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Old 26-07-2009, 09:18 AM   #41
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Default Palestinians ask Canada to seize Dead Sea Scrolls

Blake Lambert, Foreign Correspondent

Last Updated: July 23. 2009 11:31PM UAE / July 23. 2009 7:31PM GMT

TORONTO // A new exhibit featuring the Dead Sea Scrolls at Canada’s largest museum has ignited Palestinian claims of cultural theft.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), in partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority, is displaying 17 of the scrolls, including four for the first time, until Jan 3.

The scrolls contain the earliest written sources for the Old Testament as well as prayers, biblical commentary and religious laws that served as the foundations for Judaism and Christianity.

Parts of the War Scroll, one of the non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, are included in the exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

The scrolls contain the earliest written sources for the Old Testament as well as prayers, biblical commentary and religious laws that served as the foundations for Judaism and Christianity.

Titled Words that Changed the World, the collection includes fragments of Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Daniel and Isaiah and the War Scroll, one of the first found.

The facts regarding the discovery of the scrolls in 11 caves north-west of the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley’s Wadi Qumran between 1947 and 1956 are not in dispute by Palestinians.

The problem for Palestinian Authority officials, who contacted ROM executives in April, is that the exhibition contains artefacts illegally acquired by Israel when it annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 war.

The PA’s archaeological department said it was important for Canadian institutions to be responsible and act in accordance with their country’s obligations.

“I’m not saying those scrolls are not Jewish and Christian in nature,” said Issam al Ahmed, the executive director of Palestine House, an educational and cultural organisation in the Toronto area. “But they were discovered prior to the Israeli occupation and they were exhibited in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem in Palestine.”

After the 1967 war, the Israelis moved the scrolls to the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a Montreal-based advocacy group, argues that ROM’s partnership with the Israeli body violates Canada’s obligations under the conventions of Unesco, the UN body that helps to conserve mankind’s heritage, regarding the protection of cultural property.

According to its interpretation, Canada cannot import cultural property from an occupied territory and must, if possible, take that property into custody and return it to the competent authorities at the end of hostilities.

The Palestinian Authority’s objection surprised the ROM.

Its officials said the Israel Antiquities Authority had previously lent the Dead Sea Scrolls to 20 major cultural institutions, including the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the New York Public Library and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

But Thomas Woodley, the director of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, said it was probably just a matter of time before the Palestinian Authority caught up with the issue.

“If the Palestinian state is ever going to be established, tourism is going to be an important part of the economy,” he said. “By cultural heritage laws of today, the Palestinians would be caretakers.”

Mr Woodley suggested the question of custodianship is symbolic of a much larger problem: there are active archaeological sites managed by Israel in the West Bank.
His group and Palestine House had called for the cancellation of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition before its launch on June 27 and met with ROM executives.

Mr al Ahmed said the museum offered to include the Palestinian perspective in its literature on the scrolls, which never happened. Palestine House then rejected the ROM’s offer for a cultural corner to exhibit Palestinian artefacts because of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s participation.

Meanwhile, Mr Woodley’s group produced a report suggesting modifications to the exhibition’s history, the inclusion of a map, pointing out “glaring” issues in the copy of the materials and providing names of speakers to reflect the Palestinian narrative. In particular, the report pointed out that Palestine and Palestinians were “conspicuously absent” from the ROM’s narrative and Judea, an Israeli term, is the reference for the southern West Bank.

Notwithstanding the claims of theft, the ROM said it “remained satisfied that the exhibition is lawful”.

As for concerns of bias, William Thorsell, the chief executive and director of ROM, wrote to the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East that its proposed materials would inject “contemporary political content” into the project.

“This exhibition creates the ground for a constructive conversation among people of various faiths about shared roots and values,” wrote Mr Thorsell.

That view certainly appeals to Toronto’s Jewish community.

“It verifies a Jewish presence in Israel that dates back thousands of years,” said Howard English, the vice president of corporate communications for the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto.

He described the exhibit as a gift to the people of this city, which they should visit in large numbers.

To the ROM’s delight the exhibition has been a success.

More than 18,000 people visited the Dead Sea Scrolls in the first nine days, exceeding attendance projections by 52 per cent.

Nevertheless, protests have taken place in front of the museum.

Palestine House called for a boycott, but Mr al Ahmed said it is hard to measure if people are listening.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East is now examining the issue to see if it can sue the Canadian government to fulfil its obligations under international law.

“What’s the point of international law? It’s to prevent the theft of cultural heritage,” Mr Woodley said. “Are we respecting the principle? I don’t think the ROM is.”

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Old 26-07-2009, 09:28 AM   #42
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Israel giving key Jerusalem site to settlers - activists

July 24, 2009

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel has handed control over much of a key Palestinian area in annexed East Jerusalem to hardline settler groups in a creeping takeover kept away from public scrutiny, a report by an activist group said on Thursday.

Government bodies have transferred both private Palestinian property and national parks in the Silwan neighbourhood outside the walls of the Old City to the settler organisation Elad, said Ir Amim, a non-profit group specialising in Jerusalem issues.

"It was done in the dark, in flagrant violation of the rules of good government and in some cases in violation of the law, without open and official decisions by the government or Knesset and without public discussion, inquiry or scrutiny," said the report entitled "Shady Dealings in Silwan". Elad is dedicated to expanding Jewish ownership in Arab areas of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 and annexed in a move not recognised by the international community.

In Silwan, Elad has acted as an arm of the government for the past 20 years to gain control over a quarter of the land along its main thoroughfare, Wadi Hilweh or City of David.

"Silwan is a keystone to a sweeping and systematic process whose aim is to gain control of the Palestinian territories that surround the Old City, to cut the Old City off from the urban fabric of East Jerusalem and to connect it to Jewish settlement blocs" in the northeast, it said.

Elad's impact in Silwan is hard to miss - dominating the city's poorest neighbourhood is a gleaming new visitors' centre and the Walls of Jerusalem national park, an archaeological exhibition.

In theory, the park is owned by the government, but the operator is Elad.

"The site is technically run by the Nature and Parks Authority but all the tour guides are actually Elad people," says Ir Amim activist Orly Noy.

"People arrive here thinking they are at a regular government-run tourist site. What they are actually hearing is the settlers' agenda." The Parks Authority entrusted the running of the site to Elad in 1997 in what the report said was an opaque transaction instead of an open tender as required by law.

When the National Antiquities Authority discovered that important archaeological remains had been transferred to settlers, it objected and in 1999 the move was overturned in the high court.

But despite this verdict, the Parks Authority in 2002 handed control of the area back to Elad.

Elad wants to turn the Arab neighbourhood, where it says the palace of the biblical King David once stood, a claim disputed by most archaeologists, into a new Jewish heartland.

Such a move could spark violence, as Silwan's location makes it a potential tinderbox in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It lies outside the walls of Al Haram Al Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest and Islam's third-holiest site and where a change in the status quo could provoke conflict.

"It's like giving matches to pyromaniacs," says Noy.

Elad's hold on Silwan extends far beyond the walls of the park, with white and blue Israeli flags fluttering over several homes once owned by Palestinians.

Some properties were simply sold to Jewish groups. But the report said others were often acquired by dubious means, including using forged documents.

Elad was founded and run by David Be'eri, a former deputy commander of an elite special forces unit in the Israeli army.

With Elad, he runs a ring of agents, including local Palestinians and at least one police officer, to scout opportunities to buy Arab houses, probing for weak points such as disputes between neighbours or debts.

Since the late 1980s Be'eri has worked with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) - a quasi-governmental body that buys and develops land for Jewish settlement - to evict Palestinians in Silwan, the report said.

Under an unwritten pact, Elad would agree to cover compensation for Silwan families which the JNF would then evict and then allow Elad to lease the homes to settlers at token cost, it said.

Elad has not moved settlers into all the houses it has bought for fear of sparking violence, the report said.

"If they moved in you would see blue and white all across Silwan," Noy said.

Elad representatives declined to comment on the report.

24 July 2009
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Old 26-07-2009, 09:38 AM   #43
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The Heart of the Israel/Gaza Conflict: What Does Gaza Have that Israel Desperately Needs?

Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:57 Added by PT Editor Sarah Price

Gaza, July 24, (Pal Telegraph) - Since British Gas (BG) first discovered huge offshore reserves of natural gas in Gazan waters Israel has attempted to dictate and secure the future of these reserves.

At one stage they almost signed up for the entire reserve but then political change took place in Gaza when Hamas came to power. This was a severe blow to the Israeli Government which had by now established a war footing.This was confirmed back in 2007 when Lt-Gen. (ret) Moshe Yaalon published an article in the Jewish Center for Public Affairs (Vol 7, No 17 19 October 2007) titled: Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza's Coastal Waters Threaten Israel's National Security? It was in this article that he quoted the following: "It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement".

After exhaustive talks with BG the Israelis started to lose ground and realised that these huge reserves of gas could disappear from their grasp and be piped to Egypt for conversion to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for export to the UK/USA. In January of 2008 BG had given up all hope of negotiating a deal and closed down their offices in Israel.

