Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wounded Knee 122 Years Later

December 29th marks the 122nd anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee. It is a story that remains fresh in the lives of many indigenous peoples across America. Each generation is taught to never forget.

Wounded Knee
In 1891, reviewing the history leading up to the massacre, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas Morgan said,

“It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of the calamity which happened to the Sioux people by the sudden disappearance of the buffalo. The boundless range was to be abandoned for the circumscribed reservation, and abundance of plenty to be supplanted by limited and decreasing government subsistence and supplies. Under these circumstances it is not in human nature not to be discontented and restless, even turbulent and violent.”

Commissioner Morgan was not empathetic about the plight of the indigenous people. He was just stating facts. One year prior to the massacre, in Oct 1889, he issued a policy paper stating his convictions regarding the native population.

“The Indians must conform to "the white man’s ways," peaceably if they will, forcibly if they must. They must adjust themselves to their environment, and conform their mode of living substantially to our civilization. This civilization may not be the best possible, but it is the best the Indians can get. They cannot escape it, and must either conform to it or be crushed by it. The tribal relations should be broken up, socialism destroyed, and the family and the autonomy of the individual substituted.”

The Wounded Knee Massacre is still commonly depicted as a “battle” that no one can be blamed for, but if blame is assigned it is always made clear that a Lakota fired the first shot. This is the justification for all that followed. A century after the murders, Congress issued an apology, expressing “deep regret” for the events on that day in 1890 when upwards of 370 men, women, and children were gunned down as they fled for their lives. But the Wounded Knee Massacre was not an anomaly, nor was it an accident. Wounded Knee is the entire history of indigenous peoples relationship with Imperialism made manifest in a single event.

“I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.” Black Elk.

The ancestors of the victims commemorate the massacre in order to honor those who have fallen and to foster healing of their still devastated communities. The ancestors of the perpetrators ignore inflicting the wound and the wound festers.

From Wounded Knee, where just days after the massacre a young newspaper editor named Frank Baum (later to become famous for the children’s story “The Wizard of Oz”) opined, “The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.“

To Vietnam, where Lyndon Johnson’s call to win hearts and minds of the civilian population was corrupted by GI’s to, "When you have them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow."

To Iraq, where Madeline Albright was asked if the deaths of ½ million children during sanctions was worth it, she replied "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it."

To Gaza, where Dov Weisglass said, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

To Iran where a new sanctions regime is in place and the state department claims, “The sanctions are beginning to bite,” and dozens of places in between, the wound festers. More


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Drone Strikes: Where are Obama's tears for these child victims?

"For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn't be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world. The container is filled with the humming of computers. It's the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren't flying through the air. They're just sitting at the controls." Innocent women and children were killed by drone strikes in the al-Majala region of Yemen. The United States is responsible for a very high number of innocent civilian deaths from drone strikes; a soldier wracked with guilt told his story of dehumanizing rationalization after killing a child. The senseless deaths of innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut devastated the nation, causing President Obama to cry openly for them. Why are children in places like Yemen or Pakistan not mourned? Cenk Uygur discusses the disparity. *Read more from Nicola Abé/ Read more about the deaths caused by drone strikes from Brave New Foundation: Support The Young Turks by Subscribing Support The Young Turks by Like Us on Facebook: Follow Us on Twitter: Buy TYT <b>...</b>

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Democracy? Not!

Arab-Israeli politician Haneen Zoabi disqualified from re-election

MP who was on board flotilla that attempted to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza in 2010 has faced long campaign for expulsion

An Israeli-Arab politician who took part in an attempt to breach the blockade of Gaza has been disqualified from standing in next month's general election after being accused of undermining the state of Israel.

The central elections committee voted 19-9 to back a motion brought by rightwingers against Haneen Zoabi's candidacy. The decision has been automatically referred to the supreme court, which must rule before the end of the month.

Before the hearing, Zoabi said her disqualification would mean "disqualifying an entire generation of young Arabs".

Danny Danon, a member of parliament for the ruling Likud party who presented a 11,000-signature petition calling for Zoabi's disqualification, told the Guardian: "Her place is not in the Knesset [Israeli parliament] but in jail. Democracy must have its limits." Zoabi had worked "against the interests of the state and for our enemies," he added.

One of 11 MPs representing Arab parties, Zoabi has faced a robust campaign since she took part in a flotilla of ships attempting to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza in May 2010. Nine Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, on which Zoabi was a passenger.

Her parliamentary privileges were revoked but an attempt to bring criminal charges against her failed. She was assigned special protection after a number of death threats were made against her.

The committee cited Zoabi's participation in the flotilla as the chief reason for her disqualification.

