Saturday, 6 November 2010

Thought crimes in Israel

Redress


By Neve Gordon
5 November 2010

Neve Gordon looks at a raft of draft laws making their way through the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, which if passed will seal Israel’s transformation into a fully fascist state that persecutes and marginalizes everyone who does not subscribe to the official racially-oriented ideology.

Would Meryl Streep, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon be willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States and its policies in order to receive public funding for feature films that they star in, direct or produce? In Israel, the far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari has proposed a bill that would require entire film crews to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to declare loyalty to its laws and symbols, as a condition for receiving public funding. It's just one of more than 10 bills to be discussed during the Knesset's winter session that several commentators in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz have characterized as proto-fascist.

As in most countries, all new Israeli citizens must declare loyalty to the state and its laws, but the cabinet last month decided to support (22 in favour, eight against) an amendment to Israel's citizenship law that would require all newly naturalized citizens to declare loyalty to the Jewish character of the state. In Britain, this would be like requiring Jews, Muslims and atheists who wish to become citizens to declare loyalty not only to the laws of the United Kingdom but also to the Church of England.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has warned that this amendment, which will soon become law, is the tip of an iceberg. Some of the bills now going through the Knesset, which have a good chance of being ratified, would make support for an alternative political ideology, such as the idea that Israel should be a democracy for all its citizens, a crime.

A proposed amendment to the existing anti-incitement bill, for instance, stipulates that people who deny Israel's Jewish character will be arrested. This extension to the penal code, which has already passed its preliminary reading, incriminates a political view. Another bill lays the groundwork for turning down candidates for membership in communal settlements built on public land if they do not concur with the settlement committee's political views or are adherents of a different religion. The point of this is to make it legal to deny Palestinian citizens of Israel access to Jewish villages.

Still another bill that has already passed its first reading stipulates that institutions marking the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 will be denied public funds. This is like denying public funding to schools in the United States that wish to commemorate slavery or to memorialize the crimes perpetrated against Native Americans.

Then there is a bill against people who initiate, promote, or publish material that might serve as grounds for imposing a boycott against Israel. According to this proposed law, which has also passed a preliminary reading, anyone proven guilty of supporting a boycott will be ordered to pay affected parties about 8000 US without the plaintiff's need to demonstrate any damages.

Finally, eight Knesset members are proposing a bill to ban residents of East Jerusalem from operating as tour guides in the city, potentially putting hundreds out of work. The rationale behind this is that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem should not be certified guides because they do not represent Israel's national interest well enough “and in an appropriate manner”.

The sudden spate of these bills at this historical juncture is no coincidence. The struggle between the democratic demand that all citizens be treated equally and Zionism's hyper-nationalist ideal seems to have been determined once and for all: Zionism's aspiration to promote democratic values is giving way to its nationalist ethos.

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Hezbollah: False Witnesses to Be Transferred to Judicial Council

06/11/2010 Hezbollah renewed on Saturday calls for transferring the file of the false witnesses in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s case to the Judicial Council, wondering about the reasons preventing some Lebanese politicians from taking such decision.

In this context, member of the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc MP Hussein Moussawi said that Hezbollah was determined to transfer the false witnesses to the Judicial Council as soon as possible in order to sue the ones who harmed the country and hurted its relations with brothers. He accused those who’re seeking to cover the false witnesses and protect them of being additional false witnesses.

Moussawi’s colleague in the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc, MP Ali Ammar, said in turn that those who don’t want to sue the false witnesses are seeking to lose the truth. He spoke about international and local false witnesses who contributed in fabricating false testimonies, saying that what prevents the transfer of the false witnesses to the Judicial Council is the fear of uncovering the real false witnesses, including politicians and journalists.

For his part, Hezbollah official Sheikh Mohamad Yazbek wondered about the reasons pushing the Lebanese to reject the transfer of the false witnesses to the Judicial Council. He called on Lebanese to remember that the reason of cancelling the last cabinet session was the first item on the agenda, the false witnesses file. “Are they scared of uncovering the truth? Are they scared the United States’ plot to undermine and defame the Resistance would be uncovered?” he wondered.


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Bush: Olmert Asked Me to Bomb Suspected Syria Nuclear Plant

06/11/2010 Former United States President George W. Bush wrote in his recently published memoirs that he considered ordering a U.S. military strike against a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Israel's request in 2007, but ultimately opted against it, Reuters revealed on Friday.

Israel eventually destroyed the facility, which Syria denied was aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

In his memoir, "Decision Points," to hit bookstores Tuesday, Bush says that shortly after he received an intelligence report about a "suspicious, well-hidden facility in the eastern desert of Syria," he spoke by phone with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"George, I'm asking you to bomb the compound," Olmert told Bush, according to the book, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Bush says he discussed options with his national security team. A bombing mission was considered "but bombing a sovereign country with no warning or announced justification would create severe blowback," he writes.

A covert raid was discussed but it was considered too risky to slip a team in and out of Syria undetected.

Bush received an intelligence assessment from then-CIA Director Mike Hayden, who reported that analysts had high confidence the plant housed a nuclear reactor, but low confidence of a Syrian nuclear weapons program.

Bush writes that he told Olmert, "I cannot justify an attack on a sovereign nation unless my intelligence agencies stand up and say it's a weapons program."

Olmert was disappointed with Bush's decision to recommend a strategy of using diplomacy backed up by the threat of force to deal with Syria over the facility. "Your strategy is very disturbing to me," Olmert told Bush, according to the book.

Bush denies charges that arose at the time that he had given a "green light" for Israel to attack the installation. "Prime Minister Olmert hadn't asked for a green light, and I hadn't given one. He had done what he believed was necessary to protect Israel," Bush writes.

Bush writes that Olmert's "execution of the strike" against the Syrian compound made up for the confidence he had lost in the Israelis during their 2006 war against Lebanon, which Bush feels was bungled.

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How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less


Posted on November 6, 2010 by rehmat1|

The young American-Jewish cartoonist Sarah Glidden’s comic novel titled, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, is expected to be available at the bookstores this month.

