Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Israel's War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity As it Bombs Gaza

"Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is as false as that of Israel. We have become monsters, militarized bullies, heartless and savage. We are a party to human slaughter, a flagrant war crime, and do nothing. We forget that the innocents who suffer and die in Gaza are a reflection of ourselves, of how we might have been should fate and time and geography have made the circumstances of our birth different."

Chris Hedges in his article about Israel "Party To Murder"

Or as Robert Fisk comments on current & past conflicts in the Middle East:

"Robert Fisk: The self delusion that plagues both sides in this bloody conflict ",The,31 December 2008

Israel has never won a war in a built-up city, that's why threats of 'war to the bitter end' are nonsense

...One common feature of Middle East wars is the ability of all the antagonists to suffer from massive self-delusion. Israel's promise to "root out terror" – be it of the PLO, Hizbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iranian or any other kind – has always turned out to be false. "War to the bitter end," the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, has promised in Gaza. Nonsense. Just like the PLO's boast – and Hamas' boast and Hizbollah's boast – to "liberate" Jerusalem. Eyewash. But the Israelis have usually shown a dangerous propensity to believe their own propaganda. Calling up more than 6,000 reservists and sitting them round the Gaza fence is one thing; sending them into the hovels of Gaza will be quite another. In 2006, Israel claimed it was sending 30,000 troops into Lebanon. In reality, it sent about 3,000 – and the moment they crossed the border, they were faced down by the Hizbollah. In some cases, Israeli soldiers actually ran back to their own frontier...

UPDATE: 1:45 PM & 4:08 PM, Dec.31,2008

Anyway Israel is at it again as it attempts to destroy Hamas and turn Gaza into a pile of dust littered with as many dead Palestinians as they can before the world shames Israel into stopping the attacks or Israel accomplishes its basic goals in these attacks which Israel had been planing for months in advance. All Israel needed was a pretext for its attacks on Gaza which is just what they did two years ago in their attack on Lebanon.

Meanwhile the US administration & Mainstream Media insist on defending Israel unconditionally . In America it is common practice to chastise anyone who dares criticize the policies of the Israeli government. Such critics are characterized as being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. This the way in which the propagandists for Israel then go about shutting down any reasonable dialogue or discourse about Israeli policies and actions. Being critical of a particular Israeli policy is not the same as being anti-Israel no matter what the Israeli government does.
Such characterizations of Israeli critics is similar to the notion common to American Conservatives who believe any American who questions the policies for instance of President George W. Bush is deemed anti-American or UnAmerican or not a Real American. We saw this notion promulgated by the Republicans during the American Presidential election campaign . To question Bush's policies in the War on Terror is considered by the Republicans and Conservatives and the New Liberals as being tantamount to " Treason ".

Even now President Elect Obama has to be extremely careful in the way he approaches Bush's policies on the War on Terror or the unnecessary and illegal Invasion & occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan or on Bush's policies towards those captured and imprisoned since 9/11 i.e. the abuse and torture of detainees.

The accepted practice in the United States is that in order to have a realistic chance at becoming President candidates must show and prove their unconditional support of Israel. This has become part of the political paradigm in the United States. So chances are in this regard Obama may feel that he must tow the party line or it may be that he too is a true believer when it comes to Israel. At the end of the day he is an American who like many Americans may not be able to question certain basic American beliefs and values.

Israel and the West Xmas gift to Gaza Strip
Hundreds dead after Israeli attacks on Hamas

Israel v Gaza

Israel Renews Air Strikes on Gaza Dec. 28, 2008,by BBC News

Israeli jets have launched a second day of air attacks on the Gaza Strip, amid warnings that operations will continue until Hamas ends rocket fire from Gaza.

Palestinians now say at least 280 people have died, while Israel is said to be considering a ground assault and has authorised the call-up of reserves.
At the UN, the Security Council called for an end to all violence in Gaza, including rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israel says militants have fired 110 rockets into Israel since Saturday.
The country's cabinet has authorised the call-up of reserve soldiers, with unconfirmed reports saying as many as 6,500 could be summoned for duty.
The air strikes were launched on Saturday against Hamas targets in the densely-populated coastal territory, less than a week after the expiry of a six-month-long ceasefire deal with the militant group.

