Human Rights Groups Say Israel and Hamas Fail in Investigations

Israel/Palestine
on 69 Comments

A chorus of statements from human rights organizations has determined that both Israel and Palestinian authorities have failed to conduct independent, impartial investigations into alleged war crimes committed during last year’s Israeli assault on Gaza.

The United Nations’ Goldstone report called on both sides to conduct independent investigations in accordance with international standards over the war crimes allegations. A U.N. resolution that was adopted in November implored Israel and Hamas to undertake these investigations within three months—and that time frame is up now.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian reports were given to the United Nations in late January, and they both denied wrongdoing. Much of the Israeli report focuses on the capacity of the military to investigate itself.

Below are excerpts from some of the human rights organizations’ statements concerning Israel’s and the Palestinians’ investigations.

From Human Rights Watch:

Israel has failed to demonstrate that it will conduct thorough and impartial investigations into alleged laws-of-war violations by its forces during last year’s Gaza conflict. An independent investigation is needed if perpetrators of abuse, including senior military and political officials who set policies that violated the laws of war, are to be held accountable.

From B’Tselem:

No system can investigate itself. The [Israeli] report emphasizes the independence of the military justice system in interpreting the law. However in all other matters, it is an integral part of the military… B’Tselem again urges Israel to immediately establish an independent investigative apparatus composed of persons from outside the military. The investigation must examine not only the conduct of the soldiers in the field but also the orders given them and the policy that was set by the senior military echelon and the political echelon.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, in addition to criticizing the Israeli undertakings, has said that the investigations carried out by Hamas and by officials in Ramallah are not credible, as has Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch called the Hamas claim that their rocket attacks into Israel are not war crimes “factually and legally wrong.”

In addition, a coalition of Israeli human rights groups sent an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 4 days before the Israeli response was released to the U.N., calling on Israel to "establish, without delay, an independent and impartial investigation mechanism to thoroughly examine the allegations raised regarding violations of international law during Operation Cast Lead."

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon’s only statement on the responses has been to say that, “no determination can be made on the implementation of the (UN) resolution by the parties concerned.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said they were “shocked and appalled by this lack of responsibility,” by Ban, saying that Israel has not conducted credible investigations and that the United Nations has a responsibility to ensure accountability for war crimes.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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69 Responses

  1. dalybean
    February 8, 2010, 2:55 pm

    Ban’s actions leave the Goldstone report hanging out there, unrefuted, for now. It is up to the alternative media to make the findings of the Goldstone report available to the American public and soon, please.

    • Sin Nombre
      February 8, 2010, 3:50 pm

      dalybean:

      Geez, once again I suspect that Ban’s statement (“no determination can be made”) is *still* being misconstrued by people here. (Including Phil.)

      That is, contrary to what you and the PCHR and Phil seem to believe I do not believe Ban is saying that now nobody can fault either Israel or the palestinian authorities because they have come forth with reports rebutting Goldstone, which they have.

      All that Ban is saying instead I believe is that “as of right now no-one can say that the investigations that *either* of the two have made live up to what the Goldstone-inspired U.N. Resolution called for.” (That is, no one can say that the *parties* in fact have in fact and in good faith really “implemented the Resolution.”)

      It’s my understanding that as per Goldstone’s suggestion the UN Reso called on both parties to conduct their own independent-as-possible and otherwise valid investigations into his allegations. It is my further understanding that the Resolution or some accompanying directions to the Secty’ Gen’l also told Ban that when the result of the parties’ investigations came in, he was to eventually make a report as to whether they were independent and valid and etc.

      Thus, my understanding is that Ban must yet prepare *his* report assessing the quality of the respective investigations that have been done by the I’s and the P’s.

      However, even if I am wrong on this (though I don’t believe I am), his statement does *not* mean or imply that one can’t gainsay the “results” of the Israeli and Pal’ “investigations.” Indeed, he’s saying quite the contrary—that no-one can say that they did indeed conduct them in an appropriate, valid manner as called for by the UN.

      Clear enough?

      • dalybean
        February 8, 2010, 6:20 pm

        I sort of see it as an extension of time. I don’t know what kind of referral he might eventually recommend, if any. I do believe that, during the lull, a great writer needs to drive home the findings of the report.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 4:47 pm

        What great writer? What on earth would a great writer do in the USA, the enabling nation? We can’t even get Solsinitzen published in English. But oh, check out the NO Saints.

    • Citizen
      February 8, 2010, 4:32 pm

      The American public has, generally, no clue as to the existence of a place called Gaza.
      Let alone, what happened in Gaza while they were Xmas shopping a year ago in their
      decrepit malls on their usurious mazed out credit cards.

  2. potsherd
    February 8, 2010, 3:28 pm

    It’s already evident to every observer that an Israeli “investigation” will be a whitewash.
    The Goldstone Report has already won because Israel can’t refute it without admitting its own guilt, which it refuses to do.

  3. Citizen
    February 8, 2010, 4:34 pm

    Well, at least the Goldstone Report was issued–that’s more than the USS Liberty survivors got.

  4. Citizen
    February 8, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Check out the comments at: link to blogs.abcnews.com

    In 50 years what’s going on will really seem quaint, like looking at an old US newspaper
    covering the Cold War as it pertains to Israel, or even to the USA.

    Truth is, nobody in power has learned anything from WW2. WW3 is coming at a a theater near you. WW1 still is the agent. Especially as to how the USA was drawn into WW1. Look to Iran.

  5. Brewer
    February 8, 2010, 5:00 pm

    This is just an observation but I find it difficult to see how the firing of rockets constitutes a War crime.
    1. Resistance to occupation is legal.
    2. Recreational fireworks in the U.S. kill ten times as many people.
    3. The rockets cannot target people and are aimed at land owned by Palestinians as a protest against the settlement of that land.

    Maybe I have crossed some sort of line but I have come to believe that the rockets represent an optimum level of protest.
    Hamas have realized that, in the post 911 World, suicide attacks and assassinations are counter-productive. On the other hand, peaceful protest sends the message that the problem is no greater than non-urgent tax or health care issues, allowing Israel more time to create “facts on the ground” by way of settlements.
    I suspect that Hamas would prefer that rockets discourage settlement by causing only property damage and and that human casualties are the regrettable consequences of a necessary tactic, not the result of a deliberately homicidal policy.

    Rockets cause one or two deaths per year. The road toll in Israel is around 400.

    • Cliff
      February 8, 2010, 5:18 pm

      I think you’d have to prove the rockets aren’t aimed at civilians.

      Do we have data on where they are going?

      I think it’s much better tactically to focus on the fact that Israel bombarded Gaza with 7700 shells in a shorter time frame – 8 months I think.

