Arraf and Finkelstein rip ‘farce’ UN flotilla report on ‘Democracy Now’

Israel/Palestine
on 50 Comments

Excellent commentary and analysis  from Huwaida Arraf and Norm Finkelstein. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales interview two giants in the  Democracy Now report: As Turkey Freezes Israel Ties, Critics Decry “Whitewashed” U.N. Report on Gaza Flotilla, Blockade. [partial transcript below]

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AMY GOODMAN: But the fact that this report did find that Israel’s use of force was excessive and unreasonable, and the significance of Turkey expelling the Israeli ambassador?

HUWAIDA ARRAF: Definitely. Well, it’s kind of funny that Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador today after the release of this report, because the whole point of this report was to reach a political compromise and to repair the relation between Israel and Turkey. And we’re glad that Turkey has taken the position that it has taken. And in fact, Turkey’s foreign minister has said that it’s time that Israel paid a price. And it’s true, because Israel does not pay a price for any of its human rights violations. It continues to act with impunity. And even the fact that this report did say Israel acted using excessive force, it doesn’t—it doesn’t go enough to—money or paying compensation is not—is no kind of justice for the families or for the people that—for the victims of Israel’s actions. And that’s what we want to see. We want to see some kind of accountability. And that’s different from the U.N. report that was issued last September by the independent fact-finding mission, which recommended that human rights abusers be held accountable. And that’s what we’re waiting to see. So, this report, the Uribe-Palmer report, pays some lip service to the victims, but its main—again, its main goal, to repair relations, and we’re glad to see that Turkey is not falling for that.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I’d like to say—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Norman, if we can, we just have a little bit of time.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Sure.

JUAN GONZALEZ: If you could just briefly talk about the implications of this report coming out now and the continuing schism between Turkey and Israel, as we head into the United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, actually, many Israelis worried that this would be Pyrrhic victory for the Israeli government, because being so stubborn about refusing to make an apology—there are two of consecutive words that just don’t translate into Hebrew. The two words, consecutive words, are “excuse me.” They can’t comprehend that. And the Israeli—many Israeli officials were saying, “Make the apology, because we need Turkey. Turkey is our—has historically been our strongest ally in the Muslim world. Things are now turbulent with our other main ally in the Arab world, Egypt. Make the apology, and move on.” But there were members of the Netanyahu government—in particular, Mr. Lieberman, the foreign minister, and his party—who refused, because they said if they made the apology, Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, would run with it and would embarrass the Israelis, and Israelis would be humiliated. But they didn’t think it was a wise move. And actually, I don’t think it is, either. Losing the military relationship with Turkey, suspension of diplomatic relations, and now you know Turkey, when the state issue—statehood issue comes up in September, they are going to be in the forefront now, because Erdogan has been humiliated by this report. It was a complete spit in the face of the Turks, what this report said.

So I think, from a moral point of view, it was a disgrace. But from a political point of view, it will probably end up helping the Palestinians. You have to remember the whole point of the report. It described the killing of the nine members of the—on the—passengers on the Mavi Marmara. You know the phrase they used? It was a “major irritant” to diplomatic relations. Killing nine people is an “irritant.” And they said, “We have to get over this irritant, so that Israel and Turkey can restore diplomatic relations.” That’s their moral level.

Fair use prevents us from publishing more of the transcript but it’s hot! Finkelstein rips the report, says he was “dumbfounded……because it was so shocking, so morally debased” and Arraf shines clear and rational as always. Don’t miss them both dress down Uribe ( “extrajudicial killings and assassinations” “complete disdain for human rights defenders”) . Naturally I recommend watching the interview in its entirety.

(Hat tip commenters Kathleen and Pabelmont)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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50 Responses

  1. seafoid
    September 7, 2011, 9:45 am

    Another sign of the decline of US power in the region.

    link to ft.com

    “the US, facing a $52,000bn (that’s nine noughts) shortfall on social security and Medicare over the next decades, cannot afford any longer to police the world”

    Israel needs to wake up and smell the arabica.

