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Interesting insight into the Israeli national mentality


No matter what they say about nuclear weapons possessed by Iran or hostile Arab neighbors who want to drive the Jews into the sea, it’s the least of Israeli worries, just as  Saddam Hussein’s WMDs were no threat to Israel or anyone else for that matter, because they simply didn’t exist. What is interesting is reading what Israel thinks are their problems and why and the list is far more revealing than any I’ve seen to date.  Here they are in the order mentioned in this article Seven Existential Threats.

1.The Loss of Jerusalem; partly due to the absence of Zionists living in the city.

2.The Arab Demographic Threat; Israel must be 70% Zionist in order to be legitimate and Arabs are having too many children

3. Delegitimization; Israel’s sins are receiving world wide attention which is bad for it’s reputation.

4.Terrorism; we’ve heard it all before.

5. A Nuclear-Armed Iran; we’ve heard this all before too.

6.The Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty; Israel doesn’t exert its control over people under its authority.

7.Corruption;The breakdown of public morality especially among it’s leaders.

The blog, War In Context,  does a decent job dismantling some of the above notions but looking at Oren’s list, the originator of the 7 deadly threats to Israel, it appears his biggest complaint and remedy for it is the absence of Zionism and the need for more Zionism.  Not much mention of Judaism as a religion, but rather Zionism as a political movement.  One other line in his piece that brought about a chuckle was this assertion:

Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.

Is he saying democracy is a threat to and not consistent with Israeli interests?  Ohh, America, are you listening?

Simple pleasures are the best


There’s nothing simple or pleasurable about giving birth.  Under the best of circumstances it’s arduous and stressful for all concerned, but especially for the mother.  In free societies all attempt is made to allow the expecting mother to have as safe and carefree delivery as possible.   That is not possible for Palestinian mothers who are regularly forced by Israeli policy to give birth at Israeli checkpoints.  The Israelis are ratching up their genocide of Palestinians by making it almost insanely possible for Palestinian mothers to carry their babies to term.  Stories abound where pregnant women denied access to healthcare facilities beyond Israeli checkpoints had to give birth in cars and then tragically watch their babies die.  In 2002,  more than half the babies born at checkpoints died and the year before just a little over half died under similar circumstances.  These statistics are normal and have piled up while the world has turned a blind eye toward the health hazards being carried out daily in the occupied territories.  The Israeli policy is no doubt fostered by their mistaken belief that this type of abortion, or murder of the unborn is one way to influence the demographics of the region, reduce the numbers of their foes.

During the time Israel was feeling victorious and happy counting 1,300 massacred Palestinians in cold blood, Palestinian women retaliated by giving birth to 3,570 babies. The Palestinian woman is considered a demographic bomb, a highly fertile creature as fertile as the soil of Palestine. The more Israel sends Palestinian on a one way trip to the womb of the land, the more Palestinian women’s wombs show generosity, giving birth to more heroes.

At a time the average fertility in Israel is 2.6 babies per woman, Gaza is considered one of the most fertile in the whole wide world with an average of 6 babies per woman. Israel suffers a high percentage of senior citizens while Gaza has an abundance of youngsters and according to UNICEF’s report on the 3rd of March 2009 the total number of children in Gaza is approximately 793,520, or 56 per cent of the population (PCBS). This was one of the main reasons that forced Israel to stop its military incursions, for there are 4,170 humans per every square Kilometre in Gaza, to imagine how densely populated Gaza is, one should know that Lebanon is 29 times the area of Gaza.

This brings us back to Israel’s devious methods of trying to kill women who are considered as factories of men, without being blamed directly for that by its policies of blockades, and checkpoints where sick women or women about to give birth suffer for not being able to reach hospitals, by denying them the right to travel or import foods and medicines, by bombing their infrastructure leaving them with no water to drink or use for hygiene, by depriving them of fuel leading to total arrest of the sewage system refineries, by spraying them with chemicals from above and burning them with white phosphorus, and by killing them indirectly out of sorrow and deep grief after losing their family members especially their young ones, but as Yasser Arafat once said we Palestinians are an undefeatable nation we are ‘Shaab Aljabbare.

Whatever the motivation or reason behind such barbarity, the idea that women in labor should be denied access to medical care is one more feather in the cap of Israeli genocide directed towards its Palestinian citizens as well as neighbors.  It should be roundly condemned by its major sponsor and ally the U.S.  Nothing short of that is acceptable.

Out with the old!


I’m NOT a big fan of the UK these days, what with their obsequious adoption of US foreign policy measures, which included their  security forces’ gunning down  innocent residents merely on suspicion, their rendering of suspects and their abandonment of their residents to US rendition.  Neither do I think that this latest news is really their turning over a new leaf although that’s exactly what it should signify.

Britain says it is re-establishing contacts with the political wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah. The move follows “positive political developments” in Lebanon, officials from the UK Foreign Office said. It comes about 10 months after Hezbollah signed a unity accord in Lebanon and joined the government.

Of course it took no time for the Lobby via the American government to respond negatively to the news, and at this stage in America’s political development that’s entirely expected.  The American government has become a political arm of the Israeli war machine, spouting all the necessary rhetoric to keep the government of Israel at the top, for now, of the Middle East’s hierarchy.  The Obama administration even uses the same tactics as the Lobby, lies and deceit, claiming that it wasn’t given a proper advanced warning of this political development, as if such a warning was essential to the interests of either America, the UK, Lebanon or Hezbollah.  Rather, it appears as a veiled threat that for the moment at least Britain has no right to decide for itself what is in its best interests with other countries.  What is painfully obvious is that the Lobby has gone far beyond asserting Israel’s right to exist, which like every other sovereign country it has, instead it now declares it has the right to decide for other countries what is in their (Israel’s) interests exclusively.  This all or nothing, zero sum game signified by the one way flow of information, material, good will all in Israel’s direction is necessary for the establishment of the Israeli empire.  It ignores the admission of its foes that the right to exist belongs to all communities and peace should come from both sides, because Empire is established only on the corpses of opponents, not through peace treaties.  So it should come as no surprise that news Hamas wants peace with Israel and wants to stop attacks from its soil against Israel  doesn’t get mentioned in political discussions taking place around the world because such news means Israel must cease its aggressive policy against Palestinians, something it is not willing, nor able given the current political climate in Israel, to do.  Syria’s announcement that it can live peacefully alongside its Israeli neighbor was met with Israeli invasion of Syrian airspace on a suspect nuclear weapons site, still shrouded in doubt and mystery.

None of these movements, political or military pose even the slightest existential threat to Israel, yet they are all met with the same heavy handedness that only a leadership steeped in the oppression of its past adversaries can bring to bear on a defenseless population.  Part of that defenseless population includes those living in America who see oppression and brutality emanating from the Israeli side and call it just that.  Charles Freeman is one of the latest casualties of the Israeli blitzkreig. If America’s political leadership is able to muster the backbone necessary to fight the Lobby war, and free itself of its indulgence to that Lobby, only then will there be peace in the Middle East and the survival of all parties there will be a possibility.  Until then, we are destined for more conflict, death, destruction and political casualties of decent, honest civil servants and civilians at the hands of the Lobby and its military wing the Israeli government.

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Clothing is now a WMD


After the Gaza genocide, immediately following the truce, Israel bombed northern and southern Gaza saying they were interdicting weapons being smuggled by way of the mass tunnel system.  It doesn’t matter that those very same tunnels were also used to smuggle in much needed medicine and foodstuffs to the people of Gaza, since even they are no longer allowed to farm their fields nor fish in the waters off the shores of Gaza.  The youtube video shows the daily pressures Palestinian fisherman go through for mere subsistence level fishing.

Now comes word that not even clothes  are  allowed in to Gaza anymore and is considered contraband. The Brotherhood, an aid ship destined for Gaza was intercepted by the Israeli navy and taken to an Israeli port because it was carrying food and medical supplies in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  No weapons were found.

Israel removed cloths and shoes from the list of goods that were allowed into Gaza Strip after Egypt brokered a ceasefire there, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

Ali al-Hayek, head of Industries Federation, said the Israeli occupation prevented these sorts of goods from entering Gaza Strip “since they could be used in producing military uniforms.”

So how is it that a ship going to Gaza and  carrying humanitarian supplies is taken by the Israelis?  What legal right do the Israelis have in seizing humanitarian aide?  The Israelis look upon Gaza as their own territory and have set up strict limits on what the Palestinians can and cannot do there.

Israel continues to maintain complete control over the air and sea space of the Gaza Strip. Control of the air space provides Israel with the ability to effectively and easily control actions on the ground, and to interfere with radio and television broadcasts. Control of the coastal area and territorial waters enables Israel , among other things, to restrict the activity of Palestinian fishermen.

Israel continues to control the joint Gaza Strip-West Bank population registry. Formal authority for administering the population registry was transferred under the second Oslo Agreement, of 1995, to the Palestinian Authority, but in practice, Israel continued to hold most of the powers regarding the registry. Almost every change in the registry made by the Palestinian Authority, except for the registration of children whose two parents are residents of the Occupied Territories , requires the prior approval of Israel . Israel does not recognize changes made by the Palestinian Authority without its approval.

Israel continues to maintain complete control of the movement of people and goods between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank . This is the case also when the movement does not take place across Israeli territory. Israeli control is based on a military order that classifies the entire West Bank as a “closed military area,” as to which entry and exit requires a permit issued by the military. Residents of Gaza who are caught in the West Bank without a permit, even if they have lived in the West Bank for years and established families there, are considered to be staying illegally in the area and are expelled to the Gaza Strip.

Israel continues to exercise complete control over the movement of goods into the Gaza Strip. The three crossing points designated for this purpose   – Karni, Sufa, and Kerem Shalom – are under Israel ‘s sole control. Rafah Crossing, the administration of which was handed over to the Palestinian Authority, has a terminal for the crossing of goods, but according to the November 2005 agreement, the crossing is limited to exports.

It is easy to see why the Palestinians resist  such regulations as those imposed on them by the Israelis and why they have set up ways of insuring  their own self-reliance. The living conditions in Gaza aren’t independence they are slavery and everyone who is aware of them knows that!


Take that!


dr-ezzeldeen-abu-al-aish1The Palestinian doctor who reported from Gaza for Israeli television was told the death of three of his daughters was “reasonable“.  If you remember the story, he was on the air reporting about the fighting in Gaza when he received a phone call that his daughters and a niece, ages 22, 15, 14 and 14 were killed by the IDF.  This doctor was trained in Israel and spoke Hebrew and had been enlisted by the Israelis to report on what was going on during the Gazan conflict when he was informed of the death of his family members.  Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, is also a peace activist Palestinian who was known for treating Israelis as well as Palestinians, but that wasn’t good enough to save him from the wrath of the Israeli government who after investigating why his family was killed decided it was reasonable to have killed the four civilian females. That wasn’t all that would befell Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish.  Check out this youtube video where at a press conference in which he pleaded for peace he was met with a chilly and hostile reception by Israelis, who as I’ve said before, are not interested in peace with their Palestinian neighbors, even those who treat and offer them comfort.

American academics stand up to be counted


Joining a growing list of people who are protesting the Israeli genocide in Gaza, American members of academe have come out to call for a cultural boycott of Israel, with five goals it wants to achieve.

“Refraining from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions that do not vocally oppose Israeli state policies against Palestine,” “promoting divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions,” and “supporting Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.”

The group’s press release continues,

“We believe that non-violent external pressure on Israel, in the form of an academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel, can help bring an end to the ongoing massacres of civilians and an end [to] the occupation of Gaza and Palestine” — with “Palestine” referring to the West Bank land occupied by Israel since the 1967 war

explained David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of Southern California.  I am glad to see Americans joining in the initiative and I note that they very clearly say they are interested ina  non-violent form of protestation, not something that is designed literally to exterminate the Jewish state.  What this boycott is asking for is a modification of Israeli behavior that will ensure its existence as well as that of its neighbors, the Palestinians.  It is NOT a zero sum game but you can expect the Israelis will portray it that way.

My heroes of the day


I want to congratulate two men who took a principled  stand at the risk of their careers and even their lives when you look at who they are and what they represent, to categorically denounce positions taken that were detrimental to the people suffering in Gaza.

Tayyip Erdogan, whose country Turkey is trying to get admitted into the European Union as well as NATO probably jeopardized those chances when he made an impassioned plea at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland against the Israeli aggression and genocide in Gaza.  He criticised the audience of international officials and corporate chiefs for applauding Peres’s emotional defence of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead. Not sparing any measure, Erdogan said what needs to be said to an Israel that seems to think it is above reproach.  You can view his comments, translated into English, here

Imagine all the things in store for Turkey now that he, its prime minister, did what he did?  Threats will be made against the country’s application to the world bodies it wants to enter, as well as against Erdogan himself and the usual cries of anti-semitism will come from every corner of the world, but the substance of his remarks, that Israel engaged in wholesale slaughter of a population, much like that which occured between Turkey and Armenia which will be thrown in Erdogan’s face, will be ignored.  Nevertheless, kudos for Tayyip Erdogan for being principled.

My other hero is Mohammad Baredei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who said a BBC decision not to air an aid appeal for victims in Gaza violates the rules of basic human decency which are there to help vulnerable people, irrespective of who is right or wrong.  The BBC said it wasn’t airing the appeal because, now hold on to your seats, it would get in the way of their objectivity in covering the events in Gaza.  Several other channels in England aired the appeal, but the BBC and SkyNews, owned by James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, *ahem* refused to do so.  As a result Baradei has cancelled planned interviews with the BBC, without mentioning how long such a boycott would last.  Kudos to him as well.  He too chose principle over political expediency, taking a position in light of today’s news which is necessary to stem the Israeli juggernaut that refuses to accept any criticism or consequences of and for its actions.   Here is the highly milquetoast ad the BBC refused to air.

America’s Iran jones


What is it with US policy makers that they have to go off and antagonize Iran at every chance they get, even when it’s not necessary?  Two threads have appeared in news stories today centered around Iran with this trend as if to anticipate and undermine what Obama is going to say in a letter he’s putting together to send to that country’s leaders.

Before getting onto those two themes, let me say I’ve always been distressed at how government has this seamy undercurrent that works to under cut what official Washington is doing, and both the official and unofficial seem to like the give and take in this relationship of setting, revising, ignoring, cancelling policy.  It would seem to me once you get  your marching orders from the CiC you take them and run with them, not go off and rub his nose in them with your own pronouncements, but that’s what it seems Robert Gates, Defense Secretary has done.

When U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused Iran of “subversive activity” in Latin America Tuesday, it raised the question whether he is trying to discourage President Barack Obama from abandoning the hard-line policy of coercive diplomacy toward Iran he has favored for nearly three decades.

In his Senate armed services committee testimony Tuesday, Gates said Iran was “opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts behind which they interfere in what is going on.” Gates offered no further explanation for what sounded like a Cold War-era propaganda charge against the Soviet Union.

Gates has made no secret of his skepticism about any softening of U.S. policy toward Iran. In response to a question at the National Defense University last September on how he would advise the next president to improve relations with Iran, Gates implicitly rejected what he called “outreach” to Iran as useless.

Gates’ 1992 sabotage of the Bush plan for reciprocating Iran goodwill relied in part on making public charges against Iran that created a more unfavorable political climate in Washington for such a policy.

It will be interesting to see what Obama’s reaction to all this political posturing Gates is making so early in the Administration’s efforts towards rapprochement with Iran. We will  be able to take measure of Obama depending on his response; if he lets Gates continue with his “subversive” activity he can be viewed as a weak President undeserving of a second term, the nation’s trust, or respect of his “underlings”.  If he kicks Gates out so soon after asking him to stay on as Defense Secretary he’ll find himself facing criticism for not being a stable administrator or able to hold his people in check, preferring to give in to his impetuous side and getting rid of them whimsically.  The perfect damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The second salvo against Obama comes from of all places the Likud party’s boisterous and wrong Benjamin Netanyahu who says the Iranian nuclear weapons are more a problem than the global economy.  Netanyahu is great for hyperbole, probably something he picked up as a result of his public school education in Cheltenham, Pa. back in the day.  This we expect from Bibi who likes to somehow challenge the masculinity of America’s leaders by questioning their ability to take on his enemies for his benefit.  Using his typical adroit slight of foot maneuvers he turns everything that has to deal with anything into Iranian nukes.

Asked about achieving peace in Gaza, Netanyahu swiftly turned his answer to Iran, which he said is in a “100-yard dash” to get nuclear weapons.

*snip*

“We have had two wars with two Iranian proxies in two years and Persia has now two bases on the eastern Mediterranean,” said Netanyahu, referring to this month’s brutal fighting in Gaza against Hamas and Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“I think we are going to have to deal with neutralizing the power of the mother regime,” he said. “The Hamas stronghold would be about as important, if Iranian power was neutralized, as Cuba was when the Soviet Union became irrelevant.”

What Netanyahu doesn’t tell you about his metaphor  is while the Soviet Union became irrelevant because American ideas triumphed a military dictatorship without the US having to fire a single shot at the Soviet Union, Iran’s leadership and in fact all of that country has to be laid to waste militarily, according to the Netanyahu school of thought in order for his enemies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to become irrelevant. Typical.  In any event, this kind of bluster is to be expected from this quarter, and Obama would do well to ignore it and press on with his agenda, not that of an intractable and petulant “ally”.  Unfortunately, he can’t so easily dismiss Netanyahu, and if Gates continues with his own agenda as well, it might be even more difficult.  Bush may be gone, but the neocons are still lurking and haven’t given up hope of re-establishing themselves in policy making  positions or of somehow influencing policy.

Like shooting fish in a barrell and other analogies


The Israelis are continuing to pound the defenseless population of Gaza and there’s little hope that will stop short of any international intervention.  The reasons for the continued attacks are the operation that left one Israeli soldier dead earlier this week, when a mine or IED went off killing him and wounding others.  It’s significant to point out that Hamas did NOT claim responsibility for this breach of the truce, but that wasn’t enough to stop the Israelis from keeping the borders closed and bombing southern Gaza for this latest breach.  Moreover another added benefit of this return to hostilities is Israel gets to implore the mantra of being a victim and or self righteous indignation at those who question their retaliation in order to  keep headlines such as these off the main pages of newspapers.

The Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. The rescue team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.

However, all that is not enough to obscure the reality of what Israel has done and is now doing.  In a very well written essay by Norman Finkelstein entitled, Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Initiative”,  the reasons and motivations for the continuing violence against the Palestinians is laid out in rather stark detail with quite alot of foresight into what is driving the Israelis.

The fundamental motives behind the latest Israeli attack on Gaza lie elsewhere: (1) in the need to restore Israel’s “deterrence capacity,” and (2) in the threat posed by a new Palestinian “peace offensive.”

Israel’s “larger concern” in the current offensive, New York Times Middle East correspondent Ethan Bronner reported, quoting Israeli sources, was to “re-establish Israeli deterrence,” because “its enemies are less afraid of it than they once were, or should be.”

As Israel targeted schools, mosques, hospitals, ambulances, and U.N. sanctuaries, as it slaughtered and incinerated Gaza’s defenseless civilian population (one-third of the 1,200 reported casualties were children), Israeli commentators gloated that “Gaza is to Lebanon as the second sitting for an exam is to the first—a second chance to get it right,” and that this time around Israel had “hurled [Gaza] back,” not 20 years as it promised to do in Lebanon, but “into the 1940s.

Electricity is available only for a few hours a day”; that “Israel regained its deterrence capabilities” because “the war in Gaza has compensated for the shortcomings of the [2006] Second Lebanon War”; and that “There is no doubt that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is upset these days….There will no longer be anyone in the Arab world who can claim that Israel is weak.”

The justification put forth… in the pages of the Times for targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure amounted to apologetics for state terrorism. It might be recalled that although Hitler had stripped Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher of all his political power by 1940, and his newspaper Der St?rmer had a circulation of only some 15,000 during the war, the International Tribunal at Nuremberg nonetheless sentenced him to death for his murderous incitement.

Beyond restoring its deterrence capacity, Israel’s main goal in the Gaza slaughter was to fend off the latest threat posed by Palestinian moderation.  For the past three decades the international community has consistently supported a settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict that calls for two states based on a full Israeli withdrawal to its June 1967 border, and a “just resolution” of the refugee question based on the right of return and compensation.  The vote on the annual U.N. General Assembly resolution, “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine,” supporting these terms for resolving the conflict in 2008 was 164 in favor, 7 against (Israel, United States, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau), and 3 abstentions.  At the regional level the Arab League in March 2002 unanimously put forth a peace initiative on this basis, which it has subsequently reaffirmed.

Hamas was “careful to maintain the ceasefire” it entered into with Israel in June 2008, according to an official Israeli publication, despite Israel’s reneging on the crucial component of the truce that it ease the economic siege of Gaza.  “The lull was sporadically violated by rocket and mortar shell fire, carried out by rogue terrorist organizations,” the source continues. “At the same time, the [Hamas] movement tried to enforce the terms of the arrangement on the other terrorist organizations and to prevent them from violating it.” Moreover, Hamas was “interested in renewing the relative calm with Israel” (Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin).

The Islamic movement could thus be trusted to stand by its word, making it a credible negotiating partner, while its apparent ability to extract concessions from Israel, unlike the hapless Palestinian Authority doing Israel’s bidding but getting no returns, enhanced Hamas’s stature among Palestinians.  For Israel these developments constituted a veritable disaster. It could no longer justify shunning Hamas, and it would be only a matter of time before international pressure in particular from the Europeans would be exerted on it to negotiate. The prospect of an incoming U.S. administration negotiating with Iran and Hamas, and moving closer to the international consensus for settling the Israel-Palestine conflict, which some U.S. policymakers now advocate, would have further highlighted Israel’s intransigence.  In an alternative scenario, speculated on by Nasrallah, the incoming American administration plans to convene an international peace conference of “Americans, Israelis, Europeans and so-called Arab moderates” to impose a settlement.  The one obstacle is “Palestinian resistance and the Hamas government in Gaza,” and “getting rid of this stumbling block is…the true goal of the war.”

In either case, Israel needed to provoke Hamas into breaking the truce, and then radicalize or destroy it, thereby eliminating it as a legitimate negotiating partner.  It is not the first time Israel confronted such a diabolical threat—an Arab League peace initiative, Palestinian support for a two-state settlement and a Palestinian ceasefire—and not the first time it embarked on provocation and war to overcome it.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated in early December 2008 that although Israel wanted to create a temporary period of calm with Hamas, an extended truce “harms the Israeli strategic goal, empowers Hamas, and gives the impression that Israel recognizes the movement.” Translation: a protracted ceasefire that enhanced Hamas’s credibility would have undermined Israel’s strategic goal of retaining control of the West Bank.  As far back as March 2007 Israel had decided on attacking Hamas, and only negotiated the June truce because “the Israeli army needed time to prepare.” Once all the pieces were in place, Israel only lacked a pretext.  On 4 November, while the American media were riveted on election day, Israel broke the ceasefire by killing seven Palestinian militants, on the flimsy excuse that Hamas was digging a tunnel to abduct Israeli soldiers, and knowing full well that its operation would provoke Hamas into hitting back. “Last week’s ‘ticking tunnel,’ dug ostensibly to facilitate the abduction of Israeli soldiers,” Haaretz reported in mid-November was not a clear and present danger: Its existence was always known and its use could have been prevented on the Israeli side, or at least the soldiers stationed beside it removed from harm’s way.  It is impossible to claim that those who decided to blow up the tunnel were simply being thoughtless.  The military establishment was aware of the immediate implications of the measure, as well as of the fact that the policy of “controlled entry” into a narrow area of the Strip leads to the same place: an end to the lull.  That is policy—not a tactical decision by a commander on the ground.

After Hamas predictably resumed its rocket attacks “[i]n retaliation” (Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center), Israel could embark on yet another murderous invasion in order to foil yet another Palestinian peace offensive.

The historical context of this conflict is illuminating; that Israel repeatedly has foiled every attempt at peace with its neighbors the Palestinians is clear today, despite the elaborate claims and provocations to the contrary.  It’s for this reason I have chided the present Obama administration by saying this handwriting is on the wall; unless a strong Western government says to the Israelis it won’t fall for or accept their spin in the face of repeated attempts by the Palestinians towards peace  Israel must face being outed for the pariah it really is…if such an unequivocal statement isn’t made, Israeli genocide and atrocities against the Palestinians will continue and even escalate.  The present escalation of the conflict is a clear example.

Quote of the day


We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force.

Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.

Martin van Creveld – professor of military history – Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Nothing more indicates the suicidal nature of the Israeli zionist government and their complete disregard for international law and opinion than this obscure quote by a rather mainstream Israeli historian. It also explains both the reason for Israeli actions in the occupied territories and the silence of the world community towards them.  It lays to rest the notion that Israel is a client state of the US and instead confidently asserts the premise that America, along with most other western powers is a client state of Israel and can be threatened to pursue the Israeli program with military force or retaliation at the slightest hesitation on their part.  It’s an indication of the brazeness of that supposition that von Creveld make this statement to a western audience without any reservation or reluctance.

News you won’t see on American television


Will Israel open up a front in Lebanon?


The Israelis have already started their false flag operations in the south of Lebanon.

Lebanese army and international forces bolstered troop numbers, stepped up patrols and declared a state of alert Thursday after an early-morning rocket attack on Israel from southern Lebanon threatened to widen the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict.

The rocket fire, which struck a nursing home and slightly injured at least two civilians, resurrected memories of the destructive 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah, an ally of the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
There was no claim of responsibility for the rocket attack. Hezbollah and the major Palestinian organizations based in Lebanon denied any role. Only one small group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, would neither affirm nor deny any part in the attack.

The area the missiles were launched from is outside the sphere of influence of  Hezbollah, well south of the Litani River, the line of demarcation setup in UN Resolution 1701. The rabid politicians of the Israeli government want to involve Lebanon in order to strike at Hezbollah and Iran.  Of course they want the US to do the latter…..Iran is far too formidable for Israel alone.  They also want to discredit the UN by underscoring how ineffective it is in preventing the missile attacks from Lebanese soil and avoid having to deal with the Lebanese government which is the party responsible for southern Lebanon.  Israel always seems to demand recognition from others, while not giving it to its neighbors and it wants to blunt criticism from the UN because of the crimes being committed in Gaza.  Curious that…

Meanwhile, Israel true to form, continues to violate Lebanese airspace, and this is no doubt an attempt to get the Lebanese to open fire on Israeli aircraft, while claiming Hezbollah has “rearmed”.   There’s no question Israel will attack Lebanon.  Whether it will be of the same magnitude as 2006 will probably depend on the US response to Gaza.  Already there is talk of how the US had to resupply the Israeli war machine and if the killing continues there forcing more supplies in the face of international opposition, the US may decide to stop the resupply to curb Israel’s appetite for blood.

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.

Gaza invasion is on


gaza-invasion-3_002The invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces has begun. Of course it was expected, but there are two points I want to make about it.  This conflict is about land and resources, so to that end if the Israelis can get it without inflicting maximum casualties that’s a plus for them as far as they’re concerned.  Already, Gaza residents are reporting that fliers were released by the IDF saying they should “leave”.  Of course once they do, they cannot return, which suits the Israelis just fine.

“Due to the terrorist actions undertaken by terrorist elements from the region of your residences against the state of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces are compelled to respond immediately in the region of your residences. For your safety, you are ordered to leave the area immediately”

The second point to be made about this invasion is it will inflict heavy civilian casualties, which also suits the Israelis just fine. In fact Israelis don’t consider any Palestinian a civilian, they are all terrorists, young, old, infant, male, female.  Even people who render medical aid and assistance to any one of the aforementioned groups is considered a legitimate target, which is why the Dignity, loaded with medical supplies for Gaza residents was attacked by the Israeli navy and had to abort their mission.

A recent article published in The Washington Post, for instance, quoted a senior Israeli military official saying: “There are many aspects to Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel.” An Israeli army spokeswoman went further, stating “Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.” Given that, in the ghetto of Gaza, Hamas is effectively the “ruling” party — it was democratically elected, after all — and its network of social and charitable organizations are the largest provider of social services to the impoverished and besieged population, all of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, public schools, hospitals, universities, law and order organs, traffic police, sewage treatment and water purification stations, ministries providing vital services to the public, mosques, public theaters and many non-governmental institutions can technically be considered “affiliated” with Hamas.

Finally, I’m amused at the spin most news reports are giving about the absence of any reaction by Obama to this latest Israeli atrocity, as if anything he says can change what’s taking place on the ground in Gaza.  It appears the absence of Obama’s reaction is why the Israelis are engaging in their blood lust; they can’t help themselves unless an American president stops them.  It’s the old, ‘the devil made me do it’ response with a slight twist.


Israel’s existence is not in question


In the minds of the Arab world, Israel exists and will exist and they are no threat to Israel.  The problem is Israel is a threat to its neighbors; inspite of that there has been a muted response from Israel’s enemies.  Juan Cole offers a translation of Ayatollah Sistani’s comments on the Israeli aggression and even I am shocked at how mild mannered it is.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

The beloved Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip have, since noon yesterday, been subjected to a vicious attack and to continual strikes that have resulted so far in hundreds of victims being martyred or wounded.

This assault comes after a suffocating blockade to which this oppressed people has been subjected for several months. It had resulted in the creation of harsh humanitarian conditions as a result of lack of food, medicine, fuel and other necessities of daily life for the citizens.

Mere verbal expressions of condemnation and disapproval of what is being done to our Palestinian brethren in Gaza, and of solidarity with them, mean nothing before the immensity of this horrific tragedy to which they are being subjected.

The Arab and Muslim worlds are called upon, more than at any past time, to take practical steps in order to stop this continual aggression and to break this cruel blockade that has been imposed on that proud people.

We ask God, the Exalted, the All-Powerful to take the hands of all and lead them to that wherein lies goodness and righteousness. Verily, he is the All-Hearing, the Gracious.

Meanwhile, while everyone in corporate American media seems to hedge reporting on the massacre taking place in Gaza, Israeli media seems to have a more realistic handle on the catastrophe raging around their corporate media’s head.

Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: “Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn’t be provoked into anger… Not that the bully’s not right – someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!”

Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon,the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation “Cast Lead” is only in its infancy.

poignantly poised Gordon Levy in Haaretz.  With pretty good moral clarity, Tom Segev writes:

It is admittedly impossible to live with daily missile fire, even if virtually no place in the world today enjoys a situation of zero terror. But Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path. One can certainly attack it, and with Knesset elections in the offing, this attack might even produce some kind of cease-fire. But there is another historical truth worth recalling in this context: Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians.

 

even though his conclusion is somewhat flawed and undermines what preceeded it.  What’s important is these ideas found their way in mainstream publications in Israel, yet aren’t even remotely mirrored here in the States. I could surmise that’s an indication of the moral strength of certain elements of Israeli media which is greater than their American counterparts. Honestly, I can’t account for the differences in reporting, but the American media is not doing any service to its customers by keeping them in the dark about Israeli trangessions, and our politicians are not working in the best interests of our country when they excuse the faults of a regime hell bent on death and destruction usually ending at our expense.

The bestiality of the Israeli government


MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSpalevictimTit for tat?  (On the left an Israeli building hit by Palestinians “rockets”; on the right a Palestinian building hit by Israeli fire.)  The Israeli government launched an attack during the Christmas season which was designed to insure there would be no peace on earth, or goodwill towards Palestinians.  Using the false pretense that the Palestinian firing of rockets was unprovoked and therefore an Israeli response was necessary, the bombardment of the Gaza strip is no less than genocide against a defenseless civilian population.

What else can  you expect from a government whose leaders had publicly made such statements as Gazans should not be allowed to “live normal lives (Ehud Olmert) or that  punishment should be inflicted “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians” (Avi Dichter) or that Israel should “decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it” (Meir Sheetrit) the intent of this latest act of murder is to inflict the maximum amount of casualties possible.  Some bloggers have even gone on to suggest that the lifting of the embargo by the Israelis was designed to offer them a window to kill the most number of civilians gathered to collect foodstuffs denied them by the Israelis for so long, but whatever the motive, the means were the use of the best military weaponry the state of Israel can finagle from America in their extermination of Palestinians.

Israel decided on a collective punishment policy after the Hamas electoral victory in ’07, and part of that punishment was in the form of the blockade which denied the Gaza Strip even the barest of essentials, electricity and food.  They did so while thumbing their noses at an international community which sought to chronicle Israel’s abuses.  The flagrant and exaggerated expulsion of Richard Falk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories is just one example among many where the Israelis have ignored the “rule of law” and internationally recognized conventions while continuing to oppress the Palestinian civilian population.

As always, the Israelis blame their victim for Israeli transgressions, saying that recent rocket attacks at the end of the ceasefire are responsible for this latest Israeli slaughter.  And while large numbers of rocket attacks are thrown at the public in order to justify Israeli aggression, lost in the argument is that these Palestinian “rockets” are ineffective, inaccurate (only one Israeli casualty  since Palestinians started firing the rockets after the ceasefire) and essentially home-made munitions. What the Israelis have done however to get around the disproportionate nature of their aggression is to return to collectivism of the Palestinian population, equating all within the borders of Gaza as terrorist and therefore subject to elimination, no questions asked.

This latest Israeli atrocity occurs in plain sight before the world stage and yet Hamas and by extension the Palestinians are responsible.  In the light of such global response the likelihood Israel will stop such unparalleled genocide is nil.  Countless deaths will be exacted before the Israelis stop this latest slaughter and resume their obfuscation of Palestinian statehood and peace in the Middle East.  By accepting their line of reasoning, the US is also a willing and active participant in this bloodshed.  One can now see the reason behind the Bush Administration’s abandonment of international law in its treatment of people captured during the phony WOT; accepting the link between themselves and their ally Israel means the only way to escape international illegality is to propose it doesn’t accept the terms of what’s legal and illegal.  Therefore it’s necessary to call such actions as the Israeli attack on Gaza bestial, inhumane, psychopathic, sociopathic, murderous, because in a nation where laws are no longer adhered to, legal and illegal have no meaning.  That seems to be acceptable to the Israeli government and the rest of the world.

UPDATE I

Not even Israelis seem to take the firing of rockets by Palestinians seriously. Take the tone of this article (Latest Gaza Rockets Injure More Arab Children than Jews) which appears in an Israeli newspaper.  It refers to the rockets used by the Palestinians as ‘locally produced rockets’, meaning internal, meaning made in Gaza, meaning at the very most, crude, (We’ve spoken of the ineffective nature of such munitions.)  yet in the Israeli scheme of looking at things they justify the killing of scores of people; a culture of death brought to us by the party of death.

UPDATE II

Not that there’s anything new about this, but assertions by the Israelis that their attack was in response to alleged ceasefire breakdowns, or violations on the part of Hamas to the expired ceasefire are not true, according to this piece from Haaretz.

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces “Cast Lead” operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas…..

The expression in the above link to “misleading of the public” is ironic and a common feature of the Israeli government.



Obama under the Zionist lobby’s thumb


What’s going on?  First we have Martin Indyk who as far as we know has not been picked to be in an Obama administration making a statement that ‘ Israel can no longer expect “blank cheques” ‘ from America?!  On whose authority does a regular, or in Indyk’s case a highly irregular citizen of the US make such a statement?    Did he say that hoping to be appointed to something in Obama’s government, or was he merely testing the waters for his real bosses at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy to see how  such a statement would be received in America?

The real kicker is Obama’s pledge to attack Iran with nuclear weapons should it attack Israel first, that coming on the heels of pronouncements by the deputy director of national intelligence and chairman of the National Intelligence Council’s Thomas Fingar that Iran has not diverted low-enriched uranium produced at a facility at Natanz, 160 miles south of Tehran, to weapons use, and that Iran did suspend its nuclear program back in 2003 at a time when that country was making peace overtures to the US.  So why does Obama want to pick a fight with Iran now and make the most war mongering Administration in American history seem like a peaceful one?  Perhaps politicians can’t accept the premise Iranians aren’t making nuclear weapons because its unfathomable a country could keep its promise all the while US lawmakers continue to lie about Iranian intentions?

The war in Iraq- a boondoggle for everyone but Iraqis


There’s money to be made in war.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  We cloak war’s death and destruction in patriotic terms and speak of the nation’s interests, but war and especially this last Iraqi war is waged for no other reason than economic gain.  The costs in human lives on both sides is immeasurable, but some hope to make up for it by stealing the wealth of nations, theirs, ours and anyone else.  So I’m particularly upset but not surprised to read that even people in the US military were making off with big bundles of cash.

A federal jury in Trenton, N.J., today convicted U.S. Army Col. Curtis G. Whiteford and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael B. Wheeler of conspiracy to commit bribery and interstate transportation of stolen property, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced.

*snip*

According to testimony at trial before U.S. District Court Judge Mary L. Cooper, Whiteford and Wheeler conspired from December 2003 to December 2005 with at least three others—Robert Stein, at the time the comptroller and funding officer for the CPA-SC; Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen who owned and operated several companies in Iraq and Romania; and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bruce D. Hopfengardner—to rig the bids on contracts being awarded by the CPA-SC so that more than 20 contracts were awarded to Bloom. In total, Bloom received more than $8.6 million in rigged contracts. Testimony revealed that Bloom, in return, provided Whiteford, Harrison, Wheeler, Stein, Hopfengardner and others with more than $1 million in cash, SUVs, sports cars, a motorcycle, jewelry, computers, business class airline tickets, liquor, promise of future employment with Bloom and other items of value.

Meanwhile all that supposed good will we had planned for the Iraqis, the good will that would replace Saddam’s repressive rule, still has not reached fruition.  Iraqis are still in the dark, with their electrical capacity below pre-war levels.