She wrote the book after her fully-paid trip to the Occupied Palestine by Israel Hasbara (propaganda) agency, the Taglit-Birthright Israel, which is funded by the Israeli government and several racist Jewish individuals and organizations.

The concept behind the project is that a born-Jew, no matter which part of the world he/she lives and no matter whether he/she has Asiatic Khazarian or North African Berber or Low-caste Hindu blood-line – they all have the god-given right to settle in Israel on the land stolen from its Native Semite Muslims and Christians.

The Taglit-Birthright Israel provides a 10-day trip to Jews between the ages 18-25. The trip is used to brainwash the Diaspora (Jews living outside Occupied Palestine) with the Zionists’ distortion of the Bible and Middle East history.

Zionist-regime want to hide the myths based on which they occupied Palestine. The main aim of the Taglit-Birthright Israel is prepare a hard-core pro-Israel fifth column within the western world for the West to keep supporting the Zionist entity through taxpayers’ money and political backing at the international forums.

Sarah Glidden in a recent interview admitted:

“You grow up being told ‘Israel is your country, you can go there, you can live there, it’s for you. We have to support Israel, we have to plant a tree in Israel.’ No one ever told us about the conflict when we were kids. So then you get older and you find out about the conflict and it feels like its something that your family’s doing that you don’t like, like ‘This is my country?

But I don’t want them to do this! I don’t them to hurt people.

I don’t want anyone that I’m affiliated with to hurt anybody.’

When you try to put it in the context of self-defense, or the reasons why Israel would do these things, it just got so complicated and so upsetting that I just almost had to ignore it and just kind of read the paper, but not think about it.”

Before Sarah took the trip, she, like most of Jewish youth in the West, thought she knew all about Isreal (as told by parents and Jewish-owned mainstream media).

However, when she was given the government guided tour of Tel Aviv (famous for it 280 Jewish brothels), Jerusalem, Masada, the Golan Heights and other famous Arab towns occupied by the alien Jewish settlers – her preconceived notions about Israel (the so-called ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East and Jewish religious tolerance toward non-Jewish citizens) were shattered.

Sarah learned the real ugly face of Zionism when she took the non-chaperoned trip into the West Bank (though ruled by USrael’s favorite Mahmoud Abbas). That’s where she started to question first her political beliefs and, ultimately, her own sense of identity – that’s to understand Israel, she first have to understand herself as a true Jew.

Sarah in an interview with ‘The Faster Times’ (November 3, 2010), Said:

“When I got older and started paying attention to the news more and I learned more about what was going on in Israel it felt really personal. Whenever I would hear about something that the Israeli government did that was oppressive or violent towards the Palestinians, I felt like I was partly responsible. I was a really sensitive kid and I turned into a sensitive adult and it really upset me to hear about everything that was going on over there. Violence and exploitation anywhere get to me. But with Israel I felt really torn because I was angry at the country for being part of the problem but I simultaneously wanted to defend it when people started talking about what it was doing wrong. I talk about this in the book, but Israel to an American Jew is like family. You are born into your connection to it and sometimes you get really pissed off at it, but when other people start attacking it you take it personally.

“Don’t you say that about my uncle! You have no idea what he’s been through!”
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The land is ours, Jerusalem is ours, Palestine is ours and the resistance is our option;

Mishaal: Obama is unable to fulfill his promises to the Palestinians

[ 06/11/2010 - 08:35 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Head of Hamas's political bureau Khaled Mishaal stated Friday that the administration of US president Barack Obama, which failed to fulfill its promises to the Palestinian people at the apex of its power, is today more powerless to do anything for them after it lost its majority control of the congress in the mid-term elections.

Mishaal made his remarks in a ceremony held by Islamic Jihad Movement on the anniversary of its inception in Damascus.

The Hamas leader criticized what he called the policy of waiting for Obama's administration to do something for the Palestinians, especially after what happened to it in the elections, describing it as the policy of the weak and defeatist people.

"We say to the American administration that we are not waiting for you. We, the resistance factions and forces, have a clear vision, the land is ours, Jerusalem is ours, Palestine is ours and the resistance is our option; we will fulfill our promise with our hand and weapon, with putting our trust in God not in America," the Hamas official emphasized.

"The negotiations are a very failed option having no prospect or future. Can anyone expect anything from Netanyahu? The Zionist entity, which was established on killing, appropriating the [Palestinian] land and displacing the people, has a racist mentality, and negotiations with it are impossible," he stressed further.

For his part, secretary-general of Islamic Jihad movement Dr. Ramdan Shallah affirmed in his speech that the resistance has been the most important achievement in the history of the Palestinian people since the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) and it is far beyond doubting its legitimacy.

Shallah called on Fatah leaders to follow at least the approach of late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, who died while under siege by the Israeli occupation forces, or to step down if they are not strong enough to adopt the option of resistance.

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IOF quelling of peaceful march harms tens of Palestinians, foreign activists

[ 06/11/2010 - 07:19 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Tens of Palestinians and a number of foreign solidarity activists suffered breathing difficulties on Friday when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired teargas canisters and stun grenades at them in Bilin and Ma'sara villages' weekly marches.

Local sources reported that participants in both marches in Bilin, Ramallah district, and in Ma'sara, Bethlehem district, chanted slogans denouncing the racist, separation wall and the Balfour Declaration on its 93rd anniversary.

The marchers raised Palestinian flags and placards condemning the Balfour Declaration while chanting national slogans calling for shunning internal differences and sticking to Palestinian constants and resisting occupation.

The demonstrators, who included tens of foreign and Israeli activists, also called for the release of all detainees in Israeli occupation jails.

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STL = Sandbag the Lebanese

“Thanks to Hariri’s killing, Israel was able to launch more than one project in Lebanon.”
– Major-General Amos Yadlin, former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, 27 October 2010
“I call on all Lebanese, citizens and politicians alike, to boycott [the Special Tribunal for Lebanon] and end all cooperation with its investigators … Everything they obtain reaches the Israelis. It's enough.”
– Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, 28 October 2010
You cannot blame Israeli intelligence officials like Amos Yadlin for being unable to contain their glee. After pulling off an operation whose blame will fall at the feet of a hated enemy, it is hard not to.