  2. Kathleen
    September 7, 2011, 9:47 am

    Glad you picked it up. Finkelstein always stays focused on the facts. And always brings up issues that are important to consider. When he said he had to read certain sentences in the report over and over again made me feel a bit better. Because I generally have to read things over and over and over again to get it. Finkelstein is one of my heroes

    Did you watch the Wilkerson interview at Democracy Now? He basically calls Cheney a war criminal and states that he would testify under oath if Cheney was ever forced to stand trial for his war crimes. We can dream and push.

  3. seafoid
    September 7, 2011, 10:17 am

    Uribe is very Israeli for a Colombian.

    link to nybooks.com

    “In February 2003, the mayor of a small town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast stood up at a nationally televised meeting with then President Álvaro Uribe and announced his own murder. “Señor Presidente, I am the mayor of El Roble,” Tito Díaz said as he walked toward the stage where Uribe sat with several cabinet ministers and officials from the state of Sucre, where the meeting was held. Pacing back and forth before the President, Díaz delivered what was probably the first public denunciation of a web of violence and corruption involving politicians and paramilitary groups—what he called a “macabre alliance”—that would eventually become an explosive national scandal. Singling out several local officials, including the governor, Salvador Arana, seated at the President’s side, Díaz declared: “And now they’re going to kill me.”

    President Uribe listened impassively for several minutes, then cut the mayor off midsentence: “Mr. Mayor, we have allowed this disorder because of the gravity of the matter, but we also ask that you be considerate of our time.” Uribe is a small, tidy man, with a bland face that is boyish yet stern. When he addresses the public, it is with the commanding tone of the wealthy cattle rancher and the intensity of a man on a mission. “With utmost pleasure,” Uribe then assured Díaz that he would order an investigation, “for transparency cannot have exceptions, and security is for all Colombians.”

    Within weeks, the national police stripped Díaz of his bodyguards. On April 5, 2003, he disappeared. On April 10 his corpse appeared on the edge of Sucre’s main highway. He had been tortured, shot, and left in a crucifix position—feet crossed, arms extended, palms upturned—with his mayoral certification card perched on his forehead. “

    • annie
      September 7, 2011, 11:14 am

      how gruesome.

      • Mndwss
        September 7, 2011, 12:10 pm

        Yes gruesome.

        I am glad he did not describe the torture.

        No one likes to read about how a torture victim ends up dead with his own penis in his mouth. Did he bleed to death from the amputation or maybe his head was placed between his legs with you know what in his mouth.

        I am glad i do not have to read about all the details…

        How can a US supported dictator end up on the US controlled UN’s whitewash comity, without people protesting on every street all over the world???

    • James
      September 8, 2011, 12:27 am

      uribe – the neo con’s favorite in power in columbia doing in columbia what those neo cons in the usa only wish they could do…i wonder how much of the drug money goes back to the new cons?

  4. Richard Witty
    September 7, 2011, 10:30 am

    Ban Ki Moon as the “alleged secretary general of the UN”?

    I didn’t hear facts. I heard denunciations and highly editorial interpretation of the meaning in the report.

    Even the Amy Goodman introduction contained innaccuracies, inconsistencies with reported Turkish demands. She sited that the Turkish demands were an apology and restitution to families. In the NPR interview sited yesterday by Phil, Israel considered and most likely was willing (my expectation) to apologize and provide restitution aid to the families.

    But, that per the NPR analyst, the Turkish government added a demand that the sea embargo be stopped. A different set of conditions than noted.

    Propaganda is the point.

    Israel should apologize and provide restitution unilaterally, because it is the right thing to do.

    Israel should work to make a peace that allows trade to flow into Gaza, and through the path of unification with the PA, formation of an recognized international state, then responsible as a state.

