Thursday, January 08, 2009

Israel Accused of War Crimes In Gaza- Bush & US Media Defend Israel

" ONE of the world's most celebrated foreign correspondents last night labelled the Israeli assault on a UN school in the Gaza Strip yesterday a "war crime".

Speaking to students at Trinity College Dublin, Robert Fisk said the Israeli assault on the al-Fakhur school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip -- which killed at least 30 civilians including children -- is nothing less than an atrocity.
"I think what happened was a war crime...And if war crimes are being committed we should call it a war crime." Robert Fisk

From: "Fisk attacks 'war crimes' in Gaza as he accepts honour at Trinity" by Allison Bray at, jan. 7,2009

"What is happening in Gaza are crimes against humanity.

"Israel cannot claim, as an occupying authority, that it is acting in self defence because simply it is considered a war crime to create harm and damage among civilian populations."

Randa Seniora, from the Independent Commission on Human Rights, told Al Jazeera


"Michel Abdel Massih QC, a London-based international human rights lawyer, called for an independent investigation.

"If [Israeli] claims are to be tested properly we need an independent tribunal. The International Criminal Court was set up to deal with these issues, so there is a mechanism for the UN security council to refer the case for investigation," he told Al Jazeera."

from Aljazeera "School hit piles pressure on Israel ", Jan. 7,2009

PR Propagandist For Israel Repeating Talking Points
UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman ignores the Israeli Siege on Gaza which has caused a humanitarian Crisis. He claims Israel attacked legitimate targets by UN & other International Humanitarian and Human Rights organizations dispute these assertions.

Israel's Gaza media strategy 05 Jan 09-
Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi speaks to former UN ambassador Dan Gillerman, who reportedly drafted Israel's media strategy on the Gaza crisis

In this next clip even Rachel Maddow repeats the Talking Point that Israel forces were defending themselves by firing on the UN Schools, hospitals, clinics , ambulances-
While others have accused Israel of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity
She even claims that there is no difference in the views of Democrats and Republicans on this situation but this according to recent polls is not true-see below.
Ben Nelson claims America could help out with humanitarian aid but he is wrong since Israel has prevented any humanitarian aid such as food or medicine into Gaza-
Israel has placed a full lock down on Gaza in a Medieval style Siege in order to what starve them to death while Hamas shoots off home-made ineffective rockets which rarely hit anything but even Rachel doesn't seem aware of this-

Rachel Maddow - Ben Nelson disgraces himself, and more, with defense of Gaza assault

As usual Israel has shown contempt for the UN and feels it is not bound by the Geneva conventions or other International Agreements and they couldn't care less about world opinion that is as long as the United States continues to support their War of Aggression .

Unfortunately the government in my country is acting no better. The current government in Canada is that of the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper who like Bush also supports Israel unconditionally. Harper like George Bush is a Neocon and a Conservative Evangelical who has little use for the United Nations and as he has said if he had been in power in 2003 he would have committed Canadain troops to fight in Iraq.

Massacre of innocents as UN school is shelled"The Independent By Donald Macintyre and Kim Sengupta in Jerusalem Jan.7 2009

Hundreds of Palestinians had fled their homes for the refuge of the al-Fakhoura school, hoping the blue and white flag of the UN flying over the impromptu shelter would protect them from the Israeli onslaught. The UN had even given the Israeli army the co-ordinates for the building to spare it from the shells and air strikes raining down on the Gaza strip. But yesterday afternoon tank shells exploded outside the school, sending shrapnel into the crowds, killing at least 40 and wounding another 55.

and the Israeli are not overly concerned with preventing the deaths of non-combatants :

While Israel has denied that it deliberately targets civilians, reading between the lines of reports in the Israeli media and admissions by military leaders would suggest that the lives of Palestinian civilians are secondary to saving Israeli soldiers.

Several senior Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) officers have admitted that the IDF strategy is to use tremendous firepower on the ground to protect Israeli soldiers during fighting in civilian areas, a senior officer explained to journalists on Tuesday.

"For us, being cautious means being aggressive," said one officer. "From the minute we entered, we've acted like we're at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground.

"When we suspect that a Palestinian fighter is hiding in a house, we shoot it with a missile and then with two tank shells, and then a bulldozer hits the wall. It causes damage but it prevents the loss of life among soldiers."

and others call for an investigation into possible War Crimes committed by Israel:

"Israel May Face Charges for War Crime by Mel Frykberg at Inter Press Service, Jan.7,2009

RAMALLAH - Israel has committed war crimes and should be prosecuted in an international court, says Raji Sourani, head of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza.
"The repeated bombing of clearly marked civilian buildings, where civilians were sheltering, crosses several red lines in regard to international law," Sourani told IPS.

