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The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called for an end to the "absurd situation" in which arrest warrants were being issued to Israeli officials over alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
"Only actions can put an end to this absurd situation, which would have seemed a comedy of errors were it not so serious," said the Foreign Ministry, a day after it emerged that opposition leader Tzipi Livni had canceled her trip to Britain after a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a British court had issued an arrest warrant against opposition leader Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel's military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip nearly a year ago. Read more.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 10 December 2009, Observed
Iftikhar Chaudri, President of Journalists for International Peace, wrote:
Journalists for International Peace observed the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2009. In this context, a meeting was held in the head office of JIP, in which participants/ members of JIP presented their reports on various human rights issues the world is confronting.
The participants, members of JIP, deliberated on the objectives of Human Rights Day which was focused on non-discrimination. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. These first few famous words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established 61 years ago, are the basic premise of international human rights law. Yet today, the fight against discrimination remains a daily struggle for millions around the globe.
Iftikhar Chaudri, President JIP, expressed grave concern over the situation of human rights all over the world, in general, which is further deteriorated. “The graph of the poverty-line personifies upward trend. People are devoid of clean drinking water and basic food items. Despite efforts to promote interfaith harmony through a dialogue, the religious and sectarian intolerance increased manifold. The ban on the construction of minarets in Switzerland is a glaring example that infuriates the Muslim minority,” he added.
From Hiroshima to Gaza
By Hisae Ogawa
The first time I met and had a chance to talk to Palestinian women was back in 1975, the United Nations International Women’s Year. I was then working for the Women’s International Democrat Federation (WIDF), one of the Non-Governmental Agencies accredited by the United Nations.
WIDF’s head office was in East Berlin, the capitol of the German Democratic Republic. It had over 100 member groups all around the world and representatives that were called “secretaries” were sent from more than ten countries from Europe, Africa, Asia and America. At the time the General Secretary of WIDF was from Argentina and the President was from Australia. It was indeed an international place. But at the same time I was so disturbed to see the East Berliners suffered lack of freedom due to the wall dividing the city.
One of my co-workers was a young girl from Iraq. She was working hard trying to cover the whole issues in the Middle East. From her I learned what was happening in the Middle East.
It was through her that I got to know the Palestinian issue and made friends with Palestinian women. One day she brought some women from Palestine to the WIDF office. They were touring Europe to publicize their plight. They said Israel was doing the same things to Palestinian people as the Nazis had done to the Jewish people during the World War II.
Israeli Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid
By Stephen Lendman
The Cape Town, South Africa-based Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) "conduct(s) large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies," and disseminates its findings widely.
In May 2009, it issued a damning report titled, "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law." At the time John Dugard was the UN's Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine. At his January 2007 suggestion, the study was undertaken "to scrutinise (his) hypothesis from the perspective of international law." It stated:
"Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories). At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?"
Given South Africa's past, the HSRC had an "obvious interest" in pursuing these issues. After 15 months of research, its report concluded that:
"....Israel, since 1967, has been the belligerent Occupying Power in the OPT, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise, which implements a system of apartheid."
Making an American “Impenetrable Underground Wall” the Laughing Stock of the World — Leave It to the People of Gaza
Making an American “Impenetrable Underground Wall” the Laughing Stock of the World — Leave It to the People of Gaza
By Colonel (Ret) Ann Wright
No doubt at the instigation of the Israeli government, the Obama administration has authorized the United States Army Corps of Engineers to design a vertical underground wall under the border between Egypt and Gaza.
In March, 2009 the United States provided the government of Egypt with $32 million in March, 2009 for electronic surveillance and other security devices to prevent the movement of food, merchandise and weapons into Gaza. Now details are emerging about an underground steel wall that will be 6-7 miles long and extend 55 feet straight down into the desert sand.
The steel wall will be made of super-strength steel put together in a jigsaw puzzle fashion. It will be bomb proof and can not be cut or melted. It will be “impenetrable,” and reportedly will take 18 months to construct.
