Friday, August 22, 2014

The Arab League, by Ali Farzat

أبو مرزوق: جهود دولية لوقف النار ولا تهدئة

الدكتور موسى أبو مرزوق عضو
أكدّ الدكتور موسى أبو مرزوق عضو رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس، أن الفصائل الفلسطينية أجمعت على أنه لا عودة لاتفاق تهدئة مع (إسرائيل)، مشيرًا إلى جهود دولية أوروبية بهدف وقف إطلاق النار.
وقال أبو مرزوق في برنامج عبر قناة الجزيرة، مساء الجمعة، إن الفصائل وقعت على دعوة تطالب رئيس السلطة محمود عباس بالتوجه إلى محكمة الجنايات الدولية، متوقعًا أن يستجيب الأخير وينفذ ذلك خلال أيام.
وأكدّ أن المقاومة جربت خيارات التهدئة مع (إسرائيل) أكثر من مرة دون جدوى، مشيرًا إلى أن الاحتلال استغلها لإعادة ما سماه بنك الأهداف. وأضاف: "إسرائيل لا تفهم إلا لغة القوة، المقاومة ماضية في المواجهة وحرب الاستنزاف حتى تحقيق مطالبها".
وتابع أبو مرزوق: "المقاومة تواصل قصف المستوطنات الإسرائيلية، وهي مستمرة في تصنيع صواريخها"، مؤكدًا في الوقت ذاته أن نهايات المواجهات تبلورها السياسة ولا يوجد حرب لا تنتهي إلا عبر ذلك.
وأكدّ أن حماس تسعى إلى إيجاد برنامج سياسي موحد يرتكز على مقاومة الاحتلال، داعيًا إلى ضرورة العمل على التوصل لهذا البرنامج كي يتسنى الاستمرار في مواجهة (إسرائيل) حتى تحرير القدس والأرض الفلسطينية.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bo6Ga0GTmt4/UK5hqrgt6BI/AAAAAAAA5y4/Ja__0KGRJkE/s640/dome.jpg

Sorry Folks........

But the Iron Dome Has a Few Holes

Syria: One Year On, No Justice for Chemical Attacks Victims

Hundreds Died in Deadliest Such Event in 25 Years

Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Justice remains elusive for the victims of the chemical weapons attacks on Ghouta, near Damascus, which killed hundreds of people, Human Rights Watch said today, on the anniversary of the August 21, 2013 attacks.
The attacks were the most significant use of chemical agents since the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein, who used them in an attack on Iraqi Kurds in 1988, but no one has been held to account. Available evidence strongly suggests that Syrian forces carried out the attacks, though the government denies responsibility. Subsequently, under considerable international pressure, Syriaacceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to eliminate its chemical weapons.
“Important though it is, the removal of chemical weapons from Syria’s arsenal will do nothing for the hundreds of victims who died a year ago and the relatives who survive them,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Closure of the chemical weapons issue in Syria will be possible only when those who ordered and executed the Ghouta attacks have been held to account and are behind bars.”

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on September 27, 2013, requiring Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons and allow access to weapons inspectors. On June 23, the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations charged with removing Syria’s chemical weapons material announced that their task was complete.
However, international efforts to ensure credible justice for these and other ongoing grave human rights crimes in Syria have proved elusive. On May 22, Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution that would have referred the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Over 100 nongovernmental organizations urged the Council to approve the resolution, more than 60 countries co-sponsored it, and 13 of the Council’s 15 members voted for it.
Broad support for the resolution from governments and nongovernmental groups alike reflects the widespread international determination to achieve justice for serious crimes in Syria. Governments that supported that effort should remain committed to seeking justice for victims in Syria, whether in the Security Council, UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, or through other avenues, including the use of universal jurisdiction, Human Rights Watch said.
Photo essay, graphic images:

حماس: قمع مسيرات الضفة يخدم الاحتلال

أكدت حركة المقاومة الاسلامية "حماس" أن قمع السلطة الفلسطينية لمسيرات التضامن مع غزة في الضفة عمل مخجل ومشين لا يخدم سوى الاحتلال (الإسرائيلي).
وقالت الحركة على لسان المتحدث باسمها فوزي برهوم: "يجب أن يتوقف القمع فورا وندعو لاستمرار المظاهرات والاشتباكات مع العدو في كل مدن فلسطين".
وقمعت أجهزت سلطة رام الله المسيرات التي خرجت اليوم بعد صلاة الجمعة، نصرةً لغزة ومقاومتها.

