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רשת אינדימדיה העולמית


Civil & Human Rights

News and activities concerning loss of civil liberties, human rights violations, Constitutional violations, etc.

There’s no need to discuss evidence of innocence or guilt

Bush "There’s no need to discuss evidence of innocence or guilt."

FBI Issues Death Threat Against U.S. Citizens


Look, Palin needs to be publically tried
the war witch enemy of God she is, then
upon easy conviction, formally executed,
or rot in a prison cell for the rest of
her ungodly Satanic life. She, like all
on magic tv, refuse to support the defense
of innocent American citizens mass murdered
on 9/11, or Christian Children in Palestine,
while very much like Bushite wannabe Jared
Lee Loughner, just wants to slaughter
defenseless innocent humans being, as
she did try with Cheney and McCain to

הפרק האחרון מתוך הסדרה 'אחריות' יוצא לאור



קודם כשלקחו את היהודים - שתקתי, כי לא הייתי יהודי

אח"כ כשלקחו את הצוענים - שתקתי, כי לא הייתי צועני

אח"כ כשבאו לקחת את הקומוניסטים, שתקתי, שהרי לא הייתי קומוניסט

כשלקחו את הכמרים שתקתי, כי לא הייתי דתי...

ולבסוף כשבאו לקחת אותי - לא היה מי שידבר בשבילי.

(מבוסס על שירו של מרטין נימלר)


מהי אחריות בחברה דמוקרטית?


הפרק האחרון של הסדרה "אחריות" יוצא לאור בימים אלו, ימים חשוכים ומפחידים, בהם אנו נאלצים לצפות בתהליך ההסתה ההולך ומתעצם כנגד קבוצות שונות במדינת ישראל - פלסטינים אזרחי ישראל, פליטים, עובדים זרים, ועכשיו גם ארגוני החברה האזרחית בישראל.


הסדרה "אחריות" והפרק האחרון שלה "אקטיביזם כחובה דמוקרטית", שיוצא בימים אלו, קוראים להתעורר ממסע ההסתה הזה שמתנהל תחת ממשלת ביבי-ליברמן הגזענית.


הפיצו הלאה, והגיעו להפגנה ביום שבת הקרוב להגנה על הדמוקרטיה!


לצפייה בסרטון האחרון "אקטיביזם כחובה דמוקרטית" באתר הוועד לחצו כאן


לצפייה בסדרת הסרטונים באתר הוועד לחצו כאן. לצפייה בסדרה באתר הטלוויזיה החברתית לחצו כאן


Don't Say You Did Not Know 246

Settlers from the illegal outpost known as “Sacred Fire” (south-east of Nablus ) often attack their Palestinian neighbours from the village Kosara.

On 31st December, 2010 settlers from the outpost broke the windows of a car parked at the southern edge of the village.

On 2nd January, 2011, these settlers slaughtered two sheep belonging to a village resident, and punctured the car tyres of a lorry parked in the village.

On 4th January, 2011, settlers slaughtered three sheep, and punctured the tyres of two vehicles in the village.

On 6th January, 2011, at night, settlers cut down some 100 olive tree saplings belonging to the village.


For questions and answers:  amosg@shefayim.org.il



Daily Israeli Crimes Against Humanity

 Daily Israeli Crimes Against Humanity - by Stephen Lendman


Daily accounts can be followed on important sites such as Palestine Chronicle.com, Palestine Telegraph.com, and the Electronic Intifada.net as well as others like Israel's oldest daily newspaper, Haaretz, available online in English.


They and others document harrowing crimes virtually ignored in the West, especially by America's media  offering one-sided pro-Israeli reports with imperfect exceptions like Isabel Kershner's January 7 New York Times article headlined, "Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian, 65, in His Bedroom," saying:


"Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed 65-year-old Palestinian man....in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity. The man's wife said he was sleeping and she was praying when soldiers burst into the apartment before dawn, entered the bedroom and immediately opened fire."


Without explanation, "(t)he Israeli military expressed regret," she said, and promised "a speedy investigation, with conclusions to be presented as early as next week." In fact, all Israeli "investigations" whitewash crimes to absolve guilty commanders, troops, and top government officials who sanction occupation, violence and wars of aggression.


Rarely ever do US media journalists report anything less than fully supportive of Israel. Even Kershner's account wasn't fully accurate or candid, suggesting "mistaken identity" when killings, assaults and other abuses happen regularly against targeted individuals and others who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - "collateral damage" for the Pentagon and Israel when, in fact, it's willful, at times, indiscriminate cold-blooded murder, a US and Israeli specialty.


Kershner's article also misreported "a period of relative calm" preceding the killing and two others when, in fact, daily violence and repression define life in Occupied Palestine. It also mentioned what she covered in a January 1 article, headlined, "Tear Gas Kills a Palestinian Protester," saying:


Jawaher Abu Rahmah, a 36-year old Palestinian woman "died Saturday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces a day earlier at a protest against Israel's separation barrier in a West Bank village."


Again, she highlighted Israel's side, calling the protest a "violent and illegal riot,'" when, in fact, demonstrations against occupation and Israel's (International Court of Justice July 4, 2004 ruled illegal) Separation Wall are always nonviolent and legal on Palestinian, not Israeli, land. Israeli-initiated violence always follows, victimizing, injuring, and at times killing peaceful protesters like Jawaher.


Kershner also ignored the type and origin of the dangerous tear gas used. Called CS, it's supplied by the Defense Technology Corporation of America, and may either be fired randomly into crowds, homes, or aimed directly at targets at close range, increasing the possibility of serious injury or death. In fact, a few days before she died, a CS canister blow to the chest killed Bassem Abu Rahmah, and Jawaher's brother, Basem, was killed the same way in April 2009.


US television news ignores these crimes, and rarely ever do even distorted accounts appear in print. When they do, however, they're never fully accurate or candid. Kershner, like other US reporters, highlights Israel's version of events, never hinting that regular outrageous crimes occur, that Israel's occupation and Separation Wall are illegal, and that since June 2007 over 1.5 million Gazans are suffocating under siege. 


Moreover, most important is what's omitted in reports, especially background information on this decades-long conflict, why it continues, and that Washington supplies Israel with billions of dollars annually, the latest weapons and technology, interest-free loans, and virtually anything else Israel requests, even when doing so harms US interests.


One Palestinian CS survivor described the experience as feeling "like a million blue shards of glass tearing at your alveoli (air sacks in lungs) and shredding your eyes...Every breath tears at your insides; vicious animals live in your lungs. I'd rather not breathe than take one more anguished, searing, charred breath. Then, you don't have a choice; you can't breathe."