    Neither Hamas nor Israel have done those things that need to be done. And, sadly, dissent here and elsewhere is not advocating that they do that, is only advocating rage and punishment, rather than reform, reconciliation and acceptance.

    • James North
      September 7, 2011, 10:42 am

      Richard Witty said, ‘”Peace” is not my primary objective here. What I’m really afraid of is that Turkey will continue to assert its rights, that Israel will retaliate violently, and that Israel will suffer yet another defeat in the court of world opinion.
      ‘I call on Turkey to exercise “restraint.” But if the tables were turned, if Turkish commandos had illegally boarded an Israeli ship on the high seas and shot 9 Israelis in cold blood, I would not be calling for “restraint.” I would be endorsing the massive Israeli assault that would already have killed scores, if not hundreds, of people.’

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2011, 10:52 am

        More strange misrepresentation from Mr North.

        Not a lot of dialog on this site.

        • Haytham
          September 7, 2011, 11:11 am

          Witty:

          Richard Witty September 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

          More strange misrepresentation from Mr North.

          Not a lot of dialog on this site.

          Witty–it’s official–you are now a caricature of yourself.

          James?

        • Richard Witty
          September 7, 2011, 11:20 am

          Impressive Haytham.

          You don’t accept apologies. You don’t engage constructively.

          You propagate.

        • James North
          September 7, 2011, 11:22 am

          Richard Witty said, ‘Ouch, Haytham. Whenever North, you, or anyone else sees though my vapid generalities to my true motivation, I turn nasty. This is nothing new.
          ‘(Proof that I don’t pay much attention to the rest of you; after 10,400 comments, I still haven’t learned how to spell “dialogue,” and I haven’t learned that “no one” is two separate words.’)

        • Haytham
          September 7, 2011, 11:32 am

          James:

          Thank you (on the “dialog” issue).

          Also, Witty said I don’t accept apologies. Did he apologize to me?

          I don’t accept insincere apologies. I have received no apology, insincere or otherwise, from Richard Witty.

          Witty, by the way, the reason I posted that last comment was because recently James has jokingly needled you about your spelling of dialogue, (even when you didn’t use the word). He’s done it probably 5 times. I’m surprised you didn’t see it. I wasn’t being cruel, just joking around. At least I didn’t say you are inferior to me, less of a human being, like you did to me.

          Finally, “propagate” what? Can you give me the definition of the word and tell me when I did that?

        • Richard Witty
          September 7, 2011, 11:37 am

          A good rationalization for not listening to others.

          Better that you encourage engagement.

          “nasty”?

        • Haytham
          September 7, 2011, 11:38 am

          Anyone ever notice that the only link Witty has ever provided is to his own blog?

        • Richard Witty
          September 7, 2011, 1:48 pm

          I apologized for misunderstanding that you or your parents were Palestinian Israelis. (I’m not sure which actually. I thought you said that you were an American now.)

          I’ve certainly linked MANY times to posts that I consider relevant, a great deal to Haaretz articles, some to American press.

          Time to start talking, and accepting others Haytham.

          I’ve not heard a word of appreciation for arguments, realities, that don’t contribute to a demonization of Israel.

        • Donald
          September 7, 2011, 7:35 pm

          Richard does occasionally provide links to interesting posts. I’ve thanked him for it. Most of his output here is valuable only in demonstrating the hypocrisy of many liberal Zionists with respect to human rights.

        • Chaos4700
          September 7, 2011, 8:00 pm

          We’ll start talking civilly, Witty, when you start caring about the 19-year-old American citizen that was murdered in international waters by Israel. We’ll start talking when you stop acting like an Israeli and start acting like a US citizen. Fair enough?

        • James
          September 8, 2011, 12:36 am

          with witty dialogue is always for promotional purposes of zionism… he always avoids painful truths that highlight the hypocrisy of zionism but will have a dialogue on the merits of zionism with carzy enough to engage.. this explains the comment from witty ‘not a lot of dialogue on this site’..

