Palestine/Israel Apartheid News: 6/18/11: Palestinian imprisoned for flashing the peace sign

INDEX (stories follow)

The Likud Party led by Netanyahu does not believe in allowing the Palestinians to have a state, and does not believe in withdrawing from the Occupied Territories. This obstinate stance and commitment to undermining the international rule of law is why there is no point in ‘engaging’ the Likud with ‘ compromises.’ Netanyahu led the charege against the Oslo Peace process pursued by then PM Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s, and when Rabin was assassinated and Netanyahu came briefly to power he did whatever he could to destroy the peace process. He admitted this obstructionism on tape:

Netanyahu rudely lectured President Obama in front of the cameras that the Palestinian desire to see the return of some of the refugees expelled from their homes by the Israelis in 1948 ‘isn’t going to happen’ and he urged Obama to frankly tell the Palestinians that it isn’t going to happen. But he may as well also have instructed Obama to tell the Palestinians that the two state solution is dead.
EVENTS

If this one was by a Muslim cleric, it would have filled late night TV in the US (and PETA would have asked the UNSC to intervene)

Doctor Who Collaborated With Mossad Commits Suicide

HUMAN RIGHTS

Palestinian imprisoned for flashing the peace sign

from The Only Democracy? by The Only Democracy?

Look at this headline: the propaganda efforts of Ethan Bronner

 

Lying IDF Generals: ‘Israeli Blockade Recognized Under International Law’

Israeli intelligence leaked a fake Syrian document (which was later circulated in news site of the Syrian Muslim Brothers)

ZIONISM = RACISM

What’s the difference between Israeli citizenship and Jewish nationality?

from Jews sans frontieres by Levi9909

Challenging Pastor Hagee on his home turf: “We caught him off guard…with just our thoughts and our courage.”

from Max Blumenthal by Max

The Orwellian state that Israel

HISTORY & ANALYSIS

The Mysterious San Remo Treaty, Hasbarists’ Delight

Israeli Violations of Human Rights of Lebanese Civilians


Headlines for June 17, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

1 person liked this


EVENTS

If this one was by a Muslim cleric, it would have filled late night TV in the US (and PETA would have asked the UNSC to intervene)

“A Jerusalem rabbinical court recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning. The cruel sentence stemmed from the suspicion that the spirit of a famous secular lawyer, who insulted the court’s judges 20 years ago, had been transferred into the dog’s body.” (thanks David)



Doctor Who Collaborated With Mossad Commits Suicide

Tonight I’m going to tell a sad story, but an instructive one.  It begins with the tragic news that an 88 year-old retired Israeli doctor, respected in his profession for many decades, committed suicide in his Ramat Aviv apartment.  The man’s son said his father had been very sick, so it is no surprise that the doctor took his life.  So far there is nothing unusual in this story.  Until you begin to unravel the man’s history.

He was Dr. Yonah Elian, for two decades the Mossad’s favorite doctor, the man they took along on delicate operations in which they required an anesthesiologist to sedate a victim who was to be kidnapped or otherwise incapacitated.  Elian worked especially closely with Rafi Eitan, one of Israel’s storied spymasters who captured Eichmann and less heroically, “ran” Jonathan Pollard.  The doctor was part of the team that kidnapped Eichman in Argentina and sedated him so that they could transport him back to Israel where he was later executed.

Elian also inadvertently killed one of the Mossad’s targets on one of these missions.  In 1954, the Mossad got word that an Israeli engineer, Capt. Alexander “Avner” Israel, was offering military secrets to the Egyptians in Europe.  Dubbing it Operation Bren (p. 4 ff.), they hastily dispatch a team to kidnap him and bring him back to Israel to stand trial for treason.  The team found their quarry quickly through the use of a “honeypot” female agent (shades of Mordechai Vanunu) who lured him to a romantic Paris rendezvous.  Then Elian sedated him and the victim was hustled off to an Israeli military transport plane.  Unfortunately, the plane had to make several refueling stops and each time he was sedated anew.  Apparently this anesthesiologist didn’t realize there were limits to how much sedation a human being could take and he gave the man an overdose and he died.

When the plane landed and they discovered they’d killed him they decided there should be no evidence left behind.  To accomplish the cover-up, they promptly took off once again and dumped the body in the Mediterranean Sea.  Isser Harel, then Mossad chief, never told the victim’s family a word about the man’s death.  No compensation was ever offered for the murder.  As Prof. Shlomo Spiro wrote in a paper on the subject of ethics[!] in the field of Israeli intelligence:

The Mossad then obliterated every reference to the man in Israeli official files, and the case kept secret for five decades.  Generations of Mossad officers heard rumors of this failed operation, many knew the details, but nothing was done to inform Alexander’s family or provide for their support.

In those days, Israeli intelligence could obliterate such a failure and so avoid scandal.  Not so today, though God knows it tries.

In his comments about Dr. Elian, Rafi Eitan lied when he said that the doctor never compromised his Hippocratic Oath. Of course he did.  Certainly when he killed the IDF officer, but arguably even when he helped capture Eichmann.  Yes, you may argue that Eichmann was one of the world’s great mass murderers and that anything that could be done to apprehend him should be done.  But a doctor lives by a different professional standard.  And a doctor may not use his medical expertise in a way that will lead to the death of a patient.

I wonder what Dr. Eliran thought of these moral conundrums with which he lived when he died.  If he had any he rarely expressed them.  Even to his family.  But several years before his death, Dr. Elian did tell his son(Hebrew) that he was terribly conflicted about what he’d done to Eichmann because it violated his Hippocratic oath.  Every attempt by the family to remind him of the significance of bringing the great Nazi monster to justice fell on death ears, the son recounts.

When the Knesset attempted to give Dr. Elian a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country, he would only accept it anonymously and would not attend the ceremony himself.  He sent his son in his place.

The doctor’s son also tells the strange story of how he parted with his father before he left for the Eichmann operation.  Dr. Elian woke his twins and told them he would be away on business in Eilat for a few days.  Over a week later he returned with a gift–a toy pistol with an ivory handle.  The son remembers marveling at the gift and thinking what wonderful things they had in Eilat!

Despite this, one can tell that this was a man of depth, subtlety and nuance.  A man who realized the moral contradictions of the life he lived.  A man haunted by ghosts.  This is everything that today’s Israel is not.  Today’s Israel has no moral doubts.  It only has certainties.  As a result it can do much more damage than Dr. Elian.  At least he stopped his service to the Mossad when Rafi Eitan ceased his role as chief of operations for the Mossad.

Certainly, I can’t argue that a man who lived out a long life was thinking of the ways he failed his professional oath as he took his life.  After all, if this was highest in his mind he might’ve done so earlier.  Likely, a terminal illness served as the motivating force for his last act.  But still…

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Palestinian imprisoned for flashing the peace sign

from The Only Democracy? by The Only Democracy?

From the Occupied Palestine blog comes this report of another nonviolent activist arrested.

Khaled Zawahre’s military hearing has concluded delayed ruling until Sunday they will either release him or keep him in custody for 101 days. We want to ask your support to keep sharing this information widely so the cases of arbitrary arrest by Israel get more media attention. For putting a unarmed civilian on trial for a military court after an arbitrary arrest without any proof is a severe  human rights violation

Khaled Zawahre was arrested in Qalandia while stopping in front of the Skunk Car he has been detained in Ofer prison and Military court extended his emprisonement with another 101 days of arrest until end of investigation they accused him of beating up a soldier and throwing rocks even though the films show he was standing non-violent infront of the car being skunked !
Earlier on May 15 2011, Khaled also got injured during a similar nonviolent demo and was hit with a rubber bullet and lost consciousness twice from the teargas (HRW May 20, 2011 issue) on the same day, Israel answered nonviolent protesters with great and disproportionate violence which caused 15 deaths.

For more photos and videos of Khaled and Qalandia, visit the Occupied Palestine blog. Khaled was previously seen on this blog in the video from the “Naksa day protests.”

Popout

Look at this headline: the propaganda efforts of Ethan Bronner

“A report issued Tuesday shows unemployment in Gaza standing at 45.2 percent for the second half of 2010, one of the highest rates in the world, even though Israel eased its blockade of the Palestiniancoastal strip in that period.

Lying IDF Generals: ‘Israeli Blockade Recognized Under International Law’

from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place by Richard Silverstein

1 person liked this
Free Gaza, support the flotilla, end the Israeli siegeFree Gaza, support the flotilla, end the Israeli siege

Remember that old screed attacking Rush Limbaugh: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell them? Well, IDF Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai seems to have studied the book and learned all its lessons down cold.  He threatened mayhem on the unarmed activists who are about to depart on the Gaza flotilla boats for Occupied Palestine.  Butwhat was most mendacious in his remarks was this:

“There is an unequivocal directive from the government to enforce the naval blockade that is recognized by international law, and we will not allow it to be broken.”

