On January 11, 2009, over 30 leading international lawyers and academics wrote an open letter to the Sunday Times in London expressing the opinion that Israel's attack on Gaza is an illegal act of aggression, not justified by self-defense.
Here is the full text of the letter:
ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defense” as recognized by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.
The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defense. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.
The killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 3,000 injuries, accompanied by the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention, is not commensurate to the deaths caused by Hamas rocket fire.
For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. And yet in 2005-8, according to the UN, the Israeli army killed about 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it.
Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defense, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary. Israel could have agreed to renew the truce with Hamas. Instead it killed 225 Palestinians on the first day of its attack. As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.
We condemn the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings which are also contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes. Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from such attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas.
Ian Brownlie QC, Blackstone Chambers
Mark Muller QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
Michael Mansfield QC and Joel Bennathan QC, Tooks Chambers
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, University College, London
Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University
Professor M Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University, Chicago
Professor Christine Chinkin, LSE
Professor John B Quigley, Ohio State University
Professor Iain Scobbie and Victor Kattan, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Professor Said Mahmoudi, Stockholm University
Professor Max du Plessis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College
Professor Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University
Professor Thomas Skouteris and Professor Michael Kagan, American University of Cairo
Professor Javaid Rehman, Brunel University
Daniel Machover, Chairman, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
Dr Phoebe Okawa, Queen Mary University
John Strawson, University of East London
Dr Nisrine Abiad, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Dr Michael Kearney, University of York
Dr Shane Darcy, National University of Ireland, Galway
Dr Michelle Burgis, University of St Andrews
Dr Niaz Shah, University of Hull
Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyer
Prof Michael Lynk, The University of Western Ontario
Steve Kamlish QC and Michael Topolski QC, Tooks Chambers
While I do believe that Israel is committing war crimes against Gazans, my own assessment of the situation is that the Israelis are counting on the tacit support of PLO's Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in their efforts to decimate Hamas. But as the Israelis pursue this goal of destroying Hamas and to strengthen Abbas's hand as Israel's partner in Gaza or pave the way for Egyptian control of Gaza, the Israeli brutality will likely backfire, just as it did in Lebanon. As the death toll mounts in Gaza, Hamas's stature will rise as the staunch defender of Palestinian and Arab rights while Abbas, Mubarak and others opposed to Hamas will be marginalized and isolated by the Palestinians and the Arabs at large. Iran will also be a beneficiary and its status will be enhanced as major regional power. The international repercussions of the Gaza catastrophe, like the Nakbah in 1948, will go far beyond the Middle East with major adverse impact on US and NATO efforts in other parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Iraq, South Asia, Somalia and Indonesia where there are ongoing conflicts. Those opposed to the United States will have an easier time recruiting committed fighters for their causes to wage war against the West and complicate Barack Obama's efforts aimed at improving America's battered image abroad. Obama's conspicuous silence on Gaza shows his reluctance to take on the growing power of the Israeli lobby in the United States. It is clear that the extraordinary power of lobbies such as the Israel lobby will severely limit Obama's policy options domestically and around the world.
As an American, I sincerely believe that the Bush policies, including the current handling of Gaza crisis by the United States, have been an unmitigated disaster for America. The US Congress has also been complicit in Bush's misdeeds, as evidenced by the latest Gaza resolution passed by the spineless US senate completely at the mercy of the powerful and arrogant Israel lobby in Washington.
Come January 20th, is anything going to change with Obama as far the US role in the Middle East is concerned? While hoping that Obama will pursue a wiser policy in the best long-term interest of both US and Israel, it would be foolish to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
Here's a video clip of Zbignew Brazinski on Gaza situation:
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Riaz - I am proud of you as a dual-compatriot that you are raising your voice..unlike those pseudo Pakistanis who run Pakistaniat.com.
As an American, I sincerely believe that the Bush policies, including its current handling of Gaza, have been an unmitigated disaster for America. The US Congress has also been complicit in Bush's misdeeds, as evidenced by the latest Gaza resolution passed by a spineless US senate completely at the mercy of the powerful and arrogant Israel lobby in Washington.
