Terrorism


The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Since the September 11th Attacks on the United States in 2001, which resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and severe damage to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the United States has changed its priorities to focus upon eradicating terrorism in the world. Terrorism involves the systematic use of terror or violence to achieve political goals. The targets of terrorism include government officials, identified individuals or groups, and innocent bystanders. In most cases terrorists seek to overthrow or destabilize an existing political regime, but totalitarian and dictatorial governments also use terror to maintain their power.

 

As clear and distinct as this definition is, it cannot but include the Israeli government as a dictatorial government that uses terrorism to maintain power, as this article in RawStory suggests.  In spite of a newly signed peace agreement with Egypt, in 1979 Israel was intimating that it would use nuclear weapons against its neighbors because somehow it feared for its existence.  We know now that was a crock….Israel then as now, has no more to fear from its neighbors than the man in the moon.  In fact, since 1973 all of Israel’s wars have been wars of aggression and expansion, not self-defense.  One could argue they have been the precursor to America’s aggression in the Mid East…a kind of good cop, bad cop play on empire and subjugation of the Middle East.

In 1980, British officials were concerned that Israel could be heading for a new conflict, despite signing a peace treaty with Egypt the year before, according to official papers released from the National Archives after being kept secret for 30 years.

“The situation in the region is deteriorating and with it Israel’s dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow,” warned a cable from the British embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4.

What Israel served to do with this threat to use nuclear weapons was to get governments to support her in her continued suppression of Palestinian statehood, in other words to achieve the political objective of denial of human rights to her Palestinian neighbors as well as forge political hegemony in the area.  Let’s not forget existential threats to Israel are no more than  political dissent that are the basis for a mature political entity, not a threatening  bullying one like Israel, which usually contribute to the improvement of the social fabric, not its elimination.  Very few but the extreme of the extreme, (and who could that be?) would dare suggest Israel not exist, but what everyone of conscience and morality should insist upon is that Israel honor the territorial integrity of its neighbors, not interfere with Palestinian statehood, cease its racist policies towards non-Jews within its borders and honor international treaties against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  That’s the kind of discourse that countries can conduct on the world’s stage in a mature, socially and internationally acceptable manner.  Not so with the Israeli interpretation of dissent.  In its case dissent is not tolerated except from within and only within limits defined by the government.  That is called fascism.

Separation of Church and State- A Resounding Yes!


The US is awash in people who are mistaken in the belief that America was founded as a Christian nation, some even saying the Judeo-Christian ethic is the standard by which the country governs and conducts itself to the exclusion of other faiths.  We’ve written about that here a time or two and demonstrated that nothing could be further from the truth.  A more recent article affirms that and can be found here.

Not once does the U.S. Constitution or any of its amendments use the words Christian or Christianity. The only times the word religion is used in the Constitution is in the prohibition of a religious test to run for public office and in the First Amendment, forbidding any limits on the free practice of religion.

Yet 53 percent of Americans believe the United States was established as a Christian nation.

Today’s misconception about the United States as a Christian nation, of course, is not the only example of Americans failing to live up to the founding ideals.

The Baptists and the Quakers suffered severe persecution in Colonial days. The Roman Catholics and Mormons were the targets of persecution in the 19th Century, and the Jehovah Witnesses and Christian Scientists were demonized in the 20th Century. The bias against Muslims has become the challenge of the 21st century.

 

It’s clear the argument that America is a Christian nation is a means by which people can deny those who don’t fall under the appellation “Christian” their God given right to live in peace in America.  In an earlier post we’ve shown how the “Christian” disease can spread and engulf victims that were once considered a part of the Judeo-Christian ethic further underscoring the destructive nature of the argument.  America has always been a place where people who valued freedom of expression settled to live peacefully and even at times tumultuously with their neighbors, without fear of being denied the freedoms they cherished without due process.  That should not change in today’s climate, all the race-baiting and homophobic clamoring to the contrary.  America is a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Wicca, atheist nation united by a rule of law that says any expression is allowed and cannot be limited, censored, altered by the State.  Leave it at that America; don’t tread on the rights of any of your Citizens!

Political Zionism’s justification for death and destruction


For some in the religious movement of Israel, the killing of perfectly innocent people is permissible

When we approach a non-Jew who has violated the seven Noahide laws (The seven Noahide laws prohibit idolatry, murder, theft, illicit sexual relations, blasphemy and eating the flesh of a live animal, and require societies to institute just laws and law courts)and kill him out of concern for upholding these seven laws, no prohibition has been violated.

In any situation in which a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives, the non-Jew may be killed even if he is a righteous Gentile and not at all guilty for the situation that has been created..

Hindrances—babies are found many times in this situation. They block the way to rescue by their presence and do so completely by force. Nevertheless, they may be killed because their presence aids murder. There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.

After looking at these pictures from Gaza I can’t help but think that while there are those who may want to distance themselves from the above quotes, such sentiment expressed therein is actually the policy of the IDF, for the moment, in its interactions with Palestinians.

Netanyahu Speaks with Forked Tongue


It won’t make that much difference in people’s attitudes about Israel, although it should be extremely embarrasing to official Washington, the admission or rather revelation that Benjamin Netanyahu lied in order to sabotage the Oslow Accords back during the Clinton Administration.  It’s no small foot note that Netanyahu is now the Prime Minister of Israel and  no doubt still lies; it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, dontcha’ know.

What’s also interesting to this observer is the revelation comes from a news outlet other than the US main stream media, that darling of Israel and any US administration that is in power.  I don’t entirely agree with the reporter’s assertion in the piece that the video which contains the damning details was shot unbeknownst to Netanyahu; I think Netanyahu and most other Israeli officials don’t give a damn whether Americans or anyone else knows what they really think or believe, because they know it will be smoothed over for them by corporate media.  Witness the rather arrogant behavior of the Israelis during Joe Biden’s recent stop in Israel where they announced new settlements at a time it was hoped they would freeze settlements.  What Netanyahu admits to is

he deceived the US president of the time, Bill Clinton, into believing he was helping implement the Oslo accords, the US-sponsored peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, by making minor withdrawals from the West Bank while actually entrenching the occupation. He boasts that he thereby destroyed the Oslo process. He dismisses the US as “easily moved to the right direction” and calls high levels of popular American support for Israel “absurd”.

He also suggests that, far from being defensive, Israel’s harsh military repression of the Palestinian uprising was designed chiefly to crush the Palestinian Authority led by Yasser Arafat so that it could be made more pliable for Israeli diktats.

Many within the Israeli leadership as well as the apparatchiks here in America were opposed to the Oslow Accords because they claimed, as usual, Israel was being asked to give up too much.  Netanyahu’s conniving position was no doubt taken so he could appear to be the more moderate and acceptable leader for Israel….a diplomatic version of good cop, bad cop, the bad cop being the bloodthirsty Ariel Sharon.  In reality Netanyahu is much worse.  The video which contains these statements by Netanyahu, which also appears below, has been circulating around in Israel for a period of time yet no one of the so called liberal Israeli public opinion, which we are told is far more open to criticism of  Israeli leadership because they get better media coverage and a more critical viewpoint  of Israeli government shenanigans; no one from this elite society of free thinkers has uttered a call for Netanyahu to resign.  No one seems the least bit concerned about the effect this news will have on Israel’s international relations.  One wouldn’t really expect them to be concerned at all; the Israelis have positioned themselves so far to an extreme nothing short of a war in which they are alone on one side facing everybody else would make them rethink positions they have come to hold so dearly today.   But it is interesting to this observer that the video appears after Netanyahu’s visit to the US just a few short days ago and is just one more ‘in your face’ statement made to belittle and demean the ‘world’s only superpower’.  Somehow, that expression- world’s only superpower,  just doesn’t have the ring to it it once did.

Perhaps this also gives people in the west, if they care to stop and reflect just once, an idea of the frustration the Palestinians have felt toward the Israeli government and people.  The leaders of Israel openly admit their signature on treaties, commitments, agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on, and this deceit is carried out with the full knowledge and approval of Israeli citizenry.

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A more complete list in pdf, here at gaza restrictions.

Silence!


In this day of information technology and rapid news gathering, there is still too much silence coming from the halls of government and the corporate media about the attack on the Gaza bound flotilla and the violation of international law on the part of the Israelis. So here is a response to the vacuum left by “power” and by the way the answer to the question posed by Cook is a resounding NO!

It is quite astounding that Israel has been able to create over the past 12 hours a news blackout, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months ago, into which our main media organisations have willingly allowed Israeli spokespeople to step in unchallenged.

How many civilians were killed in Israel’s dawn attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla of aid? We still don’t know. How many wounded? Your guess is as good as mine. Were the aid activists armed with guns? Yes, says Israel. Were they in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Certainly, says Israel. Did the soldiers act reasonably? Of course, they faced a lynch, says Israel.

If we needed any evidence of the degree to which Western TV journalists are simply stenographers to power, the BBC, CNN and others are amply proving it. Mark Regev, Israel’s propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves largely to himself.

The passengers on the ships, meanwhile, have been kidnapped by Israel and are unable to provide an alternative version of events. We can guess they will remain in enforced silence until Israel is sure it has set the news agenda.

So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let’s reiterate a few simple facts:

* Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an imminent “lynch” by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it deserves.

* The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby.

Israel has no right to control Gaza’s sea as its own territorial waters and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip’s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.

Today Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians under occupation but at the international community itself.

Will our leaders finally be moved to act?

The Truth has been laid bare


It’s now painfully obvious why we went to war in Iraq. I agree with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern some of it was because of “oil”, “Israel” and “logistics”, which form the acronym, oil.  The “O” in that word really was the main reason, but on an even larger level there were more and other business interests to satisfy.  Basically however, a former US businessman then President sent Americans over to fight a war to increase his bottom line, his ledger, his accounts; war is profitable to the American economy and all that’s left to do is figure out how to get people to willing sacrifice their sons and daughters to fight such a war, even when there is no other reason to do so than the personal profitability of the commander in chief and his associates, and then execute that war, not towards a successful conclusion but for as long as it takes to get corporate America back in the black.  Now you know why no one wants to talk of withdrawal from Iraq or any other war zone, because such decisions are made when the markets and other economic indicators say it is time to do so and not one day before.

So while partisan politics takes potshots across the great political divide over the ever scandalous BP disaster, intimating that one side or the other is benefiting from the largest eco catastrophe in American history, let them not forget we fight wars where we kill people and get killed in order to revitalize our economy.  In essence we fight people who are defenseless; we kill people who mean us no harm, we destroy whole societies, many of them older than our own because we can and because it’s good for business.  It has nothing to do with defending the homeland, it has nothing to do with promoting democracy or even capitalism and it has nothing to do with helping the weak or the oppressed. The blood of your loved ones and the ones they kill increases the profit margins of the ones who send those very loved ones off to meaningless and perpetual war. How do you like that America?!

Americans Kill Muslims Like Roaches


The American attitude about war in Islamic lands and the genocide nature of that action is so apparent to even the most casual observer, I want to post this article from another observer.

The current American imperial offensive “has all the characteristics of a race war,” and is viewed as such by much of the world. “In Muslim nations, the U.S. treats the inhabitants like roaches, stomping human beings underfoot and cursing them when they scurry to get out of the way.”

The latest American atrocity in Afghanistan – the wanton slaughter of civilians on an inter-city bus near Kandahar – is yet more bloody proof that the United States military offensive in the Muslim world has all the characteristics of a race war. The men, women and children in the packed, full-size bus found themselves suddenly boxed in between two American convoys on a highway of death – a place where the natives are instantly liquidated if they are unfortunate enough to find themselves in proximity to U.S. soldiers. Such highways of death inevitably appear whenever U.S. troops are deployed among populations that Americans think of as less than human.
In Iraq, the road between central Baghdad and the airport was also known among the natives as the “highway of death.” American convoys routinely fired on commuters on their way to work if they felt the Iraqi vehicles got too close. Civilian employees of the United States share in the imperial privilege of killing Muslims at will. In 2005, British mercenaries took a leisurely drive along Baghdad’s “highway of death” playing Elvis Presley records while shooting Iraqi motorists for sport. So confident of impunity were the soldiers of fortune, they videotaped their ghoulish joyride, to entertain friends and relatives back home. And they were right; neither the mercenary killers nor their corporate employers were punished.
In 2007, Blackwater mercenaries opened fire on commuters trapped in a traffic jam in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing 17 and wounding at least 20 – apparently because they were bored. But, why not? U.S. troops had been committing mass murder in villages like Haditha for years. Early in the war, they leveled Fallujah, a city larger than Birmingham, Alabama, after first bombing the hospital. Casual killing is a prerogative of imperial occupiers when the natives are considered sub-human.
“They would never behave in such a manner in European.”

In the newly-released WikiLeaks video of a 2007 aerial human turkey-shoot over a suburban Baghdad neighborhood, the voices of the American helicopter pilots and gunners are testimony to the endemic, pathological racism of the U.S. occupying force. The Americans beg their commanders for permission to kill Iraqis milling about on the street below, presenting no threat to anyone. They are thrilled when their cannon fire rips into over a dozen men, including two journalists. “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” says one G.I. When they fire on a car that stopped to aid one of the victims, severely wounding two children, the Americans crack that it served the Iraqis right for bringing children into a battle. But there was no battle, just Americans bringing casual death into an Iraqi neighborhood.

Americans seem unable to resist raining death from the skies on wedding parties in Afghanistan. Apparently, any gathering of Afghans, anywhere, for any reason, is sufficient cause for Americans to unleash high-tech weapons of destruction. They would never behave in such a manner in European countries because, well, people live there. But in Muslim nations, the U.S. treats the inhabitants like roaches, stomping human beings underfoot and cursing them when they scurry to get out of the way. This is race war, pure and simple. The fact that it’s commander-in-chief is a Black man does not alter the character of the crime, one iota.

War-A Slaughter of Innocents


The person who took the photograph of the carnage to the left became its victim at the hands of American forces who went to Iraq to liberate Iraqis from their tyrannical ruler but who became tyrants and murderers themselves.  The death of Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his colleague Saeed Chmagh, a death vividly caught on tape is perhaps the most accurate depiction of what the Iraqi war brought to the shores of both Iraq and America.

To Iraqis such tragic events were normal occurrences in their interaction with American forces who all too often shot and killed first and rarely asked questions later if at all.  People on the ground in Iraq are too acquainted with the reality that the US military has very little regard for Iraqi lives where the total number of deaths number in the tens of thousands.  Having been besieged by all forces who claimed to act in their best interests, from the government of their own country, to their “liberators” who came to to offer them relief, Iraqis have been slaughtered over the past decade.  In many respects that slaughter has been analyzed and presented to the public to justify public policy in all instances, except those which applied to the US military, when Iraqi civilians ran up against US  forces at which point the public was met with a stone walling military complex and an indifferent media.

The very nature of war means the inevitability of what is presented on film linked above would occur on a basis as often as there is an occupying force in a foreign land interacting with the indigenous population.  The euphemisms employed by the Bush administration to make the invasion more palatable were just as meaningless as the excuses now being given for the action taken against unarmed civilians and children who in the course of their daily lives ran into a force far more willing to shoot them than to help them.  Shooting is the job of soldiers; liberation is the job of those who want to be liberated and sometimes they are convergent ideas and actions but in today’s meme of invasion and occupation they usually are not.  Therefore it is reasonable and necessary to say that what happened to the two Reuters employees is a normal everyday circumstance, no doubt one happening even today,  and if you find it so disturbing as I do, the only thing that will change that is the unconditional withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and nothing less.

This is not the time for back slapping and self-congratulations among those of us who opposed the war by saying this kind of incident was an inevitability of war.  Such arrogance doesn’t help the scores of families, almost every Iraqi one, who have been afflicted by this tragedy.  Nor will a revision of the rules of engagement offer any relief.  In fact as we have mentioned on the pages of Miscellany101 before, there are some who say that the rules of engagement should not spare civilians, and that military personnel should give no consideration to them at all.  Therefore, to abandon this massacre means by necessity abandoning the occupation of Iraq by the American military.  Does that mean murder and mayhem in Iraq will stop?  No it doesn’t, but its occurrence will diminish greatly and we will not be responsible for it, nor blamed for it when it does.  In order to be a society based on the rule of law, we must first apply that rule to ourselves before we try to make others accountable.  Illegal, discriminatory, unjust, murderous wars must be stopped at once before any other declarations of guilt can be raised.  If nothing else, let us hope that will be the outcome of a murder caught on tape.

UPDATE

“If you kill a civilian he becomes an insurgent because you retroactively make that person a threat.”

I mentioned above how the murder of the two Iraqi Reuters reporters was really a normal, everyday event that was brought on by the presence of an occupying force in Iraq.  To underscore that point comes this article where soldiers who served in Iraq make the same claim, matter of factly that ‘we were told to shoot people and the officers would take care of us’.  Military personnel were sent to Iraq to kill not to liberate or win the hearts of minds of the people there.  Listen to some of the testimonies:

Vincent Emanuele, a Marine rifleman who spent a year in the al-Qaim area of Iraq near the Syrian border, told of emptying magazines of bullets into the city without identifying targets, running over corpses with Humvees and stopping to take “trophy” photos of bodies….

Steve Casey served in Iraq for over a year starting in mid-2003.

“We were scheduled to go home in April 2004, but due to rising violence we stayed in with Operation Blackjack,” Casey said, “I watched soldiers firing into the radiators and windows of oncoming vehicles. Those who didn’t turn around were unfortunately neutralized one way or another – well over 20 times I personally witnessed this. There was a lot of collateral damage.”

Jason Hurd served in central Baghdad from November 2004 until November 2005. He told of how, after his unit took “stray rounds” from a nearby firefight, a machine gunner responded by firing over 200 rounds into a nearby building.

“We fired indiscriminately at this building,” he said. “Things like that happened every day in Iraq. We reacted out of fear for our lives, and we reacted with total destruction.

Such was the atmosphere created by the US military in Iraq which literally forced military personnel to take part in the types of atrocities evident in the video tape above.

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“This is an action that sowed massive destruction among civilians. It is not certain that it was possible do have done it differently, but ultimately we have emerged from this operation and are not facing real paralysis from the Qassams. It is very possible that we will repeat such an operation on a larger scale in the years to come, because the problem in the Gaza Strip is not simple and it is not at all certain that it has been solved. What we want this evening is to hear from the fighters.”

Aviv: “I am squad commander of a company that is still in training, from the Givati Brigade. We went into a neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City. Altogether, this is a special experience. In the course of the training, you wait for the day you will go into Gaza, and in the end it isn’t really like they say it is. It’s more like, you come, you take over a house, you kick the tenants out and you move in. We stayed in a house for something like a week.

“Toward the end of the operation there was a plan to go into a very densely populated area inside Gaza City itself. In the briefings they started to talk to us about orders for opening fire inside the city, because as you know they used a huge amount of firepower and killed a huge number of people along the way, so that we wouldn’t get hurt and they wouldn’t fire on us.

“At first the specified action was to go into a house. We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally, Cruel] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified – we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?

“From above they said it was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault … This also scared me a bit. I tried to exert some influence, insofar as is possible from within my subordinate position, to change this. In the end the specification involved going into a house, operating megaphones and telling [the tenants]: ‘Come on, everyone get out, you have five minutes, leave the house, anyone who doesn’t get out gets killed.’

“I went to our soldiers and said, ‘The order has changed. We go into the house, they have five minutes to escape, we check each person who goes out individually to see that he has no weapons, and then we start going into the house floor by floor to clean it out … This means going into the house, opening fire at everything that moves , throwing a grenade, all those things. And then there was a very annoying moment. One of my soldiers came to me and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘What isn’t clear? We don’t want to kill innocent civilians.’ He goes, ‘Yeah? Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact.’ I said, ‘Do you think the people there will really run away? No one will run away.’ He says, ‘That’s clear,’ and then his buddies join in: ‘We need to murder any person who’s in there. Yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist,’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media.

“And then I try to explain to the guy that not everyone who is in there is a terrorist, and that after he kills, say, three children and four mothers, we’ll go upstairs and kill another 20 or so people. And in the end it turns out that [there are] eight floors times five apartments on a floor – something like a minimum of 40 or 50 families that you murder. I tried to explain why we had to let them leave, and only then go into the houses. It didn’t really help. This is really frustrating, to see that they understand that inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want, to break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool.

“You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing in understanding how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”

“One of our officers, a company commander, saw someone coming on some road, a woman, an old woman. She was walking along pretty far away, but close enough so you could take out someone you saw there. If she were suspicious, not suspicious – I don’t know. In the end, he sent people up to the roof, to take her out with their weapons. From the description of this story, I simply felt it was murder in cold blood.”

Zamir: “I don’t understand. Why did he shoot her?”

Aviv: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.”

Zvi: “Aviv’s descriptions are accurate, but it’s possible to understand where this is coming from. And that woman, you don’t know whether she’s … She wasn’t supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn’t be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn’t right. It’s known that they have lookouts and that sort of thing.”

Gilad: “Even before we went in, the battalion commander made it clear to everyone that a very important lesson from the Second Lebanon War was the way the IDF goes in – with a lot of fire. The intention was to protect soldiers’ lives by means of firepower. In the operation the IDF’s losses really were light and the price was that a lot of Palestinians got killed.”

Ram: “I serve in an operations company in the Givati Brigade. After we’d gone into the first houses, there was a house with a family inside. Entry was relatively calm. We didn’t open fire, we just yelled at everyone to come down. We put them in a room and then left the house and entered it from a different lot. A few days after we went in, there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sharpshooters’ position on the roof. The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go, and it was was okay and he should hold his fire and he … he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders.”

Question from the audience: “At what range was this?”

Ram: “Between 100 and 200 meters, something like that. They had also came out of the house that he was on the roof of, they had advanced a bit and suddenly he saw then, people moving around in an area where they were forbidden to move around. I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it …. The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Yuval Friedman (chief instructor at the Rabin program): “Wasn’t there a standing order to request permission to open fire?”

Ram: “No. It exists, beyond a certain line. The idea is that you are afraid that they are going to escape from you. If a terrorist is approaching and he is too close, he could blow up the house or something like that.”

Zamir: “After a killing like that, by mistake, do they do some sort of investigation in the IDF? Do they look into how they could have corrected it?”

Ram: “They haven’t come from the Military Police’s investigative unit yet. There hasn’t been any … For all incidents, there are individual investigations and general examinations, of all of the conduct of the war. But they haven’t focused on this specifically.”

Moshe: “The attitude is very simple: It isn’t pleasant to say so, but no one cares at all. We aren’t investigating this. This is what happens during fighting and this is what happens during routine security.”

Ram: “What I do remember in particular at the beginning is the feeling of almost a religious mission. My sergeant is a student at a hesder yeshiva [a program that combines religious study and military service]. Before we went in, he assembled the whole platoon and led the prayer for those going into battle. A brigade rabbi was there, who afterward came into Gaza and went around patting us on the shoulder and encouraging us, and praying with people. And also when we were inside they sent in those booklets, full of Psalms, a ton of Psalms. I think that at least in the house I was in for a week, we could have filled a room with the Psalms they sent us, and other booklets like that.

“There was a huge gap between what the Education Corps sent out and what the IDF rabbinate sent out. The Education Corps published a pamphlet for commanders – something about the history of Israel’s fighting in Gaza from 1948 to the present. The rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles, and … their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war. From my position as a commander and ‘explainer,’ I attempted to talk about the politics – the streams in Palestinian society, about how not everyone who is in Gaza is Hamas, and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us. I wanted to explain to the soldiers that this war is not a war for the sanctification of the holy name, but rather one to stop the Qassams.”

Hat tip.

It just keeps getting worse


News from Israel that genocide was the intent of the Gazan intrusion and nothing less grows stronger everyday with the release of soldier testimony to that effect. A word on the cartoon posted below; it clearly shows a dementia that has nothing at all to do with terrorism, the use of deadly force or American interests, nor Israeli interests for that matter.  With the exception of one drawing, no one who appears in the cartoons is even remotely connected to the “terrorism” the Israelis claim they are fighting.  One of the cartoon’s panels shows a blatant act of homosexuality as an act of war which speaks to the mindset of today’s modern armies.  What it does show is a hatred for Arabs and a willingness to kill women and infants, something we’ve seen in the latest “war” in Gaza and something which is underscored with this latest news

“Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue,” was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead. A reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza offensive believes that the note is part of orders a low-level commander wrote before giving his soldiers their daily briefing.

One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounde.d and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.

The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.

It is significant to remember that those who lay bleeding to death easily within reach of rescue personnel who perhaps could have been saved were the likes of women and children.


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.

Close but no cigar


omar_bashirI’m still waiting for the indictment to come down against George W. Bush just as it did with Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. What Bashir was indicted for pales in comparison to the crimes committed by Bush under the full might and services of the US government and its military.  The only similarity between the two countries is that both of them have not signed  the International Criminal Court treaty and therefore refuse to recognize its jurisdiction; other than that Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, his rendition (read that kidnapping) of foreign and American citizens to prisons all over the world and their subsequent subjugation to torture and the over one million Iraqi and Afghani refugees brought about because of Bush’s madness, far exceed anything Bashir could ever do with his third world economy, military and infrastructure.

Sudan is the cause celebre of the rich and famous;  a bone tossed to them by policy makers who wanted to give influential people something to assuage their conscience.  It is a rallying point for people who are for change from heavy handed militarism and want to see the rule of law and diplomacy restored to the settling of conflicts.  I admire that spirit; it has been missing for far too long.  America has decided, lately, that the only way to settle conflict is through superior military might, and all other avenues aren’t worth discussing.  Some of us have grown tired of seeing the country through its weight around like a bull in a china shop, destroying everything it says it wants to save or rescue.  However, those who are for saving Darfur are themselves a pawn in the geopolitical game of oil and strategic alliances that have been going on for over 30 years in Sudan.  After settling a decades old conflict with the south, whose leaders are against the ICC arrest warrant for Bashir, Sudan was tagged with the bin laden fantasy, the chemical weapons falacy, oil and now the Darfurian fable with an Israeli interjection that’s sure to raise more than a few eyebrows about Israeli/zionist machinations in Sudan’s internal affairs.

Bush should also be indicted along with Bashir; and Bush’s trial should preceed Bashir’s, but the foundation for a Bush trial is already crumbling, with the news the Obama administration doesn’t want John Yoo prosecuted for his memos inciting the Bush administration to torture.  Such a position by Obama only makes me think that perhaps he will institute some form of torture during his term in office.  Change indeed…

Clinton’s run in with the Lobby


I was really blown away by the headline, Jewish Leaders Blast Clinton over Israel Criticism and see it as one more descent into the abyss of extremist Zionism taking over American politics.  What is it Clinton criticized Israel for?

“Israel is not making enough effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” senior U.S. officials told Israeli counterparts last week, and reiterated Washington’s view by saying that “the U.S. expects Israel to meet its commitments on this matter.”

Sources at the defense establishment confirmed last night that pressure is increasing on Israel to reopen the crossings to larger volumes of aid for the Gaza Strip. Defense sources said that Israel will find it increasingly difficult to counter the pressure, and may agree to more extensive use of the crossings for aid. Currently, fewer than 200 trucks carrying aid are allowed through daily. The U.S., the EU and the UN are demanding that at least 500 trucks carrying aid be allowed into the Strip daily.

When Senator John Kerry visited the Strip, he learned that many trucks loaded with pasta were not permitted in. When the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee inquired as to the reason for the delay, he was told by United Nations aid officials that “Israel does not define pasta as part of humanitarian aid – only rice shipments.”

American Jewish leaders are upset that a US secretary of State insists the Israeli government allow in pasta, and because she, Clinton, has demanded the Israeli government allow that aid into Gaza, America’s Jews are angry?  Why, would be the logical question, are they angry?  Clinton was elected to the US Senate as a senator from New York, one of the most heavily populated Jewish states and has given Israel everything it has asked for in the form of American largess yet a simple declarative sentence that Israel must allow aid to the Palestinians has leaders turning on their heads.

Methinks what has happened is the old slight of hand trick, where the media pundits have used words to categorize Clinton’s remarks on the issue to inflame public reaction.  In fact, the only direct quote from Clinton I could find was this statement from the above link:’ “We are working across the government to see what our approach will be,” Clinton said’, otherwise Kramer, the CBS reporter goes on to characterize Clinton’s remarks as “hammering”, a “change of position”, “a swift about face” and “angry messages”, all terms designed to signify a change in Clinton’s positionvis-a-vis Israel.

However, even if the essence of Clinton’s remarks was that Israel must allow aid into Gaza is that such a bad thing?  The Gazan people’s ability to maintain themselves has been decimated; their agricultural subsistence is threatened daily by Israeli snipers who shoot at people working in the farm fields of Gaza or Israeli navy ships which intimidate fisherman as they fish in Gaza’s territorial waters.  In effect the Israelis “own” Gaza and the people living there are wholly dependent on what aid the Israelis allow in.  A territory with over 1 million people living there deserves more than 200 truck loads of aid a day.  That’s a nobrainer!  So American Jewish leaders don’t have anything to cry about.   Israel always had carte blanche with the Bush administration, which meant they got away with doing whatever they wanted, no questions asked, not a peep was made, and therefore Clinton’s protestations are markedly different in style than Bush’s way of handling things.  In order to get things back to “normal” as it were, this article was able to drum up the necessary sentiment that Clinton, and by extension the entireObama administration, should keep quiet.

It will be interesting to see what Clinton’s reaction will be.  If she buckles and gives in to the white noise about her remarks it means she probably has future political aspirations.  If she ignores them and continues on the same way she began it means she realizes she has reached the end of her political career and she should finally ‘do the right thing’.  Clinton is 62 years old and if  Obama is a two term president and she tows the line, she will be gainfully employed until she reaches 70 and the party nomination for president will most likely be only a twinkle in her eye.  I wish I could say she’ll do the right thing, but American politics and the closed door wheeling and dealing that goes on with it don’t make that possibility a sure thing.  Most likely what will happen is she will moderate her comments and send all that need assurance the sign that hers will not be a wayward State department as the Powell department of State was during the first Bush term.  Remember that one, where we heard talk from the religious right about how it should nuked? I’m not much of a Clinton fan and whether she’s able to win me over depends a lot on how she deals with Jewish leaders  in and outside America.




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Israel and human shields


shieldAs abominable as the idea is human shields are used to protect one group of combatants from another.  The accusation is usually hurled from defenders of western ideologies towards their enemies, i.e. Saddam, Hamas, et.al. so before this gets lost in the memory hole I thought I’d post this article.  It’s one of several that have been printed since the Gaza genocide.

The Israeli soldiers outside Majdi Abed Rabbo’s home were after the three Hamas fighters holed up next door, and they wanted Abed Rabbo to be their point man.

For the next 24 hours, Abed Rabbo said, the soldiers repeatedly forced him to walk through the battle zone to see whether the militants were dead or alive.

Abed Rabbo wasn’t alone. Eight other residents in this northern Gaza Strip neighborhood told McClatchy in separate interviews that Israeli soldiers had conscripted them to check homes for booby traps, to smash holes in the walls of houses so that soldiers could use them as escape routes or to try to pull dead Palestinian militants from the rubble.

The Israeli military told McClatchy that it’s investigating a variety of allegations about its Gaza operation but it categorically rejected suggestions that soldiers forced any Palestinians to work for them.

“Of course we don’t use human shields,” Israeli military spokesman Capt. Elie Isaacson said. “Just the opposite. We do everything in our power to avoid harm to civilians, bearing in mind that we know Hamas purposely puts them in harm’s way.”

U.S. and Israeli human-rights groups dispute that.

“There is powerful evidence that Israel used the tactic that they are accusing Hamas of using,” said Fred Abrahams, a Human Rights Watch senior researcher who’s investigating what happened in Gaza during the recent Israeli military offensive, which killed more than 1,200 Palestinians.

“The testimony seems pretty extensive and presents grave suspicions that Israeli soldiers forced Palestinians to perform dangerous tasks,” said B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli. “And the fact that we’re seeing these allegations on such a wide scale leads us to suspect that this was policy and not the decisions of one or two random soldiers.”

Not much will come of this revelation; Israel is rarely rebuked for its human rights abuses and this will be no different, however, the next time you hear the Israelis comment on human shields being used by their opponents you can reply they, the Israelis, probably taught them the technique.

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.

Mr. President, listen up!


I salute all people of good conscience and courage. The author of this video, apparently an Israeli woman, is right up there among them.

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