By mid 2008 Israel had already started up talks to create a cease fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. What was ironic was the fact that during this same time Israel was planning a strike on Gaza. It was at this stage that the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair came on the scene and asked the Israeli Government to urgently re- commence talks on the gas issue (despite a deal that had already been struck with the Egyptians).

The Israeli Government then decided to postpone the attack on Gaza as they realised that if they went in prematurely it could turn the Central Government of Palestine against them and thus cause any further talks to fail. The Israelis urgently asked BG to come back to the table to continue talks on the gas issue but again talks failed. By this time the fate of Gaza was sealed.

What was so interesting about these talks was the fact that the Knesset had vigorously refused to accept any natural gas directly from the Palestinians. Two offshore options had been planned:

1. To pipe the gas from the Gaza field directly to Ashkelon.
2. To pipe the gas to el-Arish, Egypt and then via subsea pipe to Ashkelon.

Again we see the ridiculous levels of pride in not accepting anything from your enemy and yet in commissioning option two they would still be taking gas from Palestine but carefully disguised as Egyptian gas. We have seen this same situation in the friction between Israel and Iran when again Israel stated it would never take crude oil directly from Iran. However, Israel does still buy crude oil from Iran via the Netherlands. The tankers arrive, as the Port of Rotterdam for example, where the Israeli commercial agents then purchase the entire load which then transits to Haifa!

As we have seen around the world most of the wars or conflicts are hinged on economic greed for natural resources. We have seen this play out in Iraq and again in Afghanistan. This scenario was to be repeated in Gaza in the hope of removing Hamas, allowing Israel to gain access to its offshore wealth. Thus the IDF carried out a totally disproportionate attack on Gaza in December 2008 by land, sea and air.

This bombardment became a testing ground for both US and Israeli weapons which would have severe consequences on the residents of the Gaza Strip. Most of the weapons used on Gaza were in violation of the Geneva Convention. The onslaught started with Star Shells to illuminate the target areas followed rapidly by extensive use of White Phosphorous (WP), which in itself has terrible consequences for those trapped beneath its rain of terror. This was then followed by a vast array of weaponry that was delivered by air from aircraft, helicopter and drones.

The Apache helicopter fires a multitude of missiles and rounds from its Gatling Gun which uses Depleted Uranium (DU). The overhead jet fighters use an assembly of stand off weapons which contain DU and also what one could only refer to as "Dirty Bombs". On the marine side we also have an array of DU weaponry including missiles and the rapid fire Phalanx gun which are fitted to the Israeli Sa'ar Class Corvettes.

Despite the terrible loss of life that occurred in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead the trauma for its residents is not yet over. As a result in the use of Uranium based weapons the Israeli IDF has contaminated the Gaza Strip with terrible consequences. This evil act of slow genocide will continue to work its way through the population of Gaza, not only as a result of the immediate attack but also as a result of secondary contamination.

Israelis killing Israelis

What I find so ironic is that when such weapons were used in Lebanon (2006) by the IDF they were also contaminating their own forces and the entire Northern Israel region. Now that they have used these same weapons on Gaza they have again contaminated their own forces and added Central, Southern Israel, West Bank and other adjacent countries to their lethal list. This weaponry is indiscriminate and does not respect international borders.

Whilst on the subject of uranium contamination I would also like to point out that such contamination is generated during test firing and military exercises which again spreads its lethal dose on both those using the weapons and the adjacent populations locally and cross border.
It has also been a point of discussion that such weapons were also tested/used some time ago in other fields of engagement which when added to their on- going usage can result in total contamination of the entire region and beyond. If Israel (with US assistance) attacks Iranian Nuclear Facilities then we are looking at a huge secondary contamination of the entire Middle East with consequences beyond imagination.

I am totally convinced that in the event of such an attack, the US will have to assist Israel to carryout it out. The US would offer Spy Satellite Support, possible in-flight refueling and an assortment of weaponry which include both Depleted and Enriched Uranium. Weaponry required for such a long distance, complicated and extremely dangerous operation may include any combination of the following:

Missiles - Harpoon, Popeye, Cruise and AGM-130.
Bombs - GBU-28, GBU-31, BLU-109, BLU-122 and
Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

Add all this to Israeli's own secret arsenal of "Dirty Weapons" and we are looking at a potential catastrophic war with reprisal attacks being carried out against Israel.

The Iranian threat has been concocted by both the United States of America and Israel and flawed by tunnel vision. As usual we see imperialism at its "best" whereby one country wants to control both the natural resources of another and its decision making. We saw this same approach carried out against Pakistan, India, and North Korea. The feedback from world experts is that Iran is not a threat to the West.

This inter-connection of greed, power and human destruction described above, is a sure remedy for Armageddon. Israel, Gaza and Lebanon have become places where it is very dangerous for the ordinary person to live, as the ecosystems are all contaminated. An end must be brought to human greed and the genocidal weapons put at its service. Irreversible damage has already taken place, but we shall be able to contain some of it, if no further destruction occurs using such weapons. There must be a complete and absolute ban on all and any weapons made containing uranium.

Peter Eyre, Middle East Consultant

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Old 26-07-2009, 10:13 AM   #44
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Iran vows to hit Israel's atomic sites if attacked

Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:42pm IST

By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) - The Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that Iran would strike Israel's nuclear facilities if the Jewish state attacked it, state television reported.

"If the Zionist Regime (Israel) attacks Iran, we will surely strike its nuclear facilities with our missile capabilities," Mohammad Ali Jafari, Guards commander-in-chief, told Iran's Arabic language al-Alam television.

The Revolutionary Guards are the ideologically driven wing of Iran's military with air, sea and land capabilities, and a separate command structure to regular units.

Iranian leaders often dismiss talk of a possible strike by Israel, saying it is not in a position to threaten Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter. They say Iran would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests and Israel.

"We are not responsible for this regime and other enemies' foolishness ... If they strike Iran, our answer will be firm and precise," state television quoted Jafari as saying.

The United States, Israel and their Western allies fear that Iran is enriching uranium with the aim of producing nuclear weapons and have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.

Iran says it is pursuing only a nuclear power generation programme.

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear power, has repeatedly described Iran's nuclear programme as a threat to its existence. Iran refuses to recognise Israel.


Jafari said Israel was entirely within the reach of Iran.

"Our missile capability puts all of the Zionist regime (Israel) within Iran's reach to attack," Jafari said. "The Zionist regime is too small to threaten Iran."

Military experts say Iran rarely reveals enough detail about its new military equipment to determine its military capabilities.

Israel has so far quietly acceded to Washington's strategy of talking to Tehran about curtailing its sensitive nuclear work.

Israel believes that a multi-level missile shield underwritten by the United States would protect the country against possible missile attacks.

Jafari said such a shield could only protect Israel "in a limited way".

"But they will have no answer when Iran bombards them (and) sends a great number of its missiles," he added.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in May Iran had tested a missile that defence analysts say could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf. Washington said the test was a "step in the wrong direction" to remove concerns over its nuclear work.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for about 40 percent of globally traded oil, if it is attacked. The U.S. military says it will prevent any such action.

Military experts say Iranian missiles often draw on technology from China, North Korea and other countries.

Israel has three German-made submarines that are widely assumed to carry nuclear missiles.

One of the submarines sailed from the Mediterranean, via the Suez Canal, to Israel's Red Sea port of Eilat in early July, seen as a signal to Iran of the long reach of its arsenal.

Jafari said Iran "was not scared" of Israel's military capabilities. "It is part of the psychological war that the West has launched against Iran," he said.

Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, was re-elected in a disputed June 12 presidential vote that stirred the largest display of internal unrest in the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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Old 26-07-2009, 10:23 AM   #45
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US transfers $200 million in aid to PA

Sat, 25 Jul 2009 10:14:33 GMT

The United States has announced transferring a $200 million aid package to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority to help ease a growing budget deficit.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement in a video conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad based in the West Bank.

Fayyad was appointed prime minister by acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas after the democratically-elected Hamas government took control of the Gaza Strip. People in the already impoverished Palestinian sliver have been suffering from a tight Israeli-blockade following the takeover for their steadfast support of Hamas resistance movement.

Fayyad said that the reasons for the shortfall include Israel's restrictions on the Palestinian economy, the border blockade of the Gaza Strip and the failure of some donor countries to make good on their aid pledges.

The money is not new assistance, but part of 900 million U.S. dollars in U.S. funds that Clinton pledged at a donors conference in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in March, an official told Reuters.

With Friday's aid transfer, donor countries have given the Palestinian government $606 million in budget support this year, covering only about one-third of the estimated deficit of $1.45 billion for 2009, Fayyad said.

"We have received aid, but not enough to deal with our needs, and we faced sharp economic difficulties throughout the last months," Fayyad told reporters.

During the conference Clinton expressed support for the Palestinian Authority and called on all nations to support Mahmoud Abbas' government.

"I call on all nations that wish to see a strong, viable Palestinian state, living in peace and security with its neighbors to join us in supporting the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority has proven to be a reliable partner for peace," she said.

Washington pledged in March during a donor's conference in Egypt to transfer $900 million to Palestinian Authority.

