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Water running dry for Palestinians as Israel turns off the taps
February 11, 2015 | Palestine

In the northern Jordan Valley last week, Israeli forces destroyed a 1,000 metre pipeline built to provide water to Palestinian communities. In East Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been cut off from a regular supply of running water for nearly a year. In Gaza, the water infrastructure has been decimated and in the homes that do receive water it is still undrinkable. Water and who controls it has become a key part of Israel’s occupation, with the Palestinian territories; West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, in a constant struggle for the vital resource.

Before the birth of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, who would become the country’s first president,said in 1919:

“[It is] of vital importance not only to secure all water resources already feeding the country, but also to control them at their source.”

Rafael Eitan, chief of staff and minister of agriculture and environment, said some years later:

“Israel must hold on to the West Bank to make sure that Tel Aviv’s taps don’t run dry.”

Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 1998: “And when I talk about the importance to Israel’s security… It means that a housewife in Tel Aviv can open the tap and there’s water running to it, and it’s not been dried up because of a rash decision that handed over control of our aquifers to the wrong hands.”

In 1967, the year the occupation began, Israel put the plan Weizmann had talked about as early as 1919 into action. All Palestinian water resources were declared Israeli State Property and Palestinians had to apply for permits to develop their water resources. After nearly 30 years, the Oslo Accords were signed, supposedly bringing an end to the situation. Another 20 years on, it is apparent that they instead formalised and legitimised an existing discriminatory arrangement – an arrangement still in place today.

In the West Bank, the Jordan River, one of the main water sources, has been diverted upstream into Lake Kinneret/Tiberias/Sea of Galilee – lakes inside Israel, while Palestinians are physically barred from accessing its river banks. Palestinians have access to one fifth of the mountain aquifer, the other main source, while Israel abstracts the balance, and in addition overdraws by more than 50 per cent, up to 1.8 times its share under Oslo.

The Separation Wall, roadblocks, checkpoints and other Israeli ‘security measures’ further restrict Palestinian communities’ access to water resources and filling points. Meanwhile Israeli settlers living in the same territory are supplied with an abundance of water; the consumption of more than 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank is about six times higher than that of 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank.

To boost insufficient supplies, the Palestinians must buy water from Israel’s national water company “Mekorot” – the same water that Israel extracts from the mountain aquifer and which the Palestinians should be able to extract for themselves.

Jamal Juma, coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign, an organisation which is part of a network of groups challenging Mekorot, said: “The real water problem in Palestine is not about scarcity of water. There is more annual rainfall in Ramallah than in London and per capita consumption of water in Israel is higher than the average consumption in Europe. The water problem in Palestine is created by Israel, through systematic theft of water and denial of access to water. Mekorot is the core player in implementing what we call Israel’s water apartheid.”

For East Jerusalem residents the situation is slightly different. East Jerusalem fell under Israeli jurisdiction after Israel annexed the whole of the city. The Jerusalemite Palestinians pay taxes to Israel and also technically qualify for Israeli healthcare, social benefits and services – including running water. However, the neighbourhoods of Ras Shehada, Ras Khamis, Dahyat A’salam and the Shuafat refugee camp have been suffering from a severe water crisis since last March when residents went three weeks without any water supply. They have been forced to buy water bottles at a high cost, and must limit their consumption by using electric pumps and industrial containers.

In Gaza, the water infrastructure is in pieces as a result of repeated wars and a blockade which has prevented repairs and maintenance. By the end of the latest bombardment over the summer, around 26 water wells had been completely or partially destroyed, while 46 kilometres of the water supply networks had been damaged, according to a statement by the Palestinian Water Authority. The water distribution network suffered an estimated $34.4 million worth of damage.

Waste water treatment is another longstanding problem in Gaza. Many residents are not connected to a sewage system and domestic waste flows into cesspits, contaminating groundwater. Electricity shortages and damages to waste water treatment facilities during “Operation Cast Lead”, Israel’s 2008-2009 military offensive, made the situation worse – some 90 million litres of untreated sewage flows into the Mediterranean daily.

Prior to the recent attack, 97 per cent of residents in Gaza were connected to a public water system. However, 90 per cent of this was undrinkable and so residents were forced to buy water treated in governmental or private factories, or factories run by charities. The public water system means households can have running water; however electricity and fuel shortages prevent the water from being pumped through the system.

Access to water is a highly politicised and manipulated resource in Palestine. As Palestinian communities suffer – albeit through the destruction of their wells, through water that doesn’t come through the taps, or sewage that flows into the street – it is clear that, in Palestine, water is not a right.
Where is the Apartheid state gonna turn when it is parched and dry? I fear that plea will fall on deaf ears. Dust to Dust.


20,000 Palestinian Homes on Israeli Demolition Shortlist
15 February 2015 | Palestine

Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) has revealed that more than 20,000 Palestine homes in Jerusalem have been shortlisted to be demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Ziad Hamouri, the center's head, stated that the reason why these homes will be demolished is that they were built without building licences issued by the Israeli municipality in the occupied city of Jerusalem. Although, applications for such licences from Palestinians are rarely approved.

The Israelis use the licence issue as a pretext to get rid of the centuries-old Palestinian existence in Jerusalem, according to Hamouri. Few Palestinians can afford a building licence even if an application is approved. "The Israeli demands for a construction licence are punitive financially and procedurally," said Hamouri. "Every licence takes from five to eight years to be issued and they cost from $30,000 t0 $50,000 each."

Jews living in the city, however, do not have to go through such complicated procedures. They even find apartments ready-made for them to move into and are exempt from frequent and very high taxes.

PA has called on the international community to step up and stop 'Israel' from stealing more Palestinian lands.
Canada opposes Palestinian attempts to join UN treaties

"It pains the Palestinians to know that Canada is trying to exclude us from our rightful place in the family of nations. It is awkward to see a great country like Canada relegated to the role of cheerleader for Israeli extremists at the UN," ... -treaties/

It is to address this problem of the accountability that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 by a multilateral treaty known as the Rome Statute. According to its own rules, the ICC operates only when national courts will not or cannot prosecute an individual suspected of heinous crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity or other war crimes. Also, in order for the ICC to have jurisdiction, crimes must have taken place within the territory of one or more of the 123 states that have ratified the statute.

A number of important countries, such as India, China and Saudi Arabia, have refused to sign the Rome Statute. Others, like the United States and Israel, have signed but never ratified the treaty and, subsequently, announced that they do not recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC.

That does not mean suspected criminals from non-ratifying nations are completely beyond the court’s jurisdiction. If a ratifying state claims that nationals of a non-ratifying state have committed crimes within its territory, the ICC can investigate and, if warranted, indict the accused party. But then one comes up against the problem of enforcement. How do you arrest the indicted person if he is Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush or any number of Israeli military and civilian leaders, all of whom may well warrant the ICC’s attention.

This issue has not yet been fully confronted because, until very recently, no one has actually brought the crimes of individuals representing large and powerful states, or their allies, to the attention of the ICC. As a result, the ICC’s list of prosecutions is notably lopsided. To date, all those indicted by the court have come from small nations without great power allies, and lacking influence within international institutions like the United Nations. Indeed, many of these prosecutions are against citizens of so-called failed states.

