Monday, January 26, 2009

Israel Getting Away with War Crimes and Muder - President Obama's Shame

Israeli War Crimes
Attacking Non-military targets : schools, civilian shelters, hospitals, clinics, medical personnel
A callous disregard for the Civilian Population
denying medical or other humanitarian aid to civilian casualties
Deliberately & wantonly destroying the residences of civilians
Deliberately targeting Humanitarian aid and Human Rights organizations targeted
Deliberately killing civilians
Deliberately destroying infrastructure
Deliberately targeting members of the Press to silence them

Anyway Gaza has been left in ruins after Israel's bombardment and invasion of Gaza.

Ban Ki-moon calls attack on UN building 'outrageous'

Israel is accused of a disproportionate response. But Israeli forces the IDF are also accused of committing various War Crimes from attacking densely populated areas with massive shelling and gunfire while doing little or nothing to avoid killing innocent civilians. They are also accused of collective punishment of a population for the actions of a few. The Israelis are accused of bombing clearly marked UN run schools and shelters for civilians. They are accused of attacking hospitals and clinics and ambulances and firing on medical personnel while trying to carry out their duties. The Israelis are further accused of deliberately killing civilians. They are also accused of using people as human shields in which the Israeli take over a house or apartment building in Gaza move all the civilians to one part of the building as the Israelis use the building from which to shoot at Hamas' combatants Hamas fighters are then reluctant to shoot back in case they kill innocent Gazan civilians. The Israelis are also accused of shirking their responsibility of taking care of wounded civilians and wounded combatants in a timely fashion. Instead they stood by doing nothing while wounded civilians were left to die. Helping the wounded in Gaza according to the Israelis is not their responsibility though the Geneva Conventions explicitly states otherwise.

The Israelis have also been accused of illegally using weapons such as Phosphorus similar to Napalm and other weapons on combatants and civilians. These weapons are only to be used under certain restrictions but not on combatants or noncombatants.

The Israelis have over the decades developed a callous indifference to the Palestinians - which includes the people of Gaza and the West Bank and the Occupied territories. They have developed a mindset in which they are able to commit without any sense of guilt or shame the most violent egregious acts against what they believe to be a hostile population . All members of that population of Arabs or Palestinians the Israelis believe are terrorists or give support to terrorist and therefore there is in their perception no distinctions to be made between combatants and non-combatants since all are the enemy who must be destroyed or kept under the iron fist of the Israeli government and military forces.

Part of the problem is convincing the US administration to give the United Nations and other International Agencies support for impartial investigations into these alleged War Crimes of the Israeli government and forces. President Obama has taken some major steps in the past week in trying to change America's actions and to attempt to rebuild America's reputation . But when it comes to Gaza and Israel he seems to have a blind spot and certain preconceptions about this situation which do not fit with the facts on the ground .

This is a real problem for President Obama who appears to have little if any sympathy for the people of Gaza. Given America's historical stance on Israel in which America has supported Israel unconditionally ; it would take a great deal of courage on President Obama's part to even suggest some criticisms of how the Israelis and their forces conducted themselves in Gaza .

When it comes to the Palestinians the American public , the media and the government is blind to any wrongs that might have recently or in the past been done to these people by the Israelis. The American mindset as it were always sees Israel as the victim and the Palestinians or other Arabs as the perpetrators of the worse violence in the Middle East. As usual in America's simplistic view of the world there are those who are on the side of the good and those on the side of evil and there is no room for gray areas or that the ones America has decided to support may also be guilty of egregious crimes for which they too must be held accountable.

The question President Obama should be pondering is whether Israel in its latest conflict represent the " Rule Of Law " does it represents what Obama call America's founding principles , ideals and values . Is superior military force the only way to resolve issues with those who have little or no defense capabilities.

If Obama were to seriously ponder this difficult issue it might lead to consider America's use of overwhelming force in Iraq or elsewhere . Historically America has treated the world as if it were the final arbiter of what is right or wrong and what is to be permitted. It is time for America to stop acting unilaterally and as if what is good for America or what is in America's interest is therefore what is good for the world or is in the interests of all peoples.

But it is difficult for President Obama who seems under the spell of the Israeli Myth that it is a democratic egalitarian society which acts according to the basic values of a civilized nation even in times of conflict and that it is sincerely interested in the Road Map to Peace. Israel does want to give up any real territory except in some symbolic fashion . What lands Israel occupied illegally in the Six Day War it wishes to keep much of it. If Israel was interested in Peace it would give up on its claims to the occupied territories which Israel refers to as "disputed Territories ". And it appears President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are willing to defend Israel no matter what. Is this just to please the ultraconservatives and the Religious Right in America who believe Israel should expand to the borders of Eretz Israel as described in the Book of Genesis. As Evangelicals are Clinton and Obama bound by this Biblical view of Israel and so are unable to look at Israel in some impartial and reasonable manner since it is tied into their own religious preconceptions which goes far beyond the creation of the State of Israel by the United Nations in 1948 by human beings and not by some otherworldly forces ie. angels or Prophets.

CH4 NEWS: Blatant evidence of Israeli war crimes in GAZA- Jan 23, 2009

Blatant proof of illegal weapons being used in densely populated areas, people responsible need to be taken to the Hague now!

Israeli Army Had 'Fun' Destroying Gaza (CNN)-Jan.22/2009
CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on the devastation left in Gaza after three weeks of bombing.

Israeli Military Leader admits to Genocide & War Crimes
He says "Gazans locked inside a Ghetto and we the Israelis treat the Palestinians as animals..."
Every crime committed by Ariel Sharon & Israel has been supported and paid for by the USA! And when the UN Security Council convenes to condemn Israel's genocide & crimes against humanity, the USA steps in to veto!

Maybe most Americans dont know this, but every Muslim in the world has it engraved in their heart as the most grotesque injustice & unfairness & unbalanced policy anywhere in the world: This unending & bottomless support the American government gives to Israel!

One wonders is whether this sort of action brings a smile to Hillary Clinton and her AIPAC supporters is Obama even faintly aware of the sorts of Actions Israel takes part in supported by the American Government - This is one of the reasons many supporters of Obama wish he had chosen some people who might be more even handed when it comes to Israel and the Palestinian Situation. Will Israel only be happy when all the Palestinians leave or are killed . It reminds one of the so called heroes of America in the 18th and 19 th centuries who rationalized the mass murder of millions of aboriginal Americans. Is it just that being an American that it is impossible to see beyond the security of Israel and see the suffering of the Palestinians . So a form of racism is still promoted without any reservation by the American Media and the American government. This is undoubtedly a war crime that is to collectively punish a whole people for the actions of a few.

Gaza wiped off the map
Another excellent report by Jonathan Miller. Telling the story of destruction and the killing in Gaza

Even the BBC has little love or sympathy for the innocent civilians of Gaza who are suffering after Israel's latest invasion and destruction of much of Gaza. Whatever one 's opion on the conflict in Gaza you would think that anyone with some sense of human decency would want to help the innocent victims of this conflict. Bur it appears that all Gazans are seen as potential terrorists and so are not deserving of the West's pity as it were. So I guess the BBC and those who hate Hamas and support Israel unconditionally believe some people deserve humane treatment while others deserve to suffer languish and finally succumb to starvation and lack of medical aid and hopefully will do the BBC and the European people's a service and just quietly die off .

BBC refuses to show Gaza appeal" Media With Conscience/ Jan. 24, 2009

The British Broadcasting Corporation has defended its decision not to participate in a television fund-raising appeal for Gaza, saying it did want to avoid compromising public confidence in its impartiality.

Normally all broadcasters show Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeals without charge, but in a statement on Friday, the BBC said: "Along with other broadcasters, the BBC has decided not to broadcast the DEC's public appeal to raise funds for Gaza.

"The BBC's decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation, and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story."

DEC 'unhappy'

The DEC is an umbrella organisation representing a number of aid agencies, including Action Aid, Save the Children, the British Red Cross, Islamic Relief and Oxfam.

The organisation said its members will be providing immediate humanitarian aid, such as medicine, food and blankets, and will be involved in reconstruction in Gaza.

Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the DEC, said he was unhappy about losing the ability to broadcast the DEC's appeal into people's homes.


Source BBC News website, 24.01.09: Tony Benn voices an honest and compassionate opinion on the BBC's poor decision not to broadcast a Gaza Charity Appeal, so he did it himself!!! Well done Sir, thank you!!! CREDIT to my fellow comrade, you know who you are :o)

And this time around the Israelis are getting ready for any accusations of War Crimes . The Israelis are not going to accept even for a moment that their forces the IDF committed War Crimes.If Israel wants to be seen as a country interested in justice then if such crimes were committed they should own up to it and take responsibility and punish those responsible in an appropriate manner. But this will not happen because Israel believes it is above the law and does not recognize International Laws and views the United Nations and other human rights groups and humanitarian aid groups as their enemy. The seem to believe that people working for the UN in Gaza are not impartial and are pro-Palestinian and may even act as spies for Hamas or may even be supplying Hamas with weapons or other assistance. The Israeli believe that if the UN or Red Cross give medical aid to Hamas fighters or civilians who might support Hamas they conclude that the Red Cross and other agencies are really anti-Israel. But it appears that a large proportion of the people in Gaza or the West Bank are also suspect these organizations to be working in league with the Israelis and Americans. ( see for instance Philip. C. Winslow's book ­­­Victory For Us Is To See You Suffer: In the West Bank with the Palestinians and the Israelis pub. 2007)

"Israel forms war crime defence team "Media With Conscience/ Jan.24, 2009

Daniel Friedman, the Israeli justice minister, has been appointed to lead a defence team should war crimes charges be brought following the 22-day war on Gaza.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, confirmed on Friday that Friedman would lead an inter-ministerial team to co-ordinate a legal defence for civilians and the military.

Israel has been criticised by many human rights organisations for using excessive force, including flame-generating chemical munitions, in densely populated areas during its aerial, naval and ground assault on the coastal strip, which began on December 27.

The Israeli army has already banned the publication of the identity of military leaders who fought Hamas in Gaza.

Ali Kashan, the Palestinian justice minister, met Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, in The Hague on Thursday to discuss "allegations of crimes", a special adviser to the prosecutor said.

Gaza medics put the death toll in Gaza at 1,330 with at least 5,450 wounded following Israel's attacks. About 65 per cent of the dead were civilians, including 400 children and 100 women.

Eight Israeli human rights groups have called on the Israeli government to investigate allegations of war crimes given the scale of the casualties, describing the number of dead women and children as "terrifying".

Richard Falk, a UN human rights expert, said on Thursday that there was evidence that Israel violated humanitarian law by conducting the offensive "against an essentially defenseless population".

For a detailed analysis of Israel's violations of the rights of the Palestinian People see:

"Apartheid Israel violation of Palestinian Human Rights" Ben Heine/ MWC NEWS Jan. 24, 2009

The invasion, occupation, theft, genocide, lying and race-based State of Israel comprehensively violates all basic human rights of the Indigenous Occupied Palestinian People as set out below with explanations in square brackets appended to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


" Gaza crisis centered on Clinton's diplomacy agenda" / Jan. 24, 2009

...the policy on the Palestinian militant group of Hamas would not be bargained, according to Wood, Clinton has "made very clear what Hamas needed to do if it was going to play a constructive role in the region."

"The president-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets," Clinton said last Tuesday in a hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

"However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians," Clinton said.

Obama said on Thursday that he will send the Middle East envoy George Mitchell to the region as soon as possible, in an effort to "help the parties ensure that the cease-fire that has been achieved is made durable and sustainable."

"It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors," Obama said at the appointment ceremony for Mitchell.

According to Obama, in order to reach the durable cease-fire, Hamas must end its rocket attacks, Israel must complete the withdrawal of its troops from the Gaza Strip, and the international community must take effective measures to prevent Hamas from rearming.

The president, just like his predecessors, reiterated the steady support for Israel. "Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats."

Is Israel getting away with murder? After being accused of killing civilians who had their hands up showing they were not a threat Israel spokesperson describes the event if it occurred as " inappropriate " rather than a serious crime . So if it occurred they'll put those soldiers what in time out a slap on the wrist. As we know the Israelis claim that they are not bound by international law since these agreements are the result of a conspiracy by the UN and the International Community to try to prevent Israel from defending itself . Unfortunately many American including President Obama are too afraid to insist that Israel abide by the Geneva Conventions for this would lead to President Obama and America of being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. But then again America has especially in the last eight years itself shown a disregard and disdain for the Geneva Conventions as it obliterated whole cities in Iraq and abused and tortured thousands of detainees. America's War on Terror has merely led to more terror and more hatred of America. The problem for other countries in the West is that those who hate America see America in its actions as representing Western Values and Western Civilization. If America makes excuses and defends Israel even when Israel has committed atrocities then those who are angered by these actions see them as representing the countries of the West.

From ICH: Information Clearing House

" Israel Accused of Executing Parents in Front of Children in Gaza"By Murray Wardrop "The" Jan. 21, 2009

Israel has refuted allegations of war atrocities in Gaza after Palestinian children described how their parents had been "executed" by Israeli troops.

-- One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air.

Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled.

He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days.

A psychiatrist treating children in the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City, where the alleged incidents took place, described the deaths as a "massacre".

Rawya Borno, a Jordanian doctor, said civilians, including children, were rounded up and killed by Israeli troops.

Israel has denied the claims, dismissing them as Hamas propaganda, but said that an investigation is being conducted into soldiers' conduct in the area.

In interviews with ITV News, Palestinians claimed that Israeli forces knowingly killed civilians in Zeitoun on the morning of Jan 14.

Abdullah Samouni, nine, described the moment his father was allegedly "executed" by Israeli soldiers.

Holding his arms in the air, he said: "He was surrendering like this. My father came out and they shot him right away."

A boy named Ahmed said he was trapped for days in the wreckage of the shelled Samouni family's house.

He said: "My mother was dead beside me, she was clutching my brother Nasser and they were dead. My brother Itzaq was bleeding for two days and then he died. My brother Izmael bled to death in one day. My uncle Talal was bleeding for two hours and he died. God bless them."

Dr Borno said: "It's a massacre. They collected them from their houses. They knew that they were civilians. They were children."

When asked if Hamas had been in Zeitoun, Dr Borno replied: "Suppose that there is one of the fighters around, what is it to do with all these? Is the price to kill the family as a whole? Is this baby carrying a machine gun?"


"So Far, Obama's Missed The Point on Gaza..."

by Robert Fisk, The Independent, Jan. 22, 2009

...It would have helped if Obama had the courage to talk about what everyone in the Middle East was talking about. No, it wasn't the US withdrawal from Iraq. They knew about that. They expected the beginning of the end of Guantanamo and the probable appointment of George Mitchell as a Middle East envoy was the least that was expected. Of course, Obama did refer to "slaughtered innocents", but these were not quite the "slaughtered innocents" the Arabs had in mind.

There was the phone call yesterday to Mahmoud Abbas. Maybe Obama thinks he's the leader of the Palestinians, but as every Arab knows, except perhaps Mr Abbas, he is the leader of a ghost government, a near-corpse only kept alive with the blood transfusion of international support and the "full partnership" Obama has apparently offered him, whatever "full" means. And it was no surprise to anyone that Obama also made the obligatory call to the Israelis.

But for the people of the Middle East, the absence of the word "Gaza" - indeed, the word "Israel" as well - was the dark shadow over Obama's inaugural address. Didn't he care? Was he frightened? Did Obama's young speech-writer not realise that talking about black rights - why a black man's father might not have been served in a restaurant 60 years ago - would concentrate Arab minds on the fate of a people who gained the vote only three years ago but were then punished because they voted for the wrong people? It wasn't a question of the elephant in the china shop. It was the sheer amount of corpses heaped up on the floor of the china shop.

Sure, it's easy to be cynical. Arab rhetoric has something in common with Obama's clichés: "hard work and honesty, courage and fair play ... loyalty and patriotism". But however much distance the new President put between himself and the vicious regime he was replacing, 9/11 still hung like a cloud over New York. We had to remember "the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke". Indeed, for Arabs, the "our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred" was pure Bush; the one reference to "terror", the old Bush and Israeli fear word, was a worrying sign that the new White House still hasn't got the message. Hence we had Obama, apparently talking about Islamist groups such as the Taliban who were "slaughtering innocents" but who "cannot outlast us". As for those in the speech who are corrupt and who "silence dissent", presumably intended to be the Iranian government, most Arabs would associate this habit with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (who also, of course, received a phone call from Obama yesterday), King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and a host of other autocrats and head-choppers who are supposed to be America's friends in the Middle East.

Hanan Ashrawi got it right. The changes in the Middle East - justice for the Palestinians, security for the Palestinians as well as for the Israelis, an end to the illegal building of settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab land, an end to all violence, not just the Arab variety - had to be "immediate" she said, at once. But if the gentle George Mitchell's appointment was meant to answer this demand, the inaugural speech, a real "B-minus" in the Middle East, did not.

The friendly message to Muslims, "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect", simply did not address the pictures of the Gaza bloodbath at which the world has been staring in outrage. Yes, the Arabs and many other Muslim nations, and, of course, most of the world, can rejoice that the awful Bush has gone. So, too, Guantanamo. But will Bush's torturers and Rumsfeld's torturers be punished? Or quietly promoted to a job where they don't have to use water and cloths, and listen to men screaming?

Sure, give the man a chance. Maybe George Mitchell will talk to Hamas - he's just the man to try - but what will the old failures such as Denis Ross have to say, and Rahm Emanuel and, indeed, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton? More a sermon than an Obama inaugural, even the Palestinians in Damascus spotted the absence of those two words: Palestine and Israel. So hot to touch they were, and on a freezing Washington day, Obama wasn't even wearing gloves.

Gaza Aftermath
by Dan Lieberman Media With Conscience Jan. 23, 2009

Digging out the pulverized ruins of Gaza revealed the extent of damage to the Palestinian community. Still not revealed are exact reasons for Israel’s attack, its sudden willingness to halt the damage and what awaits a shaken Middle East in the future. Clues that contradict the given reason for the attack - rockets hitting Israeli soil – are: (1) rockets have been hitting southern Israel since 2002, (2) the initial rocket barrage caused no casualties, and (3) the intensive emphasis on the rocket attacks as the reason for Israel’s overly aggressive counterpunch, with almost all Israelis and foreign newspapers reciting that theme, seemed too arranged, concerted propaganda, and an attempt to disguise more valid explanations.

Regardless of the conflicting views of events, an inevitable drift to war was set in motion for one overriding reason; Israel, International institutions and western nations refused to talk with Hamas.

A legitimately elected government requested halts to a punishing blockade and to attacks on its citizens in the West Bank and Gaza. Silence. More pleading and more silence. Finally militants fire an uncontrollable a salvo of rockets, positioned so no fatalities could occur; alerting Israel and a complacent world that Hamas could no longer permit its people to be starved into surrender.

Hamas’ demands deserved discussion. Instead, Israel responded with missile strikes, which instantly killed 250 Palestinians, assured retaliating rockets would finally kill Israelis and signaled an eventual violence against Gazans and a politically motivated invasion of the territory.

and as the author notes in reference to Hamas ' military capability it was for all intents and purposes non-existent

...Israel’s complaint of extensive arms smuggling was proving doubtful

Similar to the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, Israeli forces slowly learned they had had nowhere to go except to kill more civilians. The Israeli forces neither exhibited many destroyed rocket launchers nor demonstrated harm to the supposed 10,000 Hamas armed insurgents. Except for the longer range Grad rockets, many of the rockets and mortars that shelled Israel were homemade devices. Therefore only the Grad rockets and some Qassam rockets, few of which did much damage, were smuggled into Gaza. Hamas demonstrated no military capability; that is no capability and not just limited capability– no surface to air missiles, no anti-tank rockets, no organized attacks on invading soldiers. Media descriptions of coming battles never materialized. Fighting, which requires two combatants, was an exaggerated word. Israeli forces moved forward without much fear of attack and with only ten reported deaths, of which five were accidental. Since Hamas didn’t display many weapons with which to fight, how much smuggling of meaningful armaments could have occurred? Neither facts nor images supported reports of weapons caches and weapons destruction. Israel’s soldiers must have felt contrite and questioned what they were doing.

Once again we have an article comparing the Algierian insurgency against the French to the Israeli Gaza conflict

" Hamas Fights on Uneven Battlefield " by Thalif Deen/ Inter Press Service, Jan.23, 2009

... - In the 1967 movie classic the "Battle of Algiers", which recreated Algeria's war of independence against France, a handcuffed and shackled insurgent leader, Ben M'Hidi, is brought before a group of highly-partisan French journalists for intense interrogation.

One of the journalists asks M'Hidi: "Don't you think it is a bit cowardly to use women's handbags and baskets to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people [in cafes and night clubs]?"

Responding with equal bluntness, the Algerian insurgent retorts: "And doesn't it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on unarmed villages on a thousand times more innocent victims?"

"Of course, if we had your fighter planes, it would be a lot easier for us," he adds. "Give us your bombers, and you can have our handbags and baskets."

Like the Algerian insurgents, Hamas militants were not fighting on a level battle field - as the Israeli military unleashed its massive firepower on a virtually defenceless population in Gaza, killing over 1,300 Palestinians in the 22-day conflict.

"Perhaps it would be interesting to see the roles reversed: the Palestinians with American fighter planes and battle tanks and the Israelis with homemade rockets," says one Arab diplomat, striking a parallel with the Algerian insurgency.

Besides F-16 fighter planes, the Israelis also used a wide array of U.S. weaponry, including Apache helicopters, M60 battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers and heavy artillery.

Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Centre at the World Policy Institute, points out that the bulk of Israel's current arsenal is composed of military equipment supplied under U.S. assistance programmes.

Israel, she said, has been supplied with 226 F-16 fighter planes and attack jets, more than 700 M60 battle tanks, 6,000 armoured personnel carriers and scores of transport planes, attack helicopters and utility and training aircraft, bombs and tactical missiles of all kinds.

In contrast, the hundreds of erratic rockets used by Hamas were so crude that most of them missed their targets.

"Israel has enormous military resources," says Dr. Natalie Goldring, a senior research fellow with the Centre for Peace and Security Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

and so it goes,

No comments: