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Total number of comments: 157 (since 2011-10-27 19:23:40)

Am passionate about the Palestinians seeing a fare end to their dilema

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  • Gaza ceasefire proving once again to be part of the ‘occupation game’
    • International and Israeli reports revealed that, since the start of this month, the Israeli government has implemented a unilateral scheme to impose full sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian land taking advantage of international silence to destroy any chances for a settlement in the region.

      The PLO's report said that Israel steals the West Bank's natural resources, especially in area C depriving the Palestinians of $3.5 billion annually while it also imposes restrictions on Palestinian construction there.

      The report pointed to the significant increase in the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land by 240 per cent mainly in the settlements of Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Immanuel. It noted that the Israeli land authority sold 2,300 housing units in the settlements established in the West Bank this year registering an increase of 866 per cent compared to the same period last year.

      The report addressed the Israeli official political and ideological discourse saying it spreads irresponsible incitement and propaganda that explicitly reflects its rejection of the peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.

      The department stressed in its report that these data and indicators confirm the serious collapse of the two-state solution.
      link to middleeastmonitor.com

  • 'NYT' finds a model relationship for Palestinians and Israelis: collaborator and his handler
    • Mosab Hassan Yousef is not the first. Walid Shoebat, a former Hamas militant, converted to Christianity in 1994…He has been an outstanding Daniel Pipes recruit for years and was all over the Talk Shows after 9/11 and during the lead up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, denouncing Muslim extremism in Islamophobic terms.
      I think there was a need for a younger more appealing new face….

      link to danielpipes.org

  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • A Jewish man has been hounded out of his home in an Orthodox community by a campaign of hate after condemning violence by Israel in Gaza. An angry mob of up to 30 people is understood to have massed outside his home in a Jewish part of Salford, Broughton Park, during three nights of rage in Manchester.s home was pelted with eggs and his car vandalised with spray paint during three nights of victimisation.

      On another occasion, the man was beaten up by an unknown attacker apparently motivated by his critical stance on military action by Israel.

      According to neighbours in Curzon Road, the attacks were a case of Jew-on-Jew violence. One woman said: "I have never known a situation where the Jewish community turned on each other."
      link to uk.news.yahoo.com

    • Fortunately a follow up opinion speaks out in Reverend shipman's defense....

      ’ll never forget seeing former Boston Bishop Thomas Shaw in his flowing clerical robes join protesters at the Israeli Embassy calling for an end to oppression of Palestinians. Excitement swept through the crowd, and the Bishop’s presence lent credibility to the gathering that could not be ignored. Bishop Shaw had been to the Holy Land and seen the situation there. He refused to be silent.

      Rev. Bruce Shipman, former priest-in-charge at Yale Episcopal Church, has also been to the Holy Land and witnessed the demolished homes, segregated roads and uprooted orchards. He met with Jews who are working to end the occupation, and with Christians who have called on churches to oppose the injustice. Recently, he penned a three-sentence letter to the New York Times suggesting that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians may be one cause of rising anti-Semitism, which we all condemn. Days later, he resigned his position at Yale.

      Rev. Shipman has broken no law except the unwritten law that forbids questioning Israel. There is a big difference between criticizing a country’s policies and maligning its people. Denying this stifles debate. This courageous priest has upheld Episcopal tradition in standing for the oppressed. His suggestion was simply that we take a close look at ourselves, the “patrons of Israel,” in evaluating the causes of violence and anti-Semitism.

      link to yaledailynews.com

  • Photo-cartoon making Tutu into Hitler is published then taken down by South African Jewish paper
    • An Orthodox Jewish man who spoke out against Israel’s bombing of Gaza has fled his home after it was vandalised twice and he was assaulted.

      Downstairs windows at the property in Curzon Road, Higher Broughton, Salford, were smashed, eggs thrown at the property and graffiti daubed on the door and window sill.

      The victim’s car was sprayed with red paint.

      Police say they are treating the attacks as hate crimes.

      The man is understood to have moved out of the terraced property after being targeted by a mob of up to 30 people.

      The victim had expressed his views in the local community and also on King Street, in Manchester city centre, which has been the scene of protests by pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups.

      The man’s home now has a To Let sign up and the downstairs windows are still boarded up, with eggshells on the doorstep.

      link to manchestereveningnews.co.uk

  • Israel surveils and blackmails gay Palestinians to make them informants
    • .....It's the bulk number of 40 all at once which is considered remarkable (They were given a "dishonorable discharge" and made persona non grata). Refusniks and soldiers from Breaking the Silence denounce Israeli military actions in dribbles, one here one there. This is considered a large group from a "prestigious army intelligence unit" to boot...

    • In the largest act of conscientious objection in Israel in more than a decade, more than 40 reservists and veterans of a prestigious army intelligence unit have declared that they refuse further military service because they reject being “tools” of Israeli control over the occupied territories.

      We declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the occupied territories,” wrote reservists of Unit 8200, many of them still active reservists, which is believed to operate one of the largest listening bases in the world, in a letter to army chief of staff Lt. Gen Benny Gantz and published in Israeli media today.

      “There is no distinction between Palestinians who are and are not involved in violence,” they wrote. “Information that is collected harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life.”

      “Any such case, in which you ‘fish out’ an innocent person from whom information might be squeezed or who could be recruited as a collaborator was like striking gold for us”. Another reservist recounted how to boost morale, commanders of unit 8200 would play for the troops intercepted conversations of Palestinian couples arguing or of Palestinians having phone sex. ’’Sex talk was considered entertainment. Phone sex was always considered a hit.” the soldier recalled.
      link to independent.co.uk

  • J Street can't tie Israel's latest 'illegal land grab' to cutting US aid
    • Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. states:
      I realized there's one more crime or series of crimes that continues and that Israel constantly renews or engages in those crimes again and again. As I said earlier, the Geneva Conventions and statutes of the International Criminal Court prohibit the transfer of the occupying power's civilians--in other words, Israelis--into the occupied territories. And that is what Israel has been engaged in since 1967. There's perhaps 500,000 Israelis living in Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, and the occupied territories of the West Bank. It's a continuing violation to remove your citizens occupying our citizens into those territories, and therefore it's a continuing war crime. And as I said earlier, they're continuing to build housing and move more people in. So there's a war crime that the ICC could look at if the Palestine Authority joined the court, because that war crime will last a very long time, I'm afraid. The transfer would be investigated, indictments of many high Israeli officials past and present could follow.
      link to therealnews.com

  • Giving up on the system: Leading Israeli human rights groups reject army request to file investigations on crimes in Gaza
    • The Committee of Independent Experts' findings on alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead may be indicative of how the next round of inquiry will go:

      Israel’s domestic investigations are rife with conflicts of interest and a lack of oversight that render them inadequate mechanisms for accountability. In addition to the glaring examples of ludicrous findings, there are several structural issues worth mentioning. Chief among them is the fact that Israeli authorities have refused to investigate the whole operation, as mandated by international legal standards, choosing instead to only examine the conduct of individual soldiers. In doing so, Israeli authorities fail to investigate its command level policy-based decisions including, but not limited to, its rules of engagement as well as its use of excessively harmful weapons in lieu of lesser harmful alternatives, like white phosphorous.