David Rotem, an MP for the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, told the committee: "To say that a member of Knesset was aboard the Mavi Marmara does not constitute the critical mass equalling support for a terrorist organisation reflects a lack of understanding of what happened aboard that ship."

Another far-right MP, Michael Ben-Ari, said the aim of the disqualification was to ensure "our kids will be able to live in a normal Jewish state, not one in which 30 Zoabis serve in the Knesset". More


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Are some Israeli's on their way to becoming Nazis? by Haitham Sabbah

Some and perhaps many will regard my headline question as offensive but I make no apology for asking it; and I take comfort from the fact that my decision to pose it is fully supported by one of my very dear friends – holocaust survivor Dr. .

Before I ran my proposed headline past him, I was well aware that he believes, and has said in public, that is seeking to dehumanize the Palestinians in the same way the sought to dehumanize him in the concentration camp.

When I asked him if he thought my proposed headline question should be asked, he said “Yes, absolutely.” He added: “Zionism is to modern enlightened what was to’s traditional ethical values.” (One of Hajo’s most important books is titled An Ethical Tradition Betrayed, The End of Judaism).

The headline was provoked in my mind at the end of October by the announcement that with the approach of next January’s election, ’s ruling Likud party led by Prime Minister is joining forces with , the ultra-nationalist group led by , the extreme-right foreign minister in the present coalition government.

As noted by Larry Derfner (who was fired from The Jerusalem Post for telling some truths on his web site), “Lieberman has a thoroughly deserved international reputation as an Arab-hating, war-loving, neo-fascist”. (Derfner also noted that the label “neo-fascist” was pinned on Lieberman by , “the stridently pro-Israel, ex-publisher of The New Republic.”)

is one of those concept words with meaning that depends to some extent on what is happening at a particular moment in history. Germany under Hitler, Italy under Mussolini and Spain under Franco were fascist states. The hallmarks of this fascism were governments dominated by dictators with magnetic personalities, who rallied their followers with messages which appealed to strident nationalism and promoted suspicion or hatred of both foreigners and “impure” people within their own nations (mainly in Hitler’s case).

Today the term fascist is generally used to describe governments or individual leaders (as well as military dictatorships) which practice racism even if they do not preach it, and act in an arbitrary, self-righteous way in defiance of international law.

In October 2010, Uri Avnery wrote a warning piece with the headline Weimar In Jerusalem: The Rise of fascism in Israel. He concluded that Israel was not yet the “goose-stepping” Germany of Hitler’s days but could become something very like it unless Israeli society mobilized the democratic forces within itself. He added: ”But for that to happen, it must awake from the coma, understand what is happening and where it is leading to, protest and struggle by all available means – as long as that is still possible – in order to arrest the fascist wave that is threatening to engulf us.” More


More collective punishment of Palestinian's by Isreal

Palestinian official accuses Israel of desperation after second punitive response to UN vote recognising state of Palestine.

Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah
Israel has seized more than $120m (£75m)in tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in response to last week's overwhelming vote at the UN general assembly to recognise the state of Palestine.

The move came as the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, returned to cheering crowds in Ramallah in the West Bank following Thursday's vote, in which 138 countries backed enhanced "non-member state" status for Palestine. Only nine countries opposed the move and 41 abstained.

The financial sanction is Israel's second punitive response to the vote. On Friday, it announced a big settlement expansion programme.

An Israeli official said Israel was entitled to deduct the sum from a debt of more than $200m (£125m) owed by the PA to the Israel Electric Corporation. But he conceded that the move was in response to the UN vote, and that it could be repeated next month. "A lot depends on what the Palestinians do or don't do," he said.

The Israeli finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, told Israel Radio: "I do not intend this month to transfer the funds to the Palestinians. In the coming period I intend to use the money to deduct debts the PA owes to the Israel Electric Corporation and other bodies."

A spokeswoman for the PA declined to comment, saying Palestinian officials had not been officially notified of the move. But Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestinian official, said Israel was guilty of "piracy and theft" by refusing to hand over the funds, according to news agency reports.

Israel had been expected to take punitive measures following the UN vote. A Palestinian official said the withholding of tax revenues was an "act of desperation" in the face of overwhelming international support for a Palestinian state.

In the past, Israel has frozen the monthly revenues as a sanction against the PA, resulting in the late payment of salaries for thousands of public servants in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sunday's decision followed the announcement – within hours of the UN vote – of a big settlement expansion programme, including the controversial development of highly sensitive land close to Jerusalem.