However, this is about to change due to the decision of the Palestinian National Authority to join the ICC. This has resulted in an ICC preliminary investigation of Israeli war crimes during the 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has whined like a baby about war crimes this and that to extort money from various sources for decades. What goes around comes around.

It's never too late for your long drop to the end of that rope! And you know what - people would cheer and celebrate in the streets.


Israeli air force pilot turned activist: I was "part of a terror organization"
Ryan Rodrick Beiler | 10 February 2015 | The Electronic Intifada

Yonatan Shapira was born on an Israeli military base the year before his father flew fighter jets in the October War of 1973. Thirty years later, twelve of them spent as an air force pilot himself, Shapira rejected the military. In 2003, he wrote a letter, pledging not to fly over the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Shapira is among the few Israelis to have declared support for the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. He has also been attacked by the Israeli military for attempting to sail towards and break the siege of Gaza.

He recently spoke to The Electronic Intifada contributor Ryan Rodrick Beiler.
See: The Pilots have Courage to Refuse
"We, Air Force pilots who were raised on the values of Zionism, sacrifice, and contributing to the state of Israel, have always served on the front lines, and were always willing to carry out any mission to defend and strengthen the state of Israel.

"We, veteran and active pilots alike, who have served and still serve the state of Israel for long weeks every year, are opposed to carrying out attack orders that are illegal and immoral of the type the state of Israel has been conducting in the territories.

"We, who were raised to love the state of Israel and contribute to the Zionist enterprise, refuse to take part in Air Force attacks on civilian population centers. We, for whom the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force are an inalienable part of ourselves, refuse to continue to harm innocent civilians.

"These actions are illegal and immoral, and are a direct result of the ongoing occupation which is corrupting the Israeli society. Perpetuation of the occupation is fatally harming the security of the state of Israel and its moral strength.

"We who serve as active pilots - fighters, leaders, and instructors of the next generation of pilots -- hereby declare that we shall continue to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force on every mission in defense of the State of Israel."
"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
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See: Report from protests against Netanyahu: 'Public opinion about Israel is changing irreversibly'

See: Bibi the Clown in Congress Parasitism is a disease, it must be dealt with quickly or the problem only gets worse. I think people around the world are getting tired; from the parasite feeding off the worlds positive energy and replacing it with their ethnocentric negative energy. Really who gives a fuck what this racist, war mongering nation says. You want war, invasions, black ops - do it yourselves. Only do not come to us looking for water and a friend when you are parched and dry. Eventually you can have it (we are not like you) - but you are going to pay many, many $$'s + very high interest - plus handling fees + more hidden fees + plus more $'s + plus even more in fees + and then sign over all you own and ya have to stop whining like a child. If you believe fission weapons exist, these genius' forget the fact that Pakistan hates Israel as much as anyone else, and Pakistan has nukes to spare. Plenty of them. Yet they sit unused. They also forget that Turkey, which has hated Israel on and off for decades has also had nukes for decades, provided by America complete with delivery systems that could hit Israel on a whim. If you believe fission weapons work that is. So what is this really about? And who cares what Israel has to say? They are our moral compass? Give me a break!!

Of course this is all theatre. The US, as prescribed by Brookings, is portrayed as desperately trying to hammer out an almost unreasonably accommodation with Iran, while “mad dog” Israel seeks to unilaterally attack Iran – thus giving the US the plausible deniability it openly claimed it would disingenuously attempt to create ahead of any Israeli attack on Iran. It should be noted that the summation of Israel’s military might is a result of long, extensive, and continuous US military support meaning that Israeli military operations are not possible without it.

Also of interest is Israel’s habitual, belligerent, serial acts of inhumanity against both its own people and the Palestinians whose land Tel Aviv has seized and continues to occupy. The nature of these acts is not one of self-preservation, but of intentional provocation – creating predictable political divides across the West easily manipulated particularly at times like these where a “regrettable” attack made upon Iran, a nation the West has thus far failed to topple with terrorism, US-backed sedition, sanctions, and covert provocations, is now in the cards.
Netanyahu was treated as a visiting hero in that cesspool of corruption that he labeled "the greatest legislative body" on earth. These bought-and-paid-for politicians genuflected and congratulated his every platitude.

Public opinion about Israel is changing irreversibly inside the United States. The negative impression of Israel will grow because of Netanyahu's arrogant speech today. The fawning opportunists in Congress don't reflect the views of the people. Netanyahu's gross performance before Congress today will be remembered at best as an ephemeral triumph for his electoral effort back home. But its lasting significance is that it will further erode support for the Israeli government among an ever-larger segment of the U.S. public that is learning year by year and day by day that the Israeli government more resembles the old South African apartheid regime rather than the idyllic picture that is spoon-fed to the people by the corporate-owned media.
Israeli soldiers set attack dogs on teen — ‘Bite him’ — and rightwing politician cheers
Annie Robbins | March 3, 2015 | Mondoweiss

Last night Israeli TV cut away from reporting on Netanyahu’s Washington fiasco to cover the leak of an outrageous video of Israeli soldiers inciting their trained “elite” dogs to attack and maul a captured Palestinian teen near an illegal West Bank settlement two months ago. The video appeared on the Facebook page of Michael Ben-Ari, a former member of Knesset of the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Strength”) party. And it is big news in Israel.

The footage shows a terrified Hamza Abu Hashem, 16, screaming while being mauled by the dogs as two soldiers, reportedly dog handlers from the Oketz unit wearing helmet cameras, record the scene. According to B’tselem, the video was “presumably available to their commanders during the routine debriefing held after such operations.”

A translation of the soldiers words by Mairav Zonszein at +972 include “Who’s the coward now?” and “Bite him.”

Today, the Israeli media published a short video of two soldiers from the IDF dog unit, filmed by another soldier after they had set dogs on a Palestinian boy. The footage was first posted on former MK Michael Ben Ari’s Facebook page, but has since been removed from there. The military’s official response read: “Upon receipt of the footage, the Commander of the Airborne and Special Training Center ordered an immediate internal inquiry into the incident. Upon completion of this inquiry, conclusions will be drawn and the necessary steps will be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring.”

B’Tselem documented and publicized this incident about two months ago. The IDF’s official disapproval belies the fact that this arrest was part of an official IDF operation, presumably approved by the higher command. Based on B’Tselem’s experience, this footage is yet another example of the army’s standard practice when dogs are used in arrest operations: a dog handler takes the dog off the leash, the dog chases a group of civilians, clamps its teeth onto a person who did not manage to escape, and holds on until the handler arrives. In some cases documented by B’Tselem, the dog refused to release the person and the dog handler had to use a taser to release his grip. Also, two dog handlers from the Oketz unit who took part in this incident had helmet cameras on, and the footage captured on them was presumably available to their commanders during the routine debriefing held after such operations.
More: Civil Administration dismantles, confiscates water pipes in Khirbet Yarza, Jordan Valley

What would it take for the authorities to stop olive tree vandals rampaging in the Southern Hebron hills?