Palestinian Authority (PA) delegate to Britain Professor Manuel Hassassian has said the PA will launch legal proceedings against Israeli leaders it says are responsible for war crimes in Gaza, according to a Palestinian news report.

Another 22 Palestinians were killed Wednesday morning in bombing and shelling as Israel's Operation Cast Lead entered day 11. The dead included four people killed in the shelling of a children's playground near a mosque in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood of Gaza city.

Hassassian's comment came in the wake of Israeli shelling of a UN school in Jabaliya refugee camp Tuesday afternoon which killed over 40 Palestinians. Several other UN schools in the Gaza Strip were also hit in the last few days, resulting in a number of casualties.

The UN called for an investigation, stating that prior to the current operation the Israelis were given the precise coordinates of all UN institutions in Gaza.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has already condemned an Israeli attack on two members of the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) last week. The ICRC said the medics were wearing fluorescent jackets, their ambulances were clearly marked, and their flashing lights were on.

Nihal Al-Akras, chairman of the Palestinian Health Care Committees, asked the international community to pressure Israel to stop firing on medical facilities and workers in the Gaza Strip.

Akhras's comments followed Tuesday's bombing of the Ad-Dura hospital in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza city. Three mobile clinics provided by a Danish NGO, DanChurchAid, were also destroyed.

"Killing Children is Never Legitimate" by John Friedrich by Jan. 7, 2009

It doesn’t take a PHD in military science to conclude that killing and maiming children and other innocents in the quest to stop the actions of the militant few is not only immoral, it is counter-productive. A Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, was quoted on Jan. 4 as saying that "The Zionists have legitimized the killing of their children by killing our children.” Such is the twisted, pathological psychology of war and terrorism. In this case the twisted rationale of revenge is used to justify the continued terrorizing of innocent Israelis with indiscriminately fired rockets, fueling the cycle of violence at the expense of the most vulnerable on both sides.

Two war crimes don’t make a right; and killing children is never legitimate, no matter what. Yet we the people of the United States have also been lured by the rationale of revenge into accepting with painful silence the bombing in our names of Afgan wedding parties and Iraqi neighborhoods that have enraged the local population and the Arab world. It is the rationale of the Mumbai terrorists, who left 2 year old Moshe Holtzberg wailing over the bodies of his slain Israeli parents, wounding hearts across the globe.

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who would have turned 80 this January 15, continue to speak to this madness: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral….instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you can’t murder the hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars….hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

How much more productive an approach might it be for the U.S. and Israel to offer food and medicine rather than bombs and bullets to the Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan children who are hanging on to life on a thin thread? Would not such a pro-child approach win the enduring appreciation, rather than enmity, of the parents of those children, and the sympathies of the larger Arab world?

The Canadian Government of Prime Minister Harper has once again sided with the Americans and the Israelis this time claiming that Hamas is solely responsible for the deaths in Gaza. Like the Americans many conservative Canadians believe that any criticism of Israeli policies in their current action in Gaza or of Israel' virtual Apartheid state is evidence of being Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic. This attitude makes it difficult for any one in the Media in print or on TV to voice any criticism of Israeli policies.

For the Canadian Government's Response :

"Ottawa blames Hamas for civilian deaths at school" by CAMPBELL CLARK, at The Globe & Mail ,January 7, 2009

Harper government's staunch support for Israel stands in sharp contrast with international reaction to incident

Canada's junior foreign minister, Peter Kent, said that despite sketchy details on the school strike, it is clear that Hamas "bears the full responsibility for the deepening humanitarian tragedy.
Like the United States, Canada insists that any ceasefire must be durable, but as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday stressed the need to "urgently conclude a ceasefire," Mr. Kent seemed to attach greater conditions.

He said that Hamas must not only end its rocket attacks, but to "down arms and to cease and desist its terrorist activities," and agree not to rearm.

"Canada believes there should be an immediate ceasefire, but only if it's a permanent ceasefire, if it's a durable ceasefire, and if Hamas is prevented or is willing not to rearm and resume its terrorist rocketing at some point down the road," Mr. Kent said.

The comments from Mr. Kent, usually responsible for relations with the Americas, are the Conservative government's most extensive since the Israeli military operation began; Prime Minister Stephen Harper has yet to speak of it, while Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has issued written statements.

also see interview of :

CHRISTOPHER GUNNESS, UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY: " Israel condemned for attacks on UN schools" Australian Broadcasting Corporation by Scott Bevan, 07/01/2009

or see article by Marjorie Cohn at Huffington Post "Israel's Collective Punishment of Gaza" Jan. 6, 2009 in which she does criticize the Mianstream Media in the United States of bias reporting in favor of Israel. She begins her article noting the facts on the ground which are passed over in silence by the rest of the Media

Since Israel began its war on Gaza 11 days ago, more than 560 Palestinians – about a quarter of them civilians – have been killed. Some two thousand Gazans, including hundreds of children, have been wounded. Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” marks an escalation of Israel’s two-year blockade of the Gaza Strip which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of necessary food, medicine, fuel and other necessities.

as she concludes:

A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza strip." But Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive by a 24-point margin (31-55%). Republicans, on the other hand, overwhelmingly support it (62-27%). Nevertheless, Democratic Party leaders have followed Bush in their uncritical support for Israel.