Come January 20th, is anything going to change with Obama as far the US role in the Middle East is concerned? While hoping that Obama would pursue a wiser policy in the best larger interest of both US and Israel, it would be foolish to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
I completely agree with that analysis Riaz. Change/Yes we can were only election slogans. Nothing has changed in past so many years for these poor victims of injustice. I will include us as well in sharing the responsibility of inaction and misdeeds.
Disproportionality is the base of Israeli security deterent strategy since its enemies fear that Israel will go to end of world and take them out, if their people are harmed. This mythical image (not capability) was harmed by Hezbollah propaganda victory in 2006. Hamas didn't want to be sidelined and decided to have their moment of glory. So Israel is trying to make an example out of Hamas, and this war is more directed for Lebanese and Iranian audience than for Gaza since Hamas just have nuisance capability in comparison to Hezbollah. And disproportionality works wonders. Hezbollah's leader is only making noises and is restrained by Lebanese civil society not to undo the rebuilding by inviting Israeli wrath. The 1 or 3 rockets fired from Lebanon are said to be instigated by Saudi intelligence to draw Israel to Lebanon and put Hezbollah in its place.
Whatever Israel is doing is not working. Here's an excerpt from NY Times report on the toughness and determination of Hamas fighter in the face of massive Israeli brutality:
"Despite heavy air and ground assaults, Israel has yet to cripple the military wing of Hamas or destroy the group’s ability to launch rockets, Israeli intelligence officials said on Tuesday, suggesting that Israel’s main goals in the conflict remain unfulfilled even after 18 days of war."
Israel’s main goals in the conflict remain unfulfilled
My problem with you articulation is that, Israel is not permanently trying to solve any problem, they know that Arabs and Israeli interests are exhaustive to each other. At the moment, they are trying to solve "rocket/mortar problem". before they were trying to solve suicide bomber problem which they did and this will continue to eternity.There is no question that what ever Israel does ; become a peacenik or a bully, the results are the same. Their back is towards water and they are facing the devil. Even Israelis knows that..that is why they are "trying" to bring in a ceasefire.Ceasefire means..not peace..one day when Hamas(or whatever their extremist right wing org is at the forefront) becomes comfortable with their capability; ceasefire is off, then its only a question of excuse to blow the fuse. Israel knows that very well. That's why they were not allowing Hamas to settle with blockade(Hamas cannot be Hamas without any weapons).If Israel wouldnt blockade Hamas controlled territory it will gradually seep into every organ of state and becomes LTTE.Then after that mould settles, then its a is point of no return for organizations like LTTE,Hamas,Hezbullah,Jammat-ul-Dawa(LeT)etc.It will become a perpetual "fireball" inflicting pain and misery on neighbors or the world alike.As far as Israel goes, they will be in perpetual war(or in preparation for the next) and nobody knows better than them. Hezbullah is lying low becoz, if they carry out a fresh escalation its base will be wiped out becoz of people's resentment (resulting out of Israeli backlash). But one day when the horrors of Israeli bombing subside until then Hezbullah will try to whip-up emotions to create a strong base and stockpile advanced weapons. The problem with accepting right of "return of refugees" is that its a trick ploy. The Arabs knows that they can out-breed Israelis(Israel as an advanced materialist society which uses strong family planning) and if they return, they can become a majority within a decade at least.That is why Israel is try to give the land back like Gaza to Palestinians where Arabs are in majority.At the end of the day they are trying to survive even though it would not appear so. Personally, I love Israelis more than India, becoz in Israelis I see people who have learnt their lesson from history. Indians are complacent(India suffers terrorism of scale second only to Iraq is just one example) and fatalists which brought us colonialism of various hues (for 800 or so years) in the first place.
jadev comment on this story please:
Gaza doctor's loss grips Israelis
Dr Izeldeen Abuelaish shared his grief at losing his daughters
By Lucy Ash
BBC World Service
I first met Dr Izeldeen Abuelaish eight years ago when I made a radio documentary about his extraordinary life and work.
