Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask


A Robert Fisk excerpt, which I think is entirely relevant today.

So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a

So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night’s work in Gaza by the army that believes in “purity of arms”. But why should we be surprised?

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. “Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties,” yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night’s butchery on their hands. Had George Bush had the courage to demand an immediate ceasefire 48 hours earlier, those 40 civilians, the old and the women and children, would be alive.

school, three more in another. Not bad for a night’s work in Gaza by the army that believes in “purity of arms”. But why should we be surprised?

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. “Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties,” yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night’s butchery on their hands. Had George Bush had the courage to demand an immediate ceasefire 48 hours earlier, those 40 civilians, the old and the women and children, would be alive.

What’s clear to most observers of the Middle East is this latest attack on Gaza is a pattern of Israeli behavior that rears its ugly head in an attempt to assert Israeli domination over its neighbors and their total humiliation.  Fortunately for humanity the Israelis have forgotten their own historical lessons, the proof  of which is in their existence today, that a people cannot be destroyed and wiped off the face of the earth, even by the greatest super power.  Our silence however, implicates us along with Israel in their criminal behavor.

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Give a brother a break? I don’t think so!


I really wanted to wait before jumping on Obama’s case, but there’s very little he’s done to let himself off the hook with me.  This latest bit of news really has my hackles up because there is a legitimate ground swell of opinion that has now become focused that says some officials in the Bush administration should be held accountable for their illegality on behalf of the US government while they were in office.  There is more than enough proof that crimes were committed by Bush officials over the last 8 years….some of those were of the same magnitude as ones we prosecuted the war on terror over, yet Obama doesn’t seem inclined to pursue the matter?!?!  What’s going on?

The debate as to whether Bush administration officials have broken international and federal torture laws has played out over the past month in a series of interviews with major media in which Vice President Dick Cheney admitted that he “signed off” on requests by CIA interrogators to waterboard three alleged high-level terrorist detainees. Cheney has staunchly defended the decision and maintained that it was not illegal.

*snip*

Obama has been under intense pressure, as a result Cheney’s public statements, by numerous human rights and civil liberties organizations since he was elected president last November to aggressively probe the Bush administration’s torture and domestic surveillance policies and to prosecute officials who may have violated anti-torture and civil liberties laws. Obama has selected some outspoken critics of the Bush administration’s torture policies for positions at the Department of Justice and the CIA.

On Friday, in officially announcing retired admiral Dennis Blair as his director of national intelligence and former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Obama vowed to break with past practices that took place under Bush.

“I was clear throughout this campaign, and have been clear throughout this transition that under my administration, the United States does not torture, we will abide by the Geneva conventions, that we will uphold our highest values and ideals,” Obama said.

But that’s as far as Obama intends to go.

Perhaps, Obama’s handlers think the image make-over he is responsible for will not be tarnished by this bit of news and that there are other things they deem more important to the US’ image than torture prosecutions.  Perhaps, but if the US is to regain its stature as a democracy that’s pursuing a moral tract, it should start with its own housecleaning, which should mean getting rid of those who’ve tarnished our image.

Lies, damn lies and statistics


wp_gazaThe Israeli war machine has killed over 800 Palestinians and  claims are their genocidal blood lust will be escalated, but finally there are cries, albeit faint, that Israel has committed war crimes.  It’s about time!  All one need do is look at the volume of work on the internet, indisputable pictures and videos which show the use of white phosphorous, the shooting of medical aid workers who were out attending to the wounded as well as hospitals and their facilities, the indiscriminate bombing of shelters for the homeless, and most notably the UN sponsored school where scores of people were killed, all civilians, by the murderous IDF to know that Israel has committed war crimes and should be censured by the international community.

The United Nations has accused Israel of evacuating scores of Palestinians into a house in the suburbs of Gaza City, only to shell the property 24 hours later, killing some 30 people.

In a report published today on what it called “one of the gravest incidents” of the 14-day conflict, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) complained that the Israeli Defence Force then prevented medical teams from entering the area to evacuate the wounded, including young children.

All of these actions come amidst the incontrovertible fact that Israel is the aggressor in this latest war on Palestinians.

Thus the latest ceasefire ended when Israel first killed Palestinians, and Palestinians then fired rockets into Israel. However, before attempting to glean lessons from this event, we need to know if this case is atypical, or if it reflects a systematic pattern.We defined “conflict pauses” as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations. As shown in Figure 2, this analysis shows that it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.

The lessons from these data are clear:

First, Hamas can indeed control the rockets, when it is in their interest. The data shows that ceasefires can work, reducing the violence to nearly zero for months at a time.

Second, if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.

One can conclude that Israel is not interested in peace with its neighbors and that this information alone should be the impetus on which the world community denies Israel the blind eye it has lent the Israeli government for so long and impose the type of punishment reserved and codified for “evil doers” or breakers of international law.

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk, calls what Israel is doing to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza “a crime against humanity.” Falk, who is Jewish, has condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as “a flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” He has asked for “the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”

“It is macabre,” Falk said. “I don’t know of anything that exactly fits this situation. People have been referring to the Warsaw ghetto as the nearest analog in modern times.”

“There is no structure of an occupation that endured for decades and involved this kind of oppressive circumstances,” the rapporteur added. “The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law, the impact on the health, lives and survival and the overall conditions warrant the characterization of a crime against humanity. This occupation is the direct intention by the Israeli military and civilian authorities. They are responsible and should be held accountable.”

The above stated view should gain more traction as time goes on.  There is plenty of documentation to make a case for the illegal nature of the Israeli government towards Palestinian Arabs both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.  The longer it takes for America and the rest of the world to act and deny this voracious killer its meal of foreign aide and military hardware, the more likely we are to have these kinds of incursions onto foreign soil by the Israeli government.