the administration of the occupation prisons informed prisoners that Matar died on Saturday morning.

Matar was 68 years old and from Al-Khalil.

On its part, Muhjat Al-Quds Foundation reported that, with Matar’s death, the number of Palestinians who were martyred while in Israeli captivity rises to 230.

Read more: The Policy of Neglect; Behind the Walls of the Occupation Prisons

The Foundation’s PR Director confirmed in an interview for Al-Mayadeen that the captive Saadia Matar was martyred as a result of illness and medical negligence.

It is noteworthy that Matar was arrested by the occupation forces in 2021 after a settler beat her as she was crossing the street near Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, claiming that she tried to stab him.

In this context, the Prisoners Information Office said the martyred captive, Saadia Matar, was brutally assaulted and severely beaten during her arrest, which deteriorated her health condition, further exacerbated by medical neglect.

Following her death, Muhjat Al-Quds Foundation reported tension growing in different sections of prisons with prisoners shouting and knocking on doors in protest. 

The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies warned, in a detailed statement, that the lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are in real danger, especially under the Israeli policy of deliberate medical negligence.

The center warned that dozens of Palestinian prisoners may die inside the Israeli prisons if they are not provided with the necessary medical care. 

Director of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, researcher Riyad Al-Ashqar, stated that 160 Palestinian prisoners, who suffer from chronic diseases, face “slow death” due to medical negligence by Israeli prison authorities.

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With Fear and Concerns, ‘Israel’ Anticipating the Action of the Axis of Resistance

July 2, 2022

By Staff

‘Israeli’ journalist Amir Bohbot said in a report published by Walla! news that high-level intelligence figures in the Zionist establishment have been warning in the past week that the enemies of ‘Israel’ will take advantage of what is going on in different arenas to start provoking the situation along the border, including the military operations “they refrained from carrying out until the moment.”

The estimation was based on the ongoing political tension within the Zionist entity and the normal sensitivity of the issue of the ‘Israeli’ regime’s transitional government.

The ‘Israeli’ intelligence estimations also mentioned that Hezbollah might flare up the situation along the border amid the confrontation regarding the maritime borders and the attacks attributed to the ‘Israeli’ Air Force against weapons shipments in Syria, according to Bohbot.

The ‘Israeli’ military correspondent further stated that “in certain scenarios, Hamas might unleash the Islamic Jihad’s desire to perform military operations against the Zionist regime. More than any other side, Bohbot says, the Iranians are also looking for a reprisal for the assassinations of the high-level Iranian figures that were attributed to the ‘Israeli’ Mossad.

The Tel Aviv regime’s intelligence establishment estimated that the enemies of ‘Israel’ believe that the transitional government might dare to start a direct confrontation or fighting days in response to a tension along the border of a ‘terrorist’ attach inside the occupied territories. Hence, ‘Israeli’ security sources suggested in close conversations that the ‘Israeli’ occupation military is preparing for every possible scenario.

Bohbot also said that the ‘Israeli’ military chief of staff’s warnings about developing the ‘Israeli’ army’s capabilities in the past years, especially on the northern front, are based on field information. Nevertheless, according to Zionist security estimations, it is highly likely that ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the ‘Israeli’-occupied territories, Lebanon and the ‘Israeli’ entity might reach a US-mediated agreement on the maritime border line within two weeks.

‘Israel’ murders young Palestinian in Jenin Camp

June 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Muhammad Maher Marei succumbed to the serious wounds that he sustained by Israeli occupation forces during their storming of the neighborhood of Jenin at dawn today.

Young Palestinian martyr Muhammad Maher Marei

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) directly opened live fire at young Palestinian Muhammad Maher Marei, 25, during a raid on Jenin Camp at dawn today.

The director of Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital confirmed to local Palestinian media that the young man from Jenin camp died as a result of being shot by occupation forces at dawn during confrontations in the city.

Using excessive force, the IOF arrested two young men, Yahya Yousef Al-Jaafar and Ahmed Asaad Nabhan, after raiding the homes of their relatives in Al-Marah neighborhood in Jenin.

Simultaneously, Palestinians participated in a mass rally in protest of the Israeli violations through Jenin’s neighborhoods.

Protesters held the body of the martyr on their shoulders and chanted slogans condemning the occupation’s crimes and its ongoing aggression against Jenin.

They also called for national Palestinian unity and the continuation of the struggle against the Israeli enemy.

The Israeli occupation forces have been actively storming Jenin Camp, aiming clearly at killing Palestinians and arresting others who, in turn, are confronting the occupation forces.

This is happening as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has recently given a green light for killing Palestinians.

“There are not and will not be limited for this war. We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet [domestic intelligence agency], and all security forces,” Bennet said last April.

Since the beginning of 2022, the IOF killed more than 70 Palestinians, 27 of them from Jenin and its camp including Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.

The assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh

When talking about Jenin, the name of Shireen Abu Akleh, famed Al Jazeera journalist and veteran reporter, comes to mind. Shireen was murdered on May 11 when Israeli occupation forces storming the Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, shot her with a live bullet to the head as she was covering the events of the storming.

Read more: Forensic analysis proves IOF deliberately killed Shireen Abu Akleh

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“Israel” Martyrs New Palestinian Teen

June 25, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

A Palestinian teenager has been martyred after being arrested and assaulted by “Israeli” military forces on the outskirts of Ramallah in the central part of the occupied West Bank, according to his family and Palestinian media outlets.

The teenager identified as 16-year-old Abdullah Muhammad Hammad was shot and wounded early on Saturday as “Israeli” occupation troops tried to arrest him in the town of Silwad, located 12 kilometers [7.4 miles] northeast of Ramallah.

Hammad was taken to an unknown destination in critical condition, before his family was informed of his martyrdom.

The development came hours after more than a hundred Palestinians were injured in clashes with the “Israeli” army in the northern occupied West Bank.

“Israeli” forces fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas at Palestinians staging rallies across the West Bank on Friday, including in the northern town of Kafr Qaddum, Qalqilya, and the town of Beita, south of Nablus, as part of their daily protests against illegal “Israeli” settlements, which began in recent weeks.