        • thankgodimatheist
          September 8, 2011, 4:20 am

          “She sited”
          “NPR interview sited”
          “Not a lot of dialog on this site.”

          It’s CITED.
          It’s DIALOGUE.
          And while I’m at it, it’s WEIRD not WIERD (It’s not in your comment above right now but it’s repeated enough to be highlighted)

        • thankgodimatheist
          September 8, 2011, 4:46 am

          “You propagate”

          Maybe you meant PROPAGANDISE?

        • Mooser
          September 8, 2011, 10:50 am

          “I’ve not heard a word of appreciation for arguments, realities, that don’t contribute to a demonization of Israel.”

          Translation: ‘I love you Phillip! How can you deny my feelings? Dump that Gentile harridan and marry me, a nice Jewish boy, and I’m very jealous of Adam Horowitz, too!”

    • Sumud
      September 7, 2011, 10:48 am

      In the NPR interview sited yesterday by Phil, Israel considered and most likely was willing (my expectation) to apologize and provide restitution aid to the families.

      Israel has offered to express regret but flatly refuses to apologise. Considering an apology is completely meaningless.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2011, 11:18 am

        The point was the bait and switch.

        I don’t have a high opinion in the slightest of Lieberman and Netanyahu. They’ve “successfully” devolved nearly everything they touch.

        They are uniquely contemptuous of others relationships.

        The long-term prospects for escalation and then armed conflict and then WW1 like spinning out of alliances in the region, is a grave danger.

        • Sumud
          September 7, 2011, 7:00 pm

          The point was the bait and switch.

          So Israel is the victim of a bait and switch scam? I don’t see how – I’ve known for many months that Turkey wanted an actual apology from Israel for killing their citizens. If I know, how can the Israeli Government not know?

          And WTF is wrong with Obama that isn’t demanding an apology for the killing of a US citizen by Israel during the attack on the flotilla?

          I don’t have a high opinion in the slightest of Lieberman and Netanyahu. They’ve “successfully” devolved nearly everything they touch.

          Yet you freely advocate for Lieberman’s campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Israelis, in fact an even more radical version of it. You might like to consider what you also are ‘devolving’…

        • James
          September 8, 2011, 12:40 am

          just when the dialogue looked like it might get going, witty has disappeared… no surprises from witty, lol… this conversation is of no benefit for zionism and no amount of talk from witty will change it..

      • marc b.
        September 7, 2011, 11:21 am

        Considering an apology is completely meaningless.

        really. what horse bleep. so apologize already. what’s stopping them?

    • Hostage
      September 7, 2011, 12:15 pm

      Ban Ki Moon as the “alleged secretary general of the UN”?

      I didn’t hear facts. I heard denunciations and highly editorial interpretation of the meaning in the report.

      Richard I already presented you with the facts on this a long time ago. It is a violation of the UN Charter for the Secretary-General to carry-on negotiations with member states over the findings of fact or conclusions of a UN panel of inquiry.
      link to mondoweiss.net
      link to mondoweiss.net
      link to mondoweiss.net

      *Immediately after the attack on the flotilla, the members of the Security Council issued a press release which condemned Israel. Many, like France, flatly stated that the blockade is illegal and unacceptable. The Council agreed that Israel was in violation of its resolution 1860 (2009) which ordered that the closure be lifted. See Security Council Condemns Acts Resulting In Civilian Deaths During Israeli Operation Against Gaza-Bound Aid Convoy, Calls For Investigation, In Presidential Statement
      link to un.org

      The use of a Security Council Presidential Statement did not follow the normal procedure of issuing a resolution which simply mandated the establishment of a fact finding mission. The Security Council would normally instruct the Secretary General to establish a subsidiary organ, under Security Council auspices, and to report back on the results. In this case there was only a press release, including a statement from the President of the Security Council, which agreed with the sentiments expressed by the Secretary General about the need for a full investigation. It did not suggest that the Secretary-General ought to conduct one on his own initiative.