      Additionally, by placing primary responsibility on the Military Advocate General (MAG), who himself may be subject for criminal prosecution for providing legal counsel to the IDF during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli investigation lacks independence and impartiality. From the outset, the MAG has affirmed that ‘[t]hroughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law,’ thereby absolving himself as well as the command level decision-makers of any wrong doing before the initiation of investigations.

      Finally, Israel’s system is too heavily reliant on operational debriefings, which are not intended to provide effective judicial remedy to victims but instead to enhance military operations. During its Twelfth Session, the Human Rights Council recognized that “a tool designed for the review of performance and to learn lessons can hardly be effective and impartial investigation mechanism that should be instituted after every military operation where allegations of serious violations have been made.”
      link to arabic.jadaliyya.com

    • 41. The Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission (FFM) Committee of Independent Experts further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure Israel's (Military Advocate General) MAG’s independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw Operation Cast Lead in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations. It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” Therefore, the Committee remains of the view that an independent public commission – and not the MAG’s office – is the appropriate mechanism for carrying out an independent and impartial analysis, as called for in the FFM report, into allegations that high-level decision-making related to the Gaza conflict violated international law.

      link to www2.ohchr.org

  • Guess who's invited to Open Hillel's first conference? Students for Justice in Palestine
    • Denying Palestinians Their Humanity
      A Response to Elie Wiesel

      I read your statement about Palestinians, which appeared in The New York Times on August 4th. I cannot help feeling that your attack against Hamas and stunning accusations of child sacrifice are really an attack, carefully veiled but unmistakable, against all Palestinians, their children included. As a child of Holocaust survivors—both my parents survived Auschwitz—I am appalled by your anti-Palestinian position, one I know you have long held. I have always wanted to ask you, why? What crime have Palestinians committed in your eyes? Exposing Israel as an occupier and themselves as its nearly defenseless victims? Resisting a near half century of oppression imposed by Jews and through such resistance forcing us as a people to confront our lost innocence (to which you so tenaciously cling)?
      link to counterpunch.org

  • Israel and the law -- the views of three international jurists
    • I am very glad that Mondoweiss is covering the "Israeli Law" angle of the Occupation as it is the unseen scaffold by way of a thousand mendacious cuts and skewered decisions behind the entire Zionist enterprise to discount, disenfranchise, and destroy normalcy in Palestinian life......

    • In 1979, a group of Palestinian farmers filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice, claiming their land was being illegally expropriated by Jewish settlers. The farmers were not Israeli citizens, and the settlers appeared to have acted with the state’s support; indeed, army helicopters had escorted them to the land—a hilltop near Nablus—bringing along generators and water tanks. The High Court of Justice nevertheless ordered the outpost dismantled. “The decision of the court… proved that ‘there was justice’ in Jerusalem and that Israel was indeed ruled by Law,” exulted one Israeli columnist.

      But the frustration of the settlers did not last very long. As revealed in The Law in These Parts, an engrossing new Israeli documentary making its American debut at the Sundance Film Festival, just hours after the ruling was handed down, Ariel Sharon, a keen supporter of the settlement project who was then Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, organized a meeting to discuss how to circumvent it. Alexander Ramati, then a legal advisor to the West Bank military command, raised his hand to tell Sharon about an Ottoman concept known as “Mawat land.” The Ottomans, who had controlled Palestine until World War I, had used the term to designate land far enough from any neighboring village that a crowing rooster perched on its edge could not be heard. Under Ottoman law, if such land was not cultivated for three years it was “mawat”—dead —and reverted to the empire. “With or without your rooster, be at my office at 8:00 in the morning,” Sharon told Ramati, who was soon crisscrossing the West Bank in the cockpit of a helicopter, identifying tens of thousands of uninhabited acres that could be labeled “state land” and made available to settlers, notwithstanding the Geneva Convention’s prohibition on moving civilians into occupied territory. In the years that followed, a string of new settlements was built on this territory, eventually prompting another challenge before the Israeli High Court. This time, the Court denied the challenge, ruling that settlement construction was permissible while Israel served as the temporary custodian of the territory. This provided a legal basis for land expropriation that has since enabled hundreds of thousands of Israelis to relocate to the West Bank.
      link to nybooks.com

  • Three-sentence letter to the 'NYT' results in Yale chaplain's resignation
    • @Just

      I don't know without a doubt what Reverend Shipman sermonized from his episcopal pulpit at Yale, but given the NYTs piece and the similar editorial in The Day, the Gaza tragedy was very much on his mind......

      (missing link)
      New Haven Register 10/17/13

      Demonstration of unity was inspiring

      I was inspired by the “I Wage Peace Walk” in New Haven this past Sunday afternoon. As a participant and co-sponsor, I want to thank Bruce Barrett and the many others who organized this event, not least the four “combatants for peace” who came to New Haven from Israel/Palestine to witness to the possibility of peace and reconciliation in that wartorn land. The three representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam — Rabbi Joshua Ratner, Father David Cobb and Imam Hafiz Abdul Hannan — spoke to the crowd with words of hope. All three invited everyone to “walk with us and work with us today and every day, waging peace and healing for all Americans, all Israelis, all Palestinians, and all people; for our children, and for the children of New Haven, Israel, Palestine and the children of the world.”

      Symbols matter. Vision matters. This united witness was a blessing and a reminder of how things might be, how things ought to be, in the Holy Land as peace talks there resume with the goal of establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.

      — The Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, The Episcopal Church at Yale New Haven

    • @Just
      "I have not heard that these good men preached their Palestinian activism from their pulpits"

      How WRONG you are....!!!