Just who recognizes the legality of Israel’s siege of Gaza’s 1.5 million civilians?  Why, the IDF of course.  But since when is the IDF or any similar Israeli source the sole arbiter of international law?  Are there any other non-hasbarist legal analysts who defend the Israeli siege as legal under international law?  Besides Alan Dershowitz, of course.  I haven’t heard any.

So let’s be very clear: this tin-pot general has just threatened unarmed civilians with the use of any and all means necessary to subdue them.  This is hooliganism and brutishness.  And Israel can surely be proud it has such a general in its midst.  One who isn’t afraid to shoot men and women if necessary to uphold the nation’s honor.

Israel and most military bodies like to give names to their exercises.  I’ve got one for the upcoming flotilla interdiction.  And for this, we’ll have to turn Meir Kahane’s “Never Again” slogan on its head.  My suggestion: “Mavi Marmara–Again.”  Or alternatively, we could use a version of the slogan that Auschwitz survivor Malvina Schwartz saw scrawled on a wall in her Hungarian hometown after she came back from the camps: “This time–we’ll finish the job.”

Ethan Bronner interprets the bellicosity of Brig. Gen. Mordechai this way:

The statements seemed part of a heightened effort to stop another flotilla and to pre-emptively explain Israel’s position if violence ensues.

I’d make one small change in that sentence: “when violence ensues.”  Because the IDF of course controls whether there will be murder and mayhem, just as it did a year ago on the Mavi Marmara, when it slaughtered nine men with ‘kill shots’ at point-blank range.

And hey, we can’t get away with writing about a Bronner piece without noting his bias in favor of Israel:

Israel…said that a year ago the ship was dominated by extremists who created the confrontations that resulted in the deaths.

“Israel said?”  What about what everyone else in the world said, which directly contradicts this?  And what about an acknowledgement that whatever the passengers did, they did not, could not provoke nine murders.  That was solely the doing of the IDF naval commandos.  Not a word on this from Good Soldier Bronner (oh, that’s right, it’s his son who’s in the IDF).

And how about a little more hasbara from the Times IDF (er, Israel) bureau chief:

Israel began a naval blockade two and a half years ago when it invaded Gaza to stop Palestinian militants from firing rockets into Israel.

Say what?  First this is erroneous.  There was a full Israeli blockade of Gaza, including naval, beginning in 2006, not 2009.  Second, the reasons Israel says it’s doing something are often not the real reasons it’s doing it.  In this case, the blockade, if this was the purpose, never stopped a single rocket from being fired.  Rather, Israel wished to punish Gazans for voting for Hamas to be their leader and to punish Hamas for its pre-emptive coup which kicked Fatah out of the enclave in 2006.  That’s the real reason there is an Israeli siege.  One which, contrary to the word of an Israeli hack general, is illegal under international law.

How about this bit of breathless Bronnerism:

Today Gaza has plenty of goods available…

For God’s sake, what does it mean that there are “plenty of goods available” if there are no jobs with which people can earn money to buy them?  This is the heartlessness of Ethan Bronner.  Besides, most of those goods didn’t come to Gaza through Israeli crossings which allow a trickle to flow in.  Rather they’re smuggled in via Egypt.  No thanks to Israel.

Bronner gets yet another point wrong in this passage:

The government says its goal is to prevent Hamas from importing weapons by sea. In March, Israel stopped a vessel packed with weapons that it says were Gaza-bound.

No,  the vessel wasn’t bound for Gaza.  It was actually taken on the high seas on its way to Egypt.  It’s possible the weapons were intended for Gaza, but that ship wasn’t bringing them there.

Bronner continues his whitewash of the Mavi Marmara massacre thus:

This year an Israeli commission concluded that the blockade conformed with international law, as did Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara in international waters. The panel included two foreign legal experts who agreed with the conclusions.

First, Bronner neglects to mention the clear bias of the panel, the fact that it was not independent, did not have subpoena power, and had a very limited mandated.  Not to mention that it’s nearly senile 89-year-old chairman died a few weeks into deliberations.  Second, the two foreign “experts” were neither experts nor unbiased.  David Trimble is not an expert on international law, but rather a Northern Ireland pro-Israel politician.  The other expert was a Canadian military judge advocate whose expertise on international law was never promoted by the Israelis.

Enough badgering poor old ‘Eitan’ Bronner.  Let’s go back to the IDF military spokesperson who’s always good for a cynical laugh:

He said that many of those planning to take part in the flotilla were peace activists, but that they were naïve because “extremists will set the tone” if Israeli commandos board the ships.

Yes, indeed.  The tone will be set by extremists like 86 year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein; or non-violent human rights activist Medea Benjamin; or by Yonatan Shapira, the peace activist who refused to bomb Palestinians in the West Bank with his IDF Black Hawk helicopter.  These are the caliber of man-eating extremists those commandos will be facing.  Scary.  They better take along an extra copy of Gandhi’s biography in order to do battle with them.

To support the sacred work of the Gaza flotilla and tell the IDF you won’t support vigilantism, you may contribute to the Canadian boat, Tahrir, which will include Tikun Olam reader Mary Hughes Thompson among its passengers.  Godspeed, Mary and all the others.  Come back safe.

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Israeli intelligence leaked a fake Syrian document (which was later circulated in news site of the Syrian Muslim Brothers)

“A former high ranking Israeli government source revealed to me that Israeli intelligence leaked to a pro-Israel British tabloid blogger an alleged Syrian government document claiming that the Syrian government organized the bus convoys which brought demonstrators to the Syria-Israel armistice line on Nakba Day.  Demonstrations on that day were met with murderous IDF fire killing 14 individuals.
Michael Weiss, the Telegraph’s pro-Israel blogger known for his neocon views, apparently lied when he claimed the government document was “leaked by the governor of al-Quneitra.”  Any government official who leaked such a document would be jobless in a heartbeat, if not dead.  In truth, my source says Weiss received the document from Israeli intelligence, which has been spreading rumors through the online hasbara community that the government organized the protests in order to distract from the severe instability it faced from democracy protests.  Why did Weiss engage in such a prevarication?  Clearly to conceal his true source.  Though it’s conceivable that Israeli intelligence stole or otherwise secured the alleged memo from the governor of theprovince.” (thanks Laleh)
ZIONISM = RACISM

What’s the difference between Israeli citizenship and Jewish nationality?

from Jews sans frontieres by Levi9909

Well I know a person can be a citizen of Israel and that internationally that means that a person has Israeli nationality but Israel distinguishes between citizenship and nationality.  Here’s a Ha’aretz article on a man who believes he might be stripped of his “Jewish nationality” because of an interview he gave to the paper.

An Israeli citizen may have his classification as “Jewish” withdrawn by the Interior Ministry in the wake of a newspaper interview he gave. In an interview for the Family Affair section of Haaretz Magazine, in May, Itai Bar, a resident of Kibbutz Shoval in the south of the country, disclosed he wasn’t Jewish.
Bar, 35, was asked by journalists Avner and Reli Abrahami to recount his family story for their weekly column. Bar’s father, a Catholic, arrived at the kibbutz as a volunteer after the Six-Day War, where he met Bar’s mother, the daughter of a Catholic mother and a Holocaust survivor father. Bar was born in Shoval and Hebrew is his native language. He mentioned in the interview that he is mistakenly described as Jewish in his ID card, but still serves as a “Shabbes goy” at the kibbutz dairy.

Three days ago, Bar arrived at the population registrar office in Be’er Sheva to obtain a document he needed. To his surprise, the clerk there told him his case was “blocked.” He said that there was an alert about my nationality, following a report. I asked who reported it, and she said she couldn’t tell me, but it might have something to do with the Haaretz article. From her I went to another clerk, who started asking me about my grandparents. I told her she was infringing upon my civil rights.”

Later on, Bar found himself arguing with the deputy director of the office about his Jewishness. “She asked me if I was Jewish, and I said yes, I was circumcised and I celebrate the Jewish holidays.”
The deputy director subsequently unlocked Bar’s file to allow him to receive the document he came for, but warned him that his case was being forwarded to the Interior Ministry office in Jerusalem. When he pressed for the source of the information, he was told it came from the spokeswoman of the Interior Ministry.
The spokeswoman, Sabine Haddad, strongly denied yesterday she was the source of the information, and stressed that the process would not alter Bar’s legal status in Israel.
She said that the spokesperson’s office was charged with responding to media queries and preparing press clippings, not investigating people’s Jewishness.

