Storming The Gaza Ghetto

Defence Minister Ehud Barak asserted after the war that Israel had the most moral army in the world. These critics say Israelis should not be asked simply to accept that their army’s conduct was “faultless and public accountability uncalled for”.

  • “Better hit an innocent than hesitate to target an enemy,” is a typical description by one unidentified soldier of his understanding of instructions repeated at pre-invasion briefings and during the 22-day operation, from December 27 to January 18.
  • “In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”
  • Whole streets in parts of the Gaza Strip were razed to minimise the risk of Israeli casualties from small-arms attacks and booby-trap bombs. The United Nations says Gaza six months later is just beginning to clear 600,000 tonnes of rubble.
  • Soldiers describe a “Neighbour Procedure” in which civilians were forced to enter suspect buildings ahead of troops. They cite cases of civilians advancing in front of a soldier resting his rifle on their shoulder.
  • The report repeats charges – denied by Israel – that white phosphorus was fired indiscriminately into Gaza streets. It cites “massive destruction was unrelated to any direct threat to Israeli forces” and “permissive” rules of engagement.
  • To strip away cover for Hamas fighters, aerial bombardment, artillery, demolition charges and armoured bulldozers razed whole areas including gardens, and olive and orange groves. “We didn’t see a single house that was intact . . . that was not hit. The entire infrastructure, tracks, fields, roads, was in total ruin. The D-9 (bulldozer) had gone over everything,” the report quoted a soldier as saying.
  • “There was a clear feeling, and this was repeated whenever others spoke to us, that no humanitarian consideration played any role in the army at present. The goal was to carry out an operation with the least possible casualties for the army.”

The testimonies challenge assertions by Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups in the United States that “Israel did all it could to avoid civilian casualties”, as Kenneth Jacobson of the Anti-Defamation League wrote last week to the New York Times. The League denounced Amnesty International for labelling Israel’s actions as “wanton” destruction and said it was “outrageously accusing the Israeli military of war crimes”.

Soldiers in Israel’s largely conscript army have standing orders not to talk to the media. The 112-page report by Breaking the Silence includes testimonies of 30 “who served in all sectors of the operation”. (ht2 Jews sans frontieres)

Breaking The Silence

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So Whose Job Is The Council Doing?

A business plan to save a town’s swimming pool from closure has been supported by councillors. Gwynedd Council had wanted to close Harlech pool to save money, but local people submitted a business plan to run it with a community trust. The Friends of Harlech swimming pool want to invest in a climbing wall and cafe to attract more paying customers. If their plans had been rejected the council would have closed the pool at the end of July. The move to try and get the pool under community ownership is being followed with interest in other parts of Wales, which have already lost their pools.

Essentially the council have abrogated their responsibility to provide and run a pool, the people are going to do it, so what exactly is the council’s function then? If they do not run things on behalf of the people?

  1. what are they for?
  2. who are they actually serving?

Gwynedd council leader Dyfed Edwards said there was a need to look at ways to cut £15m from the budget over the next three years. “Can we sustain these assets and the buildings that we have across a large rural county such as Gwynedd for the future with the finance that we’re provided? The answer is no. “It’s all very well having a policy and an agenda from a national government – how do we deliver it locally is the question,” he said.

For the Friends of Harlech swimming pool’s plan to work they needed to be given the freehold of the building. On Tuesday the board of Gwynedd council discussed the pros and cons of the plan.

Other parts of the UK have already set up community trusts to run swimming pools. Alan Joyce has successfully run a community owned pool in Sheffield for the past 16 years.

Why cut £15 million, there are many times that in bonuses being paid to a few hundred sociopathic parasites in the City of London. Whose need is greater? A shiny suited already wealthy person or an area with large coastlines where children need to be taught how to swim? The crisis of capitalism is not an abstract, it is a class war with casualties and none of the people meant to represent us (and paid by us) are actually fighting for us.

UPDATE: In comments Earwicga informs me that the swimming pool was in competition with North Wales Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre [RASA], ie. these basic service have to compete for funding while government refuses to tax the untaxed capital of the ultra rich. The LABOUR government. Oh yeah, I am back I am fucking pissed off.

Honduran’s Right To Resist

The United States is now offering support for mediation efforts to be led by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias. The Obama administration tried to discourage the exiled Honduran president from his attempt this past Sunday to return to his country and has apparently succeeded, for the time being, in preventing him from trying again. Clinton pressed this point on Tuesday in pushing for mediation, arguing that it would be a “better route for him to follow than attempt to return in the fact of the intractable opposition of the de facto government.”

Clinton also said, “Instead of another confrontation…let’s try the dialogue process.” What this ignores is that while the coup plotters have no legitimate standing, the Honduran people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to rebel under such circumstances. According to Article 3 of the Honduran constitution:

“No one owes obedience to a government that has usurped power or to those who assume functions or public posts by the force of arms or using means or procedures that rupture or deny what the Constitution and the laws establish. The verified acts by such authorities are null. The people have the right to recur to insurrection in defense of the constitutional order.”

Although I wonder, are constitutions really just there to provide the illusion of democratic governance, real power resides in capital and the willingness and capacity to use violence, from killing to torture, (or to the structural violence of ‘welfare reforms’). In short it is all just window dressing that obscures a better name for Planet Earth might be- Bullyworld.

Here the Hondurans have the constitutional right to stage an insurrection, but absent the means and with the Empire’s -at best- ambivalence, it is all just words. Unless words are enforced with violence they are immaterial for a savage species. Sorry my misanthropy is showing. (ht2 Left Eye on the News)

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