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Old 30-07-2009, 09:46 AM   #46
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Israeli tanks, bulldozers roll into Gaza

Wed, 29 Jul 2009 16:24:36 GMT

The Israeli army has launched another cross border attack on the Gaza Strip, opening fire on villagers' homes south of the impoverished sliver.

Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled hundreds of meters deep into the strip on Wednesday and flattened cultivated fields in Al Qararra town in southern Gaza.

According to witnesses several Palestinian homes were damaged in the attack but there were no reports of casualties. Four tanks and two bulldozers conducted the attack.

Palestinian sources say the invading Israeli troops were forced to retreat after they faced resistance from Palestinian fighters.

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Old 30-07-2009, 10:14 AM   #47
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The Palestinian Centre For Human Rights
(PCHR) 2008 Annual Report

By Stephen Lendman

Established in 1995, PCHR functions independently in Gaza and enjoys "Consultative Status" with the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It's also an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists-Geneva, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Paris, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network in Copenhagen, the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Cairo, and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) in Stockholm.

Palestinian lawyers and human rights activists established it to:

-- "protect human rights and promote the rule of law;"

-- create, develop and promote a democratic culture in Palestinian society; and

-- work for Palestinian self-determination and independence "in accordance with international law and UN resolutions."

PCHR is an "independent legal body dedicated to the protection of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in the Occupied Territories." It issues documents, fact sheets, and reports like its latest 2008 Annual Report - divided in two parts.

Part One assesses the overall human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinians Territories (OPT) throughout 2008. Because they affect regional peace overall, this article focuses solely on Israeli crimes, not those committed by Palestinian elements in Gaza and the West Bank that pale by comparison. Part Two covers PCHR's local and international efforts over the same period.

Israeli Violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law - Excessive Use of Force, Killings, and Other Violations of the Right to Life

Throughout 2008, the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) repeatedly violated international law with regard to excessive force, willful killings, wanton destruction, and other right to life abuses against Palestinian civilians.

During the first five days of Operation Cast Lead alone, dozens of air strikes killed 411 Palestinians and wounded 996 others, many seriously. "Contrary to Israeli claims, the majority of victims were unarmed civilians," including 13 women and 38 children.

Over the entire 22-day period, the IOF killed 1417 Palestinians, including 1181 non-combatants. Of these, 926 were unarmed civilians (including 313 children and 116 women) and 255 police officers, 240 on the first day, including dozens in formation and vulnerable at their graduation ceremony. The number of wounded totaled 4336, the great majority being civilian men, women, and children.

Throughout 2008, the IOF committed willful killings and right to life violations, especially in the first six months. Numerous air strikes and incursions targeted civilians in Gaza. Extra-judicial assassinations also against persons accused of involvement in "hostilities against Israel," including anyone acting legitimately in self-defense as international law allows. From January through June, the IOF killed 409 Palestinians, including 225 civilians, 58 of whom were children and 16 women. Another 741 Palestinians were wounded.

On June 19, a six-month Tahdey'a (lull) was declared on the following terms:

-- Israel would stop attacking Palestinians, including shelling and extra-judicial assassinations; also, Gaza's border crossings would be gradually reopened to allow free movement in and out of people and goods; and

-- Palestinians would cease resistance attacks.

They complied but Israel reneged. The IOF greatly reduced its attacks but kept Gaza under siege. By October, Israeli incursions and targeted killings increased. Palestinians responded modestly in self-defense. By late December, Operation Cast Lead was launched, a clear case of premeditated, unprovoked aggression in violation of international law.

Throughout 2008 in the West Bank, repeated incursions and targeted executions continued, including during the Tahdey'a, mostly by IOF undercover units. In total, 42 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children, were killed.

PCHR 2008 tallies show 868 Palestinians died at the hands of the IOF and Israeli settlers - in Gaza and the West Bank combined. Another 2260 Palestinians were wounded. From the beginning of the September 2000 Intifada through 2008, Israel killed 5287 Palestinians, mostly civilian men, women and children. In addition, over the same period, "tens of thousands of Palestinians" were wounded, hundreds sustaining permanent disabilities.

According to eye-witness accounts, the IOF used excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians, a practice ongoing for over six decades through bombings, shellings, targeted killings, incursions, and attacks by Israeli settlers. In the first five days of Operation Cast Lead (and continuing for another 17 in 2009), Israel used massive air, ground, and sea power against a defenseless civilian population trapped inside Gaza under siege.

On the day after the Operation ended, attacks continued daily. One instance among many involved the IOF bombing of a five-story Gaza building near the Palestinian Governmental Complex in the densely populated Tal al-Hawa neighborhood - completely destroying it. Flying debris and shrapnel killed a woman on her way to a wedding and injured 46 others, including 19 children and three women. A large number of other houses and vehicles in the area were damaged.

Below are a few examples of 2008 attacks:

-- on February 5, a surface-to-surface missile targeting the Palestinian riot control police workplace in 'Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis, killed seven police officers and injured another; and

-- on February 7, 23, and March 1, the IOF killed eight members of one family, wounded another eight, and killed and wounded seven others.

Repeated attacks throughout the year were similar, mostly against civilian men, women and children.

Incursions into Palestinian Communities

Continuing its decades-long practice, Israel repeatedly conducted incursions into the OPT in 2008. In Gaza, they were particularly intensive from January through June, killing nearly 200 Palestinians before Operation Cast Lead began in December. Israel's pretext - to arrest wanted Palestinians and destroy home-made rocket launching sites and weapons. These are grievous war crimes for which Israel must be held responsible.

Significant examples:

From February 29 - March 2, the IOF conducted Operation Warm Winter, a wide scale offensive in Jabalya and surrounding areas using "their full-fledged arsenal and....excessive force without any consideration" for civilian Palestinian lives. Air strikes preceded a ground invasion. As a result, dozens of non-combatant lives were lost or wounded, including women and children. Also, ambulances and medical crews were attacked, and many houses and large areas of agricultural land destroyed - wantonly and maliciously.

The total death toll was 69, including 21 children and two women. Another 175 were wounded, including 44 children and six women.

On January 2, the IOF attacked the al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City. Clashes followed killing six Palestinian resistance fighters and wounding a seventh.

On January 3, the IOF killed seven Palestinians in al-Zanna and al-Qarara east of Khan Yunis, including a woman, her two sons, her daughter, and her nephew.

On January 15, the IOF killed 17 Palestinians and wounded another 30 during an incursion into the al-Shojaeya and al-Zaytoun neighborhoods in Gaza City.

In the West Bank on January 3, the IOF conducted a three day operation in Nablus and neighboring refugee camps, wounding 38 Palestinians and arresting 31 others. Indiscriminate firing occurred against "anything that moved," including medical crews, ambulances, and hospitals.

Repeated other incursions were made against numerous towns, villages and neighborhoods. Deaths and injuries resulted, including to innocent bystanders too close to the action, many of them women and children.

Extra-Judicial Assassinations

In 2008, the IOF committed them by bombing civilian establishments, houses and cars in Gaza and with West Bank undercover units. Israel's High Court and top government officials approved the practice in violation of international law.

Throughout the year, PCHR documented 53 assassinations, including 44 targeted persons - 31 in Gaza and 13 in the West Bank. In addition, dozens of civilians were wounded. From September 2000 through 2008, the IOF extra-judicially executed 743 Palestinians, including 513 targeted and 230 bystanders.

One example illustrates many. On March 12, four Palestinians in a car in the center of Bethlehem were intercepted by members of an IOF undercover unit. They opened fire at close range killing the four instantly and continued firing indiscriminately to secure their withdrawal.

In other cases, Israeli aircraft fire missiles at homes, vehicles, or other targets where wanted individuals are believed to be located. Often, innocent bystanders, including women and children, are killed or wounded and property destroyed.

Killing Palestinian Children

In 2008, the IOF killed 108 children, 99 in Gaza and nine in the West Bank. >From September 2000 through 2008, the total was 919 children or nearly one-fourth of Palestinian deaths. The IOF has a history of willfully killing children and women - easy pickings for intrepid Israeli soldiers and airmen.

One instance is typical. On April 16, an Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at a number of Palestinian civilians gathered near al-Ihsan Mosque, about 300 meters away from where IOF troops were deployed. Nine deaths resulted, including six children, and 12 others were wounded.

Attacking Medical Crews

The IOF repeatedly attacks clearly marked ambulances and medical workers, grievously in violation of international law. PCHR documented three killings in 2008 and 27 since September 2000. Numerous others were wounded, some seriously - while they were carrying out their humanitarian mission to help the injured and dying.

Attacking Journalists

They're willfully targeted to prevent coverage of human rights violations, including killings, denial of access to certain areas, entry into Israel or territory under its control, detention, confiscation and destruction of property, beatings, harassment, and intimidation. An October 2008 Reporters without Borders report placed Israel among "countries that extensively violate press freedoms, especially in areas beyond its borders."

In 2008, one journalist was killed and another 28 wounded. Since September 2000, the toll was nine deaths and at least 170 injured.