A Palestinian obstetrician who specialises in treating infertility, he lives in the Jabaliya camp in the Gaza Strip, but used to work part-time in Israel helping Jewish women to have babies.
He also had a clinic in Gaza, taught medical school students there and arranged for seriously ill Palestinian patients to be treated in Israel.
He put up with the tedious and sometimes humiliating border checks with dignity and patience.
He stayed calm when one of his own Palestinian medical students told him she was "very, very angry" that he was helping Israelis to have children.
"What if these babies grow up to become soldiers who kill our people?" asked the young woman.
My daughters and I were armed with nothing but love and hope
Dr Izeldeen Abuelaish
Despite all the suspicion, the hatred and the barriers Dr Abuelaish continued his work.
In 2001, Dr Gad Potashnik was in charge of the IVF clinic at the Soroka University Hospital in Beersheba.
He described Dr Abuelaish as a "magical, secret bridge between Israelis and Palestinians".
But that "magical, secret bridge" is now close to breaking point.
I have stayed in touch with Dr Abuelaish over the years.
Since we met he has had a number of jobs and research posts abroad.
In September 2008 he was about to start working for the European Union in Africa but had to return home after he wife, Nadia, fell ill with leukaemia.
She died soon after his return, leaving him a widower with eight children aged three to 20.
In the middle of the recent conflict, I interviewed Dr Abuelaish for the BBC World Service's Outlook programme.
He told me all the glass had been blown out of the windows of his house, he could hear firing and explosions all around and he was desperately worried for the safety of his children.
Then on Friday afternoon, just a day before the ceasefire was announced, his worst nightmare came true.
"My daughters were just sitting quietly talking in their bedroom at home," Dr Izeldeen Abuelaish told me on the phone between sobs.
"I had just left the room, carrying my youngest son on my shoulders. Then a shell came through the wall.
Jabaliya Camp was hit repeatedly by Israeli strikes
"I rushed back to find their dead bodies - or rather parts of their bodies - strewn all over the room. One was still sitting in a chair but she had no legs.
"Tell me why did they have to die? Who gave the order to fire on my house?"
In a voice cracked with emotion, he added: "You know me, Lucy. You have been to my house, my hospital; you have seen my Israeli patients.
"I have tried so hard to bring people on both sides together and just look what I get in return."
The victims were Bisan, aged 20, Mayar, 15, Aya aged 13 and the physician's 17-year-old niece Nur Abuelaish.
"My eldest daughter was five months away from finishing her degree in business and financial management. She was looking forward to the future and I was so proud of her."
I remember talking to Dr Abuelaish in his house as his children scurried around him asking questions and singing songs.
Bisan was a cheeky, bright-eyed girl, keen to show off her English and read aloud from her school text book.
During the recent military campaign, Dr Abuelaish, who speaks fluent Hebrew, had been acting as an unofficial correspondent for a Tel Aviv-based TV station, giving daily updates by phone.
It feels to me as if some of our audience is seeing and hearing about the high price ordinary Palestinians are paying in this conflict for the first time
Israeli TV journalist
He was determined to let Israelis know as much as possible about the suffering of Palestinian civilians under Israel's bombardment.
Minutes after the shell hit his house, Dr Abuelaish phoned the station's presenter, Shlomi Eldar, to describe what had happened.
The Israeli journalist looked awkward and visibly distressed as the doctor's disembodied voice is broadcast crying: "My daughters, they killed them, Oh Lord. God, God, God."
Mr Eldar mobilised his contacts in the Israel military to open the border and fly the injured girls by helicopter to the Tel Hashomer Medical Centre, the largest hospital in Israel.
He said thousands of viewers had called the station following the harrowing interview with Dr Abuelaish.
"I think this broadcast will change public opinion in Israel," said Mr Eldar speaking by phone from Tel Aviv.
"It feels to me as if some of our audience is seeing and hearing about the high price ordinary Palestinians are paying in this conflict for the first time".
Dr Abuelaish's 17-year-old daughter Shadha is recovering there from an operation which may save her right eye, injured in the blast.
