Archive for August, 2007

What do Palestinians really think?

August 27, 2007

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 27, 2007

Salam Fayyad, the newly appointed Prime Minister of the “emergency government” signs an agreement with Condoleezza Rice granting 80 million dollars to the Palestinian Authority during her visit to Ramallah, 2 August 2007. (Omar Rashidi/POOL/MaanImages)

“Palestinian poll finds support for Fatah government over Hamas.” That headline from the International Herald Tribune, one of many similar ones last week, must have warmed the hearts of supporters of the illegal, unelected and Israeli-backed Ramallah “government” of Salam Fayyad. Last June Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and the national unity government he headed, and appointed Fayyad without the legally required endorsement of the Palestinian legislative council. This followed Hamas’ rout of the US and Israeli-backed militias of Fatah warlord Mohammed Dahlan in the Gaza Strip.
Does this poll vindicate the US and Israeli strategy of funding and arming Palestinian collaborator leaders in Ramallah, and Abbas’ strategy of embracing Israel, cracking down on the resistance, colluding in a cruel siege on his people in Gaza, and refusing all dialogue with Hamas? A closer look at the poll results as well as the context suggests the opposite.

The poll’s publisher, the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC), trumpeted that a “majority” of Palestinians “said the performance of Fayyad’s government is better” than that of the democratically-elected government of Haniyeh who is still the de facto prime minister despite Abbas’ dismissal order.

Continued . . .

Bush’s Napoleonic Folly

August 27, 2007

The Nation

article | posted August 24, 2007 (web only)

By Juan Cole
French Egypt and American Iraq can be considered bookends on the history of modern imperialism in the Middle East. The Bush administration’s already failed version of the conquest of Iraq is, of course, on everyone’s mind; while the French conquest of Egypt, now more than two centuries past, is all too little remembered, despite having been led by Napoleon Bonaparte, whose career has otherwise hardly languished in obscurity. There are many eerily familiar resonances between the two misadventures, not least among them that both began with supreme arrogance and ended as fiascoes. Above all, the leaders of both occupations employed the same basic political vocabulary and rhetorical flimflammery, invoking the spirit of liberty, security, and democracy while largely ignoring the substance of these concepts.

The French general and the American president do not much resemble one another–except perhaps in the way the prospect of conquest in the Middle East appears to have put fire in their veins and in their unappealing tendency to believe their own propaganda (or at least to keep repeating it long after it became completely implausible). Both leaders invaded and occupied a major Arabic-speaking Muslim country; both harbored dreams of a “Greater Middle East”; both were surprised to find themselves enmeshed in long, bitter, debilitating guerrilla wars. Neither genuinely cared about grassroots democracy, but both found its symbols easy to invoke for gullible domestic publics. Substantial numbers of their new subjects quickly saw, however, that they faced occupations, not liberations.

Continued . . .

The Next War Draws Nearer

August 27, 2007

Harper’s Magazine

By Scott Horton

Published August 23, 2007

Hardly a week passes in which I don’t get a message from someone within the great bureaucratic wasteland on the Potomac about the Bush Administration’s latest schemes relating to war against Iran. Now we’re going through another one of those periods in which the pace is quickening and the pitch is becoming more intense. I continue to put the prospects for a major military operation targeting Iran down as “likely,” and the time frame drawing nearer. When will Bush give the go ahead? I think late this year or early next would be the most congenial time frame from the perspective of the war party. Some of the developments that go into my call:

· Labeling the Revolutionary Guards as ‘Terrorists.’ Last week the Bush Administration floated the idea that it would schedule Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (an official part of the Iranian government) as a terrorist organization. This is related to the Administration’s propaganda drive to portray the Revolutionary Guard as deeply engaged in training terrorists in Iraq. (Iran is deeply engaged in outfitting and supporting factions loyal to it in Iraq, as is Saudi Arabia and other states.) Of course, the Revolutionary Guards answer directly to Supreme Leader Khamenei, so in taking this position, the Bush Administration is essentially saying that it has decided to ditch an initiative that focuses on skirting Ahmadinejad by going directly to Khamenei—that is, it is limiting its diplomatic options, yet again. No real surprise there, since it’s clear—notwithstanding statements from Condoleezza Rice about the exhaustion of diplomatic approaches—that the White House (read: Dick Cheney) places no store whatsoever in a diplomatic effort for Iran.