Closure and Prevention of Free Movement

Throughout 2008, the West Bank remained militarily occupied and Gaza continued under a medieval siege with access to vital food, medicines, fuels, electricity, and other essentials denied beyond woefully spotty and limited amounts. The result has been a humanitarian disaster with no signs of abating well into the new year. Besides the effects of Operation Cast Lead, the toll includes:

-- 80% of Gazans impoverished;

-- unemployment exceeding 55%;

-- movement in or out of the Territory denied even for emergency humanitarian needs;

-- permission denied to travel, work or study abroad;

-- Palestinians trapped on the Egyptian side of the Rafah International Crossing Point (into Gaza) refused reentry or restricted by long delays under severe humanitarian conditions;

-- intolerable shortages of everything; too little food to sustain nutrition; inadequate medicines and equipment for health and life; and fuel and power restrictions for heat, electricity, vehicles, hospitals, and workplaces;

-- severe movement restrictions in the West Bank by imposing hundreds of checkpoints, barriers, the Separation Wall built on stolen Palestinian land, and hundreds of kilometers of for-Jews only roads; overall, about one-third of the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem, is inaccessible to Palestinians without IOF-issued permits that are extremely hard to get; the result is increasingly isolated Palestinian communities, cut off from each other, including farmers from their land; the sick from access to care; and everyone from family, friends, and a normal life people in the West take for granted;

-- the West Bank and Jerusalem totally cut off from Gaza;

-- Gazans denied essential industrial, agricultural, construction, transportation, fuel and power, and basic raw material needs; and

-- overall, the collective punishment of the civilian population causing "a chronic deterioration in all aspects of....life" that's decimating the lives of 1.5 million Gazans trapped in the world's largest open-air prison and being slowly suffocated.

Throughout 2008 and earlier, Gazan cities, villages, and refugee camps were paralyzed under a state of siege that continues unabated. Living conditions deteriorated steadily. UNRWA was forced to curtail its humanitarian and food distribution programs for days. Around 15 drinking water wells stopped, causing water shortages for more than 100,000 people. Another 125 water reservoirs were also affected. Transportation as well with 85% halted for lack of fuel. Wastewater treatment plants were forced to dump their untreated water in the sea. Additional environmental contamination occurred. Flour mills shut down. Warehouses ran out of flour and wheat. Most production stopped, and Gaza's economy collapsed.

Gaza's border crossings have been closed for over two years under Israel's collective punishment policy. The humanitarian effect is disastrous - against a civilian population oppressed for being Palestinians and for having elected the wrong government.

Throughout the year, hundreds of Gazans were denied access to Israeli and West Bank hospitals, including in Jerusalem. Nor to Arab ones in Egypt or elsewhere. As a result, 29 died and 50 since the tightened siege began in June 2007, including 17 women and 10 children.

International humanitarian law prohibits collective punishment, including closure. Artcle 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War" states:

"No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

Article 12(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that "everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence."

For over 60 years, Israel repeatedly, systematically, and willfully flouted international laws and norms with impunity. The result has been incalculable numbers of human deaths, suffering, and destruction to many tens of thousands of innocent Arab people who when they resist in self-defense are called "terrorists."

Arrests, Torture and Other Forms of Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

At year end 2008, from 9000 - 12,000 or more Palestinians were in Israeli detention facilities (mostly inside Israel), including at least 248 children and 69 women - in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention that obligates an occupier to intern arrested persons inside the territory in question and only for just cause.

Israel continues to arrest anyone thought to represent a threat, including political leaders and ordinary civilian men, women and children. At year end 2008, at least 40 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) were imprisoned, mostly from Hamas' Change and Reform parliamentary bloc. Included are Dr. 'Aziz al-Dweik, PLC Speaker, and Dr. Mahmoud al-Ramahi, PLC Secretary. Many were tried and unjustly sentenced to months or years in prison for belonging to the wrong political party.

Torture and Ill-Treatment

International laws leave no ambiguity on torture. It's prohibited at all times, under all circumstances, against anyone for any reason, with no allowed exceptions ever. Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention (on the Treatment of Prisoners of War) states:

Prisoners "must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited...."

Third Geneva's Article 17 states:

"No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war" for any reasons whatsoever.

Fourth Geneva's Article 27 states:

Protected persons under occupation "shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of (physical and mental) violence or threats thereof...."

Fourth Geneva's Articles 31 and 32 prohibit torture and other "measures of brutality...."

All four Geneva Conventions have a Common Article Three requiring all non-combatants to be treated humanely at all times.

Even Section 277 of Israel's 1977 Penal Law prohibits torture by providing criminal sanctions against its use. Its language is very similar to the UN Convention against Torture that bans force, violence, or threats against anyone for purposes of extracting a confession or to obtain information relating to an offense.

Nonetheless, torture and degrading treatment are official Israeli policy, freely practiced against most Palestinian detainees. PCHR cited numerous ways:

-- violent beatings and insults in detention and during interrogations;

-- blindfolding and hitting detainees, especially in the face and abdomen;

-- strangling to cause extreme breathing difficulties;

-- humiliations and insults;

-- forcibly removing hair and beards;

-- hanging detainees by their feet, then beating them on sensitive body parts such as the genital area;

-- bridging under which three interrogators carry a detainee using chains, with his or her face down;

-- sexually abusing detainees - in some cases raping them with iron bars;

-- Shabeh - the practice of tying prisoners so they can't sit, stand, or kneel, or tied to a chair with their arms pulled back for hours or days at a time; the pain and pressure on joints becomes excruciating;

-- handcuffing or other shackling tight enough to restrict circulation and inflict pain; also tying hands and legs with plastic chains to cause pain;

-- employing various stress positions, including:

(1) the forced "banana" one involving bending the back in a painful arch while the body is extended horizontally to the floor on a backless chair with arms and feet bound beneath it;

(2) forced "frog" crouching on tiptoes with cuffed hands behind the back accompanied by shoving or beating until detainees lose balance and fall forward or backward; and

(3) detainees made to stand on tiptoes for prolonged periods.

-- sleep deprivation for long hours; and

-- other abusive practices, clearly prohibited under international law and that no civilized society should practice, let alone routinely against most detainees - up to 80% or more by some estimates.

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel says that detainees are first examined by a doctor who certifies they're healthy enough to withstand harsh interrogation methods amounting to torture. The Israeli judiciary sanctions it, including the High Court and top government officials.

Abusive ill-treatment continues throughout detention during which necessary medical care is denied, access to legal counsel obstructed and limited, and family visitations severely restricted or not allowed.

Administrative Detention

Hundreds of innocent Palestinians are arrested and held without charge or trial in administrative detention - for up to 36 months, then indefinitely renewed. At year end 2008, it affected at least 900 Palestinians by IOF issued orders.

This practice violates Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that states:

"If the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security, to take safety measures concerning protected persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to internment (that) include(s) the right of appeal (to) be decided with the least possible delay."

Detention According to the "Illegitimate Combatants Law"

Following the IOF's summer 2005 Gaza redeployment, Israel enacted an "Illegitimate Combatant" law applying to protected Palestinian civilian prisoners to justify detaining them. It lets the IOF Chief of Staff issue an arrest warrant against anyone so designated.

It's the same idea as America's 2006 Military Commissions Act definition of an "unlawful enemy combatant," applied to anyone the president claims is "engaged in hostilities against the United States who is not a lawful enemy combatant." Neither the Israeli or US position has any legitimacy in international law.

Palestinian Detainee Deaths in Israeli Jails

In 2008, at least two occurred, likely from abuse and medical negligence. Detained Palestinians with chronic illnesses, like diabetes or heart conditions, deteriorate badly during prolonged incarcerations, especially when subjected to torture and other abusive treatment. The situation may be life threatening if proper medical care is denied or inadequate.

Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Expanding them compounds the problem. They continue nonetheless, and during 2008, the IOF and civil authorities, such as the Municipality of Jerusalem, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Interior, and Higher Council of Organization, took bids for constructing 2400 West Bank housing units. Approval was also given for 6570 units in East Jerusalem and suburbs. In all, 8970 new units were approved and/or started in 2008, mostly in East Jerusalem on seized Palestinian land.

Confiscation of Palestinian Civilian Property

This longstanding practice continued throughout 2008 - for settlement expansions in violation of international law. Israel's High Court supports the practice, and in "PCHR's view....has turned (it) into a tool to legalize illegal Israeli measures and settlement activities in the OPT."

Judiazation of East Jerusalem

The practice remains ongoing - to replace an Arab population with a Jewish one. The Israeli government cut off the city from its Palestinian extension in the West Bank, expanded settlements inside and around the city, and used the Separation Wall to seize more land.

Throughout 2008, the Municipality of Jerusalem continued to demolish Palestinian homes under false claims of unlicensed construction - by people on their own land to make way for Jewish expansion.

Judaizing Arab East Jerusalem began by annexing it to Israel, confiscating Palestinian property, establishing Jewish settlements, building the Separation Wall, preventing new Palestinian home construction, and demolishing existing ones. The idea is to transform all of Jerusalem into a Jewish city with at most a small, marginalized and segregated Arab population denied all rights afforded Jews in hopes they'll leave voluntarily and make Israel's job easier.

Attacks by Israel Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property

Israeli settlers do it with near-impunity, including by shootings, running down civilians with vehicles, and destroying or damaging Palestinian property. In 2008, settlers killed five Palestinian civilians. Since September 2000, the total was 45.

"Attacks by Israeli settlers often take place before the eyes of IOF, which even protect them." Palestinian complaints get short shrift enough to encourage settlers to keep doing it, knowing they can get away with murder. In 2008, PCHR documented 170 settler attacks in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jerusalem, Salfit, Bethlehem, and Jenin:

-- 48 harassments;

-- 36 against houses;

-- 34 against farmers and shepherds and their property;

-- 13 shootings;

-- seven against religious sites;

-- five involved vehicles running down Palestinians; and

-- 27 others involved road closings, stone-throwing, and other abuses.

Israeli settlers openly carry (and use) automatic weapons like people in the West use cell phones.

Destruction of Houses and Other Civilian Property

For decades and throughout 2008, the IOF continued destroying Palestinian houses and property, especially in East Jerusalem. This constitutes a grave breach of Fourth Geneva's Article 53 that states:

"Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."

In addition, Article 147 prohibits the "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."

Such attacks constitute illegal collective punishment as defined under Fourth Geneva's Article 33 that states: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed."

Nonetheless throughout 2008 and earlier, Israel wantonly and maliciously attacked civilian property, including homes, schools, industrial and commercial facilities, public buildings, and farmland using illegal pretexts as justification.

Last year, PCHR documented 216 houses destroyed prior to Operation Cast Lead - 107 in the West Bank and 109 in Gaza. Also, 680 houses were badly damaged and 3424 donums of agricultural land razed. Numerous other structures were also destroyed to make way for Jewish ones or in retaliation for claimed provocative Palestinian acts, either exaggerated or false.

The West Bank's Separation Wall

In June 2002, the Sharon government began constructing it as another form of land theft, harassment, and policy of containing Palestinians in isolated cantons under the false claim of security.

In the past seven years, construction proceeded inside the West Bank, rather than along the Green Line separating the Territory from Israel. On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled the construction violated international law. It ordered it halted, existing sections demolished, and for Palestinians to be compensated for harm done them. Israel ignored the ruling and continues new construction on annexed Palestinian land.

The Wall around Jerusalem

Construction in 2008 focused mainly around Jerusalem, according to Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem plans - building it along the city's municipal border. Work in the south, north, and east is part of a settlement project called the "Jerusalem envelope," running about 50 kilometers. In late December, prime minister Olmert ordered this portion completed by 2009 because it's "necessary for Israel's security." When finished, it will be 164.5 kilometers long, two-thirds of which was completed by year end. When completed, the entire Wall will exceed 700 kilometers.

Free Movement Restrictions Imposed on Palestinian Farmers

The IOF imposed severe restrictions on both sides of the Separation Wall, including limited gate opening hours that restrict farmers from free access to their land. They must also obtain permits to reach it on the other side of the barrier, and to get them, must be a registered owner - nearly impossible for many as most farmland is registered to deceased people, and their heirs don't all live in the West Bank or near the land in question.

As a result, thousands of Palestinians can't easily work their fields or market their crops when harvested. Farming is a major source of income in Palestinian communities along the Wall's route. Harming it has had an enormous detrimental affect to already beleaguered Palestinians, driving many more of them into poverty.

The Absence of Justice in Israeli Courts and Efforts to Prosecute Israeli War Criminals in International Ones

Justice for Palestinians in Israeli courts, especially military ones, is nearly impossible because of laws protecting Jews alone. "Through its long experience, PCHR has concluded that the Israeli judiciary is used to provide legal cover for the IOF to commit war crimes against Palestinian civilians, and that it is a means used to avoid resorting to the international justice directly under the pretext of the existence of a just Israeli national judiciary."

As a result, PCHR and other international legal and human rights organizations resort to "international legal means to prosecute Israeli war criminals." On June 24, 2008, PCHR filed a lawsuit at the National Court of Spain, the country's highest judicial council, against seven former senior Israeli military officials, all accused of committing war crimes in Gaza in July 2002. The Spanish Court accepted the case as a first step toward launching a formal prosecution.

In May 2008, PCHR worked with Dutch law firm Bohler Franken Koppe Wijngaarden (BFKW) to submit a complaint to the prosecutor's office asking that Ami Ayalon (currently Minister without Portfolio in Israel) be arrested and prosecuted in the Netherlands regarding the torture of Khaled al-Sharmi in 1999 - 2000 when he was Shin Bet Director, the Israeli General Security Service.

In October, PCHR petitioned the Court of Appeal in the Hague for an Order requiring the Prosecutor to start a criminal investigation and issue an extradition order or international arrest warrant. Getting any nation to challenge Israel is daunting at best. In all previous cases when arrest warrants were issued, executive bodies were so hesitant that no follow-through occurred in time, allowing suspects to flee to safe havens. PCHR and other committed groups continue pursuing justice anyway. It's just a matter of time before they and others succeed.

On June 30, 2009, a PCHR press release explained that the "the Spanish Appeals Court voted 14 - 4 in favor of closing the (National Court's) investigation into the" July 2002 attack. The resolution was voted on but not issued. It marks a "major setback in the pursuit of international justice and victims' rights....To date, neither the State of Israel nor individuals accused of committing war crimes have been brought" to justice. PCHR will appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court.

PCHR's Commitment to Human Rights and Social Justice

Throughout 2008 and currently, PCHR focused on the following issues:

-- stepped-up efforts to bring Israeli war criminals to justice before an international tribunal; as explained above, on June 24, 2008, PCHR filed a lawsuit at the National Court of Spain against seven senior Israeli military officials; also, an arrest application was submitted to Dutch authorities for Israel's former Shin Bet director;

-- cooperative efforts with civil society organizations over the deteriorating human rights situation in Occupied Palestine; in November, PCHR and other organizations co-hosted a human rights conference in Cairo - focused on extra-judicial assassinations and prosecuting Israeli war criminals; other efforts aim to restore Palestinian unity against a common adversary, getting political prisoners released, lifting Gaza's siege, ending the death penalty, and working for peace and Palestinian self-determination;

-- overall coordination and cooperation with other human rights organizations to make their combined efforts more effective;

-- overall cooperation with international civil society organizations; and

-- promoting activities related to gender issues that often get far too little attention.

PCHR also provides legal aid for Palestinian prisoners in spite of the enormous obstacles in doing it effectively given that Israel affords Palestinians no chance for justice. Still, PCHR represents them in court, visits them as able, submits complaints and appeals, and tries to stop torture and ensure medical aid and better detention conditions are provided. PCHR also seeks compensation for victims of injustice and represents them on numerous other issues such as denying them free movement, including for vital medical care.

Overall, PCHR and similar human rights organizations address the "essential (unresolved) elements of the Palestinian issue - the right to self-determination, the right to an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the right to remove illegal Israeli settlements from the Occupied Territories."

International laws affirm these rights, but for Palestinians they're unfulfilled. Peace, justice, and democratic freedom as well. As a result, PCHR and others keep working "to protect (and restore) Palestinian human rights from ongoing violations by the Israeli government and courts," and to demand that an uncaring world community address these issues.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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Old 31-07-2009, 11:31 AM   #48
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Israeli Massacres:

Details and Numbers

Although the Image that Israel distributes about herself is that of an oppressed nation, it is with heavy hearts that we present these crimes that stand for themselves for the brutality of the Israeli Army and the heartlessness of its soldiers who seem to have a thirst for blood. It is for the hope that the world may see a clearer picture that we present these painful facts. It is interesting to notice that today's media does not dwell on these crimes as they do on the Holocaust. They are reported in the news for a week or two and then swept into the sea of oblivion. Those who attempt to revive the true history of Israel are charged of being anti-Semitic. So with the hope to keep those memories in mind we present this shameful history of Israel that seems to have found that the role of Goliath is more interesting than that of David.


The following list of massacres is by no means exclusive, but they reflect the nature of the Zionist occupation of Palestine and Lebanon and show that massacres and expulsions were not aberrations that happen in any war, but organized atrocities with only one aim, that is to have a Zionist state which is 'goyim rein'.
The King David Massacre
The Massacre at Baldat al-Shaikh
The Semiramis Hotel Massacre
The Massacre at Dair Yasin
Salha Massacre
The Massacre at Qibya
Khan Yunis Massacre
The Massacre in Gaza City
Aitharoun Massacre
Kawnin Massacre
Hanin Massacre
Bint Jbeil Massacre
Abbasieh Massacre
Adloun Massacre
Saida Massacre
Fakhani Massacre
Beirut Massacre Sabra And Shatila Massacre
Jibsheet Massacre
Sohmor Massacre
Seer Al Garbiah
Maaraka Massacres
Zrariah Massacre
Homeen Al-Tahta Massacre
Jibaa Massacre
Yohmor Massacre
Tiri massacre
Al-Naher Al-Bared Massacre
Ain Al-Hillwee Massacre
Siddiqine Massacre
Aramta Massacre
Deir Al-Zahrani Massacre
Nabatiyeh (school bus) Massacre
Mnsuriah Massacre
The Sohmor Second Massacre
Nabatyaih Massacre
Qana Massacre
Trqumia Massacr
Janta Massacre
24 Of June 1999 Massacres
Western Bekaa villages Massacre:

The King David Massacre:

The King David Hotel explosion of July 22, 1946 (Palestine), which resulted in the deaths of 92 Britons, Arabs and Jews, and in the wounding of 58, was not just an act of “Jewish extremists,” but a premeditated massacre conducted by the Irgun in agreement with the highest Jewish political authorities in Palestine-- the Jewish Agency and its head David-Ben-Gurion.
According to Yitshaq Ben-Ami, a Palestinian Jew who spent 30 years in exile after the establishment of Israel investigating the crimes of the “ruthless clique heading the internal Zionist movement,”
The Irgun had conceived a plan for the King David attack early in 1946, but the green light was given only on July first. According to Dr. Sneh, the operation was personally approved by Ben-Gurion, from his self-exile in Europe. Sadeh, the operations officer of the Haganah, and Giddy Paglin, the head of the Irgun operation under Menachem Begin agreed that thirty-five minutes advance notice would give the British time enough to evacuate the wing, without enabling them to disarm the explosion.
The Jewish Agency’s motive was to destroy all evidence the British had gathered proving that the terrorist crime waves in Palestine were not merely the actions of “fringe” groups such as the Irgun and Stern Gang, but were committed in collusion with the Haganah and Palmach groups and under the direction of the highest political body of the Zionist establishment itself, namely the Jewish Agency.
That so many innocent civilian lives were lost in the King David massacre is a normal part of the pattern of the history of Zionist outrages: A criminal act is committed, allegedly by an isolated group, but actually under the direct authorization of the highest Zionist authorities, whether of the Jewish Agency
during the Palestine Mandate or of the Government of Israel thereafter.

The following is a statement made in the House of Commons by then British Prime Minister Clement Attlee:
On July 22, 1946, one of the most dastardly and cowardly crimes in recorded history took place. We refer to the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
Ninety-two persons lost their lives in that stealthy attack, 45 were injured, among whom there were many high officials, junior officers and office personnel, both men and women. The King David Hotel was used as an office housing the Secretariat of the Palestine Government and British Army Headquarters. The attack was made on 22 July at about 12 o’clock noon when offices are usually in full swing. The attackers, disguised as milkmen, carried the explosives in milk containers, placed them in the basement of the Hotel and ran away.

The Chief Secretary for the Government of Palestine, Sir John Shaw, declared in a broadcast: “As head of the Secretariat, the majority of the dead and wounded were my own staff, many of whom I have known personally for eleven years. They are more than official colleagues. British, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Armenians; senior officers, police, my orderly, my chauffeur, messengers, guards, men and
women-- young and old-- they were my friends.

“No man could wish to be served by a more industrious, loyal and honest group of ordinary decent people. Their only crime was their devoted, unselfish and impartial service to Palestine and its people. For this they have been rewarded by cold-blooded mass murder.”

Although members of the Irgun Z’vai Leumi took responsibility for this crime, yet they also made it public later that they obtained the consent and approval of the Haganah Command, and it follows, that of the Jewish Agency.

The King David Hotel massacre shocked the conscience of the civilizedworld. On July 23, Anthony Eden, leader of the British opposition Conservative
Party, posed a question in the House of Commons to Prime Minister Atlee of the Labor Party, asking “the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the bomb outrage at the British Headquarters in Jerusalem.” The Prime Minister responded:
“…It appears that, after exploding a small bomb in the street, presumably as a diversionary measure-- this did virtually no damage-- a lorry drove up to the tradesmen’s entrance of the King David Hotel and the occupants, after holding up the staff at pistol point, entered the kitchen premises carrying a number of milk cans. At some stage of the proceedings, they shot and seriously wounded a British soldier who attempted to interfere with them. All available information so far is to the effect that they were Jews. Somewhere in the basement of the hotel they planted bombs which went off shortly afterwards. They appear to have made good their escape.
“Every effort is being made to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this outrage. The work of rescue in the debris, which was immediately organized, still continues. The next-of-kin of casualties are being notified by telegram as soon as accurate information is available. The House will wish to express their
profound sympathy with the relatives of the killed and with those injured in this dastardly outrage.”
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Old 31-07-2009, 11:35 AM   #49
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Israeli troops open fire on Palestinian homes in Khan Younes

GAZA, July 30 (KUNA) -- Israeli forces opened fire on Thursday at Palestinian homes in the eastern district of Khan Younes, southern Gaza Strip.
Sources told KUNA that Israeli armory vehicles, stationed at the borders between Gaza Strip and Israel, opened fire randomly at Palestinian farmers and their houses in the district of Farheen.
None of the farmers were wounded, but several houses sustained material damage, the sources added.
Earlier today, Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for attacking Israeli troops in the northeastern Khan Younes district of Qarara. It said the Israeli troops were infiltrating Palestinian property. (pickup previous) mzt.ema KUNA 301039 Jul 09NNNN
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Old 31-07-2009, 11:41 AM   #50
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Netanyahu says Gaza crossings to be shut

Published: July 30, 2009 at 7:46 AM

JERUSALEM, July 30 (UPI) -- Gaza border crossings will remain closed until kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit returns home, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu made the statement at a meeting with visiting U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones in Jerusalem Wednesday night, Israeli media reports said.

Netanyahu stressed humanitarian assistance will continue to be transferred to the Gaza Strip daily, Israeli media reports said.

Israel Wednesday permitted the transfer of cement and construction material into Gaza for the first time since Operation Cast Lead, the army said.

A decision by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Netanyahu to allow the building products through does not signify a change in government policy, Maariv quoted a government official as saying.

The cement is designated for three projects in Gaza -- a sewage plant, a flour mill and renovation of a British cemetery, Ynentews.com said.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 31-07-2009, 11:49 AM   #51
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30th July Video Free Gaza news Is Israel guilty of piracy

and the US did absolutely nothing about it.
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Old 31-07-2009, 11:57 AM   #52
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You dare to call me a terrorist,while you look down your guns?


“A state which forcibly subjugates a people to colonial or alien domination is committing an unlawful act as defined by international law, and the subject people, in the exercise of its inherent right of self-defense, may fight to defend and attain its right to self-determination.“
[UN Charter art. 51]

Self Defense,scorned and unsavory,has been left helpless against international charges of terrorism,hate and insurrection.
Yet we see that resistance,in the history of many nations, against a foreign force which violates a country’s sovereignty has always been a moral obligation and right inextricably related to the human right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Resistance against tyranny and all forms of injustice is at the heart of the duties of any nation or people, and a nation’s defense of its people and territory is the most important demonstration of its sovereignty -thus should precede any other consideration.

Speaking in terms of the revolutionary resistance of the United States of America the Sons of Liberty are the first to proudly come to mind.
The Sons of Liberty contributed on many levels,with their passionate fervor and their men, to the Revolutionary army. They continued their watchfulness of the Colonies for supporters of the Crown throughout their entire history and their deep contribution to the cause of American Independence cannot be underestimated.

The Sons did not sit idle whilst their people were being persecuted,instead they used every conceivable method available to them to achieve their ultimate goal of independence. These methods included enthusing the masses into action. They organized demonstrations, forced officials of the Crown to resign, circulated petitions, published newspaper articles and distributed handbills and of course – they did not once hesitate to employ force when necessary.

It is now 2009 and any such idea of having a revolt or revolution is shunned or rejected as a temporary need or a means to fulfill a unwarranted desire.
But to those who question a human beings natural right to resist and defend his or herself let me ask you this -
Where would the Irish be if they had sat idle during the invasion of Ireland by the Norman king of England Henry II?
Where would the United States be if it were not for the revolutionary might of the Sons of Liberty in 1773?
Where would South Africa be,were it not for those who resisted colonialism and occupation?

Revolutions are not 1970’s hippie movements that involve flowers,tie-dye shirts and chanting – revolutions can be aggressive and violent.
But this is where many of you draw the line,backing away from admitting that yes it is often times necessary for a human being to defend his or herself through means of violence and physical defense.

I myself do not abide by the ‘turn the other cheek‘ method of diplomacy – nor does Israel or the United States of America.
When you sting my cheek with the iron fist of colonialism and occupation I shall sting both of your cheeks with the burning flame of revolt and revolution.

If someone,anyone,dares to strike at my mother would I tell her to just ‘turn the other cheek’ – not on my life – no sane individual can tell me that they would not choose to fight aggressively against the perpetrator of such an action.

So,why are the Palestinians any different?

In Palestine when a little girl is buried beneath the rubble of her house,her sister killed by flying Israeli shrapnel and her mother paralyzed under piles of concrete what do you think the father will do?
Does he not have the right to defend himself and his family against Israeli aggression?

How can we claim to be a civil society yet reject the right to defend ourselves through any means necessary?

The hypocrisy in the West in terms of this subject is flabbergasting and sickening to say the least.
In the state of Texas if an individual trespasses on my front lawn I am able to fire at them,wherein I may even kill them – but the same Texans who hold tightly onto their guns will just as soon turn around and call a Palestinian a “terrorist” for using homemade rockets while under siege.

In Israel if I am a member of the IDF or the general Israeli population I am given the right to bear arms,American weaponry,and the right to use illegal chemical warfare against a weak occupied people.
I am allowed to keep children imprisoned with no bail,only enough food to survive and if I am part of the government I see it permissible to bar any humanitarian aid from entering the occupied territories.

Yet – through all of this,we still have people so mentally stubborn that they dare reject the idea of resisting against such people.
While the whole word is burning around you,don’t you dare question it?
Do you not,for an instant,ask yourself what you can do to aid those dying around you?

Are we so pathetic that the very idea of defending yourself is swiftly considered an act of terrorism?

If we are to apply the Western definition of terrorism as it is given to us in the media then the following people should have been considered terrorists of the highest order:

1.Samuel Adams
2.Paul Revere
3.John Adams
4.John Hancock
5.Patrick Henry
6.John Adams
7.George Washington
8.John Adams
9.Thomas Jefferson
10.John Jay
11.James Madison
12.Alexander Hamilton. etc

Lyrics to the song Joe McDonnell [an Irishman who died while on hunger strike in 1981]:

“And you dare to call me a terrorist, while you look down your guns,
When I think of all the deeds that you have done.
You have plundered many nations, divided many lands,
You have terrorised our people, you ruled with your iron hand,
And you brought this reign of terror to my land. “

While Israel occupies a land and massacres a whole people and while the United States occupies two lands of two people – you dare call us terrorists?
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Old 31-07-2009, 12:03 PM   #53
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As soon as I arrived home I felt a great relief, if that is the right word. I have been unable to return to Gaza before because of Israel’s winter invasion and the ongoing siege. I am not sure that the word relief summarizes my intense and conflicting emotions. Mixed feelings of relief, happiness, but also disorientation continued to overwhelm me. Gaza my beautiful home, yes my beautiful home, my beautiful people, who are trying so hard to live. To continue from one day to another. Despite the odds, the hardships, the deaf ears of the world.

The same day I arrived home, 9 July, I could see from my balcony the rubble of what at one time was Yasser Arafat’s headquarters. The whole building was completely demolished, leveled to the ground, blowing out the windows on one side of my apartment building. It is the same place where one of my cousins was killed the first day of Israel’s assault in December.

I now see a different Gaza, and it is not the Gaza I have known, it is like a city after an earthquake.

Many of the historically important buildings were leveled to the ground. I decided to postpone my field visits to the different areas where the assaults were the most savage and brutal. I thought it might be a good idea to wait for the arrival of the delegation of US citizens who were due to cross the border.

In the meantime, I met some dear friends and coworkers who came to say hello. All of them were loaded with war stories and the panic they faced during the attacks against Gaza. One friend who was a political prisoner, who spent 15 years in the Israeli jails said to me, “I never felt afraid of anything there like the fear I felt this time.” I find it strange to even write this sentence, but while we Palestinians are determined to continue our struggle, the reality is that this assault against Gaza was severe and fierce, and cannot be forgotten — we will feel its effects as a people for a long time.

Our friends from the US were only granted visas from Egypt to visit Gaza for 24 hours. As I waited I pondered, “How can we condense or begin to understand what children, women and men went through during 23 days of the assault in a 24 hours visit?”

Upon the arrival of the Viva Palestina US delegation, I sat at the borders to receive the delegation with some colleagues from PNGO (Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network). It was a touching and affectionate moment for me, to see American, British, and French activists of different ages and ethnicities united under one goal and voicing to the world: “Gaza you are not alone, you are not forgotten, despite the shameful stand of the governments of the world, we stand with you, the people of Gaza!”

We had to get to work immediately, and were fortunate to have a solid team of colleagues. I was accompanied by Barbara Lubin, Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Reem Salhi, an activist lawyer and human rights advocate, Danny Muller, a MECA colleague, Travis Wilkerson, a filmmaker and professor, Jaiel Kayed, a Palestinian-American computer expert, Talal Abu Shaweesh, Director of New Horizons, and Mohammed Magdalawi, a student from Gaza and MECA volunteer.

In the Nuseirat refugee camp, we were invited by New Horizons to see the activities of their project loosely translated as “Let them Play and Heal,” a program treating childhood trauma sponsored by MECA. The project involves activities for mothers and their children to help the children recover after the war trauma. There were around 500 kids, 6-12 years old boys and girls with their mothers attending. We had the chance to see the little faces of hundreds of happy children, singing along with a traditional debka dance performance.

We then visited the al-Bureeg School, where MECA has implemented water purification and desalinization systems to provide clean drinking water for schoolchildren. This is one of three water treatment projects MECA has recently implemented in the refugee camps, and we aim to build many more with the help of our friends and allies. We then moved to the north and while the van was going on, we could clearly see many demolished homes everywhere, and tent cities around the homes where families now lived.

We could not miss the Zaytoun area, where one of the many tragic events of the war occurred at the home of the Samouni family. The van went through neighborhood after neighborhood, through areas of vast destruction. How can I convey to you what I have seen in the little faces, eyes of sadness mixed with hope and excitement? On top of that some of the kids who had broken or missing arms and legs, post-operative scars, who are living in the rubble of their former homes, and with their little voices they tried to tell us their stories.

I listened to their stories. I stopped writing about the rest of our activities, the rest of our day, the rest of my return home. At that moment I felt, and still feel, “I don’t want to hear or listen, I just want to cuddle these children and help them to forget.” But I want the world to remember what was done here in Gaza, and that those of who are picking up the pieces, as hard as we try, we cannot forget.

Mona El-Farra is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist in practice in the occupied Gaza Strip. Her blog is From Gaza, with Love.

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Old 31-07-2009, 12:08 PM   #54
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Settlers undermining legitimacy of Israel's existence

Fri., July 31, 2009

The representatives of the settler organizations have recently declared their intention to establish 11 new settlements in the territories, including some, according to media reports, on privately-owned Palestinian land. The operation is being depicted as having been inspired by the 11 tower and stockade communities in the northern Negev that were established just before Yom Kippur in 1946. This is not the first time the settlers have compared their efforts to the settlement activities that provided the foundation for the establishment of the state. There is no basis for such a comparison, which is nothing more than an act of forgery and fraud.

The basic difference between the two undertakings is that the settlement project that preceded Israel's establishment was intended to create the territorial basis for the future Jewish state. It wasn't intended to deprive the Arabs of everything that was left or, for that matter, their right to a state of their own alongside the Jewish state.

The 11 settlements in the northern Negev, meanwhile, were meant to ensure the inclusion of the Negev in the Jewish state upon the expected partition of the Land of Israel into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:40 AM   #55
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July 31, 2009 at 7:06 am (Associate Post, Corrupt Politics, Fatah, Israel, Palestine, Palestinian Authority)

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

I think it would be safe to say that virtually all Palestinians, including Hamas, would like to see Fatah’s upcoming Congress succeed in rehabilitating the movement, mainly by extricating it from the quagmire of corruption, treachery and “security coordination” with Israel, the Nazi-like occupier of our homeland and tormentor of our people.

Fatah is a large movement and its role in leading Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonialism can’t be denied. But it is also true that for many years Fatah has been metamorphosed into a “contra force” working, knowingly or unknowingly, against the national interests of the Palestinian people.

Fatah officials and spokesmen would vociferously deny such descriptions. However, the facts speak for themselves. The ongoing inquisition against Hamas in the West Bank , which is fully coordinated with the Israeli occupation army, serves as a clarion proof underscoring to the extent to which Fatah has deviated from its original goals.

This disgraceful de facto alliance between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) against the forces of resistance effectively transforms the American-backed and American-funded security forces into a quisling entity, a Palestinian Judenrat.

I know the words might be harsh and painful, but truth must be told, even at the expense of upsetting and alienating many people. A painful treatment is often necessary to eradicate a malignant malady.

The original raison d’etre of Fatah had always been to liberate Palestine and enable Palestinian refugees, brutally uprooted from their ancestral homeland, to return home.

However, since the scandalous Oslo Agreement, Fatah’s main function has been redefined and re-oriented toward fighting “the enemies of peace” and “the extremists” in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the criminal Zionists and their western supporters and allies.

Many important but gullible Fatah leaders thought naively that Israel might award them a state in return for doing Israel ’s bidding.

However, instead of getting a Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital, as the Olso-era mantra was constantly invoked, Israel dotted the West Bank with hundreds of malignant colonies, stepped up ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and nearly succeeded in redefining the Palestinian cause from a struggle against foreign occupation and apartheid into a Palestinian-Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas.

This scandalous Kafkaesque distortion of the Palestinian struggle wouldn’t have occurred had the free-minded Fatah leadership prevented certain thugs within the movement, who acted on America’s and Israel’s beck and call, from igniting inter-Palestinian civil war which eventually forced Hamas to oust the criminal provocateurs from the Gaza Strip.

We do hope that it is not too late for the free-minded forces within Fatah to rectify the situation and fix the immense damage done by the saboteurs and apostates who disguise themselves as Palestinian patriots while having the heart and mind of a traitor.

Today, Fatah faces a host of complicated problems endangering the very survival of the movement as a liberation movement.

First, Fatah must deal with the aftereffects of the death of Yasser Arafat who, despite all his mistakes and shortcomings, managed to preserve the cohesion of the Palestinian national movement.

Now, a new power structure has been created, a power structure that views national resistance against the Israeli occupation as anachronistic and even repugnant.

More to the point, this power structure would be willing to go to any extent to safeguard its criminal interests. Needless to say, the current police-state apparatus in the West Bank shows that the Ramallah junta and its numerous cohorts and hangers-on can’t be entrusted to deal with the national burden. They are simply too subservient to Israel and too enslaved by their own parochial interests to honestly represent the true collective conscience of the Palestinian people and its enduring struggle for freedom and Justice.

Hence, it is amply wrong for the free-minded forces within Fatah to think that the sole goal behind “security coordination” with Israel is to fight or eradicate Hamas.

In truth, the real goal is to intimidate, suppress and if necessary eliminate any opposition to any attempted liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Therefore, the free men and women within Fatah who might be tempted to say “NO” to an imposed deal, which would perpetuate the Israeli domination over Palestinian land and life , would be crushed by the faithless soldiers of Dayton who have been brainwashed into believing that the enemy of the Palestinian people is “Hamas and the forces of resistance,” not Israel.

Second, the free-minded forces within Fatah must also recognize that during the past few years a huge bureaucracy of Fatah officials, clerks, operatives, security commanders and business people whose interests and financial and economic well-being depend largely on the preservation of the status quo, namely the persistence of the master-slave relationship between Israel and the PA.

These people would fight tooth and nail to prolong or even perpetuate the present situation, namely PA subservience to and subjugation by the Israeli occupation.

One more point, it is an open secret that Fatah’s financial survival depends to a large extent on the coffers of the American-backed government of Salam Fayyad. Hence, any genuine effort by Fatah to deliver itself from the American-Israel stranglehold would be strongly resisted by the Fayyad government.

Indeed, there are those who believe that one of the main reasons for the creation of the Fayyad government is to emasculate and “domesticate” Fatah. Unfortunately, their view has been largely vindicated by events in the past few years.

This means that Fatah can’t exercise its free will, even if it wants to, as long as it remains financially dependent on the Fayyad’s government’s coffers. Which will eventually force Fatah to choose either of two choices, to coalesce into the PA government structure and kiss all pretensions about resistance good by, or be financially independent in order to be politically free and able to resist Israeli dictates.

In the final analysis, you can’t say “No” to the hands that feed you.

Fatah should devote itself to ending the rift with Hamas as soon as possible mainly by purging its ranks of Israel’s agents, and, sadly, they are many.

Fatah should realize that it alone can’t attain the goals of liberation and independence. This is why one of the central goals of the Fatah convention should be to mend relations with Hamas and restore Palestinian national unity

It is simply unacceptable and scandalous for a liberation movement to have some of its leaders telling Israeli occupation army commanders that “We are allies, and our goals are the same, and our common enemy is Hamas.” Some years ago, those uttering such words would have met a harsh fate.

This is why such people shouldn’t stay in their jobs, let alone in Fatah, for one minute.

In the final analysis, the real contradiction is between us, the Palestinian people, and Israel , the Nazi-like occupier of our country, not among ourselves. This is what every Palestinian, including every member of Fatah, ought to understand.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:50 AM   #56
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Default Israel admits white phosphorus use

Friday, July 31, 2009

Israel had initially denied using white phosphorus, a chemical agent that causes severe burns [AFP]

Israel has admitted to using white phosphorus during its war on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, but says it did so in accordance with international law.

The admission came in a 163-page document published by the Israeli foreign ministry on Thursday ahead of a UN report next week.

The Israeli army "used munitions containing white phosphorus" in Gaza, the document said, but it denied violating international law, saying it had not fired such weapons inside populated areas.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli army had initially denied using white phosphorus, a chemical agent that causes severe burns.

"During the war, when we first started seeing the white phosphorous, the Israeli army said that everything it was using was in compliance with international law; it would not tell us whether or not it was using it," she said.

Legitimate use

"As the campaign went on, it became very obvious [on television] that it was being used and the Israeli army, as well as government spokesmen, told us that it was being used," our correspondent said.

"The caveat that the Israeli army pressed on was that it was being used within the rules of war; that meant it was not being used amid a civilian population and that it was being used to provide a smokescreen legitimately, as opposed to illegitimately."

International law permits the use of white phosphorus as an "obscurant" to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons.

The Israeli government report follows charges from the UN and human rights groups that Israeli forces committed war crimes and violated international law during the operation.

UN officials have also said that they have evidence that white phosphorus was used in an attack on the UN relief agency's main building in Gaza that left three people injured.

But the government defended its military campaign as a "necessary and proportionate" response to Hamas rocket fire at Israel.

"Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas' almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks," it said.

Misconduct investigation

The Israeli government also said it is investigating 100 complaints of misconduct by its forces during the three week war that began on December 27.

Our correspondent said the report follows several testimonies from witnesses and human rights organisations about the Israeli military's conduct.

"What we've seen in the past few months since the end of the war are various human rights reports from Amnesty International, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, as well as testimonies coming out from army soldiers themselves," she said.

"What really ties all of these reports together is the idea that there was no proportionality and a deliberate use of force against the civilian population in Gaza."

Israeli 'acknowledgment'

John Ging, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, welcomed the report as an "acknowledgment that an investigation has to be done into what happened" during the conflict.

But he told Al Jazeera that the process has taken "far too long".

"What we actually need is an independent investigation that is credible for both sides," he said.

"The litmus test is that [any investigation] has to be credible to both sides. As is well documented, both sides have certain concerns and they have to be addressed.

"We have to see the rule of international law applied and upheld, even-handedly, with the confidence of both populations."

Israel has consistently said its troops respected international law during the war which ended in January.

Palestinian officials say 1,417 Palestinians were killed, including 926 civilians.

But Israel says that the number killed is considerably lower, and that only 295 of the dead were civilians.

Human rights groups have charged the Israeli army with violating international law during the war [AFP

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Old 01-08-2009, 11:56 AM   #57
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Default Israel says Gaza war 'necessary'

An Israeli government report has said that the Israeli military campaign in Gaza earlier this year was "necessary and proportionate".

The war and its conduct have been widely criticised, with Israel and Hamas accused of war crimes.

Palestinian sources say about 1,400 Gazans died in the conflict. Thirteen Israeli died.

The report said 100 inquiries had been launched into the conduct of soldiers and 14 criminal investigations opened.

According to the United Nations, the Israeli military campaign left more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties and 200 schools damaged or destroyed, as well as 39 mosques and two churches.

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed former South African judge Richard Goldstone to investigate whether war crimes were committed during the conflict.

Israel has declined to co-operate, accusing the UN Human Rights Council of bias against it.

Palestinians killed during Israeli military offensive in Gaza, 27 Dec to 18 Jan - Palestinian claims followed by Israelis claims:
Total dead: 1,434 / 1,166

Fighters: 235 / 710-870

Non-combatants: 906 / 295-460

Women: 121 / 49

Children under 16: 288 / 89
Sources: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Israeli Defence Intelligence Research Dept

Israel soldiers speak out on Gaza
Amnesty details Gaza 'war crimes'
Israelis 'followed law in Gaza'

Allegations persist against the Israeli military about killings of unarmed civilians, the use of civilians as human shields and indiscriminate destruction of property.

Israeli officials insist troops went to great lengths to protect civilians, that Hamas endangered non-combatants by firing from civilian areas and that homes and buildings were destroyed only when there was a specific military need to do so.

The conflict lasted for 22 days, ending on 18 January.

'Incessant' rockets

"Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas' almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks," the report, issued on Thursday, said.

It says 12,000 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel between 2000 and 2008 - nearly 3,000 in 2008 alone.

The report explains that damage caused to UN facilities by Israeli strikes should be blamed on Hamas, which Israel says set up rocket launchers nearby.

Allegations that dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded by white phosphorus shells are dismissed.

The report detailed steps aimed at limiting civilian casualties. It says 2.5 million leaflets were dropped and 165,000 phone calls made warning civilians to leave areas that would be targeted.

It also says that humanitarian aid was allowed into Gaza throughout the conflict.

Palestinians have said it was not safe to leave their homes to try to escape fighting and shelling, that they were unable to access the humanitarian aid.

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Old 09-08-2009, 08:13 AM   #58
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A poster for a campaign launched by the Binyamin Citizen’s Committee protests American pressure to freeze settlements.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:22 AM   #59
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August 8, 2009

Reporters attempting to cover the plight of the East Jerusalem evicted families are meeting with stiff opposition from the local police…..
“These streets are closed to the public”!
“This is a special area”!

Just what is Israel trying to hide from you? The ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ where the press is censored….. makes one wonder what else the Israelis are hiding from us. It seems so ironic that the police are doing everything in their power to protect the ‘rights’ of the criminals rather than the innocent victims.

The following short report and short video is AlJazeera’s attempt to present the situation as it is…..

Evicted Palestinians
sleep rough in protest

The Hanouns, a Palestinian family evicted by Israeli authorities from their home in East Jerusalem, are protesting their eviction by sleeping on the street outside the house that was for decades their home.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reports from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem where the Hanouns are sleeping rough in protest.

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Old 11-08-2009, 10:52 AM   #60
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