Her 12-year-old cousin Daida is in a critical condition from shrapnel wounds.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said the incident is now under investigation.
"For the time being, all that I can tell you is that our troops fired on the house because they had come under attack from somewhere in the vicinity of the house. Possibly a sniper but I can't confirm that," the spokeswoman said.
Speaking from the hospital, Dr Abuelaish denied that any militants had been hiding in or firing from his house.
"Violence is never the right way. My daughters and I were armed with nothing but love and hope."
long live UN
Israel troops admit Gaza abuses
Israel frequently claims to possess the most moral army in the world
An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers' accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza.
One account tells of a sniper killing a mother and children at close range whom troops had told to leave their home.
Another speaker at the seminar described what he saw as the "cold blooded murder" of a Palestinian woman.
The army has defended its conduct during the Gaza offensive but said it would investigate the testimonies.
The Israeli army has said it will investigate the soldiers' accounts.
The testimonies were published by the military academy at Oranim College. Graduates of the academy, who had served in Gaza, were speaking to new recruits at a seminar.
The climate in general [was that] lives of Palestinians are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers
Analysis: Operation Miscast Lead?
Gaza war crimes probes
"[The testimonies] conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians," academy director Dany Zamir told public radio.
Heavy civilian casualties during the three-week operation which ended in the blockaded coastal strip on 18 January provoked an international outcry.
Correspondents say the testimonies undermine Israel's claims that troops took care to protect non-combatants and accusations that Hamas militants were responsible for putting civilians into harm's way.
The Palestinian woman and two of her children were allegedly shot after they misunderstood instructions about which way to walk having been ordered out of their home by troops.
"The climate in general... I don't know how to describe it.... the lives of Palestinians, let's say, are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers," an infantry squad leader is quoted saying.
FROM THE BBC WORLD SERVICE
More from BBC World Service
In another cited case, a commander ordered troops to kill an elderly woman walking on a road, even though she was easily identifiable and clearly not a threat.
Testimonies, which were given by combat pilots and infantry soldiers, also included allegations of unnecessary destruction of Palestinian property.
"We would throw everything out of the windows to make room and order. Everything... Refrigerators, plates, furniture. The order was to throw all of the house's contents outside," a soldier said.
One non-commissioned officer related at the seminar that an old woman crossing a main road was shot by soldiers.
"I don't know whether she was suspicious, not suspicious, I don't know her story… I do know that my officer sent people to the roof in order to take her out… It was cold-blooded murder," he said.
The transcript of the session for the college's Yitzhak Rabin pre-military course, which was held last month, appeared in a newsletter published by the academy.
Israeli human rights groups have criticised the military for failing to properly investigate violations of the laws of war in Gaza despite plenty of evidence of possible war crimes.
The soldiers' testimonies also reportedly told of an unusually high intervention by military and non-military rabbis, who circulated pamphlets describing the war in religious terminology.
Palestinian civilians paid a heavy price during the three-week Israeli operation
"All the articles had one clear message," one soldier said. "We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land."
"Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion," he added.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that the findings would be examined seriously.
"I still say we have the most moral army in the world. Of course there may be exceptions but I have absolutely no doubt this will be inspected on a case-by-case basis," he said.
Medical authorities say more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel's 22-day operation, including some 440 children, 110 women, and dozens of elderly people.
The stated aim was to curb rocket and mortar fire by militants from Gaza. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians were killed.
Here are some interesting excerpts from a piece by Anjum Niaz in Pakistan's Daily Dawn today:
‘If I were a Pakistani, I would worry… there are frightening times ahead,’ Seymour Hersh warned. ‘You guys are next after Iran,’ he told me when I asked about American designs on our nukes. ‘Your nuclear programme is the target.’ Well wired with intelligence sources, not just in the American CIA, but the Mossad in Israel, RAW in India and the ISI in Pakistan; the Pulitzer Prize winner operates via sources crawling around these intelligence agencies who have over the years gladly handed him classified information.