Kershner omitted those and other facts from her articles or that weapons this dangerous should be prohibited. All high-velocity projectiles also, what killed Bassem Abu Rahmen and others, fired directly at them at point blank range with intent to seriously injure or kill. Terror weapons, they're regularly used against nonviolent protesters to disperse, intimidate, and/or willfully cause harm.


On January 4, Kershner's article headlined, "Israeli Military Officials Challenge Account of Palestinian Woman's Death," saying:


"....Israeli military officials, who insisted on anonymity (always a red flag) while their investigation (read whitewash) was continuing, told various journalists and bloggers that they had never heard of tear gas killing anyone in the open, and raised the possibility that (Jawaher) had some pre-existing ailment, that alone or compounded by the tear gas, caused her death."


Jawaher, in fact, was fine. She was at work the previous day, and her brother, Samir, said she was happily looking forward to spending time with her family over New Year's. Moreover, hospital records confirmed "no history of chronic disease." Recent medical tests also showed everything was normal.


Israeli forces routinely use CS gas against protesters. On January 3, Haaretz writers Avi Issacharoff and Anshel Pfeffer, headlined, "Protester death shows IDF may be using most dangerous type of tear gas," saying:


The Ramallah hospital treating Jawaher reported "her death was caused by respiratory failure resulting from the inhalation of tear gas....In recent years, a number of studies have cast doubts about (CS) gas; there have been reports of several deaths caused by" inhaling it. 


"One of the main factors influencing the extent of (its) damage....is the amount of particles in the air," according to Israeli Dr. Daniel Argo "who regularly takes part" in anti-Wall protests. "He also trains activists to (treat) injuries caused by police and soldiers using crowd-dispersal techniques."


Argo explained that CS is known to cause eye and lung injuries, as well as skin diseases, saying: 


"There are other types of tear gas that are not as dangerous as CS; why the defense establishment insists on continuing it use is not clear. In addition, since no studies have (addressed its) long-term effects, security personnel who use it frequently should be worried about their own health."


Protest participants say Israel uses "barrages of tear gas both in front and behind" them, trapping them. Moreover, the gas remains effective even when no longer visible. It's also used beyond its expiration date to increase its deadliness. Whenever deaths or serious injuries result, Israel denies responsibility, blaming peaceful protesters for provoking violence, when, in fact,  thuggish police, military or other security forces alone are to blame.


The Legal Right to Protest Peacefully


A January 4 Haaretz editorial headlined, "Israel must allow Palestinians to protest in peace," saying:


Tear gas killed Jawaher, her brother Bassem, and her "third brother, Ashraf, was caught on camera as he was shot by Israeli soldiers while he was handcuffed." Yet, peaceful protests "are entirely legitimate. (Palestinians) have the right to protest (occupation and) the theft of their land for the giant settlements," pockmarking the West Bank as well as the illegal Separation Wall.


Jawaher "died in vain. She didn't endanger anyone. There's no need to mention the countries where the regimes kill people who demonstrate against them. Israel must not become one of them." 


Israel, of course, has been one for decades, Palestinian sources confirming 21 West Bank protesters killed since 2005, besides thousands more over Israel's decades long reign of terror - information Kershner and other US journalists won't report.


Nor that in 2004, the IDF Medical Corps published a study on CS gas in the Israeli medical journal Refuah and the Germany-based Archives of Toxicology. It concluded that high gas concentrations can cause serious harm or kill. Yet in Bil'in and other villages, Israeli military forces routinely fire multiple canisters into small areas, releasing thick clouds of gas. The clear motive isn't just crowd control.


A Final Comment


On January 8, Stop the Wall.org headlined "Hundreds march in memory of Jawaher," saying:


"Hundreds of Palestinian and international activists, members of Palestinian women's institutions and unions, and Palestinian political officials and leaders joined in the protest in Bil'in this week to honor Jawaher Abu Rahmah" who died New Year's day in a Ramallah hospital from CS gas inhalation.


They also wore yellow Stars of David, symbolizing ones Nazis forced Jews to wear, their message saying:


"the Occupation is bringing down on us what was practiced against the Jews by the Nazis, using all its deadly weapons to exterminate the Palestinian people."


Israeli soldiers confronted them with massive amounts of CS gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets, and water cannons spraying skunk water (raw sewage). Numerous injuries were reported, including dozens from inhalation and the effects of contaminated water. Several protesters were also beaten and one or more arrested.


Nabi Saleh protests were also viciously attacked, including by tear gassing nearby homes. Mahmoud Samir Shehada's house was filled with gas, suffocating everyone inside. His wife collapsed and was rushed to Ramallah hospital for treatment. 


Al Ma'sara residents protested Jawaher's killing despite Israeli soldiers kicking and beating them with rifle butts. In Ni'lin, residents commemorated the second anniversary of Arafat and Mohammed Khawaja's deaths, killed during Cast Lead, as well as Jawaher, in their weekly march. 


Soldiers confronted them violently. Village leader Ahad Khawaja said assaults have been especially vicious lately, an apparent Israeli decision to more ruthlessly crush opposition to its lawless occupation, Separation Wall, and daily crimes against humanity, an Israeli specialty unreported by America's major media.


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



Israel's Knesset Targets Leftist Organizations

 Israel's Knesset Targets Leftist Organizations - by Stephen Lendman


Numerous previous articles explained Israel's hardline anti-democratic agenda, several accessed through the following links:








Now the latest. On January 5, Israel's Knesset, by a 47 - 16 vote, approved forming a parliamentary committee to investigate leftist Israeli organizations. Among them, B'Tselem issuing a same day press release headlined, "B'Tselem proud of its activities and completely transparent. The Knesset's decision is what harms Israel's international status," adding:


"We are proud of our work to promote human rights in the Occupied Territories, which is conducted legally and with complete transparency. Persecution and attempts at silencing will not stop us. In a democracy, criticism of the government is not only legitimate - it is essential. B'Tselem calls on all members of the Knesset to hold an informed debate on the information provided by human rights organizations, instead of harassing and smearing those who dare to question and criticize."


The statement continued, saying:


-- the inquiry's purpose isn't to establish facts; it's to smear;


-- B'Tselem's donor list is public information, available online;


-- its financial reports are available at the NGO Registrar's office that just awarded B'Tselem a Certification of Proper Administration; and


-- if MKs care about Israel's deteriorating international standing, "they should stop promoting parliamentary initiatives that will only cause it to plummet even further."


Israel's media are all over this story. In America, major broadsheets like The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal ignored it, showing their usual one-sided support for Israel's worst crimes, belligerence and extremism, including by legislators.


