An “Israeli” Analysis Rules Out “Victory” in Any Future Confrontation

An “Israeli” Analysis Rules Out “Victory” in Any Future Confrontation

Translated By Staff

On the cusp of the fifteenth anniversary of the July 2006 war and the victory of the resistance, the “Israeli” media is pumping out material to cover the occasion. Today, the narrative in “Israel” underscores the inability of the “Israeli” army to emerge triumphant from any battle. One of the central questions being raised is whether the army’s ground forces that have not been used extensively for many years are capable of performing incursions into “enemy” territory – in this case Lebanon.

An article by “Israel” Hayom’s military correspondent Lilach Shoval concludes that without drastic improvements within the media sphere, the “Israeli” army would also be defeated at the tactical and even strategic level in the next war. She notes that victory will not be evident, while the feeling of bitterness from 2006 may repeat itself.

Below is the text from Shoval’s article:

Fifteen years have passed since the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War, which left the “Israeli” public with a resounding feeling of missing out on an opportunity and failure after the “Israeli” army failed to win the battle. Katyusha rockets were fired until the last moment, and Hezbollah pursued the withdrawing forces. In terms of time, failure seems dangerous, at least in terms of the relative calm that has prevailed on the border since that war. But this calm is misleading and is not necessarily a direct result of the military steps of the war.

A balance of mutual deterrence prevailed between “Israel” and Hezbollah in recent years, and the two sides are not interested in a broad confrontation at this time. Nevertheless, “Israel” and Hezbollah are preparing for the day the order is issued, through a reasonable assumption that a confrontation could erupt at any moment as a result of one tactical incident or another.

“Israeli” army officials rightly believe that the next confrontation will not be similar to the previous ones. The lessons the “Israeli” army learned during those years, the updated operational plans, as well as the training and equipment upgraders, are reasons to hope that the army will act in a different way next time.

Those concerned in the “Israeli” army realize that if in the past Hezbollah’s previous victory entailed launching rockets until the last day and withstanding attacks from the “Israeli” army, today the organization is talking about launching attacks against the “Israeli” forces. This understanding, combined with the events of “Operation Guardian of the Walls” and “Operation Resolute Cliff” [Protective Edge] in Gaza, which were a small prelude to the war in the North, is prompting the “Israeli” army to prepare a strong defense along the border.

After all, the central question to be asked is whether today’s ground forces, which haven’t been utilized for many years, are sufficiently suitable for land incursions into enemy territory. In light of the understandable unwillingness to maneuver on the ground and all that comes with it, it seems that in recent years the “Israeli” military partly reverted to the approach that accomplishments can only be achieved from the air.

The military and political leadership is very afraid about ground forces entering the battle because their efficiency has not been proven in recent years. They are also concerned for the lives of soldiers and the sensitivity of “Israeli” society towards this issue. The “Israeli” army, for its part, is doing all it can to prepare the ground forces so that the political leadership can feel more comfortable activating them when and if the next confrontation occurs. Meanwhile, the “Israeli” army continues to rely on its air force. If on the eve of the Second Lebanon War, the “Israeli” army had hundreds of targets to attack from the air, today there are thousands, and the Intelligence Division knows how to add more in real time. There is a high dose of energy behind any potential attack, and the air force can attack thousands of targets per day.

According to estimates by the “Israeli” army about strikes on the home front, Hezbollah will launch about 1,500 missiles at “Israel”. The Iron Dome will provide a good response, but, contrary to the expectations of the “Israeli” public, the system will not be able to intercept all the missiles.

In the army, officials are very afraid of the deep gap between the public’s expectations in this field and what is expected to happen in practice during the northern confrontation. One of the lessons learned – specifically from Operation Guardian of the Walls – is the need to find a more effective solution to hitting missiles in enemy territory. If we are talking about the “Israeli” home front, defense of the northern settlements received less attention in recent years than in the settlements near the fence in Gaza, and the condition of the shelters there is also worrying.

There is also a weak cell – the media, which was a weak point in the recent confrontations. In “Operation Guardian of the Walls”, the weakness of the “Israeli” media was exposed internally and externally. The gap in linking qualitative information with the media was also exposed. The “Israeli” army is not the only one to blame for the failure of the media because, at least in the international arena, the intervention of other parties, such as the Foreign Ministry, is required.

Without a drastic improvement in the media’s efforts [explanations], the “Israeli” army will also be defeated at the tactical and even the strategic level in the next war. Victory will not be evident, and the bitterness from 2006 may repeat itself.

Gantz’s Electoral Campaign Is Focused on Gaza’s Vulnerability

Image result for Gantz’s Electoral Campaign Is Focused on Gaza’s Vulnerability
Ramona Wadi
August 14, 2019

Five years after the colonial massacre unleashed by Israel on Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, Israeli politicians are still eyeing the enclave for ultimate destruction. Former IDF Chief and leader of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, is promoting the same violent tactics that formed part of his earlier electoral campaign: invade Gaza and assassinate Hamas leaders if the conditions Israel demands are not accepted.

“We will aim for the toppling of Hamas, take action to assassinate all Hamas leaders and go in with ground forces for however long we want,” Gantz remarked during a press conference in Sderot.

As the IDF Chief of Staff during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Gantz oversaw the scale of bombardment and massacres against Palestinians civilians. The deliberate violence, which also targeted Gaza’s infrastructure, left thousands of Palestinians displaced. Over 2,000 Palestinians were killed and 11,231 injured, according to UN reports.

Netanyahu has so far refrained from another large-scale aggression against Gaza. While his strategic, intermittent bombing has earned him widespread criticism in within Israel’s settler-society, Netanyahu has merely changed tactics but not ideology. Without any overt declarations of targeting Gaza, Netanyahu is normalising the Israeli agenda and deflect criticism from the international community. The latter was put to the test a few months ago last May, when Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza elicited rhetoric from the international community justifying Israel’s purported right to “defend itself” while blaming Hamas.

While attempting to portray himself as different from Netanyahu, Gantz is merely offering another trajectory of implementing Zionist colonial violence. Israeli media is already running reports of a possible coalition government between Likud and the Blue and White party, thus signalling that despite alleged differences, Netanyahu and Gantz are still in accordance over political issues, notably Gaza, settlement expansion and the prevention of any form of a Palestinian state.

Gantz’s party is proposing the elimination of the Hamas leadership and destruction of its “headquarters, warehouses, operatives,” after which it would “fix the humanitarian situation in Gaza.” This plan of action was outlined by Gabi Ashkenazi, under whose direction as IDF Chief of Staff Operation Cast Lead unfolded in 2008.

Such exploitative comments illustrate Gaza’s vulnerability. In recent years, Palestinians in Gaza have suffered increasing deprivation as a result of endeavours by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community to render humanitarian aid conditional. UN officials have even stated their preference for a return to PA rule in Gaza to facilitate their humanitarian operations. Again, depriving Gaza of basic necessities is also blamed upon Hamas.

Gantz’s solution is to eliminate a political leadership and resistance movement in a large scale, drawn out aggression that will affect Palestinians in Gaza who are still suffering the consequences of the previous Israeli bombardments. Humanitarian aid, according to Gantz, is conditional upon Hamas’s elimination. As Gaza is rendered fragile to Israeli threats and their implementation, the manipulation of humanitarian aid for Palestinians, already a plan in action, will be consolidated.

Furthermore, Gantz is proposing is the re-establishment of Israeli presence in the enclave – a notion which is prevalentamong other Israeli candidates, albeit with different interpretations.  The ground invasion, therefore, must not be thought of merely as a military action tied to a specific operation, but as a possible prelude envisaged by the former IDF chiefs to contain Gaza from within – along with the illegal blockade that continues to threaten the wellbeing of Palestinians.