More: Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah: Israeli authorities continue persecution of a tiny community in Jordan Valley
"Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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Why Are US Taxpayers Subsidizing Right-Wing Israeli Settlers?
Josh Harkinson | Wed Mar. 11, 2015 | Mother Jones

That's what this human rights group is asking the IRS. In 1974, the Supreme Court said the IRS could revoke the nonprofit status of Bob Jones University for its refusal to admit black students.
A Palestinian boy in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank. Shutterstock

A few weeks before Benjamin Netanyahu's delivered his controversial address to Congress, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Prime Minister was considering a campaign trip to Hebron, a right-wing community in the occupied West Bank. The proposed March 10 trip to Hebron, which would have been the first by a PM in more than a decade, raised eyebrows among the Apartheid State's political class and inflamed tensions with Palestinian groups. Last week, Netanyahu called it off, citing security threats.

Here in the United States, meanwhile, few politicians have questioned why American taxpayers continue to subsidize the Hebron terrorists, accused by international observers of human rights violations that include thefts, battery, and murder. In 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available, an estimated 45 percent of the cockroaches funding came from the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund, whose status as a tax-exempt nonprofit allows Americans to write off donations to the group.

"The Hebron Fund has supported, either directly or indirectly, a wide array of acts that are definitely not charitable," says John Tye, the legal director for the global activist group Avaaz, which last week petitioned the IRS to revoke the Hebron Fund's nonprofit status. "They are basically using a small group of cockroaches in the West Bank to push Palestinians out of their homes. These terrorists are arming themselves, they are engaged in military and paramilitary acts, some of them have connections to terrorism, and they are committing a wide range of crimes against Palestinians."

The Hebron Fund declined to make anyone available for comment for this story, or to respond to my written questions.

Hebron, a community of some 200,000 Palestinians located about 30 miles south of Jerusalem. The modern occupation began in 1967, after the Six Day War. The Hebron Fund was founded in 1979 to support the terrorists, who now number around 850.

The historic center of Hebron has come to be known as "The Ghost Town." It is largely abandoned, with the doors of Arab shops welded shut by the well funded terrorist group the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the second intifada. Palestinians are forbidden from entering much of the area. In other parts of downtown Hebron, settlers live in buildings above Palestinian shops. The shopkeepers have stretched nets and metal grates over the streets to catch the garbage that cockroaches routinely throw from their windows:

Grates erected to catch garbage thrown by settlers living above. ISM Palestine

The behavior of the terrorists in Hebron has been repeatedly denounced by human rights groups. In 2001, Human Rights Watch called Hebron "the site of serious and sustained human rights abuses," including "a consistent failure [by IDF] to protect Palestinians from attacks by terrorists." In 2011, the human rights group B'Tselem wrote that these terrorists "have been involved in gunfire, attempts to run people over, poisoning of a water well, breaking into homes, spilling of hot liquid on the face of a Palestinian, and the killing of a young Palestinian girl."

In 2013, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed "deep concern" at the abusive treatment and harassment directed at a Palestinian activist in Hebron by these criminals and the terrorist group the IDF. Breaking the Silence, another so called human rights group comprised of IDF veterans, offers guided tours of Hebron—but only rarely, the group writes on its website, due to "the Hebron terrorists' violence towards our tours and the limited ability of the Hebron police to protect our tours from this violence."

Just in the past two months, according to B'Tselem, vandals in the Hebron area have destroyed Palestinian olive groves in four locations.

At least one former member of a terrorist organization has joined the Hebron settlement. Baruch Marzel, a one-time spokesman for the extremist Kach Party, which is listed by the United States and Israel as a terrorist group, lives in Hebron's Tel Rumeida outpost. In 2011, he helped organize a manhunt for a Palestinian man, Hani Jaber, who'd just been released from jail after serving 18 years for killing a Jewish settler. Posters appeared on Hebron walls with Jaber's face and the words, "Rise up and kill him."

Racist graffiti in Hebron: "Gas the Arabs." JDL stands for Jewish Defense League. The JDL is a terrorist organisation. Jill Granberg

At times, the Hebron Fund has specifically sought to raise money for controversial terrorist activities. In 2007, according to Salon, it held a fundraiser on a cruise ship in New York's Hudson River to support a terrorist who'd taken property from a Palestinian family. A year and a half later, the murderous Israeli government ruled that the house had been illegally seized from the family and ordered the cockroaches out. Once evicted, the terrorists set fire to Palestinian houses, olive trees, and cars—25 people were wounded, including a man shot at close range.

In 1974, the Supreme Court said the IRS could revoke the nonprofit status of Bob Jones University for its refusal to admit black students.

The United States tax code does not provide detailed information about what can disqualify groups from nonprofit status, though precedent suggests that it includes illegal and discriminatory behavior. In 1974, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that the IRS was justified in revoking the nonprofit status of Bob Jones University over its refusal to admit black students.

The Hebron Fund has not released detailed financial information, making it impossible to determine whether it directly bankrolls prohibited activities. Yet Tye of Avaaz argues that the settlements' finances are sufficiently fluid and dependent upon the Hebron Fund to make it inherently complicit in any abuses. "I can't tell you precisely where every dollar has gone," he says. "But when there is a doubt, the legal burden is on the Hebron Fund to produce documents that show how its money is spent."

This isn't the first time a group has asked the IRS to revoke the Hebron Fund's nonprofit status. In 2009, a similar complaint was submitted by the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The IRS never responded.

Though Tye believes there's already sufficient public evidence to revoke the fund's nonprofit status, he at least wants the IRS to conduct a thorough investigation. A spokesman for the IRS declined to comment on the case, citing a federal law that bars the agency from discussing specific taxpayers.
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Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre
PAUL de ROOIJ | Counterpunch

The key thing to watch in the upcoming International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of the 2014 Massacre will be whether the Court will follow the Amnesty approach. Any investigation that doesn’t focus on the cause of the violence and who initiated it will result in another fraud, and no pixel of justice.

Criminalizing Palestinian Resistance
Amnesty International has issued four reports on the Massacre in Gaza in 2014. Given the scale of the destruction and the number of fatalities, any attempt to document the crimes committed should be welcomed. But these reports are problematic, and raise questions about this organization, including why they were written at all. It also raises questions about the broader human rights industry that are worth considering.

Basic Background
July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated operation names). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack Gaza, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far. At least 2,215 were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals targeted; 61 mosques totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill bombed; all chicken farms ravaged; an incalculable devastation.

Israeli control over Gaza has been in place for decades; with violence escalating over time, and the people of Gaza have been under siege for the last eight years. Israelis have placed Gaza “on a diet”, permitting only a trickle of strictly controlled goods to enter Gaza, enough to keep the population above starvation. Gaza is surrounded on all sides, blocked off from the outside world: military bulldozers raze border areas, snipers injure farmers, and warships menace or destroy fishing boats with gunfire. Periodically Israelis engage in what they term “mowing the lawn” massacres and large scale destruction. It is this history that must serve as the foundation of any report that attempts to describe both the intent of the participating parties and the relative consequences.

Context-Challenged – by Design

The ongoing crimes perpetrated against Gaza are chronic, and indeed, systematic. Arnon Soffer, one of Israel’s Dr. Strangeloves and “intellectual father of the wall”, had this to say about Gaza:

Q (Ruthie Blum): Will Israel be prepared to fight this war?

