Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

Richard Falk: An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France)

December 31, 2012

Richard Falk, 30 Dec  2012

An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France)

I am shocked and saddened that your organization would label me as an anti-Semite and self-hating Jew. It is utterly defamatory, and such allegations are entirely based on distortions of what I believe and what I have done. To confuse my criticisms of Israel with self-hatred of myself as a Jew or with hatred of Jews is a calumny. I have long been a critic of American foreign policy but that does not make me anti-American; it is freedom of conscience that is the core defining reality of a genuinely democratic society, and its exercise is crucial to the quality of political life in a particular country, especially here in the United States where its size and influence often has such a large impact on the lives and destiny of many peoples excluded from participating in its policy debates or elections.

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New York Times Spins UN Report on Gaza Suffering

August 20, 2010
By Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign  Policy Journal, August 2o, 2010

Ethan Bronner reports in the New York Times that a report on the situation in the Gaza Strip from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)

says that anti-Israeli militants operate from the border areas in question, planting explosive devices, firing at Israeli military vehicles and shooting rockets and mortar rounds at civilians. But it argues that Israel has an obligation under international law to protect civilians and civilian structures.

Bronner devotes the first part of his article to noting the impact on a Palestinian family, whose “trees and wells were bulldozed”, noting “destroyed houses” surrounding the family’s “desolate fields”. He notes that, according to the report, 12 percent of the population “have lost livelihoods or have otherwise been severely affected by Israeli security policies along the border, both land and sea, in recent years”, and that “the restricted land comprises 17 percent of Gaza’s total land mass and 35 percent of its agricultural land”, but this is about the extent of his discussion with regard to the content of the report. Most of the rest of the article is dedicated to offering the Israeli point of view and response to the release of the report:

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Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

June 19, 2010

Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, June 17, 2010

A Palestinian boy throws a stone at an Israeli  tank in the occupied West Bank.

Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region.

Although Arabs were a majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Arab neighbors. This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.

For instance, after a series of riots in Jaffa in 1921 resulting in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, the occupying British held a commission of inquiry, which reported their finding that “there is no inherent anti-Semitism in the country, racial or religious.” Rather, Arab attacks on Jewish communities were the result of Arab fears about the stated goal of the Zionists to take over the land.

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International Movements Breaking the Siege on Gaza

July 29, 2009
by Suzanne Morrison | CommonDreams.org, July 28, 2009

Since June 2007 the Israeli government has imposed almost complete closure over the Gaza Strip. The siege prevents nearly all movement of people or goods to and from the coastal region with only minimal amounts of humanitarian provisions inconsistently allowed in. With the exception of a small amount of carnations allowed out earlier this year, there has been a virtual ban on all exports from Gaza since 2007. [1] A quick socio-economic glimpse of Gaza includes agricultural losses totaling US $30 million and more than 40,000 jobs for the 2007/2008 season, the suspension of 98% of industrial operations, and more than 80% of Gaza’s population is now dependent on humanitarian aid from international aid providing agencies. [2]

Closure of Gaza and the West Bank has intermittently been imposed since 1991. While Israel prevents movement and access in the name of temporary security measures, the regularity and extent of these mechanisms, particularly since the Oslo process, represents an institutionalized policy of closure. Israel’s current siege on Gaza reflects an unprecedented and severe application of the closure policy. In the past year internationals have tried to break the siege on Gaza by bringing critical medical supplies and other humanitarian goods into Gaza.

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Witness to Israel’s war crimes

March 30, 2009

James Leas is a lawyer and longtime activist in Burlington, Vt. He works with Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel, and he recently traveled to Gaza with a National Lawyers Guild (NLG) delegation to investigate the impact of Israel’s 22-day offensive against Gaza. He spoke with Leah Linder Siegel about what he witnessed there.

A man looks out over the wreckage left by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City (Amir Farshad Ebrahimi)A man looks out over the wreckage left by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City (Amir Farshad Ebrahimi)

DID YOUR observations and experiences on the ground in Gaza confirm that Israel committed war crimes during its attack?

WE SAW an enormous amount–with our own eyes. We saw the aftermath of the war, but there were a few bombs that went off during the time we were there, because Israel was bombing the tunnels. When we were crossing into Gaza from Egypt, we heard an explosion.

Most of what we actually saw was the destruction of buildings and rubble–in residential areas as well as government buildings and humanitarian supplies. We also saw the aftermath of the bombing of the UN compound, where we saw residue of white phosphorous [weapons] on the floor. These buildings had been gutted–they had been destroyed by fire.

We saw the rubble of schools and medical facilities that had been attacked. We saw a number of ambulances and United Nations vehicles that had been destroyed.

We also interviewed people who had been victims or whose families had been victims of attacks. In one neighborhood, where many of the houses included people from the same extended family, we interviewed a woman whose two daughters had been killed and whose two sons and husband were wounded severely.

The sons and husband are now receiving medical care in Saudi Arabia. She told us how the Israelis fired tank shells at her house after telling people in all the neighboring houses to come to her house. There were over 100 people in her house, and they stayed there all night.

Then, in the morning, the Israelis fired tank shells at the house. They must have known there were civilians in there because they weren’t getting any resistance; they had control of the neighborhood. And then, when people tried to escape from the house, after the tank started shelling, the Israelis shot at the people running away. Many of them did get away.

There were some left in the house who were too wounded to escape. The Israelis didn’t allow humanitarian aid workers or ambulances to come get them for days. One of her sons was left with the dead and wounded for four days until the Israelis finally allowed aid workers to come get him.

The Israelis didn’t even allow the ambulance to come close; the aid workers had to actually walk a couple of kilometers and remove the wounded on donkey carts. And they couldn’t use the donkeys; they had to actually pull the carts themselves. So it was humiliation on top of interference with humanitarian aid. It was just one violation of international law after another.

We also talked to numerous people who had experiences consistent with Israel targeting civilians. In one case, tanks came up to a family’s house, and the family was told to get out of the house. The family was standing outside the house for five or seven minutes, while Israeli soldiers were nearby, eating chips and chocolate–indicating that they couldn’t have been under attack.