So if it doesn’t “alter Bar’s legal status in Israel” what’s it all about?

The Orwellian state that Israel

“An Israeli citizen may have his classification as “Jewish” withdrawn by the Interior Ministry in the wake of a newspaper interview he gave. In an interview for the Family Affair section of Haaretz Magazine, in May, Itai Bar, a resident of Kibbutz Shoval in the south of the country, disclosed he wasn’t Jewish.  Bar, 35, was asked by journalists Avner and Reli Abrahami to recount his family story for their weekly column. Bar’s father, a Catholic, arrived at the kibbutz as a volunteer after the Six-Day War, where he met Bar’s mother, the daughter of a Catholic mother and a Holocaust survivor father. Bar was born in Shoval and Hebrew is his native language. He mentioned in the interview that he is mistakenly described as Jewish in his ID card, but still serves as a “Shabbes goy” at the kibbutz dairy.” (thanks Sarah)

Challenging Pastor Hagee on his home turf: “We caught him off guard…with just our thoughts and our courage.”

from Max Blumenthal by Max

On May 15, a group of San Antonio-based community organizers disrupted a service at Pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church dedicated to celebrating Israel. The Christian Zionist Pastor Hagee hassent tens of millions to Israeli organizations, including illegal settlements and the far-right McCarthyite student group Im Tirtzu. After the action, which was dispersed aggressively by members of Hagee’s congregation, Glenn Beck posted an open letter from Hagee on his website. Incidentally, Beck will be delivering the keynote speech at Hagee’s upcoming Christians United for Israel Washington-Israel Summit, an event I covered back in 2007. Following publication of the letter, an organizer of the action against Hagee, Genevieve Rodriguez, began received death threats by phone and email. I interviewed Rodriguez about the protest and its aftermath.

MB: Why did you decide it was necessary to protest Hagee from inside his church, and in such a confrontational way?

GR: First of all, we are a group of 24 who are community organizers working on a range of issues. We were not from any single organization, we are just people coming together. We were keeping up with what was going on in Palestine and the call from action from Palestinians on May 15. And for organizers here in San Antonio we feel the effects of the racism and Zionism and homophobia that comes out Hagee’s church every day. The corporate executives that go to his church go downtown every day and carry out the message they get from his church. They treat people that work with them the way he teaches them to treat people — so they are treating gays a certain way or taking away the message that brown people should be persecuted. That gets carried out in the way working people are treated in this city. And all the while he’s getting rich off a message of hate. So we decided that we couldn’t sit here in our city and not hold this man accountable when what’s happening here and what’s happening in Palestine is atrocious. How can we sit here in the same city as him and not take action in a non-violent way? So in a matter of four days we came up with this action.

MB: Did any other actions by others inspire you, at least from a tactical point of view?

GR: One of the really recent actions that inspired us was by young Jewish people in new orleans who interrupted Netanyahu in New Orleans and told him that he delegitimizes Israel. It was really moving. We realized Hagee’s sermon was being broadcast live to 35 countries on the web uninterrupted. So we realized we had to do it.

MB: How were you treated once the protest began? It seemed like things got pretty rough after it became clear you weren’t going to stop.

GR: The EMS was called after I was dragged off the pew. An usher in front of me grabbed me and dragged me over a pew and I hit my head on the pew. Then 5 or 6 men were grabbing at all parts of my body and they lifted me up like a roasted pig and hoisted me in the air. It was all congregation members including a guest pastor — no security. A young white man involved in the action stood up and some woman said, ‘Oh my God, he’s a Palestinian!’ Apparently these people didn’t even know what palestinians look like. And they curse them every day. As a young woman was carried out shouting, ‘Free Palestine!’ she was slammed to the ground. Then she was getting dragged out. Several congregation members stood up and began accusing a group of brown women of being with the demonstrators. They were just singling out all kinds of brown people because of the way they looked.

MB: Was there any fallout after the action?

GR: John Hagee sent an open letter to Glenn Beck trying to give his version of the story, saying this is all the more reason to show support for Israel and that our congregation acted like it was the Super Bowl after this demonstration, they were so unified. beck is speaking at CUFI, coming up this year. There are infomercials inside Cornerstone for the CUFI conference that includes glenn beck highlights, really using the event to promote him. Our goal was to stand in solidarity with Palestine and tell San Antonio that we are not going to let this happen without Hagee being held accountable. He’s doing this for profit, and we caught him completely off guard just entering there with just our thoughts and our courage. And they didn’t know what to do, they were completely shaken.

MB: So how did the group feel afterwards? Did you feel like you had succeeded?

GR: It was really hard afterwards for us to hear that Israeli forces were opening fire on protesters after we got home. It was such a moment of righteous anger and feeling like we were right in our actions and that they [the congregation members] should be embarrassed for the comments they made about us. During the service people were literally being killed. And Hagee said, ‘Isn’t this exciting?’ Well, we weren’t there to have fun.

MB: Why do you think Hagee commands so much influence in San Antonio? And why besides the obvious theological reasons does his message resonate with people who apparently know very little about Israel and Palestine?

GR: There is so much fear of the other in this city and the fact that they live a different way. It sounds childish, I know. But all those people who go to that church have a much better economic reality than a lot of the other people on the other side of town. These people in this church are going to hold on to anything and stick to anything that’s going to protect that because they don’t want to face the reality on the other side. The israel issue has been cloaked in religion but with the settlements and Hagee, well, we’re talking about money. This is about money and resources. And i feel bad for some of the congregation members who are kept in the dark and are so ignorant. They shouted at us stuff about us being Muslims. We didn’t make a single reference to islam. We were Latino, white, queer, including brown queer women, people with Middle Eastern heritage, and almost all of us are young. Religiously, there were Christians among us and every other kind of religion including atheists.

MB: I heard you received death threats as a result of the protest. Is that true?

GR: I put my phone number out in the video because I believed there were people who were ready to do something about this racism that is taking over San Antonio. And we want people without access to internet can call in to join us. As a result we’ve connected with organizers who don’t even live here. Then we also got death threats. one guy called me this morning and said he was going to rape me. I’ve received messages since my address is public that people from Dallas are going to come to my house and picket me. I got a phone call today from a man who said, ‘I want to destroy arabs and i’m going to destroy you too.’ A reporter from the San Antonio Express News was there and she recorded the whole call.

MB: Do you plan to do any similar actions in the future?

GR: We want to do more actions in solidarity with the Palestinians and we want to continue to expose Hagee financially. We have contacts inside his church and we want to set a serious campaign up that makes a dent into his support for the settlements and to Israel since they depend on people like Hagee. People inside Hagee’s organization are starting to realize the hypocrisy that he represents and are starting to build relationships with us. As far as the way he handles business [our inside contacts have] hinted that he’s corrupt, that he mistreats women and workers, and that there’s a whole lot of evidence of it.

HISTORY & ANALYSIS

The Mysterious San Remo Treaty, Hasbarists’ Delight

Whenever Israel gets itself into serious hot water and kills a lot of people and looks really bad in the process, if it can, the MFA and the rest of the hasbara brigade goes into overdrive, dusts off all the possible avenues of defense they can find.  Lately, with the Gaza flotilla shortly to embark on its attempt to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and with memories fresh in the world’s mind of the nine dead bodies shot at point blank range by Israeli naval commandos, hasbarists are turning to an obscure international treaty to defend the indefensible: the collective punishment of 1.5 million Gazans by Israel’s armed forces.

I’m so tired to hearing these chirping hasbarists crickets all singing the same song (I must’ve had six different commenters in the past year who each separately raised San Remo as justification for the blockade) that I wanted to thank a commenter who pointed me to a rebuttal of the San Remo argument.  It was written by a former British ambassador, Craig Murray.  And before you question his credentials, let’s present them:

…Former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He negotiated the UK’s current maritime boundaries with Ireland, Denmark (Faeroes), Belgium and France, and boundaries of the Channel Islands, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. He was alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the Law of the Sea. He was Head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, enforcing sanctions on Iraq, and directly responsible for clearance of Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf.

I quote Ambassador Murray in full (italics are mine):

Why San Remo Does Not Apply

Every comments thread on every internet site on the world which has discussed the Israeli naval murders, has been inundated by organised ZIonist commenters stating that the Israeli action was legal under the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.

They ignore those parts of San Remo that specifically state that it is illegal to enforce a general blockade on an entire population. But even apart from that, San Remo simply does not apply.

The manual relates specifically to legal practice in time of war. With whom is Israel at war?

