Secret Database Reveals Truth Of Israeli Settlement Agenda

Bottom line, 75% of settlements are illegal under Israeli laws, (and as Pulse points out Haaretz who reported this and the BBC who also cover it neglect to mention that 100% of settlements have been declared illegal by the World Court) and while publicly taking a stance against illegal settlements the government in fact is fully aware and complicit in their construction as this database reveals. The ‘Middle East conflict’ is an ongoing colonisation meeting resistance, until that is out in the open and challenged the ‘conflict ‘ will continue as Palestinians are killed in order to take their land and Israelis are killed for occupying the stolen land. Short excerpt of the Haaretz story

Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration.

One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite.

The defense establishment, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, steadfastly refused to publicize the figures, arguing, for one thing, that publication could endanger state security or harm Israel’s foreign relations.

The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements – about 75 percent – construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents.

The information contained in the database does not conform to the state’s official position, as presented, for instance, on the Foreign Ministry Web site, which states: “Israel’s actions relating to the use and allocation of land under its administration are all taken with strict regard to the rules and norms of international law – Israel does not requisition private land for the establishment of settlements.” Since in many of the settlements, it was the government itself, primarily through the Ministry of Construction and Housing, that was responsible for construction, and since many of the building violations involve infrastructure, roads, public buildings and so on, the official data also demonstrate government responsibility for the unrestrained planning and lack of enforcement of regulations in the territories. The extent of building violations also attests to the poor functioning of the Civil Administration, the body in charge of permits and supervision of construction in the territories.

Mark Steel’s Missing Independent Column

His column this week was not published you can read it at his website, or below the jump. Update: It’s turned up, a day late.
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Malcolm Balen, Hutton, Iraq & The DEC Ban

2003 and relations between the BBC and the Israeli government had broken down, concurrently relations between the BBC and the British government of Tony Blair were also strained over the lies of the Iraq war. The Jewish Chronicle-

14/11/2003 THE BBC’s appointment this week of a top broadcasting figure to oversee its Mideast coverage was welcomed by Israeli and Jewish community leaders as a recognition of their protests over alleged anti-Israel bias.

In an unprecedented move, the corporation named Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the “Nine O’Clock News,” to monitor its coverage of the region.

A BBC spokesman said Mr Balen, appointed by head of news Richard Sambrook and World Service chief Mark Byford, would “build our relations with all people in the Middle East.” He would also be a “point of contact” for viewers and listeners.

The move came in the wake of a series of meetings in recent months, in both London and Jerusalem, involving Israeli officials, figures from the British Jewish community, and top BBC representatives.

Relations have been increasingly strained amid accusations that BBC coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war, and other Middle East issues has been slanted against Israel.

Relations hit a low earlier this year when BBC representatives were barred from briefings during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s London visit, and Israeli leaders refused to appear on BBC programmes.

The Chronicle are excited by the post Hutton tamed BBC and by the new Balen brand-

14/11/2003 WHAT exactly prodded the BBC’s extraordinary move to name Malcolm Balen, a respected broadcasting veteran, to oversee its Mideast coverage is impossible to say with certainty. Israeli and Jewish community spokesmen clearly see the appointment as a sign that their long campaign against “Beeb bias” has borne fruit — that the corporation recognises that its coverage has been slanted against Israel.

BBC officials, by contrast, seem at pains to portray the move as an effort to address concerns on all sides of the conflict. Unspoken, but not necessarily unimportant, is a third possible catalyst: complaints from the British government over BBC broadcasts on the war in Iraq, the debates that preceded it, and the controversies which have followed. Whatever the origin of the BBC decision, it is welcome.