But then, another member of the tank unit came out and started firing at the family, killing a young child and wounding other children in the family. We found seven or eight of these types of incidents where civilians were specifically shot at and targeted. We also describe incidents in our report where civilian infrastructures, dwellings, hospitals and schools were attacked.

We actually visited many kinds of these installations. UN Director [of Operations in Gaza] John Ging was actually in telephone contact with the Israelis before they attacked the UN compound, telling them that bombing was coming quite close. Ging told the Israelis that they should avoid hitting the UN compound.

The Israelis knew its coordinates, they knew exactly where it was, they could see it from the air very clearly. Ging told the Israelis that there were hundreds of refugees there, and that there were fuel tanks near the building, which if hit could create a massive explosion.

Ging told them that if they hit it with the white phosphorous bombs that were raining down around the city, there could be an enormous tragedy. But the Israelis went ahead and hit it anyway. Fortunately, there were some very brave people who ran out during the fire bombing and moved the trucks away, so they didn’t have that explosion.

We interviewed Majdi Abd Robo, who lived in the Jabaliya neighborhood. The Israelis “recruited” him and forced him to walk in front of them when they were moving into a neighboring house to search for Palestinian combatants. When they found the combatants, they sent Majdi in.

The Israelis hit him, they threatened him that something would happen to his wife and five kids, who they separated from him, if he didn’t go into the house where the combatants were hiding. So he was forced to go into this house to do an investigation about the status of these combatants.

Majdi found that there were three combatants who had not been injured and who still had their weapons. The combatants told Majdi to go out and tell the Israelis exactly what he had seen. So he did that, and the Israelis bombed the house, and then forced Majdi to go back in to see if the combatants had been killed.

The combatants hadn’t been killed, so they bombed the house again and forced Majdi to go back in. This happened again and again, until after the third time, Majdi refused to go back in. He said this wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing.

In fact, under international law, it is a war crime to force members of one country to serve or do anything against their own country–and certainly to serve in the armed forces of their enemy. That is considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

We also interviewed the director of the American International School, which was completely destroyed by Israeli bombing. Fortunately, it was bombed during the night when no students were there, but the bombs did kill a young watchman who was there.

This was a school that got some funding from the U.S. It had Western-style education; there were boys and girls at the school; it was progressive; it was based on the American school model, where you encourage students to ask questions.

So why was that one attacked? Why was any of it attacked? In my mind, it raised the question of why did Israel carry out this attack at all? The Israelis’ main reason for their attack is rocket fire from Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza Strip. They claim that they had to respond to the rocket fire.

I went on the Israeli Foreign Ministry Web site, and I learned something interesting. Israel had already stopped the rocket fire, and they did it in an interesting way. They negotiated a ceasefire with the Hamas government of Gaza. The ceasefire started on June 19, 2008, and it lasted for four and a half months. It was supposed to last six months.

It was very successful. The Foreign Ministry Web site says that there was calm already by July 27. Very few rockets were being fired only five weeks after the beginning of the ceasefire, and those being fired were from opponents of the Hamas government.

It was the Fatah militias that were doing the firing, and the Israelis actually have good relations with Fatah in the West Bank. The Israeli Foreign Ministry Web site reports that the Hamas government was actually arresting these Fatah combatants and trying to stop them from firing more rockets.

If you look at the monthly figures of rocket fire, it was already in the single digits by the first month of the ceasefire. If you look at the succeeding months it gets lower and lower, until finally in October, there was only one rocket fired for the whole month. Why wasn’t Israel satisfied with that?

On November 4, Israel launched a combined air and ground that killed six Hamas members. That was the end of the ceasefire. There were then a large number of rockets launched immediately after the attack. Israel continued to stage incursions into the Gaza Strip.

According to the Palestine Center for Human Rights, there were nine more incursions between November 4 and December 26. The ceasefire that Israel broke on November 4 was never restored. But Israel used the rocket fire as the reason for their major assault on Gaza that began December 27.

Israel claimed it had to stop the rocket fire once and for all. But Israel had already shown how to stop the rocket fire–the ceasefire. It had worked. Israel didn’t have a requirement to use military force. Israel was the one that broke the ceasefire, and then they claimed they needed to attack Gaza to defend themselves.

John Ging pointed out that during the cease fire Israel actually intensified the closure. The closure policy prohibits the transport of food, medical supplies and other commodities into the Gaza Strip. There had been 600 or 700 truckloads a day going into Gaza, and Israel’s closure, which began about a year and half before the Gaza offensive, reduced that to less than 100.

The UN reported malnutrition, brain damage among children and other very damaging effects of the closure policy on the Palestinian population of Gaza. Again, Israel as the occupying power has responsibilities to provide for the needs of the population, and here Israel was not only not providing for the needs of the population, but not allowing others to do so either.

So there were severe shortages of food and medical supplies even before the large-scale military operation took place. When Israel launched the December 27 attack, it was already a desperate situation. The people of Gaza were not able to handle the number of mass casualties or meet the needs of the population when everything was cut off.

In fact, during the two or three weeks before December 27, Israel actually tightened the closure by not allowing anything in. When the UN had food lined up outside the border between Israel and Gaza, they weren’t allowed to enter.

Just a few days before we got to Gaza, I read in the newspaper that the French government had donated a water treatment plant that was supposed to purify 2,000 cubic meters of water per day, and they were sending this plant, along with 50 technicians to install it in Gaza. It did get to Israel, it got through the port of Israel, and was waiting on the border of Gaza for more than a week.

When there was no sign of Israel allowing it in, the French took their water treatment plant back to France. So this was in total violation of humanitarian international law that requires that there be no interference with meeting the humanitarian needs.

CAN YOU talk about why the NLG decided to take this trip?

IMMEDIATELY AFTER the ceasefire on January 18, NLG members circulated e-mails about sending an emergency delegation to Gaza to investigate whether Israel had committed any war crimes during the course of its assault on Gaza.

We had been seeing media accounts that sounded like serious violations of international law, and it seemed that civilians were being targeted and that civilian dwellings and infrastructure, including electricity and water plants, hospitals and schools, had been hit. There were substantial media reports showing that facilities for humanitarian aid, like the UN compound, which included a warehouse for storing food and medicine, had been hit.