In a statement, the Palestine Red Crescent Society [PRCS] said at least 131 Palestinians were injured, including nine by live bullets, while 117 suffered suffocation due to tear gas.

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THE PARADOXICAL SEEDS OF THE HOLOCAUST: OPPRESSION AND DEATH LIVE ON IN THE APARTHEID STATE

JUNE 22ND, 2022

MIKO PELED

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LYD, OCCUPIED PALESTINE – It is becoming increasingly difficult for Israel and the agencies that promote Zionism around the world to portray Zionism in rosy colors. This is primarily because there is a history of close to 100 years of Zionism; and the actions of the Zionist State, Israel, have a history of seven and a half decades of violence and racism. To add to that, in February, Amnesty International came out with a damning report demonstrating in no uncertain terms that Israel is engaged in the crime of apartheid and has been since the day it was established.

The Amnesty report is fewer than 300 pages long and can, and indeed must, be read by everyone. It is detailed, well-written and can provide the tools and information needed when confronting Israel and its allies in the various spheres in which they operate: in the academic world when confronting representatives of Israeli academic institutions; in the world of international sports, when demanding that FIFA and the International Olympic committee expel Israel; and in the corporate world and in the political-diplomatic spheres. In short, the Amnesty report is an invaluable tool.

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Article 1 of The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid states:

The States Parties to the present Convention declare that apartheid is a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law.

According to Article II.a of the Convention, the crime of apartheid includes the following elements:

Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:

(i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;

(ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;

(b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part…

The significance of this clause cannot be overstated, particularly when speaking about the State of Israel, a state that was established only three years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust. According to the Amnesty report, the crime of apartheid began in 1948 when the state of Israel was established.

OPERATION DANNY

piece titled “We Need to Discuss Lyd,” published on the Israeli alternative media platform, Haokets, relays the events of July 1948 when the Palestinian city of El-Lyd was taken by the Israeli military in what was known as “Operation Danny.”

El-Lyd was subjected to an aerial attack on the night between the 10th and 11th of July 1948. Then a battalion led by Moshe Dayan, the famous eyepatch-wearing Israeli general, drove through the city, spraying it with gunfire. Witnesses who were part of this attack said that Dayan ordered them to “wash the city with gunfire,” a command they took to mean shooting indiscriminately in every direction. The city was taken in 47 minutes during which, according to this piece, the Israeli military utilized nine armored personnel carriers, 20 jeeps, and 10 armored vehicles equipped with machine guns. The Palestinians had no forces apart from a few men with rifles.

Various witnesses mentioned hundreds of bullet-strewn bodies on the streets. The dead were eventually buried in unmarked mass graves. On July 12, clashes between some of the local fighters and the Israeli invading forces were reported. In these clashes an additional 250 Palestinians were killed, some of whom were prisoners held by the Israelis. Later that day, a soldier by the name of Yerahmiel Kahanovich shot a missile into the Dahmash Mosque where over 100 Palestinians had taken refuge. One anti-tank Fiat missile killed an estimated 120 civilians who posed no danger to anyone.

The exact number of those killed is unknown. This is because the impact of the blast was so severe that no bodies were left intact. “The bodies were all over the walls and ceiling,” one Israeli soldier said. So the Mosque was kept shut for two weeks. After two weeks, Palestinian prisoners were sent to clean up the mosque and bury the remains of those inside. Then, according to the testimony of Israelis themselves, many of those who carried out the burial were shot, killed and then buried as well.

Not only was no one ever prosecuted, not only did Moshe Dayan go on to command the Israeli army and then become minister of defense and of foreign affairs, but, in a move that is perhaps more cynical than any, the plaza outside the mosque was named “Palmach Plaza,” Palmach being the brigade that had committed the massacre in the city and particularly at the mosque.

Once the city was occupied, soldiers sent the Palestinian residents on their way to march eastward toward the newly established Kingdom of Jordan in the heat of summer without food or water. “Yalla to Abdullah,” the Israeli soldiers shouted as men, women, children and the elderly were forced into a death march that would result in the demise of countless Palestinians.

WHAT CONSTITUTES COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP?

In a piece in the Israeli army publication Maarachot, Moshe Dayan’s command of the battalion that took El-Lyd is described as “courageous,” and possessing “an ability to withstand the pressures of battle.” Dayan is described as endowed with a “determination to complete the mission,” “professionalism,” and “leadership.”

In this piece, the massacre of El-Lyd is described as “a difficult battle,” in which the leadership skills of the battalion commander, Dayan saved the day and led to victory. The article was written by Brigadier General Shay Kelper while he was still a Lt. Colonel and a battalion commander himself. His article received an award from the IDF Chief of Staff.

The fight to end the apartheid regime in Palestine takes place in every arena, in every field and on every continent. Israel and its allies are determined to hold their ground because they know that for them this is a fight for their lives. People who care for justice and for the lives of Palestinians need to remember that every day that goes by while Israel is permitted to continue its crimes against humanity is another day of death to Palestinians.

Feature photo | The minaret of the Al-Omari mosque and St. George Greek Orthodox church are reflected in the broken windshield of a vehicle in Lyd.

WHAT CONSTITUTES COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP?

In a piece in the Israeli army publication Maarachot, Moshe Dayan’s command of the battalion that took El-Lyd is described as “courageous,” and possessing “an ability to withstand the pressures of battle.” Dayan is described as endowed with a “determination to complete the mission,” “professionalism,” and “leadership.”

In this piece, the massacre of El-Lyd is described as “a difficult battle,” in which the leadership skills of the battalion commander, Dayan saved the day and led to victory. The article was written by Brigadier General Shay Kelper while he was still a Lt. Colonel and a battalion commander himself. His article received an award from the IDF Chief of Staff.