Imagine their delight too when a U.N.-sanctioned body has been so successfully co-opted as a result that it could lead to the collapse of Lebanon’s government.

Such is the case with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)—the U.N-backed court established to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the Feb. 14, 2005 assassination of the late Lebanese premier and billionaire Rafiq al-Hariri.

Reports indicate that the tribunal’s upcoming report will indict high-ranking Hezbollah figures in the murder. The STL’s investigation and the question of its financial support—Lebanon funds nearly half its budget—has dramatically increased tension between the country’s two major political coalitions: the Hezbollah-led, opposition March 8 alliance and the United States and Saudi-backed ruling March 14 alliance headed by the late prime minster’s son, Saad al-Hariri.

Hassan Nasrallah’s recent call for Lebanon to boycott the STL came on the heels of a visit by two (male) STL investigators and their translator to a private obstetrics/gynecology clinic in the Shia-dominated, southern Beirut suburb known as the Dahiyeh.

They were apparently seeking the mobile telephone numbers of a dozen patients known to be the wives and daughters of Hezbollah officials.
The investigators did not get far. Once their presence was known, they were quickly surrounded by a torrent of angry neighborhood and driven out under a barrage of insults. The phone records they so coveted were not to be had.

Said With Agent Ziad Al-Humsi
Over the past two years, Lebanese authorities have uncovered multiple Israeli espionage rings operating in the country, leading to the arrest of more than 100 agents working on behalf of the Mossad. A number of them were employed in the telecommunications sector, specifically Alfa, one of country’s two mobile service providers.

As news outlets have reported, the STL is expected to rely heavily on telecom data in issuing their indictments. Despite clear signs they have been compromised by Israeli intelligence, the STL persists in collecting the tainted data, just as they tried to do at the Dahiyeh clinic.

According to the Lebanese daily As-Safir, Alfa was successfully penetrated in the July 2006 war, allowing Israel to target individuals and infrastructure in a conflict which killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians.

Yadlin: “We reformulated a large number of Israeli Mossad cells in Lebanon and created tens of new cells to serve Israel … The most important thing for us was to control the telecoms network in Lebanon, something which benefited us even more than we expected” (Al-Manar).

In an August 2010 press conference, Nasrallah made public video footage intercepted from Israeli reconnaissance planes. The aerial clips were of West Beirut’s coastline, the Feb. 14 route of Hariri’s motorcade, and the assassination site.

“We have definite information on the aerial movements of the Israeli enemy the day Hariri was murdered. Hours before he was murdered, an Israeli drone was surveying the Sidon-Beirut-Jounieh coastline as warplanes were flying over Beirut” Nasrallah said. 

Statements made by Ahmad Nasrallah (no relation to Hassan), a known Israeli agent arrested in 1996, were also disclosed. At the direction of his Israeli handlers, he admitted to falsely telling Hariri that Hezbollah was planning an assassination attempt.

Doing so allowed Ahmad Nasrallah to influence the path Hariri’s motorcade would take.

Israeli collaborators in Lebanon also confessed to having surveilled March 14 leaders, including (vehemently anti-Hezbollah) Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea.

Why?

“This is the answer for the people asking why March 14 members were the ones who were assassinated. The answer is that Israel wants the blame to fall on Syria and Hezbollah” Nasrallah replied.

The evidence presented at the press conference was compelling but admittedly circumstantial. However, when assessed in light of Israel’s espionage networks in Lebanon—especially those operating in the sphere of telecommunications—and the matter of false witnesses (“witnesses” who initially fingered Syria for Hariri’s killing but whose testimony was later recanted once determined to have been fabricated), there is little doubt the STL investigators’ time would be better spent exploring Israeli complicity in the crime than rummaging around a women’s health clinic in the Dahiyeh.

Yadlin: “These [spies] succeeded in many assassination operations against our enemies in Lebanon. They also made great achievements in besieging Hezbollah and obliging the Syrian army to withdraw from Lebanon.”

Because it has ignored both Israel’s political and military incentives to incriminate Hezbollah (and corroborative spy testimony and video evidence), the STL and its chief prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, are doing a great injustice to Lebanese who want to see Hariri’s killers brought to justice. Instead, they appear intent on sandbagging the truth and the stability of Lebanon … just as Israel intended.

You cannot blame Israeli intelligence officials for being unable to contain their glee.

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East commentator.

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Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah


by Stephen Lendman

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, including Fourth Geneva's Article 49 stating:
"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive."

In addition, various UN resolutions (including 446, 452 and 465) condemned Israel's settlement building, declaring they have "no legal validity" to exist. However, they do and regularly expand, endangering all Palestinian communities, Sheikh Jarrah one of many and their longstanding residents.

A predominantly East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood, it's home to about 2,800 Palestinians as well as diplomatic missions and well-known landmarks. However, because of its strategic location, settlers want it, and have encroached for years. So far, over 60 Palestinian families have been dispossessed. Another 500 are at risk.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published an October report titled, "The Case of Sheikh Jarrah," explaining the growing threat, saying it's "of serious humanitarian concern." Settlers have used different methods to encroach, including:

(1) taking over land or property confiscated or expropriated by Israeli authorities, one way, among others, under the 1950 Absentee Property Law (ABL) defining absentees as:

"a person who, at any time during the period between (November 29, 1947) and (May 19, 1948) has ceased to exist (and no longer) was a legal owner of any property situated in the area of Israel...."

In other words, Palestinians fleeing for their lives became "absentees" with no legal right to land and property Israel wanted to steal.

(2) giving settlers land designated "public" or "state" for environmental, historic or religious reasons.

(3) using Israeli law (denied Palestinians) to pursue alleged Jewish ownership of land or property prior to 1948.

(4) buying land through intermediaries as well as through a process involving threats, deception, false depositions, or forged documentation, complicit courts cheating Palestinian owners.