‘If Musharraf was to go down south (exit),’ Hersh said four years ago, ‘there’ll be a traffic jam! There’ll be the CIA, Mossad and RAW jumping in to grab your nuclear facilities. It will be a free-for-all. The ISI and the Pakhtoons are terribly concerned.’ Earlier, he alleged in a November 2001 New Yorker article that Al Qaida was founded at a 1988 meeting in Peshawar. He quoted a former Pakistani diplomat who said, ‘If you go through the officers’ list, almost all of the ISI regulars would say of the Taliban, ‘They are my boys.’’
I pressed on with my questions on Pakistan’s security issues vis-à-vis Iran and India. How would a nearly nuclear armed Iran react if India and Pakistan were to go to war? In his typical New York accent, he answered, ‘Iran is not making nuclear weapons. It’s Israel you should be worrying about. With 600 nukes bristling under its arm, Tel Aviv is the greatest threat to the regional security. Other than Pakistan, there’s no Muslim country with a bomb.’
Castigating the New York Times, Hersh continued, ‘I throw a challenge to the Times to do a critical piece on Israel’s foreign policy and how it influences America. We must separate ourselves from Israeli interests and stop Israel from confusing the issue.’
Except for two walkouts, the rest of the audience, a 1000-strong, clap and cheer when he speaks of Israeli lobbyists infiltrating the power corridors in America to successfully mind-control policy-makers.
‘Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation nor is it threatening our security one iota! Why then are the NYT and Washington Post pursuing the Israeli storyline? Israeli agents have infiltrated the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna. ‘Muslims are not terrorists, as Israel alleges.’
I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!
Thanks for sharing....
Here's an OpEd by Yosi Sarid in Haaretz about Israeli settlers campaign of terror in occupied Palestine:
Bullets are fired, trees are chopped down, fields are set ablaze, window panes are shattered and houses are subject to pogroms while the representatives of law and order keep themselves safe and at a distance.
By Yossi Sarid
It's impossible to ignore any longer the calming presence of the Shin Bet security service in our lives - from the hummus in Gaza to Noam Chomsky in Bir Zeit.
This hyperactivity demands an explanation: How can we explain that one arm is long and powerful, when it comes to those who wish to destroy us, whereas the other arm is short and delicate, when it comes to those exacting a "price tag."
At the beginning of the week, Aysar Zaban from a village near Ramallah was shot in the back and killed. He was 15 years old and will no longer throw stones at cars. They're looking for the gunman, and there's no chance they will find him.
How do I know? Very simple: Not a single settler has ever been caught. There have been hundreds of "terror-settler" events and all the avengers are still walking about free. There is evidence and there are traces, but there is no justice.
Bullets are fired, trees are chopped down, fields are set ablaze, window panes are shattered and houses are subject to pogroms while the representatives of law and order keep themselves safe and at a distance. Soldiers and policemen already understand the principle; the spirit of the commanders explained it to them.
How does a person dare make such accusations, just after Yaakov (Jack ) Teitel was finally caught? For 12 years he murdered Palestinians and planted explosive devices, and had he not made the foolish mistake of harming Jews as well - even though they were leftists - he would never have been found.
Now it has been ruled that his mental state makes him unfit to stand trial - as if Teitel has suddenly fallen ill with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The right to go mad like a cow is reserved for Jewish terrorists only.
And if he's so crazy, how was he so cunning as well, managing to deceive the Shin Bet with such sophistication for so long?
Murdering Babies is "Permissible" When They're Palestinian, say some Israeli rabbis of Chabad Lubavich ( whose Mumbai center was targeted by terrorists in Dec 2008), according to a piece by Alison Weir published in Counterpunch:
US media have been widely and repeatedly reporting on the awful March 11 murder of three small Israeli children and their parents. While no one yet knows who committed this act, reports presume that the murderers were Palestinian, and for this reason the incident is receiving major attention. Various heads of state, including President Obama, have condemned it.
