Israel under the blinding light of a small Flotilla

Yesterday, the world woke up to a new, yet recurring horror, Israel, finally labeled by the international community as the Terrorist state, have committed yet another heinous crime against humanity.

In the dead of the night – as always is the case with Israeli crimes – Israeli commandos and navy troops stormed one or more of the Freedom Flotilla boats headed towards Gaza, and murdered 19 peace activists and injured scores of others. Despite what Israel wants us to believe, the fact remains that these were peaceful unarmed civilians who were attempting to break Israel’s unethical blockade of Gaza sector, bringing food and aid supplies to the starved population of the sector.

The ships were confiscated and the rest of the 650 activists were transferred to a prison facility in Ashdod.

That’s all we know until this moment, and I suspect that will be all we know for a while, because Israel is (as always) maintaining a full media blackout, over the past 36 hours, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months ago.

So here are the available specu-facts as we heard them over and over from all the news organization:

– Israeli soldiers invaded at least one ship and attacked the flotilla in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime.
– The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandos, some even go to saying that the Israeli PM commandeered the attack. The soldiers were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians on-board, but not with crowd dispersal weapons as they should have been if Israel was really seeking to prevent bloodshed.
– After the deadly massacre, Israel illegally confiscated aid supplies that were gathered by humanitarian organization for the population of GAZA, and un-rightfully detained civilians with no charge defy and breaking all human rights.

Now lets analyze all these facts in the light of the following, internationally agreed upon and accepted statement:

Israel has no right to control Gaza’s sea as its own territorial waters.
Israel has no right to blockade Gaza or to stop aid convoys arriving to Gaza by sea or any other routes.

In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of Gaza sector and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And as an occupation force, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip’s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians under the worst starvation circumstance for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.

But if Israel still argues the legitimacy of its blockade on Gaza against International law, Israel cannot argue that by attacking these ships in International water, it have reached a new height of arrogance and contempt of International law.

With that stated, we have to acknowledge the following, that this latest massacre, as grotesque and outrageous as it is, is quite minor if it is to be compared with the 2008-2009 Gaza War and it’s atrocities.

The flotilla massacre is also significantly small if compared to the blockade itself, which have cost Gaza, millions in economic losses [1] and incalculable life loss due of starvation and deprivation of basic life and medical needs. (At the rare times where Israel is allowing supplies into Gaza, the amount of goods Israel allows is less than one quarter of the Sector needs.)

“Israeli acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.” The UN Fact Finding mission lead by South African Judge Richard Goldstone

The Goldstone report suggested that the blockade was a war crime and possibly a crime against humanity, it recommended that the matter be referred to the International Criminal Court if the situation has not improved in six months, that was in September 2009, that was 8 month ago! So according to Goldstone report, which was commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as part of United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, according to that report, Israel should have been referred to the International Criminal Court 2 months ago!!!

The point I’m trying to make here, is that the flotilla massacre, despite being a grotesque and gruesome criminal act, it is relatively small in comparison by the other Israeli crimes.

Smoke rises after an Israel air strike in Gaza Strip December 28, 2008. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Israel; is a terrorist state, it has committed crimes against humanity before and is in direct defiance of international laws and the Geneva Convention.

The blockade & starvation of Gaza population, and turning Gaza into an open air prison for 1.5 million prisoner; which is known as “Gaza Genocide”, is a much bigger crime against humanity.

Waging an atrocious War on the sector which killed 1,440, mostly civilians, 545 of which were women and children; which is known as Gaza Massacre, is a much bigger crime against humanity.

The international outrage at the Flotilla bloodshed is understandable and shared by all, but we must not lose perspective.

It is time the world takes action against this terrorist state, It is time Israel is held accountable, for all of its crimes, and not just for one.

In the light of the Flotilla massacre, and just in case you forgot, or lost perspective: Remember, Remember…. Remember GAZA

Gaza: A New century, a new world order…
A new Genocide

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Footnotes:

1. The Post 2007 Gaza Strip blockade is not the first blockade of the strip, following the Aqsa Intifada of 2000, Israel imposed a military blockade of the Strip and closure of the Gaza International Airport.
The economic effects were immense, in the order of some US $5.3 billion, and worsened after the creation of a ‘buffer zone’ in September 2001, that would seal all entry and exit points in the Palestinian Territories, for security reasons.

The worsening economic and humanitarian situation raised great concern abroad. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in January 2003: ‘The Israeli blockade and closures over the past two years had pushed the Palestinian economy into such a stage of ‘de-development’ that as much as US $2.4 billion. had been drained out of the economy of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip’

Over the period between 2000 and 2005 as a consequence of the Gaza blockade and Israel’s ensuing military operations in the Strip, it is estimated that there was a loss of $42,846,895 in Gazan agricultural productivity, due to the destruction of land.