The fight to end the apartheid regime in Palestine takes place in every arena, in every field and on every continent. Israel and its allies are determined to hold their ground because they know that for them this is a fight for their lives. People who care for justice and for the lives of Palestinians need to remember that every day that goes by while Israel is permitted to continue its crimes against humanity is another day of death to Palestinians.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (Weekly Update 16-22 June 2022)

June 23, 2022


Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

Five Palestinians were killed; 4 of them by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)’s fire, and one after being stabbed by an Israeli settler, while dozens of others suffocated and sustained bruises in IOF attacks in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, except three fishermen in the Gaza Strip. Details are as follows:

On 17 June 2022, in a new crime of extrajudicial execution (assassination), IOF directly opened fire at 3 Palestinians and killed them after surrounding and targeting their vehicle in Jenin, northern West Bank.  The 3 persons killed were identified as Yousif Naser Salah (23), Laith Salah Abu Srour (24) and Baraa’ Kamal Lahlouh (24). Moreover, eight Palestinians were injured; one sustained a serious injury in subsequent clashes. More information available here.

On 19 June 2022, Nabil Ahmed Ghanem (53), from Nablus, was killed after IOF stationed at Eyal Crossing near the annexation wall in northern Qalqilya, opened fire at him while he was trying to infiltrate through a hole in the wall to work in Israel. Ghanem’s corpse is still in the IOF’s custody.

On 21 June 2022, ‘Ali Harab (27) was killed after an Israeli settler stabbed him in Iskaka village, east of Slafit, and was left to bleed to death as the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) obstructed the provision of medical aid to him. More information available here.

Meanwhile, those injured were victims of IOF’s excessive use of force and suppression of peaceful protests and gatherings organized by Palestinian civilians and they were as follows:

On 17 June 2022, 7 Palestinians, including 6 children, sustained rubber bullet wounds during clashes that followed IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in northern Qalqilya.

On 21 June 2022, two Palestinians, including a child, were injured, while another Palestinian was arrested during IOF’s incursion into Qabatiya village in Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, three fishermen were injured after Israeli gunboats fired rubber bullets at them on 16 June 2022. Also, the Israeli gunboats deliberately crashed into their boat and flipped it in the water, putting their lives at risk and causing severe damage to the boat and its engine. More information available here. Also, 7 IOF shootings were reported on fishing boats off the western Gaza shores. Moreover, IOF opened fire 3 times at agricultural lands in access restricted areas in eastern Gaza Strip.  Additionally, on 17 June 2022, IOF warplanes fired a missile at an empty land in eastern Beit Hanoun.

So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 62 Palestinians, including 48 civilians: 13 children, 5 women (one was a journalist Shireen Abu ‘Aqlah), a Palestinian stabbed by an Israeli settler and the rest were activists; 6 of them were assassinated. Also, 891 others were wounded in these attacks, including 102 children, 4 women, and 19 journalists; all in the West Bank, except 15 fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

Land razing, demolitions, and notices

IOF demolished an under-construction house and a water well and distributed 29 demolition and cease-construction notices in the West Bank. Details are as follows:

On 17 June 2022, IOF distributed 20 demolition notices in Kherbet Khellet al-Dabi’ in eastern Yatta, south of Hebron. The notices included: 13 agricultural tinplated dwellings, a water well and 4 bathrooms.

On 20 June 2022, IOF handed a cease-construction notice against an agricultural room, a water well and a fence, in addition to two other cease-construction notices against a house and a residential room in eastern Yatta city. Also, they handed a demolition notice against 3 agricultural tents in Ma’in village in Hebron.

On 21 June 2022, IOF delivered 3 cease-construction notices to three houses in al-Dayraat village, south of Hebron.

On 22 June 2022, in Ni’lin village in western Ramallah, IOF demolished an under-construction house and a water well belonging to a Palestinian prisoner in the Israeli jails, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.

Since the beginning of 2022, Israeli occupation forces made 77 families homeless, a total of 445 persons, including 90 women and 210 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 77 houses and 16 residential tents. IOF also demolished 49 other civilian objects, leveled vacant areas of land and delivered dozens of notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

IOF carried out 142 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During those incursions, 68 Palestinians were arrested, including 11 children, 3 women (one of them was a female journalist who was later released), and a journalist.  In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted three limited incursions into eastern Beit Hanoun, where they placed cement cubes behind the border fence on 19 June 2022; and in norther Beit Lahia, where they levelled 10 dunums planted with watermelon on 21 June 2022; and in eastern Rafah on 22 June 2022. Also, IOF arrested 3 Palestinians during two infiltration attempts into Israel in eastern Rafah on 20 June 2022.

So far in 2022, IOF conducted 4137 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 2698 Palestinians were arrested, including 273 children and 23 women. IOF also conducted 21 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 65 Palestinians, including 41 fishermen, 23 infiltrators, and 3 travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties:

On 18 June 2022, two Israeli settlers opened fire in the air during their raid on Burj Al-Luqluq Social Center Society in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Afterwards, IOF intervened and secured their withdrawal from the area.

On 16 June 2022, two Palestinians sustained deep wounds and fractures after being assaulted by Israeli settlers with sharp tools and knives in their workplace in “Ramat Eshkol” settlement, west of Jerusalem.  

So far this year, settlers carried out 152 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank.

Israeli collective punishment and closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s monthly update on the Gaza crossings.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 80 temporary military checkpoints in the West bank, including East Jerusalem.

On 16 June 2022, IOF closed with sand berms several sub-roads in Kizma village in occupied East Jerusalem. On the same day, IOF closed the metal-detector gate established at Ash-Shawawra village entrance in Bethlehem and re-opened it later.

On 19 June 2022, IOF closed the eastern and western entrances to Husan village in Bethlehem and re-opened them later.  

So far in 2022, IOF established 2006 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 106 Palestinians at those checkpoints

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If the media can probe Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, why not the murder of other Palestinians?

23 June 2022

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning independent journalist and author [ MORE ]

An Israeli sniper shot the Al-Jazeera journalist, according to four US news organisations. But the only investigation the Biden administration will heed is an Israeli one

Middle East Eye – 22 Jun 2022

The New York Times published this week the conclusion of its investigation into the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

It was the fourth major US news organisation to look in detail at what happened to Abu Akleh during an Israeli army raid into the Palestinian city of Jenin last month. 

The New York Times found a high probability she had been killed by an Israeli sniper, confirming the findings of earlier investigations by the Associated Press, CNN and the Washington Post. Like the other publications, the Times based its findings on video footage, witness testimonies and acoustic analysis. 

