U.N. Report on war crimes in Gaza ("Goldstone Report")

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
U.N. Report on war crimes in Gaza ("Goldstone Report")

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict is making headlines. Israel is in full damage control mode.

Quote:
Israel girds for diplomatic war over 'biased' UN Gaza report

[url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1114807.html]Haaretz[/url]

Israel began fighting the diplomatic battle Tuesday to prevent the Goldstone Commission report on Israel's Cast Lead Operation in the Gaza Strip from being brought before the United Nations Security Council and from there to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where charges could be brought against Israeli officials involved in the military campaign. The report, compiled by a commission headed by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accuses both Israel and the Palestinians of actions amounting to war crimes during the December 27 to January 18 battle in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Tuesday night a team lead by Foreign Ministry legal advisor Ehud Keinan, and which included representatives from the Justice Ministry and the military prosecutor's office, delivered a preliminary analysis of the Goldstone Commission report to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman. Netanyahu also held consultations Tuesday night on the commission's findings. "The goal is to avoid a slippery slope which would lead Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague," a senior Israeli staffer said.

The MSM won't be much help to you in finding the actual report. It's [url=http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/UNF..., and it's a 6½ MB .pdf download.

The report builds on previous UN reports:

[url=http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A%20HRC%20... month's report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay[/url]

and

[url=http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/10session/A.HRC.10.2... February's report of the Special Rapporteur Richard Falk on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:

"I'm not surprised, but I'm disappointed," said Goldstone of the Israeli reaction to the report.

"I just feel that there was a very quick rejection of the report I think even before anybody read it," he told Israel's Channel One state television.

"I deny that completely," he said of the Israeli allegation that the UN mission's mandate - defined by the Human Rights Council which many Israelis regards as openly anti-Israel - had been one-sided.

"I was completely independent. Nobody dictated any outcome and the outcome was a result of the independent inquiries that our mission made," said Goldstone, who is Jewish.

"There is really nothing I could think of that I would do differently," he said, adding his only regret was Israel's decision to refuse to cooperate with the UN investigation.


[url=http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/285997,extra-goldstone-rejects-i...

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:

As Tel Aviv struggles to contain the international aftermath of the UN damning report over the deadly offensive in Gaza Strip, an inner storm is evolving with Israeli rights and political activists slamming their own country as a criminal state and calling for punishing it.

"It's time that the Israel and international societies start to treat Israel like a criminal state and a serial violator of international laws and Palestinian rights," left-wing activist Yonatan Pollak told Yediot Ahronot daily on Wednesday, September 16.

Contrary to outraged official Israeli response to the UN fact-finding mission report issued Tuesday, which accused Israeli army of war crimes and crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead, Israeli rights activists welcomed the report and called for accountability.

Pollak, who testified before the Goldstone committee, affirmed that the official claims of bias are unfounded and called for stern international sanctions against "criminal" Israel.

The international society should "impose on it a boycott, sanctions and the withdrawal of investments, just as was the case with the apartheid regime in South Africa."

Majd Bader, of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, said the report should be a wake up call for Israel.

"Israel should wake up and take it upon itself to investigate the claims," said Bader.

Balad party chairman, Jamal Zahalka, believes that in the light of the report, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak should be sent to International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague immediately.

"The conclusion from the report," he added, "is that [there should be] an international trial for those responsible for war crimes in Gaza starting with the defense minister, the IDF chief of staff, down to operational commanders.

"It is not possible that someone who causes the death of more than 1,000 civilians will not pay the price."

[url=http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=12521881396...

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The Angry Arab wrote:

Judge Goldstone doing the Jane Fonda Dance

Now Judge Goldstone tries in the [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/opinion/17goldstone.html]New York Times[/url] to downplay the criticisms of Israel: "In Gaza, hundreds of civilians died. They died from disproportionate attacks on legitimate military targets and from attacks on hospitals and other civilian structures. They died from precision weapons like missiles from aerial drones as well as from heavy artillery. Repeatedly, the Israel Defense Forces failed to adequately distinguish between combatants and civilians, as the laws of war strictly require. Israel is correct that identifying combatants in a heavily populated area is difficult, and that Hamas fighters at times mixed and mingled with civilians." I will ignore the rest of the article and just say a word about "legitimate military targets". What are those? And will judge Goldstone EVER refer to "legitimate military targets" for the Palestinians to bomb? Will he ever consider that the Palestinians may have the right to attack legitimate Israeli targets? When you answer the question you realize that this person is in no position to judge.

[url=http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/09/judge-goldstone-doing-jane-fonda-d...

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

I read this report.  It more or less repeats what was reported by previously reported by Amnesty International a few months ago:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/015/2009/en/8f299083-9a74-...

Both sides committed war crimes.  One side fired rockets in the general direction of civilians.  The other side committed a very long list of war crimes which included digging pits in front of tanks and heavy artillery and filling them with civilians as they engaged their adversaries.

Why are only one side's war crimes considered newsworthy?

Jingles

My neighbour throws a cigarette butt over my fence, I burn his house down, kill his dog, and lock his kids in my garden shed. Sure, it's a bad situation, but we're both equally guilty of crimes. Besides, the dog thing was his own fault, since he left it in his house. I can't be held responsible for that. Really, I am entirely justified in my actions because my cat could have eaten that butt and got sick!. Mine was a measured response to continued provocation. 

Why is only what I did considered newsworthy?

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

M. Spector wrote:

The Angry Arab wrote:

Judge Goldstone doing the Jane Fonda Dance

I will ... just say a word about "legitimate military targets". What are those? And will judge Goldstone EVER refer to "legitimate military targets" for the Palestinians to bomb? Will he ever consider that the Palestinians may have the right to attack legitimate Israeli targets? When you answer the question you realize that this person is in no position to judge.

[url=http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2009/09/judge-goldstone-doing-jane-fonda-d...

Firing rockets in the general direction of civilians is a war crime.  Its in the same category as Israel's use of heavy artillery and flechettes in heavily populated urban areas, but not as extreme as using white phosphorus to bomb UN shelters full of civilians or soldiers forcing civilians to stand in front of them as they engage their adversiers.

The report does not criticize Palestinian attacks against Israeli soldiers.

Jingles

Likewise, when I annexed my neighbour's backyard so I could build a swimming pool, and wouldn't let him and his family out of his house for groceries or medical care, and when I tapped into his gas line so I could heat my garage, and played my Metallica cds at full volume all hours of the night, he had no reason to provoke me into finally taking action against his atrocities (like trying to let his kids go to school. The nerve of some people).

Quote:
The report does not criticize Palestinian attacks against Israeli soldiers.

You gotta be fucking kidding me. Attacking soldiers is a violation of the laws of armed conflict now? Get your head out of your ass. You don't belong here.

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

Hey Jingles, did we get off on the wrong foot?  A poster asked what Palestinians can attack legally.  I replied Israeli soldiers.  But Palestinians can't attack Israeli civilians legally any more than Israelis can attack Palestinian civilians.  Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are illegal regardless.

Also we must watch different news.  Palestinian war crimes get prominent news coverage.  Israeli war crimes get little to no coverage.

remind remind's picture

earth as one, you meant of course Israel's use of white phosphorus against Palestinians, right?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

earth_as_one wrote:

Both sides committed war crimes.  One side fired rockets in the general direction of civilians.  The other side committed a very long list of war crimes which included digging pits in front of tanks and heavy artillery and filling them with civilians as they engaged their adversaries.

Why are only one side's war crimes considered newsworthy?

Which side are you talking about? It seems to me we have for a long time had information about war crimes on both sides - information that came mostly from news outlets that deemed it "newsworthy".

What's "newsworthy" about the UN report is not the old news about war crimes, but firstly the fact that the UN has confirmed what we already knew and secondly the near-hysterical reaction of the Israelis to having the truth of their war crimes confirmed.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Jingles wrote:

My neighbour throws a cigarette butt over my fence, I burn his house down, kill his dog, and lock his kids in my garden shed. Sure, it's a bad situation, but we're both equally guilty of crimes. Besides, the dog thing was his own fault, since he left it in his house. I can't be held responsible for that. Really, I am entirely justified in my actions because my cat could have eaten that butt and got sick!. Mine was a measured response to continued provocation. 

Likewise, when I annexed my neighbour's backyard so I could build a swimming pool, and wouldn't let him and his family out of his house for groceries or medical care, and when I tapped into his gas line so I could heat my garage, and played my Metallica cds at full volume all hours of the night, he had no reason to provoke me into finally taking action against his atrocities (like trying to let his kids go to school. The nerve of some people).

Good post Jingles, I see a screen play is in the works here, a modest little production, but just in time for the Toronto International Film Festival next year.  How about "Not In My Backyard!" or maybe the more cerebral "Neighbourhood Incursions". Funding is available for the right story and spin baby, if ya know what I mean.

Cool

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Seriously, thank you MS for starting this thread.

Justice Goldstone was emminently qualified to conduct this commission and I believe that he took great care in preparing it.  He is from South Africa, a Jew, a Zionist, and has been a strong supporter of Israel in the past.  He says that Israel was asked serveral time to participate and respond to the reported events. Israel always refused.

Now Israel, and it vicious lobby, are attacking the messenger, calling him biased, a "peace criminal" and even an anti-semite! The US is playing along, calling the report "one-sided".

100 killed in Gaza for every Israeli death in this 22 day "war".  How is this report not going to be one-sided?

George Jonas of the National Post even downgraded the term "war" to "incursion".  What an asshole.

Hey George - Gaza was a massacre - 1400 dead, 5500 wounded, 50,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

OK, now I have time for a proper rant.  I may be new here, but I'm not new to figuring out what Israel has been up to for the last 60 years. I do not support the Zionist state of Israel because I'm against state sponsored terrorism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, war crimes and crimes against humanity. But I'm not against Israelis or Jews.

I also don't support religious intolerance and rabid hatred.  I understand why Palestinians elected Hamas in free and fair elections and it had to do more with being anti-Fatah anti-corruption than being pro-Hamas.  I'm against most Palestinians leaders.  But I'm not against Palestinians.

In general, I don't support violence with a few exceptions and I certainly don't support war crimes.  While Israeli forces kill more people and commit greater atrocities, Palestinian militants who fire rockets at Israeli civilians aren't exactly innocent either.  The main reason why Palestinian militants don't kill more Israelis is that they lack the means, not the will.  Given a chance, I'm certain they would have no qualms about committing atrocities on the same scale or greater than Israeli forces.

I'm sympathetic toward both Israeli and Palestinians civilians, most of whom I believe just want to live in peace.

I'm sick of mainstream news coverage in the west (Canada, the US, the UK...) which whitewash Israeli atrocities and indirectly contribute to the oppression and injustice suffered by Palestinians.

I read the UN report referenced in the first post in this string.  Here's my summary:

Quote:
Palestinian war crimes:Palestinians fired rockets at civilians targets in Israel, which resulted in 4 deaths, three civilian and one soldier.

Israeli war crimes: Israeli forces were responsible for 1,387-1,417 deaths in Gaza, most of whom were civilians. Israeli forces deliberately attacked Palestinian civilians, civilian infrastructure and buildings in violation of international law. Among Israel's deliberate targets were UN shelters filled with women and children, hospitals, ambulances and police stations. In all but one case, these attacks did not pursue any justifiable military target. Israeli forces used chemical weapons, heavy artillery and flechettes recklessly in densely populated areas in violation of international law. Israeli forces deliberately attacked unarmed civilians carrying white flags, directed civilians to take shelter in buildings which were subsequently bombed and many other examples of direct targeting and arbitrary killing of unarmed civilians. Israeli forces deliberately destroyed industrial infrastructure, food production, sewage and water treatment facilities. They also wantonly bulldozed farms and buildings for livestock not justified by any military objective or necessity. They also systematically leveled many residential areas completely absent of any military objective or any link to combat activity. Detained Palestinian civilians were subjected to humiliation, physical and mental abuse. Detained civilans including women and children were held in degrading conditions and deprived of food, water or access to sanitary facilities and exposed to the elements without shelter for extended periods of time. Israeli forces interrogated civilians under threat of death or injury to extract information about Palestinian combatants. Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Detained civilians were positioned in front of Israeli tank and artillery positions as they fired on Palestinian combatants. Israeli soldiers forced Palestinian civilians to walk in front of them as they actively engaged Palestinian combatants.

 

Also I don't consider Israel's actions in Gaza as starting when Israel says it did nor do I accept their attempt to portray this attack as self defense to rocket attacks.  The trigger for this round of violence occured the same day Americans went to the polls to elect Barack Obama as elected president:

I'll quote former US President Jimmy Carter who brokered the ceasefire which preceded Israel's attack:

Quote:
...this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4 (2008), when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza...

You don't partially break a truce any more than you get partially pregnant.  The timing of Israel's ceasefire violation indicates Israel deliberately provoked Hamas on a day when any news event would be overshadowed by US elections.  Israeli leaders want a fight they could win before Israeli elections, which is why they attacked Hamas, rather than Hezbollah.

I support a no state solution.  I am in favor of disarming both sides and enforcing peace with a massive and heavily armed UN peacekeeping force.   The tab should be picked up by the people and nations who currently send arms to this region as well as nations who voted in favor of creating this situation in the first place back in 1947..  I support creating a truth and reconcilliation based on the one which ended apartheid in South Africa.  Tell the truth and you get amnesty.  Lie or refuse to come clean and you face the full weight of international laws regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The principles which lead to war or peace aren't that complicated.  While people suffer injustice and oppression, they will resort to violence.  Violence leads to violence.  Peace will only come when everyone has justice and freedom.  Agreements signed by puppet dictators and imposed by force will not be just, nor lead to freedom.  I genuinely believe civilians on both sides just want to live in peace.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Thanks for clarifying your position, which appears to be one of neutrality.

Are you at all aware of the history of Israel's dispossession of the Palestinians, its racist apartheid policies, its blockade of Gaza, its jailing of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, its policies of demolition of Palestinian homes, its ethnic cleansing practices, its confiscation of Palestinian property?

If so, how do you equate the defensive violence of the Palestinians with the aggressive violence of the Israelis?

How do you figure that the Palestinians, if given a chance, "would have no qualms about committing atrocities on the same scale or greater" than the Israelis? Did you read the part of the Goldstone report [para 1668] where it says Gaza authorities discourage the targeting of civilians by armed resistance groups?

How do you figure the Palestinians are not entitled to live in a sovereign state, rather than being under perpetual occupation by United Nations troops?

Taking a "neutral' position on the Palestinian issue is being far too kind to the Israelis.

NDPP

Following Publication of the Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza: ISRAELI WAR CRIMINALS TO TRIAL!

http://www.alternativenews.org/blogs/michael-warschawski.html

"The publication of the Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict is an important step, on condition that it is followed up. This is important, first and foremost, for international public hygiene.."

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

M. Spector wrote:

Thanks for clarifying your position, which appears to be one of neutrality.

Are you at all aware of the history of Israel's dispossession of the Palestinians, its racist apartheid policies, its blockade of Gaza, its jailing of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, its policies of demolition of Palestinian homes, its ethnic cleansing practices, its confiscation of Palestinian property?

If so, how do you equate the defensive violence of the Palestinians with the aggressive violence of the Israelis?

How do you figure that the Palestinians, if given a chance, "would have no qualms about committing atrocities on the same scale or greater" than the Israelis? Did you read the part of the Goldstone report [para 1668] where it says Gaza authorities discourage the targeting of civilians by armed resistance groups?

How do you figure the Palestinians are not entitled to live in a sovereign state, rather than being under perpetual occupation by United Nations troops?

Taking a "neutral' position on the Palestinian issue is being far too kind to the Israelis.

Yes I am aware that Zionists started an ethnic cleansing war back in 1947 which continues to this day.  By 1949, about 800,000

non-Jews were ethnically cleansed from one side and about 10,000 Jews were cleansed from the other.  If the Arabs had won this

initial battle, those numbers might well be reversed. Instead the people who fled Nazi atrocities in Europe, committed similar

atrocities against Palestinians who initially welcomed Zionist Jews immigrating to Palestine about 50 years earlier.

 

I am also aware that before that war Jewish refugees fleeing the horrors of Nazi Europe didn't have many places to go.  Many countries

including Canada refused to take them:

 

http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/readings/CanadaandJewishRefugeesinthe1930s.html

 

That's why so many Jewish refugees ended up in Palestine. In effect Western countries created a Jewish refugee problem and transferred

it to Palestine. The countries which created the problem morally responsible for the consequences of their actions.

 

When children fight over a toy because they can't share, it doesn't make sense for a parent to award the toy to one child or the

other. A wise parent takes the toy away from both children. They give it back after they agree to share. Israel never met the terms

for UN recognition. Israel was supposed to allow Palestinian refugees back home. Instead they renegued on this condition and remain

in non-compliance until this day. Since Israel did not meet the original terms for UN recognition, their membership in the UN should be

reduced to observer status or the same as Palestine's UN status.

 

No I don't believe Palestinians are ready for independence. The West Bank is ruled by a corrupt dictatorship. Fatah's mandate expired over

a year ago. In Gaza, Hamas still has a mandate, but that runs out this year and elections are unlikely. Do you believe that Hamas would

negotiate fair and just peace with their Israeli neighbors? I don't.