      Shipman has a long history of service to the Diocese of Connecticut, in the parishes of Westport and Roxbury for 26 years before moving to Groton and taking early retirement to reflect on the state of the world, the church, and his own soul in this time of war and profound change in the Episcopal Church. Retirement lasted eleven months, followed by an invitation to Ivoryton, where he served four years.
      His second “retirement” lasted less than a year, when he accepted a call to be Vicar at the Church of the Holy Advent in Clinton, where he served from 2006-2011, after which the Rev. Canon Peter Larom (Class of 1972) was called as Rector.
      Demonstration of Unity was Inspiring
      link to nhregister.com
      Reverend Shipman has been an unwavering advocate of The Tree of Life Community which has been operating in South Eastern CT since 2004 as an ecumenical forum to promote understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The list of invited speakers to the autumn TOL conferences is long and impressive The Conference(s) has been converted into a multi-venue event lasting several days in 6 to 8 locations including Boston and New York. Spring trips to Israel Palestine are also an annual event with participants attending daily meetings with activists on the front lines of protest and non-violent actions across the West Bank.. Reverened Shipman has been an active participant on at least one these journeys.
      link to theday.com
      link to theday.com
      The result of Shipman’s heartfelt beliefs has been virulent hate mail….
      link to yaledailynews.com

  • Israeli officer tosses Palestinian shepherds from their land so settlers don't have to hear Arabic
    • Since all Israel's negative moves against Palestinians has to do with "National Security, how does the fabric of (linguistic ) intactness qualifies as such...unless of course the exclusion of the shepherds will eventually fall under the guise of "present absentee proprietors" and qualify for automatic seizure by the IDF/Civil Administraion....

  • Israel has three years to end the occupation -- Abbas
    • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday accused Hamas of running a “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip and said that the unity government between Hamas and the PLO must assert its authority in the besieged coastal enclave. Speaking to a group of Egyptian journalists and scholars in Cairo on the first day of a three-day visit, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority “would not accept the situation in Gaza to continue as it is now and in this shape.”

      “There are 27 undersecretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus government cannot do anything on the ground,” Abbas said, referring to the officials of the former Hamas government who continue to maintain power in Gaza despite an April agreement that led to a government of national reconciliation between PLO and Hamas.
      The statements came after a presidential guards commander told Ma’an that Palestinian Authority forces were preparing to begin staffing the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, currently maintained by Hamas.

      A senior commander who spoke on condition of anonymity told Ma’an Saturday that PA presidential guards had already prepared a list of officers to take charge of security arrangements at the terminal and at the Philadelphi Corridor along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

      link to palestinechronicle.com

    • Bad idea....more of "divide and conquer" with the "Assassination Plot" business, and stall for more "land grab" during the three year wait-and-see period....

  • Gaza benefit at Yale was moved off-campus due to backlash against priest's letter to NYT
    • Monday's Gaza benefit concert and vigil featuring violinist Michael Dabrowski went on at Bethesda Lutheran in New Haven last Monday, despite Yale's cancellation in response to Bruce Shipman's letter to the New York Times linking anti-semitism to Israeli policy.

      Since the vigil, Bruce was pushed to resign his position as a Yale Chaplin by the Executive Council of the Board of Directors.

  • British pol is beaten by man in Israeli army t-shirt, and the chattering classes are silent
    • In his first TV interview after release from hospital, British MP George Galloway told RT he is surprised by the lack of condemnation from other UK politicians of the brutal attack on him. The assault by a pro-Israeli man left Galloway in much pain.

      Galloway, 60, was brutally beaten in Notting Hill, London last Friday allegedly for his views on the conflict in Gaza.

      “It’s very painful to walk, to move, even to speak because I sustained a dislocated jaw, quite bad head injuries, and very badly cracked ribs,” he said.

      link to rt.com

  • Although focus has been on Gaza, Israel's plan for the West Bank is still in place
    • Robert Fisk weighs in.....
      It was instructive to learn the Israeli-Jewish Etzion council regarded this larceny as punishment for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June. “The goal of the murders of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right [sic] to the land,” the Etzion council announced. “Our response is to strengthen settlement.” This must be the first time that land in “Palestine” has been acquired not through excuses about security or land deeds – or on God’s personal authority – but out of revenge.....
      link to independent.co.uk

    • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled plans to build 2,500 settlement units in Jerusalem due to international pressure, according to local media reports.

      Israeli officials told Walla! Netanyahu stopped the construction of new settlement homes primarily due to fear of an “international crisis”, after the US had urged him not to follow through with the plan.

      The housing units had been announced after the 12 June abduction of three Israeli settler teens, who were later found dead near Hebron. 1,500 units were to be built in south Jerusalem and a further 1,000 in West Bank settlements.

      “The national status after Operation Protective Edge is explosive and complicated,” an unnamed officials told Walla!. “Israel needs to act carefully and not initiate new crises that will be added to unavoidable crises created by the operation,” they added.

      link to middleeasteye.net

  • The Palestinian message to Israel: Deal with us justly. Or disappear
    • Thank you Walid for the clarification and correct numbers!! My point was of course, Israeli refusal to undertake any steps in negotiations with Hamas at a time when it might have given the Hamas victory....
      The leaders of Israel’s current government claim that no peace process is possible with a Hamas-led Palestinian government. But some of the best-informed observers of the Israeli– Palestinian conflict believe that no lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible without Hamas’s participation.link to nybooks.com

    • Mahmoud Abbas’s still does not extend much beyond Ramallah, hence the push for a “Unity Government”. Hamas has been, not only the effective ruler of Gaza, but the only political party that received a democratic mandate for its rule from the Palestinian electorate in the 2006 election that rejected Fatah.
      The Oslo accords declared Gaza to be an inseparable part of Palestine, and obliged Israel to provide an unobstructed territorial connection linking Gaza to the West Bank. That provision was reinforced by a formal Israeli-Palestinian agreement (the Agreement on Movement and Access) in 2005 for the free movement of people and goods between these two areas, brokered by James Wolfensohn, then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s special envoy for Gaza disengagement, an obligation Israel violated even before the ink on the document dried. Hamas was denied its electoral mandate and excluded from the West Bank because Fatah had conspired with Israel’s government and the Bush administration to carry out a putsch by Mohammed Dahlan’s militia forces in Gaza , a putsch pre-empted by Hamas
      Until now, Hamas could never be engaged by Israel, or by the US, as long as it adhered to a charter that is racist and anti-Semitic, and explicitly commits the organization to the violent expulsion of Jews within Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders. While the government of Israel does not have a charter promising the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the confiscation of their land, it has been doing exactly that – regularly and systematically. These confiscations and expulsions began even before Hamas existed, yet no one in the West demanded Israel be quarantined, or even that it be denied continued massive American financial and military assistance.
      At the heart of Hamas’ grievances is the double standard that Israel, the US and Europe apply to the entire range of issues the peace talks are intended to resolve. Hamas’ leadership maintains that what distinguishes its movement from Fatah is its refusal to swallow this hypocrisy. It insists on absolute reciprocity, especially with respect to the Quartet’s three conditions for removing the political quarantine against it. These conditions require Hamas to recognize the State of Israel, accept all previous agreements with Israel, and renounce violence. Yet these three obligations – every one of them – have been regularly ignored and violated by Netanyahu and preceding Israeli governments.