So people in the NLG decided that it was important that we quickly go to Gaza to investigate and then write a report about what happened and present it to the public. We wanted to do this so that we could have an examination of not just what happened, but also to look at the situation in respect to what the laws of war require.

There is a substantial body of international law concerning war, going back to the beginning of the 1900s when such laws were established. These laws are very good because they are designed to protect civilians. In recent years, there have been trials of people accused of committing war crimes in various parts of the world.

Israel, as an occupying power in the West Bank, Gaza and of course the Syrian Golan Heights, has a responsibility toward the civilian population. Israel is supposed to provide for their humanitarian needs and is supposed to protect them from violence.

Also if [an occupying power] is engaged in military action, it has additional responsibilities under international law to protect the civilian population. The occupying power has to make sure that targets are really military targets. They are supposed to distinguish between military and civilian targets, and they are supposed to focus exclusively on military targets.

The reports that had been coming out of Gaza showed that this wasn’t really happening. In fact, we saw reports that showed that Israel was using weapons that couldn’t really be directed. We heard that they had been using white phosphorus, that they had been using artillery from ships and other artillery pieces that you really can’t aim precisely.

When you have densely populated areas such as Gaza City, it’s very difficult to distinguish between civilian and military targets. So it’s very dangerous to use weapons that you can’t really be precise with, and it’s very difficult not to hit civilian populations when you can’t aim precisely.

WHAT ROLE do you think the United States has played in this most recent war in Gaza?

THE U.S. has played a very large role. The weapons casings we found had markings that indicated they were from the U.S. One of the things that we heard repeatedly was the word “impunity”–the idea that the Israelis appeared to have no fear of consequences for their violations of international law.

The Israelis feel like they can act with impunity. Israel targets civilians, civilian infrastructure and humanitarian aid workers–some of the most egregious violations of the international conventions–and it really is very difficult to hold them accountable.

In fact, the United States is doing everything it can to help [Israel]. By supplying the weapons, by providing vetoes in the United Nations, and by passing resolutions in Congress by overwhelming numbers saying that they support Israel’s attack on Gaza, the U.S. is helping Israel.

At the same time, the international media is showing that this was an attack on a largely civilian population. Gaza has 1.5 million people, and 55 percent are children under 18. The number of combatants, the number of weapons they have, and the kinds of weapons they use are no match for what Israel has. There is no place for combatants to go that is separate from the civilians.

WHAT DO you think people in the U.S. can do to show solidarity with the Palestinians?

I THINK that is the crucial question. During the war, we saw huge numbers of people around the world participating in demonstrations, protesting Israel’s actions. We need to continue to build a movement that will call for accountability, that calls for Israeli officials to be held accountable, to be subject to the same kinds of war crimes prosecutions that happened in Yugoslavia, that happened in Africa.

We need to build a movement that gives people the opportunity to oppose Israel’s occupation. We need a movement that calls for equal rights, that calls for the return of refugees to their homes and villages, and that calls for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, so that Palestinians can exercise their right to self-determination.

Obama and Israel’s Military: Still Arm-in-Arm

March 9, 2009

Stephen Zunes | Foreign Policy In Focus, March 9, 2009

In the wake of Israel’s massive assault on heavily populated civilian areas of the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Amnesty International called for the United States to suspend military aid to Israel on human rights grounds. Amnesty has also called for the United Nations to impose a mandatory arms embargo on both Hamas and the Israeli government. Unfortunately, it appears that President Barack Obama won’t be heeding Amnesty’s call.

During the fighting in January, Amnesty documented Israeli forces engaging in “direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in Gaza, and attacks which were disproportionate or indiscriminate.” The leader of Amnesty International’s fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip and southern Israel noted how “Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.” Amnesty also reported finding fragments of U.S.-made munitions “littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes.”

Malcolm Smart, who serves as Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East, observed in a press release that “to a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with U.S. taxpayers’ money.” The release also noted how before the conflict, which raged for three weeks from late December into January, the United States had “been aware of the pattern of repeated misuse of [its] weapons.”

Amnesty has similarly condemned Hamas rocket attacks into civilian-populated areas of southern Israel as war crimes. And while acknowledging that aid to Hamas was substantially smaller, far less sophisticated, and far less lethal — and appeared to have been procured through clandestine sources — Amnesty called on Iran and other countries to take concrete steps to insure that weapons and weapon components not get into the hands of Palestinian militias.

During the fighting in early January, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization initially called for a suspension of U.S. military aid until there was no longer a substantial risk of additional human rights violations. The Bush administration summarily rejected this proposal. Amnesty subsequently appealed to the Obama administration. “As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,” said Malcolm Smart. “The Obama administration should immediately suspend U.S. military aid to Israel.”

Obama’s refusal to accept Amnesty’s call for the suspension of military assistance was a blow to human rights activists. The most Obama might do to express his displeasure toward controversial Israeli policies like the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied territories would be to reject a planned increase in military aid for the next fiscal year and slightly reduce economic aid and/or loan guarantees. However, in a notable departure from previous administrations, Obama made no mention of any military aid to Israel in his outline of the FY 2010 budget, announced last week. This notable absence may indicate that pressure from human rights activists and others concerned about massive U.S. military aid to Israel is now strong enough that the White House feels a need to downplay the assistance rather than emphasize it.

Obama Tilts Right

Currently, Obama is on record supporting sending up to $30 billion in unconditional military aid to Israel over the next 10 years. Such a total would represent a 25% increase in the already large-scale arms shipments to Israeli forces under the Bush administration.

Obama has thus far failed to realize that the problem in the Middle East is that there are too many deadly weapons in the region, not too few. Instead of simply wanting Israel to have an adequate deterrent against potential military threats, Obama insists the United States should guarantee that Israel maintain a qualitative military advantage. Thanks to this overwhelming advantage over its neighbors, Israeli forces were able to launch devastating wars against Israel’s Palestinian and Lebanese neighbors in recent years.

If Israel were in a strategically vulnerable situation, Obama’s hard-line position might be understandable. But Israel already has vastly superior conventional military capabilities relative to any combination of armed forces in the region, not to mention a nuclear deterrent.