      It is unprecedented for the Secretary-General to conduct a “full investigation” using an informal inquiry panel with no mandate from one of the political organs requiring member states to cooperate in turning-over evidence and supplying witnesses. In any event it is unthinkable that a “fair and impartial international inquiry” would allow the accused parties to negotiate the findings of fact or conclusions – much less be used as a device to shield the responsible parties from criminal liability. Article 100 of the UN Charter provides:

      1. In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.
      2. Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.

      • annie
        September 7, 2011, 3:03 pm

        It is a violation of the UN Charter for the Secretary-General to carry-on negotiations with member states over the findings of fact or conclusions of a UN panel of inquiry.

        thank you hostage, i was not aware of this until now.

    • libra
      September 7, 2011, 7:04 pm

      RW: “Israel should work to make a peace that allows trade to flow into Gaza, and through the path of unification with the PA, formation of an recognized international state, then responsible as a state.”

      Sounds reasonable Richard except you don’t really expect Israel to work nearly has hard as the Palestinians to agree to a two-state solution that saves “the Jewish state”. Because you don’t expect Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders and remove its settlers from the land they have stolen. All you have proposed is to move the borders back towards the 1967 borders and dump any settlers remaining outside the new borders on the Palestinians. Thus its all a sleight of hand, no stolen land is actually returned.

      No Richard, all your wonderful talk of reform, reconciliation, and acceptance makes far more sense in the context of a single, democratic state but that’s the one thing you’ve personally ruled out.

      • James
        September 8, 2011, 12:43 am

        rw has left the building, lol… your comments frighten him with the possibility of waking up and that is something he is obviously unwilling to do.. thanks libra..

    • Citizen
      September 8, 2011, 4:24 am

      Barak says no apology needed as Turkey’s just crying over spilled milk: link to ynetnews.com

  5. Richard Witty
    September 7, 2011, 11:30 am

    The report itself was not an insult to Turkey, as it described the use of Israeli force as excessive.

    Israel should apologize regardless of the immediate effect on relations between Turkey and Israel. Its the right thing to do, and secondarily will bear fruit in the future.

    Norman described the likelihood of Turkish support for the UN declaration as benefitting Palestine.

    I agree with him, and advocate for the US and Israel to support the Palestinian ratification petition.

    Many pro-Palestinian groups do not regard the Palestinian declaration as goal, but as a problem. Ali Abunimeh has articulated political problems associated with the declaration, particularly to dilution of emphasis on the right of return, and on advocacy for equal rights for Palestinians within Israel.

    It is a rubber nail in the coffin of a single-state, except of course through the process of non-confrontational relationship between Israel and Palestine as sovereign, leading to a degree of confidence that a federal government is possible.

    But, that is a long-term effort, requiring moderation on the part of all parties.

  6. gazacalling
    September 7, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Goodness, I’m in love with Finkelstein!

    Thanks so much, annie, kathleen, and peter!!

    • annie
      September 7, 2011, 3:04 pm

      me too gazacalling, completely head over heels. and a huge shout out to kathleen and pabelmont for bring it to our attention. did you read this part:

      NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, it was clear from the moment that Ban Ki-moon, the alleged secretary-general of the United Nations—it was clear from the moment he appointed Uribe on the panel that it was going to be a farce. Beyond all the crimes for which Mr. Uribe has been accused and also have been documented, he was also known as being very close to Israel and advocating closer military relations with Israel. So, from the get-go, from the moment the members were named, it was clear which way the report was going to go.

      But, you know, you always wonder, what are they going to come up with? How could they possibly justify certain things? They said that the blockade of Gaza—now, we have to be clear. They said the naval blockade was legal. They separated it from the land blockade, for technical reasons, which it’s no point in going into here. But they said the naval blockade was legal. And the grounds they gave were this: that Israel clearly faces security problems from Gaza, the rocket and mortar fire. OK. And they say, to document this security problem, since 2001, some 25 Israelis have been killed by these rocket and mortar attacks. Fair enough. And then they say that many people have suffered psychologically, psychological trauma from these attacks. Fair enough.