How nice, the cowed BBC simultaneously less antagonistic towards Blair (now of course peace envoy to the region, a peace envoy who has yet to visit Gaza) and Israel. The BBC have fought long to keep the report Malcolm Balen wrote about BBC coverage of Israel & Palestine secret, the idea put about by Israel friendly/BBC antagonistic media is that it found the BBC biased against Israel, at least in Balen’s eyes. We don’t know though, some vague mentions of context being more important could point either way. Although his judgement when asked about an independent report –Bad News from Israel– that found BBC bias in favour of Israel was to dismiss it before even reading it. So that and subsequent BBC coverage suggest the rumoured appraisal is correct. Then there is the hush-hush trip BBC director general Mark Thompson made to Israel to hang with Ariel Sharon (in fairness he ‘held talks’ with Abbas, although should the BBC DG follow the US & UK lead at the time and not talk to Hamas? Now that’s an interesting understanding of independence and impartiality). It’s possible to see BBC management becoming too accommodating to Israel (and its US and UK elite allies) a blindness which is resulting in the shameful banning of the DEC appeal.

Alex Brummer in 2003, the city editor of the Daily Mail also earning a crust writing opinion in the Jewish Chronicle, displays the allegiances of those who have pushed the BBC to this shameful state of affairs-

Slowly but surely we are moving towards a new BBC. In the year or so since government scientist and Iraq-expert David Kelly took his own life, sparking an official inquiry, the corporation has been turned on its head.

Listeners and viewers may yet find it difficult to detect changes. It may also be that the politically correct views of BBC reporters take time to adjust. But, as a result of the changes to management and news leadership, there could be, over time, a return to the Reithian values of quality and fairness which many ob-servers feared had been abandoned.

Ooh, just feel the Daily Mailian pomposity and flowery prose (Reithian, give me strength) of pretending doing the warmongering governments of the world’s bidding is quality and fairness. He goes on (oh does he ever)-

But as head of the World Service, with its reach into the developing countries, Sambrook’s new role will be equally important. We know from the UN General Assembly vote on implementation of the International Court of Justice ruling on Israel’s security barrier how much work there is to be done if a more balanced interpretation of Israel’s objectives is to be achieved.

It is an uphill task. The disputed barrier is still routinely referred to on BBC news output as a security “wall,” even though only a few of the hundreds of kilometres are solid concrete. In a recent “World This Weekend” broadcast on Radio 4, the presenter referred to the barrier as “Ariel Sharon’s wall.” Yet the plans for the barrier were first drawn up by the IDF and the intelligence services when Labour was in power.

In the struggles which the BBC faces as the charter review looms in 2006, coverage of the broader Middle East is likely to play an important role. After all, it was Alastair Campbell’s war of attrition during the Iraq war, when he bombarded Dyke and the governors with a series of complaints about the failure of the Beeb to provide full-on support for the war effort, which triggered the events which eventually led to the Kelly tragedy and the shake-up at the top.

Oh and he, er, likes the Dubya-

21/11/2003 He [Roger Mosey] regards being “impartial about President George Bush,” this week’s state visitor to Britain, as something to crow about. The assumption in this is that it is having to bend over backwards to be fair to the American leader.

But why? Mr Bush is, after all, the elected leader of the free world, the protector of Britain’s security through NATO, and a vitally important economic partner. There is no need to work on impartiality — just report the US President as he is, unadorned.

It must be love! The Blair lies of Iraq and the pressure to acquiesce to the Israeli lobby and to the Bush cabal (counter)-revolutionised the BBC. Such that in 2009 management were able to convince themselves airing a charity appeal for the casualties of war is a bias against the poor beleagueredaggressor.

PS. The ‘Kelly tragedy’ was found likely a homicide after an investigation by Norman Baker MP.

Not Anti Beeb

Update: And here is the ad they banned, shown on all the other terrestrial channels only the BBC and Murdoch’s Sky helped cover up the damage of the attack on Gaza.

Donate to the DEC appeal, details below or here.