“The bullet that killed Ms Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli military convoy [in Jenin], most likely by a soldier from an elite unit,” the Times concluded. A total of 16 shots were fired at the group of journalists that included Abu Akleh.

Last month, CNN said the evidence it unearthed suggested the veteran Al Jazeera journalist had been killed in a “targeted attack by Israeli forces”. Similar conclusions have been reached by human rights groups that have studied the evidence, including Israel’s respected occupation watchdog, B’Tselem. 

A major blow

These probes are a major blow to Israel, coming from reputed media organisations that are usually seen as highly sympathetic to Israel rather than the Palestinians. 

They have kept the killing of the journalist in the headlines when Israel had hoped interest would quickly wane – as is the case with the overwhelming majority of Palestinian deaths.

The investigations have made it much harder for Israel to obscure both its responsibility for Abu Akleh’s killing and the intention behind it. The bullet that killed her was fired with the apparent goal of executing her, hitting a narrow, exposed area of flesh between her helmet and a flak jacket marked “Press”. 

And the various probes have highlighted once again how unwilling Israel is to hold its soldiers to account for committing crimes if the victim is Palestinian. 

Instead, Israel has had to twist and turn in defending its failure to identify the culprit. It initially refused to investigate, claiming a Palestinian gunman, not one of its soldiers, shot Abu Akleh during the military raid.  

All the media investigations show that to be untrue. 

Then Israel suggested that she might have been hit by the crossfire from an Israeli soldier being fired on by Palestinian gunmen. But all the investigations have shown that Palestinian fighters were nowhere near Abu Akleh when she was shot. She was, however, clearly visible to a unit of Israeli soldiers. 

More recently, Israel has tried to shift the blame onto the Palestinian Authority, saying it has not cooperated by handing over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh or by agreeing to hold a joint investigation. As ever, Israel behaves as if the party accused of the crime should be the one to oversee the investigation.

The Palestinian Authority rightly refuses requests for cooperation, arguing that they are being made in bad faith. Israel would exploit any joint investigation to concoct “a new lie, a new narrative”, the PA observes. 

A meaningful question

In reality, Israel already knows exactly which of its snipers pulled the trigger. The only meaningful question at this stage is, why? Was the shooting committed by a hot-headed soldier, or was it an execution carried out on orders from above? Was the intention to target Abu Akleh specifically, or did it not matter which of the group of journalists she was among was hit? 

Israel, however, isn’t the only party discomfited by the media’s repeated investigations.

They have also served to embarrass Joe Biden’s administration. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has called for an “independent, credible investigation”, while his department has underscored the need for a “thorough and independent investigation”. 

The New York Times and the other major media outlets have all proved that just such an investigation can be carried out. And yet the silence from the US administration at their shared findings is deafening. 

There are two further, possibly less obvious conclusions the rest of us should draw from these efforts to identify who was responsible for killing Abu Akleh. 

The first relates to the exceptional nature of the investigations conducted by the US media. Concern at the killing of a Palestinian is far from the norm. In this case, it appears to have been prompted by an unusual coincidence of facts: that Abu Akleh was a high-profile, internationally respected journalist and that she had US citizenship. 

In other words, she was seen not just as any ordinary Palestinian, or even as a Palestinian journalist, but as one of the western media’s own. 

Total impunity

In murdering Abu Akleh, Israel reminded journalists at the New York Times, AP, CNN and the Washington Post that the lives of their correspondents covering Israel and Palestine are in more danger than they possibly appreciate. In killing her, Israel crossed a red line for the western media – one premised on self-interest and self-preservation. 

There are parallels with the media’s special treatment of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – and for similar reasons. Khashoggi, who was working for the Washington Post, was murdered and his body dismembered during a visit to the Saudi embassy in Turkey

As with Israel, Saudi Arabia‘s leadership has an appalling human rights record and is not hesitant to jail and kill its opponents. But Khashoggi’s murder provoked unprecedented outrage from the media – outrage that Saudi Arabia’s many other victims have never warranted.

The fact is the US media could have conducted similar investigations into any number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of the Israeli security services, not just Abu Akleh’s, and they would have reached similar conclusions. But they have consistently avoided doing so.

There is a danger inherent in focusing exclusively on Abu Akleh’s killing, just as there was with focusing exclusively on Khashoggi’s. Each has the effect of making it look as though their deaths are exceptional events requiring exceptional investigation – when they are each an example of a longstanding pattern of regime lawlessness and human rights abuses.

The special focus subtly reinforces too the impression that Palestinian accounts of Israeli abuses, even when the supporting evidence is overwhelming, cannot be trusted. 

The veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has run a weekly column, the Twilight Zone, in the Haaretz newspaper for years in which he investigates the killing or serious wounding of Palestinians – often people whose names have never appeared in the western media. 

Invariably he finds that Israel’s military lies – sometimes flagrantly – about the circumstances in which Palestinians have been killed, or it initiates an inconclusive, stone-walling investigation. 

The lies are needed because the truth would show something consistently ugly about Israel’s decades of military occupation: that Israeli soldiers often kill unarmed Palestinians in cold blood; or that they recklessly shoot Palestinian bystanders; or that they execute armed Palestinian fighters when no one’s life is in danger.

The common thread in Levy’s reports is the complete impunity of Israeli soldiers, whatever their actions.

Pilloried in public

But there is a further conclusion to be drawn. Blinken and the Biden administration keep insisting on a thorough, independent, credible and transparent investigation, and say it is important to “follow the facts, wherever they lead”.

But who do they expect to carry out such an investigation? 

The White House, of course, reflexively discounts the findings of the Palestinian Authority’s investigation that Abu Akleh was deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers. It acts as if the investigations conducted by these four large media organisations do not qualify. Meanwhile, the administration itself shows precisely zero interest in conducting an investigation, despite pressure from Congress to involve the FBI. 

Would Blinken prefer that the United Nations take on the task? Presumably not, given how the US and Israel responded to the last major independent investigation by the UN, one into Israel’s month-long attack on Gaza at the end of 2008. Israel refused to cooperate. 

Richard Goldstone, a distinguished South African jurist, led a panel of experts who concluded that Israel had committed a series of war crimes during its attack, known as Cast Lead, as had Palestinian militias. 

