Posts Tagged ‘Abunimah’

“Crisis in Gaza: The US, Israel, and Palestine” – Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Ali Abunimah and Dr. John J. Mearsheimer lecture on Gaza ‘War’. (more…)

With continued terror in place for Iraq and Afghanistan, promised terror for Pakistan, Obama’s place to change American foreign policy lies US relations with the UN and Israel. (more…)

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In the latest case of US coddling Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), the US reportedly struck down a cease-fire in an emergency meeting of the UN Security [sic] Council last night:

The United States thwarted an effort by Libya on Sunday to persuade the UN Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after Israel launched a ground invasion, diplomats said.

Several council diplomats told reporters that the U.S. refusal to back a Libyan-drafted demand for an immediate truce at a closed-door emergency session had killed the initiative, since council statements must be passed unanimously.

The text by Libya, the only Arab member of the council,expressed “serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza, in particular, after the launching of the Israeli ground offensive” and called on all parties “to observe an immediate ceasefire.” Arab nations demanded Saturday night that the UN Security Council call for an immediate cease-fire following Israel’s launch of a ground offensive in Gaza, a view echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The United Nations Security Council held emergency consultations late Saturday to address the escalation of violence in Gaza….

“Israel cannot continue to behave as a state above international law – this is the law of the jungle,” [Riyad Mansour, the permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, told reporters].

Mansour added that it was crucial for the council to adopt a statement calling for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

It was not clear if Washington would back the Libyan text in its current form.

The United States and Libya have clashed repeatedly on the Israeli-Palestinian issue over the last 12 months since Libya joined the Council and the United States has tried to keep the topic off the agenda whenever possible….

Ban has urged key world leaders to intensify efforts to achieve an immediate Israeli-Hamas cease-fire that includes international monitors to enforce a truce and, possibly, to protect Palestinian civilians.

Ban “is convinced and alarmed that this escalation will inevitably increase the already heavy suffering of the affected civilian populations,” the statement said. He asked that Israel ensure civilian safety and allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need, according to the statement.

The secretary-general urged regional and international partners to “exert all possible influence to bring about an immediate end to the bloodshed and suffering.”

AP:

Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the United States during the discussions late Saturday objected to “any outcome” on the proposed statement.

He said efforts were made to compromise on a weaker press statement but there was no consensus. Several other council members, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed, also said the U.S. was responsible for the council’s failure to issue a statement.

The U.S., Israel’s closest ally, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by last week’s council call for an immediate end to the violence. Therefore, he said, a new statement “would not be adhered to and would have no underpinning for success, (and) would not do credit to the council.”

Arab nations demanded that the council adopt a statement calling for an immediate cease-fire and expressing “serious concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and southern Israel,” a view echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

If it had been approved, the statement would have become part of the council’s official record but would not have the weight of a Security Council resolution, which is legally binding.

Egypt’s U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said it was regrettable that one permanent council member — a clear reference to the U.S. — refused to accept any statement at a time when “the aggression is escalating and more people are dying and the military attack on the ground is at its full scale.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said: “We have war. We have aggression against the Palestinian people, and it is a sad and tragic moment when the Security Council cannot address this issue by at least demanding from Israel … to stop this aggression immediately.”

British Ambassador John Sawers said he was “very disappointed” as PM Gordon Brown has called for an “immediate cease-fire” agreement that includes a stop to Hamas rockets, arms trafficking, and border regulations staing that “Israel needs to be secure and Palestine needs to be viable.”

AntiWar.com:

The new draft seemed aimed at answering those concerns, as the British government suggested everyone was open to a resolution if the terms were right.

Yet this seems not to have been the case, and the US rejection this time appears to have nothing to do with the terms of the draft, and everything to do with the fact that it would call on Israel to stop its invasion. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States can veto any resolution, and has traditionally done so when the resolution would stand in the way of Israeli military action.

Meanwhile, the death toll has risen above 500, including 87 children, and more than 2,450 wounded. and nothing from the US states conditions addressing Israel’s violations of IHL as have come from the EU:

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, on Sunday pledged an additional $4.2 million of emergency aid for Gaza and called on Israel to respect international law.

“Blocking access to people who are suffering and dying is also a breach of humanitarian law,” Louis Michel, EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner, said in a statement.

“I call on the Israeli authorities to respect their international obligations and ensure a ‘humanitarian space’ for the delivery of vital relief,” he said.

The same article quotes the US State Department as saying “it told the Israeli government that any military action should be ‘mindful of the potential consequences to civilians’.” Leaving out references to IHL is a result of carefully crafted statements. Were the US to mention IHL, they’d be contradictory to not condemn Israel’s actions being executed with US supplies. Still no word from the president-elect, yet, “we don’t have one president at a time when it comes to the economy or Iraq or Afghanistan or other issues.”


The Elctronic Intifada (ei) co-founder, Ali Abunimah:

“I would like to ask President-elect Obama to say something please about the humanitarian crisis that is being experienced right now by the people of Gaza.” Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney made her plea after disembarking from the badly damaged SS Dignity that had limped to the Lebanese port of Tyre while taking on water.

The small boat, carrying McKinney, the Green Party’s recent presidential candidate, other volunteers, and several tons of donated medical supplies, had been trying to reach the coast of Gaza when it was rammed by an Israeli gunboat in international waters.

But as more than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed or injured – the majority civilians – since Israel began its savage bombardment of Gaza on 27 December, Obama has maintained his silence. “There is only one president at a time,” his spokesmen tell the media. This convenient excuse has not applied, say, to Obama’s detailed interventions on the economy, or his condemnation of the “coordinated attacks on innocent civilians” in Mumbai in November.

The Mumbai attacks were a clear-cut case of innocent people being slaughtered. The situation in the Middle East however is seen as more “complicated” and so polite opinion accepts Obama’s silence not as the approval for Israel’s actions that it certainly is, but as responsible statesmanship.… [read the full article]

(more of Ali Abunimah on Little Alex in Wonderland)

The president-elect remains silent as the White House gives tacit consent to an Israel ground invasion:

The United States gave Israel free rein Friday on whether to send troops into the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire….

“We’ve been in regular contact with the Israelis,” White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.

US officials have urged the Israelis “to be mindful that any of the actions that they’re taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods,” he said.

“So I think any steps they are taking, whether it’s from the air or on the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation,” Johndroe said.

“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said.

What the deputy press secretary conveniently leaves out of the Newspeak is that Israel would do so supplied by the US.

Daily Kos

“You’ve also got to understand the distinctiveness of Jewish anxiety about annihilation, which is real… But at the same time, anti-Semitism should never be a blinder or an impetiment of understanding the suffering of Palestinian people under occupation and the difficulty of having any serious bridge building when you are an occupied people.”

-Dr. Cornel West

The Newspeak out of Israel is that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip.” and Israel is targeting Hamas, not the Palestinians.

If so, they’re doing a great job of missing their targets, to say the least.

Hypothetically speaking, were Hamas to target an Israel military installation on a Palestinian settlement and wound a child, the Newspeak would be that ‘Hamas is killing children’ out of Israel. When Israel targets a Hamas operative and kills 20 Palestinian civilians, the Newspeak stinks of “collateral damage” that we’re just supposed to accept as a necessary evil of self-defensive war.

The conundrum in this Newspeak is another ‘it’s wrong when they do it to us, but not when we do it to them that loses its transparency as its repeated by our leaders [sic] in the West, giving the Newspeak illegitimate credibility.

The best way to battle Newspeak is with fact (from our YouTube playlist, “Israel Attacks Gaza”):

al Jazeera – “Nowhere to Run for Those Trapped in Gaza” – 30 Dec 08 (3:11):

al Jazeera – “B’Tselem Questions Israeli Account of Attack” – 1 Jan 09 (2:38):

al Jazeera – “Gazans Struggle to Survive Amid Onslaught” – 1 Jan 09 (2:41):

ei – “Civilians are Paying the Price in Gaza” – Haider Rizvi reports from the UN:

International aid groups, including several United Nations agencies, are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza if Israel does not stop its military action there immediately.

“The consequences of [further] military action by Israel would be disastrous,” said Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, a London-based aid organization that is providing food and water for Palestinians affected by the Israeli blockade.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza depend on Oxfam and other international aid agencies for the basics of life — clean water, food and sanitation. Before the recent Israeli bombing campaign, Gaza had been cut off from the outside world for 19 months.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also expressing similar concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The group says hospitals are “overwhelmed and unable to cope with the scale and type of injuries that keep coming in.”

At the time this article went to press on 30 December, more than 300 Palestinians are reported to have been killed — and nearly 1,000 wounded — since the Israeli air force began bombing Gaza Saturday….

Before the recent attacks on Gaza, aid organizations had repeatedly stressed that the Israeli blockade of Gaza was hindering their efforts to reach out to Palestinians who were in dire need of food and medicines.

Currently, nearly half of the population in Gaza does not have enough food to meet its basic needs. A majority of the population are refugees who were driven out of their homes by the Israeli occupation in 1948.

“The blockade is illegal and constitutes collective punishment of ordinary men, women, and children,” said Diakonia’s Christoffer Sjoholm, who, although critical of Palestinian rocket attacks, condemned Israel’s plans to carry out further attacks on Gaza….

On Monday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed deep concerns about the impact of the Israeli aerial attacks and demanded that the self-declared Jewish state must allow the humanitarian supplies to enter.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also called for Israel to take such actions.

“The frightening nature of what is happening on the ground, in particular, its effects on children who are more than half of the population, troubles me greatly,” Ban said. “I have continuously stressed the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law.”

A statement released Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that many more deaths are likely as hospitals in Gaza are lacking sufficient medical supplies.

“The ability of the hospitals to cope with a problem of this magnitude, if the situation continued unchanged, will result in surge in preventable death,” a UNICEF spokesperson said in a statement. “Civilians are paying the price for a long blockade.”

In recent days, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has repeatedly expressed its concern over the Israeli efforts to stop aid supplies. The agency stresses that days and weeks before the current military action the blockade was already hurting some 1.5 million people.

In a statement, UNRWA’s head Karen AbuZayd said she was horrified by the current situation in Gaza and wanted the Israeli government to heed calls for ceasing its bombardment of Gaza.

ei also relays a press release from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights:

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has continued its military operation in the Gaza Strip for the fifth day. Today, it targeted an ambulance and its medical crew with a missile, killing a doctor and an orderly and critically injuring its driver. According to Al Mezan Center’s monitoring, the number of Palestinian casualties since the start of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead at 11:30am on 27 December 2008 has risen to 315, of whom 41 were children and nine women. At least 939 people have been injured, including 85 children and 52 women. The number of civilian objects that have been destroyed is as follows:

  • Seven mosques have been completely destroyed from direct air strikes;
  • 38 private industrial and agricultural enterprises have been completely destroyed;
  • 16 schools have been damaged;
  • Nine CBO offices were completely destroyed;
  • Eight private vehicles were destroyed;
  • 16 governmental facilities were destroyed.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts, according to its monitoring of the situation on the ground, that the IOF has perpetrated grave breaches of the international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the course of its military actions in Gaza. The Center also asserts that the vast majority of IOF’s targets in Gaza are civilian targets that must not be deliberately targeted. This includes houses, mosques, police stations and at least one ambulance. Most of the casualties are not combatants and were not involved in any hostilities when they were targeted by IOF. This behavior reflects a blatant disregard of civilian life and of the international law that is supposed to protect it.

Al Mezan Center condemns the IOF’s violations of international law applicable in times of belligerent occupation and armed conflict. In particular, the violations by IOF of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Protocol I have caused extreme suffering as well as loss of civilian life. Articles 15-19 of the Convention prohibit the disruption of the working of health facilities during times of conflict. Article 20 requires respect and protection of the persons who are involved in the search for civilians, the sick, the wounded, the elderly and mothers and care for them. IOF violates international humanitarian law by imposing a strangulating blockade that disrupts, and sometimes prevents, the provision of humanitarian aid to the population of the Gaza Strip.

Despite The New York Times bad paraphrasing, the quote from the UN official estimates “a minimum of 25 percent of all those killed are civilians and it may well be far higher.”

Another interesting Newspeak tool is to manipulate the meaning of “civilian.” Targeting Hamas and killing Gazan police officers make the police officers more “collateral damage,” but they are left out of civilian fatality estimates. The common term is “non-combatant” and that statistic is never reported.

ei:

Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels “terrorists” were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training.

Ha’aretz:

“Seventy policemen were killed there, not all Hamas members,” said S., who opposes Hamas. “And even those who supported Hamas were young men looking for a job, a salary. They wanted to live. And therefore, they died. Seventy in one blow. This assault is not against Hamas. It’s against all of us, the entire nation. And no Palestinian will consent to having his people and his homeland destroyed in this way.”

Battles between authorities, especially when one or more authorities are the State admist an election season, always harm those already oppressed under the illegitimate authority more than those dominating the oppressed. Those in power have the primary objective (meaning over all other objectives) of maintain and strengthening the power of their institution. This is the cynical nature of institutions — even those that are generally benign because were the benign institution to lose power, clout, resources, etc., the institution would struggle to exist.

The Palestinian people do not have a legitimate amount of clout in the authorities that govern them, yet are being destroyed more than their most direct dominators: Hamas, Fatah, and Israel.

A 0.29 second Google News serach of “Gaza children” wields almost 15,000 results; the first page of which can make your head spin and question the legitimacy of the governments issuing tacit consent to the TerrorState of Israel.

Tariq Ali could sum this up best:

“There is no other way. And Israeli citizens might ponder the following words from Shakespeare [The Merchant of Venice] that I have slightly altered:

“‘I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Jew is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that…the villainy you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.’”