· Preparation for a ‘Dirty War’? The branding of the Revolutionary Guard as terrorists raises troubling prospects with respect to targeting and military operations in Iran. Based on prior Bush Administration postures (adopted with respect to the Taliban, and units of Saddam Hussein’s military), it would mean that they are denied Geneva Convention protections in the coming war and could be treated to “highly coercive interrogation techniques” (i.e., torture) if captured. In sum, it looks like the Bush Administration is busily preparing for another “dirty war.”

· Costing for Ground Operations in Iran. In the last two weeks the Department of Defense has begun pushing regular contractors very aggressively for “unit costs” to be used for logistical preparations for reconstruction and ground operations in a certain country of West Asia. In the last week, the requests have gotten increasingly harried. And what, exactly, is the country in question? Iran.

· ‘There Will Be an Attack on Iran.’ Former senior CIA analyst Bob Baer has a piece in the current Time Magazine called “Prelude to an Attack on Iran.” Baer also sees a quickening pace and an increasing likelihood of a sustained military assault on Iran, driven by the Neocons. Baer develops the scenario, showing how the Revolutionary Guards will be portrayed as terrorists, they will be linked to armor-penetrating projectiles used in Iraq, and this will be taken as a pretext to wage a war against Iran. He quotes an Administration official who says these explosive devices “are a casus belli for this Administration. There will be an attack on Iran.”

· Bolton Wants Bombs in Six Months. John Bolton appeared on Fox News and was asked a question based on Bob Baer’s report. Bolton “absolutely hopes” it is true that bombs will start falling on Iran within six months.

The Predictable Role of Fox News. Fox News is intimately intertwined with the Administration’s propaganda machine, as a study of its coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War shows (and similarly, its decision to all but pull the plug on more recent coverage of the dismal situation in Iraq). Producer Robert Greenwald has done a terrific summary of how Fox News continues a propaganda build-up to support military action against Iran which closely parallels what it did for its masters in the run-up to the Iraq War. Catch the video here.

Let’s Face It: The Warfare State Is Part of Us

August 26, 2007

AlterNet, August 23, 2007

By Norman Solomon

The warfare state didn’t suddenly arrive in 2001, and it won’t disappear when the current lunatic in the Oval Office moves on.

The USA’s military spending is now close to $2 billion a day. This fall, the country will begin its seventh year of continuous war, with no end in sight. On the horizon is the very real threat of a massive air assault on Iran. And few in Congress seem willing or able to articulate a rejection of the warfare state.

While the Bush-Cheney administration is the most dangerous of our lifetimes — and ousting Republicans from the White House is imperative — such truths are apt to smooth the way for progressive evasions. We hear that “the people must take back the government,” but how can “the people” take back what they never really had? And when rhetoric calls for “returning to a foreign policy based on human rights and democracy,” we’re encouraged to be nostalgic for good old days that never existed.

Continued . . .

U.S. ‘poised to strike Iran’

August 26, 2007

 

 

The Australian,

Geoff Elliott, Washington correspondent | August 25, 2007

 

BOB Baer, the former Middle East CIA operative whose first book about his life inspired the oil-and-espionage thriller Syriana, is working on a new book on Iran, but says he was told by senior intelligence officials that he had better get it published in the next couple of months because things could be about to change.

Baer, in an interview with The Weekend Australian, says his contacts in the administration suggest a strategic airstrike on Iran is a real possibility in the months ahead.

“What I’m getting is a sense that their sentiment is they are going to hit the Iranians and not just because of Israel, but due to the fact that Iran is the predominant power in the Gulf and it is hostile and its power is creeping into the Gulf at every level,” Baer says.

He says his contacts have told him of his book: “You better hurry up because the thesis is going to change. I told them submission is in January but they said, ‘You’re probably going to be too late’.”

Washington’s intelligence community is abuzz about possible military action against Iran, which is being weighed at the highest levels of the Bush administration. While the guessing game has become “will they or won’t they?”, at least some experienced and trusted intelligence sources have told The Weekend Australian that the possibility of a strike in the next 12 months remains remote.

“The success of a strike is limited and the downside could be enormous,” said one source, noting the possibility of a regional conflagration involving the entire Gulf because Iran would look to hit back at the US’s strategic interests.

For his part, Baer is not an advocate of a demonstration strike on Tehran and he is scathing of the Bush administration’s handling of Middle East policy, as he is of previous administrations, marking 1979, under the Carter administration, as the point in which US policy on Iran went awry.

He agrees with many in the intelligence community in Washington that a strike on Iran could be a disaster and counterproductive to US interests, but he says that the rising level of impatience in the Bush administration over Iran’s belligerence on its nuclear program and its destabilising role in Iraq could mean that something snaps.

“In the CIA, they are calling what the Iranians are doing to us in Iraq as the slow cook — where we get cooked there for the next 10 years and then we give up completely and leave.”

