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Hostage

Retired

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  • Palestine Advocacy Project goes national
    • Re: I am surprised Annie that you don`t read the mood-map even in your own country.

      I'm surprised that you don't read the headlines in your own country's dailies about the strings attached to the Egyptian bailout by Saudi Arabia, i.e. : "Gaza and Cairo feel winds of change blowing from Saudi Arabia -- "Saudi Arabia’s recent moves reflect a change in its foreign policy. This could force Egypt’s president to change his stance against Hamas, and push the latter back to the Arab orbit. -- link to haaretz.com

      Likewise the Google News feed has several stories about calls for improved Hamas - Egyptian relations; the fact that the Arab League will not recognize the Egyptian court decision which labeled Hamas a terror organization; and calls for the Egyptian government to overturn the decision, i.e.: "Hamas' Haniyeh calls for better ties with Egyptian people" -- link to en.apa.az

      Re: Have you heard of PalAd yet?

      Yes. Have you heard about the Avaaz.org Petition demanding that the IRS stop tax subsidies for the Israeli settlements yet?, i.e. : link to secure.avaaz.org

      Dear friends across the US,

      It might be the worst tax break ever. Illegal Israeli 'settlements' or colonies on Palestinian land are driving mid-east conflict, have been judged a possible war crime by the UN, and are opposed by the US government. But over $200 million has been funneled from US donors to radical colonist groups - tax free!

      It’s shocking, and it’s illegal. These tax breaks clearly violate IRS rules -- but there hasn’t been an outcry to force the IRS to audit these pseudo-charities and cancel their tax breaks. We can change that.

      Tomorrow Israel’s hawkish right-wing Prime Minister will address Congress in Washington, and the media is focused on this issue. An outcry right now from thousands of us, on top of a complaint Avaaz is submitting to the IRS, could get covered in the media and be enough to get the IRS to act. Sign here:

      link to secure.avaaz.org

      Tax deductions are like indirect government financing - someone pays less taxes for donating money to a cause. That's why it's strictly reserved for real charities that are for the common good.

      The law is clear that these “charities” backing a long list of illegal and discriminatory practices against Palestinians don’t qualify, so the IRS should clearly revoke their charitable status. But some of these groups have high-level political connections, so it will take some pressure to get the IRS to act.

      Stopping these tax breaks wouldn’t affect donations to support legal and legitimate groups in Israel -- only donations headed to groups that are violating human rights and international law, literally building roadblocks to peace with every settlement they support. Sign now:

      link to secure.avaaz.org

      The US has for a long time been part of the problem, not part of the solution to Middle East peace. But the Avaaz community has campaigned for years for a more constructive US role, and under President Obama that role is shifting. This week, let's send another signal to the warmongers that, step by step, peace is coming.

      With hope and determination,

      John, Nick, David, Terra, Ricken, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team

      SOURCES

      Can I Take a Tax-Deduction on My Donation to Israeli Settlements in Palestine? (Foreign Policy)
      link to foreignpolicy.com

      Tax-Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank (New York Times)
      link to nytimes.com

      West Bank settlement expansion surged under Netanyahu (Haaretz)
      link to haaretz.com

      Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 10/1/2014 (White House)
      link to whitehouse.gov

  • Palestinians to take Israeli settlements to the ICC following announcement of 450 new units
    • Ocampo should apply to be Israels lawyer

      I assumed that he already had, when he visited Israel last year and said that it had little to fear from the ICC. link to haaretz.com

      By the time he left office, he was almost a pariah. There were calls to remove him from office over a sex scandal and his very dismal performance. link to worldaffairsjournal.org

      can also argue that the Oslo agreements exclude Israelis from Palestinian jurisdiction and as a consequence from the ICC’s authority”.

      Article 7 and 8 of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibit an occupying power from concluding any special agreement that derogates from it's obligations under the Convention. The ICJ found that Israel had facilitated the establishment of the settlements and had transferred portions of its own civilian population into the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of its obligations under Article 49 of the Convention. The attempt to prolong that illegal situation and make the presence of Israeli civilians and settlements an issue for the (future) "permanent status negotiations" renders the Oslo DOP an example of a prohibited type of special agreement.

      Worse still, Article 8 of the Rome Statute and Article 85 of the 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions say that the situation is a war crime. On a number of occasions, the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber had to dismiss Ocompo's strange legal theories and remind him that:

      The interpretation of treaties, and the Rome Statute is no exception, is governed by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (23 May 1969), specifically the provisions of articles 31 and 32. The principal rule of interpretation is set out in article 31 (1) that reads: A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.

      -- see Prosecutor v. Lubanga Dyilo, Judgment on the Prosecutor’s Application for Extraordinary Review of the Pre-Trial Chamber Is 31 Mar. 2006 Decision Denying Leave to Appeal, ICC-01/04 168, 13 July 2006, paras. 33-42. link to icc-cpi.int

      The prohibition against genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity is considered a "jus cogens" norm of customary international law, from which no exceptions are permitted. That was the "raison d'être" cited in support of the establishment of all of these international criminal tribunals by the UN in the early 1990s. Article 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is titled: "TREATIES CONFLICTING WITH A PEREMPTORY NORM OF GENERAL INTERNATIONAL LAW ("JUS COGENS"). It says:

      A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law.

      -- link to treaties.un.org

      FYI, in 1988, after the King of Jordan had dissolved the federal union between the East and West Banks, the Palestinian National Council appointed the PLO Executive Committee to the role of Provisional Government of the State of Palestine. Jordan, like all of the members of the Arab League recognized the newly emerged state. The General Assembly resolution that recently upgraded Palestine to a non-member observer state noted the role played by the PLO acting as the state's government since 1988. The 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO set out the terms for a jurisdictional division of labor between the State of Israel and a third, newly created, municipal-level governmental entity: "the Palestinian Council" aka the Palestinian Authority. The Accords did not specifically mention or limit the criminal jurisdiction retained by the PLO. FYI, every federal state-level government has the capacity to exercise universal jurisdiction in accordance with customary international law, regardless of the limited nature of the scope of jurisdiction exercised by its municipal or intermediate levels of government. The PLO signed a number of valid international agreements for the benefit of the PA during the interim period, e.g. link to consilium.europa.eu

      In any event, the text of the: 1993 "Oslo" Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements explicitly stated that it and the subsequent agreements were "for a transitional period not exceeding five years". link to news.bbc.co.uk

      A legal scholar, Errol Mendes, on sabbatical at the ICC wrote an advisory opinion for Ocampo which pointed out the Accords had legally lapsed, back when the Israelis first objected that Palestine was violating the agreements by involving the ICC:

      There is an element of irrationality for anyone to suggest that the Palestinian State can not even declare independence after the Oslo Accords expired on September 13, 2000 as it contained an obligation to refrain from doing anything to undermine the object and purpose of the Accords such as a unilateral declaration of independence. There is no international law authority supporting this position and if it was accurate, it would also call into question the legitimacy of Israel’s actions since the expiration of the Oslo Accords, given the illegal expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

      link to icc-cpi.int

      I would add that it is also somewhat schizophrenic to argue that the PLO Executive Committee, acting as the the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine, still cannot make a valid treaty declaration or conclude a valid treaty accession with regard to the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute, the UN Charter, & etc., but that it somehow managed to do both of those things as part of the 1993 Oslo process with Israel. Frankly, if you accept the strange proposition advanced by the current Prosecutor that: the State of Palestine only came into existence on 29 November 2012 when it's status was upgraded from that of a mere "Entity", you'll have an insurmountable problem establishing the fact that it was ever a party to the Oslo Accords in the first place.

    • It gets even more depressing when you look at what happened to Lebanon’s attempt of trying to get on board.

      The United States did prevent Iraq from joining the ICC when it was literally occupying the country. But short of situations like that one, the USA really has no way to prevent other UN member states from joining the Court over its objections.

      There are undoubtedly other factors at play in the government of Lebanon's decision not to join the Court. In the case of Palestine, the US has continued, right up until the very last moment (and well beyond), to prevent Palestine from ever joining:

      When the European Union advanced sanctions against the settlements, Kerry tried to block them; when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN Security Council, Kerry pressured state leaders not to support the move. When the Palestinians turned to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Kerry made 50 phone calls, to the court's prosecutor and to foreign ministers across the globe, in an effort to block the move.

      link to haaretz.com

      See also "US says Palestinians ineligible to join ICC" link to timesofisrael.com That article and the others at EJIL and Just Security indicate to me that there is an orchestrated effort to declare the Palestinian accession null and void.

      I'm not so concerned with the poor performance during the early years of the Court. The member states can always clean house and appoint new judges and prosecutors. Governments loath doing that sort of thing, unless there is a public outcry. The UN and regional groups of states have continued to create and operate many other competing criminal tribunals around the globe. It's pretty amazing that 121 states, representing a majority of the international community, have joined the ICC and are continuing to amend the Rome Statute, the professional code of conduct, and the rules of evidence and procedure in order to address some of their known shortcomings. Nobody ever thought that a sufficient number of states would ratify the Statute in such a short amount of time in the first place. It entered into force with only 60 members, i.e. for years the majority of states remained non-members for which the Court's existence was meaningless and didn't create any rights or obligations. The Drafters were worried about judicial and prosecutorial activism and made it difficult to trigger the Court's jurisdiction. They envisioned state referrals, but did not foresee that most of them would be self-referrals. The subject simply never came up during the Rome Conference. The Statute envisioned a Court of last resort that would only compliment efforts by the members themselves to prosecute cases in their own Courts. Frankly, the big story ought to be the successful efforts of the US and Israel's allies to prevent any state from prosecuting an Israeli for any kind of war crime or crime against humanity since 1948. After all, more than 160 countries have laws on the books that grant their own national courts the necessary universal jurisdiction to do that very thing and there have been no shortage of accusations. At least in theory, the number of cases in which there would even be a need for the ICC to intervene ought to be vanishingly small.

    • god how depressing. i will check out all your suggested links. it’s like a brick wall for palestine and the implications are dire, for not just palestine.

      You're not even going to get good news coverage at those sites. For example, the Government of Comoros has some new lawyers and has filed an appeal concerning the Prosecutor's decision not to proceed with an investigation of the Flotilla Massacre case. link to justicehub.org

      Other than getting the Prosecutors off their duffs going forward, the biggest issue or hurdle is likely to be the question of retroactive jurisdiction. Some experts, like Judge Kai Ambos are simply against it and think that the question was settled months ago by the decision announced by the Office of the Prosecutor. Other experts, like Dr. Daphné Richemond-Barak, of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC Herzliya don't think so, but appear to oppose the idea nonetheless. See the article and comments on "Double Duty at the ICC" link to ejiltalk.org

      I think the case for retroactivity with regard to crimes committed in Operation Protective Edge and Operation Pillar of Defense is almost insurmountable on the basis of the vote to admit Palestine as a contracting state party to the UNESCO Constitution aka "full membership". I think a very good case can also be made for retroactivity with regard to crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead too, based upon the relevant General Assembly resolutions on the particular subject, read in light of: customary law; General Assembly resolutions on the rules that international organizations, like the ICC, should apply to govern their relations with Palestine; the text of resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012; and the Secretary General's March 2013 follow-up report on the "Status of Palestine in the United Nations". Unfortunately, a discussion of that material is way too long for the comments section.

      I pointed out to both Ambos and Richemond-Barak that, during the UN press conference on the accession document, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN said they had filed another 12(3) declaration the day before the accession was filed. He said that Palestine had requested retroactivity with regard to jurisdiction over crimes committed during the last war in Gaza and was reserving its right to retroactivity with regard to other crimes too. He made those remarks @7m:06s. The full press conference is here: link to youtu.be

      Many commentators on "The Summary of Practice" of the Secretary General make it appear that he had to wait, after the UNESCO vote, until he had received an accession request from the State of Palestine before he could consult the practice of the General Assembly. But that was not the case. The paragraph on treaties open for signature under the "all states" formula says explicitly that there is never any need to consult the practice of the General Assembly in the case of a member of one of the UN specialized agencies. In part, that's because the Secretary General has had standing instructions from the General Assembly ever since 1949 to dispatch an invitation on his own initiative to new members of the UN specialized agencies requesting that they become state parties to the UN Convention on the Crime of Genocide. See A/RES/368 (IV) 3 December 1949, "Invitations to be addressed to non-member States to become parties to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" link to refworld.org

      Note: The ICC exercises jurisdiction over natural persons concerning the crime of genocide, but the ICJ has jurisdiction for determinations regarding state responsibility. Article 119 of the Rome Statute mentions the fact that disputes over ICC jurisdiction will be decided by the Court, but indicates that disputes between states may have to be settled by the ICJ. Unlike the ICC, declarations accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ are always considered retroactive by default, unless there is an explicit reservation to the contrary. The General Assembly resolution on the current status of Palestine acknowledged its 1988 unilateral declaration of independence and the role of the PLO Executive Committee acting as the "Provisional Government of the State of Palestine" ever since that date. The Secretary General's follow-up report noted that the State of Palestine (not the PA) already existed and had filed an application for UN membership (a multilateral treaty) in September of 2011. So it's hard to find very much support in the practice of the UN for the Prosecutors claim that Palestine wasn't a state until December of 2012.

      FYI, in the aftermath of the UNESCO vote and the announced pull-out of funding by Israel and the United States, the Secretary General seems to have forgotten A/RES/368 (IV) when he said that the Palestinians bid to join UN and its agencies by becoming a state party to its treaties and conventions "is not beneficial for anybody". link to huffingtonpost.com

      Here are some links to the articles at Just Security which were mentioned in the Jerusalem Post article and the articles written in response at Opinio Juris:
      Luis Moreno Ocampo
      link to justsecurity.org

      Alan Dershowitz
      link to justsecurity.org

      David Lubin:
      link to justsecurity.org

      Robert Howse
      link to justsecurity.org
      link to justsecurity.org

      Yousef N. Zeidan
      link to justsecurity.org

      Jonathan Somer
      link to justsecurity.org

      Nimrod Karin
      link to justsecurity.org
      link to justsecurity.org
      Letter to Editor
      link to justsecurity.org

      Fionnuala Ní Aoláin
      link to justsecurity.org
      link to justsecurity.org

      Beth Van Schaack
      link to justsecurity.org

    • Much of the most valuable information about the I/P conflict is buried in random and disorganized comments — difficult to retrieve and connect.

      While I do pride myself on being well read, the information contained in my comments here and elsewhere comes from official documentary records or well known published sources on the subjects of history, international law, or political science. I don't think of comments made at the European Journal of International Law (EJIL Talk!) website or Opinio Juris as being buried or out of sight.

      I've noted in the past that the "Daily News and Analysis" email from the PLO Delegation to the USA routinely calls attention to articles at Mondoweiss. Some of those started out as comments that Phil or Adam decided to publish as standalone articles. Similarly, the former Deputy Legal Advisor to the Israeli UN Delegation complained that the Palestinians seem to be getting tips and useful lines of argumentation from articles at Opinio Juris and elsewhere in the legal blogosphere. The Jerusalem Post highlighted the explosion of articles and comments since Palestine joined the ICC. See "Legal blogosphere erupts over ICC’s inquiry into Gaza war - Arab-Israeli Conflict" link to jpost.com

    • the current Prosecutor will continue to make excuses and do little or nothing at all about the situation.

      hostage, Bensouda ?

      Yes, she was the Deputy Prosecutor during the first 12 years of the Court's operation. In other situations, she has issued warnings to perpetrators in press releases on the basis of news reports about possible crimes, e.g. See "Statement by ICC Prosecutor concerning Mali" link to icc-cpi.int

      In the case of Palestine, she and her predecessor have remained conspicuously silent about hundreds of reliable reports of crimes and threats. In doing so, the ICC has implicitly given the government of Israel a green light to go on threatening Palestinians with reprisals for merely joining the Court, including acts that are obliviously intended to persecute officials and potential witnesses with the aim of obstructing the administration of justice.

      Several months ago, a former member of the staff of the Office of the Prosecutor spilled the beans to the press and explained that the Prosecutors were trying to "hide behind legal jargon to disguise what is a political decision, to rule out competence and not get involved." See Hague court under western pressure not to open Gaza war crimes inquiry link to theguardian.com

      That's actually grounds for removal from office under the terms of the Statute and the Court's Rules of Evidence and Procedure. So naturally, Bensouda wrote a blustery denial. See Fatou Bensouda: the truth about the ICC and Gaza link to theguardian.com

      It continued to employ the same meaningless jargon and even more misstatements of fact concerning (1) the actual content of the UN summary of practice with respect to accessions by members of specialized agencies for treaties that utilize the "all states" formula; and (2) the content of General Assembly resolutions on the subject of Palestinian statehood.

      In that article and in others on the ICC web site the Prosecutors claim that their office spent three years listening to "all the arguments" about Palestinian statehood during an initial evaluation of the 2009 Palestinian Article 12(3) declaration. Oddly enough, they never requested a determination from either the General Assembly, the Secretary General. or their own ICC Assembly of State Parties on the subject. That's especially puzzling, since the ICC's "Preliminary Examinations" web page now says that the Office of the Prosecutor "may seek additional information from States, organs of the United Nations, intergovernmental and non‐governmental organizations and other reliable sources that are deemed appropriate."

      the former prosecutor should be put out to pasture!

      The same thing applies to the current one. She's almost spent as much time performing a completely non-committal initial evaluation of the situation in Palestine as some students spend obtaining their law degree. She's been "evaluating" the situation in Afghanistan for more than a decade now, while ignoring the publication of Bush's autobiography, the Senate torture report, and the published memoirs of one of the prisoners being illegally detained in Gitmo on the subject of illegal transfer/deportation of hundreds of civilians out of an occupied territory and their torture in US facilities in Afghanistan, Cuba, and elsewhere .

    • Hi to all! I haven't been completely "off the grid". I've been commenting quite extensively of late on articles about this subject at EJIL and Opinio Juris. e.g.:
      link to opiniojuris.org
      link to opiniojuris.org
      link to ejiltalk.org

      For those who are interested, here's one where "shmuel" also participated and took on a tag team of settlers: link to opiniojuris.org

      I've also been busy gathering material about the many discrepancies contained in the legal analysis presented to date by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) with respect to the ICCs so-called inability to exercise jurisdiction over crimes commited in Palestine since July of 2002. Back in September, I told Phil that the only article I'd be interested in writing would call attention to the efforts by the ICC Prosecutors to make the pursuit of justice for Palestinian victims of Israeli operations prior to 29 November 2012 as difficult as possible. Nowadays I'd also like to write a rebuttal to the unhistorical claims, like the ones made in a series of articles and letters to the editor of "Just Security", raising legal objections to the Secretary General's acceptance of Palestine's accesion to the Rome Statute. The authors there have suggested the decision can be disputed and reversed under the provisions of Article 119, because the Secretary General was acting beyond his powers.

      It's simply ludicrous that the former Prosecutor is now writing editorials there too about the "disputed status" of the Palestinian territories after spending 3 years on an earlier "preliminary evaluation" of hundreds of communications, including the Goldstone report. Most, if not all of them cited the ICJ findings of fact to the contrary, i.e. the territory was under belligerent occupation; the Geneva Conventions and UN Human Rights Conventions apply; the settlements are illegal; and among other things, the Palestinians have also been displaced by the illegal construction of the wall and the associated administrative regime in violation of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention.

      There are a number of other bizarre theories being advanced that rely on a sophomoric, almost Peabody and Sherman-like treatment of the actual historical record and the applicable rules of the UN and state practice. From all the indications, the current Prosecutor will continue to make excuses and do little or nothing at all about the situation.

    • Re: He must have known the Israelis would attack him, far better to stand your ground and fight on principles. Why hasn’t he done that?

      The international legal community had already weighed-in and suggested he should recuse himself after the Youtube video emerged in which he said Netanyahu would be his favourite to be in the dock of the ICC. See for example the EJIL Talk! editorial link to ejiltalk.org

      The latest kerfluffle is about the fact that Schabas was also paid $1300 by the PLO for an advisory opinion he wrote for them regarding the ICC. He said that he couldn't continue to serve under a cloud when the Chairman of the Human Rights body that appointed him has asked for a legal opinion to see if his removal from the mission over a conflict of interest is mandatory or not:

      The Commission of Inquiry is at a decisive stage in its work. It has largely completed the task of gathering material and listening to victims and other witnesses, including experts. The work on the drafting of the report is beginning. I believe that it is difficult for the work to continue while a procedure is underway to consider whether the Chair of the Commission should be removed. Normally, a judicial or quasi-judicial body would resolve such a challenge before proceeding further.
      Yet the Commission cannot delay its work as it must produce its report in a matter of weeks. Under the circumstances, and with great regret, I believe the important work of the Commission is best served if I resign with immediate effect.

      link to humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com

  • 'Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children'
    • That’s standard Israeli Zionist discourse and has been for over a century.

      Just to keep the record straight: The 1950 "Entente" agreement between AJC President Jacob Blaustein and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion still reflects the thinking of most American Jews. It stipulated that Jews living in the USA are not "exiles" and that the government of Israel does not represent us in any way.

    • @Hostage, if indeed you have combat experience, and you believe that Israel is targeting civilians or is reckless, then you have to explain how thee are so few civilian casualties per strike.

      No I don't. It doesn't matter how many so-called "legitimate strikes" the IDF conducts, if it is also routinely attacking civilian targets, family dwelling places, hospitals, schools, emergency shelters, and infrastructure essential to the survival of the civilian population.

      As an airforce person, can you explain how it is that only about a thousand civilians have died in Gaza? What was the proportion in Falujja? In Syria?

      You're citing three situations that should result in war crimes trials. FYI, one of the reasons that the ICC was established is that a person stands a better chance of being prosecuted for murdering one person than for murdering 100,000 persons. When you talk about "only a thousand civilians" dying as a result of Israel's rampage through occupied Palestine over three of its missing teenagers, you simply illustrate that point.

    • There is another way of looking at this, which is that the UN keeps trying to push an inappropriate frame onto the situation in the West Bank and Gaza.

      It's pretty obvious that you are projecting and doing a much worse job of pushing "an inappropriate frame" than the UN.

    • my point is whether Hostage is a military expert so that he can back his allegation of using 120mm mortar.

      It's not an allegation. Obama and Kerry found out that the Pentagon had approved the release of 120mm mortar and 40mm grenade ammo, when CNN reported it to everyone else. CNN said that Israel had run short during the third week of the war and requested it be issued from prepositioned US stockpiles in Israel. The State Department and White House spokespersons explained that those are not weapons with pinpoint accuracy or surgical precision and that the US had implemented review procedures that would require a cabinet-level okay in the future, due to concerns over the excess of civilian collateral casualties. The story has also been covered by Haaretz, the WSJ, and Mondoweiss.

    • Hostage, regarding your argument on 120mm mortars – how many years have you served in infantry? Oh, I forgot, you were a hostage!

      I spent about 9 years in Air Force Special Tactics units and worked directly with the US Army special forces, infantry, and cavalry units during much of that time. FYI, the infantry isn't the only user of these mortar tubes or grenade launchers. Even the USAF has toyed around with the idea of using 120mm smooth bore ammo and launchers on the AC-130 gunships, instead of the existing 105mm weapon systems.

    • We must be really really bad at getting our job done.

      That's the only intelligent thing he had to say on the subject.

      However, Israel is the ONLY state to go to such extends to try and minimize their losses.

      The first thing the Zionists needed from the US stockpiles was ammunition for 120mm mortars and grenade launchers. You don't use those to minimize casualties. When you flatten 10,000 homes with airstrikes or tank shells you need to shut-up about minimizing casualties altogether, unless you want to sound clueless.

  • Man who saved Jewish boy in Holocaust acts to save Israel from 'racist... quagmire'
    • So the Arab Higher Committee asked 8 Arab States to send their armies into ALL OF PALESTINE, including those portions of Palestine allocated by the UN for a Jewish State.
      Okay!!

      I think you are having trouble distinguishing between a war and deliberate massacres and ethnic cleansing that we are discussing. The latter are war crimes and crimes against humanity that violate the laws and customs of war. In particular, "forced eviction by military attack or occupation [ethnic cleansing] and inhuman acts resulting from the policy of apartheid or genocide" are crimes for which no statutory limitations apply. -- See Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

      You asked about the presence of the Arab Legion in Ramle and Lydda. Transjordan agreed to the conditions laid down by the Mandatory administration that the British-supplied and led Arab Legion would not step foot on any territory allocated to the Jewish state and that it assured the UN that it would not mistreat Jewish non-combatants.

      FYI, we know that neither the overall Plan, Dalet, nor the fragmentary orders for operations, like Dani, were defensive in nature. They called for unprovoked attacks on bases inside the Arab state and on areas where there was an Arab majority population in the Jewish state. We also know that the Jewish Agency intended to maintain, resupply, and reinforce their watchtower and stockade military outposts inside the Arab state. Those settlements had been established in the first place along so-called "confrontation lines" and were intended to lay down the de facto borders of a future Jewish state, well beyond those contained in any partition proposal. The Zionist Plan Dalet was being developed and executed in March and April of 1948, long before any Arab States entered Palestine. Likewise, the hundreds of thousands of refugees were driven into exile before the State of Israel was announced on 14 May. So, the answers provided by the Jewish Agency and Vaad Leumi to excuse their massacres and ethnic cleansing operations were disingenuous:

      Question (a): Over which areas of Palestine do you actually exercise control?

      Answer to Question A: At present over the entire area of the Jewish State as defined in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947. In addition, the Provisional Government exercises control over the city of Jaffa; Northwestern Galilee, including Acre, Zib, Base, and the Jewish settlements up to the Lebanese frontier; a strip of territory alongside the road from Hilda to Jerusalem; almost all of new Jerusalem; and of the Jewish quarter within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The above areas, outside the territory of the State of Israel, are under the control of the military authorities of the State of Israel, who are strictly adhering to international regulations in this regard. The Southern Negev is uninhabited desert over which no effective authority has ever existed.

      Question (b): Do you have armed forces operating in areas (towns, cities, districts) of Palestine where the Arabs are the majority, or outside Palestine?

      Answer to Question (b): We consider the territory of Israel as a single unit with a Jewish majority. As indicated above, the Government of the State of Israel operates in parts of Palestine outside the territory of the State of Israel; parts which, with the notable exception of Jerusalem, formerly for the most part, contained Arab majorities. These areas have, however, been mostly abandoned by their Arab population. No area outside of Palestine is under Jewish occupation but sallies beyond the frontiers of the State of Israel have occasionally been carried out by Jewish forces for imperative military reasons, and as a part of an essentially defensive plan.

      Question (c) If so, on what basis do you attempt to justify such operations?

      Answer to Question (c): The above operations in areas outside the State of Israel are justified on the following grounds:

      1. In order to repel aggression, and as part of our essentially defensive plan, to prevent these areas being used as bases for attacks against the State of Israel.

      2. In order to protect Jewish population, traffic and economic life, including the protection of those Jewish settlements outside the area of the State where, owing to the absence of any duly constituted authority and the failure to implement the guarantees and safeguards provided for under the General Assembly Plan, life and property are in imminent danger. Similar considerations apply in the absence of any international statute for the City of Jerusalem to the Jewish area of the City.

      -- link to unispal.un.org

      Here’s another Arab eyewitness who fails to recollect atrocities on the ‘death march’.

      I don't see how there can be "another Arab eyewitness", since you completely misrepresented what the last author and Palestinian eyewitness had to say on the subject. That author specifically cited the policy of massacres and ethnic cleansing and called it a death march. The Palestinian eyewitness reported that people died of thirst along the way. In this video the narrator also calls it a death march and relates that about 350 people died. She also says that the people in the Mosque had surrendered and were massacred when they were no longer taking an active part in the hostilities. The Palestinian eyewitness relates that Jewish soldiers forcibly evacuated people from their homes and threatened to shoot anyone who didn't cooperate. He said that his father was killed on his way home and that he himself nearly died of thirst and talks about Jewish soldiers plundering jewelry and property from the Arabs. Once again, systematically forcing the population from their homes and compelling them to march out of the region without the necessities of life is a crime against humanity at the very least. When persons of an identifiable ethnic group, who are hors de combat, are systematically robbed, killed in mass, and 350 additional people die of thirst or exhaustion as a result of a forced eviction, that constitutes the actus reus and mens rea of the crime of genocide according to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence employed by the International Criminal Court. "Elements of Crimes", "Genocide by deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction" (either in whole or in part) explains that:

      The term “conditions of life” may include, but is not necessarily restricted to, deliberate deprivation of resources indispensable for survival, such as food or medical services, or systematic expulsion from homes.

      See page 9 footnote 4 link to icc-cpi.int

      For the second time, you are engaging in full blown Nakba denial by claiming that these clear references to well-defined crimes and atrocities don't exist.

    • @Hostage
      Funny. Here’s an eyewitness Arab narrative that makes no mention of atrocities during the ‘death march’.

      link to books.google.com

      Where is your eyewitness, Arab narrative that details these alleged atrocities during the ‘death march’?

      The author of the account you cited called it a "death march" and said that "massacres" were used to drive the Palestinians from their lands through "ethnic cleaning". The Palestinian eyewitness said that there was no water and that people began to die of thirst. FYI using "massacres", "ethnic cleansing" and starvation or deprivation of the necessities of life as a method of warfare are all considered atrocities and crimes against humanity. You are in full Nakba denial mode. The "Palestine Remembered" website cites a number of sources and says that about 350 people died from lack of water and exhaustion.

      “There was no “military necessity” for the Jewish militias to be in Ramle of Lydda during the transition period, since they were allocated to the Arab state”

      Okay…so what’s your explanation for the presence of Transjordanian Arab Legion’s in Lydda? Lydda was allocated to the Arab State, not TransJordan.

      When Transjordan declared its independence and tried to join the UN in 1946, the Jewish Agency said it was an indivisible part of the Mandate. The President of the Security Council cited the fact that it was still part of the Palestine Mandate, that had not been legally terminated in his opinion. He said that as far as he was concerned, no action would be taken on its application for membership until the United Nations addressed the "question of Palestine as a whole".

      The Arab Higher Committee of Palestine asked the King of Transjordan to deploy the Arab Legion in the area allocated to the Arab state. See UN Document S/775, 24 May 1948: link to unispal.un.org

      John Baggot Glubb, the commander of the Arab Legion, wrote in "A Soldier with the Arabs that British Foreign Secretary Bevin had given the green light for the Arab Legion to occupy the territory allocated to the Arab state after the Prime Minister of Transjordan explained to him that King Abdullah had received hundreds of petitions from Palestinian notables requesting protection upon the withdrawal of the British forces. Eugene Rogan says that those petitions, from nearly every town and village in Palestine, are preserved in the state archives and were published in "The Hashemite Documents: The Papers of Abdullah bin al-Husayn, volume V: Palestine 1948 (Amman 1995)". see Chapter 5, Jordan and 1948, in "The war for Palestine: rewriting the history of 1948", By Eugene L. Rogan, and Avi Shlaim, Cambridge University Press, 2001.

      FYI, the UN resolution required the Mandatory to progressively turn over territory to the Jewish and Arab authorities when it withdrew its own armed forces. The Arab Legion had permanent garrisons in Rafah and Gaza City for more than a decade and had been an integral part of the British Mandatory administration's border and police forces.

      King Abdullah notified the UN Secretary General that he was "compelled to enter Palestine to protect unarmed Arabs against massacres similar to those of Deir Yasin."
      -- link to unispal.un.org

  • Israel got tank shell that killed 20 at UN school from US without Obama's approval -- WSJ bombshell
    • Art. 27. In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.

      Article 27 of the Hague convention ceased to be a license to invade neighboring states when the prohibition against the threat of use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of any state was included in both the UN Charter and UN General Assembly resolution 181(II). There was no "military necessity" for the Jewish militias to be in Ramle of Lydda during the transition period, since they were allocated to the Arab state, and the militias were under strict orders to avoid border clashes, let alone invasions or occupations.

      You discount the three eyewitness (Jewish) testimonies that clearly suggest that the small mosque was being used for military purpose, in favor of the second hand Arab testimony which says that the Arab grenadier ran into the small mosque, which, necessarily, begs the question, did the grenadier run into the small mosque from the mosque’s roof or courtyard?

      No, there are first hand Palestinian and Jewish accounts about the deaths and atrocities that happened during the forced march.

      I simply accept the first hand video taped testimony of the Palmach perpetrator who confessed to massacring the people in the mosque and on the forced march. So far you've suggested everything, except that the Jewish militias "got lost" and accidentally ended up conducting operations that constituted the crime of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity inside the territory allocated to the Arab state by the UN.

    • Will the Obama administration ever go public with this estimation of what Israel is, “reckless and untrustworthy”? We can just hope.

      Netanyahu better hope that the administration doesn't. The mens rea for unlawful attacks which cause disproportionate civilian casualties or civilian property damage is intention or "recklessness", not mere negligence. If the US is delaying or withholding arms shipments because civilian casualty rates have been excessive, and they deem their use in the IDF Gaza op as reckless, then how could the officials involved object to criminal prosecutions?

  • Goldstone sequel to be co-authored by Amal Alamuddin, Clooney's fiancee
    • So the only common knowledge is that you have nothing.

      I think its common knowledge that, when the Zionists want to score a propaganda or tactical victory badly enough, they will not hesitate to support and employ Palestinian opposition groups to do their dirty work or use IDF mista'arvim to conduct black flag operations, while pretending to be local Arabs. After all, it was Israel that helped establish Hamas for its use as a foil against the aims of the PLO.

    • I was “challenged” to provide evidence, from non-Israeli sources , that Hamas abuses hospitals . I did so, with segments from Finnish tv and France 24 available on Youtube.

      @ Jon S, the fact is that neither of the well known videos actually showed the perpetrators or positively identified them as members of Hamas, much less established that anyone was targeting Israel. The Goldstone report noted that mortars and rockets had been used in skirmishes with IDF forces deployed in and around Gaza. The IDF has routinely employed its "human shield" propaganda talking point, but it has never produced a shred of evidence to suggest that Palestinian armed groups either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being launched or that they forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of the attacks.

      The videos also failed to show that the hospitals themselves had been converted for military use or had been employed to commit any acts harmful to the enemy. If Israel issued a warning and attacked or destroyed a civilian hospital on the basis of these videos, then the individuals responsible committed a war crime. Article 19 of the Fourth Geneva Convention does not allow the immunity bestowed on civilian hospitals to be taken away because acts harmful to the enemy are committed "nearby". FYI, the UN Secretary General has pointed out the same thing in the case of IDF attacks on the UN schools that were used as shelters and has demanded that the Israelis responsible be brought to justice.

      So your videos have no usefulness as "evidence" in that connection. The bottom line is that, even when we consider the best Israeli legal arguments, nothing offered as evidence would justify turning a hospital into a military objective or support a claim that the patients and hospital staff were being used as human shields.

      See the articles and discussions @ Guest Post: Israel’s Use of Law and Warnings in Gaza link to opiniojuris.org and Guest Post: The Use of Human Shields and International Criminal Law link to opiniojuris.org

    • Actually the source doesnt say that, this is not something the council is voting about.

      The 47 member council adopted a mandate for a commission of inquiry at its last meeting and asked the HRC's President to appoint the members in accordance with HRC resolution S-21/1.

  • A Palestinian defends violent resistance to occupation
    • “Hasbara” defined as “any argument which presents Hamas as anything less than saints, while failing to equate the IDF with the Wehrmacht.”

      No, it means discredited material so old that it has been employed as a canned response for many years by the Zionist echo chamber in fellowship talking points, Megaphone desktop alerts, RSS feeds, and shit that Spam Assassin puts in everyone else's junk folder.

    • I assumed the people who populate this site could actually hold a real debate instead of using a generic straw man tactic to insinuate I’m paid by the Zionists to be here.

      I really don't care whether your motive for rehashing old international hasbara fellowship talking points is love, money, or both. Either way you're just another obnoxious dimwit.

    • So we have some people here saying that being occupied gives Hamas a right to violently resist. What these people seemingly ignore is that Gaza hasn’t been occupied since 2005.

      Correction: I cited UN General Assembly resolutions which affirmed the use of armed struggle as a legitimate remedy for a number of illegal situations, including foreign occupation:

      Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle

      Gaza has been under a regime of naval blockade and closure of the land border crossings that has never been authorized or sanctioned by the UN Security Council. FYI, military occupation, blockade, and annexation of territory in violation of the UN Charter or UN resolutions are constituent acts of the Crime of Aggression under customary and conventional international law.

      I was expecting better. I already made Ray Hanania and a few others look like a fool on his own Google+ page.

      Some of us have busy schedules and don't have time to respond to shopworn propaganda talking points.

    • The rockets have chiefly military targets?

      I don’t think even the anti-Israel movement believes that one.

      I've never seen any statistical evidence presented to the contrary. FYI, Hamas provided two written follow up reports to the Goldstone findings which claimed that it mainly targets the Israeli military: 1) titled "Status of the implementation of the recommendations of the International Fact-Finding Mission Report on the Israeli aggression on Gaza 12/2008-1/2009", submitted on 2 February 2010, and 2) titled "Report on the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the situation in Gaza", submitted on 28 July 2010.

      While they were largely panned by the UN HRC panel of experts, any dispute over a material fact has to be decided by the trier of fact, based upon the actual evidence.

      In any event Mohammed Faraj al-Ghul, the Justice Minister in the Hamas administration of the Gaza Strip indicated that the regime was prepared to defend its leaders in Court and asked the UN to refer the matter to the ICC saying:

      “We ask the United Nations to transfer the matter [the Goldstone report findings] to the ICC so that the Zionist war criminals can be brought to justice”.

      –-See Al Arabiya News/GAZA CITY (Agencies): “Hamas want ICC to judge ‘Zionist war criminals”, Saturday, 06 February 2010 link to alarabiya.net

    • Resistance in which one targets civilians (or indiscriminately fires not knowing who is going to get killed) is morally wrong, and against international law.

      The position taken by the Goldstone report was that mortars and rockets can't be accurately aimed and are therefore a weapon of terror when employed by Hamas. The Prosecutor would nonetheless have to prove that on a case by case basis. For example, the very first thing Israel requested from US war reserves was 120mm mortar ammo and grenades that are not inherently safer or more accurate than similar weapons employed by Hamas.

    • The moment was interesting because while the talk’s sponsor, Jewish Voice for Peace, had expressly stated at the start that it supports nonviolent resistance to occupation, Shurrab’s defense of violent resistance plainly struck a chord in the crowd of 100 (most of whom, or of the ones I knew, were Jewish).

      It should go without saying that the JVP Mission Statement embraces all of the rights prescribed by international law, including armed struggle:

      Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.

      -- link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org

      For example, General Assembly resolution 33/24, 29 November 1978 and others including 37/43, 3 December 1982 recognized the legitimacy of that right:

      ... 2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle;

      3. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Namibian people, the Palestinian people and all peoples under foreign and colonial domination to self-determination, national independence, territorial integrity, national unity and sovereignty without outside interference;

      -- link to un.org

  • The withdrawal that isn't
    • The Israeli line is that they were going after two guys on a motorbike that happened to be passing in front of the UN school.

      Yeah right, because the military necessity of taking out two guys on a motorcycle was "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation."

    • AP The Big Story: UN chief: Attack at school in Gaza 'criminal act'

      NEW YORK (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says an attack that killed 10 people at a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip is a "moral outrage and a criminal act."

      Ban says the attack Sunday "is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, U.N. staff and U.N. premises, among other civilian facilities."

      In a statement, the U.N. chief said the attack "must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act."

      link to bigstory.ap.org

    • It's not a withdrawal, its another Golan Heights-style annexation:

      Israeli forces that remain in Gaza are working on destroying one more tunnel near Rafah. Other units are operating in Beit Hanun. The IDF has decided to keep some forces within Gaza to protect Israeli communities near the border.

      A senior officer said on Sunday morning that a security zone within the enclave "should be maintained for defense purposes, and we are prepared to attack as well."

      -- link to haaretz.com

  • Inhuman shield: How 'The New York Times' protects US elites from Gaza's brutal reality
    • Urban Dictionary Human Shield: role played by US representative to the UN Security Council during debates about the adoption of sanctions against Israel.

  • US suspended aid to Egypt after it slaughtered civilians -- why not Israel?
    • It’s just different when it comes to Israel.

      No, the only exception to the Secretary of State's duty under "22 U.S. Code § 2378d - Limitation on assistance to security forces" is:

      The prohibition in subsection (a) shall not apply if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective steps to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.

      -- link to law.cornell.edu

      There's no stipulation that says the security force has to be violating the human rights of its own citizens. The same obligations apply to the Secretary of Defense under Section 8507 of the 2014 Omnibus bill link to beta.congress.gov

    • We know the answer. In the minds of leaders and other power brokers in the U.S. “slaughtered civilians” are not equal. Selective application of moral standards applied unfairly.

      Well her response was utter bullshit. “22 USC § 2378d – Limitation on assistance to security forces” says:

      No assistance shall be furnished under this chapter or the Arms Export Control Act [22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.] to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.

      Whether you are targeting your own citizens or not has nothing to do with it. It's a damn disgrace that the official State Department spokesperson misstated the applicable law on the subject of her own Department's legal duty so badly and deliberately. This situation demands some follow-up from the press corps.

  • The experts’ verdict: Every Israeli missile strike is a war crime
    • Warcrimes? This is crimes against humanity.

      The two are not mutually exclusive. War Crimes charges can only be leveled in connection with an armed conflict. Charges of crimes against humanity can be leveled even in peace time when there is no shooting going on at all. For example, the UN Apartheid Convention established that the crime of apartheid could be a crime against humanity. The 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention of 1977 established that it could be a war crime committed by an occupying power.

    • “So when are going to hear HRW or the United Nation’s Navi Pillay stop talking about proportionality or Israel’s potential war crimes, and admit Israel is committing war crimes by definition – right now, as you read this.”

      Navi Pillay is probably not a good example, since she has cited the use of flechette and phosphorus shells during the Gaza offensives and incitement against Palestinians by Israeli officials in the social media and said "Every one of these incidents must be properly and independently investigated" link to rt.com

  • Will 'Protective Edge' galvanize the US mainstream, as 'Cast Lead' galvanized the left?
    • (can someone please tell Israel that one does not kidnap an enemy soldier– it’s called a capture!)

      No can do. That would raise the issue of the de jure applicability of the 3rd Geneva Convention on POWs to both sides. Regev would crawl through broken glass naked to distract attention away from the burning issue of Palestinian POWs. International Humanitarian Law doesn't allow governments to hold POWs hostage for use as bargaining chips to leverage the growth of their illegal colonies in occupied territory. As I recall, that's exactly how this current war was instigated.

    • I was beyond shocked when I heard on the news that the US is re-supplying Israel with weapons.

      Bear in mind that the 9th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly stated that Israel was guilty of the crime of aggression; condemned the use of the veto by the United States to prevent the application of sanctions; and called upon all Member States to refrain from supplying Israel with any weapons and related equipment and to suspend any military assistance which Israel receives from them.

    • Even if Israel is using surgical strikes, it’s the civilian population that – may have no idea what is happening in a mosque across the street – that is paying the price.

      The Israelis are dropping munitions designed to destroy entire city blocks. The fireball and blast effects can incinerate everything up to a height that's several stories above the tallest buildings and at ground level cars and debris are flying around at ballistic speeds. You can see flying debris that includes steel reinforcing bar, pipes, and large chunks of concrete silhouetted in front of dust clouds over a hundred feet in the air from one end of a city block to the other. It's ludicrous to talk about pinpoint operations when you are using F16s to deliver 500 to 2000 pound munitions just to see how high you can make the rubble bounce.

      link to independent.co.uk
      link to 7e8c.https.cdn.softlayer.net

  • Blitzer and Rudoren pump Israeli tunnel fears (and AIPAC cashes in)
    • At the time of the Sykes-Picot pie cutting of 1016 or 1917 and subsequent amendments and side-agreements relative to it in 1922 and 1924, there was no such thing as a “Lebanon” in those areas

      I agree the boundaries were open to alterations after WWI, but there was a Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate there under the Règlement Organique conventions after the 1860s. The draft Treaty of Sevres (1920) and the mandate for Syria and Lebanon submitted in 1922 provided for separate states in Syria and Lebanon on that basis, i.e. Lebanon had been autonomous before the war and couldn't be seen to be worse off after it was liberated. link to jstor.org

      The Zionist interests in the territory up to the Litani river were ignored at San Remo in 1920. Great Britain's desire to have its oil pipeline, telegraph, and telephone lines from Mosul to Haifa routed through a British controlled corridor dictated where the future borders would be laid down. The French agreed in exchange for a share of the proceeds from the oil concession.

    • By 1994, the Lebanese government finally gave these people the long overdue citizenship, so an Israeli citizenship to be granted now would be redundant. All these years Lebanon more or less kept quiet about those villages simply because there were also other anomalies with borders screw ups by the French and British colonialists which would favour Israel if this can of worms was to be opened.

      Walid you are not reading the terms of the international boundary agreements regarding the right of transit, navigation, fishing, and grazing. Those individual rights were preserved on both sides of the new boundaries and the respective states have no standing to interfere with their exercise or any discretion to waive them.

    • I seem to engender non-sequiturs.

      If you mean "The West did abandon European Jewry. The Holocaust ended because the war ended, not because of Western opposition," then yes, that's a non-sequitur.

      The United States and the Allied governments had taken steps after WWI to conclude treaties for the protection of Jewish minorities in Europe. Starting in 1933, the US and the Allies put the Axis Powers on notice, both publicly and privately about their intention to put a stop to persecution of the Jews (by force if necessary) and their intention to hold individuals criminally responsible for massacres and wartime atrocities. See for example:
      *The Memorandum by the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, of a Conversation With the German Ambassador (Luther), [WASHINGTON,] May 3, 1933 starting at the bottom of page 352 and continuing to page 354 of the FRUS. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu
      * The Statement on Atrocities Signed by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin. link to avalon.law.yale.edu

      The Western powers did exactly as they had promised - at the cost of millions of their own citizens lives. The war would not have simply ended without that tremendous sacrifice. The Holocaust only happened because the Nazi leadership ignored those treaty obligations, and the warnings and assurances that they would be brought to justice. They literally preferred to die rather than abandon their persecution and attempted extermination of the Jews - and they would have succeeded if the Western powers hadn't intervened.

    • Do they pay you extra to put the “targeted” in there? Oooh, “targeted and struck by Hamas rockets”

      Normally sober and sane people go a little crazy and claim that Hamas uses primitive weapons that can't be accurately aimed or used to target military objects and that their use is a war crime. That's sort of odd, because pictures of Hamas mortars and grenade launchers indicate they have the same bells and whistles as the ones many other armies employ. In some cases, its probably a ploy to hurt sales of products obtained from competing arms suppliers.

    • If Lebanon disputes this, they should open negotiations for a peace treaty for the possible return.

      Whatever for? That's not how Israel acquired control of the territory in the first place. It remains bound by the international boundary conventions that preserved the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian/Transjordanian fishing and navigation rights on Lakes Huleh and Tiberias, and the Jordan river - plus all of the existing grazing and farming rights on both sides of the new mandate era boundaries. If Egypt's blockade of international shipping lanes that passed through its territorial waters was illegal, then Israel's closure of those international inland waterways is illegal too. Can you explain why Israeli closure of those internal international waterways wasn't considered an act of war? See:
      *Exchange Of Notes Constituting An Agreement Between The British And French Governments Respecting The Boundary Line Between Syria And Palestine From The Mediterranean To El Hammé. Paris March 7, 1923, pdf page 7; and
      *Agreement between His Majesty’s Government and the French Government respecting the Boundary Line between Syria and Palestine from the Mediterranean to El Hámmé, Treaty Series No. 13 (1923), Cmd. 1910″ link to web.archive.org

      In any case, international consensus is that Israel currently does not occupy Lebanese territory.

      I''ll be sure to tell that to the Shia who were ethnically cleansed from the seven villages region just as soon as Israel either grants them citizenship, right of residency, or the right of transit, navigation and fishing rights, grazing rights, and so forth that I mentioned above.

    • At a tiny fraction of the monetary (not to say human) cost of assaulting Gaza, the “startup nation” could easily use existing ground-penetrating radar or magnetometer survey technologies to locate tunnels– or develop it’s own new methods.

      Or it could just ask the US to move one of its satellites to the region and allocate enough time to the task to finish its preliminary survey:

      American satellites have preliminary findings of around 60 tunnels on the Israel-Gaza border, according to senior official; number could actually be higher.

      link to jpost.com

  • Peter Beinart demolishes Gaza hasbara
    • In this sense, Zionism, or rejection of it, are largely irrelevant to working towards making people’s lives better in Israel and Palestine.

      You were doing okay, up until that point. But you are leaving out the fact that other than those organizations and individuals you mentioned, Zionism is a completely ethnocentric state undertaking supported by the overwhelming majority of the population and it is legally entrenched in fundamental laws, ministerial regulations, and landmark court rulings.

    • Then there’s a whole lot of work to be done to establish a Romany state, a homosexual state, a Rohingya state, a Transgender state, a Female state and a shitload more states for a large number of groups who’ve faced constant prejudice and oppression too.

      Israel was always required to incorporate the Palestinian inhabitants in the new Israeli nationality on the legal basis of complete equality and non-discrimination. The problem with your logic is that you are repeating the old Zionist nonsense that scattered Jewish groups were a nation. But nations are spatial entities that can fulfill the requisite criteria for statehood regarding a population and a well defined territory, without violating the rights of others. That doesn't apply to scattered ethnic or cultural minority groups.

    • Unlike the NYT paywall, the Haaretz paywall seems to be solidly constructed.

      I subscribe to Haaretz despite the fact that you can usually just copy and paste the link into Google search and then click the small down arrow next to the resulting headline link and select the Google cache version of the story from the drop down box.

    • Kerry’s apparent suggestion that the blockade be lifted (or whatever he actually did say and I’m not clear on whether anyone knows) seems to have pushed them over the edge.

      Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) told US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday that his proposal for a week long cease-fire of Israel's Gaza campaign was "completely unacceptable" and that it "would have strengthened extremists in the region."

      The justice minister told Israel Radio on Sunday that over the course of the day on Friday, Kerry's proposal had improved.

      By Friday afternoon, just before Shabbat, the security cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry's proposal which the ministers believed did not sufficiently ensure either continued Israeli activity against the Gaza terror tunnels or dismantling the rocket infrastructure, while giving Hamas significant concessions regarding lifting the blockade around the coastal enclave.

      link to jpost.com

  • 'Children killed in their sleep': Israeli artillery fire hits UN school, killing at least 20
    • LIVE UPDATES: Obama says Israeli soldier must be freed 'unconditionally'

      Where was the Ass-Hat-In-Chief when Israel refused to release that last batch of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with the decade old Taba Agreement and Secretary of State Kerry's written assurances?

    • I guess ‘better late than never’ fits here.

      I certainly think so. Accepting the existence of the occupied state of Palestine for the purposes of prosecuting Israel for the crime of apartheid has nothing to do with accepting the viability of the existing territorial entity or the finality of a two state solution. In fact, the Zionists may prefer a one state solution to mounting a defense of Israel's persecution of Arabs at home and abroad. The notion that the two countries borders are disputed cuts both ways and can be used to open the whole can of worms in either the ICC or the ICJ.

    • Look back to the betrayal like the Faizsl-Weizmann agreement and look at the situation today.

      You have to read things into the Faisal-Weizmann agreement that aren't really there to call it a betrayal, since the borders of the Jewish national home were supposed to be determined by a boundary commission and there were absolute safeguards for the fellahin cultivators. The borders could have been drawn around the existing Jewish communities without violating anyone's rights. The reason it never enter into force is because the promises regarding Arab independence, including Palestine's, weren't fulfilled. The British tried to conclude a treaty with King Husein for several years after the war, but he refused to recognize the British and Zionist position in the government of Palestine. The evidence is unequivocal that he only agreed to Sykes-Picot on the condition that British and French advisors would have no executive authority whatsoever.

    • Trapped in Gaza: How Hamas punishes reporters for the truth

      Apply Occam's razor and compare the number of journalists killed, wounded, imprisoned, or routinely muzzled by the military censor on behalf of the government of Israel versus the Hamas regime.

    • I’m not sure what any of this proves. Gaza is as dense as Philadelphia, and during any war or conflict, bad things happen.

      That's exactly why wars of choice have been completely outlawed and the right to wage a war in self-defense has been severely curtailed and is only lawful when certain legal criteria regarding targeting and observance of the customary prohibitions against disproportionate damage to the civilian population and their property are observed. If you are not sure what that means, you may be a sociopath.

    • If the ICC takes up this case, and I know there will be all kinds of manipulation, coercion and even threats to suppress it; but if they have the guts to go ahead with this; then those innocent civilians: men, women and children will have died so that their people can have justice and maybe that first victor

      There's finally a declaration with a long list of international legal scholars condemning the government of Israel and the IDF for war crimes and calling for action by the ICC, that has signatures of quite a few Palestinian solidarity activists who have been missing in action up until now. Victor Kattan and Susan Akram have signed several of these, but there are quite a few people on this one who have opposed the necessary UN statehood initiative or who gave up on real judicial efforts and pursued political action through devices like the Russell Tribunal. They have finally added their names to the list and have stopped blaming everything on Abbas:

      – Moreover, we denounce the shameful political pressures exerted by several UN Member States and the UN on President Mahmoud Abbas, to discourage recourse to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and we urge the Governmental leaders of Palestine to invoke the jurisdiction of the ICC, by ratifying the ICC treaty and in the interim by resubmitting the declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, in order to investigate and prosecute the serious international crimes committed on the Palestinian territory by all parties to the conflict; and

      – The UN Security Council must finally exercise its responsibilities in relation to peace and justice by referring the situation in Palestine to the Prosecutor of the ICC."

      -- link to imemc.org

      The Palestinian Justice Minister and the Gaza Prosecutor did resubmit a declaration and complaint last Friday. Note that a mere accession to the Rome Statute has no retroactive effects and that a 12(3) declaration does, but can only be filed by a non-member state before it joins the Court. So there should be no rush to file an accession until the Prosecutor agrees to investigate Israels past crimes too.

    • Does that “stockpile” include the nukes that Israel refuses to declare?

      Or the switches that Netanyahu ‘stole’?

      No, but the USAF has started transporting our nukes around from place to place by accident more often than it does on purpose (and it had always had more than its fair share of accidents and close calls in the past). So it would not come as a complete surprise, if a few nukes ever went missing, that they might end-up there.

    • Israel just called up another 16,000 IDF reserves. 2ooo US Jewish American “one soldier” youth are now fighting those babies and kids in Gaza. Brits only have 100 doing this duty.

      Robert Fisk is on top of the situation: "It's not just radicalised Islamists – what about foreign fighters who flock to the IDF?" -- link to independent.co.uk

    • An excellent idea! Put everything on the table – maps, (international) legal documents, demands, et cetera – in a public and televised negotiation session or series of sessions between the Palestinians and “Jewish State”. Have as independent and unbiased as possible an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators chair the sessions(s) and keep discussions tightly focused and fully transparent.

      That's exactly what the UNSCOP and General Assembly Ad Hoc Political Committee on Palestine did when they produced the only internationally adjudicated settlement to date.

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