If it turns out that the murderer or murderers were Israeli, as some previously presumed “terrorists” have turned out to be, or a foreign worker who had previously threatened the family over unpaid wages, as some reports from the area suggest, it is likely that coverage of the incident will quickly vanish from U.S. headlines.
For now, however, American news reports continue to provide excruciating details about the atrocity. Given the amount of reportage, it is surprising how much significant information is omitted.
Even lengthy articles on the tragic incident fail to mention the extremely relevant and chillingly ironic fact that Itamar was founded and is largely populated by fanatic Jewish extremists, many of whom believe that the killing of non-Jewish infants is religiously permitted, and sometimes mandated, as discussed in a best-selling book “The King’s Torah,” which was written by authors from the area and endorsed by numerous rabbis and religious schools (but opposed by most Israelis).
In their elaborate descriptions of the murder scene, U.S. articles neglect to mention that the building next door is the house of Chabad Lubavitch emissaries, a Hassidic movement in Orthodox Judaism, and features a photo of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known for his astoundingly supremacist teachings.
Schneerson is widely revered by such settlers (and his followers in the U.S.); many believed him to have been the messiah. In their book “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel,” professors Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky quote Schneerson’s teachings about the differences between Jews and non-Jews:
“… we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world...A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity…The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews...”
Egypt is easing Gaza restrictions, according to a report in The Independent:
A declaration by Egypt that it will permanently open its crossing into Gaza to ease the blockade on the territory has fuelled concerns in Israel about the future direction of Cairo's foreign policy.
Nabil al-Araby, Egypt's foreign minister, told Al-Jazeera that his country would take "important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come", and described Cairo's previous decision to seal the border as "shameful".
Egypt has already eased restrictions on movement across the Gaza border since the fall of the Mubarak regime. But free passage of goods and people into Gaza would be seen as a major security threat by Israel, which has argued that even with Egyptian co-operation on blocking arms shipments, Hamas was able to import weaponry into the territory and would do more without it.
It is not clear how comprehensive the opening of the crossing at Rafah will be, but Mr al-Araby's remarks follow a spate of others indicating a potential shift in foreign policy which is being closely watched in Israel.
A senior Israeli official told The Independent yesterday that the government had raised concerns with Egypt about a series of indications from Cairo that it was softening the more hostile policy maintained by the former president Hosni Mubarak towards Iran and Hamas. Both are seen by Israel as enemies.
The official said that Egypt, which on Wednesday said it had brokered a draft accord between the Palestinian party Fatah and its rival Hamas, had tended to respond by taking "account of public opinion now and some of that opinion is opposed to you [Israel]".
The Israeli official cited a more emollient tone in Egypt's pronouncements about Iran and a new "lenience" towards Hamas, exemplified in part by its apparent unconcern about Hamas prisoners who escaped from Egyptian jails during the uprising in February.
Although a recent poll indicated opposition to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel among a majority of Egyptians there have been no moves to annul it. But Egyptian analysts and officials say that the country is reassuming the pivotal role it once performed in the Arab world which had been hampered by the country's close diplomatic ties to Israel. "We are opening a new page," Menha Bakhoum, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry told The New York Times. "Egypt is resuming its role that was once abdicated."
Here's RT news on open bigotry of Israelis against Palestinians:
A new wave of hatred towards Palestine is sweeping through Israel from public figures to the man on the street. This hostility is in sharp contrast to efforts in Cairo, where Arab leaders and Western diplomats are trying to hammer out a peace plan.
While Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) official Nabil Sheath expressed hope Sunday night that negotiations would continue, very different noises were coming out of Israel.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Operation Pillar of Defense would continue and likely be expanded, a reference to the possibility that a ground offensive has already been given the go-ahead.
The war in Gaza “must be so painful and difficult that the terror groups will not think twice but a hundred times before they fire missiles against Israel again,” it was reported in The Israel National News.
“Destroy and damage infrastructure, public buildings and government buildings. We must make sure that Hamas will be spending many years rebuilding Gaza, and not attacking Israel,” he continued.
A few days ago he said, “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, only then will Israel be calm for the next 40 years.”