The UN panel’s report found that Israel had adopted a policy that intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians, the vast majority of the 1,400 Palestinians killed in Cast Lead. 

Both the US and Israel worked strenuously to bury the report. Goldstone, who is Jewish, found himself publicly shamed and isolated by Jewish communities in the US and South Africa. He was even barred from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah. Eventually, he appeared to succumb to the pressure campaign, expressing regret over the report. 

No one in Washington came to Goldstone’s defence over the UN’s thorough, independent, credible and transparent investigation. Quite the reverse: he was publicly pilloried. The US administration thereby sent a message to other experts that investigating “independently” and “credibly” is certain only to bring ignominy on their heads if it exposes Israel’s war crimes. 

Israel’s hands ‘tied’

Or maybe Blinken would prefer that the International Criminal Court at the Hague investigate. 

And yet the US demonstrated the degree to which it appreciates full, independent, credible and transparent investigations by that body two years ago, when the ICC tried to turn the spotlight on to US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israel’s in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

In response, Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, imposed sanctions on the court, denying staff entry to the US and threatening to seize its assets. The threat extended to anyone offering “material support” to the court – language more normally used in the context of terrorism.  

The reality, as all parties understand, is that only an investigation overseen by Israel could ever count as “thorough, independent, credible and transparent” to the US. 

The subtext is that an investigation cannot hope to reach the bar of “credible, independent and transparent”, as far as Washington is concerned, until the Palestinian Authority agrees to hold a joint inquiry with Israel.

But both Israel and the US know full well that the Palestinian leadership will never agree to such “cooperation” – because Israel’s role would not be to arrive at the truth but to engineer a cover-up. 

The demand for a “credible, independent and transparent” investigation is the US administration’s code for an investigation that will never take place. It is the diplomatic equivalent of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But more importantly, it is the kind of impossible investigation that, conveniently for the US and Israel, they can blame the PA for obstructing. As long as the Palestinians refuse to “cooperate”, Israel’s hands are supposedly tied. 

Abu Akleh’s murder has not just revealed the fact that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians, any Palestinian, with impunity. 

It has revealed too that the Biden administration is not troubled by the killing, or by the impunity of the soldier who executed her. All that bothers the White House is the irritant of having to create the impression it cares about the truth and the impression that Israel is doing its best to investigate. 

Until the matter can be swept aside, it will be a little harder for each to get on with business as usual: for the US to give Israel full-throated financial, diplomatic and military support; and for Israel to continue its incremental, decades-long work of seizing control of the Palestinians’ entire, historic homeland.

But at least for each of them, with Abu Akleh gone, there is one less fearless witness to expose quite how hollow their moral posturing is.

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Three Palestinians killed in a raid on Jenin camp

June 17, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli occupation forces kill three Palestinians in Jenin which has been targeted in the occupation’s latest wave of violence.

The three martyrs are Laith Abu Sorour, Youssef Salah, and Baraa Al-Halhouh from Jenin camp.

Three Palestinian youths were murdered and another eight wounded during an Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry reported that the three martyrs are Laith Abu Sorour, Youssef Salah, and Baraa Al-Halhouh from Jenin camp.

Local witnesses said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have opened fire at four Palestinian young men while they were in a vehicle during a military raid into the occupied West Bank camp of Jenin.

Simultaneously, confrontations were renewed after the IOF brutally stormed the refugee camp and fired live ammunition and tear gas bombs at civilians there.

It is worth noting that the occupation forces have been actively storming Jenin and its camp, aiming clearly at killing Palestinians and arresting others who, in turn, are confronting the occupation forces.

This is happening as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has recently given a green light for killing Palestinians. 

“There are not and will not be limited for this war. We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet [domestic intelligence agency], and all security forces,” Bennet said last April.

Since the beginning of 2022, IOF killed at least 70 Palestinians,  27 of them from Jenin and its camp.

Shireen Abu Akleh

When talking about Jenin, the name of Shireen Abu Akleh, famed Al Jazeera journalist and veteran reporter, comes to mind. Shireen was murdered on May 11 when Israeli occupation forces storming the Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, shot her with a live bullet to the head as she was covering the events of the storming.

The Washington Post has lately published a detailed examination of the deliberate murder of Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli Occupation Forces.

Read more: 

A Forgotten Anniversary

June 12, 2022

Source

By Jimmie Moglia

It is a property of the past to sink into oblivion, and of unpleasant truths to fade into evanescence. To such past belongs the attack on the USS Liberty.

When to the session of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, Israel’s 1967 war of Middle East invasion is/was for me but a negligible blip compared to other important personal events. Such as my getting ready to read the thesis for my degree in Electronic Engineering, in Genova, Italy.

Therefore, without particular consciousness I submitted to the sentences of the official media without examining the authority of the judge.

My first doubts arose not long later when I decided to visit the Eastern Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, located on the Sinai Peninsula at the very foot of Mt. Sinai. It could then only be reached from Tel Aviv via Sharm-el-Sheikh and a bus trip.

On welcoming the tourists on the bus the guide announced with pride that the Sinai was “now and forever an unalienable part of Israel.” I found the declaration irrelevant, if not odd, but I consider that moment as the beginning of my associated historical interest.

The official US line is that, on Jun 8, 1967, the Israelis mistakenly attacked by air, and torpedoed by sea, an unarmed US intelligence ship, killing 34 sailors and wounding 171 others. 2022 marks the 55th anniversary of that attack.

Following are some details of the ship, of the episode and of its aftermath. For, similar to occasions that perhaps we all have felt, a detail that uncalled-for returns to mind, rekindles fuller memories of a larger connected event, not otherwise spontaneously recalled. The detail is the inspired arrogance of the Israeli guide I mentioned. More in general, I think that the attack on the Liberty dramatically demonstrates the nature of who exercises actual power in the United States.

As in most cases involving Israel, any attempt to give a factual account of an event, fails in its promised impartiality. For in the corrupted currents of the world, the very terms ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish,’ unless associated with praise or deference, taint their utterer with a halo of anti-Semitism.