Even Israel's right-wing Jerusalem Post (JP) expressed concern. One article headlined, "Left-wing NGOs mad Knesset to probe foreign funding," said:


"Left-wing NGOs railed on Wednesday evening against the" Knesset vote. "Hours after (its debate), Government Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu complaining that Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon had intentionally misled MKs and the public" with information he provided as justification for the probe.


JP's earlier July 15, 2010 Ruth Eglash article headlined, "Legislation against left-wing NGOs could harm Israelis," saying:


"A spate of legislation aimed at local NGOs critical of Israel could end up limiting freedom of speech and expression of every Israeli," according to Ronit Heyd, Executive Director of SHATIL, The New Israel Fund's Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations in Israel, saying:


"The most worrying trend over the last year is that most people do not really understand that our democracy is now under serious threat. Currently it only affects a certain group in society; human rights organizations, (but) in the future it could affect other communities and individuals who do not agree with the mainstream view or the views and policies of the country's decision-makers."


At the time, besides other extremist Knesset legislation, she referred to a new bill passed its preliminary reading to prohibit Israelis from backing the global BDS movement, or receive money from supportive international organizations.


Heyd added:


"There is a serious need for concern when the government is trying to silence dissenting voices, trying to silence any voice in society that criticizes the way the government is working." 


Doing so is the essence of despotism, the track Israel, like America, is further along on than most people in either country recognize.


On January 5, Haaretz writer Jonathan Lis headlined, "Leftist groups: 'Witch hunt' against us will destroy democracy in Israel," saying:


"Israeli left-wing organizations decried Wednesday('s) Knesset plenum decision to support a panel of inquiry to investigate certain groups suspected of 'delegitimizing' the Israeli Defense Forces."


The next step involves a Knesset House Committee debate, then a vote on whether foreign states, international organizations or others linked to alleged terrorist groups provide funding.


According to Peace Now Director-General Yariv Oppenheimer:


Knesset approval is "another step on the path toward wiping out democracy in Israel" by trying to persecute critics.


The New Israel Fund (NIF) said the decision "proves how much the stature of Israeli democracy has deteriorated - even in the house of legislators," acting more like despots than legitimate lawmakers. "Democracy cannot function properly without freedom of expression, freedom to sound criticism of the system, and active human rights groups. The political persecution of human rights groups cause great damage to Israel across the world, and this is precisely what will lead to the delegitimization (of Israel) and the representation of it as a McCarthyite state in which a witch hunt is taking place" lawlessly.


The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) called the move "authoritarian, immoral and illegitimate," adding that it mourns the "slow but sure death" of Israeli democratic values.


In total, 16 human rights groups signed an open letter in protest, including B'Tselem, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Yesh Din, Machsom Watch, Adalah, Mossawa Center, Ir Amin and Hotline for Migrant Workers.


"Investigate us all, we have nothing to hide," they said. "You are invited to read our reports and our publications. We will be happy if for a change you relate in a germane way to our questions instead of trying to besmirch us. It did not work in the past and it will not work this time."


A second Jonathan Lis article headlined, "Knesset votes to probe Israeli groups accused of 'delegitimizing' IDF," saying:


The approval came "after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled in August that no investigation should be launched against such groups." Opposition MKs and human rights groups vocally disapproved. As a result, the Knesset debate was stormy, "charged, (and) filled with heckling and interruptions." So much so that security guards were present "to prevent physical altercations" between opposing sides.


MK Nitzan Horowitz called the initiative "a shame on the Knesset....The persecution campaign against human rights and citizens rights groups has reached a new low. (It's) a brutal act of political persecution using a coalition majority and Knesset funding, under the legal guise of an investigation committee. Human rights and citizens rights groups save the honor of Israel in the world and maintain its character as a democratic state." Extremist MKs want to destroy it. "All to whom Israeli democracy is dear must oppose this committee of persecution."


Gideon Levy's Critical Op-Ed


In Haaretz on January 6, he headlined, "When did it become illegal to be a leftist in Israel," saying:


"The police, the legal system, the Knesset, the Shin Bet, and the IDF have joined forces with the propagandists of the right to act as prosecutors without a trial." Coming next perhaps will be "declar(ing) the left an illegal entity....From then on, whoever thinks left, acts left, demonstrates left or tolerates left will belong in jail."


Israel stands humiliated, shamed and exposed for its extremism. As a result, a "land-stealing settler is a Zionist; a warmongering right-winger is a patriot; an inciting rabbi is a spiritual leader; a racist who expels foreigners is a loyal citizen. Only the leftist is a traitor."


What Knesset members proposed would even make Joe McCarthy and some of today's American right-wingers blush. Though never finding any, McCarthy targeted alleged communists for political advantage. America's current Congress pursues terrorists, again for the same purpose and as justification for Washington's imperial wars.


As a result, personal safety in both countries is jeopardized. The common atmosphere is charged with extremism, racism, militarism, and opposition to anyone challenging state authority, especially its most lawless aspects, targeting innocent people at home while rampaging abroad against groups or nations posing no threat to either country. 


In Israel, solidifying occupation control reigns terror against anyone pursuing freedom and justice issues, and without pretext waging all-out war, justifying it as self-defense against terrorism. 


For Jews and Israeli Arabs, "(o)ne single law could simplify matters: Let every Israeli know that (it's) forbidden to believe in a just Israel, forbidden to fight against any of its injustices, forbidden to struggle for its soul." 


It begs the question: is Israel's democracy so anathema that even blowing its cover is acceptable. Targeting human rights defenders proves it.


A Final Comment


Ramzy Clark, former US Attorney General, now progressive anti-war activist and International Action Center founder led a solidarity delegation to Gaza, beginning on January 5 when he met with Palestine's elected Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. 


Their schedule also includes meetings with human rights activists, survivors of loved ones killed during Cast Lead, and public meetings to address attendees. On return, they plan "to help bring truth about Gaza to the people of the United States," denied it by America's dominant media.


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



Besieged Gaza Two Years After Cast Lead

 Besieged Gaza Two Years After Cast Lead - by Stephen Lendman


December 28 was Cast Lead's second anniversary, a three week onslaught inflicting an appalling human, destructive and environmental toll. The war ended. Regular attacks continued, and Gaza remains suffocating under siege. Yet world leaders are doing nothing to end it or hold Israeli war criminals accountable.


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said "Gaza remains sealed-off from the outside world (after) the single most brutal event in" the occupation's history, and "impunity for war crimes prevails."