The steel wall is intended to cut the tunnels that go between Gaza and Egypt.
The tunnels are the lifelines for Gaza since the international community agreed to a blockade of Gaza to collectively punish the citizens of Gaza for their having elected in Parliamentary elections in 2006 sufficient Hamas Parliamentarians that Hamas became the government of Gaza. The United States and other western countries have placed Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations.
The underground steel wall is intended to strengthen international governmental efforts to imprison and starve the people of Gaza into submission so they will throw out the Hamas government.
Targeting Civilians in Gaza
By Stephen Lendman
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an "independent legal body dedicated to the protection of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in the Occupied Territories." It issues frequent press releases, statistics, fact sheets, documents, and reports like its October 22, 2009 English version of "Targeted Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli Offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009)."
Its 184 pages comprise a comprehensive, conclusive, and damning account of Israel's war crimes, along with numerous others, including:
- PCHR's "Through Women's Eyes" on the war's effect on women;
- B'Tselem's "investigation of fatalities in Operation Cast Lead;"
- Amnesty International's "Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction;"
- several Human Rights Watch reports, including "White Flag Deaths" and Rain of Fire: Israel's Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza;"
- former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, John Dugard's "Independent Fact-Finding Committee (IFFC)....investigations of Israeli conduct during the war in Gaza;" and
- the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)'s "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" - the prominent Goldstone report that has Tel Aviv and Washington officials scrambling to diffuse its extensive Israeli war crimes evidence. The report's conclusion was that:
"....the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing (humiliating and terrorizing) the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population."
Mark Your Calendars for December 27th-31st! Organize Your Events for the Global Free Gaza Action To Lift the Israeli Siege
We're calling on activists around the globe to organize an action between December 27th through December 31st to send Obama, the US State Department and Congress a message to pressure the Israeli government to Lift the Siege on Gaza Now!
The timing here is crucial. On December 27, 2008, Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip called Operation Cast Lead in which over 1400 Palestinians were killed, including as many as 300 children. In remembrance of these innocent civilians and to mark the fact that it has been one year since the Israeli assault began, some 1,000 people from around the world will join with 50,000 Palestinians in a massive nonviolent Gaza Freedom March on New Year's Eve, December 31, in Gaza. The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza is calling on us to coordinate local solidarity actions to raise awareness and media attention for the big March and the need to end the illegal blockade. Will you join us?
Actions are already being planned in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC and other locations. You still have time to plan something in your community. It doesn't take a lot of people. Below are a few ideas, but whatever you do, make sure you write a press release and call the local media to encourage them to attend. The best way to spread the word is to get your event covered by the local press!
The important things:
- Do something public between the 27th through 31st.
- Register your event/action here.
- Tell the press about your action.
- Take a photo and upload it here beginning December 27th.
But it’s a legitimate and urgent question: Would a more determined commitment by the U.S. government to secure an independent state for the Palestinians and to alleviate their suffering undercut the appeal of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups to young people in the Muslim world?
Or put differently, why should ardent supporters of Israel in the U.S. Congress behave in such a way as to make the Muslim world view the United States as disinterested in the plight of the Palestinians and thus increase the danger of future attacks against the United States, as well as against Israel?...
These so-called “friends of Israel” either don’t know or don’t care that this sort of resolution only makes matters worse regarding American attempts to defuse the explosive anger building across the Middle East. It is a gift to al-Qaeda.
Media commentary on the upcoming 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has raised concern that state secrets may be divulged, including details about how the Bush administration used torture to extract evidence about al-Qaeda.
“I think that we’re going to shine a light on something that a lot of people don’t want to look at” is how American Civil Liberties Union attorney Denney LeBoeuf put it, according to The New York Times on Saturday.
No problem, says Attorney General Eric Holder, who claims to have “great confidence” that other evidence – apart from what may have been gleaned from the 183 times Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, for example – will suffice to convict him.
Maybe so, But what the Fawning Corporate Media (or FCM) have so far neglected is the likelihood that the testimony will be so public that they will have to break their studied silence about why Sheikh Mohammed and his associates say they orchestrated the attacks of 9/11. Read more.
Larry Johnson wrote: (For the next week or so, I will be running a guest blog by Gerri Haynes, a former president of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. Gerri, a nurse from Kirkland, Wash., is in Gaza with 11 other people in an effort to help the people there and also to better understand the situation.)
This journey has been months in the planning and today we were able to cross into Gaza through the Erez checkpoint from Israel. We are a thankful group! The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and associated health care providers are giving us this week in service.
There are 12 of us. Six physicians will see patients in cardiology, maxillo-facial surgery, family practice/emergency medicine, neurosurgery, urology, and psychiatry. Our nurse/grief consultant will teach classes in grief and bereavement. Five of our delegation – a pastor, an attorney and three human rights professionals will talk with families and listen to people throughout the area – all in service to this land that is trying to recover from the war of last winter.
WPSR made a first journey to Gaza in 1993. Here, we met Dr. Eyad El Sarraj, Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. Dr. Sarraj has published important articles and papers on the health situation in Gaza, the mental health of the population, the effects of war and living as a refugee on children and critiques of the political situation in his country.
In 1993, entry to Gaza was accomplished through a small checkpoint. At that time, Israel physically occupied Gaza. There were Israeli guard towers visible at frequent intervals and Israeli soldiers appeared on every street. Now, there is an imposing warehouse-like checkpoint building on the Israel side of the crossing. Security is tight.
We applied for permission to enter Gaza several months in advance of today’s crossing and were assisted by an Israeli lieutenant in gaining that permission. Israel no longer physically occupies Gaza – the settlements were vacated and destroyed by Israel in 2005 – but remote occupation continues. By various means, Israel controls all movement at the borders of Gaza. There is no free movement of goods or services and complete closure of the Gaza Strip is a constant threat. Join in Gerri's day-by-day account of her Gaza experience; it's recommended reading by Ann Wright.
Minnesotans plan trip to Gaza for Gandhi-inspired march | Press Release
CODEPINK: Women for Peace and the Minnesota Gaza Freedom March Participants' Committee Present Occupation 101, a film by Sufyan Omeish and Abdallah Omeish
Date: Sunday, December 6, 2009, 4:00 pm
Location: Hennepin Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403
Cost: suggested donation $10 at the door, no one turned away
Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 6th, 2009 - A group of passionate Minnesotans are planning to participate in a bold, Gandhi-inspired peace march in Gaza, 'the world's largest open-air prison'. The group calls itself the “Minnesota Gaza Freedom March Participants' Committee” and today they are exhibiting a documentary film that highlights the injustice they hope to correct through participating in a non-violent mass action in Gaza with participants from around the world. The documentary, Occupation 101, is being shown as fundraiser. At least 3 members of the group are committed to traveling to Egypt and Palestine, with airline tickets already purchased. Others are excited to go, if only enough funds can be raised. A local march is being planned in the Twin Cities area simultaneous with the nonviolent march in Gaza, one mile to the closed Erez checkpoint on the border with Israel. Discussion and trainings on their organizing strategy follow the heart-wrenching film.
The idea came to the Twin Cities initially as a result of one of the organizers' participation in a healthcare reform lobbying effort that took him to Washington, D.C. In July. "I was in D.C. for the rally and citizen lobbying day hat marked the 44th anniversary of Medicare, on July 30th, and a little early for a fundraiser for the 'Healthcare NOT Warfare' campaign at Busboys and Poets, when an affiliated group, CODEPINK, had an event in that space the hour before our event started. I sat in on the meeting, and as soon as I heard about Gandhi being the inspiration of the Gaza Freedom March, I knew I had to participate in this," says Soren Sorensen. "Healthcare and the economy remain the issues that most Americans care about, according to polls, but it is hard to ignore the desperate plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. The have no access to healthcare, and the average Palestinian in Gaza earns $600 a year. The U.S. Governments support for this inhuman siege is, no doubt, reducing the favorability of U.S. Goods and services abroad. If the U.S. Aligns itself with international law and human rights, it could help our economic recovery. So there is some self-interest for us, but for me it is a greater issue of conscience."
(Washington DC) At the Annual Conference of the United Jewish Federations in Washington, DC, during the plenary session by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, CODEPINK peace activist Midge Potts stood up with a banner that said “End the Siege of Gaza” and shouted “Stop the blockade of Gaza, Shame on you, Netanyahu.” She was dragged out of the meeting by security guards.
Speaking today at the National Press Club, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen declared that “it’s very clear to me that a nuclear weapon in Iran is an existential threat to Israel.”
Adm. Mullen has repeatedly met with Israel’s military chief Gen. Ashkenazi, and says foiling Iran’s nuclear program is “the number one priority for Israel.” This has been underscored in recent days as Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.
But while Admiral Mullen said he still wanted President Obama to continue with diplomacy, he was fully prepared to see the US attack Iran to prevent a nuclear Iran from “undermining the stability” of the Middle East. At the same time, Mullen admitted that attacking Iran itself “would also be incredibly destabilizing.”
Though Western officials have repeatedly issued warnings about Iran’s nuclear program, the IAEA has repeatedly certified that none of Iran’s uranium has been enriched to anywhere near weapons-grade level and that none of it is being diverted to anything but civilian use.
U.S.: Congress Out of Step with Public on Intl Law?
By Eli Clifton | IPS
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution Tuesday condemning the Goldstone Report on Israeli and Hamas actions taking during the Gaza War as "irredeemably biased" against Israel and calling on U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to oppose any consideration of the report in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations.
But a poll released just the day before found that a large majority of U.S. citizens believe the U.S. should abide by international laws and view the international legal system favourably.
House Resolution (HR) 867 called on the White House and State Department to oppose any future examinations of the report, which members of Congress felt focused disproportionally on alleged Israeli war crimes while paying little attention to violations committed by Hamas during the Gaza War from Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 18, 2009.
"The 344 supporters have apparently not read the report," wrote Human Rights Watch senior researcher Fred Abrahams. "The 575-page document records violations of the laws of war by Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, and concludes that all sides committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity."
"Both Israelis and Palestinians need to carry out investigations that meet international standards or face international prosecution," he said. Read more.
Just in case you missed the despicable, outrageous signs, see them at around 7:00 mins into this video:
Washington D.C. (November 3, 2009) –Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement on the House Floor about H. Res 867, which condemns the ‘Goldstone Report’ or the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict:
“Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.
“Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.
“The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and Israel, may as well be called the “Down is Up, Night is Day, Wrong is Right” resolution.
“Because if this Congress votes to condemn a report it has not read, concerning events it has totally ignored, about violations of law of which it is unaware, it will have brought shame to this great institution.
On Nov. 3, 2009, on Capitol Hill, activists from the “Coalition for Free Gaza March,” personally confronted Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA,) just outside his office over the Goldstone Report. The Congressman then quickly rushed towards his private elevator. Afterwards, six activists strolled into Room 2221, Rep. Berman’s office, in the Rayburn Building, around 10 AM. There, they began reading the 575-paged UN Report of Judge Richard Goldstone. The Goldstone-authored document is highly critical of Israel’s recent military conduct in Gaza, labeling some of its action as “War Crimes.” Rep. Berman, who is Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, has introduced HR 867 in the House. Its purpose is to reject the report of the distinguished jurist, without giving Judge Goldstone a chance to personally testify before the Congress on his findings. HR 867 is due for a vote in the House later today.
See a list of links by clicking through to the youtube description.