Is the BBC a news channel? It is not, it is public broadcaster who as well as news makes and broadcasts all manner of radio and television shows available in various media. They have shows about surreal puppets who live in the woods, they have shows about time travellers and their enmity towards malicious dustbins, they have shows about quaint EastEnd folk and their inability to act very well or ever have even a halfway happy life. They have music shows, DIY shows, gardening shows, cooking shows, look you get the idea. So the BBC as a whole is not a news organisation that is only one of its functions, therefore to air the DEC appeal does not immediately mean its news operations are synonymous with the appeal, in fact it doesn’t mean the BBC is, they are simply doing their job as public broadcaster to give leading charities a platform to raise money for a region in dire need. That the DEC saw fit to focus on this the BBC should respect their expertise and assessment of needs, people at the BBC are not more expert than personnel from the charities making up the DEC. Claims this impacts impartiality is like claiming because Have I Got News for You ridicules public figures the current affairs department can no longer do its job as the BBC clearly takes a stance all politician’s are feckless grifters.

There is only one answer as to why the DEC appeal is banned from the BBC, and make no mistake banned is an appropriate word. The answer is they are overly open and sensitive to the partisan concerns of pro-Israeli parties, be they lobbyists, Zionist organisations or the Israeli government itself. The result is the BBC is now, by banning the ad, reducing help to people Israel has only recently stopped killing. By default that makes this decision not impartial but actually a helpful part of the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza. Only looking at it from a partisan pro-Israel position does the decision even approach appearing ‘impartial’. One can only assume the military forces in the Congo neglected to spend money on effective lobbying of the BBC as that appeal was broadcast without the BBC panicking what Hutu militia’s thought about ‘bias’. It is also extremely offensive to the peace groups and human rights organisations in Israel who themselves opposed the attacks and are trying to help the Palestinians in Gaza. The BBC is lining up with the pro-war faction in one nation on Earth against the needs of a starved and bombed populace. That is not impartial. Humanitarianism trumps political and religious factions, perhaps the most recent and well known precedence for ignoring such basic ethical approaches was given by the Bush regime in denying Red Cross access to prisoners they were torturing, that is no example to follow.

On screen talent at the BBC now have an opportunity, presenters, chat show hosts, DJ’s can use their allotted broadcast time to give out the details of the DEC appeal. Those that do should be lauded for their integrity and professional courage, those who choose not to, well we can make our own choices about whether to include them in the media we consume from now on.

Those details-

Online: Click here to donate online

CAF Card: Click here to donate by CAF Card

Phone: Call our automated 24 hour credit card hotline 0370 60 60 900

Post: Make
cheques payable to DEC Gaza Crisis and post to DEC Gaza Crisis, PO Box
999, London EC3A 3AA or go to any Post Office quoting Freepay
number: 1210

You can also download our Gaza Donation by Post form to make your donation payment and send it to PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA

I think like many I have great affection, even loyalty to the BBC, it’s an institution that does make me proud. A long time ago working for it freelance it was thrilling to be in the same places The Goon Show was made, or On The Hour. And as a viewer, it makes some of the best programmes on Earth (Two Pints of Lager notwithstanding). So, much like a friend or family member who makes some appalling choices it makes it all the more acutely felt because of the relationship you have with the transgressor. From all accounts it is a tiny cabal of management who are holding firm in this decision while BBC staff find it appalling, so this is more of an intervention for a loved one who has gone astray, ended up in bad company and needs help, than an attack on the institution. It’s always difficult when you dig yourself into a hole hanging on for pride’s sake to the insistence you are right to admit you are wrong, it feels like defeat more than what it is- the intelligent and responsible admittance of reason. It takes a lot of ego to be head of a large institution which means reversing this decision will be even harder for those in power, but they must recognise they serve the BBC not that it serves their personal need to be ‘right’. The damage of continuing this ban to the BBC will be immense, another nail from the same batch that Hutton came from. Only one side is praising this ‘impartiality’ which of course by definition makes it not impartial at all.

Unceasingfire

Eva Bartlett InGaza

On the 5th morning after Israel declared a ‘ceasefire’, Israeli gunboats began shelling, as they had on several mornings since halting the 22 day air and land bombardment of Gaza. The shelling, which began just after 7:30 am off Gaza city’s coast, injured at least 6, including one boy with shrapnel in his head.