However, Obama has failed to even acknowledge Israel’s nuclear arsenal of at least 200-300 weapons, which has been documented for decades. When Hearst reporter Helen Thomas asked at his first press conference if he could name any Middle Eastern countries that possess nuclear weapons, he didn’t even try to answer the question. Presumably, Obama knows Israel has these weapons and is located in the Middle East. However, acknowledging Israel’s arsenal could complicate his planned arms transfers since it would place Israel in violation of the 1976 Symington Amendment, which restricts U.S. military support for governments which develop nuclear weapons.

Another major obstacle to Amnesty’s calls for suspending military assistance is Congress. Republican leaders like Representatives John Boehner (OH) and Eric Cantor (VA) have long rejected calls by human rights groups to link U.S. military aid to adherence to internationally recognized human rights standards. But so have such Democratic leaders, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who are outspoken supporters of unconditional military aid to Israel. Even progressive Democratic Representative Barney Frank (MA), at a press conference on February 24 pushing his proposal to reduce military spending by 25%, dismissed a question regarding conditioning Israel’s military aid package to human rights concerns.

Indeed, in an apparent effort to support their militaristic agenda and to discredit reputable human rights groups that documented systematic Israeli attacks against non-military targets, these congressional leaders and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of their colleagues have gone on record praising “Israel’s longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss and…efforts to prevent civilian casualties.” Although Obama remained silent while Israel was engaged in war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza, Pelosi and other congressional leaders rushed to Israel’s defense in the face of international condemnation.

Obama’s Defense of Israeli Attacks on Civilians

Following the 2006 conflict between Israeli armed forces and the Hezbollah militia, in which both sides committed war crimes by engaging in attacks against populated civilian areas, then-Senator Obama defended Israel’s actions and criticized Hezbollah, even though Israel was actually responsible for far more civilian deaths. In an apparent attempt to justify Israeli bombing of civilian population centers, Obama claimed Hezbollah had used “innocent people as shields.”

This charge directly challenged a series of reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These reports found that while Hezbollah did have some military equipment close to some civilian areas, the Lebanese Islamist militia had not forced civilians to remain in or around military targets in order to deter Israel from attacking those targets. I sent Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt a copy of an exhaustive 249-page Human Rights Watch report that didn’t find a single case — out of 600 civilian deaths investigated — of Hezbollah using human shields. I asked him if Obama had any empirical evidence that countered these findings.

In response, LaBolt provided me with a copy of a short report from a right-wing Israeli think tank with close ties to the Israeli government headed by the former head of the Israeli intelligence service. The report appeared to use exclusively Israeli government sources, in contrast to the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports, which were based upon forensic evidence as well as multiple verified eyewitness accounts by both Lebanese living in the areas under attack as well as experienced monitors (unaffiliated with any government or political organization) on the ground. Despite several follow-up emails asking for more credible sources, LaBolt never got back to me.

Not Good for Israel

The militaristic stance by Congress and the Obama administration is hardly doing Israel a favor. Indeed, U.S. military assistance to Israel has nothing to do with Israel’s legitimate security needs. Rather than commencing during the country’s first 20 years of existence, when Israel was most vulnerable strategically, major U.S. military and economic aid didn’t even begin until after the 1967 War, when Israel proved itself to be far stronger than any combination of Arab armies and after Israeli occupation forces became the rulers of a large Palestinian population.

If all U.S. aid to Israel were immediately halted, Israel wouldn’t be under a significantly greater military threat than it is today for many years. Israel has both a major domestic arms industry and an existing military force far more capable and powerful than any conceivable combination of opposing forces.

Under Obama, U.S. military aid to Israel will likely continue be higher than it was back in the 1970s, when Egypt’s massive and well-equipped armed forces threatened war, Syria’s military rapidly expanded with advanced Soviet weaponry, armed factions of the PLO launched terrorist attacks into Israel, Jordan still claimed the West Bank and stationed large numbers of troops along its border and demarcation line with Israel, and Iraq embarked on a vast program of militarization. Why does the Obama administration believe that Israel needs more military aid today than it did back then? Since that time, Israel has maintained a longstanding peace treaty with Egypt and a large demilitarized and internationally monitored buffer zone. Syria’s armed forces were weakened by the collapse of their former Soviet patron and its government has been calling for a resumption of peace talks. The PLO is cooperating closely with Israeli security. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel with full normalized relations. And two major wars and a decade of strict international sanctions have devastated Iraq’s armed forces, which is in any case now under close U.S. supervision.

Obama has pledged continued military aid to Israel a full decade into the future not in terms of how that country’s strategic situation may evolve, but in terms of a fixed-dollar amount. If his real interest were to provide adequate support for Israeli defense, he wouldn’t promise $30 billion in additional military aid. He would simply pledge to maintain adequate military assistance to maintain Israel’s security needs, which would presumably decline if the peace process moves forward. However, Israel’s actual defense needs don’t appear to be the issue.

According to late Israeli major general and Knesset member Matti Peled, — who once served as the IDF’s chief procurement officer, such fixed amounts are arrived at “out of thin air.” In addition, every major arms transfer to Israel creates a new demand by Arab states — most of which can pay hard currency through petrodollars — for additional U.S. weapons to challenge Israel. Indeed, Israel announced its acceptance of a proposed Middle Eastern arms freeze in 1991, but the U.S. government, eager to defend the profits of U.S. arms merchants, effectively blocked it. Prior to the breakdown in the peace process in 2001, 78 senators wrote President Bill Clinton insisting that the United States send additional military aid to Israel on the grounds of massive arms procurement by Arab states, neglecting to note that 80% of those arms transfers were of U.S. origin. Were they really concerned about Israeli security, they would have voted to block these arms transfers to the Gulf monarchies and other Arab dictatorships.

The resulting arms race has been a bonanza for U.S. arms manufacturers. The right-wing “pro-Israel” political action committees certainly wield substantial clout with their contributions to congressional candidates supportive of large-scale military and economic aid to Israel. But the Aerospace Industry Association and other influential military interests that promote massive arms transfers to the Middle East and elsewhere are even more influential, contributing several times what the “pro-Israel” PACs contribute.