Once again, the Israeli electorate is facing propaganda that pits Netanyahu’s refined and brutal strategy against the violent “deterrence” promoted by Gantz. Yet, talk of a possible coalition only highlights how close both agendas are in terms of destroying Gaza.  Netanyahu has prepared the groundwork in terms of influencing the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s assaults on Gaza. A prospective Israeli government with Netanyahu and Gantz at the helm will build upon what Israel has so far accomplished in generating oblivion when it comes to Palestinians in Gaza.

The Spider Web vs. the Iron Wall

By Jihad Haidar

Beirut – It is not surprising that the effects of the “spider web” concept are still reverberating among leaders and experts in Tel Aviv, 19 years after Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered his 2000 liberation speech.

The policy and propaganda makers in Tel Aviv failed to contain the effects of this concept and root it out. This failure is not a passing phenomenon. On the contrary, this concept is being renewed at every political and security juncture. Nevertheless, we find Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly denying that “Israel” is a “spider web” during his speech a few days ago on the anniversary of the 2006 war in Mount Herzl.

Why did Netanyahu mention the “spider web” slogan again? Why is this slogan engraved in the “Israeli” consciousness? What is the secret of this slogan’s great impact on “Israel”? Is it related to its content, to its creator or to its context and timing? What is the danger that lurks behind this slogan, which the “Israeli” leaders repeatedly feel the need to point to? How did Netanyahu try to refute this slogan, and to what degree did he succeed?

The “spider web” concept does not refute the fact that “Israel” is a strong state both in terms of military and technological might or that it possess immense destructive powers. This exact description applies to the reality of the Zionist society. However, this society’s division and defeat will only be achieved if it encounters a resistance and a society that depends on this resistance, a society with steadfastness, determination and willingness to sacrifice for its cause. Perhaps the fact that Sayyed Nasrallah stated this position in this context suggests that he deliberately distinguished between the superiority of “Israel’s” military capabilities and its structural and social weakness.

““Israel”, which possesses nuclear weapons and a strongest air force in the region, is by God, weaker than a spider web,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

19 years later, one of the most prominent generals in “Israel” and the chair of the Herzliya Conference Major General (Ret.) Amos Gilad, echoes the same concept in different terms.

““Israel” is a home protected by strong walls from the outside, but termites are eating it from the inside,” Gilad said.

On the other hand, the concept of the “spider web” is the opposite to that of the “iron wall”, which has been the main factor in shaping “Israel’s” general strategy. The summary of this Zionist concept is that its leaders realized very early on that they would not succeed in imposing their entity without planting despair in the hearts of the Arab and Palestinian people regarding the possibility of victory over the Zionist project. From here, the concept of the “iron wall” had to be planted and propagated to become something along the lines of a self-evident truth. If promoting this thought succeeds, and if it becomes a reality, recognizing the existence of “Israel” becomes a logical result that is suitable for this introduction.

Meanwhile, the “spider web” concept presents a contrasting image to the “iron wall” in how the “Israeli” public views itself and in the consciousness of the Arab people. Thus, the underlining factor of the “spider web” concept is that there is a possibility of victory over “Israel” despite its technological and military superiority as well as unlimited US support.

Nevertheless, not all slogans that have these meanings lead to the sort of repercussions the “spider web” caused.  What characterized the “spider web” slogan is that it was not the result of purely theoretical jurisprudence of a group of theorists or a summary of an academic research. It was the culmination of a historic victory that derived its credibility from the facts. In other words, the practical achievement that is based on this concept was there before Sayyed Nasrallah uttered his slogan.

But what supported its credibility and influence in “Israel” was that it was issued by the leader of the resistance. This indicates that it is an expression of a vision from which the resistance launched its strategic and historical achievements. The resistance also depends on it with a broad realistic outlook in crystallizing its plans for the future. This led to a rise in the level of danger in the consciousness of the “Israeli” leaders. In short, the “spider web” slogan was able to strike a serious blow to the “iron wall” concept along more than one juncture starting from 2000 liberation, to the 2006 victory, to the regional deterrence formulas Hezbollah imposed on the “Israeli” entity.

The “spider web” slogan was characterized with a degree of distinctiveness, which dominated decision-making institution in Tel Aviv and appeared prominently among experts. This was reflected in the “Israeli” discourse over the years that followed. Netanyahu himself was one of the prominent speakers who repeated this concept. He repeated references to the concept in the wake of Operation Protective Edge [aggression against Gaza] in 2014. He also addressed the same concept in 2016 twice in the same day. Netanyahu again referred to it a few days ago during his speech marking the anniversary of the 2006 war.

On this particular point it is sufficient to point to Netanyahu most recent claim that the “Israeli” society is not a “spider web”.

“In practice, the total opposite came true: For more than a month we have deployed both soldiers and citizens along the front because the home front also turned into a [battle] front. We showed immunity. We proved our strength and steadfastness … Our fighters showed determination, sacrifice, courage and heroism,” Netanyahu added.

This address reflects that “Israel” is trying to reproduce a picture that is different from the 2006 war. However, when they try to embark on this failed task, they are forced to ignore the fact that “Israel” has failed in its strategic goals of crushing Hezbollah to produce a new Middle East. Netanyahu failed to reach an objective approach when he said, “at the same time, there have been failures – not just a few – at the political level and the military level. And we are applying the lessons learned from these failures on both the strategic and operational sides.”

To refute Netanyahu’s failed attempt, we will recall some junctures. The Winograd report noted that the army refrained from launching a major land invasion during the 2006 war and only partially implemented it at the end of the war. Was this proof of the determination and sacrifice shown by the soldiers, or was it a result of the horror that was haunting them and awaiting them should they venture with their land invasion? Following the famous Merkava tank massacre, the [“Israeli”] army demanded a halt to the military operation before the time that it initially requested had elapsed. Where is the heroism demonstrated by the soldiers in the battles of Maroun al-Ras, Bint Jbeil and Ayta al-Shaab?

Where is the steadfastness of the home front? Does it lie in the success of the deterrence formula – Tel Aviv in return for Beirut – imposed by Hezbollah? Why did the enemy refrain from targeting Beirut? Is it not because it recognized that Hezbollah had the courage, the will and the ability to carry out the threat that Sayyed Nasrallah issued?

“Israel’s” problem is that it was late in trying to modify the image of the war. Netanyahu’s repeated references to the “spider web” concept in the years that followed only underscores the great impact the concept had on the “Israeli” reality, despite its denials. This strongly suggests that it will remain a feature in “Israel’s” future and a constant concern in the consciousness and rhetoric of all its leaders.

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The Enemy’s Main Threat In 2019: Hezbollah’s Precision Missiles

Al-Ahed News

A report authored by “Israel’s” Institute for National Security Studies [INSS] outlined next year’s strategic assessment as well as the threats facing the enemy entity.  According to INSS, these include a full-scale war in the north against Iran and the classification of Hezbollah and the Syrian state as the most dangerous threat of 2019.

The head of the institute, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, submitted the report to the president of the “Israeli” entity, Reuven Rivlin. The report notes that “in early 2018, Iran intensified efforts to strengthen its military capability in Syria and provide Hezbollah with advanced military capabilities.” The report alleged that the enemy “applied firm military activities against the Iranian attempt and that its attacks damaged the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”

The report questioned “whether Iran will abandon its positions in Syria,” warning that “stabilizing the Syrian state’s strength and rearming the Syrian army by Russia, will limit the freedom of the “Israeli” army’s work in the region.”

“Because of the developments in Syria, Iran has transferred part of its accumulating strength – used to fight “Israel” – to Iraq and Lebanon,” the report added.

“It is true that Iranian support for building Hezbollah’s strength in Lebanon is not new. However, the quality of the weapons transferred in recent years from Tehran to Hezbollah is worrying.”

According to the report, the main source of concern for “Israel” is the transformation of Hezbollah’s inaccurate and heavy rocket-propelled projectiles into precision missiles as well as improving the party’s air defenses and supplying it with long-range naval missiles.

