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Norman Finkelstein’s new book on Gaza is a meticulous account of Israel’s crimes

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GAZA: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom
By Norman Finkelstein
440 pp. University of California Press, $34.95

Norman Finkelstein has the moral gravity of an Old Testament prophet, the scrupulous attention to detail of a Talmudic scholar, and the mordant sense of humor of a Yiddish novelist. All these attributes are on display in Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom, an indictment of Israel’s crimes in the overcrowded Palestinian territory from 2008 up to the present.

The criminal pattern of Israel’s ongoing blockade, punctuated by murderous assaults against the civilian population of the beleaguered territory, will not be news to anyone who follows Israel/Palestine. But the cumulative impact of Finkelstein’s meticulously-documented 408-page chronicle is devastating, and it will leave the reader stunned that the worldwide reaction is so muted.

Finkelstein does have one major new finding. He argues that the major international human rights organizations, after effectively denouncing Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008-09, have since quieted down, to the point that Human Rights Watch issued only one feeble report after the biggest Israeli attack of all in 2014. Israel’s hasbara (propaganda), along with other kinds of pressure, is successfully whitewashing Israeli crimes.

Finkelstein deals in turn with Operation Cast Lead (2008-09; 1400 Gazans dead, including 350 children); the assault on the Mavi Marmara ship that was bringing medical and other supplies to the territory (9 dead); the less well-known Operation Pillar of Defense (2012; 100 dead, 35 children); and the most savage attack to date, Operation Protective Edge (51 days in 2014; 2200 dead, 550 children). He points out that by contrast, a total of 86 Israelis died in all these assaults, and of the 73 Israeli casualties in the 2014 invasion, fully 67 were Israeli combatants.

Throughout, Finkelstein thoroughly disproves Israel’s justification for its assaults, that they constituted “self-defense.” He points out that Hamas, the largest Palestinian political force in Gaza, did not start the regular hostilities; in fact, the organization showed growing signs of compromise with the reality of Israel, as Hamas’s policy was characterized by what Finkelstein calls “flagrant pragmatism.” Hamas also signed on to a 2014 agreement to end its feud with its rival, Fatah. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened by the specter of Palestinian unity, staged raids across the West Bank; Finkelstein explains that “the rampage was patently tailored to elicit a violent response from Hamas, so as to ‘prove’ it was a terrorist organization.”

Finkelstein being arrested in New York during a protest against Israel’s assault on Gaza. (Photo: Eamon Murphy)

Netanyahu issued propaganda during the 2014 Protective Edge assault over what he called “terror tunnels” under the Gaza border, supposedly aimed at Israeli kindergartens. Finkelstein reminds us that in fact not one single attack through the tunnels targeted Israeli civilians. He also dismisses the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, calling most of them “bottle rockets” or “fireworks,” nearly all of which landed harmlessly. He quotes the Hamas leader Khalid Meshal: “Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world.”

Finkelstein also crushes the hasbara charge that Hamas and Gaza used civilian “human shields” during the fighting, which Israel and its apologists say partly excuses the high Palestinian civilian death toll. He finds that there is not a single credible piece of evidence for the human shield claim, nor is there any proof that Hamas hid weapons in mosques and schools.

He is impatient with the tortured efforts by Israelis and others, including lawyers and ethics professors, to justify Israel’s criminal tactics. He explains that one such scholar, Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University, said that “Israel had the moral right to flatten all of Gaza.” Finkelstein adds wryly, “Steinberg founded the university’s program on conflict resolution and management.”

Finkelstein devotes considerable energy to the Goldstone Report, the 2009 investigative mission sponsored by the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded that Operation Cast Lead was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.” He has scorn for Richard Goldstone’s eventual recantation of his own panel’s report, mixed with some understanding of the overwhelming pressure Israel brought to bear on the previously respected South African jurist. Finkelstein does show that hard facts still rebut Goldstone’s recantation.

Israel’s 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara is next, and Finkelstein demolishes Tel Aviv’s dishonest argument that its commandos were fighting for their lives during a desperate melee on board the ship. He asks how the ship’s passengers somehow “plotted and armed themselves to kill Israelis, but didn’t even manage to kill those in their custody, whereas the Israelis took every precaution and exercised every restraint not to kill anyone, but ended up killing nine people.” (Ultimately ten with the death of a Turkish man left in a coma.)

In the book, Finkelstein relies heavily on Breaking the Silence, the truth-telling organization of former Israeli soldiers, and points out, “None of the hundreds of testimonies collected over more than a decade has ever been proven false. . .”

His most original finding — and one of the most alarming — is that the mainstream international human rights organizations have been silencing themselves about Gaza. He writes that Human Rights Watch “just barely issued one report” after the 2014 Protective Edge attack, which was the deadliest assault so far. Amnesty International did somewhat better, but he goes on at great length to argue that Amnesty’s reports were so contorted as to constitute a “whitewash.” He also charges that B’Tselem, the most prominent Israeli human rights group, also “acquitted itself without distinction in its reporting on Gaza.”

His conclusion is deeply pessimistic. He unsurprisingly dismisses the “peace process” as a fraud, and warns that Israel’s power and influence in growing, both in the Mideast and worldwide. “Meanwhile,” he concludes, “Palestine’s star is on the wane,” partly because “the cause of Palestine has now been eclipsed by the numberless humanitarian crises wracking the Middle East.” He predicts that Palestine “will be reduced to the minuscule weight of its demography and territory, and come more slowly to resemble the self-determination struggles in East Timor and Western Sahara.”

Norman Finkelstein has been at the top of Hasbara Central’s Enemies List for more than 3 decades. Over the years, the pro-Israel forces have slandered him, tried to deprive him of his teaching career, and even sought to prevent him from publishing. He is unbowed, continuing to bear witness from his study in the far reaches of Brooklyn. The hasbarists will certainly try to discredit his new book on Gaza. They should be daunted by the fact that he has never once been successfully challenged on matters of fact and hard evidence. Never once.

About James North

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43 Responses

  1. Boris
    January 25, 2018, 1:01 pm

    Finkelstein is a tragic figure. Most of his “Holocaust Industry” was right on mark.

    However, he is a Marxist, and as such in Arab-Israel conflict he tends to stick to his global ideology while ignoring obvious facts.

    And these facts are – Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel and they are not just quietly praying for that. Even casus belli does not exist, a pretext will be found to cut them to size. The rest is commentary.

    However, Finkelstein conclusion is interesting — Israel’s long term strategy is winning. Good!!!

    • Citizen
      January 25, 2018, 4:00 pm

      The 1988 charter differs greatly from the most recent charter leaked last year: Read the full translated text of the leaked revised Hamas charter here: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/translated-leaked-charter/

      Does the latter remain to be ratified? If so, by whom?

      • Talkback
        January 25, 2018, 4:29 pm

        Don’t trouble Boris with facts. He doesn’t understand the concept.

        He thinks that whitewashing war crimes and keeping Nonjews oppressed is a Jewish success story.

        Here’s another one:
        “In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians.”
        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/magazine/how-arafat-eluded-israels-assassination-machine.html

      • Boris
        January 26, 2018, 1:00 am

        … most recent charter leaked last year

        Do you have any more recent leaks?

    • Talkback
      January 25, 2018, 4:00 pm

      Boris: “And these facts are – Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel and they are not just quietly praying for that.”

      Zionism has always been about the “destruction” of Palestine. First politically and since 1948 physically. Nowadays more than 78% of Palestine has been destroyed by Zionists and the destruction of Palestine grows with every illegal settlement.

      Hamas wishes to restore the unity of Palestine. Likud wants Palestine to be destroyed forever.

      • Misterioso
        January 26, 2018, 11:38 am

        @Boris

        To be brief:
        Of course, you and your ilk have had a hate on for Dr. Finkelstein since he utterly demolished Joan Peters’ mountain of mendacity, “From Time Immemorial…” published in 1984. (As did other scholars, e.g., Professor Yehoshua Porath, one of Israel’s leading demographic historians, who called Peters’ book a “forgery… [that] was almost universally dismissed [in Israel] as sheer rubbish except maybe as a propaganda weapon.” – New York Times, Nov.28, 1985)

        In fact, Hamas has long since agreed to conclude a peace agreement with Israel based on the June 4/67 borders, i.e., a mere 22% of historic Palestine:
        “Ismail Haniyeh, addressing a rare news conference in the Israeli-blockaded enclave, signaled a softening of Hamas’s long-standing position prohibiting the ceding of any part of the land of what was British-mandated Palestine until 1948.”

        “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010)

        Needless to say, Israel rejected the 2010 overture and refused to use it as an opening for discussions as it did with Hamas’s recent offer based on its 2017 revised Charter.

        As for Netanyahu and the Likud party, here’s a brief summation of their positions that explain why the conflict continues:

        The Likud Party Platform:

        a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”

        b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”

        c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

        d. “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction, dispossession and oppression in occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands.

        Indeed, it is readily apparent that Israel’s objective is to seize and incorporate all of historic Palestine and brutally subjugate its indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants in order to “encourage” them to emigrate elsewhere.

        Israel is also intent on retaining Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms/Kfarshuba hills, which it invaded and ethnically cleansed during the war it launched on 5 June 1967 and has illegally occupied since.)

      • Nathan
        January 27, 2018, 3:31 pm

        Misterioso – Your claim that “Hamas has long since agreed to conclude a peace agreement with Israel based on the June 4/67 borders” is absolutely false. Actually, it’s quite puzzling that anyone who tries to follow the conflict could say such an obvious untruth. Besides having missed the many Hamas declarations vis-a-vis the ultimate fate of Israel, apparently you don’t know anything about the Islamic Brotherhood (the parent organization of Hamas).

      • gamal
        January 27, 2018, 5:58 pm

        “the Islamic Brotherhood”….?

        there has been a spiel malfunction….

      • JLewisDickerson
        January 29, 2018, 6:18 am

        RE: “Besides having missed the many Hamas declarations vis-a-vis the ultimate fate of Israel, apparently you don’t know anything about the Islamic Brotherhood (the parent organization of Hamas).” ~ Nathan (above)

        SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas” | By Andrew Higgins | The Wall Street Journal | January 24, 2009

        [EXCERPTS] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.

        “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

        Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .

        . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.

        “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .

        ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

    • Brewer
      January 25, 2018, 4:23 pm

      Thanks Boris. I always enjoy a little nonsensical hasbara with my morning coffee.
      This:
      “Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel” is simply hasbara shorthand for “Israel as a Jewish supremacy based state is incompatible with International Law and norms”.

      Suggest you re-calibrate your Hamas-o-meter to reflect the 2017 revised charter:
      http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/hamas-charter-1637794876

      A few clauses:

      12. The Palestinian cause in its essence is a cause of an occupied land and a displaced people. The right of the Palestinian refugees and the displaced to return to their homes from which they were banished or were banned from returning to – whether in the lands occupied in 1948 or in 1967 (that is the whole of Palestine), is a natural right, both individual and collective. This right is confirmed by all divine laws as well as by the basic principles of human rights and international law. It is an inalienable right and cannot be dispensed with by any party, whether Palestinian, Arab or international.

      20. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus.

      Feel free to discuss any or all provisions of the charter that you find incompatible with natural justice.

      If Israel can be “destroyed” by conforming to universally accepted morality and, furthermore, refuses to accept a two-state solution, I suggest its legitimacy can now be seriously questioned.
      Israel’s refusal to obey International Law and permit the right of return for all Palestinians is still the issue.

      • Rusty Pipes
        January 25, 2018, 5:40 pm

        And then there’s Likud’s “charter.”

      • Boris
        January 26, 2018, 1:02 am

        Suggest you re-calibrate your Hamas-o-meter to reflect the 2017 revised charter:

        Is that the “leaked” one?

      • Brewer
        January 26, 2018, 5:20 pm

        The Likud Platform:

        a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”

        b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel.
        The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”

        c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

        d. “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.

        According to Boris, “Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel “ yet their charter clearly contemplates a two-state solution.

        According to Likud, a Palestinian State will never even be contemplated.

        It is also instructive to consider the Netanyahu attitude to honesty and good faith negotiations:

        https://youtu.be/6TG0vdzrmt4?t=112

      • Talkback
        January 27, 2018, 7:14 am

        Brewer: “According to Boris, “Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel “ yet their charter clearly contemplates a two-state solution.

        According to Likud, a Palestinian State will never even be contemplated.”

        I don’t think that Hamas “contemplates” a two-state solution. But it accepts that this is the national consensus. They seem to be more moderate than Likud (or even Israel’s national consensus). LOL.

    • Marnie
      January 25, 2018, 11:53 pm

      Another ‘shit’ and run courtesy of Boris. I thought you were through posting here Boris dear? You should do something about that monkey on your back.

    • Kathleen
      January 29, 2018, 4:21 pm

      Finkelstein is a truth teller and basis everything he writes on facts. He is a brave and heroic individual. Clearly Boris you would not recognize the truth or a brave and heroic individual since you are committed to keeping your head up where the sun does not shine.

  2. David Samel
    January 25, 2018, 2:23 pm

    This book is Finkelstein at his best. He is a thorough, careful, and relentless chronicler of the worst of Israel’s deliberate slaughter and immiseration of its Palestinian victims. His selfless efforts on behalf of Palestinians have cost him his livelihood and career.

    Still, he remains a dedicated two-stater who has disparaged both one-staters and the BDS movement as a whole. This earned him the enmity of Ali Abunimah and Steven Salaita, who smeared him as comparable to the utterly loathsome Alan Dershowitz. I greatly respect both of them, but think their hatchet job on Finkelstein was grossly unfair, given his immense contributions to the Palestinian cause. Finkelstein has stubbornly clung to the illusory and undesirable vision of a 2SS and his dismissal of BDS was arrogant and ill-informed, but his overwhelmingly positive efforts cannot reasonably be denied.

    • Rusty Pipes
      January 25, 2018, 3:09 pm

      Finkelstein’s continued support for a 2SS is based in large part on his commitment to International Law and his estimation of what is possible in International fora based on Israel’s protection by American politicians. I’d be interested in hearing his take on what Palestine’s options are at the UN and ICC, in the aftermath of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

      • Citizen
        January 25, 2018, 3:41 pm

        Me too.

    • LHunter
      January 25, 2018, 4:31 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. I disagree with finkelstein on the 2SS and his take on BDS but I have the greatest respect for his work and contributions – every Palestinian should in my opinion. He is steadfast in his support and a true scholar.

      He has been calling on the Palestinians to make this fight a legal one and to exploit all such avenues in international courts/tribunals and forums. Can’t argue against that.

      I was saddened to hear he has a deeply pessimistic outlook for Palestinians. Not sure the Palestinian conflict will languish like the struggles in East Timor or Western Sahara given there is much more representation and support for Palestinians in the West. Having said that, the status quo can hum along for decades unless and until countries decide to sanction/isolate Israel. Without a punishment or threat of one apartheid shall continue.

    • Jackdaw
      January 26, 2018, 3:09 am

      SJP and Ali Abunimah have made Finkelstein persona non grata on college campuses.
      Therefore, it is they, who are comparable to the utterly loathsome Alan Dershowitz, who did the same to Finkelstein.

  3. Rusty Pipes
    January 25, 2018, 3:35 pm

    While it is not the focus of Finkelstein’s book, his indictment of the neglect of Gaza by purported “human rights” organizations is searing. Anyone who has followed the neocon/neolib assaults on Libya and Syria closely cannot have failed to see how Amnesty International and especially Human Rights Watch have been complicit in American, British and French efforts to launch regime change in those countries based on the questionable “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine. While HRW has been a constant presence on Corporate media hyping the threat of Barrel Bombs and Chemical Weapons (based on allegations from Al-Qaeda-linked activists) in Syria, it has neglected to publicize the evidence of Genocide in Gaza. When concern for “Human Rights” is used as a weapon in America’s foreign policy arsenal, its enemies get targeted (even if allegations get manufactured) and its friends get a free pass. When organizations that claim to promote Human Rights reflect America’s (Britain’s or France’s) foreign policy priorities, they do not deserve the right to be respected as “independent”:

    Finkelstein does have one major new finding. He argues that the major international human rights organizations, after effectively denouncing Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008-09, have since quieted down, to the point that Human Rights Watch issued only one feeble report after the biggest Israeli attack of all in 2014. Israel’s hasbara (propaganda), along with other kinds of pressure, is successfully whitewashing Israeli crimes.

    His most original finding — and one of the most alarming — is that the mainstream international human rights organizations have been silencing themselves about Gaza. He reports that Human Rights Watch “just barely issued one report” after the 2014 Protective Edge attack, which was the deadliest assault so far. Amnesty International did somewhat better, but he goes on at great length to argue that Amnesty’s reports were so contorted as to constitute a “whitewash.” He also charges that B’Tselem, the most prominent Israeli human rights group, also “acquitted itself without distinction in its reporting on Gaza.”

    His conclusion is deeply pessimistic. He unsurprisingly dismisses the “peace process” as a fraud, and warns that Israel’s power and influence in growing, both in the Mideast and worldwide. “Meanwhile,” he concludes, “Palestine’s star is on the wane,” partly because “the cause of Palestine has now been eclipsed by the numberless humanitarian crises wracking the Middle East.” He predicts that Palestine “will be reduced to the minuscule weight of its demography and territory, and come more slowly to resemble the self-determination struggles in East Timor and Western Sahara.”

    • MHughes976
      January 25, 2018, 4:47 pm

      These opinions are a counterweight, to be considered seriously, to the arguments we see here on Mondoweiss that things are going our way.

      • Rusty Pipes
        January 25, 2018, 5:37 pm

        Palestine’s star is on the wane among several Arab nations that have been its wealthiest backers, like Saudi Arabia, that are publicly normalizing relations with Israel and pressuring other Arab nations that they support financially, like parties in Lebanon, to follow suit. The Saudis have not been entirely successful in their efforts. Finkelstein discounts the shifting politics toward Palestine in Europe and among American young people, who follow events in Palestine through social media and in spite of the neglect of the MSM and Human Rights groups.

    • Donald Johnson
      January 25, 2018, 5:57 pm

      I think you are right. I used to have great respect for HRW and AI and still will read their reports, but for whatever reason I think they have drifted into the orbit of the foreign policy establishment.

  4. Keith
    January 25, 2018, 4:47 pm

    JAMES NORTH- “His most original finding — and one of the most alarming — is that the mainstream international human rights organizations have been silencing themselves about Gaza.”

    The Western human rights NGOs are the missionaries of empire. Human Rights Watch has deep ties to Jewish Zionism, George Soros and the Clinton Democrats. They are increasingly bad as we near crunch time and the stakes grow higher. Western human rights NGOs are a fraud, their tepid criticism of Israel and empire designed to limit the debate and control opposition. Their support for “humanitarian” intervention a disgrace. They represent yet another example of Jewish Zionist influence over the doctrinal system.

  5. Marnie
    January 25, 2018, 11:52 pm

    The only way I see any expedient end to the occupation and the state of israel as it has existed since its bastard birth, would be an astronomical cock up on its part – accidentally on purpose executing a citizen or politician without seeing or understanding the ramifications on a ‘yuge’ scale and therefore facing repercussions it has never experienced before, worldwide condemnation, sanctions, and the shame it has deserved for over 70 years of oppression, murder and theft. I am afraid that this rogue state will actually use those nuclear weapons in Dimona; it won’t take much except the election of someone that finds netanyahoo isn’t quite right enough.

  6. Kay24
    January 26, 2018, 12:46 am

    I congratulate Norm Finklestein for this new book. I listened to him speak at Princeton University during the time of the last massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in 2014, and was very impressed with what he said, and how he said it. If only there were many more Norms, that will amplify the criticism of this brutal regime in Israel. The world now sees the US as a partner in Israel’s crimes.

  7. Jackdaw
    January 26, 2018, 3:05 am

    Does Professor Finkelstein delve into the cause of the Gaza War? The kidnap and murder of three innocent boys by Hamas?

    Does Professor Finkelstein consider how many Gazan deaths could have been avoided had Hamas accepted a unilateral ceasefire proposal? A ceasefire that Israel accepted.

    Yes, Professor Finkelstein is correct, Prime Minister Netanyahu knew that the kidnapped boys were probably dead but continued the military search operation in the West Bank anyway. But what difference does that make? Israel still had to search the West Bank for the boy’s killers.

    Although Hamas started the war and Hamas continued the war when they refused a ceasefire
    in the Mondoweiss-BDS-Finkelstein echo chamber, all the blood is on Israel’s hands. All the blood save the blood of the three innocent Jewish boys that Hamas slaughtered like lambs.

    • Marnie
      January 27, 2018, 9:23 am

      What a crock. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 3 israelis were kidnaped and murdered by the shin bet as a prelude to war. Netanyahoo’s inciteful and shameful speech at the funerals was a blue and white production of the worst kind. The real reason for the war on Gaza was the news that Hamas and the PLO had declared their intentions to work together.

      The 2014 Fatah–Hamas Agreements were two successive reconciliation agreements between Fatah and Hamas, concluded in 2014. The Gaza Agreement was signed in Gaza City on 23 April by Ismail Haniyeh and a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Its main purpose was reconciliation between the parties and the formation of a national unity government within five weeks, to be followed by general elections in December.[1][2]

      On 25 September, almost 4 months after the formation of the Palestinian Unity Government of June 2014, the Cairo Agreement was concluded in Cairo between Haniyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas. It specified the tasks and responsibilities of the new Government. The Government would assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip, work on re-activation of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and implement the 2006 National Conciliation Document and the National Reconciliation Document of 5 April 2011.[3]

      The Gaza agreement was signed in Gaza City on 23 April 2014 by Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas, and a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation delegation dispatched by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Its main purposes were reconciliation between the parties and the formation of a national unity government within five weeks, to be followed by general elections in December.[1][2]

      Reactions[edit]

      Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, who was involved in the negotiation, described the deal as an “end to the division between the Palestinian people.”[4]

      Israel reacted angrily. The government announced that it would halt peace talks with the Palestinians.[5] Israel also announced new sanctions, including a previously announced Israeli plan to unilaterally deduct Palestinian debts to Israeli companies from the tax revenue Israel collects for the PA,[6][7] in contravention of the Oslo Accords.

      Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas of sabotaging peace efforts. He said that Abbas cannot have peace with both Hamas and Israel and has to choose.[1][2] Abbas said, the deal did not contradict their commitment to peace with Israel on the basis of a two-state solution[8] and assured reporters that any unity government would recognize Israel, be non-violent, and bound to previous PLO agreements.[9]

      Politically speaking, some Israeli commentators have stated that the political landscape of Israel may shift to the right and towards more skepticism of the peace process as a result of the Fatah–Hamas agreement.[10]

      The US said it was troubled by the announcement, which “could seriously complicate” negotiations to extend peace negotiations and could implications, inter alia regarding aid.[1]

      The EU welcomed the agreement, but said the priority remains peace talks with Israel.[5]
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Fatah–Hamas_Agreements

  8. jon s
    January 26, 2018, 4:38 am

    I haven’t read Prof. Finkelstein’s book, but, judging from this review, his “facts and hard evidence” are questionable:
    -Hamas use of hospitals, schools, mosques and civilian residences as launching sites and arms depots has been reported and documented by non-Israeli sources.
    -The Mavi Marmara was not carrying “medical and other supplies”.
    -Hamas rockets and mortars are lethal and have caused civilian casualties. They haven’t caused more casualties because , fortunately ,we have the “Iron Dome ” sytem, an early warning system, shelters and ” security rooms”. Hamas wouldn’t dream of investing in shelters for their people.
    Tunnels have not (yet) been used to attack Israeli civilians because the IDF so far has been on guard and has prevented such attacks. Are we supposed to wait for such attacks to occur?

    • Cazador
      January 26, 2018, 10:52 am

      PLEASE MODERATOR, USE THIS VERSION. THE FIRST ONE ABOVE WAS ACCEPTED AS I WAS MODIFYING IT TO MAKE THIS VERSION:

      jon s,

      «The Mavi Marmara was not carrying “medical and other supplies”.»

      Were you there? Did you see weapons, ieds and other types of explosives?

      As I recall, the illegal Israeli act of piracy in international waters against the Mavi Marmara’s passengers was done in such a way that no other video version of the Israeli pirates was allowed by Israel. It so easy to make a fake one and publish it worldwide by Israel. After all, they, the zionists, have accustomed the whole world about their lies, coups d’État against Palestine, their bombings of hospitals, radio stations, sewage treatment installations, the total control of access to electricity, drinkable water, medical supplies, access to health services only available in Israel, besides multiple acts of genocide and apartheid. The list is most likely much longer. Pertaining to Israel’s wrongdoings, the National Geographics published an excellent article a couple of decades ago, if not more, showing the Israeli excesses (water use and other essential services like electricity, roads…) at the cost of the Palestinians.

      As for Professor Norman G Finkelstein, who lost his professoral carreer thanks to US Jewish pressure, he is the honest Brave of the Braves defendor of justice for the Palestinians, associating Israel zionism to German fascism in this video of a speech to students of the University of Waterloo, a well known situation he calls the Holocaust Industry, the excuse for Israel to keep imposing suffering, land theft and death upon the Palestinians :

      Long live Professor Norman G Finkelstein!

      • Maghlawatan
        January 26, 2018, 11:17 am

        Jon s revealed his true colours in 2014. As an Israeli history teacher he specialises in fakery.

      • Maghlawatan
        January 26, 2018, 11:17 am

        Fink is a legend. I love that video.
        Jon s is an ideologue

      • jon s
        January 30, 2018, 4:49 am

        I never said that it was carrying weapons ieds and other explosives. I just wrote factually that it was not carrying medical or other supplies.

  9. Misterioso
    January 26, 2018, 3:51 pm

    For the record:
    1.
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/un-recommends-that-israel-halt-settlement-expansion-1.5766686?utm_campaign=newsletter-breaking-news&utm_medium=email&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_content=%2Fisrael-news%2Fun-recommends-that-israel-halt-settlement-expansion1.5766686

    “UN Issues 240 Recommendations for Israel, Including Halting Settlement Expansion
    Israel said it would need time to review the recommendations”
    The Associated Press and Haaretz. Jan 25, 2018

    2.
    http://samidoun.net/2018/01/french-intellectuals-statement-on-palestinian-child-prisoners-published-in-le-monde/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    “French intellectuals’ statement on Palestinian child prisoners published in “Le Monde’”

    3.
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-u-k-to-transfer-70m-for-palestinian-refugees-following-u-s-aid-cut-1.5749876?utm_campaign=newsletter-middle-east&utm_medium=email&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_content=%2Fmiddle-east-news%2Fpalestinians%2F.premium-1.5749876

    “Britain ‘Remains Committed’ to Supporting Palestinian Refugees, Will Transfer $70 Million”

    “Britain plans on providing Palestinians ‘around £50 million in 2017/18,’ its Minister of State for Middle East announces” Noa Landau. Jan 21, 2018

    4.
    https://www.wrmea.org/music-and-arts/jerusalem-growing-in-size-and-depravity.html
    Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,

    Review of Paola Caridi’s book, “Jerusalem Without God, Portrait of A Cruel City”

    EXCERPT:
    “Given its deep significance to the world’s three major monotheistic religions, outsiders often view Jerusalem through the prism of faith, as a place defined by ancient events. In her new book, Jerusalem Without God: Portrait of a Cruel City, Italian journalist Paola Caridi doesn’t dismiss or downplay the city’s august spiritual significance. Rather, she sets aside the city’s religious aura to reflect on the everyday functioning of today’s modern, earthly city. Her conclusion is a solemn one; she portrays a Jerusalem bereft of humanity, where cruelty reigns and the very basic characteristics of a city are absent.”

    5.
    http://www.nwttac.canada.dci-palestine.org/petition_stop_israeli_military_detention

    No Way to Treat A Child, Canada
    Article and petition.
    EXCERPT:
    “Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes around 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights.

    “Three out of every four of these children endure some form of physical violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers or police officers following arrest. In 97 percent of the cases, children are interrogated without legal counsel and without their parents.