The huge amount of U.S. aid to the Israeli government hasn’t been as beneficial to Israel as many would suspect. U.S. military aid to Israel is, in fact, simply a credit line to American arms manufacturers, and actually ends up costing Israel two to three times that amount in operator training, staffing, maintenance, and other related costs. The overall impact is to increase Israeli military dependency on the United States — and amass record profits for U.S. arms merchants.

The U.S. Arms Export Control Act requires a cutoff of military aid to recipient countries if they’re found to be using American weapons for purposes other than internal security or legitimate self-defense and/or their use could “increase the possibility of an outbreak or escalation of conflict.” This might explain Obama’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s disproportionate use of force and high number of civilian casualties.

Betraying His Constituency

The $30 billion in taxpayer funds to support Israeli militarism isn’t a huge amount of money compared with what has already been wasted in the Iraq War, bailouts for big banks, and various Pentagon boondoggles. Still, this money could more profitably go toward needs at home, such as health care, education, housing, and public transportation.

It’s therefore profoundly disappointing that there has been so little public opposition to Obama’s dismissal of Amnesty International’s calls to suspend aid to Israel. Some activists I contacted appear to have fallen into a fatalistic view that the “Zionist lobby” is too powerful to challenge and that Obama is nothing but a helpless pawn of powerful Jewish interests. Not only does this simplistic perspective border on anti-Semitism, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Any right-wing militaristic lobby will appear all-powerful if there isn’t a concerted effort from the left to challenge it.

Obama’s supporters must demand that he live up to his promise to change the mindset in Washington that has contributed to such death and destruction in the Middle East. The new administration must heed calls by Amnesty International and other human rights groups to condition military aid to Israel and all other countries that don’t adhere to basic principles of international humanitarian law.

Stephen Zunes, a Foreign Policy in Focus senior analyst, is a professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

EGYPT: Solidarity With Gaza Brings Jail

March 3, 2009

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani | Inter Press Service

CAIRO, Mar 3 (IPS) – Magdi Hussein, secretary-general of Egypt’s suspended Socialist Labour Party, has been sentenced to two years in prison by a military tribunal. Hussein, along with two others, was charged with “infiltrating” into the Gaza Strip following Israel’s recent campaign against the coastal enclave.

Protests against his arrest continue to be ineffective.

“It was an illegitimate, vindictive sentence, for which there is no moral or legal excuse,” Gamal Fahmi, managing editor of opposition weekly Al-Arabi Al- Nassiri, and board member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate told IPS.

Hussein was arrested by Egyptian authorities Feb. 1 while returning to Egypt via the Rafah crossing, the sole transit point along Egypt’s 14-kilometre border with the Gaza Strip. Hussein was on his way back from a week-long visit to the territory, still reeling from Israel’s military campaign from Dec. 27 to Jan. 17.

“People are free to travel from one country to another,” Hussein told independent daily Al-Dustour shortly after his arrest. “When did it become a crime to visit our besieged Arab brethren?”

While in the Gaza Strip, governed by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, Hussein witnessed the destruction wrought by Israel’s recent campaign, during which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, and infrastructure demolished. Hussein visited numerous bombed-out mosques and homes, as well as the badly damaged Palestinian parliament building, Gaza’s Islamic University and the Shifa Hospital, teeming with critically injured civilians.

While in Gaza, Hussein also spoke to the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television channel and Sout al-Aqsa radio station. In live interviews, he criticised Egypt’s official stance vis-à-vis the conflict, particularly Egypt’s insistence on keeping the Rafah border crossing closed to both people and badly needed humanitarian aid.

Ever since Hamas wrested control of the strip in the summer of 2007, Egypt – like Israel – has kept its border with the territory sealed for the most part. Despite the increasingly desperate need for food, medicine and fuel supplies among Gaza’s roughly 1.5 million people, Egyptian authorities have continued to keep the border sealed both during and after the conflict.

Given the sensitive nature of the border area, which has come under frequent Israeli attack in recent weeks, Hussein’s expedition was not treated lightly by the authorities.

On Feb. 5, he was brought before a military tribunal in the canal city of Ismailiya on charges of “illicitly infiltrating across Egypt’s eastern border.” Independent daily Al-Bedeel reported the next day that Hussein’s lawyers had been banned from the courtroom and that his defence would be conducted by three state-appointed military attorneys.

In a second court session on Feb. 11, Hussein was slapped with a sentence of two years in prison in addition to a monetary fine. Outside the courtroom, security forces reportedly beat back dozens of Hussein’s supporters who had gathered to protest the harsh verdict.

One day earlier, two other activists – Ahmed Dumma and Ahmed Kemal Abdel-Aal – received one year in prison each on charges of “infiltrating” into the Gaza Strip.

On Feb. 12, the Journalists Syndicate organised a protest march in front of the syndicate’s Cairo headquarters to express its disapproval of the stiff sentencing.

“We strongly reject the trying of civilians before military courts,” Mohamed Abdel Qaddous, head of the syndicate’s freedoms committee, was quoted as saying by Al-Bedeel. “The committee will do whatever it can to secure Magdi’s release.”

According to Fahmi, the court’s accusations against the defendants have no basis in Egyptian law.

“There’s nothing in Egyptian law about ‘illicit infiltration’ over the borders,” he said. “Egyptians are frequently caught trying to immigrate to Europe illegally, and they are merely questioned and released – not sentenced to prison on charges of ‘infiltration’.”

Fahmi went on to say that, aside from a small protest march and a handful of angry statements, the Journalists Syndicate had done “nothing at all” to help Hussein, who was himself a syndicate board member from 1999 to 2003.

“Most of the syndicate’s board members are also members of the ruling National Democratic Party,” Fahmi said. “Their positions, therefore, generally reflect their affiliation to the regime rather than their loyalty to the syndicate or to their fellow journalists.”

The trial hardly represents Hussein’s first brush with the law. He was arrested twice in the past – in 1985 and 1991 – for organising protests against normalised relations with Israel and the first U.S.-led war against Iraq.

From 1987 to 1990, Hussein was an MP for Egypt’s Islamist-leaning Socialist Labour Party (SLP), established in 1978. In 1993, he became editor-in-chief of the party’s daily newspaper Al-Shaab. Four years later, Hussein was made party secretary-general.