The report pointed out that the enemy’s efforts against the Iranian “precision project” in Lebanon will be managed in different and more complex circumstances than was the case in Syria throughout recent years.

It warned that should a full-scale confrontation take place in the north, it will not be restricted to one front. “We will find ourselves in a situation where “Israel” will be confronting Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in the north and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip [i.e. the Palestinian resistance factions].”

It noted that “the possibility of war with Hamas in Gaza is very likely in the coming year, even if the seriousness of the threat has diminished substantially.”

The report explained that “the main reasons for a possible escalation in the south is the continued deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip, the pressure exerted on Hamas by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and the erosion of the deterrence achieved by the enemy during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.”

The report warned of the deterioration of the situation in the West Bank, pointing out that the entity must be prepared for the weakening of the Palestinian Authority’s stability and the possibility of the end of Abu Mazen’s era.

IDF Awards Israeli Soldiers for Deadly Crackdown on Gaza Protests

By Whitney Webb
Source

GAZA CITY — The chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Gadi Eisenkot, awarded the IDF’s Gaza Division with a “certificate of appreciation” for contributing to “Israel’s security” by brutally suppressing protests, ongoing since March in the Palestinian enclave.

The controversial award was given as the number of unarmed Gazan demonstrators wounded by the IDF since March 30 surpassed 22,000 while the number of those killed by the IDF over that same time frame reached 198. Since “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014, the IDF’s Gaza Division has sustained one single fatality.

A statement released by the IDF spokesperson on Wednesday stated:

The Gaza Division is dealing with a variety of threats, against which it stands strong, while showing determination, creativity and wisdom. It is working night and day to defend the residents of the South.”

During the award ceremony, which took place at the Gaza Division’s headquarters in Re’im, Eisenkot told those assembled:

Over the past six months you have dealt with terror attacks, attempts to violate our sovereignty and various terror activities under the guise of popular protests involving women, children and adults.”

Eisenkot added that the division had “acted responsibly and professionally in a complex reality” and deserved “international recognition” for its efforts.

Though commonly described by the corporate Western media as “clashes,” the protests in Gaza involve heavily-armed Israeli snipers firing into crowds of unarmed young Palestinians. Those killed by IDF fire include journalists, medics and children. IDF soldiers are under orders to shoot protesters who get “too close” to the border fence.

“No innocent people”

Palestinians IsraelA photo of 11-year-old Nasser Musabeh, shot and killed by Israeli troops at a protest in Gaza, is displayed in a school in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Sept. 29, 2018. Sanad Abu Latifa | AP

The brutal nature of the repression led Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to assert that there are no “innocent people” in Gaza, despite the Strip being home to one million adolescents and children; and Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to claimthat the only way for the Gaza border to be “completely quiet” would be for Israel “to conquer the Strip.”

Warnings have emerged periodically over the past year that the IDF is preparing to “conquer” Gaza. Earlier this year in July, the IDF stated that if “incendiary balloons” and similar objects continue to cross the Gaza-Israel border, Israel may decide it has “no choice” but to embark on a military campaign intended to “conquer all of Gaza,” according to a report that aired on Israel’s Channel 10 News on Tuesday and was cited by the Times of Israel. This warning was followed by a major IDF drill practicing “securing control” over Gaza.

In February, Eisenkot stated that another Israeli invasion of Gaza was “likely” to occur this year. Eisenkot ironically framed the imminent invasion as a way to “prevent a humanitarian collapse” in Gaza, suggesting that military action against Gazan civilians and infrastructure would somehow improve the daily lives of the Strip’s inhabitants.

The dire situation in Gaza is widely believed to be nearing a dangerous climax, with the vast majority of Gazan drinking water being non-potable and the UN warning that the entire Strip will be uninhabitable in less than two years. The increasingly troubling humanitarian situation in Gaza is largely the result of Israel’s blockade of the enclave, now in its 11th year.

 

Is Haifa Nuclear Bomb has become True? هل باتت نظرية قنبلة حيفا النووية أمرا واقعا؟

 

 

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International Criminal Court Gets Slammed; Russia, Other Countries, Withdraw from Body

iccartoon

By Richard Edmondson

The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, seems to feel that the only people capable of committing war crimes are Africans.

You can go here to view a list of 32 people indicted by the ICC since the year 2005. All of them are from Africa. The list includes such notable U.S. enemies as Muammar Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Some African nations have said ‘enough is enough’ and ended their membership in the court, and just last week Russia announced that it too will follow suit.

The International Criminal Court, or ICC, was set up with the passage of the Rome Statute, an international treaty adopted in Rome in 1998. The treaty formally went into effect in 2002, and the ICC began operations that same year. States which have either ratified or become signatories to the treaty become, in turn, members of the ICC. Currently 124 countries, at least officially, hold such membership. These are each allowed one voting representative on the Assembly of State Parties. The ASP is a legislative body set up to provide “management oversight” of the ICC, but usually it only meets once a year.

The court was given a mandate to investigate and prosecute crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. There’s lots of that going on in the world, you know. Crimes against humanity for instance entail large-scale attacks against civilian populations. Just off the top of our heads we might think of, oh, say, Israel’s attacks against Gaza and its deliberate targeting of hospitals, UN schools, and residential buildings.

ustortureiraq

Or take the category “war crimes”–crimes falling under this classification include the torture of prisoners, oh, such as occurred in US-run torture facilities.  Heck, we even have Obama admitting, “We tortured some folks.”

But up until January of this year, just about the only armed conflict venues the ICC had ever launched formal investigations into were in… Africa.

Ah! But on January 27, 2016, in a rare departure, the ICC announced it wouldlook into some alleged crimes committed outside of Africa.

gazaphos

Umm…to be sure, the scope of this new investigation will not cover US officials such as, say, Alberto Gonzales, or the US treatment of prisoners in Iraq; and…well…neither is the ICC investigating Israel for its firing of white phosphorus shells into a UN compound in Gaza City on January 15, 2008, or the Jewish state’s use of the controversial “Hannibal Directive” during its 2014 war on Gaza, a measure which resulted in the deaths of 190 civilians in the town of Rafah on August 1, 2014–the date Palestinians have since come to refer to as “Black Friday.”

No.

Specifically the ICC has begun, or found itself compelled to begin, an investigation into the Russia-Georgia war over South Ossetia that occurred in 2008. And just to make sure the world understands it is being fair and impartial, the court has announced it has “gathered information on alleged crimes attributed to the three parties involved in the armed conflict – the Georgian armed forces, the South Ossetian forces, and the Russian armed forces.”

So yes, the court is now investigating Russia.

But as I say, the only indictments so far have been of Africans.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that last month three African countries announced their withdrawal from the court. The three countries are: South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia. The Parliament of Kenya has also voted to leave the ICC. And in 2015, the African National Congress issued a public statement in which it asserted that the “ICC is no longer useful for the purposes for which it was intended.”

But perhaps the real blockbuster came last week when Russia announced it, too, will be withdrawing from the Rome Statute and the ICC. This took place via an announcement posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry on November 16.

Interestingly, on that same day, November 16, University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle sent out an email containing a scathing indictment of the ICC, the legal scholar denouncing the court as “a joke and a fraud.”

The comments of both Boyle, who has an extensive background in international law, and the Russian government, were prompted by a recently-released ICC report blandly entitled, “Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2016,” that was  published on the ICC’s website on November 14.

The report (available here in PDF) offers the results of a “preliminary investigation” into nine different conflict areas in the world. The ICC views a preliminary investigation as a necessary step in order to determine “whether a situation meets the legal criteria” needed to warrant a full investigation. In other words, the ICC is investigating whether or not to do an investigation.

Of the nine different conflict areas, two are of particular interest: Palestine and Ukraine. Russia’s main concern, as you might expect, would be the findings pertaining to the latter. The concerns expressed by Boyle, on the other hand, were focused on the section of the report dealing with Palestine. Let’s take Palestine first.