      Then there’s the other side of the equation. There is not one word, one syllable, on how many Gazans have perished as a result of Israeli attacks. It’s not 25. It’s not 250. It’s at least at an order of magnitude of 2,500. We’re not just talking about the 1,400 Palestinians who were killed in Operation Cast Lead. Israel always has operations in Gaza, has very fancy names—Operation Summer Rains, Operation Autumn Clouds, Operation Hot Winter, Operation Rainbow. All of it vanishes from this report. The only people who have suffered deaths in Gaza due to armed hostilities are Israelis.

      Now, let’s say it’s true. Fair enough. They have a right to impose a naval blockade to prevent weapons from going to Gaza, for security reasons. Don’t the people of Gaza have the right to impose a military blockade on Israel, to prevent weapons from going to Israel? You can’t even raise that question. It’s beyond their comprehension. In fact, the irony is, that’s the law. The law is, as Amnesty International pointed out in its report “Fueling Conflict,” under international law and domestic American law, it’s illegal to transfer weapons to any country or—any state or non-state party which is a consistent violator of human rights. So, if that commission, the Palmer Commission, named after, you know, the former New Zealand president, if they had any integrity, they would have said, OK, Israel has the right to impose a blockade on Gaza, and the international community” — because this is what Amnesty said. Amnesty says the international community has an obligation—that’s what they said—to impose an arms embargo on Israel, as well, because it’s a consistent violator of human rights.

      i love him. he’s a one man wrecking ball.

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2011, 6:37 pm

        And clearly a personal commitment to truth and justice that match his nerves of steel. Has put his own career and safety on the line.

      • Real Jew
        September 7, 2011, 11:08 pm

        Well said Annie. Norman F would have responded exactly as u did. As a matter of fact he did just that at a speaking engagment at Depaul University when one of the audience asked Norm about the psychological effects of war on Israeli children and citizens via mortar and rocket fire from Gaza.

        He replied: “thats a good question but your missing the other half of the equation. What psychological effects does Israeli air raids and constant military presence have on Palestinians….”.

        He then began to emphasis that statistically Israel has caused immeasurable amounts of terror and death then has their Palestinian counter parts. Sorry zios but numbers don’t lie

        • James
          September 8, 2011, 12:47 am

          thanks rj for making a point others here have tried to do regularly… israel acts like a terrorist on a regular basis towards the palestinians, but apparently no one outside of a few are able to call israels actions terrorism as plainly as you do here… as for the us gov’t and those in congress, they may as well be living in some suburb of tel aviv or something..

        • Real Jew
          September 8, 2011, 3:50 pm

          Lol. Absolutely James. If they are so concerned with Israel let the puppets in our govt move there and make room for people who are actually concerned with the American people

    • Kathleen
      September 7, 2011, 4:00 pm

      Norman’s site. Great video clips of his different talks. His books are must reads. This man has suffered personally for his brave stands. So focused on facts on the ground, international agreements…laws
      link to normanfinkelstein.com

      • john h
        September 7, 2011, 8:34 pm

        The report then cites the document’s statement of purpose, which reads, quote, “Purposes of this journey are to create an awareness amongst world public and international organizations on the inhumane and unjust embargo on Palestine and to contribute to end this embargo which clearly violates human rights and delivering humanitarian relief to the Palestinians.”

        Norman Finkelstein:

        “I have to say, last night, when I was reading the report, I was completely dumbfounded, and I had to keep repeating—rereading these passages over and over again. What the report stated—and all of your listeners should hear closely, because it was so shocking, SO MORALLY DEBASED—the report said that we doubt, or we question, the true motives of the organizers of the flotilla.