To date, victims' rights have been unaddressed. International law remains ignored. Indisputable war crimes were airbrushed from history. Israeli war criminals were shielded from justice. Only three lower-ranking soldier were convicted for war-related offenses. One was for credit card theft, two others for using a nine year old boy as a human shield. Israeli government officials who ordered war, generals and top commanders who planned and implemented it, and other complicit figures were uncharged and unpunished. 


World leader silence condoned them. The rule of law was trashed for imperial Israel, including allowing it to slowly suffocate over 1.5 million Gazans. Moreover, a newly released WikiLeaks cable says Israel plans major wars on Gaza and Lebanon. More on them below.


Preventing Gaza's Reconstruction


On December 21, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement asked "Who will rebuild Gaza?" Six months after Israel's cabinet decision to ease closure, a new Gisha report headlined "Reconstructing the Closure: Will recent changes to the closure policy be enough to build in Gaza," saying:


"Despite the cabinet's decision, Israel continues to ban the entrance of steel, gravel and cement, (essential) items which are not considered to be dual-use according to international standards." Narrow exceptions only were allowed with "burdensome bureaucratic strings attached."


For most items, Israel bogusly claims Hamas may use construction materials to build bunkers and "enhance its military capability" in other ways. As a result, little rebuilding progress has been made. Gaza remains in ruins, and over 1.5 million Palestinians struggle daily to cope.


For example, from July 6 - December 6, 2010, only 744 truckloads of cement, gravel and steel entered Gaza for international projects. In addition, up to 900 tons of concrete (equaling 36 truckloads), 300 tons of steel, or 250 tons of gravel move through tunnels on any given day. Though way short of enough, whatever's supplied helps. In contrast, prior to June 2007 (when siege began), over 5,000 truckloads of these materials came in monthly. Israel is determined to suffocate Gazans, committing the equivalent of slow-motion genocide.


Ongoing Gaza Displacement


On December 27, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights new report headlined, "On-going Displacement: Gaza's Displaced Two Years after the War," saying:


Two years after Cast Lead, "tens of thousands of Gaza residents continue to live a life of displacement" because of Israel's suffocating siege. As a result, they've gotten little "meaningful relief (or) their right to adequate housing."


After Cast Lead ended, UN Under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, said it's "absolutely critical that (construction) material(s) be allowed into Gaza on a regular and hopefully free basis."


For over two years, Israel's prevented them, collectively punishing tens of thousands of Gazans, unable to rebuild their homes and lives. Gaza's Ministry of Housing and Public Works said 51,553 homes were destroyed or damaged. Of these, 3,336 were completed demolished and 4,021 sustained major damages.


Most aid Gazans got came from Hamas, the UN Development Program (UNDP), and UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Other agencies also provided materials, equipment and food. Also, families whose homes were totally destroyed got cash. Refugee homeless families received about $5,000 from Hamas and a comparable amount from UNWRA. Others whose properties sustained major damage got about $2,500 from Hamas and another $3,000 from UNWRA. 


Non-refugee families were also helped, amounts based on whether their homes were entirely or partially destroyed. Families who lost properties have been most harmed, needing alternate shelter, mostly in leased apartments until their homes are rebuilt.


Based on a random survey from its "home demolitions" database among families whose homes were entirely destroyed, Al Mezan estimates:


-- 93.3% of families haven't gotten rebuilding help so must live elsewhere;


-- 13.3% rebuilt their homes;


-- 86.6% can't do it because they didn't receive enough help;


-- 56.6% have rented homes or apartments; of those, 41.2 % (23.3% of the total) get regular assistance, covering their full rent expense; another 35.3% receive only partial help;


-- 33.3% get no help for rent;


-- 10% live in houses other than their own;


-- 6.7% live with relatives or their families;


-- 10% live in tents;


-- 30% had to move their children to new schools;


-- 66.7% said alternative housing doesn't provide comfort and privacy like their own; and


-- 86.7% are dissatisfied with how service providers handled home demolition and destruction problems.


A second survey among families whose homes were partially destroyed showed findings only modestly better, except that:


-- 83.3% were living in their own residences, despite damage; and


-- 43.3% were dissatisfied with service providers, half the percentage of homeless families.


Overall, however, Gaza remains in crisis, ongoing since June 2007, and exacerbated by Cast Lead destruction, atrocities, regular assaults, little concern by the international community, and no accountability for Israeli war criminals. Occupied Palestine's history shows sustained justice denied, especially in Gaza under siege.


Another Lebanon and Gaza War?


A disclaimer: nations like Israel and America regularly prepare operational plans for wars that never are fought. Why? So they're ready in case they are. For example, America's Afghanistan war began on October 7, 2001, four weeks post-9/11, a conflict that took months to plan. 


It's also true for Israel's 2006 Lebanon war and Cast Lead. Neither was impromptu following pretexts cited to launch them. They were in place many months in advance as are preparations for all wars. In other words, plans alone don't automatically mean war. Most often, they don't. However, given the belligerent history of America and Israel, information suggesting more war can't be discounted. Too many previous ones were waged so sooner or later expect another.


Juan Cole writes regularly for his Informed Comment site, on January 2 headlining "WikiLeaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza," saying:


Norway's Aftenposten newspaper "summarized an Israeli military briefing by Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi" for US congressional members over a year ago, saying:


"The memo on the talks....as well as numerous other documents from the same period, to which Aftenposten has gained access, leave a clear message: The Israeli military is forging ahead at full speed with preparations for a new war in the Middle East."


Cole emphasized "serious and specific" preparations, not contingency planning. US cables quoted Ashkenazi saying:


"I'm preparing the Israeli army for a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite....In the next war Israel cannot accept any restrictions on warfare in urban areas."


Neither did Israel's last two conflicts in 2006 against Lebanon and Cast Lead, under its "Dayiya Doctrine," named after the Beirut suburb destroyed in summer 2006. It reflected how future wars would be fought as IDF Northern Command head Gabi Eisenkot explained at the time, saying:


"What happened in the Dayiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force at the heart of the enemy's weak spot (civilians and non-military targets) and cause great damage and destruction. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages (towns or cities), they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved."


Cast Lead (like Lebanon 2006) showed that civilians and non-military targets are attacked freely without cause to inflict maximum damage, deaths, injuries and human misery - "Dayiya."


Whether or not true, Ashkenazi and America's State Department claim Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah amassed large stockpiles of rockets, threatening Israel. In fact, no nation endangered Israel since the 1973 war, and given its dominant regional strength, none does so now. Other nations' weapons are purely defensive and no match for Israel, nuclear-armed and dangerous.