That is, there is no neutral use of the words. The issue is very old and well explained, for example, by Jewish writer Joshua Trachtenberg in his book “The Devil and the Jews.” Where he documents how there has been a propensity at large, dating back to medieval times, to ascribe a legendary element of a biblical and obscure nature to the word ‘Jew’. That propensity has sunk into what Jung called “collective unconsciousness.”

I should also add that two men observing the same object will describe it differently, according to the point of view from which either beholds it. In the eyes of one it shall be a fair prospect, to the other a barren waste, and neither may see right. Wherefore, truth being the legitimate object of history, it is better that she should be sought-for by many than by few. Lest, for want of seekers, among the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she is lost altogether.

The Liberty was first launched at the end of WW2 in Oregon and named then “Simmons Victor.” It belonged to a fleet of cargo carriers quickly built (one every 10 weeks), to replace the losses to submarine attacks during WW2.

Reconverted into a spy ship in 1964, she was renamed “Liberty”. On May 24, 1967, she was dispatched from the Ivory Coast to the Eastern Mediterranean, to monitor radio signals from both Egyptians and Israeli sources, as tensions grew between Israel and the Arab world.

While it is now acknowledged that Israel started the 1967 war, the only and univocal information channels of the time told the public that Egypt attacked and that Israel “had the right to defend itself” – a sentence now imprinted in the US collective mind, and repeated every time when Israel mounts an aggression, carpet bombs Gaza, demolishes Palestinian homes, builds Jewish “settlements” in Palestinian land, erects walls to keep the Palestinians out of the way, and kills Palestinians at large.

In May 1967, McNamara, the famous defense secretary, rendered infamous for his role in the Vietnam war, had informed Israel’s foreign minister that American intelligence showed Egypt did not plan to attack. And Johnson, then US president, had feebly called on Israel not to start a war. A call with as much effect as the “concern” of succeeding US presidents, whenever Palestinians are dispossessed of their lands and new massive Jewish colonial settlements are established on Palestinian land.

1967, in my view, is a historical milestone for the US and its vassalage to Zionist interests – for previous administrations were or seemed to be somewhat more reserved.

For example and for a time, the Jews hailed Roosevelt as a modern-day Moses, until some of his actions and unofficial records surfaced from the archives. Vice President Henry Wallace annotated in his diary a discussion between Roosevelt and Churchill (May 1943), on how to settle the “Jewish question.”

The notes say, “The President approved a plan to ‘spread the Jews thin’ all over the world. He said he had tried this experiment in the Meriweather County in Georgia (where he lived in the 1920s,) by adding only four or five Jewish families at each place. He claimed that the local population would have no objection if there were no more than that.” This was enough for the Jewish community at large to label Roosevelt a ‘traitor.’

In 1948 Truman recognized Israel but did not sell arms to the Jewish state. And in 1956, when Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal, Eisenhower threatened intervention and a halt to all foreign aid, if Israel did not withdraw.

But by 1960, President Kennedy had well understood Jewish power and its influence on domestic policies – he delivered sophisticated armaments and strengthened relations with Israel.

Johnson equaled or bettered Kennedy. After Kennedy’s assassination he said to an Israeli diplomat, “You have lost a very great friend, but you have found a better one.” And he chose and appointed a full cadre of Jewish and pro-Israel advisers to the White House.

On Jun 8, 1967, reconnaissance flights over the Liberty, sailing about 15 miles off the Egyptian coast, began at 5.15 AM, the next round at 8.50 AM and several other Israeli planes and jets circled the ship until 12.45 PM.

At 1.30 PM three Israeli Mirage jets began the attack. Completely taken by surprise, Liberty’s skipper William McGonagle ordered the only two 0.50 mm guns manned and fired – they were quickly taken out by the jets and the gunners pulverized before they could fire the first shots, however ineffective could the shots be anyway.

The attacks continued, one every 45 seconds, as the jets strafed the ship and circled back for another round. They hit with cannon and rockets. Then they aimed at the engine room below the smoke stack. Next came Napalm bombs that turned the deck into an inferno.

Six minutes into the attack, the Liberty, with whatever communication resources were left, radioed for help to the Sixth fleet located further west. “Any station, any station, this is Rockstar, we are under attack.” The operator on the aircraft carrier Saratoga could not understand the message. On the Liberty they changed transmitter. After some interminable minutes Saratoga replied “Roger” and Liberty screamed, “We are under attack and need immediate assistance.”

But now the Saratoga operator asked for the identification code. The Liberty’s operator, with cannon from three jets strafing the ship, had to retrieve the code from a book, and finally Saratoga replied reassuringly, “Authentication is correct. I am standing by for further traffic.”

Meanwhile, before the air attack began, the Liberty’s radar operator had spotted three unidentified ships approaching fast, and alerted the captain. In the confusion and carnage that followed, as the dead and wounded piled on deck, no one thought of the approaching ships. Now Captain McGonagle saw through his binoculars that the three boats, maneuvering in attack formation, were Israelis. Up to that moment he and everybody else thought that the attackers were Egyptians.

In the meantime the original mast with the US flag had been hit – and the Liberty sailors raised a new larger American flag.

The forward torpedo boat opened fire on the defenseless ship. This would provide cover for the attacking boats to get close and launch their torpedoes. Though crippled himself and with a crippled ship operating with one engine, McGonagle attempted evasive maneuvers. Of the 5 torpedoes launched by the Israelis, one hit – creating a gash 24 ft high and 39 ft wide. The Liberty listed by 8 degrees; the entire intelligence section was instantly flooded trapping and killing 20 people.

Now the torpedo boats halted fire while remaining at less than 800 yards from the Liberty. Still shocked, amazed and in disbelief, the Liberty signaled repeatedly with a hand-held Aldis lamp, “US Naval Ship.” “

Do you need any help?” signaled the Israelis. A response that, in the circumstances, was almost adding insult to injury. “No” signaled back the Liberty.

The torpedo boats had not yet departed when two oncoming Israeli helicopters circled the ship. Fearful of more attacks, McGonagle had the international flag hoisted signaling “Not Under Command.”