The United States has blocked a ceasefire resolution in the Security Council. In the absence of council action, the General Assembly is empowered to act under the Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. Assembly president Miguel D'Escoto, who has been critical of Israel's actions in Gaza, said that "the time has come to take firm action if the UN does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission." The Human Rights Council should send a high level fact finding mission to Gaza.

It's time to call a halt to the violence and bloodshed.

and as for Barack Obama's silence or his feeble attempts to see both sides as being in the wrong as if these were opponents of relatively equal strength which they are not or as if this all happened out of the blue- but it is important to examine both sides of the situation and the context - It is Gaza that has been under Siege not Israel. The Israeli's have been engaged in the collective punishment of the people of Gaza for voting Hamas into power during a democratic election.

"A Letter to Michelle Obama"By editor of Media With A Conscience Willima Cook, jan. 7, 2009

or you can go to The New York Times Jan 6 article "Israeli Shells Kill 40 at Gaza U.N. School" in which most of the space is given over to explaining, rationalizing and making excuses for the behavior of the Israeli government and its military.

for an attempt at a more balanced opinion see Joe Klein's piece at Time .Co "Yet Again With the Nazis"January 6, 2009

"Very bad, if inevitable, news from Gaza today: the Israelis accidentally hit a UN school, killing at least 30 children. This will, no doubt, increase international outrage...and, I hope, pressure for a cease-fire. As Swampland readers know, I supported the Israeli effort to diminish Hamas's military capabilities--but the most valuable targets were probably hit in the first few days of the aerial campaign and, as time goes on, the possibility of a Hamas "moral" victory becomes more likely."

(Note even though he is attempting to be fair-minded he gets some of the facts wrong as he calls the bombing of the UN school an accident though even the Israelis deny it was an accident but rather claim with little evidence that they were returning fire. )

as I have said before it is difficult for Americans in general and those in the Media in particular to condemn the actions of the Israelis because it would force them to re-evaluate America's actions over the past eight years in its War on Terror. So if killing a couple of hundred people in Gaza is a possible War Crime then what do Americans do about the killing of several hundred thousand Iraqis and Afghans beside the fact that the Americans have been involved in kidnappings, executions and torture and abuse of tens of thousands of detainees and has obliterated whole cities with massive bombing campaigns and use banned WMDS such as phosphorus and cluster bombs.

The American mainstream media acted as a cheering section for the Bush Regime and allowed themselves to be used as spreaders of the Bush Regime's Propaganda and Lies. In many ways they are still trying to defend much of what the Bush regime has done in America's name. They probably feel they have to since they helped the Bush Regime in one way or another to commit War crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. But such lofty notions fall on deaf ears when it comes to America " God's Chosen Nation". Israel like the United States has a rather negative view of the United Nations so bombing a UN site used to shield refugees is not as big a deal as it is for other members of the UN. As the American public and the American Media continues to defend the Bush Regime it is bound to defend any actions taken by Israel.

Even liberals and leftists in America feel no shame in defending the War Crimes of Israel and in fact appear to believe this is a sign of their enlightened attitude. So even someone like Rachel Maddow who usually asks her guest the hard questions on issues when it comes to Israel well not so much as she too allows Israeli defenders to go on her program to give a speech or rant in favor of Israel while rarely even bothering to let on that there may be another side to story in Gaza . She too glosses over Israel's virtual Medieval style siege on Gaza since 2007. Nor does she bother to mention that much of this territory Israel seized in 1967 and was supposed to under United Nations Resolutions to withdraw but has not and seems to have no intention of doing so. Nor does she or others in the American Media mention past war crimes committed by Israel.Is it fear of being called an anti-Semite or they just don't believe that Israel like other states is capable of committing immoral or illegal acts.But in the case of Israel the Golden Rule does not apply but rather the Old Testament notion of an eye for an eye and even the complete and utter destruction of one's enemies men, women and children and their livestock and the destruction of their homes and their orchards.

Even she seems to agree that because Hamas is disliked by Israel that therefore Israel is quite justified in an all out war against a mainly defenseless population who have been isolated and terrorized by Israel for at least the last two years. But then again the Americans stood by and cheered and continued to supply weapons to Israel when it attacked and decimated Lebanon on the pretext of undermining Hezbollah . Hezbollah gained even more support by the people of Lebanon after that Israeli Action.

and so it goes,

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