      Henry Siegman: link to peacebuilding.no

      We shall see if things will change in the( near) future…..

  • Yale Protestant chaplain says Americans must curb Israel so as to curb anti-Semitism
    • Yes Mooser, the concert was indeed rescheduled to Bethesda Lutheran Church
      450 Whitney Avenue in New Haven, CT. The Tree of Life community has been operating in South Eastern CT since 2004 as an ecumenical forum to promote understanding of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. The list of invited speakers for the November conferences is long and impressive and now held in seven to eight locations . Spring trips to Israel/Palestine are also a yearly event with daily meetings with activists on the front lines of protest and non-violent actions across the West Bank. Bruce Shipman has been an unwavering advocate for the community's activity!!!

    • A STATEMENT FROM THE REV. BRUCE SHIPMAN

      Due to much unfavorable publicity surrounding my letter of August 26 to the New York Times, the board of the Episcopal Church at Yale has decided that it would be best to cancel the STAND WITH GAZA concert scheduled for Labor Day evening. It is of course a disappointment to me personally and to all who looked forward to this worthy event, but it is our expectation that checks for the Ahli Hospital in Gaza will continue to come in. The money they generate will be given to American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem for transmission to the hospital.

      Bruce M. Shipman, Chaplain
      The Episcopal Church at Yale
      August 28, 2014

    • Anti-Israelism, not anti-Semitism, voiced in Europe

      link to al-monitor.com

    • As far back as August 2010, well after the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead had demolished Gaza, Hamas made it clear that its charter – like the PLO’s charter which Arafat famously dismissed in 1989 as “caduque” (obsolete, expired) well before it was formally annulled – no longer represented Hamas’ ideology. Its various proposals for a long-term hudna (ceasefire) with Israel, if it were to agree to a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, clearly contradict its charter’s mqin points. A more direct repudiation of the charter’s anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic diatribe came from Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, in an interview conducted by the Jordanian Arabic-language newspaper Al-Sabeel in July (translated into English by the Afro-Middle East Centre in South Africa).
      Meshal was asked whether Hamas’ resistance was directed “against Zionists as Jews or as occupiers.” Meshal replied, “resistance and military confrontation with the Israelis was caused by occupation, aggression, and crimes committed against the Palestinian people, not because of differences in religion or belief.” He said that although “religion is a cornerstone to our lives ... we do not make of religion a force for engendering hatred, nor a cause or a pretext for harming or assaulting others, or grabbing what is not ours, or encroaching on the rights of others” – referring, of course, to the Israeli settlers’ invocation of the Bible to justify the theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank.
      Contrast this to the declarations of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the leader of the most important Orthodox political party in Israel, during a Sabbath sermon from about the same time: “Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from the world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.” In a previous sermon in 2001, he told his followers: “It is forbidden to be merciful to [the Arabs]. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.” Not a single member of Israel’s cabinet condemned Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for these pronouncements.
      Henry Siegman: link to peacebuilding.no

      Often we forget that anti-semitism and “islamophobia” are hand-in-glove reactions by both communities. The Bush Neocons ensconced in their think-tanks
      began a concerted effort to demonize Muslims across the globe prior to and during the Afghan campaign with all of the damagingly negative racial/religious epithets we have learned by heart and many still believe. More of the same for the duration of the War in Iraq, with the added horrors of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. In the United States proper, Islam was denigrated and Muslims expulsed after 9/11 and now we have ample evidence of ongoing racial profiling of Muslims by police departments across the country. Speaking as a European, these events and the incomparable “ in-your-face-violence” foisted on Palestinians, and particularly those residing in Gaza has been behind the slurs and hostility toward Jewish communities, particularly those in France and Belgium…..

  • Israel's information iron dome
    • Asa Kasher reponded when asked whether the IDF should be guided in its operations in Gaza by the concept that there should be zero tolerance for endangering the lives of soldiers…. "The soldiers' lives are endangered by virtue of their very presence in Gaza, by virtue of the fact that we send them to an area where there are enemy snipers and explosives set to go off in areas where the IDF is present. Sending a soldier there to fight terrorists is justified, but why should I force him to endanger himself much more than that so that the terrorist's neighbor isn't killed? I don't have an answer for that. From the standpoint of the state of Israel, the neighbor is much less important. I owe the soldier more. If it's between the soldier and the terrorist's neighbor, the priority is the soldier. Any country would do the same." The decision regarding the magnitude of force used to protect the lives of the soldiers is up to the commander in the field. "The commander must be skilled in gauging the appropriate use of force," Kasher said.
      link to haaretz.com
      In recent weeks, both Israelis and foreigners following the Gaza massacre have begun hearing of IDF massacres and mass executions in a Gaza neighborhood called Khuza’a. Idan Landau, one of Israel’s finest moral and political bloggers writes about the village:….Khuza’a is a village in the southern portion of Gaza, east of Khan Younis, 500 meters from the border. On the opposite side of the fence is Kibbutz Nir Oz. In the village are 10,000 residents (some say 14,000) who earn their living primarily from agriculture.
      It was. There was a village. There were residents. Now, everything is a shambles. Courtesy of the IDF. The State of Israel erased this place off the face of the earth. Tens, if not hundreds of the residents lie buried underneath the rubble. Now there is quiet in Khuza’a. The silence of death.
      What happened here? It is the kind of place and the kind of incident that may be studied for years. We may hear that…a lone Israeli soldier went mad and started murdering prisoners. It could be that members of an Israeli army unit at the center of the fighting decided to take out their rage on those they captured. There may be many theories. All I can tell you is what I saw and heard at the scene this day.
      link to thedailybeast.com
      Who was the overall commander who executed this abomination? Who was the Butcher of Khuza’a? His name will be familiar to anyone who’s been reading this blog lately. And now let it be immortalized forever in the pages of infamy: Col. Ofer Winter. The same who ordered his soldiers to fight a holy war against the Philistine/Palestinian defiler’s of the Israeli God. The same one who ordered one of his unit leaders to execute Lt. Hadar Goldin by throwing a hand grenade and firing indiscriminately into the tunnel into which he’d been dragged. The same one who ordered carpet bombing of Rafah that murdered 150 Palestinians in a matter of hours. The same one who refused to allow his troops to hear a female Israeli musical performer because Orthodox Jews believe a woman’s voice infatuates men. Let this man (if he may be graced by that term) be forever known as the Butcher of Khuza’a.
      link to richardsilverstein.com

  • Ceasefire deal after weeks of fighting in Gaza promises easing of blockade
    • By Sunday night, Palestinian officials were denouncing the bombardment of Shujaiya as a “massacre” while international pressure mounted on the Israeli government to explain the heavy casualty toll being inflicted on Gaza civilians. The IDF told the press that Shujaiya had been a “fortress for Hamas terrorists” and reiterated that while Israel had “warned civilians” to evacuate, “Hamas ordered them to stay. Hamas put them in the line of fire.” The only possible reason for doing that is to kill a lot of people in as short a period of time as possible. ... It’s not mowing the lawn, it’s removing the topsoil,” said a senior US official
      Kerry’s hot-microphone comments reflect the shock among U.S. observers at the scale and lethality of the Israeli bombardment.
      link to america.aljazeera.com

  • Israel's decades-long effort to turn the word 'terrorism' into an ideological weapon
    • Netanyahu is following closely in the footsteps of Ariel Sharon, now elevated by hagiographers to a Minister of Defense who put Israel first in the face of global terrorism…..
      The Israeli Kahan commission (28 September 1982 - 8 February 1983) of enquiry into the Sabra and Shatila massacre provided absolute proof that Israeli soldiers saw the massacre taking place. The evidence of a Lieutenant Avi Grabovsky was crucial. He was an Israeli deputy tank commander and reported what he saw to his higher command. "Don't interfere," the senior officer said. Ever afterwards, Israeli embassies around the world would claim that the commission held Sharon only indirectly responsible for the massacre. It was untrue. The last page of the official Israeli report held Sharon "personally responsible". It was years later that the Israeli-trained Phalangist commander, Elie Hobeika, now working for the Syrians, agreed to turn state's evidence against Sharon - now the Israeli Prime Minister - at a Brussels court. The day after the Israeli attorney general declared Sharon's defence a "state" matter, Hobeika was killed by a massive car bomb in east Beirut. Israel denied responsibility. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Brussels and quietly threatened to withdraw Nato headquarters from Belgium if the country maintained its laws to punish war criminals from foreign nations. Within months, George W Bush had declared Sharon "a man of peace". It was all over
      Sharon voted against the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. He voted against a withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 1985. He opposed Israel's participation in the Madrid peace conference in 1991. He opposed the Knesset plenum vote on the Oslo agreement in 1993. He abstained on a vote for peace with Jordan in 1994. He voted against the Hebron agreement in 1997. He condemned the manner of Israel's retreat from Lebanon in 2000. By 2002, he had built 34 new Jewish colonies on Palestinian land. …….It was he who claimed that the preposterous Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian bin Laden. He it was who as Israeli foreign minister opposed Nato's war in Kosovo, inveighing against "Islamic terror" in Kosovo. "The moment that Israel expresses support...it's likely to be the next victim.
      link to independent.co.uk

  • Our new look
    • Although the new format is aesthetically pleasing,miss the "old chronology listings" and the cut and the former paste feature...Now is seems necessary to "formulate a response" in Word and then paste....

  • 'NYT' journey to Israel/Palestine to be led by Israeli 'expert' who called on countrymen to 'kill and kill' Palestinians
  • Rolling in underground tunnels
    • ....Given the considerable sums that the "tunnel economy" generated, one has to suspect that "under-the-table-commercial-activity" might have indeed existed with southern Israel, although I have not found any affirmative verification to this. Given that the tunnel trade was a tightly controlled in an effort to circumvent the Israeli siege, acknowledged trading with the enemy might have been viewed as treason, a crime punishable by death as we have just seen....

      "Once in control of the commercial tunnels, the Hamas government set about formalizing the smuggling economy through regulation. In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, the Interior Ministry established the Tunnel Affairs Commission (TAC) to act as the regulatory authority for commercial activities. Among its first acts was to issue a list of blacklisted imports, including weapons, alcohol, and tramadol, a painkiller much used in Gaza. In response to public concern at a rising toll of tunnel casualties, particularly of child workers, the TAC issued guidelines intended to ensure safe working conditions. Over time, it fenced off the site and stationed some three hundred black-clad internal-security personnel at entry points to spot-check the documentation of persons entering and leaving the zone. Tunnel openings were patrolled on motorbike. The TAC introduced a tunnel-licensing system to prevent construction in areas deemed of national security (particularly near border fortifications where outside observation was feared, or in areas reserved for factional tunneling) and to regulate oversupply. Investors seeking clearance to build a new tunnel were required to provide proof of land ownership or notarized proof of authorization of the right to use the land. The TAC also intervened to arbitrate disputes between merchants and tunnel operators, and monitored the market for instances of sharp inflation or evidence of hoarding and price-fixing, particularly of fuel. Traders and consumers alike said they welcomed the price stabilization and removal of petty traders selling gasoline from the roadsides."

      link to sderotmedia.org.il
      link to news.nationalgeographic.com
      link to thejerusalemfund.org

      The scale of the Gaza-Egypt tunnel exploit and the role tunnels played in the revival and maintenance of the economy made them an absolute necessity!!

  • Mr. Netanyahu, what is your endgame?
    • ...Invading Gaza at the present time not ....
      he topic of the army’s briefing was the challenge of reoccupying Gaza and disarming Hamas. Numerous figures on the right, including senior Cabinet ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, have insisted for weeks that Israel should aim to conquer the district rather than negotiate a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in place.

      They’ve gotten broad support from lawmakers in Netanyahu’s own Likud. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon have resisted the demand at the army’s urging.