      Just comparing the damage done to Palestinians by Israelis, versus vice versa, is enough.

      And people need to read Sara Roy’s book on the history of the Gazan economy. And also check out the documents on Palestinian economy from this source:

      link to alternativenews.org

      I’m trying to read more, and as much as I can. Knowing all these details is important.

      Avoid talking about violent resistance, because there really isn’t a justification for targeting civilians BUT we can agree that the Palestinians have a right to use violence and fight the occupier. They are the ones being occupied and colonized and it’s their rights that are being denied.

      And putting things in historical context, and drawing parallels between this conflict and others is important.

      Also talking about Israel’s involvement in other human rights abusing regimes is important to put Israels ‘image’ in context.

    • yonira
      February 8, 2010, 5:45 pm

      Its arguments like this that sucks away any credibility your movement has. Its almost impossible for many of you to admit any fault on the side of Hamas. What was your argument during their foray into suicide bombing Brewer?

      Its a war crime to fire something w/ out guidance, plain and simple.

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 5:32 am

        “Its almost impossible for many of you to admit any fault on the side of Hamas. ”

        Not at all. Hamas commited war crimes. Israel’s war crimes were infinitely worse.

        Happy now Yonira.

        It’s a war crime to fire something w/ out guidance, unless likel Hamas, you can’t afford it or have access to it.

        Perhaps you would be happir with the return to suicide bombing. At least that comes with a guidance system.

    • David Samel
      February 8, 2010, 6:17 pm

      Brewer – I could not disagree more. Let’s look at your points defending the rockets.
      “1. Resistance to occupation is legal.” True, resistance is legal, but that does not mean that all forms of “resistance” are legal. If Hamas decided that American Jewish support enables Israel to continue the Occupation, could it target American Jews in an effort to stop that support? Of course not. Targeting Israeli civilians is not legal, whether or not classified as “resistance” to occupation. Your argument is the mirror image of the claim that Israelis have the right to self-defense. Of course they have that right – so does everybody – but was Gaza legitimate self-defense? There are limits to acceptable self-defense or legitimate resistance.

      “2. Recreational fireworks in the U.S. kill ten times as many people.” And car accidents kill tens of thousands each year. And malaria kills a million or more worldwide. So? Can a murderer stand before the court and say I killed only one person, and many more die of other causes?

      “3. The rockets cannot target people and are aimed at land owned by Palestinians as a protest against the settlement of that land.” If the rockets are aimed at empty land for some reason, and are meant as a display of something or other, then maybe they are not a war crime. But they clearly are aimed at residential areas in an effort to panic citizens. Simply because they are very imprecise does not mean they are not intended to cause damage and even death to people.

      Cliff is right when he says that a comparison of the damage done by each side shows that Israel’s violence is much, much worse. But that does not mean that Palestinian rockets are justified.

      The reason I get upset when I see arguments like yours – resistance is legal – is because of what yonira writes: “Its arguments like this that sucks away any credibility your movement has.” Needless to say, I disagree, but yonira’s mindset is the dominant one in US discourse. The rockets are so counterproductive, because they give Israel and its supporters something real to complain about. The hypocrisy is outrageous, because it is they who forgive and excuse Israel’s far more murderous behavior. But the rockets do exist, they are intended to cause panic and terror, they do occasionally kill, and they are an extremely valuable propaganda point for Israel. Morally, I find them repulsive.

      • slowereastside
        February 8, 2010, 7:37 pm

        Doesn’t Israel equate full citizenship with military service?

      • potsherd
        February 8, 2010, 7:57 pm

        It can’t, because this would disenfranchise all the draft-dodging haredim, all the girls who claim to be “religious,” and supermodels.

      • yonira
        February 8, 2010, 8:29 pm

        there should be an exception for super-models…..

      • slowereastside
        February 8, 2010, 8:51 pm

        Well, I think we can all agree on supermodels (see? it is possible).

        But from le Wiki:

        According to the 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied territories, “Israeli Arabs were not required to perform mandatory military service and, in practice, only a small percentage of Israeli Arabs served in the military. Those who did not serve in the army had less access than other citizens to social and economic benefits for which military service was a prerequisite or an advantage, such as housing, new-household subsidies, and employment, especially government or security-related industrial employment. Regarding the latter, for security reasons, Israeli Arabs generally were restricted from working in companies with defense contracts or in security-related fields.”

        That sounds like military service = full Israeli citizenship to me. And if that’s the case, then there are no civilian Israelis (except, unsurprisingly, Israeli Arabs who would fall into some other category). Guess that’s the price of living in Sparta, huh?

      • Brewer
        February 8, 2010, 8:47 pm

        Let me make it clear that I am not making an “argument” as such nor am I wedded to the thesis. I was not recommending it as a “tactic”.
        I wrestle with certain “knowns” and try to discover a narrative that fits those “knowns” in a coherent manner. I am very aware that what is a “known” to me could be disputed by others.
        In any examination of geopolitics it is axiomatic to assume that the actors are rational.
        One of my “knowns”, therefore, is that Hamas is a rational actor.
        This will be disputed by the Yoniras of this World but, if we assume the contrary, all debate is meaningless. Furthermore, since I took to reading the statements of Khalid Mishal, Haniyeh, Aziz Dwaik and others, I have found them to be rational. Some heavyweight opinion also supports this. I have linked to the statements of Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Henry Siegman, William Sieghart and Ephraim Halevy.

        The problem I have tried to grapple with is why a rational actor would risk the kind of retaliation inspired by rockets and what I posted above is an hypothesis only – a possible explanation or a view through the Hamas lens. That view raises the possibility that Hamas is in a cleft stick. To reduce resistance to a totally non-violent protest simply takes the matter off the agenda of World opinion and clears the way for the steady annexation of Palestinian land. Upping the ante brings recrimination and retaliation.

        It was something Khalid Mishal said that started me along this track:
        “No rockets have ever been fired from the West Bank. But 50 died and hundreds more were injured there last year at Israel’s hands, while its expansionism proceeded relentlessly. We are meant to be content with shrinking scraps of territory, a handful of cantons at Israel’s mercy, enclosed by it from all sides.The truth is Israel seeks a one-sided ceasefire, observed by my people alone, in return for siege, starvation, bombardment, assassinations, incursions and colonial settlement. What Israel wants is a gratuitous ceasefire.

        The logic of those who demand that we stop our resistance is absurd. They absolve the aggressor and occupier – armed with the deadliest weapons of death and destruction – of responsibility, while blaming the victim, prisoner and occupied. Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world. Israel and its American and European sponsors want us to be killed in silence. But die in silence we will not.”