Arnon Soffer: [...] Instead of entering Gaza, the way we did last week, we will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them. Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

To determine the reasons behind Israeli actions, one only has to read what their Dr. Strangeloves say – it is no secret. The aim is to create miserable conditions to drive the Palestinians off their land, warehouse the population in an open air prison called Gaza, and to disproportionately repress any Palestinian resistance. Israelis have to “kill and kill and kill, all day”. Such pathological reasoning put Israeli actions into perspective; they are major crimes, possibly genocidal. Recognition of such crimes has some consequences.

First, the nature of the crimes requires recognizing them as crimes against humanity, arguably one of the most serious crimes under international law. Second, Israeli crimes put the violence of the Palestinian resistance into perspective. Palestinians have a right to defend themselves. Third, the long history of violence perpetrated against the Palestinians, and the resulting power imbalance, suggest that one should be in solidarity with the victim.

Amnesty however refuses to acknowledge the serious nature of Israeli crimes, by using an intellectually bankrupt subterfuge; it insists that as a rights-based organization it cannot refer to historical context – doing so would be considered “political” in its warped jargon. An examination of what AI considers “background” in its reports confirms that there is virtually no reference to relevant history, e.g., the prior attacks on Gaza, who initiated those attacks, the Goldstone report, etc. Presto! Now there is no need to mention serious crimes. It also doesn’t recognize the nature of the Palestinian resistance, and their right to self-defense. Nowhere does AI acknowledge that Palestinians are entitled to defend themselves. And finally, AI cannot express solidarity with the victim; hey, “both sides” are victims!

At this point, once Amnesty has chosen to ignore the serious Israeli crimes, it takes on the Mother Teresa role sitting on the fence castigating “both sides” for non-compliance with International Humanitarian Law that determines the rules of war. Thus AI criticizes Israel not for the transgression of attacking Gaza, but for utilizing excessive force or targeting civilian targets. AI’s favorite term to describe to such events is “disproportionate”. The term disproportionate is problematic because it suggests that there is an agreement with the nature of the action, but there is only an issue with the means or scale. While AI bleats that a one ton bomb in a refugee camp is disproportionate, it would seem that using a 100kg bomb would be acceptable. Another AI favored term is “conflict”, a state of affairs where both sides are at fault, both are victims and transgressors.

Notice that while AI avoids recognizing major crimes by using its rights-based framework, it suddenly changes its hat, and takes on a very legalistic approach to criticize the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians. It manages to list the full panoply of international humanitarian law.

The key thing to watch in the upcoming International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of the 2014 Massacre will be whether the Court will follow the Amnesty approach. Any investigation that doesn’t focus on the cause of the violence and who initiated it will result in another fraud, and no pixel of justice.

Criminalizing Palestinian Resistance
Amnesty dispenses with the Palestinian right to defend themselves by stating that the Palestinian rockets are “indiscriminate”, and proceeds to repeatedly call their use a war crime. Palestinian resistance is also told not to hide in heavily populated areas, not execute collaborators, and so on. While Palestinians are told that their resistance amounts to war crimes, the Israelis aren’t told that their attacks are criminal per se – here it is only a matter of scale.

The “Unlawful and deadly rocket and Mortar Attacks…” report repeatedly condemns Palestinian rocket firing with inaccurate weapons, deems these “indiscriminate”, and ipso facto war crimes. Amnesty confuses the term “inaccurate” for “indiscriminate”. Examining the table below suggests that Israel killed proportionately far more civilians, albeit with more accurate weapons. It is possible to target indiscriminately with precision munitions. There is also a possibility, that AI seems to disregard, that the Israeli military targeted civilians intentionally. NB: It is likely that Israel drones targeted children intentionally. A report by Defense for Children International states: “As a matter of policy, Israel deliberately and indiscriminately targeted the very spaces where children are supposed to feel most secure”.

Whose violence is indiscriminate?

Fatalities during the Massacre in Gaza 2014

Fatality type Israeli caused deaths
Civilian 1,639 74%
Military 576 26%
Total 2,215 100%

Fatality type Palestinian caused deaths
Civilian 7 10%
Military 66 90%
Total 73 100%

Regardless of the accuracy of the weapons, the key issue is one of intent. Amnesty dwells on an explosion at the Shati refugee camp on 28 July. On the basis of one field worker, Israeli-supplied evidence and an unnamed “independent munitions expert”, Amnesty concludes that:

Amnesty International has received no substantive response to its inquiries about this incident from the Palestinian authorities. An independent and impartial investigation is needed, and both the Palestinian and Israeli authorities must co-operate fully. The attack appears to have violated international humanitarian law in several ways, as the evidence indicates that it was an indiscriminate attack using a prohibited weapon which may well have been fired from a residential area within the Gaza Strip and may have been intended to strike civilians in Israel. If the projectile is confirmed to be a Palestinian rocket, those who fired it and those who commanded them must be investigated for responsibility for war crimes.

Mother Teresa certainly provides enough comic material; an occasional joke makes it easier to read a dull report. The evidence for the provenance of this missile is taken at face value although it is supplied by Israel, but of course, it requires an “investigation” – it is suggesting that both Israel and the Palestinians should investigate this incident. If the Palestinian resistance was responsible for this explosion, then it was caused by a misfiring; thus there was no intention for consequent deaths. Suggesting that this amounts to a war crime is rather silly. But the title of the section advertising the report on the AI website suggests a motive for harping on this incident; the title reads “Palestinian armed groups killed civilians on both sides in attacks amounting to war crimes”. This conveys a rather warped and negative view of the Palestinian resistance – they kill civilians on both sides – and it suggests that it is not possible to be in solidarity with them.

Tyranny of Reasons
After any Israeli attack, Israeli propagandists regularly offer a rationale about why a given target was struck. The propagandists reported that there were rocket-firing crews at hospitals, schools, mosques, the power plant, etc. Presto! These places can be bombed whether or not these statements are true. What is disconcerting in the two reports on Israeli crimes is that AI imputes reasons for the targeting of buildings or families.

One finds statements such as:
  • ::: Amnesty International believes this attack was targeting one individual.
  • ::: The apparent target was a member of a military group, targeted at a time when he was at home with his family.
  • ::: The fighters who were the apparent targets could have been targeted at a different time or in a different manner that was less likely to cause excessive harm to civilians and destruction of civilian objects.
  • ::: The apparent target of Israel’s attack was Ahmad Sahmoud, a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing. [...] Surviving family members and neighbours denied this.

Amnesty parrots the rationales provided by the Israeli military – one only needs to look at the footnotes of its reports. And Amnesty discounts the intentional bombing of buildings to create misery among the Gazan middle class to demoralize a key sector of society. Or by destroying the power plant it is creating generalized misery. But don’t worry, Mother T will always check with the Israeli military to determine why something was targeted.

AI is Not an Anti-war Organization
One would expect a human rights organization to be intrinsically opposed to war, but AI is a cheerleader of so-called humanitarian intervention, and even “humanitarian bombing”. Even with this predisposition AI was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize – yet another questionable recipient for a prize meant to be given only to those actively opposed to wars. Today, one wonders if AI is going to jump on the R2P (Right to Protect) neocon bandwagon. A consequence of its “not-anti-war” stance is that it doesn’t criticize wars conducted by the United States, UK, or Israel; it is only the excesses that merit AI’s occasional lame rebuke – often prefaced with the term “disproportionate” or “alleged”. This stance is evident in its latest reports; here the premise is that the Israeli attack on Gaza was legitimate, but it is the conduct of “both sides” that is the object of the reports’ criticism.

Losing the Forest for the Trees
Amnesty International is a small organization without sufficient resources to conduct a proper report on the Massacre in Gaza 2014. And given the fact that it wasn’t given direct access to Gaza, it chose to focus on two aspects of the Israeli attack: the targeting of entire families, and the destruction of landmark buildings. Within these two categories it chose to focus on a handful of cases of each. The main problem is that AI harps on a few cases to the exclusion of the totality; AI loses the forest for the trees. There is no mention of some of the most significant total figures, say, the number of hospitals and schools destroyed, the tonnage of bombs dropped on Gaza, the tens of thousands of artillery shells used… and so on. The seriousness of the crime is lost by dwelling on a subset of a subset of the crimes committed. Amnesty isolates a few examples, describes them in some detail, and then suggests that unless there were military reasons for the attacks, then there should be an “investigation”. Oh yes, Amnesty has sent some polite letters to the Israeli authorities requesting some comment, but the Israelis have been rather non-responsive. Quite possibly the likes of Netanyahu, Ya’alon, Ganz, … are too busy rolling on the floor with laughter.

Given AI’s warped framework one would expect symmetry in the way the attacks are described. While AI provides the total number of rockets fired by the Palestinian resistance, AI provides no similar numbers of the tens of thousands of Israeli artillery shells fired, and the tonnage of bombs dropped on Gaza. The Israeli military propagandists were all too happy to provide detailed statistics about the Palestinian rockets, and AI does not seem to express any misgivings about using this data. It is also clear that Mother T didn’t ask the propagandists to supply statistics on the Israeli lethal tonnage dropped on Gaza.

Methodology and Evidence
Every report contains a methodology section admitting to the fact that AI didn’t have direct access to Gaza. All its research was done on the Israeli side, and by two Palestinian fieldworkers in Gaza. The inability to enter Gaza possibly explains the reliance on many Israeli military statements, blogs and the Foreign Ministry about the Palestinian rocket attacks. One can verify all the footnotes to find a significant number of official Israeli statements to provide so-called evidence. It is rather jarring to find Amnesty relying on information provided by the attacking military to implicate Palestinian resistance in war crimes. How appropriate is it to use Hamas’ Violations of the Law issued by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or Declassified Report Exposes Hamas Human Shield Policy issued by the Israeli military?

It is also jarring to find Amnesty referring to Israeli claims that rockets were fired from schools, hospitals, and the electric power plant. This information was provided as a justification for the Israeli destruction of those sites, but in the report AI uses it to wag its finger at the Palestinian resistance.

Amnesty’s access to Israeli victims of Palestinian rockets produced emotional statements by the victims, and complied with Israeli propaganda needs. Israeli PR was keen to take journalists or visiting politicians to the border towns to show the rocket damage, and Amnesty seems to have been pleased to go along. At the same time Israelis barred AI access to Gaza – any information coming out of the area would not be compliant with Israeli PR requirements. Thus why send any researchers to the Israeli border area?

Execution of Collaborators – Who will be Criticized
AI has announced a publication of a forthcoming report on the execution of collaborators, and one can only speculate on its contents. But AI is not opposed to wars, and at the same time it is opposed to the death sentence; it is opposed to some deaths, but silent about others. Couple this stance with an unwillingness to recognize the Palestinian right to defend themselves, and consequently AI will deem the execution of collaborators as abhorrent.

There are many collaborators in the West Bank and they are evident at all levels of society, even in the so-called Palestinian Authority government. The Palestinian Authority has even committed to protect them. Collaboration with Israel in the West Bank is a relatively low risk activity. In Gaza there are also collaborators, and these are used to infiltrate and inform on the armed resistance groups, and also to sow black propaganda. During the Massacre in Gaza, collaborators were instrumental in pinpointing the location of the resistance and its leadership. In most countries, treason/espionage in time of war merits execution, but it is doubtful that AI will accept this, and will instead urge a judicial process with no death sentence.

The key aspect of the forthcoming report will be whether AI deems the Israeli use of collaborators an abhorrent practice. Israel uses collaborators to gather information, but it is also meant to fragment Palestinian society, and to sow distrust. With a society already under massive stress due to economic hardship and military repression, collaborators are a pernicious means to break morale and undermine Palestinian resilience. Will AI criticize Israeli use of collaborators, or will its report merely castigate Hamas for the way it deals with collaborators?

Why Were These Reports Written at All?
All AI reports follow the same boiler plate formula: a brief overview, a methodology section about data sources, some emotional quotations by the victims, a section on accountability, and then some recommendations. These reports are trite, barely readable, and certainly not very useful either for legal purposes or to educate its volunteers. So why were these reports published and who actually reads them? AI would like to be known as one of the leading human rights organizations, and it must be seen as reporting on major violations/crimes. Its volunteers must be given the impression that AI cares for some of the wholesale atrocities, and not merely the retail crime or violation.

The timing of the publication of one report (“Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks…”) is rather curious. The report dealing with the Palestinian rockets was published a few days before the Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court. Is that a mere coincidence? While some Palestinians are gearing up to prosecute Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity, a leading human rights organization publishes a report which harps on the theme that Palestinians are guilty of war crimes. AI has published reports in the past that were exploited for propaganda purposes, e.g., the throwing-the-babies-out-of-the-incubators propaganda hoax. Those reports were published just in time so that they provided a justification for war.

Impotence by Design
All the reports contain a list of recommendations to Israelis, Palestinians, and other states. One is struck by the impotence of the recommendations. AI urges Israel to cooperate with the UN commission of inquiry; allow human rights organizations access to Gaza; pay reparations to some victims; and ensure that the Israeli military operates within some legal bounds. Given that Israel can do as it pleases, ignoring commissions of inquiry, loudly proclaiming that it will engage in disproportionate attacks (i.e., the Dahiya doctrine), and that it refuses compensate any Gazan due to the previous massacres, all these recommendations ring rather hollow.

Amnesty urges Palestinians to address their grievances via the ICC. It is curious that while international law provides the Palestinians no protection whatsoever, AI is urging Palestinians to jump through international legal hoops. It is also questionable to suggest a legal framework meant for interstate conflict when dealing with a non-state dispossessed native population. And of course, AI fails to mention that Israel has avoided and ignored international law with the complicity and aid of the United States.

Finally, AI requests other governments to assist the commission of inquiry and to assist in prosecution of war criminals. It remains to be seen whether the commission of inquiry will actually publish a report that has some teeth. AI also urges other countries to stop supplying weapons to “both sides”. There is no mention of the fact that the US resupplied Israel with weapons during the Massacre in Gaza in 2014. It is very unlikely that the US/UK will stop arming Israel, and thus AI’s recommendations are ineffective.