 

Yes I am aware of Israel's racist apartheid policies, its blockade of Gaza, its jailing of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, its

demolition of Palestinian homes, its ethnic cleansing practices and its confiscation of Palestinian property. I'm also aware that

many Israelis and Jews don't support these policies, but they seem unable to elect leaders who seek a fair and just peace. I support

bringing people guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice, but I don't support collective punishment one way or the

other.

 

Not all Palestinian violence is defensive. Take their ineffective missile attacks for example. They're aimed at cities and civilians, not

military targets. A lot of Palestinian violence is revenge/hatred based. Not all Israeli violence aggressive. Some could be classified

as defensive such as efforts to take out Palestinian missiles and missile squads which attack Israeli civilians. With few exceptions

I believe in non-violent resistance. I support applying economic and diplomatic pressure on Israel to convince them to respect

international laws treaties and conventions. No person or state should be above the law.

 

Yes I read the Goldstein report. How does that relate to what Palestinian militants would do if they suddenly had the upper hand. Do you

believe Palestinian militants would be less ruthless than the Israeli military? Solving one injustice by creating another is how we got into

this mess in the first place.

 

That's why I support a "no state" solution. As in no state for Palestinians or Israelis. At least initially. Over time, I believe that the

majority of people on both sides who just want to live in peace would find a fair and just solution. But both sides must need to rid

themselves of fear, hate, prejudice, anger... That would require a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Once the truth comes out,

it will be much easier for people to make moral choices.

 

Do I believe a Truth and Reconciliation Committee will happen? No. I believe this war will eventually involve WMDs on both sides.

Even after massive death and destruction the survivors will bicker over the radioactive craters.

 

I only see one way out. The US and all nations must agree to stop arming the belligerents and disarmament. That will only happen if

the American public become aware that they are responsible for much of the death and destruction with their military support of Israel.

 

The power vacuum must be filled by a neutral thrid party, which is where UN peacekeepers come in.

al-Qa'bong

Since when has the UN been neutral in the Middle East?  It helped to create the Zionist entity, and ever since has waged war on Arab people.

 

Quote:
 By 1949, about 800,000 non-Jews were ethnically cleansed from one side and about 10,000 Jews were cleansed from the other.

 

You might want to look into the Zionists' hand into the "ethnic cleansing" of Jews from "the other."

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

earth_as_one wrote:

When children fight over a toy because they can't share, it doesn't make sense for a parent to award the toy to one child or the other. A wise parent takes the toy away from both children. They give it back after they agree to share.

Your analogy with children is highly patronizing. It fits in with your disdainful attitude to the Palestinians as a bloodthirsty mob who would slaughter all the Israelis if given half a chance. It fits in with your imperialist attitude that says the west can't trust the Palestinians to elect governments that we approve of and therefore they don't deserve to have their own government. It fits in with your presuming to lecture the Palestinians about non-violent resistance. It fits in with your nonsense about "truth and reconciliation" commissions and "neutral" UN peacekeeping forces as solutions to imperialist oppression.

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Since when has the UN been neutral in the Middle East?  It helped to create the Zionist entity, and ever since has waged war on Arab people.

 

Quote:
 By 1949, about 800,000 non-Jews were ethnically cleansed from one side and about 10,000 Jews were cleansed from the other.

I'm not referring to Jews displaced from Arab/Muslim countries after 1949.  I'm referring to Jews displaced from the West Bank and Gaza.  Lots of atrocities committed by both sides in that conflict.

You might want to look into the Zionists' hand into the "ethnic cleansing" of Jews from "the other."

remind remind's picture

Quote:
I'm sure many Palestinians harbor strong feelings toward the people they believe are responsible for their suffering.

Ummm, that would be because of course, that Israelis are primarily to blame for their suffering.

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

M. Spector wrote:

earth_as_one wrote:

When children fight over a toy because they can't share, it doesn't make sense for a parent to award the toy to one child or the other. A wise parent takes the toy away from both children. They give it back after they agree to share.

Your analogy with children is highly patronizing. It fits in with your disdainful attitude to the Palestinians as a bloodthirsty mob who would slaughter all the Israelis if given half a chance. It fits in with your imperialist attitude that says the west can't trust the Palestinians to elect governments that we approve of and therefore they don't deserve to have their own government. It fits in with your presuming to lecture the Palestinians about non-violent resistance. It fits in with your nonsense about "truth and reconciliation" commissions and "neutral" UN peacekeeping forces as solutions to imperialist oppression.

Most 5 year olds understand the concept that sharing leads to good relations. Also I suggest you reread my posts. I said: "I'm sympathetic toward both Israeli and Palestinians civilians, most of whom I believe just want to live in peace." Where did I describe Palestinians as a bloodthirsty mob? Are you going to debate what I wrote or invent straw man arguments? 

I'm not blaming Palestinians exclusively for the problem, nor do I even allocate to them half the responsibility. Nor do I blame Israelis exclusively.  There's lots of blame to go around. Zionists, the UN, the US and other nations who arm belligerents, the news which keeps people misinformed, our leaders who support one side's war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as individual Palestinians who commit war crimes.

Yes I'm aware that the UN is partly responsible for creating this mess in the first place, but no I don't think they are subjective as they once were regarding this conflict.  The UN has far more members than it did back in 1947, and it has swung toward a far more neutral position on this conflict.

The report referenced in the first post in this string clearly indicates that war crimes were committed by both sides. Sure the number of civilians killed by Palestinians was far less than that killed by Israelis. But that's a reflection of the ineffectiveness of Palestinian weapons rather than an intent by Palestinians to limit Israeli civilian casualties. Give them a bigger stick and I believe they'd clobber more innocent people. That's not a statement about Palestinians specifically as much as a statement about human nature in general and concepts like revenge. After so much injustice and oppression, I'm sure many Palestinians harbor strong feelings toward the people they believe are responsible for their suffering.

Would you support giving Palestinians more rockets? I don't. Not because I don't think their cause is just, but because I don't believe more death and destruction will lead to peace. I believe in non-violence. I think that's the only way Palestinians can free themselves is by renouncing violence and embarressing Israelis into treating them like human beings. I believe in this type of resistance:

http://www.afsc.org/ht/d/ContentDetails/id/3565/pid/270

Here is a link to their website:

http://www.bilin-village.org/english/discover-bilin/

I'm against all types of oppression and injustice, not just that resulting from imperialism. ;)

 

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

I would imagine that's a common Palestinian perception. But Israelis are just people like the rest of us.  Some are racist bigots, some are kind and compassionate.  I'm not about to collectively paint all Israelis with the same brush.

FYI: Some of the people helping the residents of Bil'in resist non-violently are Jews and some are even Jewish Israelis.

Also this Israeli human rights group is almost exclusively Jewish and Israeli:

B'Tselem

Quote:
Israel Must Investigate 'Operation Cast Lead'
With the publication of the Goldstone Committee report today, human rights organizations in Israel are studying the report and its conclusions, and they call upon the Israeli Government to take the report seriously and to refrain from automatically rejecting its findings or denying its legitimacy.

 

Most fatalities in Operation Cast Lead did not take part in the hostilities
B'Tselem releases comprehensive casualty figures from the three-week operation. The enormous toll on civilians - including the death of 320 minors - requires serious introspection on the part of the military, the government, and Israeli society as a whole.

 

Testimonies: Settlers filmed attacking shepherd near Susiya
On 10 Aug.'09, settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd from Khirbet Susiya and stabbed a B'Tselem worker who photographed them. The victims identified the assailants and filed a complaint with police, who were given all the footage of the event.

 

Testimony: Settlers assault Palestinian shepherds
On 4 July '09, near the Avigail outpost, settlers assaulted two shepherds from Shu'b al-Buttom, attacked their sheep and destroyed property. Police arrived only hours later and believed the victims only when shown a cell-phone video of the assault.

 

Night arrests in Bil'in demonstrations
Weekly demonstrations against construction of the Separation Barrier on Bil'in village land have been held for several years. Since June '09, the army has been carrying out night arrests in the village, apparently as part of a policy to stop the demonstrations

 

Settlers take over East J-m homes
On 2 Aug. '09, police evacuated 46 Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarah. Settlers immediately moved in to the houses. The evacuees are descendants of 1948 refugees who were settled in the neighborhood by the Jordanian government and UNRWA

http://www.btselem.org/English/

 

I'm also aware that not all Palestinians hate Jews or Israelis. People are a complex bunch. 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Your repeated mantra of "both sides are equally to blame" is proof enough of your support for the Israeli side and your lack of sympathy for the Palestinian cause. You've made eight posts in this thread, and in none of them have you acknowledged the responsibility of Israel for the conflict. Even when that proposition was directly put to you by remind, you characterized it as a "Palestinian perception" and dismissed it. You even tried to pretend that blaming Israel was tantamount to saying that all Israelis are racist bigots!

Your message to the Palestinians of non-violent resistance is a call for them to allow themselves to be bullied, oppressed, starved, and killed, without defending themselves. You'd rather see a Palestinian die than fight back.

"...embarrassing the Israelis into treating them like human beings?" What nonsense. You're wrongly assuming the Israelis are capable of being embarrassed by their own war crimes. They've already done more than enough to be embarrassed about, and yet they still stand in defiance of decency and international law.

Your position is reminiscent of Mohandas Gandhi's, as discussed in [url=http://www.fsmitha.com/review/herman.html]this review[/url] of a book by Arthur Herman:

Quote:
Herman writes: "In 1938, [Gandhi] had urged the Czechs to use nonviolence against the Germans instead of bullets. He urged German Jews to do the same." On November 11, 1938, the day after the Kristallnacht, Gandhi wrote that a "calm and determined stand offered by unarmed men and women" would turn their "winter of desire" into "a summer of hope." Gandhi believed that such an approach would "score a lasting victory over the German gentiles, in the sense that they will have converted the latter to an appreciation of human dignity." (p. 445)

Gandhi, writes Herman, "urged Jews to disarm their persecutors by praying for Hitler." Herman quotes Gandhi as saying "Even if one Jew acted thus, he would save his self-respect and leave an example which, if it became infectious, would save the whole of Jewry." "Revenge is sweet," said Gandhi, but "forgiveness is divine." (p 445)

Gandhi believed that if the Jews used his tactics, while they were being slaughtered they could have gotten their message out to the world better than they did. Herman writes that after the war, when the full extent of the Holocaust became known, Gandhi still felt that, in his words, "the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife...They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs." This Gandhi said "would have aroused the world and the people of Germany...As it was they succumbed anyway in their millions."

Kaspar Hauser

 

The notion that somehow both sides are equally responsible for this nightmare is ludicrous. The crimes of the Palestinians are perpetrated by poorly-armed paramilitary organizations that aren't accountable to the Palestinian people. The Israeli crimes, on the other hand, are carried out with advanced military technology by the security forces of a state that prides itself on being democratically governed. The Palestinians crimes are committed as part of a war against an occupying power; the Israeli crimes are committed as part of a war against an occupied people. Israel enjoys the patronage of the world's only superpower, and is supported by influential lobbies throughout the Western world; the Palestinians, meanwhile, are global pariahs. While both sides share some responsibility for this mess, by every conceivable measure Israel's responsibility is far greater than the Palestinians'.

Regarding bigotry in Israeli and Palestinian society: there is an ugly psychological logic that plays itself out in situations of occupation, one that leaves both the occupiers and the occupied morally ruined. The occupiers have to learn how to despise the occupied in order to preserve their own sense of virtue: after all, if the occupiers were not to see the occupied are not despicable, then the occupiers would have to confront the full weight of the evil that they have inflicted upon the occupied. The occupied, meanwhile, are sychologically mutilated by trauma and terror, driving them ever downwards into an abyss of hatred and vengeance. Although some enlightened few can maintain their humanity in this situation, no one remains morally unscathed by this logic.

Anyway, back in July 2006 I wrote an article exploring Israel's history and its prediliction for fascism and in January of this year I wrote an article about the situation in Gaza. I think they're both still relevant now, and appropriate for this conversation:

The Temple Walls

Michael Nenonen

July 27 2006

In July 2006, following Hezbollah's abduction of Israeli soldiers on Lebanese soil, Israel launched a massive military campaign against Lebanon. In a country with fewer than four million people, hundreds of civilians are reported dead, thousands are still buried beneath the rubble, and over 800,000 have been displaced. Lebanon's pitiful infrastructure has been thoroughly destroyed.  The invaders don't care that the feeble Lebanese government has little influence over Hezbollah, or that Hezbollah's actions followed months of Israeli aggression against the people of Gaza. It doesn't matter to the invaders that since Israel's withdrawal in 2000 Israel's continued occupying a portion of Lebanon, that Israeli jets have regularly violated Lebanese air-space, that an Israeli spy ring has assassinated people on Lebanese soil, or that Israeli mines remained hidden beneath Lebanese feet. The lives of Israeli soldiers are apparently worth infinitely more than those of Arab civilians and the viability of the Lebanese state. 

Stories of Israeli atrocities are beginning to emerge from Lebanon. On July 16 2006 Robert Fisk reported in The Independent that the Israelis commanded the Lebanese civilians in Marwaheen to leave their village, and then bombed their departing convoy of civilian cars. Twenty civilians were burned alive, including at least nine children. If Stephen Harper sees this as "measured", then his moral yardstick is obviously broken. 

Is it a coincidence that Israel's cruelty so closely resembles that of fascist regimes? I have my doubts, doubts that go deeper than Israel's penchant for military aggression, the militarization of Israeli society, and Israel's constant use of arbitrary detention, torture, and collective punishment. Israeli fascism can also be found in Zionism's ideological history, the Zionist exploitation of the Holocaust, the Zionist's conduct of the war of 1948, Israel's institutionalization of racism, and Israel's close association with neo-fascists in other parts of the world. 

As Norman Finkelstein points out in Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso, 1995), the founder of Jewish Zionism, Theodor Herzl, agreed with the underlying principles of German Anti-Semitism. Herzl and the German Anti-Semites both subscribed to the ideals of romantic nationalism, a movement that rejected Enlightenment values in favour of the theory that each nation is an organic unity whose members share profound, non-rational bonds that "naturally" unite some people while "naturally" excluding others. To the Zionists, Anti-Semitism was the logical response of non-Jewish social organisms to the presence of Jewish bodies within their midst. The Zionist solution for this problem wasn't the elimination of Anti-Semitism, but rather the creation of a state where Jews would form the national organism and where they could defend themselves against non-Jewish infections. Finkelstein demonstrates conclusively that from the beginning Zionists planned to forcefully expel the non-Jewish residents of Palestine.

According to Ron David (Arabs and Israel for Beginners, Writers and Readers Publishing, 1993), the Holocaust provided Zionists with the perfect opportunity for the fulfillment of their plans. Already in 1941, the Stern gang, notorious for its terrorist attacks against Arabs and the British occupiers in Palestine, offered to create a Jewish state "on a national and totalitarian basis, which will establish relations with the German Reich". This deal would have protected Nazi interests in the Middle East. 

American Zionists were so committed to the formation of Israel that they helped prevent the survivors of the Holocaust from coming to the United States. In 1948, Morris Ernst, an advisor to President Roosevelt, wrote that American Jewish leaders demanded that Jewish refugees be given the sole option of emigrating to Palestine, and that he "was amazed and even insulted when active Jewish leaders decried, sneered and then attacked me as if I were a traitor" for suggesting that these refugees be allowed to emigrate to the U.S. 

Irgun, a Zionist terrorist group led by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, played a significant role in coercing those refugees to relocate to Palestine. Irgun controlled the police forces inside the camps for displaced persons following the war. According to a January 10, 1948 official report of the Office of the Military Government for Germany-US, "This is an old technique in Eastern Europe and in all police states. By controlling the police, a small, unscrupulous group of determined people can impose its will on a peaceful and inarticulate majority; it is done by threats, intimidation, by violence and if need be by bloodshed...they have embarked upon a course of terror within the camps."   

Israel's founding war is shrouded in Zionist myths. Finkelstein draws upon recent Israeli scholarship to debunk these falsehoods. Contrary to popular belief, "the Zionist movement did not in principle support the partition of Palestine; the surrounding Arab states did not unite as one to destroy the nascent Jewish state; the war did not pit a relatively defenceless and weak Jewish David against a relatively strong Arab Goliath; Palestine's Arabs did not take flight at the behest of Arab orders; and Israel was not earnestly seeking peace at the war's end."

Israeli tactics during that war were often horrendous. For example, in the village of Deir Yassin in April 1948, Irgun terror squads under the command of Menachem Begin massacred 254 Arab civilians, many of them women, children, and old men. Besides raping women and looting and demolishing houses, there are reports that the Zionists cut off their victims' hands and blinded children. It's hard to confirm these reports, because the bodies were all thrown down a well. The Irgun command sent a message to its men stating "As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere."  Albert Einstein was one of the American Jewish leaders who signed a December 4, 1948 letter to the New York Times condemning the Deir Yassin massacre and raising serious concerns about Menachem Begin's  "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut). The letter described Tnuat Haherut as "a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties." 

Racism is the only way to justify such savagery. Just as Nazis referred to Jews as "vermin", so Begin referred to the Palestinians as "two-legged beasts" and "cockroaches," sentiments shared by many Israelis today, particularly in Israel's illegal settlements, which are breeding grounds for messianic fundamentalism and ultra-right-wing politics. Racism is also expressed in Israeli law, which discriminates against Israel's Arab citizens; by Israeli courts, which allow soldiers and settlers to abuse and kill Palestinians with relative impunity; and, of course, by Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinian land.

