“They include a hearing into whether a left-leaning American group that calls itself pro-Israel and pro-peace is a “Zionist organization” and a law that removes money from municipalities or Israeli Arab groups that commemorate Independence Day by noting the destruction of Arab villages and the exile of Palestinians.
Business in Morocco and the Gulf emirates is permitted on both sides. According to the IEICI, Israeli exports to Morocco – particularly chemicals and machines – totaled some $13.4 million last year, while Israel mostly imported clothes and food for $5.1 million. According to the manufacturers’ figures, exports to the United Arab Emirates totaled some $11.4 million last year and imports amounted to $4.1 million. Exports to Qatar totaled about $1 million and imports – $1.9 million.” (thanks Khelil)
Similar conditions to those likely faced by Ahmad Ghanem
I reported a few days ago that the Shabak has arrested an 18 year old Nazareth resident, Ahmad Khaled Ghanem under gag order. He is suspected of alleged security offenses. I contacted a staff member of the I’lam Media Center in Nazareth who helped me reach his parents and lawyer. The family is terrified and doesn’t want to make any statement that might harm their son. The attorney is bound under the gag not to provide any information to anyone, including me.
How can it be that the victims are so terrified that they cannot even speak about their terror or those who are causing it? How can the Shabak have so worked its ‘magic’ that all one can do is shake with fear in the face of its power?
Ghanem has been in Kishon Prison near Haifa for two weeks during which you can be sure the Mukhabarat worked its magic on the boy.
- Shabak Alleged to Have Murdered Detained 16 Year-Old Israeli Palestinian Boy Important Update: After numerous attempts to confirm the information published…
- Shabak Arrests 18 Year-Old Palestinian Under Gag Order On March 22nd, the Israeli Shabak arrested 18 year-old Ahmad…
- Here We Go Again, Another Day Another Gag: Shabak Holds Israeli Palestinian Incommunicado on Espionage Charges By now, the scenario is down pat. Israel’s Mukhabarat, the…
“When Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, publicly split last year from the groundbreaking organization he birthed in the late 1970s, most people assumed this was the last they would hear from the 88-year-old publisher-turned-activist. But Bernstein was not finished. It appears that The New York Times op-ed in which he charged HRW with disproportionate criticism of Israel was just his opening salvo. In late February, Bernstein launched Advancing Human Rights, a new organization meant to act as a corrective, one that hopes to return human rights to what Bernstein thinks are its forgotten fundamental principles. Among its board members are Yelena Bonner, the Soviet dissident and wife of Andrei Sakharov, and Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian minister of justice.
Walla publishes a persuasive article interviewing two of Dirar Abusisi’s long-time colleagues at the Gaza power plant where he served as deputy director, who deny emphatically the claims of Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu that the engineer was affiliated with Hamas:
“It’s easy to identify Hamas supporters,” said Muhammad Shambari, a fellow power plant worker. You can tell who they are by their behavior, by their speech. From the point of view of a devout Hamas follower, Abusisi was not religiously devout. He was accustomed to pray as we all do, but no more so [as Hamas followers would]. I was in his house and their are no pictures [of Hamas leaders] and no Hamas flags. Abusis is a completely ordinary man with no connection to Hamas.”
…Ibrahim Abu Shames, another plant worker said: “If he was a Hamas follower and shouted Hamas slogans wew would’ve noticed this. But every day he spent at the plant and every night he went home to his family. That’s all. He lived his life quietly with no connection to Hamas. We are certain of this.”
Shambari revealed that as deputy director of the plant Abisisi even criticized the Hamas authorities for the manner in which they regulated the electrical power. “He demanded that they activate the turbines but the authorities insisted on blacking out the enclave…He disagreed with this criticized this behavior.”
Shambari also reveals the surprising fact that in the Jabaliyeh refugee camp in north Gaza there is a Fatah office, and it is named after…Abusisi’s uncle! “Who knows, maybe he’s even a Fatah follower like a large portion of the rest of his family.”
“We don’t know why he was arrested,” say Abu Shames. Everyone here is asking themselves why. We were shocked when this happened and believed at first he’d been kidnapped by the Ukrainian mafia. We couldn’t imagine that Israel would do this. Abusisi is a decent man, a professional, serious individual. We await with apprehension the charges that are to be filed tomorrow. Though we can’t discount the possibility that he may confess to the charges under extreme duress.”
Here you have the possibility that Israel is attempting to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Abusisi’s family is widely known among his colleagues to be Fatah. Yet Shabak has somehow turned him into Hamas’ chief rocket designer under direct Iranian tutelage (or was he the guy who arranged for the arms shipment aboard the ship Victoria?). Does this even remotely pass the smell test?
I’m beginning to believe that this is yet another deeply cynical move by the Israel Mukhabarat to kidnap a key Gaza infrastructure worker and hold him for ransom–the ranson being the freedom of Gilad Shalit. The purpose of the adventure would be to harrass Hamas and the residents of Gaza saying they will pay an ever steeper price for their continuing intransigence in freeing the IDF soldier.
It may or not be relevant that Hamas yesterday announced the failure of the mediation of the German foreign minister who was attempting to negotiate for Shalit’s freedom.
- Israel to Charge Abusisi ‘Within Days,’ Ukraine Denies Involvement in Kidnapping, Summons Israeli Ambassador Perhaps in reaction to the damaging report from the Palestine…
- Israeli Security Sources Hint Abu Seesi Involved in Weapons Manufacturing, Ukraine Collaborated in Kidnapping With a partial gag in place, Israeli media can report…
- Jordanian Intelligence Services Implicated in Abusisi Kidnapping Yousef Abusisi, Dirar’s brother, tells me that after the latter…
BOYCOTT DIVESTMENT SANCTIONS (BDS)
Below is a short video of Israeli celebrities and several activists, that I was honored to be among. The video is in Hebrew and for an Israeli audience, but there are English subtitles. The video essentially is self-explanatory, but to give you a synopsis we are coming out strongly against the bill currently in advanced stages in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) that will make it illegal to support and advance boycotts, divestment campaigns and/or a call for sanctions (and perhaps other non-violent political expression) against Israel for its unlawful acts against Palestinians. We are all coming out for democracy, freedom of thought and expression, and stating that this law won’t stop us from resisting the occupation.
From the Coalition for Women for Peace’s channel:
This is the promo for a series of films by other celebrities that will follow it.
Look at this from the Jewish Fail site:
The Birthright Israel Alumni Community, an initiative of the Jewish Enrichment Center, wants you to oppose boycotts of Israel because that’s where Victoria’s Secret lingerie is manufactured.Except that it’s not. After receiving fabric from Israel, the undergarments are actually made by Palestinian women and foreign workers in Jordan who toil under brutal, intolerable conditions and then sew “Made in Israel” tags onto their work. The underwear is then returned to Israel, which exports it to the U.S. Yay, exploited labor masquerading as economic cooperation!That makes this a quintuple FAIL: A failure in taste, factuality, Israel advocacy and spelling (“Isreal?”), as well as a failure in tzenuah (modesty) by the Ohr Somayach-affiliated JEC.
Old habits die hard. This is how South Africa and Rhodesia used to get around sanctions, relabeling stuff, “Made in Israel”. Of course now BDS is catching up on Israel other pariah states may have to look elsewhere.
“These laws threaten Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and others with yet more officially sanctioned discrimination,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Israeli parliamentarians should be working hard to end glaring inequality, not pushing through discriminatory laws to control who can live where and to create a single government-approved view of Israel’s history.””
I’m revisiting this Goldstone affair because it’s so troubling:
If you see Goldstone’s op-ed piece in the Washington Post about his report and how it would be different if only the Israelis had co-operated and if he knew then what he knows now, the immediate issue is that he wrote the op-ed on his own and without any reference to his colleagues on the original report team. Why was that? Who authorised him to do this? If he simply woke up one morning and phoned the Post and asked if he could jot down a quick and implausible mea culpa that would be weird in itself. But how did it happen that theWashington Post was prepared to allow an eminent judge, Goldstone, to write such a ludicrous article and hammer a nail into the coffin of his career or at least his credibility as a judge of international conduct?
So the mere fact that he has written the article, no matter what it was saying, is both bizarre and plain morally, and possibly legally wrong. But his logic is bizarre too. In my previous post on this I took issue with his focus on one case to the exclusion of others. But let’s look again at how Goldstone tries to exonerate Israel this time around:
the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly. The purpose of these investigations, as I have always said, is to ensure accountability for improper actions, not to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, commanders making difficult battlefield decisions.
But if Goldstone is telling the truth now, then second guessing is precisely what he was doing then. Poor old Israel thought that there was some kind of weaponry in a house that happened to have 29 civilians inside. Poor old Israel responded in the only way a responsible state could respond. Of course, it could have been negligent in which case, Goldstone is confident it will “respond accordingly”. But when a suspect exercises their right to silence, judges usually direct juries to refrain from presumptions of guilt, don’t they? If what Goldstone is saying now is true, then he presumed Israel guilty. But let’s take a look at how the 29 members of the al-Samouni family died. Here’s the Washington Post from the time:
Just before dawn on Jan. 4, a sledgehammer crashed through the living-room wall of the home of Almaz al-Samuni in this southern enclave of Gaza City, pounding a hole wide enough for someone to poke a rifle through while shouting in a language she didn’t understand.
“Get out of the house now,” an Israeli soldier ordered, this time in accented Arabic, she recalled. Almaz, small for her age of 13, and her family quickly did as they were told, heading for her uncle Wael’s house nearby, where by daybreak 92 family members had packed in thigh-to-thigh. It was a week into Israel’s 22-day war with Hamas.
So some al-Samouni’s were ordered into the house of another al-Samouni. I mention that because Goldstone didn’t.