There is no war.

Israeli apologists have gone on to say they are in a state of armed conflict with Gaza.

Really? In that case, why do we continually hear Israeli complaints about rockets fired from Gaza into Israel? If it is the formal Israeli position that it is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, then Gaza has every right to attack Israel with rockets.

But in fact, plainly to the whole world, the nature and frequency of Israeli complaints about rocket attacks gives evidence that Israel does not in fact believe that a situation of armed conflict exists.

Secondly, if Israel wishes to claim it is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, then it must treat all of its Gazan prisoners as prisoners of war entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. If you are in a formal state of armed conflict, you cannot categorise your opponents as terrorists.

But again, it is plain for the world to see from its treatment and description of Gazan prisoners that it does not consider itself to be in a formal position of armed conflict.

Israel is seeking to pick and choose which bits of law applicable to armed conflict it applies, by accepting or not accepting it is in armed conflcit depending on the expediency of the moment.

I have consistently denounced Hamas rocket attacks into Israel. I have categorised them as terrorism. If Israel wishes now to declare it is in armed conflcit with Gaza, I withdraw my opposition and indeed would urge Hamas to step up such attacks to the maximum.

Does Israel really wish to justify its latest action by declaring it is at war with Gaza? That is what the invocation of San Remo amounts to.

So please no more references to San Remo.  It’s a red herring argument.

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Israeli Violations of Human Rights of Lebanese Civilians

“During the past two decades, Israel, through both the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and by the South Lebanon Army (SLA), has violated fundamental human rights of Lebanese civilians, . We shall show in this report that Israel’s control in South Lebanon is, in effect, military occupation.”

What lies Behind Netanyahu’s Bluster on ’1967 Borders’

from Informed Comment by Juan

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s high dudgeon over the world community’s demand that Israel return more or less to ’1967 borders’ plays to two audiences, his domestic constituency among far rightwing ‘Greater Israel’ parties intent on usurping Palestinian land, and his American constituency among the third or so of US Jews who oppose trading land for peace.

For the rest of us in the US, being yoked to Netanyahu’s angry expansionism is like being forced to date Charlie Sheen. It won’t do our own reputation any good, and it won’t rescue him from his self-destructiveness.

The ’1967′ borders are actually those that obtained before Israel launched its 1967 ‘Six-Day War’ on Syria, Jordan and Egypt. (There is no doubt that Israel launched this war, and that its aggressiveness with Syria in the previous six months contributed mightily to the tensions that led to it.)

The reason Israel has to go back to 1967 borders is that the annexation of territory from a neighbor through warfare is illegal according to the United Nations Charter, which is a treaty to which Israel and the United States are both signatories. ‘Greater Israel’ apologists attempt to get out of this difficulty by saying that countries used to conquer land away from their neighbors all the time. This is a bogus argument, since countries used to do a lot of things, including sponsor the slave trade; Britain even insisted on China allowing the sale of opium in the early 19th century. The world changed when World War II ended and the countries of the world established the United Nations to forestall any recrudescence of Axis techniques of conquest and rule. If Israel does not believe in the UN Charter, it should renounce its UN membership.

It is not just the UN Charter. The Hague Agreement of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1949 forbid a power occupying enemy territory in war time from annexing it or in any way changing the life ways of its people.

Another bogus argument the Greater Israel expansionists trot out is that the UN Charter only forbids the acquisition of territory from other countries, and the Palestinians did not have a country, and so they are fair game. This argument is morally despicable, since the Israelis made the Palestinians stateless, thwarting the intention of the League of Nations that Palestine become a state; and now they are using the abjectness and statelessness as an argument that Palestinians can be stolen from at will. But the argument is also incorrect. Both the League of Nations and the UN made it perfectly clear that they intended that the Palestinians have a state in the future, so in preventing this from happening the Israelis are defying international law. The 1947 UN Partition Plan, the legitimacy of which the Israeli government says it recognizes, awarded Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians. So it is not true that these territories are no-man’s land or that there is no legal framework for their people’s existence, such that anyone could enslave them or expropriate them at will.