On Friday, Israel said it would build 3,000 new homes in settlements across the pre-1967 Green Line. It also said it would push ahead with the development of an area known as E1, which would close off East Jerusalem – the intended future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank. The announcement drew condemnation from the US and Britain. More


Noam Chomsky: How to stop Israeli crimes and bring peace to Gaza

AN OLD MAN in Gaza held a placard that reads: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”1

The old man’s message provides the proper context for the timelines on the latest episode in the savage punishment of Gaza. They are useful, but any effort to establish a “beginning” cannot help but be misleading.

The crimes trace back to 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled in terror or were expelled to Gaza by conquering Israeli forces, who continued to truck them over the border for years after the official cease-fire.

The persecution of Gazans took new forms when Israel conquered the Strip in 1967. From recent Israeli scholarship we learn that the goal of the government was to drive the refugees into the Sinai, and if feasible the rest of the population too.

Expulsions from Gaza were carried out under the direct orders of General Yeshayahu Gavish, commander of the Southern Command. Expulsions from the West Bank were far more extreme, and Israel resorted to devious means to prevent the return of those expelled, in direct violation of Security Council orders.

The reasons were made clear in internal discussion immediately after the war. Golda Meir, later Prime Minister, informed her Labor colleagues that Israel should keep the Gaza Strip while “getting rid of its Arabs.” Defense Minister Dayan and others agreed. Prime Minister Eshkol explained that those expelled cannot be allowed to return because “We cannot increase the Arab population in Israel” – referring to the newly occupied territories, already tacitly considered part of Israel. In accord with this conception, all of Israel’s maps were changed, expunging the Green Line (the internationally recognized borders), though publication was delayed to permit UN Ambassador Abba Eban to attain what he called “favorable impasse” at the General Assembly, by concealing Israel’s intentions.2

The goals may remain alive, and might be a factor contributing to Egypt’s reluctance to open the border to free passage of people and goods barred by the US-backed Israeli siege.

The current upsurge of US-Israeli violence dates to January 2006, when Palestinians voted “the wrong way” in the first free election in the Arab world. Israel and the US reacted at once with harsh punishment of the miscreants, and preparation of a military coup to overthrow the elected government, routine procedure. The punishment was radically intensified in 2007, when the coup attempt was beaten back, and the elected Hamas government established full control over Gaza.

The standard version of these events is more anodyne, for example, in the New York Times, November 29: “Hamas entered politics by running in, and winning, elections in the Palestinian territories in 2006. But it was unable to govern in the face of Western opposition and in 2007 took power in the Gaza Strip by force, deepening the political split [with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority].”3

Ignoring immediate Hamas offers of a truce after the 2006 election, Israel launched attacks that killed 660 Palestinians in 2006, mostly civilians, one-third minors. The escalation of attacks in 2007 killed 816 Palestinians, 360 civilians and 152 minors. The UN reports that 2879 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire from April 2006 through July 2012, along with several dozen Israelis killed by fire from Gaza.4 More

One has to question the United States liability for the crimes against humanity committed by its client state Israel whom it supplies with high-tech weapons systems and political intervention in the UN Security Council. Editor

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Personification of Self-righteousness

November 30, 2012 "Information Clearing House" - In the song Mack the Knife there’s a line about a body on the sidewalk “oozing” life. Last night there was a body, a living one, oozing self-righteousness.

It was not on the sidewalk. It was at the speaker’s podium in the General Assembly. It was that of His Excellency Mr. Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, presenting lies as truth before the vote which overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state

What crap! (Dictionary definition – “excrement, rubbish, dirt, worthless nonsense”).

But am I being fair to Prosor? There’s a case for saying that I am not and it’s this. The Zionist (not Jewish) states does want peace, has always wanted peace. The problem is that it wants peace on its own terms, terms which require the surrender of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians to Zionism’s will; terms which give the them the choice of accepting a few crumbs from Zionism’s table or being removed from it in a final ethnic cleansing.

Until last night I thought that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was the personification of self-righteousness, but Prosor is above even him in this field. Prosor’s self-righteousness is not only in his words as he speaks them, it’s in his eyes and his whole body language.

The message I got from watching and listening to him was this: “I know I’m a self-righteous son-of-a-bitch, and I know you know I am, but I don’t care. My country is the nuclear-armed superpower of its region. We don’t give a damn about this UN General Assembly. Only the Security Council matters and we – our leaders in Israel and our lobby here in the U.S – have the ability and the means to see to it that every American president vetoes any proposal that comes before the Security Council which is not to our liking.”

But still I found myself applauding Prosor for his performance, especially his concluding assertion that Israel wants peace and the Palestinians are “avoiding” it. Why?