The ICC on Palestine

bennsouda2

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

The report is a declaration of activities undertaken by the branch of the ICC known as the Office of the Prosecutor, referred to in the document as “OPT”, or simply “the Office.” The OPT’s main area of inquiry is the 2014 Gaza conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge. By contrast, Operation Cast Lead, the bloody conflict which took place in 2008-09, goes completely unmentioned, and the term “white phosphorus” does not appear anywhere in the report.

While the report does supply a “contextual background” to the Israel-Palestine conflict–in the course of which the Six-Day War is mentioned, as are Israel’s “unilateral withdrawal” from Gaza in 2005 and the election of Hamas the following year–most of the section on Palestine, as I say, deals with the events of 2014.

“All parties are alleged to have committed crimes during the 51-day conflict,” the report states, and the words “alleged” or “allegedly” are employed repeatedly throughout.

Alleged crimes said to have been committed by Palestinians include “attacks against civilians,” “use of protected persons as shields” and “ill-treatment of persons accused of being collaborators.” A single paragraph is devoted to each category, following which the report moves on to “Acts allegedly committed by the IDF,” and here the “alleged” crimes include “attacks against residential buildings and civilians,” “attacks against medical facilities and personnel,” “attacks against UNRWA schools,” and “attacks against other civilian objects and infrastructure.” Once again, a single paragraph is devoted to each alleged crime.

The ICC says it has reviewed “over 320 reports as well as related documentation and supporting material” in the course of conducting its preliminary investigation. The report also mentions a trip to Israel by the OPT that took place October 5 to 10, 2016. The visit is said to have been facilitated by “Israeli and Palestinian authorities,” but apparently did not include a visit to Gaza. At least none is mentioned. One place they did visit, however, is Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where supposedly the OPC staff “engaged with the law faculty.” Why there was need for such an engagement is not clear, although the report does say the trip to Israel as a whole was undertaken for purpose of “raising awareness about the ICC” as well as to “address any misperceptions” about the judicial body.

Boyle’s comments about the ICC report, or at least his “alleged” comments, we might say, were posted at the Al-Awda Yahoo group (Yahoo login required), and were also sent out by email.

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In addition to branding the ICC “a joke and a fraud” the comment also makes reference to the visit to Hebrew University, which indeed is described on page 32 of the report.

The ICC’s “conclusion and next steps” in regard to its investigation on Palestine will be aimed at “continuing to engage in a thorough factual and legal assessment of the information available, in order to establish whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.” It will also “assess information on potentially relevant national proceedings, as necessary and appropriate.”

The ICC on Ukraine

Like Boyle’s posted comment, Russia’s announced withdrawal from the ICC also came on November 16–in a statement posted on the website of the nation’s Foreign Ministry. The statement does not single out Ukraine or the ICC report specifically. Its criticisms of the court are generalized. But the timing, just two days after the report’s publication, would strongly suggest that the one was prompted by the other.

The ICC report portrays the Maidan protests largely as a spontaneous popular uprising, making no mention of the US role in the overthrow of the Yanukovych government. Reference to the leaked phone conversation between the State Department’s Victoria Nuland and Jeffry Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, in which the two discussed who would become the new Ukrainian head of state, is completely omitted. “The protest movement continued to grow in strength and reportedly diversified to include individuals and groups who were generally dissatisfied with the Yanukovych Government and demanded his removal from office,” says the report, and the narrative adhered to is primarily that of the US:

On 21 February 2014, under European Union mediation, President Yanukovych and opposition representatives agreed on a new government and fixed Presidential elections for May 2014. However, on 22 February 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to remove President Yanukovych, and he left the country that day to the Russian Federation.

In other words, it was all legal and on the up-and-up.

The relaying of events in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine also follows a similar pattern. The Crimean referendum of March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of voters chose to rejoin Russia, is referred to as “the alleged decision of residents of Crimea to join the Russian Federation,” with the report mentioning that the referendum “was declared invalid by the interim Ukrainian Government.” The “interim Ukrainian Government” means, of course, the government installed by the US, though the report doesn’t say so.

While occasional reference is made to crimes committed by “all sides” or “both sides” in the Ukrainian conflict, clearly the main focus is on the alleged transgressions of Russia and, to a lesser extent, those of armed opposition groups in Donbass that are allied to Russia. The crimes cited include:

  • Harassment of Crimean Tatar population
  • Killing and abduction
  • “Ill treatment”
  • Detention
  • Disappearance
  • Torture

The report also talks about destruction of property, including homes and schools, asserting that this has occurred “in both government-controlled territory and in areas controlled by armed groups.” But its fundamental conclusion is that the situation in Ukraine is legally classified as an “armed conflict.” As such, “the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol factually amounts to an on-going state of occupation.” Occupation by Russia, that is. Furthermore, “a determination of whether or not the initial intervention which led to the occupation is considered lawful or not is not required.” Or in other words, while Russia conceivably may have had some valid concerns (though the report leaves it entirely up to the reader’s imagination to guess what these might be), none of these will be taken into consideration by the ICC.

As noted above, the statement put out by the Russia Foreign Ministry makes no direct reference to the November 14 report, and its criticisms of the ICC are of a mostly generalized nature:

The ICC as the first permanent body of international criminal justice inspired high hopes of the international community in the fight against impunity in the context of common efforts to maintain international peace and security, to settle ongoing conflicts and to prevent new tensions.

Unfortunately the Court failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal. The work of the Court is characterized in a principled way as ineffective and one-sided in different fora, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is worth noting that during the 14 years of the Court’s work it passed only four sentences having spent over a billion dollars.

And while Ukraine isn’t specifically mentioned, the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia is:

The Russian Federation cannot be indifferent to the Court’s attitude vis-a-vis the situation of August 2008. The Saakashvili regime’s attack on peaceful Tshinval, the assassination of the Russian peacekeepers resulted in the Court’s accusations against South-ossetian militia and Russian soldiers. Eventual investigation of actions and orders of Georgian officials was left to the discretion of the Georgian justice and remains outside of the focus of the ICC Prosecutor’s office attention. This development speaks for itself. We can hardly trust the ICC in such a situation.

The statement also acknowledges the widespread dissatisfaction with the ICC by countries in Africa:

In this regard the demarche of the African Union which has decided to develop measures on a coordinated withdrawal of African States from the Rome Statute is understandable. Some of these States are already conducting such procedures.

Conclusions

While some of those indicted over the years by the ICC may well have deserved it, at the same time, it’s hard not to draw the conclusion that the court has been used as a tool by powerful countries. Yes, it’s true, the ICC is conducting an ongoing “preliminary investigation” into the conflict in Afghanistan. The November 14 report in fact includes a section on Afghanistan which addresses crimes committed by the three main parties to the conflict: the Taliban, Afghan government forces, and the US-led international forces. With regard to the latter, the ICC states it has “a reasonable basis to believe” that the US “resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and rape.”

Yet elsewhere in the same section, a somewhat contradictory view is offered:

Having reviewed information on a large number of incidents attributed to the international forces, the Office has determined that, although these operations resulted in incidental loss of civilian life and harm to civilians, in most incidents the information available does not provide a reasonable basis to believe that the military forces intended the civilian population as such or individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities to be the object of attack.

The report goes on to discuss “a few other incidents,” said to involve international forces, though without offering much hope of a prosecution due to “a paucity of the information” concerning them.

The chances of the ICC prosecuting any US official for war crimes seems slim, and indeed as the New York Times put it in a report published on November 14, the court’s prosecutor “has been considering whether to begin a full-fledged investigation into potential war crimes [committed by the US] in Afghanistan for years.”

Or to be more precise, for years the prosecutor has been “investigating whether to investigate” the US.

Interestingly, the Times article goes on to note as well that the court has been “under great pressure to show that it is unbiased in its targets for investigation.”