      • David Samel
        February 8, 2010, 9:23 pm

        Brewer – I don’t dispute that Meshal & co. are rational, and I agree with a lot of his quote, but not all. Yes, a halt to the rockets will not bring an end to occupation or even murderous Israeli violence. Yes, those who demand that Palestinians halt violence while condoning or even supporting Israeli violence are “absurd”. But I cannot buy this “cry of protest” as a legitimate response. As a human instinct, I can understand it. After all, the 9/11 attack made our populace thirst for blood in revenge. The rocket business inspired 90% of Israel’s Jews to endorse the brutal attack on Gaza. People who feel threatened often justify the need to strike back, and it doesn’t matter much that the Palestinians’ misery is far greater than Israelis’. I don’t see how firing rockets at S’Derot, an act which doesn’t imperil the Israeli decision-makers the slightest bit, could have any positive effects. In fact, it hands them a public relations bonanza on a silver platter. A commitment to non-violence would be unlikely to reap immediate rewards, but over the long run, would be more likely to expose Israel’s behavior as barbarous and criminal. There are too many people who still see Israel’s violence as reactive.

      • yonira
        February 8, 2010, 10:55 pm

        David, Brewer’s response and your follow up were the two most well constructed and meaningful exchanges I have read on Mondoweiss, I am not being facetious at all.

        Comments like this, as opposed to those from Rehmat, are what is needed to help me understand both sides better.

      • Brewer
        February 9, 2010, 2:59 am

        Thank you for your gracious response Yonira. I have come to value Mondoweiss as a conversation as opposed to the battlefield that most blogs on this subject seem to become. Your response reinforces my belief that here, at least, one can float ideas that may possibly advance the debate, no matter how controversial, without getting shouted down.

        David:

        I appreciate your reply and I think we are on the same page more or less.
        A policy of non-violent protest would suit those of us who write in the cause of justice for the Palestinians but what would be the result?
        I suspect that Israel would cut back on the violence also and repair its tarnished image. The settlements and oppression would continue however.
        You say:
        “The rocket business inspired 90% of Israel’s Jews to endorse the brutal attack on Gaza.”

        This illustrates Hamas’ dilemma. They had observed (and been largely successful in enforcing other groups to observe) a truce for six months prior to “Cast Lead”. We also know that “Cast Lead” had been planned before the truce began. Both of these facts are attested to by Israel’s own Terrorism Information Center.

        I am therefore of the opinion that Hamas is caught like an animal in a trap, it can only free itself by shedding its own blood, i.e. gnawing off a limb.

        It may be that Hamas view the rockets as the minimum effective protest. I believe that is Mishal’s message in the quote above.

        I think that one has to “walk a mile” in their shoes. The truce did not bring an end to the siege or Israel’s attacks (apart from the West Bank attacks, six Pals were killed in Gaza during the truce).

        One of the things that has intrigued me is how difficult it is to find hard data on the number of rocket casualties. One can find heaps of references to “thousands of rockets” but nothing on the number of casualties. I have often challenged Israel supporters to tell me how many. So far none have been willing to and I don’t think they know. This is significant to me at least.

        I have to go out unfortunately. There is much more I’d like to write on this topic.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 4:05 am

        So, the solution is to just leave the Israeli Bull Conners rule the town? No sit-ins at the Israeli Woolworth’s? No press coverage?

      • Brewer
        February 9, 2010, 6:29 am

        Good comment.

        I had to search for “Bull Connor” (I’m a Kiwi fchrissakes).

        Yes, I think those are the options as Hamas sees them. Continue the rockets or die quietly.

        There is another possible option. A suit against Great Britain for the illegal disposition of Palestinian property via the Balfour declaration.

        This would serve to keep the dispute on the front page – the function currently fulfilled by rockets and the mayhem they inspire.

        Everyone knows the Balfour declaration wouldn’t survive the close scrutiny of a British or international Law Court. The Brits would simply deny that Balfour was referring to a “Jewish State”.

        Win-win :
        – Serious discussion in the MSM about the origins of the problem and recognition of the land issue.
        If the exercise did nothing more than inspire a bunch of people to go and read the damn Balfour Declaration with its guarantee of the rights of the indigenous people, it would be worth it.

      • Richard Witty
        February 9, 2010, 6:43 am

        The truce might have in fact brought an end to the siege, if after the end of the cease-fire, Hamas had voluntarily continued it.

        Israeli public opinion had changed considerably about Hamas. Not to the point of anything near positive, but to the point that many Israelis came to think of Hamas as self-controlled, disciplined, intentional, strategic more than emotional and resentful.

        So, that two steps forward was crashed when they authorized others shelling civilians, and then resumed it themselves.

        If Hamas had restrained itself and factions for another month until after the Israeli election, it is likely that Kadima would have been able to form a government, and that the more accepting parties would have gradually achieved support and majority.

        It tested Hamas’ basis of power among Palestinians, as dually socially responsible and militant vanguard, but in shelling civilians they dropped the socially responsible from that definition.

        Again, within Hamas there was tension. Even as many resented the the November 4 Israeli cross-border raid, the majority of the Hamas founders and leaders did not advocate for resumption of shelling, the elders. But, in war, it is the zealous youth that prevail over the wisdom of elders. Elders’ experience are described as fearful rather than as wise and committed.

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 7:01 am

        I see you’ve decided it’s safe to return to that worn out old lie Witty,

        Luckily, I’m here to correct you.

        For the record, the end of the siege was part of the 2008 ceasefire agreement. Having agreed to lift it, Israel went back on that agreement, thus violating the terms of the truce. Hamas stuck to the truce regardless.

        With the policy in place that a long ceasefire was not in Israel’s strategic interests”, Israel set about to deliberately violate that ceasefire on November 4th 2008 (the day of the US presidential election). Hamas responses to the attack that had killed 6 Palestinians inside Gaza.

        It’s safe to say that nothing Hamas could have done would have changed Israel’s policy of collective punishment. As Moshe Dayan described with the skirmishes that Israel had with Syria (which according to Dayan, Israel instigated at least 80% of the time), Israel would simply have upped the ante until they got Hamas to bite.

        It was the military action by Kadima that got them back in the running. As one Israeli analyst observed, Olmert would have gained 1 seat for every 40 Palestinians killed.

        I would be curious to have you provide a link to a report that supports your allegation that the majority of the Hamas founders and leaders did not advocate for resumption of shelling, the elders”. You have a reputation Witty, for shall we say, talking out of your ass and making factoids up as you go along and running away when asked to back them up with sources.

        The war was not a consequence of zealous youth prevailing over the wisdom of elders. Israel wanted war and was going to get it no matter what because as we know only too well, Israel has always chosen land over peace.