An earlier article on theft of Palestinian land and property can be accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/01/israeli-theft-of-palestinian-property.html

What began incrementally has now intensified through forced evictions, at times involving home demolitions and state-sponsored violence. Sheikh Jarrah areas below have been especially affected.

(1) Karm Al Ja'ouni/Tomb Quarter where over 60 Palestinian families have been forced from their homes since late 2008. Evictions followed lost legal disputes over ownership, Jews invariably prevailing over Palestinians. Afterwards, settlers moved in, and according to plans submitted to the Jerusalem Municipality, they'll demolish the entire area for a new settlement, meaning all Arabs will be illegally dispossessed.

Over 300 are at risk, mostly refugees in UNWRA-sponsored housing since 1956 after fleeing from their homes in 1948. So far, eight extended families got eviction notices. More are coming. As a result, the affected neighborhood has sharply deteriorated, partly from frequent police-backed settler - resident clashes. Since August 2009, Israeli and international activists have participated in demonstrations, supporting Palestinian rights. Many have been injured, harassed, arrested and/or detained.

(2) In Kubaniyat Im Haroun, a protracted legal battle ended in September 2010 after Israel's High Court ruled for settlers, bogusly claiming pre-1948 ownership of Palestinian land. The decision means more forced evictions are coming because Jews nearly always prevail.

(3) Originally owned by the Husseini family, Israeli authorities expropriated the Shepherd Hotel and adjacent land in 1967, selling it in 1985 to Jews. They now plan a new 90 housing unit settlement. At least 20 so far have been approved, the others a fait accompli.

(4) Named after its former owner, the Mufti of Jerusalem, the Karm el Mufti olive grove was expropriated by Israeli authorities, later transferring it to the Ateret Cohanim settler association. Although zoned a green area, restricting construction, settlers began a process to build 250 housing units most likely to be approved.

(5) In 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality granted the fundamentalist Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) movement a permit to build a three story office/conference center for their planned Amana headquarters. Construction will be on expropriated Palestinian land, adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah's St. Joseph Hospital, despite objections from area residents.

(6) Additional stolen land next to the Al-Hayat Medical Center will be used for a Jewish religious/educational center, funded by Canadian Jews.

The fate of Sheikh Jarrah's Hanoun and Al Ghawi families are typical. In August 2009, Israeli police forcibly evicted them. Fifty-three Palestinians, including 20 children were dispossessed, their homes seized, their property loaded on trucks, then dumped on a street near UNWRA's headquarters. Besides losing everything, they now face high legal bills, fines and other charges, including for their own evictions, a shocking contempt for law and justice. Many others have been similarly affected.

In 2009, at least 380 Palestinians, including over 90 children, were forcibly displaced in East Jerusalem. Another 190, including over 85 children, were also affected. Moreover, other residents face at least 1,500 demolition orders, their lives to be harmed like the Hanoun and Al Ghawi families. As a result, Palestinian neighborhoods are being incrementally destroyed, their residents discarded like yesterday's garbage.

The humanitarian concerns are overwhelming, dispossession having immediate and longer-term physical, social, economic, and emotional consequences on families, neighborhoods and communities. Moreover, depriving people of their main asset and displacing them disrupts their livelihoods, reduces their standard of living, increases their risk for poverty, and limits their access to basic services like water, education and health care.

Forced evictions combined with expanded settlements also restrict free movement, and increase settler intimidation and harassment, at times causing injuries or deaths. After similar developments in Hebron's H2 area, over 1,000 Palestinians lost homes and over 1,800 commercial businesses had to close.

Under recognized international law, these are grievous violations. Yet Israel lets Jews claim land and property illegally, by alleging they owned it before 1948. Palestinians, however, have no equivalent right to land and property in Israel, legally theirs before being forcibly expelled during Israel's War of Independence.

With no enforcement authority, OCHA urges an immediate end to evictions, home demolitions, and dispossessions, as well as returning families to land and property they own, citing international humanitarian law.

Israel, of course, ignores international law, its own as well when it comes to Arabs, remaining defiant because no one intervenes. As a result, Palestinians remain victimized, yet struggle heroically for their rights and dignity, refusing ever to stop until justice they rightfully deserve is achieved.

A Final Comment

On October 21, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement obtained documents on Gaza's closure and isolation policy, 18 months after their existence was denied. In early 2009, Gisha filed a Freedom of Information Act petition "demand(ing) transparency regarding the Gaza closure policy." Israel still withholds information on its amended guidelines, established after the Flotilla massacre.

It's now known, however, that Israel imposed "a policy of deliberate reduction" of essential goods to Gaza, including food, medical supplies, fuel for electricity, and much more. In addition, guidelines dictated a "lower warning line" to notify about expected shortages in advance. At the same time, however, it was ignored.

Moreover, an "upper red line" was set above which humanitarian goods could be blocked as part of state policy to suffocate 1.5 Gazans. In early 2006, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert advisor Dov Weisglass explained saying, "The idea is to put (Gazans) on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." In other words, make them suffer enough to reject Hamas or force its officials to accede to Israeli demands, giving up hope for equity and justice.

After the May Flotilla massacre, Israel eased closure modestly, but hardly enough to matter. According to Gisha Director Sari Bashi:

"Instead of considering (legitimate) security needs, on the one hand, and the rights and needs of civilians living in Gaza, on the other, Israel banned glucose for biscuits and the fuel needed for regular supply of electricity - paralyzing normal life in Gaza and impairing the moral character of the State of Israel. I am sorry to say that major elements of this policy are still place."

Israel is a lawless rogue state, its Gaza closure policy Exhibit A.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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Plea deal "only option" for political prisoner Ameer Makhoul

Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Electronic Intifada, 5 November 2010




Ameer Makhoul (Adri Nieuwhof)
After spending nearly six months in jail, Palestinian political prisoner Ameer Makhoul signed a plea agreement with Israeli state prosecutors on 27 October. The deal involves a reduced list of charges, including contact with a foreign agent and spying for the Lebanese resistance movement Hizballah. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of seven to ten years.