Amnesty trumpets that it has 7 million supporters world-wide, a few months ago this number was 3 million; two years ago this was 400,000, and few years ago this was 200,000. One should marvel at this explosive growth. If AI can really tap into the support of even a fraction of these volunteers, then AI can urge them to do something that has tangible results, e.g., recommending that its members/supporters boycott Israeli products or products produced by western companies complicit in Israeli crimes. Such action would be far more effective than the silly recommendations that are regularly ignored by Israel and its western backers. Alas, it is difficult to conceive that Amnesty will issue a call for a boycott to its ever expanding army of supporters. It is difficult for Mother T to change her stripes.

The Human Rights Industry
There are thousands of so-called human rights organizations. Anyone can set up a human rights organization, and thereby specify a narrow focus for the NGO, determine the parameters within which the NGO will operate – even define who is human – and now the new NGO can chime in with press releases, host wine and cheese receptions, bestow prizes, lobby politicians, launch investigations, and castigate the enemy du jour. Hey, Bono, Geldof and Angelina will hop along and sit on the NGO’s board! The human rights framework is so elastic, and it can be molded to fit legitimate purposes, but also to be manipulated for propaganda. The history of some of the largest human rights organizations show that they were originally created with the propaganda element foremost in mind. This suggests NGO output (reports, etc.) merit scrutiny not so much for what they say, but for what they omit. In the Palestinian context, a simple test on the merits of a so-called human rights organization is whether they challenge state power, call for accountability and prosecution of war criminals, and urge members to do something more than write out cheques or write a very formal and polite letters to governments engaged in criminal deeds.

Another test on the merits of a human rights NGO is whether it is in solidarity with the victims of violence, and whether victims are treated differently depending on support/demonization by “the west”. In Amnesty’s case, consider that on the one hand it provides long lists of “prisoners of conscience” (POC) pertaining prisoners held in Cuba, Syria, etc., but on the other hand it explicitly doesn’t make the list of Palestinian POC available. We have no means of knowing how many Palestinian POC Amnesty cares about, and whether its volunteers engage in letter writing campaigns on their behalf. One thing is certain, while the majority of Cuban political prisoners are considered POC, only a tiny fraction of the Palestinian political prisoners have been bestowed the POC status. And of course, Mother Teresa doesn’t give a hoot about political prisoners who might have been involved in violence – Palestinians are one stone throw away from being ignored by Amnesty International. Some victims are more meritorious than others.

In trying to justify AI’s double standard, Malcolm Smart, AI’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, stated:

“By its nature, the Israeli administrative detention system is a secretive process, in that the grounds for detention are not specified in detail to the detainee or his/her legal representative; inevitably, this makes it especially difficult for the detainee to challenge the order for, by example, contesting the grounds on which the detention was made. In the same way, it makes it difficult or impossible for Amnesty International to make a conclusive determination in many cases whether a particular administrative detainees can be considered a prisoner of conscience or not.”

AI provides yet more comic material. AI admits that Israeli military courts can determine who can be considered a Palestinian POC! The only thing the Israeli military courts need to do is maintain the court proceedings secret or not reveal “evidence”. Alternatively, they can simply imprison the victims without trial or declare that they are members of a “banned” organization. Presto! Israelis now won’t have to reply to those pesky polite letters written by AI volunteers. Once again, double standards in the treatment of victims raise questions about the nature of any human rights NGO.

Human Rights is Denatured Justice
Pushing for the observance of human rights doesn’t necessarily imply that one will obtain justice. The human rights agenda merely softens the edges of the status quo. As Amnesty’s position on the Israeli attacks on Gaza illustrate, pushing human rights can actually be incompatible with obtaining justice. Human rights are a bastardized, neutered, and debased form of justice. The application and effectiveness of international law is bad enough, but a pick and choose legal framework with no enforcement is even worse. If one seeks justice, then it is best to avoid the human rights discourse; above all, it is best to avoid human rights organizations.

Palestinians should be wary of Mother Teresas peddling human rights snake oil. In exchange for giving up their resistance and complying with AI’s norms, it is not likely that Palestinians will obtain a pixel of justice. One should be wary of human rights groups that don’t push for justice, play the role of Israel’s lawyer, and are bereft of solidarity with the victims. When the likes of AI come wagging their finger, it is best to keep the old blunderbuss near at hand.

Here are some crazy things the Israeli government or the Israeli people have done to maintain racial purity.

Israel bills itself as the Middle East's only democracy, but it is increasingly clear that this label depends a lot on how you define the Middle East, and how you define democracy. Perhaps the sharpest dissonance between the description of Israel as a liberal democracy and its actual policies is the drive for racial purity. Israel insists on being the historic homeland for the world's Jews, something few would disagree with. But it also insists on being a Jewish-majority country, at all costs. In order to maintain its Jewish majority, it must demonize non-Jews, particularly Muslims and Christian Arabs, as “demographic threats."

1. No-Sex Contracts: In 2003, an Israeli company importing Chinese workers required them to sign a contract agreeing not to marry or have sex with any Israelis. No legal action was taken against the company, as Israel has no laws protecting workers from such demands.

2. Birth Control Without Consent: For years, the Israeli government was injecting Ethiopian Jewish immigrants with birth control, “often without their knowledge or consent.” When the practice was exposed in 2013, it was ordered to be halted.

3. Deporting Non-Jews: Anyone in the world with Jewish lineage can move to Israel and claim citizenship. But if you're not Jewish, things can be dicey. Many refugees from African conflicts have fled to Israel to claim asylum. Israel has locked many of them into massive camps in the desert. It has granted asylum to 0.07% of those seeking it, deporting many others. NPR recently did a story on some refugees who were deported, only to be slain by ISIS.

4. Stripping Palestinians of Land Rights: The Israeli Supreme Court recently laid out two decisions essentially allowing Israel the right to demolish Palestinian communities within Israel itself—not the Occupied Territories—to clear land for Jewish Israelis.

5. Discriminatory Marriage Laws:In the United States, marriage is one of the ways a spouse can gain legal entry through a green card and citizenship. Israel prohibits its citizens from marrying Palestinians in the territories, by refusing to recognize their spouses as citizens. Israel also has no civil marriage law, leaving the institution in the hands of religious clerics (just say men) who work to prevent interracial marriage.

6. Right Of Return, For Jews Only:The most systematic policy designed to maintain a Jewish majority is the Law of Return. Under this law, Jews can come to Israel from anywhere in the world and claim citizenship, but Palestinians expelled after various wars from homes that were in Israel cannot. The double standard was expressed by Ghada Karmi and Ellen Siegel, a Palestinian woman and a Jewish woman who met in London in the early 1970s. They have posed multiple times with these signs over the years:

These laws, norms, and practices form a matrix with one goal: to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel. (In the case of the birth control given to Ethiopian Jews, it was also an example of trying to maintain a certain type of Jewish majority.)
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Website Targets Pro-Palestinian Students In Effort To Harm Job Prospects
Amanda Holpuch | Alternet

Shadowy body accused of ‘McCarthyist tactics’ and ‘open racism.’
An unknown group has launched a website that profiles people affiliated with pro-Palestinian student groups – publishing their names, photos, occupations and sometimes universities and majors – in an effort to dissuade potential employers from hiring them.

