Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

The Guardian’s Misleading Editorial

November 20, 2014

 Nasir Khan, November 20, 2014

The Guardian’s editorial on 18 November 2014 (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/18/guardian-view-on-jerusalem-killings) deals with the violent killing of four Israeli worshippers at a synagogue in a Jerusalem neighbourhood on Tuesday 18th November 2014. On hearing the news the PA President Mahmud Abbas condemned this act of violence by two Palestinians, who were immediately killed by the Israeli police. The American rulers and media condemned these brutal killings vociferously. But as far as I am concerned I have always condemned and opposed any acts of violence against anyone because all bloodshed is wrong, unacceptable and indefensible no matter who the perpetrators of such crimes are, Israelis, Palestinians or someone else.

In the last two short paragraphs of the editorial, the editor raised some  fair questions about the policies of the Netanyahu government. But the editor’s portrayal of the gory acts in the first three paragraphs is much flawed and misleading. If the writer has some inkling of the forces that created Israel, not as espoused by the hasbara, but by historians of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict then he would have seen and wrote about them otherwise.

However, it is quite common to see amateur journalists who can easily skip facts to push a story on their readers. But we expect an editorial of the Guardian to present facts in a sober and judicious manner to help readers to understand the issues involved. Melodramatic and emotive language used here hides the facts more than it enlightens. All acts of violence, killings, desecration or provocation in a place of worship are reprehensible. We all readily agree on this. What the two killers did at Bar Nof synagogue was a crime.

At the same time we should also keep in mind what the Israeli authorities and righting Jews have been doing for quite some time at Al-Aqsa Mosque are also crimes and incessant provocations. In fact, the Israeli state and Zionist provocateurs bear the full responsibility for their criminal actions surrounding at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the last few weeks while such provocations by Israeli leaders have a long history. No wonder if such actions lead to their anticipated or unexpected fallout. The killings at the synagogue and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque are not isolated incidents; they are interrelated. Obviously, it does not suit hasbara to admit any such connection.

The editor writes, “Attacks like this were precisely what the creation of the state of Israel was meant to prevent. Israel was to be the one place in the world where Jews could pray in peace and safety. Synagogues in London, Paris or New York have grown used to having a security presence on the door. Now there are calls for the same precaution to be taken in Israel, a bleak thought for a country established to be a safe haven.” Here the whole narrative becomes untenable in the light of history. The state of Israel was not created, as the editor asserts, to provide a country to Jews where they could pray in “peace and safety”.

The British imperialists laid the foundations for such a state in 1914 many years before the Nazis under Hitler gained political power in Germany. After the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the plans for the expropriation of the Palestinian people of their land were in place. During the inter-war period, the growing Jewish migration to Palestine and subsequently at the end of the Second World War, the Zionist terrorist organisations in Palestine lost no time to force the British as the mandatory (colonial) power to run back to the British isles. Now the Zionists were in full control. This was the creation of Israel and the start of the process of the Zionist colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

What started in 1948 is still going on. The West Bank has gradually been devoured by Israeli settlements and in East Jerusalem the pace of settlements has increased. Whereas the Gaza strip remains a virtual concentration camp. After the 51-day Israeli war on Gaza, the Zionists have devastated Gaza from which it may take years to recover. Moreover, it is Israel that tells PA President what to do or not to do. Living under Israeli occupation, he has few options. He is a nominal figure operating under a colonial power. As a result he conforms to Tel Aviv’s edicts.

Obviously, the creation of Israel was not to provide a safe place of worship to the Jewish believers. In fact, there was no restriction on Jews going to their synagogues. That was so in Europe, Asia and America. The present-day safety measures in the synagogues of London, Paris or New York, as the editor erroneously explains, are not due to any inherent hatred against the Jews but rather due to the genocidal policies of the state of Israel and its brutal oppression of the Palestinians.

The editor pushes his/her line of thinking even further and along the same lines as before and comes up with an explanation that many observers may find amusing: “By attacking men as they pray – not, it is worth stressing. In the occupied West Bank or in annexed East Jerusalem but inside the boundaries of pre-1967 Israel proper – . . .” No one from Israeli ruling class has ever defined where Israel’s borders and boundaries lie or would lie. To have done so would have meant to forego the Zionist objective of creating Greater Israel. Consequently, the easiest thing to do was better served by keeping the question of ‘Israel’s borders’ a matter in the grey zone, where nothing was definite and all was subject to change as the chances arose.