        On the 4th of dewcember, Hamas made an offe to return to the ceafvire and Isrlae rejected. it. Meanwhile, the US was vetoing any calls for a ceasfire at the UN. Olmert, who you insist was among the “more accepting parties”, bnoasted to his consituents that he had interrupted Bush during a speech and ordered him to order Rice to abstain from voting for a ceasfire resolutiobn that the US had helped to draft.

        I’m sure this won’t be the last time I am forced to correct your lies, but I’ll be watching you.

        Elders’ experience are described as fearful rather than as wise and committed.

      • Richard Witty
        February 9, 2010, 7:19 am

        And, the world will be a better place for that, right?

        Your “facts” are interpretations, speculations. I am stating an opinion. I don’t presume that my interpretations are facts, authoritative.

        Its sad that you are not more skeptical of your heroes.

      • Richard Witty
        February 9, 2010, 7:23 am

        I have very high confidence that my description of the effect on the Israeli election of Hamas resuming shelling is accurate, and of the great disappointment that Hamas’ commitment to stop shelling was so short-lived and so tactical (rather than ethical).

        Your comments about Kadima posturing relative to war (after the shelling resumed in earnest) has to be understood in the context of a state that was then at war.

        If Hamas had not resumed shelling, the posturing would have been different, of how to practically reconcile, if Israelis became increasingly confident that Hamas intended to reconcile (even if just to the level of leaving each other alone).

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 7:45 am

        You’re a full time liar Witty,

        I am not interpreting anything. Unlike your creative revisionism and insufferable hypocrisy, I can back every one of my claims with links to sources.

        And the only thing that is sad, is that you don’t get to spread your lies without someon there to catch you.

        Your high confidence is of no consequence to anyone on thie forum, because all that tells us is that you have no factual references to suport your thesis.

        The effect on the Israeli election was the violation of the ceasfire by Israel, which was in turn, a conscious descision to escalate the conflict to an all out siege. Israel’s leadership knew that Hamas would react with rocket fire, so their motives were unambiguous.

        The acions and statments by Kadiman preceeded the war, which was not a war, but a massacre. We know exactly what they context was. Olmert was trailing badly in the polls, plagued by the 2006 humiliation in Lebanon and corruption charges, and needed a catalyzing event to swing the election his way. Wars usualyl favor the incumbent, but Olmert’s calculations were off the mark.

        If Hamas had not resumed shelling, Israel would have atatcked again and again until Hamas responded. You do remember what Moshe Dayan told us about the skimished with Syrian don;t you Witty? Let me remind you.

        “We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was. I did that, and Laskov and Czera did that, and Yitzhak did that, but it seemed to me that the person who most enjoyed these games was Dado. We thought that we could change the lines of the ceasefire accords by military actions that were less than war. That is, to seize some territory and hold it until the enemy despairs and gives it to us.”

        Israelis were not interested in whether Hamas intended to reconcile. Hams have already given their support to a 2 state solution and backed the Arab Peace initiative. Israel rejects both offers.

        I am not going to let you get awya with lying Witty.

        BTW. Yuo never did expain where your theory about “Hamas founders and leaders not advocating for resumption of shelling. Did you make that up?

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 7:50 am

        BTW I should add Witty, that your double standards and contempt for Palestinain life is disgusting.

        If 6 Israeli Jews had been killed by a Hamas raid, adn Isral responded, would you be condemnign Israel for not restraining itself for another month until after the Palestinian elections?

        Would you be condeming the Israelis for not being serious about peace and not convincing the Palestinians they were serious about peace?

        You have no shame.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 8:55 am

        The truce might have in fact brought an end to the siege, if after the end of the cease-fire, Hamas had voluntarily continued it.

        Nope, we’ve heard this song and dance from you before. Stop propagating lies and distortions.

        *Part 1*

        The Cease-fire.
        From: Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling – Johann Hari, CommentatorsThe Independent
        Source: independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-true-story-behind-this-war-is-not-the-one-israel-is-telling-1214981.html

        Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet, “told the Israeli cabinet [on 23 December] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms.”

        Diskin explained that Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election fever and eager to appear tough – rejected these terms.

        About those rockets.

        From: IDF admits to overestimating Gaza rocket severity, but warns worst may be yet to comeHaaretz
        Source: haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052046.html

        The threat that Hamas’ ballistic capabilities pose to the people of the Negev is less serious than initially presumed and the residents of the targeted areas are not demonstrating signs of panic, according to an interim analysis by the Israel Defense Forces of the situation nearly a week after the launching of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

        […]In six days of fighting, Hamas has fired some 350 rockets into Israel. In 2006, Kiryat Shmona and its immediate surroundings alone took 1,000 rockets.

        These figures show that IDF officers and defense experts overestimated Hamas’ ballistic capabilities so far, which were said to allow the organization to launch up to 200 rockets every day while under fire from launcher-hunting Israel Air Force crafts.

        Of the 350 rockets that Hamas has fired since Saturday, at least 40 were Katyusha rockets with a range of 40 kilometers. In some cases, Hamas’ rockets even reached 43 kilometers from the launch sites.

        Let’s compare the fatalities of Israelis (all over Israel) to that of Palestinians in Gaza only, throughout 2008.

        From: B’Tselem

        Source: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Israelis_killed_by_Palestinians_in_Israel_and_Palestinians_killed_by_Israelis_in_Gaza_-_2008.png

        Palestinians in Gaza killed throughout the cease-fire by Israel.

        From: B’Tselem (Summary by Wikipedia)

        Source: btselem.org/English/Statistics/Casualties_Data.asp?Category=1&region=GAZA

        According to data taken from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, during the 6 months of the ceasefire, there were at least 19 Palestinians killed in Gaza Strip by Israeli fire, among them 3 civilians, on of them a 15 year old child. According to the list of the same Israeli Human Rights Organization, no Israeli civilian and no one from the Israeli security force personnel was killed by Palestinian attacks from Gaza Strip in the same period.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 8:56 am

        *Part 2*

        Oh and that humanitarian aid Israel was supposed to send in?

        From: UNRWA chief: Gaza on brink of humanitarian catastropheHaaretz

        Source: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7722948.stm

        Gaza faces a humanitarian “catastrophe” if Israel continues to prevent aid reaching the territory by blocking crossing points, the head of the main UN aid agency for the Palestinians said on Friday

        [...]Israel had restricted goods into Gaza despite the truce, which calls on militants to halt rocket attacks in return for Israel easing its embargo on the territory.

        […]Israel also held up deliveries of European Union-funded fuel for the power plant, which generates about a third of the electricity consumed by Gazans

        [...]Ailments associated with insufficient food were surfacing among the impoverished coastal strip’s 1.5 million population, including growing malnutrition.

        Israel failed to comply with the terms of the truce. More denouncements before the massacre began.