      The army’s PowerPoint briefing indicated that conquering Gaza, with its estimated 20,000 gunmen and tens of thousands of weapons, would take at least five years and leave hundreds of Israeli soldiers and thousands of Palestinian civilians dead. It would lead to prolonged rioting in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs, and would probably rupture Israel’s peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt, the generals reportedly said.

      After taking over, Israel would face violent chaos for several more years until the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet get an intelligence network in place and stabilize Israeli rule. Soldiers would face a high risk of kidnapping throughout.

      According to news accounts, several ministers grilled the generals afterward, claiming that the PowerPoint presentation grossly exaggerated the difficulties. They claimed the army was trying to bully the ministers into rejecting an invasion and accepting a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in place. The generals reportedly shot back that they were merely presenting hard intelligence.

      Netanyahu finally asked for a straw vote. Nobody voted to invade. In the weeks since, however, Cabinet members Lieberman, Bennett and Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan of Likud have repeatedly criticized Netanyahu and urged reoccupying Gaza and crushing Hamas.

      link to forward.com

  • 'NYT' op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and push for equal rights
    • From an encouraging Ynet op-ed:
      Hamas is not a terror organization. It's easier for us to call it that because the classification dwarfs it and aggrandizes us, and allows us to treat it as a pest that must be eliminated, rather than a political player that must be taken into account when examining the balance of power and fear in our neighborhood.
      It was easier for us to think this is a summer camp for martyrs, with a few hot-tempered Imams and some monstrous engineer, and that if we could only get rid of them, things would be better. We were wrong. We were also wrong in Lebanon when we failed to properly identify the cumulative power of the Palestinian organizations. This mistake marked the beginning of our sinking into the Lebanese quicksand. Are we going to be stupid enough to have to repeat this mistake?
      The governments of Israel throughout the years, our senior analysts, the best of our generals and whoever else, all flooded the public discourse with talk of a "terror organization" to the point that we became too blind to see.

      Firstly, we did not realize what we were doing when we encouraged the separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to weaken the PLO, and got a far worse foe. Secondly, we did not realize that the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, to the point of hearing maniacal laughter emanating from the rubble of Gaza at the sight of rockets rolling down the road in Tel Aviv.
      Thirdly, we failed in understanding Hamas' own reality - because you don't have to understand a terror organization, just eradicate it - and so we failed to understand the deep despair that is the very basis of Islamic fundamentalism, or the ideology that sanctifies a bloody dream over human life, the willingness to suffer lengthy periods of shortage and a hard siege for faith, and the choice of the promised future in paradise over the future you could build with your own two hands in this world.
      Years of a lack of understanding cannot be covered by any Iron Dome, and all the accurate military intelligence is worth nothing unless it comes with the understanding of what our target is. And this target can't be to eradicate, crush or eliminate. On the other hand, it also can't be to negotiate, because we allegedly don't negotiate with terrorists. Then again, it also can't be to rely on a mix of tangled international interventions that are as fragile as a spider's web.
      During this pointless round of fighting, this government must realize it was wrong, learn from its mistakes and urgently change its tune before all of its symbols of sovereignty are damaged in this struggle and before it becomes clear that it has failed in its primary and most important mission: to guarantee that we can maintain normal everyday life here. Sort of........
      link to ynetnews.com

  • Democratic Party leader echoes Netanyahu's new theme: Hamas equals ISIS
    • @Kay24.......Lost the PR War, I wish, but sadly untrue.

      By using his oldest trick again, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the International Commission of Inquiry on the occupation's war crimes in Gaza by using the narrative of the victim to justify and explain the most recent bout of Israeli aggression and hostility. During the final moments of his meeting in Tel Aviv with the Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the state of New York, Netanyahu criticised the Human Rights Council's decision to form a committee to look into the crimes against humanity that have been committed in the Gaza Strip. In response to the HRC's decision, Netanyahu said, "The Council's [decision] grants legitimacy to terrorist organisations such as Hamas and ISIS rather than doing what is right by examining Hamas' attacks on Israeli citizens and its exploitation of Palestinians as human shields..."
      link to middleeastmonitor.com

    • Egypt's Al-Mesryoon newspaper reported on Wednesday quoting a statement by Hamas's senior leader Al-Zahar that was broadcast by Al-Aqsa, a television channel close to Hamas, as saying: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a connection between Hamas and the Islamic State is a deception, which aims to incite the world against Hamas....He further stated, "Hamas is a national resistance movement and its aim is to liberate Palestine."
      link to middleeastmonitor.com

  • Israeli ship heads out of Oakland - again - after five days of extraordinary protest
    • In the aftermath of the "Missilegate" fiasco, the Wall Street Journal has mentioned that "US leaders believe that Israel's actions throughout the military operation in Gaza, especially the actions of Netanyahu and the Minister of Defense, were very reckless" and that Israeli leaders cannot be trusted. What this means is that many believe that Netanyahu was pulling strings and using his leverage in the White House and the American Congress to manipulate the US government, John Kerry and the US ambassador in Israel.
      But best of all:
      Even the US Postal Service (USPS) has taken a number of undeclared punitive actions against Israel as the Hebrew Reuters' page reported that the USPS allegedly refuses to send packages and letters to Israel because of the nature of the current security situation post-Gaza offensive. According to the websites, the USPS has received many complaints all across America for refusing to send letters and parcels to Israel.......
      link to middleeastmonitor.com

  • 'Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children'
    • Should we be surprised at Israel's disproportionate use of force and the erasure of entire neighborhoods in Gaza....????
      In a 2008 interview with GOC Northern Command Gadi Eisenkot, and articles written by two senior reserve officers have indicated that the IDF will continue to give first priority to firepower, even if the targets it chooses are different than those chosen in previous conflicts. Eisenkot presented his "Dahiyah Doctrine," under which the IDF would expand its destructive power beyond what it demonstrated two years ago against the Beirut suburb of Dahiyah, considered a Hezbollah stronghold.
      "We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases," he said. "This isn't a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized."
      Colonel (Res.) Gabriel Siboni recently authored a report through Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies backed Eisenkot's statements at the time.
      The answer to rocket and missile threats from Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, he believes, is "a disproportionate strike at the heart of the enemy's weak spot, in which efforts to hurt launch capability are secondary. As soon as the conflict breaks out, the IDF will have to operate in a rapid, determined, powerful and disproportionate way against the enemy's actions."
      link to haaretz.com

    • Israel is slowly pushing the boundaries of existing law in an explicit attempt to reshape it. This is an affront to the international humanitarian legal order, which is intended to protect civilians in times of war by minimizing their suffering. Israel's attempts have proven successful in the realm of public relations, as evidenced by President Obama's uncritical support of Israel's recent onslaughts of Gaza as an exercise in the right of self-defense. Since international law lacks a hierarchal enforcement authority, its meaning and scope is highly contingent on the prerogative of states, especially the most powerful ones. The implications of this shift are therefore palpable and dangerous.

      To justify its use of force in the OPT as consistent with the right of self-defense, Israel has cited UN Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001)and UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001). These two resolutions were passed in direct response to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001. They affirm that those terrorist acts amount to threats to international peace and security and therefore trigger Article 51 of the UN Charter permitting the use of force in self-defense. Israel has therefore deliberately characterized all acts of Palestinian violence - including those directed exclusively at legitimate military targets - as terrorist acts. Secondly it frames those acts as amounting to armed attacks that trigger the right of self-defense under Article 51 irrespective of the West Bank and Gaza's status as Occupied Territory.

      The Israeli Government stated its position clearly in the 2006 HCJ case challenging the legality of the policy of targeted killing (Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. Government of Israel). The State argued that, notwithstanding existing legal debate, "there can be no doubt that the assault of terrorism against Israel fits the definition of an armed attack," effectively permitting Israel to use military force against those entities.Therefore, Israeli officials claim that the laws of war can apply to "both occupied territory and to territory which is not occupied, as long as armed conflict is taking place on it" and that the permissible use of force is not limited to law enforcement operations. The HCJ has affirmed this argument in at least three of its decisions:Public Committee Against Torture in Israel et al v. Government of Israel, Hamdan v. Southern Military Commander, and Physicians for Human Rights v. The IDF Commander in Gaza. These rulings sanction the government's position that it is engaged in an international armed conflict and, therefore, that its use of force is not restricted by the laws of occupation. The Israeli judiciary effectively authorizes the State to use police force to control the lives of Palestinians (e.g., through ongoing arrests, prosecutions, checkpoints) and military force to pummel their resistance to occupation.

      link to sott.net

  • Weapons fired in Ferguson come from companies supplying Israel, Bahrain and Egypt
    • Proven Effective: Crowd Control Weapons in the Occupied Palestinian TerritoriesThe report focuses on three types of weapons as case studies: tear gas canisters, produced and marketed by Combined Systems (CSI) and M.R. Hunter; "the Scream", manufactured by Electro-Optics Research & Development (EORD) and Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD); and "the Skunk", manufactured by Odortec, with the supporting companies: MAN Group and Beit Alpha Technologies (B.A.T). The report highlights the harmful consequences of these weapons, including their potentially lethal effects. The occupied Palestinian territories are being used as a lab for testing new weapons for civil oppression on humans, in order to label them as “proven effective” for marketing abroad.
      link to whoprofits.org

    • The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq. Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.
      link to english.al-akhbar.com

    • The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.
      link to english.al-akhbar.com

  • With ceasefire set to expire, Palestinians aim to lift the siege while Israel wants to turn 'Gaza into Ramallah'
    • Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, ordered his army to attack targets in Gaza, and recalled from Cairo negotiators who were involved in indirect talks with Palestinians on a permanent ceasefire.

      "In response to Hamas's violation of the truce, the prime minister and defence minister have ordered the IDF [Israeli army] to once more attack terror sites in the Gaza Strip," a government official said.
      link to aljazeera.com

  • Gruesome tales surface of Israeli massacres against families in Gaza's Shujaiya neighborhood
    • "Five years after the presentation of the Goldstone Report, there is no real accountability and the recommendations remain unimplemented. Neither Israel nor the Gaza authorities have taken any meaningful measures for accountability for gross violations resulting in killing of civilians, deliberate targeting and destruction of UN buildings and other places protected under the Geneva Conventions, and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza. As far as Israel is concerned, the record shows its contempt for real accountability in the manner it has dealt with incidents during the 2009 offensive, about which the Mission had given findings of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations."
      link to middleeastmonitor.com

  • 5 micro incidents of hope
    • Farther afield and as Noam Chomsky has observed.....
      But as the U.S. government backpedals to reconcile its unconditional support of Israel with basic principles of human rights and Europe waffles, one region stands out in its opposition to the siege of Gaza: Latin America. Leaders from across the region have condemned the Israel Defense Forces’ attacks on Gaza as excessive and unfair. “I think what’s happening in the Gaza Strip is dangerous,” Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff told the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. “I don’t think it’s genocide, but I think it’s a massacre.”
      Chile, currently a member of the U.N. Security Council, stated that the Israeli government “does not respect the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law.”
      link to america.aljazeera.com

  • The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza--and the costs to Israel's standing
    • Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to the Jewish communities thanking them for being "a source of great strength for the people of Israel" over the past two months. He acknowledged in the letter that "this has been a difficult period for Jews around the world, as many of you face increasingly virulent and sometimes violent manifestations of antisemitism".

      While the most severe incidents have been in Europe, there has been violence and abuse in many countries around the world.

      In the US, where antisemitic incidents have been less prevalent, the Gaza crisis has played out mainly in the media and in various Jewish movements, where the largely liberal community has been thrashing out its dilemmas. In addition, some of the more prominent figures criticising Israel's actions, such as comedian Jon Stewart, are Jewish.

      While there have been large rallies in support of Israel in many US cities, there have also been reports of pro-BDS Jewish groups attracting more members.

      Groups such as J Street have tried a middle path, expressing shock over the dead civilians in Gaza, supporting Secretary of State John Kerry's faltering attempts to reach a ceasefire, while recognising Israel's right to defend itself.

      This round of fighting seems to have left in its wake a divided and uncertain Jewish landscape in America.

      link to thejc.com

    • n a letter recently sent out by the Ministry of Agriculture to Israeli dairy and livestock producers, Israeli farmers were told to start separating out their products that come from beyond the Green Line ahead of the European Union's boycott of dairy, poultry, eggs and meat that come from the West Bank and Golan Heights. The separated products will then not be sent to the European Union.

      The EU's ban is designated for products from the West Bank and Golan Heights, but would technically include certain parts of Jerusalem, though no Israeli goods are produced there anymore.

      In accordance with instructions from the Foreign and Finance ministries, the letter goes on to state that farmers must present the ministry with a list of farms over the Green Line from which they receive raw materials that are combined with materials from multiple farms. This is being done in order to separate end products, such as powdered milk, that could include materials from both farms over the Green Line and farms within the EU's definition of Israel.