His words were relatively mild compared to some of the comments that have been coming out of Israel in recent days.
Journalist, Gilad Sharon, the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in an editorial in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday called for Gaza to be flattened like the US flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 with an atomic bomb.
“We need to flatten all of Gaza. The American’s didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough – so they hit Nagasaki too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire,” ranted Sharon.
As the former Prime Minister’s son publicly urged the military to wipe Gaza off the map, a member of the Knesset and the National Unity Party, Michael Ben-Ari, called for Israeli soldiers to kill Gazans without thought or mercy.
“There are no innocents in Gaza, don’t let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives – mow them down!” it was reported on the Hakol HaYehudi website.
He also told soldiers to ignore Goldstone; in reference to the UN commissioned Goldstone report on Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, which found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Israel Katz, the country’s transport minister, has called “for Gaza to be bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt.” While Avi Dichter, the minster of home front defense, has urged the IDF to “reformat” Gaza – to wipe it clean with bombs.
Even religious leaders joined the fray, with a prominent Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Yosef, the son of former chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, in a sermon at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron blessed IDF soldiers while urging them “to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy.”
The Syrian army has come under widespread international criticism for indiscriminately shelling and bombing whole civilian areas.
Incitement to kill by Israeli rabbis is nothing new. In 2007 Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad, urged Israel to kill a million Palestinians to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.
Regular Israeli citizens have also taken to the streets to almost gleefully express their racist hatred of the inhabitants of Gaza and other Arab states.
A group of Israelis demonstrating in Tel Aviv on Thursday night shouted “They don’t deserve to live, they need to die”, “May your children die” and “Now we want to go back there [Gaza] and kick out all the Arabs”. ...
#Israel soldier jailed for telling the truth about brutal occupation of #Palestine #FreePalestine http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.657936 …
“What makes a country good isn’t whether it is happy or not, it’s the ethics and morality of the country. When soldiers are conditioned and persuaded on a daily basis to subjugate and humiliate people and consider other human beings as less than human, I think that seeps in, and I think that when the soldiers go home … they bring that back with them.” Those words – precise, pained, obvious – are from Cpl. Shachar Berrin, 19, a lone soldier who wears a knitted skullcap and serves as a combat soldier in the Home Front Command rescue unit in the Jordan Valley.
Corporal Shachar Berrin, an immigrant from Australia and a religiously observant lone soldier – he has no family in Israel – is waiting to be sent to military prison. Berrin is a member of the rescue unit of the Home Front Command, and is stationed in the Jordan Valley.
Hundreds of British academics sign letter vowing to boycott #Israel. Jewish World News #boycottisrael #FreePalestine http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.682420 …
A letter in support of the Palestinian cause signed by 343 British academics is due to be published as a full page advert in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday.
Reporting on the letter, the Jewish Chronicle said that the signatories come from 72 institutions, including the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge universities.
"As scholars associated with British universities, we are deeply disturbed by Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement," the academics write in the letter.
The signatories of the letter undertake to reject invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions, to refuse to act as academic referees and to stay away from all conferences "funded, organized or sponsored" by Israeli institutions.
However, they say that they will continue to work with their Israeli colleagues "in their individual capacities."
The letter follows the launch last week of a pro-Israel initiative backed by 150 writers, artists and musicians, including Harry Potter author JK Rowling. That initiative opposes boycotts of Israel.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.682420
How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas
Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.
"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.
Instead of trying to curb Gaza's Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat's Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.
Last Saturday, after 22 days of war, Israel announced a halt to the offensive. The assault was aimed at stopping Hamas rockets from falling on Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hailed a "determined and successful military operation." More than 1,200 Palestinians had died. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.
Hamas responded the next day by lobbing five rockets towards the Israeli town of Sderot, a few miles down the road from Moshav Tekuma, the farming village where Mr. Cohen lives. Hamas then announced its own cease-fire.
Since then, Hamas leaders have emerged from hiding and reasserted their control over Gaza. Egyptian-mediated talks aimed at a more durable truce are expected to start this weekend. President Barack Obama said this week that lasting calm "requires more than a long cease-fire" and depends on Israel and a future Palestinian state "living side by side in peace and security."