At 6.40 PM another Israeli helicopter arrived and dropped a bag containing a business card from the US Naval Attaché at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Ernest Castle. On the back of the card there was a hand-written question, “Have you any casualties?” Which seemed another insult added to injury. The Liberty’s deck was a wreck, still strewn with blood and some dead sailors… impossible to miss.

How about the call for help from the Sixth Fleet? After the signal was authenticated, the Saratoga launched some fighter jets but, moments later they were unexpectedly and inexplicably recalled, waiting for the arrival of another aircraft carrier, the America.

Eventually, the planes from the America took off and the squadron leader, while reassuring the Liberty radio operator, asked a logical question, “We are on the way, who is the enemy?” Good question. For the sailors on the Liberty, as well as Captain McGonagle could not as yet believe their eyes that the enemies were the Israelis.

At that moment, 4.14 PM, both the Saratoga and the America received a message from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, as follows, “Israeli aircraft erroneously attacked US ship. Israel sends apologies and wants to know which other US ships are near the war zone.” The US carriers immediately recalled all air strikes.

The first US ship to reach the Liberty to carry away the dead and wounded arrived at 6.40 AM the next day. It took three days for the crippled vessel to arrive at Malta. 20 corpses had remained unreachable in the area hit by the torpedo, drenching the ship with a smell of death.

The plan was to repair the Liberty, enabling her return to the US. It was the beginning of a tortuous public relations battle.

While the ship was still en route to Malta, some White House advisers in Washington suggested sinking it, to avoid or minimize embarrassment.

In Malta, a large tarpaulin-looking cover hid the gash caused by the torpedoes. All crewmembers, injured and uninjured were ordered, under threat of punishment, not to answer any questions from the press.

Meantime in the US, the Administration struggled to find what to say or do. The US press was jubilant about Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. The Jews organized a rally in Washington to celebrate it. Placards said “Moses led us out of the land of Egypt, now Moshe Dayan has led us back.” Jewish White House aids Levinson and Wattenberg, in a memo to the President, suggested that he express his full support for Israel. David Ginsburg, a president’s friend and leader of the Jewish community even wrote the encomiastic speech that the President would later deliver at the rally.

In the jubilation for Israel’s victory, the Liberty affair appeared a minor incident. The press completely bought the idea that the Israeli attack was an error. Senator Jacob Javits, stated, “With Israel we know it was a mistake, a miscalculation could take place in any place in the world.” Incidentally, Jacob Javits is the same senator who pushed through immigration reforms intended to make Americans of European descent a minority. Today any restraint is gone. The message that Europeans and Americans of European descent should become a disposable minority has almost become mainstream.

In the meantime, Egypt had accepted the cease-fire, but Israel had opened another front in Syria, to occupy the Golan Heights. As for the Liberty, the main interest of the media was not the attack, the dead and the wounded, but why the Navy had a ship in the area. Which shows how often trifles excite an exuberance of interest, while the core of an event receives lesser or little attention.

The first official White House explanation said it was a scientific research ship doing its job, but this did not satisfy the press. If so, why not inform the Israelis of the ship’s presence?

The administration then concocted an even more unbelievable story. The Liberty was verifying if communications exchanged by bouncing signals off the moon were reliable. In scope and absurdity, the explanation parallels the answer given by the head of NIST (National Institute of Research and Technology), Shyam Sunder, while presenting the official NIST report on 9/11.

During the conference, a physics teacher, David Chandler, had clearly demonstrated with a video, that building 7 had fallen at the acceleration of gravity, the signature of a controlled demolition. Unable to challenge the basics of physics, the director said, “Gravity is the force that keeps the universe together.” (I am not making it up)

As the number of reported Liberty casualties mounted, one reporter, during a press meeting, asked what was the President’s reaction. The Whitehouse spokesman replied that the President was “deeply grieved.”

In the meantime, Israel claimed that the Liberty, when spotted, appeared to escape at high speed toward Egypt, flew no flag and looked like an Egyptian cargo ship, the “El Queseir”, which was actually half the size of the Liberty and designed to carry 400 men and 40 horses.

Though almost incredible today, the Liberty attack stirred little interest or controversy at the time. But we must remember the moment, filled with enthusiasm about Israel’s victory, which, thanks to the Jewish sponsored massive celebrations, made it almost appear as an American victory. And, more ominously, the moment was filled with concerns about the mounting problems in Vietnam.

Besides, the dead and wounded of the Liberty were less than the price paid in one day by America, in life and limb, to ‘defend democracy’ in Vietnam.

The New York Times called the attack one of the “many mistakes that invariably occur in war…. the Israeli, flushed with victory made an error in identification… accident rather than design snuffed out (sic) the lives of some and caused injuries to others of the Liberty’s crew.”

One other striking aspect of the aftermath was the almost total lack of concern for the victims, whose reported number increased each day, while many sailors faced catastrophic injuries and a life of disability, impairment and pain. Proving how everything, on this side of the grave, is regarded rather in consequence of the habit of valuing it, than from any opinion that it deserved value. For the relative indifference to the victims is proof of the relative indifference to their value.

The main objective (inside the White House and notably with Johnson and McNamara), was not to antagonize Israel, along with the fear of not appearing sufficiently pro-Israel with the cadre of Israeli-firsters that comprised advisers, consultants, aids and secretaries within the Administration.

There were multiple meetings and exchanges between Jewish members of White House and the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Cynically, some suggested that the attack on the Liberty could help weaken the accusations of American support for Israel, and gain some credibility with the Arabs.

It was now clear that the Administration had (or for that matter has) no leverage with the Jewish state. The US had urged Israel not to launch a war. Just 20 days before the attack, Johnson had affirmed America’s commitment to the “political independence and territorial integrity of all Middle Eastern nations.” Israel itself had claimed that it had no territorial ambitions. The reader can decide for himself on the value or worth of those words.

But in the fevered exchanges with the Israeli US embassy, the Administration achieved one ‘success.’ Namely, the Israeli embassy agreed to tone down and backdate an official statement, ready to be released, essentially accusing the US of being responsible for the attack on the Liberty.

The Israeli ambassador had suggested to Tel Aviv to at least hold responsible some of the attackers – suggestion fiercely rejected by Israel. The official Israeli court inquiry was, expectedly, a joke. So, for that matter, was the official inquiry conducted in the US, which mainly centered on discrepancies in the timing of the attacks as reported by the surviving sailors called to depose.