      Currently, products sold in the European Union that come from over the Green Line carry a label, but are not banned outright.

      The European Union agreed to the Green Line poultry, egg, meat and dairy ban on February 17 of this year. The ban is supposed to go into effect on September 1.

      link to jpost.com

    • The evidence of atrocities is mounting. One of the defining horrors of this attack has beenthe targeting of family homes – close to 1,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes. Reporting on the issue, the Associated Press said that the Israeli military did not respond to repeated requests "to explain in detail why even one of [the homes] was targeted". Earlier on in the operation, Israeli NGO B'Tselem noted how the Israel military itself had "acknowledged" conducting attacks that were "illegally aimed at homes that were not military targets". A senior officer, commenting on the bombing of a senior al-Qassam Brigades figure's house, said: "You call it a home, we call it a command centre and a military post for all intents and purposes". As Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard put it, the Israeli military's "combat doctrine...redefines what constitutes a legitimate target for attack" so that it includes "houses belonging to Hamas commanders and operatives" (it should be noted homes have also been hit lacking even this 'link').
      link to middleeastmonitor.com

  • Israel and its advocates have a new target in sight: Head of UN inquiry William Schabas
    • U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today slammed the United Nations for appointing William Schabas as head of the U.N Gaza Commission and urged the United States to defund and withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council if Schabas is not removed.

      link to theyeshivaworld.com

    • UN Watch sounded the alarm: Mr Schabas has a long record of statements attacking Israel and defending the Iranian regime.

      Specifically, we cited his recent participation in a mock trial of alleged Israeli war crimes, in which he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "my favourite" to put "in the dock of the International Criminal Court".

      Not the mass murderers of Syria, Iraq, Sudan. His one favourite: Mr Netanyahu. How could someone openly express his dream of indicting a particular individual - and the next day claim to be his impartial judge?
      link to thejc.com

  • Israeli soldiers carved Stars of David in homes in Gaza, report Blumenthal and Cohen
    • “The recent fighting has resulted in substantial direct damage to Gaza’s 17,000 hectares of croplands as well as much of its agricultural infrastructure, including greenhouses, irrigation systems, animal farms, fodder stocks and fishing boats,” the statement continued.

      The report added that Gaza had lost half of its poultry in the attack, “either due to direct hits on their shelters or lack of water, feed or care resulting from access restrictions.”

      Losses among Gaza’s crucial fishing sector, meanwhile, were estimated at 234.6 tons, or about 9.3 percent of the yearly catch.

      According to the organization, although Gaza imports most of its food needs, around 28,600 people in Gaza rely on farming (19,000 people), livestock raising (6,000) and fishing (3,600) for their livelihoods.

      “Under the most recent ceasefire many farmers and herders are now able to access their lands, however resumption of food production faces serious obstacles given the damages sustained and shortages of water, electricity, inputs and financial resources, as well as ongoing uncertainty regarding the possible resumption of military activities”, said Ciro Fiorillo, head of the FAO office in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
      link to juancole.com

  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
    • Haaretz talked to Israel Prize laureate and renowned scholar Zeev Sternhell about his fears for the collapse of Israeli democracy.

      Of all the phenomena you’ve encountered here, which do you find ugliest?

      “What we’ve seen here in the past few weeks is absolute conformism on the part of most of Israel’s intellectuals. They’ve just followed the herd. By intellectuals I mean professors and journalists. The intellectual bankruptcy of the mass media in this war is total. It’s not easy to go against the herd, you can easily be trampled. But the role of the intellectual and the journalist is not to applaud the government. Democracy crumbles when the intellectuals, the educated classes, toe the line of the thugs or look at them with a smile. People here say, ‘It’s not so terrible, it’s nothing like fascism – we have free elections and parties and a parliament.’ Yet, we reached a crisis in this war, in which, without anyone asking them to do so, all kinds of university bodies are suddenly demanding that the entire academic community roll back its criticism.”

      Do you think it’s due to fear?

      “Fear of the authorities, fear of possible budgetary sanctions and fear of pressure from the street. The personification of shame and disgrace occurred when the dean of the law faculty of Bar-Ilan University threatened sanctions against one of his colleagues because the latter added a couple of sentences to an announcement about exam dates in which he expressed sorrow at the killing and loss of life on both sides. To grieve for the loss of life on both sides is already a subversive act, treason. We are arriving at a situation of purely formal democracy, which keeps sinking to ever lower levels.”

      When will we cross the line in which democracy implodes?

      “Democracy rarely falls in a revolution. Not in Italy, not in Germany and not in France with the Vichy regime – which is a crucial thing, because France was a democratic country that fell into the hands of the right wing with the support of the vast majority of the population. It was not the fall of France that generated this ideology. It was the result of a gradual process in which an extreme nationalist ideology took shape, a radical approach that perceives the nation as an organic body. Like a tree on which human individuals are the leaves and the branches – in other words, people exist only thanks to the tree. The nation is a living body.

      “In Israel, the religious factor strengthens the national singularity. It’s not a matter of belief, but of identity; religion bolsters your distinctive identity. It’s essential to understand that without this radical nationalism there is no fascism. I also distinguish between fascism and Nazism, because fascism does not necessarily carry a race doctrine. Let me put it in no uncertain terms: Fascism is a war against enlightenment and against universal values; Nazism was a war against the human race.”

      Do you see a negation of universal values in Israel and a war against enlightenment in recent years?

      “It cries out to heaven. Israel is an extraordinary laboratory in which one sees the gradual erosion of enlightenment values, namely the universal values I mentioned. You see the negation, which always existed on the fringes, slowly impinging, until one day it dominates the center.”
      link to warincontext.org

  • The Walzer Problem
    • MHughes976....The issue covered in the article is "the targeting of civilians" and "Just War" theory in the aftermath of "Operation Cast Lead". It was a time when much of the civilized world war appalled at Israeli impunity , the numbers of dead Palestinians, the infrastructure damage done by missiles and bombs and the dubious claims of "the use of human shields". Walzer and the world seem to have moved on since then, thanks to the ongoing and successful demonization of Arabs/Palestinians/ Muslims campaign.....

    • Michael Walzer seems to have adopted a much harder line than that voiced in the article co-authored with Avishai Margalit in their article, "Israel: Civilians&Combattants" (NYR May 14, 2009) concluding

      "This is the guideline we advocate: Conduct your war in the presence of noncombatants on the other side with the same care as if your citizens were the noncombatants"

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