Yasser Abed, 15, came out from his home in Gaza’s Beach camp, on the coast, to see where the shelling was occurring. A shard of shrapnel lodged in his forehead.

Nisreen al Quqa, 11, was out earlier, before the navy began to fire towards Palestinian fishermen. She and her brother were walking on the beach when the firing started. A piece of shrapnel lodged in her right calf muscle.

Other injuries included a 14 year old male who was hit in the thigh by one of the shrapnel fragments, a 35 year old male also with a shrapnel injury, and a 4 year old girl with a head wound from flying shrapnel.

To the east of Gaza city, in the Sheyjaiee district close to the eastern border, also on the same day, 7 year old Ahmed Hassanian was outside his house with friends around 9:45 am. He lies now in critical condition in Shifa hospital’s ICU, a bullet still lodged in his brain and with such brain hemorrhaging and damage that he is expected to die shortly.

Mu’awiyah Hassanain, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services, reports shelling in the northwestern coastal area of As Sudaniya on the same morning, saying five fishermen were injured in the attacks.

Israeli warplanes, on the first day of the ceasefire, flew extremely low and loudly over areas of Gaza, leaving residents expecting the worst. Drones capable of photographing and of dropping lethal, targeted missiles, continued to circle in Gaza’s skies for the first 3 days after the tanks retreated and the air-bombing ceased. At 8:30 am, one of these drones dropped 2 missiles in the Amal area east of Beit Hanoun, wounding a woman and an 11 year old child, who later died of her injuries.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reports further violations of the cease-fire.

At 10:40, Israeli troops killed Maher abu Rjaila, 23, shooting him in the chest as he walked on his land east of Khan Younis city.

Two days later, at 1:00pm, Israeli soldiers fired on residents of Al Qarara, near Khan Younis, shooting Waleed al-Astal, 42, in his right foot.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed at least 1, 330, with as many as 200 more bodies expected to be recovered from under the rubble of the over 5,000 destroyed houses and 20,000 buildings.

Dr. Fawzi Nablusi, director of Shifa’s ICU, said that of the cases in Shifa’s ICU, 90% were civilian, of these 50% were women and children. One of those civilians injured the day before Israel’s ceasefire was Mohammed Jarboua. Also from the Beach camp, the 21 year old is clinically brain dead, surviving only on mechanical life-support, after being shot in the head by Israeli naval forces.

The Director of Shifa hospital, Dr. Hassan Khalaf, and Mu’awiyah Hassanain confirmed that since the ceasefire began on January 18, three more Palestinians have been killed, and 15 more injured, 10 of those injured on January 22nd.

These ceasefire violations are not a new precedent, as during the 6 month ceasefire which began on June 19th, Israeli forces routinely targeted and fired upon fishermen and farmers along Gaza’s eastern and northern borders, injuring 62, according to Palestinian sources. During this period, 22 Palestinians were also killed, many of them members of resistance groups, and 38 fishermen and farmers were abducted. The truce period saw border crossings mainly closed, completely sealed them from November 4, 2008 with only the briefest of openings.

As the dust settles and noxious chemical fires continue to smolder, Gazans focus on their immediate needs: housing, food, and in many cases locating lost family members still under the rubble.

The root of the problem continues: the nearly 2 year old siege on Gaza, not relaxed under the 6 month ceasefire as agreed, and which had already decimated Gaza’s health and sanitation infrastructures, and had shattered the economy. From the ruins of Gaza, any signs of an end to the siege are far beyond the broken horizon.

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Other Stations Will Air Gaza Appeal, BBC Now Isolated

ITV, Channel 4 and Five are to show a charity appeal for Gaza amid a row over the BBC’s decision not to run the film.

If they don’t…well, mass TV licence non-payment campaign?