The Israel Defence Forces left the Gaza Strip on 1 September 2005 as part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan.

2. My previous Notes about Gaza:

  1. GAZA: The collapse of morality; And the prevail of evil
  2. The apathy of a nation
  3. Massacre and genocide: Gaza 2008
  4. A chronology of Gaza’s strife
  5. Why do they hate us that much?
  6. 109 dead since Wednesday
  7. Newsreel: Yet more Israeli Genocide, Holocaust & Massacres

 

3. Please take time to sign this petition “Gaza: investigate the raid, end the blockade” by AVAAZ.org 

And take time to join our facebook campaign:

In the Name of Gaza: A World united against Israel’s Genocide

Obama gets a “Preemptive” Nobel Prize

Fooled_by_Obama_by_Latuff2

In a shocking and very disturbing precedent, today the Norwegian Nobel Committee gave the 2009 Nobel Prize to “US. President/Global Messiah” Barak Obama. With this move the committee have utterly destroyed the prize’s credibility, honesty and objectiveness.

The Committee explained it’s decision as being taken “under a wider interpretation of Nobel’s guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change… a decision that is designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.”

So what did Mr. Obama do so far to deserve the Prize, after less than a year in office?

So far, Obama has only continued Bush policies in Iraq, intensifying aggression and terror in the region, deploying more troops in Afghanistan, supporting Israeli terror against the Palestinians, bailing out numerous banks and… basically continued Bush’s major policies while even becoming more hawkish in some respects. The only difference is that he is doing it with different rhetoric, eloquent speeches and a confident smile.

It’s true that he is “talking” about peace and cooperation, reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

But it’s all talk so far!

Palestinian_state_proposal_by_Latuff2

Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.

Obama has also attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama’s failure to back up his demand for a freeze.

Meanwhile last week, Obama refused to meet with the Tibetan Dalai Lama in Washington in a move to “designed” to carry favor with the Chinese.

Mr Obama will became the first president not to welcome the acclaimed Nobel peace prize winner to the White House since the Dalai Lama began visiting Washington in 1991.

This is very ironic considering that by the end of the same week Obama received his very own Nobel Prize, and is considering a name change to “The Dalai-Bama”.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate commented on the choice of Obama saying: “So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act…This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let’s see if he perseveres. Let’s give him time to act,” Walesa said.

-Is the Noble now give out as some kind of an encouragement? an incentive? a quarterly bonus? I wasn’t notified about that!!!-

Obama_boycotts_racism_summit_by_Latuff2

“You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase,” committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. “And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.”

Well, I don’t know if Mr. Jagland have noticed, but the world reached this really dangerous phase because of the actions of the United States to start with!! So, when an American President, sensible enough, starts to “talk” about ending these very practices, he deserves a Nobel?

Yahoo! wrote: “The award appeared to be a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama’s predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a “kick in the leg” to the Bush administration’s hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.
“Five years later, the committee honored Bush’s adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.”


So now they are giving out Vengeance Prizes? How does that work?
Or are the Nobels being Preemptively given to people who may do good (and then again may not), as a motivation for them to live up to their promises and responsibilities!
I wonder how they do it now, do they have an Oracle on the committee, who predicts who might possibly do something that benefits the world… so as to give them the Nobel beforehand?

Since when did talking about doing something, qualify as doing it? Did it become the “Noble Prize of good intentions”?

The choice of Barak Obama for this year’s Peace Prize, violates the very rules and regulations that the Nobel Prize system is built upon!!!

“The capital shall be invested by my executors in safe securities and shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts…. one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies”

An exempt from Alfred Nobel’s will.

For the peace prize, inquiries are sent to such people as governments of states, members of international courts, professors and rectors at university level, former Peace Prize laureates, current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, among others. The Norwegian Nobel Committee then bases its assessment on nominations sent in before 3 February. (in fact, the nominations closed on February 1, about 11 days after Obama took office)

What kind of crap is this?!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How is this legal or even possible?! This is worse than the Oscars!

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(All caricatures are drawn by Carlos Latuff and can be viewed on his Deviant Art gallery)

Al Bashir convicted of war crimes

Al Bashir giving a speech amoung supporters

Al Bashir giving a speech amoung supporters

I found it peculiar that no one of I know have commented on the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president.

Al-Bashir was indicted last Wednesday by the ICC at The Hague in the Netherlands for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, this is an unprecedented accusation, because it is the first against a sitting president. The ICC found al-Bashir guilty on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include murder, rape and torture.