        They said, we have evidence that their real motive was not humanitarian. And the statement that you just quoted was the evidence that their real motive was not humanitarian, that they had this really sinister, nefarious motive. Their real motive was not humanitarian; the real motive was, they said, the report said, to cast publicity on Israel’s illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza.

        Now I have to say, that is—and I’m meaning this literally—IT IS A NEW LOW. This report does not claim that they were looking for a confrontation. IT HOLDS THEM MORALLY CULPABLE for trying to cast publicity on an illegal and inhumane blockade. With the Israelis, at least we’re in the same moral universe, and it’s a question of fact. What was the intent of these commandos—excuse me, what was the intent of the activists? Was it to get a confrontation, or was it to cast humanitarian—cast light on what’s happening?

        BUT WITH THIS REPORT, WE’VE ENTERED A NEW MORAL UNIVERSE. They are actually saying that to cast light on an illegal and inhumane blockade is A MORALLY SINISTER ACT.”

        • Hostage
          September 8, 2011, 1:05 am

          IT IS A NEW LOW. This report does not claim that they were looking for a confrontation. IT HOLDS THEM MORALLY CULPABLE for trying to cast publicity on an illegal and inhumane blockade.

          Yes. If you had repeated the contents of fact finding reports published and endorsed by the ICRC and the United Nations, the Palmer Inquiry Committee automatically assumed that constituted evidence that your real motive is not humanitarian. That seems to be based upon a completely untenable reading of Article 59 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The official commentary provides that

          The International Committee of the Red Cross or any other “impartial humanitarian organization” has the same right as a State to undertake relief schemes. . . . . The Convention does not lay down any rule in regard to the donors; the immensity of the needs will make it desirable to accept the co-operation of any person, organization or institution which can lend assistance, provided that such assistance is not used for purposes of political propaganda.

          So, the ICRC and United Nations relief agencies which have declared the blockade and closure of Gaza to be illegal are recognized as impartial humanitarian organizations by both the signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the authors of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea. The Palmer Inquiry ignored information from reliable open sources. The majority of mandate holders concluded from the available facts on the ground that the cumulative effects of the blockade amounted to a serious war crime and crime against humanity.

          The blockade is an integral part of the Gaza closure. The ICRC has declared that whole undertaking to be an illegal form of collective punishment imposed on the protected civilian population of Gaza.

          The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law .

          link to icrc.org

          The UN Secretariat has authored and published a fact finding report, “The grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza strip (Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1), A/HRC/13/54, 17 March 2010. It stated that:

          While the rights to health and water are given special attention below, the full range of human rights of the Gaza population continues to be violated on a regular basis, in particular as a consequence of the blockade. . . . The blockade of Gaza continues to further deprive the population. Denied basic supplies and services, 1.5 million persons are subjected to a worsening humanitarian crisis that disregards their human dignity. The blockade has had a devastating impact on a broad range of human rights of Gazans — more than half of whom are children — most notably impeding the fulfilment of core human rights such as the rights to health, water, food, shelter, work and education. . . . The blockade of Gaza results in grave and widespread human rights violations, including in relation to the fulfilment of the right to health and the right to adequate, safe drinking water. Furthermore, Israel’s blockade impedes the reconstruction or repair of thousands of homes destroyed or damaged during Operation Cast Lead, resulting in violations to the right to adequate housing.

          link to un.org

          The UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly have endorsed the UN Fact Finding Mission Report on the Gaza Conflict, A/HRC/12/48, 25 September 2009. It devoted entire chapters to a detailed description of the cumulative impact of the blockade and the Mission’s conclusions. The Mission report stated:

          the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed. . . . In June 2009, more than 40 United Nations and other humanitarian agencies urged Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza,where nearly everyone depends on international humanitarian assistance, and indiscriminate sanctions are affecting the entire population of 1.5 million.