Absent

gaza(ht2 Otto)

Then there is this@ Pulse, settlers are salivating at the territory their army might have opened up for them, excerpt-

In spirit, many of the Gaza settlers never left the coveted Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean coast. Despite ample compensation from the Israeli government, many have chosen to live in nearby caravan camps in desert towns between Ashdod and Ashkelon, clustered with families from the same settlement of origin. Most of the settlers didn’t pack before they were escorted out of their compounds, not believing that the Israeli government would permanently expel them. Some have posted the road signs identifying their old settlements in their camps.

The evacuees have reportedly suffered from high rates of divorce, drug abuse and other problem behavior. Imbued with messianic zeal, for the last three-and-a-half years, they have been mobilizing to resettle the land they believe is theirs by divine right.

Settler activists are counting on their historically strong ties to the Israeli military, with some units composed entirely of settlers, to help in their fight. Indeed, some soldiers and reservists currently in Gaza were there three years ago living in cherished settlement communities. On Monday, an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the bittersweet reactions of soldiers who had lived in Gaza settlements and are now back in uniform, noting, “Some see it as a first step toward returning to their former homes.”

Earlier this year, Haaretz reported on settlers’ plans to follow the Israeli army into Gaza. Boaz Haetzni, a leader of the settler movement, explained, “In our estimation the ‘big operation’ is only a matter of time; we will follow them in. We will not ask for permission from anyone. The [settlement] groups will be ready … These core groups will do exactly what the group that re-established Kfar Etzion did after 1967. They will return to the lands where they existed in the past and will rebuild them.”

Kfar Etzion was the first Israeli settlement established in the West Bank after the end of the Six Day War and is now part of a large bloc of settlements connecting Jerusalem to Hebron.

…Both events reflect the pattern that has emerged over the last several decades. After Palestinian land is seized by the Israeli army, settlements are established, connected to Israel’s electricity, water and security system, and aggressively marketed to potential residents. Today, Israeli settlements and the state security apparatus cover over 40 percent of the West Bank. Nearly half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all of which are considered illegal under international law.

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So, Have The BBC Stopped Colluding With War Criminals Yet?

Update: Stop the War Coalition report the government have complained to the BBC, curiouser and curiouser (although makes me feel ..odd…being with the govt. in complaining about the BBC, beardy Spock!). Also Demo tomorrow.

I was incensed at the news (in the previous post) about the BBC refusing to air the DEC ad which in effect killed it on all broadcasters networks. Since then Medialens have an alert on it and loads of other blogs have caught the news and have more action resources to deluge the BBC with complaints and change their decision. So down to business, the BBC and the DEC appeal itself which is now active. Also a couple of petitions via Pulse regarding arms sales and war crimes. First more ways to contact the BBC-

Phone the BBC from the UK on: 03700 100 222

http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

Helen Boaden, Director of BBC news
Email: helenboaden.complaints@bbc.co.uk

Peter Horrocks, Head of BBC TV News
Email: peter.horrocks@bbc.co.uk

Richard Sambrook, Director of the World Service and Global News
Email: richard.sambrook@bbc.co.uk

Now the DEC appeal the BBC is refusing to publicise:-

The situation
After an 18 month blockade of Gaza and three weeks of heavy shelling the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now completely overwhelming.

  • Donate online to the DEC’s Gaza Crisis nowGaza Crisis
    Thousands of people are struggling to survive with many having lost their homes and most down to their last supplies of food and only limited amounts of fresh drinking water.
  • Just £25 can buy warm blankets for 8 children
  • Just £50 can provide a Food parcel for a family for one month
  • Electricity – supplies to Gaza are erratic at best with 75% of the area cut off completely. There is a significant public health risk arising out of the almost collapse of Gaza’s water and sewage system, the running of which is dependent on electricity.
  • Water – Around 500,000 people are without running water with 37% of Gaza’s water wells not working effectively and fuel reserves depleted due to restrictions on access and damage to pipes.
  • At least 412 Children have been killed and 1,855 injured
  • 60% of the population is living in poverty
  • 1.1 million people are dependent upon aid to survive.
  • Health – The capacity of the health system has been significantly reduced due to the damage of at least 21 clinics. Ten primary health care clinics are functioning as emergency clinics and hospitals and intensive care units continue to treat the mass casualties.

And two petitions- this petition to the UN is to Call upon the General Assembly to create a special international tribunal to try Israel, its political and military leaders, for such crimes in violation of international law, human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Palestinian Occupied Territory of which they may be charged.

This second petition is UK specific and to petition the Prime Minister to do everything in his power to impose an arms embargo on Israel in light of the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip and to apply pressure on countries supplying Israel with arms that breach international agreements with the intention of restoring lasting peace to the region.

Below is the full text of the Medialens alert-

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Unseen Gaza UK Ch4 Thursday 11.05pm

Update: Watch it @ Pulse.

Would have been nice if it was in primetime, but hey Celebrity Big Brother (almost) pays the bills at Ch4. Via Pulse

Jon Snow in The Independent:- There have been two versions of the assault on Gaza played out over the past three weeks. One is the moderated account aired in the West; the other is the unexpurgated account of civilian deaths filmed in vivid close-up inside Gaza.

Has the Western account, restricted by the Israeli ban on journalists in the conflict zone, been so reduced as to dull the scale of protest? Has the volume of images of death injury and destruction played and replayed in the Arab media served to radicalise and enrage the Islamic world still further? Thus creating a gulf so unbridgeable that it defeated even the passage of a unanimous UN call for a ceasefire? I want to take you on a personal journey that I made to the region last week.
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Mark Steel Brings The Funny

The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in Gaza can hold together will be whether the international community can stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Because Israel’s getting their planes and tanks and missiles from somewhere and until this supply is cut off there’s every chance it could start up again.

The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to “inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the Gaza population”.

Replace “Gaza” with “western”, and that could have been written by al-Qa’ida. Maybe this is the problem: the Israelis are writing their policies by downloading statements from an Islamic Jihad website and just changing the place names. Also, if the Israelis think the Hamas rockets are as lethal as they say, why don’t they swap their F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters for a few of them?

Read the Rest

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Gerald Kaufman is a bit Angry

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town…. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed, he said. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza,” the MP said.

Gerald Kaufman, a governing Labour Party legislator, sharply criticized Israel in a House of Commons debate on Gaza, arguing that the Jewish state has exploited guilt that much of the world feels for having ignored the slaughter of six million of Jews during World War II.

“The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians,” he said.

The offensive started in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Medical officials in Gaza have said about 1,100 Palestinians have been killed since the offensive started. Thirteen Israelis have been killed in the fighting, including three civilians who were slain in rocket attacks on southern Israel.

Kaufman, a frequent critic of Israel who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, commented on the claim that large numbers of the Palestinian victims were militants. “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants,” he said.

Kaufman urged the British government to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

[Update: Full text of speech here]

And a shocking quote from Jews Sans Frontieres that pertains to an academic boycott which I think Kaufman opposes but now the fruit of zionism is so brutally plain to see –

Arnon Sofer, a Jewish Israeli intellectual, teaches (!) at Haifa University:

When 2.5 million [Palestinians] live in a closed-off Gaza, those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day. If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the [Jewish] boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings. ( Jerusalem Post weekend supplement Up Front, May 21, 2004. quoted by Omar Barghouti)

Wounded Knee in Gaza

burialofthedeadatthebattlefieldofwoundedkneesd488

There have been many awful and deliberately incorrect & frankly retarded analogies made to the attack on Gaza (What if Milton Keynes launched rockets at Coventry? You’d attack wouldn’t you?) usually rendered in such a sublimely ignorant way so as to ignore the preceding siege and original ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Not to mention prior to the latest invasion, 14 Israelis had been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from Gaza over the last seven years as against 5,000 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks. However one analogy does seem apposite, Chris Floyd

…what we have been witnessing in Palestine over the past several decades is a remarkable echo of the dispossession and destruction of the Native American nations by the United States. There are myriad differences, of course, but the broad outline is basically the same: a people denigrated as primitive and inferior are being stripped of their land, driven into poverty and desperation, and killed in large numbers by another people who believe that their “manifest destiny” and moral superiority justify violent conquest and repression. Any violent resistance to the conquest is treated as barbaric terrorism — and another justification for yet more repression, for even harsher tactics to grind down the conquered, secure “the frontier” and make it safe for “settlers” and the “civilization” they bring.