Darfur Protests

Darfur Protests

Al Jazeera reports:
“Al-Bashir has rejected the warrant, telling thousands of his supporters in Khartoum, the capital, on Thursday that Sudan was being targeted by Western powers and that the ICC was a tool of colonialists after Sudan’s oil.

Protesters carried banners branding Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, a criminal.”

Genocide in the making

Genocide in the making

In October 2008 : The UN estimated that up to 300,000 people have died in Darfur and some 2.5 million have fled their homes since 2003.


I’m not against the ICC decision, as much as I am questioning it’s motives.

I’m actually with the warrant, but I ask, why now?

The people of Darfur have undergone a terrible tragedy, but they have been undergoing this tragedy for a long time now… and as usual the world was watching… the Darfur tragedy started almost 15 years ago, and peaked in 2003 (thats 6 years ago)… it took the UN 2 years to prepare a report about, which came out in the beginning of 2005, and said that the UN can not label Darfur conflict as genocide because “genocidal intent appears to be missing”!!!

Not the UN's Business?

Not the UN's Business?

The United States, Britain and the European Union have repeatedly condemned the atrocities taking place in Darfur, but yet they never ACT-ed to stop it.

It wasn’t until October 2006, that the UN sent 200 troops (thats right, Two hundred!!!) to reinforce the pathetic 7,000, African Union troops, in Darfur.

Now, after an estimated three million people have been displaced and more than 300,000 have been killed, the ICC and UN remember to act? why now?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Sudan: The Silent Genocide“, posted with vodpod

On the other hand, Sudan has not ratified the Rome Statute (just like who? the USA of course), meaning that the ICC can not investigate crimes that may have taken place in Darfur (as much as they can not investigate crimes that took place in Iraq).

Yet still I’m not against the ICC arrest warrant…

My question is not whether the al Bashir should be prosecuted or not, apparently the ICC have already reached a decision on that; my question is, how many Iraqis died in the same period by the hands of the American liberators? Why is there no International movement to prosecute those responsible for the Iraqi tragedy?

I’m questioning the bias of the World Order, the double sidedness of it, and it’s constant failure to act until the harm is done and the tragedy is history that apparently no one learns from…

Till when will the rule of the law be applied to the poor only, not only on a national level, but on a global one too

IF THEY CAN PROSECUTE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE NOT RATIFIED THE ICC, SHOULDN’T THEY START BY THE ROLE MODELS AND LEADERS OF AGGRESSION WORLD WIDE?

NAMINGLY THE UNITED STATES AND ISRAEL

Israel in Gaza: A Critical Reframing

A Palestinian family reacts as they rush past a burning building after an Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Israeli warplanes pressing one of Israel's deadliest assaults ever on Palestine dropped bombs and missiles on a top security installation and dozens of other targets across Hamas-ruled Gaza on Sunday. Israel's Cabinet authorized a callup of at least 6,500 reserve soldiers, suggesting plans to expand an offensive against Gaza rocket squads that has already killed some 280 Palestinians. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

 

by Jeff Halpe, Saturday, January 10, 2009

Israel’s core messages, listed below, argue for the justice of its cause in Gaza , cast Israel as the victim and ensure that its war is seen not in terms of occupation but of the broader Western struggle against terror. The critical reframing we offer, that of Israelis committed to human rights, international law and a just peace as the only way out of this interminable and bloody conflict, argues that security cannot be achieved unilaterally while one side oppresses the other and that Israel’s attack on Gaza is merely another attempt to render its Occupation permanent by destroying any source of effective resistance. It argues that Israel could have avoided all attacks upon it over the last twenty years, and the rise of Hamas, if it had genuinely negotiated a two-state solution with the Palestinian leadership. Israel , the strong party and the Occupying Power, is not the victim. Indeed, its attack on Gaza is a form of State Terrorism.

 

  • Israeli PR: Like all countries, Israel has a right and duty to defend its citizens. Israel , acting as any life-loving nation would, has a right to be a normal country living in peace and security.

    Critical Reframing: To pursue offensive policies of prolonged occupation as well as sanctions, boycotts and closures that impoverish a civilian population, and to then refuse to engage with that population’s elected leaders, is not defending ones’ citizens. To expect your citizens to live in security while a million and a half subjugated people just a few kilometers away live in misery is both unrealistic and presumptive. Israel will only be able to defend its citizens – which is indeed its duty – if it addresses the causes of their insecurity, a 41 year-old occupation.

 

  • Israeli PR: Israel had no choice but to attack in response to the barrage of 8,500 Hamas rockets fired from Gaza into Israel over the past eight years that have killed 20 Israeli civilians.

    Critical Reframing: In the past three years alone Israel – together with the US , Europe and Japan – imposed an inhumane siege of Gaza while conducting a campaign of targeted assassinations and attacks throughout the cease-fire that left 1,700 Palestinians dead. Hamas’ barrage did not exist in a vacuum. This war is no “response:” it is merely a more deadly round of the tit-for-tat arising out of a political vacuum. The rocket firings could have been avoided had there been a genuine political horizon. To present the “barrage” as an independent event disassociated from wider Israeli policies that led to them is disingenuous.

 

  • Israeli PR: There is no occupation – in general, but specifically in Gaza . Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005 with the “disengagement.” Gaza could have flourished as the basis of a Palestinian state, but its inhabitants chose conflict.

    Critical Reframing: Economic development, not to mention a political process which might have prevented the violence on both sides, was actively prevented by both Israel and its international supporters, which share responsibility for the present tragedy in Gaza . At no time since the “disengagement” did Israel ever relinquish or even loosen its control. The closure remained in force, including by sea; Gazans were never allowed to reopen their sea or air ports; nor were any conditions conducive to economic development allowed. Israel ’s claim that there has never been an occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is rejected by every member of the international community. Neither does it accept Israel ’s claim that occupation ended in 2005, since the definition of occupation in international law has to do with exercising effective control of a foreign territory, which Israel obviously does over Gaza .

 

  • Israeli PR: Only Hamas violated the cease-fire, and thus it carries full responsibility.

    Critical Reframing: Israel and Hamas agreed to a truce (through Egypt ) by which Israel would allow the opening of the Gazan border crossings (at least partially) in return for an end to rocket fire on Israel . Hamas largely, though not entirely, kept its part of the bargain; Israel almost never did. Killings of Palestinians from the air continued, and on the American election day in early November it attacked the tunnels (which functioned as alternative means of supplying Gaza in the absence of open borders, which would have allowed control over the movement of arms), killing a number of Hamas people. In response Hamas launched rockets and….the truce began breaking down.

 

  • Israeli PR: Israel is only attacking the “infrastructure of terror” in Gaza and only targets Hamas fighters.

    Critical Reframing: Being the elected government, all the infrastructure, from traffic cops to schools to military installations, “belong” to Hamas. It is clear that Israeli attacks go beyond “the infrastructure of terror.” Who’s a “Hamas fighter?” The graduating class of traffic cops that was slaughtered in the first aerial attack on Gaza ? Professors and students who attend the “Hamas” Islam ic University? Family members of Hamas military figures? People who voted for Hamas? All, but for those actively participating in hostilities, would be defined as civilians under international law.

 

  • Israeli PR: Civilians may die, but it’s because Hamas hides its fighters and weapons factories among ordinary people.

    Critical Reframing: Israel’s military headquarters are located in the center of Tel Aviv, the military headquarters over the West Bank are in the densely populated civilian settlement Neveh Ya’akov in East Jerusalem, the Pentagon is located in downtown Washington D.C. and the British Ministry of Defence is located in central London. Hamas, of course, as both a government and a military organization, carries responsibility for protecting the civilian population and keeping the fighting away from them but the question that should be asked, and never is, is why western nations who do the same are not faced with such criticism?

 

  • Israeli PR: Hamas is a terrorist organization that refuses to recognize Israel or enter into a political process.

    Critical Reframing: Which Israel should Hamas recognize? 1947 U.N. partition borders? 1967 borders? With annexed East Jerusalem ? With the settlement blocs? So long as Israel refuses to define its borders then there is only an abstract concept available for recognition. Hamas has openly declared that it will de facto recognize Israel on the 1967 borders. Israel has made no such offers to any Palestinian faction, government or representatives.

 

  • Israeli PR: Hamas is a global problem, part of Islam ist fundamentalism together with Iran and Hezbollah and therefore Israel is only doing its part in the West’s agreed-upon War on Terror.

    Critical Reframing: Hamas started as a social welfare organization that was allowed by Israel to develop as a political force in Occupied Palestine to weaken the standing of the secular PLO. There also, was no Hezbollah prior to the 1982 Israeli invasion. The theocrats in Iran were an organized but quite small political force until the U.S. overthrew Iran ’s democracy. The local population will always resist when foreign countries try to oppose their will and the resistance will not always be pretty. Painting Hamas as part of a global conspiracy when it’s a product of the Occupation itself is disingenuous and a gross distortion of history.

 

Dr. Jeff Halper, an American-born Jew and founding director or The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, gives the following analysis and important reframing of the talking-points we so commonly hear from the Israeli PR machine.  As an Israeli citizen for the last 35 years, Jeff offers a vital perspective, from personal experience.