أصيب عدد من المواطنين بحالات اختناق الجمعة بعد قمع أجهزة السلطة مسيرة تضامنية مع قطاع غزة، خرجت في مدينة الخليل.
وقال شهود عيان لـ "الرسالة نت" إن مسيرة حاشدة انطلقت في المدينة عقب صلاة الجمعة متوجهة إلى منطقة باب الزاوية، لكن المشاركين فوجئوا بأعداد كبيرة من أجهزة السلطة تمنعهم من الوصول إلى منطقة تواجد قوات الاحتلال، وأطلقت صوبهم الغاز المسيل للدموع؛ ما أدى إلى تسجيل حالات اختناق.
وأضاف الشهود بأن الشبان رشقوا عناصر الأمن بالحجارة والألعاب النارية، وهتفوا ضدها بعبارات استنكارية لموقفها من المسيرات التضامنية مع قطاع غزة.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"غزة تنتصر".. استهداف قيادات المقاومة

The outlaw state of Israel, part II

Unconditional US support for the state of Israel has precluded a peace settlement and destabilised the Middle East.


Last updated: 21 Aug 2014 13:33
Richard Falk

Richard Falk is Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies. He is also Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
Akbar Ganji

Akbar Ganji is one of Iran's leading political dissidents and has received over a dozen human rights awards for his efforts. Imprisoned in Iran until 2006, he is the author of The Road to Democracy in Iran, which lays out a strategy for a non-violent transition to democracy in Iran.
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The Obama administration has increased the aid to Israel through its reliance on various special appropriations, write Falk and Ganji [EPA]
In Part I of this article we described the reasons as to why Israel has become an outlaw state. In this part we discuss US support for Israel and its consequences.
The US as Israel's servant
The United States has supported Israel without reservations since its founding in 1948. According to an agreement between the two countries, that has become a law in the US, the US has committed itself to preserve Israel's strategic and military superiority in relation to other countries in the Middle East. From 1949 till today, the US has provided Israel with nearly $122bn in aid, calculated by reference to fixed dollars.
Counting the aid to Israel in 2003 dollars, from 1949 - 2003 the US has provided Israel with $140bn worth of military assistance, which has been increasing since 2003. The basic annual commitment to Israel is $3.1bn, which is far more than military aid that has been given to any other country in the world, and this figure is an understatement, hiding a variety of supplemental appropriations and other benefits accorded uniquely to Israel.
In effect, the US has been subsidising Israel's aggressions, and ignoring military assistance legislation that seeks to withhold such aid to countries that are not acting defensively and in accordance with international law.
The Obama administration has even increased the aid to Israel through its reliance on various special appropriations. Most recently Congress appropriated an additional $225m for further development of the Iron Dome derence system.
The US Senate has even approved a resolutionaccording to which if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear sites in the future defying international law, the US is obligated to help Israel. It reads in part, "If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran's nuclear weapons program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."
Of course, the language as written of "legitimate self-defence" is understood to mean any action taken by Israel that is alleged to be "defensive", whether or not in conformity to international law, which limits such claims to situations of response to prior armed attacks. 
Among the many UNSC resolutions that seek to criticise or condemn Israel for its actions against the Palestinians, almost all have been vetoed by the US. In fact, the US government opposes virtually every resolution approved by any UN organ, including UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), if it is deemed to be critical of Israel, and this includes even initiatives to establish fact-finding commissions of inquiry to determine whether charges of war crimes are well-founded.
When Israel attacks the defenceless and completely vulnerable Palestinian people, the US justifies such high-intensity and disproportionate violence as "self-defence", obstructs the issuance of a UN call for an immediate ceasefire, and gives diplomatic and material aid and comfort to Israeli aggression from start to finish.
After the fact-finding "Goldstone Report" on Israel war crimes in Gaza in 2008-2009 was approved by UNHRC, the US and Israel successfully intervened with the Secretary General to prompt him to urge the non-implementation of the report in relation to Israeli accountability for war crimes. The US government also used its leverage to prevent even the discussion of this important report in the UNSC. When recently, the UNHRC approved a resolution to investigate Israel's war crimes in Gaza, the US cast the only negative vote.
Amnesty International has reported that the evidence of systematic attacks by Israel's military forces on schools and hospitals in Gaza during the current warfare is overwhelming. It includes targeting civilians who have sought shelter from Israeli attacks in United Nations schools and other buildings marked with the UN logo.
Human Rights Watch has reported on evidence of intentional shooting of Palestinians who were fleeing their homes, even after they had been ordered to do so by Israel's military, and has declared such behaviour to be a war crime.
We can only comprehend this partisan pattern of US policy toward Israel by taking account of the leverage exerted on the government by the formidable lobby working on behalf of Israel known. Former President Jimmy Carter and the former President of Ireland and former Head of the UNHRC Mary Robinson have condemned this one-sidedness of US policy toward Israel and Hamas, insisting that as a first step Israel immediately ends without conditions the blockade of Gaza, allowing the people of Gaza to have finally some semblance of a normal life.
Consequences
The US policy toward Israel has had dire consequences:
It has completely discredited the US government's claim to act as an impartial arbitrator between Israel and the Palestinians.
Hatred and resentment toward the US has been increasing throughout the region, not only because of its blind support of Israel, but also because of its military onslaughts against Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, and drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere.
Read more of our coverage on Palestine 
According to a poll conducted right before the current war, 85 percent of Egyptians and Jordanians, 73 percent of Turks, and 66 percent of Palestinians view the US unfavourably, while 84 percent of Israelis have a positive view of the US
What Israel has done in the region with the support of the US has contributed greatly to the growth of extremism and discord throughout the Middle East. If such policies are not reversed even more chaos, extremist violence, bloodshed, and devastation are likely to emerge in the future.
The Middle East and North Africa have been unstable for decades, and the consequences of the intensifying instability are spreading to other regions and endangering world peace.
These policies of unconditional support for Israel are going against the US national interests. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the mother of all problems in the Middle East. Israel has undermined all efforts to find a peaceful solution by way of diplomacy. It has rejected both the Arab Initiative of 2002 and the roadmap proposed by the Quartet - the US, Russia, the European Union, and the UN - which require Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders with the expectation that a sovereign and independent Palestinian state would emerge.
What is required of Israel as a precondition for peace - set forth in Security Council Resolution 242 and reaffirmed since its unanimous adoption in 1967 - enjoys support worldwide. It should be understood that ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories is not by itself sufficient to achieve a sustainable peace. Of paramount importance is also some arrangement that acknowledges the rights of several million Palestinian refugees who were forcibly expelled over the course of many years from Israel, most dramatically in the 1948 Nakba, the Palestinian national catastrophe.
There are also serious questions at this time as to whether the two-state solution is a viable and desirable goal, if it ever was. The question of Palestinian self-determination as the proper foundation for a sustained just peace is more open to debate and reflection in 2014 than ever before. Israel's expansionism has put the international two-state consensus under question, and the international community, along with representatives of the Palestinian people must now consider new ways to achieve a just peace for both peoples, which cannot be realised without upholding Palestinian rights.   
We believe that a crucial step in this direction is the widespread acknowledgement that Israel has become an outlaw state, and that appropriate adjustments to this reality must be made.
Richard Falk is Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies. He is also Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
Follow him on Twitter: @rfalk13
Akbar Ganji is one of Iran's leading political dissidents and has received over a dozen human rights awards for his efforts. Imprisoned in Iran until 2006, he is the author of The Road to Democracy in Iran, which lays out a strategy for a non-violent transition to democracy in Iran.
Follow him on Twitter: @GanjiAkbar

A War on Gaza’s Future? Israeli Assault Leaves 500 Kids Dead, 3,000 Injured, 373,000 Traumatized

Democracy Now!

"As the Israeli offensive in Gaza resumes, we look at the impact the military campaign has had on the children of Gaza. More than 467 Palestinian children have died since July. That is more than the combined number of child fatalities in the two previous conflicts in Gaza. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,000 children have been injured, of which an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a life-long disability. The United Nations estimates at least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. And, based on the total number of adults killed, there may be up to 1,500 children orphaned. Gazan children’s right to an education has also been severely compromised with at least 25 schools reportedly damaged so severely that they can no longer be used. We speak to Pernille Ironside, chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office.
There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” Ironside says. “The psychological toll that has on a people, it just cannot be overestimated, and especially on children.”...."

Real News Video: Despite Renewed Attacks, Israel No Closer to Defeating Palestinian Resistance

Samer Badawi reports that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza remain steadfast in their resistance of Israeli occupation, and UCLA's Gabriel Piterberg says that despite the escalating levels of violence, Israel is no closer to its goal of defeating Palestinian political and military resistance


More at The Real News

Video: “Israel has failed to achieve its goals through terror,” says Ali Abunimah

With the end of the ceasefire and the failure of permanent truce negotiations mediated by Egypt, Israel resumed its full-scale massacre in Gaza, killing 22 people on Wednesday.
Why did the truce talks break down? I discussed this question on Al Jazeera English on Wednesday evening, explaining that Israel rejected far-reaching and generous Palestinian offers.