          link to www2.ohchr.org

          The “Report of the international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance, A/HRC/15/21, 27 September 2010 cited the ICRC report and also noted:

          the Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations of 3 September 2010 (CCPR/C/ISR/CO/3, para 8), expressed its concern at the “effects of the blockade on the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, including restrictions to their freedom of movement, some of which led to deaths of patients in need of urgent medical care, as well as restrictions on the access to sufficient drinking water and adequate sanitation.” It recommended that Israel lift the military blockade of Gaza, insofar as it adversely affects the civilian population.

          link to unispal.un.org

          The Zionists, of course, always exploited the voyages of the Patria and Exodus 47 for political propaganda, e.g.:

          Before there was a nation of Israel, an inexperienced crew of young Americans climbed aboard a rusted American ferryboat and set out to transport thousands of Jewish holocaust survivors past the British blockade of Palestine.

          link to insideout.wbur.org

    • Mooser
      September 8, 2011, 10:52 am

      Oy, you’re in love with Finklestein, Witty’s in love with Phil, and Cohen’s on the telephone. And if I get the chance tonight, I’ll propagate like crazy!

      • LeaNder
        September 8, 2011, 5:40 pm

        Point – Counterpoint.

        Mooser, Mooser no twins or multiples for the fields in Judea & Samaria, please.

  7. David Green
    September 7, 2011, 1:44 pm

    “annie,” just a couple of questions.

    Don’t you think that those who follow the issue already know about this interview, and learn nothing from you posting it here?

    Second, you haven’t answered my query regarding JVP, and interestingly, you haven’t commented on the current JVP-related thread. What gives?

    Again, what are your views on JVP, clearly and in standard English.

    Finally, why are you playing amateur detective about my identity. I’ve got plenty of stuff under my name on the web, just google my name and Champaign IL. You can even see my picture if you want to look at an article in the Public I, from my local Indepdendent Media Center (ucimc.org). You can even look me up on Facebook, and see what I look like.

    Annie, you don’t publicize your identity. That’s up to you. Don’t play amateur detective with those who are public on this website.

    Again, stop being such a coward about JVP–why do they not meet your standards?

    Oh, by the way, isn’t Finkelstein one of those terrible people who oppose the Lobby argument? Why, I even heard him at an event sponsored by JVP. Perhaps you need to start researching his true identity. He needs to be outed.

    • Shingo
      September 7, 2011, 5:56 pm

      Don’t you think that those who follow the issue already know about this interview, and learn nothing from you posting it here?

      What an odd question?What seems to be the problem David? 

      That you are already familiar with Fink’s arguments? 
      That you are concerned that those who visit this site but don’t comment, might be informed by this post?

      That it further highlights the ridiculousness of the Palmer – Uribe Report, which you and your fellow hasbrats were hoping would provide goon PR for Israel?

       Oh, by the way, isn’t Finkelstein one of those terrible people who oppose the Lobby argument?

      Indeed, just like Tzipi Livni agreed with the Israel is a pariah state argument.

    • Taxi
      September 7, 2011, 7:19 pm

      “clearly and in standard English”.

      Getoutahere boringpompousass!

    • Donald
      September 8, 2011, 12:21 am

      “Don’t you think that those who follow the issue already know about this interview, and learn nothing from you posting it here?”

      Maybe you should stick to writing posts about Israel and US foreign policy, because when you let your personal animosities gain control of your fingers (there’s no sign the brain is involved) you type some of the dumbest comments I’ve ever seen.

  8. Hostage
    September 7, 2011, 5:59 pm

    Oh, by the way, isn’t Finkelstein one of those terrible people who oppose the Lobby argument?

    Perhaps. He says it isn’t an either or situation. Norman is being overly optimistic about Israel serving as “the only stable and secure base for projecting U.S. power in this region.” That’s never happened yet and it isn’t likely to ever happen. For example, the US had to rely on abandoned Russian air bases in Egypt when selecting a staging area for the hostage rescue attempt in Iran. Israel and most of our NATO allies refused to allow overflights or refueling at bases in their territories.

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