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Total number of comments: 361 (since 2012-09-19 14:29:56)

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  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • A HRW statement from July 22 mentions the use of the Spike missile in this incident:

      On July 16, an Israeli missile struck a shack on a Gaza City pier, killing four young boys from the Bakr family who were playing nearby...The Israeli military said it attacked the shack because it was an “identified Hamas structure” but mistakenly targeted the boys – aged 10 to 13 – as “fleeing fighters.” The Israelis did not say why the structure was a lawful military objective – a “Hamas structure” is not a military target unless used for military purposes. Attacks that are not directed at a specific military target are unlawful. Nor can an attacker lawfully presume that anyone seen fleeing an attack is a combatant, and in cases of doubt must presume the person is a civilian, protected from attack.

      Evidence at the scene indicates that the attack was carried out with Spike missiles, which have sensors that allow the operator to see the target even after the missile is fired and divert them mid-course if the target is not clearly military.

      Edit: woops... I see @just beat me to it.

    • @Just, Kay24. Wow. On July 18 HRW's Bill Van Esveld wrote:

      Atrocious as much of the Israeli bombing campaign of Gaza has been, it is hard to imagine Israeli forces deliberately trying to kill Ismail Bakr, 9, and his three cousins, Ahed, 10, Zakariya, 10, and Mohammad, 11, with an apparent missile attack, particularly when they were directly in front of a hotel full of foreign journalists.

      I wonder if he's ready to walk-back that statement now. He was criticized by many at the time for imputing a lack of intent. It's a critical issue since the words 'intent' or 'intentionally' appear 28 times in ICC's Rome Statute.

  • Israel has detained 15-year-old American boy for 26 days; US is 'gravely concerned'
    • The names of the five detained on July 3rd during protests in the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem are Mahmoud Abu Khdeir, 16, Mohammad Abu Nie, 15, Karim Abu Khdeir, 23, Amer Hassan, 32, and Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15. We know how Tariq Abu Khdeir was treated in police custody. We certainly shouldn't be surprised if the others were mistreated too.

  • Hasbarah Bingo
  • Kerry is off the Israel bandwagon
    • From the Georgia Tipsheet blog:

      Just two days ago, Jason Carter was in attendance at a pro-Israel rally in Midtown, as was Republican Senate nominee David Perdue and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, whose support of Carter could be called tepid at best. Attorney General Sam Olens, the highest ranking Jewish elected official in the state, spoke at the event.
      ...
      An email to Governor Nathan Deal’s campaign regarding the topic drew a response that pulled no punches and brandished a call for his rival to return contributions raised by his famous grandfather.

      “Senator Jason Carter can’t fundraise off his granddaddy’s name while claiming he holds different views on issues across the board. When it comes to Israel, President Carter has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. ally and the only stable democracy in the Middle East, said Deal spokeswoman Jen Talaber. “With his granddaddy’s latest demands that Israeli troops withdraw from Gaza, Georgians deserve to know if Jason Carter agrees with his fundraiser-in-chief. If he’s going to say he disagrees with his granddaddy on every issue the former president raises, Senator Carter should return the money that Jimmy Carter raised for him, particularly those sordid dollars raised by auctioning off seats in church.”

      In late June, Deal trekked to Israel for a trade mission. Carter simultaneously issued a white paper on the country, in which he voiced opposition to boycotts and efforts “that seek to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”

    • Kerry is off the Israel bandwagon

      I mistakenly read that as "off the Israel wagon." The first step in A.A.'s twelve steps is to admit you have a problem. Kerry has never done that.

    • Kerry's legacy will be that he lifted a pinky--bravo for him--to slow the Gaza massacre.

    • Would that he could breathe a little spine into his boss.

      Phil, I think Kerry should first try to see if he still has his own spine intact. His reservations to stated policy are either ad-hoc utterances or not meant for public consumption. His spokespersons at the State Department make statements that sound like they could have been penned by the IDF. Oh, and last year on the topic of Syria, Matt Lee famously asked Jen Psaki if Kerry and Obama had a ‘group spine-removal procedure’.

    • Oh dear...I hope Jason Carter isn't another Jesse Jackson Jr or Rand Paul.

  • In Photos: Worldwide protest against Israeli attack on Gaza (Updated)
    • Thanks, Sumud. I had to read Pat Nguyen's comment history before I could understand the context of Shingo's comment. I didn't realize Pat was an incoherent troll.

    • Amigo, I agree.

    • Good point, lonely rico.

      I cannot fault Hamas, any more than I can fault the youngsters who throw stones, symbolic resistance which provokes overwhelming violence, injury and death.

      I cannot fault those youngsters either. But I understand the perspective of many of their parents who discourage such resistance and wish to see their children live rather than become victims of overwhelming violence, injury and death.

    • Stephen Shenfield, I agree. Surface-to-air missiles especially would be potent weapons for the Palestinians.

    • Shingo, I'm not sure if I read you correctly. Are you saying I am a "psychopathic racist supremacist and cheer leader for bass murder"?

    • Pretexts, unlike reasons, are never justifiable.

    • The importance of Netanyahu's full comments is lost in the flood of dire war news. The comments demonstrate, for all the world to hear, that the Kerry peace talks were a sham that only perpetuated further theft of Palestinian land.

      I don't agree with Ramzi's attitude toward the rockets. I agree with Amnesty International, which is asking the UN to "urgently mandate an independent international investigation into Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as well as Palestine’s indiscriminate shelling of Israel, and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes." The rockets have almost no military value and provide an unfortunate pretext for the IAF to butcher and slaughter the people of Gaza. I don't deny that the Palestinians have every right to defend themselves, but the rockets are a PR dream for the hasbarists.

  • PLO official Hanan Ashrawi: Israel's assault on Gaza is 'state terrorism' and should be referred to the International Criminal Court
    • With screenshot Ben White posts on FB:

      #ICC4Israel is the top trending topic on Twitter right now - worldwide. I guess that's what happens when you proudly commit war crimes with impunity

  • 'The unity is stronger than ever': Report from historic march on Qalandia checkpoint in solidarity with Gaza
    • I see now that this photo was actually printed a week ago in EI with this caption:

      Palestinian Authority forces prevent protesters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah reach Beit El military checkpoint during a demonstration against Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip on 17 July. (Shadi Hatem / APA images)

    • I wish Hostage were here to interpret this French news report for us:

      A French lawyer said on Friday that he had filed a complaint on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister at the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing Israel’s military of having carried out “war crimes” in the Gaza Strip.

    • If only she and Jackie Mason were to marry and embark on a very long secluded honeymoon far away.

    • Thanks, Martin. An incredible image on Twitter is here: link to twitter.com

  • Breaking: Israel shelling hospital in Beit Hanoun, injured Palestinians and internationals trapped inside
  • 'Israel is wrong by any moral standard' -- Robinson says, as US media pile up
    • And the Onion, again.

    • @lysias--I recently heard a prominent academic, who lives in NYC, speak about differences in the print and online copies of the NYT. The print copy is often more hard-line pro-Israeli, he conjectured, to suit the sentiments of a local population which identifies with the Jewish state. The online copy is then edited, with subtle shifts away from the hard-line language, to suit the broader sentiments of a younger and more ethnically diverse national readership. A similar process could be happening at the WaPo since D.C. has substantial Jewish community.

  • NY Times reports source of UNRWA school attack is unclear even though Israel said they did it
    • Ambassador Power's official statement on the school attack also gives no indication that the IDF was responsible for firing the rounds. Indeed, her only 'condemnation' in the statement is directed at Palestinians.

  • Hamas mimics Hezbollah tactics, and no one will have stability till blockade is lifted
    • I am reminded of the Cu Chi network of tunnels successfully used by the Viet Cong against a different--but with "shared values"--colonial power.

  • U.S. casts lonely vote against establishing war crimes inquiry in Gaza
    • Please let your feelings be known to @USUN , @AmbassadorPower or @JohnKerry. And please get a Twitter account if you don't have one. (After all, you don't really think Amb. Power or Sec. Kerry read Mondoweiss, do you?)

  • Israeli forces shell UN school where displaced Palestinians gathered, killing at least 9
    • On the lighter side, Mike Luckovich and Matt Wuerker have good cartoons today.

      Also, the Onion.

    • Sad to report that the yahoo comment crowd at news.yahoo.com is cheering this. Most 'liked' comment: "Outstanding shot!"

      It's disgusting.

    • George Bisharat, professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, penned this in the NYT yesterday:

      [D]espite its 2005 withdrawal of ground forces and settlers from Gaza, Israel still exercises effective control over the region by controlling its airspace, coast and territorial waters, land borders (with Egypt), electromagnetic fields, electricity and fuel supply. Accordingly, Israel remains an occupying power under international law, bound to protect the occupied civilian population. Israel can use force to defend itself, but no more than is necessary to quell disturbances. Hence this is not a war – rather, it is a top military power unleashing massive firepower against a penned and occupied Palestinian population.

  • Why Israel's legal justifications for 'Operation Protective Edge' are wrong
  • 'Heartbreaking' is U.S. government's talking point for Gaza massacre
    • French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius yesterday said "Rien ne saurait justifier la poursuite des attaques et des massacres..." So at least one prominent government official is using the M-word.

  • 'Slate' blames Birthright for indoctrinating American Jew who was killed fighting for Israel
    • @ritzl --I would have thought that too. But consider this discussion Monday of the issue between AP's Matt Lee and State Dept. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf:

      QUESTION: No, you’re going to get the same answer over and over and over. (Laughter). On the IDF – those American soldiers. Is this something that is specific to Israel and the IDF?

      MS. HARF: What? Is what specific?

      QUESTION: Well, that it being – that it is okay or that there’s no problem legally for an American citizen --

      MS. HARF: No, military service in foreign countries usually does not cause loss of nationality or problems since an intention to relinquish nationality normally is lacking, obviously – many times dual citizens or they just have a desire to serve. So usually it’s not – U.S. citizens can lose their citizenship if they perform certain acts working for certain countries or with the intent to relinquish their nationality. But with the IDF, certainly, and with other countries, I can see if I have more details. This is something that happens fairly frequently.

      QUESTION: Well, I’m just thinking – how about Iran? If an Iranian American joined the IRGC --

      MS. HARF: That would be quite different, Matt.

      QUESTION: Okay. So there is a – there --

      MS. HARF: Absolutely there’s a difference. It depends on --

      QUESTION: -- there’s a big distinction. Or if a Korean American went to North Korea and joined the North Korean army, that would be a problem?

      MS. HARF: I can guarantee you we would respond very differently.

      QUESTION: Or a Chinese American and the – I mean, where does – is --

      MS. HARF: Where is there a line?

      QUESTION: Yeah, where – or is there one?

      MS. HARF: I can see if there are more details on that.

      QUESTION: Okay.

      MS. HARF: I actually think there are --

      QUESTION: Okay.

      MS. HARF: -- rules written up about this. Certainly, service with the IDF is something that many Americans do proudly and we have no issues.

      QUESTION: I understand that. I just want to know about other ones.

      So presumably, it would have been officially a-okay for Americans to have served in the forces that attacked the USS Liberty in '67.

    • CNN article:

      It's believed there are approximately 750 Americans currently serving in the Israeli military, according to Friends of IDF, an advocacy organization based in New York.

      I assume then that the 2,000 figure includes non-Americans.

    • Rozhansky's 2,000 figure may not be specific to Americans.

    • Found it. AP article by Julie Watson:

      Marina Rozhansky says there are about 2,000 lone soldiers currently serving in the military. Rozhansky is a spokeswoman at the Israel Consul General in Los Angeles.

    • Thanks, Phil. At yesterday's press briefing, Said Arikat of Al-Quds asked

      QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about the number of soldiers that have U.S. citizenship. The latest figures show that there are 2,000 Americans serving for the Israeli army.

      MS. HARF: I haven’t – I don’t think we keep figures on that. I don’t – I certainly haven’t seen them.

      Can anyone confirm the 2,000 figure or provide an alternative?

  • The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce
  • 'Telegenically Dead': Israel’s crumbling media war
    • I should have added Said Arikat's reply to Ms. Harf:

      QUESTION: Okay.

      That's why We need more reporters like the AP's Matt Lee. Like it!

    • And media figures are strictly forbidden from raising the issue of the right of Palestinians to defend themselves. Witness this exchange at yesterday's press briefing between Said Arikat, State Dept. correspondent for Al-Quds, and State Dept. Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf:

      QUESTION: And should the Palestinians be given the same kind of courtesy to defend themselves?

      MS. HARF: At the same time, the President – first of all, nothing that Hamas is doing has any justification at all, period. Even bringing it up in that context is offensive.

    • The hounds are after Magnay. Now on Mediaite this headline:

      CNN Reporter Removed over ‘Scum’ Tweet Asks Whether U.S.’s MH17 Evidence Is ‘Credible’

  • Gaza onslaught is p.r. problem for Israel's 'moral authority' -- Albright
    • Yep jimby. And her boss at the time is the biggest rock star the Democratic Party has produced in a generation. It just shows that Democrats can behave outrageously in foreign affairs and there will be no consequences. They will only be criticized for being too tame.

    • @seafoid From a 60 Minutes segment:

      Lesley Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

      Albright: We think the price is worth it.

      I think she squandered whatever moral authority she had.

  • Burning children
  • Finally, Israel is alienating the US mainstream media
  • CNN headline: "100 people killed today in Israel, Gaza fighting"
    • Yes. Fox News is the master at this art. Check out today's headline:

      Obama, Kerry express further concern about casualties in Israel, press for cease-fire

  • Democrat Eliot Engel appears at pro-Israel rally featuring anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller
    • As we predicted a few days ago, the adult suspect in the Mohammed Abu Khdeir murder will plead "temporary insanity." From Haaretz [premium]:

      Ben David does suffer from the mental condition known as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which is stipulated in the indictment against him. About 18 months ago, he told a psychiatrist who was treating him that he sometimes had thoughts of murdering his baby daughter, and even attempted to do so once by strangulation. He was arrested after admitting this to the psychiatrist, though was released into a rehabilitative program and not charged with any crimes.

      A defense lawyer provided for Ben David by Zionist legal aid organization Honenu stated that his defense will be pleading temporary insanity at the time of the murder. This line of defense will be contested by the prosecution, however, due to the intricate planning of the murder.

    • Alex, speaking of the Christians United for Israel Conference: the 2014 CUFI Summit is today and tomorrow (7/21-7/22) in Washington. I hope someone from MW, EI or JVP attends and reports back.

  • Massacre in Gaza: At least 60 killed in Shuja'iyeh, over 60,000 in UN shelters
    • Today's Ted Rall is even more to the point.

    • @Kay24, Thanks for the heads up. Zbig is always excellent. The transcript is here:

      ZAKARIA: Let me switch gears with you, Zbig, and ask you about the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu on CNN told Wolf Blitzer that this was a strategy to demilitarize Gaza, explaining the use of force, but it has been -- it has been quite a robust use of force and the most recent attacks apparently 60 Palestinians have died.

      Do you think that it is going to succeed the Israeli stage?

      BRZEZINSKI: No, I think he is making a very serious mistake. When Hamas in effect accepted the notion of participation in the Palestinian leadership, it in effect acknowledged the determination of that leadership to seek a peaceful solution from Israel -- with Israel. That was a real option. They should have persisted in that. Instead Netanyahu launched the campaign of defamation against Hamas, seized on the killing of three innocent Israeli kids to immediately charge Hamas with having done it without any evidence, and has used that to stir up public opinion in Israel in order to justify this attack on Gaza which is so lethal.

      I think he is isolating Israel. He's endangering its longer-range future and I think we ought to make it very clear that this is a course of action which we thoroughly disapprove and which we do not support and which may compel us and the rest of the international community to take some steps of legitimizing Palestinian aspirations perhaps in the U.N.

  • Video: Outraged constituents confront CT Senator Chris Murphy over support for Gaza attack
    • Excellent video, Dan. Dan doesn't mention that Sen. Murphy is a Democrat, but it hardly matters. As Dan wrote, "The resolution’s unanimous passage in the Senate reveals the Democrats and Republicans’ unwavering allegiance to Israel, even in the face of stunning war crimes."

      The Green Party of the US issued this statement this week:

      The Green Party of the United States is calling for an immediate ceasefire in the current exchange of missiles between Israeli and Palestinian forces, negotiation for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict, an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian Territories and human rights violations, repeal of apartheid policies in Israel, and establishment of one democratic state for all in Israel-Palestine.

      The Green Party opposes and condemns all violence against unarmed civilians and deplores the murder of young people on both sides that ignited the current face-off. Greens said that Israel must be held accountable for mounting Palestinian casualties in the assault on Gaza, with over 200 deaths, mostly civilians, caused by airstrikes in densely populated areas. Hamas must be held accountable for indiscriminate rocket attacks, which have killed one Israeli during the escalating crisis.

      "We are appalled that the Obama Administration endorsed Operation Protective Edge. The White House must lead the rest of the world in bringing international pressure for a ceasefire, aid for civilian populations in the line of fire, observance of international law, and a just peace in the region with an end to Israel's illegal occupation and apartheid policies within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel," said Dr. Justine McCabe, Connecticut Green and member of the Green Party's International Committee.

      .

  • Nicholas Kristof on how to end the Israel/Palestine conflict
    • As'ad AbuKhalil's reaction to Kristof's column:

      This is what you needed to know about Nicholas Kristof: He says that Israel should kill civilians but with proportionality
      "Look, when militants in Gaza fire rockets at Israel, then Israel has a right to respond, but with some proportionality."

  • Hasbarapocalyse: Naftali Bennett says Hamas committing 'massive self-genocide'
  • Why I, a Palestinian-American Muslim, went to the White House Iftar and what I learned
    • I noticed that the Israeli ambassador was on the invitation list. Maybe then Obama should have also invited the Myanmar, Sri Lanka and China ambassadors for camaraderie.

  • Activists occupy UK govt office demanding end to arms trade with Israel
    • Human Rights Watch wants only half-measures apparently. HRW supports only a limited suspension of transfers of some military equipment, whereas Amnesty International supports a comprehensive arms embargo.

      Compare
      Human Rights Watch:

      Governments that are providing weapons to Israel, to Hamas, or to armed groups in the Gaza Strip should suspend transfers of any materiel that has been documented or credibly alleged to have been used in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as funding or support for such material, Human Rights Watch said. The US supplies Israel with rotary and fixed wing military aircraft, Hellfire missiles, and other munitions that have been used in illegal airstrikes in Gaza.

      Amnesty International:

      Amnesty International is also calling on the UN to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups with the aim of preventing further serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by the parties to the conflict. Pending such an embargo, all states must immediately suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to the parties, which have failed to properly investigate violations committed in previous conflicts or bring those responsible to justice.

      Of course, the US Congress and UK Parliament will ignore even HRW on this.

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