        From: UN warns over Gaza food blockadeBBC

        Source: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7722948.stm

        The UN in the Gaza Strip says it will run out of food aid in two days unless Israel’s blockade – which it describes as “shameful and unacceptable” – eases. The UN refugee agency UNWRA, which distributes food to half of Gaza’s 1.5m people, called the blockade “a physical as well as a mental punishment”. Israel is now allowing a limited amount of fuel across the border, but it is still blocking food deliveries.

        [...]In a statement, UNWRA spokesman Christopher Gunne said food distribution operations would end on Thursday unle Israeli authorities allowed deliveries of wheat, luncheon meat, powdered milk and cooking oil without delay. “This is both a physical as well as a mental punishment of the population – of mothers and parents trying to feed their children – who are being forced to live hand to mouth,” he said.

        […]“It is a further illustration of the barbarity of this inhuman blockade.”

        [...]“It is also shameful and unacceptable that the largest humanitarian actor in Gaza is being forced into yet another cycle of crisis management,” Mr Gunne added.

        Another tidbit about the failure of Israel to live up to the terms of the truce.

        From: Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinian state with 1967 bordersHaaretz

        Source: haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035414.html

        International aid agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have said virtually no medical supplies were reaching Gaza.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 8:57 am

        *Part 3*

        Here is a timeline of the aid sent into Gaza. Very informative link.

        From: Guide: Gaza under blockadeBBC

        Source: newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45925000/gif/_45925197_world_bank_new_466.gif

        Meanwhile, the Israel MFA report noted of Hamas’s ceasefire conduct:

        From: The Six Months of the Lull ArrangementIntelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center

        Source: terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e017.pdf

        A period of relative quiet between June 19 and November 4: As of June 19, there was a marked reduction in the extent of attacks on the western Negev population. The lull was sporadically violated by rocket and mortar shell fire, carried out by rogue terrorist organizations, in some instance in defiance of Hamas (especially by Fatah and Al-Qaeda supporters). Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.

        Israel did not maintain the truce. If we give both sides some slack – Hamas’s adherence to the terms is noted. Meanwhile, Israel is rightly blasted by virtually every NGO for their failure to alleviate the siege.

        Israel also kept carrying out attacks into Gaza. Israel broke the cease-fire on November 4th.

        Israel had an opportunity to maintain this cease-fire and to extend it to the West Bank. However, it never intended on doing so.

        Israel goaded Hamas into a conflict.

        Extending the truce would legitimize Hamas.

        Israel would have to seriously consider peace talks.

        Hamas would have gained political capital and might have been seen as an equal in future negotiations.

        As usual, Witty is a fanatical liar.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 9:05 am

        Let’s also acknowledge that Israel has no moral high-ground with respect to the rocket attacks.

        Israel killed far far more people in the same time period of these rockets, in the same area.

        Israel inflicted a humanitarian disaster upon the Palestinians in Gaza, which of course towers over anything the rockets have done to the residents of Southern Israel.

        There is no comparison. All throughout the so-called truce, Israel had been carrying out killings in Gaza. The truce was broken on November 4th by Israel.

        Israel had de-developed Gaza’s economy for decades. It has done so w/ basically everything related to Palestinian society and the potential for self-management and independence.

        Let’s look at some excerpts from Sara Roy’s book, The Gaza Strip, The Political Economy of De-Development:

        The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the exodus of 55 percent of the Arab population of Palestine, the majority of whom were fellahin, completed the socioeconomic tranformation of Palestine along the sectoral lines established during the Mandate. The Jewish capitalist sector, now politically as well as economically dominant, assumed control of more than 78 percent of Mandate Palestine, and the process of land rather labor acquisition that began during the Mandate was dramatically extended. Within months, the Arab sector became dispossessed of its most important natural resource, land, which included the country’s best agricultural areas: 95 percent of the “good” soil (of Mandatory Palestine), 64 percent of the “medium” soil, and 39% of the “poor” soil. Indeed, those Palestinians who became refugees as a result of the 1948 war possessed 80 percent of the territory and 72 percent of all cultivable land that fell to Israel. Not only was Arab agricultural production largely destroyed, but the “depeasantization” and the “incomplete proletarianization” of the remaining fellahin increased.

        [...]The structural transformation of Palestinian society, particularly under the impact of the 1948 war, was critical for the future economic development of Palestine. Having been separated from their means of production, not by market forces but by physical dispossession, Palestinian refugees found, for the first time, that economic power could no longer be derived primarily from one’s direct control over the means of production, which to varying degrees had still prevailed under the Mandate.

        [...]During the formative economic period under the British Mandate, Jewish colonialism sought to acquire Arab land, not Arab labor. This guiding principle did not fundamentally change after 1967. As such, Israeli capitalism never fought to create a capitalist class in the Gaza Strip or West Bank with which it could collude. To the contrary, capitalist development was not what Israel sought to implant in the occupied territories. Consequently, economic relations became a means for fulfilling political objectives, a critical component of Israel’s system of control.

        [...]In Gaza’s case, the peripheral economy has been dismembered through a series of measures that precluded the formation of productive forces and sought to dispossess the population of their political patrimony and economic potential. Modernization and dependency theory have never explained a problem of this nature. How, for example, would the theories explain the deliberate uprooting and displacement of the indigenous population, the “de-skilling” and under-use of the Palestinian labor force, the segmentation and fragmentation of the economic sector in the periphery, the usurpation of land and water, the proletarianization of the workforce and the increasing insignificance of the “proletariat,” the alienation of the Arab labor force, or the intentional denial of access to the means of production as a form of collective punishment?

        There is no parity between the two parties. There is no equality in suffering, both in frequency and profundity.

        There may be parallels, however a parallel does not imply equality.

        Educate people on the history of this conflict and the context of actions from both sides and you will never ever reach Richard Witty’s conclusions.

        Unless you are a Zionist or insincere.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 9:29 am

        Roy correctly identifies that such an independent Palestinian economy would pose a threat to Israel. Zionist colonialism desires the land.

        Expropriation of land and dispossession of the owners.

        Integration and externalization; and deinstitutionalization.

        Roy states that these policies:

        [...]have contributed to de-development by dispossessing Palestinians of critical economic resources or factors of production needed to create and sustain productive capacity; by creating extreme dependency on employment in Israel as critical source of GNP growth; and by restricting the kind of indigenous economic and institutional development that could lead to structural reform and capital accumulation in the industrial sector, in particular.

        Some more, important excerpts from the book:

        Government policy toward the development of Palestinian industry, perhaps more than any other sector, demonstrates official disregard for and outright hostility toward Palestinian economic development in the Gaza Strip. In industry, as in agriculture, economic policy was a product of the state’s larger national-political and ideological imperatives.