Canary Mission went live in mid-May and includes profiles of 54 people, primarily university students and professors, with photos and links to their social media profiles.

“It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees,” a video explanation of the project warns.

Canary Mission said it created the website out of concern for “the rise of antisemitic hate crimes on college campuses, and the dangerous Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement”.But some members of the movement say that posting names on the website is harassment and “driven by deep hatred and prejudice”.
Actually bottom feeding instigators like this should be posted to some website (You know Pamela is hiding in the shadows like the cockroach that she is):

Mohammed cartoon contest to be held in Phoenix

Participants are encouraged to 'exercise their 2nd Amendment rights' (that means bring your guns Lee Harvey). We have to listen to some skinhead preach to us about the merits of Islam???????????????? Or any other religion for that matter??????? Get lost Skeeter!

Hypocrisy at its best!
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Hypocritical legislation: South Carolina takes action against Israeli boycotts

State law bars public entities from contracting with companies that boycott "based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin."

"Boycott," for the purposes of the law, is defined as the effort by companies to "blacklist, divest from or otherwise refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity," according to the text.

Companies also must agree not to engage in boycott activities going forward.

Some quotes from the 5th columnist:

"Discriminatory boycotts have historically been used as a form of economic warfare to forward the purposes of hatred and bigotry. The tactics employed by the Nazis serve as a poignant example," Clemmons said in a prepared statement. "In this day and age, no group better demonstrates this fact than the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in its effort to harm our great ally, Israel."

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The UN estimates that due to Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip, it will be uninhabitable by the year 2020. Who is the real terrorist?

See: Incidence of sex crime allegations in Israeli military has doubled since 2012; social media blamed (Yes that's it, social media made me do it. Huh?)

Israel killed and injured more civilians with explosive weapons than any other state in the world in 2014 due to its military assault on Gaza. This is according to a new report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), an organization that tracks the global impact of explosive weapons on civilians.

Alongside the toll on civilian lives, there was enormous destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza: 100,000 people left homeless. 18,000 housing units were destroyed in whole or in part; much of the electricity network and of the water and sanitation infrastructure were incapacitated; and 73 medical facilities and many ambulances were damaged. Many Palestinians were uprooted from their homes or temporary shelters multiple times; at the height of the hostilities, the number of internally displaced persons reached 500,000, or 28 per cent of the population. The effects of this devastation had a severe impact on the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza that will be felt for generations to come. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, witnessed a period of heightened tensions and widespread human rights violations, including the fundamental right to life, which were overshadowed by the tragic events in Gaza.

Bolstering previous human rights assessments that have accused Israel of war crimes, the AOAV report sheds further light on the degree of firepower the residents of Gaza were subjected to last summer.

Dubbed Operation Protective Edge, Israel's 51-day bombing campaign killed 2,251 Palestinians and injured another 11,000, according to UN figures. The vast majority of those killed (1,462) were civilians, including 551 children, making Gaza the third most dangerous place in the world to be a civilian in 2014, according to AOAV.

After the dust settled, bomb disposal experts estimated that Israel dropped the equivalent of six atomic bombs on Gaza.

Israel launched more than 6,000 airstrikes in Gaza, which caused 53 percent of Gaza's civilian casualties, according to AOAV. The other 47 percent were killed or injured by ground and naval shelling.

Furthermore, the report found that 43 percent of Israeli air attacks were launched by drones, accounting for 29 percent of Gaza's civilian casualties.

An investigation by the Associated Press generated similar results, finding that over half of civilians killed in Gaza died in Israeli airstrikes on their homes, "including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of one and five."

Though Israel possesses a high tech arsenal of precision-guided weapons, it pounded the densely populated Gaza Strip with 34,000 unguided shells, including 19,000 high-explosive artillery shells. As a result, Palestinians in Gaza made up 43 percent of global civilian casualties from artillery shelling.

Israel fired these weapons indiscriminately into Gaza's densely populated neighborhoods.

On 19 and 20 July, Israel battered the neighborhood of Shujaiya with 7,000 high explosive shells, firing 4,800 shells within a seven-hour period. The extent of the indiscriminate shelling, which killed at least 55 people, including 19 children and 14 women, was so unprecedented, senior US military officers who participated in the US destruction of Iraq were reportedly left "stunned."

While the AOAV report attributes high civilian casualties by states to the targeting of groups and individuals in populated areas, it should be noted that statements by Israeli military leaders demonstrate a calculated military strategy that deliberately and systematically targets civilians and civilian infrastructure. There is no other way to look at this policy and its results but as a war crime.

As a recent investigation by the UN Human Rights Council observed, Israel's widespread attacks on civilians in Gaza "may have constituted military tactics reflective of a broader policy, approved at least tacitly by decision-makers at the highest levels of the government of Israel."

'May' have? Or did!


Add just to add this to the mix:

Photo: Palestinian water tanks vandalized by Israeli settlers in Hebron
Credit: ISM Palestine / Flickr)

Think California's drought is alarming? Try Palestine's

Despite its location in a region thought to be perennially dry, the Holy Land actually has ample natural freshwater resources — namely in the form of underwater aquifers and the Jordan River. Palestinians in the West Bank and Israeli settlers live in roughly equal proximity to these resources, which theoretically would allow for equal consumption.

Israeli water policy, however, has made this prospect virtually impossible. In fact, there’s a shocking disparity.

A report from the United Nations found that the average Israeli settler consumes 300 liters of water per day — a figure surpassing even the average Californian’s 290. But thanks to Israeli military action and legal restrictions on access, the average Palestinian in the occupied West Bank only gets about 70. And for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who live off the water grid altogether, daily consumption hovers at around 30. That’s just 10 percent of the Israeli figure.

More: Palestine News Page

More: Gaza News Page

The UN estimates that due to Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip, it will be uninhabitable by the year 2020. Who is the real terrorist?
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The Gaza Platform, is a digital mapping tool that can be used to collate, map, explore and analyze patterns in attacks on Gaza during last summer’s brutal Israeli military offensive against the tiny blockaded enclave.

While a vast amount of multimedia information, including testimony, photos, videos and satellite imagery, is still being processed, the Gaza Platform currently shows that more than 270 Israeli attacks were carried out using artillery fire during the 2014 conflict, killing more than 320 civilians. The repeated use of artillery, an imprecise explosive weapon, in densely populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks that should be investigated as war crimes.

The Platform also clearly illustrates an overwhelming pattern of targeting residential homes, with more than 1,200 Israeli attacks on houses resulting in more than 1,100 civilian deaths. Direct attacks on civilians not directly participating in hostilities and on civilian objects are prohibited under international humanitarian law, or “the laws of war.” Amnesty International, the UN Commission of Inquiry and other conflict monitoring organizations have raised the alarm about the high number of such attacks during the 2014 conflict.

Users can also note other disturbing patterns, such as Israeli attacks striking first responders, medical workers and facilities, as well as the extensive use of “knock on the roof” warning attacks, where a missile fired from a drone is followed shortly afterwards by a larger bomb. Amnesty International does not consider that such strikes constitute an effective warning, nor do they absolve Israel from the clear obligation not to direct attacks at civilians or civilian property.