    “Israeli officials and armed forces often exhibit complete disregard for international law and Palestinian children find themselves living in an increasingly militarized environment where Israeli forces and settlers operate with near complete impunity.”

    • Cazador
      January 26, 2018, 5:01 pm

      Misterioso,

      The illegal conduct of zionist Israel against Palestinian children and adolescents is another Israeli defiance of international law, justice and behavior.

      Unfortunately, the quieter brave Jews whose opinions are totally against Israeli fascism, if not singularly better called nazionism, can be targeted just as well as the zionists, the hasbara liars and whoever keeps promoting Israel as a fair, victim, open-minded country. That could put those just and humanist Jews in dangerous situations if the Arabs and other victims of Israel had enough and decided to replicate by force against the abusive military exactions of Israel, its illegal armed settlers/thieves, etc.

      This documentary, Occupation 101, has been available for many years. It shows how Palestinians and Jews lived in peace and friendship together in Palestine before the European zionist Jews started landing in Palestine by boatloads as early as 1945, after WWII, with the guns provided to them by the British during that war, and with the expertise they had received from the British as terrorist organizations fighting the Nazis.

      Occupation 101 :

      • Misterioso
        January 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

        @Cazador

        Thanks for the link.

        Here’s more grist for the mill:

        Video: ‘Stone Cold Justice’ on Israel’s torture of Palestinian children

        “A film produced by a group of Australian journalists has sparked an international outcry against Israel after it explicitly detailed Tel Aviv’s use of torture against Palestinian children.

        “The film, titled ‘Stone Cold Justice’ documents how Palestinian children, who have been arrested and detained by Israeli forces, are subjected to physical abuse, torture and forced into false confessions and pushed into gathering intelligence on Palestinian activists. Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has spoken out against Israeli’s use of torture stating that ‘I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children,’ Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has described the human rights abuses documented in the film as ‘intolerable.’ But rights groups have slammed this statement, saying that the Israelis are doing nothing to change Tel Aviv’s policy to torture Palestinian children.

        “Last year a report by the United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund or UNICEF concluded that Palestinian children are often targeted in night arrests and raids of their homes, threatened with death and subjected to physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault. The film Stone Cold Justice has sparked an international outcry about Israel’s treatment of children in Israeli jails. However, rights groups have criticized Tel Aviv for not doing anything to create a policy that protects Palestinian children against arbitrary arrest and torture.”

        Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uDPeeD_RPk
        Precarious Childhood: Arrests of Jerusalemite Children
        This film addresses the process of arrest, interrogation, and the policy of house arrest and their effects on children. The film provides accounts of children who were arrested in order to highlight a larger policy of persecution and targeting of Palestinian children in Jerusalem.

        Re: The Gaza Strip
        Video: http://obliteratedfamilies.com/en/story/shuheibar/

    • Maghlawatan
      January 26, 2018, 5:28 pm

      That Jerusalem book is in line with my experience of the city. Zionism has turned it into a hateful space of cruelty and glaring injustice. Hardly what diaspora Jews prayed for.

  10. Talkback
    January 26, 2018, 4:33 pm

    Better link:
    Britain ‘Remains Committed’ to Supporting Palestinian Refugees, Will Transfer $70 Million
    https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-u-k-to-transfer-70m-for-palestinian-refugees-following-u-s-aid-cut-1.5749876

    • Citizen
      January 27, 2018, 9:11 am

      Belgium, for another one, has also stepped up its funding supporting to offset Trump’s cuts.

  11. Cazador
    January 27, 2018, 1:14 am

    Misterioso,

    My turn to say thanks for the link below!

    «http://samidoun.net/2018/01/french-intellectuals-statement-on-palestinian-child-prisoners-published-in-le-monde/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    “French intellectuals’ statement on Palestinian child prisoners published in “Le Monde’”»

    A very important witness document of an Israeli genocide attempt, besides all the other Israeli illegal attempts against the Palestinians, a list starting with the letter A, Apartheid…

    For a short while I wrongly thought that Le Monde had published in English. De mémoire, cela aurait probablement été une première.

  12. Kathleen
    January 29, 2018, 4:25 pm

    Going to buy Norm’s new truth telling book and a few more for gifts.

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