Makhoul is the Coordinator of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community Associations and a leader in the movement for the proection of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The initial indictment against Makhoul submitted before the Haifa District Court included: assistance to the enemy in a time of war, conspiracy to assist an enemy, aggravated espionage and contact with a foreign agent. Makhoul vehemently denied the charges.

As a result of the plea deal, the charge of assistance to the enemy in a time of war, which carries with it a life sentence, was dropped. The next court session, during which the exact terms of the plea agreement will be outlined, is scheduled for 5 December.

According to Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, Chairperson of the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul, while the decision to plead guilty to reduced charges was extremely difficult for Makhoul, his family and the defense team, the reality of life for Palestinian citizens of Israel made it the only option.

"Historically, the record of Israel's court system shows that nearly 100 percent -- definitely over 95 percent -- of cases where a person is accused or arrested on the basis of security violations, are indicted and put in jail. The court finds them guilty. Especially when the accused is a Palestinian, of course," Kanaaneh explained.

"A smaller fish could get by with a lower judgment, but somebody at the level of Ameer, with his international exposure, he's not going to be shown any mercy," Kanaaneh added.

"The maximum punishment of aiding the enemy during war is life in jail, and that's where we were heading before we accepted to negotiate this lower plea bargain of seven to ten years."

Lack of evidence

At 3am on 6 May, sixteen agents of the Israel Security Agency, also known as the Shin Bet or Shabak, arrested Makhoul at his home. They confiscated his family's computers, cell phones and many personal effects, and proceeded to search the Ittijah offices.

Makhoul was held incommunicado for twelve days and denied access to a lawyer. Three weeks after his arrest he was charged with a slew of security offenses. The Israeli authorities claimed that Makhoul made contact with a Hizballah agent.

Despite having examined almost a dozen computer hard drives and more than 30,000 phone conversations, Israel has relied entirely on Makhoul's confession as the basis for its indictment against him. And this confession, his lawyers and family say, was obtained under circumstances of torture.

"The man was subjected to physical, mental and probably drug manipulation of his mind. They kept him on a very low chair with no back, and tied his legs and arms, and kept him in that position without sleep for 62 hours. The man was broken," Kanaaneh said.

"All that the state has against Ameer is his admission. They could not find a single piece of evidence anywhere in the ten computers and 30,000 telephone conversations. They did not find a single bit of evidence to support their claim that he passed on information to anybody," he added.

Orna Kohn, one of Makhoul's lawyers from Adalah - the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, explained that under Israeli law, the definition of what constitutes a security offense makes it easy for the state to convict someone of such crimes.

"Israeli law defines so-called security offenses in a very broad way, which criminalize behaviors or actions which no one would expect to be included in such a clause of the criminal code. The result is that it is very easy for the state prosecution to convince the court that a person is guilty," Kohn said.

"[With] these kinds of charges, especially in what is called 'being in touch with a foreign agent,' the burden of proof is shifted," Kohn added. "So the defendant is the one who needs to convince the court that there was no intention to harm state security. The result is that once a person is indicted of such charges, it's almost impossible to be found not guilty."

Targeting Palestinian civil society

According to Nadim Nashif, the director of Baladna Association for Arab Youth, a Haifa-based developmental and capacity-building agency for Palestinian youth in Israel, the persecution of Ameer Makhoul and other Palestinian civil society leaders demonstrates Israel's increasingly extreme policy of intimidating Palestinian activists working inside Israel.

"I think that the message basically is that there is a limit to our freedom of activism and if we as activists or people who work in nongovernmental organizations or the nongovernmental organizations themselves, if we cross these margins then we will be punished, or stopped," Nashif said.

Nashif explained that in addition to targeting leaders such as Makhoul, many young Palestinian activists have been interrogated and intimidated by Israeli authorities in recent months.

"This is the general feeling not only with Ameer's case, but in general. We feel that there is much more interrogation for the Shabak dealing with young activists. Last year we counted hundreds of cases," he said.

"More and more people are active. People are more aware. And in this sense, I think that what the government is trying to do is push us back to the past where people were afraid to do anything and where people felt inferior. I think this is the general direction. This is a very fascist government and they are implementing their policies in a very clear way, without any excuses."

"Never be found innocent"

On 26 October, Makhoul wrote an open letter to the International Council of the World Social Forum and the Palestinian National Committee of the World Education Forum, which was held in Palestine from 28-31 October.

"Five months have passed since [my arrest in May 2010], but everything I face today -- in the form of an unjust imprisonment, judicial procedures and trial -- is no less oppressive than the physical and psychological torture I endured," Makhoul wrote.

"However, what distinguishes us Palestinians is our free will and steadfastness, which are used to resist oppression and the oppressors and their so-called justice. We are not deceived that there exists an Israeli justice; on the contrary, we view the court as an opportunity to consolidate the popular and international mobilization and struggle that already exists -- these are the cornerstones of our defending of our rights and the tools that prevent their robbery by the occupation state."

Makhoul added, "The Israeli court and legal system are mere manifestations of the Israeli state's injustice. Thus, we do not seek justice in these systems, but we choose to confront and resist them, and to accuse them to be instruments of oppression, not righteousness. A Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli prison can never be found innocent."

Originally from Montreal, Jillian Kestler-D'Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in occupied East Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at http://jilldamours.wordpress.com.

Opposition Determined: False Witnesses Issue Must See End!

05/11/2010


Without previous coordination, the opposition took one and only one stance towards the national dialogue session, which took place on Thursday at the Baabda Presidential Palace…

Its poles simply chose to “boycott” the session, delivering a “strong” message to all those who may be concerned.

The head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun said it loudly. Sitting at the same table alongside those who’re seeking to “protect” the false witnesses is prohibited, he said. Dialogue is therefore useless, according to the General, who rejected the “logic” of delaying and postponing solutions and decisions until reaching “impossible consensus.”

That’s it. For the first time since the dialogue’s launching, the opposition was absent. However, it made it clear. The boycott was a message in itself. The opposition didn’t reject the principle of dialogue, a principle it has always backed and will continue to support until the end.