I have yet to point it out, but I will do so here: the ICC report of November 14 also contains no mention of Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

In the wake of Moscow’s announcement of its withdrawal from the ICC, two Russian writers, Dmitry Rodionov and Sergey Aksenov, published a commentaryon the issue, noting, as did the Foreign Ministry, that the judicial body had spent more than $1 billion over the 14 years of its existence and in the process had handed down only four sentences. They comment:

…The Hague prosecutor called the Crimean referendum “illegal” and the situation on the peninsula “occupation.” The fact that Russian troops were present on the peninsula according to agreements with Ukraine is ignored by the report.

For all of next year and perhaps even longer, the ICC will gather evidence on Crimea. Hague investigations are usually dragged on for years. For example, the court’s prosecutor received permission to investigate the events in South Ossetia from 2008 only this year….

According to lawyer Ilya Novikov, the court’s negative decision on Crimea could potentially result in formal charges and ICC arrest warrants. This will enable the countries complying with the Rome Statue to arrest Russian citizens and send them to the Hague court.

Assistant professor of political theory at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Kirill Koktysh, has pointed out that the ICC’s legal position is incorrect. It was not an annexation that took place in Crimea like the Hague asserts, but a secession: first Crimea seceded from Ukraine and only then joined Russia. According to Koktysh, the ICC’s initiative resembles a PR action rather than a strict legal procedure.

Whether the ICC is engaging in a “PR action,” as the Russians comment, or whether the court is a “joke and a fraud,” as Boyle would seem to have it, the upshot is that for the entire 14 years since the court came into existence, the biggest war criminals in the world have skated away scot-free.

Israel Absolves Itself from 2014 Naked Aggression on Gaza

Stephen Lendman

Israel remains unaccountable for decades of racist ruthlessness – massacring, persecuting and otherwise collectively punishing Palestinians for not being Jewish.

Operation Protective Edge was its third war on Gaza in five-and-a-half years – premeditated naked aggression against a largely defenseless population, 1.8 million people trapped under lawless siege, no safe havens for protection.

Israel’s war had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Claiming it was a ruse, media scoundrels reporting it like gospel.

Attacking the Strip targeted Palestine’s legitimate government, democratically elected in January 2006, the PA installed as a puppet regime serving Israeli interests.

War was about preventing Palestinian self-determination. It was to maintain occupation harshness.

It was to keep stealing Palestinian land. It was to expand settlements exponentially. It was to control all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.

It was to keep Palestinians confined on isolated bantustans on worthless scrubland. It was to steal their resources.

It was to assure diaspora Palestinians don’t return. It was to maintain Gaza’s blockade while pretending otherwise when hostilities ended.

It was to have Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital. It was to undermine Fatah/Hamas unity.

It was to let Israel commit high crimes against peace with impunity – any time against invented enemies, unrestrained by inviolable international laws.

It was to show Palestinians they’re defenseless against overwhelming Israeli might. It was to enlist popular homeland support for what demands universal condemnation.

Wars on Gaza, anywhere in Palestine or regionally can be launched at Israel’s discretion – with full US support and encouragement, most other nations turning a blind eye, supporting naked aggression, mindless of the cost in Palestinian lives and suffering.

Whenever Israel investigates its high crimes of war and against humanity, whitewash follows. On Thursday, it summarily closed 13 investigations into Operation Protective Edge criminality committed by its soldiers in summer 2014.

Over 2,100 Palestinians died, mostly civilians, including over 500 children and 300 women, over 11,000 injured, many maimed for life.

Virtually every child was traumatized by war, requiring professional help in most cases unavailable. Only three Israeli soldiers were held accountable for crimes involving looting – not mass murder and destruction, affecting residential areas most.

Dozens of entire families were wiped out, scores more lost three or more members. Promised relief following war’s end never materialized.

A UN warning about Gaza becoming uninhabitable by 2020 goes unheeded. It’s virtually this way now.

Israeli-imposed dire conditions created a humanitarian catastrophe. Little is being done to help long-suffering people, illegally blockaded by Israel for over nine years.

Naked aggression could be launched against them any time at Israel’s discretion. Slow-motion genocide stalks Palestine – its epicenter in Gaza.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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

Posted on August 23, 2016

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By Ben White

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE DAY ISRAELI TERRORISM STOLE MY LIFE

Omar

مصعب

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

by Omar Khader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Musab Khader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaza in Context… Watch it!!!

July 27, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

Downing Street Protest Against Israel, Held Saturday, July 8

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

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

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

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

Bernie Sanders Has Qualified As A Rabbi

April 21, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

image by jpupdates.com

By Gilad Atzmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernie Sanders’ Lackluster Speech on Middle East Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Sanders’ Written Remarks to AIPAC

By Steve Lendman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tnet

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

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

Global Research, February 26, 2016
BDS-Logo-Israel-Boycott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cast Lead:

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

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

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

Protective Edge:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day-to-day in the Occupied Territories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to Human Rights Watch:

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

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

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

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

Other reasons for which Canada has sanctioned countries include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

– “continued escalation of hostilities” (Lebanon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parliamentarians need to explain this nonsense.

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

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

 

The Zionist War on Free Speech in America

Posted on January 19, 2016

The young girl singing the song “Gaza Tonight” and holding up the “Free Palestine” sign (see post immediately below this one) could easily at some point find either herself, or possibly her parents, on the receiving end of threats and intimidation from Zionists. The latest wave of harassment is being aimed at Palestine solidarity activists at Oberlin College in Ohio…

Check out the article below published today by Fox News. It is not exactly objective reporting–I’m kind of surprised they even included a quote from the Palestine solidarity group, but they did toss in one–yet what comes through loud and clear is that criticism of Israel on the Oberlin campus is now being equated with “anti-Semitism.”

Apparently Jewish students at Oberlin find it distressing to have to walk past sidewalk chalk drawings reading “Apartheid Week,” and are demanding that such activities be stopped. And more than likely, as these things often seem to go, the school administration will cave into them.

Oberlin Alums Fight Back Against Purported Anti-Semitism on Campus

apartweek

Palestine solidarity activists at Oberlin organized “apartheid week”

By Perry Chiaramonte | Published January 19, 2016 | FoxNews.com

Angry alumni at a prestigious Ohio college have had enough of what they consider anti-Semitism on campus, and have demanded the school put a stop to it.

Some 200 Oberlin College graduates signed an open letter to the northern Ohio school, blasting what they called a hostile environment for Jewish students and faculty on campus. The critics charged that the Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel movement on campus has morphed into raw racism.

“Several student organizations at Oberlin have assumed the role as the mouthpiece of the BDS movement, which claims to be a defender of Palestinian rights, but whose inflammatory language falsely portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime demonstrates that its primary goal is to demonize the Jewish state,” reads part of the letter.

It goes on to state that the campus BDS advocates send an implicit message to Jewish classmates to “either forfeit your allegiance to Israel and join us, or we will brand you as an enemy of justice and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

The drafting of the letter was spearheaded by Melissa Landa, an instructor at the University of Maryland and graduate of Oberlin. Landa told FoxNews.com her group wants a task force formed to address anti-Semitism on campus carried out under the guise of pro-Palestinian activism.

The school’s graduates include actor and writer Lena Dunham, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, actor Ed Helms and novelist and playright Eric Bogosian.

“While current students can speak to the atmosphere on campus, alumni have an investment in the future of the college,” Landa said, adding that Oberlin President Marvin Krislov will meet with the group Jan. 26 to discuss the ongoing issue.

Members of Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine issued a statement rejecting the charge that members are anti-Semitic.

“We reject the idea that support for the Palestinian cause is anti-Semitic,” read the statement. “Criticism of Israel may challenge the political opinions of some students, but that is not a threat to their safety. We will continue to confront the realities of the occupation on our campus.”

Oberlin College officials did not immediately return requests for comment.

Over the past several years, Oberlin has had a slew of issues concerning Anti-Israel activism, according to legal blog, Legal Insurrection.

