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Hamas’ armed wing said March 21 that it would commit to a truce if Israel stops bombarding the Gaza Strip. However, the al-Qassam Brigades vowed to resist if Israel continued to attack the enclave. Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida said the group had fired mortars into the Western Negev on March 19 in response to Israeli aggression. Three days earlier, two of its members were killed in an Israeli air strike. The call for a ceasefire came as Israeli warplanes struck garages by a mosque east of Ash-Shuja’iyeh near Gaza City. No injuries were reported, but residents said Israeli fighter jets were circling above the besieged strip.
That’s what the man said, the man being Richard Falk, the UN’s man in, well near, Palestine:
Israel declines to deal with Falk or even allow him into the country, accusing him of being biased…..
In his speech, Falk said he would like the Human Rights Council to ask the International Court of Justice to look at Israeli behavior in the occupied territories.
This should focus on whether the prolonged occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem had elements of “colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing inconsistent with international humanitarian law,” the investigator declared.
Only in the occupied territories? Perhaps he counts the whole shebang as occupied.
A few days ago the Association for Civil Rights in Israel appealed the gag order on the Dirar Abusisi case and the Petah Tikvah judge ruled in their favor partially. But it’s a very small victory since the main part of the gag stays in place. Israeli media cannot report on those aspects of the case most critical to reporters, the Israel public and the victim. It says “the details of the investigation and the circumstances of the arrest” may not be reported for another 30 days.
The most that can be said is that this arouses an enfeebled Israeli press which has mostly steered clear of the story as it’s developed as if is had a case of AIDS. Haaretz’s security correspondent, Yossi Melman and others reported it today, of course entirely omitting the original reporting of this blog. Melman didn’t add anything new in his report in today’s Haaretz. Though he did introduce an error by saying that Veronika Abusisi is in Gaza with her six children. She is not, but in rather in Ukraine, where I presume she needed to be as part of her husband’s application for Ukrainian citizenship.
Abusisi is not politically aligned or active and he’s not really well-known in Gaza. One person there believes that Israel wants information and when it gets it they will release him.
- Shin Bet Judge Denies Foreign Media Plays Any Role in Lifting Gag A few of my Israeli friends have sent me a…
- Makhoul Secret Court Documents: Gag Order and Ruling Partially Lifting It Thanks to some sterling unnamed Israeli sources, I’m displaying both…
- Shin Bet’s Cult of Secrecy Continues, Arab NGO Director Arrested Under Gag Order in Dead of Night The Israeli Shin Bet continue riding roughshod over the rights…
Ukraine will be co-hosting the next European Cup soccer championship in 2012. As part of the build-up to this momentous event, it is organizing a mega-million advertising campaign promoting Ukrainian tourism throughout the world. I’ve even heard of “Ukraine–All About U” promotions as far aways as India. Ukraine also sees tourism with Israel as a major opportunity because there are many former Ukrainian Jews living in Israel, and Ukraine, as the cradle of Hasidism, includes major pilgrimage sites for Orthodox Jews to the graves of such luminaries as the Berditchever and Bratslaver rebbes and the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the movement. I myself visited these sites and saw how many Orthodox Jews from Israel and the Diaspora were drawn there.
This is why Ukraine still has interest in joining NATO and just signed a protocol with Israel ending the need for visas for mutual travel. On his current visit to Israel, Prime Minister Azarov emphasized his country’s interest in signing a Free Trade agreement with Israel that would create a duty-free zone for products and services between the nations. As part of this expansion of trade, there would also be an expansion of security and military cooperation of the sort that characterized Ukraine’s presumed participation in the abduction of Palestinian civil engineer Dirar Abusisi on a train in Poltava on the night of February 18th. Abusisi was later transferred to Mossad custody, flown out of Ukraine to Israel, and imprisoned in a Shin Bet interrogation chamber within hours of being spiriting off that train.
One might also presume that Ukraine would love to get its hands on some of that advanced weaponry, missile systems, and high-tech security applications developed by Israel’s weapons industry. A free trade agreement would go a long way toward satisfying Ukraine’s appetites for these new toys for its military.
In fact, I’d lay money on the fact that there was either a tacit or explicit quid pro quo between Israel and Ukraine for securing the FTA and that the rendition of Abusisi was part or all of the latter’s payment for the transaction to be completed.