In The Fateful Triangle (Black Rose Books, 1984), Noam Chomsky describes Israel's extensive ties with neo-fascist regimes. Israel had close economic and military ties with Apartheid-era South Africa, a regime created by men who had studied in 1930s Germany and who warmly embraced National Socialist ideals. Israel went so far as to help South Africa evade a military embargo. Israel also provided ample military aid to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the Somoza regime in Nicaragua while the U.S.-trained military forces of these countries were committing massacres and widespread torture against their own population. Charles Maechling, the man who led counterinsurgency operations under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, has described the U.S. trainees as "indistinguishable from the war criminals hanged in Nuremberg after World War II," and has said that "for the United States, which led the crusade against Nazi evil, to support the methods of Heinrich Himmler's extermination squads is an outrage".  High-ranking Israeli politicians and military figures even had friendly visits with Argentina's Neo-Nazi Generals during the height of that country's massacre of approximately 1000 Jews. 

While fascism may not dominate Israeli society, it could well influence Israeli politics and culture in the same way that unconscious fears, desires, and hatreds secretly exert their influence over an emotionally traumatized person's conscious mind. The invasion of Lebanon may only be the latest expression of Israel's traumatized and fascist shadow-side, a side that threatens the Palestinians and Israel's neighbours, but also poses a danger to Israel's many cultural virtues, its democracy and its economy, and ultimately its own people. If the Twentieth Century has taught us anything, it's that fascism is as suicidal as it is murderous. In its blind fury it's willing to bring the temple walls tumbling down, crushing itself as well as its enemies. As I watch Israel's actions, I find myself wondering if Samson's begun pushing against the pillars. 

Gaza's Torment

Michael Nenonen

January 13, 2009

Watching Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, it was easy to forget that Israel, as an occupying power, is responsible under international law for the safety and well-being of Gaza's population. Israel and its apologists argue that Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, but they're mistaken.

A 2008 Oxfam report entitled The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion argues that "The contention by Israeli officials that Israel is no longer bound by the laws of occupation since it redeployed its forces to the perimeter of the Gaza Strip in 2005 is a fallacy. Israel retains effective control of the Gaza Strip, by virtue of the full control it exercises over the Gaza Strip's land border, its air space and territorial waters, and the movement of people and goods. Hence, the Israeli authorities are bound by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure the welfare of the Palestinian population in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories)."

This position is echoed by John Dugard, the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Since 1967, whose 2008 report states: 

"The test for determining whether a territory is occupied under international law is effective control, and not the permanent physical presence of the occupying Power's military forces in the territory in question. Judged by this test it is clear that Israel remains the occupying Power as technological developments have made it possible for Israel to assert control over the people of Gaza without a permanent military presence."

While Dugard condemns Hamas' rocket attacks, he qualifies this condemnation by highlighting their geopolitical context: "Common sense...dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by Al Qaeda, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation. While such acts cannot be justified, they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation."  Dugard makes a crucial point: the occupation, and not the resistance to it, is the fundamental source of all the violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel presents itself as being the innocent victim of terrorist attacks, but it's clear that Israelis have inflicted far more violence upon Palestinians than the Palestinians have inflicted upon them. Dugard writes that in the two years prior to his report, Israeli security forces killed 668 Palestinians in Gaza. Of this number, 359 were not involved in hostilities when they were killed, and 126 were minors. During the same period, Gaza's forces were responsible for killing four Israeli civilians and four members of the Israeli Security Forces, for a ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths of about 83 to 1.

Dugard also addresses the situation in the West Bank under the submissive Fatah government. What has Fatah's willingness to work with Israel done for the Palestinians?  "Unfortunately, Israel has not taken steps to dismantle the infrastructure of occupation. On the contrary, it has maintained and expanded the instruments that most seriously violate human rights - military incursions, settlements, the separation wall, restrictions on freedom of movement, the Judaization of Jerusalem and the demolition of houses." In light of its abuses in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel has provided no incentive whatsoever for Hamas to stop its attacks. Even so, Hamas respected the most recent ceasefire until November 4, 2008, when, as reported the next day by the Guardian Newspaper, Israeli forces broke the ceasefire by entering the Gaza Strip and killing six of Hamas' men.

Dugard outlines the brutality of the Israeli occupation: "It is highly arguable that Israel has violated the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law...These crimes include direct attacks against civilians and civilian objects, and attacks which fail to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects...the excessive use of force arising from disproportionate attacks on civilians and civilian objects...and the spreading of terror among the civilian population."

It's hard to fully comprehend Gaza's torment. The 2008 Oxfam report reveals that 80% of families in Gaza rely on humanitarian aid, an increase from 63% in 2006.  Between June and September 2007, the number of households in Gaza earning less than $1.2 a day per person increased from 55% to 70%.  In 2004, households in Gaza spent an average of 37% of their income on food; by 2007, that figure had increased to 62%. Unemployment in Gaza was reported to be at 40%, and was expected to rise to 50%, giving Gaza the world's worst unemployment problem.  Ninety-five percent of factories in Gaza have shut down because Israel blocks raw materials from entering the Strip as well as exports from leaving it.

Because of Israeli-imposed fuel and electricity restrictions, Gaza hospitals have been experiencing power cuts for 8-12 hours a day, forcing them to rely on generators to run basic health facilities and critical surgical operations and procedures. Those generators rely on diesel and often need spare parts, both of which are in very short supply. Hospitals can't obtain needed supplies and equipment, and Israel regularly refuses to allow patients to be referred to Israel's hospitals. The World Health Organization reports that between October and December 2007 alone, 20 patients died because they were unable to leave Gaza, including five children. 

Children make up 56% of Gaza's population, and their situation is truly hellish. In her January 9-11, 2009 Counterpunch article, Livni's Big Lie, Ranni Amiri writes, "Even before the military campaign commenced, 75 percent of Gaza's children were malnourished, 46 percent anaemic and 30 percent suffered from stunted growth." Research conducted in 2002 by the Gaza Community Mental Health Program found that 54 percent of Palestinian children in areas subjected to Israeli bombardment suffered from severe, and 33.5 percent from moderate, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similarly, research by Samir Quota, PhD and Eyad El Sarraj, MD that was published in the April-May-June 2004 issue of Arabpsynet Journal found that approximately 82% of Gaza's children were suffering from symptoms of PTSD. Around 33% of these children displayed symptoms of acute PTSD requiring psychological intervention. A September 2007 survey conducted in Gaza by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) found that there was a nearly 80% failure rate for children in grades four to nine, and a nearly 90% failure rate in Mathematics.

Again, these figures predate Israel's Operation Cast Lead, which, between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, killed over 1300 Palestinians, destroyed countless buildings, and caused damage to Gaza's infrastructure that will take decades to repair. During the invasion, Israeli forces acted without moral restraint. 

On January 8, Amnesty International reported that Israeli soldiers were using Palestinian civilians as human shields: "Our sources in Gaza report that Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position...This clearly increases the risk to the Palestinian families concerned and means they are effectively being used as human shields."

The Red Cross reported that Israeli forces appear to have targeted ambulances, and that Israeli forces actively prevented aid workers from reaching the site of a deadly bombing. On January 8, Democracy Now reported that "The Red Cross says Israel barred aid workers for four days from reaching victims in the neighbourhood of Zeitoun. Israeli soldiers reportedly tried to chase the rescue workers away. When they finally arrived, the workers found fifteen bodies, along with several children still barely alive. The children were lying next to their dead mothers."

Israeli forces have attacked clearly-marked UN buildings, including, on January 6, a school in Jabalya sheltering hundreds of terrified Palestinians. Israel initially claimed that this attack, which killed over 40 Palestinians, was in response to gunfire from militants in the school, but, as UNRWA spokesperson Chris Guness reported, "I've been authorized to say that the Israeli army, in private briefings with diplomats, is admitting that the firing that came out of Jabalya yesterday, the militant fire, was not from within the UNRWA school compound, it was from outside the UNRWA school compound. This is a crucial distinction, because serious allegations have been made against UNRWA that the militants were firing from within. In fact, those allegations are baseless."

There is ample evidence, despite Israel's denials, that Israeli forces have dropped white phosphorous on heavily populated civilian areas. White phosphorous even appears to have been used in a January 15 attack on a UNRWA building sheltering 700 Palestinians, destroying supplies of desperately-need food, fuel, and humanitarian aid. .

I rarely agree with the Vatican, but I think that Vatican Justice and Peace Minister Cardinal Renato Martino was correct when he said, "let's look at the conditions in Gaza: these increasingly resemble a big concentration camp."

The concentration camp analogy is more appropriate than the more familiar Bantustan comparison. In The Shock Doctrine (2007), Naomi Klein writes that "South Africa's Bantustans were essentially work camps, a way to keep African labourers under tight surveillance and control so they would work cheaply in the mines. What Israel has constructed is a system designed to do the opposite: to keep workers from working, a network of open holding pens for millions of people who have been categorized as surplus humanity." 

To understand Israel's actions in the Occupied Territories, we need to understand how Israel's economy has changed since the late 1980s, when Israel's business community wanted a lasting peace. Back then, Israel needed secure trading relationships with its Arab neighbours, and many Palestinians from the Occupied Territories worked inside Israel at low-wage jobs. During the 1990s, Israel's high-tech sector became the driving force in its economy. Since this sector exported its products around the world, Israel overcame its dependence on trade with its neighbours. At the same time, Israel received an influx of approximately one million Soviet Jews, who now comprise 18% of the Israeli population. These immigrants replaced the workforce from the Occupied Territories. After the dot-com collapse, the locus of Israel's economy shifted to the burgeoning homeland security industry. Israel is now the world's leader in this field, and as a result enjoys one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. 

Israel no longer requires any labourers from the Occupied Territories, it doesn't need to trade with its neighbours, and its foremost industry depends on the international demand created by war and terrorism. All Israel wants now is the land under the Palestinians' feet. Since a nation's culture is moulded by its economic interests, and because Israel is one of the most militarized countries on Earth, Israeli attitudes towards the Palestinians are becoming ever-more authoritarian and dehumanizing. 

The prognosis couldn't be worse. Israel has a vested economic interest in ethnically cleansing the Occupied Territories, the Israeli public is moving further to the right, and the Palestinians have no reason to stop their attacks. Last February, Israel's Deputy Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai, said that the Palestinians were risking a "shoah", the Hebrew word for disaster that also happens to be the term used by Jews worldwide to refer to the Nazi Holocaust. At the time, I thought this was hyperbole; now, I'm not so sure.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Thanks for that, Michael!

Lord Palmerston

[url=http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2009/09/19/rabbinical-assem... rabbis blast Goldstone[/url]

Quote:

Friends,

On this Rosh Hashanah our brothers and sisters in Israel face the threat of a nuclear Iran – a threat to Israel’s very existence.

Today, we Jews around the world also confront the anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment of the Goldstone report which blames Israel disproportionately for the tragic loss of human life incurred in Operation Cast Lead, which took place last winter in Gaza.  This unbalanced United Nations sponsored report portends serious consequences for Israel and the Jewish people.

On this holy day, which is not only Rosh Hashanah, but also Shabbat, the Shofar is silent in the face of this spurious report, the world is far too silent.

Today the state of Israel needs us to be the kol shofar, the voice of the shofar!

We ask you to write to our governmental leaders and call upon them to condemn the Goldstone report and to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran.

While the shofar is silent today, all Conservative rabbis, cantors and congregations have been asked to sing Hatikvah at this moment in the service.

We rise in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Richard Goldstone's report is an important story but you would never know that relying on Canada's mainstream media.  A search on Google News Canada for Richard Goldstone yields over 3000 hits, but try to find a Canadian source in that list.

So I went to the individual websites of CBC, CTV, National Post, Canwest, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Macleans and did a search for Richard Goldstone.

Surpisingly the CBC had no news items, but the radio show "As it Happens" did have an interesting interview with Judge Goldstone. He is a man of impeccable credentials, one of the world's most respected jurists.  He is also Jewish, and according to his daughter, loves Israel.  One would be hard pressed to find a judge who could be more fair in judgement of Israel.

Macleans was even better - 2 "whoops, no longer available"

CTV has had one story appear since the release of the report.  Wow!

The Toronto Star has 2 hits - the story and an opinion piece but the op-ed is a good one. At least some introspection.

Five hits from the Globe and Mail, including 1 letter. Good journalism by Patrick Martin and Ben Hubbard.  There is an op-ed piece by Erna Paris that does not show up on the G&M search list, which is odd and a pity.  It's a good piece.

Canwest (canada.com) had over a dozen hits, but apart from two letters-to-the-editor, there are only two items.  The first is a single news story by Steven Edwards that was published under a variety of headlines across the Canwest empire.  The opening paragraph is a classical example of a news whitewash ...

Quote:

A controversial United Nations probe into an Israeli attack on Gaza has found evidence of war crimes by both Israel's military and Palestinian militants, the world body said Tuesday.

The second story is a vile opinion piece by National Post columnist George Jonas.  Mr. Jonas puts quotes around the word war like he's doing some tasteless Saturday Night Live sketch.  He then refers to the Gaza event as an "incursion", like it's some boyish prank pulled off by a few rogue officer in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Jonas then pulls the standard tricks of the Israel lobby, character assassination and  shooting the messenger, labeling Goldstone as a "peace criminal", with only a cursory glance at the contents of the report or the credentials of the judge.  Jonas is definitely a quarterback in the A**hole league of Canadian journalism.

This ho-hum "Israeli attack on Gaza" should properly be known as the Gaza Massacre of '09 because that is what it was. The numbers speak for themselves.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

A piece by Gorden Levy, a journalist for Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. It has a small circulation but is considered one of the most most influential, according to it's wikipedia page ...

Disgrace in The Hague

Quote:

For almost a year, Israel has been trying to argue that the blood spilled in Gaza was merely water. One report followed the other, with horrifyingly identical results: siege, white phosphorous, harm of innocent civilians, infrastructure destroyed - war crimes in each and every report. Now, after the publication of the most important and damning report of all, compiled by the commission led by Judge Richard Goldstone, Israel's attempts to discredit them look ludicrous, and the empty bluster of its spokespersons sound pathetic.

I can find fault with many things that Israel does but I cannot find fault with their level of journalism.  I wish Canada had the same.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

The numbers don't lie. 

As the Globe and Mail pointed out, of the 13 Israeli deaths recorded in the 22 day "conflict", 10 were soldiers. 

Of the 10 soldiers killed, 4 died from "friendly-fire" (i.e. they were accidently killed by their own comrades).

That leaves 3 civilians and 6 soldiers dead from this "incursion"

Compare those to Gaza - 1400 dead, 5500 wounded, 50,000 home damaged or destroyed, infrastructure severely damaged.

Let's talk about rockets launched towards Israel and it's illegal settlements - 8000 since 2001 (as is widely quoted).

There were more 3000 rocket and mortar attacks in 2008 alone before the conflict started on Dec 27.  But guess what! Not one Israeli death attributed to a rocket or mortar death - not a one! (If I am wrong on this, please feel free to correct - I can't find anything on the net to disprove this)

Need some more statistics that put things in perspective?

Number of Hamas suicide bombers since 2005 - 0.

Oh, and a few numbers from Larry Derfner of the Jerusalem Post - A wakeup call from Judge Goldstone

Quote:

In the three years and three months between our disengagement from Gaza and the start of Operation Cast Lead, 28 Israelis were killed by rockets, bombs and bullets from Gaza.

In that same period, more than 1,250 Gazans were killed by missiles, tank shells and all sorts of other ammunition fired by the IDF.

The context of the war - the full context - was that we had blockaded Gaza by air, sea and to a great extent by land, we were racking up a kill ratio of nearly 50 to 1 - then we invaded the country, destroyed thousands upon thousands of homes and public buildings and bumped up the ratio to more than 100-to-1.

 

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

I don't appreciate the first paragraph of this post:

M. Spector wrote:

Your repeated mantra of "both sides are equally to blame" is proof enough of your support for the Israeli side and your lack of sympathy for the Palestinian cause. You've made eight posts in this thread, and in none of them have you acknowledged the responsibility of Israel for the conflict. Even when that proposition was directly put to you by remind, you characterized it as a "Palestinian perception" and dismissed it. You even tried to pretend that blaming Israel was tantamount to saying that all Israelis are racist bigots!

Your message to the Palestinians of non-violent resistance is a call for them to allow themselves to be bullied, oppressed, starved, and killed, without defending themselves. You'd rather see a Palestinian die than fight back.

"...embarrassing the Israelis into treating them like human beings?" What nonsense. You're wrongly assuming the Israelis are capable of being embarrassed by their own war crimes. They've already done more than enough to be embarrassed about, and yet they still stand in defiance of decency and international law.

Your position is reminiscent of Mohandas Gandhi's, as discussed in [url=http://www.fsmitha.com/review/herman.html]this review[/url] of a book by Arthur Herman:

Quote:
Herman writes: "In 1938, [Gandhi] had urged the Czechs to use nonviolence against the Germans instead of bullets. He urged German Jews to do the same." On November 11, 1938, the day after the Kristallnacht, Gandhi wrote that a "calm and determined stand offered by unarmed men and women" would turn their "winter of desire" into "a summer of hope." Gandhi believed that such an approach would "score a lasting victory over the German gentiles, in the sense that they will have converted the latter to an appreciation of human dignity." (p. 445)

Gandhi, writes Herman, "urged Jews to disarm their persecutors by praying for Hitler." Herman quotes Gandhi as saying "Even if one Jew acted thus, he would save his self-respect and leave an example which, if it became infectious, would save the whole of Jewry." "Revenge is sweet," said Gandhi, but "forgiveness is divine." (p 445)

Gandhi believed that if the Jews used his tactics, while they were being slaughtered they could have gotten their message out to the world better than they did. Herman writes that after the war, when the full extent of the Holocaust became known, Gandhi still felt that, in his words, "the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife...They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs." This Gandhi said "would have aroused the world and the people of Germany...As it was they succumbed anyway in their millions."

The first paragraph is deliberate misinformation.  I never said "both sides are equally to blame" ???  Quotes means you are quoting me, not making stuff up.

For example, this would be quoting me:  "There's lots of blame to go around. Zionists, the UN, the US and other nations who arm belligerents, the news which keeps people misinformed, our leaders who support one side's war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as individual Palestinians who commit war crimes."  Yes I wrote that, and you can quote me.  Maybe I wasn't clear...

I assumed that you were aware that Israel was founded by Zionists and that many Israelis are Zionists, probably a majority.  Some Israelis are not Jewish, and probably a majority of them are not Zionists.  No I'm not blaming most Israeli Arabs for Palestinian oppression and suffering.  Also a good number of Israeli Jews are also not Zionists and I'm not blaming most of them either.  Sorry for the confusion, I should have been more clear that by blaming Zionists, I was not referring to Palestinians.  I just assumed most people were aware that most if not all Palestinians are not Zionists...

By belligerents, I meant anyone authorizing, threatening or committing acts of violence.  That includes both Israelis and Palestinians, but not every Israeli or Palestinian.  I suspect a majority of Palestinians and Israelis are not belligerents.

The US is by far the biggest source of arms to the belligerents.  Since they only arm one side, they are responsible for the consequences to the other side.  As a result, the US may be the most responsible for Palestinian suffering.  Imagine what would happen if US arms to Israeli belligerents dried up...

By the news, I was referring to the same problem more eloquently expressed by Diogenes above.  The US news is far worse than Canada's news.  If Americans were objectively informed about this conflict, I doubt many of them would want to arm Israel, especially now with their sinking economy.  News/propaganda contributes to the popular support for arming Israeli belligerents and as a result Palestinian suffering.

By "our leaders" I was referring to Canadians, not Palestinians.  For example, Prime Minister Harper is not Palestinian.  His unshakable support of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity is also part of the problem.  Electing Ignatieff would change nothing.  Layton seems more balanced.  Our leaders should be objective and represent Canada's interests first.  Millions of oppressed Palestinians do not serve Canada's interests.  Our leaders should hold Israel responsible for their actions whenever they kill or mistreat Canadians.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2008/02/06/ot-von-kruedener-080206.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060716/mideast_family_060716/20060718?hub=Canada&s_name=

 

I am flattered that you compared me to Ghandi.  I am convinced that Palestinians can win freedom and justice by non-violent methods and that's where they need our help.  If the news won't cover "The UN Report on War Crimes in Gaza", then its up to everyone who is aware to spread the word to friends, family, across the internet....  If a cruel act is caught on camera and doesn't make our news, then everyone who is aware, must post links to those images on youtube and forums like this.  The more people who bear witness to the non-violent resistance going on in Bil'in, the more effective it becomes.  This information must be dispersed as widely as possible, so that it can't be ignored or minimized.  Every piece of pro-death and destruction propaganda must be challenged.  Misinformation and perception manipulation must be countered with accurate information and logic.

This website appears to be a pretty good source of accurate information regarding this conflict and many people here are well informed.  I'll probably stick around.

Lord Palmerston
earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

I think Finklestein is onto something.  The Gaza massacre is exactly how this event should be referenced.  I visited "Breaking the silence" as Finklestein suggested and came across this:

http://www.shovrimshtika.org/oferet/testimonies_category_e.asp

It is as Finklestein describes.  InSaNe.

Sounds like the Israeli soldiers went in, expecting to encounter resistance, but didn't encounter any.  After a while they just got bored and started randomly blowing stuff up and killing people mostly out of boredom.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

earth_as_one wrote:

I don't appreciate the first paragraph of this post:

There is much that you don't appreciate.

How do the following quotations from your previous posts show anything other than putting blame equally on both sides?

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Both sides committed war crimes. One side fired rockets in the general direction of civilians. The other side committed a very long list of war crimes...

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Firing rockets in the general direction of civilians is a war crime. Its in the same category as Israel's use of heavy artillery and flechettes in heavily populated urban areas...

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Palestinians can't attack Israeli civilians legally any more than Israelis can attack Palestinian civilians.

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While Israeli forces kill more people and commit greater atrocities, Palestinian militants who fire rockets at Israeli civilians aren't exactly innocent either. The main reason why Palestinian militants don't kill more Israelis is that they lack the means, not the will.

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I am in favor of disarming both sides and enforcing peace with a massive and heavily armed UN peacekeeping force.

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...both sides must need to rid themselves of fear, hate, prejudice, anger... That would require a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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Sure the number of civilians killed by Palestinians was far less than that killed by Israelis. But that's a reflection of the ineffectiveness of Palestinian weapons rather than an intent by Palestinians to limit Israeli civilian casualties. Give them a bigger stick and I believe they'd clobber more innocent people.

---------------------

 

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I am flattered that you compared me to Ghandi.

The fact that you would feel flattered by having your position compared to Gandhi's moronic advocacy of pacifist surrender to the Nazis is appalling, but hardly a surprise.

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I am convinced that Palestinians can win freedom and justice by non-violent methods and that's where they need our help.

The Palestinians don't need your kind of help.

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This website appears to be a pretty good source of accurate information regarding this conflict and many people here are well informed. I'll probably stick around.

Try to imagine my joy.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:

[url=http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/democracy-now-analysis-of-goldstone-rep... Finkelstein on the Goldstone Report[/url]

LP, thank you for this link.  He says it so well. I never heard of this guy before but that's just me.

I bet he's Jewish too, going by the name.  But I don't want to say too much, with all this anti-semitism going around!

-Looking for an honest man

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

 

Uri Avnery wrote:

So why did the Israeli government boycott the commission? The real answer is quite simple: they knew full well that the commission, any commission, would have to reach the conclusions it did reach.

In fact, the commission did not say anything new. Almost all the facts were already known: the bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the use of flechette rounds and white phosphorus against civilian targets, the bombing of mosques and schools, the blocking of rescue parties from reaching the wounded, the killing of fleeing civilians carrying white flags, the use of human shields, and more. The Israeli army did not allow journalists near the action, but the war was amply documented by the international media in all its details, the entire world saw it in real time on the TV screens. The testimonies are so many and so consistent, that any reasonable person can draw their own conclusions.

If the officers and soldiers of the Israeli army had given testimony before the commission, it would perhaps have been impressed by their angle, too - the fear, the confusion, the lack of orientation - and the conclusions could have been somewhat less severe. But the main thrust would not have changed. After all, the whole operation was based on the assumption that it was possible to overthrow the Hamas government in Gaza by causing intolerable suffering to the civilian population. The damage to civilians was not "collateral", whether avoidable or unavoidable, but a central feature of the operation itself.

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery09212009.html]Source[/url]

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

M. Spector wrote:

earth_as_one wrote:

I don't appreciate the first paragraph of this post:

There is much that you don't appreciate.

....

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This website appears to be a pretty good source of accurate information regarding this conflict and many people here are well informed. I'll probably stick around.

Try to imagine my joy.

I stand by all those statements I made.  If you want to interpret them as allocating blame equally, you have a right to your opinion.

earth_as_one earth_as_one's picture

You shouldn't have to be Jewish, to be able to criticize Israeli crimes against humanity and not be accused of being anti-Semitic.  If you are Jewish, you should be able to criticize Israeli war crimes without being labelled a self hating Jew.

The pro-Israel lobby is powerful and speaking out can be risky even for Jews:

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Gaza or Warsaw? UCSB professor says both are the same

University of California at Santa-Barbara professor probed for comparing Israeli policy to the Holocaust in controversial email

Ryan Simmons

A Jewish sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) is being investigated for academic misconduct after he sent an e-mail message to 80 students comparing Israel's offensive in Gaza to the Holocaust...

Gaza or Warsaw? UCSB professor says both are the same - Collegenews.

Professor Robinson was eventually cleared of misconduct charges.  His email was based on this adbusters article:

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES

https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/83/gaza.html?page=4

The situation and images from both Gaza 2009 and Warsaw 1940 are disturbingly similar.

Obviously not all Jews support Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity unconditionally.  Here are links to two Jewish organizations which are vocal about Palestinian human rights.

http://www.nion.ca/nion-statement-en.htm

http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/about.shtml

As well, a group of Jewish Israeli historians and academics, known collectively as "The New Historians" have done much to dispel popular Israeli proganda and mythology regarding Israel's history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Historians

Here is a link to one of the New Historian's website:

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Ilan Pappe, born in Haifa in 1954 is currently a Chair in the Department of History, the University of Exeter and a co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political Studies. He was the academic head and founder of the Institute for Peace studies in Givat Haviva Israel (1992-2000) and the Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa (2000-2008).

Pappe is a both a professional historian and a human rights' activist who believes that commitment and professionalism do not necessarily clash, but rather reinforce each other.

He wrote extensively on the 1948 Nakbah and is regarded as one of Israel 'new historians' who challenged the official Zionist version of events.

 http://ilanpappe.com/?page_id=2

Even the Vatican recently criticized Israel calling Gaza a concentration camp.

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Vatican cardinal calls Gaza "big concentration camp"

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's point man for justice and peace issues on Wednesday issued the Vatican's toughest criticism of Israel since the latest Mideast crisis began, calling Gaza a "big concentration camp."

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, made his comments in an interview in the Italian online newspaper Il Sussidiario.net.

"Defenceless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp," Martino, whose informal title is Vatican "justice minister," was quoted as saying...

 Concentration Camp:

  1. A camp where civilians, enemy aliens, political prisoners, and sometimes prisoners of war are detained and confined, typically under harsh conditions.
  2. A place or situation characterized by extremely harsh conditions.

Pretty much sums up Gaza...

International Committee of the Red Cross Report

June 2009

Gaza: 1.5 million people trapped in despair

 

NDPP

The Risks of De-Contextualizing Gaza War Crimes

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10796.shtml

"By drawing attention to one short but bloody outburst of violence, an outburst that is cast and investigated as unusual, other periods may be rendered normal.."

Stargazer

And yet it was reported on the CBC radio today that Israel is trying to gather up world wide help to stop the "Iranian threat".  Word, they don't need world wide help, they already have it. Israel is a disgrace. The sad part is, most of the world is buying into the Iran is a threat line to justify the use of Nukes by Israel against Iran (and most likely aided by the US and Canada). I'm disgusted in our media and this government.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Israel keeps shooting the messenger, by Haroon Siddiqui, Sept 27, Toronto Star

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

A good column here on Rabble, in case anyone missed it..

Israel losing legitimacy war by Richard Falk, Sept 25, 2009

Falk is scheduled  to speak in Toronto today on the Arab-Israeli conflict (2 p.m., U of T's Health Sciences Building, 155 College St., Room 610).

Sadly, I have to disagree with the premise. Israel is winning.  The Goldstone report has hardly been touched by Canada's MSM, politicians, or political parties.  If anyone out there knows of any politician who has said anything on this matter, please let us know!

The focus now is the phony-baloney debate on Iran and its WMD program.  Nice diversion. Reminds me of the good old George Bush/Saddam Hussein days.

The Goldstone report is a fair and balanced assessment of the Gaza Massacre of 2009.  Israel must be held to account for this. Israel must be held to account for its apartheid measures inflicted on Gaza.

I am astonished and disappointed how President Obama has capitulated to the Israel lobby.  It really demonstrates how little power he has.  Netanyahu gave Obama the middle finger on stopping expansion of illegal settlements by approving 455 more units one week before he set off for New York.  It made the attempt to restart peace talks a joke.

And the U.S.now finds the Goldstone report "unbalanced"? 

Granted 90% of the report deals with the "crimes" committed by Israel. But 99% of the wars victims were in Gaza, so it that sense, it was unbalanced.  Justice Goldstone cannot possibly be found to be anti-semite, anti-jewish or even anti-Israel. 

The many allegations hurled in the pro-Israel press at Goldstone is the absolute height of hypocrisy.  They even suggest blood-libel, whatever the hell that is.  The Holocaust industry is always creating new hysterical terms to further the cause of Israel.

This proves the United States can never be the honest peace broker that some believed the new President Obama might be.  The most powerful man in the world is the new emperor without clothes.

Kaspar Hauser

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1117296.html

"Tensions are mounting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following Ramallah's call on the International Court at The Hague to examine claims of "war crimes" that the IDF allegedly committed during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. The issue is already weighing in on the relations between the leadership of Israel's defense and security establishment with their counterparts in the West Bank, and is part of a growing list of Israeli complaints about the behavior of PA officials.

"Meanwhile, Israel has warned the Palestinian Authority that it would condition permission for a second cellular telephone provider to operate in the West Bank - an economic issue of critical importance to the PA leadership - on the Palestinians withdrawing their request at the International Court."

NDPP

Gaza: On Survival

http://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/on-survival

One Gaza Family: "the other day I re-visited the family of martyred Mohammed al Attar, killed while net-fishing off the shores of Sudaniya, northern Gaza. They are poor, desperately so, and have a string of martyrs in their family, including Mohammed's mother and one brother.."

NDPP

Gaza and the Goldstone Report: Your Urgent Action Needed Today

http://www.creative-i.info/?p=10597

"Please consider taking these urgent actions and forwarding to all of your contacts..."

pogge

I'm a bit surprised to see it even show up at CTV this morning:

[url=http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090929/gaza_report... expert defends Gaza war crimes report[/url]

Quote:
A UN investigator defended a report Tuesday that accuses Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes during their conflict in Gaza, an allegation Israel condemns and claims is the result of bias against the Jewish state.

Former South African Judge Richard Goldstone said he and his fellow investigators rejected criticism by Israel that the 575-page report was politically motivated.

 

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Since Canada's MSM has all but ignored this story, I shall cite American some news sources...

A call to moral accounting - by Brant Rosen, op-ed in the Chicago Tribune

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As a rabbi, this grieves me deeply. For, painful as it is for us to admit, Israel's behavior in Gaza has consistently betrayed our shared Jewish ethical legacy.

This was true before the war, when the Israeli blockade denied Palestinians basic necessities; it was true during the war, when Israel responded with disproportionate force to Hamas rockets; and it has been true since the war, as Israel has deepened the blockade, preventing Gazans from rebuilding their homes. As a result of Israeli actions, some 60 percent of Gazans don't have continual access to water and face near-daily power outages of up to 10 hours at a time, while hundreds of thousands are dependent on foreign aid agencies for food.

 

Obama should back the Goldstone Report,  George Bisharat, ope-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle

 

A time of moral reckoning - by James Carroll, op-ed in the Boston Globe

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Goldstone has been personally attacked by the report's Israeli critics. I serve with him on the advisory board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University, and I know him well. His integrity is beyond question. His daughter, in interviews given to the Israeli press in Hebrew, describes him as an ardent supporter of Israel. In fact, that commitment shines in the opportunity the Goldstone Report presents - calling upon Israel to conduct its own independent and objective investigation into the Gaza allegations. Such is the meaning of moral reckoning this year.

 

A blog by Dan Fleshler, author of "Transforming America's Israeli Lobby". I came across this link reading "The Opinionator" in the New York Times.

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I've just finished reading the Goldstone report. As the Forward notes, it "blisters with specificity." It is upsetting. I don't know exactly what happened in the Gaza Strip during "Operation Cast Lead" last winter. I do know that Israel will have a difficult time discrediting the report by citing the UN's past transgressions, or insisting that Israel went out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, or explaining how the report neglected to include the "context" for Israel's actions. White phosphorus provides its own context.

I also know that Richard Goldstone is my kind of Jew. And this time, I'm not going to hate myself for neglecting to lambaste those who reflexively call him "self-hating."

 

NDPP

PCHR: Human Rights Council Must Endorse Findings and Recommendations of Goldstone Enquiry http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?options=com_content&task=view&id=7170 "Yet despite the documentation of such crimes, neither the State of Israel nor individuals suspected of committing war crimes have been held to account. It is now over 9 months since Operation Cast Lead, and no effective investigations have been conducted.

kathleen

People, mostly kids, are still dying from cluster bombs in Lebanon. How come no Goldstone Enquiry there? Or was that a "just" war?

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

kathleen wrote:

People, mostly kids, are still dying from cluster bombs in Lebanon. How come no Goldstone Enquiry there? Or was that a "just" war?

What is your point here Kathleen?

A standard tactic of the Israeli lobby to discredit the Goldstone report is "Why Israel? Why not (fill-in-the-blank)".  Rinse and repeat.

This is a rubbish argument of course. Israel also boasts that it is a moral and responsible democracy which, some of us believe, offers the best hope for change.  So what if this kind of rigourous inquiry has not been undertaken in the past. Does make the Goldstone report unimportant?

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