But Baer says an emboldened Iran in the event of mass US withdrawal from Iraq “scares the shit out of Saudis, the Bahrainis and all the Arab gulf states”. “They are saying: ‘What are you going to do now that you’ve created a mess in Iraq and what are you going to do about Iran?’.”

Intelligence sources say military contingency planning on Iran under the Bush administration has been under way since 2003 but the latest speculation has been a surgical strike on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

A case for a strike became more prominent last week when The New York Times reported the Bush administration was preparing to declare the Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organisation.

“If imposed, the declaration would signal a more confrontational turn in the administration’s approach to Iran and would be the first time that the United States has added the armed forces of any sovereign government to its list of terrorist organisations,” the Times reported.

The Revolutionary Guard is said to be the largest branch of Iran’s military.

“While the United States has long labelled Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, a decision to single out the guard would amount to an aggressive new challenge from an American administration that has recently seemed conflicted over whether to take a harder line against Tehran over its nuclear program and what American officials have called its destabilising role in Iraq,” the newspaper said.

The Bush administration continues to try to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, pressing the US’s allies to apply sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. The State Department and Treasury officials are pushing for sanctions that include an extensive travel ban on senior Iranian officials and further moves to restrict the ability of Iran’s financial institutions to do business abroad.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has consistently denied US allegations that Iran was furnishing weapons to both the Taliban in Afghanistan and insurgents in Iraq. Two months ago, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the volume of weapons reaching the Taliban from Iran made it “difficult to believe” that the shipments were “taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian Government”.

Baer says the Iranians are “masters at using surrogates” and disguising their role in conflicts.

“They are not stupid, they are the least stupid people in the Middle East,” he says. “If they are providing the EFPs (explosively formed penetrators), they are not leaving serial numbers, return addresses; it’s not the way the world works out there.”

US surge sees 600,000 more Iraqis abandon home

August 26, 2007

London Independent, August 25, 2007

By Leonard Doyle

 

The scale of the human disaster in the Iraq war has become clearer from statistics collected by two humanitarian groups that reveal the number of Iraqis who have fled the fighting has more than doubled since the US military build-up began in February.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Organisation said the total number of internally displaced has jumped from 499,000 to 1.1 million since extra US forces arrived with the aim of making the country more secure. The UN-run International Organisation for Migration says the numbers fleeing fighting in Baghdad grew by a factor of 20 in the same period.

These damning statistics reveal that despite much- trumpeted security improvements in certain areas, the level of murderous violence has not declined. The studies reveal that the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes ­ not intending to return ­ is far higher than before the US surge.

The flight is especially marked in religiously mixed areas of central Iraq, with Shia refugees heading south and Sunnis towards the west and north of the country.

Calling it the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history, a report by the UN migration office suggests that the fierce fighting that has followed the arrival of new US troops is partly responsible.

The spectre of ethnic cleansing now hovers over the once relatively harmonious country. The UN found that 63 per cent of the Iraqis fled their neighbourhoods because of threats to their lives. More than 25 per cent said they fled after being thrown out of their homes at gunpoint.

The statistics were released as President George Bush’s policy of staying the course in Iraq was under grave threat yesterday as the scale of the humanitarian disaster became clearer and a key Republican senator said that it was time to bring the troops home.

A dangerous rift has also emerged inside the US military between the high command, which says the strain the war is putting on the military endangers American security, and commanders on the ground who still say it is a winnable war.

For President Bush, the greatest danger may come from losing the support of Senator John Warner, one of the most influential Republicans in Congress on Iraq. Just back from a trip to the country, he bluntly told the President to start pulling troops out in time for Christmas. He did so as a damning new assessment was delivered by all 15 US intelligence agencies. Written by the CIA, it concluded that the government in Baghdad was “unable to govern effectively” and “will become more precarious” in the next six to 12 months, with little hope of reaching accommodation among political factions.

There was further bad news for the President overnight when it emerged that the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is quietly advising that US forces in Iraq be halved by early next year. The advice, from Marine General Peter Pace, is a direct challenge to the White House and other senior military chiefs, in particular the man now running the war in Iraq, the Army General David Petraeus.

General Petraeus has told President Bush that forces in Iraq need to be kept higher than 100,000 troops well into next year. General Petraeus is widely expected to back the White House view that in the absence of political progress in Iraq, US troops need to be increased.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Los Angeles Times reports, were privately sceptical about the military “surge” ordered by President Bush. Although they backed the surge policy in public, the country’s top generals and the Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, believe the size of the US force in Iraq must be reduced so that the military can respond to other global threats.

Robert Fisk: Even I question the ‘truth’ about 9/11

August 25, 2007

The Independent, August 25, 2007

Robert Fisk

 

Published: 25 August 2007

 

 

 

Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience – just one – whom I call the “raver”. Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions – often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist – and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the “raver” is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a “raver”.

His – or her – question goes like this. Why, if you believe you’re a free journalist, don’t you report what you really know about 9/11? Why don’t you tell the truth – that the Bush administration (or the CIA or Mossad, you name it) blew up the twin towers? Why don’t you reveal the secrets behind 9/11? The assumption in each case is that Fisk knows – that Fisk has an absolute concrete, copper-bottomed fact-filled desk containing final proof of what “all the world knows” (that usually is the phrase) – who destroyed the twin towers. Sometimes the “raver” is clearly distressed. One man in Cork screamed his question at me, and then – the moment I suggested that his version of the plot was a bit odd – left the hall, shouting abuse and kicking over chairs.

Usually, I have tried to tell the “truth”; that while there are unanswered questions about 9/11, I am the Middle East correspondent of The Independent, not the conspiracy correspondent; that I have quite enough real plots on my hands in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Iran, the Gulf, etc, to worry about imaginary ones in Manhattan. My final argument – a clincher, in my view – is that the Bush administration has screwed up everything – militarily, politically diplomatically – it has tried to do in the Middle East; so how on earth could it successfully bring off the international crimes against humanity in the United States on 11 September 2001?

Well, I still hold to that view. Any military which can claim – as the Americans did two days ago – that al-Qa’ida is on the run is not capable of carrying out anything on the scale of 9/11. “We disrupted al-Qa’ida, causing them to run,” Colonel David Sutherland said of the preposterously code-named “Operation Lightning Hammer” in Iraq’s Diyala province. “Their fear of facing our forces proves the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them.” And more of the same, all of it untrue.

Within hours, al-Qa’ida attacked Baquba in battalion strength and slaughtered all the local sheikhs who had thrown in their hand with the Americans. It reminds me of Vietnam, the war which George Bush watched from the skies over Texas – which may account for why he this week mixed up the end of the Vietnam war with the genocide in a different country called Cambodia, whose population was eventually rescued by the same Vietnamese whom Mr Bush’s more courageous colleagues had been fighting all along.

But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It’s not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93’s debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I’m not talking about the crazed “research” of David Icke’s Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the “raver” bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be “fraudulent or deceptive”.

Journalistically, there were many odd things about 9/11. Initial reports of reporters that they heard “explosions” in the towers – which could well have been the beams cracking – are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound. OK, so let’s claim that was just hearsay reporting at the time, just as the CIA’s list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were – and still are – very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose “Islamic” advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the “Fajr” prayer to be included in Atta’s letter.

Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious “war on terror” which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush’s happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that “we’re an empire now – we create our own reality”. True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.

Mubarak says Mideast peace summit lacks framework

August 25, 2007

Swissinfo., August 25, 2007

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

CAIRO (Reuters) – A Middle East peace conference called by U.S. President George W. Bush lacks a framework, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Consensus on issues including the principles of Palestinian statehood should be reached before the meeting, semi-official newspaper Akhbar al-Youm quoted Mubarak as saying.

“Egypt supports the necessity of consensus around all the outstanding cases for political settlement before the international meeting called for by President Bush is held,” Mubarak said.

Issues including whether or not Syria would participate in the meeting had not yet been finalised, Mubarak said.

“Until now the framework of what will be discussed has not been specified,” Mubarak was quoted as saying.

 

Arab officials say the United States has given few details about the agenda for the conference, expected in October or November, leaving little time for a concerted effort to help Israelis and Palestinians bridge the chasm on issues such as final borders, Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Bush called in July called for a Middle East peace conference to include Israel, the Palestinian Authority and their neighbours.

Egypt, a long-time U.S. ally and one of only two Arab states to make peace with Israel, played a facilitating role in past Israeli-Palestinian talks that failed to end the conflict.

Last month Arab foreign ministers said the conference must include all the parties concerned, must aim to revive negotiations between Israel and all its neighbours and must be built on previous peace talks.

Washington continues propaganda barrage against Iran

August 25, 2007

WSWS, 24 August 2007

By Peter Symonds

Use this version to print | Send this link by email

As it prepares for a diplomatic offensive against Iran at the UN next month, the Bush administration is maintaining a steady barrage of threats and propaganda—in particular, over so-called Iranian “interference” in US-occupied Iraq and Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons programs.

Last week, the New York Times and Washington Post reported that the White House intends to announce to the UN General Assembly its decision to brand the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) as a “specially designated global terrorist” organisation. Criminalising the IRG, a major component of Iran’s armed forces, would not only intensify diplomatic pressure on Tehran, but provide a convenient pretext for military strikes against Iran.

Since the beginning of the year, the US military has steadily escalated its allegations of Iranian “meddling” in Iraq, variously accusing Tehran of supplying arms, training and even directing Shiite militia in attacks on American troops. Last week, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the no 2 commander in Iraq, claimed that Iranian-backed Shiite groups were now responsible for half the attacks in Iraq, compared to 30 percent in January.

Such accusations rely on bald assertion, rather than evidence. The only “proof” made public by the US military has consisted of displays of Iranian-made weapons. Of course, the staggering hypocrisy involved in accusing Iran of “interfering” while the US military has laid waste to much of Iraq in the course of its criminal four-year occupation of the country is passed over without comment in the American and international media.

Continued . . .

Israel continues murdering the Palestinians

August 24, 2007

Electronic Intifada

Israel kills 12 Gazans, including two children, in 24 hours
Report, Al Mezan, Aug 22, 2007

Palestinian children view a destroyed car belonging to Hamas after it was targeted in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, 20 August 2007. An Israeli missile assassinated six Hamas gunmen and wounded another, Palestinian hospital staff said. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

The Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) has escalated its aggression in the Gaza Strip. Twelve Palestinians, including two minors, were killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours. In addition, the Israel’s Naval Forces opened fire at fishermen and arrested eight of them in the town of Rafah today.

According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, at approximately 5pm on Monday 20 August 2007, an Israeli air raid targeted a car near the entrance of a former national security site in middle Gaza, killing six.

At approximately 1:45pm on Tuesday 12 August 2007, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a crowd about half a kilometer from the borderline east of al-Qarara area in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. Three Palestinians were killed in this attack. They were identified as:

  • 42-year-old Muhammad Abu Salem;
  • 23-year-old Shadi Mustafa al-Saqqa; and
  • 29-year-old Awad Ibrahim al-Masri.

They were killed from shrapnel to different parts of their bodies.

It was also reported that, at approximately 6pm on the same day, the IOF fired a ground-to-ground missile and killed two children near the Agricultural School in the town of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip. They were identified as:

  • 11-year-old Fadi Mansour al-Kafarneh; and
  • 12-year-old Abdul-Qadir Yousif Ashour.

In addition, 13-year-old Ahmed Said Al Baa’ was moderately wounded by shrapnel to his left leg.

At approximately 7:55am on Wednesday 22 August 2007, the IOF fired a missile that landed in an open area, east of al-Sheikh Zayid town in Beit Lahia. Earlier at approximately 2am the IOF fired a missile at a crowd east of al-Shija’aiya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, killing 22-year-old Yahia Omar Habib and critically injuring another person.

At approximately 9am today, the Israeli Naval Forces opened fire at fishing boats on Rafah beach and arrested eight fishermen, amongst them five minors. Al Mezan’s fieldworker reported that their names were:

  • 48-year-old Kamel Rajab Abu Odeh;
  • 18-year-old Khalil Kamil Abu Odeh;
  • 14-year-old Abdul-Rahman Muhammad al-Qun;
  • 14-year-old Iyad Bassim Abu Slaymeh;
  • 22-year-old Ahmad Muhammad al-Najjar;
  • 16-year-old Muhammad Farahat Ashour;
  • 17-year-old Yousif Abdullah al-Najjar; and
  • 17-year-old Ali Hassan al-Najjar.

According to field investigations, an Israeli gunship opened fir at the fishermen’s boats and caused damage to fifteen of them. Moreover, it fired an artillery shell that hit the house of a fisherman — Abdul-Hadi al-Qun — in the area. No injuries were reported.

Al Mezan Center strongly condemns the military escalation by the IOF, who have used indiscriminate, disproportionate force and conducted extra-judicial assassinations in Gaza. The Center condemns the killing and detention of children with the strongest words.

Since the start of August 2007, 22 Palestinians have been killed and 37 injured by IOF owing to the use of excessive and indiscriminate force in the Gaza Strip alone. Al Mezan asserts that these conducts represent grave breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Regrettably, these conducts have continued under full silence from the part of the international community, which has failed to observe its legal and moral obligations towards Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Al Mezan therefore renews its calls upon the international community to intervene and bring to an end the human rights violations conducted by IOF, and to provide effective protection for the civilian population of the OPT.


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