The short answer was put into words by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book, Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in English in 1986, he wrote:

“No factor endangers Israel’s future more than self-righteousness, which blinds us to reality, prevents a complex understanding of the situation and legitimizes extreme behaviour.” More



Palestine UN status upgrade should "open door to justice"

Palestine's historic recognition as a non-member observer state of the United Nations brings with it obligations under international law, Amnesty International said today.

The vote at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday was decided by 138 votes in favour, 41 abstentions, and nine against.

Palestine is in a position to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other human rights and international humanitarian law treaties, bolstering accountability for human rights violations and crimes under international law.

Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International, Widney Brown said:

"This would open the door for victims of human rights abuses to seek justice and empower them to claim their rights.

“In particular, it should advance efforts to ensure international justice for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by all sides in the 2008-2009 conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.

"Palestine should promptly accede to the Rome Statute affirming that it accepts the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed since 1 July 2002. It should also accede to related treaties and agreements.

"The victims who suffered during the 2008-2009 conflict have waited too long for justice. Palestine should act quickly to ensure justice is delayed no longer."

Unacceptable pressure to renounce justice

Amnesty is concerned at reports that several states, including the UK and the USA, put pressure on Palestinian diplomats to renounce accountability mechanisms for crimes under international law.

Widney Brown added:

“Victims’ access to justice is not something to be bartered away. This attitude is particularly alarming in light of reported violations of international humanitarian law committed in Gaza and Israel during recent hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.”

Amnesty has condemned the continuing failure by both the Hamas de-facto administration in Gaza and by Israel to conduct prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations of suspected crimes committed during the 2008-2009 conflict.

Collective punishment

Also of particular concern are the threats by Israel that it will withhold money due to the Palestinian Authority because of the UN vote on Palestinian statehood.

Restrictions on movement of goods and people by Israel have already put a stranglehold on the Palestinian economy and forced many Palestinians into dependence on humanitarian aid.

Amnesty has repeatedly urged Israel to lift completely its blockade on Gaza, which imposes a collective punishment on more than 1.4 million Palestinians in clear violation of international law.

Widney Brown added:

"Withholding money or resources will exacerbate the humanitarian situation. Under international law, Israel, as the occupying power, is forbidden from using collective punishment and is responsible for the welfare of those occupied.” More


For the First Time, Obama Official Sketches Out End to War on Terror

Neither the George W. Bush nor Barack Obama White House ever laid out a vision for what an end to the war on terrorism would actually look like. But as Obama prepares for his second term in office, one of his top defense officials is arguing that there is an end in sight, and laying out conditions for when the U.S. will reach it.

Jeh Johnson

“On the present course, there will come a tipping point,” Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, told the Oxford Union in the U.K. on Friday, “a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al-Qaida and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, such that al-Qaida as we know it, the organization that our Congress authorized the military to pursue in 2001, has been effectively destroyed.” At that point, “our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict.”

Johnson’s description of the endgame raises more questions than answers. But under his formulation, the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), which the Obama administration has cited as the foundation of its wartime powers, would expire. That would mean any detainee at Guantanamo Bay who hasn’t been charged with a crime would be free to go, although Johnson says that wouldn’t necessarily happen immediately. It would also raise questions about whether the U.S. would possess residual legal authorities for its lethal drone program — which Johnson defended to the BBC on Thursday — including the legal basis for any “postwar” drone strike the CIA might perform.

In Johnson’s view, once al-Qaida’s ability to launch a strategic attack is gone, so too is the war. What will remain is a “counterterrorism effort” against the “individuals who are the scattered remnants” of the organization or even unaffiliated terrorists. “The law enforcement and intelligence resources of our government are principally responsible” for dealing with them, Johnson said, according to the text of his speech, with “military assets in reserve” for an imminent threat.

Johnson, considered one of the more liberal voices on Obama’s senior national security team, notably did not say when the U.S. will reach his tipping point. And his vague argument is more likely to provoke debate than settle any legal or strategic questions about the war. But it comes at an auspicious time: just before Obama’s second term, when there are visible stirrings in Congress to finally close Guantanamo Bay and accelerate an end to the Afghanistan war. Johnson, according to Foreign Policy’s Kevin Baron, is also under consideration to become attorney general, a post from which he’d have greater influence to conclude the war. It’s also notable that Johnson’s current boss, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, recently backed away from his earlier rhetoric that the war is abating and heralded its spread to new battlefields in Africa.

Johnson’s not a commander. He’s the Pentagon’s general counsel, meaning his most direct involvement in the war on terrorism surrounds the military’s ability to detain suspected terrorists during the conflict. In his view, once the conflict ends, Guantanamo Bays doors have to swing open. Just maybe not immediately.