Unfortunately for Ukraine, and even more for those it is attempting to draw to the championship games, the nation is not ready for prime time. First, Ukraine is a country now in the grip of a pro-Russian strongman style government more in the Soviet/Putin style than that of the Orange Revolution. Second, is a country where trade and security come before human rights. Where indeed human rights exists only as a concept honored in the breach if at all. Third, there is a huge trade in illicit weapons, drugs and even human trafficking. The European Union pays Ukraine hundreds of millions to wage a fight against the latter major crimes.
I’ve had a in-depth conversation with an American in Ukraine who specializes in immigration, human rights, and refugee issues there. He gave me quite an education. There really is no such thing as refugee protection in Ukraine. If you are fleeing from persecution suffered in a former Soviet Republic like Uzbekistan or Russia, you have no protections inside Ukraine. Upon entering that country, you may be beaten by immigration authorities. You may be arrested even as you enter a government ministry where you are about to apply for residency and refugee status. Take a look at this website established by Ukrainian human rights lawyers to see evidence of what I’m saying.
This is why Dirar Abusisi’s case is so important in the context of Ukraine’s push for international recognition. Why should the world welcome Ukraine on the world stage and allow it to exit the orbit of Russia as a former Soviet satellite, when it can’t respect the norms honored by other western democracies? Dirar Abusisi followed the rules as laid out by Ukraine. He went to the ministry to proffer his papers to apply for citizenship, since he wished to bring his country from Gaza to a place where he hoped they might have a better life (he is also married to a Ukranian national). And how was he repaid for following the rules as laid out by Ukrainian authorities themselves? He was kidnapped either directly or indirectly by a third nation whose agents were operating in Ukraine with the apparent tacit or explicit assent of Ukrainian security agents. Then he was flown into captivity by those Israeli Mossad operatives.
What message does this send to the thousands of refugees fleeing war, conflict, or persecution in other countries who find themselves in Ukraine? It tells them that this place is a free-fire zone for political refugees or dissidents. It tells them that if the Ukrainian secret police don’t get you first, your native security services will. And they might even do it inside Ukraine.
An Israeli TV news reporter recently broadcast an unsubstantiated rumor offered to him no doubt by the IDF that the ship recently seized by Israel allegedly containing Iranian arms allegedly destined for Gaza was organized by a company in Odessa. He also hinted that Abusisi may’ve been connected to this venture. What would be especially wild about this story if any of it was accurate (and keep in mind very well none of it may turn out true) is that Ukraine is the kind of place where a company can plot the transfer of tens of millions in advanced weapons systems to so-called terrorist states, while Ukraine also collaborates with the nation that would allegedly be victimized by these weapons in illegally seizing a citizen of a third state who might’ve been organizing the weapons deal. ”What a country,” as Yaakov Smirnoff used to say.
Does this sound like a country that’s ready to play soccer or anything else upon the world stage? Ukraine has a LONG way to go. It might start by making a full accounting of what happened to Dirar Abusisi. Who snatched him? Why? Who did they give him to? What happened to him? Why didn’t Ukraine do anything to protect him? What did Ukraine get in return for its cooperation?
- Ukrainian Prime Minister’s Lies, Ukraine Has ‘No Idea’ What Happened to Kidnapped Palestinian, Abu Seesi Haaretz published today an interview with Ukrainain Prime Minister Nikolai…
- Ukraine-Israel Quid Pro Quo: Abusisi Extraordinary Rendition in Return for Free Trade Agreement The Ukrainian government has tipped its hand regarding what may’ve…
- Mossad Kidnaps Gazan Engineer in Ukraine, Now Held Incommunicado in Israeli Prison A Ukrainian news source reported in late February that the…
Leading U.S. Republican Sarah Palin began a private visit to Israel on Sunday and planned to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour holy sites.Palin started off her tour of Israel at the Western Wall Tunnels, accompanied by Likud MK Danny Danon.
I went to Israel three times when I was younger, always in a private capacity. I don’t remember ever meeting an MK, still less the Prime Minister. Still, now Palin can tell AIPAC that she’s been to Israel, like Obama did when he was on the campaign trail.