The final transcript mirrors the shallowness of the investigation. Many officers said the court seemed afraid of uncovering information that could prove that Israel deliberately attacked the Liberty. A sailor, Scott, photographed the first reconnaissance plane in the morning of the attack. He thought he had given the court a critical piece of information, but the court was uninterested. They dismissed his testimony stating that reconnaissance flights began much later. Declassified Israeli records show that the plane photographed by Scott, was indeed the first to conduct a reconnaissance flight. Nor the American government even asked Israel to let its pilots, torpedo boat skippers or commanders, testify in the US Court.

In the end, the “conspiracy theorists” of this tragic event are, officially, those who do not believe that the attack on the Liberty was a mistake. In this regard, it was almost a return to the future of 9/11 – when 19 fumbling Arabs scored a checkmate on America, and displayed unbelievable acrobatic maneuvering skills in piloting jumbo jets for the first time in their life.

In 1980 Israel paid 6 m$ to the families of the Liberty’s dead and wounded (in 3 yearly installments of 2 m$/each). This is a fraction of a fraction of what constitutes America’s yearly payments to Israel.

The final telling episode involves the wounded skipper of the Liberty, William McGonagle. He received the Medal of Honor for bravery, but Johnson refused to give it to him in person, which is the tradition – “so as not to offend the Jews”. An Admiral commented, “I am surprised they didn’t just hand it to him under the 14th Street Bridge.”

On June 8, 1997, McGonagle met the remaining survivors of the Liberty at the Arlington Cemetery. Through the years he had been publicly silent, though he did not believe in the error of identification. In what was to be his last and only related public address, he told the survivors, “It’s about time that the State of Israel and the US Government tell what happened to the crewmembers of the Liberty and the American people.” He died less than two years later.

The first terrorist attack and burning of a TWA plane on the ground occurred in 1970, when it became clear that Israel would not return the lands illegally occupied in the 1967 war.

That was the beginning of hijackings, terrorist attacks, murders, Intifadas, genocides in Gaza and Lebanon, wars and more wars. During the 1980s the new Israel’s Oded-Yinon Plan called for a greater Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates. In the late 1990s came the call for a “New Pearl Harbor,” by the worthy husband of the equally worthy wife, Victoria Nudelman. In 2001 we had the “New Pearl Harbor”, followed by the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and countless other wars against sundry “terrorists.”

As far as we can know, the plan for a Greater Israel has not been canceled. During his administration, Obama declared that peace with the Palestinians should be achieved on the basis of returning to Palestine the lands occupied in 1967. Next day, uninvited, the Prime Minister of Israel, flew to Washington to deliver a counter-speech to the joint audience of Congress and the Senate. He received 29 standing ovations.

And how about Jewish influence? Here is a famous quote from the Los Angeles Times from Joel Stein, “I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.”

Jumping to current times, less known is the remarkable connection between Ukraine and the plans of Ihor Kolomoisky, governor (or now perhaps ex-governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk province and citizen of Israel, Ukraine and Cyprus.) Allegedly he is currently in Israel.

Kolomoisky was a key in organizing the Odessa massacre on 2 May 2014, with his private army, the 1st Dnipro Battalion. He also hired the son of US Vice-President Joe Biden, R. Hunter Biden, plus Secretary of State John Kerry’s support committee chairman, Devon Archer, as board members of his gas holding companies.

Though some related information can be found online, Kolomoisky’s plan is/was to turn Ukraine into a ‘second Israel,’ based on alleged historic claims by Ashkenazi Jews and their more or less mythical Khazarian (Ukranian) kingdom. Allegedly, Kolomoisky has spent millions to recruit right-wing Ukrainian nationalists and neo-Nazis from other parts of Europe to fight against the Russian-speaking majority in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, and elsewhere.

Still a puzzle is the current paradoxical situation of a Ukrainian Jewish leadership linked, via an undeniable relationship, with allegedly the most militant and determined openly-Nazi section of the Ukrainian militias. Considering that Ukraine has a long history of anti-Semitism, dating at least from the treaty of Perejeslav of 1654 between the Cossacks of the legendary hetman Bohdan and the Tzar Alexis. Who, Khmelnytsky, masterminded rebellions against Jews, hated tax collectors and usurers for sundry landlords and peasant victims.

A more recent legacy of anti-Semitism is connected with the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 led by Lazar Kaganovich, one of the Jewish Bolshevik leaders of the revolution.

Not long ago I interviewed a Ukrainian Jewish family that immigrated to America during the last years of the Soviet Union. Although I could not distinguish or identify them as Jewish, they reported being negatively commented-on by sundry passers-by who recognized them as Jewish (in Kyev).

Without entering into refined speculation behind what can be found on various media, including Israeli media, it is interesting and perhaps meaningful that the Russian leadership has been recently less cautious than usual in airing related unconventional views on the subject. Such as Hitler having Jewish blood (Lavrov) or the historic Bolshevik leadership being 95% Jewish (Putin)

In the circumstances, that the Jewish Ukrainian administration has obvious close ties with a militia that historically embodies anti-Semitism defies – I think – any rational explanation.

All in all there is as much mystery in the current Ukrainian government-military arrangement as there still is in the events surrounding the attack on the USS Liberty.

To conclude, I attempted to relate the main events of the attack on the Liberty, the related opinions of some among the victims of the attack, and of some among the managers of its aftermath. To the best of my knowledge the information is correct.

I think that much injustice has been done, and much justice left undone by the parties involved after the attack on the Liberty. Just as the Western dome of power currently exerts equal and preposterous injustice in the treatment of Russia’s “Special Military Operation,” for the benefit and befuddling of those forming the base of the pyramid of subordination.

However, I am equally aware that when truth intrudes uncalled, and brings unpleasant memories in her train, the passes of the intellect are barred against her by prejudice and passion. If sometimes, she forces her way by undisputable evidence, she seldom keeps possession of her conquests, but is ejected by some favored enemy or, at best, obtains only a nominal sovereignty, without influence and without authority.

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