“In general, the military’s authority to detain ends with the ‘cessation of active hostilities’,” Johnson said. But he pointedly noted that both the U.S. and U.K. governments “delayed the release of some Nazi German prisoners of war” after World War II ended. Still, that would mean the vast majority of Guantanamo’s 166 detainees, those who haven’t been charged with any crime, would be ultimately free to go — a position almost guaranteed to spark controversy.

Murkier still is what it would mean for intelligence and law enforcement to target the “scattered remnants” of al-Qaida. Most significantly, once the AUMF expires, big questions would immediately arise about the legal framework for the apparatus of drone strikes and commando raids that President Obama hasexpanded and institutionalized for the long haul. The CIA in particular is a question mark: since the legal rationale for its drone program has never been disclosed, its dependency on the AUMF or its typical “Title 50″ authorities is unclear. More


Palestine: The meaning of a status upgrade

There was a great show of support for the Palestinians as they bid to upgrade their status at the United Nations. But the move was also strongly opposed by Israel and the United States.

After years of long, inconclusive negotiations, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, asked the UN General Assembly to recognise the non-member state of Palestine in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Abbas has been leading the campaign to win support for the resolution, and over a dozen European governments have offered him their support.

"We Palestinians are taking the Israelis all the way with us, for the world to recognise Israeli borders of 1967, because Israel never ever admitted its borders. [The bid] is to keep safe and alive what is left of the two-state solution before it is too late, and it's to awaken the Israeli public [asking them] 'how can you cope with an apartheid system with endless occupation?'"

- Mahdi Abdel Hadi, Palestinian Academic Society

The non-member observer state falls short of full UN membership. But a successful bid means the Palestinians would be allowed access to the International Criminal Court, where they could seek action against Israel on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Over the past 60 years, there have been many attempts to achieve Palestinian statehood.

In 1947, the partition resolution was adopted by the General Assembly, supporting an independent Jewish State and an independent Arab State; that was rejected by the Arabs.

But In 1974, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was granted observer status at the UN - which it holds to this day - allowing it to take part in General Assembly sessions, without the right to vote.

Then in 1988, the PLO unilaterally declared a State of Palestine at a meeting in Algeria.

And in 1993 the Oslo Accord was signed in Washington; that created the Palestinian Authority and granted limited autonomy to the Palestinian territories.

In 2003, the so-called Road Map was drafted by the Middle East quartet, stipulating the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.

"[Palestinians] are trying to impose on Israel something that Israelis cannot accept in terms of Israeli security, and also they are not willing to recognise that on the other side of the border there will be a Jewish state."

- Dan Schueftan, University of Haifa

And in September 2011, President Abbas submitted an application to join the UN as a full member state. But the bid failed because of a lack of support in the UN Security Council.

Both Israel and the US have rejected the most recent bid by Palestine to be recognised as a non-member observer state. Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, said the bid is a "virtual move without any substance", while Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said it would serve no purpose. .

So, how would a new status at the UN help the Palestinians? How would they use their newfound status? And how would it affect future peace efforts?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

PCHR Statement On Ongoing Attacks Against Palestinian Fishermen In Gaza

The Continued Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen Prove False Israeli Claims of Permitting Fishermen to Fish up to 6 Nautical Miles.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns Israel's violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, which continue in spite of the Israeli authorities' announcement of allowing the fishermen to fish up to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza shore.

PCHR calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war, to intervene to immediately stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.

PCHR has been following up the progress at the Gaza sea, since the Israeli forces stopped its offensive on the Gaza Strip, from 14 to 21 November 2012, under terms of the truce deal between the Palestinian armed groups and Israel under Egyptian and international auspices.

Since Thursday, 22 November 2012, the Palestinian fishermen have been able to fish within 6 nautical miles, under intense surveillance by the Israeli gunboats which were deployed near the Palestinian fishing boats.

A number of fishermen have sailed up to 6 nautical miles during the past few days. They were very cautious because of the presence of the Israeli gunboats nearby, bearing in mind that the Israeli authorities did not officially announce the new fishing distance allowed for the Palestinian fishermen to access.

PCHR documented Israeli violations committed against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza sea between Thursday, 22 November 2012, (the first day of the enforcement of the truce deal) and Thursday, 29 November 2012. These violations were as follows:

• On Monday, 26 November 2012, Israeli gunboats intercepted a fishing boat while it sailed at 8 nautical miles out of the Gaza city shore. According to fisherman Amjad Ismail Ahmed al-Sherafi (38) from Gaza, at approximately 09:30, he and his brother Mohammad (34) sailed their in the Gaza waters when an Israeli gunboat intercepted him and forced him to stop at gunpoint and sail back without pulling his fishing nets out of the sea.

• At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 28 November 2012, Israeli forces chased a fishing boat belonging to Murad Rajab al-Hessi, from Gaza, at nearly 6 nautical miles off the shore from Deir al-Balah. Mohammad Murad al-Hessi (39), Ahmed Murad al-Hessi (32), Murad Mohammad al-Hessi (18) and Rajab Rashad al-Hessi (36) were on board of the boat. 4 Israeli gunboats opened intensive fire at the boat, which caused damage to the boat. The Israeli soldiers then ordered the fishermen to jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They were all arrested and interrogated at gunpoint. 3 hours later, 4 of them were released. However, Mohammad Murad al-Hessi remains in detention. In addition, the boat still remains confiscated.

• At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 28 November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened intense and direct fire at a Palestinian fishing boat, belonging to Khader Jamal Baker (20), from Gaza, while he sailed at 3.5 nautical miles. As a result, the fishing boat was destroyed. Baker was arrested by Israeli soldiers who interrogated with him at gunpoint for 3 hours before releasing him. More


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Did Britain try blackmail to cripple Palestine UN bid? YES!

Britain’s Foreign Office, on its website, states loudly and clearly:

“The UK is committed to upholding international justice and all of our international obligations. Our core principle is clear. Those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice whether they are Israeli or any other nationality. We are also committed to ensuring that UK systems are robust in meeting its international law obligations.”

Yet ugly rumours are flying that the government twisted the arm of President Abbas and told him the UK would only support ’s modest upgrade to ‘observer state’ at the UN (to be decided tomorrow, Thursday) if he pledged not to pursue Israeli war criminals through the .

“Promise not to prosecute Israeli war criminals, not to go for full UN membership, not to seek justice but submit to rigged talks, and we’ll support you”

In a statement issued yesterday by the Palestinian Mission in, Ambassador Hassassian says: “It was reported recently in several media outlets that in exchange for its – the ’s – support of the Palestinian UN bid it wants guarantees from Abbas including: (1) That the Palestinians will not bring cases against Israeli officials to the ICC or other UN agencies…(2) That the Palestinians will not use UN observer status as a basis for a renewed appeal to the for full membership to the UN…(3) That Abbas will commit to renewing peace talks with without preconditions.

“Such steps would undermine the Palestinian leadership and its credibility with its own constituents. The British government is once again putting conditions for its support to the Palestinian people instead of shouldering its historic responsibility towards them… I urge the British government to fulfil its responsibility and stand at the right side of history by recognizing the state ofPalestine and voting in favour of an enhanced Palestinian status at the UN.”

This morning the Palestinian embassy in London was unable to verify that any such pressure was put on Abbas. But that is not to say it didn’t happen and numerous media sources got it wrong. The conversation was likely to have taken place in Ramallah, and Ramallah is not noted for its responsiveness to media questions. More


Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault

A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.

Hamas police station destroyed by an Israeli air strike
The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.

The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights.

"Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel's decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel," the letter says.

"Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past."

The letter accuses several countries of providing important military support that facilitated the assault on Gaza. "While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel's military complex through its research programmes.

"Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom," it says.

The letter opens with a quote from Nelson Mandela: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

The other signatories include John Dugard, a South African jurist and former UN special rapporteur in the occupied territories; Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European parliament; Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress; Ronnie Kasrils, a South African former cabinet minister; and the dramatist Caryl Churchill. More


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'Flatten All Of Gaza' - The 'Benghazi Moment' That Didn't Matter

On March 30, 2011 - eleven days into Nato’s war on Libya - Professor Juan Cole wrote from his armchair at the University of Michigan:

‘The Libya intervention is legal [sic] and was necessary to prevent further massacres… and if it succeeds in getting rid of Qaddafi’s murderous regime and allowing Libyans to have a normal life, it will be worth the sacrifices in life and treasure. If NATO needs me, I’m there.’

Cole thus declared himself ready to suit up and reach for the sky with Nato's bombers. It was an extraordinary moment.

The rationale, of course, was the alleged risk of a massacre in Benghazi by Gaddafi's forces. Cole told Democracy Now!:

‘They mounted tanks, 30, 40, 50 tanks, sent them into the downtowns of places like Zawiyah, and they just shelled civilian crowds, protesters… And then they started rolling the tanks to the east, and they were on the verge of taking the rebel stronghold, Benghazi. And there certainly would have been a massacre there in the same way that there was in Zawiyah, if it hadn’t been stopped at the last moment by United Nations allies.’

This was mostly a product of the fevered atmosphere generated every time state-corporate propaganda targets a ‘New Hitler’ for destruction (Gaddafi, Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Assad, et al). Two or three weeks of sustained moral outrage from Washington, London and Paris, echoed across the media, are more than sufficient to generate the required hysteria. Almost anything can then be claimed, with even rational questioning denounced as 'apologetics for tyranny’. In The Politics of Genocide, Edward Herman and David Peterson wrote:

‘The vulgar politicisation of the concept of genocide, and the “emerging international norm” of humanitarian intervention, appear to be products of the fading of the Cold War, which removed the standard pretexts for intervention while leaving intact the institutional and ideological framework for its regular practice during those years.’ (Herman and Peterson, The Politics of Genocide, Monthly Review Press, 2010, pp.10-11)

With mainstream political parties no longer exercising restraint on the war wagon, the need to 'do something' can be turned on and off like a tap.

By way of a rare exception, Seumas Milne noted in the Guardian of Gaddafi that ‘there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000’.

But most of the press was untroubled by a lack of evidence - the West was simply right to act. A leader in The Times commented on October 21, 2011:

‘Without this early, though sensibly limited, intervention, there would have been a massacre in Benghazi on the scale of Srebrenica.’ (Leading article, 'Death of a Dictator,' The Times)

An Independent editorial agreed:

'Concern was real enough that a Srebrenica-style massacre could unfold in Benghazi, and the UK Government was right to insist that we would not allow this.’ (Leading article, ‘The mission that crept,’ Independent, July 29, 2011)

‘We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

'We Must Blow Gaza Back To The Middle Ages'

With the above in mind, consider that, on November 16, on the third day of Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, with at least 18 Palestinians already killed, the BBC reported:

‘Israel's aerial bombardment of Gaza has intensified after it authorised the call-up of 30,000 army reservists, amid reports of a possible ground offensive.’

Israel's cabinet quickly approved the activation of 75,000 reservists, as well as hundreds of Merkava main battle tanks, armoured bulldozers and other assault vehicles, which were transported into position for attack.

Was a massacre looming? The Israeli deputy prime minister Eli Yishai appeared to promise as much on November 18:

‘We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water.’

A prominent front-page article in the Jerusalem Post by Gilad Sharon, son of the former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, openly advocated mass killing:

‘We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans 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.’ More


Thursday, November 22, 2012

What was it all for?

The murder of Palestinians and Israelis is just a prelude to the next Gaza war

So what was it all for? The 11-month old Palestinian baby killed with its entire family by an Israeli pilot, the 150-odd Palestinian dead – two thirds of them civilians – the six Israeli dead, 1,500 air raids on Gaza, 1,500 rockets on Israel. What fearful symmetry! But was all this done – and let us forget the billions of dollars of weapons spent by Israel – for a ceasefire? Not a peace treaty, not even a treaty, just a truce. Before the next Gaza war.

Cynics abound in Israel, and not without reason. “End of a military operation, beginning of an election campaign,” ran a headline in The Jerusalem Post yesterday – albeit in a newspaper that has given its usual support to war in Gaza.

Hardly Churchillian

But surely Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign for the January elections began the moment he ordered the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, the Hamas leader, just over a week ago. Indeed, the bombing of Gaza moved seamlessly into the Netanyahu election project: if Israelis want security, they know who to vote for.

Or do they? It was evident after the ceasefire began on Wednesday night that Mr Netanyahu was worried.

“I know that there are citizens who expect an even harsher military action…” he began, but “Israel’s challenges” had become more complicated down the years. “Under these conditions, we need to steer the ship of state responsibly and with wisdom.” An interesting choice of words, but Churchillian it was not.

For years now, Mr Netanyahu has been pressing ahead with Jewish colonies on West Bank land stolen from Arabs, effectively denying any future Palestinian statehood – and steering his own “ship of state” into a future tempest. If the Palestinians can have no state, Israel will have no peace, and Hamas rockets will in time look like an inconvenience in comparison to what is to come.So what was it all for? The 11-month old Palestinian baby killed with its entire family by an Israeli pilot, the 150-odd Palestinian dead – two thirds of them civilians – the six Israeli dead, 1,500 air raids on Gaza, 1,500 rockets on Israel. What fearful symmetry! But was all this done – and let us forget the billions of dollars of weapons spent by Israel – for a ceasefire? Not a peace treaty, not even a treaty, just a truce. Before the next Gaza war.

Cynics abound in Israel, and not without reason. “End of a military operation, beginning of an election campaign,” ran a headline in The Jerusalem Post yesterday – albeit in a newspaper that has given its usual support to war in Gaza.

But surely Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign for the January elections began the moment he ordered the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, the Hamas leader, just over a week ago. Indeed, the bombing of Gaza moved seamlessly into the Netanyahu election project: if Israelis want security, they know who to vote for.