Note that immediately the UN Security Council attempted to intervene but a resolution was defeated by the United States which has been America's policy almost every time the UN attempts to take action which might be seen as a criticism of Israel.

Meanwhile the United Nations attempts to intervene but is prevented from doing so by the United States use of its veto.

"UN Security Council Urges End to Gaza Violence"Mail & Guardian Online Dec. 28, 2008 by Patrick Worsnip

The UN Security Council called early on Sunday for an immediate end to all violence in Gaza after the death toll climbed past 270 on the second day of Israeli air strikes in retaliation for rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants.

"The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza and called for an immediate halt to all violence," said a statement read out by council president Neven Jurica, Croatia's ambassador.

"The members called on the parties to stop immediately all military activities."

and :

US Veto Blocks UN Anti-Israel Resolution Dec. 28, 2008

"Press TV" -- -The UN Security Council has been unable to force an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza due to the intervention of the United States.Washington once again used its veto powers on Sunday to block a resolution calling for an end to the massive ongoing Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip.
The council has only been able to issue a 'non-binding' statement that calls on Israel to voluntarily bring all its military activities in the besieged region to an immediate end.

Anyway Israel has stepped up its grip on Gaza as it moved from sanctions and an embargo which amounted to a state of siege to an all out shooting war as of Saturday Dec. 27. Once again the current Israeli government has shown it is not really interested in brokering a peaceful settlement but prefers to crush not just Hamas but to mete out a collective punishment on all of the citizens of Gaza. The issue of a peaceful resolution is complicated when other countries especially the United States gives whole-hearted support to Israel besides supplying Israel with the arms which it uses against a nearly defenseless people.

Yes Hamas is guilty of antagonizing Israel and has launched rockets into Israel in the past week killing 3 Israelis while the Israelis massive aerial bombardment has killed over 350 people in Gaza. So it appears the Israelis believe that they have a right and a duty to kill at least 100 individuals for each Israeli killed by Hamas. But one can't expect any reasonable response on the part of the United States since in its unjustified illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq cost the lives of over 1,000,000 Iraqis and some 4,300 Americans.

So the United States is not really in a position at the moment to criticize let alone condemn the actions of Israel. And we should remember the attacks made on Lebanon in which the country was left a smoking ruin just as Lebanon was beginning to prosper once again. The American administration did nothing to stop that illegal and immoral attack on Lebanon or the attacks on Syria so why would one expect America to care about a few hundred dead in Gaza.

After all as far as the Bush Regime is concerned Lebanon , Syria, Gaza and the Palestinians and the Iraqis and Afghans are all involved in one way or another with terrorists organizations and therefore need to be controlled and ultimately crushed and if possible obliterated . This is just another part of the so-called War on Terror in which according to the Bush Doctrine pre-emptive attacks are justified .

So all one needs to do is claim that the actions of a few or of a segment of a country's population are involved in or are planing to attack an ally of the United States then the United States or one of its allies such as Israel has the right to attack and to eliminate with extreme prejudice any possible or conceivable threat.

It does not matter in their view how limited the threat actually is. The War on Terror ultimately is a state of mind or has created a mindset characterized by extreme paranoia and a somewhat psychotic desire for revenge . If one can't find the actual terrorists then to alleviate frustration America and its allies will lash out at more easily to reach targets. So if the leader and most of the members of Al Qaeda who planed and carried out the 9/11 attacks are from a country too powerful to threaten or attack ie Saudi Arabia instead America and its allies attack the beleaguered nations of Iraq and Afghanistan since they are in fact easier targets.

In Party To Murder Chris Hedges expresses his outrage at the crimes being committed by Israel and America's and the West complicity in these crimes.

Party to Murder" by, Dec. 30, 2008
by Chris Hedges editor's note: In light of the recent fighting in Gaza, Truthdig asked Chris Hedges, who covered the Mideast for The New York Times for seven years, to update a previous column on Gaza.

Can anyone who is following the Israeli air attacks on Gaza-the buildings blown to rubble, the children killed on their way to school, the long rows of mutilated corpses, the wailing mothers and wives, the crowds of terrified Palestinians not knowing where to flee, the hospitals so overburdened and out of supplies they cannot treat the wounded, and our studied, callous indifference to this widespread human suffering-wonder why we are hated?

Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is as false as that of Israel. We have become monsters, militarized bullies, heartless and savage. We are a party to human slaughter, a flagrant war crime, and do nothing. We forget that the innocents who suffer and die in Gaza are a reflection of ourselves, of how we might have been should fate and time and geography have made the circumstances of our birth different. We forget that we are all absurd and vulnerable creatures. We all have the capacity to fear and hate and love. "Expose thyself to what wretches feel," King Lear said, entering the mud and straw hovel of Poor Tom, "and show the heavens more just."

Privilege and power, especially military power, is a dangerous narcotic. Violence destroys those who bear the brunt of its force, but also those who try to use it to become gods. Over 350 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians, and over 1,000 have been wounded since the air attacks began on Saturday. Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, said Israel is engaged in a "war to the bitter end" against Hamas in Gaza. A war? Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely crowded refugee camps and slums, to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command and control, no army, and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk, has labeled what Israel is doing to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza "a crime against humanity." Falk, who is Jewish, has condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as "a flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention." He has asked for "the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law."

Falk's unflinching honesty has enraged Israel. He was banned from entering the country on Dec. 14 during his attempt to visit Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel like the U.S. a Rogue State Involved in Collective Punishment of 1.5 Million Palestinians...

Tariq Ali in an article in the Guardian argues the attacks on Gaza are part of the struggle between the right wing and center political parties in Israel.

" From The Ashes of Gaza" by Tariq Ali ,Guardian.UK, Dec.30,2008

The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.

Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy's chilling essay in the London Review of Books) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had "provoked" Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt and Nato's favourite Islamists in Ankara failed to register even a symbolic protest by recalling their ambassadors from Israel. China and Russia did not convene a meeting of the UN security council to discuss the crisis.

As a result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the "war against terror".

And as this article points out the Mainstream Media in the US is biased in favor of Israel .

"Lights Out in Gaza, News Blackout in US", by, Dec. 30, 2008

by Deena Guzder

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have decried Israel's continued aerial bombing campaign as unlawful and denounced the killing of more than 300 Palestinians since 27 December, including scores of unarmed civilians not taking part in the hostilities. Israel's attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip also elicited condemnation from numerous world politicians and sparked protests in global cities.

Despite international outcry over escalating violence, the U.S. mainstream media continues to privilege a prepackaged narrative in which Israel's actions are never disproportionate, never counterproductive and certainly never gratuitous. According to the mainstream media, the U.S. must continue uncompromisingly supporting Israel because the allegedly beleaguered democracy is held hostage by monomaniacal Islamofascists who are inherently evil. Promoting a paradigm in which Israel is always David up against Goliath, the U.S. media presents suffering Palestinians as expendable for the greater cause of Israel winning its epic struggle

Israel oust UN special rapporteur in fear of criticism about its actions it is taking against the Palestinian population.

"My Expulsion from Israel" by Richard Falk

When I arrived in Israel as a UN representative I knew there might be problems at the airport. And there were

By Richard Falk
December 20, 2008 "The Guardian" -- - On December 14, I arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel to carry out my UN role as special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.

UN official calls Israel 'Apartheid ' The Real News Network

UN General Assembly president Miguel d'Escoto referred to Israel as an Apartheid state. Phyllis Bennis analyzes the significance of this identification as compared to South African apartheid and the popular resistance struggles worldwide that helped end it. Isreali apartheid is built into a system of roads, walls, and fences which create segregation of Palestinians and Jews both inside the West Bank and between the West Bank and Israel. Gazan Palestinians are separated from Israel and West Bank Palestinians by the siege imposed by Israel after the election of Hamas. Bennis analyses the validity of the term 'apartheid' in the case of Israel and the proposed peace plan many Arab states have presented as a possible solution.

Also see:

"Take your pick- Kadima, Likud and Labor" by Uri Avnery at Media With Conscience , Dec. 20, 2008

"Cynthia McKinney Relief Boat Hit by Israeli Ship"by JULIA MALONE, BOB DEANS the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Dec. 29, 2008

" Arab-Israeli Rage" by Gotham Chopra at Huffington Post, Dec. 30, 2008

"Israel, Stop! Just. Stop." by Lorelei Kelly at Huffington Post Dec. 30, 2008

also see:
"Gaza Near to Collapse as Israel Tightens Grip, Says Bank" Dec 22 2008 by Toni O'Loughlin, The Guardian UK

and so it goes,

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