In 2000, state authorities shut down Al-Shaab – after it ran a series of articles critical of high-level government officials – and officially suspended the SLP. Despite a number of subsequent administrative court rulings overturning the decision, the party has remained suspended, and Al-Shaab banned.

Even after the party’s suspension, however, Hussein continued to be a vocal critic of Egyptian state policy, especially as it pertained to the long-running Israel-Palestine dispute.

During Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip, Hussein blasted the regime’s approach to the crisis, which he said favoured Israel at the expense of the Hamas-led Palestinian resistance. In the first days of the campaign, Hussein told IPS that there had been “indications” of Egyptian coordination with Israel in advance of the attack.

Hussein’s wife, Naglaa al-Qalioubi, told Al-Dustour that the harsh verdict represented “a settling of scores” between the government and her husband. “It also has to do with the fact that Magdi was planning to call for a peaceful march on Feb. 25 calling for (President Hosni) Mubarak to step down,” she was quoted as saying Feb. 12.

According to Fahmi, the stiff sentence constitutes a warning to other would- be Gaza sympathisers. “It was a message to others not to make any show of solidarity with the people of Gaza, the way Magdi did.”

The use of military tribunals is permitted under the terms of Egypt’s controversial 28-year-old emergency law. In 2007, a constitutional amendment gave the president the additional right to refer civilians to military courts if the case in question “has a bearing on Egypt’s national security.”

Last year, 40 members of the Egyptian Brotherhood opposition movement were brought before a military tribunal on charges of money laundering and promoting terrorism in a months-long trial that ended with stiff jail sentences for most of the defendants.

Israel’s Dirty War in Gaza and Complicity of Her Allies

February 20, 2009

Marc Herbermann | uruknet.info, Feb 19, 2009

‘How did the current mess in the Gaza Strip begin?’

In recent years, life had become more and more unbearable in the area which once was called Palestine. Palestinians today, under a Jewish state that allows them no autonomy, suffer from miserable living conditions in a land that was theirs more than 60 years ago.

Jews, separated by huge concrete walls from the Palestine population, are scared of continuous rocket fire and the notion of being a victim of another devastating suicide attack. And now, Palestinians, expelled from their former homeland, crammed and trapped in a ghetto in the Gaza Strip, are the victims of a criminal military campaign.

Let’s get it right; we should respect people’s wish to live in peace, no matter in which country they live, whether they are Jews, Muslims or Buddhists. The brutal murder of civilians is a crime, the summary execution of people that are not involved in military operations and the deliberate shelling of U.N. buildings, convoys, hospitals, media installations and mosques are war crimes.

Over a period of 22 days, covered by the complicit apathy of the U.S., which is leading a disgraceful war in Iraq which it started illegally, the Israeli military operation in Gaza had claimed over 1300, at least half of them are civilians.

Thousands are wounded and traumatized. The attacks were meant to destroy the “infrastructure of terror,” yet they are ruining the social and cultural infrastructure of a community that has already been suffering under a harsh blockade Egypt and Israel imposed nearly 18 months ago.

Similarities between the current onslaught and the Lebanon War are evident. More than two years ago, Israel concocted a casus belli to attack Lebanon, half the size of Israel, with overwhelming air power, in utter contempt for civilian life and international institutions. Remember the deadly bombing of the apartment building in Qana and the destruction of the U.N. post that killed four U.N. observers.

And yet this small, relatively prosperous land, Lebanon, has nearly 30 times the landmass of the Gaza Strip, where desperate population is hiding and trembling between shattered walls, waiting for the next fatal blow, unable to sleep, drink clean water, eat or seek refuge in mosques or hospitals.

Even clearly marked international buildings are intentionally shelled. More than 40 people died after an Israeli attack on a U.N. school in the Jabalya refugee camp, where there were no fighters. In the Shifa and other hospitals, the situation is disastrous.

The recent mass executions by the Israel Defense Forces (IDFs) were not meant to destroy a well equipped enemy, as Israeli commanders suggest, but they knocked down an impoverished population administrated by Hamas, a political organization with a militant ideology, which was elected democratically in January 2006.

What are the underlying reasons for Israel’s assault on Gaza? Mark Regev, spokesman for the prime minister of Israel, repeatedly claims that the IDFs want to stop the firing of rockets, which fly out of the Gaza Strip everyday, flying deeper and deeper into the south of Israel.

If so, why is the best equipped army in the Middle East, which receives billions of dollars in military aid and uses the latest weapons from its American ally (including precision-guided munitions, phosphor bombs and depleted uranium shells) incapable of preventing these crude, homemade, and mainly inaccurate rockets from firing?

The IDFs, therefore, seem to pursue other aims: restoring their prestige, damaged by the Lebanon war, by demonstrating their strength regardless of civilian causalities.

More likely, the hidden agenda of this operation is aimed at removing Hamas from the Gaza Strip and finally, as the Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky puts it, terrorizing and expelling the Palestinians from their land.

How did the current mess in the Gaza Strip begin? The standard narration ¯ shared by mainstream media outlets and declared by the Israeli government, George W. Bush, his biased German colleague, Angela Merkel, and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy ¯ blames Hamas alone.

Yet the EU presidency conceded that “even the undisputable right of the state to defend itself does not allow actions which largely affect civilians.” United Nations Security Council Resolution 1860, intended to resolve the 2008-09 Israel-Gaza conflict, has yet to bear fruit.

But who really broke the last ceasefire? According to various sources in Western newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, The Economist and the U.S. News and World Report, the truth is that Israeli commandos killed six Hamas fighters during a raid on a tunnel they suspected was being dug for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers at the beginning of November.

According to The Guardian, “Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into southern Israel.” Israeli newspaper Haaretz claims that operation “Cast Lead” had been prepared six month earlier and, coupled with a carefully staged disinformation campaign, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

– Marc Herbermann, full-time instructor at Dongduk Women’s University in Seoul, works occasionally as a journalist and lectured on methods of political science at the University of Trier. This article was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact the author at: herbermann@gmx.de .

Miko Peled: Winning in Gaza

February 18, 2009
‘All it takes is one child who decides to take up the fight..’

By Miko Peled | The Palestine Chronicle, Feb 17, 2009

The common wisdom regarding Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza suggests that Israel is defending itself against a vicious enemy and that all means justify the cause of security for the citizens of Israeli cities. Common wisdom dictates that the US must support the Israeli Jewish population in their effort to gain recognition and acceptance, not to say security for their fledgling democracy. But here common wisdom stand stands in stark contrast to the dictates of reality because Israel is fighting a war it cannot possibly win.

For more than sixty years Palestinians have been living as refugees in the Gaza strip as well as other areas in and around what used to be Palestine. Those who live in the refugee camps have for three generations suffered unimaginable hardships that began with homelessness, poverty and deprivation and went on to include incursions by Israeli commandos, shelling by Israeli artillery and air assaults by the Israeli air force. In Gaza close to 900,000 people are refugees who were forced off of their land in 1948. They and their descendants have suffered more than their fair share of hardships.

The accepted position on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is that it began in 1967, but for Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere the Israeli occupation of Palestine began in 1948 and was only completed in 1967. Many Israelis feel this way too.  So to expect that a solution that deals only with lands occupied in 1967 will hold for any length of time is naïve at best, and the ashes of the peace process of the 1990’s lay as testament to that.

Most of the refugees in the Gaza Strip today came from the southern towns and villages of Palestine. According to UN sources, in 1948 some 200,000 refugees were concentrated in and around Gaza City whose original inhabitants numbered only 80,000. This severely burdened this narrow strip of land, an area of only 140 square miles.  Today over three-quarters of 1.4 million people in the Gaza strip are registered refugees.

The Gaza strip includes the city of Gaza which is approximately 48 miles southwest of Jerusalem, with a population of 410,000, as well as the cities of Beit Hanoun , Beit Lahia, Deir el-Balah (at the end of 1170, Saladin’s army had arrived in Palestine entering through Darum, which is now known as Deir al-Balah) Jabalia, Khan Yunis and Rafah.

The majority of the refuges live in eight refugee camps that include: Jabalia, Rafah, Beach, Nuseirat, Khan Younis, Bureij, Maghazi and Deir el-Balah.

According to the United Nations the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip have one of the highest population densities in the world. For example, over 80,688 refugees live in Beach camp whose area is less than one square kilometer. This high population density is reflected in the overcrowded schools and classrooms.  Even with poverty and over population, Gaza maintains one of the highest literacy rates in the world, 92%.

Today these refuges and their descendents, who live just a short drive from their original homes who now house Jewish Israelis, are being told by the world that they must accept their fate and live as refugees with no law to protect them, no human rights and no civil rights.  They are also told quite clearly that any resistance on their part, violent or otherwise will not be tolerated. Israel, the country responsible for their present condition will never allow them to return to their homes, to resist or to become part of a larger Israel/Palestine.

Whether one agrees that Palestinians deserve the same rights as all other people or not, one has to recognize why resistance to Israel has developed in the refugee camps in Gaza. It is a vicious cycle, not unknown in the history of other nations. Since the early 1950’s refugees from Gaza tried to enter the newly establish Israel, seeking to reclaim houses, possessions, or crops. Eventually guerrilla fighters began to enter Israel and to engage in violent acts against Israeli citizens. It wasn’t long before Israel developed a policy of no tolerance whereby infiltrators were shot on sight and retaliatory strikes in response to guerrilla attacks ensued.

In 1953 Ariel Sharon, then a young officer was sent at the head of the famous Unit 101 into Gaza to cleanse it of terrorists and to stop Palestinian “infiltrators” from penetrating Israeli borders. Sharon stated: “If we don’t act against the refugee camps, they would become a murderers’ nest.” Or in other words, centers for resistance against Israel. Israeli attacks on Gaza continued throughout the 1950’s, 60’s 70’s and they continue to this very day. It is hard not to see that this is an ongoing campaign against a nation that is unwilling to give up the struggle for freedom and justice.

Gaza has a history of being tough to subdue. It is said  Alexander the Great had to fight a bitter battle to conquer it, as did the British during the First World War. While violence may quell the resistance for a short time, all it takes is one child who decides to take up the fight and as we know this is a battle that no conquering power has ever won.

-Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and peace activist living in San Diego.  His father was the later Israeli General, Matti Peled who was also the first Israeli military Governor of Gaza. For comments or contact information please go to mikopeled.wordpress.com.

“The Lancet” reveals horrendous Israeli war crimes

February 16, 2009

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Dr Gideon Polya | uruknet.info, Feb 14, 2009

The horrendous mortality and morbidity statistics revealed by the paper “The Wounds of Gaza“, just published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet  are truly shocking – 1,350 killed (60% children) and 5,450 severely wounded (40% children) in reprisals for zero (0) Israeli deaths from Gaza rockets in the preceding year. This demands International Criminal Court and intra-national prosecutions (e.g. in major Israeli military R & R destination countries Australia, the US, the UK and India) and Sanctions and Boycotts against Apartheid Israel by all decent Australians and indeed all decent people around the world.

The Gaza Strip is a self-governing Apartheid Israeli Concentration Camp ruled by the Hamas Government which won 76 out of 132 seats in the Occupied Palestinian Parliamentary elections held under Israeli guns in 2006 (Fatah won 43 seats) (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas ). The Israelis responded by arresting as many Hamas MPs as they could find, the remainder fleeing to Gaza. In the current Israeli Gaza Massacre, the Israelis are evidently bent on “finishing the job” (they have already destroyed the Gaza Parliament House). The war criminal, pro-Zionist Western backers of Apartheid Israel followed suit by declaring the democratically elected Hamas MPs to be “terrorists” and only dealing with the Fatah.

Under the loathed, Nazi-style, racist Apartheid régime in South Africa its Bantustans were policed by police and the worst atrocity was the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in which South African police killed 69 African protesters (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpeville_massacre ) – “The official figure is that 69 people were killed, including 8 women and 10 children, and over 180 injured, including 31 women and 19 children”.

Gaza – what the Catholic Church via Vatican justice and peace minister Cardinal Renato Martino and leading US conservative Pat Buchanan both call an Israeli-guarded Gaza Concentration Camp (see:  http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24888817-15084,00.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em8tREX9L8o )  – remains under blockade and under dire threat of further Israeli atrocities, this latest atrocity involving 1,350 Palestinians killed in asserted reprisals for zero (0)  Israeli deaths from Gaza rockets in the preceding year and 28 Israeli deaths from Gaza missiles in the preceding 8.25 years, this latter statistic yielding an “annual homicide rate” in “persons killed per million of population” of 0.5 (Israelis killed by Gaza missiles) – as compared to 0.5 (rapist husbands killed by raped wives), 1.0 (violent husbands killed by battered wives), 15 (Israelis by Israelis), 56 (Americans), 100 (Americans by guns), 164 (Palestinians killed violently by Israelis), 200 (African-Americans), 473 (citizens of Detroit, Michigan, USA) and 902 per million per year  (annual Palestinian non-violent deaths through war criminal, Geneva Convention-violating Israeli-imposed deprivation) (see Dr Gideon Polya, “Palestinian-Israeli Death Ratios . Nazi-style Israeli Gaza War Crimes”:  http://mwcnews.net/content/view/27795/42/ ).

However the numerically vastly greater Israel atrocity lies in the avoidable deaths (excess deaths) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory  due to Occupier refusal to supply life-sustaining food, medicine and medical services to its conquered subjects “to the fullest extent of the means available to it”, as unequivocally demanded by Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (see: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm ).

3,000 under-5 year old Occupied Palestinian infants die every year (about 80% avoidably), this corresponding to 3,000/ 0.7 = 4,286 total avoidable deaths annually (see “Layperson’s Guide to Counting Iraq Deaths”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/5872/26/ ), and 4,286 x 8.25 = 35,360 non-violent Occupied Palestinian deaths since September 2000, in addition to the 6,200 violent Occupied Palestinian deaths at the hands of Apartheid Israelis in this period.

In the period 1967-2009 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, post-invasion non-violent excess deaths totalled 0.3 million; post-invasion violent deaths at the hands of Israelis totalled about 10,000; post-invasion under-5 infant deaths totalled about 0.2 million; there are over 7 million Palestinian refugees (4.3 million registered with the UN) – a Palestinian Holocaust and a Palestinian Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (see: http://www.edwebproject.org/sideshow/genocide/convention.html ).

Here are some shocking statistics from this report published in one of the World’s top medical journals, The Lancet (see: http://www.thelancetglobalhealthnetwork.com/archives/608 ), quote: “The wounds of Gaza are deep and multi-layered. Are we talking about the Khan Younis massacre of 5,000  in 1956 or the execution  of 35,000 prisoners of war by Israel in 1967? Yet more wounds of the First Intifada, when civil disobedience by an occupied people against the occupiers resulted in massive wounded and hundreds dead?  We also cannot discount the 5,420 wounded in southern Gaza alone since 2000. Hence what we are referring to below are only that of the invasion as of 27 December 2008.

Over the period of 27 December 2008 to the ceasefire of 18 Jan 2009, it was estimated that a million and a half tons of explosives were dropped on Gaza Strip. Gaza is 25 miles by 5 miles and home to 1.5 million people. This makes it the most crowded area in the whole world. Prior to this Gaza has been completely blockaded and starved for 50 days.  In fact since the Palestinian election Gaza has been under total or partial blockade for several years….

Death toll

As of 25 January 2009, the death toll was estimated at 1,350 with the numbers increasing daily. This is due to the severely wounded continuing to die in hospitals. 60% of those killed were children.

Severe injuries

The severely injured numbered 5,450, with 40% being children. These are mainly large burns and polytrauma patients.” End quote.

While in the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre the South African police used handguns, the weapons used by Israelis on its Gaza Concentration Camp in 2008-2009 included phosphorus bombs (inflicts horrendous burns), heavy bombs including depleted uranium and DIME bombs (limb-slicing dense inert material explosives), fuel air explosives (bunker busters and implosion bombs),  silent bombs (a new particle weapon?) and “conventional” automatic handguns (that were also used in documented executions of Gaza civilians ordered out of their homes by Israeli troops).

These atrocities demand (1) direct UN military intervention armed with already-passed UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions; (2) intra-national and inter-national Sanctions and Boycotts against Israel, its Zionist or pro-Zionist backers in the US, Canada, the UK, the EU and Australia and indeed against all the countries backing Israel; and (3) arrest and trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) of all complicit Israeli politicians, officials and military wherever they can be apprehended throughout the world.

One of the best-known Jewish scholars in the world today, Professor Jared Diamond, in his best-selling book “Collapse (Prologue, p10, Penguin edition) enunciated the “moral principle, namely that it is morally wrong for one people to dispossess, subjugate, or exterminate another people” – an injunction grossly violated by Israel.

Further, “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone” and “bear witness” are the fundamental, moral messages from the Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation), the World War 2 Holocaust in general (30 million Slav, Jewish and Roma dead) and the World War 2 Eastern Theatre Holocaust (35 million Chinese dead under Japanese occupation and 6-7 million Indians starved to death by the British in the man-made 1943-1945 Bengal Famine – for details of the latter “forgotten” Bengali Holocaust see the BBC broadcast in which I participated together with 1998 Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen, Harvard University, medical historian Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Wellcome Institute, University College London, and other scholars: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/bengalfamine_programme.html ; see also “Media lying over Churchill’s crimes. British-Indian Holocaust”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/26713/42/ ).

These fundamental moral injunctions from the Jewish Holocaust and the World War 2 Holocaust in general of “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone” and “bear witness” are also being grossly violated by the Zionists running Israel and their racist, genocidal US Alliance backers..

If the World unjustly continues to accept that after 40 years of  Israeli Occupation it is “right” for 4 million Occupied Palestinians (50% children, 75% women and children)  to continue to be subject to highly abusive, race-based mass imprisonment without charge or trial then it should at least urgently insist  that they should be Occupied immediately by a Civilized  Country e.g. by  a peace-keeping force from a Civilized Country such as Costa Rica (no army), Switzerland (neutral country) or Fiji (distinguished record of participation in peace-keeping) with International and US Guarantees of territorial integrity and total airport level security for Nazi-style, Zionist, Apartheid Israel.