Or do they? It was evident after the ceasefire began on Wednesday night that Mr Netanyahu was worried.

“I know that there are citizens who expect an even harsher military action…” he began, but “Israel’s challenges” had become more complicated down the years. “Under these conditions, we need to steer the ship of state responsibly and with wisdom.” An interesting choice of words, but Churchillian it was not.

For years now, Mr Netanyahu has been pressing ahead with Jewish colonies on West Bank land stolen from Arabs, effectively denying any future Palestinian statehood – and steering his own “ship of state” into a future tempest. If the Palestinians can have no state, Israel will have no peace, and Hamas rockets will in time look like an inconvenience in comparison to what is to come. More


Gaza: six shocking facts of everyday life

The world breathed a sigh of relief when a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was declared – and thankfully it looks to be holding. But real and lasting peace will only be possible when this situation is resolved:

That’s not all. The last Israeli military operations in 2008-9 left 50,000 people in Gaza homeless; the impact of the past week's bombardment is still uncertain, but it is certain to be heavy. Add to that, over 4,500 people are packed into every square kilometre of Gaza, making it one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

It's past time to fix the root causes of this conflict. If you agree, sign below and share this with everybody. More

Sources: United Nations, Guardian, NPR, International Business Times, Huffington Post


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Psychological warfare on the digital battlefield

Cyber attacks, battling social media, and bogus text messages are all contemporary weapons in Operation Pillar of Defense.

Israel's campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip is being conducted in the air as well as over the airwaves. But on this front, the Palestinians are fighting with at least one hand tied behind their backs.

There has been no other case in the history of modern warfare where one side controls all the communication infrastructure of the other, as is the case here. All of Gaza's telephone networks and internet servers go through Israel; every phone conversation and email is rooted through Israeli territory and from there sent on through underwater fiber-optic cables to the rest of the world.

Israel hasn't cut Gazans off, technologically, from the outside world for a number of reasons. The official one is to not cause unnecessary harm to the civilian population. Beyond that, the security establishment doesn't want to relinquish the intelligence opportunities from having access to Gaza's communications. Plus, there's the PR consideration to not create a media blackout which would allow rumors of a humanitarian crisis to percolate.

The control over the telephone networks also allows the IDF to issue warnings to specific homes which, according to intelligence, are being used to store arms or serve as local Hamas command posts. Civilians in these homes are called and warned that they are about to be bombed and should leave immediately. From reports in Gaza, these phone-calls were specific and much more focused than in Operation Cast Lead four years ago, when nearly all the civilians in Gaza received phone-calls giving them a general warning not to be caught near Hamas facilities and the firing zone.

The networks in Gaza are managed through the Palestinian Authority's Telecommunications Ministry along with the Israeli Defense Ministry's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and includes allocations of wavelengths to mobile phone operators, radio and television stations. On Sunday, Israel burst into broadcasts of Gazan television and radio, broadcasting warnings in Arabic to residents to avoid Hamas bases and the border area. These interruptions were an addition to the hundreds of thousands leaflets containing similar warnings released from fighter-jets. More Behine Pay-wall unfortunatly.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The bailout of the 99% by the 99%

Why should the 1% get all the bailouts? Now, an Occupy Wall Street offshoot has launched an exciting project called Rolling Jubilee that lets you turn a little cash into a helping hand for folks who deserve it a lot more than Bank of America does.

Here's the deal. Jubilee is an ancient biblical tradition in which, periodically, debts were forgiven, slaves were freed and slates were wiped clean. It was a time for starting afresh, of renewal. Now, Rolling Jubilee takes that concept to a new level. According to their website, it works like this:

Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.

Millions of working people are still haunted by the debt they ran up while trying to stay afloat during the Great Recession. And while the government doled out hundreds of billions of dollars to big corporations and too-big-to-fail banks, normal folks have been pretty much left to fend for themselves.

By wiping out this debt, Rolling Jubilee spares thousands of hard-pressed people the agonies of getting pursued by aggressive collection agencies, many of whom use abusive, illegal practices to try and extract money from people who might be struggling to get back on their feet after losing a job, falling ill or other personal disasters.

So far, Rolling Jubilee says it's collected nearly $300,000 in donations, enough to extinguish more than $5m in debt. The group hopes to grow a broad debt resistance movement – and help build a non-exploitative economy that works for everybody.

Learn more: This trailer for the documentary film Maxed Out features professor (now, newly elected US senator) Elizabeth Warren explaining the predatory practices of banks and credit card companies. Then, if that doesn't make you angry enough, check out this ABC News expose of outrageous practices in the collections industry. More