The opposition only wanted to say that “sensitive issues” such as the false witnesses file must see an end as soon as possible. Just escaping the debate over it was not anymore an “option.”

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the only opposition representative in the session, made it clear. Those who chose to boycott the session were not against the principle of dialogue, he told Lebanese daily As-Safir. They were, however, shocked by the latest developments related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, he added.

Berri didn’t say everything. The General did. He told Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar that simply, he won’t sit at the same table with the protectors of the false witnesses. He won’t accept to talk with them. According to him, there’s one and only one exit: resolving the issue of the false witnesses as soon as possible, either through consensus or through resorting to the voting process within the cabinet.

The General spoke about an “intention” to hold the next cabinet session in the Grand Serail to “postpone” once again the finalization of the issue, a scenario also rejected by the national opposition. “The file must be resolved in the first cabinet session, whether it was held at Baabda or the Serail, under President Michel Sleiman or Prime Minister Saad Hariri,” Hezbollah Minister Mohamad Fneish told Al-Manar.

That’s it. The opposition, believing some people in the government are seeking to “protect” the false witnesses, took its decision and the file must be resolved as soon as possible.

Norman Finkelstein – Hezbollah, the Honour of Lebanon


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Lebanon demurs as Israel claims victory in the US midterm elections

Did anyone really expect Israel would lose?

Franklin Lamb
Beirut

The Republican party’s gain of 60 plus House Seats (10 seats, all held by Democrats, are still undecided at press time) and six Senate seats, is the largest Congressional increase for either party since 1948 when the Democrats gained 75 seats in the lower chamber and Harry Truman won the White House.

Prior to this week, it was in 1938 that American voters, tiring of the great depression and some of Roosevelt’s expensive new deal initiatives plus unease over FDR’s “Supreme Court packing scheme’ as more than Republicans labeled it, allowed the Grand Old Party to pick up an all time record 80 seats in that year's midterm elections.

Next January’s 112th Congress is already receiving rave advance reviews. Some coming from the more than half a million settlers in more than 100 illegal colonies in occupied Palestine who are pleased to see President Obama emasculated and the sentiments expressed in his June 2008 Cairo speech long forgotten. Many are hoping he will be replaced by likes of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, or a Mike Huckabee in 2012.

Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha Council, which represents Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and whose representatives are increasingly on the rampage, by word and by deed, spoke for many when he told a post election news conference that he expected the new Congress "will facilitate a more open-minded approach to Israel's needs (yet more Palestinian land - author) than what we've experienced over the last two years."

AIPAC, as it does after every Congressional election, offered pro forma congratulations to the winners: “It is abundantly clear that the 112th Congress will continue America’s long tradition of staunch support for a strong, safe and secure Israel and an abiding friendship between the United States and our most reliable ally in the Middle East.”

No sooner had the election results been declared than key winners received what for decades has been a post election ritual, bestowed on new Members of Congress. That would be the delivery of US taxpayer subsidized invitations for all expense paid junkets to Israel. Of this year’s batch, Florida’s new Senator, Marco Rubio, who considers himself a Tea Party leader and who has been called “America’s great Right hope’ will lead the flock and arrive in Israel on Sunday 11/7/10. As Rubio and other members of Congress board planes to fly to Israel they may actually near-miss Israeli officials, including PM Netanyahu, who will be coming the opposite direction for a five day US visit to meet with his personal choice to replace Obama for US President in 2012, Hilary Clinton. Netanyahu will also talk Congressional strategy with key Israeli lobby agents. Those listed on the various passenger manifests between the US and Israel will share the common objective of making sure Israel’s interests are preserved and “remain eternally paramount” to borrow a phrase from VP Joe Biden. They will also try to assure and that the 112th Congress brooks no Obama administration unpleasantness such as increased demands for a broader freeze on Jewish
settlements.

The post Congressional election euphoria has not extended to Lebanon and this region.

This is because over here it is widely believed that the new Congress, with respect to Lebanon’s arch foe Israel which has committed serial aggressions against it for half a century, will pick up right where the old Congress left off without missing a beat. Many Lebanese expect the result to be the same as if it had been the Democrats who had collected such a treasure trove of Congressional seats . The unquestioning and blind support for Israel is expected to result in severely curtailing Obama’s pledged drawdown of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, as Senator McCain is again demanding.

Many in Lebanon view Obama’s repudiation in the polls as a sign that he will be unable to pressure Israel into concessions in stalled peace talks. They expect the Congressional drum beat for war with Iran, pressure on Syria, deference to Netanyahu-Lieberman, and interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs including the targeting of the national Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah to increase.

To many foreigners, Lebanese appear gifted in many ways including their insights into American and Middle East politics even though they seem incapable of doing much about their own. The morning after the US election, at the open-air Café Younnes Coffee Shop off Hamra Street, some Lebanese students were explaining to foreigners, with remarkable grasp of the electoral details, their take on the US midterm election results.

One student explained that she expects the soon to be Speaker of the House, staunchly pro-Israel John Boehner (R-Ohio), with Eric Cantor as Majority Leaders and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)* Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will anchor Israel’s Congressional rule.

Ros-Lehtinen, the all time Congressional record holder for all manner of anti-Arab congressional initiatives’ over the past two decades. Yesterday she called for all Members of Congress to sign her latest letter to President Obama opposing his administration’s proposed $60 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia, by the end of business on 11/6/10. Ros-Lehtinen is also expected to renew her call to cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

She has also expressed her intention to maintain what are essentially US sanctions against Lebanon by extending her predecessor Howard Berman’s ban on grants to the Lebanese Armed Forces until Hezbollah is disarmed to prevent it from benefiting from the military aid.

Other key committees chairmanships held by Israel loyalists are believed here to mean an even stronger choke hold on the US government starting January.