Uphill Task for Israel’s Apologists

By Ramzy Baroud

After every bloody episode of violence perpetrated by Israel, media spin doctors are deployed with one grand mission: Absolve Israel of any responsibility in its acts of carnage.
These apologists not only demonize Palestinians, but also anyone who dares to take a stand on their behalf. The main staple of this Israeli strategy is blaming the victim.
There is nothing new in this tactic – this is how the so-called "Arab-Israeli conflict" has been presented in Western media.
The narrative is always much closer to that of Israeli official and
media discourses than that of Palestinians’ – despite the decades-long military occupation, successive wars, and countless massacres.
Since the Israeli siege on Gaza began, following the democratic elections that brought Hamas to power in January 2006, Israel has needed all of its hasbara savvy – alongside that of its backers in the West – to explain why a population was brutalized for making a democratic choice.
The sheer amount of deception involved in the cleverly knitted story, which among other ruses equates Hamas with al-Qaeda (as Israel once did between late Yasser Arafat and Hitler), has represented a new low – even by Israel’s own standards.
The West’s media demonized Hamas, the resistance and all the other "bad" Palestinians who voted for the movement, while intentionally ignoring the fascism that has taken over Israeli society.
For the "bad" Palestinian to exist – i.e., a "radical", "extremist" who is anti-peace – there always had to a "good" Palestinian, represented by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas or any faction, person or leader willing to coexist with the Israeli occupation.
The PA has gone even further cooperating with Israel to ensure the demise of the Palestinian "radicals", as in those who insist on resisting the occupation.
Thanks to the PA, the price for the Israeli occupation has never been so cheap. Despite repeated attempts at reactivating the so-called peace process, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always found a way to torpedo such efforts, even those promoted by his closest allies in Washington.
"Peace" is a major risk for Netanyahu, because his government is sustained by Jewish nationalists and extremists who feel no particular need to end their colonization of the West Bank. Abbas had done a great deal to ensure that Israel feels no pressure to negotiate. Every attempt at resistance, even by standing peacefully with placards and banners in Ramallah’s al-Manara Square was crushed; often brutally.
Gaza, however, remained an exception. Israel’s brutality there has reached unprecedented levels, especially after Israel’s Cast Lead Operation, which killed and wounded thousands. Many predicted that the crimes in Gaza would turn the tide against Israel, but they didn’t. Israeli influence over the media was still tight enough that somehow they managed to, at least, neutralize the impact of Cast Lead. The advent of the Arab Spring and the devaluing of human life, as happened in Syria, Libya and Egypt, somehow buried the Israeli crimes in Gaza; however temporarily.
But Israel’s latest war on Gaza in the summer of 2014 has amounted to a genocide. Israel’s argument that it was "defending itself" was no longer sufficient. No amount of hasbara was enough to explain the burying alive of entire families, the summary execution of civilians, the pulverizing of entire neighborhoods, the shelling of fleeing children playing at a beach during a deceptive "lull," the destruction of dozens of mosques and churches, and the killing of more children sleeping in UN schools-turned temporary shelters.
It is particularly embarrassing for Israel, but also poignant, that the Gaza resistance, which stood alone against tens of thousands of well-armed invaders from tunnels, killed 64 Israelis. All but three were soldiers, mostly killed inside Gaza.
As the world was awakened to the level of devastation created by Israel in Gaza, many also became aware that such wrath is not independent from the fascism that has gripped Israeli society for years. In Israel, there is no longer room for dissent, and those in the highest positions of power, are the ones who openly and freely preach genocide.
In an excellent article in the American Conservative in August 2006, Scott McConnell, wrote, "All societies have their hate groups and extremists, but nowhere in the democratic world are they nearer to the center of power than Israel."
He elaborated, "In the 1980s Meir Kahane had a small following in Israel, but his pro-ethnic cleansing party was made illegal. Now Kahanists are in the center of the country’s ruling ideology."
This was discussed in context of statements made by Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset (parliament) and a "top player in Israel’s ruling Likud Party". Feiglin called for Palestinians from Gaza to be resettled in concentration camps, and all of Hamas and its supporters to be "annihilated". Who can now, with a good conscience, protest those who infuse the Nazi analogy to what is happening in Palestine?
Meanwhile, in this age of social media, where mainstream news networks no longer have complete command over the narrative, no self-respecting intellectual, journalist, official or any citizen with a conscience can plead ignorance and stand on the fence of neutrality.
Gaza has indeed changed everything. Israel’s criminality and fascism should no longer be open for vibrant media debates, but it must be acknowledged as an uncontested fact. Our language, as in our perception, must also change to accommodate this uncontested reality:
First – military occupation must be fully and unconditionally rejected. Palestinians cannot be judged for defending themselves and for resisting Israel to end its military occupation, end the siege and achieve freedom. Armed struggle is a right defended by international law for people living under foreign occupation.
Second – as anti-Apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu once said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." There can no longer be a place for neutrality when thousands of civilians are brutally murdered by an invading army. Neutrality in this context is outright intellectual cowardice, if not even support of Israel’s crimes.
Third – taboos placed on analogies comparing the Israeli occupation to apartheid, and Nazi conduct should be dropped. While the racist notions that enabled apartheid are practiced daily by Israel, the analogy should go much further, considering that genocide has in fact been carried out in Gaza.
Fourth – There can be no mutual blame as a way to avoid placing full responsibility on the Israeli occupation and military. Palestinian resistance that blocked the way of the Merkava tanks in Jabaliya and Shejaiya is a heroic expression of the valor of the Palestinian people. Armed struggle in World War II continues to be admired throughout the world. Palestinians should not be made an exception.
Fifth – There can be no bad vs good Palestinians. There are those who resist, and those who collaborate with the enemy; those who pay the price, and those who benefit from the occupation.
Sixth – Israel is a fascist state. It controls the media, and cracks down on dissidents. It uses violence to achieve political ends, and doesn’t shy away from genocide when it suits its interests. Reverting to "only democracy in the Middle East" statements is a sign of willful ignorance that can no longer be tolerated.
Seventh – The "Arab-Israeli conflict" is a misleading notion. The confines of misleading geography must end. Moreover, there is no conflict per se, but a military occupation and a state of one-sided war. Palestinians are fighting this alone, but are supported by people from around the world, from every color, race, religion and nationality.
Eighth – The Israeli siege on Gaza would have not been possible without full Egyptian support. Egypt is a culprit in the suffering of the Palestinians, and it must be recognized, condemned and held legally accountable for such a crime.
Ninth – Palestinian supporters should no longer view Palestinians with a sense of pity, but respect and admiration for their courage and heroism.
Tenth – And finally, to end the Israeli genocide and occupation, the wheel of continuous action must turn and keep on turning. Those who support Israel must be exposed, and those who facilitate the Israeli occupation and sustain its war machine are partakers in the war crimes committed daily in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. They must be boycotted. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement must grow and serve as the main platform for international solidarity.
The time for clever words and no action is long gone, and those who remain "soft" on Israel, for whatever reason, have no place in what is becoming a global movement with uncompromising demands: end the occupation, punish its sustainers, halt ethnic cleaning and genocide, end the siege, and bring Israeli and other culprits to the international criminal court for their massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.