Most recently, there is even a belief among some that BDS activists have attempted to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement on campus.

This past November, the Oberlin Black Student Union brought forth a petition regarding what they referred to as the “cultural appropriation of ethnic foods and cultural insensitivity” in the dining hall.

Among the list of 50 different demands was that the school divest from Israel. The 14-page list of demands was endorsed by Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise on campuses across the country, often driven by BDS activists, said Brett Cohen, executive director of campus affairs for StandWithUs, an international education organization that attempts to ensure that the Israeli side of the debate is heard.

“There is a direct correlation between efforts to boycott and divest from Israel on campus and increased hate crimes against Jews, including swastikas painted on Jewish centers and fraternities, Jewish students being harassed and intimidated, and several cases of outright violence,” Cohen said.

“The pseudo-academic delegitimizaton of Israel fuels this fire, and has created a situation where some pro-Israel students are afraid to voice their opinions in the classroom.”


The following is an open letter  published by a group calling itself the “Oberlin Alumni Against Anti-Semitism.”

An Open Letter to College President Krislov, the Trustees, Faculty, Staff and Students of Oberlin College

source

January 3, 2016

Throughout the past few years, the movement to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel (BDS) has become increasingly active on American college campuses, and Oberlin has become the site of highly visible BDS activism. Several student organizations at Oberlin have assumed the role as the mouthpiece of the BDS movement, which claims to be a defender of Palestinian rights, but whose inflammatory language falsely portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime demonstrates that its primary goal is to demonize the Jewish state. Because participation in these groups requires denouncing Israel, the message to Jewish students can be summed up as follows: Either forfeit your allegiance to Israel and join us, or we will brand you as an enemy of justice and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people.

As Oberlin students and alumni representing a diversity of views on Israel, we accept criticism of its leadership and policies. However, we do not believe Israel should be singled out for condemnation and we object to questioning its right to exist. We also abhor the tactics of Oberlin’s pro-BDS student organizations that intimidate, threaten, and coerce Jewish students, which we have seen and heard in numerous written and spoken reports.

According to The Jewish Exponent, an award-winning newspaper that serves the Jewish community of Philadelphia, one Oberlin student reported, “My fellow Obies and I were expected by our peers to join them in denouncing a plethora of social evils including…Israel.” That same student described an incident on campus when, “One speaker drew laughs when she said that Zionists should be burned at the stake.” In addition, the AMCHA campus monitor, which is published by a non profit organization that addresses anti-Semitism on college campuses, has documented numerous messages posted on line by the student group, Students for a Free Palestine, including, “Ohio is infested with Zionism,” and describing Israel as a “white supremacist,” “violent apartheid state.” As reported to The Oberlin Review, other incidents include the expulsion of the Kosher Halal co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) and an exhibition of black flags symbolizing the Palestinians killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge displayed on Rosh Hashanah, one of Judaism’s holiest days.

Jewish students have articulated the impact of these incidents on their lives. The Oberlin Review quoted one student who said, “I quickly learned that at Oberlin, love for my own nation (Israel) was not something I could freely express.” The student who was quoted in The Jewish Exponent, also explained that she transferred out of Oberlin due to its “toxic climate…around Israel.”

While we commend the decision of Oberlin’s Board of Trustees to reject calls for the college to endorse the BDS movement, and President Krislov’s statements against anti-Semitism on college campuses, we are deeply troubled by the continued intimidation of Jewish students and the many other forms of anti-Semitism occurring on campus. To echo a recent ruling by a French court of appeals, declaring BDS a blatant form of hate speech and anti-Semitism, we believe that pro-BDS individuals at Oberlin are exploiting the concept of free speech by promoting hate speech and by inciting acts of anti-Semitism. Thus, in an effort to see our alma mater reverse this unacceptable trend of aggression, we are calling on the administration to take the following steps:

1) A thorough investigation and documentation of all acts of anti-Semitism, including student rallies that voiced inflammatory language about Israel.

2) A forum for students and alumni who have experienced anti-Semitism at Oberlin in the past or who have been coerced by BDS proponents, to share and discuss the impact of those experiences on their psychological well-being and academic performance.

3) A task force comprised of President Krislov, Rabbi Shlomo Elkan, the interim or permanent Oberlin Hillel director, students, staff, faculty, and alumni to put into place an appropriate, clear and immediate plan of action to address this current crisis.

Oberlin College has a rich history of tolerance and peaceful political activism. As current students and alumni, we need to know that those values, which appealed to each of us when we chose to attend Oberlin, will still exist for Oberlin’s  future students, and that the current divisive and damaging environment will not continue. We hope and trust that you will do what is necessary to maintain our proud legacy.

Sincerely,

The letter seems to be long on accusations and short on documentation. If the person who made the comment about “burning Zionsts at the stake” was a faculty or staff member (assuming such a comment was even made), then disciplinary proceedings against that person would be warranted, but the party who allegedly made the statement isn’t even named. The worst charge that the Oberlin alumni group seems able to lay at the campus Palestine activists’ feet is that of making “inflammatory” statements that irked Jewish students by “portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime.”

So if we reach a point in America where we’re not allowed to call apartheid apartheid, and we’re not allowed to make “inflammatory statements” about a regime that kills children, imposes embargoes and blockades, and locks people up behind walls, then where will that leave us? Will we any longer be able to claim we enjoy the right to free speech?

Israel supporters seem very much to be waging a war on the First Amendment.

UN Shields Israel from Accountability for Atrocities Against Children

childkilledbeach

One of four children killed on July 16, 2014, when an Israeli naval vessel fired upon a Gaza beach.

Defense for Children International-Palestine

Posted on 

Ramallah, June 8, 2015–Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) is deeply troubled by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision not to include Israel’s armed forces in his annual list of groups that commit grave violations of children’s rights.

Each year, the UN Secretary-General submits a report on children and armed conflict to the UN Security Council that includes a “list of shame” of armed forces and groups. Israel’s armed forces were reportedly recommended by Ms. Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), for inclusion in the list for killing and maiming children as well as carrying out attacks against schools. Recently, the United States reportedly pressured Ban Ki-moon, who holds sole discretion in the matter, against taking this action. This is believed to be the first time the Secretary-General has not accepted the recommendation of the SRSG-CAAC.

“By removing Israel’s armed forces from the children’s ‘list of shame’, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has provided tacit approval for Israeli forces to continue carrying out grave violations against children with impunity,” said Khaled Quzmar, DCIP’s general director. “It is deplorable that a proven and strong evidence-based accountability tool to protect children during armed conflict has been significantly undermined in an effort to shield Israel from accountability.”

The Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict, released today, states that 557 Palestinian children were killed in 2014, the third highest behind Afghanistan (710) and Iraq (679) and significantly more than in Syria (368). At least 543schools were damaged or destroyed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which was the highest recorded number of all situations in 2014, according to the report.

Last week, DCIP called on Ban Ki-moon to resist political pressure against holding Israel accountable, and Human Rights Watch sent him a letter urging him to “apply consistent criteria when determining which parties to list, including all armed forces and non-state armed groups where there is credible evidence of a pattern of violations.” The draft list also included Palestinian armed groups, but the Secretary-General also removed them from the final version. Over the past 10 months, DCIP has led evidence-based advocacy effortsurging Israel’s inclusion in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s annual “list of shame” for killing and maiming children and carrying out attacks on schools in Gaza.

The decision to remove Israel’s armed forces from the draft list comes despite a report released in late April by a UN Board of Inquiry established by the Secretary-General thatfound Israel responsible for strikes on UN schools and shelters in Gaza that killed at least 44 Palestinians, including children.

During Israel’s most recent military offensive, known as “Operation Protective Edge”, and as in previous offensives, Israeli armed forces carried out a significant number of direct attacks on civilian homes and other civilian buildings, including schools, killing over 500 Palestinian children and injuring another 3,374 children in attacks throughout Gaza in July and August 2014.

Since 2007, a monitoring group, led by the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, has reported on grave violations against children in Israel and the OPT. The group includes international, Israeli, and Palestinian nongovernmental organizations and UN agencies. The group’sbulletin on Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last summer includes extensive and detailed evidence of the killing and maiming of Palestinian children as well as attacks against their schools.

Detailed and comprehensive data and information on grave violations against children in the OPT has been included in each of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict since 2006.

UN Security Council Resolution 1612, adopted in 2005, formally established a UN-led, evidence-based monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) on grave violations against children during armed conflict. The six grave violations against children, as defined by the Security Council, include killing and maiming, child recruitment, sexual violence, attacks on schools or hospitals, denial of humanitarian access for children, and abduction.

MRM working groups systematically gather information and submit documentation on the major child rights violations for inclusion in the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. Credible evidence of armed forces or groups committing these atrocities against children obligates the Secretary-General to list them in the annex of his annual report.

The significance of the MRM is that it provides a process for accountability when armed forces or armed groups violate universal and fundamental principles. Over the past decade, the global MRM has significantly increased protections for children during armed conflict. However, it has failed to foster the compliance of Israeli forces with international child protection standards.

 

Jews are leaving Scotland

In the past, we were told Jews left Iran as result of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Yes, nearly 100 of them out of 30,000 Jewish population left Iran after the Islamic regime took control – but mostly for United States and not Israel.

Then came the news that Libyan Jews are leaving because Qaddafi’s hatred forJews. Not a single one out of country’s 200 Jews left the country.

After the so-called Arab Spring, Tunisia is “not safe for Jews,” the BBC told us. Jacob Lelouche, leader of 2000-strong Jewish community told BBC: I’m notstupid enough to move to Israel.

Netanyahu has told 500,000 French Jews on several occasions that even under a Jewish government of president Hollande, they’re not safe in France due to 6-9 million French Muslims. According to Israeli media, less than a thousand French Jews adopted Occupied Palestine as their ‘second home’ last year.

Now, Josh Jackman, claims (Jewish Chronicle, May 23, 2015) Jews (6000) are leaving Scotland due to “huge rise” in antisemitism as result of Israeli war on Gaza last year and the recent pro-Palestine SNP victory in the recent elections.

Jackman listed the following anti-Jew events for Jews’ decision to leave Scotland:

1. During the Gaza conflict pro-Palestinian protesters forced the closure of a stall owned by the Israeli Kedem company in a Glasgow shopping mall.

2. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow councils raised the Palestinian flag over their city chambers.

3. Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond was an early supporter of an arms embargo on Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

For the record – there have been 39 motions censoring the Zionist regime in the Scottish Parliament during the last three years. Last month, MP Sandra White (SNP-Glasgow) put a motion in the parliament for the recognition of a Palestinian State based on pre-1967 Israel-PA borders. The motion was condemned by David Cameron and Benjamin Netanyahu governments.

Former Pakistan TV actress, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, is a new SNP face at the UK’s Parliament.

Last year, UK’s chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis  slammed Church of Scotland for publishing a report critical of Israel’s policies.

With all the four British political parties controlled by the Jewish Lobby, only a very stupid Jew would like to leave UK for Israel. Read here and here.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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

IDF rules of engagement during massacre in Gaza–‘Shoot at everyone you see’

The Ugly Truth

IDF chief says 'major Gaza offensive' needed

ed note–and the ‘civilized’ world reacts with shock, when, for 2,000 years, the beating heart of Judaism as delineated within the pages of the Torah have been sitting there as an open book for the entire ‘civilized’ world to see and understand.

Lest we forget–

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall save nothing alive that breathes…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy. You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…”

Book of Deuteronomy

www.independent.co.uk

The Israeli military deliberately pounded civilian areas in the Gaza Strip with incessant fire of inaccurate ordinance during last year’s war against Hamas and was at best indifferent about casualties among the Palestinian population.

Those are the conclusions of a report complied by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that has spent the eight months since the end of the war, known as Operation Protective Edge,interviewing more than 60 members of the Israeli army, air force and navy, including soldiers and officers up to the rank of major.The service personnel paint a picture that runs counter to official Israeli military claims that the surgical operation – which became a full-blown conflict after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the occupied West Bank – took great care to avoid civilian casualties and that Gaza’s already fragile infrastructure was not unnecessarily targetted.International critics of Israeli tactics during the seven-week conflict have argued that the army, the IDF, and the country’s other forces, responded disproportionately to rocket attacks from groups such as Hamas. This, they say, led to 2,220 Palestinians being killed, according to UN figures, the vast majority of them civilians.

The service personnel paint a picture that runs counter to official Israeli military claims (Breaking the Silence)

The service personnel paint a picture that runs counter to official Israeli military claims (Breaking the Silence)There were seven civilian deaths on the Israeli side of the border as a result of rockets fired from inside the Gaza Strip by militant groups. A total of 66 Israeli military personnel were killed. Those Palestinian militants firing rockets across the border could not possibly have known where they were going to land.This latest report by Breaking the Silence comes not only from within Israel itself, but includes more than 100 testimonies from soldiers who took part in the campaign.The testimonies include examples of the acts of individual soldiers, including the shooting dead of civilians where those providing evidence say a more measured approach could have been taken. Others talk of incidents where confusion in the midst of a military campaign led to lethal decisions being made when there were other courses of action. A large number of soldiers maintain that the way in which the war was conducted was reasonable, but have decided to speak out against particular decisions or practices.More worryingly, the report which runs to 240 pages, also details policies and norms – some of which came directly from IDF high command, which Breaking the Silence claims are systematic and led explicitly to greater loss of life and more damage.

A large number of soldiers maintain the way in which the war was conducted was reasonable (Breaking the Silence)

A large number of soldiers maintain the way in which the war was conducted was reasonable (Breaking the Silence)“While the testimonies include pointed descriptions of inappropriate behavior by soldiers in the field, the more disturbing picture that arises from these testimonies reflects systematic policies that were dictated to IDF forces of all ranks and in all zones,” the report says.“The guiding military principle of ‘minimum risk to our forces, even at the cost of harming innocent civilians,’ alongside efforts to deter and intimidate the Palestinians, led to massive and unprecedented harm to the population and the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Policymakers could have predicted these results prior to the operation and were surely aware of them throughout.”Chief among Breaking the Silence’s findings is that the IDF watered down the rules of engagement such that any person in a combat zone was considered an enemy threat.“Many of the soldiers testified that the rules of engagement they were provided with before the ground incursion into Gaza were unclear and lenient. The soldiers were briefed by their commanders to fire at every person they identified in a combat zone, since the working assumption was that every person in the field was an enemy,” Breaking the Silence claims.

International critics of Israeli tactics have argued the country responded disproportionately (Breaking the Silence)

International critics of Israeli tactics have argued the country responded disproportionately (Breaking the Silence)One solider, a First Sergeant in the IDF’s engineering unit who was sent to Gaza City, said: “The briefing on rules of engagement was [to open fire at], ‘Anything you think you should [open fire at]… Anyone you spot that you can be positive is not the IDF.’ The only emphasis regarding rules of engagement was to make sure you weren’t firing at IDF forces, but other than that, ‘Any person you see.’ From the very start they told us, ‘Shoot to kill.’ As far as the IDF was concerned, there wasn’t supposed to be any civilian population there.”The Israeli air force dropped thousands of leaflets on areas it was preparing to attack, but according to the testimonies, it was assumed that once these leaflets had been distributed, anyone left would be from Hamas, or one of the other militant groups that took part in the war.Another first sergeant, from an infantry division operating northern Gaza, said that he was told that, “if it looks like a man, shoot. It was simple: You’re in a motherf***ing combat zone. A few hours before you went in the whole area was bombed, if there’s anyone there who doesn’t clearly look innocent, you apparently need to shoot that person.”A captain, who didn’t want his unit to be publicised, said: “During the briefing with the battalion commander on the night of the incursion, he was asked what the rules of engagement were, how we conduct ourselves, whom we shoot and whom we don’t. What he said was – and this was the general gist of things – ‘We are entering a war zone.’ Meaning, what we prepared for during training – combat in urban areas. The IDF distributed flyers informing the residents of the areas we were entering, and that anyone remaining in the area was in effect sentencing themselves to death. That’s what was said.”

Israel won plaudits from its allies in London and Washington for how the war was conducted (Breaking the Silence)

Israel won plaudits from its allies in London and Washington for how the war was conducted (Breaking the Silence)Gaza, measuring about 40km by 10km, is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth with about 1.8 million residents. It is inconceivable that, even at a time of war, entire civilian populations could move to different areas of the strip. Moreover, the crossings between Gaza and Israel, and Gaza and Egypt, were for the most part closed to civilians during the war, meaning that civilians were unable to leave the enclave.Another central claim by the Israelis was that buildings targetted by its bombers received a “knock at the door,” before they were destroyed. In practice, this was a small missile that caused only marginal damage to a building. The suggestion was that places being used by Palestinian fighters as command centres would receive a warning before they were destroyed, allowing civilians to leave.During this war, this policy was lauded by the Israelis as a sign that civilian casualties were being kept to a minimum.“I do remember there was this one house of five or six stories in Khirbet Khuza’a. I remember there was ‘hot’ intel [sic] data on a meeting between militants there,” said one of the soldiers quoted in the report.

Whole areas of Gaza, particularly Shuja’iyya and Beit Hanoun, were flattened during the campaign (Breaking the Silence)

Whole areas of Gaza, particularly Shuja’iyya and Beit Hanoun, were flattened during the campaign (Breaking the Silence)“The head of the cell was there for sure, and a decision was made to ’knock on the building’s roof,’ … and then immediately after that drop a bomb on it.”Asked by Breaking the Silence what he means by “immediately,” the soldier replied: “Not enough time for everyone to leave. Somewhere between 30 seconds and one minute.”The bombing began on 8 July last year, nine days before Israeli forces entered the Palestinian enclave. Whole areas of Gaza, particularly Shuja’iyya and Beit Hanoun, were flattened during the campaign. Other military personnel interviewed by Breaking the Silence admit that this was part of a deliberate effort by the IDF, and say that inaccurate weapons were used to bombard neighbourhoods before ground troops arrived. “… shells, shells, shells. A suspicious structure, an open area, a field, a place where a tunnel shaft could be – fire, fire, fire. There was a period of about five days from the moment when we were first called in for duty until there was a ground incursion. Throughout that entire time, fire.”Breaking the Silence has specifically condemned the IDF for the use of what it describes “statistical weapons” – mortars and other artillery that are almost impossible to aim accurately. In such a densely populated area, and where homes are built on top of each other, collateral damage was inevitable, the group argues.

Israel won plaudits from its allies in London and Washington for the war was conducted. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US joint chiefs, the United States’ most senior military officer said in November last year that, “Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties”.Last week, in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, David Cameron made one of his strongest defences of the Israeli position yet.Using a phrase that was coined by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister said that it was “important to speak out” about standing by Israel and said there was an “important difference” between Israel’s use of weapons to defend itself and Hamas’ use of them “to defend its weapons”.Other Israeli soldiers interviewed by Breaking the Silence talked about the need to win the propaganda war. The war was characterised by a number of ceasefires that fell apart, and when an Egyptian brokered deal eventually brought an end to the fighting, both the Israelis and Hamas claimed victory.

One soldier described a system by which targets would come with a rating – zero, one and two, to describe the potential loss of civilian life that came with destroying it.“It’s always ‘Targets, targets, targets.’ And at a certain point they say ‘You can start submitting targets to the planning crews, you can start submitting targets for approval that are at the highest collateral damage levels, at collateral damage level two.’ This was during a later stage of the fighting… So they just say that there was an instruction issued by the general staff (The IDF’s supreme command) that from now on we can plan strikes on targets that are level two collateral damage.Asked why the target level changed, the soldier explained, “because the target bank was being depleted. Like, ‘Hamas is pushing for a display of victory,’ that’s always the expression used, ‘pushing for a display of victory’ is this sweeping expression that’s used at the end of every round [of fighting].”Breaking the Silence argues that its findings justify an independent investigation into the conduct of last summer’s war. The group says each time Israel goes to war in Gaza, the threshold of what is acceptable is pushed up a level.In a statement the IDF said: “The IDF is committed to properly investigating all credible claims raised via media, NGOs, and official complaints concerning IDF conduct during operation Protective Edge, in as serious a manner as possible.“Today, as in the past the organisation ‘Breaking the Silence’ has been asked to provide any evidence or testimony related to IDF activities prior to publication, in order for genuine investigations to be carried out. Unfortunately, as in the past, ‘Breaking the Silence’ has refused to provide the IDF with any proof of their claims.”In a letter seen by The Independent, Breaking the Silence approached the IDF on 23 March. The group wrote to the IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, requesting a meeting. “With the completion of the first stage of gathering testimonies from the combatants from Operation Protective Edge, and in the light of the severity of the facts described in the [testimonies], we ask to present the findings to you, urgently,” the letter says.The group says that it approached soldiers to interview, and that it rejected the testimony of some on the grounds that it was unreliable. Included in that number is a new Israeli MP from Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party, Oren Hazan, who approached the group with the intention of giving false testimony with the aim of discrediting the organisation. Mr Hazan did not take part in the conflict.

deuteronomy

Soldiers indicted for looting during Gaza war

Source

jewishthieves

In first indictments since summer conflict, 3 accused of stealing NIS 2,420 from Palestinians’ homes in neighborhood of Shejaiya

ed note–The indictment is nothing more than a farce and done to create the illusion that Israel is a ‘nation of laws’ and does not tolerate theft and that indeed–as she is constantly telling the world, that her military is the ‘worlds most moral’ army. The fact is that these soldiers were sanctioned to take the personal property of the Palestinians for the simple reason that their Judaic religion expressly permits them to do so, as outlined in several passages of the Torah–

–When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he will give you a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not earn, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant…

–Book of Deuteronomy

“Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you…
Your gates will always stand open, day and night, 
So that people may bring you the wealth of their nations, and their kings led in triumphal procession…
For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly destroyed.”

–Isaiah 60:10-12

‘Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours, from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river Euphrates, even unto the hinder sea shall be your border…’

–Deuteronomy 11:24

Times of Israel

The IDF’s Military Prosecution filed an indictment with a military court last week against three soldiers suspected of looting from the homes of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during the summer’s 50-day war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group, it was cleared for publication Sunday.

Two of the soldiers were accused of stealing NIS 2,420 (about $617) from an apartment in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya, while the third soldier allegedly assisted in the crime.

The two soldiers were also accused of obstruction of justice in the indictment.

The indictment is the first case of charges pressed against IDF troops who participated in combat in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.

Last month, the Israeli military said it had opened six new criminal investigations into soldiers’ actions during the summer campaign, including the bombing of a United Nations school that, according to Palestinians, killed 21 civilians and injured dozens.

Chief Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni announced the probe into the July 30 incident, in which the Israel Defense Forces fired several tank shells at a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which was housing hundreds of Palestinian refugees. Efroni also ordered three probes into accusations that troops beat Palestinian detainees, as well as two probes into alleged looting cases.

The 50-day war is said to have killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, many of them civilians, according to Palestinian sources in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Israel said up to half of the dead were combatants and blames Hamas for all civilian casualties, since it situated its military infrastructure in residential areas.

Seventy-two Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed in the hostilities as well.

Following a similar operation in Gaza in early 2009, the army convicted four soldiers on various charges, including looting, improper use of a weapon and life-endangering conduct. The most severe final sentence was a three-and-a-half-month prison term.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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