        [...]the government’s goals were: (1) to prevent the development of an independent industrial infrastructure in Gaza that could support an independent economic base; and (2) to protect and serve Israeli economic interest by subordinating Palestinian industry and insuring control over areas essential to industrial development: water and land, the registration of companies, trademarks, commerce, tradenames, patents, licenses, taxes, finance, planning, property rights, and trade. This policy has done much to dwarf Gazan industry.

        [...]The absence of policies, institutions, and regulations not only precluded structural change but insured that any local industrial advancements could occur ONLY through economic integration with Israel. That is why the comparative advantage offered by lower labor costs in the Gaza Strip never led to any substantive industrial development, as neoclassical economics dictates. Consequently, and in the Gaza Strip especially, Israel promoted “externalization” of the industrial sector to fulfill its own industrial needs over the “internalization” of industry through indigenous structural reform to meet Gaza’s.

        [...]Through 1993 Israel imposed a one-way system of tariffs and duties on the importation of goods through its borders; leaving Israel for Gaza, however, no tariffs or other regulations applied. Thus, for Israeli exports to Gaza, the Strip was treated as part of Israel; but for Gazans exports to Israel, the Strip was treated as a foreign entity subject to various “non-tariff barriers.” This placed Israel at a distinct advantage for trading and limited Gaza’s access to Israeli and foreign markets.

        Gazans had no recourse against such policies, being totally unable to protect themselves with tariffs or exchange rate controls. Thus, they had to pay more for highly protected Israeli products than they would if they had some control over their own economy. Such policies deprived the occupied territories of significant customs revenue, estimated at $118-$176 million in 1986.

        [...]The official disregard for Palestinian industry did not extend to Jewish industry. Prior to the election of the Rabin government in 1992, for example, the government provided substantial assistance to local industrial investors in Gaza’s Jewish settlements. Investors could choose between a 38% bonus or a 66.66 percent loan guarantee with a 10-year tax exemption.

        It is foolish to assume that Israel has ever sincerely desired peace. If peace means reconciliation and mutual humanization. If peace means accountability and fair play.

        Israel desires the land, and nothing more. Hence the continued colonial project.

        Hence the continued destruction of Palestinian society.

        The Gaza massacre was a blatant example of Israel’s intentions. Only the most cowardly deniers such as Richard Witty would say otherwise.

        Zeev Moaz explains the record between Israel and it’s Arab opponents.

        From: Defending the Holy Land : A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security and Foreign Policy

        About the Author: Zeev Maoz is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. He is the former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, as well as the former academic director of the M.A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forces’ National Defense College.

        Israel’s decision makers [from 1949 through the present] were as reluctant and risk averse when it came to making peace as they were daring and trigger happy when it came to making war. Second, the official Israeli decision makers typically did not initiate peace overtures; most of the peace initiatives in the Arab-Israeli conflict came either from the Arab world, from the international community, or from grass-roots and informal channels. Third, when Israel was willing to take risks for peace, they usually paid off. The Arabs generally showed a remarkable tendency for compliance with their treaty obligations. In quite a few cases, it was Israel – rather than the Arabs – that violated formal and informal agreements.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 9:31 am

        I don’t expect, Dick, to read any of what I just posted by the way.

        But it’s a good opportunity to reiterate the truth and move away from vague, meaningless, rhetoric that Witty pollutes this blog with.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 1:40 pm

        Yeah, the original Balfour declaration actually supported Hamas’s aspirations.
        Why has this not come to pass? Why did the USA jump into WW1 (which solution caused WW2)?

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 4:58 pm

        Brewer, yes–it’s seldom mentioned that the Balfour Declaration conditioned any Hebrew homeland on Palestinian rights secured. Obviously, this has not been honored effectively by anyone or any nation. Even worse, just start investigating who and what prompted the Balfour Declaration, a most unusual document. Check out the connection to the Brits losing to the Germans during WW1, especially Brit big business industry. Wilson, as it turns out, was hardly an idealist, despite USA textbooks for K-12 & college.

      • Donald
        February 9, 2010, 5:45 pm

        “I don’t expect, Dick, to read any of what I just posted by the way.”

        Probably not. I’ve never seen him respond to a well constructed argument like yours in a way that suggested he’d read it, considered the points, and had a reasoned response. I doubt there’s a good Zionist rebuttal to your main points, but he never tries.

      • Richard Witty
        February 9, 2010, 9:36 pm

        The problem is that your points are skew to mine. They don’t conflict with my points, they are just about different content.

        The Israeli public was changing its views about Hamas until Hamas resumed shelling. They were proceeding down the path of potentially reconciling with Israel if they continued.

        There was internal struggle within Israel and always has been between those that believe that peace is possible and should therefore be pursued versus those that believe that peace is impossible and efforts should be rejected.

        Its close to 50/50, so events on the ground can shift the majority, can shift the attitude and behavior of the government.

        Within Hamas there is also internal struggle. Even after the war in last December, Hamas actually has voluntarily reduced its rocket fire. It hasn’t apparently done so because that is the right and humane thing to do, to not shell civilians, but because it is tactical. Hopefully they are seeking to avoid recurrence of war, coexistance if cold. But, likely they are also posturing for their political street cred, which is diminished.

        They did have the option to not resume shelling civilians, as much as they were pressed by Israeli actions. It wasn’t suicide, and could have comprised a viable strategic choice to not shell civilians, to not give Israel the excuse to do what you say it wanted to do. (MANY in Israel certainly wanted Hamas to be weakened, discredited, disappear, certainly.)

        “By any means necessary”, huh Cliff?

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 9:59 pm

        The problem is that your points are skew to mine. They don’t conflict with my points, they are just about different content.

        You and I are in agreement about the escalation of rocket fire. It was of course tactically foolish.

        The rockets are ineffective and only backfire on Hamas – both intellectually and physically.

        I don’t think it matters what the Palestinians do though. Palestinians will never accept Zionism. They will never accept a swiss-cheese State with zero potential for independence, self-governance, etc.

        I am not optimistic. I see more conflict and bloodshed ahead – naturally, the Palestinians will suffer the most. Hence why I see the One-State solution as worthwhile under these circumstances.

        Israel destroyed Gaza before Hamas. It would destroy Gaza after Hamas, as it is destroying it presently WITH Hamas.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 10:01 pm

        “By any means necessary”, huh Cliff?

        No. I would support Two States if it were possible. It is not. It’s not possible because of Israel. It is because of the present conditions and the prospects ahead, that I ‘arm-chair’ support a One-State.

        Just an idea. I don’t know how it would work out, but I can’t imagine Two States in the present, and that’s what most people want. We’re both on the edge Witty. I didn’t take us here, you and your ‘enough! Israel’ brand of Zionism did.

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 10:02 pm

        Give it up Witty,

        The problem is not who’s points are bring skewed.  The problem is that no one is buying your BS. 

        You make claims about public opinion in Israel changing towards Hamas, but will never provide any evidence to support that claim.  Why?  Namely because it doesn’t exist.  The siege on Gaza was planned and carried out by Olmert because he clearly believed it would be politically advantageous to him and Kadima.  Olmert also had to be confident that Hamas woudl respond with rocket attacks, and factored that into his political stratergy, because, as we all know, he’d already planned the attack on Gaza 6 months prior.

        Israel has clearly moved far to the right, thus the internal struggle within Israel is between 2 right wing factions that essentially hold the same values and beliefs.  The only thing that separates them is how  blunt they have chosen to be in their public statements.  Kadima claim to support a 2 state solution, but what they are willing to endorse is identical to what Netenyau has proposed.

        In December 2008, Hamas did not voluntarily reduce its rocket fire.  It proposed a return to a ceafire, which Israel rejected.

        “It hasn’t apparently done so because that is the right and humane thing to do, to not shell civilians, but because it is tactical.”

        Did Israel eventually accept a ceasfire becasue it was the humane thing to do or becasue it was tactical?

        Hamas has been endorsing coexistance for years now.  Hamas supoprts a 2 state solution.  Hamas hs agreed to the Arab Peace initiative.  Israel has rejected both.

        “They did have the option to not resume shelling civilians, as much as they were pressed by Israeli actions.”

        Indeed, Israel has been troutinely bombign and killing Palestinians in Gaza since “hostilities ended”.  What do you say to that Witty?  Is this not an example of Israel’s intent to maintain a siege and state of perpetual vilaence?  Or is this a status quo that you consider to be acceptable?

        So given that Israel continues to kill Palestinians in Gaza, please explain what viable strategic choice could Hamas have made other than shelling civilians?  As we ee today, Israel does not need the excuse to do what you say it wants to do, becasue Isrlae knows there are no consequences for it’s crimes.

      • Cliff
        February 9, 2010, 10:06 pm

        Whoops, forgot to add that – while the escalation of rocket fire, allowed Israel to carry out its war plans, I am certain another way would have been found.

        There is no way this truce would have been extended without the brutal attack on civilian infrastructure. It was necessary for Israel to ‘educate’ the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza as it did the Lebanese of Southern Lebanon.

      • Donald
        February 10, 2010, 12:04 am

        Probably most of us agree that Hamas should not fire rockets at Israeli towns for both moral and pragmatic reasons. They do bear some blame for making the situation worse.

        Unfortunately, Richard, you don’t put Israel’s actions under anywhere near the same level of moral scrutiny. You paint them as free of blame, possibly willing to make peace, if only Hamas had exercised Gandhian levels of restraint. If you condemned the morality of Israel’s blockade and its own ongoing violence against Gazans you’d find many of us willing to meet you halfway. In fact, those of us who condemn Hamas’s violence are already there, but you ignore this. You want us to exonerate Israel of blame for its war crimes and blame Hamas not only for its own violence, but also for Israel’s. That’s your idea of reasonableness.

      • Shingo
        February 10, 2010, 1:23 am

        As if we needed proof of how disconnected Witty is from reality, here is a report showing that more than half of Israelis approve of another attack on Gaza, in spite of the fact there have been virtually no rocket attacks since the Israeli atatck in 2008.

        link to youtube.com

        So it looks like another one of your theories has gone up in smoke Witty. First you insist that Obama’s approach is guaranteed to achieve peace and now you insist that Hamas can win hearts and minds in Israel by not firing rockets.

        Come pn Witty, even a broken clock is right twice a day. 

  6. Citizen
    February 8, 2010, 5:44 pm

    What’s the truth? It’s actual bombing of Palestinian civilians

  7. VR
    February 8, 2010, 6:01 pm

    This is turned into such a joke I have a recommendation –

    “…B’Tselem again urges Israel to immediately establish an independent investigative apparatus composed of persons from outside the military.”

    How about the Knesset doing the investigation? i mean the Israelis have tried the military already, now it is the others turn. Hey, why not? We need to adopt all of these policies for criminal justice everywhere, even in the civilian population – everyone, quickly – examine yourselves and see if you are guilty! Why not, what a joke.

    • VR
      February 8, 2010, 7:24 pm

      Than after that, and whatever is determined, we can have ‘pick your own penalty’ time…

    • yonira
      February 8, 2010, 10:43 pm

      I agree VR, but it shouldn’t the Knesset, it should be affiliate w/ the Supreme Court somehow, they would be more unbiased than the Knesset.

      • Chaos4700
        February 8, 2010, 11:16 pm

        Does Israel’s Supreme Court actually do anything other then generate PR materials for Israel abroad? Last time I checked, the Israeli government and military routinely ignore Supreme Court rulings.

        Which shocks me because it one would think it would state the checks and balances and separation of powers in Israel’s constitution, so — oh. Right. Whoops! I forgot, Israel doesn’t actually have a constitution, and so therefore there isn’t any last word when it comes to an actual basis for justice and civil rights in Israel. Mea culpa!

      • yonira
        February 8, 2010, 11:37 pm

        Chaos,

        have you taken any history, government, or internal relations classes in college?

        are you an art major?

      • Sin Nombre
        February 9, 2010, 12:01 am

        Chaos4700 wrote:

        ” Israel doesn’t actually have a constitution, and so therefore there isn’t any last word when it comes to an actual basis for justice and civil rights in Israel. ”

        You can take your argument too far, Chaos. England doesn’t have a written constitution either, and indeed one can even say that the standard kind of constitutions seen in the world—such as the one we have in the U.S.—are anti-democratic in that even if more than 50% of the current citizenry disagrees with same, it doesn’t matter. (Much more being needed to change the document.)

        Moreover, we’ve seen in this country that if it were only up to the Constitution and the Supreme Court there’d still be lots bigger holes in the “justice and civil rights” front than there are now, thanks to the various acts of Congress and state legislatures and etc.

        Plus of course everyone knows how unfortunately common it has been for countries to essentially ignore their constitutions in various ways when it really suits them.

        In the end then, the “actual basis for justice and civil rights” in the U.S. as you state it might not really be the constitution so much as it is the choices its voters make, as scary as that may be.

        (Although of course on another level—where its main wisdom really lies in fact—given that it is the constitution that gives people the right to vote in the first place in *this* respect one can more accurately say that the document is that “actual basis” you speak of. But I suspect that Israelis also have the right to vote too, so….)

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 4:10 am

        Yonira, does Israel have a Constitution? Is there separation of powers in Israel?
        You think the Israeli Supreme Court is supreme in the same sense that the US Supreme Court is? Are you an education major?