Netanyahu’s argument for not going back to 1967 borders is that it is inconvenient. He says that the 1967 borders are indefensible. This assertion is a logical fallacy, known as special pleading. You can’t launch a war and annex your neighbor’s territory because you fear that your own presents security challenges. Lots of countries are unhappy with their borders. Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait in 1990 in part because he felt that the British had erred in not giving modern Iraq a deep water port, which made Iraq ‘indefensible’ and put it at an economic disadvantage. Pakistan believes that its failure to secure the headwaters of the Indus Valley rivers in Kashmir in 1947 puts it at a permanent disadvantage vis-a-vis India and makes the country overly vulnerable (‘indefensible’). Netanyahu’s immoral argument that a country just has to take by main force whatever it feels will make it more secure is astonishing and is a standing danger to world peace if it were taken seriously by other countries.

Aljazeera English reports on Netanyahu’s rejection of 1967 borders and anything like them:

International law forbids Israel to colonize the West Bank– not only the UN Charter but also the Geneva Conventions of 1948.

But beyond the specious character of Netanyahu’s rhetoric (according to which it would have been perfectly all right for George W. Bush to annex Iraq to the United States), the fact is that the whole tiff over ’1967 borders’ is a smokescreen for Israeli expansionism. The settler movement could put down settlements in much of the sparsely populated south of Israel proper with no problem. Instead, they insist on taking Palestinian land. They are not colonizing the West Bank only to make it more ‘secure’ (they are making it less so), but rather out of greed, ambition, and expansionism. It is not about defense, it is about offense.

(Courtesy the BBC)

The Likud Party led by Netanyahu does not believe in allowing the Palestinians to have a state, and does not believe in withdrawing from the Occupied Territories. This obstinate stance and commitment to undermining the international rule of law is why there is no point in ‘engaging’ the Likud with ‘ compromises.’ Netanyahu led the charege against the Oslo Peace process pursued by then PM Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s, and when Rabin was assassinated and Netanyahu came briefly to power he did whatever he could to destroy the peace process. He admitted this obstructionism on tape:

Netanyahu rudely lectured President Obama in front of the cameras that the Palestinian desire to see the return of some of the refugees expelled from their homes by the Israelis in 1948 ‘isn’t going to happen’ and he urged Obama to frankly tell the Palestinians that it isn’t going to happen. But he may as well also have instructed Obama to tell the Palestinians that the two state solution is dead.

Israel by now has not only planted colonies all over the West Bank and moved hundreds of thousands of people in, but it has secretly withdrawn residency rights from 140,000 Palestinians. The ‘separation barrier’ removed another 12 percent of Palestinian territory. No one can look at a map of Gaza and the West Bank as they actually exist and see a viable state that could protect the rights of its citizens (the point of a state). Israel keeps announcing new settlements or expansions of existing ones on Palestinian territory.

Netanyahu is saying ‘no’ to peace, ‘no’ to negotiations, ‘no’ to dignity and rights for Palestinians for generations to come.

Ben Franklin said that ‘Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.’ Netanyahu’s children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will one day regret that he slapped away the hand of help and the good will of Barack Obama in favor of a stubborn and greedy Israeli expansionism.

The most likely outcome of Israel’s present course is a one state solution, achieved over decades, with much heartbreak and violence and ruined lives in the meantime. The Jews of Israel will likely end up like the Maronite Christians of Lebanon. France created Lebanon in 1920 for a then Christian majority, but Christian out-migration and rapid Muslim population growth reduced the Maronites to only about 22 percent of the population today if we count children. Likewise, Israeli Jews have already lost their majority among first-graders in what was Mandate Palestine in favor of Palestinians and Palestinian-Israelis. Current demographic trends will likely produce an Israel that is a third Arab by 2030 and that is not even counting the Occupied Territories. The instability in the Arab world and the Greater Middle East, which is growing, could well over time increase Jewish out-migration (out of sheer nervousness) so that it outstrips in-migration of Jews. I can’t see a way for Israel to escape this demographic and geopolitical fate and remain viable as a nation-state. Plans on the Israeli right to denaturalize and expel the 1.5 million Palestinian-Israelis are unrealistic and do not reckon with the likely backlash from the Arab world, which won’t remain weak and abject forever. (We can already see glimmerings of a new, more assertive Egypt).

The course Netanyahu is charting will harm the United States in so many ways they are hard to count. But he is also digging the grave of his own vision of a Jewish state.

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This entry was posted in Apartheid, Background & Analysis, Events, Gaza, Human Rights, Indigenous People, Israel, Israel Lobby, Palestine, US Foreign Policy, Zionism. Bookmark the permalink.

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