One reason that Israel persists in its harsh policies of decimation and destruction against the Palestinians is that such methods very often work: you can dispossess another people, destroy all but an ineffective remnant of their society and colonize their land to your own lasting profit and advantage. And you can do it in such a thoroughgoing manner that there will be no realistic possibility of the conquered people ever rising again to take back what was theirs. This is the example that the United States has set for Israel. It is unlikely to work in the same way or with the same degree of success for Israel in 21st century, for a number of reasons. In fact, it can — and probably will — end in disaster. But it is not an irrational policy; it does have many successful historical precedents — including the history of Israel’s chief benefactor.

He links to an article from The London Review of Books by Henry Siegman [director of the US/Middle East Project and a research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Programme at SOAS. He was a senior fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations from 1994 to 2006.] entitled The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam

The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is ‘to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people’.

I suppose those who stand with Israel right or wrong see themselves as standing against historical Nazism, the Holocaust and contemporary anti-semitic groups and terror gangs. The problem is that self image is just that, an image, a fiction that misuses historical victimisation to claim its current bullying is still actually victim-hood and to oppose it is to side with historical evil and current extremism, a very Manichean Bush-like proposition. But supporting atrocities and domestic repression within Israel is mistaking a label for an ethos, Chris Hedges

The public debate about the Gaza attack engages in the absurd pretense that it is Israel, not the Palestinians, whose security and dignity are being threatened. This blind defense of Israeli brutality toward the Palestinians betrays the memory of those killed in other genocides, from the Holocaust to Cambodia to Rwanda to Bosnia. The lesson of the Holocaust is not that Jews are special. It is not that Jews are unique. It is not that Jews are eternal victims. The lesson of the Holocaust is that when you have the capacity to halt genocide, and you do not—no matter who carries out that genocide or who it is directed against—you are culpable.

“The state of Israel, like any other state,” [Uri] Avnery said, “cannot tolerate having its citizens shelled, bombed or rocketed, but there has been no thought as to how to solve the problem through political means or to analyze where this phenomenon has come from, what has caused it. Israelis, as a whole, cannot put themselves in the shoes of others. We are too self-centered. We cannot stand in the shoes of Palestinians or Arabs to ask how we would react in the same situation. Sometimes, very rarely, it happens. Years ago when Ehud Barak was asked how he would behave if were a Palestinian, he said, ‘I would join a terrorist organization.’ If you do not understand Hamas, if you do not understand why Hamas does what it does, if you don’t understand Palestinians, you take recourse in brute force.”

Uri Avnery:- Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands. Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz. This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

However the scales are falling from the eyes of many, although American politicians remain utterly moribund (I never found Franken that funny anyway, have you seen that Stuart Smalley movie? If it weren’t for Vincent D’Onofrio it’d be unwatchable). Outside of the carefully biased US corporate media the truth of the extremism now loose in Israel is getting through, wingnut Avigdor Lieberman not so subtly calls for Palestinians to be nuked-

Jerusalem Post– Operation Cast Lead must continue until Hamas “loses the will to fight,” Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday. “Israel won’t be secure so long as Hamas is in power, and therefore we need to come to a decision that we will break the will of Hamas to keep fighting,” he said during a speech at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University.

“We must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II,” Lieberman added. “Then, too, the occupation of the country was unnecessary.”

In 1945, Japan unconditionally surrendered to the US following two atomic bomb attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A ground invasion of mainland Japan had been prepared at the time, but was avoided due to the Japanese capitulation after the bombings.

Of Avigdor Lieberman Jonathan Cook says-

“is the likely face of Israel’s political future. He has been publicly promoting, and garnering support for, the expulsion of Israel’s Palestinian minority, a policy that has been secretly formulated by more mainstream leaders for some time.”

It is clear IDF forces are killing Palestinians without care to any concept of war crimes. Keeping the narrative on Hamas, security, terrorism masks the true motor of this slaughter, racism in the service of a colonial project.

If your only answer to what the cavalry did is-‘ah yes but the injuns killed some settlers’ not only do you fail to see the big picture but you fail to be an ally of the oppressed, sabotage all of the lessons of the Nazi genocides & the dispossessions of indigenous peoples of their lands throughout history. (Also zionism is a political/religious ideology the absolute merging of ‘church & state’ yet oddly is carelessly supported by most US politicians who often find their votes from people who insist on the separation of religion and government, it’s amazing the compromises imperialism will foster).

palestinian-loss-of-land-update

Back Into The Stone Age

The Israeli army reinforced its ground and armoured forces near the Gaza border late on Saturday, Israel Radio and other news websites reported. The Israeli military spokesman’s office declined to comment on reports of a troop buildup,

In attacking Hamas’ regime in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces will try to “send Gaza decades into the past” in terms of weapon capabilities while achieving “the maximum number of enemy casualties and keeping Israel Defense Forces casualties at a minimum,” GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant said.

Major General Galant, one of the key figures in the Israeli operation that began yesterday in the Gaza Strip, said this during discussions before the move. Israel’s aim in the operation will be to significantly damage Hamas’ leadership, tactical capabilities and smuggling routes, he said.

Despite efforts to keep IDF casualties to a minimum, Galant said that once troops are actually sent after the enemy, “what will take precedence is the need to fulfill the mission.” He added, “Under no circumstance can we accept a norm that leaves missions unmet.”

I think he just said civilians will be killed without reservation in the name of mission objectives in the long planned ‘Operation Cast Lead‘.

Peter Beaumont in the Guardian makes the connection-

For in the end what has happened in the past few hours is simply an expression of what has been going on for days and months and years: the death and fear that Gaza’s gunmen and rocket teams and bombers have inflicted upon Israel have been returned 10, 20, 30 times over once again. And nothing will change in the arithmetic of it.

Not in Gaza. But perhaps in a wider Arab world, becoming more uncomfortable by the day about what is happening inside Gaza, something is changing. And Israel has supplied a rallying point. Something tangible and brutal that gives the critics of its actions in Gaza – who say it has a policy of collective punishment backed by disproportionate and excessive force – something to focus on.

Something to be ranked with Deir Yassin. With the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Something, at last, that Israel’s foes can say looks like an atrocity.

Israeli’s Protest Their Government’s Aggression

While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for the unity of the citizens of Israel and their support for the operation in Gaza, hundreds of left-wing activists gathered on the Defense Ministry’s lawn to protest the deaths of over 200 Palestinians.

Five of the protestors were arrested for rioting after they damaged the security fence and clashed with police forces on the scene.

Around 300 activists took part in the protest, in order to condemn what they called Israel’s “genocide and war crimes”. The demonstrators marched through the streets of Tel Aviv until they reached the ministry’s headquarters.

Many cried slogans such as “No to war – yes to peace”, and carried signs saying “Israel’s government is committing war crimes”, “Negotiation instead of slaughter”, and “Lift the siege from Gaza”.

The ‘clashed with police forces‘ bit is interesting, the one pic on ynet shows protesters running away from police who are attacking them.

Dudu Azulay ynetnews.com

Dudu Azulay ynetnews.com

So will those against Bush’s wars in the US support their anti-war fellows in Israel even as Obama seems to accept the colonial reasoning- Israelis can use force but Palestinians (who by implication are all lumped into ‘Hamas’) must be victims-

“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Obama said. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

So far over 200 Palestinians have been killed some are children, so now what does he ‘expect’?

A Murder Is Arranged

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.