Congressman Brian Baird Challenges Congressional Leadership’s Blind Protection of Israeli Actions in Gaza
Congressman Brian Baird Challenges Congressional Leadership’s Blind Protection of Israeli Actions in Gaza
By Ann Wright
The massive, disproportionate force used on the people of Gaza by the Israeli military was done with the full knowledge that the United States government -- the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and the Congress -- would protect its actions from international investigation and criminal prosecution, as U.S. governments have done for the past 60 years, since the founding of the state of Israel.
Today, November 3, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on House Resolution 867 which condemns the report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict , also known as the Goldstone Report, named for Judge Goldstone who headed the mission.
The report investigates the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1,440 Palestinians in Gaza, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless. During the 22 day Israeli military operation, 13 Israelis were killed, 3 civilians and 10 military, 5 of whom were killed by their own Israeli military forces. The Israelis said they were defending Israel from thousands of unguided rockets fired from Gaza by militant groups that have killed 19 Israelis. For the past three years, Israel also has blockaded the 1.5 million people who live in Gaza into what is now an “open-air prison.”
By Michael Ratner, www.CommonDreams.org
On Tuesday, November 3, Congress is poised to vote on H.Res.867, which calls on the “President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the `Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict' in multilateral fora.’ ”
The Resolution instructs the Obama Administration to prevent further consideration of the Goldstone Report (as it is informally known) in any international body. For Congress to do so, without a hearing where Judge Goldstone can testify and based upon a Resolution rife with factual errors, makes a mockery of assertions by the United States that fundamental protections of human rights laws law apply equally to all. It leaves the United States, and especially Congress, without a thread of moral authority.
By GREGORY KATZ, The Associated Press
LONDON -- British lawyers looking for ways to hold Israel accountable for its deadly advance into Gaza last year have expanded their legal campaign by seeking the arrest of Israeli military officers entering Britain.
The attorneys plan to go to British courts to obtain arrest warrants against individuals linked to suspected war crimes so they would be taken into custody if they entered Britain, Daniel Machover, a lawyer coordinating the legal team, said Tuesday.
"We've been collecting evidence for some time," said Machover of the Hickman & Rose firm. "If one of the suspects is coming to the country, we are ready to go to the police and the courts with evidence."
There was no immediate response to the plan from Britain's Ministry of Justice. Israel brushed off the move as part of a harassment campaign by anti-Israeli groups.
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Cleveland Jewish News
Nine soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard have joined 1,000 U.S. troops and the Israeli Defense Forces in joint military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea that include preparation for an Iranian missile attack on Israel.
The major air defense drill, called Juniper Cobra 10, includes a simulated missile attack against Tel Aviv, reported Ohio National Guard Public Affairs.
In the two-week maneuvers, which began Oct. 21, the American units will strengthen Israel’s missile defense system by meshing ground-and-ship-based missile interceptors with
Israel’s ballistic shield, Ha’aretz newspaper reported.
The Honorable Howard Berman
Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
October 29, 2009
Dear Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen,
It has come to my attention that a resolution has been introduced in the Unites States House of
Representatives regarding the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which I
led earlier this year.
I fully respect the right of the US Congress to examine and judge my mission and the resulting
report, as well as to make its recommendations to the US Executive branch of government.
However, I have strong reservations about the text of the resolution in question – text that
includes serious factual inaccuracies and instances where information and statements are taken
grossly out of context.
I undertook this fact-finding mission in good faith, just as I undertook my responsibilities vis à
Prosecution of Israelis likely, says solicitor • Lawyers working on use of universal jurisdiction
By Ian Black, The Guardian/UK
Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister during the Gaza war, would probably face arrest on war crimes charges if he visited Britain, according to a UK lawyer who is working to expand the application of "universal jurisdiction" for offences involving serious human rights abuses committed anywhere in the world.
Neither Olmert nor Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister during the Cast Lead offensive, and a member of Israel's war cabinet, would enjoy immunity from prosecution for alleged breaches of the Geneva conventions, predicted Daniel Machover, who is involved in intensifying legal work after the controversial Goldstone report on the three-week conflict. Neither are ministers any longer.