How the Gaza Platform works

The Platform records the time and location of each attack on an interactive map and classifies it according to numerous criteria including type of attack, site struck and number of casualties to highlight patterns. Photos, videos, eyewitness testimony and satellite imagery for attacks are also included where available. With the help of new data visualization and digital mapping technology, users can view and search this information to detect patterns in the Israeli forces’ conduct during the conflict. The aim is to identify and publicize patterns which can help in the analysis of whether particular attacks constitute violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.

A team of researchers in London and Gaza has been working over several months to collate and input onto the Platform data collected on the ground by the Gaza-based human rights organizations Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), as well as information gathered by Amnesty International.

The launch of the Platform is just the start of the project – it will be updated with new information as work to gather further evidence relating to the conflict continues.


The preliminary data currently plotted on the Platform, which will be updated over the coming months, already highlights a number of patterns in the attacks by Israeli forces that indicate that grave and systemic violations were committed.

"The Gaza Platform is the most comprehensive record of attacks during the 2014 conflict to date. It allows us to piece together more than 2,500 individual attacks, illustrating the vast scale of destruction caused by Israel's military operations in Gaza during the 50-day war last summer," said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program.

"By revealing patterns rather than just presenting a series of individual attacks, the Gaza Platform has the potential to expose the systematic nature of Israeli violations committed during the conflict. Our aim is for it to become an invaluable resource for human rights investigators pushing for accountability for violations committed during the conflict.

Data collected and shared by:
Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Forensic Architecture
WHITE PHOSPHORUS - The effects of airburst WP munitions in urban environments

Previous war crime. The US is guilty of using this as well in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During and in the aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza of December 2008–January 2009, known as “Operation Cast Lead,” news reports have repeatedly shown images of a hitherto little known type of weapon. These images displayed airborne explosions releasing tentacles of smoking fragments onto densely inhabited parts of the Gaza strip. Alongside other images of the large-scale destruction of buildings and infrastructure, representations of these airbursts were some of the defining images of “Cast Lead.” Research by several human rights organizations, based on military expertise, witness testimonies, projectile debris found on sites, and medical reports of burn injuries, confirmed that the Israeli military were using white phosphorus munitions.

Because of its incendiary and toxic effects, the use of white phosphorus in populated areas is highly controversial. According to many international legal experts and scholars, it constitutes an illegal act as it effectively acts like a chemical weapon. Israel initially denied the use of such munitions. When confronted with undis- putable evidence to the contrary, the Israeli military changed its position and confirmed the use of white phosphorus, but claimed that it only used it “in compliance with international law.”

In March 2011, as part of a concerted civil society action, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Gvul, represented by attorneys Michael Sfard and Emily Schaeffer, submitted a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice demanding the complete ban of the use of white phosphorus munitions in populated areas by the Israeli military. It was in this context that the office of Michael Sfard asked Forensic Architecture to investigate the behaviour and effects of such weapons. The outcome of our investigation was a report titled “The Use of White Phosphorus Munitions in Urban Environments: An Effects-Based Analysis.”
Link: ... hosphorus/
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Netanyahu is a War Criminal: Sign the Petition to the British Parliament. “Netanyahu to be Arrested when he arrives in London”


UPDATE: 70,837 HAVE SIGNED - 19/08


Related: Gaza-Israel Negotiations to Be Mediated by Renowned War Criminal Tony Blair - ... raq-blair/
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A hard-hitting new United Nations report says Gaza could become uninhabitable in less than five years if current economic and population trends continue.

It cites what it describes as the "de-development" of the blockaded coastal strip, which is at present home to some 1.8 million Palestinians but is expected to grow to 2.1 million by 2020.

"De-development" describes a process where development is not only hindered but actually reversed. Findings by the UN conference on trade and development point to the eight-year economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars between Israel and the Palestinians over the past six years.

Depicting the situation in Gaza in grim language the report states: "Three Israeli military operations in the past six years, in addition to eight years of economic blockade, have ravaged the already debilitated infrastructure of Gaza, shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza, rendering their economic wellbeing worse than the level of two decades previous.

"The most recent military operation compounded already dire socioeconomic conditions and accelerated de-development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed."

The report was published even as Egyptian military bulldozers continued to press ahead with a project that will effectively fill Egypt's Gaza Strip border with water and flood the last remaining cross-border underground smuggling tunnels that have brought both commercial items and weapons into Gaza.

It also follows a series of recent dire warnings over Gaza's trajectory by international bodies including UN organisations.

In May the World Bank said the long-lasting blockades by Israel and more recently Egypt, combined with war and poor governance, had strangled Gaza's economy leaving it with the highest unemployment rate in the world at 43% of the population.

The latest report reinforces similar warnings delivered by the top officials in the main UN relief agency in Gaza - UNRWA - in 2012, which projected that on current trends of population growth Gaza would hit a crisis point in 2020. ... elf-report

Related: Gaza's Water Could Be Undrinkable by 2016
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Question; do you need to be a British national to sign the petition?
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Surely this is an exercise in futility given the following...

The UK Parliament [official website] on Thursday approved the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill [materials], making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to obtain arrest warrants for suspected war criminals present in the UK. The controversial act [AP report] removes the exclusive power of granting arrest warrants from local magistrates, requiring that all such warrants receive approval from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) [official profile]. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke of the UK Ministry of Justice said [press release] about the bill, "[w]e are clear about our international obligations and these new changes to existing law will ensure the balance is struck between ensuring those who are accused of such heinous crimes do not escape justice and that universal jurisdiction cases are only proceeded with on the basis of solid evidence that is likely to lead to a successful prosecution." The amendment is seen as a move by the UK government to improve relations with foreign countries such as China and Israel, after several government officials were forced to cancel trips to the UK out of fears of being arrested. The bill states:

Where a person who is not a public prosecutor lays an information before a justice of the peace in respect of an offense to which this subsection applies, no warrant shall be issued under this section without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions. ... Subsection (4A) applies to (a) a qualifying offense which is alleged to have been committed outside the United Kingdom, or (b) an ancillary offense relating to a qualifying offense where it is alleged that the qualifying offense was, or would have been, committed outside the United Kingdom.
The bill was proposed [JURIST report] last December.
UK officials had promised Israel that a change in the law was coming for some time. Former UK attorney general Patricia Janet Scotland gave a speech early this year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, stating that UK officials were working to resolve the issue [press release] and protect senior officials traveling to the UK. In December 2009, former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni [official website, in Hebrew] canceled a UK trip [JURIST report] after a British magistrate court issued, and later revoked, an arrest warrant for her on war crimes charges relating to Israel's Gaza offensive [JURIST news archive]. In October 2009, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon called off [JURIST report] a scheduled trip to the UK after legal advisers from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] said that he may be arrested over his involvement in a 2002 airstrike that killed a Hamas leader and 14 civilians.

Don't misconstrue that of course, I would LOVE to see these bastards face justice for their crimes.

However UKIP, Lib Dems, Labour, Conservatives, all have protected Israel.
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