A look at Israel's decades-long dealings with Palestinian radicals -- including some little-known attempts to cooperate with the Islamists -- reveals a catalog of unintended and often perilous consequences. Time and again, Israel's efforts to find a pliant Palestinian partner that is both credible with Palestinians and willing to eschew violence, have backfired. Would-be partners have turned into foes or lost the support of their people.
Israel's experience echoes that of the U.S., which, during the Cold War, looked to Islamists as a useful ally against communism. Anti-Soviet forces backed by America after Moscow's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan later mutated into al Qaeda.
New Study Finds 50-Year History of Anti-#Palestine Bias in Mainstream #News Reporting. The study, conducted by 416Labs, a Toronto-based consulting and research firm, is the largest of its kind. #media #MiddleEast #Israel #MediaBias https://www.mintpressnews.com/new-study-finds-50-year-history-of-pro-israel-bias-in-us-media/254049/#.XEYPJeLL8wg.twitter
by Kathryn Shihadah
recent media study based on an analysis of 50 years of data found that major U.S. newspapers have provided consistently skewed, pro-Israel reporting on Israel-Palestine.
The study, conducted by 416Labs, a Toronto-based consulting and research firm, is the largest of its kind.
Using computer analysis, researchers evaluated the headlines of five influential U.S. newspapers: the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal from 1967 to 2017.
The study period begins in June 1967, the date when Israel began its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – now officially termed the Occupied Palestinian Territories – following its Six Day War against Jordan, Egypt and Syria.
The methodology involved the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP), a type of computer analysis that sifts through large amounts of natural language data and investigates the vocabulary. NLP tabulated the most commonly used words and word pairs, as well as the positive or negative sentiment associated with the headlines.
Using NLP to analyze 100,000 headlines, the study revealed that the coverage favored Israel in the “sheer quantity of stories covered,” by presenting Palestinian-centric stories from a more negative point of view, as well as by grossly under-representing the Palestinian narrative, and by omitting or downplaying “key topics that help to identify the conflict in all its significance.”
The Fifty Years of Occupation study reveals a clear media bias first in the quantity of headlines: over the half-century period in question, headlines mentioned Israel 4 times more frequently than Palestine.
The study revealed other discrepancies in coverage of Israel and Palestine/Palestinians as well.
For all 5 newspapers studied, Israel-centric headlines were on average more positive than the Palestinian-centric headlines.
Sentiment analysis measures “the degree to which ideological loyalty colors analysis.”
In order to measure sentiment, the study employed a “dictionary” of words classified as either positive or negative; each headline was scored based on its use of these words.
The report explains that journalistic standards require news stories to be “neutral, objective, and derived from facts,” but the reports on Israel-Palestine “exhibit some form of institutionalized ideological posturing and reflect a slant.”
Underrepresented Palestinian Voices
The study also found Palestinians marginalized as sources of news and information.
A simple case in point: The fact-checking organization Pundit Fact examined CNN guests during a segment of the 2014 Israeli incursion into Gaza, Operation Protective Edge. Pundit Fact reported that during this time, 20 Israeli officials were interviewed, compared to only 4 Palestinians, although Palestinians were overwhelmingly victims of the incursion with 2,251 deaths vs. 73 Israeli deaths.
The study’s data reveal what it calls “the privileging of Israeli voices and, invariably, Israeli narratives”: the phrases “Israel Says” and “Says Israel” occurred at a higher frequency than any other bigram (2-word phrase) throughout the 50 years of headlines – in fact, at a rate 250% higher than “Palestinian Says” and similar phrases. This indicates that not only are Israeli perspectives covered more often, but Palestinians rarely have an opportunity to defend or explain their actions.
#Auschwitz Survivor - #Israelis are behaving like 1930s #Germans behaved. #Netanyahu #Palestine #HolocaustRemembrance - https://youtu.be/tVVNcPJZWBo via @YouTube
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