Cole observes that Israel "could have a peace treaty with Syria and Lebanon tomorrow by giving back the Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms...." For decades, Palestinians have also sought peace, but Israel chooses conflict. So does America. 


As a result, Cole fears that Washington's support for Israeli belligerence will incite inevitable blowback, "finally finish(ing) off the (few remaining) civil liberties enshrined in the American Constitution." Already on life support, they need only a shove to be cut off.


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



Israel's Barbaric Solitary Confinement

 Israel's Barbaric Solitary Confinement - by Stephen Lendman


An earlier article explained its harmful effects, accessed through the following link:




Social psychologist Hans Toch coined the term "isolation panic" to describe symptoms he observed in men he interviewed, including panic, rage, a sense of total loss of control, emotional breakdown, regressive behavior, and self-mutiliation. He distinguished between difficult but tolerable incarceration and intolerable long-term isolation, how America and Israel treat thousands, subjecting them to barbaric torture. If sustained long enough, it destroys the human spirit, psyche, mind and body.


Over time, it causes:


-- severe anxiety;


-- panic attacks;


-- lethargy;


-- insomnia;


-- nightmares;


-- dizziness;


-- irrational anger, at time uncontrollable;


-- confusion;


-- social withdrawal;


-- memory and appetite loss;


-- delusions and hallucinations;


-- mutilations;


-- profound despair and hopelessness;


-- suicidal thoughts;


-- paranoia; and


-- for many, a totally dysfunctional state and inability ever to live normally outside of confinement.


Prisoner anecdotes describe the experience, saying:


-- "People come here with a few problems and leave sociopaths;"


-- You're like a "caged animal. I've seen people just crack and either scream for hours on end or cry."


-- Isolation "creates monsters (who) want revenge on society."


-- We "have a sense of hopelessness. Plus my anger (is) a silent rage....I am beginning to really hate people."


-- "They....try to break a person down mentally (and) mental abuse leaves no evidence behind (like) physical abuse."


-- Others say it's like being buried alive or living in a tomb.


When long-term, it often causes irreversible psychological trauma and harm, a condition no society should inflict on anyone, nor should lawmakers allow it.


That's why forced isolation violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Torture Convention, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In 1995, the UN Human Rights Committee called long-term prison isolation incompatible with international standards, and in 1996, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment agreed.


Isolating inmates long enough in windowless cells 23 hours a day causes madness. Even the strongest-willed break. Try it in a windowless room for 24 hours with enough food and water for one day. Imagine the desperation to get out. Then imagine it for many years or life.


Institutionalized long-term isolation, in fact, causes more mental illness than everyone in psychiatric hospitals combined. It makes healthy inmates sick, so disturbed they sometimes boil over in rage, explaining they can't contain it no matter how severely punished.


Israel's Bar Association Report


On December 27, Haaretz writer Tomer Zarchin headlined, "Groundbreaking report details Israel's inhumane conditions for isolated prisoners," saying:


"A classified report by the Israeli Bar Association (IBA) obtained by Haaretz provides a glimpse into the harrowing conditions prisoners separated from the main jail population must endure."


Ayalon and Shikma prison isolation wings aren't fit for human habitation and "look more like a dungeon, (while) most (Israeli) solitary cells in (are) crammed, rancid with smells of sewer and mold, and infested with insects."


According to IBA criminal law head Moran Kabalo:


"It's difficult to ignore the feeling that isolation as practiced today serves a function of punishment rather than imprisonment....This is a unilateral instrument of punishment used primarily against organized crime groups." Also routinely against Palestinians, especially human rights activists.


Based on a year-long review, including direct with inmates, the report explained that:


"Many isolated inmates testified to have developed paranoia, a tendency for uncontrollable fits of rage, and eyesight problems because of the lack of natural light through most hours of the day."


Yet Israel's Prison Service Commission orders allow isolation only as a last resort, such as:


-- "the security of the prison;


-- preventing real damage to the discipline and normal life in the prison;


-- protecting the well-being or health of the prisoner or of other prisoners; and


-- protecting the security of the state."


Yet Israel, like America, uses it punitively, making it excruciatingly harsh for extra pain, amounting to sustained torture, cruel, and inhumane treatment. Isolation wings are separate from other areas where inmates are divided into subgroups, including:


-- those posing a high escape risk;


-- others who may be harmed by other prisoners; and


-- those who might harm themselves so are separated and closely monitored.


"Most (isolation) cells are windowless and are lit by cold fluorescent lights. The meals are brought on trays and are inserted through a latch that is shut immediately afterwards, to prevent poisoning."


Prison Service Commission orders "explicitly prohibit keeping regular prisoners in isolation cells intended to house (others) convicted in internal disciplinary trials." Isolating inmates "routine(ly) for extended periods of time is against the orders."


Yet it's common practice under sub-minimal conditions "unfit for human habitation. Keeping human beings in such unreasonable conditions for extended periods of time (whoever they are for whatever reason) deals a critical blow to the most basic human rights."


Responding to the IBA's condemnation, Prison Service spokesman Yaron Zamir said isolation is carried out "under court monitoring and according to sheer necessity, while providing the appropriate conditions, rights and treatment."


Like other Israeli officials and their US counterparts, he lied. Israeli prisons are hellholes, their isolation wings designed for torture, violating fundamental international and Israeli law as well as Prison Service Commission orders.


Palestinians are Frequent Victims


Most often, nonviolent Palestinian men, women and children are affected. The Addameer Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association explains that since 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians were detained, over 20% of the entire population and about 40% of all males. Many spend time in isolation as a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Nearly all experience torture, including children. Many are uncharged but are brutalized anyway.


Everyone incarcerated is a "story of a life torn apart and an entire family broken. Yet the international community remains relatively silent in the face of Israel's illegal detention....and the fact" that torture and isolation are commonly used. "It is difficult to imagine that the sons and daughters of (those affected) will one day forget what they suffered when their loved ones were thrown" into Israeli dungeons and brutalized for wanting Palestinian sovereignty and Israel's illegal occupation ended. 


Those "crimes" land offenders in isolation, sometimes for months or longer, where they're denied all rights and face torture or other forms of cruel, inhumane, degrading and humiliating treatment. 


Under the 1971 Israeli Prison Ordinance, no provision defines prisoner rights. Rules alone are specified for the Interior Minister to interpret freely by administrative decree. For example, it's legal to intern 20 inmates in a windowless cell as small as five meters long, four meters wide and three meters high, including an open lavatory, where they may be confined up to 23 hours daily.