      • tree
        February 9, 2010, 4:25 am

        The problem with enforcing Israeli Supreme Court decisions is that Israel has no system of checks and balances, and the executive branch, which is mandated under the US Constitution to enforce judicial decisions, has no such obligations under Israeli law. The executive or even the military can get away with flaunting a Supreme Court decision, and often does, with no threat of creating a constitutional crisis. And the Supreme Court, because of the lack of any required enforcement of its decisions, often limits its rulings so as not to offend the executive or military status quo. Thus the court often rules that “security” trumps legal rights.

      • Richard Witty
        February 9, 2010, 6:48 am

        There is separation of powers, and theoretically the Supreme Court trumps them all. But Israeli Supreme Court rulings do not apply as legal precedent to establish principles of law in all appeals courts as it does in the US (and in the US, different district courts DO rule differently from others).

        Security weighs heavily in ALL nations’ Supreme Court decisions. Its not surprising that it does in Israel that has been in a legal state of war with many of its neighbors for 62 years.

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 7:13 am

        “There is separation of powers, and theoretically the Supreme Court trumps them all”

        That was proved false in the sirge on Gaza, when the IDF flouted the ruling of the Supreme Court to allow foreing journalists into Gaza.

        “But Israeli Supreme Court rulings do not apply as legal precedent to establish principles of law in all appeals courts as it does in the US ”

        What about the rulings themselves? Do they apply or is adhereing to them voluntary?

      • MRW
        February 9, 2010, 8:19 am

        are you an art major?

        Yonira, you seem to sneer at an art education, but if you did even a modicum of investigating you would discover that art students MUST learn history in a way that is even more complete than regular students; they MUST learn chemistry and understand the effect of products they use over the ensuing decades, or what they create will disintegrate; they MUST learn engineering principles to create various types of work; and as a side effect the politics of the ages they are made to study are made manifest to them. There is no better education than what an art student gets.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 1:44 pm

        OK, Dicky Witty, so what’s new, that Israel is a fascist state where the jurisprudence is akin to Nazi Germany’s?

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 5:07 pm

        Well yes, Dick Witty, in the USA, where you and I were born and raised, the US Supreme Court always has the “political question” doctrine, by which it
        avoids serious issues under the doctrine of separation of powers, such as, most recently,in the law suit against Caterpillar
        Company for enabling war crimes, such as the murder of the peaceful American resistor Rachel Corrie by the IDF. The US judiciary evaded its responsibility to protect a US citizen by pointing to the fact that the USA government gifted those tractors to the IDF. IG Farben smiles.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 5:47 pm

        US corporate America use to favor Germany, and now it favors Israel; it does so despite their respective successive criminal states. Here’s a briefing on the old USA special relationship via corporations regarding Nazi Germany:
        link to spiritone.com

        Now, it’s the lethal Zionist state of Israel that gets the full US corporate bonus.
        Caterpillar is just one of many involved, along with Motorola.

      • VR
        February 8, 2010, 11:30 pm

        Yes yonira, I know what you think, and the Supreme Court will not judge nore rule properly either, one only has to do is look at their record (think, do you really want to get into that discussion with me?). I was practicing sarcasm Yonira, next time I will make it amply clear, and throw in the Supreme Court if I can.

      • yonira
        February 8, 2010, 11:39 pm

        VR should Hamas be doing the internal inquiry then? the problem is that you can’t and won’t trust anything that Israel says and does, no matter who does it. That is the basis of everything you say, your anti-establishment anarchist mentality is a thing of the past.

      • yonira
        February 8, 2010, 11:41 pm

        an internal inquiry into Israel I meant. God knows they won’t do their own on themselves. But if they did you would praise every word in it and take it as gospel. you are easy to figure out.

      • VR
        February 9, 2010, 12:49 am

        Well really yonira, Israel will not do that at this juncture. You see, they are not yet in the position of the USA that had almost exterminated the indigenous population, and put them on “reservations” so that they are out of sight out of mind. Israel is not in the position to speak with a tearful eye about their “noble savages” like the USA. I swear you are about as clueless regarding the indigenous population in the USA (from reading some of your other conversations), as you about what is going on between Israel and the Palestinians.

        Earlier on (on another post) I expressed what my view of this current crisis is, why repeat myself, here is a link –

        ‘AP’ misquoted UN Sec’y Gen’l as praising Israel – VR February 6, 2010 at 3:57 am

        Hey, if I am wrong I will say so when the time comes, however I do not think I am wrong, here is why I know I am right –

        Goldstone explains why Israel is being singled out (after South Africa and Serbia) – VR January 31, 2010 at 12:42 pm, & VR January 31, 2010 at 1:20 pm

        Knock yourself out

      • Shingo
        February 9, 2010, 5:43 am

        “the problem is that you can’t and won’t trust anything that Israel says and does, no matter who does it.”

        That depends on whether who ever does it is being honest or covering up Israel’s crimes and the test of that is whether the conclusions stand up to scruitiny. So far, Israel has established a very shoddy tack record of truthfullness.

  8. David Samel
    February 9, 2010, 9:39 am

    yonira – that was a very nice compliment above, and proof that you get at least some things right :-).

    Brewer – I had no idea you were a kiwi – three weeks in 1980 – best trip I ever took. I’m sure we are more in agreement than not. And I’m sure that going the non-violent route would not be met immediately by Israel with flowers and olive branches, and more importantly, any relief from the misery of siege and occupation. In fact, when Israel wanted to attack Lebanon and there were no rockets to “provoke” an invasion, it found an incident that it used to justify what already had been well-planned. Still, in the long run, it is the most likely route to be effective. I am convinced that Israel greatly prefers to deal with violence, because it has such overwhelming superiority in that sphere, and it is petrified of dispassionate examination of the moral aspects of the situation. And it surely is provocative when Israel claims that its Gaza “incursion” put a stop to the rockets; it almost dares Hamas to resume just to show Israel did not “win.” Non-violence is a slow path, one that requires extraordinary patience in an intolerable situation, but violence against Israel is a sure recipe for failure.

    Most importantly, I also feel strongly that acts of violence against civilians, whether they be thousands of crude rockets that kill a handful, or Hiroshima/Dresden bombings that kill a hundred thousand, should always be condemned on moral grounds.

    • Citizen
      February 9, 2010, 1:58 pm

      Which brings up the reminder, what would Israel do without total USA enablement?
      Any American should be against this funding and rubber-stamping of Israel’s policies.
      Too bad in the USA the truth is kept from the citizen masses. There are two major defects of the USA system. Campaign finance reform does not exist. A free press does not exist. The USA is drowning in a practical sea of Zionist bribery of the USA congress, and a USA MSM blackout of objective new on USA interests in the Middle East.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2010, 2:01 pm

        Sorry, i meant: new=news

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