One Palestinian student who used to live in Nahr al Bared Camp near Tripoli before it was destroyed in 2007, explained how Cantor has already drawn pro-Israel skeptical reaction with his proposal that American assistance to Israel be taken out of the annual foreign aid bill and be passed separately, on its own. Cantor’s thinking is that, given his party’s intention to heavily cut foreign aid, he wants Israel’s annual $ 3 billion US taxpayer gift to remain untouched even as foreign aid to other nations get slashed. Some pro-Israel lobbyists worry that Cantor’s “going public” with his plan may result in the American public noticing how much aid Israel gets and begin to wonder why Israel’s aid is so sacrosanct. Voters might notice that Israel has received more foreign aid from the United States than any other country since World War II, according to a recent report compiled by the Congressional Research Service.

Voters may begin to learn about and perhaps even question the fact that over the years, multiple lobbying efforts have added countless perks to Israel’s special aid package such that Israel is the only recipient allowed to spend a portion of its military aid on purchases within Israel itself. Usually this kind of aid is designed for procurement of American-made weapon systems.

Israel also receives its aid in the first month of the fiscal year as a deposit in an interest-bearing account. Aid to all other recipients is spread out throughout the year.

The Lebanese students verdict on the 2010 US midterm election:

Netanyahu and Israel won again.

Obama and America lost again.


Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable at fplamb@gmail.com. Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director of the Sabra Shatila Foundation in Lebanon. He is working with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign (PCRC), in Lebanon to encourage its Cabinet and Parliament to enact basic civil rights legislation for Palestinian refugees, including the right to work and to own a home.  Website: http://www.palestinecivilrightscampaign.org. He can be contacted c/o fplamb@gmail.com

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

UN will be judged on whether it upholds Palestinian rights

Richard Falk, The Electronic Intifada, 5 November 2010


UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk holds a press conference on the final report of his mandate, 22 October 2010. (UN Photo)


The following is an oral presentation made by Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, to the United Nations General Assembly on 20 October 2010:

As this is my last report to the General Assembly in my term as Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 it seems appropriate to describe some of the special difficulties that have faced the mandate-holder in discharging the functions of the position. The most salient of these difficulties involves the non-cooperation of the Government of Israel. Israel has refused to fulfill its obligations as a member of the United Nations by its repeated failures to allow the special rapporteur to enter Israel so as to visit periodically the occupied territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza ever since his expulsion on 14 December 2008 from Ben Gurion Airport when attempting to enter the country. This level of non-cooperation greatly exceeds that associated with the efforts of my predecessor, the distinguished South African international lawyer John Dugard who was allowed to enter Israel for purposes of the mandate, but denied access to Israeli political and military officials charged with administering the occupation. It should be pointed out that this record of non-cooperation was extended to such related important UN undertakings, including the "Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict," widely known as the Goldstone report, and more recently in relation to the fact-finding panel appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the allegations surrounding the flotilla incident of 31 May 2010. In each of these instances Israel reinforced this posture of non-cooperation by engaging in a politics of deflection, defaming the messenger and the auspices rather than contesting and responding to the findings and recommendations of the reports.

The United Nations may also be faulted by its failure to respond more strongly to complaints arising from this Israeli pattern of non-cooperation. It sets a most unfortunate precedent that has been coupled by the unwillingness to implement the recommendation made by my prior reports, as well as in relation to the Goldstone report. Widely-held impressions of Israeli impunity are thereby encouraged, as well as the lack of political will within the United Nations itself to take the obligations of international law seriously, and even those associated with its own Charter.

This mandate has also been hampered to some extent, as well, by the Human Rights Council and by the Palestinian Authority. In my initial report to the Human Rights Council I proposed that the mandate be reformulated to allow for the consideration of Palestinian violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law, but this proposal was widely criticized and ignored. There were understandable concerns about creating the misleading impression that both parties, the occupier and the occupied, were equally responsible in a situation where one side was in control and the other being victimized. The realities of fact and law preclude an indulgence of such a false symmetry, and would only have had the public relations advantage of balancing the apparent scope of inquiry. Such an adjustment would have taken some account of criticisms suggesting that an impression of bias and unfairness was embedded in the mandate, but it was not to be due to strong opposition among the majority of governments represented in the Human Rights Council to making any modifications in the existing language of the mandate. Although in recent months I have enjoyed helpful cooperation from the Palestinian Authority by way of feedback and the supply of helpful information pertaining to the occupation, earlier in my tenure I felt considerable pressure from the Palestinian Authority on my independence as a special rapporteur, particularly with respect to reporting accurately on the situation within Gaza. I was also disappointed by the failure of the Human Rights Council to do more to support my independence, despite my forwarding of a formal complaint to the Coordinating Committee. As with the issue of non-cooperation, there is an unfortunate precedent set if the Human Rights Council is not vigilant in its protection of the independence of its mandate holders.

My latest report itself focuses on several important developments pertaining to the occupation. It points out that due to the very acute issues associated with the persisting blockade of Gaza, there has been a tendency to overlook Israeli encroachments on the rights of the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It concludes that the cumulative effects of the settlements, the security wall and the extensive settler only road network has been to establish a new political reality -- converting the conditions of de jure occupation into a set of circumstances properly understood as de facto or creeping annexation. In a different manner, but with comparable results, the extension of Jewish presence in East Jerusalem by way of unlawful settlements, house demolitions, revocations of Palestinian residence rights, makes it increasingly difficult to envisage a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, another widely-assumed premise of the Quartet Roadmap and expectations associated with past and present inter-governmental negotiations.

Such an assessment is important as it has been assumed that the occupation was temporary and reversible in conformity to Security Council Resolution 242 calling for Israeli withdrawal from territory occupied during the 1967 War and forming the political and ethical foundation for the widely-held assumption that Palestinian rights of self-determination would be satisfied by the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on presently occupied territories. International negotiations, including those presently paused, have proceeded on that assumption. However, if the conditions on the West Bank and East Jerusalem are substantially irreversible for political and practical reasons, it becomes misleading and diversionary to continue adherence to the two-state consensus. To the extent that this annexationist perception is accurate it lends credibility to the assertion that the Israeli occupation has many features of settler colonialism, and if so, runs directly contrary to the rights of all peoples to live free of alien rule, a position affirmed in common Article 1 of both UN human rights covenants and an elemental feature of international customary law. This view is furthered by the apartheid features of the occupation based on dual and discriminatory legal structure for the occupied Palestinians and the unlawfully present settler population, the restrictions on Palestinian mobility, permit and residence manipulations, and roads on which Palestinians are disallowed. To indicate these apartheid features is not intended to set up a comparison with apartheid South Africa, but to call attention to the anti-apartheid norm embodied in the Convention Against the Crime of Apartheid, and then incorporated into the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998) that in Article 7 made apartheid a distinct crime against humanity.

Because so much attention has been devoted to Gaza during the course of the last several years it is often assumed that material conditions in the West Bank are acceptable. Such an impression is strengthened by reports that economic growth in the West Bank reached 8.5 percent in 2009, mainly as a result of capital investment clustered around Ramallah. What is not sufficiently noticed is the actual living realities of the people. For instance, in a 2009 study by Save the Children, UK (STCUK) entitled "Life on the Edge" it was reported that in Area C, which is totally under Israeli military administration and comprises 60 percent of West Bank territory, the conditions of the more than 40,000 Palestinians are worse than in Gaza. According to STCUK 79 percent of the communities in Area C are unable to provide sufficient nutritious food to the Palestinian inhabitants as compared to 61 percent of communities in Gaza. STCUK concluded that the overall situation in Area C for all human necessities including health clinics, food, water and shelter had reached "a crisis point." Another important set of issues surrounds a surge of settler violence directed against the person and property of Palestinian living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including documented attacks on mosques and the burning, and even poisoning, of many olive trees on Palestinian land. Here, too, the response of the international community to this unlawful violence has been disappointing, as has been consistent failures of the Israeli occupying forces to fulfill their obligations to protect Palestinian and their property and to apprehend Israeli perpetrators.

The situation is Gaza remains disturbing from the perspective of human rights and international law despite the welcome partial easing of the comprehensive blockade in the aftermath of the 31 May attack on the six-ship flotilla carrying humanitarian assistance. As the British Prime Minister observed on 27 July 2010 during a visit to Turkey, "Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp." According to the latest available information the entry of basic necessities to Gaza remains at one-third the level that existed prior to when the blockade was established in June 2007. Furthermore, the economy of Gaza had depended on the ability to export, and this has continued to be prohibited by Israeli policy, with the resulting destruction of more than 90 percent of Gazan entrepreneurial activity. The blockade is a form of collective punishment, prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and was declared unlawful by the Human Rights Council panel tasked with investigating the flotilla incident on the further reasoning that the suffering inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza was disproportionate to any Israeli security justification. The panel report also found, in conformity with the overwhelming consensus among informed opinion, that the attacks on the flotilla in international waters were contrary to international law and reliant on excessive force. It should be pointed out that the isolation of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza for several years, including the disallowance of study in West Bank universities and normal social contact with family members, exerts enormous psychological pressure that is contrary to the obligations of the occupying power to ensure as much normalcy as possible for the occupied civilian population, subject only to legitimate security concerns.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, it seems relevant to call attention to two of the recommendations in the report that arise from the legal analysis of the occupation. In particular, it is time, after 43 years, to acknowledge the intolerable burdens of prolonged occupation on a civilian population. The report urges a formal study of the human rights aspects of prolonged occupation under either the auspices of the Human Rights Council or of a respected nongovernmental organization such as the International Committee of the Red Cross or Human Rights Watch. Such a study should pay particular attention to the plight of persons confined to refugee camps in the occupied territories and neighboring countries, as well as to overall human rights, which is an aggravated consequence of occupation. The other recommendation that seems responsive to recent developments is to encourage UN support for both efforts to send humanitarian assistance direct to the people of Gaza in defiance of the persistence of the unlawful blockade and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to respond to the failure of Israel to uphold its obligations under international law with respect to the Palestinian people. The BDS campaign represents a recognition that neither governments nor the United Nations are prepared or able to uphold Palestinian rights. In this respect, it should be recalled that the anti-apartheid campaign of the late 1980s was strongly endorsed by the United Nations.

It is important, distinguished delegates, that urgent and tangible attention be devoted by this body to the ongoing ordeal of the Palestinian people whose fundamental rights are being daily violated in numerous and ways. This intolerable, immoral and unlawful occupation must be brought to an end, and there is no present prospect that traditional diplomacy will achieve this goal. The United Nations will be judged now and in the future by whether it contributes, at long last, to the long-deferred realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination, and thereby brings a just peace to both peoples.

Hamas condemns British moves to change laws to suit Israeli war criminals

[ 05/11/2010 - 11:53 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas has strongly condemned on Thursday the British moves to limit authority of the British Judicial system in chasing Israelis, including high-ranking officials, involved in crimes against humanity.

Hamas's condemnation was in reaction to statements issued earlier by William Hague, the British foreign minister, as he met with Israeli officials in occupied Jerusalem unveiling his government's intention to propose a change of law to the House of Commons so that individuals and groups could no longer apply to courts to issue arrest warrants against those suspected of committing crimes outside the United Kingdom.

"The British government's move is considered clear submission to the Zionist pressures, and contradicts British constant calls for preserving human rights and for putting war criminals on trial. It is a clear proof of a policy double-standard when the Zionist entity is involved."

Hamas also called on the British government to review its policies that opposes the prevailing international and European public opinion that labels the Zionist entity as a threat to the international peace and order.

Moreover, the Movement called on human rights organizations to join efforts in pressuring members of the House of Commons not to bow to the Israeli pressures in this regard in order to preserve international justice and protect the Palestinian people from the Israeli occupation that violates even their most basic of human rights.

A number of high-ranking Israeli officials, including former foreign minister Tzipi Levni, have refrained from visiting Britain fearing arrest for committing war crimes against the people of the Gaza Strip during "Cast Lead" operation in late 2008.

The IOF troops used prohibited weapons against Palestinian civilians there, including white phosphorous and depleted uranium bombs that killed and wounded thousands of them, the great majority of them were children and women.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian