Saturday, September 13, 2014

Palestinian leaders help Israel evade ICC, again

Riad Maliki during his visit to the ICCRiad Maliki during his visit to the ICC

In 2009, Palestinian leaders attempted to bring Israel’s actions during “Operation Cast Lead” to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although the bid was refused by the then prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the grounds that only states could do so and Palestine was not recognized as a state, the move fuelled hopes that one day Israel could be held accountable.The United Nations General Assembly approved Palestine’s 2012 statehood bid, upgrading Palestine to a non-member observer state and therefore making it eligible to bring a case to the court. The chief prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, has stated that “the ball is now in the court of Palestine,” “Palestine has to come back” and “we are waiting for them.”

When Palestinian foreign minister Riad Maliki visited The Hague in early August, the seat of the ICC, hopes were once again raised- would Palestine’s leaders finally follow through with its ICC threats? Maliki told reporters that the visit was made in-order to discuss the implications of signing the Rome Statute. Signing the Rome Statute would make Palestine a member of the ICC with the authority to call for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel.

 Continues >>

Monday, September 08, 2014

Stephen Lendman: Abbas Scuttles Fatah/Hamas Unity

 -
Last April, Fatah and Hamas agreed on establishing unity Palestinian governance. Hamas official Izzat Ar-Rishiq said issues separating both sides were resolved. Fatah confirmed the report. Both sides agreed to form a “government of independents.” It would be “tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year.”
 
PLC deputy head Dr. Ahmad Bahar called the agreement historic. Gaza’s coalition of independent figures head Abdul-Aziz Shiqaqi said it breaks new ground. It offers reconciliation hope. Earlier unity talks failed. Israel sabotaged them. In April 2011, both sides met in Cairo. They announced a draft reconciliation agreement.

Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported “a complete understanding after talks on all the points, including the formation of a transitional government with a specific mandate and setting a date for elections.” Hamas official Izzat Ar-Rishiq said differing issues between both sides were resolved.

Fatah’s delegation head, Azzam Al-Ahmad, confirmed it. Both sides agreed on unity governance, he said. They’ll be “tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year.”

Reconciliation didn’t follow. Agreed on terms were ignored. A similar Doha 2012 agreement followed. Announced national unity governance wasn’t consummated.
Netanyahu reacted as expected. He demanded Abbas “choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.”  “There cannot be peace with both because Hamas strives to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly,” he said. “I think that the very idea of reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and creates the prospect that Hamas could retake control of Judea and Samaria just like it took control of the Gaza Strip.”

Continues >>

Friday, September 05, 2014

Peter Hart: Israel, Gaza and False Balance

Media construct a symmetry of violence where none exists

By Peter Hart, Fair, September 1, 2014


 Extra! cover, September 2014 
 
Striving for a deceptive “balance,” US media miscast the devastating violence of Israel’s attacks on Gaza and obscured the lopsided nature of the death toll.
 
This started with the timeline preferred in much of the press. By most media accounts, the conflict started when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped on June 12; their bodies were discovered on June 30. The Israeli government immediately declared Hamas responsible. Days after the discovery of the victims’ bodies, a Palestinian teenager was abducted and murdered by Israeli extremists, in what was called a “revenge” attack. Hamas rockets started falling in Israel, and “Operation Protective Edge” was Israel’s response.

This narrative of Israeli response to Palestinian aggression was set from the beginning: “Striking back. Israel hitting hard overnight with 34 precision airstrikes on a Hamas compound,” declared ABC World News’ Alex Marquardt (7/1/14). A USA Today editorial (7/15/14) explained that the war started when “Hamas began its latest round of mostly ineffectual rocket attacks on Israel.”

Continues >>

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The truce between Gaza and Israel

Nasir Khan, August 27, 2014

All the well-wishers of the people of Palestine around the world are relieved to hear about the recent truce arranged between Gaza and Israel in the hope that it will put a stop to Israel carrying out further destruction and massacres in Gaza. Many people have voiced their opposition to the Israeli savagery in Gaza. But how long will the truce last or how will Israel behave in the days, weeks and months to come is yet to be seen. Zionist rulers of Israel can never be trusted for anything positive except for their unmatched expertise in deception and manipulation. As things stand at present, it is prudent to say that this truce means the temporary end of hostilities and nothing more.

Israel’s overwhelming military power in the hands of a rabid rightist government was used in the most destructive way over a population that practically has been defenceless and beleaguered by Israel. Despite all the destruction and massacres of a captive people, the resistance forces of Gaza have faced Israel with incredible heroic courage and determination. If they also had the sort of advanced weapons Israel used in Gaza then the carnage we watched on television screens would not have taken place.

Killing a defenceless people is easy and cowardly. What Israel did was to rain bombs and missiles on the Gazans without incurring any damage or loss itself because the Palestinians had no weapons to use against them. As a result Israeli military forces were free to indulge in an orgy of death and destruction with impunity. Despite this, the Palestinian resistance forces remained steadfast and unyielding. As a gesture of defiance they continued to fire rockets into Israel that did little or minimal damage. But their defiance against the brutal occupier and aggressor adds a new and glorious chapter in the history of the Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation and emancipation. However, the road ahead will be long and tortuous.

We solute the brave sons and daughters of Gaza for their determined opposition to the Zionist barbarism in Gaza. They were alone to face a ruthless and insensate military power that was backed by the United States. They received no military help from any powerful state to fight off the aggressor. While powerful Western countries sided with the aggressor, the US-friedly Arab regimes remained either silent or followed the lead of the United States and the Zionist ringmasters. But large number of people in the world have stood with the people of Gaza. They showed this by public demonstrations against the incredible savagery of Israel in Gaza. They showed their solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza in their dire situation.

Lastly, Facebook users have also done much to inform the world of the suffering and destruction in Gaza. Among my Facebook friends some people have given much needed information and views with courage and determination. I thank all such friends in my personal capacity as a Facebook and internet user as well as many owners of websites that publish online newspapers and journals sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ilan Pappe: The Historical Perspective of the 2014 Gaza Massacre

By Ilan PappĂ©, PIPR,  21 August, 2014
 
People in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine feel disappointed at the lack of any significant international reaction to the carnage and destruction the Israeli assault has so far left behind it in the Strip. The inability, or unwillingness, to act seems to be first and foremost an acceptance of the Israeli narrative and argumentation for the crisis in Gaza. Israel has developed a very clear narrative about the present carnage in Gaza.

It is a tragedy caused by an unprovoked Hamas missile attack on the Jewish State, to which Israel had to react in self-defence. While mainstream western media, academia and politicians may have reservations about the proportionality of the force used by Israel, they accept the gist of this argument. This Israeli narrative is totally rejected in the world of cyber activism and alternative media. There it seems the condemnation of the Israeli action as a war crime is widespread and consensual.

The main difference between the two analyses from above and from below is the willingness of activists to study deeper and in a more profound way the ideological and historical context of the present Israeli action in Gaza. This tendency should be enhanced even further and this piece is just a modest attempt to contribute towards this direction.

Continues >>

Friday, August 22, 2014

3 Ways America Enables Slaughter in Gaza



The U.S. government plays a central role in perpetuating the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The American and Israeli flags.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
 
American debate on the hundreds of civilian deaths in Gaza and the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict is polarized between feelings of sympathy with civilian victims on either side and mutual vilification of the Likud-led government of Israel and the Hamas-led government in Gaza.  But it may be more constructive for Americans to think about the role that the U.S. government plays in perpetuating this never-ending and heart-rending conflict. 

Opinion polling during a crisis tends to reflect the passions of the moment, but Americans have told pollsters for decades that we want our government to take an even-handed position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  A Chicago Council Global Views survey in 2012 found that 65% of Americans want the U.S. to "not take either side", while only 30% want it to "take Israel's side". That majority rose to 74% vs 17% at the height of the U.S. war in Iraq in 2004. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Siding with an aggressor or its victims?


Nasir Khan, August 18, 2014

The latest Israeli war on Gaza and its incredible atrocities on a besieged people have deeply stirred many people around the world. While such barbarous destructions and massacres were taking place many powerful governments in the West have openly sided with the aggressor. One reason for their doing so is to follow the lead of the United States on Israel-Palestine issue. Therefore all talk of 'Israel has the right to defend itself' simply means that Israel can do do whatever it wants with the captive people of Gaza. That means if it wants to kill those resisting the occupation then it has a free hand to do so. The United States and its allies will make sure to protect the Israeli leaders and war criminals against any charges of crimes and crimes against humanity.

If we don't want to become victims of our own verbal confusion then we need to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism. Those who follow Judaism can broadly be said to be Jews. This broad category also includes some Jews who don’t follow Judaism but still are regarded as Jews. Zionism on the other hand is a political ideology that has used the religious identity of Jews to enlist their support for the Zionist cause and objectives. As a result many Jews have been drawn to the Zionist project and politics. But again this should not lead us to the mistaken belief that all Jews are Zionists. It is not difficult to see that all Jews are not Zionists. There are many Jews who are against Zionism and its hijacking of the majority of world Jewry to its political objectives by misleading propaganda and falsification of political realities.

While discussing Zionists, we know there are many Christian Zionists as well as some Zionists from Islamic and Hindu communities whose love for Israel and Zionism is because of their myopic outlook and hatred directed against Islam and its followers.

As far as my own understanding of the theologies and the mainstream religious traditions of the Abrahamic faiths is concerned, I find nowhere any tradition that exhorts believers to side with an aggressor or obey the criminal diktat of an occupier. Instead, all people with human conscience who can see right from wrong have to struggle against an aggressor and be on the side of the victims.