Separately isolated prisoners are in tiny, poorly ventilated confinement with no visitation rights or contact with counsel or other prisoners. Women and children are treated like men. Besides specific Geneva Common Article 3 and other human rights law prohibitions against all forms of inhumane treatment, Article 7(g) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defines crimes against humanity as:


"Persecution (meaning) the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the group or collectivity."


A previous ICC ruling held that:


"It is a firmly established precept that the human rights to which a person is entitled simply by being human even when he is detained or imprisoned, and the fact that he is incarcerated cannot serve to deprive him of any right" under international law. Israel, however, like America, flaunts all international law, acting shamlessly with disdain.


A Final Comment


On December 15, Glenn Greenwald headlined his Salon.com article, "The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention," saying:


The accused whistleblower was never convicted of any crime. Yet, he's "been detained at the US Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five (now six) months - and for" two previous months was held in Kuwait military confinement, "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture."


Those familiar with his confinement say he's likely to experience "long-term psychological injuries," yet he's been a model detainee. All along, he's been "in intensive solitary confinement" 23 hours a day for (eight) straight months and counting....(He) sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside he's "heavily restricted." Under constant surveillance, he's prohibited from exercising, and "denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed."


Outside his cell one hour a day, he's "barred from accessing any news or current events programs." He's so affected that he's "administer(ed) regular doses of anti-depressants....to prevent his brain from snapping...."


America's first designated "enemy combatant," alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla was brutalized in military and civilian isolation without charge for nearly four years. He endured alternating periods of extreme sensory deprivation or noise, no right to counsel for two years, beatings, injections with mind-altering drugs, and no medical treatment that destroyed him. 


His mind was turned to mush, making him unfit for trial. Yet a public show trial convicted him on bogus terrorism charges, sentencing him to 17 years, four months hard time for his "role" in a "conspiracy" to help "Islamic jihadists." In fact, he was wrongfully charged, destroyed for political advantage like thousands of others rotting in US and Israeli isolation, victimized by police state justice.


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



Palestine Today: A Reality of Justice Denied

 Palestine Today: A Reality of Justice Denied - by Stephen Lendman


On December 24, Mondoweiss co-editor Adam Horowitz wrote:


"Israeli military kills 20-year old Gazan for herding animals too close to buffer zone."


On December 23, Israeli forces shot and killed Salama Abu Harhish without warning while herding sheep and goats in Beit Lahya. Civilized nations don't murder nonviolent civilians in cold blood, this time leaving a widow and day-old unnamed baby. 


What "democracy" thrives on violence, spurns peace, and wages preemptive wars like Cast Lead. Besides America, only Israel, a global menace like its Washington paymaster/partner, together with Britain the real axis of evil.


December 28 was Cast Lead's second anniversary, a three week continuing onslaught. Against Palestine, Israel's wars never end. The 2008-09 horror evoked memories of Franklin Roosevelt's December 8, 1941 moment, telling a joint session of Congress:


"Yesterday, December 7,1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that Nation, (and) look(ed) toward maintain(ing it) in the Pacific....I ask that the Congress declare that....a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire."


Historical analysis exposed America's real intent, its desire for war, its foreknowledge of the attack, its tracking of the Japanese fleet across the Pacific but not warning Pearl Harbor's commander to ensure surprise and public anger, and Roosevelt's imperial aims. Nonetheless, his powerful words expressed outrage about any nation attacking another preemptively, even if goaded to do it.


Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah remembered Cast Lead in his December 27 article headlined, "The Gaza massacre and the struggle for justice," saying:


"It was not only a massacre of human bodies, but of the truth and of justice." Goldstone and other investigations uncovered irrefutable evidence of high crimes of war and against humanity - willful slaughter of 

nonviolent men, women and children.


Also targeted were schools, universities, hospitals, mosques, industrial and government facilities, police stations, fishing boats, agriculture and residential homes - all unrelated to military necessity in violation of fundamental international law.


Moreover, Israel was guilty of committing the "supreme international crime" against peace, an Israeli and American specialty though neither's been held accountable. As a result, justice remains denied, begging for redress.


Israel's attack was merciless. "The names of the dead fill 100 pages, but nothing can fill the void they left in their families....Two years after the crime, Gaza remains a giant prison....Israel's violence (continues) like its violence against Palestinians" throughout the Territories - sustained state terrorism against nonviolent civilians. It's "the logical outcome of the racism that forms the inseparable core of Zionist ideology and practice" that claims Israel belongs exclusively to Jews, no matter how many Palestinians have to die to prove it. 


As a result, peace is consistently avoided, justice denied, and atrocities continue daily. Cast Lead highlighted Palestinian victimization, decades of occupation, besieged Gaza, persecuted Israeli Arabs, and the diaspora population prohibited from returning, a right enshrined in international law.


It also exposes a lawless society and bogus democracy, arousing millions globally to demand justice. Failure insults victims and the rule of law. Yet international community silence endorses rogue state lawlessness. Impunity encourages continuity, an endless cycle of persecution, violence, slaughter and destruction, seeking new pretexts to sustain it or inventing them when don't exist.


Israel's Self-Destructive Politics


Last March 16, Haaretz writer Bradley Burston headlined, "Israel's Titanic Moment: Does Obama Want Bibi's Head," saying:


Perhaps after years of trial and error, Hamas finally knows "the secret of how to bring down the Jewish state: Let the ship sink itself....One of the curses of endless war, is the tendency to become one's worst enemy," a skill Israel honed through years of practice, alienating Jews besides millions of others globally.


On December 28, Burston headlined, "Israel's government is turning into a settlement," saying:


Netanyahu works overtime for it, "letting Avigdor Lieberman and Arab-hating rabbis run wild, humiliating the United States in the settlement freeze fiasco, while exacerbating tensions with the Muslim world." His government thus meets five essential settlement criteria:


-- it obstructs peace;


-- denies fault for its absence;


-- allies with religious extremists at the expense of secular Israelis, the majority;


-- alienates allies and angers enemies; and


-- does anything, even at extreme internal risk, "to avoid being dislodged."


Burston denounced Avigdor Lieberman, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, for "drill(ing) new holes directly into (the) ship of state," a man Newsweek called "Israel's most popular politician." Interviewing him last October, Lieberman: 


-- called "peace for territory" the wrong approach;


-- wants half of the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs removed, believing all represent a fifth column threat; saying they refuse to be integrated but enjoy "all the advantages of a democratic country," the same ones reserved solely for Jews;


-- calls Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "exactly like Hitler;" says "of course" Iran will get a nuclear bomb, then will "de facto or de jure (occupy) the Gulf countries," and Israel, no matter that the Islamic Republic hasn't attacked another country in over 200 years; by comparison, Israel's entire history is bloodstained, its politics based on sustained violence;


-- calls himself "the mainstream;" and


-- achieving a peace settlement in a year is "impossible."


On that issue, he's right because Israel spurns it, choosing violence over diplomacy, democratic values and equal justice. Eventually it's self-destructive as Burston believes.


It's no surprise that Haaretz believes "Lieberman must go," a December 28 editorial calling him "an opportunistic figure competing in the guise of a diplomat for the leadership of the Israeli right wing."


An earlier article presented a profile of his ultranationalist extremism, accessed through the following link:




Haaretz believes that "If Netanyahu expects to be taken seriously....he must dismiss Lieberman immediately." Israel needs a legitimate foreign minister, not a fractious lunatic vindicating Israel's adversaries. Perhaps he should dissolve his coalition and call new elections, though shuffling the deck won't matter, given the the loyal opposition's makeup - as belligerent and hard-line as Netanyahu at a time Israel's Knesset is its most extreme ever.


Besides an array of extremist passed or proposed legislation, it sanctions racism and violence, including the December 28 attacks against Beitin village. Sandwiched between Bet El and Ofra settlements, the main road between Beitin and Ramallah is closed, forcing residents to travel 30 minutes to the city, not five by the main road.


On December 28, hundreds protested and were attacked by Israeli forces, using rubber bullets, pepper spray, and high-velocity tear gas rounds fired, from close range, directly at protestors as well as into nearby homes.


Near Jerusalem, Palestinians protesting against Israel's Separation Wall were also attacked. Nine arrests were made, including international activists and an al Quds correspondent. After release, they got several days to leave the country.


Further, protestors against occupation and separation from Al Masara and other villages were assaulted. Together with international activists, they faced sound and tear gas bombs. Sixteen year old Ali Hamdan was struck in the chest and injured. Others suffered from inhilation effects. At Ni'lin's weekly anti-Wall protest, confrontations there occurred, as well as at Nabi Saleh where one protestor was shot 13 times with rubber bullets, was seriously injured and hospitalized.


On December 29, Haaretz writer Amira Hass headlined, "Israel's Qassam strikes on Gaza," saying:


Months ago, Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai warned of "a bigger shoah (genocide)" if Palestinians fired rockets in self-defense, responding to Israeli attacks. He now calls Gaza "an abscess, troublesome pus)" and gets away with it.


"What was he trying to convey," asked Hass? "That Israel needs to use radical surgery to fully remove the localized infection? Vilnai (like other Israeli hard-liners) renounced any Israeli responsibility for the volatility, placing all the blame on Hamas. 'Instead of worrying about its own people, Hamas is trying to conquer Jerusalem,' he said."


In fact, Israeli soldiers "nearly daily fir(e) on Gaza civilians, regularly wounding (or) killing them." Vilnai, however, claims "They started it, so we have the right to respond." Yet in January 1991, as GOC Southern Command, he signed an infamous military order, revoking exit permits granted years earlier. As a result,  Gazans lost free movement under military closure, a policy deeply hardened today under siege.


"It was Vilnai's signature, not a persistent infection, that fated the Gaza Strip to be the world's largest and most overcrowded detention camp. And we, the Israelis, are its wardens," in violation of fundamental international law, ruthlessly spurned for over six decades.


A Final Comment


NGO Monitor (NGOM) is a Jerusalem-based pro-Israeli front group, disseminating propaganda and hate. It debases legitimate human rights organizations, independent journalists, other advocates for truth, equity and justice, and, on Cast Lead's second anniversary, the Goldstone and other reports exposing Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against Gazans.


Calling irrefutable evidence "unsupported allegations (and) false investigations," it demanded acknowledgement of "the degree to which (they're) unsupported." 


By backing Israeli lawlessness, NGOM's audacity gives chutzpah new meaning. Moreover, it's staff defile the dead and injured, wanton destruction, and human misery. They represent a frontal attack on truth, decency, and reality of 1.5 million Gazans under suffocating siege, denied life, liberty, and for many the ability to survive. Punishing repression and daily assaults are shocking crimes, begging for redress, highlighted by remembering Cast Lead's slaughter. NGOM forgets and desecrates.


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



Israel Hardens Repression as Palestinian Recognition Increases

 Israel Hardens Repression as Palestinian Recognition Increases - by Stephen Lendman


On December 24, Ecuador became the fifth Latin American country to recognize "the Palestine state as free and independent within its borders since 1967." An accompanying statement said:


"Sadly, the Middle East continues to face wars and violent events that have led to the death of many innocent people, a situation contrary to the humane and pacifist position established by the Ecuadorian Constitution. This recognition is meant to reinforce the valid and legitimate wish of the Palestin(ian) people to have their own free and independent state." Having it is "fundamental to achieve the peaceful co-existence of the nations in the region through dialogue and mediation."


On December 23, Uruguay said it planned to join Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia in granting recognition, though would formerly do so in January 2011.


Though largely symbolic, growing recognition flies in the face of a unanimous December 16 House resolution opposing unilaterally declared independence, urging Palestinians to: 


"cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiating process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians....and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition." 


It also asked the White House to "deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties." EU nations said they'll act when "appropriate," meaning not until Washington and Israel approve.


Never mind that Israel and America don't negotiate. They demand, imposing their will unilaterally when denied, often by force. Both countries also deplore peace. They prevent it by provoked conflict, blamed on governments they oppose, even democratically elected ones.


Israel is now so extremist that Haaretz writer Zeev Sternhell described Netanyahu's Knesset as "an assembly line of legislation that is dragging Israel down to the bottom of the list of civilized countries," amounting to might makes right.


On December 22, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "Netanyahu can blame himself for decline in Israel's world standing," saying:


He "embarked on a....diplomatic effort to (prevent possible) international recognition for Palestine (within) 1967 borders, and fend off a (UN Security Council resolution) condemning settlements." Another campaign aims to discredit what he calls the "delegitimization of Israel around the world."


He's "trying to convince us that Israel's" deteriorated image isn't "related to his government's policies on peace and settlements." Instead of seeking real peace, however, his "Foreign Ministry is sent to dust off ancient public-relations papers that failed to convince anyone." No wonder world leaders "are losing their patience with Netanyahu and are wondering if (he's really) a partner for peace."


On December 29, Haaretz writer Aluf Benn headlined, "It's over for Benjamin Netanyahu," saying:


"It's all downhill until the next elections, without any achievements and without an agenda....Instead of initiating and leading, Netanyahu (engages) in fruitless holding actions until he falls from power." Absurdly he claims "Palestinians are not ready to move forward to peace, so the whole country is stuck." 


Of course, Palestinians always wanted an equitable peace, not conflict, but Israel wants none of the former. It thrives on conflict like America, inventing enemies as justification.


Benn urges that "Instead of cultivating false hopes for a peace agreement, international effort(s) should be geared toward heading off a war." Otherwise, it's just a matter of time before the next one.


Endless Wars


Decades of Arab-Israeli conflict produced seven full-scale wars, two Intifadas, thousands of violent incidents, bogus peace initiatives, annexed lands, settlement expansions, Gaza's siege, and repressive arrests, dispossessions, assassinations, torture, and countless other forms of police state terror. Why now would world leaders imagine potential policy change, especially under Israel's most extremist ever government and prime minister who abhors peaceful resolution, calling it a waste of time. 


Moreover, he uses the coup d'etat Abbas regime repressively against his own people, and bogusly calls the legitimate Hamas government a terrorist organization as justification for Israeli assaults.


As a result, repeatedly without cause:


-- Israel attacks peaceful West Bank protestors; 


-- conducts dozens of weekly incursions into West Bank communities, arresting Palestinian men, women and children;


-- attacks and kills farmers in their fields and fishermen at sea;


-- lets settlers rampage lawlessly against civilians, destroying property and causing injuries, at times serious;


-- uses drones to kill activists; 


-- invades besieged Gaza at will; and 


-- conducts regular F-16 air attacks, firing rockets against civilians and non-military targets.


More War Threatened 


On December 23, Xinhau, China's English language news service, quoted PLO official Ahmed Majdalani saying:


Israel plans more war, and "is preparing the internal and international opinion using the same scenario" as during Cast Lead, claiming Gaza threatens its security. Majdalani believes "this proves there is a planned intention to wage a wide aggression on Gaza," perhaps harsher than before.


A December 22 Xinhau article headlined, "Israel, Palestinians warn of military escalation in Gaza," saying:


Palestinians fear it after "Israeli army officials said that the situation on the borders between the enclave and Israel is expected to flame sooner or later." In recent weeks, Israeli attacks increased, at times provoking responses regarded by Israel as "terrorism," the usual red herring for further escalation.


"Amid the mounting (attacks) and Israeli army officials (threatening) senior Hamas leaders, (its) government (ordered evacuation) of its ministries as well as police and security apparatuses headquarters" in preparation.


Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Xinhua that Israel: 


"is preparing for a new war on the Gaza Strip by threatening to carry out a large-scale military operation or practice murder against the population and their military leaders. We expect anything from Israel, but Israel should understand that (Gazans) and their factions of resistance would never surrender in case of any operation....We will defend our people and our lands by all means."


Israeli Radio reported an official UN complaint filed, "accusing Gazan militants of firing homemade projectiles and rockets into Israel." Not explained was provocative IDF attacks using firepower Palestinian capability can't match. Nor that international law permits self-defense in response to naked aggression, an Israeli specialty.


Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Abu Obaida said the Ezz El-Deen al Qassam Brigades "want to keep the Palestinian people away from suffering from war and aggression." However, if Israeli chooses confrontation, "we are ready and will resist regardless of the price and the Zionists will pay an expensive" one.


Obaida's remarks came a day after Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' leadership, renewed his ceasefire commitment. No matter. Obaida said calm "may not last for long" before another war erupts. Why not given Israel's history of aggression against neighboring states and Palestinian communities.


Hamas - Fatah Friction


Allied with Israel and Washington, Abbas is Israel's sheriff against his own people, including by provoking conflict with Hamas. According to a WikiLeaks released cable, Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin "established a very good working relationship" with him. He, in turn, shared "almost all its intelligence" with Israel. "They understand that Israel's security is central to their survival in the struggle with Hamas in the West Bank."


Another cable disclosed Abbas wanting unprecedented Israeli help in attacking Hamas prior to the split that left Fatah illegally controlling the West Bank with Hamas governing Gaza. At the time, Diskin described Fatah as "desperate, disorganized and demoralized," saying:


"They are approaching a zero-sum situation, and yet they ask us to attack Hamas. This is a new development. We have never seen this before. They are desperate." He also called Abbas "a paradox. He cannot function and do anything. Why is Fatah failing? (Abbas) knows he is weak and that he has failed....to rehabilitate Fatah. He did not start to take any action when he had the chance in 2004. Instead of choosing to be the leader of Fatah, he chose to be a national leader for all Palestinians," but he failed.


Hamas always accused Abbas of collaborating with Israel. Released cables prove it. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum expressed no surprise, saying:


"This is proof of what Hamas has said in the past, that there has been a division of labor between some elements of the former authority in Gaza and the Israeli occupation. The same situation is taking place right now in the West Bank as well."


Previous memos also showed Abbas - Israeli collaboration. A June 2009 diplomatic message cited Ehud Barak, Israeli defense minister, asking Fatah before Cast Lead if it wanted control of Gaza once Hamas was defeated. According to a US diplomatic memo, Fatah rejected the offer. Repeatedly, Abbas and key lieutenants acted duplicitously against their own people. In return, Israel and Washington rewarded them generously, no matter how repressively Palestinian civilians suffer.


On December 23, Zinhau reported that Hamas suspended reconciliation talks with Fatah, Hamas senior official Musa Abu Marzouq saying:


"There will not be any meeting with Fatah as long as it continues ignoring Hamas' prisoners who are (on) hunger strike."


Hamas wants all prisoners "immediately released," including six members detained in Jericho for nearly two years. Each side accuses the other of undermining Palestinian cohesion and reconciliation. It's no surprise with Abbas and key lieutenants as Israel's enforcer


A Final Comment


On December 25, the Palestine News Network headlined, "Santa Claus brings Rubber Bullets, Gas and Arrests," saying:


While Christmas was celebrated in Bethlehem, "the village of An Nabi Saleh (near Ramallah) faced another reality." Israel's military used "excessive violence" against peaceful demonstrators. "Several people (were) injured; three Israeli activists and one Palestinian....got arrested."


Twelve rubber-coated steel bullets struck a 16-year old boy, "aimed from close range directly at his chest." Though hospitalized, he escaped serious injury.


Santa Claus joined with demonstrators walking down the village's main road chanting slogans. Israeli military and Border Police met them forcefully with sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets "aimed directly at people" with intent to commit harm - Israel's Christmas gift to nonviolent protestors.


Rubber bullets struck a man and his wife inside their home severely enough to require hospitalization. Gas inhalation harmed demonstrators. 


"When the day came to a close, Santa Claus had brought only more tear gas and rubber bullets for the villagers....Merry Christmas," Israeli-style.


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




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