Palestinian leaders help Israel evade ICC, again

September 13, 2014

Riad Maliki during his visit to the ICCRiad Maliki during his visit to the ICC

In 2009, Palestinian leaders attempted to bring Israel’s actions during “Operation Cast Lead” to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although the bid was refused by the then prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the grounds that only states could do so and Palestine was not recognized as a state, the move fuelled hopes that one day Israel could be held accountable.The United Nations General Assembly approved Palestine’s 2012 statehood bid, upgrading Palestine to a non-member observer state and therefore making it eligible to bring a case to the court. The chief prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, has stated that “the ball is now in the court of Palestine,” “Palestine has to come back” and “we are waiting for them.”

When Palestinian foreign minister Riad Maliki visited The Hague in early August, the seat of the ICC, hopes were once again raised- would Palestine’s leaders finally follow through with its ICC threats? Maliki told reporters that the visit was made in-order to discuss the implications of signing the Rome Statute. Signing the Rome Statute would make Palestine a member of the ICC with the authority to call for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel.

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Stephen Lendman: Abbas Scuttles Fatah/Hamas Unity

September 8, 2014
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Last April, Fatah and Hamas agreed on establishing unity Palestinian governance. Hamas official Izzat Ar-Rishiq said issues separating both sides were resolved. Fatah confirmed the report. Both sides agreed to form a “government of independents.” It would be “tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year.”

PLC deputy head Dr. Ahmad Bahar called the agreement historic. Gaza’s coalition of independent figures head Abdul-Aziz Shiqaqi said it breaks new ground. It offers reconciliation hope. Earlier unity talks failed. Israel sabotaged them. In April 2011, both sides met in Cairo. They announced a draft reconciliation agreement.

Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported “a complete understanding after talks on all the points, including the formation of a transitional government with a specific mandate and setting a date for elections.” Hamas official Izzat Ar-Rishiq said differing issues between both sides were resolved.

Fatah’s delegation head, Azzam Al-Ahmad, confirmed it. Both sides agreed on unity governance, he said. They’ll be “tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year.”

Reconciliation didn’t follow. Agreed on terms were ignored. A similar Doha 2012 agreement followed. Announced national unity governance wasn’t consummated.

Netanyahu reacted as expected. He demanded Abbas “choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.”  “There cannot be peace with both because Hamas strives to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly,” he said. “I think that the very idea of reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and creates the prospect that Hamas could retake control of Judea and Samaria just like it took control of the Gaza Strip.”

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Peter Hart: Israel, Gaza and False Balance

September 5, 2014

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Media construct a symmetry of violence where none exists

By Peter Hart, Fair, September 1, 2014

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 Extra! cover, September 2014Striving for a deceptive “balance,” US media miscast the devastating violence of Israel’s attacks on Gaza and obscured the lopsided nature of the death toll.

This started with the timeline preferred in much of the press. By most media accounts, the conflict started when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12; their bodies were discovered on June 30. The Israeli government immediately declared Hamas responsible. Days after the discovery of the victims’ bodies, a Palestinian teenager was abducted and murdered by Israeli extremists, in what was called a “revenge” attack. Hamas rockets started falling in Israel, and “Operation Protective Edge” was Israel’s response.

This narrative of Israeli response to Palestinian aggression was set from the beginning: “Striking back. Israel hitting hard overnight with 34 precision airstrikes on a Hamas compound,” declared ABC World News’ Alex Marquardt (7/1/14). A USA Today editorial (7/15/14) explained that the war started when “Hamas began its latest round of mostly ineffectual rocket attacks on Israel.”

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The truce between Gaza and Israel

August 27, 2014

Nasir Khan, August 27, 2014

All the well-wishers of the people of Palestine around the world are relieved to hear about the recent truce arranged between Gaza and Israel in the hope that it will put a stop to Israel carrying out further destruction and massacres in Gaza. Many people have voiced their opposition to the Israeli savagery in Gaza. But how long will the truce last or how will Israel behave in the days, weeks and months to come is yet to be seen. Zionist rulers of Israel can never be trusted for anything positive except for their unmatched expertise in deception and manipulation. As things stand at present, it is prudent to say that this truce means the temporary end of hostilities and nothing more.

Israel’s overwhelming military power in the hands of a rabid rightist government was used in the most destructive way over a population that practically has been defenceless and beleaguered by Israel. Despite all the destruction and massacres of a captive people, the resistance forces of Gaza have faced Israel with incredible heroic courage and determination. If they also had the sort of advanced weapons Israel used in Gaza then the carnage we watched on television screens would not have taken place.

Killing a defenceless people is easy and cowardly. What Israel did was to rain bombs and missiles on the Gazans without incurring any damage or loss itself because the Palestinians had no weapons to use against them. As a result Israeli military forces were free to indulge in an orgy of death and destruction with impunity. Despite this, the Palestinian resistance forces remained steadfast and unyielding. As a gesture of defiance they continued to fire rockets into Israel that did little or minimal damage. But their defiance against the brutal occupier and aggressor adds a new and glorious chapter in the history of the Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation and emancipation. However, the road ahead will be long and tortuous.

We solute the brave sons and daughters of Gaza for their determined opposition to the Zionist barbarism in Gaza. They were alone to face a ruthless and insensate military power that was backed by the United States. They received no military help from any powerful state to fight off the aggressor. While powerful Western countries sided with the aggressor, the US-friedly Arab regimes remained either silent or followed the lead of the United States and the Zionist ringmasters. But large number of people in the world have stood with the people of Gaza. They showed this by public demonstrations against the incredible savagery of Israel in Gaza. They showed their solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza in their dire situation.

Lastly, Facebook users have also done much to inform the world of the suffering and destruction in Gaza. Among my Facebook friends some people have given much needed information and views with courage and determination. I thank all such friends in my personal capacity as a Facebook and internet user as well as many owners of websites that publish online newspapers and journals sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Ilan Pappe: The Historical Perspective of the 2014 Gaza Massacre

August 23, 2014

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By Ilan Pappé, PIPR,  21 August, 2014

 

People in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine feel disappointed at the lack of any significant international reaction to the carnage and destruction the Israeli assault has so far left behind it in the Strip. The inability, or unwillingness, to act seems to be first and foremost an acceptance of the Israeli narrative and argumentation for the crisis in Gaza. Israel has developed a very clear narrative about the present carnage in Gaza.

It is a tragedy caused by an unprovoked Hamas missile attack on the Jewish State, to which Israel had to react in self-defence. While mainstream western media, academia and politicians may have reservations about the proportionality of the force used by Israel, they accept the gist of this argument. This Israeli narrative is totally rejected in the world of cyber activism and alternative media. There it seems the condemnation of the Israeli action as a war crime is widespread and consensual.

The main difference between the two analyses from above and from below is the willingness of activists to study deeper and in a more profound way the ideological and historical context of the present Israeli action in Gaza. This tendency should be enhanced even further and this piece is just a modest attempt to contribute towards this direction.

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Disarming: Gaza or Israel?

August 7, 2014

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Nasir Khan, August 7, 2014

Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation; they have been frequent targets of destructive Israeli wars and massacres. If common sense can be our guide in this situation than the solution is to disarm Israel and prosecute its war criminals for war crimes and crimes against humanity in ICC. Disarming Hamas? Hamas has no army, no air force, no missiles, no navy, no naval gunships, no tanks, no anti-aircraft missiles. If Israel has played havoc with the homes and buildings of the Gazans and killed people then the main reason for the Gazan tragedy lies in their inability to defend themselves.

Ideally, for Gazans to defend themselves against Israel’s military might they need a matching military power and weapons. It is obvious that without this they have no chance to defend themselves and their homes. We have seen this what Israel is capable of doing in the 29-day war on Gaza. The Gazans have been at the mercy of Israeli missiles and powerful bombs that pulverised their homes and other structures. Unless Israel lifts the blockade, ends the occupation and develops a new approach towards the people of Palestine the conflict will not disappear.

But how can the Gazans under Hamas do that, to defend themselves militarily, remains an open question. The leaders of the ‘New World Order’ especially the United States will not allow that. There is no major country that is ready to give substantive material support to the Palestinians. Therefore the prevailing conditions will remain intact.

We need to keep in mind that Gaza is beleaguered by Israel from all sides including its air space. It is the largest open-air prison in the world. Now Israel by intentional destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza has made sure that its people would not raise their heads again against the ongoing occupation and blockade for years to come. But if they did at some stage then they would have Israeli war-machine on their heads again. It is as simple as that if we want to understand the Israeli position.

No doubt, this is an undefendable situation. To my mind the only explanation lies in the fact that it is military might that decides the fate of a subjugated people, not their rights according to international law or humane considerations. Yet the struggle of the Palestinians for their national liberation from the Zionist yoke needs universal support. The public demonstrations in many countries around the world denouncing the Israeli genocide and carnage in Gaza have been positive. They show a growing awareness among the people of the world about the plight of the colonised Palestinians.

Jimmy Carter: US must recognise Hamas as a political force

August 6, 2014

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Former US president, Jimmy Carter called on the United States and the European Union to recognise that Hamas is not only a military organisation, but also a political force

Former US President Jimmy Carter called on the United States government to recognise Hamas, who Washington deem a “terrorist” organisation.In an article published in the Foreign Policy journal, Carter stressed the massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza caused a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Carter added: “There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defence Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals.”

Carter stressed that attacks targeting civilians constitute war crimes, and the perpetrators of these crimes should be questioned about their actions and punished for them. He called on the United States and the European Union to recognise that Hamas is not only a military organisation, but also a political force.

“Only by recognising its legitimacy as a political actor – one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people – can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” he explained.

 

Gaza’s Desperate ‘Prison Riot’

August 4, 2014
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The noble traditions of Judaism – stressing justice for the downtrodden – are being soiled by the endless cruelties that Israel and its current leaders heap on the Palestinians, including the latest slaughter of more than 1,700 Gazans, many of them children, a moral catastrophe addressed by theologian Daniel C. Maguire.

By Daniel C. Maguire, Consortium News, August 4, 2014

What is going on in Gaza is a prison riot not a war. A war means a conflict between comparably endowed adversaries. This is a prison riot caused by the crimes of the jailor, Israel. And why are these 1.7 million people enclosed in what Jewish scholar Marc Ellis calls “the biggest jail in the world?” They are in jail because they are not Jews. That is their crime.

Were they Jews, they would be given beautiful homes, ample water supplies, government stipends. The fourth strongest army in the world – and the sixth strongest nuclear power – would be there to defend them. But, no, because the Gazans are not Jews, they are in an Israeli jail.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C., on March 4, 2014.

These jailed people — or at least their parents and grandparents — once had homes and gardens, olive groves and farms and lived peacefully on the land alongside all their neighbors. In the Nineteenth Century, Palestine was inhabited by a multicultural population, 86 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian and four percent Jewish. They all lived peacefully together. The State of Israel changed all of that.

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Will Israel end the occupation and lift the blockade of Gaza?

August 3, 2014

Nasir Khan, August 3, 2014

If there was the rule of law in the world then the Israeli Zionists will be held responsible for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. But in reality there is no rule of law because the imperialistic world order has set it aside and imposed its own diktat. What we see is the rule of predatory barbarians that prevails.

Israel protected and supported by America and other imperialist powers including Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt does what it wants to do in isolated and beleaguered Gaza. There is no powerful state which can give active military help to the people of Gaza who are being slaughtered by Israel and their houses, public buildings, mosques, schools and colleges destroyed and reduced to rubble. Whenever Israel will stop its present massacres and carnage then there is little indication on its part to lift its siege of Gaza and end the occupation of the Palestinians lands it took in 1967. That means the occupation and oppression will continue.

The resilient and heroic people of Gaza may be able to re-surface once again after the present holocaust and resist the occupiers. That will provide an opportunity to the Zionist leaders of Israel to repeat again as they have done before and do what they are doing now. As long as the occupation remains the people of Palestine have only one major objective: To liberate their land from the brutal occupying power – Israel.

Richard Falk: Joint Declaration on International Law & Gaza & Final List of Endorsers

August 2, 2014

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Richard Falk,  Global Justice in the 21st Century, August 2, 2014

The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect for the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. We also condemn the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip, as every indiscriminate attack against civilians, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, is not only illegal under international law but also morally intolerable. However, as also implicitly noted by the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution of 23 July 2014, the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude.

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