At least 29 members of the Samuni family died over the next two weeks — including Almaz’s mother and two brothers. Sixteen or more were killed Jan. 5 when at least two Israeli shells smashed Wael al-Samuni’s crowded house.
So it took two weeks for Israel’s possible negligence, over which it will “respond accordingly”, to result in the killing of 29 members of the same family. Again, I mention this because from reading the Goldstone re-report you would never know that. And there’s more:
At least six others wounded in that attack died more slowly, over more than three days when the Israeli army kept emergency vehicles from entering the neighborhood, according to another teenager who had been stranded and later rescued from the house.
So Israel “kept emergency vehicles from entering the neighborhood”. Negligence? Is Goldstone calling the witnesses liars? Just a little caveat here:
This account of the Zaytoun attack and its aftermath was taken primarily from interviews with a dozen members of the Samuni family who survived the assault, as well as statements and patient logs from Gaza City’s Shifa and al-Quds hospitals. The information largely parallels an earlier account given by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which concluded that by thwarting rescue efforts for four days Israel had “failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law.”
It’s that absence of Israeli testimony again but Goldstone has severely glossed over the case of 29 members of the same family as if they were killed in one erroneous shelling when it took two weeks for them all to be killed and many appear to have died specifically because the Israeli army denied them emergency medical attention.
Well, in fairness, Judge Goldstone was only writing an op-ed for the Washington Post. He wasn’t rewriting his entire report. Otherwise he might have mentioned the complaints of Israel using blindfolded civilians as human shields. But somehow he managed to mention the recent murders at Itamar. He doesn’t mention Itamar by name but see this:
the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.
Now why should the Human Rights Council condemn a straightfoward, admittedly heinous, case of murder? Is Judge Goldstone accusing a political or state actor of these murders? If so, he has one up on the Israeli authorities who appear to be as clueless now about the atrocity that took place under their own jurisdiction in a very secure settlement from which Palestinians are barred as they were at the time. Is he doing again what he is basically accusing himself of doing in his original report? Assuming guilt by accusation? And who is he accusing? Will he now involve himself in unsolved murders the world over? I’m guessing not.
So where does this leave us? Goldstone has pretty much shredded his credibility which means he has in many ways shredded the original report. We can speculate as to why he wrote such a ludicrous article but the result is to undermine his credibility on just about anything, certainly anything involving Israel or any other pet project of the west.
I should point out that there is a certain amount of hedging in the op-ed. There are ifs and buts blaming Israel for not co-operating and little hints that there were individual cases if wrong-doing but the negation of a general policy of war criminality whilst hurling tabloid style abuse at Hamas does shows the general thrust of the op-ed to be an apology to Israel and an apologetic for Israel.
The best zionist approach to this would be to simply leave well alone now but many want a feed frenzy as Conal Urquhart reports on the op-ed in The Guardian.
Israeli media responded to Goldstone’s article with jubilation. The columnists of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper offered a conciliatory tone to the judge for having the courage to question his initial findings, while Ma’ariv writers were unforgiving.
One wrote: “He is undeserving of either forgiveness or mercy” and had perpetrated “a despicable and shameful act”.
Urquhart picks up, uncritically, the story of the 29 members of the al-Samouni family. I think that says as much about Urquhart as it does about the harm that Goldstone has now done whatever the latter’s motive.
Judge Richard Goldstone produced a report on Israel’s “cast lead” attack on Gaza back in 2008/9. Here’s a small piece from the Washington Post:
In a 574-page report, the four-member panel accused Israel of targeting civilians in mosques and schools, as well as destroying crops and factories, including the only flour factory in Gaza City. The panel also said Israeli soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian civilians and, at gunpoint, used them as human shields to enter unsecured homes.“There is strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law . . . were committed by the Israel Defense Forces,” Goldstone said at a news conference in New York. “The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly in some respect crimes against humanity were committed by the Israel Defense Forces.”
Goldstone said there was no question that the Palestinian firing of missiles and mortar shells into Israel “was deliberate and calculated to cause loss of life and injury to civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure.” The mission “found that these actions also amounted to serious war crimes and also possibly crimes against humanity.”
Now, writing in the same Washington Post Judge Goldstone has had a change of view:
We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”
Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.
The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly.
So the worse that Goldstone is now accusing Israel of is “negligence” and he is confident that Israel will “respond accordingly” if it finds that negligence was indeed the case. But what negligence could have led to “Israeli soldiers blindfold[ing] and handcuff[ing] Palestinian civilians and, at gunpoint, us[ing] them as human shields to enter unsecured homes”?
Well I’m sure we’ll find out as soon as Israel “responds accordingly”.
The National Resistance Brigades announced April 2 that the ceasefire was over in the Gaza Strip, following an overnight Israeli air-strike that killed three leaders of Hamas’ armed wing. The brigades, military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said they would retaliate to the killings and that Israel “would have to bear the repercussions of this crime.”