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Disarming: Gaza or Israel?

August 7, 2014


Nasir Khan, August 7, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

September may bring the death of the two-state solution – and the Jewish state

September 9, 2011

What happens when the Palestinians realize come September that UN recognition doesn’t change their lives, that the settlements continue to expand, and the occupation continues?

By Carlo Strenger, Haaretz, Sep. 8, 2011

The diplomatic tsunami of September is building up. So far, neither the U.S. nor the EU has been able to dissuade the Palestinian Authority from its bid for UN recognition.

It seems that the Palestinians no longer have a way out. Given that they do not see the Netanyahu government as a bona fide partner on the route toward a viable state, they are bereft of an alternative strategy.

The Netanyahu government has known but one tactic vis-à-vis the Palestinian bid for UN recognition: working against it.

It is bracing for the head-on collision with the UN recognition of Palestine, and hopes to score a ‘moral victory’ if major EU countries like Germany, France and the U.K. either abstain or vote against this recognition.

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Noam Chomsky: The Charade of Israeli-Palestinian Talks

December 8, 2010

By Noam Chomsky, In These Times, Dec 2, 2010

It is hardly a secret that for 35 years the U.S. and Israel have stood virtually alone in opposition to a consensus on a political settlement that is close to universal.

Washington’s pathetic capitulation to Israel while pleading for a meaningless three-month freeze on settlement expansion—excluding Arab East Jerusalem—should go down as one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history.

In September the last settlement freeze ended, leading the Palestinians to cease direct talks with Israel. Now the Obama administration, desperate to lure Israel into a new freeze and thus revive the talks, is grasping at invisible straws—and lavishing gifts on a far-right Israeli government.

The gifts include $3 billion for fighter jets. The largesse also happens to be another taxpayer grant to the U.S. arms industry, which gains doubly from programs to expand the militarization of the Middle East.

U.S. arms manufacturers are subsidized not only to develop and produce advanced equipment for a state that is virtually part of the U.S. military-intelligence establishment but also to provide second-rate military equipment to the Gulf states—currently a precedent-breaking $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, which is a transaction that also recycles petrodollars to an ailing U.S. economy.

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Amira Haas: Who will be punished for killing civilians in the Gaza war?

June 22, 2010

The decision to indict Staff Sgt. S. for killing two women during last year’s war in Gaza has caused a stir. But his lawyer will rightly ask, Why him, and not all the others who killed civilians?

By Amira Hass, Haaretz/Israel, June 21, 2010

Why was Staff Sgt. S., out of all the Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers and officers, chosen to stand trial for killing two women in the Gaza Strip on January 4, 2009, the first day of Israel’s ground incursion there? The IDF killed 34 armed men that same day. Was S. chosen because he was the only one who killed civilians?

Gaza war A cloud of smoke billows over Gaza after an Israel Defense Forces strike during the 2009 war.
Photo by: AP / Archive

Should his lawyer argue that he is being scapegoated, he can safely rely on the following statistics: The IDF also killed 80 other civilians that day  by close-range shooting, artillery fire, aerial fire and naval fire. Among them were six women and 29 children under the age of 16. Just go to B’Tselem’s website and read the list: a 7-year-old boy, a 1-year-old girl, another 1-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl.

B’Tselem is careful to differentiate between Palestinians who “took part in the hostilities” and Palestinians who “did not take part in the hostilities.” Its list of fatalities states: “Farah Amar Fuad al-Hilu, 1-year-old resident of Gaza City, killed on 04.01.2009 in Gaza City, by live ammunition. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed while she fled from her house with her family after her grandfather (Fuad al-Hilu, 62) was shot by soldiers who entered the house.” The grandfather also did not participate in hostilities.

Or perhaps S. was chosen because Riyeh Abu Hajaj, 64, and Majda Abu Hajaj, 37, a mother and daughter, were the only ones killed while carrying a white flag that January 4? No. Matar, 17, and Mohammed, 16, were also killed. They were shot from an IDF position in a nearby house as they pushed a cart carrying the wounded and dead of the Abu Halima family, who were hit by a white phosphorous bomb that penetrated their home in northern
Beit Lahiya. Five members of the family were killed on the spot, including a 1-year-old girl. Another young woman would die of her injuries a few weeks later.

The news that Staff Sgt. S. would stand trial created something of a stir  for a day. The military advocate general was praised. So was B’Tselem, and rightly so, for giving the army testimony about the Abu Hajaj killings that its field investigators, Palestinian residents of Gaza, had gathered. Palestinian organizations gathered similar
material, while Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both published detailed reports about slain civilians. Everything is accessible on their websites. But we in Israel do not believe the gentiles, so let us focus only on B’Tselem.

B’Tselem also gave the army dozens of statements about the killing of other civilians who “did not take part in the hostilities.” So why was Staff Sgt. S. chosen, rather than any of the others? Did someone from his unit violate the code of solidarity among soldiers for the sake of a higher code? This is indeed most likely to happen
in the ground forces: All the witnesses who spoke to Breaking the Silence activists  i.e., those who were shaken by something that happened  came from the ground troops; they were the ones who saw the destruction, and the human beings, with their own eyes.

“The amount of destruction there was incomprehensible,” said one soldier. “You go through the neighborhoods there and you can’t identify anything. No stone is left unturned. You see rows of fields, hothouses, orchards, and it’s all in ruins. Everything is completely destroyed. You see a pink room with a poster of Barbie, and a shell that went through a meter and a half below it.”

But the breakdown of casualties shows that those killed by direct fire  where the soldier who shoots sees those he is shooting with his own eyes  are a tiny minority. At the request of Haaretz, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza analyzed the breakdown of casualties according to the type of fire. It found that 80 were killed by rifle fire, 13 by machine guns and 134 by artillery fire. It is unclear whether the 11 killed by flechette shells (shells filled with metal darts) are or are not included in the latter figure.

Undoubtedly, these are estimates, with margins of error. Around 1,400 Palestinians were killed in Operation Cast Lead; at least 1,000  most of them civilians  were killed from the air, by bombs dropped from planes or missiles fired from other airborne
vehicles. To the soldiers responsible for the launches, they looked like characters prancing around on a computer screen.

B’Tselem and Haaretz, as well as the gentile organizations that need not be considered, all documented incidents of aerial killing. The IDF acknowledged two errors (the killing of 22 members of the a-Diya family in Zeitun with a single bomb, and the killing of seven people who were removing oxygen tanks from a metalworking shop, which on the computer screens looked like Grad missiles).

“One characteristic of the recent IDF attack on Gaza is the large number of families that lost many members at one stroke, most of them in their homes, during Israeli bombings: Ba’alousha, Bannar, Sultan, Abu Halima, Salha, Barbakh, Shurrab, Abu Eisha,
Ghayan, al-Najjar, Abed-Rabo, Azzam, Jebara, El Astel, Haddad, Quran, Nasser, al-Alul, Dib, Samouni,” Haaretz wrote in February 2009. Are there no sergeants involved in those cases who ought to be investigated? Or is it that in these cases, an investigation would
have to target people of higher rank than a mere staff sergeant?

The disclosure that Staff Sgt. S. will be tried created something of a stir. The military advocate general won praise. But S.’s attorney will rightly ask: Out of all the testimonies and reports, he is the only one you found?

And what of the commanders’ attitudes, as described by those interviewed by Breaking the Silence: “When the company commander and the battalion commander tell you ‘yalla,
shoot,’ soldiers will not restrain themselves. They wait for this day  to have the fun of shooting and feeling the power in your hands.” What of the battalion commander’s speech “the night before the ground incursion”: “He said that it’s not going to be easy.
He defined the goals of the operation: 2,000 dead terrorists.”

And if this was the operation’s objective, perhaps we should investigate the supreme commander  Defense Minister Ehud Barak  about the gap between the objective and the result?

Strenger: Israel should consider a one-state solution

June 21, 2010

Israel would do well to become a truly liberal, secular state without ethnic dominance in which subgroups no longer impose their way of life on each other.

By Carlo Strenger, Haaretz/Israel, June 18, 2010

In a recent op-ed, Moshe Arens suggested that Israel seriously consider the option of a single state west of the Jordan, in which Palestinians be granted full citizenship.

The one-state solution is advocated by a number of Palestinian intellectuals and is becoming rather popular within the European left. Their reason is generally that the one-state solution would give more justice to the Palestinians – this position is mostly seen as anti-Israeli. Israel’s extreme right favors holding onto the greater land of Israel, generally on theological grounds.

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Amira Haas: Not by cement alone

June 10, 2010

The flotilla, like its predecessors and the ones still to come, serves the Israeli goal, which is to complete the process of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

Amira Haas, Haaretz/Israel, June 10, 2010

The achievement of the failed flotilla to Gaza – mainly, it must be conceded, by its dead – is that the demand is being heard from everywhere that Israel halt its policy of siege. The government of Israel was not willing to listen to the desperate supplications of John Ging, the head of UNRWA in Gaza. Now it must heed French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But unknowingly, this flotilla, like its predecessors and the ones still to come, serves the Israeli goal, which is to complete the process of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The process, it will be said here for the millionth time, started in 1991 and not after the rise of Hamas rule. It’s purpose was to thwart the two-state solution, which the world understood at that time as based on all of Gaza and the West Bank, and the link between them.

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Swedish author says Gaza flotilla attack was a brutal act of piracy

June 4, 2010

Anna Catherin Loll, The Times/ UK, June 5, 2010

“On the night of the raid we thought that we should maybe have a guard on the ship, even though we were some hours away from the territorial waters of Israel. I was on patrol between midnight and 3am.

“At 4am I went to sleep; 15 minutes later people rushed in saying, ‘Hey, they are attacking the big ferry [the Mavi Marmara]’. This was when we heard the shooting. At the beginning we didn’t know what was happening but gradually we understood: sooner or later they will come for us, too. And one hour later, they came.

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Gilad Atzmon: Israeli Butchery at Sea

May 31, 2010

Middle East Online, May 31, 2010


The massacre that took place was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’ expands with the more dead it leaves behind. The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders, says Gilad Atzmon.

As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time, hundreds of IDF commandos stormed the Free Gaza international humanitarian fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have been murdered and more than 50 were injured. Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.

For days the Israeli government prepared the Israeli society for the massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had ‘terrorists’ on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters. Make no mistake. If I knew exactly where Israel was heading and the possible consequences, the Israeli cabinet and military elite were fully aware of it all the way along. What happened yesterday wasn’t just a pirate terrorist attack. It was actually murder in broad day light even though it happened in the dark.

Yesterday at 10 pm I contacted Free Gaza and shared with them everything I knew. I obviously grasped that hundreds of peace activists most of them elders, had very little chance against the Israeli killing machine. I was praying all night for our brothers and sisters. At 5am GMT the news broke to the world. In international waters Israel raided an innocent international convoy of boats carrying cement, paper and medical aid to the besieged Gazans. The Israelis were using live ammunition murdering and injuring everything around them.

Today we will see demonstrations around the world; we will see many events mourning our dead. We may even see some of Israel’s friends ‘posturing’ against the slaughter. Clearly this is not enough.

The massacre that took place was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’ expands with the more dead it leaves behind. The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw yesterday wasn’t just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society.

It is no secret that Palestinians are living in a siege for years. But it is now down to the nations to move on and mount the ultimate pressure on Israel and its citizens. The massacre was committed by a popular army that followed instructions given by a ‘democratically elected’ government.

Considering the fact that Israel stormed naval vessels sailing under Irish, Turkish and Greek flags, both NATO members and EU countries must immediately cease their relationships with Israel and close their airspace to Israeli airplanes.

Considering yesterday’s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely. Israel is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless about human life, as we have been following the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter; Israel actually seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.

Gilad Atzmon (gilad.co.uk) is an Israeli-born writer and jazz musician living in London. He had previously served in the Israeli military but he is currently an anti-racism campaigner. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America.

Gaza Mission Activist: It’s Just Like Facing Nazis

May 26, 2010
almanar.com, May 26, 2010

Eight ships are already making their way through the Mediterranean towards the Gaza Strip in the framework of a European aid mission – with activists aboard the vessels likening their work to the anti-Nazi effort during World War II.

“We’re helping the Palestinians, just like the Greeks helped during World War II against the Nazis,” a Greek activist aboard one of the ships told Ynet Tuesday.

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